war with iran? a geopolitical backgrounder

Click here to load reader

Post on 11-Jan-2016

31 views

Category:

Documents

1 download

Embed Size (px)

DESCRIPTION

WAR WITH IRAN? A Geopolitical Backgrounder. Dr. Zoltán Grossman Member of the Faculty (Geography & Native American Studies) The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washington http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz. Ethnicity: Iran has Persian majority, Iraq has Arab majority Religion: - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

TRANSCRIPT

  • WAR WITH IRAN?A Geopolitical Backgrounder

    Dr. Zoltn GrossmanMember of the Faculty (Geography & Native American Studies)The Evergreen State College, Olympia, Washingtonhttp://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz

  • Iran and IraqEthnicity:Iran has Persian majority,Iraq has Arab majority

    Religion:Iran and Iraq both haveShia Muslim majorities(past Iraqi rulers were Sunni)

    Interwined histories: Shiism, oil, monarchies, wars, British/U.S. control,Axis of Evil

    Water + Oil + Size = Industry

    I'm not sure I can tell you the difference in Iraq and Iran.--Alan Jackson

  • Iran more geopolitically pivotalIran may well prove as large a threat to U.S. interests in the Gulf as Iraq has.-- Project for the New American Century

  • Persian/Iranian EmpiresCrossroads of empires, conquerers, religions, ethnicities

    Islamic control in 637-651

    Rule by succession of Shah (king) dynasties

  • Political map

  • Shia and Sunni regionsShias in dark green. The holiest Shi'ite cities of Karbala and Najafare within Iraq; Iraqi Ayatollah Sistani was born in Iran.

  • Ethnic mapXxxxxxx

    Xxxxxxx

    Xxxxxxx

    xxxxxx

    BaluchisArabsAzerisKurdsPersiansPersiansLurisLurisBakhtiarisTurkmenQashqaiPersians

  • Persian (Farsi-speaking) corePersians51%

    Azeris(Turkic)24%

    Kurds7%

    Arabs3%

  • Ethnic minorities straddle boundariesBaluchisArabsAzerisKurds

  • Ethnic groups & energy resourcesXxxxxxx

    Xxxxxxx

    Xxxxxxx

    xxxxxx

  • Western Iran

  • Persia never a colony?

  • Anglo-Persian War, 1856-57

    Ahvaz (Khuzestan)fell toBritish, 1857

    Arabs lived inSW regionsince 642.

  • Anglo-Russian Great Game spheres of influence, 1907

    Russian EmpireBritishIndiaOttomanEmpireKuwaitAfgh.

  • British take oil in Arab region, 1908British had engineered protectorate statusfor Arabistan region in SW Persia, 1897

    Oil discovered by British in Arabistan, 1908

    Start of Anglo-Persian Oil--the future British Petroleum (BP)

    British and Russians occupyPersia during World War I

  • Oil economy10% of world reserves(2nd to Saudi Arabia)

    Most oil in SW, in Arabminority region of Khuzestan

  • Reza Shah, 1921Reza Shah emphasizes pre-Islamicimperial glories, Persian core

    Nationalist but also modernizer, Pahlavi dynasty offends clerics

    Retakes control of Arabistan, renames Khuzestan, 1925

    Renames Persia as Iran, 1935

  • World War IIReza Shah flirts with Nazis

    British and Soviets invade, force him into exile, 1941

    Install son Mohammad Reza Pahlevi as Shah

    British reoccupy Khuzestan oil fields;Soviets occupy Azeri NW Iran

  • After World War II

    Mahabad Republic in Azeri/Kurdish region, 1945-46

    Truman threatened nuclear weapons to forcewithdrawal of Soviet troops from NW Iran, 1946

    Anglo-Iranian hasstranglehold on Khuzestan oil fields

  • Mossadegh elected, 1951Premier MohammedMossadegh, Parliament nationalizes British oil holdings, 1952

    U.S. portrays nationalist leaderas a Communist

  • CIA coup, 1953CIA agent Kermit Rooseveltdirects military coup, installs Shahas supreme leader in Operation Ajax

    Mossadegh ouster was turning point

    U.S. joins British in control of oil

  • Shah Reza PahlaviWest sees as bulwark vs. Communism,Arab nationalism, (later)Islamist fundamentalism

    Emphasized glorious past, huge palaces, kleptocracy

    Nuclear bombers stationed after Iraqis ousted monarchy, 1958

    U.S. sold nuclear technologyto Shah, who wanted a Bomb

  • Shah under fire, 1970sPersian Gulf passes from British to U.S. domination

    Iran-Iraq peace treaty--U.S. sells out Kurdish rebels

    SAVAK secret police repression

    Religious turn againsthim for secularism, tiesto Israel, lavish coronation

    Increasing street protests,rebel attacks

  • Revolution begins, 1978Strikes by leftist Arab oil workers in Khuzestan

    Tehran protesters massacred

    Call for return of Ayatollah Khomeini fromexile in France (had also been in Iraq)

  • Shah overthrown, 1979Shah driven into exile, seeks medical treatment in U.S., Panama

    Ayatollah Khomeini returns as aunifying figurefor revolution

  • Revolutionary pluralismBani Sadrs negative equilibrium vs. superpowers

    Leftists, ethnic minorities had voice

    Revolution against Western cultural imperialism;Secular women wear veil as protest vs. U.S.

  • Hostage crisis, 1979-81Students take embassy spy den, demand Shahs return

    Carters helicopter/bombing raid fails to free hostages;they are released the moment Reagan is inaugurated

    Turning point: Crisis strengthened Iran & U.S. hardliners

  • Islamic RepublicKhomeini crushes pluralism, consolidates control, using U.S & Iraqi threats as pretext

    Executes leftists, Kurds, Azeris, andPeoples Mujahedin of Iran (PMOI)

    Womens rights restricted by religious militia

    Difficult for 1980s U.S. peace movement: no good guys,no Christian or leftist leadership

  • Carter DoctrineCarter Doctrine formalizes U.S. access to oil fields;threatens nuclear attack if Soviets invade Iran

    Start of energy war, Central Command, draft registration,psychological conditioning of Americans for Mideast war

  • American vital interests in the Central Region are long-standing. With over 65% of the worlds oil reserves located in the Gulf states of the region from which the United States imports nearly 20% of its needs; Western Europe 43%; and Japan, 68%--the international community must have free and unfettered access to the regions resources. --General J. H. Binford Peay III, Central Command (1997)Cited in Blood and Oil by Michael Klare (Metropolitan Books, 2004)

    U.S. Central Command

  • Iraq seized Khuzestan oil fields after Iranian Revolution, backedsecessionist Arab rebels (who also occupied London embassy)

    Fought to bloody stalemate:Use of trenches, human wavetactics, chemical weapons.

    Iraqi Shias fought for Iraq;Iranian Arabs fought for Iran

    Iran-Iraq War, 1980-88IraniansIraqis

  • U.S. supported Iraq withintelligence, naval escorts

    Reagan also later supplied Hawk missiles to Iran inIran-Contra Scandal(to illegally raise funds to fight Sandinista Nicaragua)

    Kissinger: bleed both sides

    Iran-Iraq War, 1980-88

  • U.S. naval war, 1987-88U.S. Navy escorts reflagged Iraqi (Kuwaiti) oil tankersunder Iranian missile threat

    U.S. battles with Iranian gunboats;attacks oil platforms

    Accidentally shot down Iranian civilian jetliner

    Fear of Strait of Hormuz closure;island disputes with Gulf states

  • Rafsanjani presidency, 1989-97Neutral in Gulf War, 1991; feared both U.S. & Saddam

    U.S. lets Saddam slaughter Iraqi Shia, falsely assuming they would back Iran

    Neutral in war between Christian Armenia,Shiite Azerbaijan (ethnic over religious ideology)

    Rafsanjani hardline at home, but notconfrontational to West

    Accelerated nuclear energy program

  • Khatami presidency, 1997-2005Youth supported moderate President Mohammad Khatami;but faced police crackdown

    Some secular youth identify Islam with hardline regime

    Yet even anti-regime youth stand by regime on nuclear issues, standing up to West

  • PipelinePolitics

    In a new Great Game, Caspian Basin oil & gas routes contested by:

    Turkey (U.S.)

    Afghanistan /Pakistan (U.S.)

    Russia

    Iran(most direct)

  • Bases for wars, or wars for bases? Gulf War, 1991

    2. Yugoslav Wars, 1995-99

    3. Afghan War, 2001

    4. Iraq War, 2003Their function may be morepolitical than military. Theysend a message to everyone. --Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz, NYT 2002

  • Iraq War strategy:Encircling Iran?

    The whole reason for the waris to get American troops into theregion to put pressure on othergovernments. This is going to be the main American military basein the region

    George Friedman/Strategic ForecastingTallil air base, Iraq

  • U.S. & Iranian strategies in IraqMilitary strategy: U.S. invaded Iraq, lost 1000s of soldiers,stuck in unpopular quagmire, saw its influence (and its favored exile candidates) rejected by Iraqis.

    Political strategy: Iran watched its 2nd-greatest enemy eliminate its 1st enemy, advised its Iraqi allies to play along so their candidates could run in elections, then saw the Shi'ite parties come to power--all without firing a shot.

    Iraqi Shiites not wanting to emulate Iranstheocratic rule, turn youth against religion

  • Ahmadinejad victory, 2005Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was populist mayor of Tehran

    Built alliance of poor with religious conservatives

    Bush placing Iran in Axis of Evilstrengthened conservatives in Iran

  • Search for EnemiesEx-CIA official John Stockwell analysis:U.S. government creates Third World enemiesto distract attention from domestic problems The regimes of most demonized leaders have stayed in power longer than any others. They can blame U.S.for internal economic problems & dissent.

    Castro (Cuba)Ho (N. Vietnam)Ayatollahs (Iran)Qaddafi (Libya)Noriega (Panama)Saddam (Iraq)Kims (N. Korea)

    2000s: Chvez orAhmadinejad?

  • Nuclear programIsrael has had nuclear weapons since 1970s;Pakistan since 1998

    All Iranian presidents say nuclear technology only for energy

    Ayatollah Ali Khameini issued fatwa vs. nuclear weapons, 2005

    U.S., Israel, EU do not believe Iran;IAEA critical of Iranian program

  • Uranium EnrichmentAug. 2005: Iran rejects EU proposal to provide enriched uranium fuel for reactors

    March 2006: IAEA has not seen indications of diversion of nuclear material to nuclear weapons. April 2006: Iran successfully enriches uranium to 3.5% (energy-grade)

    (3.5% for energy; 90%+ for weapons-grade)Nov. 2004: Iran voluntarily suspends enrichment

  • Possible attack on nuclear programBush could bomb underground Iranian nuclear facilities

    Or Israel may strike, like it bombed Iraq nuclear plant, 1981

  • Ideological preparation Threat of Iranian nuke deeply embedded in Hollywood

    Justifying use of U.S. nukes to counter Iranian nuke?

    Seymour Hersh exposing White House discussionof use of nuclear bunker busters vs. Iran

  • Staging grounds for invasion?Iraqi Shia leaders would not allow military assault on Iran.

    But U.S. can launch strikes from aircraft carriers,or Kuwait, Afghanistan, Turkey, Azerbaijan.

    Ex-weapons inspector Scott Ritter: U.S. building up capabilities in Azerbaijan (Iran's NW border),sponsoring PMOI rebel bombings.

    Pentagon does not think strikesalone will destroy Irans facilities, opposes nuclear option

  • Difficulties in invading IranInvading Iran would likely make the bloody quagmire in Iraq look like a picnic. Iran has nearly four times the territory and three times the population of Iraq. Also, Iran's terrain is much more mountainous than Iraq's and even more ideal for guerrilla warfare. --Ivan Eland

  • xxxxxxExploitingethnictensions

    Azeri protests,May 2006

    Arab protests,April, Nov. 2005

    Kurdish rebelattacks, 2006-07

    Baluchi Sunni rebelattacks, 2006-07

  • Stimulating ethnic revolt?U.S. Marine intelligence teams hooking up with ethnic rebel groups in Iran (Financial Times 2/26/06)

    American Enterprise Institute hosts conference, 2005

    Timing of Western interest in ethnic grievances coincides with larger desire to pressure & isolate Iran.

    U.S. & U.K. have a long history of championing the rights of an ethnic minority against an enemy, then abandoning the minority when it is no longer useful.

  • Stimulating ethnic revolt?U.S. combat units are "on the ground" in Iran, marking targets for any future air attack, "working with minority groups in Iran, including the Azeris, in the north, the Baluchis, in the southeast, and the Kurds, in the northeast. The troops are studying the terrain, and giving away walking-around money to ethnic tribes, and recruiting scouts from local tribes and shepherds,' the consultant said. One goal is to get eyes on the ground' ... The broader aim, the consultant said, is to encourage ethnic tensions' and undermine the regime."[W]e have been deeply involved with Azeris and Baluchis and Iranian Kurds in terror activities inside the country .--Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker (1/17/05)

  • Stimulating ethnic revolt?Bush has signed Finding allocating $400 million for CIA and Special Ops destabilization of Iran, including Nuclear interlligence and currency destabilization Kidnapping Revolutionary Guards for interrogation in Iraq Killing high value targets Aid to Ahwazi separatists, Mujahedin e-Khalq (MEK), Jundallah (Baluchi Sunni fundamantalists based in Pakistan), Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) in Iraq--Seymour Hersh, The New Yorker (7/7/08)

  • Stimulating ethnic revolt? CIA officials are understood to be helping opposition militias among the numerous ethnic minority groups clustered in Iran's border regions.The operations are controversial because they involve dealing with movements that resort to terrorist methods in pursuit of their grievances against the Iranian regime. In the past year there has been a wave of unrest in ethnic minority border areas of Iran, with bombing and assassination campaigns against soldiers and government officials.Such incidents have been carried out by the Kurds in the west, the Azeris in the north-west, the Ahwazi Arabs in the south-west, and the Baluchis in the south-east. .Funding for their separatist causes comes directly from the CIA's classified budget but is now no great secret, according to one former high-ranking CIA official in Washington. --Sunday Telegraph (London, 2/25/07)

  • Risks of stimulating ethnic revoltsAzeri revolt could draw in Azerbaijan, Turkey

    Kurdish revolt could inspire separatists in Iraq & Turkey.

    But an Arab revolt could put Iransmain oil province of Khuzestan under Western control.

    The prospects of a limited intervention may loom larger, simply because Bush thinks it can be a MissionAccomplished with less than an all-out conquest of Iran.

  • Ralph Peters

  • Khuzestani (Ahwazi) grievancesDevastated in Iran-Iraq War; Arab cities still shattered

    Poverty, unemployment-- few benefits from local oil

    Persianization in place names; allegedly in schools

    Coerced removals of farmers for development project along strategic border(Arvand Free Zone)

    British-Ahwazi Friendship Societyrally in London

  • Khuzestani (Ahwazi) secession?A few groups favor secession of Al Ahwaz,(including Khuzestan & eastern Gulf coast)

    Most Arab exile groups instead favor ethnic autonomy of the Arab province within a new federal state

  • Khuzestan:Irans Achilles Heel

    SW province has oil fields, a shared Arab Shia identity with Iraq, and flat plains bordering Iraq(cities of Ahvaz, Abadan, Khorramshahr, etc.)

    The first step taken by an invading force would be to occupy Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province, securing the sensitive Straits of Hormuz and cutting off the Iranian military's oil supply, forcingit to depend on its limited stocks.-- Beirut Daily Star

  • The Khuzestan GambitKhuzestan is the one large piece of flat Iranian terrain to the west of the Zagros Mountains. American heavy forces could swiftly occupy Khuzestan, and in doing so seize control of most of Iran's oil resources, and non-trivial portions of the country's water supply and electrical generating capacity. --GlobalSecurity.orgAre the firstmoves alreadybeing made?Repeat of pastBritish colonialand Saddamstrategies.

  • Basra IncidentIn Sept. 2005, British troops clashed with Iraqi police and Shi'ite militia in Basra (Iraq), near the border with Khuzestan. The police had arrested two British undercover commandos who possessed suspicious bomb-making materials.

  • Basra IncidentBritish troops launched an armored raid on the jail to free their agents (fighting Iraqi police they had earlier trained).

    Iraqis thought it strange that British agents would be caught with insurgent-style bombs in Iraq.

  • Khuzestan BombingsYet at the same time, bombs began going off across the Iranian border in Khuzestan.

    A series of June 2005 car bombings in Ahvaz (75 miles from Basra) killed 6 people.

    Attacks in Sept.-Oct. 2005 hurt dozens, halted oil transfers.

  • Khuzestan BombingsXxxxxxx

    Xxxxxxx

    Xxxxxxx

    xxxxxx

    In August 2005, Iran arrested a group of Arab separatists and accused them of links to Britishintelligence in Basra, Iraq,tying the bombings to thecommando incident. Four Arabsexecuted in Feb. 2007

  • Anglo-Iranian tensionIranian officials point to Western collusion in the sudden spike this year in ethnic unrest in the strategic, oil-producing province of Khuzestan and describe it as proof of a shadowy war that is receiving far less coverage in the international press than events in Iraq. Since the beginning of 2005, riots and a bombing campaign timed to coincide with the June presidential elections rocked Khuzestan's major cities.-- Daily Star of Beirut (10/17/05)

  • Anglo-Iranian tension

    Tony Blair and his Foreign SecretaryJack Straw denied the charges, and accuse Iran of sending agents to stir up trouble in Basra and other Iraqicities, by supporting Shi'ite militias attacking Coalition troops.

    Exiles accuse Irans Revolutionary Guards of training to quell Arab protests, and using Lebanese Hezbollah (from local training camps) against protesters.(U.S. accuses Hezbollah of trainingIraqi Shias in Khuzestan, May 2008).

  • Anglo-Iranian tension

    In March 2005, Straw had met with London-based Iranian Arab exiles(Khuzestan Front leader visited White House in April 2005.)

    U.K. sailors captured in Khuzestanwaters, released, March 2007.

    Ahwazi separatists assassinateRevolutionary Guard colonel, 2008

  • Arab protests in KhuzestanIn April 2005, a letter allegedly from the Iranian Vice-President was read on Al-Ahwaz television (broadcast from U.S. via satellite) supposedly advocating forced Arab removal from Khuzestan & importation of Persian settlers.

    Though Tehran denounced the letter as a forgery, Arab youths took the streets of Ahvaz and clashed with police, with 5 killed, 400 arrested. November Eid protests left 2 Arabs dead & 200 arrested.

  • First front in a War on Iran?1. Western propaganda that Iran plans ethnic cleansingof Arabs (like in Kosovo or Darfur), to gain U.S. public support for assistance to rebels or military action.

  • First front in a War on Iran?2. U.S. & British forces protect an Arab uprising from, crackdown, and turn Khuzestan into a de facto autonomous protectorate of Arabistan or Ahwaz (Kosovo precedent)

    3. West takes control of Irans oil-dependent economy, by holding Khuzestan as an economic hostage, and dictates terms to Tehran government.

    4. Pentagon fantasizes that ruling clerics would be undermined and Iranian reformers would overthrow them.

  • New tensionsSkirmishes between U.S. Navy and Iranian speedboats in PersianGulf, Jan. 2008

    Ahwazi exiles denounce Iranian nuclear power plant construction at Darkhovin,Feb. 2008

  • Israeli strike?

    Israel bombs Syrian plant as warning, Sept. 2007 Air war games over Mediterranean and Iraq,with U.S. approval, Summer 2008

    Bush gives amber light for Israeli strikeLondon Times / Jerusalem Post (7/13/08)

    Kadima split; Olmert weakMofaz vs. Livni conflict over Iran strike

    Iran not reprocessing uranium for weapons;air strikes would turn Middle East into aball of fire (Mohammad El Baradei, IAEA)

  • U.S. Road to WarNational Intelligence Estimate (NIE) asserts Iran ended A-bomb program in 2003; but Bush and Cheney dispute(knowledge is enough), Dec. 2007

    Admiral Fallon resigns, Sec. Gates criticisms dismissed

    HR 362 / SR 580 (Dodd/Shelby) calls for economic sanctions on Iran, divestment of oil equipment companies(would lead to oil deindustrization)

    Possible naval blockade of Strait of Hormuz ??? Sanctions are popular and war unpopular,but sanctions can lead to an Act of War

  • What can backfireDestroying any chance of reform in Iran, and rallying even moderate Iranians around their government.

    Arab secession sets into motion the Balkanization of Iran, which would inevitably tear apart neighboring countries.Military & Revolutionary Guards could counterattack, block oil lanes, or melt into an Iraq-style insurgency.

    Self-fulfilling prophecy: Iran War could stimulate more reactive terrorism and nuclear weapons programs.

  • Dr. Zoltn GrossmanMember of the Faculty(Geography & Native American Studies)The Evergreen State CollegeLab 1, 2700 Evergreen Pkwy. NWOlympia, WA 98505 USA

    Tel.: (360) 867-6153E-mail: [email protected]: http://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz

    This presentation available athttp://academic.evergreen.edu/g/grossmaz/IranWar.pptArticle in Z magazine (January 2006) at http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=67&ItemID=9073

    The Ahwazi Arabs in Khuzestan have many legitimate grievances. They have long resented Tehran for failing to alleviate chronic poverty and unemployment in the oil-rich province and for neglecting postwar reconstruction of bombed-out cities. They have alleged a Persianization program in the schools, and the coerced removal of some farmers to make way for a new free-trade industrial zone along the high-security border with Iraq.Many of Khuzestans Arabs may seek to regain their autonomy from Tehran. But it is not clear that they wish to secede from Iran or to join Iraqeven if it is now ruled largely by fellow Arab Shiites. But some of the more militant groups are secessionist, fighting for an independent state of Al Ahwaz, to encompass Khuzestan and other Arab regions along the eastern Gulf coast.Watch the Western media for claims that Iran plans ethnic cleansing, on the scale of Kosovo or Darfur, in propaganda designed to manipulate human rights rhetoric. Fox News and the neocons are already warning of an emerging Shiite crescent of Iran, southern Iraq, Alawite-ruled Syria, and Lebanese Hezbollah , and are urging Bush to pull back support for Iraqi Shiia leaders and take a harder line on Iran.

    But supporting Khuzestans Arabs would be useful for gaining wider public support for a war. Bush could invoke the precedent of NATO halting Serbian ethnic cleansing of Muslims in Kosovo. Even if exaggerated claims and conspiracy theories can be easily challenged, their main purpose is to win public support in the West for a new war against Iran, just as false WMD claims were used to win congressional support for an Iraq invasion. Some Democrats may be gullible enough to accept such claims, including those who criticized Bush for confronting Iraq rather than Iran on WMD (such as John Kerry and Hillary Clinton, who have said that tougher measures may be needed against Iran). In a Khuzestan Gambit, U.S. and British forces aiding an Arab uprising would turn Khuzestan into a de facto autonomous protectorate of Arabistan or Al Ahwaz in order to take control of Irans oil-dependent economy, much like NATO controls a protectorate in Kosovo, which after 8 years is still not formally independent.By holding the region as an economic hostage, they could then dictate their terms to Tehran. Pentagon strategists fanciful thinking may be that without access to the countrys oil wealth, the ruling clerics would be undermined and Iranian reformers would lead a new revolution.

    In a Khuzestan Gambit, U.S. and British forces aiding an Arab uprising would turn Khuzestan into a de facto autonomous protectorate of Arabistan or Al Ahwaz in order to take control of Irans oil-dependent economy, much like NATO controls a protectorate in Kosovo, which after 8 years is still not formally independent.By holding the region as an economic hostage, they could then dictate their terms to Tehran. Pentagon strategists fanciful thinking may be that without access to the countrys oil wealth, the ruling clerics would be undermined and Iranian reformers would lead a new revolution.

    In a Khuzestan Gambit, U.S. and British forces aiding an Arab uprising would turn Khuzestan into a de facto autonomous protectorate of Arabistan or Al Ahwaz in order to take control of Irans oil-dependent economy, much like NATO controls a protectorate in Kosovo, which after 8 years is still not formally independent.By holding the region as an economic hostage, they could then dictate their terms to Tehran. Pentagon strategists fanciful thinking may be that without access to the countrys oil wealth, the ruling clerics would be undermined and Iranian reformers would lead a new revolution.

    In a Khuzestan Gambit, U.S. and British forces aiding an Arab uprising would turn Khuzestan into a de facto autonomous protectorate of Arabistan or Al Ahwaz in order to take control of Irans oil-dependent economy, much like NATO controls a protectorate in Kosovo, which after 8 years is still not formally independent.By holding the region as an economic hostage, they could then dictate their terms to Tehran. Pentagon strategists fanciful thinking may be that without access to the countrys oil wealth, the ruling clerics would be undermined and Iranian reformers would lead a new revolution.