Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Perhaps They Miscalculated

There is an excellent discussion of the dust up in the Republic of Georgia going on at The Belmont Club. There is lots of news about an impending Naval Blockade of Iran.

Operation Brimstone ended only one week ago. This was the joint US/UK/French naval war games in the Atlantic Ocean preparing for a naval blockade of Iran and the likely resulting war in the Persian Gulf area. The massive war games included a US Navy supercarrier battle group, an US Navy expeditionary carrier battle group, a Royal Navy carrier battle group, a French nuclear hunter-killer submarine plus a large number of US Navy cruisers, destroyers and frigates playing the "enemy force".

The lead American ship in these war games, the USS Theodore Roosevelt (CVN71) and its Carrier Strike Group Two (CCSG-2) are now headed towards Iran along with the USS Ronald Reagon (CVN76) and its Carrier Strike Group Seven (CCSG-7) coming from Japan.

They are joining two existing USN battle groups in the Gulf area: the USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN72) with its Carrier Strike Group Nine (CCSG-9); and the USS Peleliu (LHA-5) with its expeditionary strike group.

Likely also under way towards the Persian Gulf is the USS Iwo Jima (LHD-7) and its expeditionary strike group, the UK Royal Navy HMS Ark Royal (R07) carrier battle group, assorted French naval assets including the nuclear hunter-killer submarine Amethyste and French Naval Rafale fighter jets on-board the USS Theodore Roosevelt. These ships took part in the just completed Operation Brimstone.
That is very interesting. Very interesting indeed. A joint American and European task force including France? What is the world coming to? No good for the Iranians to be sure.

So a commenter at the Belmont Club on the Georgia thread pops up and asks if the excitement in Georgia will have an effect on the coming Iran operation?
Will it frustrate planned action on Iran? Yes.
Well I'm not going to give a set up like that a pass (I blog after all). So here is my response:

No. Russia is now tied down. Their freedom to act has just been reduced. You know: hold ‘em by the nose and then kick them in the ass.

The Russians now have what? 30K - 40K troops tied down and their attention concentrated at the cost of 1,000 Americans in the field + a few hundred advisers. Plus there are Israeli advisers in Georgia as well.

Americans are taking no casualties and the Russians seem to be bloodied.

The time for a counter strike at Russia’s wind pipe (the Roki Tunnel) is when they have fully extended. To make such a strike before that reduces the effect. As a commenter at the Belmont Club link said they have learned nothing from 1908. Evidently we have.

We will see how stupid the Russians are in the next few days. If they keep advancing while taking losses - i.e. they are goaded into ill considered action - they become more vulnerable every day. If they retreat they lose face. The Georgians need to keep retreating while fighting delaying actions to maintain limited contact and then cut off the Russian wind pipe. In the immortal words of Groucho Marx - stucco.

It is reported that Putin’s face turned to ash at the Olympics. Perhaps things got out of hand before he was ready to act. We have disrupted Putin’s timing. i.e. a spoiling attack.

In re: American politics. This is not going to help Obama with the muddled middle. Americans turn to warriors in dangerous times, not community organizers.

So what have the Russians decided to do?
The President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev issued an order Tuesday for the termination of the military operation of the Russian Army in Georgia.

Medvedev announced his decision during a meeting with the Defense Minister Anatoliy Serdyukov and the Head of the General Staff of the Army Nikolay Makarov, Interfax reported.

The operation for "coercing the Georgian side into making peace" was ended after a report of the Defense Ministry made it clear the goals of Russia's military operation was achieved.
If that report is true (and it is very likely true because it has come from a Russian news agency) the Russians know that they are in a very dangerous position militarily and may be beating feet to save their army.

However, they miscalculated by not announcing in advance “limited objectives”. Now it will look like they have been defeated by a fifth rate power with American friends. Bad for morale. Bad for their world image. Having Putin at the Olympics at the start when the generals would be in control with orders to do nothing except to respond to attacks was a master stroke not an error.

Proving once again that Bush plays the game better than any one else currently on the world stage.

Note: no reported American deaths so far. It looks like the Russians got their noses bloodied and America barely lifted a finger. My guess is that Russia was saving its move into Georgia for the start of the planned blockade of Iran. That is not going to work is it?

The initiative in world affairs has shifted.

What can we expect next once the blockade starts? Hizballah will probably attack Israel. However, this time it will come as no surprise to the Israels and my guess is that this time they will not only take out Hizballah but also Syria as well. The Stupistinians in Gaza will also likely get their just deserts. Provided they heed their paymasters in Iran.

It will be a whole new world come 20 Jan. 2009. A lot of unfinished business will have been finished. Self government is on the move. It will not be denied.

And American politics? That poor Obama doesn't stand a chance.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

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