About the Escalating Conflict with Iran (not *yet* open war)

Summary:  Powerful people in the US and Israel seek a war with Iran.  Offensive operations against Iran have already began (assassinations and sabotage).  Slowly the conflict accelerates, driven by our vast covert warfare machinery and intense propaganda.  This series attempts to see the reality behind the deceptions, perhaps a last grasp at reality before overt war begins.  This is the fourth in a series; at the end are links to the other chapters.

The first article on the FM website about Iran, in November 2007, said that the rumors of war were “almost certainly a bluff”.  The dozen articles since then came to the same conclusion.  That’s no longer true.  Hostilities have began, with strikes by US-Israel (we don’t know who has done what).  History shows that these low-intensity conflicts can quickly escalate, from a combination of the attackers’ momentum and the defender’s eventual resistance.


  1. Already a conflict, but not yet open war
  2. Another in the series of wars started by lies
  3. How do the people in the Middle East see this conflict?
  4. Other posts in this series
  5. Articles and reports about our conflict with Iran
  6. Other posts about Iran

(1)  Already a conflict, but not yet open war

If the war with Iran turns hot and large, historians might see the start as the assassination on 18 January 2007 of Ardashir Hosseinpour (Asst Prof in materials science at Shiraz U).  From “Israeli Covert Operations in Iran“, Stratfor, 2 February 20007:

Hosseinpour was in fact a Mossad target {based on} sources close to Israeli intelligence.

… Decapitating a hostile nuclear program by taking out key human assets is a tactic that has proven its effectiveness over the years, particularly in the case of Iraq. In the months leading up to the 1981 Israeli airstrike on Iraq’s Osirak reactor — which was believed to be on the verge of producing plutonium for a weapons program — at least 3 Iraqi nuclear scientists died under mysterious circumstances.

Since then there have many more assassinations of civilians, often with “collateral deaths” of women guilty of being nearby.  There also have been mysterious explosions, rumors of defective parts sold to Iran, of US support for insurgents in Iran (aka terrorists) and of course Stuxnet (see here for details).

Our hawks accuse Iran of aggressiveness, of supporting terrorism.  Yet so far Iran has been the target of an aggressive program of assassination and sabotage, probably by the US and Israel (see links at the end).  For some delusional reason, Americans believe it’s not terrorism when we do it

So far Iran has been the restrained party, not – yet — striking back in retaliation.  Quite remarkable, given the number of attacks so far. All they’ve done is demonstrate a capability to fight back (eg, missile tests, recent manuevers regarding the Straits of Hormuz), and warn that they will respond strongly to attacks.  The US  government and pro-war ngo’s describe these as “provocations”, showing the susceptibility of the US public to even preposterous propaganda.

War, of some sort, seems inevitable If our attacks continue. We’re operating outside of the global legal framework that generations of American statesmen worked to erect.  Undermining that regime might be the major result of a war with Iran, as few experts believe we can stop Iran from getting the bomb.

Future historians might emphasize the unique role of America during its years as global hegemon, unleashing on the world the horrors both of atomic war and cyberwar.

(2)  Another in the series of wars started by lies

This series attempts to strip back the thick layer of lies covering the actual story of our relations with Iran.  Hopefully this will not become yet another American war based on lies.  Vietnam War, started by the Tonkin Gulf Incident.  We invaded Afghanistan based on lies about its role in 9-11 (see details here).  We invaded Iraq based on lies about its WMDs and alliance with al Qaeda.  We assisted the Libyan insurgency based on lies about mercs and massacres (see “The Top Ten Myths in the War Against Libya“, CounterPunch, Maximilian C. Forte, 31 August 2011).

(3)  How do the people in the Middle East see this conflict?

Do we hold the moral high ground, often decisive in warfare (eg, how the American Revolution and Civil War were seen in Britain) — and essential when fighting overseas in the age of 4GW?  See the 2010 Arab Public Opinion Poll conducted by the University of Maryland in conjunction with Zogby International, 5 August 2010 (this is well-worth reading in full).  More evidence that democracy in the Middle East means far less US influence in this important region, and perhaps even outright hostility to US policy by local government.

University of Maryland in conjuction with Zognby International


University of Maryland in conjunction with Zogby International


University of Maryland in conjunction with Zogby International


For more about this see Glenn Greenwald’s excellent new column “End of the pro-democracy pretense“, Salon, 2 January 2012.

(4)  Other posts in this series

  1. Is the War on Terror over (because there are no longer two sides)? Part 1, 3 September 2008 — Rumors of covert ops by us against Iran.
  2. Iran’s getting the bomb, or so we’re told. Can they fool us twice?, 16 January 2009
  3. Iran will have the bomb in 5 years (again), 2 January 2010
  4. About the escalating conflict with Iran (not *yet* open war), 4 January 2012
  5. Have Iran’s leaders vowed to destroy Israel?, 5 January 2012
  6. What do we know about Iran’s nuclear ambitions?, 6 January 2012
  7. What does the IAEA know about Iran’s nuclear program?, 9 January 2012
  8. What happens when a nation gets nukes?  Sixty years of history suggests an answer., 10 January 2012
  9. What happens if Iran gets nukes, 11 January 2012

(5)  For more information:  articles and reports about the current conflict with Iran

(a) About “Our war-loving Foreign Policy Community hasn’t gone anywhere“, Glen Greenwald, Salon, 21 September 2009 — Excerpt:

… The arguments for attacking Iran are so similar to the ones used for Iraq that it’s striking how little effort they make to pretend it’s different (Iran will get nukes, give them to Terrorists, we’ll lose a city, etc.)

(b) Other articles about the undeclared slow-motion war with Iran

  1. Who’s Killing Iran’s Scientists?“, Reza Aslan, The Daily Beast, 30 November 2010 — “The attack on two of Iran’s leading nuclear physicists is likely the work of a joint American and Israeli covert program to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program.”
  2. The ‘silent war’ with Iran“, Stephen M. Walt, Foriegn Policy, 7 December 2011
  3. Will Israel Bomb Iran?“, Patrick Seale (British journalist and author who specialises in the Middle East; Wikipedio entry), 11 October 2011 — “Israel’s greatest fear is that the {Security Council} will reach a compromise with Iran which would allow it to continue enriching uranium for civilian purposes”
  4. We’re attacking, but it’s “Iran on the Warpath“, Joschka Fischer (Germany’s foreign minister 1998-2005), 28 November 2011
  5. Why the US & Israel May Agree to Bombing Iran – Shaping the Popular Psyche in America’s Post-Information Era“, Chuck Spinney, CounterPunch, 12 December 2011 — “The arguments for attacking Iran are crazy, like those for attacking Iraq in response to 9-11. But that does not mean such an attack by the American and/or the Israelis will not occur. Indeed, I think the political pressure for such an attack is increasing. “
  6. Beating the War Drums in Versailles on the Potomac“, Chuck Spinney (bio here), TIME, 23 December 2011 “One would think that our experiences in Iraq & Afghanistan, our problems in Pakistan, and our economic problems would temper our enthusiasm for launching yet another so-called preventative war. But that is not the case …”
  7. Clintonizing Perpetual War“, Chuck Spinney, TIME, 28 December 2011 — “Read Barbara Tuchman’s The Guns of August and you will get a good idea of how these pressures can take on a life of their own and create a self-fulfilling prophecy.”

(c) Articles forecasting war with Iran

  1. What Will Israel Do?“, Michael Hirsh, Newsweek, 20 December 2007 — “A unilateral military strike against Iran is much more likely following the latest intel report about Tehran’s nuke program.”
  2. 6 Signs the U.S. May Be Headed for War in Iran“, US News and World Report, 11 March 2008
  3. Secret Bush “Finding” Widens War on Iran“, Andrew Cockburn, Counterpunch, 2 May 2008 — “Democrats Okay Funds for Covert Ops”
  4. War With Iran Might Be Closer Than You Think“, Philip Giraldi, The American Conservative, 9 May 2008
  5. White House denies Iran attack report“, Jerusalem Post, 20 May 2008
  6. As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon“, Joschka Fischer, The Daily Star, 30 May 2008 — Fischer was Germany’s foreign minister and vice chancellor from 1998 to 2005, and led Germany’s Green Party for nearly 20 years.

(6)  For more information: other posts about Iran

For links to all posts about Iran see the FM Reference Page Iran – will the US or Israel attack Iran?

Posts about propaganda and info ops building support for war with Iran:

  1. 4GW at work in a community near you , 19 October 2007 — Propaganda warming us up for war with Iran.
  2. The most expensive psy-war campaign – ever!, 13 July 2008
  3. Psywar, a core skill of the US Military (used most often on us), 26 November 2008
  4. More about Iran, things you know that might not be so, 3 October 2009
  5. The Iranian Assassination caper was a complete success!, 17 October 2011 — as an info op to build support for war with Iran

Forecasts by hawks, even eagerness, for a US war with Iran

  1. Will we bomb Iran, now that Admiral Fallon is gone? , 17 March 2008
  2. More post-Fallon overheating: “6 signs the US may be headed for war in Iran” , 18 March 2008
  3. Proposed legislation prepares the way for war with Iran!, 25 August 2008
  4. A militant America, ready for war with Iran , 6 May 2008
  5. Another step towards war with Iran?, 7 May 2008 — About Andrew Cockburn’s article in  Counterpunch.
  6. “War With Iran Might Be Closer Than You Think”, 13 May 2008 — About Philip Giraldi’s 9 May story in The American Conservative (see below).
  7. Another general advocating war with Iran, 18 August 2009
  8. Will Obama attack Iran?, 18 March 2010
  9. The rumors about a US strike are proven wrong, again., 12 July 2010
  10. This is how a nation thoughtlessly slides into stupid wars, 25 July 2010
  11. America takes another step towards war with Iran, towards the dark side, 3 September 2010

Forecasts by hawks, even eagerness, for a Israel war with Iran:

  1. Will Israel commit suicide? More rumors of a strike at Iran , 22 December 2007
  2. A new story about a possible war with Iran, 21 May 2008 — About the 20 May Jerusalem Post story, originally reported by Army Radio (see below).
  3. “As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon”. 3 June 2008 — About the Fischer story in the 30 May Daily Star.
  4. “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable” . 8 June 2008  — War-talk by a former Defense Minster of Israel.
  5. Der Spiegel: “Israeli Ministers Mull Plans for Military Strike against Iran”. 17 June 2008 — Rumors in Der Spiegel of a strike by Israel on Iran.
  6. More rumors of a strike at Iran by Israel, 1 July 2008 — More rumors.
  7. Hot news about a possible strike at Iran!, 3 July 2010
  8. Warning of an imminent strike at Iran by Israel, 4 August 2010
  9. Are Israel’s leaders insane? Jeffrey Goldberg thinks so., 1 August 2010

This post originally appeared at Fabius Maximus and is posted with permission.