Morning Report: April 17, 2006

WaPo: US draws up Iran war plans. Via Regime Change Iran, William Arkin at the Washington Post writes: 'In early 2003, even as U.S. forces were on the brink of war with Iraq, the Army had already begun conducting an analysis for a full-scale war with Iran. The analysis, called TIRANNT, for "theater Iran near term," was coupled with a mock scenario for a Marine Corps invasion and a simulation of the Iranian missile force. U.S. and British planners conducted a Caspian Sea war game around the same time. And Bush directed the U.S. Strategic Command to draw up a global strike war plan for an attack against Iranian weapons of mass de struction. All of this will ultimately feed into a new war plan for "major combat operations" against Iran that military sources confirm now exists in draft form. ... Under TIRANNT, Army and U.S. Central Command planners have been examining both near-term and out-year scenarios for war with Iran, including all aspects of a major combat operation, from mobilization and deployment of forces through postwar stability operations after regime change. The core TIRANNT effort began in May 2003, when modelers and intelligence specialists pulled together the data needed for theater-level (meaning large-scale) scenario analysis for Iran. TIRANNT has since been updated using post-Iraq war information on the performance of U.S. forces. Meanwhile, Air Force planners have modeled attacks against existing Iranian air defenses and targets, while Navy planners have evaluated coastal defenses and drawn up scenarios for keeping control of the Strait of Hormuz at the base of the Persian Gulf. A follow-on TIRANNT Campaign Analysis, which began in October 2003, calculated the results of different scenarios for action against Iran to provide options for analyzing courses of action in an updated Iran war plan. According to military sources close to the planning process, this task was given to Army Gen. John P. Abizaid, now commander of CENTCOM, in 2002. The Marines, meanwhile, have not only been involved in CENTCOM's war planning, but have been focused on their own specialty, "forcible entry." In April 2003, the Corps published its "Concept of Operations" for a maneuver against a mock country that explores the possibility of moving forces from ship to shore against a determined enemy without establishing a beachhead first. Though the Marine Corps enemy is described only as a deeply religious revolutionary country named Karona, it is -- with its Revolutionary Guards, WMD and oil wealth -- unmistakably meant to be Iran.' (WaPo via RCI)

Suicide bombing in Israel. Imshin has the news: 'Bish rang from the office, which is just near the Old Central Bus Station, to say the bang was bigger than usual this time. By the time he rang, the ambulances were racing passed the apartment. Eldest was on a bus somewhere between the Azrielli Mall and Dizengoff Center when it happened. ... Bish said, he’s standing there and next to him there’s a guy from the radio reporting live what he can see. Only everything the guy from the radio says he can see is a complete fabrication.' Photos. Jerusalem Post: 'Initial reports said that four people were killed and 15 were seriously wounded in an explosion on Monday afternoon at a falafel stand near the old central bus station in Tel Aviv. The name of the establishment is Falafel Rosh Hair, Army Radio reported.' Debka: 'The massive terrorist blast in Tel Aviv Monday is claimed by Jihad Islami and Fatah-al Aqsa Brigades. The suicide bomber was Mohammed Sami Salim from Jenin and not a Palestinian woman from Kabatya as earlier reported. (Imshin, JPost, Debka)

ITM: More obstacles in government talks. Iraq the Model: 'A few more days they asked for which they claim are necessary to complete the negotiations but in fact it looks like yesterday added new problems in addition to the already existing deadlock represented by nominating a new PM and it seems that creating problems has become a trait of the political blocs in a sequence of reactions that make accordance seem far from reach at this point. The new problem emerged as the UIA rejected the Accord Front nomination of Tariq al-Hashimi for speaker of parliament without stating why and so did the Accord Front by rejecting the Iraqi List's nomination of Allawi for vice president. In the latter case the rejection was made for probably power-related reasons because the Accord Front would not let the two deputy posts go to two men from other blocs, thus they presented their candidate Adnan al-Dulaimi.' Details at the link. (ITM)