Skip to comments.Iran, Iran, Iran and Iran That's it. That's the whole list of national security priorities.
Posted on 04/14/2006 5:20:18 AM PDT by robowombat
Iran, Iran, Iran and Iran That's it. That's the whole list of national security priorities.
Whatever we do in Iraq and whatever Iraqi politicians do; whatever we do to Hamas; however hard we look for Bin Laden or al-Zawahiri; whoever runs our port terminals; whatever the price of gasoline; however we secure our borders; whoever leaked Valerie Plame's name - under the shadow of a nuclear-capable Iran, American and allied options are reduced.
Iran's announcement that it has mastered the enrichment of uranium on an industrial scale, and thus stands steps away from being weapons-capable, was poetic. "Iran's nuclear activities are like a waterfall which has begun to flow. It cannot be stopped."
Poetry aside, we disagree.
At least one analyst suggests that Iran could only generate enough for a one-shot demonstration to halt the current round of talks at the UN by presenting the Security Council with a fait accompli. An Israeli official said Iran had proved a "rudimentary research and development capability" needed to create nuclear weapons, but it did not mean that the Iranians had "mastered the nuclear fuel cycle." Israel's Chief of Military Intelligence, Amos Yadlin, called the announcement "a bargaining chip... meant to move the debate to the next point - the extent of enrichment."
However, even a demonstration project means that Iran has acquired the knowledge to enrich uranium after which, like biting the apple, you cannot "un-know." If the Iranian program is not stopped, some analysts believe Iran could master the fuel cycle by the end of the year. This is what Israel considers the "point of no return."
The Iranians themselves say they are looking to increase the centrifuge string from the current 164 (enough to test the technology) to 3,000 (enough for industrial purposes, or to make one bomb per year) and then to 50,000 (do the math yourself). The ringer here, of course, is that we don't know what we don't know. There are suggestions of a parallel, clandestine program; that the 3,000 centrifuges already exist, that the knowledge base is stronger than we think.
It is easier, in this case, to be Iran than it is to be the rest of us. Iran has only to determine its path and travel along. The key diplomatic players (the US, Russia, China, the EU-3, Israel, and the UN) are still working through a jumble of plans, policies and possibilities, with some still wedded to their financial objectives and others wedded to the idea that the US or Israel will make the problem disappear without involving them - except in the condemnation phase.
It won't happen. This Iranian demonstration may be the only warning we get to dispense with our individual financial or political goals and find a unified way to a) make the Iranians stop, or b) make the Iranians stop. That's it. That's the only priority.
"The Iranians themselves say they are looking to increase the centrifuge string from the current 164 (enough to test the technology) to 3,000 (enough for industrial purposes, or to make one bomb per year) and then to 50,000 (do the math yourself). The ringer here, of course, is that we don't know what we don't know. There are suggestions of a parallel, clandestine program; that the 3,000 centrifuges already exist, that the knowledge base is stronger than we think."
EXACTLY. Every report I've heard and read has assumed that Iran doesn't already have thousands of centrifuges, and that it hasn't enriched uranium before, because that's what the Iranian regime has reported.
Yet there have been numerous reports of the Iranians removing trees and vegetation, removing soil, digging up and burying whole sites. What do the reporters think the regime was trying to hide? And do they actually think that when Iran "agreed" in the past to not run their centrifuges, that they really stopped?
Who the heck does the news media think we're dealing with?
I think we should invade in order to inspect the sites, but not occupy or nation-build. That is also what we should have done in Iraq. Teaching a Muslim Democracy is like teaching a pig to fly.
My armchair general instincts tell me we could do something quite simple that would be devastating to Iran without large scale deployment of troops. It would require a 3 phase attack.
Phase 1 would be to detroy their air defenses, their air force and their naval force. For good measure we must destroy a lot of tanks, APC's and most of their national guard. The thinking here is we don't want to kill them, but cause them to bleed severely.
Phase 2 would involve a series of sortees to take out their nuclear bunkers. I would not like to see us use tactical nukes, but a series of heavy bunker busters sortees to make sure they are destroyed or seriously disabled.
Phase 3 would be to section off the southeastern section of Iran, where the majority of citizens are ethnic Arabs. This would require ground troops. They would secure this territory and foster an indepedence movement among the residents. This region is where the majority of Iranian oil is. We would not have to take out their leadership, but simply force the secession of the southeastern portion of Iran and either make it a new country, or let it join Iraq. Iraqi troops could be deployed to secure the territory in joint patrol, or, a new army can be recruited and trained to defend this new country.
With the Iranian army incapacitated, there is little they could do to reclaim this territory. If they appeal to the UN for freedom, it would be hard for the UN to deny it. They are not Persians but, like the East Timorese, a different people who want freedom from the Persian rule. The result would be the loss of the majority of Iranian oil reserves to this new country, which would severely cripple the Iranian economy. With little oil and little oil income, Iran would be paralyzed and the people would force a revolution as Iran would need modernization - rapidly - to survive as an economically viable entity.
Since Pakistan is looking at India, and India at Pakistan, and Afganistan unable to do much, the new, smaller Iran would not be under threat from attack. It could maintain security with the remaining forces. But it could not reclaim the lost territory either.
Later, when they have a reformed government in place, they can reclaim some of the lost oil revenues by pipeline revenues headed for China - but would not get the benefit of owning the lost oil.
My armchair general instincts tell me we could do something quite simple that would be devastating to the USA without large scale deployment of troops. It would require a 3 phase attack.
1st phase: secure all energy resources on the planet.
2nd phase: force Europe to move the US troopos out, in exchange for "enegry security"
3rd phase: sell Russian oil (and other resources) for roubles only, at the Russian stock market, and promoting it as the new reserve currency for Eurasia.
The plan is already in motion :)
For details on the first “war” between Iran and America in the Persian Gulf, see my web site www.insidethedangerzone.com. I wrote a book about the 1987-1988 time period, when there were several clashes between the U.S. Navy and the Iranian military. Including Operation Praying Mantis, the largest sea-air battle since World War II.
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