- The Washington Times - Thursday, December 29, 2011

Iran’s tyrannical leaders, determined to make the Islamic regime a nuclear-armed state, are preparing for war. That’s exactly what the United States and Israel might have to deliver, and soon. @-Text.rag:Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered the Revolutionary Guards in May to speed up the regime’s nuclear-bomb program and arm its missiles with nuclear warheads. Now, sources reveal, Ayatollah Khamenei has ordered the guards to prepare for war.

In a recent meeting of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, it was decided that the possibility of an attack by Israel or America in 2012 is real and that the country’s forces need to prepare several contingencies for war. It also was concluded that in case of war, the regime could be victorious, though the cost would be high, but it would emerge as the one and only champion of the Islamic cause in the world.

The radicals ruling Iran have long believed that obtaining the nuclear bomb will make them untouchable and will facilitate the expansion of the Islamic movement in the region and the world in bringing the West to its knees. They also have concluded that because of the troubles in the world’s economy and financial troubles in America, even a limited confrontation with America would benefit the Islamic regime.

Just as Hezbollah outfought Israel in the 2006 war, Iran can claim victory against the U.S. in such a conflict, which could include attacking Israel from several fronts. But the real prize for the criminal mullahs would be that it would help the regime bring down the monarchy in Bahrain, create instability in Saudi Arabia and, most important, help the Islamists in Egypt undermine military rule. All this would occur by inciting uprisings for a war of Islam against infidels and Zionists.

The guards in their preparations have mapped out several options. One would be to disrupt the oil flow from the Persian Gulf. They know that about 40 percent of the world’s oil and the majority of oil exports of eight countries in the Persian Gulf pass through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway that could be blocked by the regime’s forces.

The guards’ navy of speedboats armed with cruise missiles, Iran’s submarines and, most important, the guards’ missiles of various kinds could be launched from deep within Iran and still target the narrow strait.

The guards also have mapped out an extensive list of U.S. bases in the Middle East to attack with their missiles, disrupting the movement of U.S. forces and the operation of the Air Force, which the guards believe will be the main thrust of any attack by America.

For that purpose, several U.S. bases have been identified that could be attacked either by short-range rockets with a range of up to 140 miles or with ballistic missiles with a range of more than 1,250 miles. The two air bases in Kuwait, Ali Al Salem and Ahmed Al Jaber, are less than 85 miles from Iran. In Kuwait, the U.S. camps of Buehring, Spearhead, Patriot and Arifjan, with distances of 65 to 80 miles, are all within reach of the guards’ various missiles.

The guards also are targeting four U.S. air bases in Afghanistan as the main launching pads for any attacks on Iran. The Bagram Air Base, home to most of the U.S. Air Force presence in Afghanistan, is just 450 miles from the Iranian borders and within range of all of Iran’s ballistic missiles. Other air bases in Afghanistan that would be attacked by the guards in case of war are in Kandahar, Shindand and Herat.

The super U.S. base, Al Adid in Qatar, which is home to a variety of U.S. bombers and fighters, is within 175 miles of Iran and a prime target for the guards, though because of favorable relations of the Islamic regime with the government in Qatar, the guards are not sure America can use that air base for its attack and therefore will be much more likely to use its other superbase at Al Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates, also within range of various Iranian missiles. Other U.S. targets of the guards are the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain and Thumrait Air Base in Oman.

The guards also have drawn up plans to confront any uprising from within should one occur after the breakout of war and have mobilized tens of thousands of Basijis ready to put down any unrest against the regime.

The Islamic regime in Iran also counts on Russia and China, with which it has close relations, to come to its help and facilitate an end to war in time to save the regime. China, which holds billions of dollars in contracts and is said to have more than 11,000 contractors, mostly of a military nature, in Iran, has the most to lose in the downfall of the Islamic regime, and its officials already have stated openly that China will aid the Iranian regime in case of war.

Though the Islamic regime never should have been allowed to continue with its suppression of its people, its terrorist activities worldwide and its continuation of its missile and nuclear programs despite U.N. sanctions, one cannot imagine a world with nuclear arms in the hands of the jihadists in Iran.

With officials from both Israel and the U.S. calling a nuclear-armed Iran a red line, leaving the possibility of a military option on the table, we must realize that the only possible solution to this dilemma is a regime change in Iran, which a majority of Iranians support. The price we pay today to save world peace and security will be minuscule to what the world will pay in the not-so-distant future.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of “A Time to Betray” (Threshhold Editions, Simon & Schuster, 2010) He is a fellow with EMPact America and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).