Espreso. Global

Will US attack Iran?

19 January, 2024 Friday

Political rivals are encouraging Biden to play "dominance" and attack Iran. He is trying to limit himself to the Houthis

US Republican voices believe that the president should change his strategy and move from "controlling escalation" (in Ukraine) to "dominating escalation" (in the Middle East). That is, to finally start fighting for real.

The United States and Britain attacked facilities in North Yemen, where those Iranian henchmen are actually based. The attack turned out to be a bit of a fluke: to crush the Houthis completely, the West would have to conduct a full-scale ground operation, a scale of deployment currently beyond the capabilities of the Western forces in the region. And the current strikes are unlikely to bring about significant changes in the situation.

Washington and London say that the attack is a response to the Houthis, who have been attacking ships bound for Israel or belonging to Israelis in the Red Sea.

Houthi terrorism is one of the elements of Iran's proxy forces' influence on Israel (proxies are military formations that act in the interests of another state, in our case Iran, but are not its official troops). Ayatollahs demand a ceasefire in the Gaza Strip. Iran and other Islamic countries are putting pressure on the West to influence Israel. However, the United States is against it, as stopping the war without defeating Hamas would be perceived as a victory for the pro-Iranian bloc.

Iran and its proxies have long felt this American indecision in the use of force. The Pentagon's sluggish discussions on whether or not to strike terrorists, and the leak of information in the British press about the start of the operation allowed the Houthis and Iran to take their key arsenals and groups out of the risk zone.

Iran's strategy is based on the use of proxy partners to deter enemies. Tehran will use the Yemeni rebels to the last, without openly risking its own forces, as a direct conflict with the Americans would destabilize its regime.

Iran has waged an asymmetric war, engaging in a protracted low-intensity confrontation through the so-called "Axis of Resistance," an unofficial network of dozens of combat partners across the Middle East, according to the Spectator.

President Biden will have to do something out of the ordinary to shake the Iranian system out of its complacency, states the pro-Republican Fox News. The United States and its allies will have to strike at targets important to Iran: military bases and commanders.

But it is difficult for Biden to change the situation: the US fleet in the Persian Gulf is vulnerable to Iranian army strikes, and the US air response to Iran is unlikely to cause critical damage. And the United States does not have a ground army in the region to invade Iran

Meanwhile, Republicans are not satisfied. In their view, Iran is not Russia, so the so-called escalation control worked in the Russian-Ukrainian war, but it is a wrong strategy for Iran. While Russia is capable of destroying the United States, Iran does not have this capability. Unlike Moscow's nuclear arsenal of nearly 6,000 warheads, which is the largest in the world, Iran, according to official data, still does not have viable nuclear weapons.

There is speculation that Iran may have intentions to "turn the chessboard" by potentially launching an attack against the United States. However, such a move would likely require more substantial reasons than the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and certain additional conditions must be in place. As a result, there is a suggestion from sources like Fox News that President Biden may have no alternative but to shift strategy from controlling the escalation to actively dominating the escalation.

In fact, Iran is already in a proxy war with America and threatens to destabilize the world. Suffice it to recall that the Houthis have managed to raise the world's oil prices very significantly. It is possible that Iran will strike, for example, at the US Navy and military bases in the Persian Gulf. And/or encourage Lebanese Hezbollah to open a second front against Israel.

The only way to restrain Iran is to demonstrate to the arrogant ayatollahs a real threat of direct confrontation with the Americans. But this will mean exposing other hot spots, especially Ukraine, and dispersing efforts and resources. But it seems that this "escalating dominance" is the only way to show the "axis of evil" that their time has not come.


About the author. Orest Sohar, journalist, editor-in-chief of Obozrevatel

The editorial board does not always share the opinions expressed by the blog authors.

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