Information Warfare: Battles in the War With Iran

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September 27, 2007: While there's been no invasion of Iran, there has been a lot of Information War type operations against them. For example, all the leaks and punditry over imagined plans to invade Iran have had an impact on the Iranians. Not just the published remarks by Iranian leaders and journalists, but the private, often coded (and decrypted), messages by Iranian officials that get captured by the NSA or CIA. This kind of "information operation" is an ancient tactic, and it's getting more blatant, and interesting with regard to Iran. The best example of that are the recent interviews of U.S. Air Force planners about work being done on, well, how best to attack Iran. These interviews brought attention to an organization within the air force called Operation Checkmate. This was a Cold War era creation, whose job was to, as they like to say in the military, "think outside the box." If you can do that, you can gain the element of surprise. That often is a decisive edge in battle.

On the other hand, surprise is best obtained by keeping your plans secret from the enemy. You want to hit your foe unexpectedly. Discussing openly that you are working on radical new techniques for attacking is giving the game away. Or is it? Maybe someone in the Pentagon has been paying close attention to what's going on inside Iran. The ruling clerical junta is composed of some very smart, and very insecure, people. There are also a lot of paranoid types. So bringing up Operation Checkmate, and its legendary capacity for creating unexpected tactics, is meant to freak out the easily frightened among the Iranian clerical establishment. Of particular interest will be what is said in private, and what Iranian military decisions that leads to. It is known that there is a major disagreement in the Iranian government over military strategy. On one extreme there are those who believe in, basically, guerilla tactics. Rather than fight the invader toe-to-toe, create a swamp of Islamic terrorists. At the other extreme are those who want to build up a conventional military force. The clerics have compromised, and given support to both camps. As a practical matter, the "modern military" crowd are just getting window dressings, as there isn't enough money to do it right. The "guerillas" are better liked by the clerics, because religious fanaticism is involved. But even the most pious Iranian leaders has a fear of what kind of surprises the Americans might come up with. So going public with Operations Checkmate is stirring the pot, and scaring the hell out of who would like all Americans dead.

 


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