Will the US bomb Iran?
By the end of February 2007 the US military forces will be in place for the bombing of Iran's nuclear, military, and selected economic infrastructure targets. The objective is to further the geo-strategic plan for prolonging the brief historical period of US dominance in the Middle East and Eurasia.
January 29, 2007
By the end of February 2007 the US military forces will be in place for the bombing of Iran's nuclear, military, and selected economic infrastructure targets. The preparatory propaganda for such an attack began in mid-January. The objective is to further the geo-strategic plan for prolonging the brief historical period of US dominance in the Middle East and for extension of that influence into Central Asia, thereby prolonging a certain level of dominance over all Eurasia.
Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
The Grand Chessboard . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10
Middle Eastern and Central Asian Energy Development is the nexus of struggle . 11
Western Europe, Every Major Nation in the Middle East Except Iran, and
many other Nations Oppose Iran's Attempt to Attain Nuclear Weapons
Capability, and Most Are not Opposed to a US Bombing of those Facilities
as a Last Resort . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
Oil and Gas Field Development, LNG and Pipelines . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan Gas Pipeline vs. Turkmenistan-Tajikistan-
Afghanistan-Pakistan Gas Pipeline . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 15
China's Military Assistance to Iran & Chinese-Iranian Economic
Interdependence . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Naval Warfare in the Persian Gulf from the 1980's Iran-Iraq War to the Present 17
US War Strategy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 18
The US May Now Have an Operational Massive Ordnance Penetrator
Capable of Destroying Most or All Iranian Nuclear Facilities . . . . . . . 21
The US and Israel Probably Do Not Have A Viable Mini-Atomic Bunker-
Buster Bomb At This Time, but Probably Don't Need It . . . . . . . . . 22
Could Israel Alone Take Out Iranian Nuclear Facilities? . . . . . . . . . . 23
Iranian Military Capabilities . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
Iranian War Strategy: a List:
Attack US Naval Forces; Possibly Close the Strait of Hormuz and Attack
Selected Nation's Oil Tanker Ships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 25
Infiltrate Afghanistan and Upgrade Arms of Forces Fighting the US in
Afghanistan . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Infiltration, Invasion and Upgrading of Arms of US Enemies in Iraq . . . . . . 26
Possible Infiltration of Pakistan and Arming of Baluchistan Rebels . . . . . . 27
The Definitive Moment May Be Upon Us . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
Addendum I: The Resources Contained in the US Naval Strike Groups
The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
The Boxer Strike Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
The John C. Stennis Strike Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29
Bataan Strike Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 29 Ronald Reagan Strike Group . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
Addendum II: US Bases in the Gulf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
US Bases in Kuwait . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
US Bases in Qatar . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
US Base in the United Arab Emirates . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 33
US Bases in Bahrain and Turkey . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
British Base in Diego Garcia . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Multinational Naval Task Forces 58, 150 and 152 Operate from the Persian
Gulf to the Kenyan Coast . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
Task Force 152 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Task Force 150 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Task Force 58 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35
Addendum III: Evidence Indicates that the Twin Towers and
Building 7 Were Brought Down by Pre-Set Explosives . . . . . . 36
Detailed plans and attack orders for an attack on Iran, along with the forces to carry them out, will be in place by the end of February, 2007. Debkafile reported on January 31, 2007 that an Iranian official predicts that the first US military action against Iran will begin around the end of March. The US would simultaneously execute with lightning speed: air-to-ground attacks, naval shore bombardment, anti-ship and anti-submarine attacks, and marine assaults on Gulf islands and coastal areas with anti-ship and anti-air emplacements. These attacks will be to secure the safety of US naval forces in the Gulf, and to secure control of the air over Iran. At the same time sea-launched cruise missiles with preset individual building targets, will begin the attacks on nuclear, military and economic infrastructure targets (transportation, electrical utilities). As soon as naval forces are safe and control of the air is secured, more of the same target types will be attacked by air-launched cruise missiles and guided bombs with pre-programmed precision targets. Note that the plan is not to invade and occupy Iran, but only to seriously degrade its nuclear and military capabilities, along with some related transportation and electrical generation infrastructure.
On Friday, January 12, 2006, the Wall Street Journal editorial page advocated surgical special-forces and missile attacks within Iran on facilities supporting the Iraqi insurgency, or producing roadside bombs used in Iraq. A US attack would begin with such surgical strikes, and as tension rapidly increased, I see a likely scenario unfolding: US actions will be designed to leave some degree of vulnerability for some US capital ships, and to surreptitiously guide Iran into attacking them. The optimal scenario is that the Iranians hit a capital ship, such as an Aegis Guided Missile Cruiser and seriously damages it or sinks it. If the ship is attacked but not severely damaged or sunk, the US will attack the ship itself to guarantee that it severely damaged or sunk and to guarantee that at least a few hundred US servicemen are dead. It is absolutely essential that the US public perceive that Iranians have attacked and killed a significant number of US servicemen and women - that is to say, another variant on 911 must occur to provide enough support at home for bombing nuclear and other military and economic targets in Iran.
Once such an attack took place, the US Administration would immediately announce the bombardment of Iran and carry it out. It would also certainly use this escalation of the "War on Terror" to drastically increase terror here at home, further destroying our civil rights, and beginning to incarcerate indefinitely large numbers of domestic dissenters. Recall that in November of 2006 Congress gave the Executive Branch the right to search homes, arrest, and imprison for life, anyone the Executive suspected of links to terrorists. Neither formal charge nor evidence, nor explanation to the imprisoned will be required. The Administration obtained these powers from Congress because they every intention to use them.
The US and NATO naval forces now deployed in the Eastern Mediterranean, North Arabian Sea and the Persian Gulf form the largest naval deployment since the invasion of Normandy in 1944. By the end of January, 2007, that statement will characterize the US presence in the Gulf alone. President Bush announced the first week in 2007 that Admiral William J. Fallon, specialist in simultaneous deployment of large-scale navy, air and Marine forces in different areas, is replacing General John Abizaid as commander of the US central command in charge of US forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and other global anti-terrorist forces. The new commander of US forces in Iraq, Lt. General David Petraeus will be subordinate to the naval officer. The recently deployed naval forces compliment forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, and forces in US bases in Israel, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, and the long-range heavy bombers on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
By mid-February, 2007, the John C. Stennis aircraft carrier battle group will join the Eisenhower aircraft carrier battle group and the Boxer amphibious assault and helicopter carrier strike group in the Gulf, bringing to 16,000 the US sailors, aviators and marines aboard US ships in the Gulf. In addition, the Bataan amphibious assault strike group set sail for the Persian Gulf on January 7, 2006, and should arrive in early February, bringing to 20,000 the sailors, aviators and marines on the ships. Note that these forces are there for a possible attack on Iran, and are in addition to the 20,000 additional troops the Administration has begun to place in Iraq. On January 6th, the private Israeli military intelligence firm Debkafile added that "some sources reported that another battle group, the USS Ronald Reagan [aircraft carrier] Strike Group, had been ordered out of San Diego on January 4th, and was heading in the same direction." If the Reagan group arrives in the Gulf, there will be five strike groups present.
If the US chooses to, and can, convince Israel that participation in the bombing is a precondition for the attack, Israel will certainly participate. Since Israel feels that a nuclear-armed Iran is the gravest threat it faces, it would certainly choose such participation over attacking on their own, or foregoing the opportunity for any attack at all. Israel has the means, by itself, to knock out Iranian nuclear facilities.
Before continuing, let me note that all of the information in this article is from unclassified public sources easily available in bookstores, newsstands or on the web. I am opposed to the bombing of Iran, and have always been opposed to the bombing, invasion, and occupation of Iraq. I have also been opposed to the decade of sanctions against Iraq between the two US-Iraq wars. I would note that the deaths, largely of children and elderly caused primarily by diseases resulting from the sanctions, killed roughly 1.5 million Iraqis, approximately three times the number of deaths that occurred from all causes during the combined combat phases of both wars.
I would also note that I do not take lightly, the true nature of the strategic objectives of the US wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, and of the planned bombing of Iran. The objective is described in this article, but in its briefest form, it is to prolong a certain degree of US global hegemony. Those behind the strategy maintain that the US must maintain a certain level of dominance in the Middle East, and must attain a certain level of influence in Central Asia in order to accomplish that goal. They are absolutely correct. Whether or not that is a justifiable objective, and whether or not relying so extensively on military force to attain it, are among the few most important geo-strategic questions of our time. I am not addressing these questions here, but am merely trying to clarify some of what is really going on, which, of course, has little to do with the public statements and public debates on the subject.
For example, if a key US objective in Iraq was to make it more safe for its citizens and more democratic, US efforts have failed. If, on the other hand, a key US objective was to wreck the place, to weaken its society and economy in every way possible, in order to more easily manipulate it in the future, then the objective has met with some success. If a key objective is to provide stability to the larger region, then the emerging civil combat between Sunni's and Shia is the worst that could happen. If, on the other hand a key objective is to set portions of the region against one another, to weaken them all and thus make them easier to manipulate, then the spreading religious conflict is probably the best way to accomplish the goal. That is exactly what the US did during the 8-year Iran-Iraq War--weaken both by maintaining a balance in the conflict such that neither could win and both would exhaust themselves. One thing is for certain: virtually nothing is as it is intended to seem, and much of reality is transpiring on other planes and in other dimensions. My objective in this article is to illuminate some of the aspects of reality hidden from too many of us. Now, to continue:
The same day the Wall Street Journal advocated surgical strikes into Iran, January 12, 2007, another Journal article noted China's rejection of the US call to all nations to reduce their economic dealings with Iran. The article exemplified the US problem by observing that the China National Offshore Oil Company had just closed a $16 billion deal to develop Iran's Northern Pars natural-gas field, and that Malaysia's SKS Ventures signed a $20 billion deal for the development of the offshore Golshan and Ferdows gas fields in the Persian Gulf. In yet a third article in the same paper Condoleezza Rice was quoted as saying the day before that Washington "will continue to work with the Iraqis and use all our power to limit and counter activities of Iranian agents who are attacking our people and innocent civilians in Iraq."
Four days later, on Tuesday, January 16, 2004, the New York Times quoted Robert Gates in "Defense Secretary, in Afghan Capital, Scolds Iran," that "Iran was acting in a very negative way" in the Middle East and that the US was building up its forces to demonstrate its resolve to remain in the Persian Gulf. The same day, on the Boston Globe's (subsidiary of the New York Times) op-ed page columnist H.D.S.Greenway's "What's Next-War with Iran?" made extensive reference to the Sunday Times of London's article two days prior reporting from unnamed Israeli officials and military officers regarding Israel's plan to use very small atomic bombs on Iranian nuclear facilities because they were too far underground and too strong to be successfully attacked with conventional weapons (other sources say that conventional US bunker-buster bombs can still do the job). It is not heartwarming to see this sudden burst of press regarding attacking Iran a few weeks before the Stennis Strike Group and the Bataan Amphibious Assault Group arrive in the Persian Gulf. The US 2006 National Security Strategy Document states that the US "may face no greater challenge from a single country than Iran." Iran announced at the end of January, 2007 that it had modified a ballistic missile so that it could put a 300 kg spy satellite in orbit. Debkafile observed on January 28th that such a missile, with an adequate guidance system, could send an atomic bomb anywhere in the world.
In addition to the Stennis and Bataan strike group deployments, the US has further upped the anti with Iran in the first two weeks of 2007. Following the raid on the Iranian consulate in Kirkuk the second week in January, 2007, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that Iranians were now on the US target list in Iraq. The Pentagon stated that raids into Iran could happen at any time. On January 11 five Iranian Revolutionary Guards were detained in Irbil, Iraq. In mid-January at least 16 F-16 fighters arrived at the Turkey/US Incirlik Air Base, along with an AWACS (Airborne Warning and Control System) plane and several fuel tanker planes, and the US announced that it would be deploying 600 Patriot anti-missile missiles around the Middle East.
Meanwhile, ostensibly for peacekeeping in Lebanon following the 2006 Lebanon-Israel War, a NATO equivalent of a strike group has taken up positions in the Eastern Mediterranean, and includes, among others, German, Danish, Italian, Dutch and Spanish forces. In addition, eight other nations have troops on the ground in Lebanon, including Western and Central European nations, Russia and China. The Russian and Chinese forces are there to counter the NATO forces, since Russia and China are arming Iran and Syria.
The US plan for attacking Iran aims for the rapid collapse of the Iranian command and military structure. Simultaneously the Iranian Russian Kilo class submarines, mini-subs, attack patrol boats, and civilian attack patrol craft would be the top naval priority. With significant degradation of these anti-ship naval forces, it would be possible for ship-born helicopters and amphibious vehicles to ferry troops and equipment to occupy key islands and areas of mainland shore. These places would be seized to keep the Straits of Hormuz open to oil tankers, and to seize land-based anti-ship and anti-air missile emplacements. Nuclear-weapons, peaceful atomic-energy and dual-use nuclear facilities; military bases, missile production facilities, anti-aircraft and anti-ship missile emplacements farther inland, and selected transportation routs and electrical generating facilities would be targeted. Additional Persian Gulf islands and sections of mainland coast would be taken to further degrade anti-ship and anti-air missile emplacements, and small-craft anti-ship forces.
The civil electricity-generating Bushehr nuclear power plant, nuclear facilities in Saghand and Yazd, the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, the heavy water production and radioisotope facility in Arak, the Ardekan Nucear Fuel Unit, the Uranium Conversion Facility and Nuclear Technology Center in Isfahan, the Tehran Nuclear Research Center, the Tehran Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Redioisotope Production Facility, the Tehran Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories, the Kalaye Electric Company in the Tehran suburbs would all be simultaneously-attacked targets, among hundreds of others.
By the end of January there may be between 9,000 and 13,000 Marines on the amphibious assault ships (perhaps 6,000 with the Stennis alone), who could be quickly joined by more from the US land bases in the Gulf (not from bases in Iraq). At least 14,000 additional infantry and armored brigade troops could be moved into positions on Iranian islands and mainland coastal areas within four days from pre-positioning bases in Qatar and Kuwait. I have no knowledge that these 14,000 are there, but it is only logical to assume that some are or soon will be, since the plan of attack seems to me to require more than are on the ships, and the facilities in non-Iraq US bases in the Gulf are designed for this purpose (see Addendum II: US Military Bases in the Persian Gulf). Any such 14,000 would be in addition to the 20,000 beginning to be "surged" and the 20,000 on the ships. That would provide around 22,000 ground troops to seize and occupy the islands and shore areas, and 12,000 sailors and aviators to carry out the aerial attack on Iran, without pulling forces from Iraq, and indeed, while surging forces in Iraq.
By the way, a surge of US forces in Iraq would be absolutely necessary, not particularly to bring security to Baghdad, but to defend against the horde of heavily armed Revolutionary Guards that will be streaming into Iraq to rapidly escalate US soldier deaths. Not counting the cruise missiles, guided missiles and guided bombs from at least 120 Naval attack aircraft, from additional aircraft from Kuwait and possibly Turkey; and from the long-range heavy bombers on Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean; the ships alone could launch at the very least 1,200 precision-guided cruise missiles in just an initial salvo.
The Enterprise Carrier (CVW 1) Strike Group had been in the Arabian Sea, just south of the Strait of Hormuz at the southern end of the Persian Gulf, supporting the Afghanistan and Iraq operations for six months ending in early November, 2006. In just June and July it launched 781 aircraft sorties over Iraq and 237 over Afghanistan. It set sail for the US at the beginning of November, when it was replaced by the Eisenhower and Boxer Strike Groups, now complemented by the Stennis and Bataan Strike Groups (see Addendum I: The Resources Contained in the US Naval Strike Groups). One of the carriers in the Gulf will have to continue carrying out missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, and would not be able to devote its full resources to an attack on Iran. Defending US-ally and military-base provider, Kuwait, will require diversion of some US naval forces to defend Kuwait's key port city, just 50 miles from Iran.
Don't forget that these three battle groups are supported by pre-positioned supply ships nearly as large as an aircraft carrier, and carrying enough fuel, equipment and munitions to support a war for months. One of them, for example, can carry the equipment of an army task force, including 58 tanks, 48 other tracked vehicles, 900 trucks, and their fuel and ammunition. Each ship has surface storage area equal to 8 football fields.
If the US Administration chooses to execute a new 911 by assisting an attack, or attacking one of its own capital ships in order to garner domestic support for an attack on Iran, they hopefully won't include tactical nuclear weapons in the ensuing air attack. The US war-fighting strategy has been revised to permit the use of tactical and bunker-buster nuclear weapons, and Israel is also equipped with nuclear weapons specifically designed for such an attack.
Iran would probably attempt to close, or at least diminish traffic through the Straits of Hormuz, where 40% of globally-traded oil, and between 15% and 20% of all oil in the world passes, not just to limit the flow of oil to its enemies, but also to limit US resupply of its military in Iraq, for most of the resupply is shipped through the Straits. Presumably, Iran might also attack one or more of the US bases in Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain. Iran would not dare to attack the joint Turkish-US Incirlik Air Base in Turkey. Iran would certainly escalate its support of anti-US attacks in Iraq and Afghanistan with the objective of rapidly increasing US casualties there. In Iraq this could include open operations by large numbers of Revolutionary Guard or Army troops.
In recognition of Iran's anti-ship missile, torpedo and mine capabilities, a number of US minesweepers have been deployed to the Gulf. Accepting that there will be some loss of US ships, US Coast Guard cutters have deployed with the Boxer Strike Group. The Coast Guard ships are to rescue ships and their crew members, after the ships have suffered Iranian attack.
The loss of at least several hundred US service men and women in a US "false-flag," or partially false-flag attack on its own ship, or ships, may be necessary for implementation of this next phase of the 40-year strategic plan for extension of the period of US dominance in the Middle East, and the establishment of a strong US position in Central Asia. There is so little support in the US public at this time for Administration war plans and for the management of the war, that the government may find it impossible to attack Iran without a large attack on US forces that could be blamed on Iran. Current news about Revolutionary Guards and other agents in Iraq and about roadside bombs manufactured in Iran, and surgical strike skirmishes inside of Iran will probably not meet the minimal threshold of domestic patriotic fervor. It may well be that only another 911 would be sufficient to garner enough public support for the planned missile and bombing campaign.
This would be a repeat of the norm: false-flag or partially false-flag attacks. Such a false-flag attack is the most likely scenario for explaining the explosions on the Maine to start the Spanish-American War, and the (publicly admitted) non-existent North Vietnamese attack on a US destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin. Both were the justification for launching the first large-scale military attacks in those two wars. I think the preponderance of evidence leads to the conclusion that the US executed a detailed 15-month series of actions to goad Japan into attacking Pearl Harbor, and then took steps to ensure success of that attack (see Day of Deceit, by Robert Stinnett). These "false flag," or partially false flag operations form the standard approach to going into a major unpopular war-these false flag operations are the rule, not the exception--and have been used repeatedly by both Republican and Democratic Administrations.
The preponderance of evidence indicates that the US not only knew about the 911-2001 Al Qaeda attack beforehand, and facilitated its success, but also that pre-planted thermite fires and massive plantings of explosives brought the twin towers and 47-story Building 7 down - not the impact damage and subsequent fires from the planes. Al Qaeda may have flown planes into the towers, but that did not bring the buildings down (and none of the other 5 buildings collapsed in the complex was hit by any plane). 911 was necessary for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.
The long-range plan developed in the 1980's by the Group for a New American Century, and popularized in Zbigniew Brezinski's The Grand Chessboard in 1997 (see below), requires a certain level of subjugation of Iran. A level of US participation and control over the development of oil and gas, and related energy pipelines from the Middle East and the Caspian Sea basin is perhaps the most crucial element of the entire plan for prolongation of the period of US dominance in the Middle East and extension of US influence into Central Asia. The Middle East cannot be directed without considerable influence over Iran, and the Caspian Sea, the key Central Asian asset, lies on Iran's northern border.
The Grand Chessboard
The Grand Chessboard provides a good overview of the long-term geo-strategic plan in which to locate the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the possibly imminent war in Iran. Brezinski notes (P.30) that US "global primacy is directly dependent on how long and how effectively its preponderance on the Eurasian continent is sustained." He continues to say (p.31) that
In that context, how America 'manages' Eurasia is critical. Eurasia is the globe's
largest continent and is geopolitically axial. A power that dominates Eurasia would control two of the world's three most advanced and economically productive regions. A mere glance at the map also suggests that control over Eurasia would almost automatically entail Africa's subordination, rendering the Western Hemisphere and Oceania geopolitically peripheral to the world's central continent. About 75% of the world's people live in Eurasia, and most of the world's physical wealth is there as well, both in its enterprises and underneath its soil. Eurasia accounts for 60% of the world's GNP and about three-fourths of the world's known energy resources.
To accomplish extending the US historical preponderance in Eurasia (p.40) two steps are required: first, identify the states that have the power to cause a potentially important shift in the international distribution of power [Iran] and determine the external goals of their political elites, and second, offset, co-opt and/or control the above.
There is one important US domestic problem:
It is also a fact that America is too democratic at home to be autocratic abroad.
This limits the use of America's power, especially its capacity for military intimidation. Never before has a populist democracy attained international supremacy. But the pursuit of power is not a goal that commands popular passion, except in conditions of a sudden threat or challenge to the public's sense of domestic well-being . The economic self-denial (that is, defense spending) and the human sacrifice (casualties, even among professional soldiers) required in the effort are uncongenial to democratic instincts. Democracy is inimical to imperial mobilization.
"Moreover (p. 211), as America becomes an increasingly multi-cultural society, it may find it more difficult to fashion a consensus on foreign policy issues, except in the circumstance of a truly massive and widely perceived direct external threat .
Middle Eastern and Central Asian Energy Development is the nexus of struggle
The US used 9/11/2001 to implement the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, but this was the implementation of the heavily militarized phase of the long-term strategy of extending for several decades at least a certain level of US dominance in the Persian Gulf region, and establishing a significant role in the development of Caspian Sea regional oil and gas resources and related oil and gas pipelines. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are not the only military conflicts that were foreseen with this implementation of the military phase. US leaders were implementing much more than these two conflicts. If this long-term strategy is not successful, the brief historical era of global US dominance will quickly end, and the US will take its inevitable second-tier position to Eurasia. This strategy requires heavy reliance on force, because it is not in the interests of many of the key players in the Middle East, Central or East Asia. Some key elements of the strategy are:
* Reduction of the percentage of Central Asian oil and gas transmitted through Russian-
controlled pipelines and through Russian territory (the operational Azerbaijan-Georgia-
Turkish pipeline to the Mediterranean partially meets this objective).
* Blockage of pipelines from Iran until the US has considerable influence in Teheran
(blockage of the Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline has been the focus to date).
* Reduction of, or blockage of energy developments and pipelines in the Central Asian
Region that do not include significant US multinational-corporate participation.
* Prevention of Iranian acquisition of a nuclear-weapons capability.
* Prevention of Eurasian domination by a single, or a few, Eurasian nations (thereby
enabling continuation of a certain degree of US dominance)
In the eyes of US political and multinational-corporate leaders directing this strategy, success or failure in Afghanistan and Iraq is not to be measured by any of the publicly-stated war objectives, but only by the degree to which the conflicts propel the success or failure of this long-term strategy "for a new American Century." And it is only in light of this strategy that one can weigh the factors in determining whether or not the US will attack Iran. While Iran is assisting anti-US forces in Iraq, this is of minor relevance in comparison to the strategic necessity for great US influence in Iran. Iran straddles the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea. By far the shortest and most economical outlets for Caspian Sea oil and gas are through the shortest pipelines, those that run directly south through Iran to the Persian Gulf. Pipelines that are built to carry Iranian and Caspian Sea oil and gas eastward to Pakistan, India and China will form the skeleton and sinews that bind the Middle East, Central, East and South Asia together, and it is around this skeleton and sinews that the musculature, the economic corridors of relationships will grow. The Iran-East Asia relationship is one of the very few key relationships that will determine in the near future the success or failure of the US long-term strategy, particularly the relationship between Iran and China.
Western Europe, Every Major Nation in the Middle East Except Iran, and many other Nations Oppose Iran's Attempt to Attain Nuclear Weapons Capability, and Most Are not Opposed to a US Bombing of those Facilities as a Last Resort.
Dissent (Winter 2007) printed an English translation of former German foreign minister Joschka Fischer's speech before the Iranian Center for Strategic Research, delivered on August 1, 2006. The speech offers an excellent summary of the positions of Western Europe, the major Middle Eastern nations, and many others. The thing I wish to emphasize here is that the bitter divisions regarding the US and British invasion of Iraq are not present here, and that there is unanimity in placing extraordinary importance on preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapons capability. Furthermore, the speech indicates a point of view shared by all of these nations: Iran is on a course to develop such weapons and desperately hopes to succeed. The point is that these nations would not oppose bombing Iranian nuclear facilities as a last resort. While they would never publicly advocate bombing additional targets, and while many of them may be opposed to doing to, they are on extremely weak grounds to object. If US forces are doing the attacking, the US could certainly claim the right and duty to protect its forces from counter-attack, thereby necessitating a much broader attack on Iranian military facilities.
Britain, France and Germany proposed a compromise which would provide Iran with a robust commercial nuclear electrical generation industry, but provide nuclear fuel from abroad and recycle it after use to facilities abroad. In his August 2006 speech before leading Iranians involved in nuclear development, Mr. Fischer said:
A rejection of the current offer will lead to an escalation of the conflict, as the decision in July 2006 of the UN Security Council clearly demonstrates. There is a unified position, held not only by Europe and the US, but also within the Security Council and by the international community, that the risk of a breakthrough to nuclear weapons by Iran is unacceptable. We had a bitter split within the international community about the question of whether to wage war against Iraq. But Iran's nuclear ambitions have unified the international community completely.
Let me explain to you our strategic analysis of a possible military nuclearization of Iran. In our assessment, your regional neighbors will not sit on the sidelines and applaud this step, but will also go nuclear. An anti-hegemonial coalition would be the immediate result. But then there would be a nuclear arms race throughout the Middle East, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
That the concerned governments think that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons capability, although Iran says otherwise, can be discerned from Mr. Fischer's remarks. He asks, "If Iran truly intends to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes only, why does it place so much value on uranium enrichment by means of a heavy water reactor that is also useful for the production of plutonium?" He adds that the Arak heavy water reactor, to be completed in 2009,will be able to produce nine kilograms of weapons grade plutonium annually. He notes Iran's continuing development of longer range and more accurate missiles, and concludes, "that this combination, under no circumstances, makes sense for a civil nuclear program." Finally, he adds that the light water reactor being built with Russian assistance in Busheer, has a long-term fuel contract with Russia, and hence does not need fuel that will be generated at the Natanz enrichment facility currently being fitted with 3,000 gas-diffusion centrifuges. Mr. Fischer concedes that such a facility would be needed for the long-term development of a substantial commercial nuclear electrical generation capability, but that it is not needed for the Busheer reactor. Without saying so in so many words, Mr. Fischer is saying that current programs clearly indicate a nuclear weapons development program, and that such will not be allowed.
The accuracy of Mr. Fischer's words were born out when the UN Security Council, on December 23, 2006, voted unanimously to impose economic sanctions which prohibit nations from exporting nuclear enrichment, nuclear weapons development and ballistic missile development materials to Iran. The Busheer light-water reactor that Russia is building for Iran at a price of $800,000,000 was exempted from the embargo, even though it could play a part in the uranium enrichment fuel cycle. The embargo, of course prohibits trade in materials that could play a role in the development of the Arak heavy-water reactor.
Note that the unanimous 15/0 vote includes Russia and China. They are both arming Iran in order to prevent the US from extending its influence in the Middle East and Central Asia, but that doesn't mean they want Iran to have nuclear weapons. If Iranian nuclear weapons capability is necessary, however, to defeat the US strategy, both Russia and China may prefer to let Iran have the weapons. Russia emphasized its dual role by initiating, about the same time as the Security Council vote, a large shipment of sophisticated mobile anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, which arrived in late January of 2007. These missiles are there, of course, to bring down US aircraft.
Oil and Gas Field Development, LNG and Pipelines
China's oil dependency is such that (Gentry, p. 115): By 1990, 40% of China's oil came from the Middle East; by 2002, 60%. Iran and Saudi Arabia now account for 2/3 of China's oil imports. China currently imports 60% of its oil, and that percentage is expected to be 77% by 2020.
China's energy security strategy largely depends on the use of overland energy pipelines from Central Asia and the Middle East. China's sea trade is vulnerable to disruption, particularly oil from the Persian Gulf. Hence, China's is investing heavily in pipeline projects that will bring oil from Iran and Central Asia's Caspian Sea region. Iran is the OPEC's second largest oil producer, behind Saudi Arabia, and Iran is using oil to strengthen its relationships with China, Russia and India. Iran's oil reserves increased greatly in 2003 and 2004 with new discoveries in the Azadegan field in southwestern Iran. Iran possesses the world's second largest natural gas reserves (after Russia), with 15% of the world's total. China must drastically increase natural gas burning to replace some of its devastatingly polluting and greenhouse-gas spewing coal-burning electrical generation system. Due largely to coal, China is slated to pass the US as the world's largest contributor of greenhouse gases in 2009.
A recent article offers a good deal of information regarding the powerful relationship between Iran and China: "The Dragon and the Magi: Burgeoning Sino-Iranian Relations in the 21st Century," by J. Brandon Gentry (analyst at the Strategic Assessment Center of Hicks and Associates, Inc., in McLean, Virginia, China And Eurasia Forum Quarterly, November, 2005). Mr. Gentry informs us (p. 116) that Iran and China concluded two important LNG (liquid natural gas) deals in 2004 through two state-owned firms: China's Jhuhai Zhenrong Corporation will import 110 million tons of Iranian LNG over 25 years for $20 billion, and Cina's Simopec will import 250 million tons for 25 years for $100 billion. The latter deal also included Chinese participation in developing the massive Yadvaran oil field, from which China will receive 150,000 barrels of oil a day for 25 years. This will soon place China as Iran's main energy customer. It already receives 14% of its imported oil from Iran.
Iran is trying to buy PetroKazakhstan, a Canadian corporation with oil holding in Central Asia for $14.8 billion. China is investing in a pipeline to bring Turkmenistan natural gas to China. This proposed pipeline will traverse about 2,600 miles. Russia's Gazprom is opposed to the project and wants to lock up a deal that will give Russia all of Turkmenistan's gas exports for many years. Turkmenistan desperately wants the China line so that it can diversify its gas exports away from near total dependency on Gazprom.
According to "China Maps Out Natural Gas Pipelines," (china.org.cn/English/China, 6/22/06), several cross-border pipelines passing through Russia and Kazakhstan were under construction. A large project is under development that will import LNG from Australia. A dozen large LNG projects are planned up and down China's east coast. Construction was slated to begin soon on a 1,750 mile Russia-China gas pipeline, which should be completed in 2011. A gas pipeline of equal capacity from Turkmenistan to China is to be completed in 2009, but the latter must pass through Uzbekistan and Kazakhstan. These pipelines will connect to Chinese lines that serve the entire east coast of China. Uzbek and Kazak gas can also flow through the line from Turkmenistan.
The first completed leg of the Kazakhstan-China oil line carries gas to Kazak Atyrau. The second 614-mile leg, from Kazak Atasau to China's Alashankow is to be completed in 2008. When all three legs of the line are complete, it will stretch 1,860 miles. By the time the line is complete, it will be able to supply nearly 5% of China's natural gas requirements. The line is to be primarily fed by the Kazak Kashagan field on the Caspian shelf. It is the largest oil field discovered worldwide in the last 22 years, and in early 2005 development was still in the hands of ExxonMobil, British Gas, ConocoPhillips, Royal Dutch/Shell, Total and Inpex, although the Kazak state oil company may have secured a stake in the consortium by now. This pipeline will compete with the existing pipeline from the Caspian Sea to a Russian port on the Black Sea.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan pipeline running from Azerbaijan on the Caspian Sea through Georgia and Turkey to Ceyhan, the Turkish port on the Mediterranean Sea, began pumping oil in March of 2006.
Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan Gas Pipeline vs. Turkmenistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan Gas Pipeline
The proposed Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan gas pipeline is opposed by the US for the publicly-stated reason that the US wants an economic embargo of Iran until it can be assured that Iran will not develop nuclear weapons. Equally, if not more important to the US is the blockage of such a pipeline until such time as US multinational energy corporations have a significant participation in it. If Middle Eastern and Central Asian energy development and transmission unfold without US corporate participation, the global dominance of US multinational corporations will end very soon.
The pipeline would be more economically sound if India were also a partner in the consortium. At the beginning of 2007 it is clear that both Pakistan and India would go ahead, in spite of US objections, if the price of Iranian gas were right, but Iran has proposed pegging the gas price to the price of international oil in such a way that it would be likely to double the price from the level agreed upon in the earlier Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan memorandum of understanding on the project. Both Pakistan and India are negotiating the price of the gas, and the project is in abeyance. The same price problem is holding up an Iran-India LNG deal identical to either of the two deals closed between Iran and China - in this case a $22 billion deal to supply LNG to India for 25 years.
It may well be that the capacity of the Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan line will be such that it can only supply eastern Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan, and will not be able to transport enough gas to supply India. Hence India is considering two alternatives, another Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India line further to the north (that has the advantage of passing through more secure territory in all three countries before arriving in India), and a Turkmenistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-Indian line.
India is also considering an alternative to participation in the Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan project, a Turkmenistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas line. Turkmenistan is Central Asia's larges gas producer, and has the region's largest reserves. It could export gas through either or both a Turkmenistan-Tajikistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India pipeline, or a line that changes the last country from India to China. Afghanistan, Pakistan and Turkmenistan agreed in December 2002, just after the US bombing and invasion of Afghanistan, to build a 920-mile gas pipeline that would carry Turkmenistan to Pakistan, and eventually on to India. Much was said about the US preference for this pipeline over the alternative of an Iran-Afghanistan-Pakistan pipeline. US multinational Unocal has an interest in the former, and there is no US interest in the latter. Many have argued that controlling which pipelines traverse Afghanistan was one of the main reasons for the US invasion of Afghanistan. The US wants to retard Central Asian pipeline development until it can play a much more influential and participatory role in it. The fly in this ointment is that Turkmenistan has long been exporting gas to Gazprom in Russia. The pipelines have already been paid for, and Gazprom can easily raise the price to any level that would make it more advantageous for Turkmenistan to give more gas to Russia. The proposed pipeline to Pakistan depends upon Turkmenistan gas - how to guarantee that Turkmenistan will guarantee long-term gas provision for an economically viable price? On the other hand, Turkmenistan is so desperate to diversify its gas market beyond Russia, that it may be pleased to agree to a lower price.
Note that neither US multinational oil companies nor Western European oil companies are dominating this burgeoning web of energy interests whose sinews will bind the Eurasian continent together and reestablish a central role for Central Asia that it has not enjoyed for 800 years. It is a central tenant of the long-term US global strategy that the US must become a much more significant player in the Central Asian energy game if it is to extend its brief period of dominance on the global stage. It is considered that if the US cannot regain significant influence in Iran, the overall strategy will very likely fail. Iran is the direct gateway for US influence in the Caspian region (see The New Great Game, by Peter Palm, (c2003) for one introduction to the Central Asian energy game).
China's Military Assistance to Iran & Chinese-Iranian Economic Interdependence
Until the overthrow of the US and British-installed Palhevi regime in 1979, Iran had been well supplied with modern arms by the US. In the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, in which the US and Russia backed Iraq, Iranian military equipment was exhausted. This is when Iran turned to China for arms. China has supplied missiles and fast-attack boats, and assisted the development of Iranian domestic missile and advanced naval mine production ["China's Missile Exports and Assistance to Iran," NTI China Profile]. In years approaching 1998 Iran was the third largest importer of Chinese arms, after Pakistan and North Korea. In the 2002 Millennium Challenge war game, based on Iran, the Iranian surrogate did considerable damage to US naval forces with its anti-ship cruise missiles.
China sold around 150 C-801/802 cruise missiles to Iran in the 1990's. The NOOR, based on the C-802, is now domestically produced, and is the most important Iranian defensive weapon. One destroyed the Israeli guided-missile frigate Spear off the coast of Lebanon in the 2006 Lebanon-Israel War. China also sold Iran around 175 M-7/8610 ballistic missiles, and Iran and North Korea may be working together to improve the NOOR's (C-802's) accuracy. China may also be assisting the upgrade of Iran's domestically produced FL-10 anti-ship missile. China assisted Iran in developing its own HY-2/Silkworm anti-ship production capability, and Iran has been producing Silkworms for some time. The missile has a 59-mile range. The same happened with C-801 missiles (25-mile range), and C-802's (70-mile range), which Iran now produces. Iran produces the Karus anti-ship missile, based on the C-801/802. Iran produces the FL-10, whose two FL predecessors had 29 and 17-mile ranges. Production technology for the unsophisticated M-7 surface-to-surface, 94-mile range missile was transferred, following several years of direct Chinese sales. China and North Korea transferred production technology for North Korea's Scud-B surface-to-surface, 180-mile range ballistic missile, with some kind of relatively advanced guidance system. Iran produces domestically the Iran-130/Mushak-120, 76-mile range missile. It is developing a 116-mile range version. North Korea provided, and Russia assisted provision of Shahab-3, roughly 1,000-mile range surface-to-surface missiles.
Iran supplied Hezbollah with thousands of somewhat useless unguided Katyusha, 15-mile range rockets; about 500 Fajr-3 and Fajr-5 missiles (unguided with 26 and 44-mile ranges); several dozen 116-mile range Zeizal-2's; and an advanced anti-tank weapon that proved to be the key weapon of the 2006 Lebanon War.
J. Brandon Genetry's "The Dragon and the Magi," informs us (p. 111) that "Both China and Iran see themselves as opponents of US regional hegemony, powerful nations bold enough to challenge the world's sole remaining superpower." China has become one of Iran's largest foreign investors, and both countries have been promoting Sino-Iranian cultural interaction. Regarding trade, Mr. Gentry explains (p. 114) that "In 1990 bilateral trade between the two countries totaled approximately $314 million; it rose to approximately $700 million by 1993. Over the next 10 years, due in large part to China's rising energy needs, Sino-Iranian bilateral trade skyrocketed, and by 2003 was estimated to be approximately $5.6 billion. By 2004 this had increased to over $7 billion." In the first 8 months of 2005, it climbed to $6.3 billion (44% higher than the 8 months in the year prior). Iran's 68 million people represent an important Chinese market.
The 2005 Iran-China bilateral trade (exports + imports) was about $9.7 billion, compared to $285 billion of US-China bilateral trade, a ratio of 1:29. What is important is the rate of growth of, and long-range geo-strategic importance of the rapidly growing Iran-China trade.
Naval Warfare in the Persian Gulf from the 1980's Iran-Iraq War to the Present
The 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq War was initiated by Iraq with its 9/22/80 attack on Iran. Two of Iraq's objectives were 1) exclusive control over the Shatt al-Arab waterway, an important oil shipping area at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, and 2) the taking of control from Iran of several Islands in the Strait of Hormuz at the southern end of the Gulf, held by Iran since 1971. The US was Iraq's main supporter in the war. In spite of 8 years of war, $130 billion of outside assistance, and a tank dominance of 5,000:1,000; Iraq accomplished none of its military objectives. Iran controls the Shatt al-Arab approaches.
The war was also over control of Khuzistan, a resource-rich province that has been the object of struggle at least as far back at the mid-3rd millennium before Christ. Before the rise of the Ottoman Empire the province had been part of Persia (Iran). Iraq protested when the province fell to Iran following the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Khuzistan was another objective of Iraq in the 1980's war, but it remains part of Iran.
At its narrowest point the Strait of Hormuz is 2 miles wide. All ship-born oil leaving the Gulf region passes out of the southern end of the Gulf through this Strait. Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have long quarreled over three islands in the Strait near the main tanker channels, Abu Musa, Greater Tunb Island and Lesser Tunb Island. If the US attacks Iran, occupation of these three islands will be one of the first orders of battle.
Iraq began attacking civilian, non-Iranian cargo ships sailing from Iranian ports in the Gulf in 1981. 48 merchant ships were attacked in the first three years of the war, followed by 71 in 1984. Iran retaliated with a small number of attacks. In 1986 and 1987 Iraq even attacked oil tankers belonging to US-allied Arab Gulf states, particularly Kuwaiti ships. The Soviet Union and the US both intervened to reduce the attacks. At one point Iraq severely damaged the USS Stark, a US naval escort vessel, killing 37 US sailors. In 1987 Iran attacked a tanker that the US arranged to temporarily fly a US flag, and the US retaliated by destroying an oil platform from the air and another with a team of Navy Seals. Attacks on merchant ships continued until the war's end in 1988.
In 2000 the US destroyer Cole was rammed by a speedboat bomb and nearly sunk while tied up to a dock in Yemen. It is generally believed that people linked to Al Qaeda were responsible. In 2003 The double-hulled French supertanker MV Limburg burned after being rammed by an explosives-filled speed boat off the coast of Yemen.
US War Strategy
The minimal US attack would be an attack, with or without Israeli participation, on numerous Iranian nuclear facilities -- civilian, military and dual use. Nothing else would be attacked, not even anti-ship and anti-aircraft defensive systems, and not even command and control centers. Iran would have to suffer the loss of both emergent nuclear commercial electrical generation and emergent nuclear weapons capabilities. If Iran chose to strike back, it would be done with the foreknowledge that the society would suffer immense destruction as a result. It is very likely that Iran would retaliate immediately. Since the US did not begin its attack by attacking anti-ship and anti-air systems, these systems would be undamaged and would exact a greater toll on US forces, than would be the case if they had been the first objects of attack. Because of the high priority the US will place on minimizing loss of its equipment and personnel, especially since both are stretched so thin, it is very unlikely that the US will choose this minimal attack option.
There are three other options, each of which includes a massive missile and bomb attack on nuclear facilities, military facilities, and selected communication, transportation and electrical generation facilities: 1) a sustained attack that includes invasion and occupation of key areas throughout the country for months or years, 2) invasion and occupation of selected areas deep inland for very brief or fairly brief periods of time, and 3) invasion and occupation of Gulf islands and selected Gulf shore areas. I think the most likely is the third approach with a little of the second. The third approach is the attack scenario I briefly described on pages 4 and 7 of the Introduction. In addition, there may be a small number of nuclear, command and control, and medium-range missile facilities that would be invaded and briefly occupied, but only to guarantee their destruction. Once the targets were adequately destroyed, the invading forces would be removed, leaving only Gulf Islands and certain Gulf shore areas occupied.
The US Iraq War strategy has been and is under great criticism for underestimating enemy capabilities and failing to occupy areas with sufficiently large forces. There is certainly some validity to this criticism. The US vastly underestimated the extent of suicide bombing and hence underestimated force requirements to secure certain key areas. In spite of inadequacies in this "minimalist" force deployment approach, I think that is exactly the approach that would be used in Iran, but perhaps with greater success in the Iranian case. That is because the country would not be invaded and occupied. The only occupations that would last more that a few days or a few weeks would be the Gulf islands and selected shore areas where anti-ship and anti-air defenses are concentrated.
I Regret the redundancy, but let me repeat my attack description from pages 4 and 7 above: The US will simultaneously execute with lightning speed: air-to-ground attacks, naval shore bombardment, anti-ship and anti-submarine attacks, and marine assaults on Gulf islands and coastal areas with anti-ship and anti-air emplacements. These attacks will be to secure the safety of US naval forces in the Gulf, and to secure control of the air over Iran. At the same time sea-launched cruise missiles with preset individual building targets will begin the attacks on nuclear, military, weapons production and economic infrastructure targets (communication, transportation, electrical utilities). As soon as naval forces are safe and control of the air is secured, more of the same target types will be attacked by air-launched cruise missiles and guided bombs with pre-programmed precision targets.
The US plan for attacking Iran aims for the rapid collapse of the Iranian command and military structure. Simultaneously the Iranian Russian Kilo class submarines, mini-subs, attack patrol boats, and civilian attack patrol craft would be the top naval priority. With significant degradation of these anti-ship naval forces, it would be possible for ship-born helicopters and amphibious vehicles to ferry troops and equipment to occupy key islands and areas of mainland shore. These places would be seized to keep the Straits of Hormuz open to oil tankers, and to seize land-based anti-ship and anti-air missile emplacements. With control of the air secured, more targets farther inland would be taken out. Additional Persian Gulf islands and sections of mainland coast would be taken to further degrade anti-ship and anti-air missile emplacements, and small-craft anti-ship forces.
The US would also attack facilities suspected of producing road-side bombs for Iraqi enemies, and arms of Iran's government involved in support of Hezbollah, US Iraqi enemies, Hamas, and Syria. Such Iranian government targets might include the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) and the Quds sections of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
Addendum I describes the four or five naval strike groups that will be in place by mid- to end-February, 2007 to execute such an attack. Addendum II describes military bases in the Persian Gulf and nearby which would also support the attack. Immediately following this section, are information about a new conventional (non-nuclear) bunker buster that may be part of the attack, and a discussion about the unlikelihood of using small or mini-atomic bombs in the attack. It remains to point out that, regardless of whether or not the new bunker-buster is used, considerable ordnance would be delivered by heavy B-2 and B-52 bombers from either or both Guam and the US. The new bunker buster can only be delivered in heavily contested air space by the B-2.
In "US vs. Iran (II): Hybrid War," Dr. Abbas Bakhtiar's article, undated on the web, but published around December, 2006, a possible US-Iran war is analyzed. Dr. Bakhtiar lives in Norway, works as a consultant, and can be reached at Bakhtiarspaceemail@example.com. The above-referenced article can be seen in its entirety on the web.
Mr. Bakhtiar thinks that a US attack on Iran is likely. He partially disagrees with my view in that he thinks that such a war will require the US to invade deeply into Iran for at least four to six months. He thinks that keeping the Strait of Hormuz open and eliminating Iranian anti-ship and anti-air defenses will require this. I was of the mind that the US planned only to occupy Gulf Islands and selected Gulf mainland shore areas, and only to go deeply inland on the ground with surgical in-out attacks.
Mr. Bakhtiar thinks that the diversity of Iranian military assets, its military experience, strategy and tactics, and the narrowness and proximity of the Strait of Hormuz make it likely that Iran will be able to close or severely limit traffic through the Strait for some time. Its medium-range missiles and artillery, which can attack Gulf ships from many miles inland, will not be degraded fast enough without a massive land invasion requiring up to 250,000 troops. The key concept is "fast enough," because the US and other industrial nations will not be able to withstand the economic and political consequences of even a partial shut-off of 20% of the world's oil supply for a period of four months or more, thus there would be no choice but to invade massively to shorten the period of any such shut-off.
I think, on the other hand, that the US will, if necessary, allow itself and other oil-importing countries to suffer a prolonged energy deficit rather than risk the domestic and international protests that would result from a massive invasion. Confident that it could eventually degrade Iran's military to the point that the Strait could be kept open and tankers protected from attack, the US would not invade massively. Furthermore, the US would run too much of a risk of losing militarily on the ground in one or more of Afghanistan, Iraq or Iran with ground forces spread so thin. Mr. Bakhtiar acknowledges this risk, but thinks that if the US attacks Iran, it will have already decided to take the risk, because massive invasion would be unavoidable.
The US May Now Have an Operational Massive Ordnance Penetrator Capable of destroying most or all Iranian Nuclear Facilities
If the US has just operationalized a small number of Massive Ordnance Penetrators (MOP), there would be no question about the US' ability to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities, even those most deeply buried. We are informed in "Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), Direct Strike Hard Target Weapon Big BLU" (Global Security, 11/16/06), that flight testing had been planned for 2006. The 20 ft long MOP weighs 30,000 lb. Two different sources state the explosive charge differently: one says the explosive charge is 6,000 lb, and the other says it is 20,000 lb. It is expected to penetrate through up to 200 ft of 5,000 psi steel-reinforced concrete, or 27 ft of 10,000 psi steel-reinforced concrete. It is being developed by Boeing and Northrop Grumman. Its Hard Target Smart Fuse (HTSF) can be set to control detonation by a selected number of layers (floors) penetrated, the distance penetrated, or the time elapsed during penetration. There is also an air-burst configuration, Mother of All Bombs (MOAB). The B-2 bomber can only carry one MOP or MOAB at a time.
Michael Knights, in "Hard Target: Rolling-Back Iranian Nuclear Programmes" (Arabian Peninsula & Persian Gulf Database, 12/18/03), apparently referring to the same MOP, says that the new generation of weapon-the Northrop Grumman/Lockheed Martin Deep Strike Hard Target Weapon (DSHTW)-will penetrate up to 30 feet of reinforced concrete and could be rushed into service as the GBU-28 was in 1991. Dr. Knights is referring to a penetrator system that was thrown together with available spare parts within a few weeks for immediate use in the first Iraq war, and immediately used to kill 500 civilians in a bomb shelter in Baghdad, as well as against military targets.
B-52 or B-2 bombers could deliver the MOP from bases in the US or Guam, or Diego Garcia. Since Britain has been following the European Union policy of engagement and negotiation with Iran, it may not permit the US to run bombing missions from Diego Garcia in the middle of the Indian Ocean. The aircraft would probably have to be employed and recovered to the US Pacific base on Guam, as B-52's were during the unilateral US strike on Iraq in September 1996, codenamed Operation Desert Strike. The B-52 would be relatively vulnerable. Hence, any initial strikes with the MOP would be done with B-2 bombers, which have a much smaller radar profile, are faster, smaller, and much more maneuverable.
The best bunker-buster in current widespread use is the BLU-113 in the GBU-28 (guided bomb) configuration. It is a 5,000 lb laser-guided bomb with a 4,400 lb penetrating warhead that contains depleted uranium, and uses the Hard Target Smart Fuse. The bomb homes on a laser-designator shining on the target, and can penetrate 20 ft of steel-reinforced concrete or 100 feet of earth. The US has used the BLU-113, and all of the following weapons in Afghanistan and Iraq, and the Israeli's used them in Lebanon in 2006: BLU-109 (penetrates 6 ft of steel reinforced concrete), BLU-116 (11 feet), BLU-118/B Thermobaric (11 ft), Blu-113 (20 ft). .
The US and Israel Probably Do Not Have a Viable Mini-Atomic Bunker-Buster Bomb at this Time, but Probably Don't Need It.
There has been a long public debate and struggle regarding the US Administrations' effort to add small-yield bunker-buster atomic bombs to the US arsenal, and a little-reported Israeli program to do the same, although the latter is denied by the Israeli government. Some journalists reported in January of 2007 that high-ranking Israeli military officers say they do have such a weapon and complete plans for an attack that use them. A 1994 US law defines a low-yield nuclear weapon as explosive force of 5 kilotons of TNT or less. From 2001 to the present Congress has defeated appropriations funding development of the Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator (RNEP) as a low-yield device. The Administration has gone around this by researching the use of an existing 5 kiloton warhead within a new RNEP device. DOD may or may not have such a device at this time. Of course, the US could always use covert funds to develop such a weapon in Israel, and could be doing just that.
"Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator" (Global Security) tells us that destroying a target buried 1,000 feet into rock would require a nuclear weapon with the yield of 100 kilotons, that casings made of the strongest material cannot withstand the physical forces of burrowing through 100 ft of granite, and that the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima had a yield of between 10 and 15 kilotons (200 of such US bombs are currently deployed around Western Europe)
It is probable, that any mini-nuke (1 kiloton or less) penetrator would spew enormous quantities of deadly radioactive debris and dust over vast areas. A one kiloton (1,000 tons of TNT explosive equivalent) would make a crater over ¼ mile wide. The political fallout of such radioactive fallout is a powerful disincentive to use even a few mini-nukes on Iran, even if they are available. Even more objectionable politically is the contradiction of using nuclear weapons to prevent people from developing nuclear weapons.
The US will soon have all forces in place and appropriate propaganda orchestrated to bomb much more than, say, 50 nuclear facilities. I don't think the US would have completed this enormous force deployment if there were not a reasonable likelihood of making a broad aerial attack on Iran in the next few months. I don't think they would make such an attack unless they had the capability to very seriously degrade Iran's nuclear program. This, in turn, makes me think that it is very likely that the US has recently deployed at least a small number of the new MOP bunker-busters.
The HYStrike High Speed Strike Missile, designed to hit a ground target while traveling over 4 times the speed of sound in order to penetrate 40 feet of steel-reinforced concrete is thought not to be deployable in 2007, and possible not until 2009.
Could Israel Alone Take Out Iranian Nuclear Facilities?
One key question is whether or not Israel would participate in the air attack on Iran. Their F-15E and F-16 fighter/bombers can easily make the roughly 850-mile trip to the Iranian targets and return to Israel without refueling. The US has provided Israel with at the very least 500 Bunker-buster bombs, which penetrate 7 feet of steel-reinforced concrete (500 provided in 2004). Numerous reports indicate that Israel had a detailed plan by early 2005 for taking out Iran's nuclear facilities. Israel has threatened to do so on several occasions, stating that if the international community can't remove the threat of a nuclear-weapons-armed Iran, Israel will. If Israel does so, the most direct flight paths will be over US-controlled Iraqi air space. If the US insisted on Israeli involvement in the bombing campaign, and could convince Israel that it would not attack Iran without Israeli participation in the bombing, Israel would certainly participate. The Israeli government and Israeli military have made it clear that they consider a nuclear-armed Iran to be the most significant threat faced by Israel since the 1948 war. Israel would certainly feel that participation in a bombing campaign would be the best opportunity available to solve their problem - certainly infinitely preferable to attacking by themselves.
According to Uni Mahnaimi and Sarah Baxter in" Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran" (Times on Line, 1/7/07), "Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear bunker-busters, according to several Israeli military sources." The authors continue: "The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to 1/15 of the Hiroshima bomb. Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open tunnels into the targets. Mini-nukes would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout."
The authors state that Israeli military commanders have stated their belief that conventional strikes may not do adequate damage to uranium enrichment facilities built under 70 feet or more of concrete and rock. The officers stated that this Israeli nuclear option would only be resorted to if the US failed to act.
The Times on Line article claims that Israel has identified three prime targets south of Tehran: the Natanz, enrichment facility where thousands of centrifuges are being installed, the Isfahan facility where a uranium gas is produced and stored in tunnels, and the Arak heavy water plutonium-producing nuclear reactor.
Michael Knights' "Hard Target" adds that for Israel "Overland options offer the most direct routes-roughly 1,500 km through Iraq, 1,900 km through Saudi Arabia, and 2,600 km through Turkey-and could be undertaken by F-15I with limited post-launch refueling support or even by F-16I using new buddy-refueling capabilities."
"The littoral route would be a longer but ultimately safer method of ingress. If launched from Israel, the inbound leg would be approximately 5,400 km. Basing or recovery from a Red Sea base in Eritrea-where Israeli listening posts and submarine refueling facilities are hosted-would reduce the outbound or recovery journeys by up to 1,400 km each way."
Iranian Military Capabilities
Unfortunately, publicly available information leaves Iran's military weapons and equipment inventory largely unknown, because little information regarding the numbers of domestically manufactured items. None the less, Mr. Bakhtiar says that there are indications that Iran has around 1,700 main battle tanks, 1,500 other armored fighting vehicles, 3,000 artillery weapons, 250 combat aircraft, 340 helicopters, 3 submarines [and a number of mini-subs], 56 surface combat ships and 160 patrol boats, and several thousand armed civilian small-to-medium-sized boats. In addition, Iran has a very large and very diverse arsenal of defensive and offensive attack and anti-ship, anti-air and anti-armor missiles.
The US backed Iraq in the 1981-1988 Iran-Iraq War, and Iran was indirectly fighting the US as well as Iraq. The US has continued an economic embargo of Iran since the Iranian Revolution and the seizure of the US Embassy in Teheran in 1979. Iran gained military experience and developed a domestic arms industry in the Iran-Iraq War, and has been studying US strategy and tactics carefully in Afghanistan and Iraq. Everything Iran has done within its borders since 1988 has been to prepare for a US attack, and, of course, these efforts have been greatly strengthened since 911.
Iran has a large stock of various anti-tank missiles imported from Russia, China and Ukraine. They are still coming, and Russia announced 1/16/07 that its latest large shipment had just arrived in Iran. In addition, the Iranians produce domestically a wide variety of anti-tank weapons, including duplicates of US Raytheon TOW and McDonnell Douglas Dragon ATGW missiles.
"Iranian Security Threats and US Policy: Finding the Proper Response," by Anthony H. Cordesman, (Center for Strategic and International Studies, 10/28/03), notes (p. 3) that Iran produces Scud short-range ballistic missiles (SRBM's), and is in the late stages of developing [has now deployed] the Shahab-3 medium-range ballistic missile (MRBM). Shahab IV is under development. Cordesman says (p. 4) that 10% of Russia's arms exports are to Iran ($300,000,000 per year), and a major mobile anti-air missile deployment arrived from Russia in mid-January, 2007. China's extensive support of Iran's military is discussed below.
Iran has purchased three relatively modern Kilo-class conventional submarines with long-range torpedoes and mine laying capability from Russia. It has bought anti-ship missile-equipped patrol boats from China, has land-based anti-ship missiles, and can deliver such missiles from aircraft. Iran has 20,000 men in its IRGC naval branch. Iran's Joshan Patrol Torpedo (PT) boats can go over 45 knots and fire anti-ship missiles with a range of over 62 miles. The PT boat's Fajr gun fires a 76mm shell with a 12-mile range. Iran has a very dangerous 225 mph anti-ship missile. There are also the Chinese C-802 and Kowsar and NOOR anti-ship missiles, based on the C-802. Kowsars are land-based, with electronic countermeasures to jam enemy radar.
According to Cordesman's "Iranian Security Threats and US Policy," Iran had in 2003 513,000 men in its armed forces: 325,000 in the army, 125,000 in the Revolutionary Guards (20,000 of which are in a naval branch), 18,000 in the Navy, 40,000 in the Air Force, 40,000 paramilitary forces and 300,000 in its Basiz Popular Army (additional to the 513,000). These forces have 1,600 tanks, 1,500 other armored vehicles, 3,400 artillery weapons and 190 operational combat aircraft. These forces are larger and better equipped today.
Finally, Michael Knights' article observes that "The Achilles' heel of the Iranian system remains its ability to generate early warning and act as an integrated system. To protect high altitude attackers the relatively small number of surveillance radars would be easy to blind through Tomahawk cruise missile strikes, while low-level approaches would be aided by the creases in the air defense net caused by Iran's mountainous terrain."
Iranian War Strategy: a List:
Attack US Naval Forces, Possibly Close the Strait of Hormuz and Attack Selected Nation's Oil Tanker Ships
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has its own roughly 20,000-person navy, and this force will be the most important in a war with the US, because it will attack the US naval forces in the Persian Gulf. It has mines tethered to the bottom of the Gulf that can be released to float up to the surface; shore-based anti-ship missiles and artillery stored in tunnels near the coast, on islands in the Gulf, and in inland positions; medium range missiles in deep inland positions; regular and mini submarines; and a fleet of fast offensive patrol boats.
The most dangerous Iranian anti-ship weapon is the Iranian-manufactured NOOR cruise missile, which is based on the Chinese C-802, which is basically an advanced French Exocet. It has a 75-mile range. Iran may have 60 of them on 15 Chinese and French missile boats, and an unknown number on land mobile launchers. For 13 years, Iran has been placing an unknown number in tunnels on the coast of the Gulf, and south of the Strait of Hormuz on the coast of the Gulf of Oman - the northern part of the Arabian Sea. The NOOR is the missile Hezbollah used to destroy the Israeli SAAR-5 class frigate off the Lebanese coast in August of 2006.
Iran also manufactures Silkworm anti-ship missiles based on the Russian SS-N-2 Styx, with a large warhead and a 60-mile range. Especially worrisome is the Iranian-manufactured Kosar cruise missile (modified/reverse-engineered Chinese C-701) which can be guided optically via TV at a visible target or remotely by radar. It has a 9-mile range, and can be launched from Toyota pickups, boats, helicopters or planes. Other precision-guided missiles may, or may not yet be, in production. In addition to the 160 military fast attack patrol boats, Iran has several thousand small boats ranging from 23-foot Boston Whalers to 65-foot patrol boats.
Most analysts think that Iran will respond to a US attack by trying to stop the flow of up to 20% of the world's oil from flowing out of the Strait of Hormuz by attacking tankers and oil facilities in, at least, the countries with US bases: Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and Bahrain
Infiltrate Afghanistan and Upgrade Arms of Forces Fighting the US in Afghanistan
The Afghanistan border stretches north-south along Iran's eastern border. Inside Afghanistan the mountainous terrain is well suited to infiltration and asymmetric/guerrilla offensive combat by Iranian forces. It is reasonable to assume that immediately after or shortly prior to US attack, Iran will move large forces into Afghanistan with both their own equipment and equipment for Afghan forces eager to kill US soldiers. This will include advanced anti-tank missiles, shoulder fired Misagh II missiles, anti-armor sniper rifles, and anti-body-armor bullets for AK-47's (which Afghan fighters now lack).
Infiltration, Invasion and Upgrading of Arms of US Enemies in Iraq
Immediately after, or shortly prior to a US attack on Iran, Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and paramilitary volunteer forces (Basij) will surely cross the western border into eastern Iraq in large numbers. They will try to sever all of southern Iraq from land supply lines from Kuwait in the south and from Turkey to the north. They will fight US and British troops all over southern Iraq with anti-tank weapons. They will go on the offensive in all urban areas and go for US and British armor. They will use large numbers of motorcycles and jeeps with anti-tank weapons, Iranian-made Katyusha multiple rocket launchers and tactical missiles. Motorcycles will be used for quick-in, quick-out hit and run attacks. Iran recently began domestic manufacture of heavy machine guns with armor-piercing bullets and armor-piercing bullets for AK-47 assault rifles. It is not know what quantity is available, but these bullets would immediately cause a significant increase in US deaths and serious injuries. Fajr missiles with an average range of 25 miles will be used against any large US installation. Iranians will be armed with large numbers of both standard and advanced shoulder-fired anti-aircraft missiles, some of which will be effective against jets, and all of which will be effective against helicopters. Iran will certainly take great risk to attack the Green Zone in Baghdad on an ongoing basis.
Possible Infiltration of Pakistan and Arming of Baluchistan Rebels
Small numbers of Iranians may move into Pakistani Baluchistan, the area of Pakistan bordering southeastern Iran. Baluchi's have long been oppressed in Pakistan, and there are three US military bases in Baluchistan. Low-level Baluchi insurgency continues in the area, and Pakistan has just killed a leading tribal chief. Some Baluchi's may be easily persuaded to kill US personnel operating in the bases, especially if provided with excellent arms to do the job.
The Definitive Moment May Be Upon Us
While there are many conditions that could drastically reduce the degree of success of the US long-term strategy for continued preponderance in Eurasia, one condition that would defeat the entire strategy is failure to restore considerable US influence over Iran. Without that influence in Iran, the ability to influence Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan can never be sufficient to secure a relevant future in their energy-related development. Without considerable influence in Iran and Afghanistan, it will not be possible for US multinational corporations to become key players in the development of Central Asian energy resources and energy transmission, and without that, preponderance in Eurasia is lost. US leaders have concluded that it is not in the self interests of the political elites in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan to afford the US the influence it requires, and hence, military force must become an important element in US efforts to gain influence. From the point of view of those directing US policies and actions, it may appear that an aerial bombardment of Iran is necessary, and that the alternative is to concede now the game being played on the grand chessboard. It may seem to the international sector of the US multinational-corporate elite that it's either bomb Iran or lay the king down and concede the game.
Addendum I: The Resources Contained in the US Naval Strike Groups
The Eisenhower Carrier Strike Group (CCSG 8) has been in the Persian Gulf area since October 21, 2006, and includes the Nimitz-class carrier, several destroyers in Destroyer Squadron 28 (DESRON 28), the guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio (CG 68), the guided-missile destroyers USS Ramage (DDG 61) and USS Mason (DDG 87), and the fast-attack submarine USS Newport News (SSN 750). The USS Michigan nuclear submarine with cruise missiles and Navy Seals arrived in the Persian Gulf in early November. I don't know what group the Michigan is attached to.
The Enterprise (not the Eisenhower), which departed the Gulf in early November, 2006, has a 3,500 crew and in addition houses an air wing with between1,500 and 2,480 personnel. The normal 85 aircraft compliment consists of: a 57-aircraft F-14 squadron, 3 F/A-18 Hornets, 4 EA-6B Prowlers, 4 E-2C Hawkeyes, 6 S-3 Vikings, 2 Shadows, and 8 SH-3 Sea King or SH-60 Seahawk helicopters. Retirement is planned in 2015, when the carrier is to be replaced by the first of a new class of carriers.
The newly refurbished Nimitz-class Eisenhower has a crew and aircraft complement similar to that of the Enterprise. The brand new George H. W. Bush is the tenth Nimitz-class carrier to be placed into service, and was christened on October 6, 2006. It will be undergoing sea trials and training for some time before being placed in service.
Aegis guided-missile cruisers have crews of around 365 persons, and feature a variety of attack and defensive missiles. They can field up to 127 simultaneously-loaded and ready to fire Tomahawk Cruise Missiles, plus an unspecified number of replacement Tomahawks. The Arleigh Burke guided-missile destroyers have crews of around 325 and up to 90 launchers that can be simultaneously loaded with Tomahawks, plus unspecified spares. That gives the Boxer and Eisenhower groups 2 cruisers and 4 destroyers with up to 614 ready-to-launch cruise missiles, and some quantity of spares. This does not count the cruise missiles on the submarines, and those that can be carried by the Eisenhower's aircraft.
Global Security.org, in "Target Iran-Air Strikes," 12/28/06, indicates that available cruise missile launchers in a carrier strike group are even more numerous. The article states that "a carrier strike group would typically have about 500 vertical launch system cells, which could mean that roughly 250 Tomahawks would be available for tasking." Two groups would then have 1,000 launchers, compared to my 614 plus submarine launchers. But Global Security.org is referring to a typical configuration with about half the launchers programmed for cruise missiles. ALL of the launchers could launch cruise missiles in a planned attack. When the Stennis and Bataan strike groups arrive at the end of January, 2007 there will be four strike groups in the gulf, capable of launching at least 1,200 cruise missiles in an initial salvo. This could compliment the cruise missiles, other surface-to-ground missiles and guided bombs launched by the120 attack aircraft on the two carriers, another unknown number of missiles and bombs from US aircraft from other bases in the Persian Gulf, and the massive tonnage of missiles and guided bombs carried by the heavy bombers from the US, Guam, and perhaps Diego Garcia, 5 hours south in the Indian Ocean. A cruise missile is accurate enough to hit a pre-programmed individual building target.
It is safe to assume that a few thousand Iranian target instruction sets are complete and can be, or have been, downloaded into cruise missile, other missile, and guided bomb precision-guidance systems.
The Boxer Strike Group includes the Wasp-class Boxer (LHD 4) amphibious assault ship, the Aegis-class guided-missile cruiser Bunker Hill, the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyers Howard and Benfold, the nuclear attack submarine Providence, the Canadian guided missile frigate Ottawa, as well as other ships. The cruiser and two guided-missile destroyers could have up to another 307 Tomahawk cruise-missiles ready to launch. The Boxer has a crew of 182 and carries a marine detachment of 1,894. The Boxer is 840 ft. x 106 ft. with a 140 ft. wide flight deck and a 40,500-ton full-load displacement. One of its flight configurations is 6 AV-8B Harrier attack planes, 4 AH-1W Super Cobra attack helicopters, 12 CH-46 Sea Knight helicopters, 9 CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, 4 UH-1N Huey helicopters. In addition its sail-in, sail-out well deck holds various configurations of amphibious assault vehicles that number 2, 3, 6, 40, or 61 amphibious vehicles.
The John C. Stennis Strike Group will be in the Persian Gulf in February, 2007. The twin-reactor nuclear-powered aircraft carrier strike group includes the carrier's 5,000-person crew and its F/A-18 Hornet and F/A-18 Super Hornet attack squadrons, an EA-6B and Prowler electronic warfare squadron to attack radiation-emitting anti-air and anti-ship emplacements, a Golden Hawk early warning squadron, a sea control squadron with FLIR ocean surveillance and anti-submarine warfare capability, and SH-60B Seahawk helicopters with LAMPS sensor-based remote weapons delivery. Debkafile (12/21/07) says the Stennis group will arrive in the Gulf with 6,250 ground troops
The Stennis Strike Group includes Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyers O'Kane and Preble, with 380-person crews, LAMPS, Tomahawk cruise missiles, Standard ship-to-air missiles and VLA anti-submarine missiles, of which any combination of 96 can be fires simultaneously. The cruisers also carry various torpedoes. Also in the strike group: The Los Angeles class nuclear-powered attack submarine Key West, with Tomahawk cruise missiles, mines and torpedoes; the frigate Rentz, with 2 Seahawk helicopters; and the Fast Combat Support Ship Bridge, with a 360-person crew, and a typical cargo of 177,000 gallons of fuel oil, 2,150 tons of ammunition, 500 tons of dry stores, 250 tons of refrigerated stores, and 3 Sikorsky Knighthawk helicopters.
Bataan Strike Group will be in the Persian Gulf in late-January, 2007. The entire strike group includes about 3,000 crew and 2,200 Marines. The Wasp class amphibious assault ship Bataan has a 1,108 crew and carries 1,894 Marines. It typically carries five M-1 tanks, 25 light amphibious howitzer M-198 guns, 68 military trucks, 10 logistics vehicles, 12 trailers, a fuel service truck, four rough terrain forklifts and two generator trailers. The vehicles can be transported in the Bataan's landing craft (including high-speed, 60-ton cargo, air-cushioned craft) or carried by helicopters (from 844' x 105' flight deck. Helicopters include 12 CH-46 Sea Knights, 4 CH-53E Sea Stallions, 6 AV-8B Harrier attacks, 4 UH-1N Hueys, and 4 AH-1W Super Cobras. The Bataan is of the same class as the Boxer, currently in the Gulf, and the Iwo Jima, just relieved by the Boxer.
The strike group includes the Austin class Amphibious Transport Dock Shreveport, which has a 420-person crew and carries 900 Marines, a variable set of amphibious assault vehicles, and up to 6 CH-46 helicopters. Also included is the Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer Nitze with a 380-person crew, LAMPS, Tomahawk cruise missiles, Standard ship-to-air missiles and VLA anti-submarine missiles, of which any combination of 96 can be fires simultaneously. The destroyers also carry various torpedoes. Also in the group is the Oliver Hazard Perry class guided missile destroyer Underwood, with a variety of missiles, 2 SH-60 LAMPS Sea Hawk helicopters, and torpedoes. Also included is the Vella Gulf, with a 350-person crew, 2 SH-60 Seahawk LAMPS helicopters, and 2 launchers for Tomahawk cruise missiles, Standard ship-to-air missiles and additional missile capabilities. Finally the strike group includes the nuclear-powered attack submarine Scranton, with Tomahawk cruise missiles and VLS anti-submarine missiles, and 4 torpedo tubes firing various torpedo types.
Ronald Reagan Strike Group: Debkafile reported 1/10/07 that the Ronald Reagan Strike Group might be departing the US to join the armada in the Persian Gulf. The USS Ronald Reagan (CVN-76) displaces 95,000 tons loaded, and is 1,092 ft. x, 134 ft. wide, with a 252 ft. wide flight deck. It has a 5,500 person crew (3,200 ships company, 2,480 person air wing), and 80-plus aircraft. The air wing is currently the following squadrons: 2 F/A-18E Super Hornet squadrons, 2 F/A-18C Hornet squadrons, and 1 each of the following squadrons: EA-6B Prowler, E-2C Hawkeye 2000, SH-60F/HH-60H Seahawk helicopter, C-2A Greyhound. The strike group includes the Lake Champlain Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, the Decatur Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyer, the McCampbell Arleigh Burke (Flight IIA)-class guided missile destroyer, the Rainier Supply-class fast combat support ship, and theEOD-11 Det 15 explosive ordinance disposal unit.
The Lake Champlain (CG 57) Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser has a 351-person crew, and carries two SH-60 Sea Hawk (LAMPS 3) helicopters. The Rainier (T-AOE 7) displaces 49,000 tons fully loaded, has a crew of 235, and carries two CH-46 helicopters. It carries 1,966,000 gallons of marine diesel fuel, 2,621,000 gallons of jet fuel, 800 bottles of natural gas, 1,800 tons of ammunition, 400 tons of refrigerated stores, 20,000 gallons of water, and much more. The Arleigh Burke-class guided missile destroyers, the McCampbell (DDG-85) and the Decatur (DDG 73), each of which has a crew of 380 and two SH-60 Sea Hawk (LAMPS 3) helicopters.
Dahl (T-AKR 312) roll-on/roll-off cargo ship is 950 feet long and 105 feet wide. It displaces 62,700 tons fully loaded, and has a crew of 35. The surface of its cargo area equals more than eight football fields (390,000 sq. ft.). It can carry an entire army armored task force, including 58 M-1 Abrams tanks, 48 other tracked vehicles, and over 900 trucks and other wheeled vehicles.
Addendum II: US Bases in the Gulf
During the current US-Iraq War, over 600,000 US service personnel a year pass through Kuwait on the way to and returning from deployment in Iraq. The US Air Force operates refueling, cargo and surveillance flights from large bases at Ali Al Salem in Kuwait, Al-Udeid Air Base, and a number of other bases in Qatar, and Al-Dhafra in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), and maintains runway access and warehoused supplies in Oman and Saudi Arabia. The Army operates the largest pre-positioning military equipment facility in the world at Camp Al Sayliyah in Qatar. There are three runways on the US Masirah Island base in Oman. The base is on the opposite side of the Straits of Hormuz from Iran. At Al-Udeid, forward headquarters for the US Central Command, a bunker was built in 2006 for a command center for Iraq, Afghanistan and the rest of the Middle East. The new bunker is said to be funded by the Qatar government. These and many more bases in and near the Persian Gulf are busy supporting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, but can also be used to support the planned air assault on Iran, and the seizure of island and shore areas required for defense of the forces involved in the air assault.
US Bases in Kuwait
There are half a dozen US Army staging camps north of Kuwait City near the Iraq border, and Camp Arijan, a large logistical staging area south of Kuwait City. During the "surge," the annual December through April period of maximum troop exchange to and from Iraq, tens of thousands of US troops head to and come from Iraq in the north.
The 386th Air Wing of Hercules C-130 transport planes occupies the Ali Al Salem Air Base 39 miles from the Iraq border. The base has been a joint US-Kuwait base since 1997. The Area 51 Air Terminal at Ali Al Salem transports 300 soldiers per day. The Air Base cycles through US transport aircraft and hosts a British squadron of Tornado fighter aircraft. The US component of the base is operated by the 1,500 people of the 9th Air Expeditionary Group.
Camp Doha is a warehouse complex 20 miles northwest of Kuwait City, which includes the forward command and control center for the Iraq War. 2,000 military and civilian personnel operate Doha.
Camp Fox and Camp Coyote are Field Ammunition Supply Points (FASP). Kellogg Brown & Root subsidiary of Halliburton Corp., completed a $10.7 million construction contract at Camp Fox in 2003. Camp Navistar sits on the Iraq border an hour north of Camp Doha. Nearly every convoy entering Iraq passes through Camp Navistar.
Kuwait Navy Base and Camp Patriot handle seaborne supplies. Camp Patriot is home to 3,000 US Soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen and coast guardsmen, and includes a 1,400 ft. pier was built in 2003. Camp Patriot hosts the only amphibious Navy Seabees group, specializing in coastal construction and ship-to-shore throughput. Camp New York, in desert central Kuwait, includes a 1,000 seat dining hall, 9,500 beds, and 310 bathrooms. Troops stage for entry into Iraq and for return to the US at Camp New York. Camp Udairi, 15 miles from the Iraq border is a 12 x 16 mile staging and training base for infantry, and a hub for Army Apache, Black Hawk and Chinook helicopters. Udairi has been renamed Camp Buehring. Armored forces deploy to and from Iraq at Buehring.
Camp Victory in northern Kuwait can redeploy 10,000 troops in 2 weeks. Most of those redeploying are returning to the US. Vehicles and equipment are redeployed along with the troops who operated them. Mass upgrading of Humvees and trucks is done at Victory by 1,000 private contractors from the US, Germany, India and England work around the clock adding armor, bullet-proof glass and air conditioners. 10,000 Humvee reconditionings were completed in February of 2005.
1 ½ hours north of the Kuwait Navy Base and Camp Patriot, Camp Spearhead is located at Al Shuayba Port. Thousands of vehicles and supplies are shipped into the port facilities and driven to Camp Victory in central Kuwait, where they are matched with their troops and deployed to Iraq.
Camp Virginia provides air transport and ground-support air attack management, troop staging, vehicle maintenance and pipeline fuel. A-10, F-15, F-16 fighter aircraft and B-2 bombers in airborne flight patterns are called out and directed for ground-support air strikes by Air Force personnel at Camp Virginia. Vehicles are maintained and repaired there. Up to 10,000 troops stage for Iraq deployment. A 224-mile pipeline was constructed to pump aviation fuel to Tallil Air Base in Iraq.
The Kuwait government spent $200 million building Camp Arifjan for lease to the US as a permanent support facility for US troops in Kuwait. In addition the Kuwait government just completed construction of a pre-positioning facility at Arifjan that replaced much of the pre-positioning work formerly at Doha.
US Bases in Qatar
Camp Al Sayliyah is the largest pre-positioning support base outside of the US, and the largest US pre-positioning facility in the world. Operations support both the US Army and Air Force. The facility can equip an Army armored brigade. The facility has been operating since 1996, and a sister facility in Kuwait has been doing the same since 1995. Al Sayliyah includes 23 climate-and-humidity-controlled warehouse spaces at the 252-acre camp. Equipped armored battalions and brigades are air-lifted to field locations anywhere in Southwest Asia. The camp is in suburban Doha, capital of Qatar. Much of the operation is handled by ITT Industries Systems Division under a 10-year contract, using as mix of US, Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi employees. The facility houses 150 M1 Abrams tanks, 116 Bradley fighting vehicles and 112 armored personnel carriers. The facility makes it possible to deploy an armored brigade anywhere in Southwest Asia in 4 days. In total there are 27 warehouses enclosing 1.6 million sq. ft. or 36.3 acres of enclosed storage space. Around 1,000 military and civilian personnel operate the facility.
Al Udeid Air Base in Qatar is equipped to house 10,000 ground troops and 120 aircraft. These US-operated facilities are in the Qatari owned and built air base. The base is 20 miles south of Doha. Much of the equipment and operations at the base that was closed in Saudi Arabia was moved here. The US may maintain 50 aircraft and 3,900 troops at the base permanently, and Qatar has offered to spend $400,000,000 constructing the permanent facilities. Al Udeid is also a pre-positioning facility, in this case for War Reserve Material (WRM), such as base systems, medical, munitions, fuels transport, vehicles, rations, air ground equipment. There are also three WRM facilities in Oman and one in Bahrain. Much of the operation is done by CynCorp Technical Services, headquartered at Royal Air Force of Oman WRM operations bases at Masirah, Thumrait and Seeb, Oman.
The Defense Energy Support Center (DFSP) at Mesaieed, Qatar is owned and operated by a contractor which is a joint venture, QATEX, between Qatar Petroleum and CALTEX. Aviation refueling operations began there in August of 2003. Mesaieed is Qatar's principal industrial city. Qatar allows the US to store ammunition in the desert at Falcon-78 Ammunition Storage Point (ASP) in Al-Sainah. ARCENT-Qatar (US Army Forces Central Command-Qatar) operates at Falcon-78 and Camp As-Sayliyah coordinating transportation among US DOD installations in Qatar and transport of military equipment, such as M1A1 Abrams tanks and M2 Bradley fighting vehicles. Pre-positioned equipment is transported to and from Iraq. Incoming battalion and brigade-sized (11,000 soldiers) units are matched with their equipment and practice exercises before deployment. The Logistics Support Station at Umm Saeed (also called Musay'id), Qatar has operated a 750,000-barrel petroleum storage facility since 2002. Umm Saeed is a deepwater port and industrial city.
US Base in the United Arab Emirates
The US uses Al-Dhafra (UAE) airport and naval facilities. Air-refueling aircraft squadrons 763 and 4413 are based there. The US has permission to store military equipment and war supplies there, and may house an army brigade there. The base is used by both the UAE and US military forces. The US began using the base at least as early as the first US-Iraq War in 1990. In the first Iraq war three F-16 fighter squadrons were based there and ran missions in Iraq. In the decade between the two wars, refueling missions were run out of Al-Dhafra for the planes patrolling the no-fly zone in Southern Iraq. The 763rd Expeditionary Air Refueling Squadron and the 4413th Air Refueling Squadron continue refueling operations for all of Southwest Asia, using KC-10 refueling planes. U-2 and Global Hawk surveillance planes have operated from the base for years. About 300 US personnel operate at the base. In addition, Readiness Management Support L.C., a subsidiary of Johnson Controls operates out of the base an electrical generation and other controls programs for Al-Dhafra, Prince Sultan Air Base in Saudi Arabia, Ali Al Salam and Al Jaber Air Bases in Kuwait.
US Bases in Bahrain and Turkey
The US Navy's Fifth Fleet is headquartered at the Jufair base in Bahrain. The US has had at least a small destroyer group based at Jufair ever since the British withdrew after World War II. In addition, multinational naval task forces described below operate out of Jufair.
Turkey permits the US to operate only cargo, refueling and passenger flights from the US base at Incirlik to support operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Truck convoys from US bases in Turkey carry food, fuel and medicine to US forces in Iraq. Turkey's civilian airports of Deyarbakir, Malatya, Batman and Mus are used by the US Air Force.
The 39th Air Base Wing is based at Incirlik along with an Air Force staff of 5,000 and several hundred attached British and Turkish personnel. Debkafile reported 1/12/07 that at least 16 F-16's arrived at Incirlik for the first time in 3 years, along with an AWACS plane and several tanker planes. There are two runways and 57 hardened aircraft shelters. This US base has been there since 1951. After US bases in Afghanistan and Iraq were constructed, traffic was substantially reduced at Incirlik.
British Base in Diego Garcia
In the middle of the Indian Ocean, Britain's Diego Garcia has the largest US military base outside of the US. It was used for bombing campaigns in both the 1990-1991 and 2003-2007 US-Iraq wars, and may be used if the US attacks Iran. Britain won it from France as a spoil of war in 1814. Britain forcibly expelled the island's population at the end of the 1960's so that the US could build its Navy Support Facility Diego Garcia. B-52's bombed Iraq from Diego Garcia in 1996 and 1998. In November and December 2001, B-52's, B-1B's and B-2A's bombed Afghanistan, and at the beginning of the second US-Iraq War bombed Iraq in March of 2003. Carrier aircraft are light attack/bomber aircraft. Diego Garcia aircraft are long-range heavy bombers. In an attack on Iran, most or all of the heavy bombing would originate from the US, Guam, and possibly Diego Garcia - five hours of flight to Iran.
Multinational Naval Task Forces 58, 150 and 152 Operate from the Persian Gulf to the Kenyan Coast
In addition to the US Naval strike groups, minesweepers and Coast Guard vessels operating with the strike groups, and in addition to the US military bases in the Persian Gulf, three multinational naval task forces protect commerce and interdict "terrorist" transportation. Task Force 58 operates in the Northern Persian Gulf and protects oil facilities of Iraq and Kuwait. TF 152 patrols the central and southern Persian Gulf, and consists mostly of US ships, some of which switch back and forth between the Task Force and the US strike groups. Task Force 150 patrols south of the Strait of Hormuz (southern end of the Persian Gulf) in the Gulf of Oman/North Arabian Sea, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and the Indian Ocean as far south as the Kenyan coast. Together, the three task forces usually have 45 combat ships under their command, with about 20,000 personnel on board. Naval Forces Central Command coordinates the activities of the three task forces. In April of 2006 ships from 17 nations were participating in the combined task forces.
Task Force 152
CTF 152 conducts maritime security operations in the central and southern Persian Gulf. It was formed in 2004. Task Force 152 is based in Bahrain, which also provides the main naval base for all of the US Naval forces operating in the Gulf - it's the main base for the 5th Fleet. In late 2006, the TF increased defense of the largest oil terminal in the world, Ras Tanura, in Saudi Arabia, with a capacity of 6 million barrels a day. At that time British, French, Italian and German ships were among those participating in the task force. The last half of 2006, when the TF was commanded by an Italian admiral, was the only time that a non-US officer was in command. The guided missile destroyer USS Mason, part of the Eisenhower Strike Group, joined Combined Task Force 152 in early November, 2006.
Task Force 150
Task Force 150 was set up before 911, after the attack on the US destroyer Cole in Yemen. It protects commerce and interdicts terrorist transport from the Strait of Hormuz to the coast of Kenya. Task Force 150 has ten or more frigates or destroyers from the US, the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Canada, Pakistan, Australia and New Zeland, and occasionally Pakistan. The Task Force is headquartered in Bahrain, along with TF 152 and the US Fifth Fleet. TF ships, are not always on station in the region, and may be operating -but on call -- in their respective territorial waters. They coalesce for training or joint operations.
In March of 2006 TF 150 included ships from France, Germany, the US, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Italy and the UK. The Dutch contribution included two De Zever Provincien class frigates, a Walrus class submarine and the supply ship Amsterdam; and the German contribution was two frigates and a supply ship. In April of 2006 the Charles de Gaulle Battle Group joined TF 150 with two French escorts, 1 UD frigate, 1 supply ship, and 1 submarine. The French are steady contributors of at least two ships. In April of 2006 the TF also included four US ships, 1 CG, 2 Flight IIA DDG-51s, and 1 LSD.
Task Force 58
Task Force 58 is a multinational naval force operating in the northern Persian Gulf to protect commerce and interdict terrorist transport. It includes ships from Australia, the UK and the US, including the US Coast Guard, and some Iraqi sailors and marines. The primary focus is security around the Basra and Khawr Al Amaya Iraqi oil terminals. The Task Force operates under a UN mandate. The USS Peleliu was flagship in 2006. The TF also patrols Kuwaiti facilities. In 2005 Kuwaiti Coast Guard ships were operating under the umbrella of the Task Force. CTF 58 includes 1 Australian frigate (ANZAC Class), 2 UK frigates (type 23), the British HMS Bulwark (flagship), 1 US supply ship and elements of the US ESG and CSG from CTF 152.
Addendum III: Evidence Indicates that the Twin Towers and Building 7 Were Brought Down by Pre-Set Explosives
The Preponderance of Evidence Tells Us that the 1,300 foot tall twin towers and 47-story Building 7 in the World Trace Center Complex Were Brought Down by Pre-Set Thermite Fires and Explosives, Not the Impact of the planes and the resultant fires.
As mentioned in the Introduction of this article, the US Government has a good deal of experience with "false flag" operations where, the US government attacks, or plays some role in an attacking US forces, and places all of the blame on another national government or armed force. I have concluded that the preponderance of evidence by a wide margin tells us that the twin towers and Building 7 and at least one of the other four buildings in the complex (Building 6), were brought down by controlled demolitions with explosives set days and weeks in advance. This was done to make hundreds of thousands of US citizens willing to go to war in Afghanistan and Iraq, and to make the majority of US Citizens supportive enough of the effort, for a while.
It is possible that no false flag operation (US attack on a US capital ship blamed on Iran) will be necessary for the Administration to garner enough support to bomb Iran. I think that it is quite likely that a false flag operation will be required. Since I have concluded that it is a fact that it is exactly a false flag operation that made the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq possible, I have no choice but to consider the likelihood of a false flag operation regarding Iran.
While I cannot say that there is a preponderance of evidence indicating that the US signaled to Saddam Hussein that it would permit an Iraqi takeover of Kuwait, I think that the US did just that. Therefore, even the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait was, in-part, a US false flag operation. This false flag operation was necessary to gain military and citizen support for the 1990-1991 bombing of Iraq.
That's three wars in a row (2 Iraq, 1 Afghanistan) that would not have happened without US false flag operations. There's only one key struggle left to go in this historical phase of the grand strategy, and a false flag operation to garner support for bombing Iran is a likely scenario. Hence, it is important for people to seriously and objectively consider the available evidence regarding 911.
For the argument of this article, however, the possibility of a false flag operation to initiate the bombing of Iran is not a critical element. There are several possible scenarios whereby enough support could be garnered to enable the bombing to go forward: For example: 1) the US fires missiles and makes small surgical special forces in-out attacks on reputed roadside bomb factories or Iraqi enemy support operations inside of Iran, and Iran is provoked into striking back, or 2) Iran is convinced of the inevitability of US attack and attacks first, or at least some of 1 or 2 or both occur and Iran does some minor damage to a US ship. The US greatly exaggerates the damage. The US government confessed long ago that there was no attack on a US Destroyer in the Gulf of Tonkin; it was a complete fiction - a fiction that was used to begin the massive bombing of North Vietnam. A false flag operation to begin the bombing of Iran is a likely possibility, and false-flag operations have always worked very effectively in the past to initiate wars.
Al Qaeda may have high jacked planes and flown them into the two towers, but the preponderance of evidence, by a wide margin, tells us that the impact of the planes and the fires they induced did not bring the towers down. No plane hit the next largest building in the 7 building complex, the 47-story Building 7, and the two small fires observed late in the day on the 7th and 12th floors certainly did not bring down Building 7. All available evidence indicates that it was brought down in a controlled demolition at 5:30 pm on 911. Two of the three government studies on 911 say they have little or no idea how or why Building 7 came down. One of the three, the Congressional Commission 911 Report goes them one better and doesn't even mention Building 7. In Boston, Massachusetts, indeed in all 6 New England states, Building 7 would have been the third largest building in the region, after Boston's two tallest. But to the 911 Commission it didn't even exist. When all of the evidence indicates something completely different than the official myth, it is best to throw an invisible blanket on it. That is the most effective way to make it fade away in public discourse. Discussing it would only make the truth obvious. For a good critique of the Congressional Commission Report, see David Ray Griffin's The 9/11 Commission Report: Omissions and Distortions (Olive Branch Press, 2005).
Building 7 Was a Standard Demolition
The organizers demolished Building 7 in a standard demolition in which key structural members are weakened in advance, explosives are placed, the center is blown one or two seconds before the rest of the foundation and a few strategic structural points on top and around the middle. The two 1,300 foot high towers, on the other hand were demolished as no other tall steel-frame structure had ever been demolished. It had to appear to the viewer that the smaller sections above the impact points of the planes had given way, and were falling onto the rest of the building below, crushing it from the top down. You can see the walls of Building 7 going straight down in one piece from the top of the building to the bottom - a standard demolition. The towers appeared to crumble from the top down. The walls that remained intact before being crushed from above are not falling downward until they appear to be hit by the falling mass above. If it appeared as Building 7, everyone would know it was brought down by explosives, primarily at the base.
I have read the FEMA Report, the National Institutes of Standards and Technology Report, and the 911 Commission Report, and have read critiques of these reports. The reports, the critiques and the available evidence clearly demonstrate that the reports are all shallow cover-ups, and that everyone involved in the reports knows that the US government itself brought at least the two towers and building 7 down by explosives.
The Twin Towers and Building 7 Fell at the Same Speed as A Billiard Ball Dropped from the Height of the Towers in Mid-Air - Only Possible with All Floors Below the Top Section Blasted Away from Top Down in a Controlled Sequence.
The most telling single piece of evidence is that all three official reports, The Congressional 911 Commission Report, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Report, and the National Institutes of Standards and Technology (NIST) Report all state that the two towers came down in an average of 9 seconds. 9 seconds is free-fall speed from the 1,300-foot height of the towers. If you view the 9/11 news clips yourself with a stop watch, you too can see that they fell in 9 seconds. This means that they fell as fast as the structural steel members blown out from their sides and free-falling through the air fell, encountering no resistance on the way down. They fell as fast as a billiard ball dropped in mid-air would have fallen from the 1,300 foot height of the towers. If the buildings fell as we are told, with the top sections falling on the motionless floors and steel structure below, the inertia of the great masses encountered with each floor on the way down, and the structural integrity of the strongest building core in the world would have to be overcome. This would have required many times longer than 9 seconds. Some physicists say it would have taken 196 seconds. The undisputed 9-second fall is, all by itself, absolute, irrefutable proof that the twin towers were brought down by explosive charges placed throughout the buildings on something like every third to fifth floor. The explosives, of course, had to be placed days and weeks in advance.
The formula for free-fall time is:
Time (sec) = square root of (2*height (ft)/g), where g = 32 ft/sec*sec
9.014 sec = square root of (2*1,300 ft/(32 ft/sec*sec))
The same applies to Building 7, which all sources agree collapsed in 6.5 second, which is the free-fall speed of a falling object from the height of Building 7. This is to be expected, however, in a standard demolition, where resistance is eliminated by blasting away the structural elements in the base and key structural nodes higher in the building.
The Miniscule Quantity of Concrete in the Rubble of the Twin Towers Is Only Explainable by the Fact that the Quantity of Explosives Placed from Top to Bottom Pulverized Most of the Concrete into Fine Powder which Blew Over More than 50 Square Miles
The next most telling piece of evidence is that there was virtually no concrete in the rubble. Take a look at the pictures from 911 in Joel Mayerowitz' oversize photo gallery book Aftermath (Phaidon, 2006), a relatively new giant book of photographs in bookstores. You'll see a pile of steel. Compare them to photos of any collapsed buildings from either controlled demolitions or earthquakes or structural failures (including WTC Building 7) - masses of concrete, floors stacked on top of one another like pancakes. Where's the concrete from the twin towers? -- all over Manhattan, in the Husdon and East Rivers, in the Atlantic Ocean, on Staten Island, and particularly in New Jersey. To create the illusion of the largest volume buildings in the world collapsing from above, the quantity of explosives had to be so massive that the vast majority of the concrete was pulverized and expelled horizontally in a water-like flood of a high-velocity cloud that extended from the ground to few hundred feet up. This pyroclastic cloud was identical in most respects to the pyroclastic cloud from a powerful volcanic explosion.
Very Strong Evidence of Pre-Set Thermite Fires to Soften Key Structural Members a Few Minutes Before the Final Explosion Crescendo
Another telling piece of evidence is the white-gold stream of molten metal seen falling from the corner of the 83rd floor, and the fact that there were molten pools of steel in the subbasement 100 days following the collapse. This was the result of pre-set thermite fires around key structural members (burning far above the melting point of structural steel), set to soften key structural members a few minutes before the final wave of explosives went off. As on many expositions of the physical evidence, Steven Jones Revises "Why did the Twin Towers Completely Collapse?" is excellent for its discussion of the thermite fires evidence. There is no other likely or logical explanation for the molten pools of metal for weeks and months deep in the rubble. The steel could not get hotter than the temperature of the hottest material encountered, which, according to the official myth, was the burning jet fuel. 90-95 % burnt off in around three minutes, and much of that burned outside the buildings. That burning inside after the first three minutes burned at between 500 and 1,200 degrees Fahrenheit. The melting point of structural steel is around 2,500 degrees. Hence, only thermite fires can explain the pools of molten metal in the ruble and the molten metal streaming out of the 83rd floor. It is interesting that the second building hit by the plane that angled into a corner had around 90% of its fuel expelled into the air on the other side of the corner. In never burned inside the building. Yet this building came down long be fore the other tower, which had been struck much earlier.
Under the Right Conditions and Duration of Burn, Jet Fuel Could Seriously Weaken Structural Steel, But the Preponderance of Evidence Indicates that Those Conditions Did Not Exist.
Burning jet fuel, burning for a long time, could remove enough of the structural integrity of the building for some kind of failure and some degree of collapse in the heated area. However, I am persuaded by the preponderance of evidence that those conditions did not exist in the thick-smoke (oxygen starved), orange-flame, short-duration fires that resulted from the planes. Seeing steel-frame buildings burning on numerous available DVD's is very compelling. Buildings burned in various cities many times more intensely and for 10 times as long, while suffering very little or no deformation of their structural steel. The same is true of the large, 11-story World Trade Center Building 6. It burned far more intensely from top to bottom from one corner to the next for hours, and most of the building shows no deformation. The massive hole from top to basement in the center of the building, however, is indicative of damage from a massive explosion. Excellent photos of all of the rubble and burning buildings in the 7-building complex can be found in Eric Hufschmid's Painful Questions: An Analysis of the September 11th Attack (Endpoint Software, 2002), which can be purchased on the web. It is worth the minimal effort to watch the replays of intense fires that caused no apparent structural damage in other large buildings and compare these fires to the comparatively pitiful fires in the twin towers. Again Steven Jones is a very good place to begin studying the physics of building collapse, as is the new DVD 911 Mysteries (2006).
I find it extremely interesting that the FEMA Report, long the standard-bearer of the official myth, itself concludes that the official story had "a very unlikely probability of occurrence," and that further research was needed. The study obediently did nothing other than answer the question "How could the planes have brought down the towers?" The study did not consider any of the overwhelming evidence that they were brought down by explosives. And the FEMA Report concludes that is very unlikely that the buildings were brought down by the planes. Yet the only "news" that appears in the mass media is that the FEMA Report explained how the planes brought the buildings down.
Many Eye Witness Accounts from People who Felt and Suffered the Blast Effects of Numerous Explosions in the Twin Towers from 1 Hour to a Few Seconds Before the Collapse
Also, there is no lacking of eye-witness accounts of firemen, people who worked in the towers, and employees of the building operators who heard, or who heard and were injured by explosions throughout the buildings from 1 hour before Collapse, to a few minutes before collapse to a few seconds before collapse. These witnesses can be seen in the 911 coverage of the main mass-media TV broadcasters as they were shown on the morning of 911 (never to be shown again by the big broadcasters) , they can be heard on line in replays of recorded radio transmissions of first responders, and they can be seen in various DVD's that circulate widely and can be purchases on line.
Numerous Squibs (Explosive Debris Blasts) Can Be Seen Bursting from Windows in the Twin Towers and Building 7 Fractions of a Second to a Few Seconds Before Collapse.
These explosive debris blasts (squibs) can be seen in all standard demolitions and can be seen to be identical in appearance and timing to the squibs seen in the film clips of the collapsing buildings, available on numerous DVD's, never highlighted in any mass media.
The Preponderance of Evidence Indicates that the Mass and Velocity of Horizontal Ejection of Massive Structural Members Could Only Be Caused By Massive Explosions Running from the Top to the Bottom of the Twin Towers
There was no horizontal ejection of anything other than explosive squibs from Building 7 as it collapsed, because it was a standard demolition, only using explosives in the base, a little at the top, and very little at a few structural points in the middle. Examine still photographs of the collapsing towers. See the several-ton 30-foot steel posts flying between 70 feet and 200 feet horizontally from the buildings. See the 50--100 ton 90-foot connected members thrown like an arrow 450 feet into a tall building across the street. Compare what you see to replays of other collapsing buildings. When you watch the DVD's and examine the still photos note that each tower is 207 feet wide, and you can see hundreds of giant structural members flying horizontally 207 feet and more away.
Top Levels in the FBI and CIA, and the Executive Ignored Repeated and Quite Specific Warnings from at Least Four Foreign Intelligence Agencies, The NSA, and at Least Four Regional FBI Offices, and Blocked Al Qaeda Investigations at Three of Those Offices.
David Ray Griffin provides a good, brief summary of the ignored warnings and suppressed FBI investigations into Al Qaeda and its plans to attack buildings in New York in his The New Pearl Harbor (Olive Branch Press, 2004). He chronicles the ignored warnings of large-scale Al Qaeda attacks in New York in the fall of 2001 from British and Russian intelligence [there were also such warnings from German and Israeli intelligence], ignored warnings from the National Security Agency's (NSA) communications intercepts, and from the FBI in Phoenix. He then goes on to discuss the blocking of FBI investigations into Al Qaeda attack planning by the FBI in Minneapolis, Chicago and New York, the quashing the testimony of FBI translator Sibel Edmonds, and other suppressions of intelligence gathering and of intelligence gathered. On August 22, 2001 John O'Neal resigns from the FBI because of repeated internal obstructions into his investigations of Al Qaeda. He immediately took a top security job at the World Trade Center and died outside on the street the morning of 911. All of this is, of course, widely known throughout the FBI and CIA.
The immediately implemented and astonishingly rapid removal of the evidence (the debris), and its shipping off to India and China to be melted down in steel recycling mills; the unprecedented removal of interdiction security aircraft by Vice President Cheney for participation in several anti-terror training exercises on 911; the unprecedented lack of adherence to attack protocols by the North American Regional Air Defense Command (NORAD) and the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA); seismic recordings; and other evidence all add to the overwhelming preponderance of evidence the Administration knew about the attack, ignored warnings, and suppressed investigations. The twin towers and Building 7 were brought down by explosive charges placed days and weeks in advance of the attacks. While I will not summarize the arguments here, one can make a very strong case that the combined evidence argues conclusively that it could only have been the US government that placed the pre-set thermite fires and explosives, and that it was the US government that destroyed all 7 buildings in the World Trade Center complex. This was done to galvanize military and public support for the Afghanistan and Iraq wars. Additional good information can be found in the DVD Oil, Smoke and Mirrors, 9/11 and American Empire: Intellectuals Speak Out (Olive Branch Press, 2007), the following websites: www.911review.com, www.911research.com, and www.oilempire.us, among many other good sources.
The Most Widely Read Article Supporting the Official Story, and Readily Believed by Most of Its Readers, Does Not Address the Principal Arguments for Controlled Demolition.
Popular Mechanics Cover Story March 25, 2005, "Debunking 9/11 Lies: Conspiracy Theories Can't Stand Up to the Hard Facts," is by far the most widely read, and most widely believed support for the official story. The Hearst-owned magazine, frequently includes paeans to the glories of high-tech military and police hardware, and is largely supported by defense industry advertising. Chief researcher for the article was Benjamin Chertoff, cousin of Michael Chertoff, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security.
Among evidence not mentioned in the Popular Mechanics article are the facts that 1) there were eye witnesses to numerous explosions in the twin towers between one hour and a few seconds before collapse, 2) the towers and Building 7 fell at free-fall speed, 3) the twin towers were designed to absorb multiple impacts from planes nearly identical to those that hit the towers, 4) there were far hotter and far longer fires in other steel skyscrapers that did not deform the steel, 5) numerous squibs of debris exploded horizontally from windows well below the area of collapse, 6) there is considerable evidence that warnings were ignored and investigations suppressed, 7) the visual evidence of Building 7 corresponds in all aspects to a standard demolition, 8) an extraordinary quantity of pulverized concrete powder was blown into the atmosphere and was missing in the debris pile, 9) there were pools of molten steel deep in the debris pile for over two months, 10) physicist's analysis indicated that even if the official story of steel floor plates collapsing around the core were true, the core would have remained standing, and 11) no mention of the fact that the FEMA report concluded that the impact-fire theory had a "very low probability of occurrence, that the Congressional Commission Report didn't mention building 7 at al, and that the NIST Report had no confident explanation for its collapse.
The Popular Mechanics article attributed arguments to the 911 Truth movement that are not arguments presented by the movement or that are arguments held by very few and rejected by nearly all researchers in the movement. In other words, the argument essentially set up straw men and knocked them down, and confronted virtually none of the robust evidence for controlled demolition. Most readers, however, are unaware that the article ignored the significant evidence.
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