Special report: Iran Nuclear Crisis
April 17 -- The United States began planning a full-scale military campaign
against Iran that involves missile strikes, a land invasion and a naval
operation to establish control over the Strait of Hormuz even before the March
2003 invasion of Iraq, a former U.S. intelligence analyst disclosed.
|The United States began planning a
full-scale military campaign against Iran that involves missile strikes, a
land invasion and a naval operation to establish control over the Strait
of Hormuz even before the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, a former U.S.
intelligence analyst disclosed. (File
William Arkin, who served as the U.S. Army's top
intelligence mind on West Berlin in the 1970s and accurately predicted U.S.
military operations against Iraq, said the plan is known in military circles as
TIRANNT, an acronym for "Theater Iran Near Term."
It includes a scenario for a land invasion of the
country led by the U.S. Marine Corps, a detailed analysis of the Iranian missile
force and a global strike plan against any Iranian weapons of mass destruction,
Arkin wrote in The Washington Post.
Meanwhile, Iran appears convinced it can deter or
even win a military confrontation with the United States, with the Islamic
regime buoyed by high oil prices, support from militants across the region and
American woes in Iraq.
The regime gave fresh signals yesterday that it was
in no mood for a compromise over its disputed nuclear programme, with officials
openly flouting a UN Security Council demand for a freeze in uranium enrichment
by April 28.
U.S. and British planners have already conducted a
Caspian Sea war game as part of these preparations, the scholar said.
"According to military sources close to the planning
process, this task was given to Army General John Abizaid, now commander of
CENTCOM, in 2002," Arkin wrote, referring to the Florida-based U.S. Central
But preparations under TIRANNT began in earnest in
May 2003, when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data
needed for theater-level warfare analysis for Iran, he said.
This effort has never stopped. The plan has since
been updated using information collected in Iraq, the analyst pointed out.
Air Force planners have modeled attacks against
existing Iranian air defenses and targets, while Navy planners have evaluated
coastal defenses and drawn up scenarios for keeping control of the Strait of
Hormuz, the gateway to the oil-rich Gulf.
A follow-on TIRANNT analysis, which began in October
2003, calculated the results of different scenarios for action against Iran to
provide options to U.S. commanders, Arkin wrote.
The Marines, meanwhile, have come up with their own
document called "Concept of Operations" that explores the possibility of moving
forces from ship to shore against a determined enemy without establishing a
"Though the Marine Corps enemy is described only as a
deeply religious revolutionary country named Karona, it is, with its
Revolutionary Guards, WMD and oil wealth, unmistakably meant to be Iran," Arkin
Various scenarios involving Iran's missile force have
also been examined in another study, initiated in 2004 and known as BMD-I, which
is short for "ballistic missile defense -- Iran", Arkin said.
In June 2004, U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld
alerted the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha, Nebraska, to be prepared to
implement CONPLAN 8022, a global strike plan that includes Iran.
"The new task force, sources have told me, mostly
worries that if it were called upon to deliver 'prompt' global strikes against
certain targets in Iran under some emergency circumstances, the president might
have to be told that the only option is a nuclear one," Arkin said.
"But after long debate, the highest levels of the
military could not forecast a way in which things would end favorably for the
United States," the two experts wrote in Sunday's New York Times.
They warned Iran could retaliate against any U.S.
military action by using its terrorist networks "that are far superior to
anything Al-Qaeda was ever able to field."
(Source: Shenzhen Daily)