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Monday, January 23, 2006

Interesting article on Iranian worldview

This is a very long article where the author claims to interview some Iranian politicians and military men. The author is clearly sympathetic towards his subjects and it is hard to know how much of what they say is true and how much is bluster. Also, it is not clear that the average Iranian agrees with them - the level of patriotism in Iran is almost certainly not as described. Even so, their analyses are interesting. One excerpt:
When I asked them what Iran would do if the U.S. was serious in attacking Iranian nuclear sites, Hussein said, "Then they open hell's gates towards themselves," and smiled. When I asked him to elaborate more, he continued, "In the papers there is always talk about air attacks on Iranian installations by Israel or the U.S. This type of psychological warfare is used to divert our attention. We know for a fact that no two Western wars are similar and we are sure that the Israelis would not risk an air attack. We know there are at least three possible scenarios of attacking these sites, including using their submarines in the Persian Gulf, commandos from the sea, or Mojahedin Khalgh trained in Israel and Azerbaijan to destroy the Bushehr nuclear power plant from the inside, but these are only plans. We have even more plans for how to confront them as well. This is a game of chess and we have practiced many different scenarios." Ali, another revolutionary guard, smiled and responded, "We have indicated directly and indirectly that with the first bullet shot at Iran, the map of the Middle East will be changed forever. Many American puppet regimes and dictators will fall and there will never be a government like what is now in Israel. The Apartheid system in Israel will be dismantled and a democratic government which embraces Jews, Christians, and Moslems equally will come to power. Millions of Palestinians will return home and millions of European and American migrants will return back from Palestine to their countries."

When I mentioned the immense firepower of the U.S. and the chemical, biological, and nuclear arsenal of Israel Hussein smiled and said, "We are ready, bring them on." Then after chuckling he said, "We have our sensors in place in the U.S., Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, and most Arab countries. We know ahead of the time when they are coming, and since Mr. Bush has given American democracy along with the preemptive strike as the right of everybody in the world, we are going to use it and use it effectively. We are present in most of the military briefings of the U.S. in Afghanistan and Iraq. As soon as we see that it is imminent we hit them and hit them hard. If U.S. commanders used a sledgehammer to break a walnut in Iraq, we will use two sledgehammers for a hazelnut everywhere in the Middle East! Whether the U.S. or Israel attacks us, we will consider it as Israeli attack since we know how much power they have over the U.S. political and decision-making system." When I asked why they would hold Israel responsible if the U.S. attacked unilaterally, he responded that the American policy in Middle East is designed and dictated by Jewish organizations such as the AIPAC (American Israeli Public Affairs Committee) which in turn gets its agenda and policy from Israel. "Don't you remember the role of three Jewish Musketeer's in Iraq invasion?" He meant Paul Wolfowitz, Richard Perle, and Michael Ledeen. Ali added, "The U.S. political system is under heavy pressure from Zionist organizations. Look at the articles published in U.S. papers about Iran. Most of the authors are Zionists strongly affiliated with AIPAC. Most of these guys dream of an Israel which extends from the Nile to the Euphrates. This is dangerous ideology. We must stop this at some stage and this is the best time. Many Western immigrants in Israel are thinking and working toward it. Look at the Mayflower ship which brought a handful of Europeans to America, the American natives lost their identity and culture, and the rest is the history. We do not want this to happen to the Middle Eastern countries."

Jamshid said, "Since her inception by the Europeans, Israel has had four wars with her neighbors and in three of those wars she obtained more land. That is until 1979, the year the Islamic Republic was born in Iran, and since then she has not started any wars, since she knew she cannot, because Iran would definitely intervene. They want more land for all these Russian and other immigrants and that is why they put pressure on the U.S. to attack Iran."

I asked Jamshid what the possible response could be, he said very calmly, "If our peaceful nuclear installations are attacked, no doubt we will take out that chocolate factory in Dimona, and not only that one, but all other shops which sell that kind of chocolate in Israel!" He was referring to Israeli nuclear sites, and then continued, "We will make a big mess in Israel and leave it to the Europeans and the Americans to clean this mess up. Both the U.S. and Israel know that, and for that matter, if they are serious about their intention, they have to bomb not only the nuclear research centers, but all the Shahab-3 silos and to be safe many other military sites as well- and that means an all out war. We are ready for that. That is a hard job for them since finding and destroying these sites quickly is very hard," and laughed.

I asked them how they saw the war scenario. Ali said, "The possible war would be outside of Iranian borders. We have many theaters of operations including Israel, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf and some Arab countries where U.S has troops there. We can increase the U.S. fatalities to a few dozen a day easily. In the case of Israel we are going to cause the immigration of 2-3 million European and Americans." When I asked for further explanation, he said, "Well if Iran is attacked we know who is responsible and that is when we decide that they should not live in our neighborhood." When I mentioned the Arrow anti-missiles Israelis have, he smiled. "Arrow anti-missiles are not accurate, and we know that for fact. They are working hard to improve it, but have not been successful so far. It is mainly a propaganda tool for the USraelis," stressing the last word with smile, before adding, "The Shahab-3 can easily take care of them. Their accuracy has been improved greatly. We have enough of them to spend more per target to increase the chance of hitting a target accurately, also do not forget we have satellite which looks at our target there and gives us real time information."

Javid, an Iran-Iraq war veteran calmly said, "There are many obstacles to the invasion of Iran. Iran is four times bigger than Iraq, so the number of soldiers has to be more accordingly. The U.S. does not have that many troops, even it were to bring in NATO and can double or triple the size of troops of what is has now in Iraq, there are still a lot of shortfalls. Iranian people have a very distinct culture and history which make them stand out as a solid nation. Two main elements which play important role in the defense of the country are nationalism and Shi'ism. These two are our real nuclear weapon. Both played an important role in the Iraq-Iran war. During the chaos of the revolution where there was no formal army to stand in front of hundreds of Iraqi tanks, ordinary people took up arms and stood in front of the Iraqis heavy army and stopped them for months. Young citizens took up grenades and threw themselves under the tanks and stopped Iraqi tanks. Saddam thought the war would take a few weeks, and although he was backed by Russia, Europe, U.S. and the Arab world, it took eight years and at the end he did not gain a meter of Iranian soil."

When I mentioned the superiority of U.S. military hardware, software, as well as their tactics he said, "Even if they could bring few thousand more soldiers and the best hardware they can not get to Tehran- conquering Iran is wishful thinking a corn-grower from Kansas might believe. First of all, in Iran people always fought against invaders and the army helped them. The U.S. can defeat the Iranian army, but not the Iranian people. There has never been any army in the world that could defeat a nation. Vietnam is the recent history lesson. On the basis of a military evaluation done by some western analysts and institutions, in any invasion of Iran 200,000 to 500,000 troops will be lost. Which country or countries are going to handle that amount of loss just for a problem which there is a diplomatic solution?" When I raised my eyebrow at his figures he got agitated and said, "Well, look, Saddam Hussein penetrated into Iran about 20-60 kilometers and lost about half a million men. Since the Americans have a better army and equipments, then they will have fewer casualties than Saddam. However, anybody who wants to get to Tehran which is a long way from the Iraqi border must pay more". Then he laughed and said, "Otherwise if they want to pay a friendly visit to us, then they are welcome!" He continued on, "Most Iranian cities are near a mountain or in a valley, and it is very easy for a few fighters to go to those mountains that overlook the cities and make hell for the invaders. That is why as a nation we had only two major defeats in the last 2,500 years: one by Greeks and one by Arab Moslem armies. Suppose that an imaginary army comes to Iran; to be successful that army has to get control of at least 10-12 major cities which have more than a million in population, since if any of these cities are ignored, then their mission is not accomplished and that city would quickly become the main point of resistance. Iraq had two cities and quickly was overcome by the invaders. Basra was mainly Shiite and Baghdad was partly Shiite and you know that the Shiite hate Saddam. The reason was that Saddam was a dictator, who did not have popular support, and many disliked him. Iraq had gone through two terrible wars and exhausted its resources physically and mentally. The government of Iran is not like Saddam's, it still has many supporters and even the opposition groups want to correct its shortcomings and not topple the regime. In case of such an invasion, it will inevitably back up the government. Iran came out of the war with Iraq quickly and now it produces his own armaments including airplanes, rockets, missiles, tanks, and heavy armor."