A message to the vacuum fillers in Iran

Times:

President Bush gave warning last night that Iran’s pursuit of the atomic bomb could lead to a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East, and promised to confront Tehran “before it is too late”.

Mr Bush’s remarks, the starkest warning that he has made about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, came hours after President Ahmadinejad of Iran said that a power vacuum was imminent in Iraq and that Tehran was ready to fill it.

Mr Bush also talked for the first time of “two strains” of Islamic radicalism causing chaos in Iraq and the region: not only Sunni jihadists, about whom he has spoken often, but also “Shia extremism, supported and embodied by Iran’s Government”.

The comments displayed a new aggression towards Tehran, a day after President Sarkozy of France raised the prospect of airstrikes on Iran if the crisis over its nuclear ambitions could not be solved through diplomacy.

Mr Bush said: “Iran’s pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust.

“Iran’s actions threaten the security of nations everywhere, and the United States is rallying friends and allies to isolate Iran’s regime to impose economic sanctions. We will confront this danger before it is too late,” he told war veterans in Nevada.

Mr Bush has said repeatedly that he wants the Iran nuclear standoff to be resolved diplomatically.

There is, however, still debate within his Administration over the possibility of launching airstrikes should Iran continue to develop its nuclear capability.

Mr Ahmadinejad, in a news conference in Tehran, again denied that Iran was pursuing nuclear weapons, and dismissed any possibility of US military action against Iran. “Even if they were to decide to do so, they would be unable to carry it out,” he said.

He increased his provocation of Mr Bush, who accused Iran of arming insurgents with sophisticated roadside bombs that were killing US troops.

“The political power of the occupiers is collapsing rapidly,” Mr Ahmadinejad said. “Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap.”

Although Mr Ahmadinejad revels in making provocative statements, his latest remarks will increase the fears in Washington and among its moderate Sunni allies in the region that an Iranian-dominated Iraq would trigger a regional war between Sunnis and Shias.

Mr Bush said that extremist forces would be emboldened if the US were driven out of Iraq, leaving Iran to pursue a nuclear weapon and set off an arms race.

“Iran could conclude that we were weak and could not stop them from gaining nuclear weapons,” Mr Bush said. On Iranian involvement in Iraq, he said: “I have authorised our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

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Ahmadinejad continues to be a gift to the Bush administration. While many in the liberal camp would like to pretend that Iran is not an aggressor, its President keeps proving the liberals wrong. The Raw Story describes what an attack on Iran would look like and I think they are pretty close to what I would do in such an attack.

The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as well as government buildings and infrastructure, using long-range bombers and missiles, according to a new analysis.

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Plesch and Butcher examine "what the military option might involve if it were picked up off the table and put into action" and conclude that based on open source analysis and their own assessments, the US has prepared its military for a "massive" attack against Iran, requiring little contingency planning and without a ground invasion.

The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order. The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. The US retains the option of avoiding war, but using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran’s actions.
  • Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground invasion. Attacks focused on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little force and leave the regime intact.

  • US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours.

  • US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.

  • Some form of low level US and possibly UK military action as well as armed popular resistance appear underway inside the Iranian provinces or ethnic areas of the Azeri, Balujistan, Kurdistan and Khuzestan. Iran was unable to prevent sabotage of its offshore-to-shore crude oil pipelines in 2005.

  • Nuclear weapons are ready, but most unlikely, to be used by the US, the UK and Israel. The human, political and environmental effects would be devastating, while their military value is limited.
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Most significantly, Plesch and Butcher dispute conventional wisdom that any US attack on Iran would be confined to its nuclear sites. Instead, they foresee a "full-spectrum approach," designed to either instigate an overthrow of the government or reduce Iran to the status of "a weak or failed state." Although they acknowledge potential risks and impediments that might deter the Bush administration from carrying out such a massive attack, they also emphasize that the administration's National Security Strategy includes as a major goal the elimination of Iran as a regional power.

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There is much more from their analysis. Any attack on Iran needs to destroy Iran's ability to make war and to defend itself. That means all instrument of government and military power should be targeted. The idea is to destroy Iran's ability to lash back from her crippled state. Expect Iran to try to launch as many missiles as it can toward its neighboring states. Its Qods forces will also attempt sabotage where ever they can.

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