February 13, 2006

Unleashing Armageddon, II

[Earlier posts: Unleashing Armageddon: What Then?

Get Your War On: Welcome to Hell]

Another report on the consequences of a military attack on Iran:
A major American attack on Iran's nuclear sites would kill up to 10,000 people and lead to war in the Middle East, a report says today.

Hundreds of scientists and technicians would be targets in the opening salvos as the attacks focused on eliminating further nuclear development, the Oxford Research Group says in Iran: Consequences of a War.


The Oxford report says that Britain could be drawn into the conflict if the Prime Minister allowed American B2 bombers, which can carry 40,000lb of precision bombs, to use bases at Fairford, Glos, and on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.

Precision bombing could put Iran's weapons programme back five to 10 years but within a month the situation would become "an extremely dangerous conflict", says Prof Paul Rogers, the report's author.

The attack would result in "a protracted military confrontation" involving Israel, Lebanon and some Gulf states.

More than 100 American bombers, many based on carriers in the Gulf, would take part in a huge simultaneous surprise air attack on 20 key nuclear and military facilities, the report says.

If the targets included the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, which will become fully fuelled this year, a radioactive cloud could spread over the Gulf. Iran's small navy, which includes three submarines, would have to be attacked to negate threats to vital shipping lanes in the Straits of Hormuz.

But Iran could still retaliate with suicide speedboats, possibly leading to crippling rises in the price of oil.

Prof Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, says that American military action would also have a unifying effect on the rule of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and exacerbate anti-American hostility in the Islamic world.


Iran would probably withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and speed up its secret nuclear weapons programme.

The report concludes: "A military response to the current crisis is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be."

In a similar briefing before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Oxford group predicted that Saddam Hussein's regime could easily be overwhelmed but that the country would become a hotbed of insurgency.
So the same group was correct in its prediction about Iraq in 2003. Of course, many others made the same prediction, and many experts -- including some of those that worked for our own government -- foresaw all of the dangerously negative consequences of an invasion and occupation of Iraq.

It would be comforting to believe that any of this makes a difference to the decision-makers in the Bush administration. But as the evidence has definitively proven, it doesn't. See also: A Decision of Policy. And the most recent installment in my Iran series is here.