Editor Note: We imagine that most if not all of awoken readers are aware of the US hit on Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quids Force commander Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport. Not surprisingly Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned that a “harsh retaliation is waiting” for the U.S. This blatant act was effectively a declaration or war, and will now put the War Party of Iran in ascendancy.
Iraq in turn has condemned the assassination as a violation of their sovereignty. This will push Iraq, which is 66% Shia, more firmly into the Iranian (also Shia) camp. We anticipate that the Iraqis will again insist that all American presence in Iraq leave. Iraq’s government insisted all US personnel leave back in October.
The US order of battle in the Middle East is thin. 4000 airborne troops are on the way. However the odds of Iran standing down as the US engages in a military build-up such as proceeded the first two Persian Gulf wars is nil. Thus the odds of a “Pearl Harbor” or Van Riper Gambit pre-emptive strike against US targets is amplified well before a meaningful US deployment.
Winter Watch offers a rerun of our June 23, 2019 article on Iran’s capabilities and likely strategy in the emerging war.
‘If you lead with the technology, I think you’re bound to make mistakes.’ — Marine Lt. Gen. Paul Van Riper
It’s apparent that the folks on Iran’s war staff are well versed in Trumpian World Wide Wrestling Federation psychodrama and the perverse American cartoon-world psyche. Trump engaged in more threats and then back-peddled after Iran scored a coup of downing a $220 million MQ-4C high-tech drone.
Trump then claimed the Iranian action was unintentional, to which Iran promptly corrected that stating that it was unapologetically intentional. Furthermore, Iran suggested it could have easily taken down a manned P-8 military aircraft spy plane ($256 million price tag) as well, but deferred.
Iranian forces claimed they used a version of the Buk M1 road-mobile SAM to shoot down the drone. The IRGC also possesses Russian-made S-300 air-defense systems. Iran announced that it had a “domestically made” system with the same capabilities as the S-300.
Then, Donnie boy downplays the bad omens of the MQ-4C loss and left the U.S. open by saying expensive weaponry isn’t worth 150 Iranian lives that would be lost in the planned retaliation. If so Iran can play that game indefinitely, as the U.S. has plenty of high-cost military-industrial complex gadgetry in the theater. Burning through billions of vanity weaponry strikes us as losing proposition.
Europe didn’t condemn Iran either. No one did. Only the U.S. And that silence is deafening as warmongers Pompeo, Bolton and Haspel again overextend themselves.
Maybe it’s all just a big coinkydink, but the suppressed news of Philadelphia’s refinery explosion on Friday strikes us as most curious. Just how difficult is sabotage of this type, and who could accurately I.D. the culprits? Might not even be Iranian. Once again, the American paper tiger is laid bare.
Iran has had 40 years to develop low-tech asymmetric warfare to use against a cartoon world country that has wasted hundreds of billions on gadgetry.
Currently, U.S. cruise missiles are among the most expensive of single-use weapons, up to several million dollars apiece. One consequence of this is that its users face difficult choices in target allocation, to avoid expending the missiles on targets of low value. For instance, during the 2001 strikes on Afghanistan, the United States attacked targets of very low monetary value with cruise missiles, which led many to question the efficiency of the weapon.
On April 6, 2017, 59 Tomahawk missiles were launched targeting Shayrat Airbase near Homs, in Syria. An independent bomb damage assessment conducted by ImageSat International counted hits on 44 targets, with some targets being hit by more than one missile; these figures were determined using satellite images of the airbase 10 hours after the strike. However, the Russian defense ministry contends that the combat effectiveness of the attack was “extremely low”; only 23 missiles hit the base destroying six aircraft.
The head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the country’s development of ballistic missile technology had changed “the balance of power” in the region.
According to Salami, the Revolutionary Guards began tests using ballistic missiles as “a way to end the story of American aircraft carriers in the area” some 12 years ago.
The U.S. is likely to give its aircraft carriers a wide berth. The most effective weapon Iran has is the sea mine, which will choke off the Persian Gulf. Iran has 15,000, and they have low-tech but effective price tags at $25,000 a pop. Any clearing of these mines will be risky and expensive. A number of U.S. ships have been damaged by mines in past regional conflicts.
Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) focuses more on smaller, fast-moving, heavily armed ships for an anti-access, area-denial role in the inner Persian Gulf against Iran’s neighbors and the United States. The IRGCN also controls Iran’s shore-based anti-ship missiles.
In 2002, Marine Gen. Paul Van Riper led an Iran-like Red Team in a U.S. military exercise called the Millennium Challenge 2002. Van Riper launched a preemptive “swarm strike” against an approaching U.S. amphibious force using a huge anti-ship cruise missile barrage that over-saturated their sophisticated Aegis air defense systems. This was combined with a swarming attack by fast boats. His attack sank 16 ships and killed 20,000 Blue Team personnel.
Van Riper apparently hadn’t understood that he was meant to lose the war game in order to validate U.S. military doctrine, so the exercise was promptly rebooted to have the “right” outcome. My speculation is logical, the neocon psychopaths running the U.S. war biz have exposed themselves and with supreme hubris ignored Van Riper’s lessons on their obsolete doctrine. The general has said as much.
Van Riper discussed ultimatums and threats in his Nova interview.
“What advantage is there for Red to wait for Blue to strike?” There was none. And that lead to the natural conclusion that if they’re coming, and we can’t persuade them not to diplomatically, then we will strike.
As I looked at an ultimatum that gave me less than 24 hours to respond to what literally was a surrender document, it was clear to me that there was no advantage in any of this diplomacy. I was very surprised that the Joint Forces Command personnel who had argued for using all of the elements of national power—the economic, the diplomatic, the political information—in some sort of coherent fashion, really came at Red with a blunt military instrument. So it was clear to me that this was not going to be negotiated, this was going to be a fight. And if it was going to be a fight, I was going to get in the first blow.
Indeed, besides the effective sea mines, Mad Max-style tactics of barreling towards enemies at maximum speed in swarms of over-gunned open-topped motor vehicles seems outlandish, it has a certain logic for Iran. The small and affordable boats have low radar signatures, which combined with speed, would significantly reduce their target’s reaction time. More importantly, should the U.S. approach Persian shores, their sheer numbers could overwhelm the expensive defensive systems on board U.S. warships.
From the IRGCN’s standpoint and replicating Van Riper doctrine, the U.S. Navy’s advanced warships bristling with missiles are the Death Star, and its swarms of fast boats the maneuverable fighters capable overwhelming advanced defenses to deal a lethal blow.
The Seraj-1 fast attack craft was built on the Bladerunner design and is known for its stability, high mobility and strength. The newest version has large-caliber armaments, especially the 107-mm rocket launcher on the bridge and the DShKM mounted on the front. It can hit speeds of 90-100 knots (Seraj-2, Seraj-3) with a low silhouette. Iran has 30,000 of these equipped with short-range anti-ship missiles that approach at low altitude.
Iran also possesses thousands of small hard to detect swarm drones that can land quick hard punches. Expending high tech cruise missiles trying to hit these on the ground is a fine proposition and trade off for Iran.
Iran has imported Chinese C802 Silkworm missiles with a strike range of 120 miles, as well as reverse-engineered its own domestic Noor cruise missile and began working on a 200-mile range Ghadir ASCM. And the Persian Gulf ranges in width of only between 35 to 212 miles.