Martin van Creveld, a professor of military history and strategy at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, recently told Newsmax that militarily, the greatest risks [if the US attacks Iran] would be to U.S. troops in Iraq. Those soldiers are configured to fight an insurgency, and a conventional attack by Iranian forces could result in some U.S. troops being isolated and in danger, he said.
“You can well imagine a scenario where they are surrounded, and where the U.S. would use tactical nuclear weapons to extricate them,” he said.
I received this excellent analysis from a friend which I share with you by permission:
Iran is doing its best to emulate the puff adder. If it weren’t for the more or less open backing of Russia, China, and Germany, Iran would have folded its hand already.
Professor van Creveld correctly analyzes that an Iranian terrorist response to American destruction of the nuclear assets has little strategic value.
His fears that the Iranians will respond by invading Iraq are ignorant.
Iran has no ability to invade Iraq. A war with the United States would risk the break-up of Iran.
Assuming that President Ahmadinejad and the Council of Guardians ARE completely insane, they could order an invasion, but the invasion force would be quickly decimated in a theatre dominated by American air power, and their units’ mobility, resupply, and extraction would be rendered impossible. Precision guided munitions would aerosolize Iranian supply convoys, troop concentrations, and command centers. An Iranian invasion would be a complete disaster.
The Iranian commanders know this.
Furthermore, a protracted war with the United States would lead potentially to the break-up of the Iranian nation, which is really an empire cobbled together by the imperialist Persians, from various and still unassimilated conquered peoples. There are four large subjugated populations that would welcome the opportunity that a real war would provide to break away from their Farsi speaking masters, the Azeris, the Kurds, the Balochi Pashtoons, and the Arabs.
Iran would experience the same consequences that the Ottoman and the Ethiopian Empires experienced.
The mullahs have to know this. That is why I think if we look serious enough, the theocrats will back down.
Professor van Creveld is correct that strategically, the Gulf States have more to fear from the Iranian bomb than Israel. The Iranians could use the nuclear threat to leverage their influence on OPEC policies.
Besides all this, we have more to fear, a LOT more, from the already existing nuclear arsenal of the world’s largest, open air, lunatic asylum, Pakistan. Especially, as our President assiduously insists that President Musharraf emulate the late Shah and hand the keys to the madhouse over to the elected representatives of the rabid mobs. You’d think he wouldn’t want to go down in History as the Repuglican Jimmy Carter. At least the Shah was a real ally.
But one never knows.