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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

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Kiara Adams, Assistant News Editor • September 22, 2023
 

    Iran: No need to open this can of worms

    Sunday, The Jerusalem Post quoted Russian intelligence sources claiming that “”U.S. Armed Forces stationed in the Persian Gulf have nearly completed preparations for a missile strike against Iranian territory.””

    But unless an explosion of violence throughout the Middle East combined with exponentially higher gas prices and the prospect of a military draft here in the States sounds like your idea of a good time, here’s hoping those sources are wrong.

    Whether or not President Bush wants war, it certainly seems like his Iranian counterpart does: President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has defied much of the civilized world in pursuing his country’s nuclear energy program. It’s becoming more and more apparent that his nation is actively assisting insurgent forces in Iraq, leading to the deaths of coalition soldiers. Most recently, the regime kidnapped 15 British sailors in the Persian Gulf.

    Despite Ahmadinejad’s prodding, the Bush administration has long stated that any military action against Iran would be a last resort. Why?

    Simple. The administration is probably aware of the veritable laundry list of reasons to avoid war with Iran. Oil supply, of course, is chief among them: According to Department of Energy data Iran is the world’s fourth largest net exporter of oil – but since the 1979 Islamic revolution it has been stingy, exporting only about one-half of the oil it produces every year.

    It’s a safe bet that in the event of war with Iran even less of it (read: none of it) would be accessible to the global marketplace, causing oil prices to skyrocket as other producing nations sought to exploit the situation.

    Exacerbating the situation, President Ahmadinejad could attempt to pull a Saddam Hussein-in-Kuwait and take much of the world’s oil supply out with him, launching attacks on vast reserves just across the Persian Gulf on Saudi Arabia’s eastern shores. Since Saudi Arabia is the world’s largest producer/exporter and most of its reserves lie in the east, the Iranian president could quite easily do real damage to the global economy.

    Don’t think an Islamic regime would dare strike the Kingdom of the Two Holy Mosques? Think again: If attacked, Shiite Iran would be encouraged to bring Sunni counterweight Saudi Arabia down with it not only to affect oil prices but also to preserve Shiite interests in the region. Shiite-Sunni rivalry, as exhibited in Iraq, is an extremely powerful force in the Middle East.

    Regardless, as a result of spreading violence, things would be made much more difficult for the U.S. in both Iraq and Afghanistan. Grab the nearest model globe: Iran is sandwiched directly in between the two countries and could make life for U.S. forces in those nations even more difficult. Any fragile progress made as a result of the President’s troop surge would be shattered in the face of an increasingly anti-American Shiite majority in Iraq.

    That, of course, is a shame, because in Iraq, Shiites might well be the closest thing America has to friends: While a recent ABCNews poll reported that more than 9 in 10 Iraqi Sunnis approve of attacks on coalition forces, Shiites detested the government those forces overthrew and thus have been decidedly less militant. Why test their patience by attacking Shiite Iran?

    Americans are already tired of war; a worsened condition in Iraq alone could well be the breaking point for those who still support the administration’s efforts there. As recently observed in the International Herald-Tribune and exhibited in the 110th Congress, America seems unable to “”sustain its will in the face of … resistance.””

    Then how to deal with Iranian antagonism? Early last month, U.S. and Iranian officials met to talk about Iraq, and the continuation of direct talks with the regime seems to be the best option. Politically weakened as a result of largely unpopular domestic policies, President Ahmadinejad may be willing to tone down his government’s antagonism should communication between his and President Bush’s governments continue.

    Rumor has it Iranian voters would rather their president address more pressing concerns, such as the nation’s rampant inflation (the government recently began printing 50,000 rial bank-notes, after introducing 20,000 rial notes only a few years ago), than hunt for sailors to kidnap. It’s quite possible that Iranian saber-rattling could peter out on its own via the democratic process.

    As the regime alienates itself from the world while ordinary Iranians suffer at home, here’s hoping that Iranians will force their leaders into sanity without the loss of American life and limb.

    David Francis is a pre-business sophomore. He can be reached at letters@wildcat.arizona.edu

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