Exploring Iran's Military Options
Given the strengths and weaknesses of the Iranian army outline above, what are the military options available for Tehran?
The shortcomings of the Iranian military, especially in the air and at sea, have prompted a number some of the Islamic Republic's top military brass (including Major General Ahmad Kazemi, commander of the ground forces, who was killed last week with 8 of his aides in a plane crash near Oromieh) to oppose any military confrontation with the United States. hmm These officers recently wrote to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Guide, warning of the dangers of president Ahmadinejad's actions and statements calling for a confrontation and for wiping Israel off the map. They emphasized that Iran was in no position to enter into a war with the US.
However, in spite of this, the president and some of his military advisors continue to believe that a confrontation is imminent and that it is crucial to increase military readiness and mobilize public opinion, in Iran and the Muslim world. Some of the procedures recently taken in this respect have included the creation of garrison to recruit would-be suicide bombers and train them for operations against the West, called the "Lovers of Martyrdom Garrison" Virgins her, we got your virgins here. Step right up and splode.. Volunteers from Arab and Muslim countries receive military and ideological training in camps overseen by the Revolutionary Guards.
Most Iranian sources agree that economic sanctions, such as those imposed by the Security Council on Libya, Iraq and the former Yugoslavia, will not be an effective weapon against Iran because it would be the people who would suffer and a number of countries are ready to supply Iran with what it needs, even by illegal means, in order to achieve political or material gains.
Analysts believe that the only weapon that can successfully hurt Iran is oil, given that the Islamic Republic currently imports 60% of its needs of refined oil and gasoline from overseas, because of the shortage of refiners and the rise in local consumption, reaching more than 60 million liters per day.
A recent study by the Institute for International Energy Studies in Iran has revealed that the country's gasoline reserves would cover consumer needs for 45 days only. In case sanctions were imposed, after a three-month period, Iran would find itself paralyzed and popular demonstrations and street protests are likely to be held, mirroring that which took place in the former Yugoslavia, the Ukraine and Georgia. Only last month, during a US Senate meeting on the Iranian nuclear program, a lawmaker suggested a study should be commissioned to examine the effects of gasoline sanctions on Iran, indicating that Washington was considering this alternative.
For its part, the Iranian government has taken a series of steps such as withdrawing its hard currency deposits in European banks and stockpiling huge amounts of foodstuff and medicine as preliminary and preventive measures, in case its nuclear file is referred to the U.N Security Council. However, there is still the possibility for a solution to the current crisis, through the unpublicized talks between the more sensible members of the Iranian regime, the European Union and the International Atomic Agency.
Posted by: Nimble Spemble 2006-01-26