Michael Totten

A UK Assault on Iran?

The reason we should all be careful about predicting where the Middle East is heading is because so many of the historical hinge events that actually occur aren’t predicted by anybody. No one a year ago could have known that an Arab-wide revolution would break out in Tunisia or that Barack Obama would bomb Libya. There was no good reason in the world to see either of those two events coming.

How many people as recently as two days ago would have expected Britain, rather than Israel, to be gearing up to assist an American military strike against Iran’s nuclear weapons facilities? It’s not as unusual as what happened in Tunis or Tripoli, and no one is actually bombing Iran at the moment, but I still didn’t exactly expect to see this in the Guardian.

Britain’s armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran amid mounting concern about Tehran’s nuclear enrichment programme, the Guardian has learned.

The Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.

In anticipation of a potential attack, British military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air and sea campaign.

If Barack Obama ends up striking Iran while George W. Bush gave it a pass, lots of people, myself included, will have some mental adjustments to make.