Military threats and sabre-rattling rhetoric have littered dialogue between the two nations in recent months with Iran’s foreign minister warning the US just hours ago it “cannot expect to stay safe” while Donald Trump counter-warned any conflict would be “the end of Iran”. But military experts on both sides of the potential conflict know that despite a massive firepower advantage a USA victory is far from certain, a former ranking US Air Force strategist has said.
And here’s why – he writes:
1. Iran is a REALLY BIG COUNTRY – it is 3–4 times larger than Iraq, with a much larger population.
2. The terrain is more like Afghanistan, ringed with mountains, not deserts. It isn’t a good place for tanks to run amok.
3. Worse, the Strait of Hormuz is REALLY narrow, especially the shipping channel. Nearly all of it can be fired upon from Iran with short-range missiles or can be attacked from shore with small boats. There is NO WAY to try to sail tankers out during war times.
4. Iran is right – they probably CAN block the Strait in the event of war. No business wants to come under missile attack while in transit.
President Trump has told acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he does not want war with Iran but his hawkish national security advisor John Bolton is championing an aggressive military posture against Iran – which has long challenged the international community with thinly veiled desire to become a nuclear power.
Secretary Shanahan has presented an military plan that includes sending as many as 120,000 ground troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks US forces or accelerates nuclear work.
And in recent weeks the US has dispatched a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the region which the Pentagon says is a response to “heightened Iranian readiness to conduct offensive operations.”
But the former flier, who now lives in the region, said US military intervention would be suicidal and added: “I think it is very, very likely that Iran can just out-wait the US. Sure, the US can strike them, and dominate the air.
But – even with Saudi help, it is just so large as a country – that the US cannot easily defeat it.
“That will lead to an emboldened Iran, more committed to backing their Shiite government than ever. Not the best outcome – which is why the US military is VERY hesitant to start a war – it would likely be a very unconstrained affair, with no end date.”
And he warned any conflict would spill over onto the streets of mainland USA with multiple terror attacks. He added: “Iran will undoubtedly use terrorism to strike the US if push came to shove.
“It’s easy to be brave NOW, but the US isn’t under attack. If a real war happened, we would have MULTIPLE Shiite attacks on targets like Times Square, Mall of the Americas, Disneyland…. You get the idea. So does Iran. So does Hezbollah.
“These attacks may take place YEARS after the war… literally. Kiss your freedom of movement goodbye, for YEARS.
“I’m not sure any American would say that is a good trade-off.”
Earlier today Iran was being blamed for attacks on two oil tankers off the coast of Iran in the Gulf of Oman. One was ablaze and the other reportedly sunk after a torpedo attack.
The Bahrain-based US Navy Fifth Fleet said it was assisting the tankers after receiving distress calls and the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, part of Britain’s Royal Navy, said it was investigating with its partners.