We are reminded, once again, that negotiations with Tehran are useless. This time it is the French and the Saudi’s that have rejected feckless U.S. attempts to reach a negotiated settlement based on the desperation to change the subject.
Nothing has, over the course of the last eight years, moved Iran off their nuclear track. The Israeli redline regarding the amount of 20% enriched uranium in Iranian possession has slowed the Iranian program as Iran carefully manages it’s enrichment program to stay on the sunny side of that redline. That redline is important because the jump from 20% to bomb grade (92%-94%) is a geometric progression, taking, relatively, very little time. Why is Iran careful regarding the 20% redline? Israel, while hated, maintains credibility with the Iranians. Iran justifiably fears Israeli capabilities and the willingness to respond to provocation and remain consistent to their own policy.
The President’s outreach to Iran will result in nothing. Each and every time Iran came to fear actual attacks on their program or actual sanctions, signals were sent out intended to encourage the naïve among us that peaceful negotiations could put an end to the specter of nuclear weapons in Iranian or terrorist hands. Each and every time Iran sent those signals they actually did buy time, they also continued apace with their nuclear program including weapons development and missile capabilities. For a majority of the last eight years Iran’s current President Mr. Rowhani, has been a key player in the Iranian government since the revolution; in this video he brags about his role in expanding the Iranian nuclear efforts.
The potential outreach to/from the United States has nothing to do with the United States and everything to do with Israel. Iran continues to operate on the premise, with some evidence from the Iranian point of view, that the U.S. can bring Israel to heel. Yet another signal of outreach to the U.S. is in reality a tactic intended to hold off the Israelis. The evidence of the past eight years is proof of Iranian intentions; it is also proof of Western naiveté and its inability to actually confront clear threats.
My plan to bring Iran to heel:
- After a series of ‘strategic consultations’ between the U.S. Secretary of Defense and the Israeli defense establishment, the President publicly announces that the U.S. and Israel agree on the time line related to Iranian nuclear capabilities. Based on ‘new’ information. The President calls the time line a ‘grave threat’ to regional and world peace.
- The following week the President travels to Jerusalem (not Tel Aviv) for ‘critical’ consultations with the Israeli Prime Minister. They spend hours in those consultations.
- At the end of the day the President and Prime Minister ‘cancel’ the previously announced schedule for the following day and announce that the President and the Prime Minister will resume their security consultations.
- The second day’s meetings include nothing but the top military planners from both sides. No political people, no staff wonks, just the warriors; at least what we have left of warriors at the top. The video of their arrival at the meeting leaves no doubt as to the attendees. No leaks are required, the message is being transmitted. None of the President’s people have anything to say about the meetings, no presser, no announcements. A brief press release says nothing other than the President and the Prime Minister are engaged in serious consultations regarding the overall situation in the Middle East.
This initial kabuki dance will create a degree of unease within the Iranian elite as the U.S. and Israel appears to be playing well in the sandbox. It will not force a change of Iranian policy, at that point just that uneasy feeling that something just changed you’re not quite sure what it is. The only thing communicated to the Iranians comes by way of Switzerland. The message to Iran is “the situation in Syria and Iranian public statements has motivated the U.S. and Israel to engage in a strategic re-evaluation. The presence of the IRGC and Hiz’bAllah in Syria and the degree of their involvement is a matter of concern. That the Hiz’bAllah and Iranian presence in Central and South America is now being viewed as a strategic threat to the U.S. and that the Iranian role is too central and too consistent to be ignored any further. This in addition to terror support and the nuclear weaponization capabilities we believe the Iranians to be rapidly approaching.”
The Iranian response will make clear that they have no reason to take American messages seriously. They will accuse the U.S. of attempting to stifle Iranian rights and damage the Iranian nation. They will complain to the Security Council and anyone else willing to listen.
- As Americans and Israelis continue to ‘confer’ American air refueling tankers arrive in Israel as part of our ‘military support package’. This delivery reinforces the Israelis most glaring weakness in terms of a ‘go it alone’ strategy against the Iranian nuclear program. The most pressing Israeli weakness in a ‘go it alone’ strike has now been mitigated by the tankers and the Iranians must consider a new calculus as American walk begins to comport with American talk.
- The U.S. generates a rush of meaningless diplomatic consultations for the sake of demonstrating activity. No plans are disclosed just the ‘strategic re-evaluation’ message. American diplomatic resources are instructed to do what they do best; hold extensive discussions; say nothing, and do so in as many words as possible.
- The U.S., without announcement, moves military resources to strategic staging points that Iran will judge to be challenging without being confrontational. Simultaneously, American forces are ordered to a maximum force protection posture including common sense rules of defensive engagement.
- Israel re-deploys IDF forces to confront possible retaliatory actions by Hiz’bAllah and Hamas.
- U.S. Marine detachments are ordered to every embassy and point of crucial American interest in the Middle East; they arrive in force fully combat ready. They assume or create reinforced defensive positions.
- The Saudi’s are convinced to engage in a false flag operation and announce yet another feckless ‘peace plan’. They always do, so they must do so in this context.
- Senior American envoys arrive in Ankara to advise President Erdogan not to do the happy dance just yet as we’re on to him too and have no intention of replacing Iran with Turkey; reciprocity for Turkey’s behavior over the past 12 years. He is advised that a Turkey moving inexorably in support of Islamist goals is “no longer in American interests”.
- American Ambassadors will be summoned throughout the Middle East. “What’s going on” will be the pregnant question; same marching orders, many words, no information; ‘strategic re-evaluation.
These signals will deliver the message to Iran that they’re calculation that a strike will not include America may require reevaluation. Iran must be made to question if they have crossed a red line that they did not know was there. Iran must be made to revisit their calculus as to how far they can push. The Iranians have seen all of the open source analysis, in addition to their own. An Israeli strike, with Israel acting alone is a 50/50 proposition, with American support the numbers go up dramatically. Arguably, the potential for being in the cross hairs of two of the best collections of warriors on the planet should give them pause. They will, at this point in time be wondering what the hell is going on and is it real? They will likely decide that it is not real; that is what their analysis has correctly told them in the past, they will depend upon it again.
- Time for the first leak. The leak is delivered to Tehran by a ‘doubled’ Israeli agent, and posits that that contingency planning for a potential strike against Iran will call for the decapitation of Iranian leadership in advance of any military action aimed at the nuclear program.
- In the meantime the warriors continue to meet, just secretly enough to ‘sell’ the planning, not secretly enough to keep it from the Iranians. They are ordered to develop a real plan including both Israeli and American forces.
- The President makes a speech; it’s the one thing we know for sure he can pull off. He invites the Iranians, in direct language, to join in real negotiations. He references the past eight years of failed negotiations with Iran. He discusses the Iranian role in terror support and highlights the Iranian presence in Central and South America.
- The U.S. publically commits to a defense umbrella for Saudi Arabia.
The Iranians, have two options engage talks which they see as buying time or to reject the President’s offer of substantive talks. Should they accept, the U.S. arrives at the negotiations with a hard line similar to Israeli policy presented as a final offer of a frame work. Should the Iranians reject it and castigate the Great Satan for his imperialistic instincts we accept the rejection as Iran’s final policy statement.
- Within 48 hours of the rejection Iranian military capabilities along the Persian Gulf coast are attacked and destroyed. The strikes are executed against military targets only; fast attack ships, mini subs, radar installations, anti aircraft batteries and Silk Worm anti ship missile batteries provided by China. Two to three B2 Bombers can handle the entire operation.
- Israel calls up their reserves and masses forces to protect against retaliation by Hiz’bAllah or Hamas on behalf of Iran. The Israeli response is set to a hair trigger and announced as such. Incursions or probing actions are met with overwhelming force of action. The initial incursion, should it occur triggers an attack on all know Hiz’bAllah missile installations and bases within 40 miles of the Israeli border.
- The President insists that negotiations have gone on for a decade and have failed. He announces that the U.S. and Israel have taken the Iranian regime at its word and accepted the viability of its threats and have therefore, proactively insured the free flow of resources through the Persian Gulf on behalf of the international community and its energy security. The U.S. reminds all of the number of times the Iranians have threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz, and the number of provocations that have occurred in the Straits. The U.S. adopts the Cuban Missile Crisis strategy telling Iran that any domestic terror attacks on U.S. soil will be considered an act of war by Iran and will be met with the appropriate response.
Iran has now paid its first non economic price for its nuclear program. They now know, that a sea change has arrived in terms of what the U.S. is prepared to do. One of their most significant points of leverage, stopping the flow of oil, has been removed. They are confused by the sudden force of U.S. actions and its support of Israel. They did not see it coming which is exactly why you do it.
- Iran demands that the U.N. take up the matter of U.S. ‘aggression’. The U.S. issues a position statement that the U.N. has been impotent in dealing with Iran, has failed to come together in support of its own resolutions and is substantially responsible for the position that the parties now find themselves in. The U.S. declares that it has no confidence in the U.N. to accomplish anything other than to facilitate Iranian delay tactics. The U.S. demands a direct commitment from Iran to end the weapons program and accept immediate comprehensive inspections. Iran rejects the offer insisting on ‘international’ engagement.
- The following day the Iranian IRGC headquarters is reduced to dust by a missile strike.
- The undercover intelligence assets that the Israeli’s have in Iran are unleashed. The cyber warfare capabilities of the two countries are also unleashed on Iran.
- The President delivers another speech. He offers to respect the Iranian right to nuclear power for peaceful means but makes it clear that the weapons programs and independent enrichment facilities are unacceptable. He gives the Iranians 48 hours to declare all weapons related facilities and immediately cease all enrichment activities.
- The Iranian claim, in long form, there is not enough time to meet the deadline.
We provide them with another 48 hour deadline, the complaining continues, the Iranian PR machine goes into overdrive, statements of support for Iran rain in from Cuba and Venezuela, etc. China and Russia make very serious noises about ‘aggression in the region’. The U.S. responds with the Chinese and Russian history on the issue and blames them for forcing the situation we are now in.
- When the 48 hours is up with no movement, a secondary Iranian oil field goes boom!
There is, of course, an international ‘crisis’ that surrounds the military activity. The President and Prime Minister make the following points in their statements following the oil field attack.
- Eight years of failed negotiations.
- A clear program to create a nuclear weapon.
- No compliance with U.N. resolutions
- The need to speak to the Iranians in a language they can understand.
- Only Military and economic targets have been struck, unlike the Iranians the U.S. and Israel have avoided civilian collateral damage.
- That there is little doubt that Iran has been the nexus of terror support for years and that to address that issue demands a re-evaluation of policy in Tehran which can only be motivated by a show of strength.
At this point in time the Iranians must make some hard decisions. Continue to reject and confront or engage in genuine talks. If they reject talks, something else goes boom. It they unleash their terror surrogates, more things go boom including Iranian leadership. If Israel is attacked, U.S. air and naval forces operate in support of Israelis on the ground.
The Iranians can be brought to sanity. But there must be a tangible price to pay before they will take it seriously. That price can be limited, proportional and serious, all at the same time. It is, truly, the only language they will understand or take seriously.