Elijah J. Magnier | @ejmalrai
War between the US and Iran is not likely in the next two months, regardless of media campaigns, US unilateral sanctions, and the build-up of US military forces in the Middle East. The US sanctions against Iran date back to 1979 and were actually intensified during the Obama era on a much larger scale than the sanctions imposed a year ago by the present US administration. Iran agreed to negotiate a deal with Obama only when he agreed to recognise the right of Iran to undertake nuclear research and develop nuclear capability. US president Donald Trump is merely re-implementing sanctions previously imposed on Iran.
Notwithstanding the drums of war, a costly war is not the aim of either side and the threats, though palpably increasing tensions, are nothing more than threats. The beleaguered president and his neo-conservative team within the present administration seem surprisingly ignorant of how to deal with Iran. They are deliberately trying to create a dangerous situation in the Middle East but will end up emptying their guns, to no avail, into deep empty waters. However, over the next 60 days – the deadline announced by Iranian president Hassan Rouhani for European signatories of the nuclear deal to respect the commitments they made before partially withdrawing from the deal – the level of tension will grow. After the 60 days are over, Trump will have either to deescalate (which is unlikely), impose even more sanctions, allow the Europeans to deal with it, or consider a war option.
The US sanctions against Iran are not international but unilateral. The UN, Europe, Russia, China and Iraq are on Iran’s side even if not all are in a position to persuade Trump to change his mind and lift the sanctions on Iran.
Europe is off-balance due to the importance of its political, commercial and military relationship with the US on one hand, and the desire to honour its signature of the JCPOA agreement. Europe, like Iran, was caught off-guard by the US sanctions and is well aware of articles 26, 36 and 37 which allow Iranian officials to withdraw partially or fully from their commitments.
In Iran, President Rouhani has found a balance domestically between radicals and pragmatists. Many Iranian decision makers, led from behind the scenes by Leader Sayyed Ali Khamenei, believe that Iran should pull out of the nuclear deal (as provided for by the statement of understanding) signed by the international community and Iran.
The radicals never believed in the US commitment and were surprised when the Obama administration signed off on the JCPOA. In fact, Sayyed Ali Khamenei said “If the US fails to honour its commitment, we shall tear it up ourselves”. But he allowed President Rouhani to try and, for a few years, it looked like it was working.
Obama did try to negotiate other deals, but he failed because Sayyed Khamenei was adamant: “Only the nuclear deal is on the negotiating table”. The US administration wanted to discuss Iran’s support for its partners in Lebanon (Hezbollah), Palestine (Hamas and the Islamic Jihad), and various factions in Iraq who hold compatible objectives and ideology, its contestation of US world hegemony and Israel’s refusal of a Palestinian state. Indeed, if Iran were to halt its support to these non-state actors, it would goes against its own constitution and would disarm itself by separating from influential partners who will be much needed if the potential confrontations threatening the Middle East ever materialize.
In fact, the reason why Iran keeps these partners armed and financed is due to its absolute mistrust of US intentions since 1979. This mistrust has only increased since US forces occupied Afghanistan in 2001 and then Iraq in 2003, the war on Hezbollah (Iran’s partner) in Lebanon in 2006, and its (failed) regime change war on Syria. Iran strongly believes the US considers it as next on its “list of targets” – as stated by the US General Wesley Clark – with the goal of creating a “new Middle East”, a narrative presented by Prime Minister Shimon Peres in 1996, repeated by Condoleezza Rice in 2006, and by other US and Israeli officials ever since.
Trump’s ambition is to be re-elected in 2020. If he does declare war on Iran, he would hope to destroy Iran missiles bases in the first wave of attacks and create a situation similar to that in 1988 when Imam Khomeini accepted the peace resolution with Iraq, describing it as “worse than swallowing poison”.
Iran in 1988 did not have the same capabilities as Iran in 2019. Trump may not be able to force Iran to the negotiating table. A war will neither enable him to reach his objectives and destroy all of Iran’s capabilities nor will it stop Iran’s support of its Middle Eastern partners. And that’s apart from the possibility of ballooning prices for oil- and the fact that the US bases surround Iran are also potential targets for Iran’s precision ballistic missiles unless Trump manages to destroy them all in the first wave of attacks. One thing is certain, in the case of war Trump will create a human catastrophe in Iran. The Islamic Republic’s response will be harsh.
Poof-read by: Maurice Brasher and C.G.B
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps on full alert sending a clear warning to Gulf countries
Elijah J. Magnier
IRGC commander of Iran aerospace force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadi
Iran has deployed its ballistic and cruise missiles, some in positions visible to US satellites and drones. They are ready for any confrontation with the US military apparatus, in case the US administration decides on war. Iran is responding to President Donald Trump’s belligerent declaration that he is gathering more naval forces in the Persian Gulf as a possible preparation for war. The Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for a full readiness of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the army for the worst-case scenario. According to Iranian officials, “Iran will consider itself at war with every country in the Middle East that allows the US to use it as a base for its military campaign against Iran, the day Trump decides to go to war”.
The US announced a new deployment of Patriot anti-aircraft missiles in the Middle East and sent several B-52 bombers to a US base in Qatar. The US State Department approved a $2 billion sale of 60 Patriot Advanced Capability 3 missiles systems and 100 Patriot Guidance Enhanced-Tactical (GEM-T) missiles to the United Arab Emirates. The Patriot missile interceptor recently failed to intercept Houthi missileslaunched against Saudi Arabia.
Iran sent a message to all neighbouring countries that it will target every single country’s infrastructure and military base if the US uses it as a platform for a military campaign against it. According to well-informed sources, Tehran has deployed missiles capable of hitting any of the countries encircling Iran and wherever the US has a military presence usable in case of war.
Iran considers all US naval effectives present in the Persian Gulf as potential targets in case of war. They are within the range of its supersonic anti-ship missiles. The Iranian defence and missile launching systems spread over the country number several thousands, according to the source. The message behind all that is the fact that the US will be incapable of neutralising all the Iranian missile bases deployed. This means the Iranian military leadership will be in a position to destroy several targets in the Persian Gulf and in countries supporting the US military campaign. The Iranian leadership’s bank of objectives will not exclude oil rigs and platforms in the Gulf, and civilians and military harbours in the region, said the source.
“President Trump is dealing with Iran like he is trying to sell an apartment, leaving his business card and phone number for the potential buyer to contact him in case of an agreement. This is not how relationships between countries are handled. Iran is run by an ideological leadership and so are its armed forces. If we are attacked, we shall make sure the fire will reach not only our homes but all homes in every single country in the Middle East”, concluded the Iranian source.
The IRGC commander of Iran aerospace force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizade said: “A US battleship with 6000 personnel in the vicinity (Persian Gulf) with 40-50 jets onboard used to be a threat to us. Today it is a target”.
Poof-read by: Maurice Brasher & C.G.B