Why Iran's Revolutionary Guard Wants War with the U.S.
Date 2007/9/21 15:40:00
| Paris, September 20, 2007 – The degree of alarm and war propaganda generated in the United States and elsewhere by the Iranian nuclear program reflects a variety of ideological, political and industrial interests that have little or nothing to do with the actual risks a potentially nuclear Iran poses to anyone.|
What the current debate fails to appreciate, or does not know, is that an important part of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard leadership actually wants the United States to attack Iran, and is attempting to provoke it to do so.
Iran’s ability to manufacture a militarily useable nuclear weapon is by general professional and intelligence consensus (even in the U.S.) at least a decade away. With such a weapon it would be subject to American, Israeli and other nuclear deterrence, and potentially obliterating retaliation. (“Iran is not a suicide nation,” General John Abizaid, former head of U.S. Central Command, remarked a few days ago.) The nuclear weapon’s utility to Iran for any other purpose than deterrence of attack against Iran would be slight to zero.
Sources inside Iran, opposed to the present mullahs’ government, but loyal to the Islamic republic, have described to this writer why leading figures in the Revolutionary Guard believe that an attack on their country by America or Israel (or France -- since the Sarkozy government in France seems sympathetic to extreme measures against Iran) would actually produce in political but also military terms a great victory for Iran and the Islamic cause, as well as serving the Revolutionary Guard’s own organizational and political interests.
They see Bush administration hawks, Washington’s neo-conservatives, and Israel’s lobbyists for an attack on Iran, as objectively their allies in promoting a defeat for the United States and decisive blow to the international standing and strategy of the United States.
They believe they can apply to U.S. Naval forces measures of asymmetric warfare, using advanced technology, just as Lebanon’s Hezbollah did last year in resisting Israel’s ground intervention in Lebanon and destroying Israeli armor.
Similar methods, applied by the insurgents in Iraq, have taken a severe toll in American vehicles, armor and troops.
These Iranian officers think they can successfully attack American naval and air bases with rockets and commando interventions, and sink American warships with attacks by swarming fleets of speedboats and civilian vessels armed with anti-ship and armor-piercing weapons, blinding, overloading or crashing ships’ radar defenses and countermeasures by the sheer mass of the attacks.
They also believe that after their successful eight-year war with Iraq, they have become masters of entrenchment, subterranean defensive measures, dissimulation and camouflage, military dispersal, misdirection and misinformation, so that even the two thousand U.S. air and missile attacks spoken of in some Washington reports would not be able to find and destroy the essential components of Iran’s nuclear research and manufacturing capabilities.
U.S. and Israeli attacks could destroy buildings and national infrastructure, causing mainly civilian casualties, but this would strengthen Iranian popular support for their radical leaders and win international sympathy, with politically devastating effect on U.S. standing in the non-western world, and on opinion among U.S. allies.
If the U.S. were to break the world’s six-decade nuclear truce since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and use nuclear weapons against Iranian defenses, as Vice President Dick Cheney reportedly favors, these Iranian believe America would be left an international pariah.
An American attack on Iran would also be welcomed by these Revolutionary Guard officials because the crisis would vault them into leading places in Iran’s leadership. These are relatively young men, from poor or modest backgrounds, radicalized by war service in the Revolutionary Guards during the eight-year war with Iraq, and by underground and political work since 1980. They now are advanced in their careers, and want power.
They also want material rewards. War is profitable. The Iran-Iraq war was deliberately prolonged by Iran after a 1988 UN cease-fire because during wars civilian economies become black-market economies, and military leaders and military institutions are those best placed to profit.
It may be that the calculations of these Revolutionary Guard officers concerning war with the United States are wrong. But they suggest that starting a war against Iran today carries risks less easily predicted than the present discussion complacently assumes.
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