Three Day Blitz Planned for Iran?

BY Herschel Smith
7 years, 3 months ago

The London Times makes claims concerning Pentagon plans for a coming air war against Iran.

THE Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert.

Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for “pinprick strikes? against Iran’s nuclear facilities. “They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military,? he said.

Debat was speaking at a meeting organised by The National Interest, a conservative foreign policy journal. He told The Sunday Times that the US military had concluded: “Whether you go for pinprick strikes or all-out military action, the reaction from the Iranians will be the same.? It was, he added, a “very legitimate strategic calculus?.

President George Bush intensified the rhetoric against Iran last week, accusing Tehran of putting the Middle East “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust?. He warned that the US and its allies would confront Iran “before it is too late?.

One Washington source said the “temperature was rising? inside the administration. Bush was “sending a message to a number of audiences?, he said – to the Iranians and to members of the United Nations security council who are trying to weaken a tough third resolution on sanctions against Iran for flouting a UN ban on uranium enrichment.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week reported “significant? cooperation with Iran over its nuclear programme and said that uranium enrichment had slowed. Tehran has promised to answer most questions from the agency by November, but Washington fears it is stalling to prevent further sanctions. Iran continues to maintain it is merely developing civilian nuclear power.

Bush is committed for now to the diplomatic route but thinks Iran is moving towards acquiring a nuclear weapon. According to one well placed source, Washington believes it would be prudent to use rapid, overwhelming force, should military action become necessary.

Here the “source” might be conflating the existence of plans by the U.S. military for addressing every known exigency on earth, with the intention of implementing any particular plan.  However, there is one factor that strongly argues for seeing this as more than saber-rattling or contingency planning.  In February of 2007 I argued that Israel is the key to unlocking the planning activity with respect to Iran.

Israel has asked the U.S. for permission to use Iraqi air space in an over-flight to target Iranian nuclear facilities.  Note well that Israel requested permission from the U.S., not Iraq.

The U.S. is under what the U.N. security council calls a ‘security partnership‘ with Iraq.  Sovereignty over the air space is questionable at this point if we have regard for the U.N. resolution (a position which I am not advocating).  But Israel, assuming that the U.S. will grant the permission, is on the clock.  They know that the troops will be coming home, and then there is no appeal.  The Iraqi government will not grant access to attack Iran.  In fact, they will warn Iran of the impending strike.  The current administration is in power for two more years, and Israel will not wait until after they leave office.  Olmert has likened Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon to a second holocaust, and he is relatively dovish compared to his possible successor Netanyahu.

The upshot of all of this is that in order for Israel to secure its future against a nuclear Iran, the next two years are not just vital.  They are literally determinative.  The next administration may not be the ally of Israel that this one is, and thus Olmert or his successor cannot entrust their security to the U.S. beyond the next two years.  The clock is ticking on a nuclear Iran and air strikes to stop them.

Putting aside whether the reader agrees or disagrees with Israel being such a strong ally of the U.S. and U.S. protection of her, the point is that the real time table on Iran is set to a different standard that U.S. bureaucratic wranglings by the State Department, the U.N. and the IAEA.  If anything is clear from the last several election cycles, it is that there is not a more spurious activity than attempting to predict the outcome of American national elections.  Israel cannot entrust their security to an unknown administration.  At least the current administration is known.

All of the planning is occurring against a backdrop of the hardliners winning their internecine battles within Iran.

IRAN’S most powerful military commander, who masterminded the capture and subsequent release of 15 British servicemen earlier this year, was ousted yesterday as head of the Revolutionary Guards in an upheaval engineered by hardliners.

Major-General Yahya Rahim Safavi, 49, was removed from his post by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the country’s supreme leader. Mohammad Ali Jaafari, who was in charge of antiAmerican activity in Iraq, was named as his replacement.

“Regarding your valuable experience and shining background at different times, and varied responsibilities in the guards, I appoint you as the com-mander-in-chief of this revolutionary service organisation,? Khamenei told Jaafari. Safavi, who commanded the guards for 10 years, will become Khamenei’s senior adviser on armed forces affairs.

Iranian experts regarded Jaafari’s promotion as a victory for President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as Safavi was not seen to be tough enough in the face of mounting western pressure and argued the guards were not strong enough to repel a foreign attack.

His successor is known to be more bullish about the guards’ fighting ability, and has taken an active role in Iran’s clandestine activities in neighbouring Iraq.

The situation is escalating.  Michael Ledeen’s model to topple the existing regime involved support for the opposition within Iran, including the indigenous insurgency.  But the clock is expiring on this plan, and the failure to engage the Iranian problem seriously for years may in fact ensure an air war with Iran within the next year and a half.



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  • Dominique R. Poirier

    Oh yes! And it will be all for good since it is exactly what Iran expects, as the latest speeches of Mr. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggest it…

    I wonder why?

    Any thoughts, anyone?

  • http://www.fumento.com fumento

    Before the 2003 invasion of Iraq, I remember reading the U.S. plans in the paper and being furious at all the details revealed. But then another paper released a far different plan and another paper did so and ultimately I counted at least five. Obviously the Pentagon realizes this is no longer 1944 and the media can’t be trusted to keep war plans a secret, therefore the alternative is to “leak” all sorts of phony plans so nobody knows which is real.

  • http://www.captainsjournal.com/ Herschel Smith

    Fumento suggests a non-trivial possibility (perhaps more likely than not?). The point is that Ledeen’s plan to to foment revolution to topple the Mullah’s. Apparently we are not doing this, but failing this (inside action within Iran) we are left with only bad options (e.g., a war with Iran). Dominique, this article is not an argument for war. It is an argument for toppling the regime with an insurgency.

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You are currently reading "Three Day Blitz Planned for Iran?", entry #594 on The Captain's Journal.

This article is filed under the category(s) Air Force,Iran,Quds Force and was published September 3rd, 2007 by Herschel Smith.

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