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Published:September 2nd, 2012 11:37 EST
Should Israel or the US Conduct Military Operations in Iran?

Should Israel or the US Conduct Military Operations in Iran?

By Harvey Carroll, Jr.

This paper is in reply to the Middle East/Israel Iran Military Option per the Council of Foreign Relations President Richard Haass article


Dr. Haass points out that over the summer, there have been very strong statements from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak about the strong possibility of Israel launching a preemptive attack on Iran`s nuclear facilities, since the diplomacy to stop Iran`s nuclear program hasn`t worked.


Dr. Haass a veteran Middle East expert, which feels that diplomacy to end Iran`s nuclear program has "come up empty," He also takes Israeli talk of a possible preventive attack "at face value." He says the United States has tried to calm the Israelis, but "one of the many unknowns is whether any degree of U.S. reassurance can persuade the Israelis, given what the Israelis see as the stakes." Overall, he says, this is a situation where there are no obvious or easy choices, and while a nuclear-armed Iran presents "a terrible outcome strategically," a U.S. or Israeli military attack carries unforeseeable risks.


I have pondered just have affective Sanctions would be on Iran and in this writing on Iran, Sanctions and Security I conclude that Sanctions will do little when it comes down to it as Iran will find ways to bypass sanctions. 


While the Israel has ramped up their concerns, President Obama has went from recognizing mutual respect and commitment to Diplomacy to we all watched President Obama during his State of the Union Address make it clear that there will be no Nuclear Iran on his watch. Isolated Iran with all options on the table to achieve the goal of a non nuclear Iran.


Dr. Haass also ponders the question of "Do you think either President Obama or a President Romney would ever be willing to undertake a preventive military strike against the Iranian nuclear program?" I think this is a fair question as the United States has a long history of covert operations in Iran since about 1952 and this option is surly on the table.


Just how a covert attack could be organized that would actually penetrate the target is another question. Israel and the United States both have tactical virus weapons that could take out the entire air force of Iran as the Israelis did in the past border conflicts. New, and much more advanced air power assets are in place all around Iran that may or may not penetrate the target. The other options are to contaminate the area to the point that no scientist would survive ever poking his or her head out of the weapons bunker, nor any military person would survive getting to the weapon. Such an attack would isolate a huge territory and affect downwind environmental issues for decades, but could justifiably prevent much more harm than the means to the end of the Iranian nuclear program. Then there is the cautionary provision that we not use nuclear weapons that would ignite the nuclear material and blow out 1/3rds of the Earth, so American Common Defense must use commonsense in dealing with the target aspects of covertly and/or overtly taking out the nuclear target.


Do you think the Israelis would like the United States to strike Iran?


Both Dr. Haass and I agree that Israel would rather the United States strike Iran than Israel as they are in the immediate area and would be quickly retaliated against. Secondly, the U.S. might also look at Israel`s involvement being more harm than good, which I will discuss a bit more detailed below.


Some experts have suggested that despite the election campaign, President Obama should make a trip to Israel to reassure the Israelis, since he did not visit Israel during his term. What are your thoughts?


Dr. Haass feels that it would open up all sorts of interpretation and speculation, and doubts such a trip would happen. He looks at President Obama wishing to avoid Foreign Policy in his political campaign. I agree in many ways. Romney traveled there and offered his support for Israel he was portrayed as a hardliner that offered little in the way of a voice of reason and even became a bit of a Bush type candidate that allowed President Obama a familiar opponent. The new campaign slogan for the Obama camp is the Go Back Team that represents failed policies like the Bush Administration. A Romney Foreign Policy clearly concerns the American people of additional War Time Economics that have cost them so much over the past decade. Yet, the Iranian Nuclear Issue is still in their minds, but not as much as domestic economics and spending within the United States and not on conflict abroad.


How does the Non-Aligned Movement summit, which is taking place this week in Tehran, figure into the discussion on Iran?


Dr. Hass makes great points about the 120 member states of the so called Non-Aligned Movement and concludes that attendees Hugo Chavez, president of Venezuela, and obviously the host government of Iran, Robert Mugabe from Zimbabwe, and so forth are not so non-aligned. He also voices concerns of people like the Indian prime minister and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon attending that offer a bit of legitimacy of any rhetoric that may come out of the host county that also undermines the nuclear issue and Geopolitical politics in dealing with the death and destruction imposed by Syria.


Yet, I feel that those non aligned countries excluding a few of the loud mouths that do little for their people such as Hugo Chavez are reasonable and responsible and wish to do business over that of continuing to see Global Economic conditions hampered by conflict in the Middle East. The Middle East, while valuable to the Global Economy should not be holding the rest of the world`s economy hostage. A very real possibly of the Terror/Hostage Taking Mentality from the country of Iran without a nuclear weapon in the past and could be even more Global Economic Hostage Taking in the future with the possession of a Nuclear Weapon. So, I would ponder just how many of the 120 nations representatives feel that they are held hostage to the Iranian lack of reason over that of what they would like the Non Aligned to buy into in the support of their nuclear quest. I bet President Carter would be a great U.S. Spokesman on this NAM issue if interviewed by the CFR and International Press.


Is there any possibility that the Secretary General can work out anything with the Iranians on this trip?


Sadly, Dr. Haass and I agree that Diplomacy does not always work. He published a book (Conflicts Unending: The United States and Regional Disputes) about ripeness and about the need for certain preconditions to be in place in order for diplomacy to have a chance of prospering, and on either issue in the short run, and he does not see much of a chance in dealing with Iran. While I have a book being shopped by an LA Entertainment Attorney, I too recognize that sometimes there is no voice of reason that anyone is willing to listen to. This concerns me with Iran. I see both sides, but Iran sees only their interest and that isolated inner perspective has no voice other than their own.


Dr. Haass and I disagree on Syria. I see Syria as a failure in Diplomacy. I was suggesting a Diplomatic Delegation via the U.S./U.N. long before it turned into Civil Conflict in Syria. I have admonished Susan Rice our U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations for her arrogance and ask that she apologize to President Obama for setting back his Russian Reset Policy. I recognize that she has a difficult job, but Diplomacy has little place for arrogance and personal feelings. It is also rarely a place for a career military man like Colin Powel that leans towards the military option over that of the time tasking tensions of Diplomacy.


Dr. Haass and I has some like minded thoughts on Libya as I wrote the proposal to the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. calling for Humanitarian Intervention without the full hawkish call for Regime Change that cost lives, and vast war immigrants. I proposed a Divide Libya Policy and cited the many times it had been used in the past to prevent conflict, death and destruction. Lessons should have been learned in Libya, but they were not. With this thought in mind I do not feel the Assad Regime should become another Death Democracy. I feel that he could step down and participate in Presidential Elections and the peace could be saved as opposed to being another notch on the Pentagon Regime Changer list like Saddam, and Gadhafi.


Russia offered very valuable concerns of a rise of radical Muslim Brotherhood in Syria as occurred in Egypt. I too voiced this during and post Arab Spring discussions with the CFR and others as Dr. ElBaradei the Father of the Egyptian Revolution was kicked to the curb by the Muslim Brotherhood as I predicted. A discussion I had with one of his friends just recently. A great man that I ponder his fate and that of the Arab Springs hopes for change in Egypt.


What are the options? Some people have suggested a deal could be struck if we made an explicit offer to guarantee Iran`s peaceful use of nuclear material.


I will quote verbatim, CFR President Haass as saying:


There`s lots of things you could do: You could guarantee certain types of access, not to the ingredients, if you will, or the material, but assurance, as you put it, about access to nuclear power. You could promise certain types of sanctions relief. But essentially, Iran would have to get out of the enrichment business or the business of the storage of enriched material. I don`t know if that is something they would be prepared to accept.


The goal here should not be to humiliate Iran. The goal here should be to make sure that Iran is not allowed to keep in place the prerequisites of a nuclear weapon that could be assembled in short order.


The goal here should not be to humiliate Iran. The goal here should be to make sure that Iran is not allowed to keep in place the prerequisites of a nuclear weapon that could be assembled in short order. Whether you could square this circle, come up with something that the Iranians believe is not humiliating, but also come up with something that the rest of the world would feel is reassuring, I don`t know.


My thoughts on this that it is possible as we did much the same post collapse after the collapse of the Soviet Union. I was making the suggestion to buy out the Nuclear Weapons to prevent them from ending up in Terrorist Hands in the early collapse days. I will not go into my full background on this issue, but I not only suggested the nuclear buyouts, but also joint ventures in the Mir Space Station that became the International Space Station. and many economic ideas that helped bring many of the former Soviet States into NATO and revive their economics as they convert from Communism to Corruptionism/Market Economy. I have about a decade in country behind the former Iron Curtin experience and have friends/interpreters that just sent me a Skype message from a city in the Ukraine that the U.S. purchased 800 Nuclear Weapons that were once pointed at the people of the United States.


So, what was once considered the Evil Empire with tens of thousands of nuclear weapons pointed at the United States is now under a Reset Policy and a potential trade and commerce partner, with a few setbacks from time to time as is expected in Diplomacy.


Do you think that the Israelis also feel a bit under pressure because of the change in the leadership in Egypt in particular?


Dr. Haass covers this point well so I will quote him verbatim:


Well, strategically, the last year and a half has been an extraordinarily worrisome set of events for Israel. You not only have the Iranian threat, but on Israel`s borders you`ve had the obvious deterioration in Egypt and in Syria; Lebanon was already bad, and Jordan`s future is a source of recurring uncertainty and concern for the Israelis. And all of this is in addition to the absence of progress on the Palestinian front. So quite honestly, the Israeli strategic situation, I would say, has deteriorated over the last eighteen or so months because some of the positive features of the post-1967 strategic map can no longer be assured.


The only thing that I would debate is the eighteen month time frame as I feel that it was the Bush Doctrine that created the instability and tensions that led to the rise of the Muslim Brotherhood that came to power in Egypt. What would have been a great opportunity for ElBaradei the Father of the Egyptian Revolution to become President was undermined by the decade of U.S. aggression in the region.


And of course, Mohamed Morsi, the new president of Egypt, is about to visit Tehran for the NAM meeting.


Dr. Haass points out the following that I agree with:


The mere fact that he may visit Iran is a worrisome development. But even more worrisome is the consolidation of his domestic political power at home and the fact that he might be in a position to dominate or at least heavily influence those who would be in a position to write the new Egyptian constitution. Constitutions, in some ways, form the foundation stones of a democratic system, and that is an issue of real concern: the potential for majoritarianism, where minority and individual rights become vulnerable to the majority, the potential absence of meaningful checks and balances. These are all legitimate concerns.


My thoughts are that the United States and the U.N. if there is to be long term peace should keep ElBaradei in the International Press and place him in a position to have more influence over the fate of the Egyptian people. ElBaradei as the Father of the Egyptian Revolution supported by those that wanted more freedoms have been hijacked and lost freedoms. Now, they may have Iran writing their constitution and this would of course concern the Egyptian people that could now find themselves living under much more oppression than that of the Mubarak regime, with a much less tourist, trade and commerce economy.


Let me just come back to where we started. If Israel did attack Iran on its own, what would be the repercussions?


Dr. Haass`s thoughts:


If Israel makes the decision to act, I would argue the United States then needs to position itself so it could try to influence the trajectory of the crisis moving forward.


So much depends, if that were to happen, on how the Iranians would choose to retaliate, and that`s where the United States comes in. If Israel were to undertake a preventive strike, then I believe the United States very quickly should signal to the Iranians that they do not have in any way whatsoever a free hand in retaliation--that Iran should understand that by what it does, it risks bringing in the United States directly, and that it risks escalating the conflict in ways that would bring a much broader range of Iranian targets and interests into play.


Dr. Haass feels that if Israel makes the decision to act that the United States then needs to position itself so it could try to influence the trajectory of the crisis moving forward, but what would that entry and exit strategy really look like? This is the real question and I have seen in my mind`s eye my involvements in the 1st Gulf War and the Entry and Exit Strategy would forever change the Middle East, Iran and the way the world sees the United States. I would hate to see America go down that brutal path and favor Diplomacy over death and destruction.


Dr. Haass recognizes two important factors

1) An Israeli attack and

2) Israel would prefer the United States to do the attack. With these two thoughts in mind we both recognize that several Arab states, including Saudi Arabia, have been urging the United States for some years and that they would be critical of Israel if they became involved.


Yet, I take this view into much further thought based on my experience in the planning and organizing the multinational coalition during the 1st Gulf War and recognize that not only would Saudi Arabia, be critical, but they would quickly side with the new Muslim Brotherhood influence via the Arab Spring rise to power would. If the Israelis attacked Iran, the Israeli Border States would most assuredly be entangled in conflict with Israel.


During the 1st Gulf War I anticipated the same issues and did what I could to influence Israel to stay out of the conflict to prevent then about 107.8 million Arabs and Persians from dropping out of the coalition and targeting Israel. An Israeli participation would certainly broken the coalition and diverted their attention from targeting Saddam`s naked aggression against his neighbor Kuwait into targeting Israel via a Religious Conflict. Saddam`s scud middle attacks tried to do daily, while I give Saddam Hussein great props for being a brilliant strategist, I worked hard to out-think and strategically out play his moves at great personal stress and long term sacrifice`s of the toll of conflict takes on a mere human.


Here is just a glimpse of my daily thoughts of the strategy that brought about a quick end to the 1st Gulf War and again, not wishing to return to such policy making that took out Saddam`s army of 150,000 men and destroyed the Oil Fields in Kuwait and Southern Iraq that can be explicitly seen via YouTube Imax Fires of Kuwait (part 1 through 4) as they show the realities of war and the certain outcome of an attack on Iran by not only the United States but nearly all its neighbors wishing to cut it up like a Pizza, NATO for its continued investments and national security interest and the emerging markets that depend on these economies would turn their backs on the boastfulness of Iran`s tiresome tensions.


YouTube Videos


Dr. Haass and I agree on the perception that Iran`s Middle Eastern Neighbors worry about a Nuclear Iran and that their leadership have encouraged a U.S. attack on Iran; however, they have not communicated that to the public in such a way that they have full support and influence of a Major Coalition of 100 million plus Arabs and Persians to back the United States/NATO strike to take out the Nuclear Threats that Iran poses to their neighbors. This concept worked in the past to prevent Iraq`s expansionary influence, perhaps Iran`s neighbors would agree to do it again.


This is one of those situations where there are no obvious or easy choices.


I pride myself in subscribing to the principles of being a Constructive leader over that of a Destructive Leader; however, there have been times that the end justified the means in using force to gain peaceful ends. I recognize that America has struggled with the same principles that I subscribe to with George W. Bush`s return to Iraq and the decade long conflict in Afghanistan. I am more of a hit it devastatingly and get it over type of guy and one can see the results of that during the 1st Gulf War that was won in only 37 days, minimal loss of coalition lives via accidents more so than combat, and only cost about 70 billion dollars; thereby saving millions of lives and positively affecting the economic fate of nations. We now see that long term conflict can bring instability and global economic crises per my warnings in 1990 and my attempt to prevent a Bush return to the Middle East via his lack of entry and exit strategy.


Harvey Carroll, Jr.

My Background:


My comparisons to Paul Ryan and concerns of a Go Back Team policy and my support for President Obama on both Domestic Economic Policy and Foreign Policy.