Monday, January 16, 2006

Highway to Hell

Iran's mad mullahs and their rabid mouthpiece Ahmadinejad are definitely seeking to grease the skids and make sure that we're on the highway to hell.

Threaten to raise the prices of oil? Check.
Mr Danesh-Jafari's comments echoed fears voiced by energy market analysts after crude oil prices last week rose above $64 (£36.50) a barrel as hopes faded of a diplomatic solution to the dispute.

Last week, Manouchehr Takin, of the Centre for Global Energy Studies, argued that crude prices could hit $100 a barrel if Iran stopped exporting. "Supply and demand are very tightly balanced," he said.

Mr Danesh-Jafari's warning added weight to veiled threats by Iran's president on Saturday. Iran had a "cheap means" of achieving its nuclear "rights", Mr Ahmadinejad said, adding: "You [the west] need us more than we need you. All of you today need the Iranian nation."

Threaten genocide against Israel? Check.

Threaten the West with armageddon? Check.

Does all this mean that the world must give in to the Iranians? Not in the slightest. The Iranians are trying to project power, but their actual means at this point is more limited. They could attempt to create an oil shock, but that might be tempered by other nations increasing their production to offset Iran's production holdbacks.

Most of the world is hoping that diplomacy works, but not because they think that it will work, but because there isn't much in the way of alternatives. Wretchard writes:
...[D]iplomacy will continue, not because it has any prospect of success, but from want of an alternative. Iran knows better than anyone that Israeli lacks the ability and the US probably lacks the will to mount a regime change. In this context diplomacy acquires a different significance. It's playing for time, hoping that the regime in Teheran will slip up somehow and provide an opportunity for effective action. That slip-up, if it occurs, can only be induced by taking Iran to the brink. The objective of diplomacy is probably to stress Iran to the max, such as by staging wargames on its margin, threatening to refer the matter to the UN Security Council (which means to the United States, which alone provides the teeth to the Security Council), etc, not in the expectation that Teheran will crack, but in the hope that exploitable fractures will occur.
He also notes that the real problem isn't the lack of means, but the lack of will.

Michelle Malkin has more, Suitably Flip notes the radiological clock is ticking (been there, done that), Ed Driscoll notes that Iran is following the Iraq playbook quite well (though I've already noted that Iran is following the playbook first written by Iraq, expanded and expounded by North Korea (and Pakistan for that matter), and now being perfected by Iran.

How best to make sure that the only folks that find themselves in hell are the mad mullahs and Ahmadinejad? It certainly isn't going to be easy, but we've got to do more than just talk. We must be prepared to use massive and overwhelming force to impose the international will on Iran. It isn't just the US that's deathly afraid of an Iranian nuclear bomb. Considering how unhinged Iran's dictators are behaving, most countries must secretly hope that Iran doesn't obtain nuclear weapons. Most of the Middle East really doesn't want Iran with the bomb out of religious and ideological differences. And I'm not just talking about Israel. Israel might not even be the Iranians first targets. They may go after Iraq, Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia first.

Sanctions may only be a stopgap measure that delays the inevitable. It will not stop Iran's march towards the bomb. Iran knows that sanctions can be gamed to their advantage - Iraq proved as much with the OFF/UNSCAM fiasco. Iran has the benefit of materials and knowledge garnered from the North Koreans, Chinese, Russians, Pakistanis (via the AH Khan network), and even from Iraq (via watching and learning what not to do).

UN Security Council resolutions are another stopgap - since they would take time to implement. That and the fact that you'd have countries like France getting all wobbly and claim that "serious consequences" doesn't include military force and undercutting the whole purpose of resolutions threatening force. We're already seeing France getting wobbly, and that doesn't bode well for diplomatic action.

Iran would simply need to intimidate one influential (or influential only in their own minds) country on the Security Council and effectively eliminate it as a player in diplomatic activities against Iran's nuclear program. In fact, you get a twofer if you go after France - you can stop not only the UN activities, but EU diplomatic action as well. That worked perfectly for Iraq, and it certainly seems to be working for Iran.

Pekin Prattles also wonders what can and should be done.

Vodkapundit thinks someone should tell Iran the real deal, but isn't clear who - the comments point out the problem - the US doesn't have any sway in Tehran and the EU and most other countries are in too deep with economic deals. The Security Council is going to meet on Iran, yet as I note above, I don't see strong action forthcoming.

Israel may be training for an attack on Iran, but the problems (tactical, strategic, and logistical) posed by such a mission are several times more complex than the Osirak 1981 strike. That's not to say that they wouldn't give it the old college try, and Israel cannot depend on the UN for its own security when it repeatedly holds conferences that do not recognize Israel's right to exist.

Varifrank thinks the problem is even more serious - it brings Hugo Chavez and Venezuela into play. Chavez is Castro on oil. Lots of oil. Iran is the #4 producer. Venezuela is #5. Both are getting quite buddy-buddy with each other. You can bet that action against Iran will result in Venezuela taking action of their own.

This is a story that needs wider play. To that end, I've posted this to Jo's Cafe, Linkfest Haven, Don Surber, Magnum's Political Voice, Bloggin' Outloud, Right Wing Nation, and bRight and Early. More postings: Arrghhh!, Mudville Gazette, Is it just me?, Peakah's Provocations, Stop the ACLU, Samantha Burns, Basil's Blog, GOP and College, Outside the Beltway, Point Five, [updated regularly].

Show of force, deployment in depth, redeployment, or usual force rotations. You decide. Five air wings (72 aircraft each) are headed to the Gulf region.

AJ Strata says that there's no way in hell that Iran can be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.
The Mad Mullahs can never be allowed atomic weapons. They would simply love to destroy the entire world to gain their place in heaven and finally prove Islam’s preeminance. To them, destroying us and them is just fine. They are truly mad.

We survived the Cold War because the Eastern Bloc would not self destruct for their cause. In the madness of fundamentalist Islam, to die for the cause IS the ulitimate goal. The leaders of Iran are nothing more than a collection of Jim Jones executing their mass suicide pact.
The Cold War was cold precisely because there was a rationality and it was indeed true that the Russians loved their children nearly as much as we loved ours. They wouldn't start a nuclear war because they knew that we'd respond in kind - eliminating their way of life nearly as completely they would ours. MAD may have indeed been mad, but it worked.

The problem is when one of the actors in MAD wants to assure destruction and simply doesn't care - the destruction is an end in and of itself to complete some religious destiny.

Speaking of MAD, WunderKraut offers his proposal for dealing with the Iranians, and indeed any rogue nation. If any nation actually uses nuclear weapons in a first strike, the US will respond with an overwhelming and massive attack against civilian and military targets within the rogue nation. Thus, if Iran launches even a single nuke at Israel or Kuwait or Saudi Arabia, all of Iran gets a one way trip to the center of the sun in 30 minutes or less, or your money back.

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