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September 20, 2012

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Russia supports Iran due to their shared opposition to Turkey.

Also, Iran has never forgiven the US and UK for employing the CIA and MI6 to overthrow the democratically elected Mossadegh government in the 1950's. The US and UK wanted to reclaim the Iranian oil industry, which had been nationalized 2 years prior. The Pahlavis were then re-installed and they were a VERY unpopular and brutal pro-Western regime.

Why do "we" want to bomb Iran back to the stone age again? They're much more a threat to the transnational elite than they are to the average peasant like me.

[HS: The world is safer if Iran doesn't have nuclear bombs, and the U.S. is the only nation with the ability to be the world's cop. It's not a role we want to give away to China.]

This looks oddly familiar to my comment on the last Iran post.

http://www.halfsigma.com/2012/09/why-isnt-iran-scared.html?cid=6a00d8341bf6ae53ef017744df2ee2970d#tp

[HS: I get lots of good ideas from comments. But Russia is NOT going to support Iran, Russia is just happy to see other countries fighting each other while Russia watches.]

[HS: The world is safer if Iran doesn't have nuclear bombs, and the U.S. is the only nation with the ability to be the world's cop. It's not a role we want to give away to China.]

Israel = the world

[HS: The world is safer if Iran doesn't have nuclear bombs]
Yeah, "the world" indeed, HS.

The ships are in the gulf to interdict Iranian attempts to close the straits of Hormuz and keep the oil from the Saudis and the small Arab states flowing (many of which have hostile Shia minorities or even majorities in the thrall of the Iranians).

I don't think the sunburn missiles are quite the threat people think they are.

I happen to know our counter battery artillery (artillery that automatically detects enemy artillery fire and adjusts the firing angle to silence it) is very good. Our artillery is so good, in any artillery shootout (artillery is the number 1 killer on the modern battlefield) we would annihilate the enemy batteries in a few minutes. It is decades ahead of any other nation.

I imagine our anti missile technology on the Aegis cruisers is similarly good.

The real danger is mines and small Iranian suicide speedboats which would be threats to oil tankers.

Also there is the fact that the Obama administration is chickenshit and would drag their feet in responding to Iranian revenge strikes in the event of Israel bombing their reactors. Their inaction could threaten the global oil supply, two hundred dollars a barrel or more would be the outcome. If that happened Iran could simply outlast us and wait for the catastrophic economic slowdown to erode our resolve.

It isn't like Libya where if you take out one guy the regime falls. Bombing could actually strengthen the Iranian regime unless it was a merciless total campaign against critical infrastructure. I very much doubt our government has the stomach for that kind of thing. Maybe if there was footage of mass attacks on Israeli civilians over the internet, that could piss people off. Some truly brutal stuff would probably go down in the west bank as well.

With China saber rattling against Japan and all these embassy attacks it really feels like the world is becoming a much more chaotic place.

The ships are parked in the Persian Gulf to prevent the Iranians from mining or otherwise closing the straights to shipping. We couldn't do that from the Indian Ocean.

A simpler explanation is that Russia supports Iran because Iran is a threat to Israel and Russia is anti semetic:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/4271783.stm

The history of Iran-Russia relations is long and complicated, with a lot more bad than good (at least for the Iranians/Persians). In the 18th and 19th centuries, tsarist troops played a major role in rolling up what were once Persian-controlled lands in central Asia. In 1911, Russian troops occupied Tehran and shelled a mosque and the National Assembly. During World War II, the USSR and Great Britain jointly occupied Iran. In the 1950's the US installed the Shah as Iran's ruler, and the country received lots of American aid and military goodies. During this period, the Soviets treated Iran with respect.

Following the Shah's demise in 1979, relations between the USSR and Iran worsened. The Muslim theocrats ruling in Tehran denounced the atheistic Soviets as enemies of Islam, and the USSR was a major supporter of Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war (along with the US, Britain and France).

Currently relations between these two countries are pretty good, although that could change. Russia is the world's leading oil producer, and these exports provide her major source of foreign currency. Russia will always act to keep petroleum prices as high as possible (the Russians no doubt recall how the Americans persuaded the Saudis to drive down the price of oil by overproduction in the 1980's, which helped to cause the demise of the USSR). Russian energy companies have played a major role in the development of Iranian reserves.

Another reason is mutual suspicion of Turkey, an historic enemy of both Iran/Persia and Russia. Also, the two countries are major trading partners, including military items. And, of course, neither country likes the Americans very much.

The US needs to get its military forces out of the M
iddle East and disengage completely from the region. Our presence there is making things worse, not better. We can't afford the level of military expenditure needed to play world's policeman, and nobody likes us when we do. Think China wants to try? Not likely. China's military expenditures as percentage of GDP are about half that of the US, and China currently lacks the capacity to project military power far beyond her borders. And look at a map - China is surrounded by enemies, with most of whom she has fought wars in the last century (Japan, Korea, Viet Nam, Taiwan, Russia and India). Any attempt by China to massively expand her military forces will generate serious pushback from these countries. Plus, the Chinese are probably too smart to involve themselves in such a mess.

Are you aware that an Egyptian prosecutor has indicted Terry Jones and seven Egyptian Coptic Christians for blaspheming Islam? The death penalty is possible. Now these people all live outside Egypt and are unlikely to go there, so the move is purely symbolic. Now I think Terry Jones is an idiot, but the US Supreme Court has ruled that burning flags, Bibles and Korans is constitutionally protected symbolic free speech. But the Egyptian government still wants us to give them over $1 billion dollars in aid! Time to save our money, bring our troops home and let the Islamists fight it out among themselves.

http://mypetjawa.mu.nu/archives/213628.php

[HS: Looking at China's military as a percent of GDP is not a good basis for comparison, because China has a much larger populationa and much lower costs, so China can potentially field a much larger military for less money than it costs the United States. China is building aircraft carriers (to dominate third world country) and developing missiles (to make our surface fleet useless). China WANTS to replace as as the world's cop, and we would be foolish to let that happen.]

Russia supports Iran because both nations benefit from higher oil prices. This isn't hard.

I don't think that Russia would like to see Iran defeat the US. If Iran gets to be too powerful, that's a potential conflict that Russia has to deal with (particularly considering that they have native muslisms within their own borders).
The best-case scenario, for Russia, would be a war that disrupts oil production and transport, creates a crippled Iran (they lose the war), and a US that has significant losses (ie, sunken ships) from Russian hardware.
Russia doesn't have a lot to fear from the US. They aren't going to invade, and they aren't funding an insurgent population. In that sense, the status quo isn't bad for Russia. But a powerful Iran is a problem

[HS: There's no way that Iran will "defeat us," the best they can do is win a decisive victory in a naval battle. We will be forced to respond by obliterating their country. Russia wins in that exchange.]

Oil prices explain why Russia seems to support policies that keep the middle east chaotic. That chaos stirs up oil prices so it's to Russia's benefit for there to be a few Middle eastern rogue states causing trouble.

"I don't think the sunburn missiles are quite the threat people think they are"

That's not the problem, the problem is the US Military idiocy...
http://www.military.com/opinion/0,15202,95496,00.html

"[HS: Looking at China's military as a percent of GDP is not a good basis for comparison, because China has a much larger populationa and much lower costs, so China can potentially field a much larger military for less money than it costs the United States...] "

I've heard it said that you don't fight wars on PPP. If that's accurate, it makes China's military story look worse, as long as we're fighting conventional wars.

My fear is that the next war is less conventional than the last, maybe leading with a particularly good computer virus for example. We seem incapable of securing our networks and preparing for a major powers war as long as we have small scale conventional wars to fight in the middle east.

MachoMan
"I don't think the sunburn missiles are quite the threat people think they are."

War is a numbers game. Nobody ever claimed a single anti-ship missile can sink an aircraft carrier, but 10 missiles would be a good chance and 50 missiles is a guaranteed. At a cost of a million bucks per missile, a fully loaded guided missile destroyer ship can be had for $1 billion. You don't need to be an accountant to see that a $10 billion aircraft carrier is a big juicey target waiting to be sunk.

Aircraft carriers are only good for bullying 3rd world nations with no serious means of defense. Against an enemy with just 10% of your budget, the smart thing to do would be to park those carriers elsewhere. Who wants to be the first navy captain to lose a nuclear powered aircraft carrier, ouch that can't look good on a job resume.

"Russia’s greatest hope, probably, is that there’s a military confrontation which results in a lot of Persian Gulf oil facilities being destroyed,"

I think this has more to do with Russia wanting to secure energy contracts with the Middle East. Russia also has good relations with Israel and they generally don't complain that much about Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.

"and that those Sunburn anti-ship missiles"

I've told you this before, Russian conventional military kit such as the Sunburn is almost useless against American technology.

Case in point: Syria buys their anti-air radars from Russia. But in 2007, Israel easily overcame those "advanced" Russian systems when they launched an airstrike against Syria's nuke program. Syria's Russian manufactured system was so poor that Syria had no idea Israel was even in their airspace until the bombs detonated over their facilities.

As for the Sunburn, we know where Iran keeps their anti-ship missiles because the 7th fleet is responsible for keeping Hormuz open from any Islamic wackiness. If our fleet sees any preparations to fire anti-ship missiles, our ships would open fire against their launchers before Iran could fire a shot off.

If they did fire, we have Aegis and anti-missile electronic warfare countermeasures to defeat the missile.

"[HS: Looking at China's military as a percent of GDP is not a good basis for comparison, because China has a much larger populationa and much lower costs, so China can potentially field a much larger military"

China would be foolish to go on military adventures because they're surrounded by neighbors that would each be very hard opponents to take down, even if America remained neutral in any Asian conflict.

China borders nuclear armed India and Russia. Both Japan and Taiwan are protected from land invasion by large bodies of water. South Korea is protected by mountains and well trained 600,000 strong army that's been trained and armed by the United States. As for invading Vietnam, just ask any Vietnam veteran about that. Singapore is tiny but they have a very high tech military.

China's problem, if they ever wanted to expand militarily, is that all of their Asian opponents are wealthy, either have strong militaries or can afford to build up their armed forces, are protected by natural defenses that strongly favor the defender, and all of them either have nukes or could go nuclear in a matter of months.

There's now easy target on the map for China to expand outwards like Germany in the 1930s, unless they want their urban coastline to be crushed.

OT. has anyone here watched this CBS telemovie "Siege"? It seems a surprisingly realistic depiction of urban crime.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0UIXKby-VQI

If you are as clueless about economics as you are about military affairs I should just leave. You tank your credibility with every idiotic un-researched mil post. It actually makes me feel stupid for finding your other posts interesting.

The carrier Enterprise is there to be sacrificed. Cheaper than the decommissioning costs that will arise if it returns.

Google it...

"China would be foolish to go on military adventures because they're surrounded by neighbors that would each be very hard opponents to take down, even if America remained neutral in any Asian conflict."

Also, there is no benefit to conquering any of them, with the possible exception of Siberia, which is protected by Russian nukes.

Whatever we and our leaders might think about Iranian and Chinese capabilities and intentions, it what they themselves think that is important. They are independent actors with their own desires, goals and internal politics.

In retrospect, it seems clear that Germany did not have either the population or industrial and resource bases to win either WWI or WWII, but the Kaiser and Fuhrer tried anyway.

Too much logic is bad.

Much of Iran's desire for obtaining a nuclear capability is to prevent the US from pulling another Iraq/Libya on them when they are in a weak position.

Geographically and practically Iran poses little to no threat to the US. They pose a threat to gulf arab kingdoms who do not want to see a strong shia state, and those countries have bought a lot of influence with US politicians.

If the mullahs really wanted nuclear weapons that badly they would have been much more covert about it. They are practically taunting the US and Israel to bomb them. They know that an invasion is unlikely and the result of any military strike would be the strengthening of their regime, which has been the main goal all along. And if they manage to score a nuclear weapon out of the whole mess it would be just an added bonus. So it'a win-win for mullahs.

As many other perceptive posters have noted, Iran is not a threat to the US, even with nuclear weapons. There is zero risk that Iran will threaten us or anyone else with these weapons. If they are indeed developing nukes, it is so they will be treated like Pakistan vs being treated like Iraq.

To this blogger and other neocons Israel does equal the world. If Israel feels the need to attack Iran (to no avail) then they should do so. Just don't drag us into another pointless quagmire.

I have to agree. The government of iran wants a limited israeli or american attack to insure re election. Look at what 9 11 did for bush's popularity.

America has its own problems ... Google "white christian woman married her father" for today's news

"Also, there is no benefit to conquering any of them, with the possible exception of Siberia, which is protected by Russian nukes"

The PRC will have less of a surplus population. And Grzlickson,you're a schmuck.

"Also, there is no benefit to conquering any of them, with the possible exception of Siberia, which is protected by Russian nukes."

Siberia is the only resource rich target. And, even if the conflict stayed nuke free, invading Siberia would be difficult because of the mountainous terrain and weather. In general, the terrain of Asia strongly favors defenders over attackers. By contrast, Europe has far fewer natural barriers than Asia to assist a defensive strategy.

There just aren't any good targets for an expansionist China to steamroll over. Any territory they did gain would just lead to them ruling over a hostile occupied population that would always be agitating to revolt.

Russia #1! Iran #1! USA Hock Ptooey!

The problem is not that we can't beat Iran. Of course we can. They can however make it cost too much. We can't afford an occupation and don't have the troops. Iraq 1 was easy, it was a mostly unmotivated army of conscripts with obsolete gear vs the US at peak military power.

With Iran we face newer weapons with a tired military and enemies that are motivated. Fighting Iran and occupying Afghanistan and Iraq is not easy and that’s assuming it doesn't spread or get bad enough that say China decodes to take that island near Japan and or Taiwan for that matter/

The US has also de-industrialized to a large enough degree that if Iran scores a heavy victory against our fleet, we might not be able to replace them at all. Far too many shipyards have closed.

Also any lost aircraft are a big issue as well.

The Marines at Camp Bastion lost 6 Harriers and 2 others are just good for parts recently and while we can replace them, it will be by taking planes from another force .

These are permanent irreplaceable loses to the air fleet, maybe as much as 10% of our entire fighting capacity caused by 15 guys.

http://theaviationist.com/2012/09/22/camp-bastion-ground-zero/

That's serious and its the largest single loss since WW2 and Iran might manage something like this.

In theory the F-35 should be able to fill in, maybe but that is as much as 2 decades away.

With a trillion dollar annual deficit paid mainly by money printing , upcoming domestic unrest of the kind that can't be dealt with by starting a war, loss of industry and a host of other things, well that's a perfect storm for the US to be pasted.

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