Israel's prospective strike against nuclear Iran

Push seems to be rapidly coming to shove in the high stakes world of nuclear arms strategy. Iran, committed by its leader to removing Israel from the map of the Middle East, is about to posess the means of obliterating the Jewish state, thereby advancing Hitler's agenda one giant step forward. Never one to accept the fate its enemies plot, Israel may well be preparing to obviate that possibility.

According to the Times of London,

ISRAEL'S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed....

Defence sources in Israel believe the end of March to be the "point of no return" after which Iran will have the technical expertise to enrich uranium in sufficient quantities to build a nuclear warhead in two to four years....

Aharon Zeevi Farkash, the Israeli military intelligence chief, stepped up the pressure on Iran this month when he warned Israel's parliament, the Knesset, that "if by the end of March the international community is unable to refer the Iranian issue to the United Nations security council, then we can say the international effort has run its course."

Iran is now getting its first spy satellite and anti—missile defenses, courtesy of Vladimir Putin. It is gaining a retaliatory capacity in long—range missiles, perhaps with chemical or biological warheads. And it controls the Hizbullah terrorist organization, and probably others. Iran's new Prime Minister, the fanatical Ahmadi—Nezhad (Amadinejad), was head of the El Qods (Jerusalem) Brigade, which built up Hizbollah and other state—sponsored terrorists.

The Times story could be disinformation, but it doesn't seem likely. The "point of no return" factors seem to be objectively true. However, it is difficult to imagine how the mission can be accomplished. The only hint we have is the likely use of special forces and long—range aircraft.

Iran has been preparing for an Israeli strike for a long time, to avoid the one—strike knock—down of Saddam Hussein's Osirak nuclear plant in 1981. While the Israelis have a record of being able to pull surprises, knocking out dispersed targets surrounded by powerful defenses will not be easy. Instead of one clearly localized target, there may be twenty or more, and some may be simply unknown.

To complicate matters, Iran has enough capacity to strike against US naval forces in the Gulf region to draw in the United States. According to the Times article, Israel has been monitoring Iranian nuclear development using a signals listening station in Northern Iraq, presumably with tacit US cooperation. That is either a damaging leak, or a signal to Iran that the US and Israel are in this together.

When Saddam's nuclear reactor was knocked out in 1981, Israel was apparently aided significantly by French intelligence, even though France had built the Osirak reactor in the first place. The lesson is that nobody wants a nuclear—armed Iran, except for the maddest elements in Tehran. Turkey can't be happy with a nuclear Iran next door, and the Turks can be formidable fighters. Even Russia, which is supplying Iran, doesn't want a regime run by Islamist crazies next door. Moscow has its own jihadi bloodletting to worry about.

So the United States, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, the Saudis, the Gulf States, Egypt, and even the Europeans may be secretly providing intelligence to Israel to help knock out the nuclear program. Some of the Mullahs may not relish the radicals obtaining nukes — a nuclear bomb could ruin your day even in Tehran or Qom. Iranian pro—democracy forces have been consistently leaking information about secret facilities in the open press. So there is a real opposition within Iran itself.

It is quite possible that this may be a large and sustained allied attack, with Israel taking the public blame or credit. US Navy and Special Forces may be involved. US cruise missiles may be hard to distinguish from Israeli ones, and stealth aircraft can perform night missions undetected.

So this could be a combined forces operation. It is hard to see how it could be carried out by Israel alone. For one thing, the IDF has essentially a one—strike capacity. If that single strike failed, or if Iran retaliated against Israeli population centers the IDF would have to go nuclear, or back off completely. But Israel cannot afford to be seen backing off, or the whole Middle East would be at its throat. Nor can the rest of the world afford for Israel to fail.

George W. Bush has stated plainly that Iran will not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons. With Ahmadi—Nezhad publicly threatening to "wipe Israel off the map," even the Europeans may be ready to concede that the appeasement option has run out. Europe itself will soon be within easy range of Iranian missiles.

Israel has a formidable military, but nobody can bet on a miracle.? No one can afford to lose this. What is likely to happen, therefore, is a powerful combined military strike, with deniable US support, and tacit support from just about all other countries in Europe and the Middle East.? To avoid the risk of a larger war, all the regional powers except Iran will be preparing to slam the lid tight on their domestic terrorists. Only Lebanon and the PA have terrorists they cannot control.

What Israel and the United States may be doing with this deliberate leak is to put everyone on notice. If there is no face—saving retreat by Tehran by March of 2006, we can expected concerted action.

If anyone is still wondering why we are in Iraq, here is your answer.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor

Push seems to be rapidly coming to shove in the high stakes world of nuclear arms strategy. Iran, committed by its leader to removing Israel from the map of the Middle East, is about to posess the means of obliterating the Jewish state, thereby advancing Hitler's agenda one giant step forward. Never one to accept the fate its enemies plot, Israel may well be preparing to obviate that possibility.

According to the Times of London,

ISRAEL'S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed....

Defence sources in Israel believe the end of March to be the "point of no return" after which Iran will have the technical expertise to enrich uranium in sufficient quantities to build a nuclear warhead in two to four years....

Aharon Zeevi Farkash, the Israeli military intelligence chief, stepped up the pressure on Iran this month when he warned Israel's parliament, the Knesset, that "if by the end of March the international community is unable to refer the Iranian issue to the United Nations security council, then we can say the international effort has run its course."

Iran is now getting its first spy satellite and anti—missile defenses, courtesy of Vladimir Putin. It is gaining a retaliatory capacity in long—range missiles, perhaps with chemical or biological warheads. And it controls the Hizbullah terrorist organization, and probably others. Iran's new Prime Minister, the fanatical Ahmadi—Nezhad (Amadinejad), was head of the El Qods (Jerusalem) Brigade, which built up Hizbollah and other state—sponsored terrorists.

The Times story could be disinformation, but it doesn't seem likely. The "point of no return" factors seem to be objectively true. However, it is difficult to imagine how the mission can be accomplished. The only hint we have is the likely use of special forces and long—range aircraft.

Iran has been preparing for an Israeli strike for a long time, to avoid the one—strike knock—down of Saddam Hussein's Osirak nuclear plant in 1981. While the Israelis have a record of being able to pull surprises, knocking out dispersed targets surrounded by powerful defenses will not be easy. Instead of one clearly localized target, there may be twenty or more, and some may be simply unknown.

To complicate matters, Iran has enough capacity to strike against US naval forces in the Gulf region to draw in the United States. According to the Times article, Israel has been monitoring Iranian nuclear development using a signals listening station in Northern Iraq, presumably with tacit US cooperation. That is either a damaging leak, or a signal to Iran that the US and Israel are in this together.

When Saddam's nuclear reactor was knocked out in 1981, Israel was apparently aided significantly by French intelligence, even though France had built the Osirak reactor in the first place. The lesson is that nobody wants a nuclear—armed Iran, except for the maddest elements in Tehran. Turkey can't be happy with a nuclear Iran next door, and the Turks can be formidable fighters. Even Russia, which is supplying Iran, doesn't want a regime run by Islamist crazies next door. Moscow has its own jihadi bloodletting to worry about.

So the United States, Russia, Turkey, Iraq, the Saudis, the Gulf States, Egypt, and even the Europeans may be secretly providing intelligence to Israel to help knock out the nuclear program. Some of the Mullahs may not relish the radicals obtaining nukes — a nuclear bomb could ruin your day even in Tehran or Qom. Iranian pro—democracy forces have been consistently leaking information about secret facilities in the open press. So there is a real opposition within Iran itself.

It is quite possible that this may be a large and sustained allied attack, with Israel taking the public blame or credit. US Navy and Special Forces may be involved. US cruise missiles may be hard to distinguish from Israeli ones, and stealth aircraft can perform night missions undetected.

So this could be a combined forces operation. It is hard to see how it could be carried out by Israel alone. For one thing, the IDF has essentially a one—strike capacity. If that single strike failed, or if Iran retaliated against Israeli population centers the IDF would have to go nuclear, or back off completely. But Israel cannot afford to be seen backing off, or the whole Middle East would be at its throat. Nor can the rest of the world afford for Israel to fail.

George W. Bush has stated plainly that Iran will not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons. With Ahmadi—Nezhad publicly threatening to "wipe Israel off the map," even the Europeans may be ready to concede that the appeasement option has run out. Europe itself will soon be within easy range of Iranian missiles.

Israel has a formidable military, but nobody can bet on a miracle.? No one can afford to lose this. What is likely to happen, therefore, is a powerful combined military strike, with deniable US support, and tacit support from just about all other countries in Europe and the Middle East.? To avoid the risk of a larger war, all the regional powers except Iran will be preparing to slam the lid tight on their domestic terrorists. Only Lebanon and the PA have terrorists they cannot control.

What Israel and the United States may be doing with this deliberate leak is to put everyone on notice. If there is no face—saving retreat by Tehran by March of 2006, we can expected concerted action.

If anyone is still wondering why we are in Iraq, here is your answer.

James Lewis is a frequent contributor