Tick tock…

You may have heard rumors that the US and Israel are planning a joint strike against Iran. I don’t have time to read through all the sources now and check on the rumors, but we’re definitely building up military strength in the Persian Gulf. Short summary of possibilities:

  • This is just some saber-rattling to point out to Iran that it should, in fact, be thinking more seriously about negotiation. If so we’re in luck, because that would be a not entirely stupid move. Of course, it’s no good if you’re not willing to follow through, but that’s a legitimate negotiation tactic.
  • These forces are actually going to be used in Iraq. That could go well with option 1.
  • We’re planning some limited sort of operation, or to act in support of an Israeli operation. Possibilities include bombing selected targets or even doing highly targeted ground operations against them. I would have to spend a lot more time analyzing data, and for that matter analyze highly classified data, to get a sense of whether this is workable or not. It’s very risky.
  • Our President has decided to make the First Classic Blunder for a third time in a row, and has no understanding of the relative military strengths of the force he just put in the Gulf and the Iranian military, nor of the consequences of turning Iran into another Iraq. Normally I would rule this out under “even he isn’t that stupid,” but the past few years have taught me the folly of betting on that.

Anyway, keep your eyes open. If I have time I’ll sniff more.

(And thanks to for pointing me at the recent changes — I’ve not been paying proper attention to political news lately)

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Published in: on February 26, 2007 at 12:37  Comments (14)  
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14 Comments

  1. How much credibility do you give to Debka?
    I am usually pretty dubious of what I read there.

  2. How much credibility do you give to Debka?
    I am usually pretty dubious of what I read there.

  3. Fairly high credibility for raw data, fairly low credibility for analysis.

  4. Fairly high credibility for raw data, fairly low credibility for analysis.

  5. I just can’t believe that the POTUS would launch a strike against Iran when domestic public opinion of the Iraq conflict is so wobbly. Perhaps history will prove me wrong, but it seems a tactic as likely to get him impeached than actually accomplish anything useful (besides squelch the current Iranian domestic rumblings against Ahmadinejad, of course).
    If you find any news that seems to indicate a strike is genuinely being considered (more than just saber-rattling or the “Oh no!s” coming from the general press), please share.

  6. I just can’t believe that the POTUS would launch a strike against Iran when domestic public opinion of the Iraq conflict is so wobbly. Perhaps history will prove me wrong, but it seems a tactic as likely to get him impeached than actually accomplish anything useful (besides squelch the current Iranian domestic rumblings against Ahmadinejad, of course).
    If you find any news that seems to indicate a strike is genuinely being considered (more than just saber-rattling or the “Oh no!s” coming from the general press), please share.

  7. No such news at this time. So far it’s all rumors and sabers. But the present POTUS is, AFAICT, mad as a bag of clams, and almost entirely impervious to people telling him that his latest idée fixe is a terrible idea, so I wouldn’t want to categorically rule it out.

  8. No such news at this time. So far it’s all rumors and sabers. But the present POTUS is, AFAICT, mad as a bag of clams, and almost entirely impervious to people telling him that his latest idée fixe is a terrible idea, so I wouldn’t want to categorically rule it out.

  9. Seymour Hersh had an interview on Fresh Air yesterday that addressed the topic:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7618708
    It’s about a forthcoming New Yorker article.
    His claim is that our esteemed VPOTUS believes that Iran *will* get nuclear weapons, and that they will give them to Hezbollah to detonate in the US, so options up to and including bombing might be necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Sy Hersh also relates a rather strained (and scary to hear taken seriously) analogy to the Sudetenland by Cheney, citing first person sources on background. He also noted that while in washington, media people are doing damage control on Iran while Cheney was in Australia over the weekend still saying “every option is on the table”.
    He talks a little bit about specific types of buildup, that no one is seriously considering a ground war (well, they’re not *totally* insane), how truly vulnerable a carrier battle group is in the straights of Hormuz, and mentioned that among the joint chiefs he’s heard that the air force is for going in, and the other services are against it.

  10. Seymour Hersh had an interview on Fresh Air yesterday that addressed the topic:
    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7618708
    It’s about a forthcoming New Yorker article.
    His claim is that our esteemed VPOTUS believes that Iran *will* get nuclear weapons, and that they will give them to Hezbollah to detonate in the US, so options up to and including bombing might be necessary to stop Iran’s nuclear program. Sy Hersh also relates a rather strained (and scary to hear taken seriously) analogy to the Sudetenland by Cheney, citing first person sources on background. He also noted that while in washington, media people are doing damage control on Iran while Cheney was in Australia over the weekend still saying “every option is on the table”.
    He talks a little bit about specific types of buildup, that no one is seriously considering a ground war (well, they’re not *totally* insane), how truly vulnerable a carrier battle group is in the straights of Hormuz, and mentioned that among the joint chiefs he’s heard that the air force is for going in, and the other services are against it.

  11. When the AWACS launch it’s time to find a nice comfy bunker
    I think right now it is a bunch of saber rattling. A air and sea based bombing campaign of Iran couldn’t happen without AWACs patrolling the skies to keep tabs on “good” and “bad” guy aircraft and missiles. I believe all the AWAC units are at their home bases and none are deployed in the Gulf. When the AWACs redeploy to the Mid East you know the ante has been upped for we won’t be taking out al Queda, the Sunni insurrgency or Taliban’s air forces.
    The saber rattling I think has gotten the Iranian attention. Not only the deployment of the second carrier group but also the appointment of Admiral Fallon to head Central Command, a position that has always been headed in the past by either the Army or Marines. Fallon’s expertise is in air warfare, not counter insuurgency or land combat operations so this is another signal to not only the Iranians but also the Israelis and others of the seriousness of our intent. The surge in troops the President is sending also has less to do with quelling the violence in Baghdad and more as a signal to Iran that we can still muster a significant force to the region on a short notice.
    I think (hope) what we are seeing is a two play act written by Rice and not Cheney. The first act is to get the Iranian’s attention. The second will be to find a table someplace to talk.

  12. When the AWACS launch it’s time to find a nice comfy bunker
    I think right now it is a bunch of saber rattling. A air and sea based bombing campaign of Iran couldn’t happen without AWACs patrolling the skies to keep tabs on “good” and “bad” guy aircraft and missiles. I believe all the AWAC units are at their home bases and none are deployed in the Gulf. When the AWACs redeploy to the Mid East you know the ante has been upped for we won’t be taking out al Queda, the Sunni insurrgency or Taliban’s air forces.
    The saber rattling I think has gotten the Iranian attention. Not only the deployment of the second carrier group but also the appointment of Admiral Fallon to head Central Command, a position that has always been headed in the past by either the Army or Marines. Fallon’s expertise is in air warfare, not counter insuurgency or land combat operations so this is another signal to not only the Iranians but also the Israelis and others of the seriousness of our intent. The surge in troops the President is sending also has less to do with quelling the violence in Baghdad and more as a signal to Iran that we can still muster a significant force to the region on a short notice.
    I think (hope) what we are seeing is a two play act written by Rice and not Cheney. The first act is to get the Iranian’s attention. The second will be to find a table someplace to talk.

  13. Re: When the AWACS launch it’s time to find a nice comfy bunker
    If AWACS start flying, that’s a completely different sort of saber-rattling. 🙂 And that’s a good point about Fallon’s expertise; he was definitely put in there as a signal to Iran rather than to Iraq.

  14. Re: When the AWACS launch it’s time to find a nice comfy bunker
    If AWACS start flying, that’s a completely different sort of saber-rattling. 🙂 And that’s a good point about Fallon’s expertise; he was definitely put in there as a signal to Iran rather than to Iraq.


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