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Iran Tests Naval Cruise Missile During War Games 547

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the 2008-wants-their-diplomatic-tensions-back dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Iran says it has successfully test fired a cruise missile during naval exercises near the Strait of Hormuz, and the surface-to-sea missile, known as the Qader, struck its targets with precision and destroyed them. Iran had previously announced that it intended to test a missile during the exercises, raising fears that it might try to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for tougher international sanctions. The Qader missile is said to be capable of striking warships at a range of about 125 miles, a distance that would include some American forces in the Gulf region as Iran is about 140 miles at its nearest point from Bahrain, where the U.S. Fifth Fleet is based. Analysts say Iran's increasingly strident rhetoric, which has pushed oil prices higher, is aimed at sending a message to the West that it should think twice about the economic cost of putting further pressure on Tehran. 'No order has been given for the closure of the Strait of Hormuz,' Iran's state television quoted navy chief Habibollah Sayyari as saying. 'But we are prepared for various scenarios.'"
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Iran Tests Naval Cruise Missile During War Games

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @05:24AM (#38570446)

    There was no good naval battle on CNN in a while. If it happens, it will be really exciting 1 hour, because that's how long it will take to destroy all Iran's fleet.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Black Parrot (19622)

      There was no good naval battle on CNN in a while. If it happens, it will be really exciting 1 hour, because that's how long it will take to destroy all Iran's fleet.

      You should read about the wargames that someone mentioned in another post.

      Supposedly it went so badly for the good guys that the referees stopped the game before it was over.

      • Back in 2002.
      • by Richard_at_work (517087) <richardprice AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:53AM (#38570874)

        The same story was making the rounds in 2002 about war games with Iraq as the defender, with a similar outcome - allied forces couldn't even gain a foothold until Iraqi forces were ordered to withdraw by the moderators.

        Pretty sure that story wasn't true, and I'm pretty sure the updated version isn't either.

        • by Marcika (1003625) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @07:15AM (#38570956)
          Read the 'pedia page [wikipedia.org] and its sources about the Millennium Challenge 2002 and LtGen. Van Riper.
          • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @10:12AM (#38571976) Homepage Journal

            That is a pretty iffy tactic at best.
            And I feel you would be very mistaken if you think that nothing was learned from that.
            Here is one way that it would probably go down IHMO.
            The US fleet except would stand off outside of cruise missile range except for forward deployed Submarines.
            F-18 and land based F-16s, F15s, and F-22s would hunt any recon aircraft that are sent out to locate the fleet. While ATACMS are moved to the coast for counter battery fire on SAM sites and land based cruise missiles.
            Any ships of the Iranian navy that stay in port will be targeted with ATACMS and Tomahawks. Any ships at see will be hit by Harpoons. B-2s, B-1s, and B-52s will take out command and control, air fields, and radar sites using stand off weapons. While P-3s, Seahawks, and Seawolf class subs hunt the Kilo class subs and 688is and Ohio Class SGNs get into position for Tomahawk strikes.
            Once Iran's sensors are degraded the US will us helicopters to mimic the fleet. They will fly low and slow and us radar repeaters to look like large ships. When the Iranians fire at those targets their radars will be taken out by HARMS and the missile sites by JDAMS, JSOWS or ATACMs depending on the location.
            At that point the fleet can move closer and any remaining anti ship missiles should be taken care of by the CGs and DDGs escorting the carriers.
            The Iranian fleet will be gone, The Iranian air force will be gone. The on threat left will be from their mobile ballistic missiles so we will see how well SM-3s and PAC-3s really work but if they do work as well as expected and if the launchers are within range of ATACMS for counter battery fire then the Iranian air and navy forces will no longer be a threat and any land forces they use to attack with will be vulnerable to air strikes.
            I left out the UAVs which will be used to watch for and take out any small boats and to map radar sites for strikes.
            And that is just using publicly available data.

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by AmiMoJo (196126)

              You seem to be assuming that the Iranian's don't have any high tech weapons and ECM, but clearly that isn't true. They managed to steal one of your drones only recently using purely technical means. They have satellites too you know.

              Their air force has some fairly modern gear too and you brush over some major threats like their sub fleet which you seem to assume, again wrongly, will be effortless for your navy to destroy. Even Iraq's really old and crappy SAM sites took out a few of your jets so what makes

              • by LWATCDR (28044) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @12:00PM (#38573450) Homepage Journal

                "You seem to be assuming that the Iranian's don't have any high tech weapons and ECM, but clearly that isn't true. They managed to steal one of your drones only recently using purely technical means. They have satellites too you know."
                They claim that they did. Since the GPS signal that the drone uses is encrypted it is unlikely that they "brought it down" It is far more likely that it malfunctioned.
                I do not think you know what ECM is or how it works. You have two types of ECM.
                1. Noise jammers.
                2. Deception jammers.
                Both involve putting out EM. Guess what? The AIM 120 has a home on jammer mode as does the HARM. Jammers without air superiority have a very short life span. You use ECM when you are attacking to cover your own aircraft. It will not be a significant issue for the Western forces.
                The US fleet can stand off in the Indian Ocean with out any issues until they degrade the Iranian defenses.
                There SAM systems are based on the SA-5, SA-2, and the old US Hawk systems. All of them are 1960s/70s technology. They have had some upgrades but not state of the art. They claim that they have the SA-300 system but Russia says they didn't sell those to Iran. So that is a bit of a question mark. Sure we my take some losses but their SAM system isn't better than what Iraq had during the first gulf war.
                As to their subs the only ones that are a real threat are the Kilos. Those are a threat but they have to snorkel to recharge their batteries and are slow. If they try to go in to the Indian Ocean they will be very vulnerable to the Seawolf class subs the US will have forward deployed. If they stay in shallow water they will be vulnerable to P-3s and Seahawks. If they stay in port they will get hit by ATACMS and Tomahawks.
                A threat but not an insurmontable one.

                     

      • by jafiwam (310805) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @08:31AM (#38571262) Homepage Journal

        While all this is true, the interpretation of the events you are getting out of it is misleading.

        The guy did the equivalent of the "zerg rush". Essentially, by skirting way up against the "rules envelope" he exploited a spike in effectiveness. It was not realistic, because Iran building a bunch of boats like that is sure to pop up on intelligence somewhere, if they even HAVE that many boats. It's not like they can go down to Haji's Marine and order 160 Yamaha outboard motors at a moment's notice. Plus, there's a whole other monkey barrel of complications and details they'd have to overcome. Like, so you need a missile, but now you need more electrical power on that little 21 foot boat, and it makes it top heavy, and , and, and.... If anything, they'd end up destroying half their missile effectiveness because they lose the fucking things off the end of the dock. What Iran DOES have, is a weak attempt at a modern navy with the same sorts of procurement problems (they buy used Russian, North Korean, and Chinese stuff and refit the hulls, just now, they are finally getting around to learning how to build sub hulls).

        The game was re-started because, yes, there is a power spike there at one end of the envelope, but that's not what the game is about and since it's not a free-form unsupervised game between 14 year-olds on the internet, but rather done to actually learn something useful. So the game was re-done to fit the context of the information they were after. Yes, ha-ha clever neato nerd beat the big guys. Now that is old news, guess what, the big guys got answers for your dumb little boat scenario now. Come up with something new.

        YOU should go re-read the events, and then go read a bunch more about the overall security and war-making capabilities of the two countries, and realize there's very little Iran can do that we won't see first. (Remember the recent drone incidents?)

    • by 91degrees (207121) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @05:35AM (#38570502) Journal
      Iran's naval capability isn't that shabby. Sure, the US Navy could obliterate it but not without suffering a few losses themselves. 100+ missile boats can send out a lot of missiles before they're sunk. They only need a few lucky hits to take out a much bigger boat..

      Nor is Iran technologically in the dark ages, having its own robotics industry and technology from China and Russia.
      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:03AM (#38570648)

        100+ missile boats can send out a lot of missiles before they're sunk.

        Also, IIRC an estimated 900,000 Iranians died resisting Saddam Hussein's grab of a useless strip of land along the border. Anyone who thinks they'll just run away and hide is a fool.

        • by rgbatduke (1231380) <rgb@NospAM.phy.duke.edu> on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @10:00AM (#38571840) Homepage
          With respect, I think that this will prove almost untrue. In a war like this there would be no particular hurry. Consider:
          • * As always, the war will be fought initially not at sea, but in the air. Since World War II, naval warfare has been air warfare first and foremost. That is even more true today. We could take out Iran's entire navy without using any actual ships, if we are patient, and with stealth aircraft, radar-sniffing missiles, and ECM protecting our planes, we will.
          • * We will know exactly where all of their naval surface assets are as the war begins. We have satellites, they don't. Boats can't hide. Their submarines, not their corvettes and frigates, are the "problem", but they don't have that many of them.
          • * I personally doubt that they can hide their submarines. I would guess that at this point the entire gulf and strait is one big acoustic array. We also have a moderate list of exotic new technologies for submarine detection, featuring blue/green lasers and massive computing, that can detect e.g. a submarine's underwater wake. Once detected, killing them is routine. They have exactly three submarines that could be a "problem" (Russian built Kilo submarines, quiet and fairly modern). I would bet that they are being actively tracked by the navy as I type this and that they will all three be gone within hours if not minutes of the initiation of any hostilities. That might be time for them to get an attack off, if they are in a position to do so, hence my bet-hedging.
          • * The question then is: how successful is such an attack likely to be? Iran does have "modern" missiles in their arsenal. OTOH, I rather suspect that all of our military assets at risk in the area have considerable defenses against modern missiles, in particular e.g. cruise missiles of all flavors. I could see one, or even two attacks succeeding, and possibly even sinking the targeted ship. Our own smaller attack (e.g. patrol) vessels will be at the greatest risk -- if anything gets up close and personal with Iran's navy, it will be these guys as they go after the "leftovers" of Iran's submarine fleet (their various minisubs, which will be the most difficult things to discover, track, and eliminate).
          • * Again, this is a war of technologies -- we have price-is-no-object ultramodern stuff; most of Iran's navy is 50+ years old (post-WWII vintage) and cannot possibly be as well protected or as well armed as ours is, assuming that it can actually get within range of our navy before our air power takes it out. Most of that navy will be eliminated before it can get off a shot, especially if we do the smart thing and actively retreat, pulling most of our naval assets back to where they can hit Iran but Iran cannot hit back and waiting for our air force to strategically eliminate Iran's air force (no longer than it took to eliminate Saddam's, a matter of a few days tops), most of its tactically deployed SAM sites (if it turns its radar on, it's dead; if it doesn't, it's useless and eventually dead anyway as satellites and surveillance aircraft and ground forces flag them for missions).

          So, if we are patient, the rate limiting feature of the war will be the speed with which we can deliver advanced munitions to the battlefield as we use them, highly efficiently, to eliminate Iran's assets one by one and defeat them in detail with minimal risk. There is little chance that we will win completely untouched, but if Afghanistan, Kuwait, and Iraq are any measure -- and I think that they are -- it will be yet another case of our absolutely overwhelming military technology systematically and ruthlessly destroying a large but ill-equipped armed force. In the air we will be -- briefly -- challenged by our own F14 tomcat, plus a mish-mosh of soviet jets left over from the cold war.

          The "left over" bit will be the main point of interest. The technology represented in their air force is somewhat aged. They have around 108 air superiority jets, all d

      • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:19AM (#38570726)

        Nor is Iran technologically in the dark ages, having its own robotics industry and technology from China and Russia.

        I'm sure China would be delighted to see us throw away a few trillion dollars on another war that won't gain us anything except bad PR. We can sell them some more of our assets to pay for it.

        • by Jawnn (445279)

          I'm sure China would be delighted to see us throw away a few trillion dollars on another war that won't gain us anything except bad PR. We can sell them some more of our assets to pay for it.

          China depends on oil shipping through the Straits as much as we do, if not more so. Guess again.

    • by hort_wort (1401963) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:01AM (#38571384)

      One problem with this is that our fleet is parked right outside their country. We could sink their ships, but the missiles will still be coming from all over their *land*.

      I'm annoyed that the US has the policy to anchor a fleet on the doorstep of a country tensions are high with, then blames that country for being confrontational. I could just imagine the propaganda storm that would come if Iran or North Korea had a fleet off the coast of Hawaii and started having random wargames right there. Why is this country such a hypocritical bully all the damn time?

      What's Canada like? Is it nice there? -starts packing-

    • by assertation (1255714) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:20AM (#38571504)

      Don't laugh. Google on the battle the UK had over the Falkland Islands. Both sides quickly pulled their big ships to rear safe zones when they realized little, cheap ( in comparison ) missiles could make short work of huge, expensive ships.

  • by AHuxley (892839) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @05:26AM (#38570458) Homepage Journal
    Read about small boats and aircraft did during US war games under Gen. Paul van Ripen.
    U Sank My Carrier! By Gary Brecher
    http://www.exile.ru/articles/detail.php?ARTICLE_ID=6779 [exile.ru]
    "send everything at once"
    • by oodaloop (1229816)
      Indeed. Also described in Gladwell's Blink. My wife actually worked in that exercise as an aide to Van Ripen and described things similarly then. At least we won the second round of the exercise when we cheated.
      • by 91degrees (207121)
        There's a legitimate justification for "cheating". The wargames are used to establish whether the tactics will actually work. Round 1 failed. Fine. Back to the drawing board. There's no contingency plan for them failing though. We still need to see if the round 2 tactics will work. Obviously they won't if there's no fleet, so the refloat it and see if those tactics work.

        It's an experiment in tactics rather than a literal "game". It doesn't matter who wins as long as lessons can be learned.
        • by WindBourne (631190) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:08AM (#38570670) Journal
          The 2'nd half was scripted. IOW, they told the reds what to do. Van Ripen retired rather than be party to such a joke. And when the approach and outcome are scripted, it is no longer a challenge. Then it is just a media ploy.
          • by Dails (1798748) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:35AM (#38570792)

            Clearly you've never played organized sports. It's not like every practice is a scrimmage; there are times when you set up a scenario where the opposing players run a certain play to see if your play works against it. If you didn't do this you couldn't choose what to practice. How much better would a team get if the guy playing the opposing quarterback quit each time this happened? van Ripen wasn't some no-nonsense tell-it-like-it-is leader, he was a whiner and cared more about personal credit than about testing tactics against tactics and improving, which is the whole point of a wargame. And by the way, in what sense is this a media ploy? You get a couple of articles about a given exercise and...that's it. These wargames are quite costly and the lessons we want to learn/theories we want to test are very well defined ahead of time to avoid wasting that money. If this was a media ploy it'd be the equivalent of you buying a giant tv and hiding it in your living room as you step outside and tell people you have a big tv.

        • by oodaloop (1229816) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:09AM (#38570674)
          OK. I guess. But then they said they won, with no credit to Van Riper for beating them. They basically just reran the exercise with conditions that let them win, then declared themselves the winner. It's like the kid who makes up the rules as he goes along just so he can win. This wasn't about finding the right tactics that work.
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @05:43AM (#38570552)

      Read about small boats and aircraft did during US war games under Gen. Paul van Ripen.

      Also remember the words that got a general in trouble in Iraq: "This isn't the war we were expecting to fight.", or something to that effect.

      Militaries are notoriously bad about preparing to fight the last war again. Or the war before last... The US has spent most of the last 65 years spending petabucks preparing to refight WWII (vs. the Russians) in central Europe and the Japanese navy at sea.

    • by KDR_11k (778916)

      Should carriers even get that close to the battlefield? Those planes have a huge range, couldn't you just park the carrier pretty far away until you've turned everything in the water into debris and flotsam with planes and subs?

      And hell, if the Hormuz situation goes beyond saber rattling and the US suffers heavy losses then how likely is it that the US will unwrap the ICBMs?

    • by rednip (186217) <rednip&gmail,com> on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:17AM (#38570716) Journal

      You forget that part of the reason why war games are interesting is that many cheat as best as they can without being demoted for it, often they'll find holes in the general plan that might not exist in real life. Small boats are clever, but I'm sure that they never launched a weapon (American or cobbled together) during the entire game. I don't think that I would have needed to be in combat to understand how different it would be from having some guy in a pontoon boat pretend that he has a mounted weapon on it.

      UAV suppression of the Iran coast line is a given under a combat order and likely active just off the coast now, so how many missile boats would we let collect in the gulf? More importantly, how long would it take for them to collectively start to fire? I'd bet that we're better at fire control. How many boats would be lost by Iran before they could fire? If they all start to drill at the same time, does Obama rain Hell Fire down on them preemptively? A few boats might take damage or even be sunk, but I'd hardly think that the whole fleet would be in collectively in jeopardy. It's just another sad example that suicide missions force a cost of lives.

    • by Archtech (159117) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @09:07AM (#38571406)

      Interesting article that seems to be plausible in its main thrust. But Gary Brecher can't resist bloviating about WW2 parallels, and in the process he reveals a pretty impressive degree of ignorance about the naval history of that era.

      "The little biplanes buzzed out...and sank every ship. First a destroyer, then the huge German battleship, then all three US battleships. The Navy tried to ignore the results, but with Mitchell yapping at their heels, they finally started moving from battleship-based to aircraft-carrier-based battle groups".

      1. Actually, the "little biplanes" that sank the German battleship Ostfriesland dropped 1-ton (2000 lb) bombs. Some of the worst damage was done by bombs that were deliberately dropped as near-misses, using massive water pressure pulses to rupture the vulnerable underwater part of the hull. Of course, Ostfriesland was unmanned and did not defend itself - there were none of the repair parties that would normally fight any breaches in the hull, and the aircraft could come as close as they liked. Amusingly, Mitchell himself told Congress that, "In my opinion, the Navy actually tried to prevent our sinking the Ostfriesland."

      2. The British Royal Navy began using ship-launched aircraft in earnest during WW1 (1914-18). The Japanese also began experimenting with aircraft carriers at least as early as the USA. The reason why the USA built so many (and such big) carriers in the1930s and 1940s was mainly that it could - it had the huge wealth necessary to build over 100 carriers during WW2 alone, while other nations like Japan built hardly any. Also, aircraft carriers were very suitable for the Pacific war, with its vast expanses of open ocean and usually good flying weather.

      "The British didn't pay any attention to Mitchell's demonstration. Their battleships were better made, better armed, and better manned".

      This, too, is unfair. The British knew very well that their battleships were no better (to say the least) than those of the USA and Germany. Because Britain ended WW1 almost bankrupt, and owing huge amounts to the USA, its defence budgets were run on a shoestring right up to (and through) WW2. HMS Rodney and HMS Nelson, for example, were smaller and slower than battleships built between the wars by the USA, Germany, Italy, Japan, and France. The British knew very well that aircraft would be very dangerous to warships, but they couldn't stop building battleships because there was still a need for them.

      "Why didn't the British think of it in 1940? There was plenty of evidence that battleships were nothing but giant coffins. They just decided not to think about it".

      This is where Brecher gets altogether carried away and parts company with reality. Battleships were still necessary, in the Atlantic and Mediterranean theatres if less so in the Pacific. Although the German battleship Bismarck was crippled by a (very lucky) aerial torpedo hit, it took two British battleships to pound her into scrap before she was sent to the bottom by torpedoes. At the battle of Matapan, three British battleships sank three powerful Italian cruisers in a matter of minutes, changing the whole balance of the war in the Mediterranean. And the complex air, sea and land struggle for Guadalcanal was arguably settled when the battleship USS Washington smashed the less powerful Japanese battleship Kirishima, helping to give the USN supremacy in the waters around the strategic island. Certainly battleships were increasingly endangered, but until 1945 they still had important roles to play. The same is true about US carriers today. The fact that they may easily be sunk if they venture into a landlocked body of water like the Persian Gulf does not mean they are not enormously useful.

      "In the Falklands War, the Argentine Air Force, which ain't exactly the A Team, managed to shred the British fleet, coming in low and fast to launch the Exocets".

      In fact the Argentine Exocets sank exactly one British warship, HMS Sheffield. They also damaged three other ships (and admitte

      • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @10:59AM (#38572692)

        In fact the Argentine Exocets sank exactly one British warship, HMS Sheffield. They also damaged three other ships (and admittedly scared the hell out of everyone).

        By far the most significant use of an Exocet was when they hit the Atlantic Conveyor, which was being used as a temporary aircraft carrier (since Harriers and helicopters can happily operate from a container ship). If I remember correctly, the British lost most of their troop-carrying helicopters in that attack.

        The main reasons why they didn't achieve more than that was because they didn't have many missiles and the British fleet stayed on the edge of the area that the Argentinian aircraft could reach, which meant their Harriers couldn't operate over the Falklands for long before having to return to refuel. So while the Exocets didn't sink many warships, they certainly had a significant impact on the war.

      • by khallow (566160) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @12:03PM (#38573476)

        The reason why the USA built so many (and such big) carriers in the1930s and 1940s was mainly that it could - it had the huge wealth necessary to build over 100 carriers during WW2 alone, while other nations like Japan built hardly any.

        Japan built 25 or so carriers [ww2pacific.com] and it had near equivalent numbers of fleet carriers (that is, carriers intended to operate with a fleet) at the time of Pearl Harbor. And I'm not sure, but it looks like when one looks at fleet carriers, that Japan build somewhere around 23 proper fleet carriers (of varying size) plus a couple of converted battleships during the war compared to somewhere around 38 for the US (counting ships on the above website). It's worth noting that the biggest problem for Japan wasn't the raw numbers of carriers, but the lack of pilots to man planes. Most of their carrier pilots were lost in 1942, meaning carriers still operating after that point usually did so without a full complement of airplanes.

  • by Shivetya (243324) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @05:37AM (#38570520) Homepage Journal

    When there are so many too choose from abroad?

    Iran is doing what all failing governments do, redirecting the ire of their people to someone other than itself. Granted they have had their "Great Satan" for many many years the uprisings and home grown terrorism does show the state cannot control all factions present within its borders.

    So they need to have their people believe that all fault is outside of the country while at the same time explaining the lack of living standards and such is the great sacrifice needed to uphold Iranian values and freedom in the face of the great enemies abroad. Wow, sounds like North Korea as well.

    Iran is the dog on the other side of the fence, barking and slavering to get at you. Yes it has teeth and yes it will hurt, but its going to get such an ass kicking it really enjoys that fence as much as you do.

    With all the exaggerated press in the US about war mongering politicians its not exactly reassuring to see that there are still so many crazies abroad to give the locals reason. Iran is threatening more than the US with this boast of closing the straights. Perhaps they are trying to wake their Iman they so desperately need.... most likely a failing leader most likely needs the crisis and possibly the war to stay in power.

  • by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @05:41AM (#38570542) Homepage Journal

    I know about the "risk" of nuclear proliferation, but as we did nothing about Kim Il Jong for decades in North Korea, I think the fears of Iran having nukes are over-rated. If a blustering blow-hard like Kim could threaten his neighbours repeatedly with invasion and war without reprise, why is the Iranian rhetoric considered any worse?

    Certainly Iran executes a lot of people for violating a strict interpretation of Islamic law, so anyone who's against religion in government has a fundamental problem with Iran. But invasion is a poor way of protecting the people from a government that places dogma over reason. Surely diplomatic discourse would be more effective than the threat of invasion.

    And that's really the problem I see. The US keeps beating the invasion and war drums. Iran refuses to back down, the mouse that roared at the lion. Neither side seems willing to act rationally.

    If you're going to constantly go on about invading a nation, yeah, they're gonna get paranoid about BEING invaded. They're going to want to build up their military and their armaments to fight back, including nukes.

    And with Israel and it's nukes so close to Iran and clearly a darling of US policy, the threat to Iran is imminent, at least from their perspective. Mind you, the Iranian government doesn't help that situation with their ongoing diatribe against Israel. More bluster that escalates instead of negotiates.

    Recent US history is a track record of invasion and attack for reasons that turned out to be unjustified in the end. It doesn't give me a comfortable feeling to see them dictating policy to Iran when the US handling of Cuba has shown that appeasing the US does NOT mean the sanctions will be dropped.

    Maybe if someone were to take a serious step like disarming Israel's nuclear arsenal, things could settle down in the middle east.

    • by Alioth (221270)

      The reason is because North Korea is not particularly strategic, it has no oil and can't exert control over routes trading oil. Iran has oil and can exert control over important routes where oil is moved.

    • Iran has oil (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Colin Smith (2679) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:21AM (#38570732)

      And is selling it for Rial and Euros, not dollars. Their oil bourse just last year started trading crude.

      That's why they have to be "liberated".

    • by roman_mir (125474)

      Are you KIDDING me?

      Saudi Arabia executes hundreds of 'witches' a year, never mind other religious transgressions that are punished severely, and SA is the biggest US 'ally' or so it seems. [staticflickr.com]

      Learn something about blowback and US involvement in destroying democracies around the world to install dictators starting all the way back in 1953 [youtube.com]

      Imagine if it were Texas. [youtube.com]

      Nobody cares about the NK dictator because he is just a tyrant that enslaves and kills and rapes his people, but he has nothing that US wants - OIL.

      • Nobody cares about the NK dictator because he is just a tyrant that enslaves and kills and rapes his people, but he has nothing that US wants - OIL.

        That's what the urban legend says. The reality is that less than a third of the oil the US imports comes from the Middle East - most of it comes from Canada or Central and South America.

    • by argStyopa (232550)

      Iran has stated that the eradication of the Israeli state is a policy objective.

      To suggest that Israel is therefore a 'threat' to Iran is ludicrous.

      "Recent US history is a track record of invasion and attack for reasons that turned out to be unjustified in the end. "
      Last time I checked there were 2 US 'invasions' in recent history.
      - Iraq: following the invasion of Kuwait by Iraq, Iraq's military was ejected and a ceasefire agreed, along with a no-fly zone. Subsequent to repeated violations of the ceasefire

  • The Qader missile is said to be capable of striking warships at a range of about 125 miles, a distance that would include some American forces in the Gulf region as Iran is about 140 miles at its nearest point from Bahrain.

    So the missiles have a range of 125 miles and the closest part of the target is 140 miles... I don't want to downplay the significance of the situation, but from 15 miles outside the missile's effective range, you wouldn't even be able to see it when it splashes harmlessly into the water. The article was even claiming they could hit isreal at 625 miles away. What am i missing?

    • US naval ships won't have to be at their base in Bahrain. They might be patrolling the gulf, half way to Iran. So about 70 miles. Possibly a lot less if they are close to Iranian territorial waters.

    • If you read the linked articles then they the Missiles hit the targets 125 miles away and they was thought to be the effective range, but no exact details are known. It's possible it could reach 140+ Miles putting the US 5th fleet within range.

      They are claiming it as a "Long Range" weapon, though 125 Miles seems a bit short to be considered "Long Range" so the thinking is that the range might be longer or they are bluffing.

    • No? Or isn't that a blindingly obvious thing to do?

      The quoted specs are speculative, so till they are used in anger fully fueled we won't necessarily know their capabilities.

      Iran manufacture several classes of missile from cruise to multi stage ballistic. They even make them themselves which is better than most European countries are capable of.

      HTH.

  • by MikeRT (947531) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:00AM (#38570628) Homepage

    Blockades are defined by international law as an act of war. The moment you try to enforce this blockade, you'll have effectively declared war on every Persian Gulf state and anyone trading with them.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:06AM (#38570664)

    * Caveat: In the last ten years, I have only spent 2 years in the Persian Gulf, transiting the Hormuz approximately 20 times.*

    - The strait is approximately 12 miles wide at the "choke-point".
    - A Qader has an maximum range of 125 miles.
    - Most of the corporations that run tankers through the straits are extremely risk adverse. All it would take is one missile being "tested" in the vicinity of the shipping lanes to cause the number of tankers to plummet.
    - There is a huge number of container ships that go from the Persian Gulf to the Red Sea and into the Mediterranean via the Suez (and vice versa), and almost the same number of ships that "turn left" instead of "right" there.
    - Jet-skis can and do transit the straits. The bigger smugglers use speedboats, but the intelligence agencies use the personal watercraft sized craft and semi-submersible planing hulls to move agents and for surveillance. What airborne surveillance aircraft that Iran does have are slow moving and could probably be best engaged by M-4's and SAWS.
    - The US Navy presence in Iraq is rather small compared to the USN presence in Bahrain and the UAE.
    - Iran's militarized coast guard regularly harasses ships that transit the strait anyway. Have to love the 'Great Satan Running Dog' rants that comes up on chan 16.
    - Iran's air force could be wiped from the skies by a single squadron of F-18F's loaded for dedicated air to air. It is their waterborne forces that are actually a threat.
    - Two Global Hawks at high-altitude would be able cover the entire Persian Gulf with real time targeting data.
    - Sniper rifles work just as well at sea as they do on land.

  • by antifoidulus (807088) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @06:14AM (#38570700) Homepage Journal
    This is just more evidence that Iraq was a huge mistake, not like we needed any more but here it is. When Bush outlined his "axis of evil", he decided to go after the least "evil" country on the list, Iraq. Why? Well most people will say oil, or personal vendetta, and while there is some truth to that, the real answer is Iraq was the weakest of the 3. Bush needed a war to boost his poll numbers, so he chose the country that was least able to defend itself.

    Had he gone after North Korea, the result would have been an unmitigated humanitarian crisis as North Korea would have unleashed a barrage of missiles and artillery fire(possibly with chemical and/or biological weapons) on Seoul, and the North Koreans are so dug in that there would be no way they could be neutralized without significant damage to Seoul and the surrounding areas. Kind of nice for your enemy to put half their population and probably around 2/3 of their economic output well in range of your artillery isn't it?

    Now look at Iran, they have the strongest navy in the middle east(Iraq didn't have anything resembling a functioning navy when the US invaded). They also have decent missiles thanks in no small part to the North Koreans, and a relatively formidable ground force. US casualties in Iran would have been huge, and thats assuming Iran DOESNT have any chemical/biological capabilities....

    Now look at Iraq. Saddam eventually disarmed and complied with almost all the UN regulations. His army was incredibly weakened by the embargoes and his air force crippled. And now he is dead. Gadaffi gave up WMD, and now he is dead. What message does this send to dictators? If you disarm, we kill you, if you can cause massive amounts of suffering, we negotiate.

    Now look at the Iranian regime, there are only 2 things keeping them even remotely popular, and thus probably in power, in Iran.

    1. Defending agains the US(Which thanks to the cowboy president many Iranians legitimately think might invade)

    2. Oil revenues(which is why oil continued to plummet after the recession started, Ahmadinejad and Chavez, among others made so many promises to their people assuming oil was going to be over $150/barrel. When the price fell they had no choice but to continue to keep supply high in order to keep the money flowing in)

    So now what is happening? The regime knows its running out of time, and has to get nukes fast or else risk being wiped out. Stopping Iranian oil exports would essentially cause chaos at home, so Iran is doing everything in it's power, including going to the brink of war, to keep those oil exports going. It wouldn't be nearly this paranoid about getting nukes if the man-child hadn't decided he wanted to play war hero for daddy and take out a guy that while certainly not, to borrow a phrase from Lewis Black, a snuggy bear, was not any worse than most regimes supported by the US(and the EU before Europeans start getting all self-righteous, France went after Libya and thus has a hand in this too, though not as big as the US's obviously). So instead of his fantasy of making the world safe from tyrants, Bush's actions have basically said, "if you want your regime to stay in power, get WMDs" Good one. The Iraq war will go down as the biggest foreign policy blunder in post-war American history. And while the actual Vietnam and Korean Wars were probably more savage, they were relatively self-contained. The Iraq war(and supporting the Libyan rebels) will have implications that will be felt for decades to come.
    • by phayes (202222) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @07:02AM (#38570908) Homepage

      You need to cut down on the revisionist hindsight. Saddam's Iraq was clearly the worst at that time.
      Lets see:
      Known to be working on nukes: Iraq, Iran & NK.
      Pushing Terrorism: Iraq, Iran & NK
      Attempted assassination of a former US President: Iraq
      Had recently invaded a neighboring country: Iraq.
      Had recently invades a second neighboring country: Iraq.

      Nukes may indeed be a get out of jail free card for thuggish regimes preserving them from military action but the sanctions, now that just about everyone is agreeing to them and making sure that cheaters are getting punished may yet make the lesson "reneg on your signature of the the Non-proliferation treaty & lose all your international trading partners".

      • by chrb (1083577) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @07:50AM (#38571080)
        The stories of nukes in Iraq were lies at best, and a huge failure of US intelligence at worst.

        Presented to U.S. officials by the Iraqi National Congress, a London-based exile group pushing for an American attack on Iraq, the defector says Saddam is close to finishing a long-range ballistic missile that could hit Cairo; Ankara; Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; Nicosia, Cyprus, or Tehran. http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/news/658542/posts [freerepublic.com]

        That was what we were told in 2002. A decade on, we now know that those "intelligence" reports of WMDs from the INC were actually supplied by a double agent working for Iranian intelligence.

        According to a US intelligence official, the CIA has hard evidence that Mr Chalabi and his intelligence chief, Aras Karim Habib, passed US secrets to Tehran, and that Mr Habib has been a paid Iranian agent for several years, involved in passing intelligence in both directions. http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2004/may/25/usa.iraq10 [guardian.co.uk]

        Oops. And what about those mobile bioweapon labs? It turned out that intelligence came from another unreliable source:

        Despite warnings from the German Federal Intelligence Service questioning the authenticity of the claims, the US Government utilized them to build a rationale for military action in the lead up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, including in the 2003 State of the Union address, where President Bush said "we know that Iraq, in the late 1990s, had several mobile biological weapons labs", and Colin Powell's presentation to the UN Security Council, which contained a computer generated image of a mobile biological weapons laboratory.[1][4] On November 4, 2007, 60 Minutes revealed Curveball's real identity.[5] Former CIA official Tyler Drumheller summed up Curveball as "a guy trying to get his green card essentially, in Germany, and playing the system for what it was worth." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curveball_(informant) [wikipedia.org]

        The whole story was made up by one guy who wanted his immigration card, and yet - without any verification - it was used by the Bush administration to justify a war.

        And since you brought it up, alll of the intelligence that linked Iraq to 911 was lies as well.... There was no Iraq Islamist link (well, at least until the coalition invaded and plunged the country into a bloody sectarian civil war)

  • by zippthorne (748122) on Tuesday January 03, 2012 @07:18AM (#38570972) Journal

    The real reason is right there in the summary:

    Analysts say Iran's increasingly strident rhetoric, which has pushed oil prices higher, is aimed at sending a message to the West that it

    wants more money for its oil...

    All other goals are secondary.

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