February 12, 2007

We've Got the Goods on Qods

Hatched by Dafydd

In a dramatic, fact-filled presentation today, military and intelligence analysts presented overwhelming evidence that Iran has been arming the Shiite militias in Iraq and killing American servicemen since June of 2004. Congressional Democrats and their unindicted co-conspirators in the press were underwhelmed... but forced to make concessions:

[Senior United States military officials] spread out on two small tables during a news briefing an array of mortar shells and rocket-propelled grenades with visible serial numbers that the officials said link the weapons directly to Iranian arms factories. But by far the most potent item on display was a squat canister designed to explode and spit out a molten ball of copper that cuts through armor. That bomb is perhaps the most feared weapon faced by American and Iraqi troops here.

Never before displayed in public, the canister, called an explosively formed penetrator, or E.F.P., arrives in Iraq in what the officials described as a “kit” containing high-grade metals and highly machined parts, like a strangely shaped, concave lid that folds into the ball while hurtling toward its target.

This presentation represents just the tip of the iceberg; I am convinced that this is going to be the next "shot heard round the world;" and that, far from being a one-off PR stunt, this briefing is the prelude to much more dramatic action against Iran... either diplomatically or militarily, depending upon the reactions of our competitors at the U.N.

Bill Roggio, as usual, has more details:

"Iran is involved in supplying explosively formed projectiles or EFPs and other material," such as "explosive charges, booby traps, mortar shells of different calibers and remote controls" to detonate IEDs to "multiple" insurgent groups...."

"We have evidence that Iran provided insurgents with explosive devices and trained them to use these weapons, produced between 2004 and 2006," Said MG Caldwell....

Evidence was also unveiled that Iranian agents are actively planting explosive. MG Caldwell displayed identification cards of Iranians captured while "involved in acts of violence...."

"We assess that these activities are coming from the senior levels of the Iranian government," the defense official said, "noting that the Al-Qods brigade reports to Iran's supreme leader, the Ayatollah Ali Khamanei...."

The Irbil raid in early January netted the most significant evidence, as well as a senior member of the Iranian Qods Force. Six Iranians were detained in Irbil, including Mohsin Chizari, the operational commander of the Qods Force, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps specialized force that is equivalent to U.S. Special Forces.

Evidently, we have been accumulating the evidence since June of 2004, when the first U.S. soldier was killed by an Iranian manufactured EFP; the total now is 120 American soldiers and Marines killed by Iranian forces in Iraq. But until now, we have kept the actual evidence under wraps, leaking only rumors and hints. So why call a press conference and do an info-dump now?

I've been mulling that question for a couple of days now... and I believe President Bush is setting up an ultimatum he plans to deliver... to Europe: either they handle the situation by allowing heavy, meaningful, biting sanctions to be imposed against Iran -- or else we'll handle the situation with our military.

No further discussion, no need to get a permission slip from the U.N., and no veto authority for France, Russia, or China. This won't be a U.N. operation, nor even a NATO incursion: I think we're talking about a Kosovo-style air war.

But the danger is that it might be more like Operation Desert Fox, in which we bombed Iraq intensively for 70 hours in 1998, but succeeded only in "hardening" the Hussein regime and convincing top Baathist leaders that they could survive the worst that America could dish out.

Derided at the time as a "Wag the Dog bombing," the attacks were neither intensive enough nor widespread enough to seriously threaten Saddam Hussein's control over Iraq. According to an interesting analysis by Dr. Mark J. Conversino of the Air Force's Air War College...

In the end, DESERT FOX was a militarily effective use of airpower. Terminating the already very brief operation short of a change in either Iraqi behavior or leadership, and limiting targets to a relative handful, however, was a political decision. Yet the lure of achieving a bloodless yet devastating military victory while making a rapid exit possible, if necessary -- what Eliot Cohen called "gratification without commitment" -- ultimately, perhaps inevitably, led to the misapplication and abuse of airpower. Many airpower theorists had long cautioned against using airpower in penny-packets or in hyper-constrained political environments. "When presidents use it," Cohen wrote, "they should either hurl it with devastating lethality against a few targets (say, a full-scale meeting of an enemy war cabinet or senior-level military staff) or extensively enough to cause sharp and lasting pain to a military and a society." The 70-hour operation became what Cohen cautioned against: an attack on Saddam with a "sprinkling" of air strikes that would merely "harden him without hurting him and deprive the United States of an intangible strategic asset", an asset that Cohen called the post-Gulf War "mystique of American airpower...." [emphasis added]

Moreover, DESERT FOX lacked clear political goals, an omission for which no amount of firepower could compensate [emphasis in original].

We need to have those "clear political goals," as Dr. Conversino argues, fully worked out before striking Iran; and the strikes themselves should be designed to further those goals. At a minimum, those goals should include the following:

  • Either an end to Iran's nuclear weapons research, or at the very least, setting Iran back by a number of years;
  • A complete cessation of Iranian interference in Iraq, either directly (Qods Force) or by proxy (Muqtada Sadr and the Mahdi Militia, the Badr Organization, etc.); we cannot compromise on this one -- Iran must draw a bloody stump back from Iraq;
  • A continuing threat to Iran's energy supply by U.S. control of Iranian gasoline imports and destruction of Iran's domestic gasoline refinery capacity;
  • Severing of the ties between Iran and Syria by giving the former a more urgent goal to worry about and the latter a taste of what might be in store for the Baathists in Damascus;
  • A clear signal to the rest of the Middle East that the days when we would indulge the ludicrous and dangerous global ambitions of failed oppressor states are gone, and the new world order includes no room for nations exploiting the chaos of the "Non-Integrating Gap" to wage terrorist war against the "Functioning Core," to use Thomas P.M. Barnett's phraseology.

If we sustain the bombing and missile campaign until all known nuke sites are obliterated, and if we carry through the rest of the plan, and -- this is the biggie -- if we move quickly to exploit the diplomatic opening that such a devastating blow naturally creates, we can have a very different and very much better world by the time of the 2008 elections. This would be grand, not only for Americans but also for the rest of the world... especially that large portion of it that must live in the Non-Integrating Gap.

Meanwhile, in a separate briefing, a major general dropped another bombshell: that dreadful string of American helicopters being shot down recently was not the result of shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, as many had speculated, but from small-arms fire instead:

The military command in Baghdad denied, however, that any newly smuggled Iranian weapons were behind the five U.S. military helicopter crashes since Jan. 20 - four that were shot out of the sky by insurgent gunfire.

A fifth crash has tentatively been blamed on mechanical failure. In the same period, two private security company helicopters also have crashed but the cause was unclear....

In a separate briefing, Maj. Gen. Jim Simmons, deputy commander of Multinational Corps-Iraq, said that since December 2004, U.S. helicopter pilots have been shot at on average about 100 times a month and been hit on an average of 17 times in the same period....

The major general said Iraqi militants are known to have SA-7, SA-14 and SA-16 shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles but none of the most recent five military crashes were caused by those weapons. He said some previous crashes had been a result of such missiles but would not elaborate.

Once again, it's always a good idea to measure six times before you leap.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 12, 2007, at the time of 6:19 AM

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Tracked on February 13, 2007 3:04 PM


The following hissed in response by: John J. Coupal

Er..I take it the spelling of the word appearing in the second to last line of the originally-appearing post should be "...against Iran..."?

The above hissed in response by: John J. Coupal [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2007 6:29 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

I believe it was Bill Rogio who published a terrorist video the other day ostensibly showing a missle tracking into a US helo, and the subsequent crash. Interesting that US forces now dispute that account. Pretty sophisticated propaganda from the bad guys.

On the evidence against Iran shown to date, the WaPo picked at the briefing in one important way, because it was revealing of the upcoming Democratic talking points, by pointing out that only the defense department was represented in the presentation.

Since the balkanization of the non-defense department US intelligence agencies caused by their repeated failures since 9/11 is now an established fact of life in Washington, and the extremest CIA's defensive politicization of intel processes and product is likewise a fact, newspapers like the Post (already predisposed to distrust and undercut the war effort) will cite the absence of the National Intelligence Directorate (these names are ridiculous) and the CIA every time there is a presentation of this sort. The Democrats and the Arkinized WaPo is trying to marginalize the Pentagon by portraying military briefers as alone in their Iranian concerns, and the merit in what's said is thereby being discredited. If we are serious about the threat from Iran, getting the CIA and the NID on board may be a precondition to informing the public.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2007 8:08 AM

The following hissed in response by: MTF

Here's what we're up against at WaPo (via Patterico). The openly one-sided leftist nature of MSM writers makes one ill.

The above hissed in response by: MTF [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2007 8:16 AM

The following hissed in response by: Tomy

The strategic goal for Iraq should not be limited to stopping its nuclear ambitions. The Iraqi population is ripe to be re-connected with the real world, to leave its cocoon (gap) for emergence into the world of globalization. When this happens it will become part of the core and no longer will be a threat to the core, but it must first shed its theocratic government.

Our actions must support a populist uprising against the Iraqi government, and I don't think aerial bommbing will do that. Direct support of an uprising will probably be more effective.

The above hissed in response by: Tomy [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2007 2:07 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

Life on Earth is a *LOT* like Life in a Prison...

The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 12, 2007 2:30 PM

The following hissed in response by: Cain

I like the "Bloody Stump" analogy for Iran. When we do hit Iran, that's what they should call it: Operation Bloody Stump.

The above hissed in response by: Cain [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 13, 2007 11:18 AM

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