Iran’s Asymmetric Warfare

BY Herschel Smith
12 years ago

Andrew Exum discusses how we and Hezbollah have more in common that one might think.  His entire commentary is interesting, but he summarizes with this.

In the end, Hezbollah finds itself in much the same position as the United States as it watches the clouds of war gather between Israel and Iran. Like the United States, it has reason to hope conflict can be averted. But like the United States, it is realistic about the likelihood that it will be drawn into a conflict once the first shots are fired.

To get the context for the statement above you must read his commentary.  Andrew does come down warning that Hezbollah would likely respond against Israel if war comes to Iran, but he also casts us in the same light as Hezbollah: poor, strange bedfellows – hoping against war, shaking our heads at the very idea, war weary, and being dragged kicking and screaming against our will into the larger conflict if it comes.

I don’t see Hezbollah as dependent on the electorate in Lebanon as does Andrew, nor do I see them as war-weary, hoping against hope that war doesn’t come.  They are part of Iran’s forward-deployed troops, present from the Middle East to South America.  As for Iran (and its forward deployed troops), it all comes down to whether one believes the things that the Mullahs say.

“We do not worship Iran.  We worship Allah.  For patriotism is another name for paganism.  I say let this land [Iran] burn.  I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world”

I believe that the Mullahs mean what they say.  We have discussed their behavior-controlling eschatology before.  But if Hezbollah is only one part of Iran’s forward deployed troops, there is another more secretive part.

Intelligence agencies are searching for members of a secret Iranian network of assassins under orders to attack Jewish, Israeli and Western targets in Turkey.

According to intelligence sources, the organisation behind the attack is known as Unit 400, a secret part of the al Quds Brigade, which falls under the direct command of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader.

“Unit 400 of the Qods Force has been developing in the last few months a standing operating procedure for carrying out an attack in Turkey against western targets as well as Israeli and Jewish. It is our firm assessment that these procedures are in a very advanced stage, and that the intention is to act on the plans very soon,” an intelligence source told Sky News.

There is also evidence that Unit 400 has been given instructions to carry out more frequent and more daring ‘terror’ attacks around the world as a demonstration of ‘Iran’s asymmetric power’ – in the face of the growing threat of Israeli or American air strikes on its alleged nuclear weapons programme, the sources said.

[ … ]

“Unit 400 is a top-secret “special ops” unit within the elite overseas wing of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF). It plans and carries out terror attacks on external targets, and provides material support to foreign militia groups, at the direct behest of the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. This is in accordance with the regime’s core strategic considerations about how best to challenge perceived enemies in Israel and the west – through asymmetric warfare – and to cope with mounting international pressure over its nuclear programme,” a secret study by a foreign intelligence agency said.

Several international intelligence sources confirmed that Ali Khamenei controlled the Quds Force through his close ally Qassem Suleiman.

“He runs the whole thing – directly. [Mahmoud] Ahmedinajad [the Iranian president] makes all the noise and gets the attention but it’s the Supreme Leader who is in charge of what is going on especially when it comes to international operations,” said a senior intelligence official.

 Regular readers know all about General Suleimani.  I have recommended a targeted assassination of him, as well as covert and asymmetric warfare against Iran and fomenting an insurgency and regime change in order to avoid all out warfare.

It seems that the only one who takes our advice seriously is Iran.  They are masters of covert warfare, we … well, we are masters of vacilation and equivocation.  But remember what I said that I could pull off with 400 well-trained, motivated fighters.  Consider yourself warned, for it may soon be too late.

UPDATE: Thanks to Glenn Reynolds for the attention.

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  1. On April 2, 2012 at 7:47 am, Chuck Pelto said:

    TO: H. Smith, et al.
    RE: That’s One Approach

    However, I think it’s not nearly as effective as one small nuke detonated 250 miles above Omaha, Nebraska.

    Within 12 months of such a simple attack, 50-90%—depending on location, rural/ag areas the former, metro areas the latter—of US would be dead by starvation, disease, freezing, murder and cannibalism.

    And, oddly enough, late last January the Iranians launched a satellite the profile of it’s nature and orbit come pretty close to the sort necessary for such an EMP attack. About the same time, one of Iran’s high ayatollahs said that America would soon be destroyed.

    Let Iran’s special fecees go after targets AFTER AMERICA. They’d be more effective that way.


    [Be Prepared…. — Boy Scouts of America]

  2. On April 2, 2012 at 10:23 am, T Thornton said:

    I just read a book by a Jon Shaver called “Second Seal”. It parallels this article –

    Product Description
    In Jon Shaver’s terrifying debut novel, Iran’s Supreme Leader and his Quds Forces Commander implement a nefarious scheme to destroy their greatest enemy, the United States.

    Taking advantage of America’s porous southern border, a corrupt Mexican government, the invisibility of Mexican immigrants in California, and a U.S. government leaning hard-left, a force of Iranian sleepers positions itself near the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory where huge stores of nuclear materials are essentially unguarded. Repeated warnings from Jack Marshall, the Lab’s Security Director, to his superiors that these materials are at risk are repeatedly rebuffed as excessive. When an anti-nuclear protest leads to an incident resulting in Jack’s firing, the political process grinds away and the door is open to the Iranian Quds force. What follows shocks the conscience.

    A President consumed by uncertainty, inexperience, and a lack of understanding of the forces arrayed against the American nation may cost the nation its very survival, unless someone or something comes forward to act decisively in the moment.

    The intricately plotted non-stop action begins in Tehran, reaches to Jerusalem, Mexico City, and Washington, and San Francisco is but the first target of this geopolitical techno-thriller. Can anyone stop the total destruction of the United States?

    Second Seal is the first book in a trilogy chronicling the inevitable conflict with Iran, the least well understood sworn enemy of the United States.

  3. On April 2, 2012 at 10:39 am, Warbucks said:

    David Wilcock interviewed a Vietnam vet (former point man) who goes by the name “Drake,” who lays out a rather comprehensive plan, “The Plan”, to implement during the coming months. I wouldn’t have given too much thought about all this except “The Plan” references a full legal protocol to recover our nation with our own military backing, morally and legally committed to its implementation.

    The details seem to bear directly on the classified operations of the Mullahs, Hezbollah, and Israeli zionists, by recasting the US’s internal alignments, nonviolently. We will see.

  4. On April 2, 2012 at 11:28 am, Lou Gots said:

    If I were mixing it up with a country with 18 SSBN’s I would be damn worried about asymmetric warfare.

  5. On April 2, 2012 at 3:43 pm, Herschel Smith said:

    Thornton, everyone is hung up over the use of a nuclear weapon, and true enough, I think that the won’t attempt delivery by air for Israel. They’ll just float it into harbor at Haifa. But the easier solution, if they want to perpetrate acts against a country, is to attack the infrastructure. It’s what I have warned about.

    Rich, please stay on subject.

    Lou, I have no idea what you’re talking about. I suspect that no one else does either.

  6. On April 2, 2012 at 5:50 pm, Chuck Pelto said:

    TO: Lou Gots
    RE: So What About 18 SSBNs

    If I were mixing it up with a country with 18 SSBN’s I would be damn worried about asymmetric warfare. — Lou Gots

    Can you explain the religiously fanatical mind that thinks that all the martyrs of warfare go to paradise?

    And those are the minds that rule Iran.

    If US is out of the way, Israel is ripe for the taking.

    And US could be knocked to our knees very readily with one simple nuke.


    P.S. Are you familiar with Risk Analysis?

  7. On April 2, 2012 at 5:51 pm, Chuck Pelto said:

    P.P.S. Same for you Herschel.

    The Arabs/Persians can’t be most effective against Israel until after the US is taken out of the picture.

  8. On April 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm, TS Alfabet said:

    EMP Scenario already laid out in William Fortschen’s book, “One Second After.”

  9. On April 3, 2012 at 10:53 am, Chuck Pelto said:

    TO: TS Alfabet
    RE: One Second After

    EMP Scenario already laid out in William Fortschen’s book, “One Second After.” — TS Alfabet

    Yeah. I’ve read it. It hypothesized three launches of SCUD-type missiles from three container ships, scattered about the Earth, targeting various advanced nations.

    All Iran needs to do is knock US out to allow free-play for Russia, China and the Islamists. It would be the complete manifestation of the nightmare Hobbesian world.

    And that ‘satellite’ Iran launched last January could be the virtual, nuclear ‘Sword of Damocles’ to trigger it.


    …what does it matter that the launcher is a SCUD missile or an orbital missile?

    I still maintain that the most economical approach is the ‘satellite’ EMP attack and using their special fecees for other targets afterwards.

    It’s simple economics.


    [Know your enemy and know yourself….. — Sun Tzu]

  10. On April 3, 2012 at 12:00 pm, Chuck Pelto said:

    P.S. I spent the last third of my military career developing scenarios to drive exercises of State Area Commands (STARCs) in the western third of the lower-48.

    [NOTE: For the uninformed….

    STARCs are the state adjutants general and their staffs, i.e., state National Guard headquarters.]

    The purpose of these exercises was to prepare these organizations to respond to national emergencies, i.e., Gulf Wars, and natrual disasters, i.e., Katrinas.

    This particular scenario was one that gave lots of people the heebie-jeebies.

    And now it is looking more and more plausible.


    [Be Prepared…..]

  11. On April 7, 2012 at 2:25 pm, Chuck Pelto said:

    TO: All
    RE: So….

    ….no one refutes this scenario? My understanding? Can anyone come up with a better understanding?


    [Beware when the great God lets loose a thinker on this planet. — Ralph Waldo Emerson]

  12. On April 7, 2012 at 6:48 pm, Herschel Smith said:


    Don’t posture Chuck. I doubt that anyone is interested in “refuting” your scenario. Why would anyone be interested in doing that?

    You’ve (and many others) missed the point of the article – totally and profoundly. Anyone can posit scenarios of state-on-state actions that end up having a deleterious effect on one or the other states. These scenarios are usually classical or at least pseudo-classical warfare.

    My point was and still is that everyone is missing the obvious. Asymmetric warfare is what Iran will choose to do – or at least, they should. We may claim that our infrastructure is hardened post-9/11. It simply isn’t true. With 400 fighters I could destroy the economy of the nation for a decade. Forget state-on-state classical warfare. We have vulnerabilities – and that was the point of the article, Chuck.

    But I am not posturing with you. In fact, I hadn’t said a word until now.

    Oh, and I don’t like Emerson at all, or the rest of his ilk.

  13. On April 8, 2012 at 11:58 am, Chuck Pelto said:

    TO: H. Smith
    RE: Posture?

    Hardly. Looking for intelligent rebuttal. It helps to refine the scenario.

    But as you suggest, I doubt if anyone has anything they can refute with.

    RE: Asymmetric Warfare

    I’m not missing your point. I’m reinforcing it. Just from a different angle.

    Yes. Iran’s got special fecees. And they can be used very effectively. I never said the Iranians were fools. Indeed. My Brother-in-Law is highly intelligent. And I expect that the government of Iran is equally intelligent, albeit rather ‘mad’.

    RE: Emerson….

    ….well that just too bad for you.

    I don’t care much for Pink Floyd. But every now and then they DID create something of interest.


    [To hazard the contradiction – freedom is necessary. — Ralph Waldo Emerson]

    P.S. Is there something wrong with that particular ‘thought’? Or is it ‘evil’ because of the source?

  14. On April 9, 2012 at 9:09 am, Chuck Pelto said:

    TO: H. Smith
    RE: A Variation on Your Scenario

    Consider this.

    The Iranian Special Fecees infiltrate US and begin a campaign of sabotage and mass murder.

    Obama responds by declaring martial law. Under the guise of which he moves to grab power by (1) using the new Martial Law Executive Order, shutting down the internet and (2) using the 2012 NDAA, begins rounding up political opponents and holding them indefinitely without trial.


    [Life is the stuff that happens to you while you’re making other plans.]

  15. On April 22, 2012 at 12:25 pm, Nichevo said:

    Chuck, as I understand it modern electronics are largely shielded, not for EMP defense per se, but simply to avoid lawsuits when my cordless phone cuts out your wifi, or that microwave interferes with this baby monitor, or a heavy cell phone user gets brain cancer. I am not sure that Starfish Prime would have the same results today. You also seem to assume a perfect enemy attack. IMVHO 50-90% casualties in a year from cannibalism, etc., is unlikely.

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This article is filed under the category(s) General Suleimani,Hezbollah,Iran and was published April 1st, 2012 by Herschel Smith.

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