The Future of the Iranian Nuclear Program, Part III
[Note: Have been consumed with non-blogging domestic issues. Light blogging tonight, but will return full force tomorrow afternoon for a few hours.] [Note: See Part I here, Part II here.] Analyzing all military options in one post is far too unwieldy, and would be sloppy. Therefore, the remainder of this series on Iran will be broken down into much smaller parts. This part is a group task. Before diving in to analyzing specific US military options vis a vis Iran, The Adventures of Chester would like to request a group brainstorming session. Using the power of distributed intelligence, we ask you, what are the range of MILITARY options (not diplomatic, not economic, not informational)? Let's see what ideas get tossed out on the table and then we'll look at a number of them, or combinations of them. Readers will forgive the use of editorial privilege in deciding which to consider and which to combine. We've developed these so far: Limited Political Objective: Destruction of Nuclear Infrastructure 1. Aerial raid or campaign to destroy WMD infrastructure. 2. Ground-based raid (heavier raid) to destroy WMD infrastructure.. 3. Ground-based sabotage (lighter raid) to destroy WMD infrastructure. 4. Combination of aerial raid/campaign and ground-based raid to destroy WMD infrastructure. For example: a. Aerial raid on majority of infrastructure, seizure of key installations via ground or over the horizon, in order to perform intelligence exploitation, or to capture existing facilities intact. b. Man-hunting operation designed to find and capture key members of the scientific community, possibly combined with aerial raids on a number of their locations. Still Limited, but Expanded Political Objective: Destruction of Nuclear Infrastructure, Weakening of Regime Power (a "punitive campaign") 1. Aerial raid on WMD infrastructure, aerial raids on critical vulnerabilities of regime power. 2. Aerial and/or ground raid against WMD infrastructure, aerial/ground raids on critical vulnerabilities of regime power. 3. Aerial/ground raids on WMD infrastructure, ground raids on critical vulnerabilities of regime power, fissure of the nation into a zone of Iranian control, and a zone of US-backed resistance control. Unlimited Political Objective: Destruction of Iranian Nuclear Infrastructure; Removal of Iranian Regime 1. Aerial raid on WMD infrastructure, small-scale and singular aerial decapitation attack against key individuals, institutions, and symbols of Iranian regime. 2. Aerial raid on WMD infrastructure, rolling aerial campaign against all regime targets: political, economic, military. 3. Aerial/ground raids on WMD infrastructure, aerial/ground campaign against entire Iranian regime. Continued occupation of WMD infrastructure. No alternate government created by US forces. Quick exit of US forces from majority of country. a. Same as 3, but with extensive use of local Iranian resistance. b. Same as 3, but with overwhelming US ground force. 4. Aerial/ground raids on WMD infrastructure, aerial/ground campaign against entire Iranian regime. Creation of US-supported government zones. US long-term occupation of these zones. Slow attrition of remaining regime power. Could be lighter, or heavier than option 3. 5. Aerial/ground raids on WMD infrastructure, aerial/ground campaign against entire Iranian regime. Creation of US-backed government. Long-term US presence in Iran. Some Other Wild-Card Options (these break the rule of military-only actions, as they are truly combinatory in nature) 1. Encouragement of aerial strike by proxies (Israel) on WMD infrastructure (military + diplomatic) a. Can include logistical or other support. 2. Support of internal rebellion; ground raids on WMD infrastructure in conjunction with opposition groups (miliary + covert/CIA) What say you, readers? Please offer your thoughts and we will have a robust discussion. The tempo and content of the responses will dictate the timing of Part IV. Remember, the goal is to imagine all unique options, not to critique them in-depth at this point. And likewise, not to be repititious. UPDATE: Fri, 1:25pm: Excellent comments, readers! Please keep them coming. Remember, the goal at this point is not to critique different actions yet, or to examine the Iranian side, though we will do that too, but instead to offer unique solutions that have yet to be mentioned. I have strong opinions on many of the actions proposed thus far, but will hold back for awhile to let more flow in. The best comment thus far, which offered an idea completely unique from any others, was posted by "tdbedilion" and involved "military option to squeeze the Iranian economy at its pressure points" to destabilize the regime. Other good comments continue . . . Sporadic posting throughout the afternoon has begun . . .