Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Air Force General Advocates Bombing Iran's Oil Refineries

In a new article for Defense News, Air Force Major General Charles Dunlap writes that the next phase of the counterinsurgency in Iraq should be bombing Iran's oil refineries, in retaliation for Iran's support of Iraqi guerrillas.

(pictured left: Iran's oil refinery at the Gulf Port of Bandar-Abbas.)

According to excerpt of the article published on the Danger Room:

"What does every war-fighting effort require? Fuel. In this instance, Iran has real vulnerabilities that the 'overwhelming application of the air instrument' can exploit.

Specifically, despite huge reserves of crude oil, Iran nevertheless must import about half of its gasoline, largely because of a shortage of domestic refinery capacity. Targeting what refinery capacity Iran possesses could directly and concretely erode its ability to support Iraqi insurgents.

Oil refineries are ideal targets for air and missile attack. They are large, relatively 'soft' facilities that are difficult for even the most modern air defense to protect. At the same time, they represent wholly lawful targets generally subject to attack with a minimal risk of collateral damage.

Besides reducing the fuel available to support insurgent activities in Iraq, the further cutback in refinery capacity could influence Iranian leadership, as the nation has already seen civil disturbances as a result of gasoline rationing.

Another indirect benefit of destroying refining capacity: Billions of dollars otherwise available to support Iraqi insurgents would have to be diverted by the Iranians to import additional gasoline supplies."

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