Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran

Iran Escalation (5)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

The 120,000 number required to invade Iran has been summarily dismissed by the US Joint Chiefs of Staff. Across the board any and all Iran invasion plans are being poo-poo’d. 

This is not to say an aerial campaign against Iran will not happen, it almost seems likely.  A ground campaign, I think not. 

The most telling article I read was that the US wants to avoid a “rebuilding” phase following the knockout phase (combat operations). Seeing the articles encouraging the Iranian people to rise up and take control of their own destiny appears to be  the winning strategy.  

Still, the media’s escalation is irresponsible.

</end editorial>

While the tirade of hysterical nonsense continues, we are seeing some reasoned argument and solid debate emerging. DoD tells media there is no “actual, executable plan, or anything like it, exists for a large-scale troop deployment to the Gulf” – obvious as we have not seen the required campaign pre-deployment effort Tehran regime supporters in the US media claim is under way or imminent.

The most interesting analysis item is in the JPost, by Amotz Asa-El (Attacking Iran: Dos and Don’ts) – he proposes conducting an air campaign focused thus: “The aerial assault would avoid the population and focus on the regime. It would first raze all military airfields and aircraft, and then bomb missile sites, nuclear installations, armories, warships, secret-police buildings, and the fleets of motorbikes off of which Basij cops club demonstrators. On top of these, assorted leaders, both military and civilian, will be personally targeted. Throughout it all, the message to the Iranian people will be: we’re not the Russians, who joined a despot’s war on his people; this air force is on the side of the people. We are after the regime that oppressed you, defamed us, and destabilized the entire world. If you want to seize your fate, gain your freedom, and restore your pride – join us.”  Once Iran’s IADS has been collapsed, the outcome is only a matter of sortie counts and time – two S-300PMU2 / SA-20B batteries with inexperienced crews are not enough to keep the IADS alive.

O’Connor’s argument that the naval environment favors Iran is curious – Iran’s fleet of traditional and non-traditional surface combatants, and its coastal missile batteries, would have very short life expectancy where the US and its allies hold uncontested air superiority. Plinking these assets with GBUs is simply not a challenge. Operation Praying Mantis Redux ….

Somebody needs to explain these realities to the regime leadership in Tehran as they clearly find this difficult to comprehend – or are being lied to by their military leadership.

Military Officials Say There Is No Plan to Confront Iran | Time

The Trump Administration is turning up the heat on Iran, broadcasting a new plan to send as many as 120,000 U.S. forces to the Middle East to counter purported “identified, credible threats” from Iran. But in the world of the Pentagon, there are plans you present to politicians, and then there are real plans. And three U.S. military officials involved in planning and overseeing military forces in the region tell TIME that no actual, executable plan, or anything like it, exists for a large-scale troop deployment to the Gulf. “That requires knowing what contingency you’re addressing,” says one officer. “Is the target Iran’s own forces or is it a militia? Is the enemy in Iraq or Syria or someplace else? A car bomb or missiles or cyber? Is there credible evidence linking an attack to the Iranian government so that targets inside Iran are legitimate?” All three sources, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they had not been authorized to discuss the matter publicly, told TIME they had seen no such detailed data.

The Trump administration has already built its case for Iran war

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump may not need Congress to go to war with Iran. That’s the case his lieutenants have been quietly building as tension between the two nations have escalated. The key elements involve drawing links between al Qaeda and Iran and casting Iran as a terrorist threat to the U.S. — which is exactly what administration officials have been doing in recent weeks. That could give Trump the justification he needs to fight Iran under the still-in-effect 2001 use-of-force resolution without congressional approval. That prospect is unsettling to most Democrats, and even some Republicans, in part because, in part because there is a reluctance to engage U.S. forces in another theater of war, and in part because many lawmakers believe Congress has given too much of its war-making authority to the president over the years.

US warns airliners flying in Persian Gulf amid Iran tensions | Fox News

U.S. diplomats are warning that commercial airliners flying over the wider Persian Gulf faced a risk of being “misidentified” amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

FM Javad Zarif: We don’t want war, and no one can confront Iran | News | Al Jazeera

Saudi media reports US request for military deployment in its territories as Iranian FM says no war will take place.

Top Iranian legislator calls for Iran-US talks ‘to end tensions’ | Iran News | Al Jazeera

Hashmatullah Falahat Pishe appeals for Iran-US dialogue in either Iraq or Qatar to de-escalate Gulf frictions.

Iran mobilises Axis of Resistance: General tells thousands of jihadists to stand ready to wage war | Daily Mail Online

Iran’s axis of resistance has been growing throughout the Middle East and thousands of jihadists will rally to the call to arms amid mounting tension with Washington in the Persian Gulf

U.S. Officials Say Iran Has Removed Missile Threat From Some Boats – The New York Times

Missiles have been unloaded from at least two small boats in Iranian waters, a move that American officials said could help defuse a brewing confrontation.

U.S. officials: ‘Highly likely’ Iran carried out tanker attacks

A U.S. assessment determined it is “highly likely” that Iran was behind the attacks on four tankers last weekend, U.S. officials told NBC News.

Saudi Arabia, UAE, Norway notify UN Security Council of attacks on oil tankers – Al Arabiya English

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Norway have notified the United Nations Security Council about the act of sabotage carried out on the

Saudis blame Iran for drone attack amid calls for US strikes

Saudi Arabia accused Tehran of being behind a drone strike that shut down a key oil pipeline in the kingdom, and a newspaper close to the palace called for Washington to launch “surgical” strikes on Iran, raising the specter of escalating tensions as the U.S. boosts its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

Iran denies ties to Houthi drone attack on Saudi oil installations – Breaking News – Jerusalem Post

Iran’s foreign ministry on Friday rejected accusations by Saudi Arabia that Tehran had ordered an attack on Saudi oil installations claimed by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militia.

Brett Velicovich: Attacks on Saudi oil pipelines and tankers have Iran’s fingerprints all over them | Fox News

Recent attacks on two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia by armed drones coupled with the sabotage of oil tankers in the Gulf may be proof that the Iranian regime is clearly ok with escalating tensions in the region, even if it means disrupting the global oil supply chain and endangering the world’s energy resources.

U.S.’s Evidence of Iran Threat Readied for Release by Pentagon – Bloomberg

The Pentagon is working with its Defense Intelligence Agency to declassify and release images — including two traditional sailing vessels carrying land-attack missiles — to back up the Trump administration’s claims of a growing threat from Iran, according to four defense officials.

East-West Pipeline fully operational after drone attack, says Aramco official – Al Arabiya English

Saudi Arabia has reopened a key oil pipeline after it was shut down by drone attacks claimed by Iran-aligned Houthi rebels in Yemen, an official said

Saudi Arabia Accuses Iran of Ordering Drone Attack on Oil Pipeline

The Houthis, which have been battling a Saudi-led military coalition for four years in Yemen, said they targeted the pipeline, causing minor damage

Iran Is Scaring Off Its Friends, Too – Foreign Policy

Even Tehran’s sympathizers in Europe and Asia are leery of its latest shifts in policy.

Iraq Is Not an Iranian Vassal State – Foreign Policy

These days, Tehran is having trouble getting what it wants from its neighbor—a development Washington can encourage by backing off.

Once again, Iraq caught up in escalating US-Iran tensions | Fox News

When U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down with Iraqi officials in Baghdad last week as tensions mounted between America and Iran, he delivered a nuanced message: If you’re not going to stand with us, stand aside.

Iran’s elite naval forces said to pass skills to proxy fighters – Reuters

An unmanned Iranian boat skips over the waves at full speed and rams into a U.S. aircraft carrier, sending up an orange fireball and plumes of smoke.

War With Iran? Count Us Out, Europe Says – The New York Times

Bruised by the 2003 Iraq war, Europeans are united in opposing a new conflict with Tehran but also leery of contradicting Washington too sharply.

To Contain Iran, Trump’s Newest Line in the Sand Looks a Lot Like Obama’s – The New York Times

Embracing a one-year “breakout” period — a time limit on Iran’s ability to make fuel for a nuclear bomb — was at the heart of the 2015 accord that the U.S. left in May 2018.

Iran Tensions: John Bolton Is Exactly What Trump’s Policy Needs – Bloomberg

The Iranian regime should understand that the U.S. is serious about deterrence, not war.

Pompeo and Bolton tensions escalate as Iran debate intensifies – POLITICO

The Secretary of State has bridled at the seasoned national security adviser’s grip on the policy process, but is more in sync with the president they serve.

Foreign Office warns against Iran travel for British-Iranians – BBC News

British-Iranian nationals are advised against going to Iran because of an “intolerable risk” of mistreatment.

Is the United States heading for war with Iran? – BBC News

A conflict is more likely today than at any time since President Donald Trump took office.

Saudi State Newspaper Urges U.S. ‘Surgical Strikes’ to ‘Bomb Iran’

“Surgical strikes” by U.S. forces against Iran are needed to curb the Islamic republic’s increasing regional belligerence.

Attacking Gulf oil routes exposes alternatives to Hormuz

Attacks on Saudi and UAE oil assets built to bypass the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically important waterway in the Gulf, have raised fears that alternative routes could be vulnerable. Four ships including two Saudi oil tankers were damaged in mysterious sabotage attacks Sunday off Fujairah, an emirate

UAE, keen to maintain safe-haven image, tempers oil tanker attack response – Middle East News –

While its close ally Saudi Arabia accused their mutual enemy of ordering drone strikes on its oil installations, the UAE held off blaming anyone for Sunday’s attacks to protect its reputation as a stable business hub

India Condemns Drone Attacks Targeting Oil Installations in Saudi Arabia

India’s statement came on the same day that Saudi Arabia formally pointed finger at Iran.

Amotz Asa-El | Middle Israel: Attacking Iran – dos and don’ts – Middle East – Jerusalem Post

This column has three dos and don’ts to suggest, as the White House considers attacking Iran. An American assault must unleash airpower, avoid invasion, and target only the regime and its tools | Middle-aged mechanical engineer Patrick M. Shanahan, who spent 31 years in Boeing and less than two in government, was doubtfully aware of this history when he reportedly showed President Donald Trump last week the US military’s plans in case Iran restores its nuclear misbehavior. The 120,000 troops that the acting defense secretary said the US military was ready to deploy in such a case would be more than twice the size of the Greek force of 45,000 foot soldiers and 7,000 horsemen with which Alexander the Great overran ancient Persia. For its part, the first Western invasion of Iran deployed more troops than Caliph Omar’s Arab army that seized Persia and made it Muslim after Muhammad’s death. The burgeoning American deployment would be roughly the size of the Mongol hordes that overran Persia in the 13th century, and smaller only than the Anglo-Soviet invasion of summer 1941, when 200,000 troops, 1,000 tanks and more than 500 aircraft subdued Iran in three weeks. The American commotion brings to Iranian minds all these Persian traumas: a Western intrusion like Alexander’s, backed by Arabs like Omar, while serving superpower agendas like Stalin’s and Churchill’s and delivering carnage like Genghis Khan’s. This is no reason to either back or oppose an America assault, but it is to say that at stake, from the target’s viewpoint, is Armageddon. From the American viewpoint, at stake are decades of unsettled accounts harking back to the 1979 hostage crisis, when Iran humiliated 52 American diplomats for 444 days, and to the 1983 Beirut bombings in which 241 American and 52 French peacekeepers were killed. Beyond these looms the broader Islamist terrorism that Iranian Shi’ites pioneered, Sunni Arabs multiplied, and the rest of mankind now counts as the chief threat to its peace. Lastly, there is the growing American impatience with Iran’s military plotting throughout the Mideast, and its ayatollahs’ continuous brainwashing of millions that America is the Big Satan. Having said this, Middle Israelis are in no position to tell America whether or not to attack Iran. This column does, however, have three dos and don’ts to suggest, as the White House considers attacking Iran. The first is military. AN AMERICAN attack must focus on airpower. The aerial attack’s status in the battlefield transformed several times over the past century. The warplane emerged from World War I as king of the battlefield, so much so that one military theorist, Italian general Giulio Douhet (1869-1930), argued that aviation rendered obsolete the ground forces because they couldn’t prevent bombers from leveling industrial plants and government centers. This thinking came undone in World War II, when the German aerial attack on Britain failed. The airplane’s limitations as a decider of wars later resurfaced when American air superiority in Vietnam failed to deliver victory. The consequent conventional wisdom was that wars are decided on the ground, and the air force can only help this process, the way the Allies used it in June ’44 or the IDF in June ’67. That was last century. Now this thinking has to be revised, following the Russian air force’s decision of the Syrian civil war’s outcome. The Russian bombers’ impact represented no military thinker’s genius, and their pilots’ performance involved no heroism. The Russian pilots faced neither air forces nor conventional armies, and the piloting was simply about dropping bombs, often on civilians.    Then again, militarily unassuming and morally appalling though all this was – it worked. This is, of course, not to say the US should target Iran’s civilians – it shouldn’t. It is, however, to say that Iran’s air force is antiquated, relying heavily on the Phantoms Nixon sold the Shah, which besides being dated also lack spare parts. The US Air Force is therefore in a position to overpower Iran’s air force and also to debilitate its airfields over a relatively short period of time, and at minimal cost in American, and also Iranian, lives. Having said this about a prospective attack’s aerial focus, our second recommendation is to avoid any invasion on the ground. ONE REASON not to invade Iran is its terrain. Unlike Iraq, whose flatness outside the Kurdish north simplified its conquest, Iran is largely mountainous, often dramatically. The Alborz range, which overlooks Tehran, peaks at the 5,609-m. Mount Damavand, which is but one of more than 140 Iranian summits taller than 4,000 m. This ruggedness is besides the formidability of the Great Salt Desert, a moonscape larger than Ireland, and its neighbor, the not-much-smaller, and equally inhospitable, Dasht-e Lut desert. In short, an American expedition force can be easily confronted by a serious guerrilla challenge that could make good use of Iran’s unique terrain. All this geography dwarfs compared with an American landing’s psychological impact. Patriotism being the scoundrel’s last refuge, the ayatollahs can be counted on to charge that America is picking up from where the Greeks, Arabs and Mongols left off. The people, watching GIs patrolling their streets, will believe the mullahs, and soon start sniping at them from the windows of Meshed, Tehran and Tabriz. The aerial assault would avoid the population and focus on the regime. It would first raze all military airfields and aircraft, and then bomb missile sites, nuclear installations, armories, warships, secret-police buildings, and the fleets of motorbikes on which Basij cops scoot as they club demonstrators. On top of these, assorted leaders, both military and civilian, would be personally targeted. Throughout it all, the message to the Iranian people will be: We’re not the Russians, who joined a despot’s war on his people; this air force is on the side of the people. We are after the regime that oppressed you, defamed us, and destabilized the entire world. If you want to seize your fate, gain your freedom and restore your pride – join

US won’t attack Iran, it will start a new Arab-Persian war. Two crown princes, two countries: They became hitmen of the Crusaders. But the big trap is set against Saudi Arabia. – İBRAHIM KARAGÜL

How far could the showdown between the U

Gulf states are sabotaging Trump’s campaign against Iran – and their own security – Middle East News –

Recent attacks on shipping, blamed on Iran, expose the fragility of Gulf states’ security and economies. But their in-fighting could derail U.S. strategy on Iran – and fuel insecurity across the Mideast

The Real Iran Military Threat: Close the Strait of Hormuz (Watch Oil Prices Jump) | The National Interest

Could this happen?

‘Very Stupid and Costly’ U.S.-Iran War Would End in Disaster for Both Sides, Experts Predict

A war against Iran would put tens of thousands of American troops at risk with no guarantee of victory.

Fujairah port: UAE’s oil lifeline outside Strait of Hormuz – World – DAWN.COM

A mystery “sabotage” attack on four ships, including three oil tankers, off the UAE coast has highlighted the importance of Fujairah port located just outside the key Strait of Hormuz. Strategic location The port of the emirate of Fujairah, located on the eastern coast of the UAE, is about 180 kilometres from Abu Dhabi ─ the richest of the seven emirates with 90 per cent of the country’s oil production. It is 70 nautical miles from the Strait of Hormuz and 80 nautical miles from Iran’s Jask port, on the opposite side of Gulf waters. Fujairah is the only emirate in the oil-rich UAE that is located on the Arabian Sea, bypassing the Strait of Hormuz, which Iran has threatened to close if a military confrontation with the United States erupts. If the strait is closed, the UAE will be able to continue exporting oil from Fujairah, whose port would become a lifeline.

Tom O’Connor | Could U.S. Defeat Iran’s Navy? This Exercise Shows War Would Not Be Easy

“We get carried away by our weapons, firepower, superiority, technology, all this kind of stuff, and we fail to look at the human factor,” diplomat Robert Oakley told Newsweek in 2003.

Iran changes tactics, destinations on oil exports, maritime official says – Reuters

Iran has adopted new tactics and new destinations in shipping its oil exports following the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions, a senior Iranian maritime official was quoted as saying on Saturday by the semi-official ILNA news agency.

Eyeing Iran, U.S. official says all alleged sanctions breaches taken seriously – Reuters

The United States takes all alleged sanctions violations seriously and will take action as appropriate, a State Department spokesman said on Friday, responding to a question about a tanker unloading Iranian fuel oil at a Chinese port.

Four times the US has made the same mistake in the Middle East. Now Trump is making it yet again over Iran | The Independent

In its escalating confrontation with Iran, the US is making the same mistake it has made again and again since the fall of the Shah 40 years ago: it is ignoring the danger of plugging into what is in large part a religious conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims.

Why Israel doesn’t want an American war with Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu does not want an American war with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Israel Presses the Case Against Iran, but Not for War – The New York Times

Israel has quietly played an instrumental role in the escalating tensions in the Middle East. But analysts say it wants to pressure Iran, not start a war.

Bronx man found guilty of being Hezbollah ‘sleeper’ agent

After less than a day of deliberations, a Manhattan federal jury found Bronx resident Ali Kourani, 34, guilty on eight counts that included providing support to Hezbollah, which carries up to life in prison.