Meeting the Challenge: U.S. Policy toward Iranian Nuclear Development (Page 6)
Continued from Page 5
Policy Options (Continued)
Within the course of Iranian history, the current theocracy is an anomaly. Far from being predetermined as some historians suggested when trying to explain the events of 1979, the Islamic Revolution was largely a fluke, caused by a unique confluence of events. Iranians may be fiercely nationalistic, but few would shed many tears at the clerical leadership’s fall so long as it did not involve foreign occupation. Because nuclear knowledge cannot be reversed, should the Islamic Republic not forfeit its nuclear ambitions, the only permanent resolution may be regime change. Western officials might pursue regime change with a number of different strategies, each risky and some counterproductive. These include exploitation of economic and demographic pressure points, supporting opposition groups, and exploiting Iran’s ethnic diversity.
Exploiting Economic and Demographic Pressure Points
Iran’s regime faces a demographic nightmare. Iran’s population is overwhelmingly young. There are insufficient opportunities for the 700,000 young people who enter the job market each year. The regime has not addressed the difficulties women face in equal employment. Even with the oil boom, unemployment has increased well into the double digits. Across successive Iranian administrations, the government has done little to promote a more favorable environment for private sector development.
Perhaps the most effective pressure point which the United States can exploit to undermine the Iranian leadership is growing labor unrest. In recent months, strikes among teachers, textile workers, and bakers have challenged the government’s traditional role as the regulator of organized labor. Bakery union leader Mahmoud Salehi remains in solitary confinement. Labor unrest came to a head in December 2005, though, when several thousand Tehran bus drivers belonging to the Syndicate of Workers of the Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (sharkat-e vahed) went on strike, paralyzing the capital. Their leader, Mansour Ossanlou, called the strike action to protest government refusal to discuss housing and education benefits, working conditions, and recognition of the union. Iranian security forces responded by arresting Ossanlou. Learning of planned protests calling for his release, security forces rounded up the union’s board of directors and arrested several hundred workers. The Tehran municipality seized control of the company and dismissed many workers who refused to return to their jobs. On January 31, 2006, the student union at Tehran’s Amir Kabir University demanded the “unconditional release” of the arrested workers. On July 15, 2006, the Labor Ministry invited six bus drivers and union representatives to negotiate a solution, but when the six arrived at the ministry, security forces arrested them. Finally, on August 9, 2006, the Iranian government released Ossanlou. While the government rearrested Ossanlou in July 2007, his actions undercut the legitimacy of the regime. Citizens were likely bemused when the official media denied there had been a bus strike, even as tens of thousands of workers were stranded when their buses did not show up.
There is little indication that the political elites are willing to undertake the reforms needed to make effective use of the country’s labor potential. Should U.S. officials find a way to support independent labor or dissidents, they might increase the Iranian government’s accountability to its own citizens, and therefore diminish Tehran investment in nuclear and military adventurism. If the Solidarity movement in Poland is any model, such a strategy would take years and, while a Gdansk strategy might achieve its goals in the long-term, it may risk further crackdowns in the near-term.
Supporting Opposition Groups
Many proponents of regime change urge the United States to support Iranian opposition groups. There are two major categories of groups: those based outside Iran, and those which claim to operate inside Iran. Of the latter, those that cultivate only an ethnic constituency are considered below.
Assistance to Iranian opposition groups can take a variety of forms, ranging from direct support for a political party to support for alternative media, such as Persian language television stations broadcasting from Los Angeles or elsewhere. Many externally-based political groups applied for a portionthe 2007 Congressional allocation of $20 million to foster democratic opposition in Iran. While Iranian political parties in exile are able to cooperate with other groups outside of Iran, few can demonstrate much following inside the country.
The most controversial external group is the Mujahidin al-Khalq Organization. Founded in the 1970s, the Mujahidin al-Khalq Organization has conducted terrorism against both Western and Iranian interests. While it has provided useful and verified intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program, the group’s alliance with Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War makes it widely hated across Iranian society. Iranians look at the Mujahidin al-Khalq Organization in the same way that many Americans view John Walker Lindh, the American student who joined the Taliban to fight against his own people. Still, many in the U.S. Congress urge support for the Mujahidin al-Khalq Organization as they consider it the most organized of Iranian opposition groups. Organization aside, any support for the Mujahidin al-Khalq will backfire. Not only will revelation of theoretical U.S. government support for the Mujahidin enable the current government to rally Iranians around the flag, but the Mujahidin’s bizarre philosophy and cultish behavior could also very well lead to a regime even more extreme than Khamenei’s.
Exploiting Ethnic Diversity
Some policymakers—including some members of the U.S. Congress—propose exploiting ethnic divisions within Iran. Such a strategy is also unlikely to succeed and, indeed, will likely backfire.
The sensitivity of Iranians to separatism runs deep. Iran experienced many separatist movements throughout the twentieth century. That many enjoyed foreign support, if not sponsorship, has furthered Iranian suspicion about a hidden hand behind unrest along Iran’s periphery. Iranians remember British assistance to Arab and Baluchi separatists in the nineteenth and early twentieth century and Soviet support for separatist movements in Gilan, Azerbaijan, and Kurdistan.
At its root, such a strategy exploits the fact that Iran is a heterogeneous country rich in diversity. While Iran is officially a Persian-speaking country, half of all Iranians speak a language other than Persian at home. Many advocates of playing the ethnic card underestimate the integration of minorities into the ruling structure. Khamenei is an ethnic Azeri. Khatami, the reformist president so often embraced by the West as a reformer, is half-Azeri.The largest ethnic minority—approximately one-quarter of the population—are the Azeris, more of whom live in Iran than in independent Azerbaijan.
Approximately eight percent of Iran’s population is Gilaki or Mazandarani. Concentrated along the Caspian littoral, these people speak a language related to Persian, but share major similarities with the Zazaki of Turkey. Perhaps seven percent of Iran’s population is Kurdish. While predominant in the Iranian province of Kurdistan, they are not limited to it. Iran often names provinces after an ethnic group, but either makes the province smaller than the concentration of that minority or, as in the case of Azerbaijan, divides it so as to undercut separatism. Arabs no longer predominate in the oil-rich Khuzistan province across the Shatt al-Arab from Iraq, but Arabic-speakers do make up approximately three percent of Iran’s population. Smaller minorities of Baluch live along the Pakistani border, while many Turkmen live in northeastern Iran, across from the former Soviet Republic of Turkmenistan.
While any discussion of ethnic separatism normally pushes Iranians to rally around the flag, this strategy would have most resonance among non-Shi‘a minorities, such as the Baluch or Kurds.
Too often, the public, diplomats, and many policymakers equate military options with bombing or invasion, but these are only the last resort. A military component underlies both deterrence and containment. Indeed, both these options require robust planning and military presence. Non-military policies would be expected to buttress the military option through the “DIME” paradigm–Diplomatic, Military, Informational, and Economic. Such an integrated approach can reduce the potential need to employ actual military force by convincing Iran that any such confrontation would be counter-productive, and that it faces determined international and regional solidarity against Tehran. Diplomacy would come into play in paving the way for a credible deterrent and to build the capacity needed to actually carry out military action, if needed.
Any U.S. deterrent policy would bifurcate into two general strategies: nuclear deterrence and non-nuclear deterrence.
A nuclear deterrent strategy would require moving to a declared U.S. stance threatening the potential use of nuclear weapons should Iran ever use a nuclear weapon or allow its proxies to do so. While threatening any use of nuclear weapons even as a defensive capacity or in a retaliatory manner remains a taboo subject among Washington policymakers, it is irresponsible to delay further such discussions given the implications of Iran developing nuclear weapons or the capacity to develop such weapons. The U.S. administration may need to announce that it reserves the right to respond to any attack against itself or its allies with overwhelming force and, perhaps, nuclear weapons. Alternatively, the U.S. government could consider a declaration of automaticity: In the event Iran or any suspect proxy utilizes nuclear weapons, Iran will be hit with a devastating retaliatory strike. In the interim, though, this requires preparation for such a response.
Non-Nuclear Deterrence and Capacity Building
Non-nuclear deterrence requires that the United States undertake a series of steps designed to demonstrate to Iran that the United States and its coalition partners are capable of decisive military action to stop Iran’s nuclear program.
Components of non-nuclear military deterrence require a multi-pronged strategy, the most important of which would be to construct the alliances needed to station U.S. forces in position to confront Iran.
In the case of Iran, much of the diplomatic work has been done or is ongoing. As a result of the repeated need for the United States to stabilize the Persian Gulf, several of the smaller Gulf Cooperation Council states already host U.S. military facilities that could be used in the event of a real or threatened U.S. confrontation with Iran. An initial phase of U.S. diplomatic strategy would be geared toward guaranteeing that the Gulf Cooperation Council states would allow the use of these facilities against Iran.
Among the key facilities that are used by the United States under post-1991 Gulf War defense pacts with almost all the Gulf Cooperation Council states, and which would be needed to build a credible deterrent against Iran are:
Bahrain: The large naval command center used by the United States (NAVCENT, U.S. Fifth Fleet), as well as Shaykh Isa Air Base that has been used by the U.S. Air Force in past crises.
Qatar: Al Udeid Air Base, which houses the forward headquarters of U.S. Central Command, as well as another facility that is used by the United States to pre-position armor and other heavy Army equipment.
United Arab Emirates: Al Dhafra Air Base and Jebel Ali port, the latter of which can handle docked U.S. aircraft carriers and support ships. Dhafra has been used by the United States for refueling of aircraft used in the Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan) theaters.
Kuwait: Several air bases, including Shaykh Ali Al Salem, as well as the large Camp Arifjan which is the staging area for U.S. forces moving in and out of Iraq.
Saudi Arabia: Prior to the war in Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia had hosted U.S. aircraft at Prince Sultan Air Base south of Riyadh and still reportedly hosts a small Combined Air Operations Center for U.S. aircraft in the Persian Gulf, although the main Combined Air Operations Center for the United States is at Al Udeid in Qatar.
Oman: Hosts several air bases that are used by U.S. aircraft and also house pre-positioned U.S. Air Force munitions. These air bases are: at Seeb International Airport (military side); Masirah Island, Thumrait Air Base; and a newly upgraded base at Musnanah.
A deterrence strategy against Iran must also include enhanced access to military facilities in countries East, West, and North of Iran. This involves diplomacy with Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Turkey, and possibly Pakistan to gain their approval to host the U.S. forces and support staff needed for military action. The United States has had access to some facilities in these countries for operations in Afghanistan, but Russian pressure has introduced interruptions and uncertainty in U.S. access; Uzbekistan cut off U.S. access to its air base in 2004. Pakistan is highly sensitive to any U.S. presence and is unlikely cooperate with the United States against Iran. Azerbaijan and the United States cooperate in Caspian Sea security, and Azerbaijan appears the most likely anchor of a northern containment strategy for Iran. Turkey is a NATO ally, but its leadership is unreliable, and its cooperation with Iran on energy projects and other issues will dissuade Ankara’s participation in U.S. military strategy against Iran. The objective would be to enable U.S. military as broad access as possible to Iran from all directions.
In addition, the White House, State Department, and Pentagon must begin diplomatic activity geared toward recruiting coalition partners willing to join military action if need be. Deterrence cannot occur without active planning for military contingencies. U.S. policymakers would need to determine with coalition partners the modalities of any military contingency in order to clarify whether a military response in face of Iranian provocation would be U.S.-led, NATO-led, or United Nations-led.
Next, the military would need to deploy additional assets to facilities in the region, not only to participate in any campaign against Iranian forces, but also to defend regional allies and coalition partners against Iranian retaliation. The United States might, for example, emplace additional Patriot Advanced Capability-3 (PAC-3) batteries not only in the Gulf Cooperation Council states but also in Israel, which is likely to be targeted by Iranian missiles if the United States were to conduct a strike on Iran. The buildup would include additional Special Operations Forces, Army, Air Force, and Navy personnel in the region to man Patriot air defense batteries, perform force protection missions, and assess and protect critical energy infrastructure that the Iranian military might target. Some U.S. forces would likely protect Iraq’s oil infrastructure.
The U.S. Navy would probably deploy additional mine sweeping capabilities and would send U.S. submarines to the Persian Gulf and Indian Ocean to counter Iran’s Kilo class subs. Part of the naval buildup would also include Aegis class U.S. ships to the Mediterranean and the Persian Gulf to detect Iranian missile launches and suicide combat aircraft missions, and to assist with countering that potential threat. To accomplish this buildup, the Pentagon would need to develop regional capacity by improving host facilities to accommodate the assets needed for military action and also to increase and improve the offensive and defensive capabilities of potential coalition partners in the region. The United States would also need to build more interoperability in all domains to include tactics, techniques, and procedures, equipment, munitions, and information and intelligence sharing capability.
The Pentagon would also need to transfer additional weapons to allies in order to support the effort to strengthen deterrence by providing advanced weaponry to key allies and to improve inter-operability and intelligence sharing. As part of the effort to stiffen the resolve of the Persian Gulf states against Iran, the United States has already devised a new policy, called the “Gulf Security Dialogue.” It focuses on enhancing the defense capabilities of the Persian Gulf states and is driving a large package of about $20 billion in new U.S. weapons sales to the Persian Gulf states, such as Patriot-3 air defense systems, new littoral combat ships equipped with advanced technology, other maritime capabilities, and precision-guided munitions (Joint Direct Attack Munition, JDAM) for Saudi and Emirati combat aircraft. Congress was notified of some of these sales in December 2007 and January 2008. In October 2006, the United States, four Persian Gulf states, and twenty other nations held naval exercises designed to improve their counter-proliferation capabilities against Iran. The Gulf Security Dialogue builds on initiatives from earlier Administrations to promote greater intra-Gulf Cooperation Council defense cooperation on such systems as air defense and missile defense. Ideally, the United States can bring the Gulf Cooperation Council emirates into a state of readiness in which they can assist the United States and perhaps handle at least a couple days of war should the Islamic Republic launch a surprise attack. This would provide enough time for the United States to augment its forces in the region and defeat Iranian aggression.
New weapons sales are necessary to bring the Gulf Cooperation Council to this state of military readiness and ability. These sales will require a reformulation of calculations used to maintain Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge. Israel is not opposing the new sales to the Gulf Cooperation Council states. Both Washington and Jerusalem have apparently calculated that Israel and the moderate Arab states face a common enemy in Iran that outweighs the threat which Gulf Cooperation Council states pose to Israel. Such consideration of augmented sales might not be extended to Egypt, both because of the possibility of instability following President Hosni Mubarak’s death and because the government remains hostile to the Jewish state despite the 1978 Camp David Accords.
In order to augment effective deterrence, U.S. leaders may consider ordering covert operations in Iran to identify potential targets or to conduct pre-conflict operations aimed at Iranian military capabilities.
Embargo: Should containment alone fail, the international community may want to consider initiating a blockade of Iran to prevent it from obtaining weapons components and supplies. The United States and its Coalition partners might ratchet up the embargoed items to include industrial base items and refined petroleum. Should Washington wish to maintain international support, the U.S. Navy would have difficulty imposing a blockade without UN approval, as this would constitute an act of war.
There could be a leakage in the blockade through Iran’s north if cooperation with a Caspian partner is not reached. A fall-back U.S. position could involve mining Iran’s Caspian ports or conducting air interdiction of shipping to and from those ports.
Another aspect of an embargo might be imposition of a no-fly zone over Iran. No-fly zones are easy to recommend, but extremely hard to execute. Creation of a no-fly zone would require dozens, if not hundreds, of airplanes able to operate around the clock from bases in regional countries. This in turn would require a massive logistical investment. It is also very difficult for pilots in a no-fly zone to differentiate between military and civilian aircraft. However, while costly in material and funding, the no-fly zone would pressure the Iranian government by constraining commerce, neutering the Islamic Republic’s ability to strike directly at neighboring states with its air force, and prevent aerial-borne nuclear trade and transport of nuclear engineers from states assisting the Iranian program.
Show of Force: Another possible component of deterrence would be a show of force by the United States. The process of deploying additional U.S. ships and aircraft to the region could serve that purpose. The Bush Administration has employed this option when, for example, President Bush announced in January 2007 that he had authorized additional aircraft carrier groups to the Persian Gulf. At present, there are two aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf region at all times; any buildup would require sending at least two additional aircraft carrier task forces to the region, probably to the Indian Ocean so as not to prompt an Iranian attack on the additional ships. In order to minimize any Iranian attempts to pre-empt the build-up, the U.S. deployments would have to occur rapidly, in the space of weeks, if not days. There is some danger that Iran may stage an incident—accusing U.S. forces of downing another Iranian civilian airliner, for example—to encourage European states, Russia, and China to demand a drawdown of U.S. forces. U.S. diplomats might discuss with Afghan and Iraqi leaders the possibility of stationing additional U.S. personnel in these countries to counter Iranian retaliation.
During the buildup, there would be no announced ultimatum specifying requirements for nuclear compliance. The Iranian leadership would be aware of the deployments and would understand the build-up to be an implicit threat.
Upon completion of the build-up, the President or a designated senior U.S. official would issue a formal ultimatum to Tehran demanding a verifiable halt of uranium enrichment and revelation and dismantlement of all nuclear facilities that could be used to further a nuclear weapons program. If Iran does not comply, the United States would impose an embargo or use military force. Given Iran’s capabilities, the ultimatum may not include a designated timeframe in order both to limit Iran’s ability to preempt U.S. action and to retain maximum flexibility for a diplomatic settlement.
Kinetic Action: Should deterrence fail, a decision may need to be made about whether or not to undertake actual military action. A ground invasion of Iran is widely discounted among experts. The size and complexity of the operation are daunting, the Iranian population would resist, and U.S. forces are already overstretched. U.S. policy remains to render Iran non-nuclear, not change the regime as a ground invasion would. Therefore, the debate over military action generally centers on air and naval operations against Iranian targets, although Special Operations Forces would play some role.
If the Commander-in-Chief decided to strike Iran, the United States would benefit from the capacity building and diplomacy that was already undertaken in the deterrence phase of U.S. policy. Because the U.S. military already has forces deployed permanently within striking distance of Iran, the Pentagon has more advantage than many people—and the Iranian leadership—realize. At least for the first strike, U.S. forces could enjoy tactical surprise. Such action could range from targeted strikes against Iranian nuclear and weapons facilities to a wider campaign to remove organs of the state, such as Revolutionary Guard command locations and encampments. Such strikes may include a variety of military contingents. On one end of the spectrum are unilateral military strikes by the United States or other powers. On the other would be coordinated U.S. and Coalition action. Incumbent in each scenario is both the need to consider and plan for the second and third order effects and to recognize that military action is only one component of a wider strategy to incorporate simultaneously diplomatic, information, and economic components.
While public discussion usually centers upon development of nuclear weapons capability as the trigger for military action, the red line may actually be much sooner. Military action has become more difficult since the Bushehr reactor became fueled, for any strike could have profound ecological implications. When the Israeli Air Force bombed the Osirak nuclear reactor, they timed their attack against awareness that French concerns were preparing to fuel it.
Any military strike would be risky. Iran’s nuclear facilities are dispersed and buried, and some may be unknown to foreign intelligence. Regardless of which country or countries execute a strike, Iranian authorities would likely retaliate against U.S. troops in Iraq, order terrorist operations against U.S. interests elsewhere and perhaps attack key infrastructure facilities in Iraq. While the Iranian public is apathetic if not antagonistic toward its leadership now, the prospect of a foreign power striking at Iran would likely rally the larger Iranian population around the flag. While any military strike would delay the Iranian nuclear program, the Iranian nuclear program appears to be past the point where it can be eliminated by air strikes alone. Still, policymakers might consider whether delaying Iran’s program in the short-term would allow Washington to take advantage of that space to stop Iran’s nuclear program altogether. It is also possible that the delays and increased costs that a devastating strike would impose on Iran’s nuclear program might be followed by a different set of dynamics that would cause or compel the Iranian leadership to change course.
Calculations and Complications of an Israeli Military Strike
The 1981 Israeli air strike on Iraq’s Osirak reactor significantly delayed, if not crippled, Iraq’s nuclear program, and the September 6, 2007 Israeli strike on a Syrian nuclear facility effectively ended that country’s covert program. For Israel to repeat these episodes with Iran would not be an easy decision for the Israelis. Jerusalem cannot be certain how far back they will set the Iranian program, although Israeli officials could significantly damage Iran’s nuclear capability.
Nevertheless, any Israeli strike would be fraught with complications and lack tactical surprise. Iran is neither Iraq nor Syria. Its nuclear program is more dispersed than was Iraq’s, and Iran has far greater strategic depth than Syria. Successful action will require dozens of sorties. Israeli bombers cannot traverse Saudi Arabia, the Persian Gulf, and Iraq without detection and, perhaps, engagement. It is possible that Turkey would allow Israeli fighters to traverse its airspace, but because all of the fighters would need to enter Iran from the same direction, the pilots would be exposed. Regardless of how Israel might try to strike, it is likely that Iranian air defense will know that the Israelis are on their way before they reach Iranian airspace. The Israeli Air Force will get one shot; Jerusalem will not be able to sustain a multi-day let alone a multi-week campaign. However, Israeli officials may initiate action in order to force the United States and its allies into a larger campaign.
And, while the United States retains strategic depth in event of conflict with Iran, Israeli officials must consider the high prospects that Hezbollah will fire rockets into Israel. Today, the Lebanese-based Iranian proxy group has upwards of 30,000 missiles, many of which can reach Tel Aviv. In addition, Israeli planners will be worried about Hamas activity on the orders of or in sympathy to Iran. Israeli officials concede that Hamas has smuggled Katyusha rockets into Gaza, although they have not yet been fired. Lastly, Israeli leaders must factor into their decision the likelihood that terrorists would respond by attacking Jewish communities worldwide.
Should Israeli officials conclude that an Iranian nuclear program constitutes an existential threat, and if they also conclude that U.S. policy will not achieve the goal of denying Iran the technology it could use to construct a nuclear weapon, then it may feel that it has no choice but to act unilaterally, despite the incumbent costs. If the Israeli military was able to end Iran’s nuclear capability with a neat and clean campaign, Arab states may not complain. However, the chance that any Israeli strike will be decisive is unlikely. If the Gulf Cooperation Council and Arab League members believe that Iran retains an offensive capability, can easily reconstitute its nuclear program, and that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps will destabilize the region, then the moderate Arab states will likely rally against Israel in post-strike diplomacy.
If U.S. policymakers do not want Israel to strike Iran, then they have to convince Jerusalem that Iran is not going to cross the nuclear threshold. This will require constant dialogue at a very senior level. However, convincing the Israelis either that diplomacy is working or that an Iranian nuclear breakout capability does not pose an existential threat may be easier said than done. An Israeli military strike, with or without the prior knowledge or approval of the United States, remains a wild card.
What would U.S. military action look like?
The objective to any military campaign to end the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program would be either to destroy key elements of the program or to compel Tehran to dismantle these elements in a verifiable manner. Military action would not seek to change the Iranian regime, although civil unrest or regime change may be an unintended consequence. While any action would increase energy costs and perhaps lead to recession and fuel shortages—perhaps offset with the release of some stockpiles from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve—such economic effects must be weighed against an alternative future in which Tehran gains a nuclear weapons capability, thereby positioning Iran to threaten the Western economic outlook anyway.
If a decision is undertaken to strike Iran, initial target selection would prioritize:
Iranian air defense and missile sites and communications systems.
Other mechanisms of regime retaliation, such as Revolutionary Guards facilities.
Sites related to Iran’s ballistic missile, chemical, biological, and nuclear programs.
Munitions storage facilities, including those containing sea mines.
Air fields, aircraft facilities, and helicopters, whether on the ground or airborne.
All Kilo class submarines, midget subs, destroyers and Hudong patrol boats, and as many Revolutionary Guard Navy-operated Boghammer small boats as possible.
Ground armor, including tanks, need not be included in the initial phase of major strike operations.
Munitions used in the initial assault would include all those in the U.S. arsenal, including Tomahawk cruise missile, Joint Standoff Weapon, JDAMs carried by F-15, F-16, F-18, F-117, F-22, and larger JDAMs carried by the B-2 Stealth and B-1B bomber. Extensive bombardment by B-52’s is also possible. A-10 Warthogs might participate as well, depending on target selection.
It is possible that Iranian retaliation could damage a major U.S. ship or cause unexpected military setbacks. It is also likely that Iran, through its proxies, will attack U.S. forces in Iraq or Afghanistan, commit terrorist actions in the region or abroad, fire ballistic missiles against Israel and the Persian Gulf states, fire cruise missiles at Persian Gulf energy and desalination installations, assist Hezbollah to fire rockets at Israel, and commit attacks on neutral shipping. These counter actions can be defended against or responded to if and when they happen using the forces emplaced in the region during the buildup phase. The retaliation will also be countered by U.S. escalation, as necessary.
If escalation is necessary, the U.S. might expand its targeting to include:
Ground armor, including tanks and artillery positions;
Electric power plants, and electrical grids;
Manufacturing plants, including steel, autos, buses, etc.
U.S. plans would not include targeting of civilians. A U.S. or Coalition ground invasion is not likely due to military constraints and the domestic pressures that would result in any operation with high U.S. casualties.
While not expected, it is possible that the U.S. campaign could lead to local uprisings against a weakened state, or to major civil unrest in response to deteriorating living standards and goods shortages. The United States is not likely to have enough “on-the-ground” information about the state of the regime’s grip on power to influence internal events one way or the other. If such information is acquired, however, and U.S. air power is perceived as able to shift events in Iran to the U.S. advantage, such operations could be considered.
Preparation for post-kinetic action must accompany any military planning. Such planning would include a shift to a long-term monitoring mission to determine if the Iranian government seeks to rebuild any WMD capability. Incumbent in such plans would be the possibility that the United States would need to strike as needed to address any reconstitution of nuclear capability. In addition, the U.S. would need to implement long-term containment of Iran’s ability to retaliate.
Policymakers and the intelligence community would also need to watch for signs of regime dissolution and decide whether or not to intervene to shape political outcomes.
Policymakers would also need to plan for humanitarian relief to counter any crisis that could result from kinetic action. The predicate for such planning is that the United States would lose international support for military action against Iran – or for future action against other states – if it conducted strikes against Iran and then neglected to address the humanitarian consequences of the strikes. U.S. activities might include prolonged airdrops of food and medical supplies to Iran, as well as the need to protect and, if necessary, resettle refugee populations. These activities could last years or perhaps even decades.
 The oft-cited figure of $75 million is incorrect. While the White House requested $75 million, Congress allocated $66 million, of which $46 million was designated for Voice of America, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and various State Department translation and outreach programs.
 Whitney Raas and Austin Long. “Osirak Redux? Assessing Israeli Capabilities to Destroy Iranian Nuclear Facilities,” International Security, Vol. 31, No.4 (Spring 2007), p.11