Code named by US military planners as TIRANNT, “Theater Iran Near Term” has identified several thousand targets inside Iran as part of a “Shock and Awe” Blitzkrieg, which is now in the final planning stages.
According to the Kuwait-based Arab Times, an attack on Iran under TIRANNT could occur any time between late February and the end of April. This assessment, however, does not take into account the disarray of US ground forces in Iraq as well as the untimely withdrawal of several thousand British troops from the Iraq war theater, many of whom were stationed in Southern Iraq on the immediate border with Iran.
Revealed last April by William Arkin, a former US intelligence analyst, writing in the Washington Post, TIRANNT was first established in May 2003, following the invasion of Iraq.
“In early 2003, even as U.S. forces were on the brink of war with Iraq, the Army had already begun conducting an analysis for a full-scale war with Iran. The analysis, called TIRANNT, for “theater Iran near term,” was coupled with a mock scenario for a Marine Corps invasion and a simulation of the Iranian missile force. U.S. and British planners conducted a Caspian Sea war game around the same time. And Bush directed the U.S. Strategic Command to draw up a global strike war plan for an attack against Iranian weapons of mass destruction. All of this will ultimately feed into a new war plan for “major combat operations” against Iran that military sources confirm now exists in draft form. [This contingency plan entitled CONPLAN 8022 would be activated in the eventuality of a Second 9/11, on the presumption that Iran would be behind it]
… Under TIRANNT, Army and U.S. Central Command planners have been examining both near-term and out-year scenarios for war with Iran, including all aspects of a major combat operation, from mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change.” (William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006)
The decision to target Iran should come as no surprise. Already during the Clinton administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated in 1995 “in war theater plans” to invade first Iraq and then Iran.
“The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman’s National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command’s theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM’s theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States’ vital interest in the region – uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil.”
(USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy , emphasis added)
Consistent with CENTCOM’s 1995 sequencing of theater operations, the plans to target Iran were activated under TIRANNT in the immediate wake of the invasion of Iraq. Confirmed by Arkin, the operational component of the Iran military agenda was launched in May 2003 “when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran.” (Arkin, op cit). In October 2003, different theater scenarios for an Iran war were contemplated:
“The US army, navy, air force and marines have all prepared battle plans and spent four years building bases and training for “Operation Iranian Freedom”. Admiral Fallon, the new head of US Central Command, has inherited computerized plans under the name TIRANNT (Theatre Iran Near Term).” (New Statesman, 19 Feb 2007)
Concurrently, the various parallel components of TIRANNT were put in place including the Marines “Concept of Operations”:
“The Marines, meanwhile, have not only been involved in CENTCOM’s war planning, but have been focused on their own specialty, “forcible entry.” In April 2003, the Corps published its “Concept of Operations” for a maneuver against a mock country that explores the possibility of moving forces from ship to shore against a determined enemy without establishing a beachhead first. Though the Marine Corps enemy is described only as a deeply religious revolutionary country named Karona, it is — with its Revolutionary Guards, WMD and oil wealth — unmistakably meant to be Iran.
Various scenarios involving Iran’s missile force have also been examined in another study, initiated in 2004 and known as BMD-I (ballistic missile defense — Iran). In this study, the Center for Army Analysis modeled the performance of U.S. and Iranian weapons systems to determine the number of Iranian missiles expected to leak through a coalition defense.
The day-to-day planning for dealing with Iran’s missile force falls to the U.S. Strategic Command in Omaha. In June 2004, Rumsfeld alerted the command to be prepared to implement CONPLAN 8022, a global strike plan that includes Iran. CONPLAN 8022 calls for bombers and missiles to be able to act within 12 hours of a presidential order. The new task force, sources have told me, mostly worries that if it were called upon to deliver “prompt” global strikes against certain targets in Iran under some emergency circumstances, the president might have to be told that the only option is a nuclear one. William Arkin, Washington Post, 16 April 2006)
“Shock and Awe”
US military planning includes specific roles to be performed by NATO and Israel in the event of an attack on Iran. The German navy is deployed formally un der a UN mandate in the Eastern Mediterranean. NATO bases in Europe would also be involved.
Documented by Global Research, extensive war games were conducted since last Summer by Iran and its allies of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, including Russia and China. In turn, the US has conducted war games off the Iranian coastline.
What is now being contemplated by Washington is an overwhelming use of military force in retaliation to Iran’s alleged non-compliance. This of course is the pretext, the justification for waging war. The Pentagon has also contemplated retaliating against Iran in the case of second 9/11 attack, which it characterizes as both an opportunity “which is lacking” and a justification to going after “known targets”.
This plan is predicated on the possibility of a Second 911 and the need to retaliate if and when the US is attacked:
“A third plan sets out how the military can both disrupt and respond to another major terrorist strike on the United States. It includes lengthy annexes that offer a menu of options for the military to retaliate quickly against specific terrorist groups, individuals or state sponsors depending on who is believed to be behind an attack. Another attack could create both a justification and an opportunity that is lacking today to retaliate against some known targets, according to current and former defense officials familiar with the plan.
This plan details “what terrorists or bad guys we would hit if the gloves came off. The gloves are not off,” said one official, who asked not to be identified because of the sensitivity of the subject. (italics added, WP 23 April 2006)
The presumption of this military document, is that a Second 911 attack “which is lacking today” would usefully create both a “justification and an opportunity” to wage war on “some known targets [Iran and Syria]”.
Press reports in the Middle East confirm that the planned air strikes are by no means limited to Iran’s nuclear facilities. Central Command Headquarters in Florida (CENTCOM) has already selected a comprehensive list of military and civilian targets. Industrial sites, civilian infrastructure including roads, water systems, bridges, electric power plants telecommunications towers, government buildings are part of the assumptions underlying the Blitzkrieg. “A single raid could result in 10,000 targets being hit with warplanes flying from the Us and Diego Garcia” (Gulf News, 21 Feb 2007)
Meanwhile, the US has been mustering support for its agenda following the holding of a regional Security Conference in the UAE.
Military planners are said to favor the use of conventional weapons. The use of tactical nuclear weapons, which are now part of the Middle East war theater arsenal, are not contemplated at least in the first round of the US sponsored Blitzkrieg. However, the fact nuclear weapons are acknowledged as a possible choice in the conventional war theater is indicative that their use is an integral part of military planning.
If Iran were to respond to US attacks in the form of targeted strikes on US military facilities in the Iraq and the Gulf States, the war will escalate to the entire region and the US could retaliate in the form of “pre-emptive” nuclear attacks on Iran. The most likely scenario is that Iran, in the logic of its own military planning, would respond to US attacks as well as deploy ground forces inside occupied Iraq.
Three strike groups including the Stennis, the Eisenhower and the Nimitz are being deployed in the Persian Gulf. According to Gulf News, “The Stennis strike group… is now strengthening a high level of US Navy presence in the Gulf. The Stennis and the carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower, already in the region, will soon be joined by the carrier Nimitz. (Gulf News, 21 Feb 2007). According to British military sources, the US navy can put six carriers into battle at a month’s notice.
Redeployment of US Troops
Confirmed by military sources, thousands of US troops are being redeployed from US military facilities in Germany and Italy to undisclosed destinations. One assumes that they are being dispatched to the Middle East war theater in the eventuality that the air strikes will lead into a ground war with Iran.
The Pentagon, contradicting its own statements, has dismissed as “ludicrous” the press reports that the US is planning an all out attack on Iran in the “near term”.
Meanwhile, Iran has launched a three days war games entitled Eghtedar or Grandeur. These exercises which involve naval, air and ground forces are larger than those conducted last Summer. They are slated to take place in 16 out of Iran’s 30 provinces. The stated objective is to establish a state of readiness to defend Iran in the eventuality of a US attack.
The complacency of Western public opinion (including the US anti-war movement) is disturbing. No concern has been expressed at the political level as to the likely consequences of these attacks, which could evolve towards a World War III scenario, with Russia and China siding with Iran. With the exception of the Middle East, the war on Iran and the dangers of escalation are not considered “front page news.” All of which contributes to the real possibility that the war could be carried out, leading to the unthinkable: a nuclear holocaust over a large part of the Middle East. It should be noted that a nuclear nighmare would occur even if nuclear weapons are not used. The bombing of Iran’s nuclear facitlities using conventional weapons would contribute to unleashing a Chernobyl type disaster with extensive radioactive fallout.
Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research