I.p.v. massieve luchtaanvallen op Iranese nucleaire installaties en aanverwante doelen, worden nu (in eerste instantie) precisie-aanvallen gepland op de Revolutionaire Garde.
Maar tegelijkertijd is Amerika voorbereid om de oorlog te escaleren, mede afhankelijk van de reacties van Iran. Dat Iran zulke gelimiteerde aanvallen lijdzaam zal ondergaan, lijkt hoogst onwaarschijnlijk..
[Opmerking: Deze oorlog kan desastreuze consequenties hebben, o.a. voor de NAVO/ISAF-eenheden in Afghanistan, Irak en het Midden-Oosten. Het gevaar van ‘horizontale’ (i.c. geografische) en ‘vertikale’ (qua geweldsniveau), is levensgroot.
Mondiaal zal zij leiden tot verdere radicalisering van islamieten tegen ‘het Westen’, inclusief Nederland.]
The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Irans known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on surgical strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.
The shift in targeting reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign. The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq…
The revised bombing plan for a possible attack, with its tightened focus on counterterrorism, is gathering suppor among generals and admirals in the Pentagon. The strategy calls for the use of sea-launched cruise missiles an more precisely targeted ground attacks and bombing strikes, including plans to destroy the most importan Revolutionary Guard training camps, supply depots, and command and control facilities.
Cheneys option is now for a fast in and outfor surgical strikes, the former senior American intelligence official told me. The Joint Chiefs have turned to the Navy, he said, which had been chafing over its role in the Air Force-dominated air war in Iraq. The Navys planes, ships, and cruise missiles are in place in the Gulf and operating daily. Theyve got everything they needeven AWACS are in place and the targets in Iran have been programmed. The Navy is flying FA-18 missions every day in the Gulf. There are also plans to hit Irans anti-aircraft surface-to-air missile sites. Weve got to get a path in and a path out, the former official said.
A Pentagon consultant on counterterrorism told me that, if the bombing campaign took place, it would be accompanied by a series of what he called short, sharp incursions by American Special Forces units into suspected Iranian training sites. He said, Cheney is devoted to this, no question. A limited bombing attack of this sort only makes sense if the intelligence is good, the consultant said. If the targets are not clearly defined, the bombing will start as limited, but then there will be an escalation special. Planners will say that we have to deal with Hezbollah here and Syria there. The goal will be to hit the cue ball one time and have all the balls go in the pocket. But add-ons are always there in strike planning.
The surgical-strike plan has been shared with some of Americas allies, who have had mixed reactions to it…