Saturday, February 22, 2014

War Game Phase II - Intelligence Community Assessment

This is from a war game we played in War in the 21st C class - Georgia Tech, Dr. Michael Salomone (Fall 2012). Our group represented the Intelligence Community

Group Member 1(NSA)
Group Member 2 (DIA)
Group Member 3 (CIA)
Donna Welles (DNI)

War Game Phase II - Intelligence Community Assessment

Geopolitical Contextualization

United States

    The United States continues to prioritize the defense of both American lives and American interests. With regard to the former, the intelligence community is specifically concerned with ensuring the safety of civilians in the region as well as that of military personnel across the globe. American interests pertaining to the Israel-Iran conflict include, (1) the containment of hostilities, (2) the defense of Israel, (3) protecting the Straits of Hormuz and other focal points of the world’s oil supply, and (4) ensuring the continuity of the Treaty of Nuclear Nonproliferation.

Belligerent Powers

Israel’s primary foreign policy objective has always been defensive in nature in that it has no territorial ambitions but rather seeks to preserve the integrity of its borders. Since the 1979 Iranian Revolution, Iranian foreign policy has oscillated back and forth between supporting the global Islamic revolutionary movement and practical actions that facilitate international trade.

Strategic Assessment

Given what is known about the military capabilities of the belligerent powers, the Intelligence Community believes Israel is capable of defending itself against Hezbollah and like entities. However, it is uncertain how long Israel can maintain the integrity of its borders amid a prolonged attack by major regional powers without assistance. This is especially true if Iran continues to, (1)  obtain military technology from China, and (2) recruit regional powers to its cause.


Until the United States formally enters into the conflict, the Intelligence Community recommends our efforts to be concentrated in psychological and cyber warfare. After consulting with the Department of Defense, the community further recommends that any overt action taken should be in the form of drone strikes on high priority targets.

Psychological Warfare

    Israel effectively used psychological warfare in the 2006 Lebanese War and the Intelligence Community believes it can be used again to, (1) discourage regional powers from assisting Iran militarily, and (2) encourage the continuity of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty.

Cyber Warfare

    Recent efforts using sophisticated computer viruses to hamper production at Iran’s nuclear enrichment facilities have been mostly successful. If proper safeguards can be established to prevent said viruses from affecting American networks, the intelligence community recommends pursuing this avenue, but with a focus on Iran’s ballistic missile launch and production sites and their radar and air defense capabilities. Given China’s increased involvement in Iran’s weapons and technology programs, it is expected that more sophisticated cyber warfare methods will be required than the U.S. has employed in the past.

Strategic Targets for Drone Strikes

Given the increased activity in Lebanon and its close proximity to Israel, potential targets of opportunity in Lebanon must be identified. The CIA plans to begin surveillance missions to identify key military installations such as the headquarters of Syria’s 16th Special Forces division. In the interim, general infrastructure areas such as power stations can be taken out with limited civilian casualties.

Content for Phase II of War Game:

Geographic Locations:
Golan Heights
Gaza Strip
Straits of Hormuz

Bashar Al-Assad in Syria
Mohammad Raad

Key Concepts:
2006 Lebanon War
Quds Force

Geographic Locations:

Golan Heights:
  • Borders Israel, Jordan, and Lebanon
  • Hilly and high, straddles Israeli-occupied territory and Syria
  • This region attracts 3 million tourists a year and provides Israel with ⅓ of its water
  • Controversy over how much of this area Israel controls (See 2006 Lebanon War) Golan Heights is the pale region in the middle (see the arrow)
After the 2006 Lebanon War between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas, the issue of the Golan Heights arose again. Israel heightened its alert over a possible war with Syria, after Israeli intelligence assessed that Syria was "seriously examining" military action. President Assad stated that Syria was prepared to hold peace talks with Israel, but said that if hopes for peace dissolve then "war may really be the only solution". Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmertdismissed calls within his coalition to consider peace talks and proclaimed that "the Golan Heights will remain in our hands forever"

Gaza Strip
  • The UN considers Israel to be the occupying power of the Gaza strip - Israel controls Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters. However, border with Egypt is not controlled by Israel
  • 1.7 million people, mostly Sunni Muslim, lots of Palestinian Refugees, 99% literacy rate
  • Borders Israel (51 km) and Egypt (11km) - Has current boundaries from 1949 Israel- Egypt Armistice agreement. Israel captures Gaza in the 6-day war (1967)
  • Oslo Accords (1993) - Palestinian Authority became administrative authority over Palestinian centers
  • 2005 - Israel unilaterally disengaged from Gaza
  • Since July 2007 - Hamas has functioned as the de facto ruler of the Gaza Strip
  • flat and rolling with dunes near the Mediterranean Coast

Straits of Hormuz
  • Between Persian Gulf and Gulf of Gulf of Oman
  • On the coasts are Iran, the United Arab Emirates, and Musandam - an enclave of Oman
  • At narrowest point, it’s 21 nautical miles wide
  • Strategically Important: 20% of world’s petroleum passes through there
General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said in January 2012 that Iran “has invested in capabilities that could, in fact, for a period of time block the Strait of Hormuz.” He also stated, “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that if that happens, we can defeat that.”


Bashar Al-Assad
  • Current President of Syria (Since 2000 when his father died. His father, Hafez Al Assad had ruled Syria for 29 years until his death.)
  • Age 47, speaks fluent English, married an English citizen of Syrian descent
  • Had initially trained to be a doctor until his brother/heir apparent died suddenly, he was recalled home and started military training
  • Was initially thought to be a reformer, even nicknamed, “The Hope” but that faded at onset of Syrian Civil War.
    • Following other ME countries, protests started in Syria in Jan 2011
    • Protestors called for reform, civil rights, and an end to the ‘state of emergency’ that Syria had been in place since 1963
    • Last year international leaders froze Assad’s bank accounts, etc. Sanctions.
    • By January 2012, 5,000 protesters had been killed, Assad gave a speech denouncing the Arab league who had turned against him.
    • Mid 2012 - Russia outspoken about the “blackmail of Syria by western nations” and vowed to veto any UN resolution that would sanction Syria
    • July 2012 - International Committee of the Red Cross declared state of Civil War in Syria, estimated death toll to 20,000Al Assad and his wife - the First Lady of Syria

Mohammad Raad
  • One of the leading figures of Hezbollah, has been President of Hezbollahs’ “Block Loyalty to the Resistance” since 2000
  • Lebanon’s only representative on the Iranian Guardian Council (close relationship w/ Iran)
  • Age 57, born in Beirut, Shia Muslim
  • Has referred to the American ambassador to Lebanon as an “Israeli agent”


  • Shia Islamic Military Group and Political Party based in Lebanon
  • receives financial and military support from Iran and Syria, paramilitary element regarded as resistance movement throughout the Arab and Muslim worlds
  • First emerged in response to the Israeli invasion of Lebanon in 1982
  • Headed by Hassan Nasrallah since 2000
  • 2011 - became part of the government for the first time
  • Has four stated objectives:
    • "Israel's final departure from Lebanon as a prelude to its final obliteration"
    • ending "any imperialist power in Lebanon"
    • submission of thePhalangists to "just rule" and bringing them to trial for their crimes
    • giving the people the chance to choose "with full freedom the system of government they want", while not hiding its commitment to the rule of Islam

  • Palestinian Sunni Islamist group that administers the Gaza strip, has a military wing, won a majority of seats in the Palestinian parliament in 2006
  • the EU, US, Canada, Israel, and Japan classify Hamas as a Terrorist Organization, but Russia and Turkey do not
  • Goal: 1988 Charter calls for the replacement of Israel with an Islamic Palestinian State

2006 Lebanon War
  • 34 day military conflict in Lebanon, Israel, and Golan Heights (12 July 2006 - UN brokered ceasefire on 14 Aug 2006. Officially ended when Israel lifted its naval blockade of Lebanon)
  • Belligerents: Hezbollah paramilitary forces vs. Israeli Military
  • Spark: Hezbollah militants fired rockets at Israeli border towns (was a diversion for an anti-tank missile attack on 2 armored vehicles patrolling the Israeli side of the border). Israel responded with airstrikes and artillery bombardments and an air and naval blockade.
  • Casualties: 1,300 Lebanese and 165 Israelis, severely damaged Lebanese infrastructure, displaced about 1 million Lebanese and 300,000 - 500,000 Israelis
Psychological Warfare:
During the war, the IAF dropped 17,000 leaflets over Lebanon in 47 missions, and sent more than 700,000 computerized voice messages. Many of them contained caricatures of Hassan Nasrallah and Hezbollah leading Lebanon to ruin and making civilians suffer, showing them as puppets of Iran and Syria, and calling on civilians to help remove Hezbollah. Another leaflet addressing Hezbollah fighters told them that they were lied to by their leaders, that they were "sent like sheep to be butchered, lacking military training and without proper combat gear", that they could not hope to face "highly trained soldiers that fight to protect their homeland, their people, and their home", referring to them as "mercenaries" without the support of the Lebanese public, and urging them to run and save their lives.

Quds Force:
  • Special Unit of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard
  • Is it responsible for “exporting Iran’s Islamic Revolution”
  • As of 2007, estimated 15,000 troops and operatives but little is reliably known about it

Iran - Israel Relations
  • Historically (1948 - 1979): Had good relationship from 1948 (Israel est as a state) until the 1979 Iranian Revolution led by Islamist Ruhollah Khomeini. Iran was the second Muslim majority country to recognise Israel as a sovereign nation after Turkey. (During the Pahlavi Dynasty)
  • Israel naturally viewed Iran as a non-Arab ally in the region.
  • After the 6-day war, lots of trade and military cooperation existed until 1979
  • Khomeini Era (1979-1989): He declared Israel an ‘Enemy of Islam’ and Israel was the ‘Little Satan’ whereas the US was ‘The Great Satan’
  • The second phase of the Iranian revolution was the creation of the Islamic Republic, that’s when they severed all ties w/ Israel
  • Khamenei Era (1989 - Present) Iran does not recognise Israel as a state, refers to the government as the “Zionist Regime” and the land as the “occupied territories”
  • Recent nuclear concerns surrounding Iran have increased tensions, especially true after the 2005 election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad
  • Aug 2012: Iranian officials called Israel, “a cancerous tumor in the heart of the Islamic world”

US - Israel Relations:
  • Israel gets more aid from US than any other country gets, and most cumulative since WWII, about $3 billion per year which is usually in form of military support
  • (Britain’s 1917 Balfour declaration)
  • 2009 Obama became 1st US president to authorize sale of bunker buster bombs to Israel
  • Next few years Obama got frustrated w/ Israel continuing to build housing in East Jerusalem

US - Iran Relations:

  • There are currently no formal diplomatic relations between the US and Iran
  • (see below about CIA plot to overthrow Mosaddeq)

Notes on Iran:

Historical Political Context

  • Historically sensitive to foreign interference:
    • CIA plot to overthrow Mohammed Mosaddeq (after he nationalized the oil industry)
Yes, my sin — my greater sin and even my greatest sin is that I nationalized Iran's oil industry and discarded the system of political and economic exploitation by the world's greatest empire. This at the cost to myself, my family; and at the risk of losing my life, my honor and my property. With God's blessing and the will of the people, I fought this savage and dreadful system of international espionage and colonialism .... I am well aware that my fate must serve as an example in the future throughout the Middle East in breaking the chains of slavery and servitude to colonial interests.
-Mosaddeq at his trial in front of the Shah’s military court
    • Russian conquest of northern part of country
    • Foreign occupation in First and Second World Wars
  • Since 1979 Revolution, the new government under Ayatollah Khomeini has reversed all of the pro-Western reforms of the Shah. Back and forth between 2 policies:
    • Participating in world-wide Islamic revolution
    • Pragmatism - fosters economic growth, normalization of relations
We shall export our revolution to the whole world. Until the cry "There is no God but God" resounds over the whole world, there will be struggle. -Ayatollah Khomeini
  • Since 1988 (End of Iran - Iraq war) new era:
    • Relations with EU have dramatically improved (Iran is major oil exporter, trading partner to Italy, France, and Germany)
    • Iran, China, and India have emerged as friends because they face similar issues moving forward
    • Normal relations w/ Russia and Soviet Republics - both Iran and Russia care about influence in Central Asia, energy, Caspian Sea

Current Political Context

  • Iran maintains diplomatic relations with almost every other member of the UN except Israel (which does not recognise) and the US (since the Iranian revolution).
  • Since 2005 - Iran’s nuclear program has been subject of contention. Has lead UN Security council to impose sanctions against Iran → increased economic isolation
  • In 2009, DNI said Iran couldn’t realistically get nuclear weapons until 2013


  • Since the Iranian Revolution, Iran has developed its own military industry so as to overcome embargos, makes its own armored vehicles now, etc.
  • 2 types of armed forces:
  • Regular forces- Army, Navy, Air Force
  • Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (545,000 active troops)
  • Also reserve forces. Some say Iran could mobilize up to 1 million men (one of largest forces in world)
  • Air Force: Iran has 24 F-14 and 16 MiG-29 fighters along with various other older combat aircraft, including F-4 variants and Su-24s (source)
    • Iran has over 100 combat helicopters split between its army, navy, air force, and revolutionary guard; almost all of these are Russian transport helicopters that have been converted into gunships

Nuclear Capabilities

  • It appears that none of these are capable of equipping nuclear weapons; recall that a few years ago, Pakistan ordered several F-16 fighters from the U.S. and it was a big deal because they could now deliver nukes by aircraft
  • In 2009, and again this past July, Iran test-fired ballistic missiles that have enough range to strike Israel; this will be their primary method of delivery
  • Good info here on Iran’s missile capabilities
    • Robert Gates, 2009: “The intelligence community now assesses that the threat from Iran's short- and medium-range ballistic missiles, such as the Shahab-3, is developing more rapidly than previously projected.”
  • An unclassified 2012 CIA report suggested that Iran has increased its number of active centrifuges and has 80 kg of low-enriched uranium hexafluoride (with about 250 kg needed for a nuke)
    • Also this: “Iran continued to move toward self-sufficiency in the production of ballistic missiles, but almost certainly remains dependent on foreign suppliers for some key missile components.  Entities in China and Russia along with North Korea are among likely suppliers.”
  • It is believed that the CIA worked with Israel’s Mossad on a covert strike that produced an explosion at an Iranian nuclear facility in late 2011, killing their top nuclear scientist; this occurred around the same time that the Stuxnet virus was introduced

Countries that border Iran (3 post-Soviet States listed first)

  • Armenia (Christian)
    • Have had relations for 1,000’s of years
    • Although Armenia has been conquered by Persia periodically throughout history, there are currently no border disputes between the countries and Iran’s Christian Armenian minority has recognition
  • Azerbaijan (Shia Muslim)
    • Have had diplomatic relations since 1918
    • Both countries members of the Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC)
  • Turkmenistan (Muslim)
    • Iran was the first nation to recognize Turkmenistan as an independent nation
    • They work together peacefully despite Iran’s religious rulers and Turkmenistan’s secular dictatorship
  • Afghanistan (Muslim)
    • Dari is an Eastern dialect of the Persian language
    • Hostility during Soviet Invasion, Iran supported Afghan independence
    • fight with eachother over water rights, esp during Taliban era of 1990’s
    • 1 million Afghan refugees live in Iran, often they are mistreated
"We did interdict a shipment, without question the Revolutionary Guard's core Quds Force, through a known Taliban facilitator. Three of the individuals were killed... Iranians certainly view as making life more difficult for us if Afghanistan is unstable. We don't have that kind of relationship with the Iranians. That's why I am particularly troubled by the interception of weapons coming from Iran. But we know that it's more than weapons; it's money; it's also according to some reports, training at Iranian camps as well." - General David Petraeus
  • Pakistan (Muslim)
    • One of the first countries to recognise the new Iranian government after the 1979 Revolution
    • During Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, Iran and Pakistan became closer, worked together to support Mujehedin
    • Supported different sides during the Taliban - NA conflict (Iran supported NA, Pakistan supported Taliban)
  • Turkey (Sunni Muslim)
"In fact, there is no nuclear weapon in Iran now but Israel, which is also located in our region, possesses nuclear arms. Turkey is the same distance from both of them. What has the international community said against Israel so far? Is this the superiority of law or the law of superiors? - Turkish PM
      • Turkey has agreed to host a radar station to track missiles launched from Iran
  • Iraq (Both Sunni and Shia)

Iran - Iraq war (1980-1988)

  • 1980- Iraq invaded Iran
    • stated reason was dispute over waterway
    • unstated reasons: the two countries have a history of supporting separatist movements within the other’s country. That stopped for a while with the Algiers Agreement (1975) but after the revolution things heated up again
    • period of real isolation for Iran as the US/Britain supported Iraq
  • Sign peace agreement in 1988:
    • 1 million dead
    • neither made any real gains
    • beginning of new era for Iranian foreign policy - had to become less radical


  • Israel Defense Forces (IDF)
    • Three branches: army (Ground Arm Command), navy, air force
  • Service
    • Mandatory service for all citizens (three years for men, two for women); Arab citizens and ultra-Orthodox Jews are exempt, though the latter group is under scrutiny
    • Men who have completed active duty service may be called back up for reserve duty or active duty in times of crisis
  • Air Force
    • Much stronger air force than Iran, with 176 F-16 aircraft and 67 F-15 fighters available; also ordered 20 F-35 aircraft that will not arrive any time soon (source)
    • Also have over 150 dedicated combat helicopters, including 50 AH-64 Apache helicopters

Countries that border Israel

  • Lebanon
    • Israel - Lebanon have never existed under normal economic, diplomatic relations but Lebanon did not participate in 1967 or 1973 wars
    • Until 1970, Lebanon was the most Israel’s peaceful border
    • 2006 Lebanon war (2006 Israel Hezbollah War) - 34 day military conflict
    • Since 2009, 100 people have been arrested in Lebanon accused of spying for Israel - they’re expected to get the death penalty
    • 2010 border clash - several soldiers from each side died
  • Syria
    • Diplomatic ties have not been established
    • Countries have fought 4 major wars: 1948, 1967 (six day war) , 1973 (Yom Kippur War), 1982
  • Jordan
    • Jordan and Israel have had diplomatic relations since 1994 signing of Israel - Jordan peace treaty (before that a state of war had existed since 1948)
    • King Abdullah of Jordan views Israel as a vital ally in the Middle East
  • Egypt
    • State of war existed b/w the two countries from 1948 until the 1979 Camp David Accords. Full diplomatic relations established in 1980
    • Has existed a “cold peace” between them for 30 years


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