Foreign Affairs

Iranian Weakness

Why is it that those most dedicated to stability in the Middle East are determined to prevent any action against the greatest source of instability? It may be a tough call to take on Iran, but the facts are what they are. Iran’s rulers are the primary source of terrorism in the world today and of instability in the Middle East. Now is the time to act, because Iran is weaker now than it has been in decades.

Not only has Iran created a crisis between Israel and Lebanon but it is also increasing its destabilizing role in Iraq by providing insurgents with an advanced form of more powerful Improvised Explosives Devices (IEDs). Ordnance factories in Tehran have developed an advanced form of IED, which is more difficult for ground troops to detect and penetrates thicker armor.

Improvised Explosive Devices are becoming an increasingly frequent danger to American troops in Iraq. From 2004 to 2005, the number of IED attacks doubled; and than doubled again in 2006. Not only are IEDs becoming more prolific, they are becoming more lethal. According to publicly available casualty reports from the Pentagon, IED attacks are the leading cause of Coalition deaths in Iraq.

On 11 Feb 2007 military briefers from our Multi National Headquarters in Baghdad said that the rise in deadly IED attacks is not the result of Iraqis manufacturing these weapons in garages and basements: they are being mass produced in Iran to satisfy orders placed by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) for use in Iraq. This only confirms what others and I have been saying on Fox News and radio shows for the last eight months.

Iraqi insurgents alone are not capable of a fourfold increase in the number of IED attacks; instead they have taken advantage of the supply of IEDs streaming into Iraq from Iranian factories. Both British and American officers have confirmed signs of Iran’s signature bomb technologies in devices across Iraq. The Secretary of Defense has stated that weapons from Iran were “clearly, unambiguously” being found in Iraq. However, no government officials had been willing to pinpoint the source of these Improvised Explosive Device factories until now.

For the first time, intelligence reveals that weapons are being produced at Iranian Ordnance Factories in the Lavizan neighborhood in northern Tehran at three independent industrial sections called Sattari, Sayad Shirazi, and Shiroodi. The Sattari Industry specializes in anti-tank mines. Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Jerusalem Force has been ordering advanced IEDs that use Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFP) for transfer to Iraqi insurgents.

The production of these Explosively Formed Projectiles is particularly troublesome because they are more advanced than regular Improvised Explosive Devices — the new versions can penetrate thicker armor, are harder to detect, and have proven more lethal to Coalition troops in Iraq than traditional IEDs. To date they have killed 170 Americans and wounded 363. It is now time to exercise several different options available to the United States and Coalition Forces. First lets deal with the EFPs. Our policy should be for every EFP that goes off in Iraq an EFP should go off in Iran. For instance, in southeastern Iran on 14 Feb 07 11 Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) men were killed and 31 wounded by IEDs. Something must be done. Fortunately, Israel is apparently acting.

On 18 Jan 2007 Professor Ardashir Hosseinpour, a world authority on electromagnetism assigned to the nuclear facility at Isfahan died under mysterious circumstances. It is reported that the Israeli’s Mossad was behind his death. In addition several other nuclear scientists were killed or injured in this operation. These covert actions must be stepped up so the Iranian leadership realizes that Newton’s laws of physics work in geopolitics: every action has a reaction. The more they push terrorism and pursue nuclear weapons, the more the free world has to push back. Now is the time to do it.

Iran is weak, like a three-legged stool. If any of the three legs are cut – its economy, its populac and the regime itself — it falls. Iran’s oil production is shrinkjing steadily to the degree that some analysts say it may disappear altogether in two decades if the regime doesn’t invest in the right renewal of production resources. Iran is not yet a nuclear power, capable of dominating the rest of the Middle East. And, most importantly, the mullacracy is vulnerable to the unrest of the Iranian people. More than three-quarters of the Iranian population is under the age of thirty and few support the repression of the radical Shia regime. President Ahmadinejad, for all his intense rhetoric, may not be secure in office, far less in power. I do not mean that toppling the Iranian regime would be easy or quickly accomplished. But their vulnerability today may not last, given the support they receive from Russia and China.

Iran’s diverse population is fertile ground for covert operations. The population is only 51% Persian and Azerbaijanis and Kurds comprise nearly 35% of the population. Seventy percent are under 30 and the jobless rate is over 20% with a pent up desire to modernize. We should hasten this desire for the people to take their country back and get rid of the Mullahs. Covert action is the answer to Iranian EFPs in Iraq.

We may have to exercise the military option against their nuclear program in the near future. President Ahmadinejad is defiantly resisting a negotiated solution and Iranian scientists are fast approaching production of weapons grade uranium. Unless significant progress can be made quickly on the diplomatic front, we have to consider the use — all too soon — of the our very creditable military option. Before we do, it is important to try and create a coalition of the willing composed of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, UAE, Qatar, Turkey, Australia, Britain, France and Germany. Solidarity is important and might lead to diplomatic success. However; if not, then they must be prepared to assist in the military option. They recognize that the war in Iraq is now a fight for the Arabian Peninsula and not in their interests. Should some decline then the U.S. must be prepared to act with as many allies as possible. But act we must.

Our campaign should be exclusively an air campaign followed up by covert actions as described above. It should be led by over 60 stealth aircraft (B2s, F22s, F117s) and more than 400 non stealth aircraft including B52s, B1s, F15s, F16s, Tornados, and F18s. Roughly 150 tanker and other support aircraft would be deployed along with 100 unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) for Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance (ISR) and over 500 cruise missiles. In other words overwhelming force will be used.

The objective would be first to destroy or severely damage Iran’s nuclear development and production facilities, which would put them out of business for five years. A second objective would be to neutralize their Integrated Air Defense system and damage significantly their Navy, Air Force and Shahab 3 offensive missile capabilities to prevent retaliation to Iran’s neighbors. Finally we should destroy their command and control structure. These overt and covert attacks simultaneously would weaken the ability of Iran’s leaders to carry out retaliation attacks and cripple their ability to govern.

This campaign would hit over 1500 aim points in less than 48 hours along with a very aggressive covert operations campaign to let the people take their country back. We would use the Afghan model to support these covert operations and airpower selectively when IRGC units massed to stop the people. Despite Iran’s promise to have their proxies attack U.S. Forces world wide I would welcome that fight and we would be prepared to handle it. We cannot let words intimidate us and if in fact it is a viable threat, we should take it on our terms and time of choosing.


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