News Gaming an Iran contingency

  • Thread starter jhe1984
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WarrenPlatts said:
That's interesting. I suspect that when the conventional attack is about to start, as part of the secret warning that will no doubt be sent, a carrot will be held out to the effect that the leadership and their families will be spared just so long as they don't launch WMD's, but if they do, they then become targets.

Also, what will the U.S. do if Iran does launch, say, just one or two nukes? Although the U.S. will have promised to retaliate in kind, they might not. They might instead go for the leadership and families so hard, that if they aren't immediately killed, they will have to go into hiding. The U.S. will then go for an Afghanistan-style regime change. Support for the mullahs is far from uniform, and their are no doubt U.S. Special Forces operating as you read this in the Kurdish and Azer territories of Iran, as well as within certain nations that border Iran that are organizing a rebel force. When the Iranian citizens see nuclear extinction looming, and that the coalition is giving them a chance to survive if they eliminate the irresponsible regime that brought them to this point, a good portion of them will rise up, and backed up by punishing U.S. air support, will quickly take over the country, thus showing that George Bush's dominoe theory of the ME is true.
That's wishful thinking.
 

Amp1

WarrenP,

...Also, what will the U.S. do if Iran does launch, say, just one or two nukes? Although the U.S. will have promised to retaliate in kind, they might not...
Iran launching nukes???? How many tests do you know of, even suspect Iran has carried out with ICBMs? Does Iran have ICBMs? If they don't, how are they going to launch them at the US?
 

poststruct

Amp1 said:
WarrenP,
Iran launching nukes???? How many tests do you know of, even suspect Iran has carried out with ICBMs? Does Iran have ICBMs? If they don't, how are they going to launch them at the US?
Very simple. Send an oil tanker containing one U235 200 kiloton bomb, one suicider Mohammedan, and one pull cord. Then let it dock in Houston or New Orleans or New York. After screaming "in the name of Islam", then pull cord.

Fact is that a rogue state with a U235 bomb can extort world civilization for about $ 500 billion annually. Then the extortionists (oops I meant legitimate government of Islamic Iran and darling of western appeasers) can use that money to build more U235 or Pu259 bombs. Even maybe H2 bomb - that will be worth 1.5 trillion dollars of annual income.

If you think you can reason with a rogue ideological extortionist, then you do not understand who you are dealing with.
 
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poststruct said:
Very simple. Send an oil tanker containing one U235 200 kiloton bomb, one suicider Mohammedan, and one pull cord. Then let it dock in Houston or New Orleans or New York. After screaming "in the name of Islam", then pull cord.

Fact is that a rogue state with a U235 bomb can extort world civilization for about $ 500 billion annually. Then the extortionists (oops I meant legitimate government of Islamic Iran and darling of western appeasers) can use that money to build more U235 or Pu259 bombs. Even maybe H2 bomb - that will be worth 1.5 trillion dollars of annual income.

If you think you can reason with a rogue ideological extortionist, then you do not understand who you are dealing with.
Well, this is unlikely and more complex than necessary. If Iran were going to launch nuclear strikes against the US or Israel, all they'd need to do is reconfigure their medium range tactical missiles to hit Iraq, Bagram AFB, or Israel. Reconfiguration - which'd be necessary in any case - is difficult enough.

There is an important distinction between ICBMs - which require, among other things, a viable space program - and medium range tactical nuclear missiles. Iran does not and never will have ICBMs. It could get tactical nukes. Plus, for all Norad does wrong (which I'm not sure is much), there is one thing that it does exceedingly well - detecting an ICBM launch. For all intents and purposes, it is impossible to get an ICBM in the air without the US knowing. I think I've heard somewhere that NORAD can detect an object just 4 cubic meters big that leaves the earth's atmosphere on a missile-like trajectory. (If I am right, this is not a classified fact. I heard it on a tv show. Please don't make me disappear, Big Brother.)
 

poststruct

jhe1984 said:
Well, this is unlikely and more complex than necessary. If Iran were going to launch nuclear strikes against the US or Israel, all they'd need to do is reconfigure their medium range tactical missiles to hit
....
earth's atmosphere on a missile-like trajectory. (If I am right, this is not a classified fact. I heard it on a tv show. Please don't make me disappear, Big Brother.)
As far as Islamic Iran is concerned, they are NOT in the business of missile racing. They frankly do not care if they can develop middle range tacticals or ICBMs. If they have only 1 or 2 U235 bombs, and wish to strike, pls. rest assured they will not bother with a missile of any kind.

They will put it in a legitimate cargo ship, and drive it to New York harbor and pull the cord. This is 95% guaranteed to work, as opposed to a missile based solution which is a lot more hastle, money, delays, risks, with only lets say 25% chance of working, and it cant even reach the US. In order to bring down WTC, they did not send big flying bombers to do the job. They just spent about $50,000 on 19 kids who were convinced that they will meet 72 virgins, and the labor was even donated.

The problem with your analysis is you first assume that they are a reasonable and logical entity (like the Soviets) and then you make further rationalizations. I assure you that they are not rational.

Asymetricity is their friend. That is the essence of this dilemma.
 
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Actually, I think you make a very important point here. Iran's military is more or less conventional, but the threats they present extend far beyond the conventional, even the nuclear threats.

However, I thought you were referring to converting a cargo ship into a tactical missile platform - like a poor man's missile cruiser - which itself is possible, but like I said very unlikely.

But do any of yall have a vote on my original question which was, would an announcement from Iran that they have nuclear weapons (even a handful) make military action more likely or less likely than it currently is?
 
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poststruct

Yes, why would you want to go through the trouble of building a missile platform, when you can just drive the boat into the harbor, and blow up a 200 kiloton bomb? Remember, the issue for them is not to defeat the US. The issue is for them to blackmail and extort western civilization, in giving them concessions and money.

I think if the Iranians had nukes, they would blow one of them up to show the world that they got it. Like Pakistan and India did. I think the prevailing theory is that they are about to build their first nuke, but are not there yet. Now if they make such announcement, my feeling is that this will hasten a precision attack on them. But some of those religious folks are really crazy, counting on the apocalypse to arrive. If they have a bomb, they will attempt to blow up some city in the US. Can that be stopped? I don't know.
 

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jhe1984 said:
I've been thinking about this one and am not quite sure about the answer. Here's the question and scenario:

What happens if Iran were to pull a North Korea and announce rather unexpectedly that they did, indeed, have nuclear weapons, made and on the ready?

To jog memories, about a year ago, the DPRK announced that they indeed possessed nuclear weapons. They did not say how many nor did they say if or where they were deployed, but they did make a clear announcement that, yes, they did in fact have nuclear weapons. This caught a lot of people by suprise because until then the basic operating assumption was that the North Koreans were operating nuclear facilities and were certainly moving toward nuclear capabilities, but that they were not in possession of true atomic weapons. Until then, the dynamic in the negotiations was one of how to entice the DPRK to return to NPT guidelines and the previously agreed upon ROE I think worked out under Clinton (which they violated). But when they announced that they had nuclear weapons, the discussions changed from more a semi-militant tone (were DPRK to not come around) to an almost purely diplomatic framework. Of course, the DoD maintains (however crudely) contigency scenarios even for these circumstances, but once the DPRK announced that they were in fact in possession of nuclear weapons, the side-jabber and "leaked" remarks about a military solution were markedly toned down, which make sense because everything became more serious. But the interesting thing was that the RoK said that yes the DPRK claim was plausible. But that's a little strange of a confirmation since until then everyone (at least seemed as) was operating under the belief that DPRK had not yet made that leap. In short, the move worked out almost expertly for the North Koreans. It elevated them from a problem-child to a legitimate player.

What would happen were Iran to make a similar claim?

Here's what I've come up with so far:

The claim would be greeted with far more skepticism since among other things the Iranians have ostensibly been operating in the open with the IAEA (meaning that everything was by the book, even the demand that the IAEA remove its monitoring equipment, etc.). So for a claim like this to be believed, they would almost be forced to disclose more details, either where or how they'd constructed a bomb without the world knowing and/or display or demonstrate some aspects (not necessarily decisive proof though) of a claimed bomb. Yet it would still be possible.

However, the claim would most likely change the framework of the discussion in a way different from the DPRK situation, simply because they'd be a new and contentious player in a very rough neighborhood (with three or four nuclear superpowers, Iran, Israel, the US, and possibly Pakistan) in the neighborhood. The Israeli interest is clear, albeit their reaction is not. For instance, do they treat the claim as an act of war, chance it, and launch against Iran. Or do they simply rely even more fervently on diplomatic talks that have become exponentially more serious and rest with the assurance that Iran would of necessity yield to the deterrence that is an assured nuclear destruction (from NATO and the US) were Iran to launch a first-strike. I almost certainly think the second situation goes one hundred percent in the face of Israel's military (and indeed fundamental national) posture, and would thus be completely unacceptable - it'd be akin to the US putting their hopes of a Soviet launch not happening in the hands of the Canadians: outsourcing the fundamental existence of your nation.

The US would be equally threatened, as a significant portion of our armed forces would lie within range of a nuclear Iran. Well, this point is debatable on some technicalities, depending on one's assesment of nuclear-tipped Iranian missile range. Nevertheless, the US would have ample foundation to, much like Israel, view this as an act of war (nuclear war, no less) by Iran.

If it came to it, and Israel was going to launch, the US would probably launch instead, for several reasons. It'd allow Israel to maintain plausible deniability. And, more importantly, the US is most likely better equipped to do it.

Still, all hell'd break lose - even were Iran to not have nuclear missiles. The word tactical strike would be non-existent in this context.

But the realities of international media must not be underestimated. If Iran were to come out and say something to the effect like "yes we have nuclear weapons - however, under no circumstances would we use them preemptively" then the US might really be in a pickle. It might be enough to come right up to, but not overstep, the int'l supported US line for a near-unaminous consensus that this was indeed an act of war.

But most crucially, it'd be very unlikely - and probably a large gamble - to operate under the assumption that, having made this announcement, that the Iranians were bluffing.

Anyway, I ask for your take on, were this to happen, what would realistically follow.

And in all respect, I do not mean for this to be a repeat of the "would the US use nuclear weapons against Iran thread". The assumption, whether you buy it or not, is that the US would follow through with their nuclear posture which states in no uncertain terms that it is prepared to meet a nuclear act of war against it with an equal or more devastating nuclear response. So let's go with that assumption for now...
This is a scenario worth considering because the impact of Iran having nuclear weapons determines how far the world should go (or not go) in preventing it from happening.

The smart thing is for Iran to proclaim they are only for defensive purposes. In fact, nuclear weapons are only good for defense. The radiation they leave behind make them useless for invasions.

The impact is that a country with nuclear weapons can't be punished by being invaded. The potential costs of aggressive policies are reduced when foreign countries are afraid to invade you in retaliation.

That means Iran could step in to suppress Sunni opposition to Shiite rule as soon as the US leaves, which means Iraq could become a Shiite theocracy. It also means the Shiites could retaliate for years of repression by the Sunni Baath party by oppressing all Sunnis. It also means Iran could stomp all over Kurdish hopes for autonomy and eventual independence.

All of that is "could happens". What's likely to happen and the probability of bad things happening would be hard to determine. A pre-emptive strike against Israel to wipe them off the face of the Earth would probably be far fetched since Israel could do the same to Iran. Iran would definitely be a much bigger power in the Middle East than they are now.
 
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Yeah it's a tricky issue, probably because it's a tricky part of the world. Even though it's been done before (to near perfection, I might add) by North Korea - the situations are completely different.

It's hard to understand why everyone's so on edge, since all Iran is looking to do is start up a candle-making factory inside a giant powderkeg. :uhh:

All that said, this is one of those things that, for now at least, is just as likely to be defused and relit repeatedly for another five years. But sooner or later, things are going to get hairy - because what you've got is a regime that is trying fairly desperately (and, more often than not, alone) to stave off the numerous and powerful tides of interests that are lapping at its shores daily. And the fundamental problem is that the regime does not have the political scaffolding to ensure longevity and autonomy, which translate into influence and regional power, over the long-run.

IMO, what we're seeing here, for better or for worse, is the final approach between two opposing interests (the persistent push of some sort of "westernization" [whatever that means] against a firmly entrenched old-school theocracy) that have been headed on a collision course that became apparent (to the US & Europe, at least) the moment that the shah was overthrown.

Regardless of what happens in this particular issue, the underlying truth is that the Iranian regime as it exists today is not a regime that has the correct configuration to ultimately last and even thrive in today's world - not because it is 'wrong' and others are 'right', but simply because. The necessary reconfiguration doesn't necessarily have to involve guns (though it usually does), but it will have to happen sooner or later. Geopolitical evolution in its purest form - which frankly isn't too pretty.

--- Thus concludes today's soliloquy. Be sure to tune in tomorrow, when I act like I know about... ----
 
cyrusabdollahi said:
what is the point of all this speculation? You should discuss this with WarrenPlatt on a military strategy website.
Well it is a cut above the usual level of discussion here. I'd say get behind it.
 
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Things are heating up in advance of March 6

March 6 is the date that the IAEA will deliver it's report on Iran's suspect nuclear actions to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC).

****
Israel

In January 2006, the chief of Israeli Military Intelligence said the “point of no return” will be reached in March 2006. If Iran starts to enrich uranium, it can start producing weapons-grade uranium by the end of the year and have enough to produce a nuclear weapon in another three years (Jerusalem Report, (February 6, 2006).


****
China

[China's a permanent UNSC member w/ a veto]

BEIJING (MarketWatch) -- China and Iran may sign a pact as early as March to jointly develop the massive Yadavaran oil field in southern Iran, the influential Chinese magazine Caijing said in a report Thursday.

****
France
(mail&guardian)

French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy branded Iran's nuclear programme for the first time on Thursday as a "clandestine, military" project.

"It's very simple: no civilian nuclear programme can explain Iran's nuclear programme," Douste-Blazy told France 2 television, two days after Tehran confirmed it was resuming sensitive uranium enrichment work. "Therefore it's a clandestine military nuclear programme."

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US

(the age)

THE Bush Administration has made an emergency request to the US Congress for a seven-fold increase in funding to mount a huge propaganda campaign against the Tehran Government.

In a further sign of the worsening crisis between Iran and the West, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the $US75 million ($A101 million) in extra funds, on top of $10 million already allocated for this year, would be used to broadcast US radio and television shows into Iran, help pay for Iranians to study in America and back democracy groups inside Iran.

****
India

(the asian age)

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, seeking wider support for his government’s policy on Iran, held a meeting of the full council of ministers on Thursday to convince his colleagues that Iran had violated the provisions of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and that India just could not afford to have another nuclear nation in its neighbourhood. It was clear from the meeting that there was no change in the government’s position despite protests by the Left parties. The Prime Minister will make a detailed statement on Iran in both Houses of Parliament on Friday.

Dr Singh said that he was willing to have a full debate on the issue as well. He addressed the apprehensions of some political allies that the government’s position could impact on the Muslim vote in India by pointing out that Iran was not a Muslim issue and that countries like Egypt and Yemen had also voted against it and in favour of the proposal to report it to the UN Security Council. He pointed out that India had not voted in isolation or just with the United States, but that Russia and China as well as the bulk of the international community had also taken a similar position. The world, the Prime Minister told his colleagues, has changed.

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Russia

(houston chronicle)

Russia, too, applied pressure.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Moscow's proposal to host Iran's enrichment program was only on the table if Tehran re-imposed a moratorium on such activities at home. He spoke ahead of Monday's meeting in Moscow on the proposal, meant to allay fears Tehran might misuse the technology for weapons.

The meeting is crucial in determining whether international tensions over Iran's program diminish or balloon.

Lavrov, who met with senior EU officials in Vienna on Wednesday, suggested that Russian backing of enrichment on Iranian soil was a long way off.
 
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And on the Iranian side, Ahmadenijad's not flinching either. He made a special presidential visit to the nuclear complex in the town of Natanz, where he said this yesterday,

" TEHRAN, Feb. 15 (Xinhuanet) -- Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Wednesday that Iran's progress in the nuclear field was irreversible, the official IRNA news agency reported." The achievements of the Iranian nation in the field (of nuclear technology) are irreversible," IRNA cited Ahmadinejad as saying.

"

Looks like we've got ourselves an incredibly absurd game of chicken. The good news is that there is still one final (temporary) pressure release valve left between now and March 6. On Monday, Iran meets with Russia in Moscow to discuss a possible work-around that neither the US nor Iran have been completely against. Barring this, ughhh.

This week's Worst Job Ever = mid-level worker at an Iranian nuclear facility

(Ahmadinejad should at least let these folks redeem their yearly allotment of vacation days.)
 
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