April 25, 2006

Iran Strategies 5: the Joint-Stike Attack

Hatched by Dafydd

This is a modification of Iran Strategies 0: Re-examining the "Default Assault". The first four Iran Strategies (in order of posting) were:

  1. Iran Strategies 1: the Guillotine Gambit
  2. Iran Strategies 2: Beachhead Bingo, and
  3. Iran Strategies 3: Re-examining the "Default Assault"
  4. Iran Strategies 4: the Econostrike

In Iran Strategies 3, we discussed "an all-out attack on all known and suspected nuclear sites, in an effort to utterly destroy Iran's entire nuclear program." Iran Strategies 5 is an "add-on" to this approach.

We start with the premise that Iran will surely retaliate for any strike on them (of any magnitude) with everything they have. Fortunately, they don't have much... not yet; the longer we dither, the more they will have available to strike back. Therefore, we must preemptively take out their retaliatory capability at the same time we take out their nuclear sites.

There is very little chance for Iran to attack us militarily. Although there are a bunch of Americans just across their border with Iraq and just across their border with Afghanistan, it would be suicidal (in the non-martyrdom-operation sense) for Iran to send its regular army streaming across either of those two borders.

Presumably, we ourselves would know that we ourselves were about to attack, and we would put our own troops on the absolute highest alert: Iran would have to send its tanks and APCs into the teeth of full-blown American and British resistance, under an airspace that we would totally dominate. It's unlikely that any Iranian armor columns full of old Soviet tanks would survive, and any warplane they sent into the region would be swiftly shot down.

(They do have a monstrous strategy utilizing the Basij: suicide attacks against enemy forces that may include masses of children strapped with bombs charging directly at us. They count on Americans being so sentimental about children -- as quite evidently the Iranian mullahs are not -- that we would find ourselves unable to shoot at them, even knowing that they will blow us all up -- along with themselves.

(But I frankly doubt we would be so self-destructive. If we shoot them, they might die; if we fail to shoot them, they will assuredly die, along with us. I believe our military would grit its collective teeth and open fire.)

So what is left? The only tactic Iran has available by which they might realistically expect to hurt us is terrorism. Although they are connected with several terrorist groups, including al-Qaeda, their primary terrorist arm is Hezbollah, which was created by the Ayatollah Khomeini in 1982 to fight the Israelis in Lebanon... and also as an internal parasecurity organization to enforce strict Islamic law. Hezbollah is completely in the pocket of Iran and Syria and would be expected to retaliate anywhere in the world that they could against America, the "Great Satan," in the event we strike Iran's nuclear sites.

But they will also "retaliate" against the "Little Satan," Israel, regardless of whether Israel was involved in the attack. They will strike at Israel just on general principles: they're Jews; they're American allies; they're Jews; they stand in the way of Iranian hegemony over the region; they're a free democracy; and they're Jews.

In other words, Israel will be struck in retaliation if they join us -- and also if they don't. Therefore, there really is no downside to joining us... and potentially a lot of upside.

This points the way to a joint-strike strategy. Simply put:

  • America strikes at all of Iran's nuclear sites, those that we know and those we only suspect, in an effort to cripple or destroy their entire program;
  • Israel strikes the primary Hezbollah incarnations: both in Gaza and also in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, which snuggles up between the Lebanon Mountains and Syria. Not in Iran; they're too dispersed... it would be needless bombing of civilian targets to no military purpose. But Hezbollah outside Iran, which represents the bigger threat anyway;
  • These attacks must be conducted simultaneously; the blow to Iran (and Syria) must be staggering.

The idea, of course, is not only to take out Iran's nuclear capability -- but also cripple its terrorism retaliatory capability. Of course, they wouldn't even be able to complain to the UN about that part of the attack, since officially, they don't admit that Hezbollah in Lebanon or in Gaza has anything to do with them... although in reality, they control it through Syria. (They'll complain plenty about the main strike, though; so whining about Hezbollah won't even be missed!)

Syria won't be able to complain, because officially, they've already pulled out of Lebanon. Anyone left behind is simply a Lebanese citizen with no connection to Syria... and it's just an amazing coincidence that Hezbollah in the Bekaa seems to do exactly what Syria wishes they would do.

Lebanon itself will probably hollar, since it's their own homeland getting bombed; but it will be a sotto voce scream: the new Democrats of the Cedar Revolution will not be crying into the beer they're not supposed to drink at death and destruction being rained down upon the heads of their bitterest enemies, Hezbollah. As a value-added inducement, Israel's attack there will probably also kill scores of Syrian intelligence agents who are hiding out among Hezbollah, waiting for the right time to usher into Lebanon a new "protective engagement" by Syria.

We kill two birds with one stone. (Alternatively, we flush... well, let's skip that metaphor.)

Would the Israelis go along with it? Under Sharon, the answer would have been "absolutely." Alas, I'm not 100% sure of Ehud Olmert, particularly since he plans to name former "firebrand" militant unionista Amir Peretz as Minister of Defense. Still, I suspect that Israel is not going to change its official line that Hezbollah and Iran represent an "existential threat" to the nation of Israel.

So I do believe they would go along with it. The United States Congress would not be involved, as this would be an airstrike ordered by President Bush in his capacity as Commander in Chief -- Congress doesn't come into play... though like the Iranians, they'll scream bloody, blue murder once it's over. They may even try to initiate impeachment proceedings against Bush (we can always hope!)

It might be a good idea not even to warn Congress that we're about to do it, for fear that the Democrats will rush to leak the upcoming operation to the press, so that Iran can do a better job of defending itself. They would argue, "so that, once we see the operation will be futile, we'll call off this attack which clearly violates international law." I'm quite sure that John Kerry would defend such a leak (they would be leaking something that was "true")... as would Kate Martin, one presumes. Let's be charitable and not put temptation in Jay Rockefeller's way.

I wonder if we've even broached this possibility to the Israelis? I sure as heck hope they've at least kicked this can around.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, April 25, 2006, at the time of 8:45 PM

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Tracked on January 4, 2007 4:46 AM


The following hissed in response by: Bill Faith

Interesting thoughts, Dafydd. I've linked from http://www.smalltownveteran.net/posts/2006/04/iran_strategies.html. I think I must have missed the Beachhead Bingo post earlier, but I think I like that approach better, or possibly a modified version of it. Establishing a beachhead in Iran and allowing an appropriate amount of time for Iran to waste most of its Army and Air Force trying to expel it could be a very useful preliminary to a lot of other things. 

The above hissed in response by: Bill Faith [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 26, 2006 12:27 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

Appropos of Hezbollah, you may or may not have seen this article linked by Regime Change Iran:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2089-2147683,00.html, wherein it's claimed IRanians are now manning Hezbollah anti-aircraft weapons in the Bekaa.

Bombing Iran shouldn't be aimed merely at brinks and morter. The bombs absolutely must take out the people running the place too.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 26, 2006 12:12 PM

The following hissed in response by: Papa Ray

Reference not telling congress or others before the strike.

That would be impossible, DC is so full of leaks not even counting the eight sided building, that something like this would be common knowledge before the B52s took off and the Subs changed course.

Reference "There is very little chance for Iran to attack us militarily"

Iran already has thousands of troops on the border with Iraq from the north all the way to the south. They are just waiting to fire missiles, arty. and repel boarders. What is to say that when they see we are not coming, they decide to cross the border. They will have nothing to lose in their eyes.

We don't have the troops or equipment to repel an invasion by the Iranians without using all the air power we can muster and killing thousands of Iraqi civilians at the same time. Besides its a given fact that you can not stop infantry with air power alone, that requires ground forces.

Reference a beachhead in Iran.

The beachhead would in Southern Iraq. There are already thousands of Iranians there with more coming over every day while the Brits inspect their eyelids. That whole area would be an instant battleground with Iranian and Iraqi insurgents on a killing spree that would make the current problems in Bagadad look like childs play.

Of course there are also Iranians scattered all over Iraq. I am sure they have orders to raise hell if Iran is attacked. Fun times.

Israel would be able to handle Syria and Hezbollah (they have plans to do that anyway, with or without an attack on Iran) and they could help out in many other ways as you stated.

But, I am now in the group (just arrived) that thinks that no one is going to do anything militarly (other than Special Ops)to Iran until Iran does something to someone else FIRST.

In other words the world is going to let them get in the first punch.

I predict that Iran will do something really stupid in Iraq and get caught. I just hope not too many are killed and maimed when they do it. This will also give the Iraqis the mandate to attack Iran.

Papa Ray
West Texas

The above hissed in response by: Papa Ray [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 26, 2006 1:55 PM

The following hissed in response by: GranitRoc

You covered the political and the milatary issues pretty thouroughly. I don't think we shoud disregard the economic. Once we attack, you can well expect the anti-U.S. crowd saying we did it just for the oil. Lets surprise them and take most of the oil fields.

Why? well for one, the War in Iran will be expensive. Lots of armaments being expended here. Hopefully few lives though. Lets recoup the cost.

Second, the War on Terrorism is expensive and long lasting. Lets finance it and put it on a sound economic footing. Bush and the Republicans are constantly being thrashed as big spenders (my how times have changed). This is a way to show we can do pay as you go!

Third, Iran will want to retaliate. Retaliation costs money. Lets divert it. The Jihadist will have to be happy with the forty virgins. Mom and Dad, sisters and brothers, will have to get by without a pension.

Fourth, as you pointed out, the UN Kosovo model was a complete disaster vis-a-vis the US's actions in Iraq. Additionally, I think we could develop a better running Oil for Food program than the UN. Even if we can't, at least it will be US firms getting the spoils instead of Russian, German, and French!

I see this as a win, win, win, win situation. Hell, the world will condemn us regardless. Maybe we can put the Nuclear Genie back in the bottle. At least we can make a buck off it.

The above hissed in response by: GranitRoc [TypeKey Profile Page] at April 26, 2006 7:12 PM

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