This piece is Copyright 2009 by Jay B. Gaskill, all rights reserved, as first published on THE POLICY THINK SITE, www.jaygaskill.com .
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NO OIL FOR BLOOD
AN IMMODEST PROPOSAL
In a hostage standoff, the good guys are held at bay during
endless, usually pointless negotiations while the bad guys hold a large number
of innocent people under threat of execution. The variations on this
basic scheme are many, including every scenario the terrorists, thugs and move
makers can come up with. Apparently, no
one so far has noticed that the
The bad guys are using their “negotiation” time to build and deploy weapons strong enough to drive off the good guys (or so they think). That prospect poses a danger that is worse than the loss of all the hostages because the weapons the bad guys are working on are atomic bombs and the missiles to deliver them. Three successive American administrations (Clinton, Bush and Obama) have so far let the negotiations run on in spite of their apparent futility.
The time is up.
In recent years the hold of the ruling Mullahs (whose
council vets and controls political candidates in order to suppress
Western-style liberalization) have begun to lose popularity with the country’s
well educated (by Middle Eastern standards), young population. Some (but not all) experts hold out the
prospect for eventual regime amelioration, even the emergence of something
approaching West-friendly democratic governance. The recent election and subsequent
suppression of the reformists is a ‘teaching moment’. The mullahs who run
The Iranian regime has relentless pursued atomic bomb
technology, having obtained invaluable early assistance from the infamous Dr.
THE ‘MODEST’ PROPOSAL
We just take out the threat. Some strategic planners are concerned that air strikes alone won’t be able to completely eliminate the suspected nuclear weapons facilities, let alone find them all. This is why reliance on an Israeli air attack will not work.
Forces on the ground sufficient to operate effectively in-country would probably approach the scale of a small invasion force, straining already stretched American military resources. But necessity is necessity.
Our military intervention in Iran would almost certainly trigger several parallel reactions: (1) Immediate military pressure on Iraq, (2) A step-up in terror activity by Hamas and Hezbollah, throughout the region, (3) Major disruptions in the regional oil supply, with potentially serious economic repercussions, especially in this recession, (4) a surge in anti-American patriotism among the Iranian population, strengthening the hand of the mullahs.
NO OIL FOR BLOOD
This is the necessary new strategic position. NO OIL FOR BLOOD. We need to announce the policy, call it ‘the Obama Doctrine’, that oil revenues are not to be used to promote terror.
If our action, first
If, as in the case of
Without a doubt, the initial shock impact on the oil markets
will be severe, but (in this scenario) would be limited in time and
scope. Even if
The world total daily production of oil is about 76 million barrels,
more than 20 times
Here’s the deal: Most realistic analysts believe that this Modest Proposal – or something very like it – will be a choice of necessity WHEN diplomacy fails. The operative words are necessity and when.
Of course, nothing short of necessity will trigger the
consideration of the “Modest Proposal” option.
What is going on here is a failure of imagination coupled with
denial. The prospect of a civilized
Islamic country like, say
The question, “What would
BUT IS THIS THREAT REALLY A BIG DEAL?
Of course the Iranian threat is real and even more serious that the 911 attacks on American soil.
An updated anti-cruise missile weapon, described in a WIRED is an example. LINK: http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2009/05/irans-new-anti-missile-artillery/ . \
“Iran has started to mass-produce a new 40mm automatic cannon capable of shooting down cruise missiles ... Is this an alarming new development, a piece of junk that won’t make any difference in an actual war – or a sign of something more subtle?”
The article quoted suggests that the new anti-cruise missile
weapon is not a game changer, but it is evidence that
ARE THERE ANY VIABLE
STRATEGIES - OTHER THAN HAND WRINGING OR BOMBING THE CRAP OUT OF
Let’s fervently hope so.
Reportedly, when news of the swift fall of
Both of these are examples of classic thug behavior and this suggests a two pronged, multi-staged strategy.
AN IMMODEST ALTERNATIVE
THE GODFATHER PLOY
The alternative, the one between toothless diplomacy and an overt attack, borrows a page from the Mafia playbook and from the handbook of successful guerilla warriors: Intimidation and Sabotage, all under a veneer of deception, diplomacy and denial.
Note that the denial and deception need not be perfect.
In this scenario, we convey a ‘We’ll deny this, but you better heed’ back-channel threat to the mullahs and the military leadership, bypassing the “elected” president. But his time, we promise carefully targeted death, economic ruin and large scale humiliation.
For starters: We will destroy their economy. We will profoundly degrade all of their defense forces and capabilities... with systematic ruthlessness. We will not precede this series of events with a mere demonstration. We will just start doing it: Sabotage will be followed by more sabotage, followed by more and more. We will keep the back channel open, suggesting that all this can be avoided.
If we are good enough at the game and – trust me, we have the forces in hand who ARE good enough, it might look like this:
One by one, the ships of the Iranian navy begin to
malfunction and sink. Why the ships? A significant hostage factor is
Then one of
Of course, using the same backchannel, we generously offer technical assistance for repairs, provided the country comes clean on the scope and location of its nuclear weapons program, including the reactor facilities that the IDF wants to take out and the secret locations of all stored fissile material, and engages in a sincere and prompt takedown. No? Then some electrical shortages take place. An oil fire erupts. And so on...
If we are forced to proceed with overt military measures (the ruling clique, after all, includes fanatics) we would need to accomplish the final overt destruction of the Iranian Navy and of the obvious missile emplacements and the known reactor sites within a few days. We should not be hindered by politically correct rules or guilt or worry overmuch about who will rebuild. This would be followed by a grace period during which we would invite the Egyptians, to do the invasion.... And – to quote Kurt Vonnegut – so it goes.... Whether the mullahs fold, the bottom line is exactly as simple (but not simple minded) as – We win; they lose.
SO, WHAT WILL REALLY HAPPEN?
I just do not know. I was not thrilled with the President Bush’s approach to the Iranian nuclear threat, and I have even less reason to expect our current president will do better. The most adroit diplomacy is no more effective than an unarmed Mafiosi imposter trying to shake down a rival gang.
Hollow threats are suicidal.
These are big league thugs under the delusion they are holy
someday, fairly soon, POTUS will be forced to bell the cat or forever be
condemned by history. Who wants to be
remembered as the leader who blew the last best chance to prevent the nuclear
exchange that destroyed
So far two presidents have kicked the can down the road and the third has not shown any appetite for decisive action....
The author is a
Detailed contact information on request.....