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Annexing Khuzestan -
February 17, 2006 11:08 PM   Subscribe

Battle plans for Iran... resonates with the sad ring of real possibility.
posted by Muirwylde (63 comments total)

 
Sooo... are you saying it's on?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:14 PM on February 17, 2006


What they're saying about the dollar is exactly correct. This is the first prophecy of war with Iran I've seen that syncs up exactly with what I believe I know about the world.

This is going to be very interesting.
posted by Malor at 11:19 PM on February 17, 2006


IT'S ON!
posted by shmegegge at 11:22 PM on February 17, 2006


Anything called the "Guerrilla News Network" can't be wrong.
posted by Brian James at 11:26 PM on February 17, 2006


It's on? No. It's oil. If my understanding is correct, Irans' bourse stipulates that they no longer will accept dollars for their oil. That is what this is about. One of the worlds major suppliers of oil will longer accept dollars in payment for oil.
posted by Muirwylde at 11:28 PM on February 17, 2006


AAhh. I wish this wasn't so believable.
posted by pointilist at 11:52 PM on February 17, 2006


Those who doubt that the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld team will attack Iran, while so conspicuously overextended in Iraq, are ignoring the subtleties of the administration’s Middle East strategy.

I don't doubt that the attack will take place, but I've certainly missed any subtleties of the US ME strategy...
posted by pompomtom at 12:27 AM on February 18, 2006


The ZNet article referenced in the linked article is worth reading, if you haven't already.
posted by bcveen at 1:03 AM on February 18, 2006


Well, there's a big difference between tactical airstrikes (which I could see happening) and an "occupation" of Iran.

I realize the FPP link says the US won't occupy Iran, but then goes on in the next sentence to say the US wants to occupy Iran's oil fields. I don't have the war plans in front of me, but I'd bet that, particularly after the Iraq-Iran war, Iran's oil fields along the border with Iraq are the most heavily fortified zone in the country. Controlling those fields with any degree of authority--and responding to the inevitable ongoing air war that Iran would launch in response to such an occupation--is beyond the Army's capacity right now. As they say, "If we had the troops to invade Iran, they'd be in Iraq right now."

I'm reminded of Israel's strike against Osirak, Iraq's attempt at producing fissile material. I don't have a source for this, but I recall reading that Israel's strike aircraft don't have the range to hit Iran and make it back without refueling (otherwise they probably would have done it already). This is why the US, or someone else, would have to do it.
posted by Brian James at 1:53 AM on February 18, 2006


I hate to be a gigantic asshole, but after my morning coffee and Rose Of The Prophet Mohammed, my sympathies are fractionally diminished.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 2:07 AM on February 18, 2006


Danish pastries are only known by that name outside of Denmark; in Denmark, they are called Viennese pastries.
posted by kcds at 3:51 AM on February 18, 2006


There are many credible facts in the article, but I have a question.

I don't understand why both Saddam and Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad have played into US willingness for military action.

Wouldn't Saddam have been better off bending over backwards for the UN inspectors, doing whatever he could to get the oil embargo lifted so he could maximize his wealth and subsequent power? I don't buy into irrationality.

Given Iran's superior position when the bourse opens, what is to be gained by pursuing nuclear programs and menacing Israel right now? Wouldn't they be better off waiting? Again, I don't buy into irrationality.
posted by surplus at 4:12 AM on February 18, 2006


Controlling those fields with any degree of authority--and responding to the inevitable ongoing air war that Iran would launch in response to such an occupation--is beyond the Army's capacity right now.

With respect to the air war, I think we can keep their air force on the ground. I agree it is a much larger challenge to protect the oil fields from Iran's rockets.

I'm no expert, but I'd wager we'd have an easier task securing Iran's oil fields than we've had controlling Iraq's population centers.
posted by surplus at 4:22 AM on February 18, 2006


surplus, you still think we invaded iraq because of the UN inspections?
posted by ook at 5:34 AM on February 18, 2006


Muirwylde, you might want to improve the quality of your sources before you claim ITS ALL ABOUT OIL! Maybe its MOSTLY ABOUT WACKY MULLAHS HAVING NUKES.

Well, hopefully the democratic forces in Iran will get to the Mullahs first. Unfortunately, they only have a few months to do so, so I doubt that will happen.

Will tough-talking France cave at the UN?

They keep talking about Iran's nuclear program being securely underground, so I guess the prime targets will be the power generation which can't be underground (at least not the exhaust system).

The attack will likely happen before Labor Day (American holiday; first Monday in September). And it will be primarily missles, lots and lots and lots of missles.

And considering the alternatives, this is all a good thing.

I'm just wondering if things will happen, clandestine things, in Syria first. More dirt in Iran, as well as on pre-war Iraq is hiding in Syria. And attempts to subvert Iraq are being made by Iran via Syria.
posted by ParisParamus at 5:52 AM on February 18, 2006


surplus, I've seen Hussein's irrationality explained as being fear of looking weak to his neighbors; he was hated by fundamentalist Islam because he was purely secular. Looking like he had chem and bioweapons made him seem less vulnerable than he actually was.

With Iran, it may be more for internal politics. The mainstream Muslim community hates Israelis and the US, who they see as the big brother making Israel's atrocities possible. (Not that the Palestinians are good guys, mind you, but they don't care about that.)

For some reason that slips my mind, Iran's street cred with the Muslims has been fairly low for a number of years... some compromise they struck with the US, I think. So part of this posturing is purely to gain points with the Muslim community. With Iraq out of the picture, Iran is now the Big Cheese of the Middle East, and they're flexing their muscles a bit.

From their perspective, America has to be looking terribly overstretched. If they try for nukes now, we're weak enough that they may think they can beat us.

If I were them, I'd be thinking about the possibilities this way:

1. America attacks and tries to actually occupy all of Iran. I'd expect them to successfully occupy the country, but they'd soon be sending so many soldiers home in body bags that they'd have to start a draft, and that would end the war within a year or two. Result: Iran wins, America's era of empire over.

2. America tries to occupy the oilfields. Geographically, they could probably do that. And they might be able to hold them. However, if the US was THAT blatant (admitting that this whole thing has been to steal oil), I fully expect that the entire Middle East would go off like a bomb. Tactically, it would be a smart move. Strategically, it's the worst possible approach. Net result: US gets its ass kicked out of the Middle East, hard enough to achieve low orbit. Iran wins BIG. American age of empire over.

3. America coordinates a UN invasion. This is the outcome I would fear, as the Iranian government, because it would give some legitimacy to the whole operation. As the Iranian president, I'd do anything I had to, in order to stop a true united invasion force from happening, including backing off on nuclear weapons. Result if this happens: at best a stalemate, at worst a big Iranian loss. American age of empire continues.

4. Airstrikes. America uses its enormous air power to try to take out suspected nuclear sites. If all they did was bomb reactor sites, as Iran I'd just grin and bear it, and keep working on nukes with whatever was left. If they did a large-scale campaign to degrade the whole country's infrastructure, I'd immediately cut oil exports by about a third, crying that the oil industry was damaged. (perhaps I'd damage some of it myself and blame it on the Americans.) This would still give the country enough money to continue functioning, but would severely, severely punish the rest of the world. Somehow, mysteriously, things would keep going wrong with my attempts to repair the oilfields, and I'd keep going after nukes in the meantime. If the UN invasion ever started looking truly imminent, I'd manage to repair the fields and would let inspectors back in.

Cutting production might make the US mad enough that they'd be willing to attack unilaterally. Again, as Iran, I'd consider an invasion a huge win, and an invasion of just the oilfields to be a bloody jackpot. I'd be laying awake at night praying for the Americans to occupy the oilfields.

Net result of #4: A moderate loss for Iran (if we just bomb nukes and nothing else), a medium win for them if we bomb other infrastructure (because the reduced oil exports would hurt the US a lot more than it would hurt Iran), and a definite win if the US invades.

5. America rattles sabers and does nothing. Big win for Iran; presumably, they get to join the nuclear club.

Considering the low intelligence the US administration has exhibited thus far (they're JUST NOW waking up to the fact that they're losing the war of opinion, if you can believe it).... the chances of them doing something really dumb would be high enough that I'd be actively trying to goad them.

Of course, there's always the chance that Iran could flat win militarily... I don't think it's very high, but from what I've been reading, they were willing to charge blindly into minefields and take the casualties to get at the Iraqi soldiers. It sounds like they have higher morale than any army since the Japanese. And it's in their homeland, and they could field one hell of a lot of conscripts without having to worry too much about the logistics of getting them there. Unless we're willing to use nukes, we could lose through simple attrition... even if we were inflicting 100:1 casualties. And if we DO use nukes, that'd be the biggest possible win for Iran, the equivalent of the $500 million Powerball lottery. If we nuke the middle east, we'll be completely out of that area of the world within two years.

The last time the US faced a truly determined adversary (other than Iraq, which we seem to be losing) was Vietnam, which we definitely lost, even though we won tactically every single time.

There's likely a lesson there.
posted by Malor at 6:05 AM on February 18, 2006


Congressman Ron Paul has a speech just posted on his website (link) on the subject of the dollar. He says one main reason for throwing out Saddam is that he wanted to sell oil for euros, not dollars. And a reason for attacking Iran is that they want to sell oil for euros, not dollars.

I still haven't seen Sy Hersch retract his prediction that our forces would be attacking the Iranians by May 2005.
posted by bukvich at 6:07 AM on February 18, 2006


with missles and suicide boats, why would the u s be able to hold on to khuzestan ... it's not enough to grab the oil, one also has to transport it out of the area ... and i believe the iranians can stop it

Muirwylde, you might want to improve the quality of your sources before you claim ITS ALL ABOUT OIL! Maybe its MOSTLY ABOUT WACKY MULLAHS HAVING NUKES.

except that by attempting to shut down the persian gulf, those wacky mullahs can turn this into a war about oil ... especially if china or russia can be persuaded to take their side ... those wacky mullahs could also use their influence in iraq to make things much harder for us by starting a shi'ite rebellion

it's not just a question of wrong or right, here ... it's a question of what our advesaries can do and what we would have to do to stop them ... we haven't invaded north korea, not because they're right, but because they could turn seoul into a smoking crater in the process and china might not like our invading them

it's called deterrence ... and iran may have similar abilities to make us pay for military action

i don't want the wacky mullahs to have nukes, either ... but is that the worst thing that could happen? ... i'm not sure it is
posted by pyramid termite at 6:23 AM on February 18, 2006


Malor: The mainstream Muslim community hates Israelis and the US, who they see as the big brother making Israel's atrocities possible.

Your comment was an excellent assessment, but I'll cherry pick and take exception to this line, if you don't mind. Mainstream, non-fundie Muslims don't really feel this way in most of the world. In fact, Iran has a very sizable, cosmopolitan and fairly reasonable Muslim community which does not condone violence or hate speech. It's the mullahs, and the allies of Ahmedinejad (the student revolutionaries loyal to Khomeni) that are the minority which dictate religious dogma (much like the X-ian fundies stateside). Nationally, where you'll see the most resentment against US/Israel are the Wahabbists of Saudi Arabia. Many of these discussions about the tentacles of power and extremist ideology should also examine SA, for its immense wealth and influence politically and for its regular stoking of fundie flames.

Otherwise, your comment is frighteningly on the money, much like the linked article. Good work.
posted by moonbird at 6:28 AM on February 18, 2006


PP:-MOSTLY ABOUT WACKY MULLAHS HAVING NUKES.

I wish the wacky fundies in the US didn't have 'em either.
posted by Merlin at 6:34 AM on February 18, 2006


Merlin, comments like that trivialize the single-digit Century mentality of the people of which we are speaking. Give yourself, and your country a lot more credit than that (even if you don't like President Bush and/or Republicans).
posted by ParisParamus at 6:39 AM on February 18, 2006


So, let's just say that we occupy the oilfields and then can't move oil out. Is that such a bad thing, from the "all about oil" strategic perspective?

It means that Iran is deprived of oil revenue, and that they could be financialy (and perhaps literally) starved into irrelevance. And, it means that other oil producers have more revenue (to make up for the supply shortfall from Iran). Other producers have a fiscal incentive to not resist the US too hard (even as their people are incensed).

So, while I have every confidence that the Rumsfeldians are arrogant and sort-sighted enough to believe that they could secure the fields against rocket attacks, it's also plausible to me that they don't care whether or not they can.

Malor: While I think your options are cogent and clear, your option [4] makes a big assumption: That this is primarily about nuclear power, and not political power. (And when we say "it's about oil", AFAICS we're really saying "it's about political power.") Option [4] doesn't hurt Iran enough, for the obvious reasons that you cite, and so I just don't see it on the Wolfsfeld agenda as a real option. Maybe as a fake one, though; if we see it, we should take a very close look at the semiotics.
posted by lodurr at 6:58 AM on February 18, 2006


If I thought it was about oil, I could sleep easy. Then it would simply be great power piracy. If we can get away with it, why not? Once you've established that it's all right to kill people to achieve your strategic goals, you're already off the moral grid , and may as well enjoy some material benefits. As Ann Coulter says, "What's wrong with blood for oil? We need oil." I hardly think the Mullahs would think poorly of us for using our power to steal what we want. Hell, it's precisely what they would do if they had the power. In fact, I think they'd rather admire our dash. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear to be about oil at all, except in the most indirect way. I think it's about something else. Something murky and half imaginary -- as in Vietnam. If our leaders were only good, honest thieves, we'd know what we were dealing with. But the Bush administration is working from one or many motivations that are hard to divine.
posted by Faze at 7:00 AM on February 18, 2006


lodurr, I agree no one is going to occupy Iran--that's absurd. And no one is going to occupy Iran's oil fields. That's the hard Left talking. We're talking about large numbers of airstrikes for the most part.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:03 AM on February 18, 2006


I thought the oil bourse was opening in late March. Is that wrong? On that timeline, the bourse will open before the coalition can prepare for an invasion.

Yes, yes, I know theoretically that there are rapid-reaction forces that can deploy in 24 hours and all the rest of it, but none of the coalition partners have recently displayed the daring or the generalship required to pull off a swift attack like that.

The preference appears to be a ponderous build-up of overwhelming air-sea-land superiority prior to an all-out assault, attacking everything that can possibly be attacked. That takes time to arrange.

Political considerations within the armed services themselves also work against the flexibility required for fast attacks. If a plan calls for air strikes at key targets by the air force, the Navy will demand to be involved so that senior officers don't miss out on the credit. Then the Marines will want in for the same reason. And the Army will demand to be included too.

The overall effect is like a 100m sprint being run by four people who are handcuffed together. They'll make it to the finish line, but no speed records are going to be set. And time is on the side of the terrorists.
posted by Ritchie at 7:31 AM on February 18, 2006


Pfft. The GNN has as much credibility as Iran's gov't. "On January 28, 2006, Iranian officials announced that they would 'hand over evidence that proved British involvement in bombings in the southern city of Ahvaz earlier in the week' that killed eight civilians and wounded 46 others." The Iranians will no doubt also include evidence that the Holocaust never happened and that Jews sacrifice little Muslim babies on Passover.
posted by Banky_Edwards at 7:38 AM on February 18, 2006


I don't believe for a second that this is about nukes or oil. This is about nothing less than Armageddon -- our current leadership believes that The Rapture, with a wee bit of help, is obtainable in their lifetimes. We have our own mad mullahs, they are called Dominionists and we even elected them. Their entire belief system is based on the premise that they are going to come out on top, either in this world or in the next world and that they are, quite literally, doing the Lord's work.

Debate is pointless, you cannot reason with fundamentalists of any stripe. Not only are you either for them or against them, but if you're against them you're going to burn for eternity anyway. Why should they listen to anyone else when God speaks directly to them?

To further this end Israel has got to be invaded and there is no quicker way to achieve this than a massive two-front war in the Middle East. The last thing these people want is stability in the Middle East. In my eyes this is the only plausible explanation for the utter relentlessness of Dubya's ME policy -- the clock is ticking and they know it.
posted by cedar at 7:42 AM on February 18, 2006


> Debate is pointless, you cannot reason with fundamentalists of any stripe.

and cedar would know.

posted by jfuller at 8:03 AM on February 18, 2006


surplus, you still think we invaded iraq because of the UN inspections?
posted by ook

ook: I never thought that. But the UN inspections were a convenient mechanism to claim an international coalition for the invasion. So by being more receptive to the inspections, Saddam could have put PNAC in a tougher spot in their drive to invade.

Maior: Your explanation for Saddam's brinkmanship is as plausible as any I've heard. It also matches the idea he needed an external enemy to slow the internal fractures.

I think you're right that airstrikes are the most likely option, the more limited, the better for the US.

On taking out the reactors, I expect the CIA to do a better job of sabotage inside Iran. This may be wishful thinking given the spotty relationship PNAC has with the CIA, but my estimate is Iran is easier to infiltrate due to their higher volume of European trade.

I'd rule out UN invasions given we seem to monthly find a way to crap on the UN, most recently blowing off their complaints about camp Xray in Gitmo.
posted by surplus at 8:11 AM on February 18, 2006


George W. Bush, in a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, September 21, 2004:
"We will stand with the people of Afghanistan and Iraq until their hopes of freedom and security are fulfilled.

These two nations will be a model for the broader Middle East, a region where millions have been denied basic human rights and simple justice. [...] We must help the reformers of the Middle East as they work for freedom, and strive to build a community of peaceful, democratic nations.

This commitment to democratic reform is essential to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict. [...]

The democratic hopes we see growing in the Middle East are growing everywhere."
Consider those words in light of this discussion. I don't think a wider gulf between what is being said and what is being proposed could be possible. Not a single word of that squares with the intentions behind them.

Endless war... for the sake of peace? "To save succeeding generations from the scourge of war"?

Conflict resolution... by initiating conflict?

Pre-emptive strikes... as a model for democracies that pose no threat to the world?

Square the idea of pre-emptive strikes on Iran with this statement:
"We know that dictators are quick to choose aggression, while free nations strive to resolve differences in peace."
How long before George Bush decides that the time to "resolve differences in peace" has passed? Because I can assure you that the man who claims to decry aggression will once again be the aggressor. Does anyone think that Iran will throw the first punch? If not, then who is the aggressor?
posted by edverb at 8:37 AM on February 18, 2006


If our leaders were only good, honest thieves, we'd know what we were dealing with. But the Bush administration is working from one or many motivations that are hard to divine.

I am a democrat because I believe that no man or group of men is good enough to be trusted with uncontrolled power over others. And the higher the pretensions of such power, the more dangerous I think it both to rulers and to the subjects. Hence Theocracy is the worst of all governments. If we must have a tyrant a robber barron is far better than an inquisitor. The baron's cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity at some point may be sated; and since he dimly knows he is doing wrong he may possibly repent. But the inquisitor who mistakes his own cruelty and lust of power and fear for the voice of Heaven will torment us infinitely more because he torments us with the approval of his own conscience and his better impulses appear to him as temptations.

And since Theocracy is the worst, the nearer any government approaches to Theocracy the worse it will be. A metaphysic held by the rulers with the force of a religion, is a bad sign. It forbids them, like the inquisitor, to admit any grain of truth or good in their opponents, it abrogates the ordinary rules of morality, and it gives a seemingly high, super-personal sanction to all the very ordinary human passions by which, like other men, the rulers will frequently be actuated. In a word, it forbids wholesome doubt. A political programme can never in reality be more than probably right. We never know all the facts about the present and we can only guess the future. To attach to a party programme -- whose highest claim is to reasonable prudence -- the sort of assent which we should reserve for demonstrable theorems, is a kind of intoxication.
--C.S. Lewis

posted by EarBucket at 8:58 AM on February 18, 2006


I can't wait until you decide you need our fresh Canadian drinking water. I'm looking forward to seeing what excuse for invasion your Republicrat government cooks up - if they can even be bothered with rationales by then. It would almost be funny watching the process of Canada being cast as the greatest enemy to peace in the world.

I suppose that must be what it's like for Joe Blow in Iran right now, watching with amazement as his country is demonized.
posted by slatternus at 9:03 AM on February 18, 2006


I do wish some of you would do research before spouting stuff like its all about oil.

1. Iran is a net oil importer. They have cars, alot of cars and they subsidize oil consumption, so they have to buy alot of oil from outside. They also have alot of industry and alot of commerce. Iran is not an oil dependant economy. It is the world's 28th largest economy in current prices, (20th in purchasing power parity). That isn't tiny.
Oil exports aren't what would be hurt by an attack. It's the massive effect on markets, industry and consumers that an attack would definitely have.

2. Buying oil in dollars/ euros DOESNT MATTER. Saddam changed that in his last years, and it mattered not a whit. I know I know, there was that underreported article by Greg Palatz about how the whole war was because of the oil for euros thing. Absolutely crazy, absolutely wrong. It is so easy to change money from euros to dollars that it doesn't even matter.

Anyways...
posted by stratastar at 9:17 AM on February 18, 2006


Europe is headed for a resurgence of fascism and a civil war. I wouldn't be putting my eggs in the Euro basket anyway.
posted by slatternus at 9:27 AM on February 18, 2006


PP: And no one is going to occupy Iran's oil fields. That's the hard Left talking. We're talking about large numbers of airstrikes for the most part.

You miss the point that Iran may in fact start a ground war in response to airstrikes. Just because we start it doesn't mean we get to decide what it's limited to; whether one is pro- or anti-war in Iraq, I think everyone can agree that the ripple effects have far exceeded the initial official estimates of what we'd be dealing with.

When discussing Iran, multiply that by at least three. And don't sit here and deride a "single-digit-century mentality"; their leaders are educated and intelligent individuals who simply know how to play to the street, as well as what can and cannot be said in public utterance--even when they know damn well they're lying. They are, at their core, demogogic politicians, and as US citizens we should be familiar with how those sorts of individuals operate.
posted by trigonometry at 9:29 AM on February 18, 2006


ok, maybe single-digit century mentality is a bit of a simplification, but when you're dealing with Holocaust denying Mullahs on the verge of having nukes, there's a real problem that needs to be tended to.

By the way, the whole thing about nukes it that it can make a ground war irrelevant. Which is why we need to do something, and very soon.
posted by ParisParamus at 9:40 AM on February 18, 2006


Masters of Deception
posted by homunculus at 9:58 AM on February 18, 2006


Good link, homunculus. I was one of those chumps who fell for the Iraq WMD argument. I admit it: I was a fool. So this time, I'm going to need something more substantial than the allegation that Iran is preparing nuclear weapons before I'll get suckered again.
posted by slatternus at 10:13 AM on February 18, 2006


Malor, the other option, described more fully in the Zoltan Grossman article is to precipitate an ethnic uprising in Khuzestan. This actually would play into your third scenario: The US might be able to garner UN support for an invasion with the ostensible purpose of preventing destabilization and civil war. From the section of the article entitled, "Early Warnings":

Watch the Western media for claims that Iran plans "ethnic cleansing" on the scale of Kosovo or Darfur, in propaganda designed to manipulate naïve liberals or human rights groups. Watch Fox News for the new neo-con warning of an emerging "Shi'ite bloc" of Iran, southern Iraq, Alawite-ruled Syria, and Lebanese Hezbollah (which incidentally has had training camps in Khuzestan). Neo-cons may even urge Bush to pull back support for Iraqi Shi'ite leaders, and to take a harder line on Iran's nuclear and human rights violations.

If the Khuzestani Arabs did break away, you'd end up with two forces: an untrained, ad hoc rebel army in the south, and then the main Iranian army, well-equipped and trained but effectively cut off from the oil supplies that keep a modern army functioning. If the US, in the case of an uprising, managed to occupy Khuzestan before Iran could mobilize a response, the US would only need to hold the Khuzestani border long enough to drain their resources. At least that's my largely-ignorant take on the situation ...
posted by bcveen at 10:18 AM on February 18, 2006


By the way, the whole thing about nukes it that it can make a ground war irrelevant. Which is why we need to do something, and very soon.


You're right. Regime Change '08.
posted by stenseng at 10:19 AM on February 18, 2006


Given the exemplary manner in which the USA managed its war in Afghanistan and war in Iraq, I should imagine that the Iran war will be hugely successful.

In bankrupting America.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:51 AM on February 18, 2006


Muirwylde, you might want to improve the quality of your sources before you claim ITS ALL ABOUT OIL! Maybe its MOSTLY ABOUT WACKY MULLAHS HAVING NUKES.

That's what they said last time, but lets look at the facts:
1. Iraq stops using US dollar (petrodollar) and switches to Euro (petroeuro).
2. US goes to war with Iraq ostensibly about WMD.
3. No WMD are found, and US switches petroeuros back to petrodollars.

Swap Iraq for Iran and tell me it doesn't seem entirely reasonable the same thing could happen again?

Muirwaylde's link, and the supporting links mentioned in the article make for a reasonable economic argument for the US to go to war with Iran.
posted by furtive at 11:02 AM on February 18, 2006


What Bush is up to.
posted by telstar at 11:23 AM on February 18, 2006


Interesting article telstar, and I hardly think that Charley Reese can be accused of being a lefty either.
posted by slatternus at 11:29 AM on February 18, 2006


It never ends.

The neverending Bushes and Reagans and Kruschevs and Stalins, down through the moronic military leaders, to the Pat Robertson's and the mullahs, down to the little ParisParamuses across the decades, in their endless anxiety, insisting the constantly changing Other must be destroyed or matched in armament. America fearful of German technology, Soviet Russia desperate for seeming survival against American A-bombs, little Britain and France unsure of America's resolve to sacrifice itself for their protection, Pakistan and India in their continual dance on the brink, the Iraq and Iran we helped arm eternally terrified of the Israel we helped arm.

The endless semi-hysterical bleating: "we need to do something, and very soon."

On and on and on and on, always the next war, the next war, the next war; for these, the endlessly fearful binary thinkers, who simplemindedly cheer over the business of selling and export weapons technology all over the world, who look the other way while we rape other country's resources, while we invade and occupy -- then wonder and panic over the destabilization and arming of whole regions.

"We are in a completely new situation that cannot be resolved by war." -- Niels Bohr, soon after the creation of nuclear weapons.
posted by fold_and_mutilate at 11:35 AM on February 18, 2006


From telstar's link: "Another is to construct four permanent bases in Iraq, and that means the administration has no intention of ever withdrawing all U.S. forces."

More on the bases here.
posted by homunculus at 11:38 AM on February 18, 2006


ParisParamus making predictions--now that's funny. When Bush is impeached re: WMD, I'll start reading your comments again.

The obvious: America is too tied to oil to do anything about Iran, except bluster and foam at the mouth. And far too beholden to oil to risk pissing off Russia and China.

Should Iran have nukes? No. Is there anything the US can do about it, practically without risking an unwinnable conflict or an untenable financial (oil) situation? No. End of story.
posted by bardic at 11:52 AM on February 18, 2006


Perhaps it's all about bankrupting America. Robber barons of the war and intelligence industries — the Halliburtons, the Arab-American Oil Company, all the stuff the Administration is involved with — is going to simply steal the wealth of the USA and retire to some comfortable off-shore location. Dubai, perhaps; it's quite a modern, new city.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:06 PM on February 18, 2006


Why we will not attack Iran can be summed up in one name:
Late last month Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite leader in Baghdad, traveled to Tehran to confer with his Iranian sponsors, who help pay for his ten-thousand-man private militia, the Mahdi Army. Commenting on the impending crisis between the United States and Iran over Iran's nuclear program, al-Sadr said, "If neighboring Islamic countries, including Iran, become the target of attacks, we will support them. The Mahdi Army is beyond the Iraqi Army. It was established to defend Islam."

...At the end of March 2004, the CPA's chief, L. Paul Bremer III, decided to take action against al-Sadr. He closed his newspaper for sixty days. This measure was compared to attacking a tiger with a flyswatter. The Mahdi Army rapidly seized much of Shiite southern Iraq, overrunning CPA offices that Bremer left undefended. The new Iraqi army and police—recruited and trained at a cost of billions of dollars—collapsed. Many Iraqis defected to al-Sadr.

For two months, the Coalition and the Mahdi Army fought pitched battles around Shiite Islam's holiest shrines. Iraq's senior Shiite clerics and politicians, all of whom saw al-Sadr as a threat, assured Bremer of their support and did nothing to help him. Iraq's Shiites were the prime beneficiary of Saddam Hussein's overthrow, but America's stock in Iraq had fallen so low that only Iraq's Kurds were prepared to stand with the United States against al-Sadr. By May 2004, al-Sadr's insurgency so disrupted US supply lines in Iraq that Bremer considered ordering food rationing for the thousands of Americans working in Baghdad's highly fortified Green Zone. A year after liberating Iraq, the world's only superpower was finding it difficult to feed the Americans in charge of the occupation.

Today, Moqtada al-Sadr controls one of the largest factions within the victorious United Iraq Alliance (UIA), the coalition of Shiite religious parties that won the December 2005 national elections. Nor is he the only member of the Alliance likely to side with Iran if war comes. SCIRI—the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq—is Iraq's largest political party. It was founded in Tehran in 1982, and its name gives an accurate idea of its politics. The Iranians also created, trained, and apparently still fund SCIRI's military wing, the Badr Corps, which has over 12,000 troops. Iraq's interior minister, Bayan Jabr, is the former head of the Badr Corps, whose members he has helped place throughout Iraq's national police. Dawa, the third major element in the UIA, also has close relations with Iran.
The Mess
Late Saturday night, on the eve of a crucial vote to choose Iraq's next prime minister, a senior Iraqi politician's cellphone rang. A supporter of the Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr was on the line with a threat. "He said that there's going to be a civil war among the Shia" if Sadr's preferred candidate was not confirmed, the politician said.

Less than 12 hours later, and after many similar calls to top Shiite leaders, Sadr got his wish. The widely favored candidate lost by one vote, and Ibrahim al-Jaafari, the interim prime minister, was anointed as Iraq's next leader. "Everyone was stunned; it was a coup d'état," said the politician, a senior member of the main Shiite political coalition, the United Iraqi Alliance. It was a crowning moment for Sadr, whose sudden rise to political power poses a stark new set of challenges for Iraq's fledgling democracy. The man who led the Mahdi Army militia's two deadly uprisings against American troops in 2004 now controls 32 seats in Iraq's Parliament, enough to be a kingmaker.
A radical changes the political dynamic in Iraq

Consider the Sunni Insurgency as it is:
The insurgency is increasingly optimistic about victory. Such self-confidence was not there when the war was conceived as an open-ended jihad against an occupier they believed was determined to stay. Optimism stems from a conviction the legitimacy of jihad is now beyond doubt, institutions established under the occupation are fragile and irreparably illegitimate, and the war of attrition against U.S. forces is succeeding.
In Their Own Words: Reading the Iraqi Insurgency

By May 2004, al-Sadr's insurgency so disrupted US supply lines in Iraq that Bremer considered ordering food rationing for the thousands of Americans working in Baghdad's highly fortified Green Zone.

It's very simple. Iran owns Iraq. Thanks to the invasion and occupation, the United States is trapped.
posted by y2karl at 12:34 PM on February 18, 2006


Also from The Mess:
...With the US Army vastly overextended in Iraq and Iran's friends in power in Baghdad, the Iranians apparently feel confident that the United States will take no action to stop them if they try to make a nuclear weapon. This is only one little-noticed consequence of America's failure in Iraq. We invaded Iraq to protect ourselves against nonexistent WMDs and to promote democracy. Democracy in Iraq brought to power Iran's allies, who are in a position to ignite an uprising against American troops that would make the current problems with the Sunni insurgency seem insignificant. Iran, in effect, holds the US hostage in Iraq, and as a consequence we have no good military or nonmilitary options in dealing with the problem of Iran's nuclear facilities. Unlike the 1979 hostage crisis, we did this to ourselves.

In his State of the Union address, President Bush told his Iraq critics, "Hindsight is not wisdom and second-guessing is not a strategy." His comments are understandable. Much of the Iraq fiasco can be directly attributed to Bush's shortcomings as a leader. Having decided to invade Iraq, he failed to make sure there was adequate planning for the postwar period. He never settled bitter policy disputes among his principal aides over how postwar Iraq would be governed; and he allowed competing elements of his administration to pursue diametrically opposed policies at nearly the same time. He used jobs in the Coalition Provisional Authority to reward political loyalists who lacked professional competence, regional expertise, language skills, and, in some cases, common sense. Most serious of all, he conducted his Iraq policy with an arrogance not matched by political will or military power.

These shortcomings have led directly to the current dilemmas of the US both in Iraq and with Iran. Unless the President and his team—abetted by some oversight from Congress— are capable of examining the causes of failure in Iraq, it is hard to believe he will be able to manage the far more serious problem with Iran.
posted by y2karl at 12:45 PM on February 18, 2006


Controlling those fields with any degree of authority--and responding to the inevitable ongoing air war that Iran would launch in response to such an occupation--is beyond the Army's capacity right now. As they say, "If we had the troops to invade Iran, they'd be in Iraq right now."

It's important to note that the Army only takes 1/3rd of the DoD budget, ex. actual war costs. We've got TRILLIONS of dollars of capital investment under the control of admirals and USAF generals. These guys want some playtime too.

Occupying Iran's oilfields would fucking rock from a "war president" standpoint. Instability up the yin-yang, which is something the Bushites get off on.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:01 PM on February 18, 2006


Perhaps it's all about bankrupting America. Robber barons of the war and intelligence industries — the Halliburtons, the Arab-American Oil Company, all the stuff the Administration is involved with — is going to simply steal the wealth of the USA and retire to some comfortable off-shore location.

Read "Confessions of an Economic Hit Man" if you haven't. Then note that the same group of 4-5 companies described in that book are the ones with 99% of contracts in Iraq, and the primary contractors in the rebuilding of New Orleans.
posted by sonofsamiam at 2:23 PM on February 18, 2006


Well, SoSIam, with any luck the end will come quickly for y'all, and you'll be able to start your country off fresh once the cons move off to Dubai.

Still lots of resources left in the USA. You'll be a smaller, but happier, nation.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:32 PM on February 18, 2006


It is so easy to change money from euros to dollars that it doesn't even matter.

While I'm no economist, IMV that misses the larger point of where wealth is parked over the short and medium terms, and in which currency debt is held in. From what I've read, since Petrodollars are a large capital outflow in every developed economy, each economy has to hedge on this by keeping USD denominated debts. Granted, the past 10-odd years domestic credit boom in the US has made USD debt more attractive for foreigners, but something tells me this bubble isn't going to make it to the end of the decade.

The USD is currently the currency of choice, and hence the USD bloc is Numero Uno in the capital markets.

Once Americans have to start borrowing in Euros or Yuan or whatever, our free ride will be over.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:40 PM on February 18, 2006


it's not enough to grab the oil, one also has to transport it out of the area ... and i believe the iranians can stop it

The USN would beg to differ. They haven't really had a good shooting war in decades, and they've got to justify their $150B/yr budget somehow...
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 2:42 PM on February 18, 2006


i'm afraid that the usn is going to discover that when the enemy has cruise missles, having big ships simply means you're presenting big targets ... the falklands war are an example of what could be done with missles that weren't all that good ... and what iran has is much better

the old adage about planning to fight the last war still holds ...
posted by pyramid termite at 3:58 PM on February 18, 2006


i'm afraid that the usn is going to discover that when the enemy has cruise missles, having big ships simply means you're presenting big targets

I believe one US carrier battle group could destroy most of Iran's military capability without trying terribly hard.

There are 12 carrier battle groups.
posted by frogan at 5:02 PM on February 18, 2006


A Note On The Iranian Oil Bourse
posted by homunculus at 5:18 PM on February 18, 2006


I'm not sure if cruise missiles are the threat they used to be.
posted by slatternus at 7:28 PM on February 18, 2006


Who's Winning in Iraq? Iran.
posted by homunculus at 9:53 PM on February 18, 2006


I thought Iran basically had us by the short hairs because they can start lobbing missiles at tankers that go through the Persian Gulf. Naturally, this would be especially insidious if they let tankers bound for Russia and China through, and only destroyed the ones aimed for the US. So basically, even without nukes, they can pretty much seriously jack our shit up at will. I think they hold the cards here.
posted by beth at 12:21 AM on February 19, 2006


frogan: I believe one US carrier battle group could destroy most of Iran's military capability without trying terribly hard.

Well, you know what they say over at Disney: If you believe it hard enough, it just might come true....

Put another way: Those carrier-based planes are really helping us put down the insurgency in Iraq, aren't they?

Put still another (more blunt) way: Speculations about how many Iranians (or Syrians or North Koreans) Our Boys could lick in a fair fight amount (AFAICS) to little more than adolescent power-projection fantasies, on par with the latest war-/violence-porn output of the US entertainment industry.
posted by lodurr at 9:31 AM on February 20, 2006


y2karl, I fear that yet again, you are behaving in a too rational manner. I don't think anyone's yet lost money overestimating the bloody-minded hubris of the Bushites.
posted by lodurr at 9:34 AM on February 20, 2006


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