09/28/2002 | Serhiy Hrysch
Jordan Trying To Neutralize Threats Ahead of U.S. War
27 September 2002


The U.S. war against Iraq -- when it comes -- will trigger instability throughout the Middle East and will be especially unsettling for Baghdad's Arab neighbors. Jordan, for one, will come under pressure from many corners.


Once a U.S. war against Iraq starts, many Middle Eastern governments will be under enormous pressure, especially Jordan. Facing problems concerning its oil supply, political opposition and potential infiltration by Iraqi agents, the tiny kingdom will maneuver in the coming days to neutralize potential threats. Although it is too early to say what the outcome will be, the opposition likely will respond with its own efforts to counter the government.

A key pressure point, and one that will define Jordan's relationship with its neighbors, is the country's oil supply. Right now Jordan depends heavily upon cheap Iraqi oil. Baghdad provides the kingdom with an estimated 102,000 barrels of oil per day, about half of it for free, reports the U.S. Department of Energy's Energy Information Administration. Replacing those supplies during a U.S. war against Iraq could cost the Jordanian government as much as $50,000 a day, according to some estimates.

The New York-based daily Newsday, quoting Western diplomats and Jordanian officials, recently reported that the United States has agreed to replace Jordan's oil supplies from Iraq in exchange for permission for U.S. forces to use the country as a base for conducting operations in western Iraq. Striking such a deal with Washington, however, could put the government into a difficult position domestically.

: http://www.stratfor.com/fib/fib_view.php?ID=206458


  • 2002.09.28 | Serhiy Hrysch

    Air Force Exercises May Help Pretoria Expand Influence

    Air Force Exercises May Help Pretoria Expand Influence
    20 September 2002


    The Southern African Development Community will hold joint air force training exercises in Zambia next year. The exercises will give South Africa -- which has the region's dominant air force -- an opportunity to expand its role as regional security guarantor.


    Air forces from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) -- whose 14 members include Angola, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe -- will hold joint training exercises in Zambia in July or August of next year. The exercises will focus on disaster relief and will include command and control and logistical cooperation, South African daily News24 reported Sept. 16

    Eleven of the SADC countries will attend the exercises, but few have modern air forces and it's likely most will simply observe or work closely with South Africa, which maintains a modernized and up-to-date air force. Although Angola and Zimbabwe also have large air forces, their own internal conflicts have strained these resources.

    Even the host nation is unlikely to be flying many planes. According to sources in Africa, the Zambian air force has been largely grounded due to a lack of parts and a high rate of HIV/AIDS among pilots.

    Thus, South Africa's air force likely will dominate the exercises, and Pretoria may exploit the opportunity to demonstrate its military superiority to the regional states and move to expand its role as regional security guarantor.

  • 2002.09.28 | Serhiy Hrysch

    Rumsfeld Indicates Nuclear Status Key to Pre-Emption Policy

    Rumsfeld Indicates Nuclear Status Key to Pre-Emption Policy
    19 September 2002


    During a press briefing Sept. 16, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said North Korea has nuclear weapons. His comment, made while answering why Washington is not considering a pre-emptive strike on North Korea, suggests the U.S. military will attack a country to prevent it from getting nuclear weapons, but will not attack if it already has such arms. This distinction may encourage countries like Iraq to do just what Washington fears most: demonstrate a credible nuclear threat to avoid being attacked.


    U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was asked Sept. 16 during a press briefing to explain why it is that Iraq, which is developing weapons of mass destruction, is a potential target of a U.S. pre-emptive strike but the two other members of the "axis of evil" -- North Korea and Iran -- are not. Rumsfeld's answer was not entirely clear, but one notable comment he made was that North Korea "has nuclear weapons."

    This was quite a remark in and of itself. Washington has wavered continually on North Korea's nuclear capabilities, alternating between warning that Pyongyang is capable of producing one or two crude nuclear weapons and saying the country already possesses one or two nuclear devices. Rumsfeld apparently has laid the debate to rest, stating clearly that Pyongyang does have nuclear weapons in its arsenal.

    What is just as interesting is the idea that North Korea, a nuclear state and, according to Rumsfeld, "one of the world's worst proliferators" of ballistic missiles and missile technology, is not a potential target of U.S. strikes, yet Iraq is despite the fact that it has no missiles capable of threatening the mainland United States and has yet to develop or obtain nuclear weapons. If pushed to the wall, North Korea potentially could launch a nuclear strike at U.S. troop concentrations in neighboring countries or even at the United States itself. Iraq, however, can do no such thing.

  • 2002.09.28 | Serhiy Hrysch

    Iraq War Plans I: Aims, Perceptions and Issues

    Iraq War Plans I: Aims, Perceptions and Issues
    Sep 09, 2002

    All wars begin with war plans. Behind all war plans are war aims. Normally, the simpler the war aim, the greater the likelihood of success. The United States has quite complex war aims compared to Iraq. This is due partly to the complexity of the mission and partly to the high degree of confidence the American military has in itself. Paradoxically, the same operations that are the basis for U.S. confidence also are fueling an Iraqi sense of confidence.


    Clausewitz teaches that the best war plans are the ones with the simplest goals: In situations where there are complex goals, the best plans are those which can identify a single center of gravity, where success can be leveraged to achieve more complex war aims without the diffusion of forces and effort. The more war aims you have, the more difficult they are to achieve and the more likely they are to be contradictory and self-defeating.

    Therefore, the main goal is always to reduce the number of war aims to only the essential. Once this is achieved, a single enabling point -- a center of gravity -- must be identified that, if won or destroyed, will yield all other benefits.

    The problem with American war aims in Iraq is that they are numerous, and they are complex. Six distinct aims can be identified already:

    1. Replace Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein's regime with one compatible with American interests.
    2. Maintain the territorial integrity of Iraq so that it remains a counterweight to Iran, and so that nationalist ambitions by ethnic Kurds in northern Iraq do not disrupt U.S.-Turkish relations.
    3. Eliminate the threat of weapons of mass destruction by having total direct access to all of Iraq.
    4. Change the perception of American effectiveness in the Islamic world.
    5. Destroy collaboration between Iraq and al Qaeda.
    6. Minimize U.S. casualties.

    Aims 1, 2 and 6 stand in tremendous tension with one another. Replacing Hussein's regime inevitably will threaten the territorial integrity of Iraq, unless the United States directly commits massive forces. That risks rising casualties. But without ensuring territorial integrity, aims 3, 4 and 5 will be imperiled. This is the war-planning problem the United States must solve.

    The complexity of Washington's aims contrasts dramatically with Iraq's single goal: regime survival. For Hussein, the mere survival of his regime will constitute a victory. For the United States, simply destroying his regime does not guarantee success.

    For Washington to achieve all of its goals, it needs not so much the destruction of the Iraqi armed forces as the destruction of the senior leadership of the Hussein regime, and its rapid replacement by an authority capable of both maintaining control of Iraq's territory and securing its weapons of mass destruction.

    Therefore, the U.S. strategy must have two key elements: The first is the rapid isolation and destruction of Iraq's national command authority. The second is the rapid generation of a credible replacement.

    If the first goal is achieved without the second, then territorial integrity cannot be guaranteed, complete intelligence about and control of Iraqi WMD cannot be assured, al Qaeda's presence in Iraq cannot be eliminated and the perception of U.S. effectiveness in the Islamic world may not be enhanced. Any outcome in which regime destruction is not rapidly effected endangers the U.S. mission, as does any outcome in which regime destruction does not set the stage for rapid achievement of the other goals.

    Therefore, U.S. aims must be built on the confidence that the Iraqi national command authority can be rapidly eliminated, that an able command authority can replace it and that the Iraqi armed forces will not resist effectively.

    For its part, Iraq's war plans must be built upon two pillars: First, Iraq must assure that the regime can survive the initial assault. Second, as a deterrent, it must create conditions that reduce the likelihood that any of the other U.S. goals can be achieved if Washington does destroy the regime.

    All war plans are built on a core foundation: the perception of one's own capabilities and those of the enemy. In this case, it is vital to understand that both combatants will approach the war with fairly high estimates of their own capabilities. What makes this fascinating is that Washington and Baghdad achieve their perceptions through a reading of the same facts:

    The American Perception

    In recent years the United States has gained experience and confidence in power projection. In Panama, Kuwait, Haiti, Bosnia, Kosovo and Afghanistan, the United States has been able to impose its will in extremely short time frames and with minimal casualties. With the exception of Somalia, which was driven by political rather than military considerations, the U.S. military has used its advanced technology, combined with small numbers of Special Operations troops supported by infantry for holding ground, to impose satisfactory low-cost solutions. The United States perceives Iraq as inherently unstable, with outmoded armed forces, and therefore ripe for a devastating attack.

    The Iraqi Perception

    Hussein has experienced defeat by the United States before and has survived. The Iraqis know that the U.S. military will open with devastating air attacks, but they think that they can survive those attacks and that the United States will decline a high-intensity conflict on the ground. From Iraq's point of view, the United States has failed consistently to achieve its political goals because it has been unwilling and unable to follow initial successes with sufficient ground forces.

    With the exceptions of Panama and Haiti, both in the Western Hemisphere, the United States has consistently failed to bring conflicts to definitive conclusions. In Iraq, the U.S. military seized a significant but peripheral region -- Kuwait -- while refusing to attack Iraq proper. In Afghanistan, the United States took control of the cities but refused to commit sufficient forces to impose a solution on the countryside. Where it has forces present, such as in Kosovo, it operates in a coalition that prevents effective imposition of power. The United States has a great opening game, but it has no follow-through. Therefore, the Iraqi view is that if they can survive the initial attack, the advantage will shift to them.

    Different Conclusions

    The same events cause the Americans and Iraqis to come to completely different conclusions. What is for the United States a model of effective military operations is from the Iraqi perspective a consistent record of unwillingness to bear the costs of follow-on operations. Obviously, these are some of the reasons why wars occur: If the United States didn't think it could take Iraq, it wouldn't try. If Hussein didn't think he could survive an attack, he would be looking for an exit strategy.

    Each side thinks it can win. This fact conditions the framework of this possible war. Each side also has a core operational problem that cuts directly to the heart of its war-making system:

    The Iraqi Problem

    Iraq has a substantial armored and mechanized force. It expects to lose its ability to communicate with its dispersed forces very early in the war. The logical solution is to delegate command and control authority to lower echelons. As the Americans destroy communications, regional commanders must be granted the authority to give orders to their forces without recourse to higher command.

    This military requirement flies in the face of Iraq's political system. Hussein's power is built on direct control of the armed forces and on minimizing the freedom of his regional commanders to maneuver. The U.S. military will take advantage of this. If regional commanders are left free to operate, Washington will attempt to reach political accommodations with commanders. This will neutralize their threat while retaining their power to support a new regime. If, on the other hand, Hussein refuses to devolve command, the armed forces will be paralyzed and destroyed. Hussein must solve this problem. He must devolve power while guaranteeing that his forces will use that authority to resist the United States.

    The American Problem

    A terrific argument is taking place within the U.S. Defense establishment, one that has been misinterpreted by the media as an argument between "hawks and doves." On the one side are those in the Air Force and the Joint Special Operations Command who argue that U.S. war aims can be achieved by using precision air strikes and Special Operations teams. On the other side is the U.S. Army, which argues that an attack on Iraq will require the commitment of multiple armored and mechanized divisions that alone can exploit the opportunities created by the Air Force.

    Two completely different models of war fighting are thus competing for supremacy. The Air Force/JSOC argument looks at a triumphant history of air warfare over the past 15 years or so. The Army, not dissimilar to Hussein's perception, takes a much more jaundiced view of these achievements. Those in the Army argue, for example, that the Air Force was much less effective in Kosovo than it claims and that only a heavy presence in Iraq can guarantee the broader war aims.

    The United States must craft a strategy that chooses between the two sides. The tradition is that a compromise will be found, but this potentially could create a situation in which insufficient air power is used along with insufficient ground forces.

    The Dilemma for Both Sides

    The American war-planning dilemma is how to leverage its superb advantage in incapacitating Iraqi command and control systems into a strategy that achieves the enabler for all other war aims: control over an integrated, pacified Iraq without a war of attrition. The Iraqi war-planning dilemma is how to devolve command to lower echelons without allowing the Americans an opening for piecemeal negotiations that could lead to Iraqi capitulation.

    The American problem is this: If the expectation that regional commanders will capitulate is not realized, then the U.S. military will have a daunting follow-on task. Hussein is counting on three things:

    1. His ability to confuse American intelligence will allow him and his senior commanders to survive the first assault.
    2. The devolution of command will not lead to the capitulation of all regional forces and that some major attritional battles will be fought.
    3. He will retain control over Baghdad through low-tech communications solutions, and that regardless of what happens in the countryside, the U.S. military will neither directly assault Baghdad nor will it be able, for political reasons, to impose an extended siege.

    The United States must so disrupt Iraq's command and control system early in the campaign that Hussein or his successor will be incapable of any coherent resistance, but a disruption of this magnitude could result in such demoralization that mass capitulation takes place. The Iraqis must survive the first phase of the attack with sufficient capabilities in place to mount a defense of Baghdad and additional cities and regions, forcing the United States into an extended campaign that strains its coalition to the breaking point, places tremendous stress on logistics and manpower and, finally, creates a crisis of confidence in Washington.

    To put it simply, the United States is counting on a collapse of the regime in a sequence that permits Washington to avoid uncontrollable chaos. Iraq is counting on the failure of the United States to completely destroy its resistance and is expecting that the United States will repeat its history of ineffective endgames.

    In this chess game, the United States appears to have the first move. Washington is counting on the opening moves and the endgame to coincide. Hussein is counting on surviving the opening moves long enough to create a separate and distinct endgame.

    In STRATFOR's view, Washington has four basic strategic options that could stand alone or be melded into a combined strategy:

    1. Operation Desert Stun: a sudden, overwhelming attack on the center using air power and Special Forces designed to force a rapid conclusion to the war.
    2. Operation Desert Slice: a sequential attack on the various regions of Iraq designed to segment and stabilize the countryside, isolating Hussein in Baghdad.
    3. Operation Desert Storm II: an extended air campaign designed to cripple Iraq militarily and economically.
    4. Operation Desert Thunder: a multi-divisional armored and mechanized attack on Baghdad.

    If one thinks of these less as distinct operations than as potential components of a single plan, then the American strategy and Iraq's potential counter operations will unfold.


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