US-Iran agenda is what we hear most these days. The slogans of “US to bomb Iran”, ” Is it really going to happen? “, ” Zero hour for attacking Iran”, “Will the US attack Iran?”, “Is Iran really shrinking?” are the news headlines of the mass media. Across the world we have an image of the US potentially attacking Iran. But the question is: why is there no obvious decision or action whether or not to attack?
Is it because the US realizes that Iran possesses nuclear weapons, and if they attack, Iran may use it? Or, as some experts state, the US is trying to figure out more about the nuclear stations? Is there some other factor holding them back?
They are all probably right, and there are other factors that are contributing. Below I argue some of the hidden facts that make it very hard for the United States to attack Iran. I’m not going to argue or guess whether the U.S. will strike Iran tomorrow, next month, next year, or ever. Instead, I am simply showing some analysis of why the US is not bombing Iran.
First, Iran is the 18th largest country with some 75 million people. There are about seven nations in Iran, including Persians who make up the majority. The consequences for the situation of a post-strike Iran should be considered.
The lesson of Iraq compels the US decision makers to think of other ways rather than attacking Iran. Ten years after, the US still comes under fire by Iraqis and rest of the world for its conduct in Iraq. Iraq is still a warzone. The Iraqi people have become the victims of sectarian tensions and explosions have become an everyday occurrence, in which several innocent people die in a series of violent attacks. Iraqi sects have started, directly and indirectly, fighting each other. Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds are struggling to share power in the government. The Sunni Deputy President is currently in exile in Turkey and the Iraqi criminal court issued three death sentences against him in absentia. Sunnis accuse the Shia Prime Minister Nouri Maliki of causing tensions and declared him a dictator. Kurds have boycotted the parliament meetings, and not long ago Kurdish forces had a stand-off and were very close to fighting each other. What is happening in Iraq will probably repeat itself in Iran. Needless to say, The US will face major problems even more complicated than Iraq’s, for there are more than seven groups in Iran and, each and every one of them are trying to secure the power. It is unlikely that America could settle disputes between the Iranian nations.
Second, Iran is situated in a very strategically important and difficult area. It is bordered by many countries and notable features including Azerbaijan, Armenia, the Caspian Sea, Turkmenistan, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Turkey, Iraq, the Persian Gulf and the Oman gulf. Its geopolitical significance as the holder of the second largest proven natural gas reserves and fourth largest proven petroleum reserves in the world is of significant import. Iran is an important supplier of foreign oil to the world as a whole. While Iran does not supply the US directly, the US consumes a quarter of the world’s oil production and would therefore be at high risk of injury from changes in the world oil prices. In other words, the US would face enormous risk to the American economy by attacking Iran.
Third, although a nuclear Iran would be a catastrophe for Arab countries, the US, and not to mention for Israel, bombing Iran would cause massive civilian casualties and other damages. Not only would Iranian civilians pay the price, but so too would Americans. A strike would definitely elicit an Iranian response, and with so many Americans deployed in military bases and American civilians working in the region, a counterattack could be very costly.
Last but not the least, while the Obama administration is dead serious about preventing Iran from going nuclear, the US worries that the bombing might not be able to target the nuclear station and unintentionally create conditions for an acceleration of the Iran nuclear program as they are developing it in underground. This would be counterproductive and mean that the strike would in effect be an enormous cost that, retrospectively, would not have been worth it.________________________________________________________________________________________________________
Ary Ibrahim, from Ranya, Iraq, is a third year student at University of Kurdistan-Hawler, majoring in Business Management Science. He writes this post as the leader of US-ME Network’s UKH Chapter.