Austin Bay

The Iranian domestic front is a key battleground in any comprehensive plan to stymie the mullahs' nuclear quest, for Iranian dissidents are the mullahs' biggest problem. When Iranian dissidents began demonstrating in the wake of the fraudulent June 2009 elections, the Obama administration failed to support them. That was a huge mistake, for promoting democracy is a powerful diplomatic tool. Has this mistake been corrected? If President Barack Obama is serious about ending the nuclear threat posed by the Khomeinists, it must be.

Over the last five years, numerous plans for attacking Iranian nuclear facilities have surfaced in the press. One identified around two-dozen Iranian nuclear-related targets. Another recommended destroying IRGC facilities -- IRGC military thugs keep the mullahs in power. Other plans identified only six or seven truly critical nuclear facilities.

The claim is destroying these sites would seriously disrupt the bomb project. A "simultaneous strategic bombing strike" on the facilities is one U.S. attack option. In a short time frame, aircraft, cruise missiles and perhaps ballistic missiles with conventional warheads would deliver hundreds of precision weapons, hitting nuclear targets and air defense sites. Follow-up raids could continue for weeks. Special operations commandos would enter Iran, collecting intelligence, providing target data and possibly attacking very high-value targets.

A successful attack could disrupt the mullahs' nuclear quest for a decade, especially if key regime personnel and technicians die in the raids. However, the regime -- if it survives -- might counterattack in Iraq, strike an Arab Persian Gulf state, attack Israel or launch terrorist attacks in the U.S.

Note the key phrase "if it survives." A comprehensive military-political operation to end the nuclear threat must have as its ultimate goal ending the Khomeinist regime. That means encouraging Iranian dissidents and helping them prepare to take control of a new, democratic Iranian government.

Austin Bay

Austin Bay is the author of three novels. His third novel, The Wrong Side of Brightness, was published by Putnam/Jove in June 2003. He has also co-authored four non-fiction books, to include A Quick and Dirty Guide to War: Third Edition (with James Dunnigan, Morrow, 1996).
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