VAdm (retd.) Vijay Shankar
Keywords: IAEA and Iran, Iran Oil Exports, UN Iran Sanctions, Strait of Hormuz, Asymmetric Warfare, Denial Strategy
This article was first published on Defence and Security Alterts (dsalerts.org) in March 2012 and reposted on GlobalDefence.net in May 2012.
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A war has begun in Iran; a combination of covert action, economic sanctions, political isolation and the threat of military pre-emption have not just crippled the Iranian economy but have checkmated Iran’s war waging potential. The threat of unleashing an asymmetric conflict is more pressure tactics than a credible denial strategy. Critical aspect is assessing Iran’s ability to close the Gulf as threatened periodically. Iran and especially the naval elements of its Revolutionary Guard Corps, has sought to develop a unique denial naval force based largely upon flotillas of fast, attack crafts backed up by a variety of crafts capable of laying mines, conventional and midget submarines. These are supported by shore-based anti-shipping missiles, aircraft, rockets and artillery all with rudimentary command and control. However they are not equipped materially nor technologically for any sustained denial operations when up against US and coalition forces. What they could achieve is disruption through low level sporadic attacks on shipping. Whether Iran has the political sagacity to cope with the current situation without giving opportunity for the US to take recourse to arms is a moot question. And what of the strategy of despair: terror?
Whether Iran has the political sagacity to cope with the current situation without giving opportunity for the US to take recourse to arms is a moot question, for if it does not it goes the Libya-Iraq way. In the meantime nations like India must cultivate alternate energy sources in preparation for the contingency when its energy lines from Iran are severely disrupted.
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