Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
This essay attempts to discuss the likely consequences of a US and Israeli war on Iran. What follows is not some kind of left wing bias but thorough analysis of the issue based on secondary sources and some personal analysis. I am in favor of peace in place of war. Iran is a country that has been part of the major news cycle at least since 2002 when former President George W. Bush gave his famous Axis of Evil speech. The United States and Israel have been doing what is called saber rattling language to try and make Iran look like the bad guy in this whole political dispute.
Consequence #1: Response by the Shia Muslim Community Would Be Immediate
It is true that Iran’s current regime has been guilty of various human rights abuses but the continued use of harsh language by the United States and Israel will cause it to go nowhere good and they will not be able to restore relations with Iran. The US may have to settle with Iran having nuclear weapons because any attack on Iran by the US or Israel will lead to consequences too terrible to imagine. If Iran is attacked you can expect a very harsh response by the Shia Muslim community around the world and Iran will come out scratching and clawing like a big tiger.
And that would also lead to Moqtada Al-Sadr one of the most powerful Shiite politicians in Iraq getting involved in the resistance to US forces. Iraq which is a majority Shiite nation would not welcome an attack on Iran by the US or Israel.
Consequence #2: The US Economy Would Be Severely Damaged and There Would Be Another Unwinnable War
The US would then be eventually stuck in another unwinnable war and the damage to its economy would be even more severe than it is now. If you think the US economy is bad now, just imagine what would happen if they attacked Iran. In short both Iran and the United States have done certain things wrong but it seems to me that diplomacy is the way to go here.
Other Likely Consequences of a War Against Iran
One thing is for sure: an attack on Iran would close off the Strait of Hormuz. Oil supplies would be affected, the price of oil would go way up, and the number of attacks on US targets worldwide would increase to a level not seen before by human history.
The First Best Alternative Solution
There are at least two possible scenarios to consider here as an alternative to a traditional conflict. The first scenario is that the United States may have no choice but to be comfortable with a regime having nuclear technology. No amount of threats or coercion will prevent Iran from enriching uranium. This hard line approach by the United States will make it more likely that Iran will develop nuclear technology. The only wise solution to this dispute is for the US and Israel to have a dialogue with Iran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei immediately turned down the offer saying that direct talks would not help to solve the problem. If that is the case then what does he suggest? Khamenei is a conservative leader. Khamenei has been in his current position since 1989 and even when he passes from the scene, who knows if the person that will take his place will be any better. If the hardliners in Iran reject the idea of direct talks with the United States, we can expect more of the same things to follow.
Trita Parsi, President of the Iranian American National Council writes: “The Iranians know very well that the American public has little tolerance for war casualties,” (Parsi, 2018). This is accurate to a degree: the longer that the US has been involved in a major international conflict, the American public has soured on the government. Americans surely remember the disastrous conflict in Vietnam where 58,000 US soldiers lost their lives. If Donald Trump wanted to make America great again as he has said so many times, starting a war with Iran would make the United States look like the biggest bully the world has ever seen. According to the same article mentioned above, it is also estimated that Iran is said to have the largest inventory of ballistic missiles among Middle Eastern nations. Parsi says it best when he says: “The only way to win this war is to ensure Trump and Bolton are stopped before they start it,” (Parsi, 2018).
Then President Donald Trump further exacerbated tensions between the US and Iran. Many people remember the famous tweet sent by Trump to President Hassan Rouhani when he said:” To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” (Beauchamp, 2018).
Dialogue With Iran Is Much Better Than Going to War Against the Country
Caution is advised. Dialogue is the better option instead of using military force to either prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon or to change the country’s regime. It is better to avoid armed conflict with Iran at all costs instead of committing US troop strength in a war thousands of miles away which is only going to have more American families lose their loved ones. In addition to the many thousands of US troops that will be killed or injured, a major war against Iran would cause an even worse occurrence of US service members coming down with post-traumatic stress syndrome. Iran has never attacked the US except when the US had soldiers stationed in Lebanon in the 1980’s and Hezbollah is said to have attacked the MNF (Multi-National Force of American and French Soldiers). The United States does not learn from history because it continues to try and flex its muscles overseas as they have occupied so many countries since the end of World War 2. It is proper to include in this essay a beautiful quote by Thomas Jefferson, the 3rd President of the United States, Jefferson said: “Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations; entangling alliances with none.” It would be a brilliant approach if the United States could ever implement such a policy. However, such a policy seems too far-fetched because of the influence of these big corporations and the military industrial complex. Regardless of what side of the political spectrum you are on, there is a far better way to deal with Iran than starting a war against it that will be a big loss for the United States in more ways than one. A war against Iran will cause the Iranians to fully resume their efforts at constructing the weapons that the US and Israel are working so hard to prevent the construction of.
The Second Better Alternative to a Military Conflict With Iran
Which brings us to the second scenario and that is for new President Joe Biden and his administration to work on structuring a deal that will help to calm the fears of countries such as Israel and Saudi Arabia. Henry Sokolski, Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center in a contributing article for Aljazeera writes that “A war today would likely be far, far worse.” He is saying this because the last time that Israel was involved in a major war against Hezbollah in 2006, the result in addition to the deaths was that there were hundreds of thousands of civilians that were displaced on both sides. From what I see, Israel looks unlikely to ever be happy with any deal that is reached with Iran. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel said as much when he said “with an agreement or without an agreement, we will do whatever is necessary so that you (Iran) do not arm yourselves with nuclear weapons,” (Sokolski, 2021).
Conclusion and Sources
Whatever tough talk that Netanyahu and Republicans in the US House and Senate use to try to goad Iran into a conflict with the US and Israel, such a move would be a disaster of unprecedented proportions.
Beauchamp, Z. (2018, July 23). What Trump’s threatened war with Iran would actually look like. Vox.
Parsi, T. (2018, March 30). War With Iran Won’t Be Iraq All Over Again. It’ll Be Much Worse. The Huffington Post.
Sokolski, H. (2021, May 14). Offer for more to stop Iran from going nuclear. Aljazeera.
© 2021 Ara Vahanian
Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on May 19, 2021:
Iran would never use the nuclear bomb on the United States. That would not be good for them politically. If there is any country that wouldn't hesitate to use that weapon it would be North Korea. The hostage crisis actually took place in November 1979. Israel has the nuclear technology as well yet no one seems to criticize them. I wonder why? Maybe because they are not a Muslim country. There has always been an anti-Muslim stance by Western nations. I think too many people don't really know about Iran and its culture. They assume that Iran would just use a nuclear weapon which is false. If Iran used that kind of technology on any Western nation it would be condemned by the international community. Iran has always been a country that has been under the radar due to its oil and other natural resources. It has been a target for that reason. If it did not have such vast oil reserves it would not be interesting enough to countries such the US or the UK.
MG Singh from UAE on May 19, 2021:
Why should anyone keep an eye on Natanyahu who in my view is not the big fish. There is a watch to be kept on the Iranian leadership and they can go to any length to undermine the West. Don't forget the Hostage crisis of 1978 when they made America an impotent tiger. If Iran has nuclear bomb and delivery system they won't mind using it on America who they have always considered the "Great Satan."
Also remember the USA allowed China to go nuclear in 1964 and now it's ready to take over world leadership and consign America to the grave. Letting Iran thrive would be the biggest mistake of the West.
Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on May 19, 2021:
Oh I forgot about the influence of Russia and China. Yes, those two countries will have a lot to say about what might happen in the region. However I still think that Benjamin Netanyahu will try to do anything that he can to try and weaken Iran if he can as long as he is prime minister. He has always had a sort of personal issue with Iran so who will keep an eye on him?
MG Singh from UAE on May 19, 2021:
There won't be a war with Iran for the simple reason that it will be a long war as Russia and China will ensure that Iran does not collapse. Short of that anything can happen.