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Will Iran face Biological mess?
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Lt Gen Prakash Katoch | Date:29 Aug , 2013 1 Comment
Lt Gen Prakash Katoch
is a former Lt Gen Special Forces, Indian Army

In the Times of India of today, Chidanand Rajghatta writes that ihe US has fought some 70 wars since it birth 234 years ago, at least 10 of them major conflicts and that till 1947 the US Department of Defense (DoD) was called Department of War. He quotes George Carlin who said, “We like war … we are good at it. We are not good at anything else anymore …. can’t build a decent car or a television, can’t give good education to the kids or health care to the old but we can bomb the shit out of any country …”. George Carlin was an actor comedian whose comment can easily be brushed off. But how do you brush of Gen Wesley Clark, former Supreme Allied Commander, NATO who actually quoted a General of the Joint Staff in saying, “I guess it’s like we don’t know what to do about terrorists, but we’ve got a good military and we can take down governments…. I guess if the only tool you have is a hammer, every problem has to look like a nail.” More importantly, Wesley Clark disclosed six years back, in 2007, that while bombing of Afghanistan had commenced, the US Secretary of Defense had already put on paper the strategy describing how US planned to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off with Iran.

…the West led by the US has no compunctions of supporting Saudi Arabia and the Arab World in targeting Shia regimes as long as the prize target of Iran can be achieved before it turns nuclear.

What changed above time table and priorities perhaps is because : Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons; Ahmadinejad rubbishing the holocaust and open threats to attack Israel and launch hundreds of suicide squads against US if Iran was  attacked; failed plan of US in tackling the ‘Axes of Evil’ – attack–regime change-hand over to Coalition–move on; costs of war in Afghanistan, both economic and body bags; China’s newfound aggressiveness and efforts to embed itself on Indian Ocean seaboard; energy self-sufficiency through shale gas finds etc. What appears on course is that Huntington’s theory of Clash of Civilizations stands stymied for the time being by orchestrating the worst ever sectarian strife in the Middle East at least that may continue to snowball for decades.

Therefore, the West led by the US has no compunctions of supporting Saudi Arabia and the Arab World in targeting Shia regimes as long as the prize target of Iran can be achieved before it turns nuclear. That is the reason US continues to tolerate Pakistan aside from the China factor. That is the reason Pakistan, who considers herself the nuclear armed van guard of global Sunnil jihad, is helping the opposition in Syria (and US in turn) through the ISI supported Pakistan Taliban. What is happening in Syria is directly aimed at Iran – the next stop. It is not without reason Dr Subhash Kapila wrote  in his article ‘US Strategic Blunders in Southwest Asia’ in South Asia Analysis Group on 18 March 2013, saying, “Strategically, the US cannot expect to sustain a long-term and effective presence in South West Asia by a constant and vicious demonization of Iran ……… Iran commands the Shia Crescent extending from Lebanon, through Syria and to the borders of Afghanistan …… the current de-stabilization of Syria through a US-Saudi Arabia contrived war is more targeted at Iran than Syria.”

Strategists had warned that arming the opposition in Syria would amount to create another Afghanistan like situation. But that has already happened and the worst is perhaps yet to come. An international refugee problem of strategic proportions has already been created but chemical attack (Red Line of US) helps advance tackling Iran. There had been plenty speculation that after exposed lies of invading Iraq on pretext of nuclear weapons, US would think twice before invading Syria. But hey, chemical attacks have already occurred in Syria. It hardly matters who triggered these chemical attack – Assad’s forces, the opposition, Al Qaeda, Pakistani Taliban, US, who ? It also hardly matters that when Saddam Hussain used Sarin and Mustard gas against Kurds in 1987-88 and against Iran during the 1980-88 Iraq-Iran War no one invaded that country. Then was the gimmick of snipers firing at UN inspectors with no one hit. Draw your own conclusions about this amateurish trick. Even North Korea does not have snipers firing at UN inspectors. Why would Assad’s boys be so foolish who expect imminent US attack and the government had announced Syria is open to UN inspectors?

Even North Korea does not have snipers firing at UN inspectors. Why would Assad’s boys be so foolish who expect imminent US attack and the government had announced Syria is open to UN inspectors?

Much is also being speculated about the manner in which the West will strike Syria – Tomahawk Precision Strikes? Is that what Chuck Hagel implied by saying that everything was in readiness? In all probability it would be a limited campaign, avoiding conflagration with minimal collateral damage, possibly targeting President Assad and his headquarters, Syrian Military Headquarters, command and control set up and chemical weapons storage and manufacturing facilities. ‘Boots on Ground’ appears to be an outdated concept for the US post the Afghanistan experience and in line with the emerging new US foreign doctrine in which US has transitioned from military domination to more subtle manipulation. This doctrine actually has not been enunciated by the US and may not be formally announced but the bit about no ‘Boots on Ground’ will remain a misnomer. It is no secret that ‘Proxy Boots on Ground’ have been deployed in Syria for the past several months. Reports were already emanating during 2012 that US is using Al Qaeda in Syria in conjunction USSF, NATO, Turkish and Qatari Special Forces mixed with rebels / opposition. Paul Joseph Watson had reported as far back as December 2011 that just as Al-Qaeda terrorists were used to oust Gaddafi, hundreds of Libyan rebels with Al Qaeda willing members were being airlifted into Syria to aid opposition in carrying out attacks against government forces. In addition are regular rapid action forces lined up in Jordan should the need arise for a short, swift clinical offensive. Syria would have been attacked much earlier but for the opposition by Russia and China. However, now the Western Red Line of chemical attack has been breached making the UN authorization of force possible.

Iran’s Leader of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei says the Middle East is a powder keg. He probably has little idea how Iran will be hit. Perhaps that is the reason, Iran’s new regime cannot distinguish between friend and foe, example being seizure of the Indian Merchant vessel MT Desh Shanti by Iranian Revolutionary Guards.  Aside from the depleting number of friends Iran has, what the Ayatollah should be more bothered about Iran’s future with the developing volatile geopolitical situation in the Middle East, particularly in Syria. As a consequence of Syria being attacked, if Iran launches strike on Israel, this is the very opportunity that the West is waiting for. Ahmadinejad’s threat of launching hundreds of suicide squads into US stands nullified with Al  Qaeda, Taliban etc already playing proxy to the US willingly to annihilate the Shia’s, with Iran as the ultimate target. Not retaliating to attack on Syria will only help Iran temporarily. Iraq was struck on pretext of nuclear weapons and Syria is being followed up because of chemical weapons – no matter who triggered them. Iran could be next on pretext of biological weapons albeit with controlled collateral damage. UN inspectors may not even come in this case. Whether Iran will actually wallow in biological soup can be conjectured but the dye appears cast for Iran after Syria.

Coming to India, few months’ back media reported India was paying Iran in gold for buying oil. This report was wiped out within 24 hours perhaps sensing outbreak of another scandal. Then was the news about US pressure on India to stop / reduce oil imports from Iran. Then was news of Iran indicating it will accept payment for oil in Indian Rupees. What happened thereafter is well known but apparently our foreign policy failed to strike a balance between Iraq and Iran in matters of oil imports, which has led to MT Desh Shanti carrying Iraqi crude detained by Iran. But more importantly, the government needs to seriously look at the economic collapse instead of cheap popularity through so-called populist schemes (vote-bank politicking) that have had dismal record of implementation. On record are findings that the 72,000 crores loan waivers for farmers were being diverted elsewhere while hapless farmers continued to commit suicide because of penury. Then, a Supreme Court bench, headed by no other than the Chief Justice of India himself, had come up with the finding the MNREGA was not reaching the intended beneficiaries. These are just two examples. The rest can be gauged from the internal report of the Planning Commission itself that of every one rupee spent by the government, only 17 paisa reaches the ground, implying 83 percent is hogged off enroute through corruption albeit its official name given in the Planning Commission report is ‘administration’.

Concurrent to addressing the economy, we must seriously look at our energy security.

The Finance Minister says that the critical situation of our economy is because of ‘external factors’ and has listed out a number of steps that need to be taken. The external factor part is accepted but the vital question is why India’s economic condition is worse than many other countries facing the same external factors. The reply was perhaps in the disclosure by the anchor of Times Now in a debate during prime time yesterday when he read out a statement by the same Finance Minister in year 2004 (nine years earlier) talking of the same steps that needed to be taken, which he recommends now. Why there has been policy paralysis in the intervening nine years, participants representing the Congress had no answer. It reminds you of the same routine government statement repeated every two-three years with respect to the Maoist insurgency, that the problem will be resolved in next two-three years – end of story.

The point to note is that Syria is yet to be attacked and consequences of actual strikes may raise the price of crude much further. You may take your gold to IMF as already being suggested by the Commerce Minister and hopefully 83 percent will not get absorbed by ‘administration’ in transit. But this may not be the most critical situation if Iran is to be attacked next, which may well happen within next three-four years. So, we might as well get cracking in earnest on getting our economy in shape rather than cosmetic measures and grinning away that there is nothing to worry. Concurrent to addressing the economy, we must seriously look at our energy security. The recent news of Thorium ore being surreptitiously mined in Tamil Nadu and exported was most disturbing but was taken off immediately, obviously because of possible politician-mafia involvement. We need trials like Bo Xilai though that is a far dream in India.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

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One thought on “Will Iran face Biological mess?

  1. In my view the Centre is failed in all fronts but there is a way to fill the coffer of the Government treasury, is that, media and intelligentsia should compel the Centre to work out with the Foreign banks where rogue Indians have stashed their money. If this black money were to come to India, then, I am sure that the present economic crises would be solved practically and our economy would again put on the track of growth & development.

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