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Old 08-23-2006, 12:20 PM   #1
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and the winnter of the GWOT is ...

... Iran?



[q]US interventions have boosted Iran, says report

Staff and agencies
Wednesday August 23, 2006

Guardian Unlimited

The US-led "war on terror" has bolstered Iran's power and influence in the Middle East, especially over its neighbour and former enemy Iraq, a thinktank said today.
A report published by Chatham House said the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan had removed Iran's main rival regimes in the region.

Israel's conflict with the Palestinians and its invasion of Lebanon had also put Iran "in a position of considerable strength" in the Middle East, said the thinktank.

Unless stability could be restored to the region, Iran's power will continue to grow, according to the report published by Chatham House

The study said Iran had been swift to fill the political vacuum created by the removal of the Taliban in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq. The Islamic republic now has a level of influence in the region that could not be ignored.

In particular, Iran has now superseded the US as the most influential power in Iraq, regarding its former adversary as its "own backyard". It is also a "prominent presence" in its other war-torn neighbour, Afghanistan, according to Chatham House's analysts.

The report said: "There is little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the war on terror in the Middle East.

"The United States, with coalition support, has eliminated two of Iran's regional rival governments - the Taliban in Afghanistan in November 2001 and Saddam Hussein's regime in Iraq in April 2003 - but has failed to replace either with coherent and stable political structures."

The thinktank said the west needed to understand better Iran's links with its neighbours to see why the country felt able "to resist Western pressure".

"The US-driven agenda for confronting Iran is severely compromised by the confident ease with which Iran sits in its region," said the report.

Western countries, led by the US, are locked in a bitter dispute with Iran over its nuclear programme.

Iran, the world's fourth largest oil exporter, says it will not give up what it says is its right to peaceful nuclear technology. The west suspects Tehran is developing nuclear weapons.

The thinktank said: "While the US and Europeans slowly grind the nuclear issue through the mills of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the United Nations security council, Iran continues to prevaricate, feeling confident of victory as conditions turn ever more in its favour."

The report added the country was "simply too important - for political, economic, cultural, religions and military reasons - to be treated lightly".

One of the report's authors, Dr Ali Ansari, reader in modern history at the University of St Andrews, told Radio 4: "The United States needs to take a step back and reassess its entire policy towards Iran and work out, first of all, what does it want and how is it going to achieve it, because at the moment everything is rather like putting a sticking plaster on a fairly raw wound, and it is not really actually doing much at all."

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Old 08-23-2006, 12:35 PM   #2
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Does Iran really feel more secure now that there are over 200,000 US-Coalition troops in neighboring countries? As threatening as Saddam and the Taliban were, I don't think many would consider their military strength and potential to do damage to Iran greater than or equal to that of the United States. In some ways, Iran's security situation seems worse, if one considers the US to be a serious potential adversary, and perhaps much of this "greater influence" is more of an illusion than a reality.
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Old 08-23-2006, 12:40 PM   #3
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I guess now you know the real reason for the US to invade Iraq,.
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Old 08-23-2006, 01:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Maoilbheannacht
Does Iran really feel more secure now that there are over 200,000 US-Coalition troops in neighboring countries? As threatening as Saddam and the Taliban were, I don't think many would consider their military strength and potential to do damage to Iran greater than or equal to that of the United States. In some ways, Iran's security situation seems worse, if one considers the US to be a serious potential adversary, and perhaps much of this "greater influence" is more of an illusion than a reality.
If anything, Iran seems more emboldened now than ever. Look at the statements and actions coming from Iran. E.g. - they have not dropped their nuclear program. The 200k US troops are busy with Iraq. Iran also has the ability to effectively close the Strait of Hormuz.
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Old 08-23-2006, 01:56 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by Maoilbheannacht
Does Iran really feel more secure now that there are over 200,000 US-Coalition troops in neighboring countries? As threatening as Saddam and the Taliban were, I don't think many would consider their military strength and potential to do damage to Iran greater than or equal to that of the United States. In some ways, Iran's security situation seems worse, if one considers the US to be a serious potential adversary, and perhaps much of this "greater influence" is more of an illusion than a reality.


and how are those 200,000 (isn't that being generous? aren't we only around 165,000) going to occupy Baghdad and Tehran?

what would airstrikes alone accomplish other than bombing out whatever pro-Western audiences might be active underground in Tehran, kind of what Israel just did to Lebanon in trying to take out Hezbollah.

you see, Tehran doesn't care if the city is flattened and millions are killed by US airstrikes. in many ways, that's what they want. success against the US for a country like Iran will not be measured by what they do, but what they provoke us into doing.
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:19 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Irvine511

you see, Tehran doesn't care if the city is flattened and millions are killed by US airstrikes. in many ways, that's what they want. success against the US for a country like Iran will not be measured by what they do, but what they provoke us into doing.
I'm not sure why they wouldn't care if millions of their people are killed. They spend billions on defense, and have advanced weaponry - both homegrown and Russian made. And they have issued threats related to oil hitting $200 a barrel, etc. So, I think they would defend themselves and use oil supplies as a weapon as well.
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Old 08-23-2006, 03:52 PM   #7
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Airstrikes might slow down nuclear ambitions but don't keep Iran from closing the Strait of Hormuz or from opening the Euro oil bourse...both of which the US can't allow to happen and both of which make threats of sanctions useless.

So unless the US is prepared for another all-out occupation, there aren't many choices to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions.
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Old 08-23-2006, 04:56 PM   #8
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So unless the US is prepared for another all-out occupation, there aren't many choices to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Exactly, who didn't see this coming?
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Old 08-23-2006, 06:13 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Maoilbheannacht
Does Iran really feel more secure now that there are over 200,000 US-Coalition troops in neighboring countries?
Or maybe they think of your 200K soldiers as convenient hostages of their 70 million people. Maybe they like their odds in the event that $hit hits the fans someday.
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:33 AM   #10
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Originally posted by ntalwar


If anything, Iran seems more emboldened now than ever. Look at the statements and actions coming from Iran. E.g. - they have not dropped their nuclear program. The 200k US troops are busy with Iraq. Iran also has the ability to effectively close the Strait of Hormuz.
Iran's alleged ability to close the Strait of Hormuz has been talked about since the 1980s. Its nothing new. There are 200K US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, but they could be redeployed anywhere in the world at any time as the Democrats are pushing to do. Iran had a nuclear program long before the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. Threatening Statements have been coming from Iran since 1979, and Iranian troops used to serve with Hezbollah forces back in the 1980s.
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:41 AM   #11
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Originally posted by Irvine511




and how are those 200,000 (isn't that being generous? aren't we only around 165,000) going to occupy Baghdad and Tehran?

what would airstrikes alone accomplish other than bombing out whatever pro-Western audiences might be active underground in Tehran, kind of what Israel just did to Lebanon in trying to take out Hezbollah.

you see, Tehran doesn't care if the city is flattened and millions are killed by US airstrikes. in many ways, that's what they want. success against the US for a country like Iran will not be measured by what they do, but what they provoke us into doing.
You remember that there over 30,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan. Add that to Iraq and your close to 200,000 coalition troops in neighboring countries around Iran.

So the question would be, does Iran feel more secure now that there are 200,000 coalition troops with better weapons and training than Saddam and the Taliban had in place to the West and East of their country? Does Iran feel more threatened by Saddam's military or the US military?
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Old 08-24-2006, 11:45 AM   #12
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Or maybe they think of your 200K soldiers as convenient hostages of their 70 million people. Maybe they like their odds in the event that $hit hits the fans someday.
Well, do they prefer the current situation to the situation that existed prior to 2001? Who would you be more worried about, Saddam's military in 2003 or 200,000 US and coalition troops? Who would Iran have better odds against, Saddam's military in 2003 or the US coalition today?
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally posted by Maoilbheannacht


You remember that there over 30,000 coalition troops in Afghanistan. Add that to Iraq and your close to 200,000 coalition troops in neighboring countries around Iran.

So the question would be, does Iran feel more secure now that there are 200,000 coalition troops with better weapons and training than Saddam and the Taliban had in place to the West and East of their country? Does Iran feel more threatened by Saddam's military or the US military?


or is it that 200,000 US/Coalition troops (much more of an actual coalition in Afghanistan) are completely preoccupied with things other than Iran, and are therefore unable to occupy Iran should push come to shove and "regime change" enters the equation?
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Old 08-24-2006, 12:47 PM   #14
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or is it that 200,000 US/Coalition troops (much more of an actual coalition in Afghanistan) are completely preoccupied with things other than Iran, and are therefore unable to occupy Iran should push come to shove and "regime change" enters the equation?
Well, the United States certainly has more than 200,000 troops in its military, so if these soldiers were to be deployed along with the current numbers then that would seem to negate your question.

Then, there are the democrats claiming the USA could redeploy all its troops in Iraq to other parts of the region in under 6 months. If the Democrats are correct in that thinking, then Iran has to take that into account.

But once again, is Iran really more afraid of the threat that Saddam posed to them than they are afraid of the threat the USA poses to them?

Osuma Bin Ladin once said in the 1990s that his goal was to push the United States completely out of the region. That goal appears to be further off than ever now.
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Old 08-24-2006, 01:37 PM   #15
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Well, the United States certainly has more than 200,000 troops in its military, so if these soldiers were to be deployed along with the current numbers then that would seem to negate your question.


but the total numbers of men and women in the US military is misleading -- how many of them are ready for this kind of combat? how many of them have already served in Iraq? there's much more to maintaining a military than simply having numbers.



[q]But once again, is Iran really more afraid of the threat that Saddam posed to them than they are afraid of the threat the USA poses to them? [/q]

i think Iran was much more afraid of Iraq in the 1980s than they are of the USA in the 2000's. but i'm not sure this gets at the question. i think it's a misread to view Iran's sabre-rattling as an attempt to frighten the US; they know quite well than much of the country could be melted into a piece of glass. rather, they are attempting to stand up to the superpower not because they are afraid, but rather to increase their standing and credibility in the Muslim world and to build what has been labled a "Shiite crescent" from Tehran to Beirut and to wield ever more influence from the inside in all middle eastern countries, including and especially Iraq. i think it's more accurate to view Iran as a sort of Muslim USSR -- not the same military might, of course, but as having analagous influence in the Muslim world that the USSR did in Eastern Europe.


Quote:
Osuma Bin Ladin once said in the 1990s that his goal was to push the United States completely out of the region. That goal appears to be further off than ever now.
but does that mean that US troops in the Middle East is therefore a good and beneficial thing -- is that what we're supposed to do? antagonize Bin Laden, regardless of consequence?
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