View Poll Results: Who Will Win? That is, in possession of the land?

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  • Israel

    3 30.00%
  • The Palestinians

    1 10.00%
  • Two States

    4 40.00%
  • Neither, some other State or people rule.

    0 0%
  • Neither, mutual destruction.

    1 10.00%
  • One State, two peoples

    1 10.00%
  • One State, one people (intermarriage)

    0 0%
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Thread: War between Israel -v- Iran & Co (merged threads)

  1. #41
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    From CSIS, dated 9 Feb 06: Palestinian Authority and Militant Forces
    ...A largely secular and pro-peace Palestinian government was suddenly and unexpectedly replaced by a radical Islamist group whose charter still effectively called for Israel's destruction. Some leaders in Gaza and the West Bank did indicate that they would consider a mutual ceasefire. However, Hamas's formal leader, Khaled Meshal, who was based in Damascus, stated that Hamas would not abandon its struggle with Israel and would transform its armed wing into a national Palestinian army.

    The political and military map of both the future of the Palestinian's future and the future of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, is now uncertain and may well remain so for years. It may also lead to a major redefinition of how Palestinian forces are shaped and defined. There is no inherent dilemma in labeling a resistance movement as either "freedom fighters" or "terrorists." History has consistently shown that activists can be both at the same time, and that democratic forces can be as ruthless in using terrorist and asymmetric means as authoritarian ones. History provides equal warnings that there is no way to predict how much given movements like Hamas and the PIJ will or will not moderate over time, or whether they will become more extreme and violent.

    There is no doubt, however, that Hamas's victory is a further catalyst in a fundamental change in the Arab-Israeli military balance. For years, there has been the steady shift away from a focus on conventional warfighting between Israel and Egypt, Jordan, and Syria, to a focus on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. This conflict has helped drive Israel's neighbors to maintain large conventional forces as a deterrent, but it has also increased their internal security problems. At the same time, it has interacted with the rise of Neo-Salafi Islamist terrorism and efforts to dominate the Islamic world. Like the interaction between Hezbollah, Syria, and Iran; the shifts in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict have become regional as well as internal. At the same time, the Palestinians have been driven primarily by local tensions and dynamics. They have never been anyone's proxies; they use as much as they are used...

  2. #42
    Council Member Stratiotes's Avatar
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    Politics are never easy to decipher.

    For isntance. In our country we argue sometimes vehemently over abortion and our politicians use some wild rhetoric and fear-mongering on both sides about how their consistuents need to vote for them if they want change. Once voted in, the politician has a litany of excuses why he cannot do all the things he promised he would do during the campaign but maybe if he's reelected he will... In the end, neither side does all they promise because to do so would eliminate a hot button issue that is always good for votes - solving the problem would cost them votes so it is counterproductive to solve the problem. My suspicion is the rhetoric will continue with Hamas but I don't think things will get any worse than they already are or would be without Hamas in power. As soon as Hamas gets its stated goals, it will be a group of fanatics without a cause to rally followers - it would be self-defeating. They want to promote their cause but they want power more than the cause. Politicians are all pretty much alike on that score - IMHO.
    Mark
    Discuss at: The Irregulars Visit at: UW Review
    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G. K. Chesterton

  3. #43
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    Mark-

    You are, of course, right that politics is never easy to understand.

    However you are making one of the classic big mistakes of assuming the other side are like us.

    Perhaps so, but it is just an assumption. And we know what happens to soldiers sent in on nothing but assumptions ...

  4. #44
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    Default Iran: Consequences of a War

    13 Feb Reuters - Study: Thousands would die if U.S. attacked Iran

    Thousands of military personnel and hundreds of civilians would be killed if the United States launched an air strike on Iran to prevent it developing nuclear arms, a British think tank said in a report released on Monday.

    The report by the independent Oxford Research Group said any bombing of Iran by U.S. forces, or by their Israeli allies, would have to be part of a surprise attack on a range of facilities including urban areas that would catch many Iranians unprotected.
    The report by Oxford Research Group - Iran: Consequences of a War


    This briefing paper, written by our Global Security Consultant, Professor Paul Rogers, provides a comprehensive analysis of the likely nature of US or Israeli military action that would be intended to disable Iran's nuclear capabilities. It outlines both the immediate consequences in terms of loss of human life, facilities and infrastructure, and also the likely Iranian responses, which would be extensive.

    An attack on Iranian nuclear infrastructure would signal the start of a protracted military confrontation that would probably grow to involve Iraq, Israel and Lebanon, as well as the USA and Iran. The report concludes that a military response to the current crisis in relations with Iran is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further.

    Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be.

    Contents:

    1. Executive Summary
    2. Introduction
    3. The US Context
    4. The Israeli Factor
    5. The Iranian Context
    6. Current Circumstances in Iran
    7. The Nature of US Military Action
    8. Pre-empting Iranian Responses
    9. Casualties
    10. Iranian Responses
    11. Wider Responses
    12. Israeli Military Action
    13. Conclusion

  5. #45
    Council Member Stratiotes's Avatar
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    On another BB I watch, someone linked a news report that indicated there were a good number of Russian advisors at the plant and there were concerns that an air strike could be problematic if any of them were killed/injured.

    I don't think that's a good reason in itself to hold off - I would not do it for other reasons but if you are of the persuasion that it will save more lives in the long run and that advisors are there despite warnings.....
    Mark
    Discuss at: The Irregulars Visit at: UW Review
    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G. K. Chesterton

  6. #46
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    Default The Threat from Iran's WMD and Missile Programs

    A detailed (223 pages) backgrounder and assessment from CSIS: A Nuclear Iran? The Threat from Iran's WMD and Missile Programs
    There is a long chain of indicators that Iran is proliferating. Iran’s missile development problems only make sense if they are equipped with CBRN warheads. There have been numerous confirmed disclosures of suspect Iranian activity. Iranian nuclear program has been under intense scrutiny by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in recent years, and the IAEA reports disclose a pattern of activity that makes little sense unless it is tied to a nuclear weapons program.

    Yet, the data on Iranian nuclear weapons efforts remain uncertain. The summary reporting by the IAEA has not stated that there is decisive evidence that Iran is seeking such weapons, although the detailed disclosures made in IAEA reporting since 2002, do strongly indicate that it is likely that Iran is continuing to covertly seek nuclear technology. Neither the US nor its European allies have as yet released detailed white papers on their intelligence analysis of Iranian efforts, and there have been several press reports that US intelligence feels that its knowledge of the Iranian nuclear program is less than adequate to make the case for where, when, and how the Iranians will acquire a nuclear weapon.

    Iran does have the right to acquire a full nuclear fuel cycle for peaceful purposes under the terms of the Nuclear Nonproliferation treaty (NPT), and the Iranian government has been able to find ways to justify all of its activities to date as research, related to nuclear power, minor mistakes, or the result of importing contaminated equipment. It has claimed that its concealed and secret efforts are the result of its fears that the US or Israel might attack what it claims are legitimate activities.

    In fact, Iran may have advanced to the point where it can covertly develop nuclear weapons even if it agrees to the terms proposed by the EU3 and Russia, and appears to comply with IAEA inspection. As the UN’s experience in Iraq has shown all too clearly, there are severe limits to even the most advanced inspection regime. Iran might well be able to carry out a covert research and development effort, make major advances in weapons development, and improve its ability to produce fissile material. Iran might well acquire a “break out” capability to suddenly make weapons or be able to produce small numbers of weapons without detection.

    At the same time, it is hard to discuss the case against Iran without raising questions about the mistakes the US and the UK made in characterizing Iraq’s efforts to acquire weapons of mass destruction. The US in particular, has problems in convincing the international community that Iran is a grave threat to global security. Credibility is a precious commodity, and one that can sometimes be worth more than gold.

    The problems in addressing Iran’s capabilities go beyond the ability to determine the facts. Since 2002, the Bush Administration and EU3 have consistently argued that the Iranian efforts to acquire nuclear weapons are real and that they must be stopped. The ability of the US, the IAEA, and the EU3 to halt the Iranian nuclear program is complicated, however, by the mistakes that the US and Britain made in dealing with Iraq

    It is also impossible to deny the fact that Iran is being judged by a different standard because its regime is associated with terrorism, efforts to export its Shi’ite revolution, and reckless political rhetoric. There is nothing wrong with a “dual standard.” Nations that present exceptional risks require exceptional treatment. The fact remains, however, that Iran was under missile and chemical attack from Iraq, and seems to have revived its nuclear programs at a time that Iraq was already involved in a major effort to acquire biological and nuclear weapons. Iran has major neighbors -- India, Israel, and Pakistan -- that have already proliferated. It must deal with the presence of two outside nuclear powers: Russia near its northern border and the US in the Gulf.

    The situation is further confused by the fact there is an increasingly thin line between the technology needed to create a comprehensive nuclear fuel cycle for nuclear power generation and dual use technology that can be used to covertly develop nuclear weapons. A nation can be both excused and accused for the same actions. This can make it almost as difficult, if not impossible, to conclusively prove Iran’s guilt as its innocence, particularly if its programs consist of a large number of small, dispersed efforts, and larger “dual-use” facilities.

    Some efforts at proliferation have been called a “bomb in the basement” – programs to create a convincing picture that a nation has a weapon without any open testing or formal declaration. Iran seems to be trying to develop a “bomb in a fog;” to keep its efforts both covert and confusing enough so that there will be no conclusive evidence that will catalyze the UN into cohesive and meaningful action or justify a US response. Such a strategy must be made more overt in the long-run if it is to make Iran a credible nuclear power, but the long-run can easily stretch out for years; Iran can break up its efforts into smaller, research oriented programs or pause them; focus on dual-use nuclear efforts with a plausible rational; permit even intrusive inspection; and still move forward.

  7. #47
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    Default Iran: Is There a Way Out of the Nuclear Impasse?

    From ICG, 23 Feb 06: Iran: Is There a Way Out of the Nuclear Impasse?

    Here's the ExecSum:
    There is no easy way out of the Iranian nuclear dilemma. Iran, emboldened by the situation in Iraq and soaring oil prices, and animated by a combination of insecurity and assertive nationalism, insists on its right to develop full nuclear fuel cycle capability, including the ability to enrich uranium. Most other countries, while acknowledging to varying extents Iran’s right under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) to acquire that capability for peaceful energy purposes, have a concern – reinforced by Iran’s lack of transparency in the past, continuing support for militant Middle East groups and incendiary presidential rhetoric – that once able to highly enrich uranium, it will be both able and tempted to build nuclear weapons.

    But EU-led diplomacy so far has failed to persuade Iran to forego its fuel cycle ambitions; the UN Security Council seems unlikely to agree on sanctions strong enough to force it to do so; and preventive military force is both a dangerous and unproductive option.

    Two possible scenarios remain, however, for a negotiated compromise. The first, and unquestionably more attractive for the international community, is a “zero enrichment” option: for Iran to agree to indefinitely relinquish its right to enrich uranium in return for guaranteed supply from an offshore source, along the lines proposed by Russia. Tehran, while not wholly rejecting offshore supply, has made clear its reluctance to embrace such a limitation as a long-term solution: for it to have any chance of acceptance, more incentives from the U.S. need to be on the table than at present.

    If this option proves unachievable – as seems, regrettably, more likely than not – the only realistic remaining diplomatic option appears to be the “delayed limited enrichment” plan spelt out in this report. The wider international community, and the West in particular, would explicitly accept that Iran can not only produce peaceful nuclear energy but has the “right to enrich” domestically; in return, Iran would agree to a several-year delay in the commencement of its enrichment program, major limitations on its initial size and scope, and a highly intrusive inspections regime.

    Both sides inevitably will protest that this plan goes too far – the West because it permits Tehran to eventually achieve full nuclear fuel cycle capability, with the risk in turn of breakout from the NPT and weapons acquisition, and Iran because it significantly delays and limits the development of that fuel cycle capability. But with significant carrots (particularly from the U.S.) and sticks (particularly from the EU) on the table – involving the appropriate application of sequenced incentives, backed by the prospect of strong and intelligently targeted sanctions – it is not impossible to envisage such a negotiation succeeding.

    This proposed compromise should be compared neither to the fragile and unsustainable status quo, nor to some idealised end-state with which all sides might be totally comfortable. The more likely scenarios, if diplomacy fails, are for a rapid descent into an extremely unhealthy North Korea-like situation, with a wholly unsupervised nuclear program leading to the production of nuclear weapons and all the dangerously unpredictable regional consequences that might flow from that; or a perilous move to an Iraq-like preventive military strike, with even more far-reaching and alarming consequences both regionally and world-wide.

  8. #48
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    Default Iran

    As I have stated earlier, the Iranian issue should not be a US led issue. Any course of action pursued against the Iranians needs to be led by China, Japan, Germany, France, and South Korea. These nations remain the largest trading partners with the Iranians, thus have the most to gain/lose if instability and military action take over. If the Japanese, Chinese, and French want to demonstrate their place as great nations within the international community, this is the time. We (the US) need to take a back-seat on this one.

    Why are we so concerned if the Iranians have a nuclear weapon? Like the North Koreans, they have no means to deliver it to the US, so what is the major concern? Terrorism? Is Iran having the bomb and terrorizing the US the true concern, or is it that the Iranians or potentially Hizbollah would use it against Israel? Are we prepared to go to war with the whole Muslim Middle East over a State that most now agree was a mistake, a destabilizing factor in the region, and done only out of pity? (and came about as the result of a terrorist campaign against the British?)

    For all the Reagan fanatics, maybe if we had addressed the issues with Hizbollah in 1983, things would be different now.

    Are we truly concerned about a nuclear terrorist attack against the US b/c we continue to remain woefully unprepared for any attack against our nation? Is it because our borders remain undefended and provide virtually unfettered access? Instead of starting a conflagration in Iran, how about we fix our border and port security first. I am sure this will cost less both in money and lives?

  9. #49
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    Default Vote-how will Iran respond if attacked?

    Most analysts consider only the small question about such an attack:

    Example: Rick Francona, former DIA analyst, describes 2 scenarios by which Israel can attack Iran's nuke facilities (hat tip to John Robb):
    http://francona.blogspot.com/2006/03...e-options.html

    The big question: what will Iran do in response to an attack by Israel or America -- perhaps helped passively or actively by Turkey or Saudi Arabia? Such an attack is, after all, an act of war against Iran. International Law allows Iran to reply against everyone who assisted.

    As so often the case with war, the opening salvo is the most predictable. What comes afterwards is more interesting (survival is always interesting).

    Vote, and post a note explaining your view!
    Last edited by Fabius Maximus; 03-20-2006 at 12:29 AM.

  10. #50
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    Anybody who believes that Iran will not STRONGLY respond if attacked should adjust the dosage of his meds. They have many good options, and will certainly use some or all of them.

    The only nations with sovereignty on this planet are those with nukes (bombs, not power plants). A superpower – autonomy and freedom of action – has both nukes and oil.

    Iran has one and wants the other – that’s just good sense.

    If Pakistan and North Korea can build nukes, Iran certainly can.

    Get used to it.

    This should be obvious to almost everyone. In ten years the nice suburban boys who write American military and geo-political journals will explain how obvious and predictable this was.
    Last edited by Fabius Maximus; 03-20-2006 at 12:29 AM.

  11. #51
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fabius Maximus
    Rick Francona, former DIA analyst, describes 2 scenarios by which Israel can attack Iran's nuke facilities:
    http://francona.blogspot.com/2006/03...e-options.html
    A much better look at that scenario is in the SSI pub Getting Ready for a Nuclear-Ready Iran. The pub is actually a big collection of essays - the pdf volume is 322 pages total. The essay I'm referring to, Is the Begin Doctrine Still a Viable Option for Israel, begins on page 133.

  12. #52
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    Jedburgh -- That is an superlative link. What's your forecast?

    Here's the conclusion from the 322 page SSI study Jedburgh mentions links {above}.

    Quote Originally Posted by SSRI Paper
    As Iran gets closer to securing {nukes} two questionable courses of action ― bombing or bribing Iran ― have become increasingly popular. Neither, however, is likely to succeed and could easily make matters worse.
    Hence they recommend 7 alternative measures, which range from the quixotic to impossible.

    Quote Originally Posted by with my comments in brackets
    1. Diplomatic efforts to discredit the legitimacy of Iran’s nuclear program. {as if Iran cares}
    2. Increasing the costs for Iran to leave or infringe the NPT by establishing more rules under the NPT. {ditto}
    3. Securing Russian cooperation in these efforts by offering Moscow a lucrative U.S. nuclear cooperation agreement. {ditto}
    4. Reducing Persian Gulf oil and gas production and distribution system vulnerabilities to possible terrorist disruptions by building additional back-up capabilities in Saudi Arabia. {not possible on a significant scale}
    5. Limiting Iran’s freedom to threaten oil and gas shipping by proposing a Montreux-like convention to demilitarize the Straits of Hormuz and an agreement to limit possible incidents at sea. {diplomatic}
    6. Isolating Iran as a regional producer of fissile materials by encouraging Israel to take the first steps to freeze and dismantle such capabilities. {suicidal}
    7. Increased U.S. anti-terrorist, defense, naval border security, and nuclear nonproliferation treaties. {nice but limited relevance}
    Last edited by Fabius Maximus; 03-20-2006 at 12:33 AM.

  13. #53
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    Human waves of plastic key bearing Basij attacking in swarms of suicide bombings......
    Last edited by GorTex6; 03-27-2006 at 06:12 PM.

  14. #54
    Council Member Robal2pl's Avatar
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    I think that main response will be Iranian controlled special operations in southern Iraq, includning suicide bombings or similar attacks as well martime special operations . - attacking US-ships in Guf in similar manner like in 1988 but with more advanced weapons. advancd sea mines coluld be very dangerous for US Navy.
    Iran has 4 Kilo class submarines. How they can be used?

  15. #55
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    I think any attempt to stop them will only result in delay. Attacks against their right to develop such weapons will only feed their paranoia that the best way to defeat such threats is by getting the weapons they want. Threats are counterproductive.

    I've been re-reading Barb Tuchman's book, _The March of Folly_. In the portion on the American revolution she talks a lot about British paranoia about allowing the colonies to make their own decisions. One fear was that the colonies might begin to favor France. The majority in the British govt sought to use coercion with the punitive legal measures and eventually force of arms. Sure enough, like a jealous lover, their paranoia only served to bring about the thing they feared - a colonial alliance with France.

    I think any attempts at coercion - political or military - will server only to drive the Iranians deeper into their paranoia which will result in the them gaining the object of our own paranoia. The only form of coercion that might work would be a total takeover of their country and I don't know anybody who thinks that would be an easy task.

    As for the oil. I'm not certain they would cut supplies. They may reduce them but I doubt they would cut off the prime source of their money for funding whatever defense they think they need to fund. The greater they perceive the threat, the more funding they will need. Stopping the export of oil would hurt their interests as much as us I would think. But, also as in Tuchmans' book, governments are prone to choose courses that are a detriment to their own self-interests.
    Mark
    Discuss at: The Irregulars Visit at: UW Review
    "The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him." - G. K. Chesterton

  16. #56
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    Maybe the Iranian focus could be turned towards itself.

    Suppose they had some internal instability, or at least great concern for internal developments coupled with the tying down of resources in perceiving real (foreign sourced sabotage and Iranian political preps for insurgency?) or imaginary threats.

    Completely focused on the inside, while assuming/thinking the threat derives partly from the outside (preferably not Iraq/Afghanistan) but be unable to retaliate because of fright of internal situation and uselessness in retaliating against outside states because of their geographical diversity (which would make threatening the source states detrimenial to regional stability and possibly cause the region to turn against them), and expected overwhelming response (including US).

    Thus, align ourselves with the people while giving the Iranians the idea that civil war and regional instability is not in their interest because it would further their own demise. Nukes would also not be very practical.

    Just a thought that struck me when I read this thread... not 100% realistic as laid out either.

    Hmm... considering that there are other sources available for oil (who might be interested in a higher price of oil), what the Iran perceive as a tool against the west maybe could be used to strangle them if blown up a bit here and there.

    Sorry guys, got carried away in the fantasies there.

    Martin

  17. #57
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    If it is the US; Unconventional escalation in Iraq combined with efforts to spike oil prices and possible terrorist attacks across the globe. Less likely but still possible is the option of missile strikes in Iraq and large scale mining operations in the Persian Gulf.

    If Israel; massive terrorist attacks, missile strikes, possible attempts to sink Israeli ships both military civilian, and unconventional escalation in Iraq. Along with an effort to use the action to link Israel and the US, in an effort to weaken the US internationally.

  18. #58
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    I wonder how an attack (not invasion) would be perceived in Iran. It would have to be quite substantial to take out the geographically interspersed and protected targets. Even if the regime's position is not immediately threatened, it is not impossible that they would feel it to be long term jeopardized. Quiet, or indirect, or otherwise in the eyes of the population not powerful responses, would that be enough for them to secure their position (if the population does not support them by holy recognition)? So if they feel jumpy, what are they going to do? Attack their own people and thus maybe open them up to foreign influence rather than fear induced calm, due to foreign interest in the region? Escalate to the point of almost going overt in Iraq? Would that motivate or alienate and agitate Iraqis, and just what do they think the USA would do to them after already having passed the threshold of launching strikes in Iran?

    I think they would keep trying to accomplish three things in Iraq, only one of which has to succeed:
    1. Incite civil war.
    2. Subvert the current governmental system.
    3. Infiltrate and realign the government, military and police forces. Militia forces to enforce effect.
    Any of these would move the US intervention far back and could play on US political deficiencies. I think number three is most likely to be the main focus, having the first two along as supportive elements also keeping their enemy busy with multiple focus. Thus, they should be able to win in Iraq even if they lose first. Depends on the will of the Iraqis.

    Pakistan is interesting too.

    If the west, including Europe but of course most especially the US can stay the course, this can go very well, for us, if we do not have an armageddon. IMHO.

    Martin
    Last edited by Martin; 03-25-2006 at 12:18 PM.

  19. #59
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    Default Iran is already in a covert war with the US

    Since at least 1979 Iran has been in a state of covert war with the US, primarily through its proxies like Hezballah. It has sponsored many deadly terrorist attacks against the US and Israel. Whether or not its nuke facilities are attacked, it will continue to do so. There is a reason why it has been designated as the chief state sponsor of terrorism for several years. That is why any attack on those facilities should also include attacks on all instruments of Iran's ability to make war. It should be a sustained attack over months, not days.

    The idea of attacking just the nuclear facilities and then standing back for Iran's next move, is an invitation to more Iranian terrorism. When we attack we should make it more difficult for Iran to continue making war against us. We should not limit ourseves to air attacks. We should use special forces working with dissident groups in Iran to fix and target the enemy forces. We should target, for example, the facilities where Iran makes the IED's used in Iraq. We should target her missiles and missile production facilities, which threaten Israel and Western Europe. It should be a campaign like that used against Saddam in 1991 and also like the one against Belgrade later in the 90's.

    We should also make clear to Iran's proxy warriors that they will be the subject of sustained attacks if they act to aid their sponsors in Iran.

  20. #60
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    I agree with the general if you go, go all the way philosophy but I think you maybe seriously over estimating our abilities to damage Iran’s capability to attack. For instances, targeting the “facilities where Iran makes the IEDs”, it is a great idea but these facilities are little more than machine shops and are most likely in basement or garage somewhere. We have struggled to identify and target small cells in Iraq which would be considerably easer than targeting something so small and easily camouflaged in Iran. This is the problem with fighting a small relatively low tech enemy; their ability to hide such a weapon negates our technological advantage. The only way we could ensure that Iran would not be able to target US forces in Iran would be for our forces to not be in Iran.

    On the other hand major military facilities, weapons manufacturing faculties, nuclear faculties, etc. could be target but to what effect? We could certainly cause extreme damage and set their capabilities back several years but in the long run I am not sure that is the most effect approach. Such action, in much the same way as our “axis of evil” comments, would allow the Iranian regime to use the US to justify its short comings to its people. Let’s not forget that the Iranian revolution was not on the firmest ground until Iraq invaded giving the revolutionaries something to rally the state around. We need to be careful that we do not do the same thing.

    Also I think it is worth thinking about that for our long term interest it would be better if Iran was to break apart from with in. The Cold War was won by communism being discredited as a govern philosophy by the collapse of the USSR. The way to defeat the global jihad is to similarly discredit their philosophy. What better way to discredit reactionary Islamic theocracy than by having Iran collapse, not from outside forces, but rather from its own failures.

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