War: Tracking the Threat of War with Iran
For the past
several years, the possibility of a war involving Iran against one
or more Western nations (plus Israel) has remained within the
realm of possibility. Iran's quest for nuclear power, and, many
experts believe, a goal of acquiring nuclear weapons, has worried
Who would go to war with Iran, and
why? Here is a look at several nations that may go to war with
Iran in the near future:
The United States and
its traditional allies (Britain, France, Germany, etc.) are
increasingly worried about a nuclear Iran, especially given the
tense relationship Iran has with most Western nations since the
Iranian Revolution of the late 1970s. Ever since President Bush
declared that Iran was part of an "Axis of Evil," the threat of
conflict increased. Many believe that the election of Donald
Trump as President of the United States has increased the risk
of war between Iran and the U.S.
Israel, which is the
world's only Jewish majority nation, has a long history of
conflict with the Muslim world, and the leaders of Iran since
the 1979 Iranian Revolution, has made acted belligently toward
Israel and the Jewish people, and Iranian politicians
frequenlty state that they believe Israel should exist. In
addition, Iran strongly supports impacable Israeli foes such as
Hezbollah and Hamas, and are a very important supporter of the
Assad regime in neighboring Syria througout the bloody Syrian
Conservative Arab nations,
such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf States.
While it is very unlikely that any of the Arab nations would
attack Iran, they may very well aid and abet any attack by the
West and/or Israel. Historically Persian Iran has been in
conflict with the Arab-speaking nations. This is partly due to
the fact that Iran is dominated by the Shiite sect of Islam,
while most Arab nations are controlled by the majority Sunni
sect of Islam. The Saudis and other minor Sunni states have
engaged in proxy wars with Iran in Syria, Yemen, and Iraq over
the past several years.
Below are new accounts related
to the tensions between Iran and other nations that may lead to
the feared Iran War.
Iran is far from a homogenous
nation. The Islamic Republic has many ethnic and religious
minority groups, and many of them chafe under Tehran's rule. The
Baluchis of southeastern Iran (like their ethnic kin across the
border in Pakistani Baluchistan), want freedom from the central
government, and are conducting a guerrilla/terrorist war to
achieve their goals.
Iran's ethnic and political unrest
escalated on October 17, 2009, with a suicide bombing that killed
at least five commanders of Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary
Guards Corps. The bombings also killed and wounded dozens of
others left dead and injured in two the restive Baluchi region of
near Iran's southeastern frontier with Pakistan.
The coordinated suicide bomb
attacks mark an escalation in hostilities between Iran's
leadership and one of the nation's many restive ethnic and
religious minorities, in this case the Baluchis. Many terrorist
attacks, mostly directed at the Iranian military and at the
Revolutionary Guard have plagued Iran's southeastern region,
Sistan-Baluchistan, and in April the government put the elite but
brutal Revolutionary Guards Corps in control of security in the
Baluchi region in an effort to stop the escalating
Iran, predictably, has accused its
foreign enemies of supporting the insurgents in the past, and
repeated that charge the day after the latest attack. By midday,
news reports from Iran said that 31 people were killed and at
least 28 injured.
Iranian Weapons to
In early November, 2009, Israeli
forces seized a cargo ship containing large amounts of weapons
supplied by Iran to arm Israel's Lebanese enemies, Hezbollah.
and Hezbollah fought a month-long war
in the summer of 2006.
Iran held war games in late
November, 2009, claiming that these military exercises were
preparation to repel a possible Israeli attack. Iran's war games
caused a slight increase in world oil prices, as many analysts saw
the exercises and the accompanying Iranian propaganda as inflaming
Two recent developments in
particular shows that Israel is growing increasingly concerned.
First, the Israeli cabinet decided to fund a program to provide
gas masks to all Israelis. This is an obvious preparation for the
possibility of missile attacks on Israel from Iran and/or Iranian
allies Hamas, Hezbollah, and Syria.
Second, on January 12, 2010, a
leading Iranian nuclear scientist was assassinated by a
remote-controlled bomb in Tehran. It is widely assumed that Israel
is behind this killing in an apparent attempt to delay the Iranian
In late January, 2010, news media
reported that the U.S. was quietly upgrading defensive missile
systems, including Patriot missiles, in the waters of the Gulf, as
well on the territory of several allied Arab nations. This move
was due to clear concern about tensions with Iran and the
deteriorating state of talks on the nuclear issue.
In late February, 2010, Israel
unveiled a new potential weapon in its growing arsenal. The Heron
TP, which is a second-generation Israeli-manufactured pilotless
aerial drone capable of staying in the air for 20 hours, and with
a range that can take it into the skies over Iran.
The drone is believed to have seen
action in the recent Gaza
Iranian plane buzzes the USS
On April 21, 2010, an Iranian navy
Fokker F27 turboprop reconnaissance plane flew to within 1,000
feet of the American aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower in the
Gulf of Oman. This flyby occurred toward the beginning of Iran's
military exercises in the Gulf. This encounter came as the
rhetoric between the U.S. and Israel, on one side, and Iran,
Syria, and Hezbollah on the other side, began to heat up over
several issues. Perhaps the potentially most dangerous point of
contention is the alleged transfer of powerful new Scud missiles
navy plane flies near USS Eisenhower in Gulf of
Oman--CNN, April 28,
Russia to supply fuel rods for
Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr
Russian sources associated with
that nation's assistance program with Iran's nuclear program
announced that by August 21, 2010, the fuel rods necessary to
power the Bushehr nuclear reactor will be installed. Some
analysts, such as John Bolton, former U.S. ambassador to the U.N.,
believe that announcement creates a deadline by which Israel will
attack the Bushehr reactor. According
to Bolton, an Israeli
strike at the Iranian reactor must come before the nuclear
material is installed, otherwise, an attack could spread
radioactive material throughout parts of the Middle East.
Also, in August, 2010,
article was published by The Atlantic
magazine which presents
facts and opinions on the possibility of an Israeli strike at
Iran. The Atlantic article concludes that there is a 50 percent
likelihood that Israel will strike the Iranian nuclear program by
On August 21, 2010, Iran, with
Russian aid, began inserting the fuel rods into the Bushehr
reactor. Some analysts believed that Israel would not risk an
attack after August 21 for because of the risk of serious nuclear
contamination throughout the Gulf region if the reactor were to be
destroyed. However, other analysts see evidence of war
preparations by Israel, Syria, and Iran. Clues these analysts see
--Ongoing publicity and
concern in Israel over the Gallant
Scandal, which some
Arab sources see as a smokescreen to deflect attention away
from war preparations by Israel.
--The presence of Iranian
Revolutionary Guards chief Gen. Mohamed Ali Jafari in Damascus,
apparantly for discussions on coordinating Syrian, Hezbollah,
and Iranian military responses to an Israeli strike.
--Statements made by
Palestinian Authority leader Mahmoud Abbas saying that direct
peace talks with Israel were not in the likely because "a big
military surprise awaits the Middle East."
Sept. 26, 2010--Iran
appears to be the victim of a concerted cyber-war attack through
the so-called Stuxnet computer virus. This virus, though found in
other countries, is concentrated in Iran, and is targeting
industrial sites, in particular the controversial Bushehr nuclear
plant. Analysts believe the virus to be the work of a
"nation-state" with the resources to create and launch this
complex virus. Obvious culprits include Israel and the United
Sept. 26, 2010--Iranian
forces crossed the border into northern Iraq to strike at a
Kurdish Iranian rebel group in retaliation for a bombing inside
Iran that killed 12 in a military parade in the town of Mahabad.
Iran claimed to have killed 30 rebels on the Iraqi side of the
July, 2011--Former CIA
officer Rober Baer says that Israel will attack Iran in September
of 2011, prior to a Palestinian vote, citing former Mossad chief
Meir Dagan's warnings of an Israeli attack on Iran as "no bluff."
Dagan had warned that an Israeli attack on Iran would be foolish,
and that it would start a war that would send thousands of Iranian
and Hezbollah missiles at Israel.
Amid heightened war tensions, Iran
announced the capture of an American Drone over Iranian skies.
When Iran provided video footage of an apparantly undamaged drone,
speculation arose as to a possible Iranian cyber-attack on the
drone (i.e. Iran hacked the code and/or communications of the
drone to order it to land).
As the Syrian Civil War developed
and grew, Iran increased aid to the embattled Assad regime, first
with weapons, money, and training, but, by 2013, thousands of
Iranian Revolutionary Guard troops were fighting inside Syria.
Also, Iran supports Hezbollah, the Shiite Lebanese militia that
also sent thousands of troops to fight for Assad. Iran also
recruited foreign fighters from Shiite minority groups in
Afghanistan and Pakistan, trained and armed them, and sent them to
Syria to fight alongside the Syrian forces and the other Shiite
Throughout the Syrian War, Israel
has conducted a campaign of targeted air strikes on Iranian,
Syrian, and Hezbollah forces and installations in Syria. The fear
of the Israelis is that Iran is supplying Hezbollah with weaponry
that can threaten Israel, and that they are using the chaos in
Syria to establish bases near Israeli military
Administration reaches a deal with Iran on Iranian nuclear weapons
May, 2018-The Trump
Administration backs the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Arms
September, 2018-A rocket
attack is made on the U.S. Consulate in Basra. The U.S. blames
Iran and Iranian-backed Shiite forces in Iraq. Soon after, the
U.S. closed its Basra consulate.
2019-Tensions rise in the
Gulf region as the war of words between the U.S. and Iran heats
-The U.S. increases economic
sanctions against Iran.
-Iranian military officials
threatened that they had the ability to close the Gulf to all
seaborne traffic (a threat to the movement of oil from the Gulf
nations to the rest of the world).
Bahrain ordered its citizens
out of Iraq and Iran due to tensions with Iran.
ExxonMobil evacuates staff from
American government sources
indicate a fear that Iran has green-lighted their proxies in
the region (in Syria, Iraq, and elsewhere) to attack U.S.
forces in the Middle East.
The U.S. ordered more aircraft
carrier and other naval forces to the Gulf.
American Patriot anti-missile
batteries were deployed to the Mid-East, along with B-52
bombers sent to bases in the Gulf States.
May 12-Four oil tankers are
sabotaged at the UAE port of Fujairah. It should be noted that
Fujairah is on the west coast of the United Arab Emirates, and
that oil sent there via oil pipeline from the Gulf side of the
UAE, circumvents the need to ship that oil through the
dangerous Strait of Hormuz. It is believed that Iranian forces
(or perhaps proxies) conducted the sabotage in response to the
anti-Iran sanctions, and also to show that Iran could strike at
oil shipments that did not go through Hormuz.
June 13-Two more oil tankers
are attacked, this time with limpet mines that the U.S. says
are of Iranian origin. The blame is put on Iran's Revolutionary
June 18-A rocket attack on an
operations headquarters of several global major oil companies,
including American oil firm, ExxonMobil, near the Iraqi city
of Basra. This part of Iraq is near the Iranian border, and is
largely inhabited by Shiite Iraqis and is dominated by
pro-Iranian Shiite Iraqi militias. Three people were injured in
June 20-Iran shot down an
American Global Hawk surveillance drone. The Global Hawk is
packed with the latest technology, and costs about $210
million. Iran claims the drone was in Iranian air space, while
the U.S. says it was over international waters. Regardless, the
shooting down of the drone sharply escalated tensions between
Iran and the United States. President Trump ordered retaliatory
air strikes on Iran, but changed his mind about ten minutes
before the attacks were to have taken place. Tensions remain
high. However, there are reports that the United States Cyber
Command (CyberCom) did launch cyber-attacks on Iranian spy
groups and cyberwarfare units. For the past several months it
was reported that Iranian cyber-attacks on U.S. government and
industrial targets by Iranian hackers were increasing. Whether
or not the U.S. and Iran have an actual military conflict, the
ongoing cyber combat will likely continue.
July 4-The UK seized an Iranian
tanker at Gibraltar. The British claimed the tanker was on its
way to Syria with a load of oil, in violation of sanctions on
July 11-The Iranian
Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is accused of harassing a
British merchant vessel in the Persian Gulf. The presence of a
British warship in the area is believed to have saved the ship
from a possible takeover or attack.
July 13-The Panamanian-flagged
oil tanker Riah, which is based in the UAE, disappeared from
ship tracking systems after approaching Iranian waters. It is
believed to have been seized by the IRGC.
July 15-Saudi forces find a
remote-controlled ship, called a Blowfish, filled with
explosives in the Red Sea, in the path of the oncoming UK
destroyer, HMS Duncan. The Duncan was heading to the Gulf to
reinforce the British naval presence there in the ongoing Iran
crisis. It is believed that the “bomb boat” was
placed there by the Yemeni Houthi Shiite group that is engaged
in a civil war in Yemen. The Houthis are long-time allies of
Hormuz and Fujairah-2019 (from Google Maps-edited by
Political and Military History:
overthrows anti-Western government in Iran. The coup was backed
arranged by the U.S. and the UK
Revolution-The pro-American Shah of Iran flees, and Ayatollah
Khomeini sets up the Islamic Republic, which instutitued a strong
Shiite Islamic regime
Hostage Crisis-Iran and
the United States nearly went to war. From this date, America and
Iran have considered each other to be enemies
1980-1988- Iran-Iraq War.
Began with an Iraqi invasion of Iran in Sept. 1980
1987-1988-"Tanker War" with
the United States
and civic protest due to
allegations of fraud in Iranian Presidential Election
intervention in the Syrian Civil War.
2012-Increased tension with
Israel and the United States over the Stuxnet computer virus
attack, the assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, and the
terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria.
intervention in Yemen Civil War. Iran backs the Shiite Houthi
forces, while a Saudi-led coalition has directly intervened in
Yemen against the Houthis.