What Is Bush Planning For Iran?

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If we look at the Bush Administration's Middle East activity as part of one big puzzle, rather than discreet incidents, we start to see a plan that almost makes sense. Consider these tidbits gathered over the past couple of months:

  • The United Nations Security Council, in December, passes a resolution requiring Iran cease its nuclear activities within 60 days. The deadline is due to pass in February
  • President Bush replaces his top commanders in the region, placing an Admiral in change of the U.S. Central Command.
  • The Pentagon orders a second carrier group into the Gulf region, a commitment of a massive number of additional forces.
  • President Bush orders a "surge" of troops in Iraq, particularly around Baghdad, against what seems to be all political common sense.
  • Israel begins to make more noises about strikes on Iranian nuclear targets, perhaps using tactical nukes themselves.

If all of these details are part of one comprehensive scenario, I have some thoughts as to what it is.

If you were Iran, facing the threat of Western assault for your nuclear ambitions, what deterrent could you offer to hold off an attack:

Well, for one thing, you have a larger army than the committed western ground forces in the region. That is a fact that would make an Iraq-style invasion of your country unthinkable. While you could not hope to drive their forces from the region by force, you could threaten to overrun the meager U.S. Forces guarding the Sunni Triangle in Iraq. You might very well believe that such a loss would break America's will.

Another thing is foreign dependence on Gulf oil. Iran can exert control over the narrow straights at the opening of the Persian Gulf, effectively ceasing all naval travel. In addition, Iran has a substantial arsenal of missiles which could be trained on oil interests around the gulf. The absence of Iranian oil on the world market would create a substantial, but livable, spike in oil prices. Eliminate all Gulf oil from the world market and you are now talking about global recessions on the brink of a depression.

In the face of such threats from Iran, a determined Bush Administration would make exactly the preparations listed above if they wish to be in a position to force Iran to relinquish it's nuclear ambitions. Whether the build up is a preparation to begin a war, or prevent one, remains to be seen.


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