Israeli AF has the range to hit Iranian nuke sites

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Even as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are battling to knock down Hezbollah, Iran's terror proxy in Lebanon, the Washington Times reports that the Israeli Air Force is now equpped to take on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even while he is busy channeling the Twelfth Imam in Tehran. The timing of this report may not be a coincidence. According to Rowan Scarborough, 

Israel has purchased 25 $84 million F—15I (I for Israel) Ra'am, a
special version of the U.S. F—15E long—range interdiction bomber. It also is buying 102 of another long—range tactical jet, the $45 million F—16I Sufa. About 60 have been delivered.

The Jewish state also is buying 500 U.S. BLU—109 "bunker buster" bombs that could penetrate the concrete protection around some of Iran's underground facilities, such as the uranium enrichment site at Natanz. The final piece of the enterprise is a fleet of B—707 air—to—air refuelers that could nurse strike aircraft as they made the 900—mile—plus trip inside Iran, dropped their bombs and returned to Israel.

More than 85 long—range bombers and tactical jets are enough to strike fixed nuclear targets in Iran. The Iranians can't very wel move their nuclear plant at Bushehr or their enrichment cascade at Natanz. They do have another estimated 30 nuclear—related sites that may survive a short—term air campaign.

So much for IAF capability. What about military objectives? The Israeli mindset is essentially defensive. Israel has a formidable military because for more than half a century it has had formidable enemies. It would be absurd in Israeli eyes to attack anyone who did not pose a threat.

But the Mullahs are repeating Saddam Hussein's model of building a nuclear industry while talking genocide. That adds the greatest possible incentive to actually use Israel's long—range bombers. Add capabiity to incentive, and you can get action. 

In the present battle Ahmadinejad has been (fairly) restrained. So far he has not risked much on behalf of his Hezbollah martyr brigade. The Iranians are said to control Hezbollah's heavy missiles, aimed at Israeli population centers. So far they have not been launched.

A serious attack on Israel's population would invite massive retaliation, aimed at Tehran and Damascus. The Arab nations know this, which is why they are not supporting Hezbollah. Maybe Ahmadinejad is beginning to feel very alone just about now.

When the first cascade starts producing enriched uranium in Natanz, there will be a point of no return. But it will also be a point of deadly risk for Ahmadinejad and his boss, Ayatollah Khamenei.  They are getting flattering peace proposals from Europe and Russia. And then over the horizon they can see the longrange strike capacity of the IAF, looking a lot tougher.

Then there's George Bush. Until Bush is out of office the Mullahs cannot risk getting their nukes all nicely lined up, like the North Koreans did by flimflamming Madeleine Albright. Having Israeli bombers and missiles within range of Qom and Tehran is bad enough. Add the US Sixth Fleet and American air power, and a president like George W.,  and it all becomes a bit much, even for loudmouth seekers of martyrdom.

A prediction: If the Iranians don't back off their nukes, there will be military strikes against Tehran before George Bush leaves office. The Israelis may start it, but the Americans will finish it. And no Arab country will shed a tear.

James Lewis    7 18 06

Even as the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are battling to knock down Hezbollah, Iran's terror proxy in Lebanon, the Washington Times reports that the Israeli Air Force is now equpped to take on Mahmoud Ahmadinejad even while he is busy channeling the Twelfth Imam in Tehran. The timing of this report may not be a coincidence. According to Rowan Scarborough, 

Israel has purchased 25 $84 million F—15I (I for Israel) Ra'am, a
special version of the U.S. F—15E long—range interdiction bomber. It also is buying 102 of another long—range tactical jet, the $45 million F—16I Sufa. About 60 have been delivered.

The Jewish state also is buying 500 U.S. BLU—109 "bunker buster" bombs that could penetrate the concrete protection around some of Iran's underground facilities, such as the uranium enrichment site at Natanz. The final piece of the enterprise is a fleet of B—707 air—to—air refuelers that could nurse strike aircraft as they made the 900—mile—plus trip inside Iran, dropped their bombs and returned to Israel.

More than 85 long—range bombers and tactical jets are enough to strike fixed nuclear targets in Iran. The Iranians can't very wel move their nuclear plant at Bushehr or their enrichment cascade at Natanz. They do have another estimated 30 nuclear—related sites that may survive a short—term air campaign.

So much for IAF capability. What about military objectives? The Israeli mindset is essentially defensive. Israel has a formidable military because for more than half a century it has had formidable enemies. It would be absurd in Israeli eyes to attack anyone who did not pose a threat.

But the Mullahs are repeating Saddam Hussein's model of building a nuclear industry while talking genocide. That adds the greatest possible incentive to actually use Israel's long—range bombers. Add capabiity to incentive, and you can get action. 

In the present battle Ahmadinejad has been (fairly) restrained. So far he has not risked much on behalf of his Hezbollah martyr brigade. The Iranians are said to control Hezbollah's heavy missiles, aimed at Israeli population centers. So far they have not been launched.

A serious attack on Israel's population would invite massive retaliation, aimed at Tehran and Damascus. The Arab nations know this, which is why they are not supporting Hezbollah. Maybe Ahmadinejad is beginning to feel very alone just about now.

When the first cascade starts producing enriched uranium in Natanz, there will be a point of no return. But it will also be a point of deadly risk for Ahmadinejad and his boss, Ayatollah Khamenei.  They are getting flattering peace proposals from Europe and Russia. And then over the horizon they can see the longrange strike capacity of the IAF, looking a lot tougher.

Then there's George Bush. Until Bush is out of office the Mullahs cannot risk getting their nukes all nicely lined up, like the North Koreans did by flimflamming Madeleine Albright. Having Israeli bombers and missiles within range of Qom and Tehran is bad enough. Add the US Sixth Fleet and American air power, and a president like George W.,  and it all becomes a bit much, even for loudmouth seekers of martyrdom.

A prediction: If the Iranians don't back off their nukes, there will be military strikes against Tehran before George Bush leaves office. The Israelis may start it, but the Americans will finish it. And no Arab country will shed a tear.

James Lewis    7 18 06