Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Other War in Iraq

I can't recommend Kimberly Kagans short history of the Iranian War effort against the US in Iraq, at the Weekly Standard, strongly enough. There are two points she repeatedly makes: first, the Iranians began deployments to Iraq in anticipation of OIF in December, 2002. Second, she describes the tactical alliances between Iran and Sunni/al-Qaeda fronts in considerable detail.

This news report, which was noticed by Gateway Pundit, won't surprise readers of Kagan's report.

Baghdad - An Iranian intelligence officer and an al-Qaeda terrorist network leader in Salahaddin province were killed in a US raid in the city of Samarra, while three people were killed and 13 wounded in another US attack in eastern Baghdad's Sadr City, sources said Tuesday.

Twelve militants, including the reported Iranian intelligence officer and the al-Qaeda leader Abu Obeid al-Jazaeri, were killed in the US raid carried out Monday in Samarra, 125 kilometres north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, in Salahaddin province, according to an official report. The unnamed intelligence officer was carrying an Iranian passport, but the report gave no further details.

Nothing follows.

14 Comments:

Blogger frankwolftown said...

No matter how much info I see about Iran with AQ in Iraq, its till comes down to one question. WHo is going to support yet another war when the first 2 are not even close to being resloved? I supported this war and I can't imagine gong to wat with ran because not even the staunchest of war hawks are behind the idea. Even if they there's not enough. Is there any other way to deal with this?

9/12/2007 07:23:00 PM  
Blogger wretchard said...

Frankwolftown,

Good questions. Some might answer, however, that the US is already in combat with Iran (if we avoid the use of the word "war" which has a technical meaning). Iran has no problem using proxies to attack US interests wherever they may be. Africa, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, etc.

In fact, before the word became a code word for withdrawal, the term of art used to criticize US dispositions in Iraq was "redeployment". Even the critics of OIF believe that the war is being prosecuted in the wrong place. But of course there is very little closure on who the enemy is. We are at war on "Terror". All the questions you raise will automatically have answers or be nearer to an answer at least, if there were bipartisan consensus on what the strategy should be.

Unfortunately the methods of covert warfare used by the enemy (whoever he may be) makes it very difficult to get everyone on board under one strategic vision.

9/12/2007 08:02:00 PM  
Blogger whiskey_199 said...

Frank --

The answer will be: can you tolerate Iran with nukes handing them over to AQ or Hezbollah?

If you can, and are comfortable with putting the existence of our cities on the goodwill of Iran (hahahahaha) then of course, why go to war (ahem, respond to Iran's acts of war)?

If you are uncomfortable with leaving the existence of one or more of our cities on the goodwill of Iran and their leadership (i.e. you are sane) then you'll support action to stop that from happening.

That might include bombing the hell out of the nuclear facilities and electrical, transport infrastructure. After of course the Air Defense is destroyed. Or a Naval Blockade (shades of JFK). Or a few targeted strikes. Or even some serious nuking of said facilities. Or proxy armies causing havoc with the oil production.

The Navy and Air Force are not over-tasked (like the Army and Marines). They can get superiority over the Iranians fairly quickly. It's one thing to be good at guerilla warfare. Quite another to wage war at Sea or in the Air which is quite unforgiving and requires technical expertise above all.

It all depends -- do you trust American cities to Ahmadinejad? [Most Americans do not. We are probably seeing the death of the Powell Doctrine or the Pottery Barn doctrine anyway. We'll break it and someone else will own it.]

9/12/2007 11:03:00 PM  
Blogger Ardsgaine said...

It is not "yet another war." It is the same one.

Some of us have known all along that it wouldn't be over with Afghanistan or Iraq. We won't win in either of those places until Iran is defeated.

9/13/2007 08:37:00 AM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

If I thought that revolution could be encouraged from afar, I'd go for it.

However, considering that it seems (to me) that we've (State? Prez?) utterly squandered whatever opportunity we might have had to get this done without having to involve the military, I'm not even remotely optimistic that this will end with Iranian students, etc, overthrowing the mullahs.

The nuke facilities must go - were I in a position to make policy, I would not be willing to accept anything less than complete nuclear divestiture on the part of Iran...

I don't really care how much such an effort would cost us in blood and treasure in the short term. I don't care because I believe the long term consequences of leaving nukes in the hands of muslims will eventually mean incalculable damage to this country in the form of nuclear blackmail or the outright loss of one or more American cities.

If it can be done without using the military, fine - do it. But the "we're stretched" argument doesn't hold water with me. We're a nation of 300 million people. Properly motivated, with the strength of the most powerful economic/political system behind us, we could utterly remake that region of the world. But only if we get serious about it.

I hope we don't wait to lose a city before getting serious.

9/13/2007 09:46:00 AM  
Blogger eggplant said...

Triton'sPolarTiger said...

"If I thought that revolution could be encouraged from afar, I'd go for it."

I don't think a counter-revolution against the Iranian theocracy will happen anytime soon. Many people including the Shah's son claimed that a counter-revolution would happen soon. Unfortunately,their claims were incorrect.

"However, considering that it seems (to me) that we've (State? Prez?) utterly squandered whatever opportunity we might have had to get this done..."

I believe this is an example of bringing a horse to water and expecting it to drink. Theocracies are hard to crack. Read "The Prince" by Machiavelli and see what he says about theocracy.

"The nuke facilities must go - were I in a position to make policy, I would not be willing to accept anything less than complete nuclear divestiture on the part of Iran..."

Obviously the nuclear weapon facilities must go. However, how much are you prepared to invest to make the Iranian nukes go away? Any military action against Iran means the Straits of Hormuz will be bottled up. Iranians have had ample time to prepare themselves with Chinese and Russian made anti-ship mines, advanced torpedoes and cruise missiles to insure this. Also, how good is your intelligence concerning where the Iranian nuke facilities are and their degree of hardness against attack? You can be certain that many of the facilites are decoys and the real facilities are very hard.

The disaster scenario is to destroy a bunch of decoys, have the Persian Gulf oil supply cut off thus causing a world-wide recession and leaving the Iranian mullahs nuclear capable. Remember that the Democrats, moonbats and MSM are poised and ready to jump on the President at the slightest pretext. Yes, he's a lame duck but the Democrats could have the President tied up with groundless impeachment proceedings for the rest of his term if he provides the political opportunity, i.e. a bungled Iranian anti-nuclear raid. The President probably has only one shot at this so he'll have to do it right on the first attempt. The timing will be very critical...

9/13/2007 10:45:00 AM  
Blogger exhelodrvr1 said...

eggplant,
"have the Persian Gulf oil supply cut off thus causing a world-wide recession and leaving the Iranian mullahs nuclear capable"

That will hurt the Iranians more than anyone else; they are already having economic problems.

9/13/2007 11:59:00 AM  
Blogger LarryD said...

The mullahs regime is a tyranny, and as such is designed to forestall and suppress any "counter-revolution". Only when such tyrannies security forces become unreliable or disloyal can they be overthrown by domestic forces.

As for what our options are, Big Lizards summarized them a while ago. Particularly read about the Herman Option.

9/13/2007 12:02:00 PM  
Blogger List said...

Didn’t we learn in Vietnam that we can’t allow our enemies to have “no go” zones in neighboring countries? We need to choke off resources to the Al Qaeda and Shiite militias. Further, we can distract their efforts in Iraq by making them fight in Iran. Take pressure off of our battle in Iraq by putting the pressure on Iran. It might seem ironic but broadening the war to include state sponsors of militias will help us win not lose.

Can we really afford the asymmetry that exists Iraq between Iran and the U.S. Their proxies get to attack us directly; we only get to directly harm their proxies. Given this asymmetry, what do they have to lose by fighting a proxy war against American soldiers in Iraq? At most they lose members of their proxy militias and money. We directly lose American lives. They way this chess board is set up favors them. It encourages them to fight because the relative risk to pay off is less than our cost/benefit ratio. We need to strategic the set up.

We can do this in numerous ways. First, we could conduct a proxy war INSIDE Iran. If they want to fight proxy wars, make them fight it on THEIR soil against OUR proxies. Second, we could apply limited military force at an economic weak point like blockading refined oil products and/or bombing their one refinery. Third, we could use ground forces without occupying. We could go in and out of the country on the model of “punitive expeditions.” How many such punitive expeditions we need is up to Iran. But there is no need to occupy Iran.

Action against Iran is a “four-fer.” One point of leverage yields results in Iraq, against Iran’s nuclear program, in Syria (by weakening their only real strategic ally), and in Lebanon (by weakening Hezbollah’s patron).

Let them know there are series and not asymmetrical costs to fighting us. If they want to fight, they need to pay.

9/13/2007 12:08:00 PM  
Blogger Larry said...

If there is to be a war against Iran, it will begin in Iraq. With the Sunnis on our side, it seems likely that Petraeus will shift to the east and work to control the border, shutting off the logistics and training route that Qods has built. If there really are significant Iranian forces in Iraq, that's where we'll engage them.

If we cross cross the border, it will happen initially via hot pursuit. After that it's very hard to see. There's no way we can occupy a country of 75 million.

9/13/2007 12:57:00 PM  
Blogger eggplant said...

LarryD said...

"As for what our options are, Big Lizards summarized them a while ago. Particularly read about the Herman Option."

Beating the Herman Option is trivial. The Iranians simply reflag their oil tankers to be Chinese or Russian. The Chinese and/or Russians would be quite happy to agree.

9/13/2007 03:16:00 PM  
Blogger unaha-closp said...

Unfortunately the methods of covert warfare used by the enemy (whoever he may be) makes it very difficult to get everyone on board under one strategic vision.

This is a proxy war - get a proxy.

America actually has a strategic vision that everyone has notionally assented to - 'we stand down when they stand up'. The problem is precious little is being done to ensure the Iraqis become capable.

Despite the rheotoric America only hinders the ability of Iraq to stand up. America is rebuilding the Iraqi military in such a way that Iraq is forever incapable of defending itself. America is arming Iraq with 60 year old rifles and 50 year old tanks, no airforce and no missiles. America raises Iraqi infantry and transport forces only to fill the gaps in the American military wrt an occupation, but this limits Iraq to only be able to work within an occupation. A self fulfilling scenario - where Iraq can never stand up.

Without Iraq standing up there is no viable proxy. America gets bored and leaves. Iran, Saudi and Syria win.

9/13/2007 03:35:00 PM  
Blogger eatyourbeans said...

But:

Have we enough bombs to defang and behead Iran fast? Remember the Suez operation. One phone call from Eisenhower and the BRits/French/Israelis had to call it off. This time unless we can make it a done deal very very quickly, it's our phone that will be ringing.

I have no qualms about bombing the scumhole into the eternal past tense, if we can. But can we?

9/13/2007 05:10:00 PM  
Blogger Triton'sPolarTiger said...

eggplant said....

"Obviously the nuclear weapon facilities must go. However, how much are you prepared to invest to make the Iranian nukes go away?"

Sorry I wasn't more clear in my post. My answer: Whatever it takes.

I say this because I believe that if a terror group manages to light off a nuke on US soil, muslims will suffer far more than they would if we take care of the nukes now.

Rather than elaborate further, just see Wretchard's Three Conjectures - he makes the necessary points far more eloquently than I.

9/14/2007 04:45:00 PM  

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