As US Vice-President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi crown prince and de facto ruler Mohammad bin Salman, clamour for a war against Iran, they seem to have conveniently forgotten the destruction and mayhem wrought by the American invasion of Iraq 16 years ago.

These war drummers are underestimating the potential negative consequences of the war and overestimating the Iranian people’s dislike of their theocratic regime. They, like the advocates of the Iraqi invasion in 2002 and early 2003, are confusing Iranians’ dislike of the ayatollahs with their potential embrace of a foreign invader.

Key points:

  • Those pushing for regime change in Iran are overestimating the Iranian people’s dislike of their theocratic regime and are mistaking that dislike for a willingness to embrace a foreign invader.
  • Like the Bush Administration with Iraq, the Trump Administration appears to have given little or no strategic thought to the future of Iran beyond any possible removal of the clerical regime.
  • If attacked, Iran has the capability to retaliate against its neighbours, in a war that could easily spread across the region.
  • The security challenges that Iran continues to pose will be best addressed by policy that is formulated using reasoned, expert-based strategic analysis.
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