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Tensions heat up between Iran and the West
Posted by: McQ on Monday, September 17, 2007

The Jerusalem Post reports:
Six hundred Iranian Shihab-3 missiles are pointed at targets throughout Israel, and will be launched if either Iran or Syria are attacked, an Iranian website affiliated with the regime reported on Monday.

"Iran will shoot at Israel 600 missiles if it is attacked," the Iranian news website, Assar Iran, reported. "600 missiles will only be the first reaction."

According to the report, dozens of locations throughout Iraq, which are being used by the US Army, have also been targeted.
I'm assuming that means if Syria is attacked again by Israel.

Meanwhile, France has issued a very blunt statement regarding Iran:
The world should "prepare for war" with Iran, the French foreign minister has said, significantly escalating tensions over the country's nuclear programme.

Bernard Kouchner said that while "we must negotiate right to the end" with Iran, if Teheran possessed an atomic weapon it would represent "a real danger for the whole world".

The world should "prepare for the worst... which is war", he said.

His comments came after Washington reminded Teheran that "all options were on the table" in confronting its nuclear policy, which many officials in the West believe has the ultimate aim of arming a nuclear warhead, despite Iran's claim that it is for civilian purposes.
Speaking of Washington, the Telegraph is also involved in pressing the case that the US is planning to strike Iran (or as it entitles its piece, "Bush setting America up for war with Iran").
Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran's nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.

Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.
Now I have to tell you, after reading Rowan Scarborough's book "Sabotage" about the CIA's actions during the Bush administration, I'm entirely skeptical of what the CIA might say. As for the Pentagon, Sec Def Gates has said:
In Washington, Defense Secretary Robert Gates said the Bush administration is committed, for now, to using diplomatic and economic means to counter the potential nuclear threat from Tehran, but he reiterated that "all options are on the table."
There is little to no support for an attack on Iran among the uniformed services, as I understand it, since such an attack could have a very adverse effect on the fragile situation in Iraq.

However, that won't stop the speculators from speculating. Here's the Telegraph version of how this 'escalation' scenario would be managed:
In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq - arming and training militants - would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories.

A prime target would be the Fajr base run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force in southern Iran, where Western intelligence agencies say armour-piercing projectiles used against British and US troops are manufactured.

Under the theory - which is gaining credence in Washington security circles - US action would provoke a major Iranian response, perhaps in the form of moves to cut off Gulf oil supplies, providing a trigger for air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities and even its armed forces.

Senior officials believe Mr Bush's inner circle has decided he does not want to leave office without first ensuring that Iran is not capable of developing a nuclear weapon.

The intelligence source said: "No one outside that tight circle knows what is going to happen." But he said that within the CIA "many if not most officials believe that diplomacy is failing" and that "top Pentagon brass believes the same".

He said: "A strike will probably follow a gradual escalation. Over the next few weeks and months the US will build tensions and evidence around Iranian activities in Iraq."
They even provide a nifty graphic:

And, per the Telegraph, recent events seem to be following the scenario:
Recent developments over Iraq appear to fit with the pattern of escalation predicted by Pentagon officials.

Gen David Petraeus, Mr Bush's senior Iraq commander, denounced the Iranian "proxy war" in Iraq last week as he built support in Washington for the US military surge in Baghdad.

The US also announced the creation of a new base near the Iraqi border town of Badra, the first of what could be several locations to tackle the smuggling of weapons from Iran.
Of course not mentioned is the fact that Petraeus also distanced himself from suggestions by Sen Lieberman concerning the possibility of cross border strikes and raids into Iran being useful. He also discussed the creation of the new base as a defensive measure to cut off the ability of Iran to smuggle weapons into Iraq and felt it would be adequate to the job.

And another point - a sort of rule of thumb, if you will. The Telegraph points to the following graphic as proof that there's a buildup going on in the gulf which supports their strike theory. They provide another nifty graphic.

Take a careful look at the ships arrayed. Notice anything?

Yup. One aircraft carrier battle group. No attack, especially an air attack, on Iran is going to be started with one carrier battle group in the area. The other group noted is an amphibious group known as an Expeditionary Strike group - it carries and deploys a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and supports them with AV8 strike aircraft. They would have no role in an airstrike against Iran (except the possibility of deploying their strike aircraft).

If this thing brews up to a possible air attack on Iran (trust me we'd never commit to a ground invasion), I'd suggest that no less than 3 carrier battle groups will be in the area. If you see or hear about that, then these "the US is going to strike Iran" people might have something to screech about.

Also in the Telegraph article is a snippet about Condi Rice and her role in this supposed preparation to attack Iran:
A State Department source familiar with White House discussions said that Miss Rice, under pressure from senior counter-proliferation officials to acknowledge that military action may be necessary, is now working with Mr Cheney to find a way to reconcile their positions and present a united front to the President.

The source said: "When you go down there and see the body language, you can see that Cheney is still The Man. Condi pushed for diplomacy but she is no dove. If it becomes necessary she will be on board.

"Both of them are very close to the president, and where they differ they are working together to find a way to present a position they can both live with."

The official contrasted the efforts of the secretary of state to work with the vice-president with the "open warfare between Colin Powell and Donald Rumsfeld before the Iraq war".

Miss Rice's bottom line is that if the administration is to go to war again it must build the case over a period of months and win sufficient support on Capitol Hill.

The Sunday Telegraph has been told that Mr Bush has privately promised her that he would consult "meaningfully" with Congressional leaders of both parties before any military action against Iran on the understanding that Miss Rice would resign if this did not happen.
Got all of that? Cheney is still "the man" (how convenient to the meme so enjoyed by the left). Condi is on board if a) they "build the case over a period of months and win sufficient support on Capitol Hill" and b) Bush would "consult 'meaningfully' with Congressional leaders of both parties" before striking Iran.

Anyone see that happening, or, if it does, Bush being given the nod by those on Capitol Hill? Yeah, me neither. Nor can I see Bush or Cheney agreeing to do so given the politics of the day. We're talking about a 48 to 72 hour mission here.

Sounds like a whole bunch of guessing and opining going on in the report if you ask me.

Do we have contingencies to strike Iran? You bet. And if we don't someone needs to be fired. Does that mean we're going to strike Iran (or build a case to do so) just because we do? No, of course it doesn't. And while it isn't at all out of the realm of possibility that we might, having plans for doing so doesn't mean anything more than that possibility, no matter how remote, is on the table (and it might also be a little bit of leaking going on to provide some leverage in whatever back-channel negotiations might be occurring).

Of course, going back to the original Jerusalem Post article, all this speculation about US plans may end up being moot as Iran seems bent on ratcheting up the "military option" all by its lonesome.

Iran reminds me of a little dog in a dog fight with a big dog and the little dog doesn't realize how little it really is. In terms of a conventional fight, Iran doesn't have a prayer despite all of its "brave" rhetoric. As was demonstrated in 2003 in Iraq, we can, through air power alone, render most of its offensive capabilities ineffective fairly quickly (take out the air defense, take out the missile sites, take out the navy and then reduce the rest (command and control, etc.)and at our leisure. Call that smug and arrogant if you wish, but since we've managed to do it a couple of times within the last couple of decades with older technology, I'll stand by the point.

Anyway, a bunch of fun stuff to consider on a beautiful September day (sunny and 63 in GA).
 
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Let’s get it done before it gets any worse.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Even with all of the talk about the coming war with Iran. Even with all of the talk of the Iranian Nuclear development. Even with all that there is a part of me that is wondering why Iran is ratcheting up the rhetoric.
Six hundred Iranian Shihab-3 missiles are pointed at targets throughout Israel, and will be launched if either Iran or Syria are attacked, an Iranian website affiliated with the regime reported on Monday.

"Iran will shoot at Israel 600 missiles if it is attacked," the Iranian news website, Assar Iran, reported. "600 missiles will only be the first reaction."

According to the report, dozens of locations throughout Iraq, which are being used by the US Army, have also been targeted.
Part of me is thinking this is just the standard "mother of all wars" rhetoric typical of the region. Part of me is thinking this is just the standard "Don’t mess with me, I can hurt you" warning also typical of the region. But part of me is wondering if Iran is setting itself up for the first move.

If Iran were to attack first, sending its 600 missiles flying at Israel and US targets in Iraq and maybe even in Afghanistan, and claim it is in response to an attack by the US - whether true or not - who in the world would even question them? The American body politic? The UN? France? Germany? The list could go on and on.

The effect in this country? Remember the reaction of the invasion of Cambodia during the Nixon administration in the 70s. Remember Kent State?

Like I said, part of me is wondering . . . I’m just saying.

 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
From the Telegraph article:
Senior officials believe Mr Bush’s inner circle has decided he does not want to leave office without first ensuring that Iran is not capable of developing a nuclear weapon.
That is, in fact, the single most important thing left to him before he leaves office.

Knowing that a new president is unlikely to want to dive in off the deep end with a take-out of Iran’s nuclear facilities, he has an obligation to act, and he should do it before the election year actually begins.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
Under the theory - which is gaining credence in Washington security circles -
...

The intelligence source said: "No one outside that tight circle knows what is going to happen." But he said that within the CIA "many if not most officials believe that diplomacy is failing" and that "top Pentagon brass believes the same".
There is no rocket science of spycraft needed here.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
SShiel writes:
there is a part of me that is wondering why Iran is ratcheting up the rhetoric.
That’s pretty standard for totalitarian regimes.

Remember Hussein’s rhetoric before both Gulf Wars?

Remember Baghdad Bob at the Baghdad airport, insisting that the Americans weren’t coming and wouldn’t dare and if they did they would die in droves? (Something along those lines, at least.)

If you watch this thread you’ll probably see Bagdad, I mean, Tehran Erb start to chime in on how Iran is so terribly dangerous. That’s in one breath; in the next he’ll defend their need for nuclear weapons, precisely because of the "threat" posed to them by the Americans.

Watch how closely his spiel parallels the official Iranian spiel.

Maybe we’ll even get an umpteenth iteration of the CIA’s role in the coup that brough the Shah to power. Nothing like a little background.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I would look at where our B52’s, and stealth bombers are being deployed. If they are repositioned to Diego Garcia, then strikes are likely. Even though we can strike Iran directly from the US, the cycle time between runs would be shorter from that base.
 
Written By: Keith_Indy
URL: http://asecondhandconjecture.com
Another point is that this is nominally about nuclear weapons.

Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons because the regime is addicted to violence and the mullahs and their little front man believe they will take the true version of Islam to the top of the world and the world will see its salvation.

So, this is about the Iranian mullahocracy and its crazy theology. Just as the war with Japan was about the elite Japanese militarists and their view of Japan.

Toynbee saw Islam as a single civilization, but he saw it as single because he believed that the Persian and Arab forms had merged. So, on that formula, you’re seeing a subsumed Persian form attempting to rise to the top of that merger by leading the Islamic world to "conquest." Getting for itself the respect it needs to recall the greatness of ancient Persia in the context of Islam. With such a vision, who wouldn’t think they needed nuclear weapons?

Think again about what Japan and Germany would have accomplished circa 1935 with nuclear weapons. And this Iranian case isn’t about rational calculations regarding being deterred. Iran has been getting away with international violence for the entire life of the regime. It has never paid anything for that. The regime likely believes that its methods of operation are undeterrable.

I think that the reluctance to deal with Iran has always been, first, a reluctance to harm the Iranian people and, second, the lack of a focal point beyond Iran’s outsourcing of terrorism.

Now there’s a focal point: the nuclear program.

What harm comes to the Iranian people will be far less now than what will come with waiting. This would be the equivalent of stopping Hitler at his move into the Rhineland.

So the stars are aligned on this one, now.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
there is a part of me that is wondering why Iran is ratcheting up the rhetoric.
Iran is also in the middle of a (yet another) crackdown, so they need to invoke the "bogeyman defense".
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Neo writes:
Iran is also in the middle of a (yet another) crackdown
They’re engaging in an "academic cleansing.":
September 17, 2007 — AS millions of Iranians prepare for the new school year, the scene is being set for what could be a long hot autumn on university campuses across the nation. President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has promised to "cleanse" the Iranian educational system of what he calls "the corrupt influence of the infidel" and has mobilized a special militia to crush the expected student revolts.

The radical president refers to his "academic cleansing" plan as "The Second Great Islamic Cultural Revolution." The late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini closed the universities and launched the first "Great Islamic Cultural Revolution" in 1980. A committee created to "cleanse" academia purged more than 6,000 professors and lecturers, virtually destroying Iranian academia. Dozens of academics were executed as hundreds fled into exile. The committee also expelled thousands of students on charges of monarchist or leftist tendencies. It also censored or totally rewrote dozens of textbooks to conform to the Khomeinist ideology.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
"Senior officials believe Mr Bush’s inner circle has decided he does not want to"

Am I to infer from this that some British reporter knows someone who knows someone who knows someone...? Not exactly straight from the horse’s mouth, is it?
 
Written By: timactual
URL: http://
Such genteel warmongering.

If there is war with Iran, it’s gonna be because Iran wants it.
 
Written By: shark
URL: http://
Personally, I think the only way we could sell airstrikes on Iran to the world, the American public, and to the Congress would be if France’s air force would be in the lead, and if the EU provided 90% of the planes. Maybe we could just pull "support" duty this time around, okay? Or maybe our F-16’s could gallantly patrol German airspace while their forces are busy in Iran?

BTW, if you want to watch the prequel, here’s the link.

I wonder if our support for missile shields in Europe only serve to create a moral hazard.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Yup. One aircraft carrier battle group. No attack, especially an air attack, on Iran is going to be started with one carrier battle group in the area. The other group noted is an amphibious group known as an Expeditionary Strike group - it carries and deploys a Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and supports them with AV8 strike aircraft. They would have no role in an airstrike against Iran (except the possibility of deploying their strike aircraft).
Aw, c’mon Bruce, you know they have the AV-8B+s there to fly top cover against the F-14s for the Sewer Hornet attack groups, heh.

But I thought I had read last week that 2 more carrier groups were on their way there. Still, I am not holding my breath on an attack.
Yeah, I know it’s Debka, but I heard and read it elsewhere.
 
Written By: Crusader
URL: http://www.coalitionoftheswilling.net/
The Sunday Times is reporting the Israelis nailed Syrian/NoKo Nuke stuff during their foray into Syria, possibly bound for I-ran.

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2461421.ece

By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake.

As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
If this thing brews up to a possible air attack on Iran (trust me we’d never commit to a ground invasion), I’d suggest that no less than 3 carrier battle groups will be in the area. If you see or hear about that, then these "the US is going to strike Iran" people might have something to screech about.
Naval airpower might not be required if Airforce can operate out of Iraq.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Naval airpower might not be required if Airforce can operate out of Iraq.
Naval airpower will most likely be used to take out Iran’s navy and coastal installations which are closer to a carrier group (and more of a threat) than to AF assets in Iraq.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Out of a kernel of truth...

The kernel is that as western Iraq and Baghdad cool off some, we will shift our emphasis to the east, particularly the Iranian border. The big however is that it’s a goodly distance from border patrol to hot pursuit, and a further distance to air strikes on insurgent support/training bases, and a much, much further distance to the massive air assault that would be required to take out the nuclear sites. Only the first step is a lock...
 
Written By: Larry
URL: http://
I would think we’d want to avoid basing out of Iraq for that strike.
No plausible deniability for the Iraqi government.

 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
We already attacked Iran last October. It had to have happened, Mona and Greenwald promised it would happen as soon as the midterms were over. They knew, and they are prescient, it must have happened.
 
Written By: Lance
URL: www.asecondhandconjecture.com
Naval airpower might not be required if Airforce can operate out of Iraq.
The primary issue here is ground security for Air Force assets. You would need a clear zone of at least 5 miles around any hard surfaced runway environment with revetments for the parking and regeneration of aircraft missions. Why 5 miles? Mortar range plus. You put 500 pound Mark 82s and 2,000 pound Mark 84 bombs along with other penetrator type ordnance in a regeneration area along with fuel trucks and you better not have any live ordnance skipping around the area.

Diego Garcia is close enough for major Air Force bomber (B-52, B-1, B-2 and even F-15E) assets too fly multiple missions in a single day. And for bomber assets like that to operate freely you need to clear the air of SAMs and Air Defense assets - again the fleet carrier air wing assets out front providing that sort of cover.
 
Written By: SShiell
URL: http://
We already attacked Iran last October. It had to have happened, Mona and Greenwald promised it would happen as soon as the midterms were over. They knew, and they are prescient, it must have happened.
As I recall they were even telling us about carrier group deployments at the time.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Looks like I need to kick my recuirter in the rear, and get the process going, if we’re headed to a disagreement with Iran.

Not like it’s a surprise.

I’ll be damned if I sit behind while the kids go kick some bad-guy butt...
The primary issue here is ground security for Air Force assets.
Not much of a problem. Base security (Airforce personell) had one of the highest kill-rates of Vietnam. I think the could handle it.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
My question here is this:

If we strike at Iran, how much harm could they do in Iraq?
Considering we got a lot of our troops deeply involved with the IA and IP, including even bunking with them, and considering that I am sure that the IA/IP is crawling with agents from Iran, I think our troop safety is a big issue if we start striking...

Am I over-playing this issue or is this a valid concern?
 
Written By: Frank_A
URL: http://
I would think that Iran would slow down it’s actions in Iraq (which are many and varied), since they would have hellfire and damnation raining down all over their heads.
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
You would need a clear zone of at least 5 miles around any hard surfaced runway environment with revetments for the parking and regeneration of aircraft missions.
A considerably larger clear zone needed at sea (Iranian navy has bigger guns than Iraqi insurgents) and the Gulf is a busy, sort of confined place. I understand a carriers usefulness and out in say the Arabian Sea they will be a open water Navy in open water, but confined in the Gulf surely they are more vulnerable than an Iraqi airfield. There are 130,000 Army personnel in Iraq to prevent an attack on airfeilds.
Naval airpower will most likely be used to take out Iran’s navy and coastal installations which are closer to a carrier group (and more of a threat) than to AF assets in Iraq.
Why place the carriers where they can be threatened? If airpower can take out Iran’s navy, then it may as well be AF flying from relatively secure bases.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
But on the other hand a carrier is much less vulnerable to Scud attacks.
 
Written By: unaha-closp
URL: http://warisforwinning.blogspot.com/
Also, raise your hand if you’re actually worried about the threat posed to our Navy by the vessles of the Iranian Navy...
 
Written By: Scott Jacobs
URL: http://
Reuters finally does something interesting, and nobody notices.
 
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
The year long 1988 Tanker War showed them directly what we can do and we held back. But maybe they have a lessons learned myopia as many Americans do.
 
Written By: AMR
URL: http://
.My comment is in reference to the issue of war.., overall. First let me say this, I am a Soldier till the day I leave this God forsaken Earth we live on. I am a Veteran, I served during Desert Storm. I am always willing to and,going to support whomever is in office. The President is "The Commander in Chief" if he says go we go, he says stay we stay.

War itself is an ugly thing. Unless you are in the Military or in a Branch of Goverment that has an envolvement with planning issues such as war or possible attacks..,etc. Speculation in reference to when and or where we go to war is basically a waste of time.


The bottom line is whomever is in the Office of Commander in Chief. Must receive the full support of American Citizens for US to remain a Free Country.

We are the Most Powerful Country on the planet. That is a problem in itself meaning, there are some people that resent us. As well as our way of life. Too bad for them this "is" a free country. The doors to my Fathers house are always open.

My bottom line is this. Our Grand Country was well Founded by putting trust in God. So let’s keep our country well founded and enjoy our freedoms as American Citizens. Back the Commander in Chief.., he’s there for our protection. He’s "one of many" a good an is hard to find!
 
Written By: PAstsoldier
URL: http://
.My comment is in reference to the issue of war.., overall. First let me say this, I am a Soldier till the day I leave this God forsaken Earth we live on. I am a Veteran, I served during Desert Storm. I am always willing to and,going to support whomever is in office. The President is "The Commander in Chief" if he says go we go, he says stay we stay.

War itself is an ugly thing. Unless you are in the Military or in a Branch of Goverment that has an envolvement with planning issues such as war or possible attacks..,etc. Speculation in reference to when and or where we go to war is basically a waste of time.


The bottom line is whomever is in the Office of Commander in Chief. Must receive the full support of American Citizens for US to remain a Free Country.

We are the Most Powerful Country on the planet. That is a problem in itself meaning, there are some people that resent us. As well as our way of life. Too bad for them this "is" a free country. The doors to my Fathers house are always open.

My bottom line is this. Our Grand Country was well Founded by putting trust in God. So let’s keep our country well founded and enjoy our freedoms as American Citizens. Back the Commander in Chief.., he’s there for our protection. He’s "one of many" a good man is hard to find!
 
Written By: PAstsoldier
URL: http://
I can see it now:

[Sometime in 2009] 99% of the Iranian nukes lie buried under a trillion tons of collapsed mountains — The Dem’s screech "Where are the WMD’s!"

[Sometime in 2010] Nukes go off in NY and DC — The Dem’s screech "It’s George Bush’s FAULT!"
 
Written By: Sharpshooter
URL: http://

 
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