Posted by lex, on December 6th, 2011
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps is apparently preparing for active hostilities, according to the UK Daily Telegraph:
An order from Gen Mohammed Ali Jaafari, the commander of the guards, raised the operational readiness status of the country’s forces, initiating preparations for potential external strikes and covert attacks.
Western intelligence officials said the Islamic Republic had initiated plans to disperse long-range missiles, high explosives, artillery and guards units to key defensive positions.
The order was given in response to the mounting international pressure over Iran’s nuclear programme. Preparation for a confrontation has gathered pace following last month’s report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna that produced evidence that Iran was actively working to produce nuclear weapons.
The Iranian leadership fears the country is being subjected to a carefully co-ordinated attack by Western intelligence and security agencies to destroy key elements of its nuclear infrastructure.
Recent explosions have added to the growing sense of paranoia within Iran, with the regime fearing it will be the target of a surprise military strike by Israel or the US.
A little healthy paranoia is a good thing, we’d like to keep the mullahs on the back foot. But the IRGC has a well-earned reputation for executing asymmetric attacks. And the warning by an Iranian military source that the country’s response to a US drone lost within Iran’s airspace will “not be limited to Iran’s borders” * is a potential indicator that something’s afoot.
On the topic of that lost drone, US military sources reveal that it was indeed a high-end RQ-170 and not the Predator of early reports. The US also knew where it went down and rejected kinetic options to prevent its compromise:
(A U.S.) official confirmed that when the drone crashed, the United States briefly considered all potential options for retrieving the aircraft or bombing the wreckage, but those ideas were quickly discarded as impractical. There was also satellite surveillance over the site, which helped confirm the location of the wreckage before the Iranians retrieved it.
Politically impractical perhaps. It would seem a trifling thing to execute from a military perspective, unless the drone had the misfortune to land within Tehran itself.
** 06-05-2018 Link gone; replacement not found – Ed.