Iran’s smart deterrent against US: “Use them or lose them!”

The issue reported by the Athenian and Macedonian News Agency (AMNA) is clear: The United States has noted that Iran’s missile facilities are on high alert throughout the country, but it is unclear whether this high level of readiness has defensive or offensive purposes, accordinf to a US official. The official, who spoke to Reuters on condition of anonymity, did not elaborate, nor did he specify whether the Iranian missiles were targeting a specific target.

by Zachariah V. Michas *

“They’re clearly on a high alert level. Are they better prepared for defensive or offensive purposes? We cannot determine this at the moment,” he said. “But we are watching it closely,” he added.

But the whole thing is reminiscent of something else, arising from the western “talk” of deterrence in the days of the Cold War. The Americans are probably, maybe surely, referring to the Iranian ballistic arsenal, which has missiles that, based on their range, can hit targets up to 2,000 kilometers away.

That is, they can target anywhere in the Middle East. If they can do so accurately is no certainty. That is, that they will not attempt to expunge Israel from the map, as they have often called for, and instead strike Jordanians or Palestinians, or more or less friendly forces, or at least those they would not want to appear to be seen as striking. This is no small problem.

But can the Iranians hit, for example, petroleum installations, with a barrage that will probably “saturate” any air defense. And not only. There are other targets that the Americans would not want to risk being destroyed.

This US is not mentioned in this comment because they are the ones who divulged the alert. It is reported that just yesterday President Trump spoke of a few dozen targets he threatened to order a strike against if the Iranians go overboard in the retaliatory blows they say they plan to avenge the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani. But what does this mean?

It means the situation is reminiscent of the famous “use it or lose it” doctrine of the Cold War! It was about nuclear arsenals and the aversion to the arguments involved in this “debate”, that if an arsenal is in danger of being neutralized in a sudden blow and the owner realizes it, then his predisposition is to use it before losing it!

So our conjecture about the readiness of the Iranians must be a clear signal to the US that, because they understand their military superiority and the ability to implement their threats, they are sitting “with a button in their hand”, having “locked” targets, so that if the American forces attempt to attack them, they will manage to launch most of them! And the Grim Reaper will sow what he will sow!

In short, it is a very clever IRANIAN tactic aimed at responding to Trump’s threat by discouraging US generals from seeking the green light to strike at its ballistic arsenal, or to raise any reasonable and persuasive objections to anyone asking them to do so!

* Zacharias V. Michas is Director of Studies at the Institute for Security and Defense Analysis (ISDA)