Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Profiles in Surrogacy

By Aussiegirl

Gordon Cucullu writes another devastating piece in today's TCS. He presents a truly frightening scenario that deserves to be looked at by our intelligence agencies and analyzed for potential. I hope they have this sort of thing on their radar screen. This scenario looks very realistic to me, and makes sense given the recent North Korean missile tests and the known Iranian involvement in them.

TCS Daily - Profiles in Surrogacy

Ever since Hitler used the civil war in Spain in the mid to late 1930s to test his aircraft, tanks, and blitzkrieg tactics, dictators have looked for surrogates to try out options for aggression. Arguably Josef Stalin used the Korean War to test the mettle of the U.S. and its allies in making a decision whether to invade Western Europe. A lukewarm response by Harry Truman to aggression in Korea might have encouraged Stalin to roll his tanks. More recently in the terror wars, Osama bin Laden attacked in many places around the world, increasingly raising the ante by going after more difficult and sensitive targets until he was convinced that a weak-kneed response from America was the most he had to fear. Then he launched 911, a strike he intended to bring down the entire economic and social structure of the United States.

We may be seeing something similar today. Ever more analysts are convinced that Iran is using the current fighting between Hezbollah and Israel as a test bed for new tactics and weaponry as well as a deliberate provocation to incite further popular Muslim anger against the Jewish state. In an example of what looks like a 21st century version of testing prior to an attack, it is now fairly certain that Iranian scientists, engineers, and military and political leaders attended the North Korean missile testing that occurred the first week of July, and some have suggested that Iran sponsored and paid for the testing. Could it have been a live simulation of tactics that Iran intends to use against Israel via Lebanon?

Most Western analysts and all of the media were focused on the large, long range missile, the Taepodong II. Estimated ranges were given, a maximum range radius was drawn so that American and Canadian citizens in an arc from roughly southern California up to Alaska and out to Hawaii were included in a possible target area. While the rocket did not perform anywhere near projections, NASA engineers noted that more vital information can be obtained from a launch failure than from a perfect shot. But could this Taepodong II missile have been a red herring, intended to distract watchers from the real tests?

Otherwise it is difficult to explain or rationalize the multiple launches -- at least six more -- that Kim Jong Il's military shot into the sky in what some regarded as a bizarre mirror of American Independence Day celebrations. But an explanation that does make sense is that Iran regards North Korea as its missile testing ground. For the long range rocket, perhaps, but more importantly for multiple, highly coordinated missile launches designed as an offensive or defensive tactic. This may have been analogous to Hitler putting part of a squadron of Stuka dive bombers through their paces in Spain and refining the tactics until they could be taught to the rest of his Luftwaffe with confidence of combat success.

Imagine a fully deployed Iranian Revolutionary Guard force composed in large part of missile units. Unlike Saddam who deployed his SCUDs in small, uncoordinated clusters, these missile units would be dispersed for security but highly coordinated so that on signal, scores, perhaps hundreds of sophisticated missiles could be raining down on a target which would have no chance to intercept and destroy more than a few. Arm these missiles with radioactive material (it would not even have to be a fission nuclear bomb) or with VX nerve gas, and the effects could be catastrophic.

Suppose that the real test in North Korea was to demonstrate for Iranian purchasers the high maneuverability of missile battalions and brigades, and the ability of such strike units to coordinate a surprise, simultaneous, multiple-launch of deadly missiles against a fixed target. In that case the test not only was a huge success but went largely unnoticed by international observers who were preoccupied with the "failure" of the Taepodong II.

The Iranian leader not only lusts for the utter destruction of "the Zionist entity" but thinks that he will earn status in his Islamist afterlife by killing as many Jews as possible. He plans to bring the 12th Imam from his "hibernation" under the mosque of Samara by causing as much terrible destruction to Israel and America as is possible. If either state retaliates against Iran itself then so much the better. In his twisted mind the more destruction that erupts will hasten the appearance of the 12th Imam in the form of the Mahdi, the supernatural leader who will bring Islam to world conquest. We lampoon or dismiss such visions at our peril. Men like Ahmadinejad believe completely in the tale and are prepared to bring the most horrible wrath down upon their enemies and their own people as a causal force to initiate the Return of the Mahdi.

Furthermore, our intelligence analysts, particularly in State and CIA, have to develop a broader spectrum of their own analytical vision, an ability to think past arbitrary institutional divisions in our own bureaucracies. We can no longer artificially divide our enemies into geographical, political, secular, or religious groups that are organizationally convenient and expect that reflects the real world. Nor can we trust career analysts who hold to failed perceptions despite overwhelming proof to the contrary, simply to reinforce their careers or to advance a political stance. Our enemies are not sitting by idly while we dither with reforming our institutions.

We had best take our enemies seriously. They are marching against us and our allies. We need to recognize clearly that they will grasp at every opportunity, exploit any weakness, and seize any initiative that will unite them, albeit temporarily, against their overall enemy, America.

Gordon Cucullu is a former Green Beret lieutenant colonel and author of Separated at Birth: How North Korea became the Evil Twin


Post a Comment

<< Home