On the threat of a war with Iran

There’s been significant media attention in the last few months on escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf between the U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and its allies and Iran.

Not long ago, the Saudis claimed that an attack on a major oil refinery in their oil rich Eastern Province was the work of Iranian backed forces, even though Yemeni Houthi militants claimed responsibility (there is a brutal, ongoing war in Yemen between Houthi rebels and a Saudi backed former President). Israeli newspaper Haaretz claimed that President Trump had ample reasons to attack Iran given recent tensions but was backing off from doing so. Trump has spent the last 3 years implementing and reinforcing severe sanctions on Iran and ripped up a nuclear deal negotiated by Obama that international monitors repeatedly stated Iran was abiding by.

If a war breaks out between the U.S. and Iran, it will have a direct impact on Canada and its serious implications are worth outlining for readers. Iran will respond to a direct attack, however limited, with broad retaliatory measures. First, it will strike back at U.S. forces in the Gulf, U.S. bases around the Middle East, and at Saudi Arabia and its oil facilities and military installations, along with other Gulf Arab states. Second, it will move to effectively cripple oil production and exports from the Gulf. Analysts believe a war with Iran would result in oil prices rising to $150-300 a barrel. This would have a rapidly devastating impact on the global financial system and the world economy, imagine the impact of $3 a litre gas here at home, it would likely cause a deep recession internationally.

Israel would also be attacked, as Iran would see the outbreak of conflict with the U.S. as inevitably drawing in Israel at one point or another. U.S. forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the Greater Middle East would be direct targets and both Iraq and Afghanistan would be profoundly destabilized to crisis levels. The war in Syria would intensify and with Russian troops stationed there, major escalation and a regional war could result in casualties that would rope in major powers. Hezbollah, a powerful military group in Lebanon and close Iranian allies, could potentially attack Israel with a volley of missiles if they see their major patron and ally under direct attack. In short, the implications of the Middle East being torn apart by yet another major war, would have immediate, profound, and direct impacts on Canadian society.