In another thread, somebody was doing some interesting mashups of almost random countries fighting. And I decided to try one that is at least remotely possible. And that is the US and Iran. Now I am not going to include a cassias belli, and not even go into any specific details. But I think I can predict how things might play out. On the US side, I think you would have immediate pressure on both Iraq and Afghanistan to allow those countries to be used as platforms from which to stage an invasion. Probably bribed with large grants of money and equipment, as well as increased technical assistance. And both would probably go along, since a lot of their insurgents have been supported from Iran. So having that country taken out politically would be seen as an improvement in their own internal conflicts. Iran would probably try to fight it's last war, the Iran-Iraq War again. Massing troops along the border regions, and recruiting large numbers of National Guard and militias. However, they have a large country to defend, and that has some unique challenges. So you would have a large force along the border, staged to say defend an attack from Basrah. Meanwhile the US would be fighting in it's own way, conducting air strikes against critical command locations and logistical depots. Then launching it's first strike say at Bandar-e-Abbas via a Marine Expeditionary Force (Bandar-e-Abbas is on the coast, across the Straight of Hormuz from UAE). And since Iran would almost have to strike against US bases in the region (Kuwait, Qatar, UAE, Bahrain, etc), this would bring in almost every other nation in the region against them. I think that the US would win, simply because they would be able to tie the Iranian forces up into knots. They could stage land and air strikes almost anywhere at will, from amphibious landings at important ports and sights along the Persian Gulf, to deep inland like Tehran and Mashhad. Meanwhile Iran almost totally lacks the capability to do the same in return (other then missile attacks). A lot of people forget how effective amphibious landings can be, since they have not really been used in over 60 years. And most of those people think of are different then how they were often conducted in the past. I actually see somewhat of a return to older tactics, much like those used in the 18th and early 19th centuries. For example, the first such attack for the US was in 1776, when the US Navy and Marines attacked New Providence, in the Bahamas. They stormed ashore, stole munitions and supplies, spiked the cannons, and departed. This was a fairly typical raid for the era, storm ashore, do as much damage as you can, then depart. And in 1814, the British returned the favor. Most people do not associate the "Star Spangled Banner" and the Burning of Washington DC with an amphibious assault, but that is exactly what happened. In this month long campaign, the British stormed ashore, drove on the capitol, destroyed it after routing most of the US defending forces, then departed. They tried to do so again a month later at Baltimore, but it did not go as well the second time. But this was typical for the era. Land, kill and frighten people and destroy things, do some looting, then depart. I see much the same thing for a US-Iranian War. Marine forces landing at important port cities, breaking up a lot of things then departing. This would have the effect of making the Iranian forces operate in a reactive manner, causing them to now have to explain to a frightened population that they really are in control and rush forces all over in response to US actions. And this would only cause more instability within Iran. One thing that is a danger in most totalitarian countries is the legend of invulnerability. "Spin" becomes critical, because you have spent so long telling your own people that you can't loose that when you do take losses, it causes them to question everything. Even 50 years later North Korea is spinning to their own people how they lost the Korean War. Conduct a handful of raids such as this at towns along the Gulf, and while they would probably put it to their people as "successfully repelling Imperialist forces", they will start to question reality when it happens over and over and over again.