CHESTER HAS MOVED!: The Future of the Iranian Nuclear Program, Part II

Wednesday, November 17, 2004

The Future of the Iranian Nuclear Program, Part II

In Part I yesterday, The Adventures of Chester attempted to show, among other things: -That confrontation with Iran is looming because of Iran's weapons program. -That the US must make its decision to act within the next 12-18 months. Today: GOALS OF US ACTION The key to unraveling and predicting the steps which the US will take with regard to Iran lies in deciphering what the American political goals will be. A word on strategic goals, from Marine Corps Doctrinal Publication 1-1, "Strategy": "Despite their diversity, political objectives in war can be labeled as either limited or unlimited. The distinction is fundamental. An unlimited political objective amounts to the elimination of the opponent as a political entity. A limited political objective on the other hand, is one in which the enemy's leadership can survive and remain in power . . . "An unlimited political objective, then, may embrace anything from merely deposing a particular leader to physically exterminating an entire people or culture. Ideological revolutionaries, would-be world conquerors, and both sides in most ture civil wars tend to seek unlimited political objectives. Occasionally, defensive alliances seeking to eliminate a habitual aggressor will also pursue an unlimited political objective. "Conversely, a limited political objective includes anything short of eliminating the political opponent. It is envisioned that the enemy leadership will remain in control after the conclusion of hostilities, although some aspects of its power (influence, territory, resources, or internal control) will be reduced or curtailed. Limited political objectives are the characteristic of states seeking better positions in the international balance of power, clans vying for political position within a larger society, mafias or street gangs battling for "turf", and reformist political movements. " Examples of each: Limited Political Objectives: (opposing political leadership survives) -intimidate -cause change in policy -reduce enemy miliary capacity -take slice of territory Unlimited Political Objectives: (opposing political leadership is removed) -change regime -change form of government/ruling class -conquer/absorb -exterminate (genocide) What will the goals of US action in Iran be, with regard to its weapons program? There are many possibilities, but two are distinct: 1. Limited Political Objective: Remove the Iranian nuclear weapons program. 2. Unlimited Political Objective: Remove the Iranian nuclear weapons program and the Iranian regime that created it. Many variations of these two goals exist, but these are the most fundamental. For example, a tangential goal could be stopping Iranian support to the Iraqi insurgency. Moreover, there are varying degrees of action for each goal. Removing the Iranian regime could involve simply that and no postwar stability operations at all, in a distinctly realist fashion. Or the removal of the regime could be accompanied by a US goal to create a free and democratic replacement -- an ideological goal, a la Iraq or Afghanistan. Tomorrow, in Part III, The Adventures of Chester will begin to examine different operational campaigns to accomplish either of the above political objectives. A series of alternatives will be examined for each objective, and each one analysed against the criteria of: -Possibility of accomplishing the given political objective -Constraints in time, space and material -Reinforcement of overall national strategy against Islamic Fascism (the War on Terror) -Iranian Responses

4 Comments:

Blogger adamtait said...

I have provided a brief analysis of the Iran situation and the US stance under the Bush Doctrine at http://taitmusings.blogspot.com. But I'll leave the military analysis to Chester!

November 18, 2004 at 10:47 AM  
Blogger clearedhot said...

I'm not an intel type, but I think that someone needs to "Red-Cell" the Iranian position if these discussions are going to be meaningful, and if we are going to avoid the kind of mirroring and group-think that seems to be plaguing many of our upper level planning cells. So here's my amateur G-2 stab at it. Some of my assumptions and conclusions might be wildly off-base, but it's a start. Comments?
----------------------------
Red Cell Report: Iran

General Situation: The United States military has the Islamic Republic of Iran surrounded. To our south, the US Navy enjoys unfettered access to the waters of the Persian Gulf with nuclear armed submarines, cruisers and destroyers capable of launching Tomahawk cruise missiles, and aircraft carriers capable of launching sustained air strikes across Iran. In addition, the southern coast of Iran is vulnerable to amphibious operations by US Marines.
To our West, the United States military continues combat operations throughout Iraq, with several divisions of troops, armor, artillery and support aircraft capable of mounting a ground assault into Western Iran. To our Northwest, Turkey is rebuilding ties with the US military and holds the potential for hosting an attack by US ground forces. To our Northeast, the US has built a large air base in Uzbekistan, and has negotiated over-flight and refueling rights with the government of Turkmenistan. To our east, the United Sates military is conducting combat operations in Afghanistan and has free access to all Afghan bases. To our southeast, Pakistan, a nuclear power, is lending considerable support to US operations in Afghanistan.
Across the Persian Gulf, the corrupt governments of Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar and Oman are providing the United States military with a wide variety of support and infrastructure, from which US and other western forces can strike into Iran.
In addition to Pakistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran is within striking distance of at least three nuclear neighbors, all of whom have various levels of support from, and friendly ties with, the United States: Israel, Russia and India.
Within the Islamic Republic, we are experiencing a rise in the frequency and numbers of anti-government demonstrations, mostly conducted by students. In addition, we are seeing a rise in the corrosive and corrupting influence of western cultural mediums such as the Internet, rock music and satellite television.
In the Islamic World, there is growing evidence of a western plot to attack Islam on every front. In the Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, Egypt, Yemen, across Africa, and throughout Europe, western agents continue to threaten the purity of Islamic life and the unity of the Islamic world.

Commander’s Estimate: The conventional military forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not capable of mounting a sustained defense of the Republic against a multi-front attack by US forces. We must employ our two strengths – unconventional fighters and our growing nuclear leverage – against the Western threat. We will do this in three phases:
Phase one (ongoing): Support and encourage resistance against US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. Provide fighters, money, arms, training and other logistics in order to disrupt and spoil the ability of US forces to coordinate and mount operations into Iran. Provide moral and spiritual support to Shia fighters. Mobilize the Muslim world by emphasizing the obligation of every Muslim to conduct Jihad when Islam is threatened.
Phase Two: Support and encourage Jihadists in other places throughout the world, to include Europe, Africa and Southeast Asia, in order to distract US and Western attention from their activities in Southwest Asia. Ongoing.
Phase Three: Continue development of Iran’s nuclear potential while making overt conciliatory gestures to the international community. Conceal, bluff and stall for time to the maximum extent. Strive for political detente, but be prepared to strike any of the above locations if required, to include US forces that penetrate Iranian borders. This is of the utmost importance – a nuclear weapon will be Iran’s last ditch chance to save itself, and worldwide Islam, in the event of an all-out attack by US forces.

Objective: Iraq under control of a government that is not friendly to the US. Growing disenchantment throughout western Asia with US and Western interests and activities. Increased opportunities for survival and growth of the world wide Islamic empire.

November 18, 2004 at 11:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

At minimum, the ruling class must go. Otherwise, they'll attempt to rebuild the nuclear program later.

November 19, 2004 at 3:06 PM  
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