Iran Next??


10-Year Member
Jun 9, 2006
Ok, I'll start. The air force times had an article that stated a move on Iran would be mostly conducted by the Navy and the Air Force. Any comment on that and/or whether or not you think that the US is likely to attack Iran?
Please provide a link to the article, or else cut and paste the article here with appropriate references to the author and/or copyright owner.
Article Part 1

War with Iran would be Navy, Air Force show

Some point to buildup in Persian Gulf region as precursor to attack
By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Thursday Feb 22, 2007 20:08:37 EST

The attack would probably come by air. Waves of U.S. cruise missiles and warplanes loaded with smart weapons would swoop into Iran from the sea and land bases to destroy key Iranian nuclear facilities.

Out in the Persian Gulf, the Navy would wipe out Iran’s navy in a matter of days. Iran’s air defenses could possibly take out a few higher-flying Navy and Air Force tactical jets before being located and destroyed.

In short, the first round would go decisively to the United States.

But it wouldn’t be without serious repercussions. And the Navy would likely take the brunt of those. It’s the unconventional threat that would vex U.S. sailors.

An American public that has turned solidly against the war in neighboring Iraq — according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll conducted Feb. 12-15, 63 percent of those polled oppose sending more troops to Iraq and 56 percent feel the war in Iraq is “hopeless” — may find it hard to believe that the possibility of attacking much larger, more formidable Iran is even being broached.

But the Bush administration claims Iran is trying to build nuclear weapons and has vowed to prevent that from happening. More recently, senior military and intelligence officials say elements within Iran’s government are smuggling to Iraqi dissidents components for ever-more-powerful roadside bombs and are using them to kill U.S. troops.

The administration backed up its tough talk by deploying the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group a week earlier than planned in January and, in a surprise move, also “surging” the Ronald Reagan to the west Pacific and dispatching the Stennis to the Middle East. There, Stennis joined the already-deployed Dwight D. Eisenhower group and doubled the Navy’s combat power in the region.

Iran has reacted with angry words — mostly by hard-line President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad — and recent missile tests near the strategically vital Strait of Hormuz, the gateway to the Persian Gulf. Iranian leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Feb. 8 that Iran would strike U.S. interests worldwide if Iran were attacked, and a leading Iranian cleric said the following day that the U.S. was within Iran’s “firing range.”

The Bush administration and military leaders deny that a war plan is in the works. The Stennis deployment was simply, in the words of Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates, “to underscore to our friends, as well as to our potential adversaries in the region, that the United States has considered the Persian Gulf and that whole area — the stability in that area — to be a vital national interest.”

As with many other contingencies, the Defense Department has plans for an attack on Iran — the Navy reportedly updated its plans last September at the direction of Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen.

But there appears to be little enthusiasm for such a move within the Navy. And none of the analysts and experts interviewed for this story thinks an attack will take place.

“People go to the most dramatic case,” said Anthony Cordesman, a military analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, who has written on both Iran’s conventional military capabilities and its weapons of mass destruction. “But seapower, and military power in general, is often about containment, intimidation, dealing with limited cases. So I would look at the spectrum, not what is the most dramatic thing we could do.”

The less dramatic spectrum of possible operations, he said, includes beefing up airstrike support for NATO troops in Afghanistan, keeping an eye on Somalia, as well as demonstrating U.S. strength to Gulf allies.

The attack
No one knows precisely what it would take to light the fuse, or what the U.S. would choose to strike inside Iran if the standoff came to blows. Would it be a factory where the deadly roadside bombs are made? Iran’s publicly known, dozen-odd — and perhaps many dozens more — key nuclear facilities? Ballistic missile launching sites, to preclude retaliatory strikes against U.S. or Israeli interests in the region?

The Army wouldn’t be a factor in an attack that would come from the air and sea, not via land. Army troops, tanks and heavy artillery, preoccupied in Iraq, would stay put.

Any U.S. attack scenario would likely include a combination of cruise missiles launched from B-52s, Navy submarines and surface warships, Air Force long-range bomber strikes and short-range attacks by carrier-based Navy jets, land-based Air Force and Marine Corps jets. The Air Force and Navy bombs, like the cruise missiles, would all be precision-guided in an effort to minimize unnecessary deaths and collateral damage at dual-use facilities or those located amidst civilian populations.

If such a strike were launched, military analyst John Pike opined that a possible target date could be Feb. 21 — roughly when the U.N. Security Council’s 60-day sanctions deadline for Iran to cease uranium enrichment and heavy-water related programs, set on Dec. 23, runs out. “And that’s when everything shows up,” he said, referring to the Stennis group’s expected arrival on station.

That’s also how the March 2003 attack on Iraqi forces was launched — early in the morning, minutes after the expiration of President Bush’s demand that Saddam Hussein and his sons leave Iraq within two days.

If an attack was imminent, U.S.-based Air Force bombers would already be en route to their targets as Bush was announcing the strike on national TV. Navy cruisers and destroyers from the Eisenhower and Stennis strike groups would be pre-positioned in the Persian Gulf, their flanks protected by anti-submarine helicopters and attack submarines. The latter would be submerged, simultaneously preparing to fire cruise missiles.

The two carriers would not be anywhere near them. With much uncertainty over the locations of Iranian anti-ship missile ships, high-speed boats or mobile shore batteries and the range Navy jets can produce with the aid of Air Force fuel tankers operating on the periphery of the battlespace, the carriers would likely be situated outside the Persian Gulf, likely in the Gulf of Oman.

“I would get the carriers out, and I would put lots of missile ships in there to defend tankers,” said naval analyst Norman Polmar, noting the disruptive economic impact Iran would create by sinking oil-carrying ships — even though it could slow their own economy. “I think that’s one of the ways they go after the United States, to sink tankers,” he said.

Aircrews, particularly the Navy jets, could find themselves flying missions similar to those flown during the 2003 attack and invasion. Then, many jets flew precision bomb runs, then peeled off to perform close-air support for ground troops.

Without any ground troops, save for possible Special Forces teams to laser-designate certain targets, the U.S. objectives could be achieved with air and naval power alone, analysts said. So fliers could find themselves coming down low to take out coastal anti-ship batteries threatening the surface warships.

The Aegis cruisers and destroyers, likely well off Iran’s long coastline, would defend themselves from those missiles with a combination of Rolling Airframe Missiles and Phalanx rapid-fire 20mm barrages in addition to launching chaff to throw off Iran’s radar-guided anti-ship missiles.

The great unknown would be the missiles’ source and number. Would hard-to-spot Iranian fast small boats, some with anti-ship missiles and others with crew members hefting shoulder-fired rockers, employ a swarming technique in an effort to overwhelm a warship’s defenses? That’s a scenario Navy planners have spent years figuring how to deal with.
Article Part 2

“It’s always been assumed that this would be something of a risky operation,” Cordesman said.

Iran’s submarines are modern Russian diesel electrics, famously difficult to track. Each carries wake-homing and wire-guided torpedoes, according to Cordesman. The submarines are highly capable and could sit undetected on the ocean bottom, laying in wait for an approaching ship. The question is the proficiency of the crews. Iran also has built and operates an unknown number of midget submarines.

The Pentagon recently announced that Iran may have developed a hyper-speed, underwater “missile-torpedo,” similar to the Russian rocket-propelled Shkval. While the subs might not last long against an intensive U.S. anti-submarine hunt, they could initially cause serious problems, particularly for defenseless Gulf shipping.

Equally uncertain is the extent and capability of Iran’s air defenses. Iran has an estimated 300 combat aircraft, but many “are either not operational or cannot be sustained in air combat,” Cordesman wrote in his 2005 book, “Iran’s Developing Military Capabilities.” It could have upwards of 40 MiG-29 fighters, and several dozen other jets of lesser quality. It also still owns a mixed bag of as many as 115 Iraqi aircraft flown there during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and close to 50 F-14 Tomcats bought from the U.S. before 1979.

The Iranians also have U.S.-supplied Phoenix air-to-air missiles. Polmar questions whether any of the aging missiles are still usable or effective. But, he added, “They still would make it `noisy’ for manned aircraft.”

According to Cordesman, the Iranian air force operates an array of ground-based anti-aircraft missiles. But because Iran lacks a coordinated radar network, command-and-control assets and resistance to sophisticated jamming and electronic countermeasures, the Iranian missiles would be most effective against medium-to-high altitude aircraft “with limited penetrating and jamming capability.” Navy jets would try to take out air defense systems with HARM anti-radiation missiles.

Iran controls some 1,700 anti-aircraft guns but has only one system, the radar-guided Soviet-era ZSU-23/4 anti-aircraft gun, which might be effective against modern aircraft, according to Cordesman’s analysis. Iran also has “large numbers” of man-portable surface-to-air missiles, according to Cordesman’s book.

Iran has hundreds of ballistic missiles, some reportedly stored in hardened sites, all of which would allow it to strike U.S. forces based in Baghdad, Kuwait and Bahrain. Cordesman also said Iran also now has the Shahab-3 missile, which has the range to reach Israel and which some believe could carry a chemical, biological or nuclear warhead. U.S. officials do not believe Iran now possesses any nuclear weapons.

Iran has but a few surface warships, dated destroyers and frigates that wouldn’t stand a chance against the Navy, experts agreed. But it has nearly 200 patrol boats, hovercraft and fast small craft that could cause problems for U.S. warships in the Gulf. The smaller, more lightly armed vessels can also lay mines and could be used to carry out suicide missions.

But Pike noted that the Navy now has a canister round for its 5-inch guns, a weapon that could prove deadly should a speedboat get close to a ship.

“I don’t think these speedboats are going to be much of a problem,” he said.

The aftermath
“You have to think about the options for retaliation,” said Peter Brookes, a military analyst with the Heritage Foundation and a former Navy EP-3 pilot who flew in the Gulf in the 1980s. Foremost among these for the naval forces, he and others said, are mines.

“Mines are silent killers,” Brookes said. “You can plunk those things down pretty easily. And they can hurt you.”

Iran can lay mines using its several minesweepers and a wide variety of other platforms, including its Kilo submarines and dozens of small, innocuous merchant ships. Cordesman reported that U.S. experts estimate Iran has at least 2,000 mines, which Iran could use to potentially cut off the flow of shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

“You’re going to want to get rid of those Kilos,” Brookes said.

A newspaper editor close to Khamenei wrote in late January that any U.S. military action would invite a blockade of the Strait of Hormuz — something a mine-laying tactic could achieve — as well as missile attacks on U.S. troops and Israel.

Then there’s the lowest-tech retaliatory option: increased support for insurgents fighting U.S. troops in Iraq, and/or terrorist attacks by suicide bombers abroad.

“They have a pretty strong terrorist network through Hezbollah — around the world, not just in Lebanon,” Brookes said. “There have even been arrests of Hezbollah operatives and supporters in the United States.”

The likelihood of war with Iran
How to preclude this unwanted scenario? The U.S. has said it wants to engage Iran in some manner. And Ahmadinejad’s table-pounding aside, Iran could be open to negotiation on the nuclear issue. Khamenei is the true power in Iran. And Iranian opposition leaders have openly criticized their president over his hard-line rhetoric, a stance bolstered by the U.S. military rumblings.

“If you look at what’s happening in Iran, it’s obvious that the U.S. sort of hard line has made people think, made them concerned about Ahmadinejad’s rhetoric, his tendency to be reckless,” Cordesman said. “There is an internal debate in Iran that was not around before the U.S. became potentially more threatening.”

Will the U.S. launch a strike? In addition to the experts’ doubts, other senior officials have chimed in.

“The president has made clear, the secretary of state has made clear, I’ve made clear ... we are not planning for a war with Iran,” Gates said at a Feb. 2 news conference.

More recently, Adm. William J. Fallon, recently confirmed as the new head of Central Command, said that opening a new military front in the Middle East “strikes me as not where we want to go, and not what we want to be engaged in.”

And Gen. Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said during a February trip to the Pacific region that there is “zero” chance of the U.S. going to war with Iran.

But Iran appears to remain in the U.S. crosshairs. As Cordesman points out in a 2006 book co-written with Khalid R. Al-Rodhan, “Iran’s Weapons of Mass Destruction”, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley said during a March 2006 presentation on U.S. national security strategy, “We face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran … The doctrine of preemption remains sound … We do not rule out the use of force before an attack occurs.”

Staff writer Christopher P. Cavas contributed to this report.
All the previous eight or so CENTCOM commanders have been either Army or USMC grunts (Tommy Franks, Norman Swartzkopf, etc). However, Admiral Bill Fallon, a carrier admiral, has just relieved Army General Abazaid. That should be an indication of something.

Besides, Iraq was successful in taking the mind of the American public off bin Laden and Afghanastan. Maye Iran can do the same for Iraq.
Personally I think the U.S. would be nuts to attack Iran right now. We haven’t even finished the job in Afghanistan or Iraq yet. For now, I think it’s more likely that the U.S. will try to put diplomatic pressure on Iran than to outright attack them.
Here's another good article from Jan 29th. I read this and the one posted above from AIMpoints, great source.

Arthur Herman said:
How to fight Iran (Op/Ed)


The American carrier the USS John Stennis and its strike group are headed to the Persian Gulf to join another carrier group in a show of force meant to make Iran rethink its nuclear program. It may be a prelude to war.

The conventional wisdom is that there are "no good options" in dealing with Iran. Most commentators see one of two scenarios, both nightmares: a large, bloody and expensive ground invasion and occupation that would cause oil to spike through the roof or a monthslong aerial bombardment of Iran's estimated 1,500 nuclear-related targets that would trigger a worldwide terrorist backlash. (Alternately, the Israelis could do it for us and set the Middle East ablaze.)

Yet there is a third option, of which our show of force with two carrier groups could be the opening move: a naval and air campaign to topple the ayatollahs without a single U.S. soldier's setting foot on Iranian soil.

This is not unprecedented. Although the public never noticed, the U.S. Navy accomplished much the same thing during the Iran-Iraq war, when Iran tried to fire on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf in 1987-8. The Navy managed both to destroy the Iranian navy and to protect shipping in the Gulf to keep the world economy stable. This time, we can finish the job we started during the so-called Tanker War.

The first step would be a U.S. naval blockade of the Straits of Hormuz backed by anti-missile Aegis class destroyers, together with a guarantee of free passage for all non-Iranian oil shipping. This would reassure the world that energy supplies would continue to flow. At the same time, airstrikes would take out Iran's air defense and anti-ship missile sites scattered around the Gulf.

The second step would be what military analysts call an "Effects-Based Operation," as Air Force and Navy planes target Iran's extremely vulnerable military and economic infrastructure, including electrical grid, transportation links, gasoline refineries, port facilities and suspected nuclear sites.

Next would come Special Ops and airborne attacks to seize Iran's main oil-pumping station at Kargh Island and capture or neutralize its offshore oil facilities. This would be an enhanced version of what Navy Seal teams pulled off in the 1988 Tanker War with no more than an airborne and a Marine brigade - fewer troops than in the surge planned for Iraq.

In a matter of days or weeks, the key components of the Iranian oil industry could be in American hands as Iran ground to a halt.

This would not only keep Iranian crude oil flowing to the world's economy. It would also safeguard Russia's and China's investments in Iran's energy industry, which would help line them up in our corner.

Is such a plan farfetched? Would it cause a Middle East meltdown?

No, Iran is uniquely vulnerable to this kind of campaign, as Iraq was during the first Gulf War:

* Ninety percent of Iran's oil production and facilities sit in or near the Gulf.

* Apart from its three Russian-built Kilo-class subs, which we would need to take out, the Iranian navy is small and decrepit.

* Iran imports nearly 40 percent of its gasoline, so destroying its refineries and gas supplies, which could be accomplished in weeks or days, would leave it starved for fuel.

It is this kind of attack, not sanctions or bombs dropped on its nuclear sites, that the Iranian mullahs really fear. Their regime is often compared to Hitler's Germany, but a more accurate comparison is to Mussolini's Italy. Beneath the bluster and bravado, the goose-stepping Revolutionary Guards, the threats of apocalypse and the coming of the Twelfth Imam, Iran is a weak and deeply divided regime.

Its army is large on paper (more than 450,000 men), but in fact it is weaker than Saddam's was before the last U.S. invasion. It still hasn't recovered from the war with Iraq in the 1980s. Its air force and navy suffer from outdated equipment and low morale.

And Iran's economy is caught in a downward spiral, while its urban population, the future of the country, is deeply alienated from the mullahs' theocratic regime.

The mullahs know their collapse means opportunity for their Iranian democratic opponents - who, unlike Iraqis, are not divided along ethnic or religious lines. When the Allies invaded Italy in 1943, instead of rallying around Mussolini, Italians took the first opportunity to topple him. Iranians may well do the same.

Ahmadinejad and the mullahs also know that their threat of unleashing a worldwide terrorist backlash is mostly, if not entirely, bluster. The Iranians are despised all across the Arab Middle East; no Sunni wants to see a foreign Shia, or Persian, gain hegemony in the region.

Groups like Hamas in Palestine and Hezbollah in Lebanon accept Iran's leadership only because Iran has been successful in intimidating the West - so far. If the mullahs stumble, their terrorist clients will head for the nearest exit. A swift naval and air war that smashes Iran's pretensions and protects oil shipping in the Gulf can expect to be greeted with acquiescence and relief, not outrage, in Arab capitals and in the Arab street.

In short, it is the Iranians, not the West, who have the most to lose. Americans are understandably gun-shy over another shooting war in the Middle East, but events may give us few choices.

Is war coming? Hard to say, but the fact that the next head of Central Command, which oversees all U.S. military operations in the Middle East, including Iran and Iraq, will be an admiral, suggests that someone is taking this possibility very, very seriously.

Arthur Herman's most recent book is "To Rule the Waves: How the British Navy Shaped the Modern World."
But Iran appears to remain in the U.S. crosshairs. As Cordesman points out in a 2006 book co-written with Khalid R. Al-Rodhan, “Iran’s Weapons of Mass Destruction”, national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley said during a March 2006 presentation on U.S. national security strategy, “We face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran … The doctrine of preemption remains sound … We do not rule out the use of force before an attack occurs.”

The author obviously hasn't felt the pulse of the American people lately on the soundness of the doctrine of preemption. That doctrine is politically unsustainable because of the failure to produce weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Intelligence reports are now suspect. My sense is Americans are taking a 'seeing is believing' approach to WMD's and won't support an attack on Iran before they actually use one of their weapons. That is, unfortunately, one of the unintended consequences of a doctrine applied in error.
I just hope they have the right intel this time. :rolleyes:

As for hitting Iran, we should have hit them in November 1979, if you ask me. I suspect that if we do hit them it will be an Air Force/Navy/SPECOPS war, not a full-blown one like Iraq.

Just got word that my older son is being depolyed as a Corpsman with the Marines 1/8 on 15 Sept. On top of that, the weekend of 15 Sept. is Parents Weekend at USMMA,,,where my younger son will be a plebe (class of 2011)........ugh........what's a mom to do???:confused:

Talk with the kids and let them know whats going on. Let them be the ones to make the decision. It'll be rough no matter whats decided. IMHO I'd see if I could spend time with the oldest, a couple weeks before deployment, then go to parents weekend.

Let your oldest know that at least one retired corpsman is wishing him the best.
kpmom2011 said:
Just got word that my older son is being depolyed as a Corpsman with the Marines 1/8 on 15 Sept. On top of that, the weekend of 15 Sept. is Parents Weekend at USMMA,,,where my younger son will be a plebe (class of 2011)........ugh........what's a mom to do???:confused:

Go to Parent's Weekend. You only get to do that once, and deploying is part of the lifestyle.

Tell your kid to keep his head down. A broken-down former SWO is also pulling for him. :smile:
If he is available, I agree with RetNavyHM, spend some time with the oldest beforehand. Every deployment I have ever been associated with has been a hectic gloom affair. Now if it were a homecoming, it would be another story.
Thanks all!!! They are flying the oldest to Iraq:frown: ...not leaving on a ship with all the fanfair. Sooo. I'll spend several days the week before deployment with my big boy and then go to parent's weekend.......geeze!!

Thanks for the thoughts Ret NavyHM & Zap. My son's been a corpsman for 9 years now. The Navy just spent [who knows how much] over the past 4 years sending him to Xray and advanced Xray school and he finally got a hospital post......just to be sent back with the marines. Guess it's because he has that FMF after his credentials.....:shake:
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Sounds like you need to be cloned. :smile: I hate it for you but I'm sure you'll make the best of it. Remember! Chin up! You're a Navy Mom! You can do anything. I would hate for you to miss Parent's Week-end. What fun that is. So I'm happy to hear that you're going to make it. Hang tough & smile!
Yup, that FMF warfare designation does make for some interesting times. I spent 9 years with the Marines and loved every minute of it. Of course sititng in a hospital isn't to bad either. Just know that the Marines will do everything they can to make sure "Doc" stays safe!