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View Full Version : How do you think a Pre-emptive strike on the reactors play out?



Druze
28 Apr 07,, 03:30
Well Israel I am sure as well as you probably are has planned a number of pre-emptive strikes on Iran's reactors.

Personally I would think that it would have to involve the largest Airborne operation since Market Garden.

Israeli Cargo planes would take to the air carrying thousands of paratroopers and various special ops forces including light vehicles, portable jamming equipment, portable Surface to Air missile launcher, and much more equipment.

As there are many sites to target the forces would probably go after the four biggest nuclear sites. Sending in a large commando force to blow it up from the inside is the only way to guarantee its done right. A small detachment would be sent across Iraq into Iran initailly to slip in at night and disrupt their air defense by either jamming it or destroying it.

An operation like this takes massive planning and then re-planning and you keep changing it until 5 minutes before go time.

How do the Special forces get out you ask? Well they can drive East to Afghanistan or West to Iraq, Either way American controlled territory is within reach and Israeli forces could get to these borders a hell of alot quicker then the Iranians could mobilize their forces to stop them.

Air Route? I am sure Saudi Arabia would secretly give Israel flyover rights and then after the attack act with outrage at such violation of their airspace as part of the plan, all pre-planned with Israel.

The US if it involves itself would either have to give Israel flyover rights over Iraq or ignore the airspace violation. Even if the US said no, Israel could say "well our planes are already in the air so you'll have to shoot down 35 C130's" which the AMericans of course won't do.

Now if the US does give Israel flyover rights then Israel has a massively expanded field of operation as it can refuel its entire airforce over Iraq and actually provide total cover for its forces as well as take out Iran's entire air defense umbrella.

If this mission is planned with the US which is also of course possible and the likely scenario then the US can provide additional air cover and also use massive jamming of Iranian radar systems from its two carrier Task force groups currently operating in the Persian Gulf.

Is it a risky move? Wow do you bet, but like in Iraq the alternative in Israel's eye is the same as it is much worse.

A plan like this would incorporate initial stages of sabotage. For a couple of weeks or even a month prior you would have mysterious blackouts that would plague Iran's electrical grid. It wouldn't be hard for the Mossad to buy men working at power plants who simply have to push the wrong button accidentally. This would leave Iran open for an Airborn operation.

Officer of Engineers
28 Apr 07,, 04:03
Alot of things wrong with this plan.

1st, the Iranians would most certainly be expecting an attack of some form. At the very least I would be expecting a battalion guarding those sites with a brigade near by.

2nd, what's the point? These are cascades. They're relatively cheap to build and the Iranians know how to build them. Now, if you went after the refined uranium, that might be one thing ... but they don't have that yet.

3rd, what about the Iranian armoured corps? Airborne troops against armour? Even as bad as Iranian armour is, I don't give light infantry much of a chance in a stand up fight.

4th, what about fire support? The Iranians got tons, including artillery. Light infantry out in the open against artillery and armour? Can we say suicide?

5th, just how much explosives are you going to carry? These are concrete bunkers designed to contain radioactivity. More than likely, these are hardened and multi-layered since they're expecting trouble. Commandos are going to carry enough C4 to do the job? I don't think so.

Druze
28 Apr 07,, 06:49
Alot of things wrong with this plan.

1st, the Iranians would most certainly be expecting an attack of some form. At the very least I would be expecting a battalion guarding those sites with a brigade near by.

2nd, what's the point? These are cascades. They're relatively cheap to build and the Iranians know how to build them. Now, if you went after the refined uranium, that might be one thing ... but they don't have that yet.

3rd, what about the Iranian armoured corps? Airborne troops against armour? Even as bad as Iranian armour is, I don't give light infantry much of a chance in a stand up fight.

4th, what about fire support? The Iranians got tons, including artillery. Light infantry out in the open against artillery and armour? Can we say suicide?

5th, just how much explosives are you going to carry? These are concrete bunkers designed to contain radioactivity. More than likely, these are hardened and multi-layered since they're expecting trouble. Commandos are going to carry enough C4 to do the job? I don't think so.



There are many ways around such number superiority. Quickness and ferocity by numerous small forces can create chaos among Iranian forces. A night time attack can do just that. Numerous diversions can be created to make Iranians think Israelis are going after a target that they aren't really going after to divert those forces there.

Field artillery won't do any good for the IRanians against mobile light vehicle special ops units who by the time they are discovered would be very close to Iranian nuclear sites and could very well be inside and or mixed with light Iranian units. Also just in case the Israeli's can drop a larger dummy force and make sure its seen so if Iranian FAO's are looking for a target they could concentrate their fire on the dummy force.

In regards to how reinforced these concrete facilities are, that is against aerial attack, the more enclosed they are, the more damage specialized explosives can cause. Its just the equipment that Israel needs to destroy. Commandos can even carry timed 2 kiloton nuclear explosives that would destroy everything inside and cause no radioactive fallout which would have the added affect of making the facility to radioactive to repair. This radioactive leak could be blamed on the facility itself rather then the explosives used to cause it.

IN regards to armour I don't have to much faith in the Iranian armoured corps to put it mildly. I don't think they could respond in time. Also Israel has many citizens who are completely fluent in Farsi and can act to divert forces by tapping into frequencies. Israel can even send a unit to seize some tanks and lead their columns with disinformation.

All I stated above is without air cover. If there is air cover then the Iranians may want to do the smart thing and pull back their armour as it would be easily targeted by anti-tank missiles. Anti-Tank infantry with the element of suprise especially if it is an elite unit can lay waste to entire tank columns. And when Iranian or Arab forces start seeing lots of casualties on their side they have a history of displaying everyting but bravery.

Mind you I am not a general or an expert. but if you put 5 experts together along with intelligence that you or I simply don't have access to it is a scenario I would at least bet on is being considered. For every flaw in the plan there is also an answer to be found.

But if the Israeli or US aircover is provided then I think you won't see the Iranian forces committ other then shooting off rounds and shells in confusion and chaos. There would also be no communication between Tehran and the Iranian commanders at the sites as that would certainly be jammed/and or used against them by Israeli disinformation.

Officer of Engineers
28 Apr 07,, 07:09
Again,

What are you going to accomplish? Destroying a few cascades that would take a few months to rebuild?

BTW, you've just increased the logistical demands on your force. Sorry, 35 C130s just ain't going to cut it. The SBCT requires 200+ C17 flights and you're going to go with a motor brigade with just 35 C130s? And that's just one insertion. You're speaking of multiple insertions.

The lack of communications is not a fault for the Iranians. It's a plus. They don't know what's going on so that means that they won't move. In other words, you have to dislodge the force that is already there; meaning an entrenched force most likely fortified; willing to fight to the death (Hezbollah anyone?).

And as good as the Israelis are, they cannot overcome the Iranians recee by death (as soon as they lose contact with their own units, they know something big enough and nasty enough to kill that unit is in the area and react accordingly, meaning within 24-48 hours, you will have at least a mech infantry brigade coming down).

And again, what's the point, even if you win? Cascades are cheap. It's refining uranium that is hard.

It seems a just a too heavy of an effort for no practical return. The Iranians can just rebuild within a year and the effort is not stopped.

Garry
28 Apr 07,, 08:45
Very risky plan. I can also see following concerns:

1) What if things fail and you have almost HUNDRED prisonned guys in Iranian hads? How to get them out? and Iranians will make HUGE PR action to expoit them properly

2) Look - Iran has Tor-M1 + some Tomcats and it would love to shoot down some transports.... so you need to knock them down before.... and this takes time and discloses your intention.

3) if your guys get stuck there you would have problems to supply them with even bullets.... they are doomed if they don't get out within few hours after getting in.

4) I think that you need to occupy the country to make sure that nothing is REBUILT.

Blademaster
28 Apr 07,, 09:47
Druze, why are you going after the equipments and the facilities that require extensive military operations when you can go after the one type of target that does not require extensive military operations?

I will give you one chance to define my target. Here's a clue: In order to operate the machinery and refine and build the necessary components of a nuclear device, you need ..........?

entropy
28 Apr 07,, 12:35
Are the Iranians better fighters than the Arabs?

lazybastard
28 Apr 07,, 16:22
And as good as the Israelis are, they cannot overcome the Iranians recee by death (as soon as they lose contact with their own units, they know something big enough and nasty enough to kill that unit is in the area and react accordingly, meaning within 24-48 hours, you will have at least a mech infantry brigade coming down).

Sir, this "recon by death" thing sounds a little too clean cut. I mean, losing contact to an unit could mean a lot of things. Dead battery, broke down radio, jamming from Israeli planes; or maybe the CO got too chatty on the airwaves and ended up on the wrong end of an airstrike; or perhaps that CO spilled hot coffee on his crotch and had to be sent to the burn ward:tongue: . How would a commander know if he should send all his reserves down that way unless the lost unit sent back a contact report right before going off air?

Blademaster's got a great point. Any nuclear facility destroyed can be rebuilt in a few years. Might as well really f*ck them up by hitting them in the pocketbooks. Iran's government depends on oil exports for some 60% of their revenues. Iran also got really limited refining facilities that can't even satisfy domestic gasoline needs.

Edit: Doh! I was way off wasn't I Blademaster. You were talking about assassinating Iran's nuclear scientists weren't you? Once again - Doh!!

Officer of Engineers
28 Apr 07,, 16:43
Sir, this "recon by death" thing sounds a little too clean cut.What do you think a meeting engagement is?

lazybastard
28 Apr 07,, 17:10
What do you think a meeting engagement is?

I see. From my limited amount of readings on Afghanistan '79 and Panama '88. It would appear that the defender's command and control were sufficiently disrupted and as a result were unable to properly react. This was the case in Panama even when the US failed to achieve complete surprise.

Sir, in your opinion, what would prevent the Israelis from doing something similar? Would it be because Israel can't conduct on-site recon prior to the attack, like the US and Soviet did? Or because they Israelis can't bring in enough mechanized forces to set up blocking positions?

Blademaster
28 Apr 07,, 17:27
Blademaster's got a great point. Any nuclear facility destroyed can be rebuilt in a few years. Might as well really f*ck them up by hitting them in the pocketbooks. Iran's government depends on oil exports for some 60% of their revenues. Iran also got really limited refining facilities that can't even satisfy domestic gasoline needs.


There's a cost to doing that: skyrocketing oil prices which would wreck the world economy way worst than a dirty nuke could ever do.



Edit: Doh! I was way off wasn't I Blademaster. You were talking about assassinating Iran's nuclear scientists weren't you? Once again - Doh!!

Yes I was. Much more effective and less resource intensive. Bribes also work too.

Officer of Engineers
28 Apr 07,, 17:57
Sir, in your opinion, what would prevent the Israelis from doing something similar?Namely, the size of the operation. Both the USArmy and the Soviet Army simply overwhelm the opposition. Too many things happening at too many places, all at the same time. There was an airborne assault followed by a mechanized assault.

What Druze has proposed here is nowhere near that scope and 35 C130s might be able to bring in one motor battle group but it would not be anywhere near enough to withstand an Iranian brigade that is a day or two away.

lazybastard
28 Apr 07,, 18:02
There's a cost to doing that: skyrocketing oil prices which would wreck the world economy way worst than a dirty nuke could ever do.

Still, beats targeting Iran's sites with nukes.


Yes I was. Much more effective and less resource intensive. Bribes also work too.
Putting aside the super-human abilities contributed to Mossad by conspiracy theorist, this is too much like expecting to win the lottery for it to constitute Israel's Plan A.

Druze
28 Apr 07,, 18:59
Druze, why are you going after the equipments and the facilities that require extensive military operations when you can go after the one type of target that does not require extensive military operations?

I will give you one chance to define my target. Here's a clue: In order to operate the machinery and refine and build the necessary components of a nuclear device, you need ..........?

That can't even be an option. Once the military has done its job, the diplomats have a major job to do in dealing with the immediate international backlash. If Israel delibarately sent oil prices through the roof then it could cause a chain reaction. Hitting their sole refinery is enough to destroy their economy which would make them desperate.



Also the number I gave of 25 transports was just a random number. I'm not exactly planning an attack myself from my computer so I don't have an FOP map in front of me or updated asset lists. Also I forgot to take into account transport and attack helicopters that could be used in the assault to aid certain elements of the prongs should the need arise.

Officer of Engineers
28 Apr 07,, 19:07
Well, Druze,

You have on this board Senior and Staff level Officers who had moved everything from single companies to whole battle groups to entire divisions across mountains, desert, and oceans. In order to give your post the legitimacy you seek, you will have to do the homework yourself instead of presenting us with numbers and operational procedures that are clearly out of whack with reality.

Blademaster
28 Apr 07,, 19:58
That can't even be an option. Once the military has done its job, the diplomats have a major job to do in dealing with the immediate international backlash. If Israel delibarately sent oil prices through the roof then it could cause a chain reaction. Hitting their sole refinery is enough to destroy their economy which would make them desperate.



I was referring to nuclear scientists, not the refinery. Hitting the refinery is not such a good idea. You will be pissing off major clients such as China and India.

Blademaster
28 Apr 07,, 20:00
Putting aside the super-human abilities contributed to Mossad by conspiracy theorist, this is too much like expecting to win the lottery for it to constitute Israel's Plan A.

well this is a lot better than airdropping an entire battalion and expecting it to overwhelm Iranian forces.

Besides, all you need is to whack several key scientists and bribe other scientists to do sabotage and flee. It is enough to start a chain reaction that would cripple Iranian's budding nuclear program.

zraver
28 Apr 07,, 23:03
Sir, this "recon by death" thing sounds a little too clean cut. I mean, losing contact to an unit could mean a lot of things. Dead battery, broke down radio, jamming from Israeli planes;QUOTE]


OoE is not talking a unit, his is talking a major industrial site guarded by elite troops linked by radio, satalite phone, land line, and other means to the goverment and local garrisons of police, Pasadran, and military forces.

[quote]I was referring to nuclear scientists, not the refinery. Hitting the refinery is not such a good idea. You will be pissing off major clients such as China and India.

Blademaster that is not actually a bad thing. The Nucelar scientist are actually pretty hard targets simply becuas eof the numbe rof them and iran's well developed technical base.

For my own plan (US vs Israeli) take out thier anti-shipping missiles and cut thier pipelines by bombing the pumping stations and thier support grid. This leaves Iran unable to affect a closure of the Straits of Hormuz and chokes off the regimes funding. One major effort by the USAF to chop the missiles and then a single B-2, F-117, or F-22 can keep the piplines shut down as long as needed. No cash- No enrichment. Iran has far to big of a social safety net comitment to afford both without revenues from the oil. if they try and cut the social services the already unpopular goverment and possibly the clerics will be toppled.

Druze
29 Apr 07,, 01:26
Well, Druze,

You have on this board Senior and Staff level Officers who had moved everything from single companies to whole battle groups to entire divisions across mountains, desert, and oceans. In order to give your post the legitimacy you seek, you will have to do the homework yourself instead of presenting us with numbers and operational procedures that are clearly out of whack with reality.

I don't think anyone here thinks a plan like this is "out of whack with reality" but are rather questioning its success rate, risk factor, and offering alternative deciscions such as refinery elimination.

You mentioned the possible presence of an Iranian brigade "a day or two away" I don't see how that specifically could be a threat.

If you were presented with an airborne operation along these lines. What changes, additions, would you make while considering the strategic theatre limitations?

Druze
29 Apr 07,, 01:28
[QUOTE=lazybastard;369814]Sir, this "recon by death" thing sounds a little too clean cut. I mean, losing contact to an unit could mean a lot of things. Dead battery, broke down radio, jamming from Israeli planes;QUOTE]


OoE is not talking a unit, his is talking a major industrial site guarded by elite troops linked by radio, satalite phone, land line, and other means to the goverment and local garrisons of police, Pasadran, and military forces.



Blademaster that is not actually a bad thing. The Nucelar scientist are actually pretty hard targets simply becuas eof the numbe rof them and iran's well developed technical base.

For my own plan (US vs Israeli) take out thier anti-shipping missiles and cut thier pipelines by bombing the pumping stations and thier support grid. This leaves Iran unable to affect a closure of the Straits of Hormuz and chokes off the regimes funding. One major effort by the USAF to chop the missiles and then a single B-2, F-117, or F-22 can keep the piplines shut down as long as needed. No cash- No enrichment. Iran has far to big of a social safety net comitment to afford both without revenues from the oil. if they try and cut the social services the already unpopular goverment and possibly the clerics will be toppled.



Iran's biggest weakness is its lack of refineries. I am not sure of the numbers but I think over 50% of their oil is refined abroad. Even if you left shipping lanes open but destroyed their small refining capabilites you could economically cripple them.

Officer of Engineers
29 Apr 07,, 01:49
Yeah.

One word. Water.

zraver
29 Apr 07,, 03:51
[QUOTE=zraver;369924]



Iran's biggest weakness is its lack of refineries. I am not sure of the numbers but I think over 50% of their oil is refined abroad. Even if you left shipping lanes open but destroyed their small refining capabilites you could economically cripple them.


You don't block Iran's access to the Shipping lanes, thats thier ball game thier entire military posture is oriented on beign able to block the Straits of Hormuz long enough for the UN to broker a ceasefire that gives them at least part of what they want.

lazybastard
30 Apr 07,, 23:33
There's something else that's been bothering me. It seems pretty obvious that if Israel launched a strike against Iran, Iran will retaliate against US interests in the region. Now suppose Bush gets a phone call a few days prior to the strike giving him a heads up. Should the US put all her forces in the Gulf area on alert, possibly giving away any element of surprise?

Officer of Engineers
01 May 07,, 03:11
Any strike MUST happen with US Approval. I don't care what anyone says. You need permission overflying American positions in Iraq. There may or may not be air operations supporting American ground forces and the last thing anyone needs is a bunch of unidentified planes interfering with saving American lives. Those unidentified planes will be at least escourted out of the area and told to stay out. Anyone not complying with that order will be considered hostile and will be treated as such.

No ifs, ands, ors, buts.

Druze
01 May 07,, 04:21
Any strike MUST happen with US Approval. I don't care what anyone says. You need permission overflying American positions in Iraq. There may or may not be air operations supporting American ground forces and the last thing anyone needs is a bunch of unidentified planes interfering with saving American lives. Those unidentified planes will be at least escourted out of the area and told to stay out. Anyone not complying with that order will be considered hostile and will be treated as such.

No ifs, ands, ors, buts.


Considering that an Iranian retalitory strike on Saudi and Kuwaiti oil facilities will effect the entire world including Israel, it is something that Israel will have to work with the US with and the Saudis. Gas going to $7.50 a gallon even if for a month or two can have devastating global economical purposes.

I have been trying to get whatever information I can over the net regarding this new but still secret Israeli-Saudi cozing up and I believe that the US has effectively brokered an off the books strong relationship between the two nations. I think Israel's recent criticism of high-tech weapons sales to the Saudis was all an act and that Israel is itself right smack in the middle of supplying weapons to the Saudis and maybe even flight training for all we know. The Israelis will most likely use Saudi Airspace for the journey to Iran. Israel used that route in 1983 because it is almost uninhabited and at low altitude flying its the best possible route to take for a suprise attack. Flying through central Iraq isn't exactly the best course of action as it can be a traffic jam and give away the element of suprise.

Also if there is indeed Saudi complicity in the attack as I think there must and will be, then everyone shouldn't be so naive as to think that an Israeli assault must originate in Israel. I am sure that one place Iranian satellites or any other satellites would waste time monitoring is the Saudi Kingdoms north-western desert. Remember that Israel doesn't have the Sinai anymore to practice long range missions. It was the Sinai, while still occupied by Israel, that was the scene of Israel's training for the Osirak mission. If there is an alliance I don't think it impossible that the Saudi's set up some very remote desert bases for the Israelis to train from as they can keep those locations unknown.

What I have little knowledge to no knowledge of is just how hard it will be to make it over into Iran next to the Persian Gulf. Surely that has to be one of the most radar monitored corners of the world. Does anyone know how some squadrons can get through there? Is jamming too obvious in such a strategic location? Are there any options as to how to get across their without being detected at least for as long as possibly able to do?

lazybastard
01 May 07,, 14:33
Any strike MUST happen with US Approval. I don't care what anyone says. You need permission overflying American positions in Iraq. There may or may not be air operations supporting American ground forces and the last thing anyone needs is a bunch of unidentified planes interfering with saving American lives. Those unidentified planes will be at least escourted out of the area and told to stay out. Anyone not complying with that order will be considered hostile and will be treated as such.

No ifs, ands, ors, buts.

Off course the air traffic control guys and the trigger happy Pac-3 crews needs to be in on it ahead of time. The question I was more curious about is this: at what point do you tell the people at all those bases in the various Gulf states to be on alert for Iranian retaliation.

Garry
02 May 07,, 12:04
well this is a lot better than airdropping an entire battalion and expecting it to overwhelm Iranian forces.

Besides, all you need is to whack several key scientists and bribe other scientists to do sabotage and flee. It is enough to start a chain reaction that would cripple Iranian's budding nuclear program.

that would be really the most OUTSTANDING operation..... bringing most dammage with least cost

However these people are most probably kept under tight control - I guess they are accompanied even in toilets.... not that easy to find them and negotiate with them

JodiSP
31 May 07,, 00:21
Now the USA have 2 carrier groups in the gulf and the ground forces surge presently underway in Iraq, do you believe the next few months are the most likely time for a strike on Iran nuclear insulations?

Does any believe the Israeli air force would play in any part, small or large?

Has the war gone so bad in Iraq for the USA that any strike on Iran is now completely out of the question in a poltical or military sense?

zraver
31 May 07,, 00:29
Now the USA have 2 carrier groups in the gulf and the ground forces surge presently underway in Iraq, do you believe the next few months are the most likely time for a strike on Iran nuclear insulations?

Does any believe the Israeli air force would play in any part, small or large?

Has the war gone so bad in Iraq for the USA that any strike on Iran is now completely out of the question in a poltical or military sense?

The US will not start a war with Carriers in the Gulf itself, no room to manuver and little time to react. if the US pops the corks the Gulf will be devoid of large surface combatants except Aegic clas ships close to our allies that can intercept Iranian missile strikes. The Carriers won't re-enter the Gulf until the subs surface ships and missiles are taken out.

Galrahn
31 May 07,, 19:46
Any strike MUST happen with US Approval.

This is an interesting discussion. The statement above isn't historically accurate though.

Remember, Israel forgot to tell the US they were going to attack Egypt in the 6 days war. I think any Iran strike will be similar to this, because like the 6 days war, Israel would only attack Iran if the country truly believed its survival was at stake. Under those conditions, Israel would not tell the US.

Also to twist the topic a little I would pose the question...

What is the bare minimum of US Naval assets required in the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters for the US to attack Iran on Day 0. What about Day 10.

I think I know the USN answer, but I am curious what many here would think.

It takes 2 weeks for warships to reach the Gulf from the US, so consider that when talking about the minimum on day 0, and day 10.

Assets include all naval vessels and logistics vessels, including carriers, Marine ships, combatants, submarines, and logistics ships. Does not include land based forces (USAF, Army Units, SOF, Navy Based Assets in Bahrain).

zraver
01 Jun 07,, 00:26
This is an interesting discussion. The statement above isn't historically accurate though.

Remember, Israel forgot to tell the US they were going to attack Egypt in the 6 days war. I think any Iran strike will be similar to this, because like the 6 days war, Israel would only attack Iran if the country truly believed its survival was at stake. Under those conditions, Israel would not tell the US.

Also to twist the topic a little I would pose the question...

What is the bare minimum of US Naval assets required in the Persian Gulf and surrounding waters for the US to attack Iran on Day 0. What about Day 10.

I think I know the USN answer, but I am curious what many here would think.

It takes 2 weeks for warships to reach the Gulf from the US, so consider that when talking about the minimum on day 0, and day 10.

Assets include all naval vessels and logistics vessels, including carriers, Marine ships, combatants, submarines, and logistics ships. Does not include land based forces (USAF, Army Units, SOF, Navy Based Assets in Bahrain).



Whats the objective?

is it just to take out the reactors, reactores, navy, and anti-shipping and SRBM missiles, just the anti-shipping and SRBM? Mission determines the level of force that would be required, then you modify by other consideratiosn like politics and allies. 3-4 attack subs with a couple of nuclear armed tomahawks and a larger number of anti-shipping tomahawks could denude Iran over night without touching the reactos by destroying Iran's ability to wage a tanker war. Without that she would probably have to talk or face more miltiary action at the leisure of the US.

Galrahn
01 Jun 07,, 00:52
Whats the objective?

As always, it is political.

There are 9,260 news hits on google for the past month alone regarding a military confrontation with Iran. This topic is a reflection of that ongoing media discussion, as is this specific forum on WAB, so I pose the question...

What is the minimum US Navy (or allies) force required by the US to achieve a political victory to the effect of removing the Iranian nuclear weapons program that may or may not even exist, and further the political objective of 'eventual' regime change.

You do of coarse ask the right question, in my opinion anyway.

zraver
01 Jun 07,, 01:41
August 15th 2007 would always be remembered as Iran's Pearl Harbor Day. That morning at 3:15 AM a B-2 Spirit Bomber that had left Missouri 2 days earlier on a "routine' training flight dropped two deep penetrating bombs severing Iran's links with its coastal regions near Bandar Abbas. At 3:16 before anyone was even aware of the event the US unleashed "Operation Earwig" a massive co-ordinated attack on Iran's cyber,phone, and electronic spectrum assets effectively blinding the country. Included in this infowar attack were spoofed messages containing contradictory orders for various units, the result was that the entire defense establishment was thrown into temporary confusion. Most Iranian airforce planes that did manage to get scrambled went running for the prized reactors or Tehran leaving the actual US targets uncovered.

The first real combat occured at 3:27 when a mk 48 torpedoe slammed into an Iranian kilo class submarine, by 4:23 Iran's magor surface and submarine combatants were sitting on the bottom of the Persian Gulf or running for thier lives. At 4:02 Cruise missiles from the submarines and USN stationed just outside the gulf began impacting on Iran's missile launch sites and coastal batteries. At 4:30 that mornin USN Seals (and unrevealed at the time SAS and ASAS) troops began taking over several platforms in the Gulf controlled by Iran.

By the time the sun came up and as USN F/A-18's loaded for anti-shipping took over the anti-shipping/ tanker escort mission it was nearly over. Iran's missiles the fast boats were finally getting into the fight but it they were firing blind and scored no hits on the tankers now doing their best to leave the warzone. Dozens of fast attack craft made piecemeal dashes into the Gulf and all but 4 were intercepted before they could aquire a target and launch, the 4 that did fire found no hits in the anti-missile and ecm rich envirment. The carriers, iran's first choice had slipped out of the Gulf unremarked a few days earlier and were now safely in the vastness of the Indian Ocean. Around noon Iran made a fatal blunder and fired a SCUD missile loaded with mustard gas at King Khalid Military City. The missile was not a solo launch it was part of a wave of missiles being sent towards the Arabian Kingdom. Most were easily dispatched by the Patriot block III's but a few incluing the mustard gas armed one got through.

Iran's UN ambassador denied the launch was authorized, even claiming it was a hoax or that the US or Israel had conducted the attack, but the US and Suadi govemrents didn't care. Causalties at the sitewere heavy despite defensive preparations, at least 256 American's had been killed or injured and a like number of Suadi nationals were also causalties. President Bush addressed America and the wold as soon as the news reached the Whitehouse. The president was on every TV station decrying the Iranian resort to WMD's, his offical comment however was so bland (I have instructed our commanders in the feild to make sure not one more Ameircan life is lost to poision gas) compared to the US reprisal that many people were actually shocked when Bandar Abbas was hit by a single nuclear armed tomahawk at 9PM that night local time. A US predator drone on station and watching transmitted the image live as the US DoD breifly took control of many of the worlds satalite based broadcasting systems which were at least partially US owned. The double whammy of a nuclear fireball over a modern American enemy and the seizure of communication satalites would have long lasting defense related repercussions. Historians would later state it was the day the clock struck twelve, a refrence to the old Cold War atomic clock.

As darkness fell on the first day of war the USAF stopped just tangling with and murdering the Iranian airforce and took the fight to Iran, After US Army AH-64 Longbow model Apaches did a repeat of the ODS corridor strikes and opened up a critcal airroute while F-22 Raptors swept the sky, F-15E strike eagles began swinging across the border to hit major military targets and transportation routes leading to Iraq. RAF and RSAF units also now joined fight and Iran began to be buried under the weight of bombs.

Despite several major news network being present in Iran reports of the fighting had to be hand carried into a neighboring Pakistan or Russia to be delivered as Operation Earwig continued and electronic communication in or out of Iran remained impossible. The pentagon would alter call this aspect infomation channeling and control through the use of technology denial system (ICCTUTDS) and would post war set up another shadowy alphabet Agency the TCIMA (Technology and Information Monitoring Agency) to handle the mission in the future.

As dawn broke on day 2 Russia and China finally managed to push through a resolution condemming the bombing and calling for a cease fire, althoug due to iranian initiation oif the WMD exchange no belligernat was signalled out. The initial motions had been blocked by the UK which was not a combatant until the previous evening and had used its VETO. The US signalled it was willing to stop bombing as soon as Tehran agreed to comply with previous UN resolutions regarding its nuclear program. With direct communication cutoff however, the bombing continued until snailmail could relay the messages between Tehran and its UN Ambassador.

The US used this time to good effect going after the Iranian military with a vengance for all the EFP's in Iraq and the left over shame of the Hostage crisis. Once the bulk of the Iranian airdefence net went down even the piggish A-10 got into the fight expending a great deal of 30mm cannoin and mavrick missiles on suspected smuggling points that had been used to get weapons into Iraq. The US was also waiting on a very special event, and finally they got it. Iran had been faced with a difficult choice- shut down the reactors and make them vulnerable to bombing, or keep them up and running and risk poisioning Iran if the US bombed anyway. Iran wisley chose to shut them down after the nuclear exchange rather than risk national survival, and once US satalites confirmed the shutdown and cold reactors, stealth bombers swung into action and the reactors were destroyed. Once the destruction was confirmed the bombing took a pause and electronic communication was restored.

Iraq, As expected Iranian cells, thier miltia supporters and even Sunni insurgents swung into action and the bloodiest week of the war was soon under way. With most of the in theater aircraft tasked for other missions and confronted with a general uprising several small forward bases were overrun and several more were soon in a state of seige. Army losses alone for the week would top 200 killed. After the war General Patrais would say the USMC airwings, virtually the only tac-air avaible for the first couple of days had saved the US Army from its first defeat in 50 years. As heavy as US losses were, the poorly trained militia suffered worse, at least 1,500 dead in 48 hours.

World wide, the results were as expected, massive indignation and support for Iran among the Arab street and most of Western Europe. Oil prices went upward at light speed topping $345 USD after the mustard gass attack and hitting $600 once the US unleashed the nuclear genie. The double WMD attacks shocked the world and pundits were crying about the imminent global depression, but luckily there were no more exchanges, and by the time the reactors were blown the price had dropped to $278 and once communication was restored and Iran cried uncle the price began to plummet.

Postwar Iran, with a stagnant economy, rampant inflation and now a sound military defeat coupled with the destruction of billions in military technology purchased with hard earned currency the current Iranian goverment folded as Khameni called for elections in a bid to head off the fall of the Islamic regime itself. The results were only partial successful, the new president a moderate former University Proffessor was quickly able to seize on various UN mandates, public shock, and the clerics own blindness to create a nearly unassaible block that effectively locked the religious leaders out of the decision loop.

Postwar US, intially the quick victory bouyed president Bushes numbers, even with the nucelar strike America was riding high on its victory. However by the time of the elections the death count of Bandar Abbas, 178,000 of a prewar population of 350,000 was simply too much for American psyche and Barrac Obama won in a land slide. Inside the Pentagon the advocates of RMA felt justified and could rightly point to an amazing victory as technology triumphed will in the most lopside strategic campaign in history.

Postwar Iraq, hatered of America ran high, but that was not new news, however with the heart cut out of the militias both via heavy losses and a sudden lack of Iranian support and certain trepidation of taking on the Ugly American's who were now not only nuclear armed but nuclear willing created an atmosphere where politics were able to triumph and several cease fires were signed- broken- and signed again, but at least the parties were talking. AQ in Iraq already locked in a private war with the Sunni militias and insurgent groups never gave up, but was increasingly ineffective without public support.

4x Attack subs

6x Aegis class warship

2x carrier

2x B2 bomber

12x F-22

1x nuclear armed tomahawk

USAF/RAF/RSAF assets already in theater
ground combat assets already in theater

JAD_333
01 Jun 07,, 03:03
Geez, xraver, nice piece of Casey fiction, a one page thriller. As I was reading it, I got the eerie feeling that Iran is playing with fire with their nuke quest and that it will not succeed due to the playing out of a scenario much like you laid out. But I wonder if the same end can be achieved by a less intense attack, or even the imminent threat of one.

zraver
01 Jun 07,, 03:35
Doubtful, the US had good strategic thinkers, they know that roight now and for several years to come the real threat from Iran is a tanker war. If the US ever decides to bite the bullet and take the hit in oil prices thats the way it will go down.

Galrahn
01 Jun 07,, 04:06
no blowback?

no 1500+ small boat attacks?

no Revolutionary Guard SOF style strikes?

no mass attacks in Iraq?

no attack on Israel, but a chem attack against the Saudi's?

no ASuM attacks from any of the islands or platforms in the Gulf?

no minefields?

Your story assumes Iran would surrender before it even fights. What evidence is there, anywhere, to support this? It also assumes only conventional strikes, not asymmetrical, again, what evidence is there to support this?

I think you have also failed to see what the threat is from Iran. Virtually every threat is asymmetrical, even in the form of conventional truck mounted anti-ship missiles, and do the most damage to the US by attacking the vast number of commercial (unarmed) interests in the region that directly hit the US economy.

I think the possibility of chemical attack from Iran is unlikely. Iran's leadership can only win the same way the Hezbollah leadership can win against Israel, by winning the political war fought through the media. Thus, your scenario is a complete political loss for the US without Iran making first use of chemical weapons. No one in the world is going to easily forgive the US if it performs a strike against Iran, even its nuclear program, if it results in the sort of enormous economic impact worldwide that you mention. At $345 a barrel for oil Americans would be paying somewhere around $17 a gallon. How you think that is a political victory for the United States would be an interesting feat of political brilliance, since half the US and European population wouldn't be able to afford the gas necessary to get them to their job.

That isn't simply biting a bullet, that would be biting into the Tomahawk fired in your fiction.

zraver
01 Jun 07,, 04:55
no blowback?

no 1500+ small boat attacks? 1

no Revolutionary Guard SOF style strikes? 2

no mass attacks in Iraq? 3

no attack on Israel, but a chem attack against the Saudi's? 4

no ASuM attacks from any of the islands or platforms in the Gulf? 5

no minefields? 6

Your story assumes Iran would surrender before it even fights. What evidence is there, anywhere, to support this? It also assumes only conventional strikes, not asymmetrical, again, what evidence is there to support this?

I think you have also failed to see what the threat is from Iran. Virtually every threat is asymmetrical, even in the form of conventional truck mounted anti-ship missiles, and do the most damage to the US by attacking the vast number of commercial (unarmed) interests in the region that directly hit the US economy.

I think the possibility of chemical attack from Iran is unlikely. Iran's leadership can only win the same way the Hezbollah leadership can win against Israel, by winning the political war fought through the media. Thus, your scenario is a complete political loss for the US without Iran making first use of chemical weapons. No one in the world is going to easily forgive the US if it performs a strike against Iran, even its nuclear program, if it results in the sort of enormous economic impact worldwide that you mention. At $345 a barrel for oil Americans would be paying somewhere around $17 a gallon. How you think that is a political victory for the United States would be an interesting feat of political brilliance, since half the US and European population wouldn't be able to afford the gas necessary to get them to their job.

That isn't simply biting a bullet, that would be biting into the Tomahawk fired in your fiction.

1- small boats vs 2 carrier airwings and apaches out of Iraq, the tanker war proved that they can damage tankers but not sink them.

2- The RG guards may kill US soilders, or they may get stomped into the mud, but either way they wont keep a single ship or bomber out of the fight.

3- Again even a Tet style invasion suddenly appearing in Iraq depsite the USAF knocking out the bridges and rail/road hubs wont keep a single bomber or ship out of the fight

4- Iran cannot currently hit Israel with missiles, it does however target Suadi Arabia

5- Note the aegis ships I had deployed to shoot down the missiles, the missiles also need targets with no surface search radar or some other form of eyes what exaclty are the going to be aiming at? Thats why I had Iran firing blind

6- What exaclty is going to deploy the minefeilds? any surface combatant capable of mine deployment will be sunk and smaller dhows or other craft pressed into military use simply are not big enough to create mine belts. The tanker war showed mines to be a hazard when they drifted into shipping lanes becuase neither Iran or Iraq had enough ships to build true belts.

As for the rest of your post, I am sure you wanted an Iran powns the US responce but thats not going to happen. The US is called a hyper-power for a reason. How exactly are those truck mounted anti-shipping missiles going to have a major impact without guidence? I had the US conducting a complete info-grid take down for a reason, it is a capability they demonstrated during the OIF invasion. The US also demonstrated the ability to spoof orders and get inside the enemy chain of command and decision cycle via cyber and info-war strategies.

Iran might or might not be able to handle the US Army in Iraq, but Iraq is no Lebanon and the US Army is not Israel and is quite capable of handling itself. Hell under my scenerio they could simply pull into the Greenzone and watch the fireworks on the evening Pentagon breifing-I described a Navy-Airforce war.

The simple fact is Iran is in no way prepared to take on the US in a war the US picks and in a war the US dictates the nature and tempo of. The spike in oil prices would hurt and hurt bad but again the fallout would not hit until it was too late. A Modern economy has enough resilence to last a couple of weeks at any price of oil, namely becuase the contracts for oil already in transit have been signed long ago and the goverments can lock the price without costing the oil companies a dime in the short run. The US has the power to remove Iran as a player in a matter of days. Long before the pre-war oil even finishes reaching its ports of call.

As for the WMD attacks, Iran and Suadi Arabia have had scud type missiles aimed at each other for decades now, bet you didn't know that. And since those missiles are already targeted they can be fired without active guidence hence choosing King Khalid Military City for the "event." Iran used mustard gas in the Iran-Iraq war and there is no reason to assume she has dumped her chemical weapons stockpile, those missiles and WMD stockpiles are under religious control and a zealot will do anything.

I will have you note the "Pearl Harbor" allusion. The US with its satalites, electronic eves dropping and various other forms of intel including humint is quite capable of staging and keeping staged the assets nessecary to intiate a war and then unleashing those assets at will when they determine that an already vulnerable Iran is even more vulnerable. Such situations include inclement weather, a key figure going on vacation, a critical telephone exchange going down for 6 crucial hours for maintence etc the possibilites are endless and the US has the attackers advantage of picking the initial when and where to strike.

And yes, Iran will fold before she really gets into the fight, if you bothered to study US warfighting you will see we leave countries devestated. We target everything that might be of military value. Sure that water purification plant supplies the drinking water for a major city, but it also supplies the water for Garrison X "BOOM!" no more water purfication plant. Iran watched the US do this to Irag for years and the Iranian goverment does not have near the level of control Saddam did, if they let the war go on and put Iran into the stone age they will lose power. Even if they don't quit they lose the ability to fight back effectively at sea or in the air in just a few days. With US bases in Iraq and Afghanistan Iran is hemmed in with no where to go. It's obsolete Mig 29's and F-5 knock offs are no match for US Airpower, especially when they are fighting blind.

zraver
01 Jun 07,, 07:02
Did some quick digging online

Navy

Iran has 3 Kilo class SSK, 2 mini subs, and less than 20 credible surface combatants all but 3 smaller than destroyer class. The 3 destroyers might or might not be active, after than they have 5 Frigates, 2 corvettes, 22 FAC (M), 362 inshore craft non-missiel armed, 2 minelayers, 3 mine sweepers None of the Iranian naval craft mount the sunburn or chinese equivalent msot using much older chinese designs. The Most potent weapon apears to be the 21" super-cativating torpedoe but with only a 7km range its effectiveness vs the USN is doubtful.

Airforce

J-7 x20, Mirage F-1 x24, F-14 Tomcat x20(seriosuly degraded performance),Azarakhsh (improved F-5 type fighter) 20+, F-4 Phantom II x44, F-5 x44, Mig 29 x75

Ground/surface strike

Shafaq x20+, Su-24 x32, Su-25 x13 plus a number of AH-1 Cobra's and the locally prodcuced knockoff.

Anti-ship missiles

C-802 (comparable to Harpoon)
HY-2 Silkworm (SS-2-N Styx knockoff)
C-701 (super light ASM paternned after the US Maverick)
TL-10 (chinese copy of the exocet)

Airdefense

iran has a large inventory of SAM's and guns that have already been beaten time and again by modern counter measures. The countries limited supply of possibly more capable systems like the Tor is extremily limited (perhaps as few as 12 systems) and most likely concentrated around the reactors.

That is supposed to take on the United States and its allies and win?

zraver
01 Jun 07,, 09:55
Updated my "fiction" scenerio after a bit more reflection and Galrhan's points, hope you all enjoy.

Galrahn
01 Jun 07,, 14:45
I'd be curious if others have a take.

I'm not sure of zravors sources, but they are clearly open source and outdated.

Iranian RG forces have over 1500 armed, fast attack craft with weapons ranging from .50 cal to manpods to 57mm to torpedos to mortar launchers to anti-tank weapons. While only a mild threat to a major USN vessel, they represent major threats to ABOT and KAAOT, not to mention commercial traffic in the gulf.

Iranian naval forces currently deploy 31 craft between 600 - 2500 tons that carry ASMs. There are estimated to be over 40 mobile ASM launching trucks on islands like Kish, Abu Musa, and Greater and Lesser Tunb Islands alone, with several dozen more fixed and mobile launcher locations on the Iranian coastline itself. Iran has around 400 anti-ship missiles in inventory.

Iran has the 4th largest inventory of sea mines in the world, with the majority built or purchased since 1987 (in other words, modern sea mines, not the drift mines of the tanker wars). Iran ranks 2nd on the list in NATO of countries in the threat axis by use of sea mines, behind China but ahead of North Korea. A 1997 Army College thesis paper by LCDR John G. Walker concluded that as a result of its mine warfare area denial strategy, Iran was capable of deploying thousands of modern bottom mines from as many as 5 large and 200 small vessels. In a 2006 Naval War College thesis on Iranian Sea Denial Strategy that cites that article, it points out that Iran now deploys at least 5 mini-submarines able to deploy 16 mines each per sortie, and with over 6000 dwoh's leaving Iranian ports daily for fishing, the cluttered waters of the eastern Persian Gulf combined with its shallower water makes it extreamly difficult to identify individually Iranian fast attack craft that may be deploying mines. It points out that each mini sub can be completely resupplied logistically from a vehicle the size of a large truck from virtually any port able to support a dhow.

Iran has an estimated 1300 miles of tunnels developed along its western coast hill/mtn regions for the transport of military equipment underground, with concealed launch locations along the coast. While there are certainly ways to nuetralize the known locations from the air, it requires a large number of large weapons, which means they would require sorties from either heavy bombers or a large number of F-16s/F-18s.

My point is, while none of the threats are impossible challanges, a strike on Iran that prevents an effective or sustained blowback is one of the largest logistical challenges ever faced by the US Military. The threats from RG small boats and mines, the conventional air force and navy, combined with hard to target truck mounted ASMs represent the most difficult Sea Denial strategy the US Navy has faced since Leyte Gulf in 1944, against a Naval force that exercises more often than any other Middle Eastern countries Navy.

In 1987, the Navy lacked the helicopter aircraft and capability to observe enough Iranian small boats (at the time there were barely over 100), so the Army's TF 160 was deployed to launch its little bird helicopters from various warships and the Sea Base barge Hercules to provide assistance. A result of reviews from the tanker war and other changes to address small boat and mine warfare concerns has led the US Navy to develop several strategies just now coming around, including the ability for both Sierra's and Romoe's to deploy hellfire missiles, AESA radar on P-3s to provide "JOINT STARS" similar capability at sea, and a shift in focus to platforms that have resulted in the current LCS concept.

You have proposed a Naval force that includes less than 20 helicopters, around 10 fewer than the US utilized in 1987, to identify and nuetralize an Iranian small boat force nearly 15 times larger than the one in 1987. You have also accepted the near certain of economic collapse in major western nations as a strategic victory. Sorry zravor, I was hoping for a serious discussion, not a Tom Clancy novell. My bad.

zraver
01 Jun 07,, 16:10
Really,

Many of those fast craft are nothing more than large jetski's with RPG's, large amount of mines still requires deployment, the magority of thier missiles are about the size of the US Maverick and designed for lightweight craft under 160 tons your line of thinking still requires Iran beign able to co-ordinate a comphrehensive campaign despite the US's well known and proven ability to take down an enemies infomation networks. It also requires than Iran be able to wage a war with the support of its population base somethign is does not have.

Nor have I assumed economic collpase, What I assume is that there is enough oil in transit to outlast the war. But hey beleive what ever you want about your Iranian super men. However one thing is clear if Iran get close to gettign the bomb then the likely hood of an uncrolled war intiiated by Israel goes sky high and that would leave the strait closed.

Now I don't have reliable figures but how many patrol type craft does the Coalition and WoT forces have and how many can the Gulf Arabs add? What is the operational range of most of thier craft? What do you feel is the minimum number of surfact combatants to keep the straits of Hormuz open? Iran may slag the Iraqi oil platforms but do they have an realistic capability of reaching the rest of the Gulf states loading terminals with enough force to do anything?

Also in may scenerio the birds are not just watching- thier feasting in a free fire zone. Hidden tunnels and truck mounted missiels increase durability but they do nothing to counter the US's massive electronic advantage, those fast boats would still be sallying out blind and heading for likely choke points a perfect spot for the US to concentrate its power for maximu effect. This isn't 1987 wher ethe US is escorting and dishing out mild reprisals this (mt scenerio) is GW Bush playing cowboy one last time.

How long do you think Iran can sustain a level of operations sufficient to keep the Gulf effectively closed? Remember that any such action also hurts them and thier shaky doemstic politcal base.

omon
01 Jun 07,, 16:20
why not just drop a dozen of emp bombs? with no power nothing happens, they can,t enrich uranium by hand. plus they will have other problems to take care of.

Galrahn
01 Jun 07,, 22:02
How long do you think Iran can sustain a level of operations sufficient to keep the Gulf effectively closed? Remember that any such action also hurts them and thier shaky doemstic politcal base.

Iranian super men? Did I insult you? Is this getting personal? It shouldn't simply because we see things differently.

The US operates around 14 armed vessels of various patrol boat classes in the region, includign Kuwait, Bahrain, and Iraq. I don't have an accurate count of allied boats, but I am unsure who would actually be an ally in any such conflict unless directly attacked by Iran.

I think you ask another good question. The key for Iran to keeping the Gulf closed is the amount of time it takes its opponents to clear threats from Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb. That job is going to require boots on the ground. There are reported to be between 4000 - 8000 troops on Abu Musa alone, depending upon the source. Abu Musa is within only 25km of the only deep water channel out of the Persian Gulf able to support large super tankers, meaning the island is the answer to your question.

Finally while I am uncertain of your military background, I can tell it isn't Navy. Minesweeping is difficult anyway, and minesweeping within range of the enemy might be impossible if the minesweepers are in range. The most important part of minesweeping though is patience, because it takes time to be good at it, and it takes time to be effective at it. It took the US Navy, the Royal Navy, and other allies over 2 weeks to clear a channel through the mines in OIF to deliver supplies from sea to an Iraqi port, and that was with no threats to the mine demolition teams and a detailed map of the minefield in the harbor. Think about it, how long do you think it might take to clear mines without a map, likely under attack, and potentially with damaged ships in the area creating blockades in the only known deep water channel?

I said it before and I'll say it again, the greatest strategic challange from Iran in a strike scenario isn't the military strike aspect, it is the prevention of blowback and the logistical challange of having assets on demand to mitigate problems that result from the fog of war. The greatest tactical challange is being creative enough with the assets availble, and the inventory is enormous btw, to mitigate the problems that could be posed by asymetrical warfare, mine warfare, and island warfare on a large scale in one of the worlds most populated commercial zones at sea.

Are you going to bomb all the oil platforms? If not, how will you negate their radar systems as a targetting mechanism for anti-ship missiles?

How will you deal with the small boat problem in the Gulf? he Persian Gulf on JOINT STARS looks like a stary sky on a clear night. How will you identify each craft to seperate friend from foe?

How will you remove a disabled 150,000 ton supertanker on fire in the deep water channel?

How will you prevent the destruction of the Iraqi oil terminals?

How will you defend the oil terminals of the US allies from ballistic missile, surface, or submarine threats?

How do you respond to IRG attacks on commercial traffic in the Straits of Hormuz from UAE soil?

You dismissed my question with a JDAM and a Tomahawk. Thanks, but I'm actually looking for a more thoughtful discussion. I think the strike scenario can be achieved without blowback or political defeat, but I think it is going to require assets like, Marines, which most people outright dismiss in the Iranian strike scenario.

On your last point, I believe a US attack on Iran could solve their domestic political problems, not enhance them, if not done the right way politically.

Some history, because history always matters.

Operation Earnest Will (http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/jfq_pubs/0629.pdf)

or Operation Preying Mantis:


FAIR USE NOTICE
This post contains copyrighted material, which is reproduced under the Fair Use Provision of Title 17, U.S.C. Section 107, and is posted for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, or research. This material is posted without profit for the benefit of those who, by accessing this post, are expressing a prior interest in this information for research and educational purposes.



Proceedings, U.S. Naval Institute 66 (May 1989)
© 1989 United States Naval Institute
The Surface View: Operation Praying Mantis

By
Captain J. B. Perkins III, U.S. Navy

For the escorts of Battle Group Foxtrot, preparations for the 18 April 1988 Operation Praying Mantis began in the southern California operating area ten months earlier. From this first underway period as a unit, the Battle Group Commander, Rear Admiral Guy Zeller (Commander Cruiser Destroyer Group Three) had insisted on a rigorous set of exercises to prepare for the upcoming tour on station in the North Arabian Sea (NAS). Initially, the ships drilled hard at interpreting rules of engagement (ROE) and at devising means to counter small high-speed surface craft (e.g., Boghammers) and low, slow-flying aircraft-both of which abound in and around the Persian Gulf. We later added exercises stressing anti-Silkworm (an Iranian surface-to-surface missile) tactics, boarding and search, Sledgehammer (a procedure to vector attack aircraft to a surface threat), convoy escort procedures, naval gunfire support (NGFS), and mine detection and destruction exercises.

We practiced in every environment-in the Bering Sea during November, throughout our transit to the Western Pacific and Indian Ocean, and on station in the NAS. During the battle group evolution off Hawaii in January, we executed a 96-hour Persian Gulf scenario, with a three submarine threat overlaid. We conducted live, coordinated Harpoon missile firings in southern California and off Hawaii, dropped Rockeye, Skipper, and laser-guided bombs (LGBs) on high-speed targets off Point Mugu and Hawaii and drilled, drilled, drilled. By late March, each ship had completed dozens of these exercises, and we were considering easing the pace and working on ways to make the exercises more interesting, as the day approached when the Forrestal (CV-59) battle group would relieve us. Such philosophic discussions ended abruptly when the USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG-58) hit a mine on 14 April.

Four battle group ships en route to a port call in Mombasa were turned around, and the USS Joseph Strauss (DDG-16) and USS Bagley (FF-1069) raced north, refueled from the USS Wabash (AOR-5) and steamed through the Strait of Hormuz at more than 25 knots to join teammates, the USS Merrill (DD-976) and USS Lynde McCormick (DDG-8) . They, and their Middle East Force (MEF) counterparts, the USS Simpson (FFG-56), USS O'Brien (DD-975), USS Jack Williams (FFG-24), USS Wainwright (CG-28) , USS Gary (FFG-51), and USS Trenton (LPD-14) repositioned at high speed as the plan was developed. In the NAS, the USS Enterprise (CVN65) closed to within 120 nautical miles of the Strait of Hormuz. Her escorts, the USS Reasoner (FF-1063) and Trurtun (CGN-35), were stationed to counter the potential small combatant threat in the Strait, and the air threat from Chah Bahar.

Table 1 U.S. Naval Order of Battle

OTC: Commander Joint Task Force Middle East

(Embarked on the Coronado) Battle Group Commander:

ComCruDesGru Three (Embarked on the Enterprise)

SAG Bravo:

OSC: ComDesRon Nine (Embarked on the Merrill)

USS Merrill (1 SH-2F)

USS Lynde McCormick

USS Trenton (1 SH-60B)

MAGTF 2-88 (4 AH-IT, 2 UH-1, 2 CH-46)


SAG Charlie:

OSC: CO, USS Wainwright

USS Wainwright

USS Bagley (1 SH-2F)

USS Simpson (1 SH-60B, I UH-60)

SEAL Platoon


SAG Delta:

OSC: ComDesRon Twenty Two (Embarked on the Jack Williams)

USS Jack Williams (2 SH-2F)

USS O'Brien (2 SH-2F, I UH-60)

USS Joseph Strauss

CVW-11 CAP/SUCAP Support

On 16 April, I flew with Lieutenant Commander Mark "Micro" Cessnock -- my one-officer "battle micro staff"- from the Enterprise to Bahrain at the direction of Commander, Joint Task Force Middle East (CJTFME). Rear Admiral Anthony Less, to assist in planning and executing the response. We were joined on the flagship, the USS Coronado (AGF-Il), by the MEF Destroyer Squadron Commander and began working on the plan with the CJTFME staff and other players. The objectives were clear:


Sink the Iranian Saam-class frigate Sabulan or a suitable substitute.

Neutralize the surveillance posts on the Sassan and Sirri gas/oil separation platforms (GOSPs) and the Rahkish GOSP, if sinking a ship was not practicable.

There were also a number of caveats (avoid civilian casualties and collateral damage, limit adverse environmental effects) to ensure that this was in fact a "proportional response."


It was a long night, but by 0330 on 17 April we had developed a plan. We formed three surface action groups, each containing both battle group and MEF ships, that were to operate independently but still be mutually supportive. Surface Action Group (SAG) Bravo was assigned Sassan (and Rahkish), SAG Charlie, Siril, and SAG Delta, the Sabalan. The Gary was our free safety, a lone sentinel on the northern flank protecting the barges. Each SAG commander had an objective and a simple communications plan to direct our forces, to coordinate if required, and to report to CJFTME.


Both GOSPs were to be attacked in the same fashion: we would warn the occupants and give them five minutes to leave the platform, take out any remaining Iranians with naval gunfire, insert a raid force (Marine reconnaissance unit at Sassan/SEALs at Sirri) on the platform, plant demolition charges, and destroy the surveillance post. Colonel Bill Rakow, Commander of Marine Air-Ground Task Force (MAGTF) 2-88, and I developed a plan to coordinate NGFS and Cobra landing zone preparatory fire and discussed criteria for committing the raid force, which included the possibilities of die-hard defenders, secondary explosions, and booby traps.


At first light, as SAG Bravo approached the Sassan GOSP, the Trenton began launching helos, including the LAMPS-Ill from the Samuel B. Roberts, which we used for surface surveillance. The GOSP appeared unalerted as we came into view from the southwest and turned to a northerly firing course -- our gun target line was limited by a United Arab Emirates oil field three nautical miles south of Sassan and a large hydrogen sulfide tank on the northern end of the GOSP. H-Hour was set at 0800; at 0755, we warned the Sassan GOSP inhabitants in Farsi and English.

"You have five minutes to abandon the platform; I intend to destroy it at 0800."

This transmission stimulated a good deal of interest and activity among a growing group of Iranians, milling about on the roof of the living quarters. Several men manned their 23-mm. gun and trained it on the Merrill about 5,000 yards away, but many more headed for the two tugs tied up alongside the platform. One tug left almost immediately, and the other departed with about 30 men on board soon afterward. The VHF radio blared a cacophony of English and Farsi as the GOSP occupants simultaneously reported to (screamed at) naval headquarters and pleaded with us for more time. At 0804, we told the inhabitants that their time was up and commenced firing at the gun emplacement. This was not a classic NGFS mission; I had decided on airbursts over the GOSP to pin down personnel and destroy command-and-control antennae, but to avoid holing potential helo landing surfaces.


At the first muzzle flash from the Merrill's 5-inch mount 51, the Iranian 23-mm. gun mount opened up, getting the attention of the ship's bridge and topside watchstanders. The Merrill immediately silenced the Iranian gun with a direct hit, and encountered no further opposition. After about 50 rounds had exploded over the southern half of the GOSP, a large crowd of converted martyrs gathered at the northern end. At this point, we checked fire and permitted a tug to return and pick up what appeared to be the rest of the Sassan GOSP occupants. Following this exodus, the Merrill and the Lynde McCormick alternated firing airbursts over the entire GOSP (less the hydrogen sulfide tank), and we watched the platform closely for any sign of activity but saw none. As this preparatory NGFS progressed, Colonel Rakow and I selected 0925 as the time to land his raid force. In a closely coordinated sequence, the ships checked fire, Cobra gunships delivered covering fire, and the UR-1 and CH-46 helos inserted the Marines via fast rope. It was a textbook assault, and I caught myself stopping to admire it. Despite some tense moments when Iranian ammunition stores cooked off, the platform was fully secured in about 30 minutes, and the demolition and intelligence-gathering teams flew to the GOSP. About two hours later, 1,500 pounds of plastic explosives were detonated by remote control, turning the GOSP into an inferno.


Meanwhile, the fog of war had closed in periodically. First, a United Arab Emirates patrol boat approached at high speed from the northwest. We evaluated it as a possible Boghammer-a popular classification that day. It could be engaged under the ROE, but we just identified it and asked it to remain clear. Later, we reconstituted SAG Bravo and headed north to attack Rahkish GOSP, for no ship had yet been located and sunk. A Cobra helo crew, our closest air asset, evaluated a 25-knot contact closing from the northeast as a warship. This quickly took shape as a "possible Iranian Saam FFG," and the Merrill made preparations to launch a Harpoon attack. We then asked for further descriptive information and ultimately for a bull number. The contact turned out to be a Soviet Sovremennyy-cIass DDG. The skipper, when asked his intention, replied with a heavy accent, "I vant to take peectures for heestory." We breathed easier. Shortly after that, SAG Bravo was instructed to proceed at full speed to the eastern Gulf, in response to Boghammer attacks in the Mubarek oil field. That ended our participation in the day's fireworks.


At the Sirri GOSP, the sequence of events began essentially the same way they did at Sassan. SAG Charlie gave warnings on time, most of the occupants departed on a tug, and the Wainwright, Bagley, and Simpson commenced fire about 0815. Sirri was an active oil-producing platform, however, and one of the initial rounds hit a compressed gas tank, setting the GOSP ablaze and incinerating the gun crew. Thus, it became unnecessary to insert the SEAL platoon.


With the primary mission accomplished, SAG Charlie patrolled the area. About three hours later, they detected the approach of an Iranian Kaman patrol boat, which the Bagley's LAMPS-I identified as the Joshan. As the patrol boat closed, the SAG commander repeatedly warned the Iranian that he was standing into danger and advised him to alter course and depart the area. When his direction was ignored, the U.S. commander requested and was granted "weapons free" by CJTFME. He then advised the

Joshan:

"Stop your engines and abandon ship; I intend to sink you."

After thinking this communication over, the Joshan 's CO apparently decided to go out firing and launched his only remaining Harpoon. The three SAG Charlie ships, now in a line abreast at 26,000 yards, and the Bagley's LAMPS simultaneously detected the launch and maneuvered and launched chaff. The Harpoon passed down the Wainwright's starboard side close aboard (the seeker may not have activated) and was answered by a volley of SM-1 missiles from the Simpson and the Wainwright. Four missiles fired; four hits. An additional SM-1 (a hit) and a Harpoon (a miss, probably resulting from the sinking Joshan's sudden lack of freeboard) were fired, and the patrol boat was eventually sunk with gunfire.

SAG Charlie had still more opportunities to modify the Iranian naval order of battle when an F-4 made a high-speed approach just prior to the sinking of the Joshan hulk (SAG Bravo also detected approaching F-4s, but those dove to the deck and departed as they reached SM-1 range). The Wainwright is SM-2 equipped. As the F-4 continued to close, ignoring warnings on both military and internal air defense circuits, the SAG Commander fired two missiles and hit the Iranian aircraft. Only the pilot's heroic efforts enabled the Iranians to recover the badly damaged aircraft at Bandar Abbas. At this point, SAG Charlie was through for the day, as well.

For SAG Delta, it had been a frustrating night and day of following up intelligence leads and electronic sniffs as they tried to locate the Sabalan. Various reports had held her in port or close to Bandar Abbas with engineering problems. The tempo picked up when the U.S. civilian tug Willy Tide and a U.S. oil platform were attacked by Iranian Boghammers near the Saleh and Mubarek oil fields. The Joseph Strauss provided initial vectors that assisted the A-6s in locating and destroying one of these high-speed craft and chasing the others onto the beach at Abu Musa Island. Following this successful tactical air engagement, an Iranian Saam-class frigate, the Sahand, was discovered proceeding southwest at high speed toward the Mubarek and Suleb fields, perhaps as part of a preplanned Iranian response to the GOSP attacks. Another CVW-11 A-6 detected her when it flew low for a visual identification. Pursued by antiaircraft fire, the A-6 evaded and reattacked with Harpoon, Skipper, and a laser-guided bomb. This brought the Sahand dead in the water as SAG Delta closed on the position at high speed. The Joseph Strauss conducted a coordinated Harpoon attack with the A-6's wingman, achieving near-simultaneous times on target in the first-ever coordinated Harpoon attack in combat.

Although this was the SAG's final participation in the day's attack on Iranian forces, their location in the crowded waters of the Strait of Hormuz-closest to the Bandar Abbas naval base and airfield-led to several tense moments. Reports of Iranian Silkworm antiship missile firings and the apparent presence of targeting aircraft caused the SAG to fire SM-1 missiles at suspected air contacts and in several other near engagements. Because of the concentrated effort of both Battle Group Foxtrot and SAG Delta assets--with special credit going to the E-2C and F-14 aircrews-however, there were no blue-on-blue or blue-on-white engagements. These results reflect an extraordinary degree of discipline on the part of ship and air crews, as well as a bit of good luck, in this area jammed with so many oil platforms, neutral naval and merchant ships, small craft, and civilian aircraft.

As the sun set on 18 April, all objectives of Operation Praying Mantis had been achieved. There were no civilian or U.S. casualties, and collateral damage was nil. The Iranian war effort had been struck a decisive and devastating blow. Tactics and procedures that had been honed over the previous nine months had been dramatically validated, but a number of lessons were (re)learned which should be reviewed by commanders in future "proportional responses" of this sort. They include:

KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid. Simple plans, with clear objectives and a minimum of interdependence and rudder orders from higher authority are most effective.

Force Integration: Pairing up disparate forces (e.g., at least one MEF and one battle group ship in each SAG; co-locating SAG and MAGTF commanders) is essential in a joint-or multiple task group-operation.

Surface Surveillance: Air assets, fixed wing and helos, are essential to force protection, targeting, and battle damage assessment. Visual identification is almost always required; especially in areas with high white and blue shipping densities.

"Proportional" responses: Classic contingency plans do not contain such options and should. The order to respond will leave little time to plan and collect intelligence.

Linguistic support: The Farsi linguist was indispensable; both in communicating with the Iranians and in gleaning intelligence from clear radio circuits.

GOSP destruction: This was not classic NGFS since the goal was to clear the platform, not destroy it. Their distinctive construction makes shooting off platform legs a non-starter and a waste of ammunition (we fired 208 rounds total at both Sassan and Sirti). Airbursts were effective for this mission but mechanical time fuse ammunition was in short supply.

Warnings: Warning an armed GOSP-or worse, a warship-prior to opening fire may register high on the humane scale, but it clearly ranks low in terms of relative tactical advantage. We should rethink this requirement.

Missile performance: SM-1 in the surface mode worked very well (five fired; five hits), which is better than my earlier experiences. With its high speed, it should be the weapon of choice in a line-of-sight engagement. Harpoon performance was good, and its use as a "stopper' '-even at relatively short range and in proximity of other shipping-was validated.

Fog of war: Karl von Clausewitz was right; it is always there. Commanding officers need to think through, talk through, and exercise in as many scenarios as possible with their watch teams. There is no cookbook solution to the problem of deciding when to shoot and when to take one more look first.

Most of us believe in the deterrent value of sea power and hope that by such strength we will successfully avoid conflict. Should deterrence fail, however, and hostilities occur, each of us wants to be there to act swiftly and decisively. Such was the opportunity presented to the ships and aircraft of Battle Group Foxtrot and the Middle East Force on 18 April 1988, and their crews did themselves, and all Americans, proud.

zravor, I have not assumed nor implied you to be ignorant or idiotic. I would appreciate if you would show me the same courtesy in this discussion.

zraver
02 Jun 07,, 04:23
Iranian super men? Did I insult you? Is this getting personal? It shouldn't simply because we see things differently.

The US operates around 14 armed vessels of various patrol boat classes in the region, includign Kuwait, Bahrain, and Iraq. I don't have an accurate count of allied boats, but I am unsure who would actually be an ally in any such conflict unless directly attacked by Iran.

I think you ask another good question. The key for Iran to keeping the Gulf closed is the amount of time it takes its opponents to clear threats from Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb. That job is going to require boots on the ground. There are reported to be between 4000 - 8000 troops on Abu Musa alone, depending upon the source. Abu Musa is within only 25km of the only deep water channel out of the Persian Gulf able to support large super tankers, meaning the island is the answer to your question.

Finally while I am uncertain of your military background, I can tell it isn't Navy. Minesweeping is difficult anyway, and minesweeping within range of the enemy might be impossible if the minesweepers are in range. The most important part of minesweeping though is patience, because it takes time to be good at it, and it takes time to be effective at it. It took the US Navy, the Royal Navy, and other allies over 2 weeks to clear a channel through the mines in OIF to deliver supplies from sea to an Iraqi port, and that was with no threats to the mine demolition teams and a detailed map of the minefield in the harbor. Think about it, how long do you think it might take to clear mines without a map, likely under attack, and potentially with damaged ships in the area creating blockades in the only known deep water channel?

I said it before and I'll say it again, the greatest strategic challange from Iran in a strike scenario isn't the military strike aspect, it is the prevention of blowback and the logistical challange of having assets on demand to mitigate problems that result from the fog of war. The greatest tactical challange is being creative enough with the assets availble, and the inventory is enormous btw, to mitigate the problems that could be posed by asymetrical warfare, mine warfare, and island warfare on a large scale in one of the worlds most populated commercial zones at sea.

Are you going to bomb all the oil platforms? If not, how will you negate their radar systems as a targetting mechanism for anti-ship missiles?

How will you deal with the small boat problem in the Gulf? he Persian Gulf on JOINT STARS looks like a stary sky on a clear night. How will you identify each craft to seperate friend from foe?

How will you remove a disabled 150,000 ton supertanker on fire in the deep water channel?

How will you prevent the destruction of the Iraqi oil terminals?

How will you defend the oil terminals of the US allies from ballistic missile, surface, or submarine threats?

How do you respond to IRG attacks on commercial traffic in the Straits of Hormuz from UAE soil?

You dismissed my question with a JDAM and a Tomahawk. Thanks, but I'm actually looking for a more thoughtful discussion. I think the strike scenario can be achieved without blowback or political defeat, but I think it is going to require assets like, Marines, which most people outright dismiss in the Iranian strike scenario.

On your last point, I believe a US attack on Iran could solve their domestic political problems, not enhance them, if not done the right way politically.

Some history, because history always matters.

Operation Earnest Will (http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/jel/jfq_pubs/0629.pdf)

or Operation Preying Mantis:



zravor, I have not assumed nor implied you to be ignorant or idiotic. I would appreciate if you would show me the same courtesy in this discussion.



Sorry, but I got the very clear impression you thought I was stupid, my apologies.

1- How will Iran deploy mines in militarily credible numbers after a suprise US attack?

2- HARM should do well for the oil platforms it strikes high enough tha tthe fire risk should be minimized

3- waters tend to celar very fast onc epeople realize thier is shooting going on. The article you provided infact makes zero refrence that i could see to dhaows and other msall craft getting in the way

4- Aegis class ships and PAC III batteries should do well to defend Saudi, Kuwaiti and Quataran platforms, the biggest risk to the Allies is actually Quatar's natural gas and the carriers they are floating megabombs, but I do not know if Iran has any credible means of hittign them.

5- From the morning of day 1 a convoy system will maximize protection for minimal losses, we did the same thing duirng the tanker war.

6- Naval tugs and salvage crews were able to keep the sea lances clear duirng the tanker war, I assume they can manage the same today.

7- I think the islands can be supressed effectively with airpower and bombardment during convoy runs probalby at night after day 1, you only need clear windows to get the ships through.

8- Mine density around Basra was quite a bit higher than it would be in a US/Iran war that the US initiated via suprise attack. Iran has alot of mines but few large scale minelayers

9- As seen in my "fiction: naval target numero uno are Iran's 5-6 submarines (3 Kilo, 2-3 minis)

10- Not aware of IRG assets on UAE territory- this has me for now

11- The Gulf states really don't have much choice but to escprt thier assets eithe rinto port or out of thw war zone thier economies depend on it. This makes them defacto allies in countering the IRG fast boat attacks, plus the US can throw in financial carrots and loss indemity for anyone who takes an active role in "Protecting the worlds energy supply."

Finally if the chpoice is war and depression now vs nuclear war and global economic ruin later then the hard choice has to be made. A Nuclear exchange between Iran and Israel is an absolutely must not happen event. I don't thoink anyone seriosuly doubtrs that Israel will turn as much of the region as possible into a glass sheet before they themselves are birned down. Do we really want to setthe stage where we really have to comtemplate witnessing the birth place of civillisation turned into the funeral pyre of civillisation?

oops forgot to add I am a former US Army Tanker (enlisted) 19E/19K/19X

Swift Sword
03 Jun 07,, 15:24
HI Guys,

Good thread; nitty gritty commentary on the possible dispositions by people who know is always illuminating.

I am not a big fan of strikes on reactor sites as being articulated here.

Given the nature of the problem at hand, I have not seen any convincing cost v. benefit analysis that really justifies such a strategy.

There is a marked tendancy for people to fixate on these reactor sites that is really counterproductive.

The yet unfinished reactor sites are the tail end of a vast industrial enterprise of enormous scope and complexity.

Uranium mines are on the front end with a myriad of steps in between that are critically dependent on rail activity, road nets, electrical grids, etc., etc., etc.

There are a vast array of options for rendering those reactor sites inoperative without dropping a bomb within a hundred klicks of the places.

Useful, low cost and deniable offsets to the Iranian nuclear program include fomenting unrest in the mining industry, feeding forged documents into the program at one or more levels, encouraging certain people to defect, sabotaging, perhaps by proxy, rail trestles, long distance transmission lines, etc., asassination of key personel, etc., etc.

The Iranians have already ratcheted up the level of confrantation by employing proxies against us in Iran, employing proxies against our interests and allies in Lebanon, running guns, contributions to the ambient skullduggery in Central and Southwest Asia, etc. They made the rules and they are rules we can easily play by at a much lower cost and risk than engaging in ill advised military adventurism of little or no near, medium or long term benefit.

Ultimately, the goal should be to disrupt the enemy's activity and cause him to shift resources away from his aim and this could very well (at least in my twisted little World view) be accomplished without firing a shot from anything bigger than a suppressed .22 LR.

If we smash the reactor sites before they are operational, we smash a bunch of concrete and steel and that is not exactly a commodity in a country running Hell for leather after enrichment technology. Too,the blowback from hitting a non functional site will be difficult to manage. If we smash the reactor sites after they become operational, the blow back will be ridiculously difficult to manage due to the introduction of a large number of variables that did not exist previously including some that are beyond accurate estimation such as environmental consequences in neighboring, friendly countries.

I say it 'em where it hurts and forget the reactors and their sites.

A more difficult, long term problem viz. Iran and nuclear proliferation: the political elites in Iran, whatever passes for the Senatorial, Patrician or whatever class, have, for almost fifty years perceived a security climate in which it was a matter of national neccessity to pursue a military capability that included fission weapons and the related energy program.

Even if OIF style regime change occurred in Iran tommorrow, the next government would most likely draw its talent from the same class of elites as the last government and they would almost certainly bring their views and
prejudices with them.

[SOAP BOX RANT MODE ON]

Nuclear proliferation is a product of perceptions of regional security climates. Ultimately, it will be halted by changes in perception or real changes in the security climate.

[SOAP BOX RANT MODE OFF]

Regards,

William

xerxes
06 Jun 07,, 04:51
Zraver, in my lowely civilian opinion, the problem with your fantastic scenario is that it is assumed that US waging an open war against Iran. Politically, that avenue is barred for the Iranian leadership as it invites disaster. Thus, a more realistic scenario (or 'likely scenario' for the lack of better term) would be that of a limited war where US military hands are somewhat tied in the back, but a war nonetheless.

Dreadnought
06 Jun 07,, 18:20
How would it play out? From a lil ole place called "Shangri La".:biggrin:

zraver
06 Jun 07,, 22:00
Zraver, in my lowely civilian opinion, the problem with your fantastic scenario is that it is assumed that US waging an open war against Iran. Politically, that avenue is barred for the Iranian leadership as it invites disaster. Thus, a more realistic scenario (or 'likely scenario' for the lack of better term) would be that of a limited war where US military hands are somewhat tied in the back, but a war nonetheless.

My scenerio relies on 2 things One that generals who favor RMA have the presidents ear, that Bush as a lame duck has nothing to lose, and polls show the Republicans with no chanc eof winning the whitehouse anyway. If those two things align then anything is possible.

zraver
09 Jun 07,, 03:39
It seems every other day a new news report is released one time saying war is imminent, the next that a crisis has been averted. Politicians are shuttling back and forth between various capitols, and the US or was it the EU has proposed some new measure of tough sounding but utterly worthless diplospeak. The world has been watching the Iranian nuclear emergency for a couple of years now. 1 part skepticism, 1 part dread, and 1 part morbid curiosity as two of the planets biggest egos collide. But what if the hawks win and we actually plunge into war? What will each side try and do to win the war it thinks it will fight?
Many people seem to think, that the modus operandi of the US in any war with Iran would be to send in the bombers, smash the nuclear facilities and fly home: war over. This is wishful thinking by a war weary and woefully under-informed public. While the nuclear question will probably be the issue that drives us over the brink. The real threat is to the tankers and the worlds energy supply. The reactors and enrichment sites are decidedly 2nd tier targets even if hit early for propaganda reasons. Any US strike will instead concentrate on clearing the Iranian military presence from the tanker lanes as the first step to victory. It will also be a sustained round-the-clock effort that will take warfare into the next frontier of war fighting.

US Actions

1- Force protection for the small patrol boats and oil platform crews operating in Iraq so close to Iran.

The recent seizure of the RN personnel sent a very clear message: mess with us and you'll see your sons and daughters on Al Jazzera

2- Oil tanker protection

Convoy systems under heavy guard is the best answer, but the first lonely hours of a shooting war would have a huge amount of tankers just sitting there waiting to be picked off by Iran. Probably the best response is USN and Gulf State helicopters and fixed wing aircraft they have the speed and capability to sink the Iranian boats and for the most part are immune to counter fire. Of course US subs would have to hunt the Kilo's as target number #1.

3- Oil/Gas platform protection.

The biggest items to be protected are Qatarís gas facilities and Iraq's oil platforms one for the sheer destructive potential if a fully loaded LNG bulk carrier went boom. The second (Iraq) has to be successfully defended for political reasons. Keeping Iraqís two facilities in play so close to Iran would be a slap in the face. Iran can probably take them with missiles, but the environmental risk there hurts Iran economically and politically.

4- Fleet protection

If the US is going to be the one pulling the trigger (and it should if it wants to win) it will pull its surface combatants into 3 distinct groups based on Missions. The Carriers will be out of the Gulf and into deep water where they can maneuver freely and hide in the vast blue Indian Ocean. Some of the Aegis class and type ships will be pulled close to the shipping platforms and Hi-Val targets to supplement Patriot Block III systems as ABM/ACM back stop. The third group including a few aegis vessels and a few more dedicated surface combatants as a convoy escort force. A fourth group will be USN/RN submarines that will be hunting Iranís subs and conducting cruise missile strikes. A general 5th group will be the Gulf States who initially will act to defend their national waters and later aid in convoy escort to safeguard their national economies.

5- Ground Force protection

Any strike on Iran will probably see its most immediate reaction via the Mahdi Army. However with even as little as 3 hours warning US and UK troops can bunker up and settle in for a siege while fighter bombers and attack helicopters back up mechanized columns setting out to give battle (Think Hue 1968)

Points 6-13 are not defensive but offensive oriented.

6 Missile guidance

Iran has a few islands and some drilling/shipping platforms that have to be taken out "ad initio" The islands will probably require a steady blanket of bomb trucks over the parts of the islands facing the convoy routes. The platforms can probably be taken out by HARM missiles and or commando operations. These strikes are crucial to deny Iran is best systems for course correction of it's anti-shipping missiles.

7 Sub hunting,

In a shooting war, no one will rest easy until Iran's submarines- especially its three Kilo's are sitting on the bottom of the Persian gulf as dead as the Shah in his grave. This mission is best done by USN/RN attack subs. The Kilo's have the best chance to sink a tanker, and those tankers will be the center of gravity.

8 Air denial

8a
If the US initiates a war, stealth bomber and cruise missile attacks will probably hit local airfields to atritt and delay the arrival of Iranian strike craft and fighters to give the US and its allies a chance to clear the war zone of as much shipping as possible

8b
Depth, US and Saudi F-15 backed by AWAC's can create a nearly Iranian proof bubble. Iran might challenge it initially in order to cover strike craft, but the Iranian Air Force isn't big enough or advanced enough to sustain any level of effort vs. a 1st rate western air force.

8c
Close, USN FA/-18's armed for a dual mission can cover the tankers and with a decent a2a armament can tackle any strike craft the leak through.
What all of this does is create an environment where Iranian airpower can not operate in large numbers or for very long. Iran faces a double trouble situation- pull enough fighters to cover the maritime strike craft and the reactors and political leadership are uncovered. Keep planes over the nuclear facilities and clerics and the maritime strike craft are doomed.

9- missile/stealth strikes

Backed by the most sophisticated electronics intelligence technologies, human intelligence assets and a real love for infrastructure take down, the areas near Bandar Abbas with any possible military value will be hit hard by Tomahawk cruise missiles and stealth craft. Major infiltration routes and assembly areas near the Iraqi border as well as Pasadran bases will also be hit.

10- Infowar

In any war vs. Iran look for the US to go cyber on their ass. Not only will the US continue its usual practice of targeting telephone exchanges and satellite relays, but she will also conduct an internet attack, C4SRI spoofing and full spectrum jamming of the combat zones aimed at taking down Iran's entire information grid. Iran will actually help this by having its senior leadership go into hiding. They haven't forgotten the 2000 pound laser guided bombs we sent after Saddam personally, or President Bushís very public reversal of Fordís 1976 Presidential Directive prohibiting the targeting of enemy leadership. This enforced scattering of the political and military leadership will add friction and build delays into Iran's response.

11- Nuclear option

If war breaks out Iran faces a hell of a choice, scram the reactors as a matter of national survival because of the risk of fallout if the US hits hot reactors. Or shut them down and risk assured attack as soon as the reactors are cool. They are dammed if they do and dammed if they don't. The US might not strike near a hot reactor, but they again they or Israel just might.

12- Political

12a
I don't think Britain will be a visible combatant from the beginning. Their VETO can be used to block China and Russia in the UNSC as long as they don't fight they can keep the US's hands free long enough to achieve the initial favorable military atmosphere the US needs to go to a round the clock campaign. This move would also allow Britain to exact a very punishing revenge for the seizure of its sailors.

12b
The Gulf States will back the US out of sheer national survival. They might not want war, but once the shooting start and their economies are on the line they will be forced by necessity to aid the coalition. If Iran can block the straights of Hormuz and keep it blocked they and the world's economy chokes to death.

12c
The US will not hold any punches, the war has to be over and the straits re-opened before the last of the oil already in transit gets unloaded. With Bush a very reckless president if Iran manages to hang on I would not put it past Bush or Cheney to push for a tactical nuclear strike(s) to neutralize the missile firing sites.

13 Mine warfare

I saved the worst for last, Iran has a huge inventory of mines and numerous means of at least small scale delivery. Using older mines in 1987 Iran and Iraq both showed how vulnerable the super tankers were. Even US warships occasionally fell prey to the floating killers. Any US drift towards war will need to be accompanied by a massive increase in anti-mine capability. This very focused surge could well tip the Iranians off and blow any pretext of surprise. However not having the right assets on hand could block the Persian Gulf and place the world into an economic tailspin.

Iran's Responses.

IR1- Mahdi surge in Iraq,

Iran undoubtedly intends for its militia allies to go berserk if she is attacked in an attempt to tie up however much airpower they can and to simply inflict losses on US/UK troops. This is the easiest, surest, and cheapest way to get some measure of revenge on the US.

IR2- Prisoners

The raids on British sailors show that Iran still thinks in terms of the propaganda value that POW's offer vs. western public opinion. Even if they are wrong, I think they will try to snatch as many coalition troops as possible.

IR3- Missiles

I am not talking anti-ship missiles here, but surface to surface. Both Iran and Saudi Arabia have ballistic missiles aimed at each other, and Iran has mustard gas. While the block III Patriot/Aegis combo should provide a great deal of protection against ballistic attack. The outside chance that a WMD armed missile could leak through is of grave concern. Much more problematical would be a WMD armed missile hitting Israel. If Iran pops the WMD genie things go down hill fast. Vs the US under Bush thatís like bringing a dull knife to a tank duel.

IR4- Terror Attacks

Lets not kid ourselves, Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism with contacts, cells, and assets worldwide. Iran is also not stupid, even if it is rash, she has undoubtedly has planned for war with the US. Iran most likely has sleeper cells set to cause as much damage as possible for revenge and to sow confusion and fear. Iran knows if the US takes the gloves off her dreams of power are over so she has nothing to lose. Plus a war would be the perfect cover to go after the House of Saud and the pro-American ministers in Iraq. I also expect a global call to jihad, but this is just typical fare in these situations.

IR5- Cyber Attacks

Two can play the cyber game, Iran may not have the resources to take down the US, but she can cost the west billions if she uses her resources properly by attacking linchpin networks. Even a simple denial of service attack on Wall Street could cost the US a great deal of money. With the undeniable rise of the net, net warfare is the next frontier. It is already being used for propaganda and communication and just like the early aero plane the next step is offensive use.

IR6- Super Notes

The new US $100 are supposed to be counterfeit proof, but so where the old ones. If Iran has re-mastered the devious art of Supernote making she could launch a devastating attack on the worldís principle reserve currency which is already weaker than ever.

IR7- Dead Babies

Weather or not a US bomb goes off course and hits a school or the maternity ward of a charity hospital; we will be told that is what has happened. If Iran can create enough feelings of revulsion about the effects of US bombing in the Western news media she might be able to get her friends in the UN to act. It's a slim chance that the US will listen, at least initially but Iran has to try. If the bombs keep falling Iran looses in the end.

IR8- Naval Combat,

IR8a surface
Iran has a complex and confusing force structure split between the Navy and the Pasadran. However as both act in a maritime I role I will simply use the term navy. Iranís surface combatant capability is limited at best. Even its most numerous and effective craft are really set up for shooting war vs. modern warships. Instead their goal seems to be a surge into the Gulf to cause as much damage as possible by blitzing the super tankers. Most Iranian anti-ship missiles and torpedoes have limited effectiveness vs. warships, but 1987 proved that even light weapons can easily cripple a loaded super tanker.

IR8b shore based anti-ship missiles
Iran has a large fleet of truck mounted light and medium anti-ship missiles and a few batteries of larger and older Chinese weapons like the HY-2 Silkworm. Islands like Abu Musa, and Greater and Lesser Tunb Islands provide unsinkable missile boats. Iran is obviously banking that these sites can fire the missiles and the off shore platforms can guide them.

IR8c mines
Iran has a large inventory of mines, these pose a huge risk to the international tanker fleets supply the worlds energy needs. In fact mines might be Iranís most effective means of naval combat.

IR8d submarines
Iran has three very capable Kilo class SSK diesel electric submarines. If these hunters can get into the shipping channels undetected they can cause the world a huge amount of grief. Although they have limited range they are the one seaborne asset Iran has that can realistically be expected to survive outside the confined waters of the Persian Gulf. This freedom of action could make them hard to kill in the first few critical hours when the tankers would be the most vulnerable.


IR9- Air Combat

On first glance Iranís SU-24 and SU-25 craft give them a credible air strike capability. However once one factors US air power and information dominance into the equation the conclusion is that the threat from the air is probably the least dangerous part of Iranís arsenal. The only real chance of success for Iranís strike craft would require the Iranian military being the one initiating hostilities. In an environment blanketed by Eagles, Hornets and AWACís the Sukhios would be targets.

IR10 oil blockade

Iran lives for oil and lives off imported gasoline however in a war her goal will be to spike world wide prices upwards as much as possible. Her whole defensive posture is not so much to win a war but to insure that it is so expensive to the west that it never gets fought. However if it does get fought then Iran wants prices headed upwards as fast as possible in order to compel the west to reign in the US and itís allies.

Signs of war,

So when will the war start, will it start? I do not know but there are a couple of things that can be tracked to give indications that hostilities are imminent. Look for the Persian Gulf to be devoid of carriers as the USN pulls its chestnuts out of the fire. Also look for more minesweepers and anti-mine assets being in the area. These things are most easily achieved during a change of station which can also cover the surge in escorts that will be needed. In a strange twist of fate neither side can afford a long war so one side will have to cry uncle if the shooting starts. Militarily the US has a huge edge, and if Bush hadnít squandered US leadership with continuing folly of Iraq the US would also have the moral and economic edge to keep the world in line for a couple of weeks to prosecute its war. Now however the US has enough adversaries who will be negatively impacted by an oil war that it might well find itself subject to UN Resolutions.

Swift Sword
10 Jun 07,, 12:52
Hi Zraver,

That was good and comprehensive rundown of potential action. Nice work.

A couple of things to consider:

1. LNG tankers might not be the floating bombs everyone seems to think they are. The Bureau of Mines has a bunch of stuff on methane fires on water, etc. that makes for interesting reading.

2. Funny you should mention the Qatari gas industry. There are a lot of fun and games here for the bureaucrats, lawyers and other quibbling quislings to sort out such as joint ownership of some fields with the Iranians i.e. the South Pars block of Qatari North.

Too, the sprawling nature of the economic activity related to gas production and output lend themselves to simple offsets like rocket propelled grenades and mortar attack.

Qatar is a huge gas exporter as you already know and has the World's third largest reserves. CIA's WFB claims 60% of GDP and 70% of government revenue come from oil and gas activity. Any disruptive activity in thse areas is going to have immediate global repercussions and present a near term threat to the Qatari government with attendant instability and uncertainty.

Given the 25% Shiite makeup of Qatar, it is possible that the Iranians could have some cells there on cold standby to make trouble. (BUT...for the big but see below).

3. Populations around the Gulf States range from 20% to 60% Shiite and they are generally second class citizens. It is possible that Tehran may find some sympathizers or other proxies amongst them.

I would expect some degree of blowback from this quarter but there is a caveat.

The forementioned big BUT is this: these populations are on the West side of the Arabian Gulf and culturally Arab rather than Persian. This makes it difficult to accurately estimate their potential reaction but the possibility cannot be ignored.

A pre strike propaganda campaign might be in order targetting these populations with exhortations of Arab unity to prevent messages of Shiite solidarity emanating from Iran from gaining traction.

Too, diplomatic pressure might be applied to Gulf State governments to get them to at least promise reforms to rural Shiites and those among the urban proletariat in an effort to innoculate them against Irananian rabble rousers.

4. A tanker war could be prosecuted outside of the Gulf.

In point of fact, the Libyans (or so it is said) waged a mine campaign in the Red Sea to attack the Egyptian economy and met with some success.

By combinations of pre positioning and proxy, The Iranians could easily mine the Red Sea if they saw fit. Such activity could forward their agenda viz. Saudi Arabia.

Using proxies to mine or otherwise attack shipping in the Bosporus or better yet the Malaccan Straits would have the same systemic effects as disrupting shipping in the Gulf with the attendant economic damage to the U.S. and its allies without having to deal with the USN in the Gulf.

There are enough Islamic militants within shooting distance of the Malaccan Straits that it is possible that Tehran could find some proxies. Again, a freighter pre positioned with the mines might do the trick as well.

Just a few thoughts kind of regards,

Have a nice day,

William

Galrahn
10 Jun 07,, 13:22
In the Iranian wargames they did in February, one of the drills the Iranians supposedly did was a FAC assault/hijacking of a ship in the gulf.

I don't know the details of a LNG tankers being a floating bomb, but I imagine it makes for a hell of a kamikaze boat.

In one research paper that speculates Iranian responses in a war, one of the more interesting tactics outside the mines and FACs is the all out assault on tankers and cargo vessels, not to destroy, but to capture. The point would be then to use them as weapons, and put the United States or any other attacker in a position that THEY have to destroy the tankers in order to prevent a larger disaster.

Swift Sword
10 Jun 07,, 13:58
In one research paper that speculates Iranian responses in a war, one of the more interesting tactics outside the mines and FACs is the all out assault on tankers and cargo vessels, not to destroy, but to capture. The point would be then to use them as weapons, and put the United States or any other attacker in a position that THEY have to destroy the tankers in order to prevent a larger disaster.



Galrahn,

That is an interesting possibility.

Two things going for it:

1. Takes less resources and can be done stealthily as inside jobs;

2. Can be done outside of theater to the same effect.

On securing the tankers, shipping lanes, etc., it might be a vain effort.

If the Tanker War is any indication of what can happen, no amount of naval assets or military activity can trump the likely consequence: shipping insurance rates will most likely skyrocket to prohibitive levels and the Masters will just refuse to sail which is exactly what they should do.

Too, Lloyds might simply refuse to underwrite in many instances and that will be that.

Shareholder's and ship owner's interests are what will ultimately determine whether or not the tankers move regardless of what real or perceived security the USN can provide.

If history is to be our guide, we have to consider the possibility that we are speculating on a regional military solution to a global economic conundrum and that dog very well might not hunt.

William

zraver
10 Jun 07,, 15:28
Dealing with the hijakings, the only real solution that i can think of, and its by no means full proof is to hit the IRG barracks and mooring sites right off that bat to disable as many craft as possible and cause mass causalties among their crews.

Swifty, war outside Iran's imediate sphere of itnerest is impossible to predict, the only solution is for a global naval responce as each country surges its patrol forces in its own waters to keep the sea lanes open, not very likely.

On the bright side I don't think Iran will cause trouble in the straits of Mallacca, they are freidnly with the Indians and need Chinese politcal support in the UN to brign the bombing to a close as asoon as possible. The red sea seems more likely. Likewise i don''t think the Bosphorus is a target. Pissing off turkey gives the US an edge by aligning the Turks behind the Americans and putting the Kurds on the back burner.

I agree the shiite population could be trouble, hopefully most of the would be jihadist are already planted in Iraq, a few cells could do soem rela damage but hopefully no hordes will emerge.

I don't know how explosive a LNG t]bulk carrier is, but I know the USCG doesn't play games when taking one past Boston closing the water and air ways during the run. Also during the movie Syriana the ending was horrifically phrophetical.

Swift Sword
10 Jun 07,, 17:12
Dealing with the hijakings, the only real solution that i can think of, and its by no means full proof is to hit the IRG barracks and mooring sites right off that bat to disable as many craft as possible and cause mass causalties among their crews.

I hear you, brother!

Cluster bombs via Hornet and air/artillery scattered mines with repeat applications as neccessary ought to do, in my unprofessional opinion.

Certain types of persistent chemical agents (including anti material agents) would be the icing on that cake but "they" won't put me in charge of anything.

Working with industry to come up with some sort of "Tanker Marshall" program analogous to the vaunted Sky Marshall program might be an effective, low cost offset to partially ameliorate the hijacking scenario.


Swifty, war outside Iran's imediate sphere of itnerest is impossible to predict, the only solution is for a global naval responce as each country surges its patrol forces in its own waters to keep the sea lanes open, not very likely.

Though it may be impossible to predict, Iran has a proven capability to operate beyond its borders (e.g. Lebanon and Iraq) as well as a proven capability to operate beyond its region (e.g. South America). The danger is real and the threat is verifiable.

This being the case, nobody who knew anything at all would seriously consider any proposal that did not acknowledge the contingency.

The upside is that naval patrols and shore security for a tanker war outside of the region really, in the DOE's estimation, only need to be tight around 6 or 7 choke points, half of which are conveniently in theater for all intents and purposes.


On the bright side I don't think Iran will cause trouble in the straits of Mallacca, they are freidnly with the Indians and need Chinese politcal support in the UN to brign the bombing to a close as asoon as possible. The red sea seems more likely. Likewise i don''t think the Bosphorus is a target. Pissing off turkey gives the US an edge by aligning the Turks behind the Americans and putting the Kurds on the back burner.

Be that as it may, the enemy might choose his targets based on flag or lading bill which would be a pretty legit proposition and it is no great secret that half of the tanker shipping in the World AFAIK transits Straits of Malacca in a given year.

Though I have never been, research tends to indicate that those waters lend themselves to well to simple offsets.

IIRC, traffic is heavy, lanes are tight and some of the VLCCs and ULCCs might have as little as 20 feet 'tween keel and bottom :eek: . There is not much room for error before we introduce mines and shore fire into the equation.

Too, somebody with a beef against India, China, Iran, Turkey, Russia and/or the U.S. or some combination of the forementioned might take the opportunity of a shooting war to advance an agenda of their own ala agent provacateur by mounting operations in the Bosporus, Red Sea, Arabian Gulf, Straits of Malacca or elsewhere at their pleasure.

All of these countries alone or in combination have enemies.

If the Justice Commandos for the Armenian Genocide want to stick it to the Turks and Russians, they might use expanded war in the region as an opportunity to snipe at vessels transiting the Bosporous. Stranger things have happened in both peace and war.


I agree the shiite population could be trouble, hopefully most of the would be jihadist are already planted in Iraq, a few cells could do soem rela damage but hopefully no hordes will emerge.

Me too.

However, I have heard it said that "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure". This being the case, it is imperative that those demographic segments be propagandized in the run up to any military activity of the nature being discussed here.


I don't know how explosive a LNG t]bulk carrier is, but I know the USCG doesn't play games when taking one past Boston closing the water and air ways during the run. Also during the movie Syriana the ending was horrifically phrophetical.

"Is an LNG Ship a Floating Bomb?

No. LNG contains a great deal of energy, but so does a
pile of coal. LNG is a liquid that won’t burn until it
becomes a vapor, and the vapor won’t burn until it
mixes with air and becomes diluted to between 5 percent
and 15 percent LNG vapor in air. Above 15 percent,
there’s not enough air for it to burn, and below 5
percent, there’s not enough LNG vapor to burn. LNG
vapor clouds burn when they are in the 5-15-percent
dilution range, but they don’t explode. U.S. Coast
Guard tests have demonstrated that unconfined LNG
vapor clouds do not detonate, they only burn."

Source: Schneider, A., "LNG: Liquified Natural Gas", "Procceedings of the Marine Safety and Security Council", US DHS, USCG, Fall, 2005

Those pesky Boston liberals and the upper crust, beach front lawyers can smoke all the crack they want.

Besides, LNG into the Everett facility should'nt bug Beantown too much: DOE's own EIA in its "Outlook to 2025" has scenarios with import projections through that terminal pretty much flat. By their estimation, the action is at Cherry Point and Lake Charles.

Boston hardly sees any LNG shipments in the scheme of things. Tokyo, OTOH, just a bit more.

Eventually, the same people that are *****ing about LNG tankers in Boston Harbor will whine and complain that they are cold and/or sitting in the dark, no doubt.

Besides, I'm tying a little cash up on the Oslo Bourse that says the type of terminal at Everett is pretty much a dead proposition.

Regards,

William

glow
10 Jun 07,, 19:15
Somehow I kinda doubt nuclear facilities would be first choice for anyone to hit. I'm not saying research facilities but reactors I really doubt it. Cause look, Theres a lot of people in Iran, alot that don't support their current government soooo somehow I really don't think blowing up facilities in Iran and making Chernobyl look like a amusement park vs. multiple reactors F'ing up a country. I'm pretty sure this would make the world especially the middle easy ultimately extremely pissed off at everyone.

I mean c'mon on a radioactive mess isn't going to help anyone in this world.

zraver
10 Jun 07,, 20:18
Swifty, i agree with you 99%

the 1%

no US employed chemical agents

Glow,

a radioactive Iranian backwater province is prefferable to the nuclear destruction of the entire Middle east. If Iran gets the bomb and use sit on Israel, israel will not go alone. I'veheard reffered to as the Samson complex, that israel will hit every major target in the Middle East- Cairo, Damscus, Baghdad, Tehran, Mecca, Medina, Beruit etc forever ruinign those who killed her or wished her dead.

glow
10 Jun 07,, 22:07
Well your skipping steps, 1st they need to make one, 2nd they would need to arm it to a missile, 3rd they'de need to know if it works, 4th look at how they've worked so far making demmands vs. actions, and 5th Israel has some of the best intelligence in the world you don't think they'de strike first before Iran got a chance?

Some how I really don't thin Iran would all of a sudden be like gee lets start a nuclear war with Israel. I mean **** Israel has had nukes since the 50s Iran doesn't have any soooo..... Where's any bit of logic here? Remember few years ago we heard how Saddam was doing the same thing. Growing economy and Growing political power does't generally lead too mass suicide of it's people. Russia/ China didn't go all crazzy. Do I think Iran should have nukes? **** no. Do I think they want them as a show of force vs. to actually use them? Yeeup. Seems to be a trend in world powers.

Parihaka
11 Jun 07,, 00:22
Well your skipping steps, 1st they need to make one, 2nd they would need to arm it to a missile, 3rd they'de need to know if it works, 4th look at how they've worked so far making demmands vs. actions, and 5th Israel has some of the best intelligence in the world you don't think they'de strike first before Iran got a chance?

Some how I really don't thin Iran would all of a sudden be like gee lets start a nuclear war with Israel. I mean **** Israel has had nukes since the 50s Iran doesn't have any soooo..... Where's any bit of logic here? Remember few years ago we heard how Saddam was doing the same thing. Growing economy and Growing political power does't generally lead too mass suicide of it's people. Russia/ China didn't go all crazzy. Do I think Iran should have nukes? **** no. Do I think they want them as a show of force vs. to actually use them? Yeeup. Seems to be a trend in world powers.

Your ignoring the fact that having made one, all they need to deliver it is a truck.

glow
11 Jun 07,, 01:11
Even so what sort of bargaining chip/ threat would that be? They wouldn't have a chance to set off another before Tehran would be a wasteland. Just does't seem to have any point at all to be a rising power in a region to just throw that power away.

zraver
11 Jun 07,, 01:38
Even so what sort of bargaining chip/ threat would that be? They wouldn't have a chance to set off another before Tehran would be a wasteland. Just does't seem to have any point at all to be a rising power in a region to just throw that power away.


Your tryign to approach this rationally, where an external threat of nuclear oblivion would kepe people in line. Try approaching the issue from a mindset where internal doemstic control is the only major consoideration.

Parihaka
11 Jun 07,, 01:46
Your tryign to approach this rationally, where an external threat of nuclear oblivion would kepe people in line. Try approaching the issue from a mindset where internal doemstic control is the only major consoideration.

Exactly. The Sepah-e Pasdaran have only ever shown an ability to deal with local ideological issues on an ad-hoc basis, not any sort of rational play on the international stage, and it's those guys who are in charge.

zraver
11 Jun 07,, 02:32
Exactly. The Sepah-e Pasdaran have only ever shown an ability to deal with local ideological issues on an ad-hoc basis, not any sort of rational play on the international stage, and it's those guys who are in charge.

Not so much thsat they are in charge, but that they control acess to the ruling clerics. Forgive the Godwins law violation here, but we both know they are like the Waffen SS in tha they are diven by ideology. This acts as rose covered glasses and warps their perception of the world and events. Adding to this reality discnnect is the fact that they bassically act as the "Cheif of Staff" to the clerics.

Thus I bleeive the clerics are getitgn bad information that has already been ideologically altered and then they (clerics) further mentally modify it based on thier own perceptions and desires. Ameirca recently had a similar situation that landed us in Iraq without a clear plan of what to do if the bad guys didnt cry uncle.

glow
11 Jun 07,, 20:26
Your tryign to approach this rationally, where an external threat of nuclear oblivion would kepe people in line. Try approaching the issue from a mindset where internal doemstic control is the only major consoideration.

Like the Bush administration

zraver
11 Jun 07,, 23:30
Like the Bush administration

No, Bush is alot of things, but would be king is not one of them.

Galatican
03 Oct 08,, 13:02
Are the Iranians better fighters than the Arabs?

Although you asked this question sometime ago, allow me to contribute. Arabs have the reputation of being bad fighters, which is quite unfair and very incorrect. One must differentiate "Fighter" from "Soldier". Arabs are generally very good fighters (they have it in their blood....specially if they are tribal), but poor soldiers. To be a good fighter does not necessarilly require discipline; to be a good soldier does! Arab officers are generally bad; poor knowledge of strategy and leadership.

Iranians on the other hand, are a different bunch: they are better soldiers than fighters: They are not True Born fighters like the Arabs and need discipline to fight correctly. Iraninans have better Officers than the Arabs do, meaning better leadership. The Iranian Army is quite disciplined, compared to itīs neighbours - a Heritage from the Shahīs Army where Prussian Style discipline was fact.

Having said that, the most important issue here is motivation: Arabs are generally not very motivated, unless if related to tribal rivalries. Iranians on the other hand are highly motived by a mix of religious/nationalistic fervor, together with years of thorough indoctrination.