Pakistan will not take sides in US – Iran row

IRAN

By Gen (R) Mirza Aslam Beg

Qasem
Soleimani was the top military leader of Iran, playing active role in the
Middle East region, as well as Afghanistan. In fact, he was described as the
“single most powerful operative in the Middle East today.” According to
American intelligence, Soleimani was planning large scale assaults on American
troops and interests in the region. Thus he has to be eliminated.

The weapon
that was used to assassinate Soleimani was drone Q9 Reaper, in service since
2007, having significant capabilities. It was launched from Centcom forward
base at Qatar, controlled by American Cyber Command, 12000xmiles away in Nevada
State, killing Soleimani and his Deputy following behind him. In fact, “Mossad
targeted Soleimani, Trump pulled the trigger.” Iran may also have an equally
capable drone like Q9 Reaper, because a few years back Iran brought down this
drone violating their air space and developed the prototype, through reverse
engineering, adding a meaningful capability to the wide range of missiles,
rockets and drones Iran has developed, during the last three decades and has
deployed them at different launching sites, controlled by three Cyber/A1
Command Centres.

Lo and
behold, Iran scraps the Nuclear Deal thus raising the threshold of deterrence
at very appropriate time. Iran’s high-tech weapon capability coupled with Cyber
and A1 technologies has enabled Iran to fight a limited war, as the Iranian
Supreme Leader Ayatollah warned that “a harsh retaliation is waiting for the
United States,” whereas the former US Vice President called Trump’s operation
reckless, “having tossed the stick of dynamite into the tinder box openly
killing a senior government official in peace time, that is unprecedented
terrorism.”

A better
alternative for Iran to avenge Soleimani’s killing would be, to combine
cyber-drone missile technology with ground support, presently available in
various countries, such as Iraq, Syria, Yemen and Lebanon. Afghanistan is
another country where Iran enjoys goodwill and respect. Iranian operations
would be targeting American personalities and troops at already identified 35
targets, including the 5th Fleet forward base in Bahrain and the Centcom
forward base in Qatar.

For Iran it
would be a total war fought mainly at the Cyber War technological level,
supported by ground troops having enough experience of fighting conventional
war. This strategy would enable Iran to fight a war, limited in time and space.
The recent decision of the Iranian government to raise the Red Flag over the
central mosque in Qum, indicates that, Rahbar Ali Khamenei has raised the
“threshold level of punishment to America for the grave mistake they have
committed,” that would engulf the entire Middle Eastern region seriously
impacting the neighbouring countries.

The war
will not be targeting only American troops and interests, but the main target
would be Israel the source of all trouble in the region. Iran has suffered for
the past four decades at the hands of America and Israel and now is the time
for Iran, to break the shackle. The technological superiority of America and
Israel could be challenged by massive use of missiles, drones, rockets and
suicide bombers from Iran, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Gaza.

As the war
extends, the jehadis from neighbouring countries would start pouring in to add
new dimension to the war. It would be a bitter and bloody war, causing economic
disaster to oil and gas producing countries of the region and the rest of the
dependents stand to suffer equally particularly China getting oil supplies
mainly through the 2x kilometer wide shipping lane of the Strait of Hurmuz,
which can be closed not by the Iranians, but by the Americans themselves,
because their supply-line from North-West Europe remains secure.

Russia and
China would not get involved in war. They would urge restraint and caution and
stand to gain either way as America suffers another shameful defeat after
Afghanistan.

Countries
like Turkey, Malaysia and Indonesia will support Iran. Pakistan would follow a
policy of restraint and caution as it did during the Iran-Iraq war of the
eighties. But Pakistan would face serious ethnic turmoil that would shake it to
the roots. As a matter of fact, the entire Gulf region would experience major
geo-political shifts and changes causing great instability.

There is no
possibility of a world war, because the world at large has learned to watch the
destruction and decimation of Muslim countries during the last four decades and
would do the same now, during the impending Middle East War. The world
organizations like UNO and their financial institutions would maintain their
discreet neutrality, while the struggling people of Palestine and Kashmir may
win their freedom because Israel would be facing existential threat and India
would be embroiled with several freedom movements within and serious political
turmoil caused by Modi’s policy of Hindutva eating away at the very roots of
Secular India.

India is a
strategic defence partner of America and under obligation to support USA in
their war against Iran. It would be interesting to watch what course India
adopts to extricate itself from a very embarrassing situation. Their decision
would impinge upon Pakistan’s security. Iranians are quite aware of the threat
to their nuclear assets and facilities, which they have protected deep into
tunnels dug into the mountains, yet Americans have the capability to cause
damage using the F-35 fighter aircrafts with new weapons, as Trump has
threatened, which will be more deadly than the GBU 43/N-MOAB- the Massive
Ordinance Air Blast.

Iranians
have no reliable defence against the F35 which may prove very damaging for
them. Someone has rightly commented: “Middle East would find itself in a state
of enhanced flux, uncertain geopolitical dispensation and marred with distrust
among the states. The US had long considered Iran as a ‘counterweight’ to Arabs
and Israel. All previous US Presidents wanted to keep Iran as a credible and
viable threat for the Arabs, which was the ‘balancing policy’ and that appears
to be changing.”

The writer,
a retired 4-star General, is former COAS, Pakistan Army.

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