Iran: war by October?

Paul Rogers, writing in says:

The US political leadership, especially in the form of the office of the vice-president, may consider that a concerted US military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities is likely to be highly effective in the short term (in a similar way to the termination of the Saddam Hussein regime, with George W Bush’s “mission accomplished” speech following three weeks later).

Iran certainly does have a wide variety of opportunities to retaliate – in Iraq, the Gulf and Afghanistan for a start – but these would take weeks and months, rather than days, to develop. It follows that the most likely period for US military action would be in late October, just before the mid-term elections. The scenario would be of US attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities, declarations of success, plenty of TV footage of destroyed nuclear plant, and a “mission accomplished” speech -all in the space of a week or so, culminating in the elections. It is, in (Republican) political terms, a seductive prospect.

The prospect of war with Iran happening at the moment when it is least expected cannot be discounted. Yet if any rational calculation can be made about the likely trigger-point for a major conflict between the United States and Iran, late October 2006 is the prime candidate. It also follows that if such a conflict can be avoided throughout 2006 and the early part of 2007, there is more chance of sanity prevailing and more positive relations developing between Washington and Tehran. For the present, however, that is the less probable outcome.

The decision to put Karl Rove in charge of the Republicans’ mid-term election campaign seems to me to make war more rather than less likely. That guy would do anything to gain a short-term electoral advantage.