Tuesday, September 10, 2013

CONOPS : Syria (update before the President's speech)

[Update 10 September 2013]:  It’s a complicated scorecard -- not just devils and angels by any means:

~ (selection from the original post) ~

In yet another journalistic scoop, the World of Doctor Justice has just been supplied with the Concept of Operations plan for the upcoming festivities (er) hostilities, code-name OPERATION BASH BASHAR.   This information comes to us by way of a lowly file-clerk -- who, however, has access to absolutely everything -- working at the supersecret installation two miles beneath the Fortress of Solitude, where they store the Secret Plans.

Enemy action:  Passes gas.
US response:  Whap ‘em!  Shock ‘n’ awe.

So far so good.   As is well-known (or at least widely believed), the U.S. military works up a range of purely hypothetical attack scenarios, just in case something comes up -- intervention in Haiti, a take-down of Iranian comms infrastructure, even an attack on Liechtenstein.  (Dust that one off, gentleman!  That insolent mountain nation must be brought to heel !!)   With years to work on these, most of them are probably militarily pretty good.  But what we’re not so good at is looking ahead a few “ply” (to use the chess-player’s terminology):  having contingency plans for each of a spectrum of possible countermoves by the opponent. 

Here is how things played out in our last two adventures:

CONOPS Afghanistan:
Go grab Ben Laden;  return home to ticker-tape parade.
Unforseen development:  “Uh, sorry sir, we let Ben Laden escape.  Now what?”
Contingency plan:  None.
Dubya’s response:  Well, as long as we’re here, let’s do some *nation-building* !  I’m gonna own this entire godforsaken quagmire.  Hell, we’ll still be here in a decade.  This thing’ll last more than twice as long as WWII.

Go grab Saddam’s WMDs; return home to ticker-tape parade.
Unforseen development:  “Umm … There weren’t any.  But meanwhile the last vestige of civil order has broken down.”
Contingency plan:  None.
Dubya’s response: Well, as long as we’re here, let’s do some *nation-building* !  I’m gonna own this entire godforsaken quagmire.   This thing’ll make Afghanistan look like the teddy bears’ picnic!  Bring it on !!

So okay -- we go whap Syria;  by the time you read these lines, the Tomahawks may already be flying on their merry way.   What are our contingency plans, in the following quite possible scenarios?  
Courtesy of that Lowly File-Clerk, I have them right here before me, in a password-protected lockbox.  (Lessee now,  mebbe try…. SWORDFISH.  -- Yep, that worked.)

Unforseen (but easily foreseeable) Development 1:
Like every previous dictator in similar circs, Bashar does not immediately fold, but thumbs his nose at us.   Parading (real or faked) videos of hospitals, kindergartens, and baby-hamster farms  supposedly destroyed in the U.S. onslaught, he says:   “Just for that, now I really will use nerve-gas!”, and he takes out another farmful of adorable baby hamsters.
US response [OPERATON HAMSTERS REVENGE]:   Whap ‘em again!  More shock, more awe!

Unforseen Development 2:   In retaliation, Hizbollah launches largest-ever rocket attack against Tel Aviv.
US response:  What?!  They wouldn’t do that, would they?

Unforseen Development 3:  Iran makes good on its publically stated threat to retaliate, by blocking the Persian Gulf.
US response:  Umm… We register a very frosty note of protest  at the United Nations,  and disinvite the Ayatollahs from next year’s Easter egg roll on the White House lawn.

Unforseen Development 4:  Putin, long simmering over the humiliations suffered by the former Soviet empire, responds:  “We understand your concept of the surgical strike, Mr. President.  In a measured response, we shall now sink just one (1) of your warships.”
US response:  (splutter …. splutter …)

Unforseen Development 5:  Israel takes advantage of the world’s being distracted by all this, to quietly do what it has been yearning to do for a long time, and drops a nuke on each of Iran’s suspected uranium sites.
US response:  Um … er ….  Cross that bridge when we come to it.

Unforseen Development  6:  In a dramatic extension of the Syrian Electronic Army’s recent successful cyberattacks against sophisticated targets like the New York Times, unidentified cyberwarriors manage to mess up ATC in CONUS, grounding all flights.   Unclear is whether a rogue group is behind the attack, or state actors.  Some indicators seem to point to China or North Korea -- or even Russia -- as the culprit, taking this opportunity to test their offensive malware at this propitious time, knowing that the U.S. will be quick to blame Syria or Iran.
US response:  Hmm … The matter requires further research.  Forming a committee …

Unforseen Development  7:  Liechtenstein, emboldened by the West’s paralysis in the face of chaos, invades Andorra.
US response:  … . Ahh…. Have to get back to you on that.

Unforseen Development  8:  In one of those freaks of military fortune, an American cruise missile lands on the facility where President Assad and his entire high command were meeting to strategize.  Decapitated, the regime instantly collapsed.  Rebel groups, spearheaded by the al-Qaeda-associated ANF and ISIL, take over.   After a brief struggle (cf. AQIM vs. the Touareg rebels in Azawad), al-Qaeda seizes the reins of power.  It now controls all of the late Assad’s vast stores of chemical weapons.   They begin to survey the region with a meditative eye …
US response:   (TBD)

~  Posthumous Endorsement ~
"If I were alive today, and in the mood for a mystery,
this is what I'd be reading: "
(Ich bin Carl von Clausewitz, and I approved this message.)
~         ~

[Note to the reader.    The above is SATIRE;  no actual classified material was compromised while dreaming it up.  Repeat:  SATIRE.   Though also, unfortunately, the literal truth.]

[Update 4 August 2014]  And the Unforseen Development which did ensue, was None of the Above -- which was rather our point.

Instead:  the militarily most powerful group in opposition to the Assad regime -- namely ISIL --
is currently the entity most dangerous to the MidEast as a whole, right now.

(Further particulars  here.)

No comments:

Post a Comment