Jihad Watch Board Vice President Hugh Fitzgerald discusses what to do about the Thug-In-Chief and the Mad Mullahs:
Perhaps there are still those in Washington who still counsel avoiding military action against Iran for fear of offending those who, within Iran, are just waiting to “overthrow the mullahs” and who are “our natural allies.” The first category consists of people who largely despise the clerics for limiting their daily lives, and above all for being crooks. The second class, of those who would welcome the West in any form, is very small. Then there are those Iranians in exile who, in the manner of the Shi’a Iraqis who presented a “moderate” face to Washington (sometimes calculatedly, sometimes because they had been out of Iraq so long, and become so westernized themselves, that they really had lost touch with what most of those in “Iraq” were really like), counsel everyone in Washington that really, truly, everyone is just waiting for the Americans. But, they go on, we mustn’t think of bombing those nuclear facilities because it will make the task of “those Iranian reformers” harder.
Such people are not good guides to anything. From their point of view, perhaps, in order to make their task, as they see it, easier, we should not bomb Iran’s nuclear project. But the Infidels cannot wait, cannot hope that the Iranian regime will be rational. Nor can we hope that the one that replaces the one that is there now will be rational. Nor can we place our hope in the one that ultimately replaces that one. Iran, as long as it remains Muslim, cannot be trusted with nuclear weapons.
What is the likely effect of an American campaign to destroy as much — not all, necessarily, but as much — of the nuclear project as possible? At first, a flair up in Iranian rally-round-the-flag sentiment. But only at first. Once it is clear that the regime has suffered a blow, its proudest effort lying in ruins, with brave talk of “getting back to work” but knowing that at any time the Americans or someone else can come in to finish the job, or at least to keep at it, nibbling away, bit by bit, then the humiliation will set in. Those who hate the regime, but who were momentarily diverted into joining the urrah-patriotism of the moment, will remember how much they hate it. Then add to that hate the general ridicule that the mullahs already receive in Iran, and the regime, far from being more secure, will be much less so. In every way, bombing the nuclear project makes sense. And if it is not done, then everything that has been done up to now in Iraq, a venture that can only be justified as having been undertaken to deprive an aggressive Muslim ruler of weapons of mass destruction, and to undo that regime — would then have been in vain, and pointless.
No, worse than pointless — because the Iraq tarbaby would be seen by posterity, rightly, as what prevented the United States from acting as it should with Iran.
How stupid can the American government be?
We are going to find out.
What about the oil weapon? There is no oil weapon. There never was. The pricing of oil, the availability of oil, by the members of OPEC has always been a market matter, designed to maximize the value over time of whatever reserves a particular state may happen to possess. This was discussed long ago in an article by Douglas Feith in “Policy Review.”
There may be trouble with the oilfields in Iran, but it will not be because the Iranian government would ever cut off its only real source of income. It could happen because the ethnic Arabs of Khuzistan might begin to attack those oilfields, possibly taking a leaf from the Iraqi playbook, in order to weaken their Persian masters. Others who might relish such sabotage of whatever oil fields and pipelines may be within their particular range might include those Persians within and without who cannot stand the Islamic Republic of Iran and wish to weaken it. Still others are representatives of the Baluchis, or the Azeris in the north, a once-and-future part of Azerbaijan, possibly, and no longer part of the detested Islamic Republic.
The threat is as false as the Saudi threat, over the years, to employ the “oil weapon.”
And not only would the Iranians never wish to cut off their only source of funds, but whatever forces they possess could be quickly eliminated by the Americans.
Besides, it is not the Americans who should worry about the Iranians blockading oil shipments in the Gulf. It is the Iranians who should be worrying about the Americans blockading oil shipments.
And at any point, in case of dire necessity, it would not be hard, it would be easy, it would be a matter of four brigades, for the Americans to seize, for “the good of the world,” the gas of Qatar, the oil of Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, and the eastern Shi’a-inhabited province of al-Hasa in Saudi Arabia. All on the up and up, of course. All done with whatever funds received held “in escrow” and perhaps even spent on the locals, bypassing the royal families of these assorted tribes with flags, and their usual cut. Screaming, outrage, marches in Karachi and Gaza and possibly Cairo (but muted once it becomes clear that the Americans can cut Egypt off without any more jizya, and that getting away with the mixture as before will not be possible).
Why doesn’t the American government issue, or let one of its blunter and less delicate representatives — say, John Bolton — suggest that this threat to “block oil supplies” should not be repeated by Tehran — for it might give “some of us ideas”?