Sunday, February 26, 2012


(Click on cartoon by Khalil Bendib to enlarge)
By Eric Margolis
February 25, 2012

"What kind of defense could Iran actually mount against an attack on its nuclear and military infrastructure by Israel and/or the United States?

First of all, discount all the TV pictures of Iranian missiles being fired and troops marching in review. They are designed to boost civilian morale at home. Ironically, Western media has used them to trumpet Iran’s alleged military threat. One major US TV network, NBC, even has a fixed logo on its reports from Iran: “Iran Threat.”

In reality, Iran, in spite of its 71 million population and oil wealth, is militarily quite weak. Islamic Iran has been under punishing US-led military and economic sanctions since its 1979 revolution, joining other sanctions targets North Korea and Cuba.

As a result, Iran has been unable to modernize most of its 1960’s/1970’s vintage military arsenal, much of which was supplied by the US and Britain to the Shah....

But any US assault of Iran, would open by surprise attacks from waves of cruise missiles and stealth aircraft against Iranian air bases, ports and communications hubs. Most of Iran’s air force and navy would be destroyed. Iran’s obsolete air defenses would be put out of action by missile and cyber-warfare attacks.

Iran’s primary method of counter-attacking would consist of commando raids against US bases in the Gulf, Afghanistan, Pakistan and, possibly, on Saudi oil installations. But no such attacks would prove decisive or alter the course of the conflict. Iran would be pounded until its attackers decided to cease fire....

Without nuclear warheads, the not very accurate Shahab’s are of little more use than Saddam Hussein’s laughably ineffective Scuds in 2003. Firing a few at Israel would immediately be picked up by the US early-alert satellite system, into which Israel is linked, and run the risk of triggering possible nuclear strikes by Israel.

Who knows if an incoming missile has a conventional or nuclear warhead? Israel might just believe its own propaganda about Iran’s alleged nuclear capabilities...."

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