US cannot defeat Iran without nuclear attack

“The Pentagon’s planners have war-gamed an attack on Iran several times in the past 15 years, and they just can’t make it come out as a US victory,” says Richard Clarke, counterterrorism adviser in the White House under three administrations.

Any military historian will tell you that no regular army has ever defeated an organized guerilla resistance in a conventional warfare. The “military attack on the table”, rhetoric aside, the Western leaders know that their demoralized soldiers are no match when it comes to fighting the faith-inspired Muslim resistance groups. The US, Israel, Russia, India, NATO and many other imperialist powers are learning that truth currently in Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Chechnya, Philippines, Kashmir and Lebanon.

The US tasted its first military humiliation in Islamic Iran in 1980 when its ‘Operation Eagle Claw’ failed to open its claw – resulting in the death of eight US soldiers in a ‘friendly fire’. The rest of ‘the braves’ got so panickythat they left the bodies of their fellow dead soldiers in the desert to be picked-up Iranian security men. The 8-bodybags were later sent to the US by the Iranian government.

Since the failure of Israel’s 38,000-strong force to defeat and disarm the 1500-2000 Hizbullah guerilla fighters in Summer 2006 – Israel planners prefer to let America fight its proxy conventional war against the Islamic Republic to save the lives of thousands of Jewish soldier which could die in a conventional war against Iran.

The other day, I read an brilliant research article by Canadian-born columinst, broadcaster, author and military historian, Dr. Gwynne Dyer, published in Arab News (August 5, 2010) under the heading Attacking Iran: US options.

It’s not the fear of Iranian nuclear weapons that makes the US Joint Chiefs of Staff so reluctant to get involved in a war with Iran. Those weapons don’t exist, and the whole justification for the war would be to make sure that they never do.

The problem is that there’s nothing the US can do to Iran, short of nuking the place, that would really force Tehran to kneel and beg for mercy.

It can bomb Iran’s nuclear sites and military installations to its heart’s content, but everything it destroys can be rebuilt in a few years. And there is no way that the United States could actually invade Iran.

If the White House were to propose anything larger than minor military incursions along Iran’s south coast, senior American generals would resign in protest. Without the option of a land war, the only lever the United States would have on Iranian policy is the threat of yet more bombs — but if they aren’t nuclear, then they aren’t very persuasive. Whereas Iran would have lots of options for bringing pressure on the United States.

The Noor anti-ship missile is a locally built version of the Chinese YJ-82. It has a 200-km. (140-mile) range, enough to cover all the major choke points in the Gulf. It flies at twice the speed of sound just meters above the sea’s surface, and it has a tiny radar profile. Its single-shot kill probability has been put as high as 98 percent.

Iranian ballistic missiles would strike US bases on the southern side of the Gulf, and Iran’s Hezbollah allies in Beirut would start dropping missiles on Israel. The United States would have no options for escalation other than the nuclear one, and pressure on it to stop the war would mount by the day as the world’s industries and transport ground to a halt.

The end would be an embarrassing retreat by the United States, and the definitive establishment of Iran as the dominant power of the Gulf region

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