Sunday, February 12, 2006

Iran: Strategies...And an Unlikely Ally?

This article in the UK's Telegraph is stating the obvious in alarmist tones, but considering all the rhetoric about there being no "military solution" to the current Iranian crisis, I find it refreshing to hear:

Strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for devastating bombing raids backed by submarine-launched ballistic missile attacks against Iran's nuclear sites as a "last resort" to block Teheran's efforts to develop an atomic bomb.
Central Command and Strategic Command planners are identifying targets, assessing weapon-loads and working on logistics for an operation, the Sunday Telegraph has learnt.

Of course, the "Cowboy" theme is right behind - this is, after all, European media:

The prospect of military action could put Washington at odds with Britain which fears that an attack would spark violence across the Middle East, reprisals in the West and may not cripple Teheran's nuclear programme

Yeah, yeah, the feared and dreaded "Arab Street", (whom perhaps, if they lived under free governments that helped provide jobs, wouldn't have so much time to protest)...been there, done that. The Telegraph reports strategy:

The most likely strategy would involve aerial bombardment by long-distance B2 bombers, each armed with up to 40,000lb of precision weapons, including the latest bunker-busting devices. They would fly from bases in Missouri with mid-air refuelling.
The Bush administration has recently announced plans to add conventional ballistic missiles to the armoury of its nuclear Trident submarines within the next two years. If ready in time, they would also form part of the plan of attack.
Teheran has dispersed its nuclear plants, burying some deep underground, and has recently increased its air defences, but Pentagon planners believe that the raids could seriously set back Iran's nuclear programme.

Seems pretty mundane; I have the feeling that if and when this goes down, we'll see something unexpected. If two years is the time frame, there will probably be options out there that we can't conceive quite yet.

Meanwhile, is France upgrading its nuclear arsenal, preparing for just this type of war?? Debka reports:

French paper’s military source reports two major changes: nuclear bombs can now be fired at high altitude to create an “electromagnetic impulsion” to destroy the enemy’s computer and communications system; and the number of nuclear warheads has been cut down to enhance the missiles’ range and precision.
Chirac last month warned that states promoting terror and threatening France could face nuclear retaliation.

Interestin - they have refitted some of their submarine missles to go from a six-warhead payload to one, thereby increasing accuracy and allowing it to be used to cause, well, catastrophic as opposed to apocalyptical damage:

French submarines carry 16 French-made M45 missiles, each fitted with six nuclear warheads. On being fired, each warhead separates to hit a different target, in effect giving each submarine 96 bombs.
By reducing the number of warheads to one per missile, the weapon is lighter, has a longer range and is more accurate.
French defense minister said the reduction of nuclear warheads “are aimed at better taking into account the psychology of the enemy.” She added: “A potential enemy may think that France, given its principles, might hesitate to use nuclear weapons against civilian populations. We now have “…the possibility to target the control centers of an eventual enemy.”
It is now capable of firing a relatively weak warhead into a deserted zone far from centers of power and habitation where terrorists may hide their rear command bases.

For some reason, I can only see a French Minister surrendering rather than using these weapons, "for the good of all mankind", or something like that. Still, with France tinkering with its nukes, and with the United States having it's birds ready to fly at a moment's notice, maybe this will give Mr. Ahmadinejad some pause...

Or is he just so nuts, that this may just be an Armageddon he's striving for?

Telegraph here:
Debka here:

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