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:
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
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
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
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,
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 Eisenhower
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 from Syria.
navy plane flies near USS Eisenhower in Gulf of
Russia to supply fuel
rods for Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr
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
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 July, 2011.
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
publicity and concern in Israel over the Gallant
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
--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."
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
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 border.
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
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
Trump Administration backs the U.S. out of the Iran Nuclear Arms
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.
rise in the Gulf region as the war of words between the U.S. and
Iran heats up.
-The U.S. increases
economic sanctions against Iran.
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.
staff from Basra.
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.
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
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
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 the attack.
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 Syria.
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.
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
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
2019-Iranian-backed Shia militias fired rockets at Q-West Air
Base located in North-West Iraq.
2019-Shiite militias launched a rocket attack against Al Asad
2019-Shiite militias fired rockets against Balad Air Base.
2019-Shiite militias groups fired rockets at the Baghdad
Diplomatic Support Center located on the Baghdad International
December 27, 2019-30
rockets fired by Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) slam into the K-1 base
near Kirkuk, killing one American and wounding four other U.S.
troops, along with two Iraqi troops.
2019-U.S. forces retaliate, striking three KH bases in Iraq,
and two bases in Syria, killing 25 KH fighters.
2019-Shiite militias attack and overwhelm part of the U.S.
Embassy in Baghdad. 100 Marines deploy from Kuwait to the
Baghdad Embassy to bolster security. A battalion of U.S. troops
from the 82nd Airborne deploy from North Carolina to the Middle
January 2, 2020- A
U.S. missile strike kills Iranian General General Qassem
Soleimani, who led the Quds Force, a part of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard, and was responsible for many terrorist and
proxy attacks on Americans, Israelis, and other foes of Iran
(including the Sunni group ISIS). Also killed in the strike
was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, leader of the Kata'ib Hezbollah
militia allied with Iran.
of Hormuz and Fujairah-2019 (from Google Maps-edited by
Iranian Political and Military History:
Coup 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
and the United States nearly went to war. From this date, America
and Iran have considered each other to be enemies
Iran-Iraq War. Began with an Iraqi invasion of Iran in Sept.
War" with the United States
and civic protest
due to allegations of fraud in Iranian Presidential
intervention in the Syrian Civil War.
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
intervention in Yemen Civil War. Iran backs the Shiite Houthi
forces, while a Saudi-led coalition has directly intervened in
Yemen against the Houthis.
tension between the U.S. and Iran leading to attack on U.S.
Embassy in Baghdad, and the targeted killing of a major Iranian
military officer by the U.S. in January, 2020.