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« Follow-on comment to my WPR piece on war with Iran | Main | Ben Shobert on Wikistrat's look at China-->Africa FDI dynamic »
9:11AM

WPR's The New Rules: The Coming War With Iran

While the debate over whether Israel will strike Iran ebbs and flows on an almost weekly basis now, a larger collision-course trajectory is undeniably emerging. To put it most succinctly, Iran won't back down, while Israel won't back off, and America will back up its two regional allies -- Israel and Saudi Arabia -- when the shooting finally starts. There are no other credible paths in sight: There will be no diplomatic miracles, and Iran will not be permitted to achieve a genuine nuclear deterrence. But let us also be clear about what this coming war will ultimately target: regime change in Tehran, because that is the only plausible solution.

Read the entire column at World Politics Review.

Reader Comments (7)

Actually, your reasoning suggests the distinct possibility that Iran will start it first--partly to use Hamas and Hezbollah while it can, partly because that'll prove the only way to help Assad:(

February 13, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMichael

You are most probably right. The war drums have been getting louder and louder for quite a while now.

It will accelerate the decline of the USA and possibly finish Israel.

It's a big country with lots of people and attacking them will unite the Iranians like nothing else. Actual regime change outside of a coup is going to be very difficult ,,, and expensive.

Israel, a tiny speck in a sea of Muslims, is not going to benefit from attempting regime change on one of the countries there no matter how the conveniently US-centric Arab League feels. A group that does not feel all that secure about all this spring nonsense.

As to war, I have real trouble understanding how Israel can feel any kind of real confidence in surviving it without US intervention.

Hizbollah will invade northern Israel. The first part of the missile war is the US anti missile effort vs a sustained hail of conventional missile on Dimona. A useful target. It will then get more interesting.

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterPenGun

Great. You get your lovely new war and unite the population behind the mullahs and marginalise the liberals and the June 12 election protesters.

Once again, the US is about to be led into massive strategic blunder by its blind support of Israel.

Dr. Barnett, I am shocked at this analysis, are you suggesting that the Arab Spring has had no impact on the strategic situation in Middle East? You are suggesting that the pre-2011 World still exists (the views of the Arab kleptocrats are more important than popular sentiment on the Arab street).

What impact would a war on Iran have on the Arab street? How would Saudi Arabia's significant Shiite population react to it? What of Bahrain, how would the street respond? How will the Salafists and Islamists spin this one?

Continue your sleepwalk to disaster.

February 14, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterMaduka

Maduka,

I was somewhat shocked to write the piece myself, but I found myself talking to people on the phone regarding this and I kept coming back to this sense of determinism, when all the dynamics are considered.

In the end, I do think the logic is very compelling for Israel - given the Arab Spring. Then we turn next to Obama, and given his drone use and desire to appear strong (hell, after all these years, let's just say the guy is strong on defense and leave it at that). Then we turn to the Pentagon, and I see a group of AirSea Battle Concept advocates who would love to test it out on Iran (limited scope) and, by doing so, signal VERY STRONGLY to China.

What I don't spot on any of these lines is a countervailing pressure of great strength.

Don't be confused, and I think I made this point decidedly in the piece (and you need to read it all to know this, so if all you scan is the opening . . . then please beg off further comment): this will be an air/SOF-only strike/war. This will be a "reducing" war, or what the Israelies call "mowing the grass." There is little sense of getting the job done with one effort.

And I think that's the macro lesson the US seems to be learning from the "war on terror," and it's making us more like Israel over time: we simply mow the grass now, and eschew the follow-on work.

February 14, 2012 | Registered CommenterThomas P.M. Barnett

War in Iran must be stopped as we all know it is more on political agenda and robbing country's one natural resources.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterReylan | Labor Posters

Maduka,
Why would Iran, which is supporting Assad, attract real support from the Arabs? I don't mean crying on Al Jazeera, but actual material aid or manpower.
Arab Spring has effected exactly one country relevant to a war on Iran: Egypt (Dr. Barnett has already outlined Syria's possible role in all this). And Egypt's facing potential starvation. As one writer put it, even Islamists need to eat. How they'll have the ability to do anything but beg the West for handouts is beyond me.

Dr. Barnett,
In other words, we're unlearning Colin Powell's Pottery Barn Rule, "You break it, you own it." About time.

February 15, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterNate

I don't understand why countries are fighting each other just to prove which is greater. It will cause more problem and many lives can fade if this will not stop.

February 24, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteruk immigration solicitors

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