Iran's Rev Guards preparing for war
It's a new kind of war - a combination of assassinating key scientific figures, cyber attacks, and more conventional sabotage carried out by intelligence agencies. And the fact that the Iranians have now activated their best trained, best equipped soldiers in the Revolutionary Guards means they expect more of the same.
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.
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's spiritual leader, issued a directive to the heads of all the country's military, intelligence and security organisations to take all necessary measures to protect the regime.
Gen Jaafari responded to this directive by ordering Revolutionary Guards units to redistribute Iran's arsenal of long-range Shahab missiles to secret sites around the country where they would be safe from enemy attack and could be used to launch retaliatory attacks.
In addition, the Iranian air force has formed a number of "rapid reaction units", which have been carrying out extensive exercises to practice a response to an enemy air attack.
A problem for the Iranians is that as long as Israel and the west can degrade their ballistic missile and nuclear programs without an air campaign or invasion, they can't defend everything, everywhere at the same time. Vulnerabilities will be exploited and weaknesses will be found as long as their enemies have the technological capaibilities to do so.
An alternative to bombing? The campaign has proved successful so far. But work by the Iranians on a bomb continues apace and the sad fact is, there are some elements in their development programs that are out of reach of sabotage and cyber war. Whether that makes an attack more likely is unknown.