Middle-east Arab News Opinion | Asharq Al-awsat

Preparations in the Diego Garcia Island - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
Select Page

The perplexing question: Will a war be launched on Iran if the economic sanctions fail?

The Iranians confidently say that the United States is too weak to wage another war, and that the international community has no option but to accept the reality of Iran as a nuclear power. The Iranians are right to promote this reassuring impression so that people will capitulate before their plans. However, I am not sure whether they are right to believe in this analysis however it may look rational. They say openly that Washington is involved in two wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, that it is in a permanent war with Al-Qaeda across various corners of the world, and that it is facing a serious economic crisis and an enormous government budget deficit; and, above all, they believe that incumbent President Barack Obama does not want war whatever the concerns are over Iran.

As the decision to go to war is taken behind closed-doors, all public statements are meaningless, including public announcements made by political leaders and military commanders. The current US Administration has been threatening cautiously but not firmly that it will not allow Iran to obtain military nuclear capabilities without explaining the meaning of “will not allow.” It is now several months since the negotiations have failed but [the US Administration] has yet to stop Iran’s illegal project.

Nevertheless, one can read the political intentions by observing the military activities as it is almost impossible to launch a war and keep secret the military activities ahead of such a war. [These activities] can be exposed by the transportation and supply activities linked to civilian services and commercial contracts that are made public as a matter of routine in accordance with the system in place.

Yet, what is surprising here is that a newspaper has published the details of the transportation of military equipment, which it said it had spotted on a US Navy website, saying that the US Government signed in January [2010] a contract with a company to take 10 containers, including 387 bunker-piercing bombs to attack underground installations, to the Diego Garcia military base.

The tender for the transportation of this cargo was posted on a US Navy website as reported by the Sunday Herald. In giving the details of the cargo, the paper said that it looked as if it was meant for use against the Iranian nuclear installations. To support its viewpoint the newspaper consulted a military expert who confirmed that the Americans are ready to destroy 10,000 targets in few hours. Of course, the expert did not mean the war would last only for few hours; he was only referring to the [US] initial military attack. However, the more optimistic estimates can only talk of a war lasts several weeks if not more.

Therefore, is it just another normal military cargo from California to the Diego Garcia base in the Indian Ocean? Or are we are on the threshold of the biggest war in the region in a century?

Preparations for a war need a political decision-maker. The supreme commander here is President Obama himself as no war will take place without his personal orders after which he will have to appear on television to deliver a speech to his people to justify his decision.

By checking the political climate in Washington, it seems there is no desire for a war with Iran perhaps in the hope of a sudden Iranian back down or because [they are still] waiting for the outcome of secret contacts and/or public negotiations. Whether politically or militarily, there are signs of military preparations that give enough hints that the war remains an option on the table to frighten Ahamdinejad’s regime, or perhaps to smash it.

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed

Abdulrahman Al-Rashed is the former general manager of Al-Arabiya television. He is also the former editor-in-chief of Asharq Al-Awsat, and the leading Arabic weekly magazine Al-Majalla. He is also a senior columnist in the daily newspapers Al-Madina and Al-Bilad. He has a US post-graduate degree in mass communications, and has been a guest on many TV current affairs programs. He is currently based in Dubai.

More Posts