Tightening the Noose on Iran
World Jeff Lukens, Featured Writer
November 22, 2007
Al-Qaeda has suffered a humiliating defeat in Iraq, and the Sunnis who were once allied with them now oppose them. We may be finally witnessing an historic change in a democratic Iraq that will have profound effects throughout the region. Democracy in the region, however, is not welcome by the leaders of Iran. In recent months, Iranian-supplied militias have been responsible for 70 percent of US casualties in Iraq. It is not surprising, therefore, that the focus of US military and diplomatic efforts in the region has now shifted to Iran.
As a Westerner, it often perplexes me about Iran's continued involvement in Iraq and their incisive thumbing of their noses at the United States. This, strategically and tactically, is not a sound move. Forcing our hand militarily would be one of the greatest errors this non-secular dictatorship could make. In the world of realism there has been constant provocation by both sides (i.e. the United States and Iran) dating back as far as the 70's and further. Iran, was backed by the Soviets and we backed Iraq in the Iran/Iraq war. Plus, there was a great deal of interference in Iran's government by British and United States intelligence operatives as far back as the 50's. So, the point is is that both countries have had a long standing rivalry and a pattern of hostility. Many people like to mention the hostage situation of the late 70's and early 80's as the beginning of the modern day tensions between the two countries. In my opinion, this is simply not true. History has shown us that it was a symptom of a much deeper hatred that already had existed. These problems, like most in the Middle East, did not just pop up over night. This has been a long developing process that finds it's roots in post WW 1. The only problem is that the media coverage given to this continued "Cold War" has only caught the attention of the American population in the last 30-35 years.
The problem with Iran is multifaceted. We need an Iran that doesn't have the potential to build nukes, that doesn't support terrorism, and that doesn't destabilize Iraq. Iran's influence extends to significant Shiite communities on the western shore of the Persian Gulf. Iran's leaders could see the military weakness of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar as an opportunity to take control of the entire Gulf. If that happened, roughly one-quarter of the world's oil-output would be under Teheran's control.
The last sentence in this paragraph, for me, is the most troubling. Over the past 8-10 years, our Achilles' s heel has become more apparent to countries which could be considered very hostile to the United States. That is our consumer based economy and our dependency on oil. The basis of our economy is another argument, so for this I will only concentrate on the oil problem. At the beginning of the Iraq conflict there was an outcry by the anti war movements of no war for oil. Many people scoffed at them. But, inherently they were correct that the war in Iraq is about oil. Where they were wrong was that the war was not about exploitation of the oil but the protection of the it. American interests (i.e. oil) in the Middle East have been teetering for years. The Russians and the Chinese have been trying to gain a foothold in the region for a very long time. China is fast becoming one of the greatest consumers of oil and estimates have set them surpassing the United States in its consumption sometime around 2020-25. The Chinese are very forward thinking in certain areas. They know that in order to meet the supply they require they must gain, at worst, hospitable relationships with the Middle East. This seems to me to be the driving force behind American military involvement in the Middle East. To have an Iran that is friendly to China and hostile to the United States, then having China gain control of 1/4 of the oil in the world, whether through coercion or military take over, is unacceptable. This problem goes deeper than just influencing the daily lives or comfort of the average American. It actually will hit the core of our economy and could inevitably cause a catalyst that could wreck the very fabric of Western society. The solution? Military intervention is only a band aid fix. It will buy us time to get off of the Oil Drug. American genius and ingenuity should be focused on viable alternative energy sources. It should be paramount to our security agencies to move this agenda through the government. If we were to follow this road our security concerns would be greatly reduced and need to project our military power to protect American interests abroad would also depreciate.
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