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    Hypothetical Military Action against Iran

    This has been a topic that has been addressed by a number of threads on the WAB and elsewhere but for me, a few questions still linger:

    -With major drawdowns projected of US military might from the Gulf, and with popular opinion shifting more towards focusing on the homeland; under what circumstances would it be deemed necessary for a military action against Iran? In other words, how bad would it have to get for the US and possibly its allies to respond militarily?

    -How would such an action commence? How would the Iranians fare against such an attack?

    -Short/long term implications?

    (For the sake of keeping the scenario simple, assume the status quo in terms of current US/NATO deployments and other relevant factors ie. Israel, Russian, China etc.)
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Team View Post
    This has been a topic that has been addressed by a number of threads on the WAB and elsewhere but for me, a few questions still linger:

    -With major drawdowns projected of US military might from the Gulf, and with popular opinion shifting more towards focusing on the homeland; under what circumstances would it be deemed necessary for a military action against Iran? In other words, how bad would it have to get for the US and possibly its allies to respond militarily?
    Undeniable proof of a weaponized nuclear program with a credible threat to develop a weapon in short order. .

    -How would such an action commence? How would the Iranians fare against such an attack?
    Open with stealth attacks on C4SRI and long range missile sites, follow with cruise missile attacks on interior targets and USN and USAF non-stealth air attacks on coastal radar sites and Iranian naval sites principally near bandar Abbas. Set up a rigid paroling of the straits of Hormuz by USN air assets. Take down of IIRG controlled off shore platforms and possibly the Tunds by SEAL/USMC assets.

    Organize tanker convoys.

    -Short/long term implications?
    $6-10 a gallon US gasoline prices, global recession, massive unemployment in the major industrial countries if the war continues, a depression cannot be ruled out.

    (For the sake of keeping the scenario simple, assume the status quo in terms of current US/NATO deployments and other relevant factors ie. Israel, Russian, China etc.)
    Israel- all bark no bite

    China will be opposed, a spike in oil prices and global recession will hurt them badly.

    Russia will complain publicly but privately be glad, they dont want another nucelar neighbor and would love to make Western Europe even more dependent on Russian Energy.

    India will complain for the same reasons as China.

    The Gulf Arabs will be a mixed bag, welcoming the chance to take Iran down a notch, but worried about protests and an inability to export oil and all the money they need to buy peace at home.

    Europe will be terrified, the threat of Iranian backed terror reprisals, loss of gulf oil and economic impacts.

    Egypt and Pakistan will make public statements in favor of Iran, Turkey will as well (but profit off of sanctions regardless).

    Karzai will of course stick another knife into his US/NATO backers.

    Japan will be hurt economically but will support the US to show up US resolve to support Japan vis a vis China.

    South Korea- same as China

    Iran's response will be primarily bog hammers and long range missiles with what reprisal attacks from what ever terror cells they have. Israel will be a prime target for obvious reasons. However the long rang emissile threat is minor to Israel and I believe the bog hammer attacks can be managed. The real threat in terms of damage will be shorter ranged ballistic missile attacks on the Gulf Arabs especially against Gulf Arab oil faculties. These missiles are much more numerous, more technologically developed, harder to intercept and they have an awful lot of targets.

    Canada will be thrilled- more oil to the US.

    Obama and the Dems will be crucified long term if the Keystone XL pipe line has not been approved.
    Last edited by zraver; 21 Feb 13, at 12:14.

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    Disagree on SK response. I believe they will be more like Japan at this point in time.

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    Quote Originally Posted by chanjyj View Post
    Disagree on SK response. I believe they will be more like Japan at this point in time.
    SK is sitting pretty at the moment, decent economy, good relations with both the US and China, increasing energy demands, disputes with Japan and still under perpetual threat from NK.

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    $6-10 a gallon US gasoline prices, global recession, massive unemployment in the major industrial countries if the war continues, a depression cannot be ruled out.
    the first is likely but at the lower end of the spectrum (this is why we have a strategic petroleum reserve).

    the second and third, not so much. there will be a sharp downturn in the stock market for the first week or so of combat but then as suppliers stabilize the market at a somewhat more expensive price, the stock market itself will stabilize. in the medium-term, reduced economic growth but no more than a moderate recession at worst.

    The Gulf Arabs will be a mixed bag, welcoming the chance to take Iran down a notch, but worried about protests and an inability to export oil and all the money they need to buy peace at home.
    protests are not going to be widespread; not much love lost for shias. the gulf arabs have been trying to get us to hit iran for years-- even the UAE, which has the most to lose.

    Obama and the Dems will be crucified long term if the Keystone XL pipe line has not been approved.
    highly unlikely. the oil industry's been getting around the pipeline via rail for over a year now, and the rail net is expanding at an exponential pace (Big Oil just announced some $1 billion worth of infrastructure expansion/rail depots in the area to accommodate the increased traffic). plus, internal fracking has expanded.

    and this is today.

    more likely there will be a short-term bump in obama's numbers as everyone rallies around the flag. it's likely the regime will be knocked off in a relatively short order, and it's also just as likely obama will take a lesson from iraq and afghanistan and not try to occupy the place. it won't mean much for obama, seeing as how this is his second term, but it will probably provide a small bump for dems overall if handled well.

    the most important piece is still the economy. if dems get hurt, it'll be because the war took longer than expected and we fall into the moderate recession above. but i don't find this the most likely scenario.
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    You suppose that having achieved a viable nuclear weapon that Iran is going to sit there and wait?

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    [QUOTE=astralis;904219]the first is likely but at the lower end of the spectrum (this is why we have a strategic petroleum reserve). We have 36 days of reserves. But as was shown before if it is released where it ends up is anyones' guess. Much of the Katrina release went to exporters. Oil is a globally traded commodity.

    the second
    The war would cause such a massive spike in prices that I believe a global recession would be unavoidable.

    and third not so much. there will be a sharp downturn in the stock market for the first week or so of combat but then as suppliers stabilize the market at a somewhat more expensive price, the stock market itself will stabilize. in the medium-term, reduced economic growth but no more than a moderate recession at worst.
    Your version or mine hinges on the ability of the US to manage the ballistic missiles fired at the Gulf Arabs and protect the tankers in the Gulf itself. I tend to think Iran has enough of both to make the eventual US win in these two areas a somewhat protracted affair.

    protests are not going to be widespread; not much love lost for shias. the gulf arabs have been trying to get us to hit iran for years-- even the UAE, which has the most to lose.
    The leaders have been. The average Arab on the street has very little love for Shia except when the Shia are attacked by infidels. Will the protests topple governments- no. Will they help inspire a new wave of jihadis- probably.

    highly unlikely. the oil industry's been getting around the pipeline via rail for over a year now, and the rail net is expanding at an exponential pace (Big Oil just announced some $1 billion worth of infrastructure expansion/rail depots in the area to accommodate the increased traffic). plus, internal fracking has expanded.
    None of that matters if oil prices spike and the GOP hangs Keystone around Obama's neck like an albatross.

    and this is today.

    more likely there will be a short-term bump in obama's numbers as everyone rallies around the flag.
    Very short term

    it's likely the regime will be knocked off in a relatively short order,
    Taliban, Serbia, Iraq, North Korea, Burma, South Africa... The west's ability to topple regimes externally in recent years has been dismal.

    and it's also just as likely Obama will take a lesson from iraq and afghanistan and not try to occupy the place. it won't mean much for obama, seeing as how this is his second term, but it will probably provide a small bump for dems overall if handled well.
    If the US can quickly defeat Iran militarily- Obama and the Dems win. If he can't and the oil prices spike and the global economy tanks he and they are done.

    the most important piece is still the economy. if dems get hurt, it'll be because the war took longer than expected and we fall into the moderate recession above. but i don't find this the most likely scenario.
    I would hope the recession is mild, but my gut says its going to be severe. The global economy has been too stressed for too long and the slack- financially, morally, emotionally and politically is gone. A war with Iran that hits oil prices is going to have a big shock effect, the longer it takes to secure the oil shipments- the bigger the shock.

    Some of the tactical challenges we would face regarding oil.

    How many Fateh-110 missiles does Iran have, how many can they salvo, how accurate are they, how hard are they to intercept, of thse we can intercept, how many can we shoot down before we run out of missiles?

    How many bigger missiles does Iran have rest as above...

    Terror and Quds force attacks on Gulf Arab oil shipping points?

    How many boghammers/ bog hammer crews can we kill in port, how hard are they to kill at sea?

    Taking the Tunds will be a major operation. Not sure it can be bombed out, its going to need Marines. The Tunds along with a couple of off shore platforms are critical to Iran being able to coordinate attacks on shipping.

    How fast can Iran lay mines v how fast can we clear them?

    Truck mounted anti-shipping missiles fired from around Bandar Abbas are going to remain a perpetual threat. If Iran can find a tanker in the Straits of Hormuz it can target it. For the most part these missiles wont sink a tanker, but they can do a lot of damage and impact insurance rates and thus oil prices.

    Is it a harmless Dhow fishing boat, or is it laying mines, reporting back info, smuggling assault squads? Is it Iranian, Omani, Kuwaiti?

    How many USN assets do we leave inside the Gulf? The fewer Aegis systems in the Gulf the more limited our anti-ballistic missile shield. Also, how many SM-3's per Aegis platform? They will be a lot harder to reload once the shooting starts.

    If we go to the UN, Iran gets to prepare, If we start the war, we get painted as the bad guys.

    Snapper,

    You suppose that having achieved a viable nuclear weapon that Iran is going to sit there and wait?
    Yes, its called a fait accompli. Iran knows that certain influential nations need the oil they have and will push to lessen sanctions once the bomb is a done deal. Afterall they can point out how the US reached an accommodation with India.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post
    Iran's response will be primarily bog hammers and long range missiles with what reprisal attacks from what ever terror cells they have. Israel will be a prime target for obvious reasons. However the long rang emissile threat is minor to Israel and I believe the bog hammer attacks can be managed. The real threat in terms of damage will be shorter ranged ballistic missile attacks on the Gulf Arabs especially against Gulf Arab oil faculties. These missiles are much more numerous, more technologically developed, harder to intercept and they have an awful lot of targets.
    While I agree that Iran would eventually go ballistic (no pun intended), and agree on the premise that the predominantly Sunni Gulf Arab powers would not have too many implicit qualms with such a military action....that brings to mind yet another question: what would be the reaction from a Shia-majorty Iraq, if at all relevant? From what I've gathered, the two countries have seen a dramatic warming of relations, not necessarily best buddies, but something to ponder.

    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Of course all of this presuposes we are even able to make it past the swarms of Iran's new, superior stealth fighters.
    I'm confident the collective genius of Mattel and Tonka are more than capable of countering the Iranians with the latest models China has to offer.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Team View Post
    that brings to mind yet another question: what would be the reaction from a Shia-majorty Iraq, if at all relevant? From what I've gathered, the two countries have seen a dramatic warming of relations, not necessarily best buddies, but something to ponder.
    Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan and Pakistan all serve as crossing points for smuggled goods into, and heroin out of Iran.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Red Team View Post
    While I agree that Iran would eventually go ballistic (no pun intended), and agree on the premise that the predominantly Sunni Gulf Arab powers would not have too many implicit qualms with such a military action....that brings to mind yet another question: what would be the reaction from a Shia-majorty Iraq, if at all relevant? From what I've gathered, the two countries have seen a dramatic warming of relations, not necessarily best buddies, but something to ponder.
    Public anger, private glee. Hopes the war drags on. The more diminished Tehran is the better. This puts Iraqis more firmly in the driver's seat of regional Shiites. The higher price oil goes the better.

    But internal divisions ensue: the oil needs to go through the north to Turkey. That brings Baghdad in conflict with the Kurds. Also, with Iran in crisis next door, Sunnis are emboldened. This causes fear and uncertainty in Baghdad. If the Iraqis are smart they will use the opportunity to bargain for more western support. If we are smart we will utilize this to create a new accomodation in Iraq.

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    Quote Originally Posted by zraver View Post

    $6-10 a gallon US gasoline prices, global recession, massive unemployment in the major industrial countries if the war continues, a depression cannot be ruled out.
    If it comes to that the Mullahs will be losing the coastline, and maybe the country in short order. We'll see them pop up on UAV cam. Iran is bigger, but also more unified than Iraq. That means it may be harder to swap out the government, but easier to keep it running once its in place.

    Can't imagine what would drive us to do it, don't believe there will be such a depression, etc., but if it looks about to happen, then an inordinate degree of ruthlessness will be utilized in short order.

    Israel- all bark no bite
    Except they will be taking the opportunity to reduce Hezbollah to the exact state above.

    China will be opposed, a spike in oil prices and global recession will hurt them badly.
    Agreed.

    Russia will complain publicly but privately be glad, they dont want another nucelar neighbor and would love to make Western Europe even more dependent on Russian Energy.
    And if it drags out they will sell weapons or they will get a very good price for their oil and gas.

    India will complain for the same reasons as China.
    Doesn't matter.

    The Gulf Arabs will be a mixed bag, welcoming the chance to take Iran down a notch, but worried about protests and an inability to export oil and all the money they need to buy peace at home.
    And they might think about new shipping routes for that oil

    Europe will be terrified, the threat of Iranian backed terror reprisals, loss of gulf oil and economic impacts.
    Terrified but impotent. In the end they need to help the US get it over with.

    Egypt and Pakistan will make public statements in favor of Iran,
    Doesn't matter.

    Turkey will as well (but profit off of sanctions regardless).
    Speaking of new transport routes.

    Karzai will of course stick another knife into his US/NATO backers.
    If he's still living at that point...

    Japan will be hurt economically but will support the US to show up US resolve to support Japan vis a vis China.
    And about that escort duty for those convoys..... What does China think about that prospect? and does not having Japan do this help get her silence?

    South Korea- same as China
    SK is fully supportive of US, seeing the situation in NK.

    Iran's response will be primarily bog hammers and long range missiles with what reprisal attacks from what ever terror cells they have. Israel will be a prime target for obvious reasons. However the long rang emissile threat is minor to Israel and I believe the bog hammer attacks can be managed. The real threat in terms of damage will be shorter ranged ballistic missile attacks on the Gulf Arabs especially against Gulf Arab oil faculties. These missiles are much more numerous, more technologically developed, harder to intercept and they have an awful lot of targets.
    Balanced against the realization that our weapons have CEP <5m with at 20 min kill chain. They need to properly determine the line at which those JDAMS will start falling on Mullahs instead of missile batteries, and keep intensity below that threshold.

    Canada will be thrilled- more oil to the US.

    Obama and the Dems will be crucified long term if the Keystone XL pipe line has not been approved.
    Or might be if it was still a world in which we are not the new Saudi Arabia of energy. As things are....

    At any rate, I don't think things will play out this way. If we strike we won't get as much taken out as we'd like, and if Iran strikes back they will smartly limit intensity to one that causes pain to prevent a repeat attack but not precipitate drastic action. They will have flair and panache but aim for enervating effect rather than galvanizing anger. What deeds we accomplish will kick the problem 5 years down the line at great cost to both sides, and the Mideast will still suck.

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    Quote Originally Posted by citanon View Post
    If it comes to that the Mullahs will be losing the coastline, and maybe the country in short order. We'll see them pop up on UAV cam. Iran is bigger, but also more unified than Iraq. That means it may be harder to swap out the government, but easier to keep it running once its in place.
    We don't have enough marines... Putting troops on the gorund would be a disaster for us. We need to fight an invasion-less war.

    Can't imagine what would drive us to do it, don't believe there will be such a depression, etc., but if it looks about to happen, then an inordinate degree of ruthlessness will be utilized in short order.
    Because I think we will start off pussy-footing it instead of going ruthless ad initio.

    Except they will be taking the opportunity to reduce Hezbollah to the exact state above.
    They got their asses handed to them last time...

    [qute]And if it drags out they will sell weapons or they will get a very good price for their oil and gas.[/quote]

    Agreed

    Doesn't matter.
    India is a major regional player and an ally the US needs

    And they might think about new shipping routes for that oil
    Where? North through Iraq to Turkey putting both in control of their economies? West across Arabia? KSA does that, but its their country.

    Terrified but impotent. In the end they need to help the US get it over with.
    More like we need NATO to win. USN counter-mine capability is weaksauce in its ratio of mine warfare ships to other combatants. Mine warfare is a mission normally assigned to allied NATO navies. The US has 9 mine warfare vessels. Compare this to Italy- 12, Spain- 6, Royal Navy- 15, Dutch Navy-6,


    Doesn't matter.
    Well, we could off set some of the cost of the war by cutting aid as soon as they do.

    Speaking of new transport routes.
    see above

    If he's still living at that point...
    still breathing now

    And about that escort duty for those convoys..... What does China think about that prospect? and does not having Japan do this help get her silence?
    Japan and Germany cant...

    SK is fully supportive of US, seeing the situation in NK.
    SK plays its own game. yes she is a US ally, but she is no UK or Au. Her focus is local, and as much as she watches the norks, she keeps an eye peeled behind her.

    Balanced against the realization that our weapons have CEP <5m with at 20 min kill chain. They need to properly determine the line at which those JDAMS will start falling on Mullahs instead of missile batteries, and keep intensity below that threshold.
    If war comes, Iran is all in. All our wonder weapons wont matter if we can't protect the oil from Iranian counter-strikes

    Or might be if it was still a world in which we are not the new Saudi Arabia of energy. As things are....
    We are a potential KSA in energy as far as it concerns LNG not oil.

    At any rate, I don't think things will play out this way. If we strike we won't get as much taken out as we'd like, and if Iran strikes back they will smartly limit intensity to one that causes pain to prevent a repeat attack but not precipitate drastic action. They will have flair and panache but aim for enervating effect rather than galvanizing anger. What deeds we accomplish will kick the problem 5 years down the line at great cost to both sides, and the Mideast will still suck.
    I think Iran goes all in, she has to beat the US to the point of at least status quo antebellum or lose everything. We are unlikely to go after Iranian oil facilities. If they can reduce what the Arabs can provide while being able to pick up at least some of the slack the world becomes very interested in a cease-fire.

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    I think you are all well off the mark. Consider first why Iran wants to be a nuclear power? Well not to use it as clearly any use invites massive retaliation. The point is to appreciate the price of oil, a commodity they have. Now do your conjectures again and bear in mind the gulf oil and the Caspian gas, which the Russians would love the grab the transport fees for - remember the South Ossetian grab? Why did the Russians do that? How does mining the Straits of Hormuz help Iran and what would be the cost? How would moving into Tiblisi help the Russians and what would the cost be? Suppose they both did it at the same time? Ask yourselves these questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by snapper View Post
    I think you are all well off the mark. Consider first why Iran wants to be a nuclear power? Well not to use it as clearly any use invites massive retaliation. The point is to appreciate the price of oil, a commodity they have. Now do your conjectures again and bear in mind the gulf oil and the Caspian gas, which the Russians would love the grab the transport fees for - remember the South Ossetian grab? Why did the Russians do that? How does mining the Straits of Hormuz help Iran and what would be the cost? How would moving into Tiblisi help the Russians and what would the cost be? Suppose they both did it at the same time? Ask yourselves these questions.
    South Ossetia is land locked...

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    I have serious doubts about the US be able to pull it off, regardless of all discussed so far. There is the issue of what-to-do EVEN if you topple the regime, and Iran is no pushover.

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