Friday, December 30, 2011

Velayat E 90!


Way back in the last millennium, when Europa still enjoyed open combat amidst and amongst themselves, certain opportunities led Great Britain's Admiralty, led by the ever avuncular Sir Winnie, to semi sorta think up an end run around those naughty Central Powers.

A surprise Royal Naval hi jinkery designed to knock out the Ottomans using RN's ubiquitous abilities to sweetly amphib sev British army Corps right into Dardanelles Straits.

Threading certain straight jacketed straits with the most expensive and deadliest water borne war craft ever created came crashing down in catastrophe at a place called Gallipoli.

As GsGf"s Royal Navy expert shares:

Battleships like HMS' Irresistible, Ocean, Majestic and Triumph were sank by mines or uboats. The French BB Bouvet was lost and even Fisher's "Greyhound of the Sea" the awesome battlelicious Battle Cruiser HMS Inflexible suffered a near death experience.

Almost a quarter of a million ANZAC troops would die in vain over the next year, without once breaking out of their beach head trenches.

Could such ancientful Straits chiz get swerved and served up in the new millennium?

Dang strait!!

Persia's gay free (totally) Preacher Command Grand Ayatollah flotilla Revo Guard Naval cats plot to close up the Hormuz Straits invites hot looks and slippery touches to the tender, sensitive Naval portions of the Dardanelles Campaign and shameless comparison with the Straits of Hormuz.
Iran has been building its military options. The Iranian navy during the time of the Shah focused on conventional capabilities. Iran's modern navy consists of both its regular navy and a naval component of its Revolutionary Guard Corps, the latter of which has strongly focused on the development of asymmetric capabilities. This focus was largely born of the Iran-Iraq War (and, more specifically, during the Tanker War of 1984-1988), when Iran attempted to control shipping through the SoH. 

To do this, Iran used both conventional attacks (naval gunfire and anti-ship cruise missiles) and asymmetric tactics (sea mines and small boat attacks). As a result of lessons learned by Iran at the hands of the United States Navy (Operation Praying Mantis') and an inability to procure a first-rate conventional navy, asymmetric tactics became the basis for much of Iran's modern naval doctrine.
 Naval doc doc doctrine like use of convent"l weapons in unconvent"l ways, capitalizing on the strengths of, uh, atypical assets, like swiftness, maneuverahility, and stealth of small craft, to target the sluggish weaknesses of more typical naval assets and conceptualizing concepts such as mass attacks, in which assets leverage large numbers to overwhelm their targets. 

And even better -
Finally, for Iran, asymmetric warfare uniquely includes concepts of a revolutionary spirit, jihad, and martyrdom
 Iran has several u boats - 3 Kilo class, 7 Yono class and one tiny tiny Nahang class midget u boat.
Most likely intended to be used for mine-laying, as well as special and anti-shipping operations. Iran also has a recently expanded torpedo capability.
Although Iran does have a small number of conventional surface ships such as corvettes and missile boats, it has also built or acquired many small- and medium-size fastattack craft (FAC). These FACs typically have the capability to carry armaments such as heavy machine guns or rocket launchers, as well as torpedoes and anti-ship missiles. Some are also equipped to act as covert minelayers. Iran would likely use these small boats as "swarms" in order to overwhelm a larger ship's defenses.
Persian missile stocks may be her Hormuzzing projectilin' pièce de résistance
Variants of the Chinese Silkworm missile; extended-range variants of the Rad missile (a follow-on to the Seersucker) that can perform evasive maneuvers and carry warheads up to 500 kg (1000 lbs); the Noor missile, which is an upgraded version of the Chinese C-802 and is deployed in mobile batteries along Iran's coast and islands; and the diverse Kosar series of small ASCMs which are reportedly truck-mounted and deployed on Iran's Gulf islands. 
With this suite of missiles, Iran can target any part of the SoH, and much of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman as well. Iran also maintains a number of rocket systems (some of which are gyro-stabilized for use on boats), as well as shore-based artillery rockets (the Fajr series).
Many of these systems would be based along the relatively mountainous Iranian coastline, which lends itself well to the shielding and bunkering of such assets.
Iran also has a stock pile of or over 2k sea mines of every imaginable type.

So, all in all - how credible is Preacher Command's threat to take the Ho out of Hormuz?
Iran has constructed a navy with considerable asymmetric and other capabilities designed specifically to be used in an integrated way to conduct area denial operations in the Persian Gulf and SoH, and they routinely exercise these capabilities and issue statements of intent to use them. This combination of capabilities and expressed intent does present a credible threat to internat"l shipping in the Strait. Further, it provides Iran with a level of deterrence for hostile action against it.
Would Iran really really be hot to really really wanna close down the straits? 1st glance the economics seem to go all the way Persia's way.
Worst-case results would be a more-than doubling of the price of crude oil; a decrease in U.S. gross domestic product of more than $161 billion, and a decline in real disposable personal income of more than $260 billion, over the course of the following year; and a loss of more than a million U.S. jobs over the following year and a half.
The economics swing both ways tho -
Iran itself is the second-largest exporter of oil among OPEC countries, with roughly two-thirds of its annual revenue coining from oil exports. Thus, blocking the Strait would significantly hurt Iran's economy as well. And, although Iran does have large foreign exchange reserves, these are much smaller than in neighboring nations. And Iran has a large, restive population that, in the past, has reacted negatively to economic hardships
Plus - 
Internat'l maritime law says passage through straits, even if they are entirely within a country's territorial waters, must be unimpeded and at no cost. Thus, any closure of the SoH by Iran would immediately and rightly be considered a casus belli
With all of the above taken into account, it seems likely that Iran would not offensively attempt to close the SoH, but, if it were attacked and wished to retaliate and/or escalate a conflict, an attempted closure remains a possibility.
 Could Iran actually close up the strait of Hormuz?

Not for long!
"Iran could not 'close the Gulf for more than a few days to two weeks even if it was willing to sacrifice all of these naval assets, suffer massive retaliation, and potentially lose many of its own oil facilities and export revenues. Its chronic economic mismanagement has made it extremely dependent on a few refineries, product imports, and food imports. It would almost certainly lose far more than it gained from such a “war."
 An especial counter in smashing fashion warns it could take up to 112 days to unAss all the mines Iran could spew before her navy and missile sites were annihilated 
If Iran were able to properly link all their capabilities, it could halt or impede traffic in the Strait of Hormuz for a month or more. U.S. attempts to reopen the waterway likely would escalate rapidly into sustained, large-scale air and naval operations during which Iran could impose significant economic and military costs on the United States—even if Iranian operations were not successful in truly closing the strait.
Hmmm - maybe so. Iran could also imposes significant PO abilities on other innocent bystander cats:
It is likely that most countries worldwide would support the use of force to protect the strait for two reasons; firstly, because most of the Gulf oil goes to the majority of Asian countries through this route, most notably China, Japan and India, in addition to European countries, which would support a war to protect the strait – if the need arose. 
Sooo, loss of cash, naval forces, rocketry stocks and getting dissed in the internat'l side of things as well -why cause is Iran always going on about shuttin down Hormuz?
The answer is that Iran gains more from the existence of their threat than they would by actually carrying it out.

Pic - "Operational art consists of space, time, and force factors, and, in the case of closing a maritime strait, these factors tend to favor the actor attempting to close it"