The October visit of Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Lebanon testifies: the Middle East region is moving towards large-scale armed confrontation. Its inevitability is due to a combination of several factors. Tehran’s nuclear program, whose success means the collapse of the non-proliferation regime, is only one of them. But the main are the internal political situation in the Islamic Republic, the conflict in the political elite of Iran.
CRISIS IN THE ISLAMIC REPUBLIC
After the Alliance defeated the liberals and pragmatists of the religious “neo-conservatives” and the security forces of the “green movement” united in the scandalous presidential election of the summer of 2009, the opposition between Ahmadinejad and the supreme ayatollahs I’rkhat arkhan I’r described the struggle of the Bulldogs under the carpet started in Iran. His symptom was the appointment of six foreign policy advisers to the Middle East, Asia, Afghanistan, the Caspian Sea, Africa and Latin America against the will of the rakhbar in September.
This demarche weakened the position of Khamenei and the presidential contenders supporting him in a conservative camp, primarily the speaker of the Iranian parliament and former Iranian presidential candidate Ali Larijani. An active foreign policy in the “Shiite belt”, support for terrorist movements in the Arab world and regimes beyond its borders, declaring the need to confront the West, an arms race and conflicts with neighbors in the Persian Gulf, a power confrontation with Israel, expansion in foreign trade - a consequence of the competition of Iranian power elites for control of the country. The result will most likely be the victory of the security forces, who have rallied around the president, over religious authorities and representatives of the vertical of power - supporters of the rakhbar.
Iranian nationalism has every chance of domination over the ideology of the Islamic revolution, the slogans of which he successfully mastered, as was the case in previous epochs with the imperial great-power system that replaced revolutionary ideas in France, Germany, Russia and China. War is the only possible outcome of the Iranian domestic political crisis. Direct conflict with Israel allows the Iranian leadership to claim the status of the leader of the Muslim world, neutralizing Arab regimes hostile to it by supporting the Arab street. According to the Brookings Institute, if in 2009, only 29% of Arabs in Egypt, Morocco, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, and the United Arab Emirates believed that nuclear weapon Tehran will have a positive impact on the situation in the Middle East, then 2010% share this opinion in 57.
The consequence of Iran’s mastering nuclear technology was the effect of the Middle East atomic domino. Decades of passive observation of the countries of the region over the implementation of similar programs in Israel, India and Pakistan have ended. Nuclear development is a national priority for Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Egypt and Algeria. Jordan, Syria, Kuwait, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco demonstrate activity in this matter. The intention to engage in nuclear energy expressed Bahrain, Iraq, Yemen and Lebanon. Even if all of them at the moment want to master the “peaceful atom”, the appearance of nuclear weapons in the future in Iran could provoke a number of states to work on it. Their nuclear arsenals will be small and primitive, however, they will provide immunity against outside interference, which North Korea currently possesses and, it is possible, will soon receive Iran, and the probability of using weapons of mass destruction in conflicts between them will increase significantly.
Such a situation contradicts the interests of the nuclear "five", including Russia and China. The initiative of the United States, advocating a transition to a “global zero nuclear”, did not inspire the countries in respect of which it was supposed to act. Washington is faced with a choice: the spread of nuclear technology on a global scale, including in countries close to Iran, like Venezuela, or the forceful limitation of Tehran’s nuclear program. For all that was said in the US about the possibility of a strike on Iran during the time of Bush Jr. and his "neocons", the prospects for an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities during the "neoliberal" Obama administration today is no less than during the reign of his predecessor.
The current American president is losing in Iraq and Afghanistan, failed the Palestinian-Israeli settlement, demonstrates helplessness in the fight against Al-Qaeda and its many followers, and has failed to cope with the problems of economics and ecology. Failure of the non-proliferation regime will make the US security position extremely vulnerable and limit the possibility of Washington's influence on world politics to the level of the last century.
Iran, successfully developing its uranium and plutonium programs, has already accumulated, in the opinion of experts, enough fissioning materials to create 4-5 nuclear charges. However, its launch vehicles need to be improved, and the manufacture of warheads will take from two or three (Israelis estimate) to five to six (Americans forecast) years. Hence the various anti-Iranian strategies of Jerusalem and Washington.
The United States has achieved from the UN the introduction of sanctions against Tehran designed to weaken the Iranian economy, slow down the Iranian nuclear program and weaken public support for its authorities. Now Washington is seeking to toughen the impact on Iran and is activating the withdrawal of American troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, which should be completed within two years, reducing the vulnerability of the US expeditionary force stationed in the region. Along the way, the White House is holding back Israel, inflicting a strike on Iran in the near future is contrary to the interests of the Pentagon.
Barack Obama, whose attempts at pressure on Netanyahu’s government did not lead to success, weakened the position of the democrats in the run-up to the congressional elections, relied on large-scale export of arms and military equipment to the Middle East. In September, the sale of American weapons to the states of the Arabian Peninsula, primarily to the Saudi Kingdom, was announced, totaling over $ 120 billion. On October 8, an agreement was signed in Israel to buy a squadron of X-Numx generation F-5 fighters for 35 billion dollars from Israel by the United States (Jerusalem will receive these planes in 2,75-2015). At the same time, the radar placed by the Americans in the Negev gives the Pentagon information about the situation in Iran’s airspace and avoids surprises from Israel.
Setting three to four years on missile defense duty on the territory of Bulgaria and Romania will “cover” Europe from the south-east and ensure monitoring of the situation by the Russian Federation. Discussion of participation in the unified missile defense system of Russia is intended to include it in the future in a single American-European defense space. The current US administration, hoping to work out plans for military operations against Iran for five to six years, which, in its conviction, gave America the imposition of economic sanctions, despite all the anti-Iranian rhetoric, it does not seem to be fully convinced of the need for a force scenario. In any case, the next president will most likely have to implement it: the re-election of Barack Obama to a second term is unlikely.
The unexpectedly tough economic restrictions imposed on Iran by the EU and the UAE, joining the sanctions, in addition to a number of countries, China and Russia, Moscow’s refusal to supply Iran with arms weakened Tehran. The reorientation of the PRC and Japan, the main consumers of Iranian hydrocarbons, to other suppliers reduces the future risks to their economies in the event of a violent action against Iran.
CHINESE DIPLOMACY OF MOSCOW
The reaction of the EU and Russia, among other things, is explained by the failure of Tehran’s fault of such initiatives designed to unblock the Iranian conflict with the world community, such as Iran’s accession to the depository of nuclear fuel in Angarsk. The decree “On Measures to Implement UN Security Council Resolution No. 22 from 2010 in June 1929” signed by President Dmitry Medvedev on September 9 of September virtually froze the military-technical cooperation of Russia with Iran. Calculations of the loss of profit from Moscow do not take into account how difficult Tehran was, which minimized its costs even under attractive contracts.
The "union" proposed by Iran to the Russian Federation opposed Russia not only to the United States, the EU and Israel, but also to the Arab world, with a few exceptions, in conflict with Iran. Having completed the construction of the Bushehr nuclear power plant in spite of foreign policy pressure, and maintaining economic ties with Tehran, Moscow has taken the position of positive neutrality with respect to Iran, which is more characteristic of Chinese diplomacy. As a result, unlike in the similar situations of the first half of the 90, there has been a breakthrough in Russia's military-technical cooperation with the West. This is evidenced, in particular, by the agreement on the supply to the Russian Federation of Israeli UAVs in the amount of 400 million dollars, concluded on October 12 by Israel Aerospace Industries and Oboronprom, which includes the assembly of IAI drones in Russia.
The prospects for military-technical cooperation between Moscow and the monarchies of the Gulf, including in the field of missile defense (as they are extremely concerned about Iran’s threats to destroy oil and gas fields in their territories and block the Strait of Hormuz), exceed the possible volumes of arms supplies to Tehran by an order of magnitude. By the way, the Israeli strike on Iran turns Russia into an alternative energy supplier to the world market, torpedoes Iran’s claims on 20% of the Caspian basin, which are being put forward by Tehran to Moscow, Astana and Baku.
The threat to support terrorism in the North Caucasus, voiced by a number of representatives of the Iranian establishment, is small. It is unlikely that Iran is ready to turn a neutral Russia into an enemy, especially since it is itself vulnerable: as stated by Iranian border troops commander General Hossein Zulfugari, they control only 60% of the country's borders, the most problematic being the eastern, northwestern and western borders. A much more real threat to Russia in the event of a war against Iran will be a stream of refugees from Iran (up to 500 thousand people) who will seek to penetrate Russian territory by sea (through the Caspian Sea) or by land (through the republics of Transcaucasia).
OPPONENTS AND ALLIES OF TEHRAN
Most of the leading countries of the Arab world are interested in the defeat of Iran, preferably during its clash with Israel. (At the same time, they are hoping for a weakening of the latter, which is the best scenario for them.) However, Mauritania, which is interested in financial assistance to the Islamic Republic of Iran, and Algeria, opposing Morocco and competing with Egypt, have a different point of view. A positive neutral position with regard to Iran is occupied by Sudan (in spite of Egypt), Eritrea (it has strong ties with Iran and Israel and Israel), Yemen (sees Iran as a counterweight to influence on its territory of Saudi Arabia), Qatar (the traditional opponent of Bahrain and rival Riyadh in the sphere of inter-Arab settlement) and partly Oman.
In the event of a military confrontation with Israel, Tehran can only rely on Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in southern Lebanon and Syria, with possible but not guaranteed diplomatic support from Turkey. Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, which have close economic relations with Iran, cannot, however, do without the help of Washington. Fearing ideological expansion and political pressure of Iran, the post-Soviet republics of Central Asia and Transcaucasia are also interested in strong contacts with the United States and Israel.
How strong is the union of Iran with Syria - time will tell. In any case, the head of the Lebanese government, Saad Hariri, rejected Ahmadinejad’s proposal to join this alliance.
Among the open foes of Iran in the Arab world, in addition to Morocco, Egypt and Bahrain, stand out Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. Riyadh, whose elite Guards units at the beginning of 2010 were defeated in a clash with the North Yemenite Zeidit tribes of the Houssi supported by Iran, has been rivaling Tehran for influence in the Islamic world since the Iranian revolution 1979. The UAE is demanding the return of the islands of Abu Musa, the Great and the Small Tomb, occupied a strategic position near the Strait of Hormuz, occupied by Iran in the 1971.
The military threat from Iran forced the Persian Gulf monarchies to conclude treaties in the field of defense and security with Britain, the United States and France. American and British bases and logistics points in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain in 2009 were added to the French military base in Abu Dhabi.
Meanwhile, quite recently, Iran was the largest trading partner of the UAE. The volume of official exchange of goods between them, in addition to smuggling, amounted to 25% of the foreign trade of the Emirates, mainly in the form of re-export from the EU, the USA, Japan, South Korea and the PRC. The role of the Iranian "free economic zone" in the UAE was played by Dubai, a large part of the real estate of which belongs to the people of Iran. According to the Iranian Business Council, before the imposition of sanctions in Dubai, about 1200 Iranian companies operated and more than 400 thousands of Iranians lived. Every year, Tehran imported through it up to 75% of petroleum products imported into the country. The more painful was the joining of the UAE to anti-Iranian economic sanctions.
FOR ANTI-COMBAT READY
Israel, fearing the completion of the Iranian nuclear program and the possible use of nuclear weapons against it (or its primitive version - the “dirty bomb”), is interested in the early elimination of this threat. If necessary, he is ready to act independently, aware that, unlike the US strike, the IDF attack will not destroy the problem, but will only delay it for five to eight years. The national consensus on this is absolute. If a war breaks out with Iran, the government will support the opposition, perhaps including some Arab deputies.
The ruling coalition is stable and in the case of early elections it will only strengthen the position, having received a mandate from 73 according to the 120 polls. The incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will maintain his position, relying on the support of 68% voters.
In the confrontation with Iran, Israel is interested in military or at least political support from the United States and is ready to wait for it to a certain limit. Waiting is not passive. The army is rearming and conducting intensive training. June 24 to monitor Iran was put into orbit by the spy satellite Ofek-9. In 1988, 2007 and 2008, Jerusalem sent three more satellites into near-Earth space. According to experts, the frequency of launches of Israeli satellites will increase: the Minister of Defense of the Jewish state, Ehud Barak, has secured the allocation of 300 million dollars for space reconnaissance, and the new flight control center of the Palmachim cosmodrome is not inferior to the NASA MCC.
In July, there were reports of the reorganization of the IDF rear services, reconstruction and construction of bomb shelters. In August, it was reported that the Israeli Air Force aircraft made training flights in Romania, on the way there, conducting refueling in the airspace of Greece. In September, on the eve of future battles with Hamas and Hezbollah, Israel Aerospace Industries completed the development of a fundamentally new combat UAV - a K-80 rotary-wing aircraft with vertical takeoff and landing. Drone can carry up to 60 kg of equipment and be in the air up to 6 hours.
October 12 three explosions destroyed part of the Shihab-3 ballistic missiles, launchers, warheads and tunnels based on them. Imam Ali of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at Khorramabad. This largest underground missile base in the Middle East and Europe is designed to strike at Israel. In October, a successful computer attack using a highly complex virus at Iranian nuclear facilities, including the Bushehr nuclear power plant, was also reported.
A number of analysts believe that the import of aviation and diesel fuel to the United States from Israel is a sign of the approaching operations against Iran. tanks $ 2 billion. However, this more likely indicates the approach of stripping Gaza and southern Lebanon and a possible war with Syria.
It is possible that Iran will try to be proactive. And in order to avoid direct confrontation with the United States, he, as in 2006 in Lebanon and in 2008-2009 in Gaza, will seek to wage a “war of attorney” using Hamas and Hezbollah, and in case of defeat the latter will try to engage in confrontation with Israel, Syria.
There are about five thousand militants in the regular units and over 30 thousands of reservists in the Lebanese Islamic Resistance. At their disposal - about 40 thousands of ground-to-ground missiles and rockets, mainly of the Grad type (firing range - up to 21 km). There are several hundreds of solid-fuel M600 BRs with a range of up to 300 km and a combat charge of up to 500 kg that can reach Tel Aviv, up to 2000 BR capable of traveling 43-200 km. A day from the south of Lebanon can be launched on Israel to 800 missiles and rockets.
Hezbollah’s positions represent a network of fortified areas with defense in depth. Militants are well trained and highly motivated, have modern anti-tank missile systems like Metis and Cornet-E, MANPADS like Strela and Igla, modern communications, and UAVs.
The core forces of Hamas are the Izeddine Al-Qassam brigades to 40 thousand people. They have guided high-precision ground-to-ground missiles, an Iranian-made RPG.
If Syria is also involved in an armed conflict with Israel, it will obviously use Zelzal missiles (with a range of up to 300 km) or Scud missile systems.
HOW CAN IT BE
After the Israeli Air Force raids on Iranian facilities, the IRGC missile brigades will most likely bring down on him to the 150 ballistic missiles "Shehab-3" and "Shehab-3M", traveling up to 2000 km. Command posts, US air forces and naval bases in Afghanistan, Iraq, Qatar and Bahrain will be fired at Shehab-1 missile systems (range - up to 330 km), Shekhab-2 (up to 700 km), and also tactical missiles " Naseat and Zelzal (80-300 km). It is planned to use kamikaze pilots, actions of numerous suicide bombers in Iraq (Mahdi army) and Afghanistan, acts of terrorism against American and Israeli targets around the world.
In turn, the Navy IRGC will sweep the entire Persian Gulf with anti-ship missiles (flight range - 45-300 km). In the waters of the Persian and Oman gulfs, American ships will be attacked around 2000 small-sized and up to 150 high-speed boats with anti-ship missiles (25-190 km), and on the bases of the US Navy 1500 special forces. Finally, within the framework of the “asymmetric war”, the Strait of Hormuz will be mined; its channel will be blocked by large tankers.
If the decision is taken by the political leadership of the United States, Iran will have to hit the cruise missiles and B-2 bombers. The Pentagon, experts say, has developed three versions of the operation against Iran. The first restricts military operations to the destruction of objects connected with nuclear and missile programs and the air defense system covering them. These are complexes in Natanz, Arak, Isfahan, Bushehr NPP, etc. Thus, the implementation of these programs will be rejected on 10-15 years ago. In the second, the number of targets increases to several hundred, but then the Iranian nuclear-missile programs will slow down by 20-25 years. The third includes areas of oil and gas production, several thousand industrial complexes, power plants, ports and other infrastructure, transport system and government agencies in the sphere of attack. The elimination of Iran’s industrial potential and control system will halt its nuclear missile weapons by 40-50 years.
The second and third scenarios, implemented over a long period of time, may include the occupation and separation of oil fields of the Arabic-speaking Khuzestan from Iran.