Attacking, Eyes Shut Tight

For some background, here’s an article I wrote back in March 2003. I still think there is a high chance the US may lose its entire army in Iraq, and all of their fleet in the Gulf. ‘Lose’ as in either killed outright, or captured as hostages. This potential has been present since the start of the Gulf War, and I was surprised back then when it didn’t happen. Now though… I can see the logic. The longer the opponents of the USA hold back the end-game moves, the more damage the USA has done in the meantime to their international standing, and the more the world will cheer on the humiliating defeat of the US military. Not to mention, that no sane person wants to take the first steps towards initiating WWIII.

If the US were to lose its present Gulf fleet (for instance to Russian made Yakhont anti-ship missiles fired from Iran), then they will lose the Gulf war, and most of their land combat forces in Iraq as well. Another article, ‘Iraq – A Gulf Too Far’, discusses this, and how it might come about, as well as the details of the Yakhont.

Researching, it turns out that China and India definately have Yakhonts or equivalents, and India now has its own production line. It also appears very likely that Iran has them – but they are keeping quiet about it.

Now this interesting news:

Russian Navy will deploy to the Arabian Sea:
http://sergib.agava.ru/russia/chelomei/p/800/yahont.htm

Or here:
http://www.netmarine.net/armes/missiles/russie.htm

Nice picture of a Russian warship. And whats that mounted on the side there? Why, those would be Yakhont launchers, going by their size. What’s the bet there’s been a lot of those fitted lately to the non-US warships headed for the gulf.

I’ll say it again – looks to me like quite a lot of parties interested in current events in Iraq are waiting quietly by, till the US has committed all available ground forces to the land war, and used up most of its armaments reserve. Then, expect to see some surprise naval developments, resulting in loss of most US airpower in the region.

Iran, Syria, Russia, China, India and North Korea would all like to take a bite out of US hubris. Germany, France and a few others may well position their forces in close proximity to those actually attacking US units, as part of a strategy to discourage the US from responding with nuclear force. The US administration has managed to blacken its name so badly in the last year, that such widespread and determined opposition is now a possibility.

Furthermore, given the absolute lack of defence of US warships against this weapon, and obvious drawbacks of littering the Persian gulf with radiation- leaking aircraft carrier wrecks, a strategy of limited ‘demonstration’ attacks, followed by forced surrender of the remaining US warships present seems to be the most likely scenario.

Notice that no one has supplied Iraq with ground to air missiles able to engage high altitude and attack bombers? Despite that being well within the capabilities of the Russians, who have been (despite their denials) providing quite a lot of other material support. Given the otherwise strong similarities to an ‘inverted’ replay of the Russian occupation of Afghanistan, you’d have expected such missiles to turn up. But they have not. Why?

Perhaps because challenging the US dominance of the skys early on, would have made them cautious? While what is wanted is a US administration maddened by Iraqi resistance, but still overconfident of their invincibility? A US military being directed by old, rigid-minded civilians who just don’t get it, that new missile technologies have radically altered the real (as opposed to traditional) balance of naval power. On which depends their air power, and thence all power.

There doesn’t seem to be any way out of this. One could hope the US people would rise up immediately, overthrowing their now clearly demented government, and then rapidly withdrawing their forces from the Gulf. Hopefully this would thwart the inhuman plans of those who imagine they will benefit from massive carnage in Arabia.

However, that hasn’t happened yet, and so likely isn’t going to happen at all. It seems the US media is too well controlled, its propaganda effective enough to keep the American average Joe happily waving the flag and cheering on their troops.

What a mighty fall it will be.

Guy Dunphy, 20030403
Permission granted to copy freely if unaltered.

Iraq – A Gulf Too Far
“He whom the Gods would destroy, they first make proud.”

“We can only thank God for having air dominance!”
Commander of the US 15th Marines Exp. Corps Col. Thomas Waldhauser

“If you go down to the woods today, you’ll get a big surprise!”

Air dominance. The US always has air dominance. They assume it, they require it, their troops’ lives depend on it. Long supply lines? No problem, send in the A10s and Apaches! Innaccessible terrain? Simple- drop in some parachute divisions, set up an airfield, Bob’s your uncle. Enemy tank divisions, artillery fire, give them some B52 pounding. Command bunkers, ammunition stores, get some precision-guided munitions in there. No worries!

This time, a lot of that air dominance depends on the US Navy, and the six or seven aircraft carrier groups present in and near the Persian Gulf. The US has a few land air bases in the area – Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Quatar, etc. None of those would be usable if there was a sudden shift of allegences in the Arabic nations of the Gulf. It would all fall back to dependence on the aircraft carriers, and long range bombers operating from Britain and perhaps the Pacific.

Since the development of Close-In Weapons Systems (CIWS) such as the Sea Whiz, and battle group co-operative targeting of incoming threats with anti-missiles, and anti-submarine systems, the carrier battle group has been considered a fairly defensible unit.

The Americans, of course, take this dependence to extremes. They base their whole campaign, and lives of their ground troops, on the assumption that nothing can touch their carriers. After all, every other military engagement since the second world war has demonstrated the power and invulnerability of aircraft carrier groups. The Americans are very proud of their carriers.

The question is, are they about to fall into a trap, formed of their own pride, and weapons technology advance? Are their carriers invulnerable?

There is a fairly recently developed Russian military system, which may well have some relevence to this conflict, and which isn’t being mentioned in the media. Or anywhere much I can see, other than a few obscure web sites. Perhaps some reader may know a little more of it, and inform us all.

The thing in question is the Yakhont, a Russian anti-shipping missile. I first read of this at http://kursk.strana.ru/english/archive/978617257.html It is also mentioned a few other places on the web, including Jane’s. Found one (smallish) picture, as well as a bit about its predecessor, the Shipwreck missile. The US Navy feared the Shipwreck. Yakhont is a greatly improved successor to Shipwreck, and appears to be extremely hard to counter. It is a stealthy, supersonic (over 2x speed of sound), fire-and-forget, inertially guided missile, that follows a versatile, evasive path, approaches its target low to the water, and does not use its terminal targeting radar till 15 seconds before impact. Range is 300 to 120Km, depending on type of trajectory. It uses a compact, light launcher, able to mount on vehicles, small boats and planes. Three launchers fit in the space of one older Shipwreck launcher. It is said to be relatively cheap, designed to conform to international weapons treaties, and intended for general sale. Possibly, for more than a year, Russia has been selling these to all buyers, specifically including ‘middle eastern countries’.

Such weapons obsolete the concept of warships, even aircraft carrier battle groups. These things would hit before a ship could even sound general quarters. Quoting the article: “No navy in the world has effective means against the Russian missile.”

Why I think this is significant in the present Gulf crisis: * The kursk.strana.ru article is over a year old, and mentions probable sales of many of the missiles to middle eastern countries.

* That article seems to be the only ‘non-Kursk’ item on that site, which is otherwise entirely dedicated to the story of the Kursk. It is placed adjacent to another article that seems to suggest the Russian military now again suspect the Kursk was attacked, rather than simply had an accident.

See http://kursk.strana.ru/english/archive/974806673.html

This placement suggests the Yakhont article could be a subtle message?

· Many top political & military leaders were onboard the Kursk, including personal friends of Putin. Not likely to be forgiven. Guess who Russia most likely suspects.
* Russia has oil agreements with Iraq, and has been saying that these are vital to them, and they do not expect the American oil companies to honour the contracts, should the US take over the oil fields.
* Russian diplomats saying things like “US invasion will have gravest consequences” – ‘gravest’ : diplomat-speak for ‘we will fight’?
* Russia recently announced sending many (20+?) warships to the Gulf. Then more recently reported to have cancelled this, and is concentrating now on defence of Russian borders against possible US attacks. How many Russian warships are armed with Yakhont launchers?
* There are also the Russian Skvaal and later supersonic torpedoes to consider, in that these have similarly revolutionary implications for naval strategy. That is, they also render large warships indefensible and hence obsolete.
* Iraq refused to destroy their 157Km range missiles (7Km over UN-imposed limit) and US threatened to attack immediately. Russian minister visits Saddam. Within hours, Iraq agrees to destroy the missiles. What did Russia say to Saddam? Maybe “Don’t worry, they are not important. Just stall them a little longer, while we finish setting up ….” what?
* The US leaders have effectively said that Iran is next on their list. (Fools!) So Iran sees it is best to fight now, rather than later.
· * Iran borders all the way down the eastern side of the Gulf, and thus is within missile range of all the US naval forces in the Gulf.
* The US has at least six carrier groups in and near the Gulf. Over 130 warships. Plus at least one more British carrier group, and several Australian warships. This is the majority of total western naval power, or at least that of the Coalition of the Witless.

KEY QUESTION: Are there Yakhonts in the non-coalition Arabic states surrounding the Persian Gulf and Mediteranian? Particularly Iran? And are the Russian warships sent there fitted with Yakhont launchers?

If there are, then the US and their cohorts may be setting themselves up for the greatest and most humiliating military disaster of all history.

A scenario:

- Iraq uses every diplomatic means available to delay the war start, until there is just time for the US to get itself irretrievably committed, before the weather turns against them. (check)
- Russia and Iraq allow US intelligence to build a false image of an Iraq army in poor readiness and low strength. Then just as the US is committing to the battle, Russia commences shipments of advanced and effective anti-armour and anti-air weapons to Iraq. (check)
- US forces encounter heavy opposition deep in Iraq. (check)
- They commit virtually all their available ground forces to the battles, and become totally dependent on air strike support to maintain supply lines. (check)
- Iraq forces have taken lessons from previous Gulf wars, and also from Yugoslav army tactics of resistance to US air power. Lots of decoys, mobile, stealthy forces, secure communications, wait till many targets are present, then switch on the radars after the fighter planes have gone overhead, and the HARMs have all gone for microwave oven decoys. (check)
- Iraq holds most of its heavy armour and professional forces in reserve, waiting till the US forces are extended deep into the Iraqi deserts. (check)
- Bad weather sets in, making operations difficult for US forces unaccustomed and ill-equipped for such conditions. (check)
- In panic, shocked at mounting losses, the US commanders commit virtually all available reserve forces to the battlefield, leaving the command centers vulnerable to local attack. (check)
- Then Iran joins battle, firing Yakhonts at US fleet ships, and either: – takes out virtually all the US Gulf fleet in the space of minutes, or (more cleverly)
– takes out some deliberate subset of the US forces, and announces they have plenty more Yakhonts, and the rest of the US navy will immediately sail to port X, and surrender to Arabic forces. Or be destroyed within the hour. This way, Iraq and Iran have sufficient hostages to prevent the US simply ICBMing them into glass. (They hope)
– US land airbases in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, (Turkey?) etc, are attacked and put out of action (don’t know how.)
- In the meantime, the US ground forces, deprived of almost all air support, are surrounded and beseiged. Their armour runs out of fuel within one day. Gas masks clog in sandstorms, water runs out, etc. They are eventually all either captured or killed, repeating history. (Khartoum, etc.)

The US, deprived of the greater part of its functional navy and army, its oil supply cut off, dollar plummeting, collapses into economic chaos. Bush and his cronies and backers are lynched by armed civilians, who then restore constitutional democratic government and dismantle the state military-industrial-media complex. Regime change in America!

Well anyway, we can dream.

But I would like to hear if anyone knows whether Yakhont is on the market, and how many have been sold, to whom.

If Yakhonts are not yet viable, then I imagine the US leaders think they can win (the oil) in the Gulf. Maybe so. If Yakhonts are there, in quantity, and the US leaders know it, then what are they thinking? Are they mad, or really plotting the deliberate destruction of the USA as a world power? Some people see this as a possibility – part of a larger New World Order scheme to eliminate free nation states (of which the USA is the most stubbornly independent.) A hardly imaginable case: Yakhonts are there, but the US leaders don’t know it, or don’t think it important. But then, this is the ‘maximum hubris before the fall’ case, so perhaps it is not so far fetched.

A book written some years ago – The Sovereign Individual, by Reese Mogg, asserts that the weapons technology of every age determines the kind of social structure that can exist. That every major weapons advance has resulted in a major change of the social heirarchy. Perhaps missiles like Yakhont have become clever enough to effect another such change – the elimination of naval power as a strategic factor.

We shall see. In the next few days, looks like.

Guy Dunphy, 20030326
Permission granted to copy freely if unaltered.

You know the world is crazy when:
* The best rapper is a white guy,
* The best golfer is a black guy,
* The Swiss hold the America’s cup,
* France is accusing the U.S.A of arrogance,
* Germany doesn’t want to go to war,
* Russia is the best source of honest war reports.