Gareth Setati
Gareth Setati

Iran and World War III

Geopolitics is generally a complex issue to tackle, mainly because it is highly speculative, with a lot of determinations resting on what each country’s intelligence chooses to tell us. Even more tricky is the fact that each country has strategic interests that are, more often than not, the be-all and end-all of their foreign policy – i.e. pragmatism often supersedes principles. So, as independent observers, the lack of factual information lands us in analysis-paralysis mode. We have just a few ways to know what time it is!

Here goes one such analysis-paralysis: Iran is deemed an “existential threat”, whatever that means, by Israel and its allies. If indeed this is true, meaning if indeed Iran is enriching uranium for military purposes, it is a small wonder that the writing is on the wall. Iran would obviously and deliberately be calling the bluff of the international community, with the effect that those threatened by this development would ‘rationally’ become compelled to act. We can only hope that the action taken will fall within the remit of international law.

However, if Iran is enriching uranium for peaceful purposes, then it implies an even more disturbing reality, which is that Iran’s detractors are either paranoid or are just plainly fabricating the issue – perhaps for oil interests. Mind you, it is plausible that Iran could deliberately be acting as though it has clandestine intentions merely to cover up its military weakness.

This is the problem: one could conjure all kinds of permutations so long as hard data is unavailable. Either way, the situation is unfortunate. That said, does Iran have a reasonable basis to build military nuclear capability? If you are Iranian, there is perhaps a case to feel the reverse existential threat that is Israel. And herein lies the core of the problem, the geopolitical stand-off. There is a blame game being played by either side and mutual mistrust is building up to a tipping point which could result in a full-on cold war.

Thomas Hobbes in his work on the Leviathan referred to this stalemate as “diffidence”. In a nutshell, all it would take is the realisation that others might covet what you have, and a strong desire not to be massacred. Even more tragically, your neighbours have every reason to make the same deduction, and if they are, it makes your fears all the more compelling, which makes a pre-emptive strike all the more tempting, which makes a pre-emptive strike by them all the more tempting, and so on. This is the scene in which Israel, the West, and Iran are slaves to.

Where am I getting at? The answer is nowhere. There just isn’t enough information to go by. One thing remains clear though: if the status quo persists, the Leviathan, in this case the US and its allies, will eventually strike at Iran.

I must admit that the rant above is a gargantuan digression from the question we ought to ask, which is about the impact on South Africa and the position we should take on the matter. For a start, if war breaks out, the oil price will shoot through the roof, and the accompanying economic detriments should be expected – this is easily deduced.

What should we do? It is my opinion that it is in the best interests of any country, South Africa included, to align itself with the prevailing superpowers – see “It’s the economy, stupid”. South Africa should approach the situation almost like India is doing: go along with the sanctions that have been imposed, but continue to do trade in areas that aren’t sanctioned; we should say that we ultimately do not want to cripple the country and its people wholesale. Obviously we would have to focus elsewhere to buy crude oil.

I believe our political position should remain one of encouraging roundtable talks until a solution is arrived at. We should hold true to our constitutional provision of presuming the innocence of Iran. If war breaks out, God forbid, we should not get involved. Our position should be consistent with, say, our position on Zimbabwe: “non-interference in the domestic affairs of sovereign states”.

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    • citoyen

      4gotten – when is the last time Israel actually admitted it has at least 400 nuclear warheads?

      When is the last time Israel complied with a UN Resolution? (They have ignored so many)

      Iran’s nukes = 0

      Israeli nukes = 400

      Has Iran subjected itself to IAEA inspections? YES

      Has Israel allowed IAEA inspections? NO

      Barak ‘Nobel Peace Prize’ Obomber heads up the Pentagon’s countless wars – many of them of dubious legality.

      Barack ‘Son of Africa’ Obomber has extended the deadly Predator Drone wars to the African continent.

      In the meantime 1 600 professional, credential structural and civil engineers and architects are pointing out (in two excellent documentaries called ‘Blue Print’ and ‘Explosive Evidence’) that the Event That Kicked Off A Decade of Oil Wars is very dodgy. Think ‘false flag’ – like Hitler’s Reichstag Fire.

      Read Prof David R Griffin’s latest book “10 Years Later: When State Crime Against Democracy Succeeds” – scholarly research, plenty of footnotes.

      The world needs to wake up to what America is doing – especially as Obama signed (on 31 Dec, 2011) the law that was so devastating during the apartheid era – the US version of the Indefinite Detention Without Trial Act (known as the NDAA).

      Americans now have martial law dressed up in civilian clothes, but they are too busy chomping Big Macs and watching Cartoon Channel to notice their militarised nation is sleepwalking into yet another war and a clampdown on…

    • Yaj

      @ Citoyen

      You are correct, Iran is a signatory to the NPT nuclear non-proliferation treaty and is compliant with all its obligations.
      The USA, Israel and India are armed to the teeth with Nuclear WMDs and are not signatories to the NPT. How hypocritical is that ?

      US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta himself admitted that Iran is not developing a nuclear weapon.

      Underlying all this sinister war talk which is threatening a potential World War III scenario and a thermonuclear disaster for the planet is the whole issue of Peak Oil combined with collapse of the global financial system and preservation of the US$ as global reserve currency .

      Any attack on Iran would be a flagrant violation of international law (not that this has ever stopped the Western imperialist powers before) and morally reprehensible to put it mildly. It would furthermore be a calamity for the struggling global economy and should be resisted at all costs not least for the immense human suffering it would cause to the innocent people of Iran.

      There has to be a peaceful, internationally co-operative way of resolving the issue of oil depletion (Peak Oil)

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy


      Do you not see the large trade delegation by India to Iran as a good sign?

    • DeanG

      Very well analyzed, and you are right that it is not clear where it will go with Iran. But the way things are cooking up around the world it is becoming inevitable that thirld world war is around the corner. Just when we think it will settle and things will get better it gets worse. And because of the activities of those few countries (USA, england, israel, iran, etc), all of us have to suffer… So, feel for you mate.

      Makes me think what is behind this all, and there are some pages around which show some pretty scary things. Like

      From both angles, one where predictions are dire, scary…

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Beddy, the large trade delegate by India to Iran doesn’t mean very much because India trade with the US is much larger. Beside oil, Iran doesn’t have very much to trade because this country is over 80% desert. Iran should not be acting like a world power with all of her problems.

    • Lennon

      @ Guy: “Why, if Iran is not contemplating using nuclear weaponry is it developing missile delivery systems with sufficient range to reach Israel?”

      The 50 000 US troops and three battlegroups (including aircraft carriers) station near the Gulf of Hormuz are the reason why. Israel’s threats of invasion and assassination of Iranian nuclear physicists and top military personnel are another reason.

      This is all about getting more oil for the West and stopping Iran from selling it in currencies other than the US dollar. It’s the same reason why Iraq was invaded. Don’t forget that Hussein didn’t have any “WMD’s” and he was not tried at the ICC as he should’ve been. It’s also odd that he wasn’t tried for all of his crimes. Then again, there is that rather inconvenient truth that the US supplied him with all of his toys to deal with Iran. Can’t have that info making it into the public mind, can we?

      As for Libya: Gaddafi was taken out (sodomised with a knife; beaten and then shot) before he could also stand trial. Why? He spoke of a United States of Africa which would use its own currency – a currency which would be issued from an African-controlled central bank. This would have meant less circulation of the US Dollar which, again, means that the US loses out. That and Libya also has a lot of oil. It’s also ironic that the British were keen on handing the Lockerbie Bomber back in exchange for oil contracts by Tony Blair.

    • Lennon

      @ Sterling: “There are many people in the US led by Ron Paul think that the US shouldn’t give foreign aids and bring all of their troops home.”

      Ironically, Ron Paul has received the most funding from military personnel and employees of the major weapons manufacturers out of all of the 2012 presidential candidates.

    • Zhorro Rampedi

      What would be the repercussions of a world at war in this technological era according to your research?

    • Lennon

      @ Zhorro: Good question and a rather frightening thing to contemplate.

      Since we are at a stage where nukes can be launched from pretty much any location at targets which are thousands of km away, this would be the most obvious thing to be worried about.

      Then again, thanks to well-funded biological research programs, there more heinous and less destructive ways to annihilate a target.

      Apart from known diseases such as anthrax, ebola and super strains of influenza, we are close to being able to attack DNA directly which would allow you to pinpoint your targets with deadly accuracy.

      So-called cyber warfare is another factor since the first thing any government does when starting a war is controlling the flow of information. Think PIPA, SOPA or ACTA and you start to get a clear picture. A Denial-of-Service attack on a website is a very easy thing to accomplish.

      Then, of course, you have conventional weapons. Fighter drones have been around ever since the Germans launched the V1 rocket planes during WWII. The Americans adapted the technology for use in B-17 bombers and now have squadrons of drones flying around carrying out surgical bombing runs. According to Popular Mechanics, they are considering replacing their conventional bombers with drones. Then you have weapons like the “Predator” RPG sniper rifle: Laser scope to paint your target and bullets which detonate near the target doing the same amount of damage as a conventional frag grenade.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy


      All India needs to buy and Iran to sell is oil. The rest of the delegation is to help Iran modernise.

      And American Aid almost all goes back to America – all of it has hooks eg food aid is bought from American, not African, farmers.

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Beddy, since when did African farmers produce enough food to export?

    • Sterling Ferguson

      @Lennon, a very good comment and it shows how much double talk going on in the US politic.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy


      South Africa, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Ghana were all food exporters pre-independence and pre “land re-distribution”, to name just a few.

    • Lennon

      @ Sterling: The thing with Ron Paul is that those who are funding him agree with what he is saying. His opponents are all for extending the USA’s illegal wars and they are getting considerably less funding from the same people.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy


      There are two reasons Black African farms collapse into bankruptcy.

      Firstly they were migratorary hunter gatherers not farmers – the men hunted, the women gathered and prepared the food. For a man to plant seeds was effeminate. The Zulus thought men who planted seeds might go infertile or impotent – which is why Indian indentured labour was imported into Natal. The Zulu were happy to migrate to the mines, but refused point black to work the sugar cane fields.

      Secondly, where blacks have settled and farmed, they have not kept the farms whole and inherited by the oldest son, but split them up among the male children, untill the farms became too small to be viable. This happened in both Haiti and Rwanda.

    • Yaj

      @ Lennon
      very well said, Gadaffi was also sitting on a substantial underground fresh water aquifer and had ambitious plans for developing Libya’s agricultural sector and bolster their food security .
      Ideally, SA should also send a trade delegation to Iran-why not ? However we are part of the G20, so we don’t rock the imperialist globalist boat, do we now ? Our government has been emasculated into a US/ western puppet with no control over our currency exchange rate, no control over our own macroeconomic policy, no contol over our banking system. We only tow the line of our masters in the West -to the detriment ouf our people, the public good and against our own national interests-ask Pravin Gordhan our neoliberal apparatchik. It is all realpolitik , no principles, ethics-nothing. I guess that is the way it has always been and will continue to be unless there is one massive uprising but even then the outcome cannot be guaranteed.

    • Shorty

      I agree with our answer to the question, ‘what should we do’. In many ways this is what we are currently doing.- trying to be friends with everyone. In the process we make enemies. This is the reason whywe could not mobilise enough votes for Nkosazana Zuma.

    • Lennon

      @ Yaj: If we were to take a stand and side with Iran, it would be problematic for us considering the West have Iran in the sights.

      However, if the rest of the world would band together and escape the grip of the Fed then there is no way that the West could do anything other than declaring war – a war which could devastate them as much as anyone else.

      The other problem is that there are too many governments who are quite happy to play along with the West thanks to backhanders and the ability to pinch from the public purse (South Africa is no exception). The only way around this is for the man (and woman – sorry feminists!) in the street to be informed of just how badly they’re being screwed by the system. It’s odd that the SA Reserve Bank has “shareholder”. Why on earth would stated-owned bank have shareholders? Who are these shareholders and why would something run by the government need them?

      The USA, for example, is a darkening shadow of its former self. I’ve read a bit about US history and why their Bill of Rights contains the clauses it does. This includes the right to bear arms so as to oppose and overthrow a government which becomes tyrannical. The US would not have gained their independence in 1783 without arms.

      Also, the US Federal Reserve is a privately-owned bank which has NEVER been audited since its inception. It lends currency to the US government and charges interest for it! Talk about perpetual debt.

    • Lennon

      @ Shorty: Agreeing with the West will definitely kill our standing in Africa, but disagreeing means the potential for the West to “bring democracy” to SA.

      We’re damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t, but at some point we will have to choose.

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      I think you are blind.

      BRICS (India, China and South Africa ,in this case, are ALREADY protecting Iran).

    • http://none Lyndall Beddy

      Another BRICS country, Russia, has come out in support of Iran – against the American/British very obvious ploy for regime change to control the oil.

    • Lennon

      Japan has also told Israel to back off. Odd though since Japan’s Constitution forbids military action with the exception of self defense.

      Ooooh yes…. On CapeTalk today: UN inspectors found no evidence that Iran is building nukes.