Iran, a troubling country, as Persia it dominated troublemaking for the Hellenes and the Romans, though Alexander the Great among other Hellenes ground it down a couple of times. That piece of the world has a long history and has a right to be proud and annoyed when abused which it has been but at the end of the day it is a small backwater that could and should be able to grow to regain much of its glory in the new world but as with most other islamic dominated countries it seems to be unable to slip the bonds of a mindset that is more focused on the past and in some ways on revenge, than on the future and finding ways to let the past lay.
December 21, 2011: On December 8th Iran displayed what appeared to be an American RQ-170 jet powered UAV, which they claimed had landed intact in Iran two weeks earlier. Iran claimed they had hijacked the control signals for the RQ-170 and landed it themselves. This seemed highly unlikely but not impossible. Experts on Iranian military immediately suspected something else. First, the Iranians are constantly lying about their military exploits, especially when it comes to developing new weapons and technology. This is apparently done mainly for propaganda as satellite photos never show more than a few prototypes of these wonder-weapons. Then many Americans familiar with the RQ-170 carefully studied the pictures of the “captured” RQ-170 and immediately suspected something was off. For one thing, the RQ-170 shown was the right size and shape but the wrong color. Not just a different color from that seen on many photos of the RQ-170s in Afghanistan but also a color unknown in American military service. A closer examination of the Iranian RQ-170 photos indicated that the Iranians had reassembled an RQ-170 that had crashed and broken into three or more pieces. Then the Iranians apparently gave the UAV a new paint job (which was obvious to anyone seeing those photos.)
Iran is turning into more of a military than a religious dictatorship. That was made clear when a government official revealed that half of government employees now belong to the Basij (the reservist organization of the Revolutionary Guard, the separate armed forces of the clerics running the government) . This was deliberate. Since the late 1990s the Basij has been establishing units in schools for children of all ages. Using games, toys, and popular children’s activities the kids are indoctrinated into Basij ideology (radical Islam, including the joys of being a suicide bomber). The Basij recruiters have found that their best prospects are from poor or broken families (including orphans). This was the Nazi and Soviet experience. The Romanian communist government did best at this with their secret police (the Securitati) forming much feared units of these orphans. Recruits were selected young and raised to be remorseless and savage operatives. Called “young wolves”, these operatives could be depended on to do anything for the cause. Iran is always looking for plain clothes agents who can terrorize reform minded students and civilians in general. In the last few years, more and more of these Basij operatives, now adults, have been leading the fight against reform minded Iranians, or overseas as agents of Quds. Since Basij is largely a part-time operation many members have a full time government job.
In a recent interview with CBS news anchor Scott Pelley, Panetta said “the United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us”. He continued: “We will take whatever steps are necessary to stop them”. A nuclear Iran is “unacceptable”. When US secretaries talk about “whatever steps are necessary” they are not usually talking about holding one more meeting of the sanctions committee. They are thinking shock and awe rather than cookies and tea.
Panetta said the Iranians could have a bomb in a year or less; we’ve heard this before. The point is, Washington doesn’t believe the mullahs have stopped building. Unless that changes, the Obama administration is headed toward war with Iran, quite possibly before November of 2012.
OK, I don’t know if I agree with Dr. Meade, I’ve argued more from impression than anything else that there is no appetite in the world for an Iranian war. But in fact the Saudi’s and the other Gulf Arabs want the suckers taken down before they get nukes. There is also a lot to be said for the fact that until Iran is put back on a reasonable path Iraq is unlikely to remain stable. Also the Iranians are the backers of the main troublemakers in Syria and around Israel. An argument could be made that Iran was always a worse problem that Iraq but that taking out Iraq was easier and it was hoped would make Iran behave itself. Taking Iraq also took down a potential flanking enemy. Now with major forces in Afghanistan on one side of Iran and our naval forces on the other there is at least some military realism to taking Iran down.
- Israel has nukes
- Pakistan has nukes and is perhaps as likely to proliferate as Iran
- NK has nukes and is a worse proliferator than anyone else
- Syria tried to get nukes
- Libia tried to get nukes
- Any marginally competent state with an industrial sector can ‘do nukes’ if they get the materials.
- Would going in and blowing up the Iranian Nuclear program solve anything? ( And I do mean going in, I do not see any way of avoiding putting troops, probably a lot, on the ground to make sure those facilities are blown to dust.) Does this stop proliferation in its tracks or is it a slippery slope?
- Pakistan, NK, Iran, Isreal, Syria, Lybia….Each case utterly different and circumstances do matter, hard lines in the sand are rarely possible to draw and live with.
- But will others see the take down of Iran (if it happened) as a sign not to go nuclear or as a sign that they should press forward as quickly and quietly as possible.
- We would have to establish the Obama Doctrine, “we will take down anyone who is going for nuclear weapons” Could we make it stick?
Then of course there all the mysterious ‘accidents’ occurring in Iran, is there a covert war going on already? I am not convinced but I have to say that it seems highly possible. If so the Iranians aren’t doing well. The thing that stops me being convinced is that the Iranians aren’t squealing about it and or going all out for retaliatory strikes (see the article above on militarization of Iranian gov’t.) Now its possible that with the tracking tools we have now and in some ways a fairly fine mesh filter for folks coming out of that part of the world we have been able to stop anything, and maybe I hope that’s true.
To be honest I would almost rather its just the Iranian’s paying the price for turning away from technical competency for some (invisible to me) religious gain, our spooks being that efficient puts one in mind of all sorts of conspiracy theories.