In the aftermath of World War II, as the U.S. faced a growing Soviet threat in Europe, a team of U.S. Army historians and intelligence officers formed a special “red team” that included members of the former German General Staff to help them think through the challenges of a potential new “Eastern Front.” Sixty years later, the U.S. military is again gathering lessons from a recently defeated opponent in its “Project 1946,” this time with former senior Iraqi military leaders.
Over four days in 2007, historians, including one of my all time favorites, Williamson Murray, questioned Iraqi former Lt. Gen. Ra’ad Hamdani on a range of issues from his experience as a young officer fighting the Israelis on the Golan Heights in 1973, as a Republican Guard commander during the long war against Iran and against the Americans in 1991 and again in 2003. His long and storied military career ended as commander of the II Republican Guard Corps with the collapse of the Iraqi army in 2003
Iran as Adversary Today:
Hamdani, a Sunni, fears spreading Iranian influence in both Iraq and the Sunni Arab world: “The Americans are now the barrier… Iraq was the barrier, but now the Americans are. So, if this barrier is removed, it will not take the Iranian tsunami more than or 10 or 15 years to invade the area.” Hamdani said the Iranians have the largest intelligence system operating inside Iraq.
He said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is the real leader in Iran, “He is the top of the pyramid of all religious, civilian, military, and economic institutions. He is like the Pope during the Crusades.” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad lacks real power, Hamdani said. “Khamenei is the only one who decides any issue. When Khamenei signs or approves it, this will be holy writ to those who must comply.”
The Iranian military learned valuable lessons from its 8 year with Iraq, as well as from the U.S. wars against Iraq. “During the 1990-1991 war, the U.S. forces did not manage to destroy a single mobile Iraqi missile. There were more than 2,000 American air sorties against the Scud launchers and yet they did not manage to hit even one. Therefore, Iran has focused on the long-range mobile missile bases.” Iran will use its missiles as a strategic weapon. “It has adopted the same strategy as the Iraqi army in 1991. Iraq defied the Americans by striking Israel. Iran can defy the Americans by striking Saudi Arabia and the Emirates,” Hamdani said.
“They rely on their missiles not as a destructive force, but as a deterrent force to discourage others from attacking them. This is even true of their air defense systems. Iran has thousands of vital targets but has an ineffective air defense system… Iran wants to protect its command headquarters, its air bases, its factories, its nuclear projects its ports, its oil fields, as well as its military infrastructure, the roads and bridges. The air defenses of the old Soviet Union would not be enough for this task.”
“There are approximately 30,000 vital targets in Iran and each target requires one air defense battery at least. That is why Iran has focused on deterrence and that it why it is working on a nuclear project to reach a level of equivalence; this equivalence in deterrence will achieve the objective. The more Ahmadinejad screams, the more he expresses Iran’s weakness.”
Originally posted by Chemley
I have a simple question why might we have to go to war with Iran? I remember training for this scenario in 1995. I am uber curious what would force a conflict.