Rumors about a possible U.S. attack on Iran have been circulating for a long time. Now it looks like they are starting to become reality. The United States is arming its allies in the Middle East, giving a clear message to the Iranian authorities about the impending confrontation. Will there be a war? What are its true causes? Who benefits from it and what are the possible consequences? Today these questions are relevant for the entire world.
The Pentagon chief Chuck Hagel called the expected arming of the U.S. allies in the Middle East a "very clear" signal to Iran demonstrating the possibility of using military force to eliminate the nuclear threat. Before Hagel's Middle East tour, media reported on contracts worth $10 billion providing for sale to Israel of refueling aircraft KC-135, military convertiplanes V-22 Osprey, as well as missiles and radar equipment installed on the aircraft. The United Arab Emirates will be supplied with F-16 fighters and missiles to them. The U.S. is to sell same rocket to Saudi Arabia that previously procured the American fighters.
"This is a very clear message to Iran," said Hagel in Israel on the first leg of his trip to the Middle East region. He added that the use of military force should be the last resort to contain Iran in its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons, and now it is time for economic sanctions and diplomacy. The expected future arms contracts, according to Hagel, should, first of all, enhance the military might of Israel. He added that the United States recognized Israel's right to choose which way to protect themselves from Iran. Israeli authorities have repeatedly stated the ineffectiveness of international diplomacy, urging negotiations to add a threat of force. Also, they do not rule out that they may self-initiate military action against Iran.
Earlier, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution stating that Washington would fully support Israel in the event that the country decides to attack Iran itself, or is subjected to aggression. According to the resolution, the U.S. government will provide Israel with diplomatic, military and economic aid. A co-author of the document, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham, said that the U.S. did not want another military conflict in the world, but at the same time was not going to put up with Iran's nuclear status.
The United States is not only arming its allies, but is improving its own weapons. Recently, it was reported that the United States intended to install a new laser weapon on its warships that can burn targets like a blowtorch. They want to intimidate Iran and other "aggressive" countries. Next year the first combat solid-state laser will be installed on an American warship in the Persian Gulf. It was originally planned for 2016, but thanks to the advances in weapons, scientists have a real opportunity to do it earlier.
We are talking about real combat use of directed energy weapons. The new combat laser can perform a variety of tasks from "blinding" the enemy's sensor devices and impacting people to destructing drones and attacking boats. At this time these weapons are not capable of striking supersonic fighters and missiles, but the development continues, and it is only a matter of time. The main advantages of the new laser include a nearly endless "warhead" (the gun is running as long as the ship produces energy) and low price (one shot will cost about one dollar). Such equipment may cause serious damage to the Iranian army if it comes to a military operation.
According to Barack Obama, in theory Iran may complete the development of nuclear weapons in a year, but Washington is not going to let it happen. The President does not rule out the probability of a military operation. Obama made these statements before his visit to Israel. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has long called for a preemptive strike on Iran. Mr. Netanyahu is convinced that only an American military strike would stop further development of Iran's nuclear program. Yet, Washington is not in a hurry to attack.
Washington thinks that military action against Iran would come at too high of a price. The West is waiting for the results of the summer presidential elections in Tehran to clearly understand who they would have to deal with in the coming years. However, no Iranian leader is going to make concessions to the "six" negotiators, as the issue of the nuclear program in Iran has developed a complete consensus.
The main reason for the United States to attack Iran is Iran's nuclear program. However, analysts are well aware that the development of nuclear weapons is just an excuse. The U.S. can come up with other reasons such as the Kurdish issue or the violation of human rights. The latter excuse has become universal for the United States. But the main purpose of the U.S. authorities in Iran is not a nuclear program. The United States wants to build a new Greater Middle East in the context of the policy of controlled chaos. The geo-economic ambitions of Washington are also important. The main partners of the Americans in the region, Saudi Arabia and Qatar, want to block Iran's oil vein. This would force Europe to purchase energy just from them. In addition, there are ideological and religious issues such as Shia Iran and the Sunni Arab world, the ideology of pan-Arabism and pan-Iranism.
Throughout the U.S. history, a war has been a major sobering factor for its economy. But what would be the consequences of a war against Iran for the Americans? Iran is not Syria, Libya, or Iraq. The Islamic Republic of Iran is a country with a fundamental ideology that unites the entire nation. Tehran has one of the most powerful and developed armies in the world that can not only repel enemy attacks, but inflict some blows whose outcome is difficult to predict. In addition, Iran controls Hezbollah and Hamas that, if necessary, can take the war to the United States and Europe. If a war breaks out, the entire Muslim world will see a sharp increase in anti-American sentiment. New attacks on the Americans will be inevitable.
As for key allies of Iran, everyone understands that protecting Iran, China and Russia will defend their own interests. Russia would face the issue of geopolitical security. A large-scale war could destabilize the situation in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Large number of Iranian refugees would primarily flow to Russia, which can cause internal destabilization.
For China, the issue of energy security is of primary importance. Beijing is a major exporter of oil and gas from Iran. Members of the upper echelons of the government and high-ranking military have repeatedly claimed that China was not going to remain neutral in the event of a military aggression against Iran.
The U.S. is clearly aware of such consequences. For example, 30 American generals, diplomats and intelligence officers have compiled a report stating that a large-scale military operation would weaken the position of the local Iranian government, but would not cause a change of government. Given the size of Iran, a high level of nationalism and size of its population, such an operation would require significant resources (over $4 trillion). This is more than the sum spent in Afghanistan and Iraq over the last ten years. It is obvious that there are many sensible reasons to save albeit shaky, but peace in the region. Time will tell whether the desire of the U.S. to establish total control over the Middle East would outweigh common sense.
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