Saturday, April 29, 2006

Iran's judgment Day plan

I happened to notice a thread on Little Green Footballs on the subject of an Iranian plan they call judgment Day in case of attack by the US. The article quoted by LGF is from Asharq Alawsat's website. Let's take this apart a little, shall we?

First of all there is something at the end that bears talking about.

According to the source, in case the US military attacks continue, more
than 50 Shehab-3 missiles will be targeted against Israel and the al Quads
Brigades will give the go-ahead for more than 50 terrorists cells in Canada, the
US and Europe to attack civil and industrial targets in these countries.

What about the last stage in the plan?

Here, the Iranian source hesitated before saying with worry; this
stage might represent the beginning of a world war, given that extremists will
seek to maximize civilian casualties by exploding germ and chemical bombs as
well as dirty nuclear bombs across western and Arab cities.


These last two paragraphs should give pause to countries in Europe and across the Arab region. If this is Iran's true plan, they have just threatened Europe and the Arabs with the use of chemical and biological weapons. If anything, this comment has probably given cause for Europe and other Arab countries to support us in efforts to assist Iranians in changing their government. These statements haven't won Iran any friends in the global arena. This admission, if this information is really coming from someone who knows what they are talking about, admits to possession of chemical and biological weapons and a willingness to use them on their neighbors.

But I have reasons to doubt that this source really has access to any strategic Iranian plans. The items mentioned as a response do not appear to be part of an overall strategic plan. They appear to be an assemblage of tactics that are based on situations and capabilities that are disjointed in their usefulness. While some of these tactics could be undertaken now, some will need to wait until a point in the future. And when those other future capabilities are ready, the window of opportunity on some earlier ones will have closed so these "responses" can't be read as a timeline of events in how Iran would respond.

Lets start at the top:

1- A missile strike directly targeting the US bases in the Persian Gulf and
Iraq , as soon as nuclear installations are hit.

So here we are talking about attacks on Kuwait, Qatar, the UAE, Bahrain, and Iraq. While there are currently a large number of personnel in Iraq, the numbers will begin dropping soon. An attack by Iran, depending on when it occurs, could be seen as more of an attack on Iraq than on the US. The other countries I mention would probably take any such attack by Iran as an attack on their own country and respond accordingly. These countries have some significant capabilities, particularly in their air forces. Iran would be subject to counter-attack from the air forces of a half-dozen different countries.

2- Suicide operations in a number of Arab and Muslim countries against US
embassies and missions and US military bases and economic and oil installations
related to US and British companies. The campaign might also target the economic
and military installations of countries allied with the United States .

Again Iran is threatening their Arab neighbors with attacks on their soil. Has Iran consulted with those neighbors? Somehow I don't think so. Jordan would probably not be pleased, neither would Saudi Arabia be interested in seeing Iran (again) undertake terrorist attacks on US targets on Saudi soil. If this is truly the strategic plan of Iran, then their Arab neighbors have just been placed on notice to watch any activity by Iranians and Iranian allied groups all the more closely.

3- Launch attacks by the Basij and the Revolutionary Guards and Iraqi
fighters loyal to Iran against US and British forces in Iraq , from border
regions in central and southern Iraq .

This item is fleeting. It supposes that there will be a large number of US and British forces in Iraq when this scenario plays out. This would mean Iran expects this scenario to come about in the next 2 years or less. Also, this will be seen by Iraq as a direct attack on them from Iran.

4- Hezbollah to launch hundreds of rockets against military and economic targets
in Israel .

This statement, if true, should provide additional incentive for the government of Lebanon to begin disarming Hezbollah. I do not believe Lebanon wants to get involved in any scenario where Iran fights to the last Lebanese. In other words, all number 4 accomplishes is getting a lot of Lebanese killed and probably gets their country invaded by Israel. This is Iran saying that Lebanon is simply a pawn on their chess board. While that might be true to some extent, I don't believe that situation is likely to continue much longer as Lebanon has already made noises that they intend to throw off the outside influences as much and as quickly as possible. They have already begin to intercept weapons shipments to Hezbollah and there are calls for the disarming of Hezbollah that are increasing in both frequency and volume.

According to the source, in case the US military attacks continue, more
than 50 Shehab-3 missiles will be targeted against Israel and the al Quads
Brigades will give the go-ahead for more than 50 terrorists cells in Canada, the
US and Europe to attack civil and industrial targets in these countries.

This part seals it for me that the person that is the source of this article is not a general officer nor does this person have any military training. The source is political. Notice how the "more than 50" number appears twice. For some reason it rings of a "rectal extraction" and not a real number. I also don't have any reason to believe Iran has 50 Shehab-3 missiles deployed in fireable condition. The Shehab-3 is a modified Scud. It's performance and accuracy is suspect. It is liquid fueled. This launch threat depends on the rocket fuel still exsiting after initial attacks and follow-on attacks from not only US forces but practically every air force in Europe and much of the Arab world if Iran has made good on the earlier threats and launched attacks there. Also, this item carries an admission of "more than 50 terrorist cells". Thank you very much, we shall now go about discovering and neutralizing them. And even if some still exist when such a scenario plays out, giving a cell the "green light" is one thing. Its ability to then acquire its weapons and coordinate an attack is something else. If they already have their weapons secreted away, they are subject to discovery ... starting right about now (again, thanks for tipping us off) if they don't have them already, they are going to need to get them somehow. A Iranian going around looking for a load of ammonium nitrate in the middle of a war with Iran is likely to be noticed.

Overall, I think the article is horsecrap. I believe it is bluster from some middle-level diplomatic or government source. If this really is the strategic plan of Iran, it has more holes than a block of Swiss cheese and relies on a lot of wishful thinking.

The larger question is "why is Iran talking like this?". I have my suspicions. First of all, someone would be quite stupid to lay out their actual plans. I believe the reason for Iran's bluster recently is that they want to keep a large US presence in the Persian Gulf region for political purposes. They want to rattle the saber enough to keep US troops from leaving Iraq figuring that every additional month that US troops are in Iraq in large numbers weakens the US politically and economically. The US leaving Iraq would telegraph a significant victory and Iran would rather not see that come to pass. I believe that is also the reason behind this statement:

The source also said that the military training camps of the Guards were
opened for the fighters of the Mehdi army in Iran to receive the necessary
training. Iran had also increased its financial assistance to Moqtada al Sadr to
more than 20 million dollars.

I believe the real reason for all this talk is to cause the strategic planners in the US from withdrawing from Iraq and pin down a large number of troops there that can not rest, be re-equipped, and re-trained for an attack on Iran. It is in Iran's interest to keep as many US forces as possible pinned down in Iraq for as long as possible and at the same time cause friction between us and those countries providing us with bases in the region. In other words, this "leak" is propaganda. It has a purpose and that purpose is to sow the seeds of uncertainty in the minds of our planners and our allies in the region. I believe it has backfired. If anything it will cause other countries in the region to see Iran as the threat and cause them to work more closely with us in getting a change in government in Iran.

The source was probably right about one thing. When Iran deploys the final piece to it's "response" there probably would be a "world war" but it would most likely be the world against Iran.

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