News Will the US use Nukes against Iran?

  • Thread starter Art
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I don't think that the US will use nuclear weapons. However, a conventional strike against Iran is possible. Bush has repeatedly said that he doesn't exclude it. He says that "all options are on the table but we are focussing on diplomacy right now".

If it comes to war, the outcome will be disastrous. Iran knows that the US doesn't want to send ground forces into Iran, so the Iranians will do exactly what Hezbollah did during the Lebanon war: Force the enemy to send in ground forces. Hezbollah basically shut down Northern Israel with their missiles. Now these missiles were made in Iran, and Iran has far more and better missiles than Hezbollah has.

If you look at a map of the Mid East and focus on the oil installations, you'll see that many oil installations are not so far from the Iranian border. In fact the major oil installations in Iraq, Kuwayt, Saudi-Arabia, Abu Dhabi and Bahrein are all within the range of short range Iranian missiles. This is significant, because Iran has a huge stockpile of such weapons. These missiles are propelled by solid fuel, so they an be fired quickly and then the launcher can be hidden before US planes have a chance to take it out.

So, from the strengths and weaknesses of both parties we can see how the war will evolve. The US has complete air supremacy and doesn't want to commit ground forces. They just want to bomb some nuclear installations (but will have to bomb a wide range of targets to be able to do that safely, air defense assets etc. must be taken out).

Iran has missiles and they can attack an enemy that has complete air superiority as they demonstrated in the Lebanon war (Note that Hezbollah was trained by the Iranians). Iran, of course, has no chance at all to successfully deploy troops or their navy.

Iran also has many high prize targets that they can hit:The oil installations. Can tey be defended using patriot missiles? Not really, because the Iranians can simply overwhelm such a defense. Also the Patriot system was not so effective in the Lebanon war (it doesn't work well against short range missiles).

I don't think that Iran would attack oil installations without any warning. I think that they will give the Gulf States a warning that if they continue to sell oil to the enemy then the oil installations will be attacked.

Since Iran can survive after being bombed, but the West cannot do without oil from the Mid East, Iran will win the war. The only way to change this conclusion is by assuming that the US will send in ground forces. The objective would be to clear a region inside Iran of the missile launchers. Once that happens all bets are off. I think that the US will find itself in another never ending war in Iran for unclear purposes. The original goal of taking out the nuclear installations will be long forgotten, just like no one mentions WMD when discussing the situation in Iraq today.
 

BobG

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You're probably right about how Iran would like to fight the war and they could do some serious damage fairly quickly.

They won't be able to keep firing missiles for more than a week or two, though, and only that long because the US would probably target air defenses first.

The US can't invade Iran right now, which lowers the risk, but Iran faces some serious problems fighting an open war and would have a pretty small chance of success. Their best bet is to keep doing what they're doing - supplying weapons, training, and some small scale "unofficial" actions. A long civil war in Iraq will result in the US leaving if Iran's patient enough.

Of course, the big problem is that things won't stay the same in the region as a whole and I don't think either Iran or the US can control what's happening. The region is on the verge of world war. If Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the other smaller Arab Sunni states line up with the US against Shiite states (and maybe Turkey and Pakistan?), then Iran faces a pretty big disaster. In fact, if the US withdraws from the middle east and the Arab Sunni states line up against Shiite states, Iran faces a pretty big disaster. If countries line up differently, then the US could face a pretty big disaster. I think Iran might still find it hard to believe Arab countries would ally themselves with the US when the US supports Israel. Hussein thought the same thing when he invaded Kuwait.
 
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A

Art

The US may be able to persuade the rulers of the Sunni states to line up for them through threats and inducements but I doubt very much the people of those states will do the US's bidding which could quickly lead to the overthrow of some of those despotic regimes with the arms the US supplied falling into the hands of people who hate the US.
 
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