Shamefully for Britain, the White House is now considering sending its own forces to sort the mess that the British have left behind. Last week, one White House official acidly remarked: "American blood is going to have to buy off the British failure in Basra."
Already at the Basra air base, I can reveal, the British subsidiary of U.S. construction giant KBR is building four huge dining facilities – known to the American army as DFACs. These are capable of feeding 4,000 men and suggest that the U.S. Army is contemplating a massive deployment to southern Iraq – including a major presence inside Basra itself. " Daily Mail
In the context of British withdrawal from south Iraq, I wrote a while back that the US would inevitably have to fill the vacuum so created with its own forces. That time is fast approaching. KBR is not building these facilities for the Iraqis. It sounds like a reinforced brigade combat team will go in there plus USAF on the base.
In the interest of not making things worse with our cousins across the sea, I will restrict my comment on the Daily Mail article to making a request, on behalf of the uniformed services people, that we not encounter further condescension from the British on the subject of the superiority of their knowledge, sophistication, methods, etc. with regard to COIN. Enough.
I do not believe that Iran wants to go to war with the United States either in the maritime regions of the gulf and Arabian Sea or in Iraq itself. Whatever initial "benefits" Iran might experience would be far outweighed by the eventual devastation wrought on Iranian infrastructure by American air and sea power. They know that.
It has been argued in these pages that the flow of crude and LPG could be obstructed as a major economic "weapons system." That is merely true. In fact, an obstruction of the flow of oil out of the Gulf would require Iranian action to create the obstruction. The United States and especially this administration would be eager to see that as a casus belli. The Iranians surely know that as well. I have watched the US Navy at work in situations like this before. Any obstruction would not last long. The price per barrel? There would be a sizable "spike" before the obstruction were cleared but it would be limited in duration and the resulting retaliatory action against Iran would be catastrophic for them.
A major non-SOF American ground effort against Iran? This is an absurd idea for all the reasons given here before. I will leave it for you all to thrash that out.
Many of the readers here are greatly underestimating the potential of a guerrilla campaign against the Kuwait-Baghdad supply line. Yes, the roads can be held open, but at what cost in diverted assets? pl