Israel attack on Iraq: likely scenario and impact
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
Issue Vol 23.3 Jul-Sep2008 | Date : 17 Jun , 2012

Israeli or US attacks could cause Iran to make expedient tactical shifts and provide support to Taliban and al Qaeda elements in Afghanistan. Its support to the Taliban could have a very destabilising impact on Afghanistan and by extension in J&K and the rest of India.

It may have to expedite the consolidation of its strategic petroleum reserves. Gas is going to be the primary energy source of the 21st century and our energy dependence on gas is likely to grow by leaps and bounds. Indias attempts to secure supplies of Iranian gas reserves over land routes/pipelines needs to be expedited, because of the likelihood of disruption of supplies routed through the sea. Iran and India had earlier closed ranks to support the Northern Alliance in Afghanistan against the Taliban-al Qaeda combine. Israeli or US attacks could cause Iran to make expedient tactical shifts and provide support to Taliban and al Qaeda elements in Afghanistan. Its support to the Taliban could have a very destabilising impact on Afghanistan and by extension in J&K and the rest of India.

It would be therefore very much in Indias interests, as also in the regional and global interests to ensure a peaceful, negotiated resolution to this crisis. It would be prudent however, to make contingency plans for the worst case scenarios that may entail a diversification of our oil and gas import sources and possibally a large scale evacuation of the Indian emigrant population from the Gulf region. The base line assumption would proceed from how likely duration of the conflict and disruption of the oil supplies. The long-term spectre of a series of failed states in Asia is chilling. It would give a major boost to the forces of destabilisation and chaos and encourage non-state actors to flourish in such shatter zones of collapse. Inconclusive conventional conflicts in the Gulf could lead to the chilling prospect of the “Somalisation” of this region. This prospect is daunting both at the regional and global level, and could have a paradoxical impact”“that the very quest for enhanced security, leads to greater destabilisation, chaos and instability.

While air strikes on Iranian nuclear/missile complexes might neutralise assumed conventional or WMD threats, these may end up creating an entire new series of asymmetric threats. In purely military terms, the outcome of this conflict would be critical for the Chinese, as it would enable them to evaluate the impact of massed ballistic/cruise missile strikes on US naval surface combatants, especially high value targets like aircraft carriers and also the efficacy of the Kilo submarines”“both, key ingredients of their access denial strategy to prevent US intervention in any hypothetical crisis in the Taiwan Straits.

The prolonged US involvement in the quagmire of Iraq has forced the USA to shift its focus and budgetary allocation from fighting a major conventional war (against regional adversaries like China) to counter-nsurgency. The Iraq experience will certainly drain American political will to engage militarily overseas. It raises the political threshold for the US to help Taiwan against China in any potential conflict. Chinese reliance on energy supplies from the Gulf is also very high, and, as such, the impact on the Chinese economy would also be equally adverse. The most likely outcome of crisis in Gulf would be a global economic recession.


  1. William H McMichael, "Eyes on Iran," Defense News, March 5, 2007, p.32.
  2. Michael Duffy, "What would War Look Like?," Time Magazine,  September 2006, p. 21.
  3. Michael R Gordon and Eric Schmitt cited in The Times of India, June 21, 2008.
  4. Ibid.
  5. Ibid.
  6. Ibid.
  7. "Attack on Iran will turn region into a Ball of Fire," report in Hindustan Times, June 22, 2008.
  8. Ibid.
  9. Steve Chan, "The Heuristics of Warning Forecasts," a paper published in National Security Crisis Forecasting and Management, (New York: Defence Systems Incorporated, 1991). Also see Steve Weber, "Prediction and the Middle East Process," Security Studies, Summer-1997, for a fuller treatment of pattern modelling.
  10. Whitney Raas and Austin Lang, "Osirak Redux : Assessing Israeli Capabilities to Destroy Iranian Nuclear Facilities," International Security, Vol No 31, Spring-2007.
  11. Ibid., p. 8.
  12. Ibid., p. 10.
  13. Ibid., p. 11.
  14. Ibid., p. 12.
  15. Ibid., p. 13.
  16. Ibid., p. 13.
  17. Ibid., p. 14.
  18. Ibid., p. 14.
  19. Ibid., p. 15.
  20. Ibid., p. 17.
  21. Ibid., p. 18.
  22. Ibid., pp. 20-21.
  23. Ibid., p. 21.
  24. Ibid., p. 21.
  25. Martin Van Crevald, "Israel"™s Lebanon War: A Prelimary Assessment," Royal United Services Institution (RUSI) Journal, October 2006 issue, p. 41.
  26. Alan Ben David, "Israel Introspects after Lebanon Offensive," James Defense Weekly, August 23, 2006, p. 19.
  27. Whitney Raas and Austin, n. 10.
  28. Miacheal Duffy, "What Would War Look Like" (Nuclear Threat Initiatives) in Graphic on targets in Iran, Time, September 25, 2006, p. 20.
  29. Riad Kahwaji, "Iran Vows Large Scale Retaliation if US Attacks," Defense News, June 4, 2007, p. 6.

1 2 3 4 5 6
Rate this Article
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Maj Gen GD Bakshi, (Retd)

is a war Veteran and Strategic Analyst.

More by the same author

Post your Comment

2000characters left

One thought on “Israel attack on Iraq: likely scenario and impact

  1. hello sir,
    i have been following you since 2009, have gone through most of your books and that legendary IBTL 2013 speech. i am a graduate engineer, working as a Quality inspection , was an aspirant aiming for Indian Army but now concentrating more on civil services as after reading much more about internal security. i have also gone through the “Indian faultlines” by Capt. Bharat Verma, people like medha patkar, harsh mander, binayak sen, teesta seetalwaad, harsh dobhal, biju mathew including organisations like AID, Proxsa, FOIL, AIM, IAMC, umbrella group, ford foundation etc all are indulged in different kind of funding in india for communal,naxal disturbance etc, i wanted you take a look on these points and provide directions, as on the day i came to know about these process, i got so furious but was not able to do anything instead of my job and my mates are like join AAP and save country and these people somehow connected to AAP if i am correct, further sometime i use to see like another USSR breakdown type thing in India where we are also gonna be divided into pieces, as they are mostly insiders working on the basis of American organisation.
    will be waiting for your reply sir.
    warm regards
    thank you

More Comments Loader Loading Comments