Speculation mounting of an attack on Iran

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  • Thread starter Art
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Will the US and/or Israel attack Iran this year?

  • Yes

    Votes: 5 15.6%
  • No

    Votes: 27 84.4%

  • Total voters
    32
  • #1
Art

Main Question or Discussion Point

The BBC has added it's voice to the mounting speculation that Bush and Olmert may be planning an attack on Iran before the end of their terms of office.

Analysis: Growing talk of Iran attack

The BBC's Middle East Editor, Jeremy Bowen, looks at increasing speculation that Iran may come under attack because of its nuclear programme.
snip
The speculation is that President George W Bush and Prime Minister Olmert want to remove what they believe is a clear and present danger before they face their own political oblivion.

Mr Bush is finishing his time at the White House still dogged by the disaster of Iraq - and Mr Olmert faces disgrace over allegations of corruption.
snip
One scenario being discussed by Israeli analysts is that there could be an attack, by Israel or by the Americans, after the US election in November and before the new president is inaugurated in January, with the tacit consent of the incoming president.

That might be easier if it is Senator Obama's Republican rival John McCain.

During the campaign for his party's nomination, he once sang "bomb bomb bomb, bomb bomb Iran" to the tune of the Beachboys' classic Barbara Ann.

In a less jocular moment, he said that the only thing worse than attacking Iran would be to allow it to have nuclear weapons.

Some pro-Israeli US analysts are arguing that Iran's response to an attack would not be as harsh as many have predicted.
The full article is available here http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/7439431.stm

What do people here think? Will the US and/or Israel attack Iran before the end of Bush's term in office?
 
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Answers and Replies

  • #2
mheslep
Gold Member
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BBC said:
...That might be easier if it is Senator Obama's Republican rival John McCain.
Hardly.
Sen. Obama at AIPAC June 4 said:
We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, everything.
...
[Iran's] president denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.
Art said:
What do people here think? Will the US and/or Israel attack Iran before the end of Bush's term in office?
Maybe sometime into an Obama Presidency based on these statements, not before.
 
  • #3
246
6
Israel can do whatever it wants, but it does not have the military power to launch more than an air skirmish against Iran.

A real military campaign, aerial or ground would require the military power of the United States. The constitution is pretty explicit about the war powers being reserved to congress. Simply put, constitutionally, Bush cannot legally launch a significant air or ground strike against Iran without congressional approval, which is unlikely to be forthcoming.

Iran has been interfering with the internal affairs of Iraq, especially in the Shi'ite south for some time now in order to promote what they believe are their national interests. A limited strike against certain Iranian forces might be doable, but the consequences of the use of significant military power against Iran is going to lead to them retaliating by redoubling their efforts to destabilize Iraq, something that coalition forces absolutely cannot afford right now, as things are barely under control in the country as it is.
 
  • #4
quadraphonics
but the consequences of the use of significant military power against Iran is going to lead to them retaliating by redoubling their efforts to destabilize Iraq,
I'm not so sure about that. A destabilized Iraq is not really in Iran's interest, given the border they share and various other regional issues. Although, if we replace the word "destablize" by "subvert American plans in," then that's a different story.
 
  • #5
mheslep
Gold Member
311
728
There are millions more Shia in Iraq, 60%+ of the population. I would have to see a good argument as why Iran's default policy would not be to just annex the heavily Shia parts of Iraq. At least in the Mullah's minds, I would think this likely.
 
  • #6
52
0
I voted "no" because I think war is bad. :smile:

But, Israel can take care of its self and if they feel that there is an immanent threat from Iran, they have the capability to take care of it. With or without US approval/help.
 
  • #7
russ_watters
Mentor
19,251
5,251
What do people here think? Will the US and/or Israel attack Iran before the end of Bush's term in office?
Well, at least we won't have to wait until 2012 for this one to die.
 
  • #8
Evo
Mentor
23,105
2,455
If what Obama says can be believed, if he's elected , Iran will conform immediately or they are toast.
 
  • #9
246
6
I'm not so sure about that. A destabilized Iraq is not really in Iran's interest, given the border they share and various other regional issues. Although, if we replace the word "destablize" by "subvert American plans in," then that's a different story.
What Iran is interested in is an Iranian puppet government in Iraq. They are not interested in a democracy, like that which exists there now.

When coalition troops withdraw, they need to leave behind a stable Iraqi democracy, otherwise it will fail, the Sunni and Shi'ite factions will engage in a civil war, with the Shi'ites supported by Iran, and the Sunnis supported by Saudi Arabia and other Arab states.

At the end of the day, the Ayatollah would probably rather see a destabilized, impotent Iraq engaged in an endless civil war than a stable, united, democratic Iraq. It is simple logic; there are more Shi'ites than Sunni Arabs, so Iranian-supported factions would have an upper hand in a civil war, and so long as Sunni Arabs in Iraq are fighting Shi'ite Arabs, they are no threat to Iran itself.

One important factor to remember is that there is still a lot of resentment and fear about Iraq, a country that fought them in a long, bloody war with plenty of ruthless violations of international law.
 
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  • #10
246
6
There are millions more Shia in Iraq, 60%+ of the population. I would have to see a good argument as why Iran's default policy would not be to just annex the heavily Shia parts of Iraq. At least in the Mullah's minds, I would think this likely.
Because, it will never work so long as Iraq has a sovereign central government, and, if and when the government falls, Iran will not simply be able to send its troops waltzing into Southern Iraq. The Sunni Arab states will make sure of that. The last thing that they want is Iran to expand its influence and territory, not to mention that US and British forces could pound Iranian troops to dust from the air before they reached the border.

A direct annexation of Iraqi territory is pretty unlikely. The Iranian religious leaders may be bold, but they are not stupid. They can reap more rewards simply by supply indirect support to friendly Shi'ite factions and militias.
 
  • #11
DrClapeyron
bomb bomb iran, now that is legit. elect mccain.
 
  • #12
Evo
Mentor
23,105
2,455
Obama is very clear on Iran.

The Iranian regime supports violent extremists and challenges us across the region. It pursues a nuclear capability that could spark a dangerous arms race and raise the prospect of a transfer of nuclear know-how to terrorists.

Its president denies the Holocaust and threatens to wipe Israel off the map. The danger from Iran is grave, it is real, and my goal will be to eliminate this threat.

(APPLAUSE)

But just as we are clear-eyed about the threat, we must be clear about the failure of today's policy. We knew in 2002 that Iran supported terrorism. We knew Iran had an illicit nuclear program. We knew Iran proposed a great threat to Israel.

But instead of pursuing a strategy to address this threat, we ignored it and instead invaded and occupied Iraq.

When I opposed the war, I warned that it would fan the flames of extremism in the Middle East. That is precisely what happened in Iran. The hard-liners tightened their grip, and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005. And the United States and Israel are less secure.

I respect Senator McCain, and I look forward to a substantive debate with him these next five months. But on this point, we have differed, and we will differ.

Senator McCain refuses to understand or acknowledge the failure of the policy he would continue. He criticizes my willingness to use strong diplomacy, but offers only an alternative reality, one where the war in Iraq has somehow put Iran on its heels.

The truth is the opposite: Iran has strengthened its position. Iran is now enriching uranium, and it has reportedly stockpiled 150 kilos of low-enriched uranium. Its support for terrorism and threats towards Israel have increased.

Those are the facts. And they cannot be denied. And I refuse to continue a policy that has made the United States and Israel less secure.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, Senator McCain and others offers a false choice: stay the course in Iraq or cede the region to Iran.

I reject this logic, because there is a better way. Keeping all of our troops tied down indefinitely in Iraq is not the way to weaken Iran; it is precisely what has strengthened it. It is a policy for staying, not a policy for victory.

I have proposed a responsible phased redeployment of our troops from Iraq. We will get out as carefully as we were careless getting in. We will finally pressure Iraq's leaders to take meaningful responsibility for their own future.

We will also use all elements of American power to pressure Iran. I will do everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, everything in my power to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, everything.

(APPLAUSE)

That starts with aggressive, principled, tough diplomacy, without self-defeating preconditions, but with a clear-eyed understanding of our interests.

We have no time to waste. We cannot unconditionally rule out an approach that could prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

We have tried limited, piecemeal talks, while we outsourced the sustained work to our European allies. It has not worked. It is time for the United States to lead.

(APPLAUSE)

Now, there will be careful preparation. We will open up lines of communication, build an agenda, coordinate closely with our allies, especially Israel, and evaluate the potential for progress.

And contrary to the claims of some, I have no interest in sitting down with our adversaries just for the sake of talking. But as president of the United States, I would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leaders at a time and place of my choosing, if and only if it can advance the interests of the United States.

That is my position. I want it to be absolutely clear.

Only recently have some come to think that diplomacy by definition cannot be tough. They forget the example of Truman, and Kennedy, and Reagan. These presidents understood that diplomacy, backed by real leverage, was a fundamental tool of statecraft.

And it is time to once again make American diplomacy a tool to succeed, not just a means of containing failure.

We will pursue this diplomacy with no illusions about the Iranian regime. Instead, we will present a clear choice: If you abandon your dangerous nuclear program, your support for terror, and your threats to Israel, there will be meaningful incentives, including the lifting of sanctions and political and economic integration with the international community. If you refuse, we will ratchet up the pressure.

My presidency will strengthen our hand as we restore our standing. Our willingness to pursue diplomacy will make it easier to mobilize others to join our cause.

If Iran fails to change course when presented with this choice by the United States, it will be clear to the people of Iran and to the world that the Iranian regime is the author of its own isolation. And that will strengthen our hand with Russia and China, as we insist on stronger sanctions in the Security Council.

And we should work with Europe, Japan, and the gulf states to find every avenue outside the United Nations to isolate the Iranian regime, from cutting off loan guarantees and expanding financial sanctions, to banning the export of refined petroleum to Iran, to boycotting firms associated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, who Quds Forces have rightly been labeled a terrorist organization.

(APPLAUSE)

I was interested to see Senator McCain propose divestment as a source of leverage, not the bigoted divestment that has sought to punish Israeli scientists and academics, but divestment targeted at the Iranian regime. It's a good concept, but not a new one.

I introduced legislation over a year ago that would encourage states and the private sector to divest from companies that do business in Iran.

(APPLAUSE)

This bill has bipartisan support. This bill has bipartisan support. But for reasons that I'll let him explain, Senator McCain never signed on. Meanwhile, an anonymous senator is blocking the bill.

It is time to pass this into law so that we can tighten the squeeze on the Iranian regime. We should pursue also unilateral sanctions that target Iranian banks and Iranian assets.

(APPLAUSE)

And if we want real leverage over Iran, we must free ourselves from the tyranny of oil.

We should work -- we should work with Israel, increasing scientific collaboration and joint research and development. The surest way to increase our leverage in the long term is to stop bankrolling the Iranian regime.

Finally, let there be no doubt: I will always keep the threat of military action on the table to defend our security and our ally, Israel. Do not be confused.
http://www.nytimes.com/2008/06/04/us/politics/04text-obama-aipac.html?pagewanted=6&_r=2&sq=aipac&st=nyt&scp=3
 
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  • #13
vanesch
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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I really wonder what is the problem with Iran developing a nuclear weapon. I will of course agree that from *my* PoV, I would prefer them not to. However, if I were an Iranian, I would prefer my country to have them, I think. It would give a more secure feeling, in a world that looks upon my country in a very negative way.
I don't think Iran having nuclear weapons is an unsurmountable threat to anyone, except to those who are planning to *invade* Iran. I think the Cold War has shown us that no country possessing nuclear weapons dares to use them from the moment that the other side also has some. So let us assume for the moment that has happened what will inevitably happen one day: Iran has nukes. Indeed, I'm of the opinion that if that's what they *really* want, nobody will be able to stop them. One can slow them down, or one can try to make them change their minds. But if they don't decide themselves to change their minds, then inevitably one day they will have nuclear weapons. So let us imagine that yesterday, Iran exploded its first nuclear weapon in a test. So what ?

The only target they might really want to hit is Israel, but Israel has enough retaliatory power to rubble Iran too. So contrary to the strong words of M. Ahmadinejad, I don't think he will push the button, as he knows that he might indeed destroy Israel, but he will also destroy Iran, entirely, on the same occasion. So I bet anything you want that he won't push the button. Giving a nuke to a terrorist group is equivalent to pushing on the button, so that won't happen either.

So even if Iran has nukes, it won't do anything with them. It will only be a guarantee for them not to suffer a major invasion, that's all. That's all nukes are good for. They are impossible arms to use as offensive weapons by a nation, only as ultimately defensive weapons. MAD works. If Iraq had had nuclear weapons, the US wouldn't have invaded them, and that would have been better for everyone.
 
  • #14
Alfi
So I bet anything you want that he won't push the button.
you bet with other peoples lives?

I would prefer my country to have them, I think. It would give a more secure feeling, in a world that looks upon my country in a very negative way.
I would prefer, and it would make me feel more secure, if no country waisted any more money on atomic weapons.
 
  • #15
turbo
Gold Member
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I would prefer that nobody have nukes, and would be thrilled to see cooperative, verifiable nuclear disarmament. Absent that, the best reason to have nukes is deterrence against attack.

Israel is believed to have about 150 nukes and they are acting as if it would be the end of the world if Iran built one. That is unrealistic in the extreme, because Israel could flatten Iran like a bug.
 
  • #16
Alfi
One EMP would render most of the high tech weapons and systems to the blue screen of death.

So could one really big mass ejection by the sun for that matter. ( hehe pun ) .... it's a weakness in high tech warfare and a weakness to rely on it too much.

The mutual assured destruction defense is mad-ness
 
  • #17
918
16
I voted no. However, the threat is often more effective than the execution. I can just hear Bush now.

We're going into Iran to look for WMD. This time I'm telling the truth. The Iranian people will greet us as liberators. This time I'm not just making it up. The mission will be accomplished in a few weeks. This time I really mean it.
 
  • #18
vanesch
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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The mutual assured destruction defense is mad-ness
Sure, I agree. But it is madness that works :smile: Or at least, that has shown to work at least once.

I would also prefer everybody living peaceful one next to another, but humanity has a bad record for that. And I really wonder whether, if there hadn't been any nukes, Western Europe wouldn't have been invaded by the Soviet block during the Cold War. I know that it is just opinion and can be discussed, but I tend to believe that nukes was what made the Cold war "cold". Of course with a non-negligible risk factor of blowing everything up.

So, again, me too I would prefer not there to have to be these terrible weapons. But if they can change real conflicts with real casualties into just threats and some fear, then we won something. Again, I don't mind too much any *nation* to have a few nukes. Terrorists, that's something else. But nations, no. They will not use it.
 
  • #19
Gokul43201
Staff Emeritus
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I voted "no" because I think war is bad. :smile:
The poll question was "Will the US...?", not "Should the US...?"

Looks like you've answered the wrong question.
 
  • #20
Astronuc
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I voted No. It's not practical. The US military is overextended as it is.

Politically, it would hurt McCain and the Republicans.

Economically, it would hurt the US economy, which isn't doing so hot lately.

Congress wouldn't approve it.
 
  • #21
turbo
Gold Member
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I voted No. It's not practical. The US military is overextended as it is.

Politically, it would hurt McCain and the Republicans.

Economically, it would hurt the US economy, which isn't doing so hot lately.

Congress wouldn't approve it.
I hope you're right. Of course, the US Congress cannot tell Israel what to do, and if Israel wants to launch a preemptive attack on Iran in the hopes of embroiling our carrier groups in the conflict we cannot control that. It is highly unlikely that Iran would absorb such an attack without engaging in hostilities against the carrier groups, and the neo-cons could characterize any US response as "self defense" and start a pretty hot war without any input from congress. The US news media is supine and the public has a tendency to wave flags and buy yellow ribbons when the war-mongers strike, so I don't think we're out of the woods based on what rational people like you or I might do.
 
  • #22
seycyrus
I voted no. I believe the U.S. is not strategically deployed to attack Iran at the moment.

I also believe that Israel has sufficient force and intelligence (of the CIA kind) to strategically bomb select targets to postpone Iran's development of nuclear weapons, for "another 6 months" for an indefinite amount of time.

I do not believe that Iran should be allowed to have nuclear weapons. The mere act of ownership opens up a whole new avenue of options for Iran. They have pledged to destroy Israel. The only thing that has stopped them until now is fear of retaliation.

If they possessed a nuclear weapon, they could greatly increase their support of attacks against Israel and/or directly attack Irael themselves. If we were to interfere, then the US would be the one that would have to fear retaliation, of the nuclear kind.
 
  • #23
52
0
Looks like you've answered the wrong question.
Questions was; Will the US and/or Israel attack Iran this year? I said No... am I missing something?? If Israel wants to attack (and feels like they have good reason to do so) I feel they would. But I hope it will not happen.
 
  • #24
seycyrus
...
embroiling our carrier groups in the conflict we cannot control that. It is highly unlikely that Iran would absorb such an attack without engaging in hostilities against the carrier groups, and the neo-cons could characterize any US response as "self defense" and start a pretty hot war without any input from congress.
So, in your opinion, given the scenario you just depicted. Iran should just be allowed to attack our carrier groups without reprisal?

Thank God for the Neo-cons!
 
  • #25
turbo
Gold Member
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So, in your opinion, given the scenario you just depicted. Iran should just be allowed to attack our carrier groups without reprisal?

Thank God for the Neo-cons!
Please stop attributing ignorant ideas to me. I never said that and you know it. If Iran attacks any members of our carrier groups, they will be counter-attacked. That's what the military does. The wild card is if Israel wants to trigger such a confrontation.
 

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