Sunday, May 13, 2018

Iran's Choke Points

The Iranians could be hurt pretty badly with some minor military action:

But Israel also has ballistic missiles (armed with nuclear warheads) and, worse, hundreds of modern fighter-bombers that could hit two key economic targets using smart bombs. These two targets are Kharg Island, in the Persian Gulf. This is the main export facility for 90 percent of oil and gas exports) Income from these exports pay for over a third of the government budget and these facilities cannot be rebuilt quickly. The other economic target is Bandar Abbas in southern Iran. This is the main container port handling some 90 percent of containers bringing in foreign goods, like items needed to repair damage to Kharg Island. Bandar Abbas is where all the modern tech and consumer goods arrive. Shutting down Bandar Abbas for months, or more, would be quickly felt by most Iranians. With Arab states between Israel and Iran now allowing Israeli airstrikes free passage, the Israeli air strikes are certain to succeed and inflict major damage.

I grabbed on to the notion of targeting Kharg Island when I first heard about it, quite familiar with Iraq's inadequate efforts to shut down Kharg during the Iran-Iraq War. And recent Israel-Iranian cooperation against Iran makes such an operation even more possible.

Still, bombing might not be enough. If it came to war between America and Iran, I focused ground operations on Kharg Island and the Hormuz islands south of Bandar Abbas:

Since our combat brigades are out of Iraq, I'd leave out the occupation of Iranian territory on the ground and limit our operations there to a no-fly and no-drive zone that attempts to keep Iranian forces away from Iraq; while capturing Kharg Island and other Iranian islands in the Gulf until Iran capitulates on the nuclear issue or the mullah regime falls.

My view on islands in the south was more for keeping the Hormuz Strait open for friendly shipping, but they could be used to blockade and mine Bandar Abbas at the same time, rather than putting a ground force ashore to actually control Bandar Abbas and as an alternative to bombing it.

America's Marines could certainly handle that job. And I don't think Iranian air, naval, or missile forces could stop such a blockade.

Iran can boast about what they can do to us. But we don't have to invade and occupy Iran or bomb their cities to really hurt them. The ability to seize critical off-shore islands limits Iran more than the threat posed by all of our nuclear weapons.