Iran is a textbook oppressive, theocratic quasi-dictatorship that very likely fixed the last election to sustain power. Their regime is one that constantly threatens other countries in the Middle East and is getting closer and closer to developing a nuclear weapon that it may or may not use on our close allies.
They have been able to stay in the headlines for a long time thanks to their shady nuclear program, which has just recently begun the fuelling process at its primary reactor. Many experts suggest that the Iranians will soon have their own nuclear device.
As a country with extremely hostile relations with all its neighbours, an Iranian nuclear weapon is a disturbing prospect.
Let’s get something straight. Like many Canadians, I support Israel. It’s a small country that cut its teeth against nearly insurmountable odds in several wars, with a swashbuckling attitude that we haven’t seen on the world stage since the Reagan years.
It’s also the most reliable ally we have in the region. So when Iran, with its stated objective of “wiping Israel off the map,” started their nuclear program, I was fearful.
When Iranian officials told the press that they are warming up their nuclear reactors for a peaceful civilian power project, I wasn’t exactly thrilled.
Like many of us who grew up in the ‘90s watching the History Channel, the first thought that popped into my head was something along the lines of “bomb the bastards.” So why shouldn’t we in Canada support an air campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities or even overthrow the Iranian regime?
In short, it’s because the costs far outweigh the potential benefits.
First of all, no one can be sure that a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities can be successful, even with the participation of the United States. U.S. Secretary of Defence Robert Gates went so far as to suggest that an attack of this type will do nothing more than “buy some time.” Not to mention Iran has numerous secret nuclear facilities alongside the single primary facility. These secret facilities are scattered throughout the country and hardened against potential attacks.
These facilities are simply too numerous, too well protected and in some cases, too well hidden to be taken out in one fell swoop. The Texas-based intelligence service STRATFOR estimates there were approximately 14 of these secret facilities in 2008.
Another troubling fact is that Iran has their fingers on over 40 per cent of the world’s oil shipments with their effective control of the Strait of Hormuz.
Iranian leaders are well aware of this geographical advantage and have numerous measures to ensure a critical global shortage of oil should an assault on Iran take place.
These countermeasures include a contingent of mine-laying ships, submarines, aircrafts and missiles that can threaten not just civilian ships, but pose a serious threat to NATO naval vessels operating in the area.
A disruption of this magnitude in oil shipments, even for a short time, will completely shatter the already fragile, recovering global economy.
As it happens, Iran’s geographical advantages don’t stop there.
Iran borders Afghanistan and Iraq, both of which have large contingents of Western troops and both are critical to Western interests.
Iran certainly isn’t letting this advantage go to waste, and has been providing limited training and equipment to insurgencies in both neighbouring countries: their shape charges killed Coalition troops in Iraq and their MANPADS (Man-Portable Air-Defence System) shot down NATO helicopters in Afghanistan.
While Iran has been fairly reserved about the assistance they provide to both insurgencies, they will not hesitate to use their resources in a less restrained manner should a war break out.
For an attack on Iran to succeed, the Iranian assets along the Strait of Hormuz must be completely suppressed or destroyed, along with a majority of the Iranian military.
The targeted nuclear facilities must all be completely destroyed, and an offensive against Iranian assets in the Middle East must also be launched.
All of these objectives must be achieved in quick succession for the operation to have a chance of success; the failure of a single element will have catastrophic consequences.
However, Iran was not the first nation to cause a panic in the world by attempting to obtain nuclear weapons.
It was long feared the Soviet Union would launch its nuclear weapons at the first possible instance, China espoused radical rhetoric regarding nuclear weapons before obtaining them and North Korea has always threatened to take the South one way or another.
All of these countries failed to fulfill their doomsday plans.
The Soviet Union commenced a game of brinksmanship where a nuclear attack was always out of the question.
China settled down, made some friends and started talking to the US soon after.
North Korea toned down their rhetoric and didn’t annihilate Seoul as their previous statements suggested.
Simply put, dictators don’t become dictators by being insane.
To get where they are, they need to calculate risks and stay away from unnecessary dangers.
While the insane and often comical rants of despots make for smashing propaganda, they by no means dictate national policies for these countries.
In more cases than not, internal stability and security are the highest concerns of tyrannical regimes, and throwing it all away in a nuclear war with another power is not in their interest.
It simply makes no sense for Iran to ever relinquish its current and rather cushy position in global politics.
Likewise, it would be strategically and economically suicidal for the West to contemplate an attack on Iran.
All final editorial decisions are made by the Editor(s)-in-Chief and/or the Managing Editor. Authors should not be contacted, targeted, or harassed under any circumstances. If you have any grievances with this article, please direct your comments to email@example.com.