16 July 2006

Logic and Logistics - Israel and Iran

The folks at Powerline got an email from SDB on the problem of Israel trying to strike Iran.

Logically, with Iran funding and directing Hezbollah, the necessity of holding Iran accountable for the actions of Hezbollah is necessary. Unfortunately this is compounded by the fact that Hezbollah is a political entity within Lebanon, although it now appears to be setting Foreign Policy for the Nation absent denunciation and taking Hezbollah out of action by the Lebanese Army. Further, Syria is aiding and abetting this by providing supply lines for logistics to Hezbollah and giving their State the stance of supporting the activities of Hezbollah.

Lebanon is a key to all of this and realizes that the recent democracy movement there puts it squarely in the sights of Iran and Syria. No longer being a proxy battleground, Lebanon must now assert its Right of Sovereignty and disown Hezbollah and pull its political credentials. Secondly, Lebanon must actively move on Hezbollah as hard and as fast as it possibly can so as to *prove* its intentions. Further, Lebanon should ask for outside help in securing its borders and rooting out Hezbollah. The main source of this will be France, mostly for low level security operations, and the US, which has 23,000 troops in Germany that are no longer on the Iraqi rotation list. Yes, there is a slow draw down of forces in Iraq, and that now starts to show some *other* benefits.

Lebanon must *also* work directly with Israel and agree to help end the threat of terrorism based on its National territory.

If Lebanon does NONE of these things, it will suffer and badly from that indecision and continue to be a proxy state for Iranian and Syrian adventurism and mischief. Israel looks to have had enough of *that*. The Lebanese People can keep their Nation *if* they pony up to the bar and shoulder the responsibilities of Nationhood. Very easy to go out in demonstrations, wave flags and show your support for the Nation. Quite something else to actually defend one's Nation from those actively trying to bring it down.

Syria is caught in the jaws of a dilemma by geography:

-To the north is Turkey, which does not overmuch like the Syrians, so no help there.

-To the east is Iraq and quite some number of US and Coalition soldiers and a large amount of airpower sitting around not doing much at all. Unfortunately, they are ALL hostile to Syria for the Syrian support of the Ba'athist redentists and various and sundry terrorist/insurrection/criminal groups. So no *help* from there, and that's the truth.

-To the south is Jordan, and a relatively quiet regime not involved with much of anything who has just told Hezbollah they are not acting legitimately. Also, Jordan has suffered from some al Qaeda terrorism and would not look kindly to a bossy neighbor telling it what to do. Also, they have little in the way of offensive arms or capability, so Jordan is no help to Syria.

- Then comes Israel, which Syria is trying to bring down/harass into submission and Lebanon, who just tossed Syria *out*.

- The few sea ports under Syrian control offer very little in the way of help as it would have to come through the Eastern Mediterranean and run a massive gauntlet of ships, a number of which are going to pass information onto Israel.

- Finally, Israel's airforce will decimate the Syrian air defenses and airports in about a day and a half if they take a mind to it.

Basically, Syria is hoping that Israel will be *nice* and just take out Hezbollah, which Syria supports. Now a bit more worrying for Syria and Iran is that Hezbollah has used Iranian missiles to take out an Egyptian freighter. Attacking and sinking an unarmed and neutral merchant vessel is primary cause to declare war. Egypt, due to distance, has not done so. Yet. It would be very difficult for Syria if Egypt, with protection from Israel, landed a raiding force on the Syrian coast to start extracting revenge. That is *not* part of the kettle that Syria wants to see stirred and bodes ill for them. Any further action by Hezbollah to threaten Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey or any Arab Nation will have Syria in a quandary and likely taking part in a multi-front war. Israel may not have the troops to take out Syria *alone*, but using the US attack on Afghanistan as a model, the Israel Air Force could do to Syria what the US did to the Taliban. So a relatively large Egyptian Army with Israeli aircover is something that Hezbollah could actually *create* by its activities. Or they may get the bright idea to start going after Jordan, which would also lead down a similar path of Jordanian troops under Israeli aircover.

Syria, by marrying its Foreign Policy up to Iran, is now finding that IT is the proxy war State and not Lebanon.

Which leaves Iran and Israel. Iran has made abundantly clear that genocide is what it wants to see in Israel. And SDB goes through the options, but I think has overlooked a few clear pathways that Israel has beyond long-range missiles or sea launched ones. While having *no* long range bombing capability, what Israel has is one key friend that would *also* like to see Iran get some large amount of harm.

Controlling the three northern provinces of Iraq are the Kurds. They have already stated their separate sympathy and empathy to Israel and understand its problem of being surrounded by hostile forces. With a bit of pre-planning a fast raid to disable the air defenses of Syria and refuel fighters/bombers in Kurdish held Iraq *is* a possibility. Even with the Iraqi PM stating that Israel should behave itself, he is forced with a tripartite problem that REQUIRES the Kurds to support *him*. Faced with the Kurds letting him know that they really don't care for his foreign policy, hate what Iran is doing to their families across the border and pointing out that Sadr has sided with Iran and Hezbollah, they may pointedly make clear that the Iraqi PM should re-think his position. Because the Kurds are taking *that* out of his hands.

This is hardball politics and statescraft of the worst kind, which the Kurds have had to deal with a decade and more, while the Iraqi PM is quite new to this game. The game of survival in the Middle East is one of hardball, save when it has year long tea sessions. The Iraqi PM would also be faced with the fact that the US will *not* stop such a thing as the Kurds are more a friend to the US than the rest of Iraq is. While the US would not give active *aid* to such a raid, it would not stop it, either. Further, the US just *might* set up fast reaction air units to take out ANY Iranian response that wanders into Iraq and thus give cause for the US to start in on the Iranian air defenses and air force. The polite thing for the US Ambassador to say in such a situation: "We are helping our friends rid themselves of terrorists and to help the families of Kurdish Iraqi's. We are doing the same for southern Iraq, in case that escaped your attention."

Now the Israeli's have variants of the F-15 and F-16, which have direct flight capability of 3,450 miles with external tanks (2,500 miles internal) and 2,000 miles (Israeli have added external fuel tank modifications which would up its range to approx. 3,000 miles). Now those are in the unarmed ferry mode of point to point. Fully armed reduction looks to be in the 30% of ferry range or so. So call that 1,100 miles for the F-15 and 1,000 miles for the F-16 combat ferry. So it is time to start looking at flight distances.

A refuel base or bases in Kurdish Iraq would need to be within combat ferry distance of a northern Israeli airfield *and* be within 350-500 miles of something important in Iran. Now a double refuel could be done, so lets see what we get. On the Iraq side getting to Mosul would be a good re-fuel to get to either Irbil or Al-Sulaymaniyah.

Distance from the Al-Sulaymaniyah to Tehran, Iran: 341 miles, 296 nautical miles.
Irbil to Tehran: 420 miles, 365 nautical miles.
Mosul to Tehran: 470 miles, 407 nautical miles.

And to capture the flavor... Irbil to Jerusalem: 589 miles, 512 nautical miles.
Al-Sulaymaniyah to Jerusalem: 644 miles, 560 nautical miles.

Thus a fully loaded combat ferry to either Irbil or Al-Sulaymaniyah would be entirely possible. Done with empty external tanks the Israeli's could easily extend their final combat range outwards if they wanted to, by flying with them empty to northeastern Iraq.

Fanciful? Maybe. But then, the Kurds are not known as a relaxed, sit back and let others do things for you People. In point of fact they are pretty independent on many things... and it would not be the first time the Kurds have demonstrated audacity on such a scale. As they are the massive pivot in Iraq, so they could be for the entire Middle East.

So, just *who* have the Kurds been talking to recently?

Wouldn't we like to know...

1 comment:

A Jacksonian said...

Ah, now which commentary rule did this poster break?

Now, while the attack is just a normal spam broadside, devoid of content but full of rhetoric, I could just bin it and still might, as far as that goes.

The poster implies that I along with many other in the West have my 'head in the sand' in a rhetorical fashion, which is an obvious personal attack having not bothered to read any of my more pointed posts on the West and Islam. I have *indeed* read much of and about Islam... so need need for all the fun little links, thank you very much.

Personal attack? Iffy to say the least, but I would give that a check mark.

But the Mommy Rule seems to fit this perfectly, as the poster is just spouting off and has no manners. So, if his mother were a non-adherent to the religion, would he spout off like this at *her*? Most likely not, so a check against that.

Civility? It is pure badgering devoid of merit or content. Check that off.

No actions/intent, just hot air so that does not apply.

But this from The Jacksonian Party rules of order fit perfectly: "Children throw temper tantrums, scream at the top of their lungs and use their feelings to try and twist others to their will to get their way."

So, if you ever see anything binned by me, it would have been fairly looked and adjudicated by me to have been worthless in content.

Sorry to ahmedinajad, but YOU get to serve as the reminder of the rules.

But I have copied it off in case I need some reference as to why those who follow radical Islam are unsavory.