While the mullahs in Iran continue to threaten the United States with worldwide terrorist attacks against American individuals and groups, it might be time for them to reconsider their position.
The mullahs are attempting to run a formerly evolving modern state, utilizing the ideas of 12th-century Shia Islam; they remain in power through the repression of the well-paid Revolutionary Guard. Their most urgent strategic priority is a regeneration of Persian ascendancy not seen since Darius the Great. Their methodology for this new Persian Empire is to complete a nuclear bomb production industry now nascent among some 40 dispersed and hardened sites.
The mullahs are willing to force the Iranian people to absorb the effects of crushing economic sanctions imposed by the United States, the United Nations, and cooperating countries in order to build their bomb.
As a result, the mullahs in 2019 precipitously raised fuel prices 50 to 200 percent and immediately were inundated by waves of violent protests in most of Iran’s larger cities. An estimated 1,500 Iranian protesters died.
The Iranian economy remains dependent on oil production and export. Its most vulnerable points are the six oil production centers at Abadan, Esfahan, Bandar-e Abbas, Tehran, Arak, and Tabriz. If any one of those is reduced in capability, even for a short time, the economy will further weaken, and domestic instability will increase.
The Precision of a Micrometer
Meanwhile, the religiously driven mullahs have continued to support Shia aligned groups wreaking havoc in Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon, Gaza, and the West Bank. In Iraq, their surrogates went a step too far in attacking the American embassy, and the result was the obliteration of Qasem Soleimani (and his staff) who reported directly to Ayatollah Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader.
Despite loud cries of revenge, Khamenei must be quaking in his givehs. Why? Because the United States had the precise information to target his best general, head of the Quds Force (the elite military intelligence and unconventional warfare service) in his car, in an airport parking lot, and vaporize the sonofabitch before his seat bell stopped dinging.
Now if you are Ayatollah Khamenei, with a shaky domestic body politic and an even shakier economy, and you go to work in a palace which the United States likely has under satellite and drone surveillance, and you know it can target you with the precision of a micrometer, it might be wise to go easy until you get your bomb.
Meantime back in Washington, Melania’s husband is thinking that the last thing he needs is Persians with nukes. He also knows there are two things that the mullahs absolutely must have: cash flow from petroleum and those nukes.
Thus the target set is defined: Each time there is an attack on U.S. interests, however small, directly or through surrogates, the United States will attack and cripple an oil production facility, and then another, and then another, along with a nuclear weapons site, and then another. The important part is to limit civilian casualties while causing the Iranian economy and regime to implode.
The Right Bombs for the Job
For this specific set of parameters, the U.S. can use a little jewel called the Small Diameter Bomb/Focused Lethality Munition. SDB is basically a 250-pound smart bomb with a composite case to limit collateral damage; the kind you use on some Tuesday afternoon while everybody is at lunch, to silently fly through a window and wipe out the computer control booth of an oil production facility.
If Khamenei’s subordinate, Brigadier General Alvarez Sabahifard were a bright guy, he’d be watching the skies for an SDB with his name on it, since he heads the Iranian Air Defense force, and his demise might cause some consternation when the rain of American bombs begins to fall.
On the other end of the spectrum from the Small Diameter Bomb are a family of special-purpose hole-diggers. Since World War II, the United States has developed bunker-buster munitions originally called “Disney Bombs” after a concept which was dreamed up by Walt Disney Studios for a 1943 film called “Victory Through Airpower.”
The Army Air Corps thought the cartoon bomb was so good that they actually went ahead and invented the real thing. Then they passed it to the mighty 8th Air Force to hurl against hardened Nazi positions in the spring of 1945, slicing through 14 feet of reinforced concrete, followed by a large “boom.”
After that came Azon, Razon, and Tarzon, the last being a 13,000-pound behemoth that we used in the Korean War against the Chinese and North Koreans.
In Iraq, the United States used the laser-guided GBU-28, a 5,000-pound deep penetrator, successfully against hardened targets.
And now, the Pentagon has the Son of the Disney Bomb, called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP. Formally known as the GBU-57, it is a 30,000-pound (15-ton) bomb designed to dig a really deep hole.
The MOP is particularly interesting in that it is GPS guided and can be used at night or in bad weather or during sandstorms, with an accuracy measured in feet. Think of it as a candygram to bad guys in caves . . . 200 feet down.
The use of these diverse weapons on oil production and nuclear facilities would cause the Iranian economy to falter, their nuclear program to stumble, and protests to begin anew. The end effect would be the implosion of the mullahs’ regime.
And Khamenei should understand that President Trump is particularly lethal to mullahs these days, as he has free rein. After all, what are they going to do, impeach him?