Tuesday, August 28, 2007
Dr Dan Plesch and Martin Butcher
79-page report in pdf format.
The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days, if not hours, of President George Bush giving the order.
This report is focussed on the prospect of the possible attempted destruction of the Iranian regime and state by the United States and its allies. It neither examines the realities of Iran’s nuclear programme, the negotiations between Iran and the international community nor does it examine in detail the human, political, economic and environmental consequences of such an attack.
Nevertheless a number of conclusions can be reached.
1. If the attack is “successful” and the US reasserts its global military dominance and reduces Iran to the status of an oil-rich failed state, then the risks to humanity in general and to the states of the Middle East are grave indeed.
The two world wars of 1914-18 and 1939-1945, the creation of nuclear weapons, and the advent of global warming have created successive lessons that humanity and states cannot prosper or survive long unless they hold their security in common-sharing sovereignty and power to ensure both survival and prosperity.
A “successful” US attack, without UN authorisation, would return the world to the state that existed in the period before the war of 1914-18, but with nuclear weapons.
The self-styled realists argue that this is an inevitable and manageable world, the naivety of imagining a nuclear armed world without nuclear war is utopian in the extreme.
States and regimes in the region may consider that in the short-run they would benefit from the implosion of Iran and the eclipse of Shi’a power. However, the threat from within from disaffected elements outraged at further unabashed Western militarism is likely to threaten crowns and republics alike. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi deaths have had no electoral cost to American and British leaders, the same number of Iranian deaths may have equally little impact in the West, but it is unimaginable that it would not cause far greater spurs to anger than already exist in the region.
The impact of on Turkey of an autonomous Iranian and Iraqi territory of Kurdistan is hard to overestimate.
2. If the attack is pursued with the skill of the Iraq campaign then we face major and unpredictable escalation arising from the fallacy of attempting to make “the last move” on the political game board. Should Iranians rally to their battered state regardless of their, then what has been seen in Iraq will merely become an overture to a larger regional war, and one where a blip in oil prices becomes a prolonged global recession. Regional instability that might follow “victory” will be magnified. The Shakespearean quote, “cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war” expresses the simple rule that wars, like fires are far easier to start than to contain or put out.
3. The potential for a major regional war over Iran should give greater impetus to all sides to avoid conflict and act on previously agreed objectives for security in the region as a whole. In this respect the UNSC (687, 1540) objective of establishing a WMD Free Zone in the Middle East should be given far greater political investment by all parties."