Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Iran: It's getting hot in here...

In December 2005, a reporter asked Lt. Gen. Dan Halutz, the Israel Defense Force's chief of staff, how far Israel is willing to go to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program; the general answered: "2,000 kilometers" -- the flying distance from Israel to Iran's key nuclear sites.

Unfortunatly in light of Israel's current "little problem" with Hezbollah it seems that it will fall yet again on the square shoulders of the US of A to 'eliminate' the threat posed by the maniacial Iranians once the UN Security council's August 31st deadline arrives.

Naturally before any such action can be taken a recon unit had to be sent into Iran. It was rather warm :) The following is from the declassified sections of my report:

Unfortunately, flattening Iran's nuclear infrastructure isn't easy or risk-free -- and could have serious consequences for American interests. The key challenge: the program is underground, literally and figuratively; Iran burrowed many sites deep below the soil, making them much tougher targets. (It also put some near populated areas to make civilian casualties a certainty if attacked.) And these are the sites we know about: At least two dozen nuclear-related sites are scattered across the country but it may be more than 70.

By burying and dispersing its facilities, Iran is clearly trying to avoid the fate of Saddam Hussein's nuclear program back in 1981 -- when Israeli F-16 fighters, crossing Jordan and Saudi Arabia, destroyed Iraq's 40-megawatt Osiraq reactor in a dawn raid, effectively setting Saddam's nuke dreams back a decade. An Israeli strike at Iran today might feature fighters carrying satellite-guided JDAM bombs, cruise missiles on diesel subs and Special Forces. But the task would be much tougher than the Osiraq strike, thanks to the number of targets and their dispersion, and the greater distances from any Israeli base.

What about U.S. airstrikes? These could take a range of forms, depending on policymakers' desires. Surgical strikes might limit their targets to Iran's air defenses (for access) and key nuclear sites (e.g., Bushehr, Nantanz, Arak). Or an escalated attack could nail all suspected nuke facilities -- plus forces Tehran might use in a counterattack, such as its ballistic missiles and conventional forces. Depending on the strike's objective, think Operation Iraqi Freedom: B-2 stealth bombers carrying bunker-busters, F-117 stealth fighters and other Navy/Air Force strike assets from carriers and theater bases plus Navy destroyers and subs loosing cruise missiles on Iranian targets. Could a raid destroy all sites? Thanks to the covert nature of the Iranian program, that's not clear. It's highly likely, though, that striking key facilities would set the program back, possibly causing Tehran to reconsider the folly of its proliferation policy.

But it's unlikely to be that simple. After an assault, Iran might lash out with a vengeance. We'd have to be fully prepared for some nasty blowback. Tehran and its terrorist toadies can brew up some serious trouble for both America and Israel -- or anyone else that supported an attack on the fundamentalist Islamic state. The Iranian regime is already up to its neck in the insurgencies in Iraq and Afghanistan. It could certainly increase its financial/material support to the Sunni insurgents, Shia militants, al Qaeda, and the Taliban to destabilize the new Baghdad and Kabul governments -- and kill Coalition forces. Iran's other "secret" weapon -- oil. As the world's No. 4 oil exporter, Tehran could rattle oil markets and major economies (e.g., Japan, South Korea, France, Italy) by slashing output. It could also mess with other nations' oil exports -- attacking tankers in the Gulf using mines, subs, patrol boats or anti-ship missiles.

Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are already in force against Israel and Iran could augment this by pounding populous Tel Aviv with its Shahab missiles mated with chemical/biological warheads. The U.S. homefront could get hit, too. Over the last few years, the FBI has evicted Iranian intel officers for surveilling New York City tourist/transport sites. Hezbollah has supporters and likely has operatives in America who might undertake acts of terrorism or sabotage U.S. ports or bases, too. Iran now harbors at least 25 senior Al Qaeda operatives, including senior military commander Saif al Adel and three of Osama bin Laden's sons. If we come to blows, would Tehran help al Qaeda hit the U.S. homeland?

This doesn't mean we shouldn't use military might to interrupt or end Iran's nuclear gambit; it may be the best/only option. There are no easy answers, only tough choices. But the military option has to stay on the table. Otherwise, it's a snap that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will let Tehran's nuclear genie out of the bottle. I'm glad I ain't a General.

12 comments:

sith apologist said...

apologies for my absence - had some 'business' to take care of

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

Ah yes! Learning first hand the inadequacies of the British internet industry?
Anyway, you're more than welcome back sithy, so long as you don't cause... ...trouble!

sith apologist said...

ok, now the Colonel is doing Robocop impressions :)
"Come quietly or there will be ... trouble"

Civilian Overseer said...

Sithy, can you help me out?, something has been bugging me for a while, Darth Bane's rule of two states, that "there shall only be two, one to wield power, the other to crave power", so my question is, are you the Master or the Master's Bitch?

sith apologist said...

No real answer to that - even if I say master, something would be made of the fact I was a subordinate previously...

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

There's nothing wrong with being a subordinate. I wasn't always a Colonel. Even now I have to answer to everyone that has stars on their shoulders.

In reality, were all someones bitch!

sith apologist said...

Colonel, I was just wondering how you stand on Colonel Jesseps BJ policy - what if Hilary gets herself elected? Will you be continuing with the cold showers, or getting the C-in-C to ...?

Civilain Overseer said...

Thats true, Sithy the Colonel had to back stab his way up through the ranks, I believe Guns can confirm this. ;)

Sithy, another question has there ever been a Darth Bator in the Sith ranks?

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

@ Sithy: No woman will be President while I'm a Marine.

@ Civvy: Master Guns has had skiing 'accident' and is out of work for a while *snigger*
Darth Bator? Wait... No Sithy don't fall for it!!!!

sith apologist said...

I'm afraid that due to the name picked for him, he was never allowed to more than an apprentice ...

Civilian Overseer said...

@ Colonel, What is the story with Guns, seriously, everytime you arrange one of these of these so called "accidents", he keeps survivng, now I know you terminate with extreme prejudice. Is Guns related to Captain Scarlet?

@ Sithy was Bator your apprentice or predecessor? Also if the Colonel was a Sith What you you name him? Darth Prostheticus?

Lt. Colonel Creedon said...

@ Overseer: Well if anything it prooves that it's almost impossible to kill a Recon Marine.
I don't want him to die anyway. I need foils like you and he to proove I'm right all the time.