Thursday, September 07, 2006

Offshoring Iran's Oil Revenues

On top of all the other indignities the Long War strategy has imposed on ordinary American citizens, we face offshored jobs. But as JR Dunn points out, if America starts doing the offshoring, we could defund the mullahs quite easily:

* Oil – Another open secret involves the actual locations of Iranian oilfields. A glance at a resource map reveals that most are located on or near the shoreline, with a smaller though still substantial fraction further inland. Most of Iran’s oil resources could be interdicted by naval action. But the most interesting point is that the largest fields aren’t located in Iran at all. They’re offshore, in the middle of the Gulf which, since 1988, has been completely controlled by the U.S. Navy.

Not only can the U.S. cut Iran off from the bulk of its oil resources with little in the way of effort – it’s also possible, by taking over working oil platforms, that Iranian oil could continue flowing to the outside world with little interruption, negating one of the more serious objections to such a strategy. Many fields are run by foreign third parties (e.g., the Romanian installation the Iranians attacked so inexplicably), but a number of these are either allies or else states long deserving some kind of black eye.

Without oil revenues, Iran's regime poses no threat. They can't buy parts for their nuclear programs on their good looks, nor can they get weapons with their literary royalties. Sure, it would be nice to personally liberate the Ahwazi Arabs from their Persian overlords, and then let the Kurds, Azeris, Baluchis and all the other oppressed minorities go their own way when imperial Teheran loses the wherewithal to continue subjugating them. But denying the mullahs oil revenues is the way to turn the Long War into a Short War, and if we can do that by just taking over the offshore installations and using our control of the sea to enforce rules about how any Iranian regime spends revenues from onshore production, that would do the trick.

Of course, the Shia wing of Islamic radicalism isn't the only group that's declared terror on the West. We'd need to apply the same formula to Saudi Arabia's Sunni terror masters. Does anyone out there know if JR Dunn is right about the bulk of production for Iran, and if the same applies to Saudi Arabia now? I know the big fields initially were onshore there, just as much as they were in the Gulf of Mexico. Are all the big Persian Gulf fields offshore now?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

War Planning

Goesh notes "The only difference between dictators with money and those without, is the former stays in power much much longer." If Captain Ed took that into account, then his statement "As far as war planning goes, all people need to know is that Iran is not Iraq..." would be much more optimistic.

Iraq does consist of mostly flat and open country except in the north, and while Iran doesn't have a lot of open, flat country for easy military maneuvering, it does have open flat country where it counts, the place where all the oil (and the mullahs' money) comes from -- Khuzestan province. Iran also has natural allies for us where it counts -- the Shia Arabs of Ahwaz ( who are not Persians, like the mullahs) make natural allies for our military operations in Khuzestan province.

While most of Iran, three times the size of Iraq, is dominated by mountainous terrain, we don't need most of Iran. We need the oil fields and the Straits of Hormuz. Any war on Iran that concentrated on their centers of gravity, ignoring the other parts of the country that would die on the vine once we have the oil, would take a only small fraction the number of American troops we needed for Iraq, and could be done with small airlift and sealift operations quite within our immediate capacity. The mountains start where the oilfields end, and any attempt by the mullahs to surge out of the mountains would be slaughtered from the air.

We would only need a massive build-up in the region if we were to take all of Iran. But all of Iran doesn't matter. Khuzestan matters. No oil, no money. No money, no nukes. A takeover of Khuzestan province would come as a complete surprise, because the mullahs' think we could not stand the left's global opprobrium of a war for oil. Well, even heavily criticized, a war for oil beats not outracing the Iranians in their quest for nuclear weapons.