What would a potential conflict between the US and Iran look like? Jonathan Marcus BBC Defense and Diplomacy Reporter22 June 2019Share this post with Facebook Share this post with Messenger Share this post with Twitter Share this post with Email ShareImage lawAFPImage captionIn the past few days, tension has grown between the United States and Iran
A United States unmanned reconnaissance plane was shot down by Iranian missiles this week. Then American President Donald Trump confirmed that he had ordered – and then aborted – a retaliatory attack on the country in the East.Medium, changing his mind 10 minutes before the bombing. The sequence of events provided a glimpse into the possibility of a conflict between the two countries. But what if Trump hadn’t changed his mind, what could have happened?
It is likely that the first American attacks
would have a limited range, targeting Iranian missiles or radars, associated with or similar to those that shot down the US drone. From the US to Brazil, as presidents try to govern without Congress As an ‘unprecedented’ rapprochement between Russia and China materializes
The attack was reportedly accompanied by a (as it appears to have been delivered on Thursday night) that it would be a limited action, serving only in retaliation for the loss of the American aircraft. Trump would also have offered a kind of truce. According to reports, the United States did in fact send a message to Tehran – which was transmitted through Oman: there was a request for negotiations.
- Iran slaughtered the US military’s drone and if, even so, the attacks went ahead? What would happen then? The next step would probably be taken by
- Iran. In fact, the country would have responded to the US message on Thursday night, according to reports.nullMaybe you’re also interested in Coronavirus: the
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There are many variables to consider
and it is easier to say what would not happen. The Trump administration may be a relentless enemy of the Iranian regime, but it is unlikely to promote a large-scale land invasion of Iran to overthrow the regime. The country is not Saddam Hussein’s Iraq. Iran is an entirely more complex challenge, both militarily and politically. Image Law IRIBNEWSImage caption
- A Iranian television channel has posted photos of alleged wreckage of the US drone shot downAny Iranian attack on U.S. ships or aircraft would almost
- certainly be hit by a counterattack by Americans. Iranian naval facilities, air bases, and so on, would be hit by bombardments
- launched from planes and ships. The focus, in part, would be the
Revolutionary Guard Corps, whose naval arm appears to have played an important role in recent events Of course, the United States can carry out attacks on Iran’s military infrastructure. But Iran also has ways of defending itself. It can use a variety of stockpiles, reaching small boats or submarines to stop operations in the waters of the Gulf of Oman. Oil tankers could be attacked, forcing Americans to take measures to protect them as well.
The United States clearly has an extraordinary advantage in gathering information and analyzing the situation. But as the fall of the very sophisticated and extremely expensive drone illustrates, there are also significant vulnerabilities in the country. Iran believes that damaging or sinking some American warships to the point of making the price of this conflict so high that Trump could give up paying it.
Any war would be characterized
by this “asymmetric” aspect. This term suggests a war of the weak against the strong – two sides with goalsvery different and very different metrics for success. If a war starts, the United States will try to attack Iran’s armed forces, initially tearing down Iranian air defenses and so on. But Iran can also do enough damage to turn US public opinion against the conflict. Under pressure, Iran could also try to spread the conflict more broadly, urging allies in Iraq, Syria or elsewhere to attack American targets.
More extreme, it could even try to convince Hezbollah (in conjunction with its own forces) in Syria) to launch rocket attacks against Israel. The goal would be to demonstrate to Trump that a short-lived war and punitive campaign could actually set the whole region on fire. Image law EPAImage captionHassan Rohani, president of IranBut why would any country allow itself to enter a war like this?
- After all, modern conflicts are not “won” in any conventional sense. Americans should have learned that lesson very well in Afghanistan and Iraq. And does
- Iran think it could “beat” the United States in any significant sense? The reality is that somewhere between the attacks on the one hand and a large-scale
- conflict on the other, both countries may believe in strategic gains if there is a conflict.
The United States wants to contain Iran. And seriously damage its military capabilities – especially those of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps – would serve that purpose. A serious attack on Tehran could ultimately impact the country’s domestic policy, although a war could have the result of consolidating support for the current Iranian regime, led by Hassan Rohani.