On and on it goes… 28 September 2007Posted by marisacat in Iran, Iraq War, Israel/AIPAC, la vie en rose.
In Baquba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad, American soldiers of Alpha Company of 1/38 Infantry Regiment ran along a street where they were carrying out a mop-up operation to search and secure the neighborhood. The American military is blaming Al Qaeda for the recent series of bombings. [Photo: Alexander Nemenov/Agence France-Presse -- Getty Images]
How you get up in the morning in Iraq, at the close of another – the fifth – American summer of fire, blood, sandstorm and whatever else, and put rosy-hued clothing on a child you’ve managed to keep out of the line of fire… well, it boggles the mind.
A war and its aftermath
A war with Iran, irrespective of how it started, would stretch well beyond a couple of days of strikes by US air-force and navy planes, and missiles against Iranian nuclear facilities (see ” The next Iran war“, 16 February 2006). There would also be attacks against four other sets of Iranian targets: air defences, air bases, missiles and command- and-control systems. Some of these would be targeted even before nuclear facilities were hit, partly to reduce the risk of US aircrew casualties (and hostages, a recurrent American nightmare in relation to Iran).
The US requirement to counter Iranian retaliation, especially by Revolutionary Guard units against Iraq and oil facilities in the western Gulf, means that its forces would have to attack numerous “forward bases” of the guard. This will involve a strenuous effort to severely damage transport and communications nodes, especially in western Iran; there could even be attempts to destroy the Iranian political leadership.
All these plans make operational sense from a strictly military standpoint, but two of their aspects are immediately apparent. The first is that the scale of the assault is such that it could not be completed within a few days. The combined US air force and navy might be formidable, but even this degree of force would be stretched to undertake hundreds of sorties stretching over many days; repeated reconnaissance, including bomb-damage assessments in between the raids; many repeat operations; and improvised reactions to setbacks, accidents or unexpected events. It would be clear, almost from the start, that this would not be over within a week.
The second aspect is the mismatch that would soon appear between early appearance and underlying reality. It is highly likely that the early indications from a sustained US military operation against Iran would be of a crippling of Iranian military power and of serious damage to its nuclear programme. America, in other words, would appear to have “won” this brief war.
This, however, would be an even greater illusion than the three-week race to Baghdad in March-April 2003. It is highly unlikely that, however much wishful thinking there might be to this effect in Washington, the governance of Iran will fall apart at the seams – let alone evacuate the scene to social collapse and implosion, as happened in Iraq.
What is far more probable on the Iranian side is that the Revolutionary Guards would be revitalised to spearhead a vigorous campaign in Iraq, and to back retaliation against US allies in the western Gulf (including strikes against their oil facilities). This strategy might evolve over many weeks or even months – just as in Iraq four months passed between the termination of the Saddam Hussein regime and the first big indication of the war that was unfolding, the bombing of the United Nations headquarters in Baghdad in August 2003.
It is also as certain as can be that the Iranians would seek every means possible to speed the development of nuclear weapons. These two processes – Iran’s deepening involvement in Iraq and its intensified nuclear programme – would in turn provoke further US military action, involving both the deployment of ground forces across the border from Iraq and repeated air-raids.
On and on it goes, where it ends, nobody knows……….
The Jonathan Cook article on the Syrian strike earlier this month… It has been at the various sites for a couple days, so not news, but want to put it in here…
[S]o what did Israel hope to achieve with its aerial strike?
The stories emerging from the less gagged American media suggest two scenarios. The first is that Israel targeted Iranian supplies passing through Syria on their way to Hizballah; the second that Israel struck at a fledgling Syrian nuclear plant where materials from North Korea were being offloaded, possibly as part of a joint nuclear effort by Damascus and Tehran.
(Speculation that Israel was testing Syria’s anti-aircraft defenses in preparation for an attack on Iran ignores the fact that the Israeli air force would almost certainly choose a flight path through friendlier Jordanian airspace.)
How credible are these two scenarios?
The nuclear claims against Damascus were discounted so quickly by experts of the region that Washington was soon downgrading the accusation to claims that Syria was only hiding the material on North Korea’s behalf. But why would Syria, already hounded by Israel and the US, provide such a readymade pretext for still harsher treatment? Why, equally, would North Korea undermine its hard-won disarmament deal with the US? And why, if Syria were covertly engaging in nuclear mischief, did it alert the world to the fact by revealing the Israeli air strike?
The other justification for the attack was at least based in a more credible reality: Damascus, Hizballah and Iran undoubtedly do share some military resources. But their alliance should be seen as the kind of defensive pact needed by vulnerable actors in a Sunni-dominated region where the US wants unlimited control of Gulf oil and supports only those repressive regimes that cooperate on its terms. All three are keenly aware that it is Israel’s job to threaten and punish any regimes that fail to toe the line.
Contrary to the impression being created in the West, genocidal hatred of Israel and Jews, however often Ahmadinejad’s speeches are mistranslated, is not the engine of these countries’ alliance.
Nonetheless, the political significance of the justifications for the the Israeli air strike is that both neatly tie together various strands of an argument needed by the neocons and Israel in making their case for an attack on Iran before Bush leaves office in early 2009. Each scenario suggests a Shia “axis of evil,” coordinated by Iran, that is actively plotting Israel’s destruction. And each story offers the pretext for an attack on Syria as a prelude to a pre-emptive strike against Tehran — launched either by Washington or Tel Aviv — to save Israel.
That these stories appear to have been planted in the American media by neocon masters of spin like John Bolton is warning enough — as is the admission that the only evidence for Syrian malfeasance is Israeli “intelligence,” the basis of which cannot be questioned as Israel is not officially admitting the attack.
It should hardly need pointing out that we are again in a hall of mirrors, as we were during the period leading up to America’s invasion of Iraq and have been during its subsequent occupation [snip]
I happened to catch Tzipi Livni on with Charlie Rose this week, he asked her repeatedly about the strike. She would give up nothing, but kept laughing.
One point that none of the pundits and analysts have noted was that, in attacking Syria, Israel committed a blatant act of aggression against its northern neighbor of the kind denounced as the “supreme international crime” by the Nuremberg war crimes tribunal.
Oh right. Lame Duck. So they say….
Australia’s Herald Sun (full text):
A US air raid early today killed at least 10 people, including women and children, in a building in a mainly Sunni area of Baghdad, Iraqi officials said.
The raid targeted a building in the Al-Saha neighbourhood in southwestern Baghdad where families were sleeping, the Iraqi officials said.
Bodies were pulled out of the rubble of the building, which was destroyed.
“Ten people were killed and seven wounded when American helicopters attacked Building No 139 at 2am. We have no idea of the reason for the attack,” said an Interior Ministry official.
An official at Baghdad’s Al-Yarmuk hospital said 13 people – seven men, two women and four children – were killed and 10 men and a women were wounded. He said all the casualties were civilians.
The survivors said their building had been attacked by US helicopters early in the morning, the hospital official said.
There was no immediate comment from the US military.
The reported attack came after the US military said the bodies of five women and four children were found in a central Iraqi village after American soldiers raided houses believed used by al-Qaeda earlier in the week.
A military statement yesterday said a raid by ground and air forces had been carried out on Tuesday on a building in Babahani village near the town of Musayyib, about 50 kilometres south of Baghdad.
“According to Iraqi police, the bodies of five adult women and four children were taken to a local hospital in Musayyib Wednesday,” the statement said.
“Structures in the area have historically been found to be used as safe houses for Al-Qaeda,” it added.
“Coalition Forces searching a nearby house located (bomb)-making material including command wire, batteries and timers.“
Why believe them. Why bother. NYT report of very probably the same air attack. Or not. So much more information in the AU press.
Fog of war, no doubt. Something. Eyes on the next prize, every attack a warning. Send a message. Take them out, take them down.
Something like that…
… and where it stops nobody knows…