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

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  •  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.

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