Sunday, July 16, 2006

Iran-US war

I presented my reasons for believing an American-Iranian war is nigh-inevitable in a response to a comment posted to me in http://lebanesebloggers.blogspot.com/, which I copied here in order for my answer to make sense. :)

Suha said...
Sagi,

I agree with no.1 of your analysis.As for no.2, I think the war between Iran and Israel/US is taking place right now. Or at least, the parties waging the war hope to settle their scores on Lebanese territory.

Iran promised to give its answer on the nuclear issue mid-August (strange coincidence?). The war on Lebanon will largely influence the outcome of negotiations with Iran which, to the consternation of Arab rulers, aspires to be the major regional player. I do not think the Iranians are crazy. I think it (and lapdog Syria) only want recognition at the end of the day. The war on Lebanon might very well be its baptism by fire. Or it could be a wild card lost.

That's what I think. What do you think?

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Suha,

I more or less agree with you completely: The timing of the soldiers' kidnapping seems all too convenient for it NOT to be ordered by Iran, and frankly - they're the only ones standing to gain anything from this fight. I also agree with you about Iran's aspirations, the fear it causes in many Arab rulers, and I'm willing to accede that Ahmadinejad is probably not insane (though you'd have a hard time believing that after hearing him ranting about Israel on TV).

It's funny (though not really "ha-ha" funny) you've used the wild card metaphor. When I talked with my friends earlier today, I've likened Iran's pushing Lebanon into a conflict with Israel to a card player willing to lose a valuable card for some other gain. Sigh... "I'll see your Lebanon and raise you a regional war". Perhaps a chess sacrifice methapor is more fitting... :(

The saddest thing is, Israel was more or less sure to react the way it did: A chance to finally rid ourselves of a hostile Iranian militia on our Northern border is percieved as simply too good an opportunity to miss... So now there's war... With Syria probably praying it won't be dragged into it and Teheran's cackling.

The one thing I don't agree with you on is about how the war with Iran will be fought... Certainly, the Israel-Lebanon conflict is the beginning, but I don't believe it will end there:

Wars are fought when both sides believe they have something to gain, or when both can't back down. See the current conflict: Israel wishes to neutralize a serious risk and gain a peaceful Northern border, Iran wishing to buy more time or just sow discord (hard for the US to gain Arab support for the war against Iran when hated Israel is busy fighting one of them) - and there you have it. War, with your poor country taking the brunt of it.

With the US and Iran, I fear there's a similiar no-escape situation: The US is VERY unlikely to accept a nuclear Iran, especially considering their current "war on terrorism" agenda. There are other reasons - certainly they believe Iran's bid for power needs to be checked - but I think the nuclear issue will be the deciding factor. Iran, on the other hand, or at the very least - Ahmadinejad - seems unable to back down on the bomb issue. I think the regime there is not as stable as it presents itself: There's a growing layer of intelligentsia that's chafing under the theocracy they're living in, and it seems to me Ahmadinejad put too much of his personal prestige on the "Iran deserves nuclear power" thingy for him to back down and survive politically... So we've got two players that won't - probably CAN'T - back down, and the clock starts ticking...

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