Summary: This is post #80 about our long conflict with Iran, continuing the FM website’s long-held forecast that there will be no attack on Iran. At last we discuss the mystery of this conflict: why so many years of bold threats by US and Israel against Iran, saber-rattling never followed by military action? Usually this weakens the aggressors, making them look like paper tigers — diminishing their reputations and credibility. What do we seek to accomplish? The answer is obvious (like the Emperor’s new clothes), although almost never stated in our news media or by our geopolitical experts (who prefer pretty lies). Sanctions, not war, are the tool shaping the Middle East into a form better suiting the US-Israel-Saudi alliance.
Also see the follow-up to this post: Threats to attack Iran are smoke. Sanctions on Iran are our tool. Weakening Iran is our goal.
We are now in the fifth year of the most recent phase of a long-term campaign against Iran, extending back to the Iranian Revolution in 1979. This phase began in December 2007 with release of the National Intelligence Estimate Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities, stating that in 2003 Iran stopped its explicit program to develop atomic weapons. This changed the dynamics of the struggle from explicit war-mongering of the previous phase (“Anyone can go to Bagdad. Real men go to Tehran”), which assumed that Iran — like Iraq — was developing WMDs and hence a legitimate target of western force (ie, the debate was about when and how).
Dire forecasts that Iran will have nukes soon go back to 1984 (see Iran will have the bomb in 5 years (again)). So many years of empty threats and repeated false forecasts are expensive, resulting in diminished reputation and credibility. Especially in the past year, contradicted by so many statements by US officials and retired Israeli officials.
Are our actions rational? What are our goals in this conflict? To see our goals, see what we’ve accomplished: an ever-tightening network of sanctions on Iran, strangling its finances, trade, and infrastrcuture development. After the destruction of the Baathist State in Iraq, the Shiite regime in Iran was the only potential regional hegemon. The only State capable of and willing to oppose US suzerainty in the Middle East, Israel’s expansion into the Palestinian territories, and the Sunni domination of Islam. Both Iran and Iraq have vast oil reserves, and crippling them not only pushed up oil prices but also removed them as potential leaders of OPEC — making weakening Iran a hat trick for the Saudi Princes.
Of course, the US has long targeted Iran and Iraq as potential regional rivals to be controlled or broken. Operation Ajax in 1953 installed a friendly regime in Iran. The US was to some degree involved in the November 1963 coup d’état in Iraq. More recently there were the UN sanctions against Iraq from 1990 – 2003, which long outlived their original purpose — but nicely served the alliance’s interests, making invasion and occupation feasible.
Alliances are born and thrive amidst shared goals, and the US-Israel-Saudi alliance has been one of the most successful of the 21st century’s first decades. It’s so obvious and simple that it require no coodination, just clear understanding of each nation’s goals.
Will the US or Israel attack Iran?
- High risk. Who knows how Iran will repsond?
- It might build support for Iran among nations with large Islamic populations, and even among nonaligned nations.
- It might boost support for jihadists in western and Islamic nations.
- It might not substantially damage Iran’s (legal) enrichment programs.
The discussion of war is red-meat for the armchair strategists who provide cheerleaders for the US military machine (which has eaten US foreign policy). But the senior leaders of the US-Israel-Saudi alliance are not blood-thirsty like the fools in the bleachers cheering for immediate war. Sanctions worked well to weaken Iraq, and will do the same to Iran, The sanctions against Iran began in 2006, and become tight and oppressive later this year (see Wikipedia). Perhaps in 5 or 10 years Iran too will become vulnerable for invasion, occupation, and neutering. Especially if economic hardship creates internal strife (aided by US and Israeli subversion programs, including support for anti-regime terrorists).
It’s called RealPolitik. Done in the name of the American people, although producing no benefits for us.
For more information
See the FM Reference Page about Iran, with these sections:
- Background Information about Iran
- Posts about Iran
- About Iran’s nukes
- Information operations to build support for war with Iran
- Posts about a strike by the US at Iran
- Posts about a strike by Israel at Iran
- Strafor about Iran’s atomic programs
- Articles about a war with Iran
12 thoughts on “The hidden objective of our alliance against Iran”
Sir, it is hard for most Iranians to figure it out, how much of a benefit has this “RealPolitik” actually brought home to Washington. Equally, nor are they seriously of the belief that even those in charge in Washington really know what these sanctions against Iran are actually for.
You see, your government [assuming you are an American] engineered those sanctions against Iraq, and got the intended results; not by design of course, but rather by default: Not because the receiving-end [Iraq] was a nation-state. Rather because, there were no Iraqi people as such there at the time to defend the Iraqi state against those sanctions. Just like everything else one hears – of all Americans’ in foreign policy or military triumphalism in the face of almost zero-risk. Subjecting a defenseless third-world society, such as Iraq to even preventing its impoverished folks from having access to medicines or other little essentials, and the daily bombing raids on what little industry they had. All in all, seen from a neutral perspective, there was no real victory in there for Washington to gloat about.
As for the Western media-machine’s great hoo-ha, to call it “a great triumph for the crusading Western liberal democracy”, that says it all. Just remember, the Anglo/American diplomacy/military show in Baghdad in 2003, only defeated a pathetic little Arab dictator and his henchmen; there were no Iraqi people to be defeated or be seen anywhere. It certainly was a naked defeat in the face of all-American triumphalism. There shall be a page in not too distant history, where in the neighboring Iran time would testify on the great lessons the Iranians taught this crumbling American empire how to be realistic: Until then, good by!
Thank you for giving us another perspective on these matters!
I’m sorry, I don’t understand – if there is no benefit for the American people in the allegiance against Iran, then what do the political elites designing the policy see in it?
Presumably they have a benefit in mind. What is it?
Think of it as an agency problem. Our leaders and America’s stakeholders have divergent interests from the American people. This is a commonplace of empires. The Roman Empire brought few benefits to the plebes. The British Empire brought few benefits to the mass of the British people (this is reflected well in Kipling; see George Orwell’s article about Kipling for details).
FM: “The British Empire brought few benefits to the mass of the British people”
looks like one of them was George Orwell. nice link!
I understand and agree!
Orwell of course disliked the Empire, a common theme in his works. Perhaps the best is Shooting an Elephant.
“So many years of empty threats and repeated false forecasts are expensive, resulting in diminished reputation and credibility.”
I’ve lost track of how many times over the years these warnings of imminent attacks against Iran have coincided with US-Saudi arms deals and sales to other Arab states, which would normally raise objections from Israel.
Maybe the Israelis got a good deal on that sub they bought from the Germans. Mutual assured destruction is a particularly effective strategy if it only goes in one direction: we can destroy you, but don’t you even talk too loudly about wanting the capability that might allow you to destroy us.
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Transcript of Mitt Romney on “Face the Nation”, 17 June 2012 — Excerpt:
Jonathan Bernstein comments at the Washington Post:
“Romney’s Delusion: America Cannot Survive Containing a Nuclear Iran“, Daniel Larison, The American Conservative, 18 June 2012 — Excerpt:
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