Seeing as how one of our own has been reporting on Iran’s latest act of war against the United States, it seemed to me that a short history might be in order.
I originally wrote the piece below (in blockquotes) for SayAnything, but the old posts did not survive the most recent upgrade there. Fortunately, I say fortunately, I keep copies of my draft posts in safe locations (much as Foghorn Leghorn numbered all his feathers) against just such contingencies…
The timeline below is new.
1979 Nov 04 Iranian “student activists” [including Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who is the current President of the Islamic Republic of Iran] storm and seize the United States Embassy in Tehran. As all embassies are considered the sovereign territory of the Nation they represent, this is an act of war.
1980 Apr 24 President James Earl “Dhimmy” Carter launches operation Eagle Claw from the White House Operations Center. The raid, intended to liberate and extract the 55 hostages being held by Iran, fails after a ground collision resulting in the loss of eight U. S. Service members and one Iranian and the destruction of two aircraft.
1980 Sep 22 Iraq launches an invasion of Iran, subsequently receiving intelligence support (targeting information) from the United States
1981 Jan 20 Minutes after Ronald Reagan is sworn in as President of the United States (and 444 days after being imprisoned), Iran releases the hostages to U. S. control per an agreement signed on 19 April.
1983 Oct 23 Islamic Jihad (a client of Hezbulluh and thus Iran, via instructions relayed from Tehran to the Iranian Ambassador to Syria [also a client of Iran]) detonate a truck bomb at the compound of the U. S. Marines (1st of the 8th) in Beirut, Lebannon. 241 U. S. personnel are KIA.
1987 Sep 21 U. S. Forces detect the motor vessel Iran Ajar (Iranian registry and crew) laying mines in international waters. The vessel is attacked by U. S. Army Helicopters operating from the USS Jarrett (FFG-33). The vessel is subsequently seized by Navy SEALS who document all the remaining mines.
1987 Oct 19 MV Seal Isle City, then anchored in Kuwaiti waters (having been escorted by U. S. forces under Operation Ernest Will to Kuwaiti waters) was struck by a Silkworm missile fired from the Iranian occupied Al Faw peninsula. Later that day U. S. forces attack, and effectively destroy, two oil platforms in Iran’s Rostam (now Rashadat) oil fields which had been used to track neutral shipping and provide targeting information for small craft and SSM’s.
1988 Feb 17 LtCol William R. “Rich” Higgins, USMC, while serving with UN Peacekeeping forces in Lebannon, is captured by hezbulluh, and subsequently tortured and eventually murdered.
1988 Apr 14 USS Samuel B Roberts (FFG-58) strikes an Iranian Mine previously laid by the Iran Ajar in international waters.
1988 Apr 18 In retaliation for the mining of USS Samuel B Roberts, U. S. Armed Forces launch Operation Praying Mantis. Two Iranian oil rigs (Sassan and Sirri) are effectively destroyed by U. S. Forces. Two Iranian warships (Joshan and Sahand) are sunk and a third (Sabalan) damaged such that it had to be towed back into port. Various Iranian small combatants (speed boats) and Aircraft were damaged or destroyed. U. S. losses were two Marine Aviators in a operational incident (crash).
1988 Jul 03 While engaged against Iranian surface forces in the Strait of Hormuz, USS Vincennes (CG-49) engages and destroys Iranian Air flight 655 taking off from the dual use (Military and Civil) airfield at Bandar Abbas.
1988 Aug 20 Iran/Iraq war ends in a cease fire.
1996 Jun 25 Khobar Towers. Iranian supplied and trained terrorists (hezbolluh al hejaz) bomb Khobar Towers where U. S. Air Force personnel are quartered. 19 U. S. Servicemen KIA.
2007 Iran provides arms and IED’s to anti-US forces in Iraq and anti-NATO forces in Afghanistan.
2008 Oct 20 Iraqi forces capture 7 Iranian Quods agents operating in Iraq.
2010 ??? ?? Western Intelligence agencies launch the stuxnet virus against Iranian nuclear program.
2011 Oct 11 Indictments unsealed in NYC naming Iran as agent provocateur for planned embassy bombings (Saudi Arabia and Israel) and assasination (Saudi Ambassador) attempts in the United States.
IRGC (Pasdaran) The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps is the ONLY military formation in Iran that has been kept up to date in terms of equipment and training since the Iranian Revolution of 1979.
Quods A semi independent formation under the Pasdaran charged with supporting islamic revolutionary forces outside of Iran. Quods are the primary conduit for support to Syria, hezbulluh, and other Iranian clients.
hezbolluh (the party of allah) The Quods force proxy of Iran in Lebannon.
Quare Persia Delenda Est
“Why Persia Must Be Destroyed”
…Wars are inherently bad things; innocents are killed, property is destroyed, human suffering is increased. Yet wars are sometimes both necessary and the less evil option.
War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things. The decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth war is much worse. The person who has nothing for which he is willing to fight, nothing which is more important than his own personal safety, is a miserable creature and has no chance of being free unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.
John Stuart Mill
English economist & philosopher (1806 – 1873)
I will thus grant the point: Attacking Iran would indeed be a bad thing.
But — would it be better or worse in terms of foreseeable consequences than tolerating the status quo?
Iran as terrorism central
While the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is correctly viewed as the wellspring of Wahabbism and thus the spread of radical Islam [as well as a key funder of radical mohammedeans globally], they are not the primary sponsor of Islamist terrorism. That distinction belongs to Iran.
The Qods Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (Pasdaran) are the mullahs primary tool for directing, funding, and equipping Islamist terrorism world wide. They are the paymasters behind Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, the Mahdi Army, and the Taliban. They have links to virtually every Islamic terrorist organization at some level.
Iran is also a principal supplier of arms and explosives to foreign fighters operating in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Iran’s War on the United States
Iran has both technically and actively been making war on the United States for more than thirty years. The revolution which brought the mad mullahs to power began with the seizure of a United States Embassy and the imprisonment of our mission to Iran. They have remained active against the United States by attacking the Marine Barracks in Beirut Lebanon via their Hezbollah proxies, and continue their hostilities via proxy to this day by arming and supporting various insurgent groups in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Ignoring the Problem has not improved the situation
Despite an unending string of provocations, the United States has not waged war against Iran. The closest we have come to directly engaging was a limited naval campaign, and we have otherwise limited ourselves to containment (limited support of Iraq during the Iran/Iraq war), diplomacy, and economic sanctions. Demonstrably these lesser measures have not succeeded in altering the behavior of the mad mullahs.
Ramifications of conflict with Iran
The downside has been stated thus:
The worst-case downside is appallingly bad. It could rally the Iranian population behind that mullahs – a population that right now is very unhappy with their leadership, and somewhat pro-American. That would all be swept away, and even worse, it could rally the majority Sunni muslims behind the minority Shi’ites in Iran in a way no other event possibly could. It would be the polarization of the West versus Islam that Osama bin Laden has long been seeking. It could end the disunity in the Muslim world that thus far has worked to the West’s advantage.
It could rally the Iranian population. But then again Iran’s population is far from heterogeneous. It is not even majority Persian, and only barely majority Shia. The odds are at least as good that a disabling attack would instead result in a shattering of national unity and civil war.
It could indeed cause Shia and Sunni to join in common cause. Or not. Much the same was claimed with regard to invading Iraq. What resulted was an increase in sectarian violence, not its remission or redirection towards the “Crusaders”.
As regards being a polarizing event, almost certainly not. There is no love to lose between the Arabs and the Persians, and scarcely any more between Shia and Sunni.
It has been further argued that “Anti-Zionism” is the one tie that binds Muslim states. At a rhetorical level, this is certainly true. In practice, it is a rhetorical point. Every Arab nation which has made war upon the state of Israel has drawn back a bleeding stump.
As regards Iran stepping up it’s activities in Iraq, their ability to do so would depend on the resources they have left after the cessation of military operations by the United States. I would argue that a well planned and executed limited campaign would leave Iran with few resources and fewer options when it comes to stirring the pot in Iraq, and everywhere else its Qods force operates.
One truly laughable assertion is that Iranian overt military operations would result in anything other than disaster for the Iranians. Iran and Iraq engaged in a decade long war which was a bloody stalemate. In the aftermath of that stalemate the United States twice went through the experienced and re-armed Iraqi Army like shit through a goose. Iran has not been able to re-arm to the extent that Iraq was able to and has not consistently trained it’s armed forces in the intervening decades. To suggest they would be as credible a force, or more credible than the Iraqi’s were, is asinine. A conventional war between Iran and the American Forces currently in Iraq and Afghanistan would effectively gut the Iranian ability to wage war, and would likely end with the occupation of Tehran.
Iran’s push for Nuclear Weapons
One of the most important, if not The driving factor for military operations against Iran, is their nuclear weapons program. Israeli intelligence now holds that Iran will have working nuclear weapons by 2009 [A software viral attach by one or more of the Western Powers has deferred this to 2012 or later]. The nuclear histories of South Africa and Pakistan lend credence to this assessment. The wild card here of course is the Mad Mullahs who actually run Iran. It is no stretch of the imagination to posit a first Iranian nuclear test occurring over Tel Aviv. The consequences of such a use would make all of the above worst case scenarios pale in comparison.
Given a choice between all of the above worst case scenarios, and the specter of the Mad Mullahs armed with nuclear weapons, military action remains the far lesser of the potential evils.
Were it not for the demonstrated incompetence and lack of resolve of the current (P)resident, it would seem to be time and long past time that this particular serpent had its head crushed. As it stands, waiting for a competent administration would seem prudent.
The U. S. Attorney for New York should be more than capable of prosecuting the case against the Iranian agents operating within the United States. The “professional assistance” of Attorney General Eric Holder, who is long overdue for a criminal prosecution himself, is extraneous.