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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

It's time, I believe, for us all to go on Iran watch. I suspect that within a year or so the U.S. will be plowing full-steam-ahead in a bid to invade Iran. Here is why I think this will happen:

1.) The Iraq election timeline is set up to allow the U.S. to proclaim "victory" and focus its military efforts elsewhere. I believe that the calling up of the Ready Reserves (which include folks older than seventy) is meant to produce a token force that will sit by in Iraq while a new Iraq/Iran war plays out, instigated by the U.S. And yes, I do mean to say that I believe somewhat that Iraqi forces would be fighting with U.S. forces in such a war.

2.) The state of the world oil market is such that Iran's oil production is a tempting prize. The numbers can be found here. This gives U.S. oil needs in thousands of barrels per day. Note that the U.S. imports about nine million barrels per day. Iran's production capacity is somewhere around four million barrels per day, with a possible output (assuming pre-1979 production numbers are still attainable) of six million. That's a big chunk of oil, and it would go some way towards lessening U.S. dependence on Saudi Arabian oil. Now, I don't make this point to say that this is a good idea, only that the numbers are lucrative. While oil probably wouldn't (again) be the primary motivation, it's a bonus that can't be ignored. However, one caveat is that right now this production is all called for. I don't know that the U.S., in the event it invades Iran, would assume priority in receiving Iran's oil. However, there's nothing to say that such an invasion wouldn't be grounds for the U.S. to stake a claim to future production above and beyond current levels. Which, if the capacity is there, could be as high as two million barrels per day. Add to this the recent report by the OECD that world oil prices are trending steadily, and quickly, upwards.

3.) No political fallout for a future Republican presidential candidate. This was a fear of mine during the election -- that Mr. Bush would take advantage of the fact that he isn't running for reelection in 2008 to push a much more aggressive agenda. The raft of resignations and the slant of their replacements is such that Bush is trying to build a tighter ship. But why the emphasis on loyalty when political fallout isn't as dangerous? That's a red flag in my mind, indicating that the ship is tightening because of the planned voyage through rough waters. A war with Iran would certainly be rough going. As would reinstating the draft... Any future candidate could have enough water between himself and Bush (think Arnold or McCain) as to not be tainted by Bush's actions. Now does it make sense that during the RNC the mainstream speakers were all rising stars _and_ folks who weren't intimately associated with the Bush administration?

Only time will tell if the Bush administration is serious about a war with Iran, but I think a number of the indicators are there and that the groundwork is already starting to be laid. I suggest that over the next year or so you, the reader, keep an eye out for reports of incursions by forces of varying nationality into Iranian territory. I remember a website that was pretty accurate about listing such incursions before the war with Iraq, but I can't remember what it's called so I'll have to post the URL later. Nevertheless, we already know from Seymour Hersh that the Israelis are training Kurdish militants, and these guys might be conducting operations in Iran as I write this.

Andrew 9:56 PM : |


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