Saad El Shazly

A look at The American Wars:
After the dismantlement of The Former Soviet Union, and after The United States of America had become the single superpower in the new world order, The USA launched five wars against a number of Third World countries, which the US called rogue countries. One important reason for these wars, is the refusal of these countries to succumb to US hegemony.

These wars included:
- The second Gulf War: January 17, 1991 to February 28, 1991.
- Operation Desert Fox, against Iraq from December 15, 1998 to December 18, 1998.
- The war against Yugoslavia, from October 24, 2001 to November 14. 2001.
- The war against Afghanistan from October 7.2001 to November 14. 2001
- The war against Iraq from March 19, 2003 to April 9, 2003.

Although the nature of operations seemed different in each of the above-mentioned wars, the planning style and the war management from political and military points of view were similar, in all these instances. By examining those war plans, we can determine the US’s strengths and weaknesses, which may enable countries and peoples refusing American hegemony, to achieve their goals.

Before the dismantlement of The Soviet Union, The American strategy was based on the ability of The USA to fight on two fronts, against two countries of The Third World, without affecting the military balance between the two super powers (USA and USSR) on The European front. However, The Second Gulf War, proved this theory to be wrong. For, in order to mobilize sufficient forces to strike at Iraq, The USA was forced to withdraw most of its forces positioned on the European front. Despite taking this drastic action, The USA was still in need of additional military backing from its allies. When the attack against Iraq started, The U.S. forces represented only 50% of The Allied Forces. This means that The USA alone cannot launch a war against a middle-sized country of The Third World; unless it has in advance secured the support of all or the majority of the countries of the World.

USA’s Limitation:
Although The USA enjoys a tremendous advantage, in the field of remote fighting with aircraft and missiles, this overwhelming force has serious limitations when the war turns into close fighting.

These limitations can be summarized as follows:
1. Before launching a war against any middle-sized country of The Third World, The USA must obtain international support at the political, military and economic levels.
2. The U.S. is not inclined to use its ground forces, except in cases of extreme necessity, because their utilization means heavy human losses; what disturbs The U.S. most, are the Guerilla wars, as recently evidenced by the current U.S. war in Iraq. According to the figures declared by The U.S. Authorities, 751 Americans were killed in the regular war that lasted for three weeks. Whereas the American loses due to Guerilla attacks against its occupation forces, amounted to 2278 killed and more than 8 thousand wounded, during the period from April 10, 2003 until February 20, 2006. These figures do not of course, include the killed and the wounded, among contractors who were cooperating with the occupation authorities, and who are targeted by the Iraqi resistance forces.
3. The USA cannot bear the costs of war alone. The occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq, cost it 80 billion U.S. dollars per year, while the allies bear another 40 billion U.S. dollars.
4. The USA does not apply compulsory military conscription. All American soldiers are volunteers. Hence, those who volunteer to serve in The U.S. armed forces are from the poorest and least educated categories in The American Society. They join the army because the alternative would be unemployment. But no one wants to volunteer to die or be permanently disabled for an unfair war. Given the rising numbers of the killed and wounded in Iraq, many escape the military service or refuse to renew their voluntary enrolment when their contracts expire. This situation creates great problems for the American leadership who  seeks more soldiers.
5. Although naval mines are the cheapest weapons, their intensive utilization in maritime passages causes great difficulty to The U.S. naval forces.

Exploitation of these limitations by countries refusing American hegemony does not mean that such countries are able to realize a decisive victory against The USA. It however, means that The American victory, can prove to be so costly as to deter The USA from attempting to invade those countries, and subject them by force to American hegemony. This is what Iran, North Korea and  the Iraqi resistance forces are trying to achieve.
The Limitation of Nuclear Weapons:
The production of the nuclear bomb, has stopped being a secret for a long time. In 1977, a student at Princeton University called John Phillips, and not yet twenty years old, was able to present his professor with the model of a nuclear bomb, based on available public information. That bomb was of a beach ball size; Its destructive power equaled ten thousand tons of traditional explosives, while its production cost amounted to just two thousand U.S. dollars (As stated in The Annual Report submitted to The U.S. Senate in  2002).

The model designed by John Phillips, would be the ideal weapon to be produced by terrorist groups or non-nuclear countries. If such is the case, what is preventing them from doing so?
There are two problems:
The first problem, is the fact, that the countries possessing nuclear weapons, are imposing a severe siege on the transportation of components of nuclear bombs to non-nuclear countries. Moreover, some of the former countries resort to military force to prevent these non nuclear countries from producing nuclear weapons. The Israeli Intelligence Agency sabotaged the equipment of the Iraqi nuclear reactor, while they were stored in France, waiting to be shipped to Iraq in April 1979.
Furthermore, Israeli planes destroyed, for the second time, the Iraqi nuclear plants in Baghdad, in June 7, 1981. France who had produced the two nuclear reactors for Iraq is the same country, which helped Israel to destroy them.
The second problem, is that those possessing nuclear weapons must be capable of absorbing the first strike then be capable of striking back at the adversary. This is almost impossible at the State level, given that nuclear plants are large and cannot be hidden. They also depend on foreign experts whose loyalty cannot be guaranteed. However, this does not apply to the primitive nuclear bomb, which can be manufactured in a single room, as Phillips did, in 1977.

Thus, two schools of thought emerged concerning the way to use nuclear weapons. The first school argues that neither non-nuclear countries, nor terrorist groups, nor groups resisting foreign occupation are capable of bearing the first strike, and of striking back at the aggressor country. Whereas the second school opposes this view and contends that it is possible to manufacture secretly tens of primitive nuclear bombs, each weighing no more than 25kg. including accessories, these bombs can then be smuggled outside the country, and kept in the custody of dormant cells which can be activated at the proper time. Hence, the countries or groups possessing those bombs, which are dispersed in many
 places would be able to absorb the first strike, then direct painful retaliatory strikes to the aggressor.

The Nuclear Weapons Non Proliferation Treaty:
In May 1995, The New York convention, with the participation of 168 countries including Egypt, issued a resolution banning proliferation of nuclear weapons. With the exception of Israel, India and Pakistan who refused to sign, all the countries, which attended that convention, became eternally bound by that treaty.
Although Israel had possessed nuclear weapons since 1975, and although the international community knew it, The USA wished Israel to enjoy a legal situation; which would prevent The International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.) from implementing the inspections required, under The Non Proliferation Treaty. Therefore, now and for the past ten years, and for tens of coming years, whenever an Arab or Muslim country objects at The United Nations or at The International Atomic Energy Agency, asking why do you inspect us and do not inspect Israel, the answer is ready; Because Israel is not a signatory to The Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty.

The US-Zionist Alliance against Iran:
During 1993, Iran obtained the support of China to provide it with technical assistance for the construction of an electric power plant of 300 megawatts capacity, using nuclear fuel. Although The Non- Proliferation Treaty, issued in May 1995, does not ban the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, The American President at that time, Bill Clinton, imposed a trading boycott on Iran, in April 1995. Clinton justified that resolution as follows:
· Iran is striving, through its agreement with China,  to acquire the necessary skills, which shall enable it, to produce nuclear weapons.
· Iran  encourages international terrorism.
· Iran obstructs the  peace process in the Middle East.
· Iran puts pressures on the regimes of its neighboring countries.
· And Iran modernizes its traditional Weapons.

The situation deteriorated between Iran, on one hand, and The U.S.A. and Israel, on the other hand, after Ahmedi nijad became The President of Iran. In October 26, 2005, The Iranian President, stated in one of his speeches, that Israel should to be wiped off the map. He also said, that it was possible to have a world that is liberated of The USA and Israel.”
Since that date, the countdown began for The USA and Israel – with European support – to direct a strong blow against Iran. The current conflict revolves around the following questions: What will be the form of that blow? … Will it be an invasion of Iran, like the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq? Or will it take the form of air raids and missile bombings to destroy all the Iranian nuclear plants, as well as the Iranian infrastructure? I believe the second scenario is the more likely.
The Iranian Plan for Confrontation:
If we assume that the American plan against Iran is based on air raids and missile bombings, remotely directed towards the targets, which could be sustained for two weeks or so … then the Iranian plan would rely on Enhancing their air defense to be able to shoot down the greatest number possible of attacking aircraft and missiles Direct a counter attack at Israel.
As far as we know, Iran does not possess a sufficiently strong air defense to be able to confront such air raids and missile strikes. On the other hand, we know that Iran possesses ground missiles, capable of reaching Israel. However, these missiles do not carry nuclear warheads. Each missile can at most, carry one ton of traditional explosives, which represents a limited destructive force that cannot deter Israel.
This is what puzzles political and military analysts, when they hear the thunderous statements issued by the Iranian political leaders and military senior officers, threatening both The USA and Israel with dire consequences, if they contemplate attacking Iran.
· Did The Iranians succeed to produce effective air defense weapons, capable of shooting down aircraft and missiles?
Shall The Iranians carry out martyrdom operations against sea and ground targets?
· Shall they set the oil fields on fire?
·To what extent shall The Arab people and The Islamic Nations respond to the calls, issued by Tehran to strike at US and Israeli interests, and to topple Arab and Moslem regimes friendly to The US?
Answers to these questions remain a matter of great speculation.
This Article was First Published in February 25.2006.