Report By: Nina Rai
Washington, 08 Oct. 2012
While there is no ambiguity with regard to American resolve to thwart Iran’s march toward acquiring nuclear weapons, even using military force if need be for doing so; nonetheless, Washington must be minutely weighing the pros and cons of having a military showdown with the Islamic Republic.
For Israel, going to war with Iran looks more about reasserting its regional status rather than seriously eliminating an existing threat. However, the same cannot be said to hold true for US. At this point in time, with its focus shifting to the Pacific strategically, it just cannot afford to get pulled into a war with Iran. Undoubtedly, Presidentmust be seriously weighing the costs and benefits of using military force against Iran.
Despite being a superpower, America is already facing lots of frustration, in-fact one can say, it has already burnt its fingers, be it in its war efforts or regional diplomacy in the dysfunctional Middle East, particularly in Libya and Afghanistan. Now it faces the Iranian crisis right in the middle of a periodic strategic shift toward Asia and the Pacific.
Meanwhile, any fallout from a conflict with Iran would get U.S. stuck in the Middle East for years to come, impairing its new strategic priorities. Due to this surmise even though US is definitely better equipped than Israel to take on Iran in a bid to ensure that the latter gives up its nuclear ambitions forever, yet at the same time it would finally realize that such a military adventure on its part would simply be too expensive an military endeavor to undertake.
In fact a recent report ‘The Iran Project’ entitled: ‘Weighing Benefits and Costs of military action against Iran,’ have come to the conclusion that a military strike on Iran by America could at best postpone its nuclear program by four years. The signatories to this significant report include former officials of the U.S. government and professionals in U.S. national security, such as former American national security advisers Brent Scowcroft and among others.
The US would have to maintain considerable military pressure on Iran for several years just to ensure that the latter does not end up acquiring an atomic bomb. And, if constrained to bring about regime change as the last option to the dilemma, the report opines it would entail military occupation of Iran. This in turn would necessitate a commitment of resources and army personnel far greater than what has been pumped into Iraq and Afghanistan wars jointly, by the US.
Also the conservative thinking that Sunni Arab regimes in the region would give their tacit support to a military strike on Iran’s nuclear installations needs a serious rethink. This is particularly so in the wake of the Arab Spring, especially after the recent, sudden outbreak of anti-U.S. violence all over the Muslim world. The earlier model, prior to the Arab Spring about the Middle East being divided into ‘moderates’ and ‘extremists’ has become a thing of the past and just does not hold good today.
It’s true the Islamic regimes that have risen after the downfall of America’s puppet regimes, are no allies of a nuclear armed Iranian state. However, in a bid to survive they are not above pandering to popular anti-American sentiments. For instance in the case of President Mohammed Morsi of Egypt it became kind of imperative for his govt. to placate the angry crowd that recently attacked the American embassy over an anti-Islam film rather than just condemning the violence.
Furthermore in the event of an attack on Iran, if the conflict becomes a long drawn one involving regional proxies, it will in all probability become a trigger for widespread mass anti-US and anti-Israel frenzy among the Muslim populace, which in turn will bring in Islamic regimes in the region escalating the conflict. It would then be virtually impossible to stop the war from turning into a regional conflict.
Another significant issue before launching any military strike against Iran by US is that of ensuring its legitimacy. China and Russia will surely play spoilsport not allowing US to get a mandate for the attack from United Nations. Moreover, while Iran’s war rhetoric’s and provocations about its intent to develop a nuclear arsenal might help to garner support for US military action, it cannot be said with certainty that its allies in Europe will join in the coalition willingly. By now the dreadful legacy of Iraq and Afghanistan wars will surely not be lost on them, before embarking on any more combative endeavors.
Sources: Aljazeera/Thinkprogress.org/The Iran Project
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