I know, bragging is not good, but I simply cannot miss the opportunity, in particular that it turns out that I “beat” Scott Ritter by 32 week in predicting how the Pentagon plans the war on Iran. Listen to the interview that Charles Goyette made with Scott Ritter for Antiwar Radio and compare Scott’s analysis with the one I published on the Debianhelp political forum (another version of the same post can be found elsewhere in the vineyard): Scott and I both deny the myth that the Empire can be deterred by the threat of any Iranian attempts to close the Strait of Hormuz and we think that the Marines have been sent to the region to prevent this from happening.
The Strait of Hormuz is indeed narrow, and Iran does have mines and missiles capable of striking tankers in the strait. Iran also has very good Kilo-class Russian submarines which, in many ways, are better suited to coastal and “green water” operations than American SSNs. The problem is targeting: in terms of weapons reach, the Strait of Hormuz is tiny, in terms of targeting it is huge.
To deploy mines Iran can use either small craft or submarines. The US Navy is, however, more than capable of finding and destroying such mine-laying craft. Missiles need to be fed targeting data, you cannot just shoot them down the strait and hope to hit a tanker, and this is exactly where the US Navy will lay down a huge electronic warfare blanket on the entire waterway combining both electronic countermeasures (such as jamming) and strikes (with anti-radiation missiles). Lastly, the Iranians could use coastal artillery (anything from MRL to dug-in artillery positions). This is were the 17000 Marines (correction: this should read 17’000 Navy personnel, not Marines) currently sitting off the Persian coast come in: by physically taking over key sections of the Iranian coast and a number of islands in the strait the US Navy hopes to make it much harder for the Iranians to close down the traffic. Once the strait is declared “safe”, the Empire could then take its time to beat the Iranian “regime” (in US parlance all the governments not controlled by the White House are “regimes”) into surrender or, as the Neocons always hope, to trigger a popular revolt against the “Mullahs” (again, US parlance for anybody inside the Iranian government).
Of course, cooler heads will say that the real risk of Iranian retaliation is not the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, but a Shia uprising against Imperial forces in Iraq and Lebanon (to this I would even add that an Iranian attack across the Iraqi-Iranian border is not something unthinkable, at least not in Teheran who has already fought a war over this land). One could also raise such minor issues as the sustainability (in terms of logistics) of US “boots” on the Iranian coast or the fact that in any such operation time would be on the Iranian side (how long would the US be capable of sustaining such an operation?).
But considering the Neocon “crazies” currently running the Empire, I do not think that such arguments will prevail.
I agree with Scott Ritter: the war is probably inevitable, and barring a miracle, it will happen this summer.