What Would War with Iran Look Like?
Assuming the obvious, a U.S.-led coalition will be the initiator of aggression, and the coalition forces will consist of the U.S.A., France, U.K., and the gulf states. The military doctrine behind every military strategy involving Western Imperialists is known as “Full-Spectrum Dominance.” In theory, it means to acquire control (i.e. constrain any opposing action) over all dimensions of conflict: air, sea, land, resources, cyberspace, and anything else. Thus, the conditions of victory are military occupation.
With that in mind, the Iranian strategy is obvious. If they can demonstrate through the results of the conflict that occupying Iran is impossible and a fruitless pursuit, it’s game over for the U.S.-led coalition, but the strategy won’t end there. Iran knows that it will suffer heavy losses, but it also knows that it can make it to the other side of the conflict. For that reason, it is in the best strategic interests of Iran to make the U.S.-led coalition pay a hefty price for their aggression to deter them from trying it in the future. The best way for Iran to impose a cost is take out the various Western bases that surround it.
In terms of attrition, not only does Iran have the upper hand, but in addition, there will very likely be financial and logistical support of Iran by Russia and China which ensure that Iran can keep fighting when resources get tight. On top of all that, Iran is likely going to mobilize its Shia proxies in its own coalition which adds a very unpredictable dimension to the war.
The typical strategy of conducting warfare against a much smaller country is to wipe out its air and naval bases on day 1, in order to draw out its land forces (particularly, land-based missiles) and apply concentrated power on those targets. That will pave the way for a ground invasion. In effect, you can think of it as unleashing HIV to wipe out the immune system, and then, releasing any invasive organism, like a bacteria.
The problem with applying this strategy to Iran is that it has some of the world’s most advanced missile defence systems. No single missile strike can hit their target, so long as those systems are active. In order to bypass those defence systems, coalition forces will have to “shower” their targets with many missiles hoping one makes it through. Given the limited number of missiles, they will have to restrict their targets to the most potent of Iran’s bases. Moreover, coalition forces will also have to use their air forces to take out some of Iran’s air bases in the North. Given the sheer number of civilians who are trained in compulsory military service in manning anti-air turrets and cruise missiles, any air raid—though they may be successful—will cost the coalition many planes. Iran would only need to call in its reserves to defend against them, since they all have the necessary training.
The way that the first 3 days of any war goes is essentially an interaction from base vs base or base vs deployed forces. For that reason, it should be noted that the following analysis focuses primarily on base-to-base interaction. Whatever forces are deployed in-between those bases adds a layer of complexity that would far surpass this already lengthy article.
The first target will most likely be Iran’s naval base in the far east of Iran located in the south of Balochistan province, which borders Pakistan. The most likely reason that the U.S. has sent ships to the Arabian Sea next to Oman is the proximity of that region to Iran’s naval base. The U.S. is now in a close-enough position to launch accurate short-range ballistic missiles, which are preferable relative to other missiles, given their lower cost and greater supply. Though the base is likely to fall, the U.S. will also lose many missiles in the process.
Simultaneously, the U.A.E. naval base and France’s Mina Zayed naval base, in the U.A.E., will conduct a joint operation against Iran’s Bandar-e Abbas air base in the south of Hormozgan province, which is located to the West of Balochistan province and within proximity to the Strait of Hormuz.
Further West, the U.A.E’s Al Dhafra air base and the U.S.A.’s Al Udeid air base in Qatar will simultaneously conduct a joint operation against the southernmost land base located in the province of Fars. That land base is a high value target for coalition forces despite it not being an air or naval base, due to its proximity with the Gulf states; it is likely to have a stockpile of short-range ballistic missiles and ground-to-air launchers where they can target anywhere in the Gulf region at low cost. It’s also likely that the Iranians are using that base as bait to waste coalition missiles and dilute their firepower to ensure that more valuable Iranian targets aren’t being hit. That will give Iran time to retaliate and mobilize. Even if coalition forces are aware of the bait, they can’t take the risk.
Still further West, the U.S.A.’s Bahrain naval base and the Qatari naval base will simultaneously conduct a joint operation against Iran’s air base in the southern province of Bushehr. For Iran, that air base is a major source of power project projection and deterrence against Saudi Arabia. Taking out that air base will increase the willingness of the Saudis joining the U.S. coalition later on.
The south-westernmost Iranian Umidiyeh air base is located near the Iraq border and Kuwaiti waters. Close to that area and within Saudi waters is located 2 aircraft carriers, one from France and one from the U.S.A. Together with Kuwait’s Ahmed Al Jaber air base, they will launch a coordinated attack against the Umidiyeh air base.
Next, the U.S.A.’s Incirlik air base in south-central Turkey, along with the U.K.’s Akrotiri air base in Cyprus, will launch a joint operation against Iran’s Chahbahar air base located in the north of Iran’s north-westernmost province of Kurdistan.
The U.S.A.’s Izmir air base in the far west of Turkey and Souda Bay air base in southern Greece will launch a coordinated attack against Iranian forces in Syria.
In total, Iran will still have 8 air bases left, which will likely be taken out by ICBMs in day 3. The most likely retaliation, for Iran, is to first target the coalition’s ability to launch coordinated attacks and force the coalition into a ground war. In retaliation:
– Iran’s north-easternmost Mashhad air base will take out the U.S.A.’s Bagram military camp in Afghanistan.
– The 3 land bases in the northeast of Iran will lob mid-range ballistic missiles against the U.S.A.’s Manas air base in Kyrgyzstan.
– The 2 most south-eastern land bases and air base will conduct a coordinated cruise missile attack against the U.S. ships in the Arabian Sea; the U.S. is likely to withdraw those ships before they sink.
– The 2 land bases in Hormozgan province will lob their ballistic missiles at France’s Mina Zayed naval base in the U.A.E., and then settle their ground-to-air launchers at the top of the strait of Hormuz where they can apply firepower against any ship trying to cross it.
– The Kerman province land bases will take out the Emirati naval base.
– The 3 land bases in Fars and Azd provinces will take out the U.S.A.’s Al Udeid air base in Qatar.
– Iran’s Shiraz air base in Fars province and Khatami air base in Isfahan province will launch a coordinated attack against the U.S. naval base in Bahrain.
– The Khuzestan land bases will lob cruise missiles against the aircraft carriers on Saudi waters. The ships will likely seek refuge in the Jubail Saudi naval port, knowing that Iran won’t attack a Saudi port to avoid dragging in the Saudis into the conflict.
– The land bases in Ilam province will wipe out Kuwait’s Ahmed Al Jaber air base, which hosts Kuwaiti, French, and American fighter jets for the Iraqi war effort against ISIS in Iraq’s northern provinces.
– Iran’s remaining air bases will attack the remaining naval and air bases in the gulf region, knowing that it’s now or never. The planes will likely not have an air base to return to as they will be taken out by ICBMs. They will probably land on Syrian or Russian territory.
– Iran’s remaining northern land bases will focus their firepower on the Incirlik and Akrotiri air bases.
Iran’s cybersecurity capabilities are not well known, but they have repeatedly shown that they can hack and take control of unmanned weaponry. If there is to be some kind of an attack on U.S. soil, that’s how it will happen. In particular, there are many Iranian H1Bs in various engineering and physics fields with key information on critical systems. What the U.S. doesn’t know is that post-revolution Iranian immigrants are more likely to be friendly to the regime; the U.S. is at a high risk of sabotage.
As of day 4, the U.S.-led coalition will begin its advance on Iranian territory. Kuwaiti forces and U.S. forces in Camp Doha will together attack the city of Abadan. The U.A.E., Qatar, Bahrain, and possibly Saudi Arabia (if they get involved) will aim for the city of Bandar-e Abbas which is directly north of the Strait of Hormuz. France, U.K., and maybe other NATO forces will cross into Turkey to attack Iran’s north-western city of Orumiyeh.
Once those cities are taken, and they likely will be, the U.S.-led coalition’s goal will be to steadily expand its occupied territory until Iran is under total military occupation. If they succeed in doing this, it will take many years to do so. In fact, it will likely last longer than the Iraq War and will be bloodier than the Vietnam War. It may also be the first time we see women, trannies, and various other victim groups engage in combat. Something tells me that this war will be over within 5 years. Even if the coalition wins, it will be a pyrrhic victory. The coalition forces will pull out, and their Middle East presence will be reduced by 90%.
At the same time, this war will give Russia and China the green light to expand their capabilities and influence. No U.S. threats will have any teeth, since the Iran War will be the 6th war that the U.S. is currently involved in. The U.S. will have no ability to project power in the Middle East.
Iranian proxies will be able to conduct their operations totally unopposed by NATO. Shia paramilitaries, Syria, Lybia, Tunisia, Egypt, Iraq, and Afghanistan will be Iranian client states. The one barrier in the way of Turkey’s cooperation with Iran (i.e. NATO threats) will be removed.