US and Israel should beware of taking on Iran
Iran is well able to retaliate
against any attack on their nuclear facilities
by Robert Fox
America's senior commander,
Admiral Mike Mullen, has firmly warned that involving US forces in a third war
now - against Iran - would prove "extremely stressful" for them. The
clear hint is that someone in the White House is still desperate to bomb
something in Iran
before they leave office.
The war fever is up again
over Iran's nuclear programme, which Tehran
still claims is only peaceful. Mullen refused to say what Israeli leaders told
him privately last week. But in June the Israelis flew some 100 aircraft across
the Mediterranean to practice aerial refuelling of their strike force of F15 and F16s. They
tanked them to travel a distance of some 2,000km - roughly the distance to Natanz, where Iran currently has thousands of
Natanz is the likely target of any
'fire power demonstration' by combined forces of America
But what would flattening the facilities, such as they are known, achieve?
"It would probably set Iran
back about two years," according to one US analyst. And it would leave a
terrible human mess. Some 35,000 Iranians have been housed close to the plant.
"An attack would be
crazy," the rising star of the Tehran
hierarchy, Ali Larijani, has said. He sees real
possibilities of productive talks now.
It seems almost incredible
that after their two disastrous efforts at war in Afghanistan
and Iraq, Bush and Cheney
might still be thinking of a third against Iran. The consequences could be
worse by far, because Iran
is well-prepared for retaliation, with land-launched anti-ship missiles ready
along the coast.
It plans to choke 40 per
cent of the world's oil in the Straits of Hormuz in
the Gulf, and trigger further offensives by the Taliban and the Tajik northern
alliance in Afghanistan.
There will be a general order to attack Anglo-American allies and interests.