For the general Leonid Ivashov, the former Chief of the Russian armed forces’ Staff, it is doubtless that the Bush administration plans nuclear attacks against Iran and that the Pentagon will be capable to carry them out within the few coming weeks. He is too sure that the United States will not be talked out of it by the other nuclear powers and will have to endure but a conventional counter. The only unknown thing yet is if this project will be approved or refused by the United States’ Congress.
16 FEBRUARY 2007
In the overall flow of information coming from the Middle East, there are increasingly frequent reports indicating that within several months from now the US will deliver nuclear strikes on Iran. For example, citing well-informed but undisclosed sources, the Kuwaiti Arab Times wrote that the US plans to launch a missile and bomb attack on the territory of Iran before the end of April, 2007. The campaign will start from the sea and will be supported by the Patriot missile defense systems in order to let the US forces avoid a ground operation and to reduce the efficiency of the return strike by “any Persian Gulf country”.
“Any country” mostly refers to Iran. The source which supplied the information to the Kuwaiti paper believes that the US forces in Iraq and other countries of the region will be defended from any Iranian missile strikes by the frontier Patriots.
So, the preparations for a new US aggression entered the completion phase. The executions of S. Hussein and his closest associates were a part of these preparations. Their purpose was to serve as a “disguise operation” for the efforts of the US strategists to deliberately escalate the situation both around Iran and in the entire Middle East.
Analyzing the consequences of the move, the US did order to hang the former Iraqi leader and his associates. This shows that the US has adopted irreversibly the plan of partitioning Iraq into three warring pseudo-states – the Shiite, the Sunnite, and the Kurdish ones. Washington reckons that the situation of a controlled chaos will help it to dominate the Persian Gulf oil supplies and other strategically important oil transportation routes.
The most important aspect of the matter is that a zone of an endless bloody conflict will be created at the core of the Middle East, and that the countries neighboring Iraq – Iran, Syria, Turkey (Kurdistan) – will inevitably be getting drawn into it. This will solve the problem of completely destabilizing the region, a task of major importance for the US and especially for Israel. The war in Iraq was just one element in a series of steps in the process of regional destabilization. It was only a phase in the process of getting closer to dealing with Iran and other countries, which the US declared or will declare rouge.
However it is not easy for the US to get involved in yet another military campaign while Iraq and Afghanistan are not “pacified” (the US lacks the resources necessary for the operation). Besides, protests against the politics of the Washington neocons intensify all over the world. Due to all of the above, the US will use nuclear weapon against Iran. This will be the second case of the use of nuclear weapons in combat after the 1945 US attack on Japan.
The Israeli military and political circles had been making statements on the possibility of nuclear and missile strikes on Iran openly since October, 2006, when the idea was immediately supported by G. Bush. Currently it is touted in the form of a “necessity” of nuclear strikes. The public is taught to believe that there is nothing monstrous about such a possibility and that, on the contrary, a nuclear strike is quite feasible. Allegedly, there is no other way to “stop” Iran.
How will other nuclear powers react? As for Russia, at best it will limit itself to condemning the strikes, and at worst – as in the case of the aggression against Yugoslavia – its response will be something like “though by this the US makes a mistake, the victim itself provoked the attack”.
Europe will react in essentially the same way. Possibly, the negative reaction of China and several other countries to the nuclear aggression will be stronger. In any case, there will be no retaliation nuclear strike on the US forces (the US is absolutely sure of this).
The UN means nothing in this context. Having failed to condemn the aggression against Yugoslavia, the UN Security Council effectively shared the responsibility for it. This institution is only capable to adopt resolutions which the Russian and also the French diplomacy understands as banning the use of force, but the US and British ones interpret in exactly the opposite sense – as authorizing their aggression.
Speaking of Israel, it is sure to come under the Iranian missile strikes. Possibly, the Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance will become more active. Posing as victims, the Israelis will resort to provocations to justify their aggression, suffer some tolerable damage, and then the outraged US will destabilize Iran finally, making it look like a noble mission of retribution.
Some people tend to believe that concerns over the world’s protests can stop the US. I do not think so. The importance of this factor should not be overstated. In the past, I have spent hours talking to Milosevic, trying to convince him that NATO was preparing to attack Yugoslavia. For a long time, he could not believe this and kept telling me: “Just read the UN Charter. What grounds will they have to do it?”
But they did it. They ignored the international law outrageously and did it. What do we have now? Yes, there was a shock, there was indignation. But the result is exactly what the aggressors wanted – Milosevic is dead, Yugoslavia is partitioned, and Serbia is colonized – NATO officers have set up their headquarters in the country’s ministry of defense.
The same things happened to Iraq. There were a shock and indignation. But what matters to the Americans is not how big the shock is, but how high are the revenues of their military-industrial complex.
The information that a second US aircraft-carrier is due to arrive at the Persian Gulf till the end of January makes it possible to analyze the possible evolution of the war situation. Attacking Iran, the US will mostly use air delivery of the nuclear munitions. Cruise missiles (carried by the US aircrafts as well as ships and submarines) and, possibly, ballistic missiles will be used. Probably, nuclear strikes will be followed by air raids from aircraft carriers and by other means of attack.
The US command is trying to exclude a ground operation: Iran has a strong army and the US forces are likely to suffer massive casualties. This is unacceptable for G. Bush who already finds himself in a difficult situation. It does not take a ground operation to destroy infrastructures in Iran, to reverse the development of the country, to cause panic, and to create a political, economic and military chaos. This can be accomplished by using first the nuclear, and subsequently the conventional means of warfare. Such is the purpose of bringing the aircraft carrier group closer to the Iranian coast.
What resources for self-defense does Iran have? They are considerable, but incomparably inferior to the US forces. Iran has 29 Russian Tor systems. Definitely, they are an important reinforcement of the Iranian air defense. However, at present Iran has no guaranteed protection from air raids.
The US tactics will be the same as usual: first, to neutralize the air defense and radars, and then to attack aircrafts in the air and on land, the control installations, and the infrastructure, while taking no risks.
Within weeks from now, we will see the informational warfare machine start working. The public opinion is already under pressure. There will be a growing anti-Iranian militaristic hysteria, new information leaks, disinformation, etc.
At the same time all of the above sends a signal to the pro-Western opposition and to a fraction of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s elite to get ready for the coming developments. The US hopes that an attack on Iran will inevitably result in a chaos in the country, and that it will be possible to bribe some of the Iranian generals and thus to create a fifth column in the country.
Of course, Iran is very different from Iraq. However, if the aggressor succeeds in instigating a conflict between the two branches of the Iranian armed forces – the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and the army – the country will find itself in a critical situation, especially in case at the very beginning of the campaign the US manages to hit the Iranian leadership and delivers a nuclear strike or a massive one by conventional warfare on the country’s central command.
Today, the probability of a US aggression against Iran is extremely high. It does remain unclear, though, whether the US Congress is going to authorize the war. It may take a provocation to eliminate this obstacle (an attack on Israel or the US targets including military bases). The scale of the provocation may be comparable to the 9-11 attack in NY. Then the Congress will certainly say “Yes” to the US President.
Le général Léonid Ivashov est ancien chef d’état-major interarmes de la Fédération de Russie. Il est aujourd’hui vice-président de l’Académie russe de géopolitique et membre de la conférence Axis for Peace.
"IN TIMES OF UNIVERSAL DECEIT, TELLING THE TRUTH WILL BE A REVOLUTIONARY ACT." - George Orwell