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Old 04-24-2007   #1
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Default Rice Urges Iran To Attend Mideast Meeting on Iraq

24 April Washington Post - Rice Urges Iran To Attend Mideast Meeting on Iraq by Robin Wright.

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Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called on Iran not to boycott a conference next week of the major countries and parties with a stake in the future of Iraq, at which the United States and Iran would have an opportunity for senior-level talks.

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said yesterday that Iran is still "reviewing" whether it will attend. Yet in a reflection of the sometimes bizarre relations between Tehran and Washington, he also called for direct talks with President Bush. "Last year I announced readiness for a televised debate over global issues with His Excellency Mr. Bush, and now we announce that I am ready to negotiate with him about bilateral issues as well as regional and international issues," Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying by an Iranian television channel. He made similar comments in an interview with Reuters.

U.S. and Middle East officials dismissed the offer as grandstanding...
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Old 05-27-2007   #2
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Default The Iraq Study Group Absurdity and Iran

From CSIS...

The Iraq Study Group Absurdity and Iran
By Anthony H. Cordesman, Arleigh Burke Chair in Strategy
May 22, 2007

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Not everything dies when it should, and the Iraq Study Group is a grim example. Even at the time it was issued, it was a remarkably vacuous and unrealistic report. Its key recommendations were hopelessly impractical, and the detailed report – while good on some aspects of historical diagnostics – ended in a long list of sometimes contradictory conceptual recommendations lacking any justifications, details, and operational plans. It was at best a warning of what overblown committees seeking a lowest common denominator could not accomplish.
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Old 11-16-2007   #3
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Default Confronting Iran: Securing Iraq's Border

Confronting Iran - Securing Iraq's Border: An Irregular Warfare Concept - Special to Small Wars Journal blog by Brigadier General David L. Grange (U.S. Army ret.) and Scott Swanson, MSI.

Contributions by Major General John Singlaub (U.S. Army ret.), Billy Waugh (U.S. Army Special Forces ret.), Rowdy Yeats (U.S. Army Special Forces ret.) and Chuck de Caro (U.S. Army Special Forces ret.)

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Excerpt

Background

Iran is intentionally employing disruptive, anti-US activities that complicate the peace process in the Iraqi Freedom Theater of operation. Iran's actions kill US personnel, drain resources, and compromise stability in the region. While these actions – particularly cross-border activities into Iraq – are a significant menace, international attention to Iran's destabilizing efforts has largely been overshadowed by concerns about its uranium enrichment program, which has garnered the priority for debate, diplomacy, and sanctions. The US could, however, confront Iran’s hostile actions in Iraq by addressing their illegal border movements with a regional special operations strategy that can work in conjunction with the nuclear proliferation conflict. Findings from some historical successes and challenges in Special Operations Forces (SOF) efforts during previous conflicts offer possible solutions for the Iraq/Iran border today that can be expanded to other border issues with Iraq/Turkey, Afghanistan/Pakistan, and Iraq/Syria. These border issues are related to Iran’s regional influence capabilities and offer an excellent platform for the US to deter some key Iranian endeavors.

Situation

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Forces and their irregular sub-elements, such as al Quds (Jerusalem) Force, enact disruptive activities against western interests and sectarian factions. They coordinate extremist group, insurgent, and resistance actions on behalf of the Iranian regime agenda through a chain of command up to the Ayatollah. The IRGC Quds Force trains foreign personnel in Iran and abroad to organize and participate in terrorism and subversion. The Quds force is allegedly the pre-eminent force behind Iran’s involvement in Iraq. Conventional US military or political action in opposition to the Quds, however, has been ineffective against their cloaked operations; autonomous, decentralized, operational networks; and safe havens in Iran.

The US must halt Iran’s meddling in Middle Eastern peace initiatives to ensure regional stability and the security of US forces operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, but there are serious obstacles to operations countering Iran. Any attempt by the US military to engage the Quds across Iran’s border would be viewed internationally as a violation of Iran’s sovereignty and an attack against Iran. Sanctions and political efforts against Iran have proven to be ineffective. The US must also act swiftly to reduce the mounting pressures of area allies like Turkey from exploiting the Iraqi situation while American hands are tied in the regional commitment.

The proposed solution presented in this report involves an augmentation of SOF along the Iraqi border to thwart illicit arms traffic, infiltration activity, and insurgency support. This solution for the Iraq/Iran border can be applied elsewhere in the region. SOF units have historically provided border security and can again successfully control border traffic. Enhanced capabilities in recon, direct action, information operations, unconventional warfare, and local commerce exchanges—to include animal and drug trade—would further bolster SOF efficacy. More aggressive US “small-war” initiatives can destroy, disrupt, interdict, and deter the elusive Iranian alliances and complex networks supporting Iraq’s civil clashes through their recruitment, motivation, procurement, sanctuary, and funds. It is through these support groups that the Quds and other Iranian elements create the ability to operate against the US. SOF is the ideal human element defeat mechanism for this conflict. They are uniquely experienced and attuned to the delicate interaction and trust building required between communities of vying sects, tribes, clans, factions, and families. Some seasoned Special Operations community members compare the Iran/Iraq situation to cross-border challenges posed by North Vietnam’s forays into Laos and answered by US Special Observation Group (SOG) operational missions to thwart such movements. The SOG mission in Vietnam and its bordering countries, like the mission of SOF teams operating in Iraq and Afghanistan, was to: interact with locals to enable human factor resistance activities, gather intelligence, hinder enemy infiltration through air strikes, conduct ambushes, mine roads and trails, sabotage trucks and equipment, and capture prisoners. U.S. tactical air, fixed wing and rotary wing gun-ships were authorized to exploit opportunity targets within the full depth of the authorized Area of Operations. By locating the enemy before they had an opportunity to strike, SOG teams were also able to avoid future attacks against U.S. forces. Similar SOG projects could be enhanced immediately in Iraq and Afghanistan to confront Iranian cross-border activities...
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Old 11-16-2007   #4
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Reading through this, I'm shaking my head.

Incredibly dumb idea: US troops...Getting involved in the drug trade...As part of their mission. Gee, that can't possibly go disastrously wrong, can it? </sarcasm>
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Old 11-19-2007   #5
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Originally Posted by Penta View Post
Reading through this, I'm shaking my head.

Incredibly dumb idea: US troops...Getting involved in the drug trade...As part of their mission. Gee, that can't possibly go disastrously wrong, can it? </sarcasm>
Penta, I read a few of your other posts before responding to your thread. Hope I captured your other past statements on SWJ correctly:
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Displaying my ignorance; Just figured I'd poke at this one; And now my bits, from an outsider's POV; This may, or may not, be related to the fact; You would do well to show the intelligence of your namesake; the situation is probably a failure already; came out of college with a 2.3 GPA. Not because I was lazy, but because I...Well, I gave up; For me, the only reason I suffered through high school (where I was bored and depressed)
...and yet I will still respond since, again, it looks like you may be confused.

Getting involved in anything that is unconventional must be very carefully planned and executed or it could go disastrously wrong. This is why we must "not only know our adversary, but know ourselves", so we properly balance battlefield effects with our own resources to both create and contain.

Applying unconventional actions to irregular warfare situations "to seek asymmetric advantage, in order to erode an adversary's power, influence,and will"-- [Working definition of IW approved by Deputy Secretary of Defense, 2006], is not for the squeamish or amateurs--its war. But like playing with matches, those who understand the property of fire and its characteristics and behavior, can work with it to one's advantage as a proper tool given the proper application in proper measure.

Last edited by S2MSSI; 11-19-2007 at 04:23 AM.
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Old 11-19-2007   #6
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Default Blame It On the Kurds

Credibility, deniability and plausability are handy tools to have that SOG/covert platforms offer, Penta. The formal actions of nations, i.e. official acts of war, lock any number of players into specific courses of action and reaction that aren't alwasy readily stopped once put in motion. When all else fails, blame it on in-house rebels and malcontents when mischief manifests along the border of an atagonist.
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Old 11-19-2007   #7
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Originally Posted by goesh View Post
Credibility, deniability and plausability are handy tools to have that SOG/covert platforms offer, Penta. The formal actions of nations, i.e. official acts of war, lock any number of players into specific courses of action and reaction that aren't alwasy readily stopped once put in motion. When all else fails, blame it on in-house rebels and malcontents when mischief manifests along the border of an atagonist.
I know these things. And it's not that that I'm arguing.

It's the idea of our troops getting involved in the drug trade, in specific. That just seems like it can't possibly go well. Is it something to think about? Sure.

But I really don't think it's a smart idea. It'll blow up in our faces politically and PRwise.
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Old 11-19-2007   #8
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disruption/interdiction - a few specialized crews totally off the books to slay key runners and dealers, a little plastique here, a little there, the pffft of a silenced round, that sort of thing though some of the lads from the private sector do want to dip their fingers in the pie, there are off the books consequences for that too. some lessons are learned by the Government and its best to approach this business from a Hollywood perspective. Mom and Pop on the homefront really don't want to hear about it.
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Old 11-19-2007   #9
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Originally Posted by goesh View Post
Credibility, deniability and plausability are handy tools to have that SOG/covert platforms offer, Penta. The formal actions of nations, i.e. official acts of war, lock any number of players into specific courses of action and reaction that aren't alwasy readily stopped once put in motion. When all else fails, blame it on in-house rebels and malcontents when mischief manifests along the border of an atagonist.
I fully agree with Goesh, and these fine folks are a pretty smart bunch !

By: Brig. Gen. David L. Grange (USA, ret.)
and Scott Swanson, MSI
With contributions from:
Maj. Gen. John Singlaub (USA, ret.)
Billy Waugh (USA Special Forces, ret.)
Rowdy Yeats (USA Special Forces, ret.)
Chuck de Caro (USA Special Forces, ret.)
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Old 11-19-2007   #10
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Penta, the report does not suggest that US Forces become involved in the Drug Trade, it says we should buy up all the production and either use it in the medical field or destroy it. That is smart. And it is not new as was pointed out in the report. This was done in the Golden Triangle Region in SE Asia until we stopped it.

General Comment:General Grange may be the real Ghost of General Gavin I think we ought to listen to the man on a lot of things not just this.
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Old 11-19-2007   #11
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Penta, the report does not suggest that US Forces become involved in the Drug Trade, it says we should buy up all the production and either use it in the medical field or destroy it. That is smart. And it is not new as was pointed out in the report. This was done in the Golden Triangle Region in SE Asia until we stopped it.
Okay, I did miss that. Thanks.

Fear, though: The guys out in the bush, confronted by the massive profit potential of the drug trade, give in to temptation and mark it as destroyed, while returning it to the illegal flow. Wasn't that part of what happened in SEA? (Vietnam being...rather before my time, I'll admit uncertainty on the point.)

Do I think it likely to occur? No. But do I think it a possibility that we need to think about? Yes.

You might think I'm worrying over nothing.

Meanwhile, my instincts tell me to note even the unlikely issues and ponder them.

Hopefully, you're right, and I am worrying over nothing. But I'm not naive. Pretty much anybody has a price.

Additionally, this seems like one of those things that...It might very well be tactically sound, but present the proposition to the guy on the street.

I think most people would be horrified, or just think you nuts.

We might be able to justify it among ourselves, but could we really justify it unabashedly to Joe and Jane Public?
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Old 11-19-2007   #12
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Default Would you please

Hey Penta !

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Originally Posted by Penta View Post
Okay, I did miss that. Thanks.
I think most people would be horrified, or just think you nuts.

We might be able to justify it among ourselves, but could we really justify it unabashedly to Joe and Jane Public?
There are certainly far worse things for Joe and Jane to see and hear in everyday life.

Please, take a look at any search engine result for Gen. David L. Grange. That's an impressive dude, and he did not get 'there' doing things that make people nuts (well, not all the time).

I've been in the Army longer than you've been alive....C'mon, get over it already
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Old 11-19-2007   #13
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Hi Penta, I would not worry to much about it. The SE Asia experiment went down the drain primarliy because we left Vietnam just as we were applying some inventive ways to handle these problems (CORDS, USMC CAPS program etc.) We can prevent any misuse of drug money pretty easily.

Joe and Jane have more to worry about IMHO, especially when much of the opium will go to legal medical drug production (why would that bug them). The rest can be destoyed as the article says.
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Old 11-19-2007   #14
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Default Why Not

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Originally Posted by Penta View Post
Reading through this, I'm shaking my head.

Incredibly dumb idea: US troops...Getting involved in the drug trade...As part of their mission. Gee, that can't possibly go disastrously wrong, can it? </sarcasm>
Considering that I don't suppose working cooperatively with Iranian Customs would achieve much , the Generals propositions sound like a pretty good tactic to me.
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Old 11-19-2007   #15
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To avoid some additional focus/scrutiny on the specific recommendations (although that would be fine), our intent in the concept creation was not just to focus specifically on any one particular solution. There are a host of additional actions that we left out for specific reasons and a number that would have to go together with other participants. We weighed a number of the concepts and thought these could be very plausible and effective when combined together, however, the main thrust was to also represent some UW constructs and applicability to other AOs. It was also our opinion from a starting point that some leadership have forgotten many of the great options that SOF can provide to today's threats. Unfortunately, they take time and patience to do it right.

Earlier in the year was a piece that was developed to re-address some IW shortcomings in today's military. The Iran piece leveraged many of those concepts that can be and should be in our box of tools, driven by today's leaders for tomorrow.

Scott

Link for reference: http://www.mccormicktribune.org/publ...larwarfare.pdf

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Old 11-19-2007   #16
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Originally Posted by S2MSSI View Post
To avoid some additional focus/scrutiny on the specific recommendations (although that would be fine), our intent in the concept creation was not focused specifically on any one particular solution. There are a host that we left out for specific reasons and a number that would have to go together with other participants. We weighed a number of the concepts and thought these could be very plausible and effective, however, the main thrust was to also represent some UW constructs. It was our opinion from a starting point that some leadership have forgotten some great options that SOF can provide. Earlier in the year was a piece that was to readdress some IW shortcomings in today's military.

Link for reference: http://www.mccormicktribune.org/publ...larwarfare.pdf
Thanks for the link and intriquing thoughts !

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Examples: This effort may result in a variety of new specialties such as tribal liaisons, human terrain experts, cyber reconnaissance scouts, knowledge networkers, information expediters, continuity controllers and gap managers.
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Old 11-20-2007   #17
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S2MSSI, thanks for the link, I was trying to find this.
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