Strategists for the Islamic Republic should never underestimate worldwide reaction in contemplating any aggressive move in the Strait of Hormuz. Doing so would inherently attack the economy of every country in the world, not just the USA or "the West." It's an absolute No No the world cannot tolerate now or ever allow to be repeated.
From that day the life expectancy of the Iranian Republic, its leaders and its fat security force generals can be measured in weeks. Similarly Tojo signed his death warrant at Pearl Harbor by eliminating stubborn American isolationism instantly. Similarly no American president, regardless of political party or ideology, could say "no" to invading Osama Bin Laden's refuge and planning ground after 9/11. How many original Al Queda leaders are still alive today?
Ruling over a sullen population via intimidation, thuggery and rigged elections the regime's "domestic motivation problem" is the exact opposite of allies. Can it make Iranians fight at gunpoint for people they hate against people with whom they'd ordinarily have no conflict? Already most Iranians blame the regime's loose cannon behavior--"successful" and unsuccessful terroristic schemes against the West, constant destabilization themes in the region and Africa--for pariah status abroad (See Kenya for the latest boneheaded scheme). Given that context, why would the world trust this particular regime with nukes? Attacking Hormuz would cement such perceptions further. Iranians will hardly blame the world for reacting strongly and will hardly miss a most welcome opportunity at home.
Regime strategists already demonstrated their talent for "farsighted thought" in 2009 when they lost popular legimitacy forever by gambling the people would "get over it"--an expression still used online whenever regime apologists like Manoucher see online reports reminding everlyone past crimes. Likewise, the ruling despots should seriously calculate their odds of survival in taking on the world but they probably won't if true to form. Even the Chinese have warned Khamenei to lay off. So who will aid the IRI after such a move? Who would give its leaders refuge as regime collapse nears? Why would the world stop with half measures knowing the alternative would be a similar move in Hormuz in the future by a regime incapable of restraint.
WHAT FORM WOULD THE CONFLICT TAKE?
Iranians know one thing for sure: they have no prospect of freedom, prosperity or happiness so long as this regime rules over them. They should not anticipate foreign boots on the ground or need such assistance since it would merely aid regime propaganda and provide it with much practiced IED opportunities. Using air power the allies will immobilize all regime armor, artillery and air support almost instantly while safe enclaves and arms for Iran's discontented to win their own freedom. As in Syria, expect mass defections among a rank and file troops will little reason to love their officers or the regime. The great misfortune for Iran's ruling tyrants is in lacking enemies who behave the Wehrmacht and SS (welcomed at first as liberators in the Ukraine and elsewhere).
Meanwhile regime strategists should not pin their hopes on bad analogies.
...Unlike many Arab Spring revolts, the Iranian opposition won't have great cleavages. Few opponents would vote for Islamist parties in the future. Having experienced the hell of Islamist rule for more than 30 years, Iranians have no illusions about its potential "benefits."
...Unlike Assad's Syria, Iran has a pitiful air defense and a sad sack air force. As in Iraq, don't expect Iranian pilots to commit suicide. Nor is Russia, fearful of aggressive Islamist regimes, likely to support Iran as strongly--especially after any attack on Hormuz.
...Unlike Afghanistan, Iran's unpopular regime lacks favorable defensive terrain, has no friendly neighbors,has no place for tyrants to flee and can't expect to retain support in substantial areas from which to wage prolonged resistance.
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