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View Diary: Battle Plan for Iran: The Khuzestan Gambit (90% of Iran's Oil) (246 comments)

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  •  Or a base in battle for control of the strait. (4.00)
    If we attack Iran, they will likely attempt to shut down passage of the strait, through which flows much of the world's oil. I presume that critical supplies for our forces in Iraq pass through there as well. Iran is reported to have mobile antiship missiles based on the Chinese Silkworm that could play havoc with shipping. An invasion of Khuzestan would have to be done in conjunction with operations to protect the strait. Dubai would be a good forward base because it is closer to the strait than the 5th Fleet's base at Bahrain.

    "I'm having trouble with my boy." -- George H. W. Bush, 2004

    by Shiborg on Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 07:57:17 PM PST

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    •  Now THAT is interesting . . . (none)
      thank you for making that connection for me.  Wow.

      "In the beginning the universe was created. This has been widely criticized and generally regarded as a bad move." -- Douglas Adams

      by LithiumCola on Thu Feb 23, 2006 at 08:07:50 PM PST

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    •  Dubai as a base (4.00)
      Doubtful that the power brokers and financiers in Dubai want to have anything to do with a war with their missle-range neighbors Iran.  They have been trying to build the area up as a major tourist hotspot and really have to military to speak of so their complicity with the US would make them a nice soft target to strike.  I don't think they want to see Iranian missles raining down on their shiny new buildings.
    •  UAE Ports-Iran Attack Connection (none)
      I've been suggesting this in thread comments on the last several diaries posted on the UAE ports imbroglio.  Full support from the UAE will give us airbases and naval facilities within 100 miles of the Straits, and less than that from the Iranian-owned islands in the Straits.  Iraqi airbases, on the other hand, are 500 miles away, and those in Qatar are 300 miles distant.  Aircraft carriers are at a disadvantage in the confined waters of the Gulf and the Bay of Bengal, can only operate 100 aircraft, at a much higher unit cost than a land base with less duration on station, and make tempting targets for Iranian counterstrikes (loss or major damage to a single US carrier would be tantamount to US defeat in the war).

      As to Khuzestan:  The problem that BushCorp will face comes not in occupying the region, but rather in holding it. The frontier of Khuzestan with interior Iran extends 200+ miles, all of it mountainous, ranges up to 14,000 feet high.  If BushCorp put 20,000 to 30,000 US troops in there, there's no way that they can control the entire frontier, which means that the Iranians can infiltrate around American/British positions at will.  There are 60 million+ Iranians, the majority of whom are under 30, with a military-age male population of perhaps 15 million.  That means the Iranians can field forces vastly superior in numbers, even if not in equipment, to ours.  Eventually, the numbers will tell.  This will be a very different war than the one that BushCorp fought, and blew, in Iraq.  This will be a debacle, potentially a Stalingrad.

      •  Fisk covered the Iraq-Iran War (none)
        as was astounded that even years later he could find no Iranian who regarded the sacrifices they made as anything other than a good and necessary thing. I remember, during some phase of the Iraq occupation, where 40,000 signed up to be suicide bombers in just one city alone. This is a people who had kids ride bicycles through minefields against Saddam.
        •  From what I have seen (none)
          Iranians are an ancient and proud people and a strong belief in Iranian/Aryan cultural importance is ingrained.  Resistance would be strong, but the conventional military could be defeated without much trouble.  The post-war occupation would be the problem as much or more than Iraq.
      •  They will not be able to assemble any sizable (none)
        force in those mountains just as the Taliban cannot in Afghanistan.

        Air-Land devastates any large third world force.

        IT's as simple as that.

        •  Yes... (none)
          we learned that lesson in Vietnam didn't we?  Won every major battle too.  Think about that.

          We will never invade Iran.  The best we can do is try to influence elections and gin up subversion of the Mullahs.  Yet even the old "lets put in a new King" trick is probably out of the question.  Most of the older Iranians probably still harbor a bit of resentment from the last time that was done, and the younger ones study it in their history books.

          It is bad foreign policy to make enemies faster than you can kill them.

          by Paulie200 on Fri Feb 24, 2006 at 12:13:09 AM PST

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        •  The Iranians (none)
          Used human wave attacks, ala the Chinese in the Korean war at great cost in lives to throw the Iraqis out of Iran. Iraq had gotten within shelling distance of Tehran early in the war.

          Granted we do not have a third world military but just like in Korea where we had military equipment and training superiority it all came down to whether or not there was enough ammunition, shells, bombs, etc or guns didn't jam before they got to you.

          There is no telling how the Iranians would play it but were they to pull off a successful human wave assault the U.S. casualties would be higher than the public would accept.

          That all aside. I would expect that Iran learned quite a bit through our debacle in Iraq and how to tie us down using guerilla tactics.

          Lastly, there is always the possibility that Iran would not wait to be attacked and could push across the Faw peninsula and cut the supply lines out of Kuwait. Their opportunity to do so would only be before we have moved large forces to the south of Iraq. We can't do this without it being known to the Iranians who have agents all over the south of Iraq.

          If something like that were to happen - even if the Iranians couldn't hold that advance - it would disrupt supplies to our soldiers that remain in Mosul, Anbar, Diyala and that could result in disasters all over Iraq.

          There are a lot of ifs but some things to keep in mind.

        •  Beware the claims of air power enthusiasts (none)
          Air power enthusiasts have been arguing since Douhet in the 1920s that massive air power can win wars on its own.  So far, that hasn't occurred, unless that air power was employing atomic or nuclear weaponry, against targets like cities.  Air power is effective only in conjunction with active ground operations.  The mountain terrain of Afghanistan bears comparison with the Zagros, but I wonder whether the natural environment in the two places differs.  The Pamirs of Afghanistan show little vegetation; if the Zagros are wooded, that complicates reconnaissance and targeting.  Besides, even in the bare Pamirs, the Soviets had both absolute air superiority during their war in Afghanistan, and no moral scruples about its use, and still failed.  And mountains, wooded mountains in particular, make it much easier to infiltrate enemy positions, as we discovered in Vietnam and earlier in Korea (before a continuous front was established).  

          Another problem we will face, which we did not in Afghanistan (but the Soviets did) is that the Iranians facing us in Khuzestan will have a large base area in their rear which we will not be able to conquer and occupy.  That base area will be vulnerable to air attack, it's true, but air attack didn't prove particularly effective at halting the movement of supplies through mountains in Vietnam, in Korea, or in Italy during WW2.  Since we won't have the manpower for a continuous front on the model of Italy or Korea, the outposts we establish in the mountains above Khuzestan will become like "fire bases" Vietnam, always under a low level of siege, the troops inside them vulnerable to ambush whenever they venture out, and the mountains will in turn provide cover for infiltration into the oil fields that lie at their feet.  It is the scenario for a war that draws in a large number of troops, drags on endlessly, and produces casulaties in a steady stream, not the current trickle.

        •  meh (none)
          You seem to ignore the fact that there is a pretty sizeable Iranian security presence in Khuzestan already. You know army, airforce and navy, internal security, intelligence - the whole fucking shebang - and if you think that infiltration of territory by the people who own it and know it intimately could be forestalled, then you're in the severely delusional category.

          Iran is not the Taliban - it's a complex and united country, there's no civil war going on, and they have shed-loads of cash, weaponry, and will to do what is necessary to protect themselves from external aggression.

          You go to war against the Iranians that you have, not the Iranians that you'd like to have...

        •  Sherlock, do you really think it would all be (none)
          confined to Khuzestan?  Look at the entire border with Iraq, and any other country that we use to stage an attack from is going to get hit in the first day by CBW warheads.  It's a foregone conclusion that Iran would send scores of missiles at Israel, particularly its nuclear sites.  The Israelis will retaliate, likely with nuclear strikes on Iranian strategic targets.  Hundreds of thousands of people will die on all sides.  Iraqi Shi'a will rise up en masse.  Pakistan might get into it, as well.

          Then, there's the impact on the US economy.  $10/gal gas is quite possible.  Then there are the very real longterm consequences of surviving Iranian scientists cobbling together radiological dirty bombs and finding a way to ship them into the Ports of NY, Phil., Baltimore, Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, San Francisco . . .

          Do you really think the Joint Chiefs are going to do this ?  For what, so the same treasonous GOP politicians and neocons who got us into the Iraq morrass can get reelected?  

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