Escalation Against Iran
The Pieces Are Being Put in Place
By Col. Sam Gardner
The pieces are moving. They’ll be in place by the end of
February. The United States will be able to escalate
military operations against Iran.
The second carrier strike group leaves the U.S. west
coast on January 16. It will be joined by naval mine
clearing assets from both the United States and the UK.
Patriot missile defense systems have also been ordered
to deploy to the Gulf.
Maybe as a guard against North Korea seeing operations
focused on Iran as a chance to be aggressive, a squadron
of F-117 stealth fighters has just been deployed to
This has to be called escalation. We have to remind
ourselves, just as Iran is supporting groups inside
Iraq, the United States is supporting groups inside
Iran. Just as Iran has special operations troops
operating inside Iraq, we’ve read the United States has
special operations troops operating inside Iran.
Just as Iran is supporting Hamas, two weeks ago we found
out the United States is supporting arms for Abbas. Just
as Iran and Syria are supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon
we’re now learning the White House has approved a
finding to allow the CIA to support opposition groups
inside Lebanon. Just as Iran is supporting Syria, we’ve
learned recently that the United States is going to fund
Syrian opposition groups.
We learned this week the President authorized an attack
on the Iranian liaison office in Irbil.
The White House keeps saying there are no plans to
attack Iran. Obviously, the facts suggest otherwise.
Equally as clear, the Iranians will read what the
Administrations is doing not what it is
It is possible the White House strategy is just
implementing a strategy to put pressure on Iran on a
number of fronts, and this will never amount to
anything. On the other hand, if the White House is on a
path to strike Iran, we’ll see a few more steps unfold.
First, we know there is a National Security Council
group whose mission is to create outrage in the world
against Iran. Just like before Gulf II, this media group
will begin to release stories to sell a strike against
Iran. Watch for the outrage stuff. The Patriot missiles
going to the GCC states are only part of the missile
defense assets. I would expect to see the deployment of
some of the European-based missile defense assets to
Israel, just as they were before Gulf II.
I would expect deployment of additional USAF fighters
into the bases in Iraq, maybe some into Afghanistan.
I think we will read about the deployment of some of the
newly arriving Army brigades going into Iraq being
deployed to the border with Iran. Their mission will be
to guard against any Iranian movements into Iraq.
As one of the last steps before a strike, we’ll see USAF
tankers moved to unusual places, like Bulgaria. These
will be used to refuel the US-based B-2 bombers on their
strike missions into Iran. When that happens, we’ll only
be days away from a strike.
The White House could be telling the truth. Maybe there
are no plans to take Iran to the next level. The fuel
for a fire is in place, however. All we need is a spark.
The danger is that we have created conditions that could
lead to a Greater Middle East War.
Sam Gardiner is a retired colonel of the US Air Force.
He has taught strategy and military operations at the
National War College, Air War College and Naval War