From: Today In Iraq
Attack on Iran: A Looming Folly
The wires have been humming since before the New Year with reports that the Bush administration is planning an attack on Iran. "The Bush administration is preparing its NATO allies for a possible military strike against suspected nuclear sites in Iran in the New Year, according to German media reports, reinforcing similar earlier suggestions in the Turkish media," reported UPI on December 30th.
"The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel this week," continued UPI, "quoted 'NATO intelligence sources' who claimed that the NATO allies had been informed that the United States is currently investigating all possibilities of bringing the mullah-led regime into line, including military options. This 'all options are open' line has been President George W Bush's publicly stated policy throughout the past 18 months."
An examination of the ramifications of such an attack is desperately in order. Unlike Iraq, Iran has not spent the last fifteen years having its conventional forces worn down by grueling sanctions, repeated attacks, and two American-led wars. While Iran's conventional army is not what it was during the heyday of the Iran-Iraq war - their armaments have deteriorated and the veterans of that last war have retired - the nation enjoys substantial military strength nonetheless. According to a report issued by the Center for Strategic and International Studies in December of 2004, Iran "has some 540,000 men under arms and over 350,000 reserves. They include 120,000 Iranian Revolutionary Guards trained for land and naval asymmetrical warfare. Iran's military also includes holdings of 1,613 main battle tanks, 21,600 other armored fighting vehicles, 3,200 artillery weapons, 306 combat aircraft, 60 attack helicopters, 3 submarines, 59 surface combatants, and 10 amphibious ships."
"Iran is now the only regional military power that poses a significant conventional military threat to Gulf stability," continued the CSIS report. "Iran has significant capabilities for asymmetric warfare, and poses the additional threat of proliferation. There is considerable evidence that it is developing both a long-range missile force and a range of weapons of mass destruction. It has never properly declared its holdings of chemical weapons, and the status of its biological weapons programs is unknown."