How to Go to War With Iran: Provoke an Attack

John Glaser, September 26, 2012

On Friday, Patrick Clawson, the director of research at the pro-Israel think-tank the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, suggested that the US should work covertly and through international means of force to provoke Iran to take the first shot against the US or Israel. Otherwise, he says, starting a war with Iran will be really hard to accomplish.

“Crisis initiation,” he calls it. It’s very hard to do. And therefore “it’s very hard for me to see how the United States President can get us to war with Iran.”

Clawson recites a number of past incidents in history that presidential administrations have been able to use to justify going to war: the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania, the Gulf of Tonkin, the explosion of the USS Maine, the attack on Fort Sumter…

Finally, he advises: “If the Iranians aren’t going to compromise, it would be best if somebody else started the war.”

I don’t think this reveals some evil conspiracy theory, but it does reveal how many hawks in Washington think about foreign policy. As Reza Sanati, a research fellow at the Middle East Studies Center, explained in the National Interest last week:

In the narrative of regime change, the American rationale is not difficult to understand. According to this scenario, Washington would keep pressure on the EU to cut off its oil exports from Iran, place extraterritorial sanctions on Iran’s banking infrastructure that impede international business and put massive pressure on Iran’s existing trade partners. Subsequent damage to the Islamic Republic’s revenues and thus the average Iranian’s quality of life would put intolerable strain upon the regime.

The Iranian government would either cave into U.S. demands, be overthrown by popular uprising or lash out militarily – a move that would legitimize American aggression against Iran. Thus, with this approach, Washington feels that it has Tehran boxed in. Even if Iran capitulates, the United States may not remove any of the sanctions; it could string out relief by claiming human-rights abuses or support for terrorism. If sanctions lead to street demonstrations, the United States may entertain what Vali Nasr has referred to as the Libya scenario: “economic pressure causing political unrest that invites intervention by foreign powers that feel safe enough to interfere in the affairs of a non-nuclear-armed state.” Moreover, as many U.S. hawks have suggested, it would be preferable for Iran’s government, under economic pressure, to lash out at the American behemoth in a rash, uncalculated way, therefore providing a casus belli that puts the United States in a sympathetic light.

The Obama administration does seem to have ruled out an attack on Iran (for a nuclear weapons program it doesn’t have) at least for now, partly because so many in official Washington oppose it. But long term, this is how policymakers think in the Imperial City.

(h/t Scott Horton)




48 Responses to “How to Go to War With Iran: Provoke an Attack”

  1. Dang, the War Party is gonna get us into another war one way or another, by hook or crook or both.

    And that is music to the ears of the war mongers.

    The War Party is dancing in the streets to their favorite song http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A4PmO9Pavqc

  2. "The Obama administration does seem to have ruled out an attack on Iran (for a nuclear weapons program it doesn’t have) at least for now, partly because so many in official Washington oppose it."

    Once again repeating this unsubstantiated nonsense… There is ZERO evidence that Obama does not want war with Iran other than the minimal fact that he hasn't done it YET.

    I'm going to repeat this fact every time Glaser insists on repeating this nonsense.

  3. Conscript him.

  4. All it would take is a U.S. ship to be sunk by a certain "ally" who wants war with Iran. Apparently the USS enterprise is on its final mission there right now and is going to be decommissioned in December this year. A sinking of an Aircraft carrier would definitely be cause to go to war but Iran however Iran is trying to do everything to avoid justification. Hopefully in this scenario Obama should see the potential of the lurking "friendly" allie's dolphin class subs as a threat of false flag operations…

  5. Perhaps the USN should rename it USS Liberty as it would make life easier for Israel.

  6. Crisis initiation,friendly fires,preemptive strikes,WOMD,axis of evils,provocation of war,we don't do body count,known unknown,known unknowns are unknowns,if it feels ok do it,if you fail blame someone else.
    Is this all present America has to offer to civilization?
    No wonder even Ahmadinejad initiate by his speech new world order.

  7. I've said it numerous times – with Romney, USA will 'negotiate' their way into war, much like Bush did with Iraq – sending 100 thousand troops to kuwait and then making unmeetable demands.

    With Obama, he will back his way into Iran, hand wringing and blustering and giving out plenty of confused messages. In the meantime, some small skirmish by land or water (or perhaps israeli bombing nuke facilities) will culimate to some sort of gulf of tonkin incident. All during this time, the media will be all but demanding military action being taken on Iran.

    EITHER WAY ITS WAR WITH THESE BOZO ADMINISTRATIONS

  8. why are americans putting up to this war monger, why isn't he in jail for preaching hate crimes, why are we so stupid, to listen to this man. How is it that the soldier of the USA is used as cannon folder for Israel, america you have now become a HATE NATION, with ISRAEL, with NATO following you

  9. "I don’t think this reveals some evil conspiracy theory" so the Gulf of Tonkin coverup, the Pearl Harbour coverup and so on and so on, don't constitute an evil conspiracy? Deliberately provoking attacks and fabricating false narratives around them doesn't constitute an evil conspiracy? Are you serious? This is why I can't take Antiwar or Stop the War seriously and why they are completely ineffective organisations. They don't have the first clue as to how their enemy operates. Interesting that the only incident conspicuously omitted from his list was 911.

  10. ” suggested that the US should work covertly and through international means of force to provoke Iran to take the first shot against the US or Israel. Otherwise, he says, starting a war with Iran will be really hard to accomplish.”

    Why not? The same trick worked for Washington in WWII.

  11. This is the Truth face of satanic Zionism. Whole world should hear these satanists and their "inbuild deception and lies."…UN should disolve this "satanic place called Israel" before its to late1946 was Mankinds bigest most embarising and tragig mistake.
    Who on Earth could imagine that nobel idea after horrors of WW2 will go so horribly, horribly wrong!!!
    Soviet Union was broken apart, why should not Israel? i am positive, that people not agreeing with me now will remember in short future….This truly Evil place have not produced anything good "for mankind" – only Bigger Evil….peter czech

  12. Could any lawyer tell us if this crazy guy –Patrick Clawson could be prosecuted for intimidation?

  13. [...] Controls the World‘NO’! Thousands flood Madrid in second day of anti-cuts demos (PHOTOS) — RTHow to Go to War With Iran: Provoke an Attack « Antiwar.com BlogActivist Post: A Culture of DelusionActivist Post: Law Enforcement snooping on your Wi-Fi is now [...]

  14. I guess these clowns think they're the only ones taking names, eh?

  15. The troops are IN the UAE. They have been since early in the year. Not advertised though.

  16. Are the media really so ignorant, or are they just as frightened as the American public cowering behind their living room curtains? The "Administration" is no more than the PR arm of the real rulers of the US, the military their "legitimate" enforcers, the CIA the covert enforcers of their nefarious schemes. I'd be frightened too if I were trapped in the American nightmare, because there's no way out. Martial law is a phone call away, soldiers are now the police, assassination without arrest or charge is law. Be frightened. You could be next.

  17. Antiwar censors comments about the role of judaism based upon the talmud in all of this. Big surprise.

  18. It's exactly that fear that needs to be resisted. We stil live in an age in the west where these things can be said and its the job of antiwar and Stop the War to speak out before its too late. Fortunately, the state can't yet start rounding people up for these expressions of "truth". Its too early and if they did there would be outrage, which is why its important to speak up now. The state is biding its time before the the full implementation of scientific control grid, they need the right crisis. When that happens it will be too late. I also think journalists like this are truly ignorant. I know many people involved with these "left" organisations and they all suffer from the same thing conspiraphobia. They all subscribe to incompetence theory and the machinations of blind capital.

  19. [...] How to Go to War With Iran: Provoke an Attack Sep 28 911 Cover-up, Pentagon By John Glaser September 26, 2012 Antiwar.com [...]

  20. It's exactly that fear that needs to be resisted. We stil live in an age in the west where these things can be said and its the job of antiwar and Stop the War to speak out before its too late. Fortunately, the state can't yet start rounding people up for these expressions of "truth". Its too early and if they did there would be outrage, which is why its important to speak up now. The state is biding its time before the the full implementation of scientific control grid, they need the right crisis. When that happens it will be too late. I also think journalists like this are truly ignorant. I know many people involved with these "left" organisations and they all suffer from the same thing conspiraphobia. They all subscribe to incompetence theory and the machinations of blind capital.

  21. The Obozo regime's favorite mantra: "Never let a crisis go to waste." To which Clawson adds: "If you can't find a crisis, create one."

    Japan wasn't FDR's only provocation target — just the only one that worked. He wanted the US in WW2 from the day it started, but knew it could only be arranged in response to an attack. For more than a year he sent supplies and troops to the UK in violation of all rules of neutrality, hoping Germany would retaliate. Hitler, however, refused to take the bait. Once he invaded the USSR in June 1941, any chance for provocation in Europe ended. So FDR simply turned to the Pacific and commenced to provoke Japan — which unfortunately did swallow the bait.

    Of course, provocation followed by righteous indignation is deeply rooted in human nature. I'd be a multi-zillionaire if I had $1 for every time a kid antagonized a sibling or schoolmate nonstop until his victim struck back, then wailed "He hit me! He hit me! WAAAHH!!"

  22. You should actually listen to the whole 90 minute video, all three guys basically want war all they are disagreeing with is how to get it.

    You have this turd who is trying to impress the zionists" by becoming the new more aggressive verison of Dennis Ross (a nice career sell goys down the river to go fight Israels war). He is willing to get war by any means, either increasing the provocations against iran or by inflicting a false flag.

    Then you have the even bigger turd dennis ross who wants to go through the motions and say look we tried to give Iran a "good deal" so that when Iran rejects it they can say "oh Iran cant be reasoned with" and so that there would be a CONTEXT for increased sanctions on iran for years so they cant rebuild.

  23. “Crisis initiation,” he calls it. It’s very hard to do. And therefore “it’s very hard for me to see how the United States President can get us to war with Iran.”

  24. [...] How to Go to War With Iran: Provoke an Attack [...]

  25. [...] [...]

  26. To attack Iran, Obama must first get Bernanke to create lots of dollars out of thin air.

    Then, hand those billions of dollars over to the Communist Chinese…

    Then, borrow those billions back from the Communist Chinese and….

    Then, hand them over to Israel and the Pentagon so they can buy bombs and weapons to attack Iran.

  27. I said the very same thing a few months ago when it was announced the Big E was steaming for the Persian Gulf.

    The intersection of coincidence and skullduggery is getting a lot of traffic these days.

  28. “Crisis initiation,” he calls it. It’s very hard to do. And therefore “it’s very hard for me to see how the United States President can get us to war with Iran.”

  29. just the only one that worked. He wanted the US in WW2 from the day it started, but knew it could only be arranged in response to an attack. For more than a year he sent supplies and troops to the UK in violation of all rules of neutrality, hoping Germany would retaliate. Hitler, however, refused polo hackett

  30. Clawson recites a number of past incidents in history that presidential administrations have been able to use to justify going to war: the attack on Pearl Harbor, the sinking of the Lusitania, the Gulf of Tonkin, the explosion of the USS Maine, the attack on Fort Sumter…sports limo

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