January 6, 2006


Options running out after Iran snub (Jephraim P Gundzik, 1/07/06, Asia Times)

Seemingly oblivious to increasing the chances of potentially fateful confrontation, Iran this week abruptly informed the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it would resume nuclear-fuel research next week, and as a follow-up, failed to show up for a scheduled meeting with the UN watchdog to explain what it intended doing. [...]

Facing almost certain veto by Russia and China, any US-EU attempt to impose sanctions on Iran in the Security Council will fail - a situation both Washington and the EU-3 are aware of. Though individually the EU-3 have practically renounced a military solution to the growing diplomatic impasse, the US and Israel have not.

Because of its commitment of resources to the occupation of Iraq, a US military strike against Iran has been generally described as not feasible. The partial withdrawal of US troops from Iraq this year could give the Pentagon's military planners greater confidence in the success of a strike against Iran.

Israel could also mount a major military strike against Iran, with or without Washington's support. Last month, stories surfaced in the international press indicating that Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon had already approved a strike against Iran to be mounted this March. Israel's recent acquisition of "bunker-busting" bombs from Washington indicates that an Israeli strike may well be under consideration.

The problem for Iran is that most Americans figure we still owe them for the Embassy takeover and even the Left, which is generally willing to excuse Sunni misbehavior, has a virulent hatred of the Shi'a, perhaps because Shi'ism is so similar to Judeo-Christianity. Thus, there's no political downside for a president who blows up their nuclear facilities.

Posted by Orrin Judd at January 6, 2006 8:07 AM

If we attack Iran, you can kiss the Iraqi democratization idea good bye. You'll see a flood of suicide bombers, snipers, individuals bent on killing, cross over to Iraq from Iran targeting US troops.

Posted by: AllenS at January 6, 2006 8:46 AM


The Iraqis fought the Persians effectively in the '80s, there's no reason to believe they'd fail now, especially not with the central government in Iran collapsing.

Posted by: oj at January 6, 2006 8:49 AM

Allen - yes, much like the Arab street has risen up against the US since 2001. Most of Iraq has no love for Iran and would probably like to see Iran taken down, especially as it was noted earlier that some of the suicide bombers in Iraq are coming from Iran.

Posted by: AWW at January 6, 2006 8:52 AM

I don't think many Americans are particularly aware that Shi'ism bears similarities to Judeo-Christianity; in fact, I don't even think most Americans have any clue as to what the difference between Sunni and Shi'i really is.

Posted by: Grog at January 6, 2006 9:29 AM

Sorry there, I misunderstood the comment:
I don't think the left has any favoritism of Sunni over Shi'ia.

Posted by: Grog at January 6, 2006 9:31 AM


No one offered a penny.

Posted by: oj at January 6, 2006 9:34 AM

I should have been clearer. If we start losing large numbers of our (US) troops, there will be more noise about us pulling out of Iraq, before Iraqi's are ready to go it along. When the numbers of suicide bombers seems inexhaustible, the majority of Americans will want us to leave.


Iraq had a large army of conscripts back during their war with the Persians. They either went to the front lines or died immediately (probably including their families). That army is no more.
Also take note, there was no suicide bombing going on in Saddam's Iraq, nor any opposition to speak of.


We're not in too many Arab streets, nor are we bombing any Arab countries. Afghanistan didn't have a functioning government, so they don't count.

In conclusion,

We'll see.

Posted by: AllenS at January 6, 2006 9:34 AM


That's quite wrong. Iraqi Shi'ites fought the Persians enthusiastically, not because they feared Stalinesque liquidation squads. The great lesson of the 20th century is that for most peoples in most places ethnicity trumps ideology. America being, as always, the exception to the rule.

Posted by: oj at January 6, 2006 9:37 AM

An Iraq-style occupation in Iran might be out of the question, but doesn't our presence in Iraq make it easier to strike Iranian nuclear facilities, not harder (forward bases and all that)?

Posted by: E Rey at January 6, 2006 9:39 AM

Why would we occupy Iran if its nuclear program is our sole concern? Israel didn't occupy Iraq.

Posted by: oj at January 6, 2006 9:40 AM

" ... no political downside for a president who blows up their nuclear facilities."

So long as he blows them up, thoroughly.

Can it be done, is the question.

Posted by: Mort at January 6, 2006 9:57 AM

As long as we blow up enough stuff to distract and scare the hell out of the survivors , we should be OK

Posted by: JonofAtlanta at January 6, 2006 10:03 AM

Iraq has neither the artillary nor tanks to oppose any standing army. We first need to let the Shia take care of the Sunni in their own way and keep our nose out of their detention facilities. Let the Red Cross or whoever take care of that. Let's not hamstring them with our precepts of war. Let them use the lessons they learned from Saddam. They've earned the chance; the Sunni will either cut the terrorism they're supporting now or suffer the consequences.

Europe can worry about Iran for now. We have some time to wait for the EU to call it quits. When that happens, hopefully our backs will be covered (secure). Then ...

Posted by: Genecis at January 6, 2006 10:08 AM

"Why would we occupy Iran if its nuclear program is our sole concern?"

We wouldn't. That's the point. But the Times article says that because our resources are committed in Iraq, a US strike is not feasible. I think they're wrong. I'd bet that the resources needed to strike the nuke facilities are relatively marginal.

Posted by: E Rey at January 6, 2006 10:29 AM


You're kinda sorta making my point. If "Iraqi Shi'ites fought the Persians enthusiastically", why don't you think that the Persians will fight us (the bombers of their facilities) even more enthusiastically? A lot of that enthusiasm, by the way, comes from the fact, that if you don't keeping fighing, you're dead.

Posted by: AllenS at January 6, 2006 10:36 AM

We might already have the resources there, and they are in the middle.

I want my "shock and awe!"

I've been waiting for 2 years.

Posted by: Sandy P at January 6, 2006 10:37 AM

We have no reason to fear Iran militarily, nor does Iraq. Any conventional force sent down would be destroyed by air power. And Iran's armed forces have their own rot.

Destabilizing southern Iraq is certainly feasible, but there appears to be little incentive for Iraqis to actually uprise or cause much difficulty - they have more to lose than we do in those circumstances.

A targetted military strike aimed at Iran's nuclear ambitions, and away from any actual religious areas, I think would be acceptable. Iraq does not want Iran to have nuclear weapons either.

As long as it appears the US is not acting out of vengeance for the hostage crisis, I think the fallout would be small.

However, and this is important, the strike must be done with overwhelming force and be over fairly quick. Continued bombings would not have the same effect as it would allow the anti-US forces to rally support. Obstensibly, we should seek to cripple not just the nuke program, but all related areas of concern in one decisive strike.

Posted by: Chris Durnell at January 6, 2006 10:39 AM

any attacks on the nuclear facilities would be paired with a blockade of their oil shipments. the mullahs would go ape dookey and do something really stupid, inviting even more attacks on iranianian military facilities. with a few months regime change would be effected without the need to invade. with any luck we could grab some of their oil fields, maybe using iraqi trrops to hold them.

Posted by: gen. toe at January 6, 2006 10:44 AM

I'd like to offer an alternative proposal. Should Iran choose to develop a nuclear program, we simply enshrine in policy that any nuclear, chemical, or biological attack, regardless of the size or source of said attack, against the U.S., Israel, India, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Turkey, the U.K., Japan, Australia, or whomever else we deem to be an ally, will result in a overwhelming retaliatory strike against every population and industrial center in Iran.

Posted by: MB at January 6, 2006 10:46 AM


The problem is that they might call us on that. We pretty much knew the Soviets wouldn't. Plus, killing 5 million plus Iranians isn't really what we want to do. About 5000 seems right.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 6, 2006 10:51 AM


I want to inspire the the 5 million to dissuade the 5000.

Posted by: MB at January 6, 2006 11:00 AM

The Left is in a feedback loop with the MSM which is still getting its information from the same Sunni/Baathist handlers they had during Saddam's days. Thus their preference for the Sunni evidenced by continuing claims that 20% of the Iraqi population should be able to derail the formation of the Iraqi government, and that Sunni/Baathist terrorism represents a popular uprising.

The relationship or lack thereof among Judaism, Christianity, and Shiite Islam is immaterial. The MSM has become convinced that the Sunni represent 'secular' Islam while the Shi'a are the 'fundamentalists', and are attempting to marginalize the Shi'a the same way they ignore the vast majority of religious Americans.

Posted by: Chris B at January 6, 2006 12:24 PM

What makes everyone so sure the Iraqi Shia population isn't looking forward to the day that the mullahs of Iran give them the bomb as well? I want to see something done about Iran, but there will be problems with the rebuilding of Iraq if we bomb Iran. Two other points, it was the Iranians that were heavily conscripted and forced to fight in the war. That's the reason I ended up with an Iranian brother-in-law (love came later, who woulda' thought?) and I may be wrong but there aren't a lot of Shia suicide bombers are there? It seems a Sunni psychopathy.

Posted by: Patrick H at January 6, 2006 12:31 PM

Chris D. is right. It is air power that would destroy the facilities and air power that would slaughter any Iranian offensive into Iraq. I don't think our air force is too bogged down in Iraq to handle Iran.

Posted by: Bob at January 6, 2006 1:17 PM

When Iranian nuclear facilities are destroyed everyone on earth will breathe easier.

Posted by: erp at January 6, 2006 1:47 PM


Are they going to shake sticks as cruise missiles fly over?

Posted by: oj at January 6, 2006 2:03 PM

Did the word "snub" just appear on Word-A-Day Calendar issued by the Journalism Guild? Because first we had a headline about "snubbing China" and now this one.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at January 6, 2006 2:55 PM


They are going to shake their dirty little fists. They can't stop our missiles. They might shoot down some planes though. John McCain's torture rules will not apply. Don't think for one minute that Iranian infantry forces, flanked by armor and backed up by artillery will charge across the border. That won't happen. They will have a lot of religious fanatics willing to strap on explosives to get close to our forces. Again, if we start taking too many casualties, I'm afraid we will cut and run.

Now, here's a good question. Bush would have to have the backing of congress to bomb Iran. How many Democrats would vote for it? How many Republicans would back him up? Ok, that's two questions.

Posted by: AllenS at January 6, 2006 3:15 PM

you can't exactly go to congress for something that is going to depend on surprise. we can whack several hundred facilities and then wait for the mulloons to do something that justifies going to congress about. something tells me we have a few new weapons we want to test on hardened facilities, and facilities that are in populated areas. one day soon, it will suck a lot to be a russian technician in tehran.

Posted by: toe at January 6, 2006 3:19 PM


Reagan didn't get congressional backing to bomb Qaddafi.

Posted by: oj at January 6, 2006 3:58 PM

The bombing will begin in 5 minutes.


The bombing began 5 minutes ago.

I wonder what W's talking to India about?

Posted by: Sandy P at January 6, 2006 4:53 PM


All the leading Democrats are already on record as 'educating' George Bush that Iran is a far more serious threat than Iraq ever was. They're in the box on both Iran and North Korea. True, they didn't vote on a resolution to attack Iran, but they have all told us how serious a problem it is and that the crazy Republicans (that idiot in the White House and his oil puppet-master) haven't done anything.

Even the Times can't spin that away.

Posted by: jim hamlen at January 6, 2006 9:55 PM