By Zamir Ahmed Awan
Yes, I believe the US may never attack Iran. It is based on past experience that the US never attacks a state where it has a fear of retaliation. Iraq war was a good example where Iraq was blamed for possessing “Weapons of Mass Destruction”. UN inspectors traveled to Iraq and investigated thoroughly and once confirmed that Iraq has no capacity to retaliate then the US invaded Iraq. Before the invasion, the US identified disgruntle Iraqi’s and through a media campaign, launched a hybrid war, fake news, disappointments, anti-Saddam sentiments, anti-state campaign, etc, were bombarded and psychological warfare was created before the actual attack. Bombed from very high altitude, where Iraq has no capacity to retaliate. The infrastructure, command, and control were destroyed. The military might of Iraq was totally dismantled. Once the country was almost destroyed, ground troops, almost without any resistance conquered Baghdad.
Libya was also not so different, in the first attempt, force Libya to dismantle its nuclear program, then ensured, Libya should not have any capacity to retaliate, then, through hybrid war, created environments suitable for the US invasion. Once everything was guaranteed a smooth invasion, the US attacked Libya.
While North Korea, really have deterrence. The US may never attack North Korea (NK). North Korean society is very much conservative and the US could not find any local network to work for them. The media is under strict control in NK, and the US failed to launch any significant hybrid war on NK. Moreover, while attacked Iraq and Libya, Russia and China were not in the mood to offer any resistance. But in the case of North Kore (NK), the US failed to get consent from China or Russia. That is why, in spite of the fact, the US wanted to attack NK, but may never be able to attack.
In the case of Iran, which is not a nuclear state, but one of the most resilient nation and can survive under any crisis, may retaliate. Definitely, it cannot compare with the US military might, but must be able to offer some resistance. The US is not in a mood to suffer even a smaller resistance. On the other hand, geopolitics has evolved as a multipolar world, the US may not be allowed to take any action unilaterally. Russia and China are in a situation, where their consent may be required in advance. The Russians and Chinese have heavy stacks in Iran and strategic interests. The Russians and China may not accept the US hegemony in this region. In the case of escalation of the US-Iran war, Russia may involve actively and openly. China may resist in its own manner but definitely may not allow the US to maintain supremacy in the Middle-East.
Iran downed the US drone, is a signal to offer resistance to a huge extent. Crucial consultations among Russia, Israel, and the US, is of high significance. G-20 may be an important platform to formulate a strategy to resolve the issue. UN and International community is also concerned and may play their vital role. Japan and Europe have stakes with Iran and their economy relies on imported oil and gas from the Middle-East, as well as the export of consumer products and daily used items to Middle-East. I fact, any destabilization in Middle-East may adversely impact not only the European Economy, but the global economy may suffer a lot. Furthermore, some of the European nations may not stand with the US in case of full-fledge war with Iran. The US has gained economic benefits already by selling huge amount of weapons to Arab world, by scaring them from Iranian threat. By actual war, the US may destroy Iran, but gained nothing economic benefits.
The real tension started on unilateral withdrawal of the USA from Nuclear deal with Iran. Iran’s nuclear deal was signed in 2015 by seven nations known as “JCPOA”. The landmark nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers – the US, UK, France, China and Russia plus Germany – saw economic sanctions on Iran lifted the following confirmation from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that sensitive nuclear activities are restricted in the country. Under the deal, Iran had to halt its nuclear program and the West had to remove economic sanctions on Iran. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has confirmed that there has been no evidence of violation from the Iranian side. All other nations’ part of this deal was satisfied with Iran and confirmed the compliance by Iran. Even the US Congress has not confirmed any violations yet.
However, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu gave a PowerPoint presentation that persuaded US President Donald Trump to withdraw from the deal, something he had promised during his election campaign too. It was unilateral withdrawal and an open violation of the international treaty. Any sanctions imposed by the UN must be respected, but imposed by any single country or small group of countries, may not be considered binding on all other nations. Bilateral relations, cannot be imposed on the whole world. I believe, the UN and the International Community must be given a chance to avert the big disaster. One possible solution may be the restoration of – JCPOA. Be Optimistic! Be Positive! Join us to pray and wish for guidance, wisdom and a sense of responsibility and struggle to avert any big disaster to humanity.
Prof. Engr. Zamir Ahmed Awan is a Sinologist (ex-Diplomate), Non-Resident Fellow of CCG (Center for China and Globalization), National University of Sciences and Technology (NUST), Islamabad, Pakistan.