Kabul to Tehran

I found another great link describing the 2001 liberation of Afghanistan. I especially liked the way that Karzai managed to get a collection of 35 well-wishers that was able to hold back the Taliban attackers once US air power and special forces were added to the equation, and how he eventually grew his 35 cheerleaders into a mob of 800 armed goons that were effectively able to win the war.

I think the "armed goons" backed by US air power is a serious doctrine that needs to be considered. Yes, of course armed goons by themselves are no match for the Iranian military. But they're not going to be by themselves. They're going to have US air power behind them. So long as the moronic air force can get its act into gear anyway. Why do I call them moronic? Firstly because of the way, prior to 2003 anyway, they used to fat-finger JDAM coordinates in, without even having the basic intelligence to go and triple-check the coordinates with the guy who called them in before they started blowing up random friendly/neutral/non-existent targets. And these are the same numbnuts that managed to hit the Red Cross in Kabul twice in one week. The same numbnuts who were taking potshots at friendlies in Albania when they were supposed to be attack Serbs in Kosovo. The numbnuts that blew up the Chinese embassy in Belgrade because they had an old tourist map that showed it was some government building. The numbnuts that during Desert Storm launched missiles into Iran. And if you read that link above, after doing so well in the rest of Afghanistan, in simultaneous operations, when it came to Operation Anaconda, when they should have been able to concentrate on one area, they were apparently too drunk to operate heavy equipment. What the hell do you have to do to get busted for deriliction of duty in this army?

Anyway, there wasn't a lot of this happening by 2003. The pricks realised that they had a problem with friendly fire so started quadruple-checking coordinates. They still managed to wipe out some British vehicles with orange markings, and they still managed to wipe out some Kurds, but by and large, they seem to have adopted the makings of a professional force, ie one that concentrates on killing the enemy instead of any old target so long as they get to blow something up. BTW, it's attitudes like that that make me think the US air force pilots should be replaced by commercial airline pilots. We don't need testosterone jocks unless there's an enemy that actually has planes that can get into the air for more than 10 seconds. When the enemy is grounded, we need professionals who use their brains instead of their balls and double-check things in case they made a mistake.

So I was talking to someone yesterday who used to be in the Australian reserves (and would have joined the regulars if the stupid government hadn't taken more than 6 months to process the paperwork - someone should be jailed for that - turning away already-trained volunteers). And I was discussing the particulars of how the existing Australian army, alone, would be able to liberate Iran if US air cover was available. Actually I posed the question a different way. Here is the question.

If you were an Iranian dissident who wanted to be free, and was willing to fight, but knew that fighting the Ayatollah's military was suicide, so you needed to ask for foreign assistance, what is the minimum required? Bear in mind that if you ask for too much, the foreigners are going to say "nup, too difficult, we're not going to help at all". So you really need to figure out the minimum you can possibly get away with. If the foreigners provide more than that, well and good, and that can be considered "foreign aid". Also bear in mind that it is your country, and the onus is on you to play the lead role in fighting for your own freedom.

Also, the objective is very specific. To get to the point where the dissidents have more heavy weaponry than the Ayatollah's forces. In other words, the battlefield defeat. I'm not talking about any following insurgency like Colombia has experienced for decades. India too. It is the dissidents problem to deal with that over the following decades, once they have the balance of weaponry and access to state resources.

In addition, the war should be fought taking into view the fact that there are probably lots of Iranian base commanders and soldiers who wish to defect. If you were one of those defectors, how would you defect? You need to be very careful in case you get shot by the pro-Ayatollah forces. So we don't want to kill these allies-to-be unnecessarily. In Afghanistan we saw a lot of people changing sides. In Iraq we saw most people desert rather than defect (but some defected), but then many of those deserters formed long queues to join the new Iraqi army. We need to play around with all these factors.

Here was what the Australian soldier said he needed and my reply:

Holding facilities for POWs - you don't need them to win. they are an optional extra. You can just tell anyone wanting to surrender to go home. Don't accept them as prisoners.

Transport - you have that already - use your own car. We'll provide money for you to buy more things if you want.

Tanks - we'll give you some of those on the Iraqi border (this assumes that Iraq can be used as a staging post). Not that I think tanks are necessary. Karzai managed fine without tanks.

Ammo and arms - no problem - dropped to anywhere in Iran you want.

Medical facilities - take over a hospital on your own. There's probably no defence of Iranian hospitals at the moment.

Communications and equipment - no problem, dropped anywhere in Iran.

Air support - no problem, provided anywhere in Iran.

Trainers in warfare - you don't have time for that. And regardless, you've already been trained in warfare as an Iranian conscript. Since Iranians have conscription, most men have military training already, even though most are not in the army at the moment.

Another thing to bear in mind is military coups in general. Military coups occur without having the luxury of foreign air cover. So do civil wars. The Ba'ath party in Iraq came to power in exactly that manner. So why shouldn't it happen in Iran too, with foreign air cover making it that much easier?

Anyway, that's just providing air cover to indigenous forces. I asked him what would happen if you added 20k Australian soldiers to that mix. He reckoned the Ayatollah's forces would head to the hills. You mean they would hand over on a platter all the things you previously said you needed - secure bases, heavy equipment? Yep. He wasn't particularly happy about me calling it a walk in the park, but when I pointed out that the Northern Alliance LITERALLY walked into Kabul, he admitted that it would be won with low allied losses.

I'm hoping he will write up some of the nitty gritty. Come up with a plan that is politically palatable. The plan also needs to take into account that possibly as much as 50% of the country will be disgruntled as they were in Iraq. And make it clear that only defeating the fielded forces is on offer, allowing the dissidents to construct a new military using whichever conscripts and ex-conscripts are willing to take up their former roles, this time as volunteers. Not built to US standards. But simply to slot in to their former structure under the Ayatollah, this time reporting to new civilian leaders.

I wish I could contact ableiter too (John Samford from Memphis, CSA (Confederated States of America)). I'm after some war plans that involve the most likely scenario rather than the worst case scenario that generals always like to trot out (that invariably requires 357 million troops all armed with nuclear weapons, just in case, knowing full well that that means the civilians will baulk at the plan, meaning that nothing is done, meaning the country is endangered by the very pricks who are meant to be figuring out ways of protecting it instead of leaving it to some guy in Australia to sort out the mess they created).

UPDATE: I just did a search, and I see ableiter had this to say:

History shows us that Guerrillas seldom win.
It wasn't the extra troops that defeated the Jihadists, but the change in tactics. The extra troops added speed to the process. Without the change in tactics, they would have just increased the boy counts.
As far as why not in '04, '05 or '06, you can blame the previous command structure. Both Franks and Garner wanted the 'ink blot' tactics that are being used today from the beginning. They were 'out politiced' by the JCS and State in the Summer of '03. So both generals are now enjoying their retirement.
The internet played a critical part also. It was due to the internet that the MSM was unable to hand victory to AQ, as they did to the Viet Cong in'75.
The biggest share of the credit goes to the Iraqi's themselves. They refused to lose, so they didn't. Quiters never win, winners never quit.
As far as the local politics, Iraq will NEVER look like the USA, or the UK. That is the best part of the whole deal.

john Samford, Memphis, CSA

I totally disagree with the change of tactics though. What matters is the fact that the Iraqi military continued to strengthen, as it was always going to do, no matter who was in charge, combined with the Sunnis switching sides. These things just take time. It's a bit like claiming that Clinton turned the US economy around, a common claim, taking credit for the sun rising. I agree with the internet though. The MSM no longer has a monopoly and can't replace the truth with their fantasy. I did my part in that internet phenomenon, as much as I could providing a face behind the polls that showed half of Australia supported ending institutionalized rape in Iraq.

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