Nuclear War-- Iran -- The United States -- Israel-- Inevitable or Avoidable?


While the headlines continue to scream "War" are we really past the point of no return? Is war imminent? Will a new conflict engulf the world and are we spiraling out of control? Will air strikes begin soon or do we still have time? I must admit that I do not have the answers to these questions.We can never predict the inner fears or unknown madness of the minds of our so called leaders. We can never really know how these leaders will react in a crisis until the event happens.

War with Iran has been, predicted, rejected, encouraged,discouraged and discussed over and over and over.........This hub will not get into the specific points and hardened positions of both sides.We'll leave that to the "experts". I believe there is a important part of this showdown that needs to be addressed and perhaps we can come to a better understanding of the potential conflict before some politician, on either side, makes a stupid mistake.

First.... this is not, in my opinion, THE struggle between two civilizations. This is not THE epic battle against the Fundamentalist Islamic Hordes or a renewed Crusade by the Western Infidels. I am not saying that sometime in the future , if common sense does not prevail, we won't find ourselves in such a titanic struggle. I think this present conflict is about something much more basic. Power..... pure and simple One side has it and the other side wants it. The question we all need to be aware of is ...How far will either side be willing to go to prevail?

The most common held belief today seems to be that if Iran succeeds in acquiring nuclear weapons they will, immediately, launch such a weapon and destroy Israel. Of course this will ensure their own destruction as Israel will also launch it's arsenal and Iran and Israel will cease to exist. Many of us, who have been around for a while, are familiar with this scenario. It is, historically, referred to as Mutually Assured Destruction or MAD for short. The United States and The Soviet Union engaged in this policy for almost 50 years and I suppose, in some ways, still do. Simply stated it implies that if you attack your enemy with nuclear weapons and destroy him he will still have time to launch his nuclear weapons, at you, ensuring your own destruction. Both sides lose...Mutually Assured Destruction, To put it bluntly mulitiple gaping smoking craters in the ground where two countries and all their citizens use to exist..Very simple, very honest and absolutely accurate. India and Pakistan are bound by this games deadly assurance today. Even North Korea understands this simple but deadly concept. While there appears to be no shortage of people who would commit a suicide bombing to further their cause there has never been a nation, knowing that their destruction is assured, willing to do so.

Somehow, if we believe the dire warnings, we have to stretch our intellect and our skills of deduction and reasoning to include the possibility that Iran, if she gets the "bomb", is bent on committing national suicide. Is that really possible? Are they so focused on ushering in the era of the Mahdi, the12th Imam, that they would destroy themselves in the process? Maybe now would be a good time to take a closer look at Iran. I'll keep it light and brief.... really I will!

The Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the world larger countries with a population of about 70,000,000. Their history, in the area, goes back 6000+ years. The Persians ,which is the ancient name for the Iranian People, along with the Meades, formed one of the greatest world powers that has ever existed. The Meade and Persian empire defeated the the Babylonian empire and ruled much of the known eastern world for centuries. they ruled from about 600bc. Their greatest leaders were Cyrus the Great and Darius the Great . Christians will be very familiar with Cyrus and Darius. The Persians were a fierce and proud people. Independent and strong.Their science and academic achievements are legendary. Their culture spread across the known world and greatly advanced the early steps of human civilization.

As all empires must meet their destiny the Persians met theirs in the form of Alexander the Great. While he conquered the area he recognized the importance of the Persian culture and civilization and kept it largely intact. The next and final conquest of the Persians came at the hands of the Islamic Arab Forces which defeated and absorbed the Persians into the Islamic empire c630 AD. They did not go willingly and it took many decades of fighting but eventually the Islamic conquest succeeded

From 630 AD until this day Iran has been a Islamic country. It has been mostly ruled by a shah or king who has been subject to the Islamic religion to varying degrees, of observance, over time. In 1979 The Iranian Revolution deposed the Shah and his family and under the leadership of the Ayatollah Khomeini Iran became a true Theocracy. A Theocracy simply means that their god "Allah" is the true head of state and he rules through his chosen representative, who in this case came, in the form of Ayatollah Khomeini .A theocracy is a very different form of government to the Western mindset. Some of the differences are startling and indeed explain some of the tensions and misunderstandings that exist today between the West and Iran. .

The face of Iran, to the world, comes in the form of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad... the President of Iran. He is the familiar face that most in the West see as the Iranian leader. He makes the speeches that scare and anger people and inflame passions on both sides. Most citizens of the West, and most of the other Middle East nations,have a very strong opinion of this man and more than a few fear him. We are told over and over, sometimes by Ahmadinejad himself, that he will not stop until he destroys Israel and then the United States. The press reports, daily, that Ahmadinejad is doing everything he can to acquire nuclear weapons and if and when he gets them then World War III will begin!!!

Let me state here , for the record, I am not saying that Iran is not pursing the "bomb" because they certainly are. I am also not saying that they are not a threat to peace and stability in the middle east and the world as a whole because they certainly are. It is quite possible, depending on your point of view, that they are the most dangerous country on earth but what they are not doing is planning national suicide. One thing you need to know is how the Iranian Government works and who is really in charge.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian President, is NOT the leader of the Iran. He is nothing more than a figure head and does what he is told. In fact Ahmadinejad is barely above a cabinet level functionary in the government of Iran. The country's supreme leader is the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He is absolute leader and it serves his purpose, at this time, to have Ahmadinejad front and center in the world press. The Supreme leader is advised by the Council of Guardians who are appointed by the Supreme Leader himself. Then there is the Assembly of Experts made up of 80+ Islamic Scholars who advise the Supreme leader on matters of the faith. Ahmadinejad as President does not even get the final say over his own cabinet. The nominees are subject to the approval of Parliament and the Supreme Leader.It is very important to note here that Ahmadinejad does not control the Armed Forces, The Defense Ministry or the Intelligence Community which, effectively, renders him powerless. These key posts fall under the control of , you guessed it, The Supreme Leader. While the President can nominate ministers to the post of Intelligence and Defense it is little more than a sham. The candidates are personally approved by, and completely loyal to, The Supreme Leader... Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.. They do not answer to Ahmadinejad and , in fact, he has very little imput in these important posts. The most important thing to remember, at this point, is that if Iran gets the "Bomb" Ahmadinejad will have virtually no say as to whether such a weapon gets deployed or not.

When the recent elections took place in Iran the world witnessed something very important and potentially very dangerous. When the Iranian people believed that the elections were stolen from them they took to the streets to protest against their leaders. This does not happen, very often, in Islamic nations. Of course while the marches were instigated by the rigged reelection of Ahmadinejad the protests were really focused on the Supreme Leader Khamenei. He was not amused. He declared Ahmadinejad the victor and attended the swearing in ceremony. If you have the time google the film clip of that ceremony and watch how the Ayatollah treats Ahmadinejad. When Ahmadinejad tries to kiss the Ayatollah, to show his respect, he is snubbed. Watch the tape closely and see how awkward everyone is. Very telling piece of film.

The self interests of the true Iranian Leadership, the Ayatollah and the Mullahs, does not now nor has ever included self sacrifice. These type of people will send others to their death but you will never see a mullah strap on a suicide bomb vest, During the Iran-Iraq war there were infantry charges by the Iranian soldiers against fortified Iraqis positions.These particular types of infantry charges are referred to as "Human Wave Attacks" Many, and sometimes the majority, of the charging Iranian soldiers were unarmed. They were ordered to attack fortified machine gun positions unarmed! Of course the Iranian soldiers were slaughtered by the tens of thousands in these kind of attacks ordered by the Mullahs. They were ordered to do this to prove their commitment to their country and their religion. The point is the Ayatollahs and the Mullahs place a very high price on life when it applies to themselves. Much of the Iranian population, on the other hand is expendable.

The Iranian Leadership does not fear a, conventional, attack by the United States or Israel on their nuclear sites. In fact any attack that, accidentally, killed innocent Iranian citizens would, in some ways, be welcomed. The potential upside of such an attack, for the Ayatollah would be hard to pass up. The sympathetic press coverage along with the requisite swift UN condemnations of the United States and or Israel that would follow would reward the Iranian leadership with a political victory that would transcend any loss to Iran's nuclear program. There really is no downside, for the Iranians, in a large scale attack on their country. This fight is about politics, and power and the Iranians are very patient at getting what they want..

In conclusion I believe it is important to keep a few things in mind. The Supreme Leader of Iran and his Mullahs DO believe in the concept of MAD and that alone will keep them in check. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is not the true leader of Iran and is nothing more than a powerless political tool of the Ayatollah. The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is not now nor will ever be interested in suicide as a future goal. He is interested in power and influence for his country.The Iranians are very astute politically but very weak militarily and they know it.. While they will continue to use their proxies Hamas and Hezbollah to continue to spread their influence in the Middle East they are aware of their limitations. They will achieve far more, riches, power, prestige and recognition, in the world, by NOT acquiring nuclear weapons. They play the political game well and will continue to play it until the very last card is drawn.............. then they will deal.

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Comments 16 comments

Harvey Stelman profile image

Harvey Stelman 7 years ago from Illinois


A very well put together article, with historical facts. We do still have to worry due to a Sheite-Sunni struggle. With the nukes the Sunnis will have to make choices; and what if the Mullah's decide it is time for the virgins?

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point2make 7 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments Harvey they are always welcome. You make a good point. As to the Sunni-Shi'a struggle Iran is very different from most Islamic nations. The Shi'a represents 89% of the population and the more moderate Sunni's only 9%. Nearly all of the Mullah's, in power, are Shi'a as is the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. What does make Iran's Shi'a a bit unpredictable and perhaps a little scary is their absolute belief in the doctrine of the 12th Imam or the Mahdi.Simply put they believe that they could hasten his appearance by causing a worldwide calamity. This could take the form of a spectacular terrorist attack on Israel or the USA. It is their belief that when their enemies were on the verge of a retalitory attack on Iran their Mahdi would appear on the scene and destroy the Infidels worldwide and usher in the World Wide Islamic Empire. It is a scary senario and I don't think Iran is ready to put this long held belief and prophesy to the test.....yet! but then again this is Iran and there is no other nation on earth quite like it.

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Hxprof 7 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

Informative and well put together. You're correct, I believe, in thinking that teh Mullahs are not interested in destroying themselves. However, the fact that they've left Ahmadinejad in power says something about their mindset. The mullahs may not like all that Ahmadinejad does, but still he remains.

This is what I've pondered for a long time. Why leave Ahmadinejad in place if he's not liked? Perhaps they like the front that he presents to the west-one of defiance with a hint of flexibility. Mabey they like his diplomatic skills-he keeps the west off balance, wondering about his true intentions. And finally, it could be that the mullahs dislike his approach, but want him in their to stall for time any way he can until Iran has nukes.

It comes down to this: Do the mullahs believe they could ignite the war necessary to bring in the 12th Imam and survive the war themselves to ensure 'their place' in the rule of the Imam?

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point2make 7 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments Hxpof they are appreciated. I think I can answer a couple of your questions at least I will try.

The Iranians are very adept at political intrigue. They are very good at keeping their enemies and opponents off balance and they are doing a very good job of that right now.

First, Ahmadinejad. Since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 Iran has had 2 Supreme Leaders and 6 Presidents. The Supreme Leaders have used their presidents very differently over the years and that is what's happening here.

Ayatollah Khomeini was the first Supreme Leader and ruled from 1979 -1989. He was front and center and everyone knew who the leader of the Iranian revolution was. To the world he was the face of Iran. I would suspect that most of us. in the West. who lived during that time would have little trouble identifying a photograph of Ayatollah Khomeini. The second Supreme Leader would probably provide a more difficut challenge.

Khomeini was succeeded by the Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Most people in the West today have little knowledge of this man and would be hard pressed to identify him in a photo. They would, however, have no problem identifying his President....Malmoud Ahmadinejad... The Ayatollah Khamenei is, apparently, quite happy to have Ahmadinejad presented as the face of Iran to the world while he remains in the background. The people of Iran and the friends and enemies of Iran know who the true power is and I suspect watching the west, especially the press, react to Ahmadinejad's outrageous outbursts from time to time gives the old man a smile or two. It serves the political purposes of the Ayatollah for Ahmadinejad to continue to be the face of Iran and so he continues to serve his Supreme Leader....for now.

To demonstrate the difference in the ways the Ayatollah's use their presidents we need to look back, for a moment, to the Ayatollah Khomeini's president, at least his 3rd president who served in his post from 1981-1989. Most would not be able to name this man or identify his photograph. The 3rd president of Iran who served the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini from 1981-1989 was......Ali Khamenei...who is today the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. Unlike Ahmadinejad, Khamenei served in the backgound while his boss took the point. Everything the Iranians do has a political aspect to it no matter how big or small.

The second question you asked deals with the 12th Imam or the Mahdi. The short answer is "yes" The "twelver's", or believers in the Mahdi, believe they would be protected in any war they start to bring about the appearance of the Mahdi. It is important to note, however, that Iran is not the nation it once was. It is evolving and changing daily. Nearly 55% of it population is under 30 and they younger generation do not hold the same views and convictions as their rulers. The belivers in the Mahdi are generally the older generations and as such the hold on the Iranian people the religious class has held for so long is starting to slip. The recent election and protests are a good example. Those protests were not so much against Ahmadinejad, who most Iranians hold little respect or esteem for, but rather they were against the Ayatollah Khamenei and the ruling Mullahs. Iran is changing and the ruling class is beginning to recognize the fact that their iron grip is weakening. How will they react to losing power? Probably quite badly and it will take much innocent blood of the Iranian people to emerge from the pall that the revolution has become. A foreign war might have worked ten years ago but now the Iranian leadership is embroiled in a war of survival with it's own people and this is one they cannot win....and they know it.

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Hxprof 7 years ago from Clearwater, Florida

Thanks for the answers point2make. You've done your homework on Iran.

One thought regards your recent post. If the Mullahs believe time is against them-that the population will not tolerate their rule much longer-that gives me concern that Iran's push for nukes is tied in part to the fact that they've got little time to initiate THE war; once out of power, they're not likely to have the role they want in the rule of the 12th Imam. Your thoughts?

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point2make 7 years ago Author

Thanks Hxprof, your opinions are very insightful and you ask great questions. I will do my best to answer them.

There is no question that there are many Mullahs as well as millions of the faithful who would welcome, with open arms, the WAR. They have been watching, waiting and praying for it all their lives. The appearance of the 12th Imam would be the fulfillment of the promise of Islam's accendancy to world dominance. Sacrifacing their lives to bring the prophesy to truth would, for many muslims, be an honor of the highest kind. This is one area where the West continues to underestimate the commitment these people have to their beliefs.

So where does that leave us and what can we, in the west, do to avoid this frightening senario? Know your friends as well as your enemies!

The leadership in Iran is running out of time. While many of the followers of "Usuli Twelver Shi'a Islam", which is the offical religion of Iran, are ready to start Armageddon many more Iranians, especially the younger generation, are not. While their brothers hatred for the West is nearly all consuming most Iranians are becoming disillusioned with their theocratic controlled state. Many of the younger generation are questioning the authority of the Ayatollah in their daily lives and as fate would have it they do have friends in high places.

While there are many overt and covert opponents to the authority of the Ayatollah there are two men that stand out and are the ones to watch over the coming months. One of these men, or one of their allies, could easily be the next leader of Iran and the political change would be immediate.

The first man to watch is Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani the 4th president of Iran. While no great lover of the west he is well known amongst the western powers and the press. He is very popular with the Iranian people and is an outspoken critic of the policies of Malmoud Ahmadinejad. They have had very public disagreements including most recently over Ahmadinejad's handling of the recent protests. Rafsanjani is first and foremost a lover of his country. He is pro-business, and has been described as a pragmatist-conservative. While he, like most Iranian Clerics, is a Twelver he is not a seeker of martyrdom. He has been labeled a Reformist and he has tried to improve relations , with the west, for his country. While a man as outspoken as Rafsanjani could be considered foolhardy he is in no immediate danger. Rafsanjani is the chairman of the "Assembly of Experts" this group, and only this group, has the power to remove or replace the Ayatollah himself. This man has a platform. Is popular with people and is protected. Watch him over the coming year.

The second, possible, saviour of the Iranian people is a man who was their 5th president. Sayjid Khatami. He is younger that Rafsanjani at 66 years of age and he is described both inside and outside of Iran as the most moderate and reformist President Iran has had. He is well respected by the people of Iran and has many supporters. While Khatami is also a "twelver" he has demonstrated his passion and commitment for his people and his country first .

There are other men in the shadows but these men are the ones to watch. What they do will be the indicator of the direction Iran will take. Personally I believe there are two possibilities here. The first senario is that Khatami will re-emerge onto the public stage with Rafsanjani quietly supporting him behind the scenes. The Ayatollah Khamenei will remove Ahmaninejad ,from power,and Iran will open a detente with the West

The second senario is not so pleasant. Rafsanjani and Khatami are arrested and executed for treason. Ayatollah Khamenei is assassinated and Ahmadinejad seized power and launches a nuclear strike against Israel.

In all honestly Hxprof Iran is a tough one to call. It truly could go either way but we still can't ignore the facts. Most of the Mullahs do not have a death wish. The Ayatollah would not, in my opinion, sanction the destruction of his own country. Despite all the news reports the fact remains that Iran does NOT have nuclear weapons nor do they have a delivery system ready to deploy. Best guess?.....Iran backs down....allows inspectors into its nuclear facilities and Ahmadinejad is removed from office. I don't know if I answered your questions adequately but I hope you can garner some information from this rambling. I do tend to go on a bit more than I should.

msorensson profile image

msorensson 4 years ago

Wow, you show in depth analysis. I learned a lot, as I do not follow these things. Thanks.

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point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments msorensson. I appreciate your opinion and your time. Iran is a very complicated issue for the US and Israel right now and I have a few more hubs in the works dealing with Iran that I will published soon. I hope you will read and comment on them when they go live. Thanks again.

msorensson profile image

msorensson 4 years ago

Indeed I will read your hubs about them, since I am much too detached, for lack of a better word, from politics. I wish it is possible to set aside all differences so that we may all live in peace.

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point2make 4 years ago Author

thanks msorensson.....I'll be publishing a hub on the Iranian Navy and the threat it poses soon.

Nymira profile image

Nymira 4 years ago

Iran will never nuke Israel.

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point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comment Nymira and I tend to agree with you. While the Mullahs have no hesitation sending their own citizens to their deaths, when ordering suicide attacks, they themselves are not interested in personal or national suicide.

jainismus profile image

jainismus 4 years ago from Pune, India

Great analysis, thank you for expressing your views on this subject.

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point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you jainismus. I appreciate you taking the time to read and comment on my hub. We are certainly getting closer to a resolution, military or political, of this issue and it is still a tough one to call. I still think Iran backs down but the Ayatollah has backed himself into a corner on this one and that is never a good thing. Many soldiers and innocent civilians have died, throughout history, because of criminal and stupid leaders who don't want to be perceived as weak.

Michele Travis profile image

Michele Travis 4 years ago from U.S.A. Ohio

Thank you for writing such an interesting hub. Another factor in this is China. China has been sending Nuclear information to Iran perhaps in exchange for Oil. However, the last thing China wants is a Nuclear war. China probably has more control of Iran then Iran knows about. At least that is what I believe. I could be very wrong, but I hope not.

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point2make 4 years ago Author

Thank-you for your comments Michele and you are not wrong. China is a very big player in the ongoing Iranian Nuclear program that the West is so opposed to. China is far more active in Iranian affairs than many realize. The two nations have an extensive economic relationship, mostly based on energy, that even many Iranians would be surprised to learn about. China provides Military, political, economic and extensive covert support to Iran.

There are some that believe China will help defend Iran if the US and Israel attack the nuclear facilities in Iran. Others believe that as long as the oil fields are left alone the Chinese will "permit" an attack on the Nuclear facilities without interference.

China controls, through trade agreements, a very large portion of the Iranian energy supplies. They also have a very physical presence in Iran not only in an engineering capacity but military as well. The next move , regardless of who makes it, could be very dangerous.

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