I have been writing about the vulnerability of this supply line for several years. You could deliver the goods through Aqaba in Jordan, but this would require the construction of the terminal and marshaling facilities necessary to a modern LOC/MSR operation. Air delivery? Not enough tonnage would be possible except for support of tactical operations.
200,000 troops in an invasion of Iran from Iraq?
1- We don’t have the disposable force, and neither do any of our likely "allies."
2- The Maliki government and its friends are well disposed towards Iran. Sadr is less so, but only "less so."
3- Take a look at the size of the forces that engaged on the Iraq side in their war against Iran. They were huge. I had the opportunity to watch a lot of the combat in that war and it was ferocious.
Stupid comments about how poorly the Iraqis fought in that war will not be posted. I know better.
Other than that, "Pale Rider " sounds like a professional to me. pl
"Some people say that the Supply Lines up from Kuwait are the Americans’ Achilles heel in any possible war with Iran. To what extent could this operation in Basra be seen as an American attempt to secure their supply lines in view of a forthcoming attack on Iran? If I could, I’d like to weigh in on that. The supply lines that run from Camp Doha in Kuwait into Iraq are pretty tenuous, as all supply lines are. We would have to detail some significant forces to keep them open if the elements in Basra that are opposing us decided to try to shut them down. You’d need helicopter flights to escort them through, in most cases. We already rely on airlifting supplies–that could be further strained as well. If they shut down the truck transports or limited them, we’d have to boost the airlift. If we boost the airlift, they would react with shoulder fired SAMs where they could. US troops are so dispersed in Iraq that it really makes any linkage to an attack on Iran non-existent, at least to me. They’re fighting as brigades that are broken down into battalions and companies that are spread thin, sometimes down to the platoon level or smaller, not divisions. The majority of their gear is fitted for COIN not ground assault. Much of it is worn out. It does OK for limited COIN right now, but three to six weeks of ground combat against even moderate Iranian Army elements? A ground assault into Iran would have to be organized around the division and corps formations that aren’t really in place in Iraq. There’s a structure in place to occupy Iraq but there isn’t one that can just break off and become MNF-Iran. Forget about the troops in Afghanistan–you could yank every one of them out and put them in Iraq and it wouldn’t make much of a dent in what you would need. They would have to bring in thousands of staff just to form up that headquarters. For the US Army to form up and send more than a few thousand men into battle, we would need a unit like the 3rd ACR out front and two to five divisions moving in behind it–as in 1st CAV and 4th ID in the III Corps. Even that would be a small force for invading Iran. A more realistically-sized invasion force (as close to 200,000 troops as possible is my guess) would have to be comprised of at least 8 of the 10 active divisions, two air cav brigades, 2-5 National Guard divisions, and at least 25,000 Marin es. You might get to 200K with that, but I wouldn’t bet on it. We’d need all the other elements as well–overhead and logistical. ALL of that is severely over-tasked and tied down in Iraq. The process of pulling each Army brigade (or getting the Marine units into an attack mode) would mean pulling everyone and their gear out of the garrison or post they’e in now; supplying them for an attack, and then moving them hundreds of miles with HETs and everything else into jump-off points near Iran. There would be no element of surprise and the formed-up vanguard of an American attack into Iran would sit for days, waiting to get itself in place, and would be vulnerable to the elements as well. The reason we jumped in March five years ago was to avoid the oncoming hot season. Petraeus would literally have to start this week in order to get even 50-60,000 troops in place to attack Iran. Pale Rider"