Rattling Iran

About US plans, we can, of course, only speculate. We do know that the US has been advertising threats to Iran very openly, for some time.

What’s called “the Israeli air force” might more accurately be called a US air force with Israeli pilots. As such, it can credibly claim to be larger and technologically more advanced than that of any NATO power (apart from the US). According to scholarly sources, about 10% is deployed in Turkey, and it has been flying at the Iranian border from the US bases in Eastern Turkey as part of a program to harass and if possible subvert the Iranian regime. In the past year, the US has sent over 100 of its most advanced jet bombers to Israel, with loud announcements that they are capable of bombing Iran, and are updated versions of the planes that Israel used to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 — an act that probably initiated Iraq’s nuclear weapons program, according to available information. They are, furthermore, equipped with what the Hebrew press in Israel calls “special weapons,” a phrase surely intended for the ears of Iranian intelligence, as are the very public declarations about the bombers — not reported here, but surely heard in Teheran. Later, there were leaks that the US may also be providing deep-penetration “bunker busters.” All of this signals to Iran that the US might attack them, via its Israeli military force. The recent leaks about special forces on the ground, true or false, I presume were released for the same purpose.

What can we conclude from this? It’s a matter of judgment of course.

Mine is that if the US intended to bomb Iran (via Israel, or directly), it would not be announcing it publicly for a long time, thus allowing Iran to disperse targets and in other ways construct defenses. Iraq was quite a different story, since it was understood that Iraq was defenseless. The purpose of all of this show of intention to attack may be to rattle the Iranian leadership and provoke them into repressive actions at home, which could increase internal resistance and contribute to US campaigns of subversion that are almost certainly underway, and also provoke the leadership to undertake actions that will undermine the really serious threat that Washington faces: namely, that its efforts to overthrow the regime will be undercut by diplomatic and economic initiatives from its rivals in Europe and Asia — which have been proceeding, even India recently. And even apart from those possibilities, US militancy and aggressive has the effect of frightening away foreign investors. The Wall St Journal, Jan 28, reports that major European firms are drawing back from Iranian investment because of US “saber rattling,” and simply fear of US retaliation. Thus the huge Thyssen-Krupp steelmaking conglomerate fears that it will lose access to US car manufacturers, under threat of US sanctions. The threatening posture and gestures is having what are surely its intended effects.

Will the US go on to attack? Personally, I doubt it, unless Iran can be internationally isolated and shows signs of collapsing from within.

I suspect that the militancy — most of it openly announced, some of it leaks — is intended to contribute to these ends. If there is any serious chance that Iran can defend itself, or retaliate, I doubt that there will be a direct attack.

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