Skip to comments.Iranian Alert - March 3, 2005 - US preparing for military action against Iranian occupied islands?
Posted on 03/03/2005 11:59:06 AM PST by DoctorZIn
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The next domino
With virtually no attention from the mainstream media, the United States has been taking actions calculated to ratchet-up pressure on the mullahs of Iran. A complex plan has been carefully crafted to avoid a direct military attack on Iran, which would inflame nationalism and build support for the mullahs. Once again, the scope, subtlety, and vision of President Bushs foreign policy confounds his carping critics.
The fall of Lebanons pro-Syrian government validates GWs strategy of staying the course in Iraq, to prove to the people of the Middle East that freedom and liberty can flourish in a region where many thought it was impossible to institute democratic reforms. We mustnt lose sight of the fact that, despite criticism from the so-called realists, the US is implementing change in the region for our own long-term national interests. That is, the more functioning democracies there are in the world, the less the chance of armed conflict and terrorism.
Over the last several months, Irans support of Shia terrorists in Iraq and its nuclear ambitions have dominated the discussions of our next steps in the War on Terror. Some commentators, including me, have criticized CENTCOM for its failure to view the war in Southwest Asia from a regional perspective. However, we may have been wrong, or at least too hasty.
Iran has been aggressively moving to export terror and build-up its ability to threaten the world in two places: the Horn of Africa, and the vital Straits of Hormuz, where the Persian Gulfs oil riches must pass on their way to market. There are now some serious indicators that the Coalition, including both French and German military elements, has been deftly executing a combined political and military operation to roll back Iranian gains from the last 12 years.
The Iranian maneuver to dominate the Central Region and isolate the Arabian Peninsula started in the Horn of Africa in the early 90s. By aligning with warlord Mohammed Farah Aideeds forces, Iran hoped to gain a foothold in Somalia that could potentially threaten shipping moving through the Red Sea. Following the US strategic retreat from Somalia after the Blackhawk Down ambush in 1993, the remaining UN peacekeepers withdrew in 1995 and abandoned the country to the terrorists and their Iranian sponsors.
After 9-11, the Coalition was forced use Djibouti as a base to secure the shipping lanes on the Western side of the Arabian Peninsula, and to interdict the movement of terrorists into and out of the region.
There are strong indications that the efforts of Combined Joint Task Force Horn of Africa (CJTF-HOA) are starting to push Iranian operators out of the Horn, if they have not gone already. United States naval and ground forces, French commandos, and Die Deutsche Kriegsmarine (German Navy), through a combined series of special and conventional operations, naval power, and humanitarian assistance projects, have established the conditions for the introduction of up to 7,500 troops from the African Union and the Arab League. This is a watershed event for the Coalition in this area, and shows that the Somali people are anxious to finally rid their country of bandits, terrorists, and Iranian agents, and are looking forward to having the government-in-exile return to Mogadishu.
The Coalition also mounted a synchronized diplomatic and military blitz in neighboring Ethiopia, with elements of the 3d Infantry Regiment (The Old Guard) moving into the country last year to secure territory for military assistance training and for other operations in the War on Terror. (For a summary of the $1.2 billion U.S. humanitarian assistance program in the country click here.) In addition, there were several visits by the former and current commanders of CENTCOM, General (retired) Tommy Franks and General John Abizaid, and visits by Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld. This was all done under the radar screen of the major press, but it was not lost on the mullahs. All they had to do was look at the map. The Kriegsmarine had sealed off Somalia from the eastern sea approaches, Ethiopia became increasingly untenable for cross-border terror bases and Iranian training camps, and, more than likely, Coalition special operations forces from Djibouti were taking their toll. In short, the Iranians in the Horn of Africa have been surrounded.
The other prong of CENTCOMs operations against Iran involves Abu Musa Island. The island had been the object of a long-running dispute between Iran and the UAE because of its oil reserves and its strategic location midway in the narrow channel of the Straits of Hormuz. In 1992, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps took complete control of the island , and proceeded to fortify it and deploy thousands of troops, modern air defense batteries, sophisticated anti-ship missile systems, and, according to former SecDef William Perry, chemical weapons. For over a decade, the Iranians have had the capability of shutting down the shipping lane and paralyzing shipment of over one-fifth of the worlds oil supply. However, recent US operations in the Persian Gulf are, at a minimum, presenting a more aggressive military posture to pressure the mullahs, or are signaling a run-up to seizure of Abu Musa itself.
This past week, Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG-5) completed an amphibious exercise on the coast of Kuwait. Keep in mind that a rehearsal is a phase of any amphibious operation, and allows the afloat Marine Expeditionary Unit (MEU) and the Navy to test the communications links, practice disembarkation, exercise the procedures for naval surface fire support and air support, and, of course, practice the assault itself. The ESG rarely loads at home port in a manner that will completely satisfy every contingency. Therefore, the rehearsal is a chance to unload everything on the beach, and then load according to a specific assault plan. This was done in Gulf War I during a rehearsal when an actual amphibious assault on Kuwaiti beaches was still a viable option.
Additional naval forces are also present in the Gulf . Besides ESG-5, the Essex Expeditionary Strike Group is underway, as is the USS Harry Truman Carrier Battle Group. One MEU is the ideal force to seize Abu Musa, but the additional forces would be needed to protect an amphibious group from any interference from nearby Qeshm Island, and to continue to secure the Iraqi oil terminals off the Al-Faw Peninsula. Simply put, the mullahs 12 year old gambit to squeeze oil shipments through the Straights of Hormuz could come to an end very quickly.
Rather than risk a popular backlash by the citizens of Iran against the US by conducting a direct air or land campaign against the Iranian homeland, seizure of an island that has been disputed for decades would show the Iranians we were willing to support their fight against the mullahs without putting their lives at risk or destroying their infrastructure. The mullahs launched their gambit as an act of aggression; reversing it would demonstrate strength, but indicate no hostility to the Iranian people.
This analysis doesnt even include any possible covert Special Operations Force activities designed to foment rebellion in what is viewed as an increasingly restive Iranian population. Because of the pressure being applied in the Horn of Africa and the Persian Gulf, it may require only a slight push from the freedom-loving people in Iran to rid themselves of this oppressive regime, following through on the very visible promise to them made by President Bush in his State of the Union Address.
Sadly for Germany and Russia, they may have to wait a long time, if at all, to recover their decades-old investments in Iranian nuclear facilities. Unfortunately for them, their cash flow problems will continue to grow for the foreseeable future. Maybe they should have jumped on GWs freedom bandwagon a long time ago.
Douglas Hanson is our military affairs correspondent
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This is going to get interesting in a hurry I am afraid.
One might suspect that the thinking is better to get it done while things are moving in a favorable direction for US interests. The events in Lebanon may have boosted some confidence there.
6 Hour Uprising Will
Iran Guards tell leader forces unable to control
Tehran uprising lasting more than 6 hours
February 24, 2005
Tehran, Feb. 24 In a recent secret report to the Iranian regime's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps pointed out that were a demonstration or rebellion to last more than six hours in Tehran, the security apparatus would no longer be able to control the situation.
"Society is in an unstable state. Were certain sensitive locations in Tehran to 'explode' under these circumstances, and the capital sink into chaos, if uprisings continue unabated and grow larger for more than six hours in Tehran, the situation would become uncontrollable", the report said.
The Iranian capital has been the scene of numerous clashes between people and State Security Forces over the past few months.
The Iranian regime has stepped up repression throughout the capital over the past year to combat any outbursts against the state.
Clashes have also erupted elsewhere in Iran in recent weeks. Iranian Kurds and security agents clashed heavily on Friday in three towns in western Iran, leaving dozens injured and hundreds arrested.
The disruption occurred after SSF agents used force to disperse demonstrations taking place simultaneously in the towns of Sardasht, Saqqez, and Baneh in protest against severe fuel shortages in the area, eye-witnesses reported.
The demonstrations quickly turned violent as protestors fought back and shouted slogans against Iran's ruling clerics.
Similarly, thousands of people flooded the streets of Mahabad (Kurdistan province) in mid-February, clashing with the SSF after days of gas, water, and electricity interruptions.
The demonstration quickly turned into a mass rally and youths set fire to banners and posters celebrating the 26th anniversary of the revolution that toppled the monarchy.
Eye-witnesses reported that at least two plainclothes policemen were injured during the ensuing clashes.
Interesting. Kinda seems like it might be total BS, but interesting nonetheless. (Um, African Union troops??? They can barely get 300 guys to Sudan!)
Our Man in Baghdad says the special forces guys he works out with say that, basically, we've been in open combat with Revolutionary Guards in the area along the Iran-Iraq border for a while. We just call them "insurgents," but everyone knows that they're not just Iranian-trained fighters, they're actual Iranian soldiers in mufti.
I'm not sure what Iran's game is. American troops in the West and East, American naval forces in the Gulf and itchy Israelis a little further away. I think the regime might be trying to quell problems at home by stirring up a fight abroad. How else do you explain their provocations. They must know by now that Bush isn't Clinton.
They should hunker down and try not to annoy us. If they stuck to internal repression and made deals on nukes/missiles, they'd stand a better chance of avoiding Benito M.'s fate (take one rope and one gas station, end one dictatorship). Oh, sorry, according to Powell's old buddy Dick Armitage, Iran is a democracy. :)
I wonder if the recent increase in oil prices is the market anticipating a move on Iran?
i saw a note that said it was because a shut down of a refinery....don't really know.
What Occupied Islands???????????????????
There is no occupation, and I do not understand why there are articles threatening the integrity of the country of Iran. Moreover, the name of the Gulf is PERSIAN GULF, not the Gulf which was produced by communists like Gamal Abdul Naser and Little Arab Sheykhdoms whom I have never respected so far.
If Iran is gonna be freed, it should be freed in one piece.
As far as every historians and documents say, the Islands were occupied by Arab sheykhdom of UAE before 1971 and the Shah gave independence to Bahrain and got the Iranian islands of Lesser Tumb and Bigger Tumb plus the island of Abu Musa in exchange of that.
I hope the US does not play in the hand of bunch of idiot Arabs who has nothing in their culture but hate toward other people in the world.
I am writing an e-mail to American thinker reminding them the facts they missed and tell them they are dead wrong on what they think about Iran!
From one side Mullahs are selling Iran a piece at the time which outrages Iranian people. I wonder which side will they take when mullahs dont need to do much to spin this bad news about US intent? Has mistake written all over it. Ultimately leads to a prolong physical war if Iranian people fight back.
Mullahs have destoryed Iran so far, no doubt about it.
They took our pride, land, credit and respect away together and left us with misery and pain that most but not least, of us have hope in a foreign force to come and free us.
That is the bitter side of the story but the other unseen bitter part of the story is that none of us, Iranians, tried to educate people around the world about the truth of our forgotten land.
Look, the article simply denies the truth that those islands were part of Iran for thousands years. Fighting misunderstanding is so hard.
Okay, pushing "Iranian operators out of the Horn", I got that.
Seizing Abu Musa? That's an act of war. That will NOT go over well with the average Iranian in the street, and will turn them against the U.S. real fast.
The American Thinker needs to think some more.
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