What War between the United States and Iran Could Look Like

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…from SouthFront

The US-Iranian standoff in the Persian Gulf has once again entered an acute phase. On April 22, US President Donald Trump announced that he had ordered the US Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian gunboats that follow or harass US ships. In response, Commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Hossein Salami declared on April 23 that Iran will provide a swift, “decisive” and “effective” response to US forces if they threaten Iranian “vessels or warships”.

One of the reasons behind the escalation is the consistent and strengthening anti-Iranian rhetoric of the White House as a part of Trump’s presidential campaign. Another driving force of the US actions is likely the sharpening global economic crisis and the turmoil on the energy market that has led to the dramatic collapse of oil prices. Indeed, a new conflict in the Persian Gulf could theoretically return the oil prices to $50-60 per barrel.

In the current situation, Iran is not interested in an escalation of the conflict with the United States. The escalation could, however, be instigated by the US military:

  • A warship or a group of warships could enter Iranian territorial waters;
  • A US military aircraft could violate Iranian airspace;
  • US forces could block for Iran the civilian maritime traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, or detain an Iranian oil tanker;
  • Warships of the US Navy could imitate an attack on an Iranian submarine;

Iranian forces would have to respond to such a provocation. Thus, a military confrontation could start. After initiating a localized military incident, the White House would accuse Iran of aggressive actions against US forces and the US navy could carry out a demonstrative missile strike on a target or several targets inside Iran. Such an attack would prompt an Iranian response that would involve both its regular and irregular warfare capabilities.

The IRGC Navy doctrine reflects irregular warfare principles that include the use of surprise, deception, speed, flexibility and adaptability, decentralization and highly mobile and maneuverable units,  all of which are used at sea. These include hit-and-run style surprise attacks or the amassing of large numbers of means and measures to overwhelm the enemies’ defenses. In this scenario the employed naval forces might be described as a mosquito-like swarm of small boats using their size and maneuverability to track and hunt down enemy warships.

The IRGCN’s mosquito-fleet concept enables rapid formation of tactical groups of small crafts to carry out a surprise strike at any given time from different directions in a particular area of the offshore zone. Such groups can deploy in attack formation immediately prior to reaching the area of the attack.

Crafts from the formation reach their assault line position either independently or in small groups. This is the way the Iranian Navy would employ the swarm concept. It is important to note the high motivation and ideological training of the mariners involved, who well understand the high level of threat to them personally in the event of the employment of this tactical scheme. IRGCN personnel are motivated and ready to accomplish any feat to defend their homeland. This factor (the high motivation of the personnel) makes a mosquito-fleet armed with missile, torpedo and anti-air weapons especially dangerous to naval forces of the US.

Th aircraft carriers and large warships of the US naval group would become the main priority target of the Iranian response. In the event that the Iranian attack succeeds, the US would have to carry out a massive strike on Iranian infrastructure objects or political and military command centers. Teheran would have either to accept their defeat in this limited confrontation or to respond with another attack on US forces in the region.

Current US military doctrine dictates the prior employment of mobile interoperable forces, unmanned and robotized systems, as well as massive strikes with high precision weapons in conjunction with the maximum usage of electronic warfare and information warfare. If the confrontation develops further the US would be forced to conduct a limited landing operation on key parts of the Iranian coast. The success of such a limited operation under the likely condition of a strong Iranian military response is improbable. Furthermore, the move would be hampered by the weak psychological condition of US service members caused by current developments inside the US.

The US military would have to either retreat or venture on to a large-scale military operation in the Persian Gulf region. If the number of forces involved does not allow Washington to deliver a devastating blow to Iran within 1-2 weeks, China or Russia could intervene in some form likely turning the military standoff into a frozen conflict.

It is likely that despite all difficulties, the US would be able to create an occupation zone inside Iran, likely in the coastal area near the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranian oil trade would be fully blocked and the US shale industry would be rescued. At the same time, Washington would have to deal with a permanent insurgency in the occupied area.

Another possible scenario is the defeat of the United States in this limited conflict because of significant losses in warships, aviation and service members of the involved interoperable forces. In this case, US influence in the region would be drastically undermined and the White House would start drawing up plans of revenge.

About Southfront
South Front: Analysis & Intelligence (SF) is a public analytical project maintained by an independent team of experts from four corners of the earth. SF focuses on international relations and crises working through a number of media platforms. They provide military operations analysis and other important data where crisis points affect tensions between countries and nations. They dig out truth barely covered by states concerned and their mainstream media. SF does not receive any funding from corporations or governments. They are supported by reader donations. *All posts on behalf of South Front are made by Gordon Duff
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7 COMMENTS

  1. I very much doubt the US could hold and occupy land territory in Iran at the Straight of Hormuz. Zero chance.

  2. “America is a golden calf and we will suck it dry, chop it up, and sell it off piece by piece until there is nothing left but the world’s biggest welfare state that we will create and control. Why? Because it is the will of God, and America is big enough to take the hit so we can do it again and again and again. This is what we do to countries that we hate. We destroy them very slowly and make them suffer for refusing to be our slaves.”
    Quote taken from an audio recording of
    Benjamin ” Bibi” Netanyahu in Fink’s Bar in Jerusalem.
    (confirmed by several “attendees” during a debriefing).

  3. This analysis completely ignored Iran’s well known missile program.
    Iran reportedly has many thousands of the type that flattened the bases in Iraq this January. Those missiles were extremely accurate and powerful. They also easily slipped right through whatever counter measures were in place to defeat them.
    Iran is also known to possess Russian and domestically produced anti-ship missiles.
    Iran could possibly launch ten of thousands of missiles at every US base and ship surrounding their country within hours of hostile US action. A large fraction of targets could be destroyed completely.
    Leaving those capabilities out of this war scenario makes it nearly worthless IMO.

  4. I had a really bad dream last night. I dreamed that the US military took over the US government and then turned governing powers over to the lawless israeli duals. Whether or not something like this ever happens, the controls the talmuds have over our existing US government, including our military, is very dangerous for all life on earth. These people (not gods) really are ‘the great destroyers’ and like rabid dogs, must be put down, if life on earth is to ever know peace. IMO.

  5. If the US action is limited to shooting Iranian gunboats out of the sky, the conflict will be short with no casualties or material losses on either side.

  6. 1st strike already happened, using ethnic targeted bioweapon probably deployed by MEK within Iran. This strike centered on Qom Iran, home of Iranian occurring underground nuclear base, one month after the Wuhan strike. The Iranian bioweapon most probably the Israeli one they have bragged about for years that targets Arabs specifically
    The Iranian strike waited one month from Wuhan as they needed a cover story the Iranian epidemic was a result of the Chinese virus spreading across the world.
    What kicked back into Europe and USA is this very lethal bio death bug that hit Iran…Wuhan virus fairly mild, already beatenin China with 70 day lockdown. The world would be ok now if Pompeo and Trump did not decide to punish Iran with bioweapon attack, deciding to take advantage of situation after seeing the success of the wuhan operation.

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