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Asymmetry at Sea (What war with Iran in the Gulf could be like)
The Atlantic ^ | 10/16/2008 | Robert D. Kaplan

Posted on 10/17/2008 1:28:46 PM PDT by mojito

The prospect of a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities has conjured up a variety of dire scenarios: a stratospheric rise in oil prices, further radicalization across Middle East, and the resumption of mass bloodshed in Iraq, as Teheran unleashes its terrorist agents there. But all this talk of catastrophe still gives short shrift to one of the gravest potential threats: Iranian attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf.

Iran is bringing 21st century warfare to the seas by planning small-boat suicide attacks that would resemble in some ways the aerial and naval suicide missions launched by Imperial Japan during its last desperate days in the Second World War. At the Battle of Okinawa in 1945, the Japanese mixed unconventional and conventional tactics to kill 12,000 Americans and wound more than 33,000. Iran, by contrast, is threatening a purely unconventional naval war, including attacks on U.S. military targets and on international maritime traffic. Oil prices would spike, and Iran would enjoy a long-term profit, even if it temporarily could not export its own oil....

The Persian Gulf possesses 55 percent of the world’s crude oil reserves. Iran dominates the whole Gulf, from the Shatt al Arab on its Iraqi border to the Strait of Hormuz 615 miles away. Deployed from this immense seaboard are the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy, or IRGCN. U.S. Navy officers told me they have had civil encounters at sea with the regular Iranian navy, but not with the IRGCN. The IRGCN is a fully mechanized terrorist force. Although it is the unconventional offshoot of the regular navy, it is actually slightly larger than its parent, with 20,000 reportedly heavily-ideological sailors. It promises an unprecedented fusion of a modern military with sea-based asymmetric force.

(Excerpt) Read more at theatlantic.com ...


TOPICS: Extended News; Foreign Affairs; War on Terror
KEYWORDS: asymeticalwarfare; iran; usnavy
Some interesting speculation on Kaplan's part.

I think our Naval officers in the Gulf know more about the Iranians than Kaplan suggests.

1 posted on 10/17/2008 1:28:46 PM PDT by mojito
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To: mojito
We have better technology in 2008 than we had in 1943.
2 posted on 10/17/2008 1:31:04 PM PDT by wideawake (Why is it that those who like to be called Constitutionalists know the least about the Constitution?)
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To: mojito
I don't see how Iran would enjoy a long term profit.

IMO they could close the straights to all oil traffic for about two weeks. Then we would be thouroughly underway with a roleback strategy and we would begin escorting convoys through the SOH under heavy air-cover and surface force protection.

This would go on for 2-3 months. All the while, Iran would be selling next to nothing, just small shipments via the stans and Caspian to the north.

We could keep this up and keep an blockade on their exports. They would be the big losers.

3 posted on 10/17/2008 1:35:36 PM PDT by SampleMan (Community Organizer: What liberals do when they run out of college, before they run out of Marxism.)
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To: mojito

Sure it’s gonna suck, but the alternative sucks a whole lot more.


4 posted on 10/17/2008 1:37:59 PM PDT by JZelle
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To: wideawake

Yes, and the Iranians would be ill-advised to uck-fay with an Aegis Combat System.


5 posted on 10/17/2008 1:39:31 PM PDT by Bobarian (Green: It's the new Red.)
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To: mojito

unless things have changed in recent years, the IRGC forces were vetted for their political loyalty and religious zeal, not technical aptitude or intelligence or willingness to follow orders unless out of the koran

Thus regardless of their numbers and equipment, they are an inferior fighting force and very susceptible to diseurption in command and control that robs them of contact with the mullahs about what to do in crisis. Typical of top down command that inhibits independent decisionmaking and initiative

That is not to say they couldn’t get lucky, don’t have to be dealt with as a serious threat worst case scenario, and could certainly be employed as deadly projectiles by their masters in Tehran.

Fair to say they would have absolutely no air cover of note within moments of our choosing to remove it, and probably no significant radar, command or communications either

Remember how “long”it took us to rout the fearsome numbers of the well-equipped Iraqi military....


6 posted on 10/17/2008 1:41:20 PM PDT by silverleaf (Fasten your seat belts- it's going to be a BUMPY ride.)
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To: mojito

They won’t close the straits and kiss their their gasoline supplies good bye.

Besides, Aegis class would blow their little dingies into the next dimension.


7 posted on 10/17/2008 1:43:53 PM PDT by TexanToTheCore
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To: mojito

I guess the author believes we should do nothing and let Iran get her nukes.

Lord help us when she does.


8 posted on 10/17/2008 1:46:41 PM PDT by puppypusher (The world is going to the dogs.)
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To: wideawake

and boats are alot slower than planes


9 posted on 10/17/2008 1:53:03 PM PDT by Ceebass
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To: mojito

I think this guy might be surprised at just how effective the Navy could be in turning small boats into smaller splinters at great distances. They haven’t done so thus far because they chose not to, not because they don’t have that capability. And remember, since these attacks could be traced to Theran, the entire Iranian Navy would likely be declared hostile and sent to the bottom on day one.


10 posted on 10/17/2008 1:53:30 PM PDT by NavVet ( If you don't defend Conservatism in the Primaries, you won't have it to defend in November)
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To: mojito
The aftermath of Iranian stupidity.


11 posted on 10/17/2008 1:54:12 PM PDT by ASA Vet (Iran should have ceased to exist 11/5/79, but we had no president then.)
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To: SampleMan

I agree. Block the exports and the imports. Iran imports most of their gasoline and I would think that there would be some sort of “accident” at their one refinery. Nothing like no money and no gas to make the population even less happy with the mullahs.


12 posted on 10/17/2008 1:55:56 PM PDT by philled ("I prefer messy democracy to the stability of tyrants." -- Howar Ziad, Iraqi Ambassador to Canada)
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To: Bobarian

Most of the world has utterly no clue what the Aegis Combat System can do. The Persian Gulf would be a fascinating opportunity to demonstrate this system we’ve been shaking out for decades. One system can track, what, 600 targets?


13 posted on 10/17/2008 1:59:45 PM PDT by Cyber Liberty (Pretending that the Admin Moderator doesn't exist will result in a suspension.)
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To: mojito
Oil prices would spike, and Iran would enjoy a long-term profit

Yeah, ask Saddam how that long-term profit worked out for him. LOL!

14 posted on 10/17/2008 1:59:53 PM PDT by Toddsterpatriot (Do you remember when blue was a feeling, gray was a word and one was a number...)
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To: mojito

From the ship’s fire control perspective it is a target acquisition and designation problem which i suggest has been solved. One or two 5 inch rounds could take care of each ship. Shooting at a surface target is like shooting at fish in a barrel. I hope the surface combatants are running a lot of drills. I kind of hate to miss the fun.


15 posted on 10/17/2008 2:01:42 PM PDT by Citizen Tom Paine (Swift as the wind; Calmly majestic as a forest; Steady as the mountains.)
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To: mojito

You know, this article reminds me a little of all the so-called ‘experts’ who predicted that it would take YEARS to extinguish all the oil-field fires that were set off in Kuwait during Gulf Storm.

We had them out in a matter of weeks, not months and certainly not years.

‘Experts’ can only speculate based upon the systems that are known to them. Thus, retired generals tend to speculate what will happen based upon the technology that existed when they were in command —not the stuff that is being used today.


16 posted on 10/17/2008 2:10:40 PM PDT by beancounter13
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To: mojito

No one can get as asymmetric as us.


17 posted on 10/17/2008 2:13:21 PM PDT by LibWhacker
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To: mojito

Kaplan is rehashing many old Free Republic threads


18 posted on 10/17/2008 2:20:53 PM PDT by bert (K.E. N.P. +12 . Off With her head.....)
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To: mojito

Please, we don’t need to bring our ships into the Gulf to rip Iran a new one. A few bomber sortees and problem solved! If we hit the nuclear sites and send radioactive plumes east to Afghanistan and Pakistan, oh well! Three birds with one stone, if you ask me.

I’m really frustrated Bush and Cheney haven’t dealt with them yet. I’ve been hearing for a year or more that they’ve made plans to flatten them, so what are they waiting for? A mushroom cloud over Chicago?


19 posted on 10/17/2008 2:30:34 PM PDT by redinrockies
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To: mojito
He hasn't taken to account these babies...

Mk182 5-inch Kinetic Energy Electronically Timed (KE-ET) “Shotgun Projectile” “BB” round

Task Force (TF) Hip Pocket was established in 2002 to address the vulnerabilities exploited in the attack on USS COLE (DDG 67). Additionally, the Navy developed the 5”/54 Force Protection “BB” rounds which has a greater effective area and adds significant capability against high-speed small craft. Over 6,000 rounds have been delivered and will be deployed to the fleet this year.

At about 9000 Tungsten BB's per round they will put a world of hurt on a swarm of go fast's

20 posted on 10/17/2008 2:30:40 PM PDT by Robe (Rome did not create a great empire by talking, they did it by killing all those who opposed them)
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To: mojito
Iran would enjoy a long-term profit, even if it temporarily could not export its own oil....

Might be an awfully long "temporary", with the port facilities and pipelines all blown to hell and gone, along with their meager refining facilities, the bridges all their major rivers, and those big holes in the ground where the entrances to their nuclear facilities used to be.

Of course Ahmadidijab and his Mullah Masters don't really care about that, they just want the Hidden Imam to reveal himself, which they think he will if they can set off Armageddon.

21 posted on 10/17/2008 2:50:30 PM PDT by El Gato ("The Second Amendment is the RESET button of the United States Constitution." -- Doug McKay)
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To: Robe
Too fancy and expensive.

I like classic grape shot better. Like the Army's 120mm shotgun round w. 10mm tungsten balls. Its quite effective.


22 posted on 10/17/2008 2:55:40 PM PDT by SampleMan (Community Organizer: What liberals do when they run out of college, before they run out of Marxism.)
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To: SampleMan

I like that round too. but the Navy only has 5 Inchers which is about 127 MM, I would want the bugger rattlin it’s way down the tube..(8^)


23 posted on 10/17/2008 3:01:46 PM PDT by Robe (Rome did not create a great empire by talking, they did it by killing all those who opposed them)
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To: mojito

No one wants war, but a war with Iran would not end well for them. They bluff and bluster like Saddam, but their economy (and society) is in shambles.

As Iraq has shown, the US Military can easily distinguish, track and destroy any moving target, from a passenger car to a tank. Even more so on the sea, where there are few civilians to worry about. Iran may achieve a successful initial attack on a US ship, but otherwise, the confrontation would be short, sharp, and they would get pummeled badly. After this “terror boat” strategy quickly reaches its end-game, they would be open to any attack the US wants to make.

Suicide attacks are an admission of defeat and helplessness. The US needed to occupy Okinawa and drive every Japanese soldier from every cave. That is where the casualties occurred.

This is also why Iran seeks an atomic weapon. It is relatively cheap and easy-to-use deterrent. It is really their last, best hope in any conflict. That’s why they must not be allowed to get it.


24 posted on 10/17/2008 3:03:41 PM PDT by PGR88
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To: beancounter13

This is just another “pre-emptive” bit of scare tactics from a far-left press. They do this any time there’s even the remotest chance of the US military doing anything anywhere. I’m sure you can find one regarding how the crack Cuban military were gonna crush us and inflict 1000s of casualties if we dared to invade Grenada.

Very simply put, it’s a philosophy of “if something might be hard—let’s not try it”. The very least question that this kind of attitude immediately brings to mind is: what kind of attitude is that? A loser’s attitude, that’s what.


25 posted on 10/17/2008 3:41:14 PM PDT by j-damn
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To: puppypusher; NavVet; Cyber Liberty; beancounter13
I guess the author believes we should do nothing and let Iran get her nukes.

Oh?

From the article...

The Cole was at anchor and at a minimum state of readiness. In the next Gulf war, our ships will be moving and on high alert. And the Aegis system is designed to shoot over the horizon at multiple attackers. Swarming small boats might turn out to be an unnerving nuisance, rather than a pivotal threat, somewhat like the attacks from small trucks of the Fedayeen Saddam on U.S. ground forces en route to Baghdad in 2003.
I suppose we should just put our heads in the sand and not ever consider possibilities. After all, Iraq is going to cost only $50-60 billion and we'll make it up in oil revenues after we're welcomed as liberators, right?

I know, I know...I dared break the new FR "knee-jerk only" policy.

26 posted on 10/17/2008 5:09:33 PM PDT by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: j-damn
This is just another “pre-emptive” bit of scare tactics from a far-left press.

Huh?

This is from The Atlantic, and is written by Kaplan, whom Noam Chomsky called an "ultra-right wing jingoist!"

Very simply put, it’s a philosophy of “if something might be hard—let’s not try it”.

Let me guess...you didn't read the whole article.

27 posted on 10/17/2008 5:10:26 PM PDT by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: Robe

If they could make some of those in 16 inch rounds and take a battleship or two over there it would be interesting.

Also would be interesting to see the Iranians suicide boats try to blow a hole in the 12 inch armor on the side of the Battleships.


28 posted on 10/17/2008 9:15:27 PM PDT by Swiss
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To: mojito

They have one refinery. If it is knocked out, big problems for them.

They can sell all the crude they want, but they need gas.

They are trying to switch to LPG for transportation, but they are not there yet.

They won’t be able to function after a month or two if they lose refinery ability.
IMHO


29 posted on 10/17/2008 9:21:34 PM PDT by Jet Jaguar (Who would the terrorists vote for?)
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To: Robe
I like that round too. but the Navy only has 5 Inchers which is about 127 MM, I would want the bugger rattlin it’s way down the tube..(8^)

This is FR, I'm not an idiot. The idea would be to create a similar round for the 5". Because of the rifling it would need to have a free rotating band, otherwise it would disperse far too rapidly. At 5000 fps the 10mm tungsten balls can knock an engine block off its mounts at half a mile. The fight against small boats is primarily an anti-personnel weaponeering problem. Those tungsten balls would make instant colanders out of any fiberglass boat and kill the crew. No muss, no fuss. On a side note, I'm not sure why the Navy hasn't yet embraced smooth bore guns with their higher velocities and modern finned ammunition. Still trying to make the jump to rail guns I guess.

30 posted on 10/18/2008 10:54:30 AM PDT by SampleMan (Community Organizer: What liberals do when they run out of college, before they run out of Marxism.)
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To: Gondring

Did you forget your sarc tag? To Noam Chomsky, everyone is a far-right jingoist.

The left cranks up the anti-war propaganda whenever they think there might be action. “Oh, stuff might get blown up and a brazillion body bags will come home, oh, let’s surrender!”


31 posted on 10/19/2008 1:29:13 PM PDT by j-damn
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To: j-damn

I’m surprised that wasn’t mentioned earlier. Still, why do you think this is anti-war propaganda?!?


32 posted on 10/19/2008 4:53:10 PM PDT by Gondring (Paul Revere would have been flamed as a naysayer troll and told to go back to Boston.)
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To: Gondring

*Still, why do you think this is anti-war propaganda?!?*

Because it’s in The Atlantic.


33 posted on 10/19/2008 7:57:16 PM PDT by j-damn
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To: Jeff Head; Stonewall Jackson

October Surprise? I hardly think so.


34 posted on 10/19/2008 7:59:46 PM PDT by SLB (Wyoming's Alan Simpson on the Washington press - "all you get is controversy, crap and confusion")
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To: j-damn

Kaplan is not far left


35 posted on 10/21/2008 6:53:54 PM PDT by nuconvert (Obama - Preferred by 4 out of 5 Dictators & Terrorists// Rove>Biden is a Big,Blowhard Dufus)
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To: mojito

“I think our Naval officers in the Gulf know more about the Iranians than Kaplan suggests. “

I think Kaplan knows more about the Iranians than Kaplan suggests. ;~ )


36 posted on 10/21/2008 6:55:26 PM PDT by nuconvert (Obama - Preferred by 4 out of 5 Dictators & Terrorists// Rove>Biden is a Big,Blowhard Dufus)
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To: nuconvert

Argh...how hard is this for everyone to understand. The Atlantic is a hard-left journal. They might print something by a right-thinking author, but they print it to serve their purpose.

Clear enough?


37 posted on 10/21/2008 9:51:08 PM PDT by j-damn
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