Wednesday, April 26, 2006

outline of conflict

I am 95% confident that the United States under President Bush will attack Iran. I am 90% confident this will happen prior to the national elections in November. This attack will be air dominated (aircraft and missiles) , and will strike key infrastructure and communications assets. There will also be strikes against every site involved in Iran's nuclear program regardless of significance.

I am about 50% confident that the attacks will also include ground forces. Their intent will be to attack the coastal plains from the Iranian border to Jask so as to seize and secure both the primary oil production sites of Iran and to secure the Straits of Hormuz against Iranian action. I expect the US Army to move south once crossing the Shatt al Arab (mouth of the Tigris/Euphrates), while the straits are seized by marines. Defined this way there is a region from Bandar e Kagan to Bandar e Lengeh which will be seized solely to conjoin the two and provide an avenue of mutual support. There are islands in the straits and northward into the Persian Gulf that will be attacked and probably seized by ground forces as they contain military facilities and forces.

I am, I regret to say, about 15% confident that the United States will include the use of nuclear weapons in the attack for two critical portions of the attack. First and most effective is the production of an EMP near high-density urban areas. Second and less effective is their use to destroy deeply buried and reinforced nuclear assets (facilities, not weapons).

While there are a number of consequences of high probability of the attack even excluding the ground forces and nuclear attacks, there are three consequences that are inevitable.

1) Iran will declare war upon the United States and any who ally themselves with that nation against Iran. A formal declaration of war creates numerous opportunities in the global political arena, though any in particular being seized or effective is subject to debate. That said, this fact drives both of the subsequent two consequences.

2) Iraq will be forced to declare a) alliance with the US; b) alliance with Iran; or c) Neutrality. Both the latter put the US in the position of attacking Iraq to keep forces uninterred and active while operating from Iraq. The first, however, allows Iran to conduct significant (though probably "low intensity") actions against the US in accordance with international law. Which in large part means they do not have to operate through cutouts.

3) For one to two weeks, there will be no oil shipped through the Straits of Hormuz. And for the subsequent several months the shipments will be through a declared war zone. This means insurers will require a premium for transit of goods through a war zone. Some shippers will accept and pass on this cost. Others will decide to use their tankers in other locations. Both actions will result in crude oil - if it re-attains the same rates of shipment that existed pre-invasion - costing significantly more.

Basically the plan intends to shatter and suppress the current regime, and create the opportunity for rebellions to rise and flourish. Followon actions will be to replicate the Afghanistan war's period of success with our aerial and specialized support of local leaders opposed to the enemy. The belief is that most of the people of Iran will abandon their leaders when they're shown to be powerless, and that they'll - if not rise up and support the rebellion, at least avoid interfering with it's success.

I expect a successful shutdown of communications and infrastructure. I expect some of the tribes on the borders of Iran (both physically and philosophically) to rebel. I expect the plan to fail in its objective as the majority of the nation rises up not in rebellion but in support and anger at the United States - the Persians are an ancient race who have long exemplified the principle of "Brother may fight Brother but an outsider faces both."

If the US uses ground forces to seize the coasts, I expect a massive callup of all (remaining) reserves and guards to assist in holding the ground. Given this administration's past record, I expect this callup to begin some time after the attacks are launched, both to maintain secrecy and because of an underestimation of enemy capabilities and the need for boots on the ground. I do not expect a draft, not within the first six months, though it has a high probability in many of the possible longer-term consequences.

If the US uses nuclear weapons, I expect the majority of the world to call for the President and all commanders responsible for the actual deployment to face trial for war crimes. Depending on the subsequent acts (or failures to act) of the people and congress, the nation could become a pariah equal to that held by North Korea and (once upon a time) by South Africa. Nuclear weapons carry an emotional value that outweighs their actual battlefield effect, and all the negative values are directed at the user of the weapons.

It is April 27th, 2006. I expect this attack to happen before November 1, 2006.

I hope I am wrong. It will not destroy the United States, but it will change it drastically. And I would rather not go through international and local consequences.

1 Comments:

Anonymous Prince Hydrajak said...

SS-N-22 (and the subsequent improvements that Iran has imported) will have no problems shutting down the straights or hormuz..... full stop.

No targeting radar is needed before you fire, you can shoot on visuals alone from a mobile launcher in the mountains... let the active guidance finish the targeting for you.

At Mach 3 the SPY-2 and Aegis system is going to be hard pressed to get a hard kill before impact. Bascially a Tico or Burke just CAN'T keep one of those off a supertanker. Its too sort a target.

5/03/2006 12:59 PM  

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