Friday May 24, 2024

Eight reasons as to why USA will not directly attack Iran

By Senator Rehman Malik
June 20, 2019

I am closely watching the growing situation in Middle East vis-a-vis Iran and the persistent interference of USA. This interference has background which the reader may recall.

Historically Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s rule in Iran was probably the longest and the last monarch until he lost support from the Shia clergy of Iran due to his strong policy of modernisation. By 1979, political unrest and opposition of Shah’s government went on rise and eventually transformed into a revolution which was in an excuse for the removal of Reza Pahlavi for its political objectives. At the same time, removal of Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, King Zahir Shah and President Najeeb of Afghanistan was part of the larger western plan to block the socialism in the region. All the above leaders were toppled despite they were popular in their respective countries.

The revolution thus forced Reza to leave Iran on 17th January and was allowed into the United States for medical treatment. The Iranian revolutionary militants under Ayatollah Khomeini did not like this move by US and seized the US Embassy in Tehran taking the personnel hostage. They announced that the hostages would not be released until US hands over Shah to them. President Jimmy Carter declined their demand nullifying the value of the hostages. He announced publicly that the lives of the hostages were not as important as the interests of the nation and imposed sanctions and diplomatic pressure rather than attacking Iran directly to release its diplomatic personnel. The objectives of the Carter administration were to destroy Iran economically rather than attacking it which could have attracted negative diplomatic aspersions. Iranians, however, kept holding onto hostages for 444 days until Carter was out of office, then immediately released them. They didn’t want Carter to get the credit for their release. This shocked the captors as the hostages were of no value to them anymore and hated Carter for this. The important fact is that despite this major issue USA did not attack Iran to get their hostage out of Iran by force.

Soon monarchy was abolished in Iran officially and Ayatollah Khomeini took over as Supreme leader of Iran on 3rd December, 1979 declaring Iran as Islamic Republic of Iran.

It is important to talk about the relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran in the background of ever-growing tension between both the countries. The relations of Saudi Arabia with Iran were fine under the Iranian Shah. Iranian revolution of 1979, however, changed the nature. The major difference between both stems from their religious views, Sunni and Shia, and each descends from a major race in the region (Arabs and Persians) that had wars against each other and a history of conquests. The easiest strategy for each country was to start fuelling sectarian, racial or dogmatic hatred and prejudice amongst their citizens against "the enemy".

Moreover, there is an economic rivalry when it comes to oil production in particular. Each has somehow found a supporting superpower, USA for Saudi and Russia for Iran. But the Arab Spring increased the enmity. I think Iran needs to shun some hangs up the base of claimed as superior race as we all Muslims are equal before God. Iran should take initiative and hold a Muslim unity conference in Iran and the president of Iran may personally visit all the Muslim head of states and invite them only on one-point agenda.

If Iran did not initiate to gather all the Muslim head of states at one table as suggested then there are strong possibilities that USA may ignite war by engineering some attacks on Middle East assets including the oil ships in Gulf and south sea of China to lure Saudi Arabia and UAE to war with Iran. USA will not attack on Iran directly but try to get both Iran and Saudi Arabia/UAE to face each other in a war as USA is fully aware of the magnitude of the long outstanding tension between Iran and UAE/Saudi Arabia. The decade long issue between the two is related to the issue of sovereignty over three islands in Persian Gulf called "Abu-Musa" greater and lesser "Tunb"s which are administered by Iran as part of its province of Hormozgan since November 1971, whereas UAE historical record shows it as a territory of the emirate of Sharjah as in the late 1960s, Britain transferred administration of the island to the British-appointed Sharjah sheikhdom.

UAE's political support for Saudi Arabia also adds to its rivalry against Iran and I think it is perfect coalition. This limited war engagement between Iran and Middle East will further enhance the importance of USA and Middle East would render itself more dependent on USA for its survival both in terms of diplomatic and defence.

The most important reason as to whey USA would not attack on Iran directly would be the opposition of both Russia and China to such attack and US would not like to take on with these two world powers. However, USA will continue to play its games in Middle East to keep it under its control. Hence no attack is expected from USA on Iran.

On May 12, 2019, four commercial oil tankers were attacked off Fujairah’s territorial waters. Two of them were Saudi Arabian oil tankers, one was Norwegian oil tanker and the fourth was UAE registered oil tanker. USA within no time jumped to announce the involvement of Iran in the attacks citing intelligence reports. Obviously, it was aimed at creating a situation where it was easy for USA to muster support from the world community, generally, and from Saudi Arabia and UAE, for triggering an indirect war against Iran. It was a job done well to create a war like situation within the Middle East and with an effort to pitch Saudi Arabia/UAE against Iran and to lure Middle East in the war.

I have my personal interactions with the UAE rulers who are very pragmatic and act like real statesmen and I understand that Middle East will not show any such reaction. The attack by the third party as being believed by international community.

I think the entire world endorses that a proper high level investigation by 5 senior members states of UN needs to be carried out to prove or otherwise the culpability of Iran in the alleged attack.

Iran exports 22% of its oil to China, 14% to Japan, 13% to India, 10% to South Korea, 7% to Italy, 7% to Turkey, 6% to Spain and the remainder to France, Greece & other European countries, Taiwan, Sri Lanka, South Africa. However, by the end of 2018, USA despite putting sanctions on Iran, issued eight waivers to importers of Iranian oil: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey, Taiwan, Italy, and Greece allowing these countries to import a limited amount of oil from Iran without falling foul of US sanctions in order to keep oil prices stable. In a surprising move, Trump administration ended waivers suddenly last month that pushed up oil prices and soured relations with US friends and rivals alike that rely on Iranian energy.

EU is critical of USA’s aggressive and crucial attitude against Iran. They have called on the United States to avoid military escalation with Iran and to show a responsible attitude. This is also a strong factor that USA will not opt for direct attack on Iran.

USA is only trying to put pressure on Iran and will not go on war with it as it is clearly not in a position to do so and also Trump doesn’t want war but war of threats and he will not do such a mistake and should have learnt from Vietnam and Afghanistan. Donald Trump loves verbal attacks and so far, he never implemented his threat. I would call this “Donald Trump’s verbal war.”

Recently, Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Geng Shuan warned USA to turn back after two USA warships sailed near disputed islands without permission and called this USA operation as strongly dissatisfactory. He also warned USA to stop such provocative moves.

In view of above complexed facts, USA will avoid any direct attack on Iran for the following situation as discussed above:

1. Iran in its reactions will carry out its counter attack on the USA interest in Middle East; hence USA would not like to risk their bases.

2. Iran will try to destroy USA interests in Afghanistan which is not in favour of USA.

3. Iran might hit the interest of Israel and also attacks at targeted US interests worldwide.

4. Iran might use its naval force in the Middle East and resultantly the USA bases in Muscat will be in trouble.

5. USA might lose contracts of billions of dollars as a result of this war.

6. The risk of Third World War will increase as the China and Russia will not accept the domination of USA in this region.

7. China has built assets to counter USA defence move in this region as the war in gulf will create hurdle in the movement of Chinese ships.

8. USA is under heavy debts and cannot afford war to destroy its economy. However bluff technology with his usual blend of fear will continue as business as usual.

I feel American bluff will continue and this region will get divided into pro and anti-Iran blocks and this scenario will suit USA to achieve its political and economic goals.

The threat and hope to attack will be more beneficial than the attack itself as many times commitment of President Bush and Obama had made with Saudi Arabian mid-leadership and this time it will remain a threat and perhaps very limited eye wash counter attacks with severe fear technology.

The writer is Chairman of think tank "global eye" & former interior minister of Pakistan. Email: rmalik1212@gmail .com, Twitter @Senrehmanmalik, @GlobalEye_GSA, WhatsApp +923325559393