Update On The (Proxy) War With Iran

-By Dan Scott

Since the opening shot by Iran at Khobar Towers in 1996, the response of the US handling the conflict has been confused at best and misguided at worst. Iran has been battling the US in the Middle East on a number of fronts using proxies for decades with little consequence to itself. In terms of a military strategy for a smaller country against a superpower, it has been a resounding success. This is not to say that the initiator of a proxy war is immune to consequences such as economic ones. Iran’s research and development on nuclear weapons has been certainly hampered but ultimately not stopped.

The beauty of a proxy war for a small country with designs of expanding it’s power and influence is to frame a conflict in limited terms commensurate to their resources and abilities. In other words, Iran has chosen to fight at the time and place of their choosing. This strategy limits the response of a superpower like the US to only reacting to the circumstances of the confrontation instead of pro-acting against the actual perpetrator, the initiator or mastermind. Because of this, US efforts have had limited success repeatedly due to the failure to recognize and properly respond to Iran in addition to the proxies. Obama has confirmed this continuing failure of response by saying he is focusing on killing Osama Bin Laden and defeating al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Iran’s front in Iraq has now been mostly settled by the surge, a reactive strategy to Iran supplying weapons, IEDs, training and money to insurgents attempting to destabilize Iraq. The objective by Iran was to cause an intractable situation of an ungovernable and deadly Iraq to re-create the Vietnam War scenario. It almost worked. Now that the Iraq front is not panning out for the current moment, a new front in Afghanistan has been opened. Do not be lulled into a sense of complacency that the situation in Iraq is settled, Iran is merely waiting for the circumstances on the ground to change back to its favor in Iraq. There will continue to be sporadic bombings and incidents in order to probe the readiness of both the Iraq and US militaries.

Iran tentatively opened the front in Afghanistan as early as 2007 by supplying the Taliban with weapons. Recently, they have stepped up the pace with SA-14 shoulder fired missiles and RPGs. The point of opening numerous fronts against a superior adversary is to increase the odds of winning just one of them. The definition of “winning” is set by the attacker based upon their goals and objectives, not the defender’s. Just like terrorists need only to be successful once no matter how many times they make an attempt, the defender has to be successful in stopping the attack 100% of the time to be defined as successful. A perfect record is a near impossibility. Winning does not require a successful defeat of the enemy in totality, winning is defined by the defender quitting in some degree. A definite double standard against the defender, which favors the smaller opponent.

Thus in this light from Iran’s proxy war perspective all negotiations are merely an opportunity to get the US and its allies to quit in some degree. Why? All confrontations are initiated by someone and it is the goal of the initiator to get the defender to quit by compromise or outright surrender. This strategy means all attempts by the Obama Administration to negotiate an end to confrontations are de facto surrenders since compromising with Iran’s inappropriate actions are advancing their ultimate goals incrementally. An incremental win is still a win since the opponent quit or acknowledged they will not continue to resist an action. One needs only to listen to Osama Bin laden’s recent communication that President Obama is powerless to end the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq as proof that the vaunted method of conflict resolution by negotiation will not work.

Given the successful tactics Iran has been employing against the US, why should we expect them to behave differently in the future if US response does not change? As I wrote over a year ago, there is a method to Iran’s madness. The means to that goal is nuclear weapons. The ultimate goal of any terrorist, whether an individual, a group or nation state (like Iran), is to control others via fear. Fear is a cost effective force multiplier, that’s why despots use it because the most effective point of control is the willingness of the defender to comply with any and all demands of the perpetrator, i.e. quit or surrender. Nuclear weapons provide that cost effective means to creating fear as demonstrated by the Cold War between the US and USSR. While the US and its allies recognize at some level the danger of Iran having nuclear weapons, they fail to recognize the purpose of those weapons. Once Iran has a workable nuclear bomb, the inevitable next step is to threaten and bully compliance to their demands.

Quitting via compromise is the vehicle of choice. In the end, it is up to the US to reframe the terms of the proxy war with Iran. Those terms have to be rewritten to favor the US. Unless the US is willing to face the reality that Iran as thee one number source of terrorist funding in the world must be dealt with directly then the conflicts occurring around the world will go on indefinitely. Iran has recognized their major vulnerability, that being dependent on others for 40% of their refined gasoline however, like any good terrorist they have repeatedly threatened to mine the Straits of Hormuz in such an event thus depriving the entire world of oil. Thus President Obama is confronted with a quandary, any negotiations with Iran, which will involve some compromise will keep Iran in the game thus perpetuating the cycle of conflict or deal with them once and for all by toppling the rogue regime by any means whether overtly or covertly. So far, Obama has indicated in various implied ways especially by his failure to criticize the Iran sham elections or support the protestors because he wanted to be able to “negotiate”, he does not have the stomach for the latter. Any embargo of Iran will force up the price of oil and then cause a worldwide depression and chaos, which is what Iran sees as their ace in the hole as an instrument of fear. Both Obama and Ahmadinejad recognize the US cannot sustain the conflict with their (US) spiraling deficits, unacceptable borrowing and high oil prices. For Iran, time is on their side.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said he is constantly calculating and believes he will be the eventual victor in the war between Iran and the US. Will Iran be successful where the USSR failed? It depends completely on who is in fear. As far back as 2007 Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said is not afraid which leaves only Barack Obama as the one to be in fear. Previously, with George W Bush, it was a stalemate since he wasn’t in fear either.

“Mr Ahmadinejad told academics in a speech that elements inside Iran were pressing for compromise in the nuclear standoff with the West over fears the US could launch a military strike.

“In some discussions I told them ‘I am an engineer and I am examining the issue. They do not dare wage war against us and I base this on a double proof’,”…

… “I tell them: ‘I am an engineer and I am a master in calculation and tabulation.

“I draw up tables. For hours, I write out different hypotheses. I reject, I reason. I reason with planning and I make a conclusion. They cannot make problems for Iran.”’

The ball is in Obama’s court as to the next step in the proxy war between Iran and the US.


Council On Foreign Relations

U.S. Says Iranian Arms Seized in Afghanistan

U.S. sees limited Iranian aid to Afghan insurgency

Iran boosts Taliban’s artillery

Bin Laden ‘Warns’ U.S. In New Audio Tape

Me thinks there is a method to his madness

U.S. Weighs Iran Sanctions if Talks Are Rejected

As the pressure increases, Iran threatens to close strategic Strait of Hormuz

Ahmadinejad Says He Has Mathematical Proof That the US Will Not Attack.
Dan Scott calls himself a “Member of the Global Capitalist Cabal preaching Capitalism and personal responsibility as the economic solution to world poverty.” He is also a member of the 14th Amendment Society — victimhood is a liberal code word for denying the civil rights of others. He is also a proud member of the Global Warming Denier Cabal, insisting that facts not agendas determine the truth.

Dan can be seen on the web at http://www.geocities.com/fightbigotry2002/ as well as http://www.geocities.com/dscott8186/saidwebpage.htm, And can be reached for comments at dscott8186@yahoo.com.

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