Over at The Moderate Voice Brij Khindaria paints an even bleaker picture for the region and the world after a US attack on Iran.
The perils of attacking Iran
Taking on Iran would be a first step to a new kind of world war. American analysts are looking upon Iran as a Shia vs. Sunni affair and appear to be much too sanguine about its ability to withstand US air strikes or outright invasion. They seem to think that it has sufficient internal cohesion to withstand such stress because of its 6,000-year civilization. That is far from the truth.The cons and the Bush administration want regime change in Iran. An attack might give them that but they would probably not like the end result.
The instability in Iran caused by an invasion or even air strikes deep inside its territory would trigger internal conflicts and civil wars within Iran and a spreading ring of countries like flames gobbling up a vast forest. It would be impossible for America or any Western politico-military alliance to restore stability and constructive peace to a single one of those countries because each has latent antagonisms internal to its population.And it won't end there.
Iran would be the first country to be destabilized and collapse into civil war among Persians, Turkmen, Azerbaijanis, Kurds, Pashtuns and smaller ethnic groups. It is worth remembering that Iran is located in the Middle East, Central Asia and the Caucasus. It is as big as Britain, France, Spain and Germany combined. Collapse of governance in Iran would also destabilize Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which are among the world richest states.
Instability in Iran and Iraq would draw in Turkey especially if the Kurds, allied to the US, try to use the chaos to carve out a greater Kurdistan from Syria, Turkey and Iran. Syria would deliberately destabilize Lebanon, which is already on the brink of civil war, to secure power for its Hizbullah allies. In turn, the Damascus government may collapse because of instability in all its neighbors.Yes, it will make the destabilization of Iraq look insignificant. Is Khindaria's scenario a worse case? Yes, but even a small portion of it will change the world for decades - and not for the better.
Israel would be severely tested. Terrorists and rogue missiles would strike it from all sides because of its close alliance with the US. Palestinians would use the fog of war to make gains against Israel. If Israel and the US riposte heavily against the Palestinians, pressure from the Egyptian street would force Cairo to get involved.
In the East, Afghanistan would collapse into civil war provoked by Al Qaeda and the Taliban. NATO, which is already having a hard time in Afghanistan, will be helpless because US actions against Iran will consume the resources of many of its members.
Pakistan will almost certainly collapse as Islamists of the radical Sunni majority burn Shia mosques and Ismaili Muslim places of worship to create chaos and grab control of Islamabad with help from Al Qaeda and the Taliban. That would inevitably draw India, which is the second most populous Muslim country after Indonesia.