Steve and Jen bring you this daily review of the news
Premium Advertiser

News Blog Sponsors

News Links

BBC World Service
The Guardian
Washington Post
Iraq Order of Battle
NY Times
LA Times
ABC News

Blogs We Like

Daily Kos
Digby's Blog
Operation Yellow Elephant
Iraq Casualty Count
Media Matters
Talking Points
Defense Tech
Intel Dump
Soldiers for the Truth
Margaret Cho
Juan Cole
Just a Bump in the Beltway
Baghdad Burning
Howard Stern
Michael Moore
James Wolcott
Cooking for Engineers
There is No Crisis
Whiskey Bar
Rude Pundit
Crooks and Liars
Amazin' Avenue
DC Media Girl
The Server Logs

Blogger Credits

Powered by Blogger

Archives by
Publication Date
August 2003
September 2003
October 2003
November 2003
December 2003
January 2004
February 2004
March 2004
April 2004
May 2004
June 2004
July 2004
August 2004
September 2004
October 2004
November 2004
December 2004
January 2005
February 2005
March 2005
April 2005
May 2005
June 2005
July 2005
August 2005
September 2005
October 2005
November 2005
December 2005
January 2006
February 2006
March 2006
April 2006
May 2006
June 2006
July 2006
August 2006
September 2006
October 2006
November 2006
December 2006
January 2007
February 2007
Comments Credits
Comments by YACCS
Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Iraqi gambit

This solves nothing

Commentary: The dangers of unintended consequences
By Arnaud de Borchgrave
UPI Editor at Large
Published April 3, 2006

WASHINGTON -- While Condoleezza Rice said this was not the time to try and come to a conclusion about what the next step on Iran's nuclear defiance might be, those who assured us Operation Iraqi Freedom would be a walk in the park are now telling us Operation Silence Mullahs would be casualty-free -- at least for the good guys.

A prominent "neocon," still in good odor at the White House and OSD (Office of the Secretary of Defense), speaking privately, assured us that by the time president Bush leaves office in January 2009, Iran's nuclear weapons ambitions would be history.

Assuming tough sanctions -- draconian or otherwise -- don't bring Iran's mullahs to heel, we inquired, trying not to sound too wimpish, what would be Mr. Bush's next step?

"B-2s," this prominent armchair strategist replied. "Two of them could do the job in a single strike against multiple targets." With a crew of two per bomber, only four American lives would be at risk, an all-time record in the history of warfare.

So we looked up B-2s. The U.S. Air Force only has 21 of them. Perhaps price had something to do with it. They came in at $2.2 billion a copy. But they can carry enough ordnance to make Iranians nostalgic for the Shah and his role as the free world's gendarme in charge of the West's oil supplies in the Gulf. These stealthy bombers have one major drawback in the Persian magic carpet mode. They can only attack 16 targets simultaneously; one short of the 17 underground nuclear facilities pinned red on Mossad's target-rich PowerPoint presentations to the political leadership. Presumably, that's why two B-2s would be required.

For the cognoscente, the B-2's payload offers a rich and varied menu of seriously harmful goodies/nasties. Either the multi-billion-dollar bomber can carry 34 CBUs (laser-guided Cluster Bomb Units), or 16 JDAMs (Joint Direct Attack Munition), or 8 BLU-28s (daisy-cutting, satellite-guided bunker-busters), or 16 JSOW (Joint Standoff Weapon), or 16 JASSM (Joint Air to Surface Standoff Missile). Whatever the option selected for Iran, it would be 40,000 pounds of explosives delivered with a standoff capability, or about 15 miles from the target.

Most of Iran's secret nuclear installations are not only underground, but also close to population centers. The first pictures of a B-2 raid would be dead women and children on al-Jazeera television newscasts, now as globally ubiquitous as CNN and FOX. The collateral damage would then rival Abu Ghraib's devastating impact on America's good name. The perceived American indifference over the loss of Arab lives would now be seen as spreading to another Muslim country.

Fuck all that.

We attack Iran, the Iraqi Shia will go full bore against us with help from the Pasdaran.

The Iranians took fearful losses against Iraq. These people cannot be stopped with a few bombs. Global Strategy. org recounts how Iran fought their war.

Iraq retreats
he Iranian high command passed from regular military leaders to clergy in mid-1982.

In March 1982, Tehran launched its Operation Undeniable Victory, which marked a major turning point, as Iran penetrated Iraq's "impenetrable" lines, split Iraq's forces, and forced the Iraqis to retreat. Its forces broke the Iraqi line near Susangerd, separating Iraqi units in northern and southern Khuzestan. Within a week, they succeeded in destroying a large part of three Iraqi divisions. This operation, another combined effort of the army, Pasdaran, and Basij, was a turning point in thewar because the strategic initiative shifted from Iraq to Iran.

In May 1982, Iranian units finally regained Khorramshahr, but with high casualties. After this victory, the Iranians maintained the pressure on the remaining Iraqi forces, and President Saddam Hussein announced that the Iraqi units would withdraw from Iranian territory. Saddam ordered a withdrawal to the international borders, believing Iran would agree to end thewar. Iran did not accept this withdrawal as the end of the conflict, and continued the war into Iraq. In late June 1982, Baghdad stated its willingness to negotiate a settlement of the war and to withdraw its forces from Iran. Iran refused.

In July 1982 Iran launched Operation Ramadan on Iraqi territory, near Basra. Although Basra was within range of Iranian artillery, the clergy used "human-wave" attacks by the Pasdaran and Basij against the city's defenses, apparently waiting for a coup to topple Saddam Hussein. Tehran used Pasdaran forces and Basij volunteers in one of the biggest land battles since 1945. Ranging in age from only nine to more than fifty, these eager but relatively untrained soldiers swept over minefields and fortifications to clear safe paths for the tanks. All such assaults faced Iraqi artillery fire and received heavy casualties. The Iranians sustained an immmense number of casualties, but they enabled Iran to recover some territory before the Iraqis could repulse the bulk of the invading forces.


In 1983 Iran launched three major, but unsuccessful, humanwave offensives, with huge losses, along the frontier. On February 6, Tehran, using 200,000 "last reserve" Pasdaran troops, attacked along a 40-kilometer stretch near Al Amarah, about 200 kilometers southeast of Baghdad. Backed by air, armor, and artillery support, Iran's six-division thrust was strong enough to break through. In response, Baghdad used massive airattacks , with more than 200 sorties, many flown by attack helicopters. More than 6,000 Iranians were killed that day, while achieving only minute gains. In April 1983, the Mandali-Baghdad northcentral sector witnessed fierce fighting, as repeated Iranianattacks were stopped by Iraqi mechanized and infantry divisions. Casualties were very high, and by the end of 1983, an estimated 120,000 Iranians and 60,000 Iraqis had been killed. Despite these losses, in 1983 Iran held a distinct advantage in the attempt to wage and eventually to win thewar of attrition.

Beginning in 1984, Baghdad's military goal changed from controlling Iranian territory to denying Tehran any major gain inside Iraq. Furthermore, Iraq tried to force Iran to the negotiating table by various means. First, President Saddam Hussein sought to increase thewar 's manpower and economic cost to Iran. For this purpose, Iraq purchased new weapons, mainly from the Soviet Union and France. Iraq also completed the construction of what came to be known as "killing zones" (which consisted primarily of artificially flooded areas near Basra) to stop Iranian units. In addition, according to Jane's Defence Weekly and other sources, Baghdad used chemical weapons against Iranian troop concentrations and launchedattacks on many economic centers. Despite Iraqi determination to halt further Iranian progress, Iranian units in March 1984 captured parts of the Majnun Islands, whose oil fields had economic as well as strategic value.

Second, Iraq turned to diplomatic and political means. In April 1984, Saddam Hussein proposed to meet Khomeini personally in a neutral location to discuss peace negotiations. But Tehran rejected this offer and restated its refusal to negotiate with President Hussein.

Third, Iraq sought to involve the superpowers as a means of ending the war. The Iraqis believed this objective could be achieved by attacking Iranian shipping. Initially, Baghdad used borrowed French Super Etendard aircraft armed with Exocets. In 1984 Iraq returned these airplanes to France and purchased approximately thirty Mirage F-1 fighters equipped with Exocet missiles. Iraq launched a new series ofattacks on shipping on February 1, 1984.

The War of Attrition, 1984-87

By 1984 it was reported that some 300,000 Iranian soldiers and 250,000 Iraqi troops had been killed, or wounded. Most foreign military analysts felt that neither Iraq nor Iran used its modern equipment efficiently. Frequently, sophisticated materiel was left unused, when a massive modern assault could have won the battle for either side. Tanks and armored vehicles were dug in and used as artillery pieces, instead of being maneuvered to lead or to support an assault. William O. Staudenmaeir, a seasoned military analyst, reported that "the land-computing sights on the Iraqi tanks [were] seldom used. This lower[ed] the accuracy of the T-62 tanks to WorldWar II standards." In addition, both sides frequently abandoned heavy equipment in the battle zone because they lacked the skilled technical personnel needed to carry out minor repairs.

Analysts also assert that the two states' armies showed little coordination and that some units in the field have been left to fight largely on their own. In this protractedwar of attrition, soldiers and officers alike failed to display initiative or professional expertise in combat. Difficult decisions, which should have had immediate attention, were referred by section commanders to the capitals for action. Except for the predictable bursts on important anniversaries, by the mid-1980s thewar was stalemated.

In early 1984, Iran had begun Operation Dawn V, which was meant to split the Iraqi 3rd Army Corps and 4th Army Corps near Basra. In early 1984, an estimated 500,000 Pasdaran and Basij forces, using shallow boats or on foot, moved to within a few kilometers of the strategic Basra-Baghdad waterway. Between February 29 and March 1, in one of the largest battles of thewar , the two armies clashed and inflicted more than 25,000 fatalities on each other. Without armored and air support of their own, the Iranians faced Iraqi tanks, mortars, and helicopter gunships. Within a few weeks, Tehran opened another front in the shallow lakes of the Hawizah Marshes, just east of Al Qurnah, in Iraq, near the confluence of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Iraqi forces, using Soviet- and French-made helicopter gunships, inflicted heavy casualties on the five Iranian brigades (15,000 men) in this Battle of Majnun.

Lacking the equipment to open secure passages through Iraqi minefields, and having too few tanks, the Iranian command again resorted to thehuman-wave tactic. In March 1984, an East European journalist claimed that he "saw tens of thousands of children, roped together in groups of about twenty to prevent the faint-hearted from deserting, make such an attack." The Iranians made little, if any, progress despite these sacrifices. Perhaps as a result of this performance, Tehran, for the first time, used a regular army unit, the 92nd Armored Division, at the Battle of the Marshes a few weeks later

posted by Steve @ 1:30:00 AM

1:30:00 AM

The News Blog home page


Editorial Staff

Add to My AOL

Support The News Blog

Amazon Honor System Click Here to Pay Learn More
News Blog Food Blog
Visit the News Blog Food Blog
The News Blog Shops
Operation Yellow Elephant
Enlist, Young Republicans