carnegie logo

Babylon & Beyond

Observations from Iraq, Iran,
Israel, the Arab world and beyond

« Previous | Babylon & Beyond Home | Next »

IRAN: Stop nukes by bombing oil wells, neocons suggest

Why attack Iran's nuclear facilities when striking their oil infrastructure would be much more effective in the scope of a US-led preventive war? Sure, oil prices might skyrocket and the world economy might collapse. But, hey, that's the price you pay for security.

Patrick_clawson_press_photo_2Such a scenario is not a nightmare or an outtake from a remake of Stanley Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove," but part of a serious recommendation made by two neoconservatives in case sanctions fail to persuade Iran to abandon its enrichment of uranium, a process that can be used to make nuclear weapons or fuel for peaceful energy production.

In a July report titled "The Last Resort: Consequences of Preventive Military Action Against Iran," and published by the neoconservative Washington Institute for Near East Studies, scholars Patrick Clawson and Michael Eisenstadt advocate military strategies that would ultimately discourage Tehran from pursuing any future non-civilian nuclear activities:

Because the ultimate goal of prevention is to influence Tehran to change course, effective strikes against Iran's nuclear infrastructure may play an important role in affecting Iran's decision calculus. Strikes that flatten its nuclear infrastructure could have a demoralizing effect, and could influence Tehran's assessment of the cost of rebuilding. But the most effective strikes may not necessarily be against nuclear facilities. Iran is extraordinarily vulnerable to attacks on its oil export infrastructure.... The political shock of losing the oil income could cause Iran to rethink its nuclear stance—in ways that attacks on its nuclear infrastructure might not.

Michael_eisenstadt_press_photoAnd if an attack on the oil facilities of a country with some of the world's largest reserves leads to a huge spike in oil prices, sends gas prices up to 10 bucks a gallon and brings economic ruin in the rest of the world, the report continues, well, so be it:

To be sure, in a tight world oil market, attacking Iran's oil infrastructure carries an obvious risk of causing world oil prices to soar and hurting consumers in the United States and other oil-importing countries.... If the choice is between higher oil prices and a Middle East with several nuclear powers, higher oil prices and reduced economic growth are not clearly the greater evil.

The Washington Institute for Near East Policy is a famous Beltway think tank. It was founded in 1985 by Martin Indyk, a former U.S. ambassador to Israel.

The 45-page report reads like a manual on how to wage a successful preemptive war on Iran. It discusses "key political and contextual questions" pertaining to a preventive war outside the usual frame of strictly military-technical considerations.

The report assesses different scenarios of military action by stressing the importance of "favorable" international, regional and local political environments. An attack against Iran won't necessarily lead to a nationalist backlash if it's done at the right time and in the right way. They draw such conclusions from civilian reaction to bombing runs during World War II and the Iraq-Iran War:

After a few days of bombing, civilians realized that as long as they stayed away from military facilities or potential strategic targets, they could go about their business reasonably safely, even during air raids. That fact is likely to undercut the intensity of the reaction to any preventive strike.... The challenge, should the United States decide to go that route, would be to conduct military and information campaigns that mitigate a nationalist backlash and that undercut and isolate the regime, while at the same time signaling the Islamic Republic's leaders that the United States is prepared to make a deal if they abandon their nuclear program.

The authors go on to dismiss Iranian responses to a strike and present "remedies" to every one of these possible responses, from attacking U.S. assets in the Gulf to attacking Israel through Lebanon and sponsoring terror or even waging a full-scale war. They argue that the U.S. should strike Iran before Israel does because the Jewish state "would have many disadvantages to the United States."

The report concludes that no matter how costly, a policy of prevention remains a better option than deterrence:

If the potential risks, challenges and consequences of prevention (as previously outlined) are daunting, the risks and challenges of deterrence are even more so. Deterrence is not an easy, low-risk alternative. The cost/benefit calculus pertaining to prevention versus deterrence as a means of dealing with Iran's nuclear program may be one of the most complex and difficult policy choices facing U.S. policymakers today, given the uncertainties of the prospects for success and the possible price of failure for each.

Raed Rafei in Beirut

Photos: Patrick Clawson, top, and Michael Eisenstadt. Credit: Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

P.S. The Los Angeles Times issues a free daily newsletter with the latest headlines from the Middle East. You can subscribe by registering at the website here.

Comments () | Archives (94)

Dave Wolff said:” These rats truly believe that for them to go to allah they MUST KILL and for that I say ENOUGH! SEND THEM ALL TO ALLAH and if we happen to be killed trying to kill this EVIL so be it."

Did you know that they believe in the same God and the same Old Testament as Jews? They are the same people who saved Jews from captivity and rebuilt the temple.

Mr. Wolff, you are misinformed.

Fresh faced idealists! haha

I was one in college until I grew up and got a job and saw for myself what the real truth is.

Grow up and take the article for what it is worth.
The current Iranian govt is the enemy of the world. If they develop a nuke weapon and use it you will still be parroting the "evil Bush caused it!" bull.

Go back to your safe classroom and continue with your idealist indoctrination.

It keeps you from focusing on important issues. For instance: why you are so stupid and blame all the worlds probelms on Bush. You are like Muslims who blame all their problems on Israel. What has that got to do with Pakistan, India, Iran, Saudi, etc. It should be a Palestine, Jordan Lebanon issue.

99 percent of Muslims blame all their poverty, corruption and you name it on Israel. Get a life. Or maybe get nuked!

The authors of the report are absolute idiots. Do they seriously believe if we bomb their country (even if limited to oil infrastructure), the average Iranian would not get upset?! If Iran decided to attack only gas stations and refineries in the US, I'd be as mad as hell. I would never want a foreign country to dictate to us how we should live, especially by using violence. Don't the authors realize the average Iranian will feel the same way? Any military action will result in a long, costly war. Limited war and surgical strikes work only in the minds of those who don't understand the true nature of war.

So it's better to create a global depression in the name of protecting Israel? An attack on Iran's oil infrastructure would bring about a Soviet-like collapse of an America that falls under the weight of its national debt once its GDP drops like a rock. But hey, as long as Israel is safe, it would be worth having 90% of Americans living in poverty.

This is the kind of attitude that moved us to the Iraq disaster.
About 5 years before the invasion in Iraq I read a similar bunch of crap from a similar or same "think tank" talking about the need to make over the Middle East. What moron wants to push their theories onto the most volitile and sensitive area of the world and what do they expect to happen when they get their way?
The problem with bombing Iran's oil facilities is that they in return would bomb their neighbor's oil assets and then we have a real game.
Buy a horse and buggy now before they skyrocket in price cause that will be the world's mode of transportation from that point on.
I am sick to death of idiots from neocon think tanks and a moron president that followed the previous brainless game.
Let's see if we can keep the Presidency, Congress, The Senate and The Supreme Court away from these fools forever. Crawl back under your respective rocks!!!


Anyone who really cares about America should goto this site and watch this entire film.. "WHO KILLED THE ELECTRIC CAR"... You will soon discover who is your REAL ENEMY..

I have seen this film aired a few times on the Baguio City, PH. BBC cable channel. When you see this film you will begin to understand why America is into so much TROUBLE. I guess you will have to COPY and PASTE this location into GOOGLE ADDRESS.. Goto the following location and enjoy..

If the U.S. bombs Iran's oil wells at the behest of these and other neocons, and if oil goes to $200-300/BBL following, these guys had better leave the country.

10$ US a Gallon to be expected!! Get your Electric car fast.

Neoconservative want to bomb Iran oil fields

The Opera Alexander the Great of Panayoti Karousos has the secrete oracle of High Priestess Olympias, Queen of Macedonia and Greece and mother of Alexander the Great. According to composer Panayoti Karousos Alexander the Great in his passage from Jerusalem was received from Jews with honors as the liberator of Israel, and he did sacrifices at the Solomon’s Temple with the High Priest of Judea Iaddouas.
At his passage to Zion land Alexander the Great brought a mysterious secret oracle from his mother to Jews. The oracle said that the Temple of Solomon will be destroyed and devised in two, the Pillar will fall in the east will build the eastern religion (Islam), and the Pillar will fall in the west will built the western religion (Christianity). Jews will spread allover to teach the one supreme God. One day Israel will be build again but they will not succeed peace and liberty. The Peace will be when they will build the Temple of Solomon. The Temple will be build only right after the presentation of the opera in Jerusalem, because Alexander the Great’s spirit has to be honored with King David’s lyre
Now is the time to present the opera of Panayoti Karousos Alexander the Great in Jerusalem in order to start to build the Temple of Solomon and achieve peace in Middle East. Now is the time for Jews to do their Priesthood again.
Alexander the Great helped Jews at his time and will help Jews again today.

This post is for all the morons out there that think Iran or any other Middle Easterns dont like America because of your freedom.

If that was the case why would Bin Laden pick the WTC and the Penatgon, he would have blown up Disneyland or Las Vegas?

American foreign policy has gotten it to this point and there is no sign of relief. In the past a very few percentage of people hated Americans but that number has multiplied by hundres in the last few years. So don't be suprised 5 years from now you have a bunch of Iraqi's blowing themselves up in your buildings. It is inevitable, keep out of someones dealings and you wont have to worry about them. But use someone when you need them, then drop them when you dont, and you have just created yourself an enemy. It has nothing to do with your way of life; which nobody gives a shit about.

US allready are stuck in Irak and Afganistan. Irak was mission accomplished in few days, Years ago and still there using some billions off $ each month. Afganistan is still there with nothing really accomplished. You better belived that because W did´t go there with his clean uniform. So Irán is other type of country, First, if sombody bomb it, it will have a not weak response. Second there is no way to put a foot in the country. They are not Saddam pals that will run away. They are persians and they will fight back. All the US fleet in the Pesian Gulf will be in the harm way. Don´t think lightly

Well, also read the Amnesty report of Israel. They are not the saints in this respect. The kill palestinians every day, including those terrorists 2 years old:

Whith this necon think tanks, wich produce so stupid commentes, I will undestand Iran building a A bomb. The zionist have it and I never read any nonproliferetion champion or the AIEA cuestion the matter. Of course this brilliant guys don´t remember that Israeli Dimona nuclear facility is a perfect target for a missile strike. That will release a good amount o radioactivity in tiny Israel. I hope this think tank have no friends at the Pentagon. If they shoot themselves will be a good service for america´s foreing policy

This guys are the nazi type. Irán only need to block the Ormuz strait and also Saudi Arabia supply is gone. If there is no oil, will also have no price at the pump, you will have no gas. How much will cost that to american people? To much to afford. May be this guys are from the Bush gang. It will be a good spectacle to see americans comitt suicide. Just realax in your seat and wacht, but only if you don´t live un USA.

Solution is so simple, Use neutron weapons Zapp all Arab countrys, and free oil.

If the Eisenstadts, Pearls, Wolfies, Feiths. Crystals and other dual loyalists are so froggy why don't they advise Israel to jump? It's their centuries old tribal conflicts that are driving this for a Greater Israel.

Israel sits back and laughs while you US sheep gradually go deeper into debt by being their slaves in the war. I dont see Israel sending in troops and helping out you guys in Iraq. they are too bright to do that, especially when they can get you to be the cannon fodder. Israel has a bigger agenda and im sure the ongoing demise of the american economy doesnt worry them at all. they dont care about the US or anyone else in the world for that matter. As can be seen from this stroy, the us economy is on the way to the basement and to save face they are willing to take the rest of the world down with them. Real nice foreign policy hey guys. children could run congress better than the dorks you have got in there at the moment. wake up before you find yourselves tennants in your own country.

Everyone is forgetting one thing. If we blow up Iran, then as we have on EVERY other previous occasion, then we must spend billions of dollars to rebuild them. This country will be bankrupt, and for what? So the rest of the world can march in here and take us over, as our own country goes to shambles, because we are so soft.

And these guys are Think tank , lol

look like six grader

Wow i can not believe all the trashing of the U.S.A. I am not sure that the idea of bombing a country is the way to go. But we have to at least have a plan to do so. If people think we can just go to a country who hates us and smile and say lets be friends every thing will change you are living in a dream world. Country's who have leaders who have an open policy that they want to end our right to live unless we convert to there ideas, need to know we will defend our freedoms.. As we should support and defend other peaceful Nations of all religions to live and allow them to govern themselves as they seem fit even if we do not agree with it. Bashing this country just is wrong. This is the best country in the world. I hate war but i would die for my country's future. My Uncle was killed in WW2. My father was wounded. I am a disabled Vietnam Veteran who enlisted and my son served in Iraq and is still serving in the Army. I think Nam and Iraq were both mistakes. But because we made mistakes does not mean we should become week. Everyone says God Bless America. I would like to say God bless the world..

« | 1 2 3 4 5 | »


Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

Recent News
Introducing World Now |  September 23, 2011, 8:48 am »



About the Contributors