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‘An Attack on Iran Will End Israel as We Know It’

mutually assured destruction

Even confined just to the Middle East, MAD will be devestating for Israel and Iran

Maariv publishes an important article (Hebrew) noting that Meir Dagan is not the only senior military-intelligence official decrying a possible Israeli strike on Iran.  Among the others who agree with him are former chief of IDF intelligence Shlomo Gazit, former defense minister Benyamin Ben Eliezer, and former Mossad director Ephraim HaLevy, and many others.

This article is so resonant and penetrating I’ll translate bits of it here.  Quoting Anthony Cordesmann’s research on the subject (which I’ve covered here), it begins by noting that Israel itself predicts that a major air assault to knock out Iran’s nuclear facilities would involve the loss of fully one-third of the planes, which would be knocked out by missiles and Russian-provided air defense systems.  Think of this. Israel would have to assign scores if not hundreds of planes and pilots to this operation.  A third will not return.  A third.  Pilots are among the most skilled of all the personnel in the IDF: the creme de la creme.  If one-third of the personnel don’t return it will be an enormous hit for the service and a enormous loss for the nation.  Personally, I think it is a loss that the nation as a whole will neither forgive or forget (though it might rally round Bibi in the short term).

Those who do return will come back to a nation altogether different than the one they left.  The Iranian response will be massive and painful, utilizing Shihad 3 land to land missiles which can reach every corner of the country.  The article envisions (though I tend to doubt this part) that some of the missiles will be equipped with chemical warheads and extract a painful cost in loss of life.

In writing of Cordesman’s research here previously, I’ve noted the other parts of his scenario: that Iran will activate groups willing to act in solidarity with it, notably Hezbollah and possibly Hamas.  Besides massive terror attacks, there will be rockets raining down on Israel from Lebanon as in 2006 and from Gaza as in 2008.  From its perch on the Persian Gulf, Iran will attempt to strangle the flow of oil from all fields whose shipping must pass through these straits.  This will result in massive spikes in oil prices and a serious blow to the world economy.

Maariv’s reporter also notes Ephraim HaLevy’s comments in a Time Magazine 2008 interview in which he predicts the results of an Israeli attack will be “devestating in the long run:”

It may impact us for the next 100 years, including an enormous negative affect on Arab public opinion toward us.

In an interview for the current article, HaLevy went even farther, pointing out that in the Time interview he hadn’t said “100 years,” but rather “a century,” by which he meant the negative impacts would be felt for generations, possibly even more than 100 years.

Shlomo Gazit goes even farther and his language is shocking and unrestrained:

An Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear reactors will lead to the liquidation of Israel.  We will cease to exist after such an attack.  The result we seek in this attack of destroying Iran’s nuclear capability will have the opposite result.  Iran will immediately become an explicit nuclear power.  Iran will play the oil card to force the UN to pressure Israel to return to 1967 borders.  Such a settlement will, of course, include Jerusalem as well.

The threat of missiles across every part of Israel, international pressure and the necessity of returning the Territories.  This we will not be able to survive.  This is what Meir Dagan is trying to say.  Use some common sense and ask yourselves why such an attack is necessary.

Even one of those who planned and conceived the Osirak attack in 1979 on Iraq’s nuclear reactor, Aviam Sela, warns that Israel was forced to spend huge sums to defend itself from expected Iraqi counter-attack, which didn’t materialize until the SCUD attacks of the 1991 Gulf War.  Sela says far and away the most desired method of resolving this conflict is through negotiation.  “The military option,” he says, “is the least desirable solution.”

The director of Israel’s Atomic Energy Agency at the time of the Osirak attack, Uzi Elam, opposed it vehemently because he believed it would cause the world to invoke sanctions against Israel and would ratchet up a Middle East arms race, which is precisely what he claims happened, with Saddam dabbling in WMD, biological weapons, (which by 2003 he had abandoned), etc.

“The attack didn’t stop Iraq’s desire to develop nuclear weapons, it strengthened it.

Similarly, Benyamin Ben Eliezer warns that an attack may delay development of nuclear material at the facility attacked, but it will not delay overall development.  In fact, it will only strengthen Iran’s determination to become a nuclear power.

Another senior official of Israel’s Home Defense, which will be responsible for caring for the Israeli refugees from Iranian counter-attack, also warns that an attack on Iran, instead of ending Iran’s nuclear ambitions, may ignite a nuclear arms race in the region, the opposite of Bibi’s intent.

The jingoists rooting for war should understand that Cordesman, HaLevy, Gazit and all the others are not dealing in theoreticals.  They’re dealing in actuality if Bibi goes for broke.  The dead won’t be imaginary either in Iran or Israel.  The blood won’t be like in a movie.  It will be from the bodies of real live people with fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers.  It will decimate entire families and communities.  That’s what they mean when they say Israel won’t be the same if it survives at all.  Is this a price Israel can afford to pay even if it wants to?

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{ 34 comments… add one }

  • Medawar June 11, 2011, 3:01 AM

    You doubt that an Iranian reply would employ chemical weapons.

    On what is this doubt based?

    But the key thing is this: whatever the Iranians use in their first onslaught, their industry and supplies of raw materials can replace, and they can go on doing it.

    There might be a pause after the first onslaught, with attacks continuing at a lower level for a while, but as Iranian industry spools up, either the level of attacks will creep up again, or they will build up for an even bigger onslaught. And it isn’t clear that America can afford the committment of resources that Israel would require in order to survive, let alone that Congress and the Whitehouse would be willing to spare it.

    Israel’s only hope in a war with Iran would be an Arab ally with the liquidity which America lacks and will NEVER have again. But Israel’s actions in Dubai, and its intransigence over matters such as the right of return, means that it has utterly blown that chance, which genuinely did exist.

    The best path is to give the Iranian people credit for knowing that they were conned in 1979 into letting the Shah be replaced by something worse, and respect their will to put it right, in their own time. Israel cannot ask or encourage Iranians onto the streets to fight the regime’s militia, because that is probably going to cost as many lives as the entire population of Israel, but it probably will happen anyway, when the burden of the Ayatollahs seems worse than death. And with even the Iranian President now at odds with the “Supreme Leader” that tipping point may be close.

    I would not see the bloodshed and misery of an Iranian Revolution as worthwhile merely to save Israel. Only many centuries of peace, freedom and prosperity for Iran itself could possibly be worth the price that we will see paid over the next couple of years.

    It will be frightful, because the Ayatollahs will do all the things which the Shah baulked at, when they staged their own revolution. Things which Gadaffi and Assad do here and there, they will do wholesale, everywhere.

    • Twitchbar October 28, 2011, 12:43 PM

      Where does Israels Nukes figure here?
      These have been ‘wheeled-out’ before
      Will they hesitate to use them?
      Or lose them?

  • Yoram June 11, 2011, 7:16 AM

    ” If one-third of the personnel don’t return it will be an enormous hit for the service and a enormous loss for the nation. ”

    One third of what ? how many airplanes will be included in such attack ? is it going to be 10 airplanes ? maybe 1000 ?

    “Personally, I think it is a loss that the nation as a whole will neither forgive or forget”

    This assessment of yours is pointless without knowing the said number of pilots, and even lets assume 300 will die, the society in israel will see it as a small price to pay for its existence.

    furthermore, Israeli Air-Force proved it can penetrate any defense system including the TOR M1 Known as one of the most advanced anti aircraft systems in the world. Remember September 6 2007 ? have you ever heard of SUTER ?

    from the technical point of view, you don’t have the ability / knowledge / information / understanding to state any of what you stated above.

    as for the Iranian Response, let me quote what Dani Yatom said:
    ובכל זאת, מספר הנפגעים בעורף יהיה קטן יותר מאלה שייפגעו אם איראן תטיל עלינו פצצת אטום, ואני חושב שאם תהיה לה פצצה, היא בהחלט עלולה להשליך אותה עלינו. צריך לזכור שאחרי מתקפה על איראן נוכל לשרוד. אם איראן תתקיף אותנו בפצצת אטום, לא בטוח שנוכל לחדש את קיום המדינה”.

    the number of casualties would be smaller then the number of casualties if Iran will drop a nuclear bomb on us, and i think that if they would develop a nuclear weapon, it’s likely to be dropped on us,we all need to remember that we would be able to survive after an Iranian retaliation. If Iran was to attack us with nuclear weapons, it’s not granted we would be able to exist after.

    No one in Israel thinks about attacking Iran, only as a measure of last resort.

    and to really measure the Iranian response one needs to asses their real capability of missile launching:
    Type of launcher needed.
    Type of Fuel needed, and many other factors, may i assume the reporter who wrote the article in maariv and yourself and most of the people interviewed, know nothing about The only guy who knows something about the subject out of that entire group is Aviem Sella, who didn’t say it was an impossible task.

    Diversity was always part of the Israeli way of thinking (including the IDF), naturally those who really know what they are talking about and those who are involved, will not carry the debate over the media (which means that we are stuck with baseless opinions.)

    • Richard Silverstein June 12, 2011, 1:37 AM

      You think 10 Israeli planes will attack Iran? Gimme a break. My guess is that we’re talking about hundreds, perhaps 200 though I’m not sure. Not to mention supporting crews, tankers, & other logistical personnel. If you think the loss of 300 Israeli pilots will be seen as a “small price” within Israeli society you’ve taken leave of yr sense. It will be a massive blow.

      Israeli Air-Force proved it can penetrate any defense system

      No one said they wouldn’t reach their target & perhaps succeed in inflicting damage. But their will be an enormous price to pay. And no, Iran is not Syria, which has a relatively weak military. Iran will not be a patsy.

      from the technical point of view, you don’t have the ability / knowledge / information / understanding to state any of what you stated above.

      I quoted Antony Cordesman, one of America’s most respected military analysts, plus Shlomo Gazit, Benyamin Ben Eliezer & Ephraim HaLevy who run rings around whatever expertise you bring to bear. So don’t make the mistake of forgetting that I, unlike you, quote credible, knowledgeable sources who support my views. And as for my supposedly not understanding what I write, I think you’ve just earned moderation. If you can stop making such stupid, insulting comments for a few days, I’ll take you off moderation.

      if Iran will drop a nuclear bomb on us

      The only person & country which has said that it would was you & Israel. First, Iran doesn’t have a nuclear bomb. Second, it’s never come remotely close to saying it would use a nuclear weapon on Israel. Third, Iran hasn’t started a war in 300 years. Can you say the same about Israel?

      if they would develop a nuclear weapon, it’s likely to be dropped on us

      And I think, sadly, you are delusional. You may honestly believe this, but the fact that you do shows how completely out of touch with any semblance of reality you are.

      If Iran was to attack us with nuclear weapons, it’s not granted we would be able to exist after.

      Can’t you read? It’s written in English AND Hebrew: if Israel attacks Iran it WILL get nuclear weapons. IT WILL GET THEM. Then both Israel AND Iran will have them. And then your stupid attack will have been for naught.

      No one in Israel thinks about attacking Iran

      This too is delusional. Read this blog. It contains tens, if not scores of statements from Israeli political, military & intelligence officials speaking of attacking Iran. You think about attacking Iran. So how can you say something so patently & obviously false???

      • Yoram June 12, 2011, 3:08 AM

        “No one said they wouldn’t reach their target & perhaps succeed in inflicting damage. But their will be an enormous price to pay. And no, Iran is not Syria, which has a relatively weak military. Iran will not be a patsy.”

        Iran’s anti aircraft Defense system is mostly aged an inefficient. the only advanced technology Iran has is the Tor M1 Russian system, which Israel already demonstrated the ability to “Blind”. The Iranian Air Force is based on extreme old technology (mostly old F14 and F4 with few mig 29′s) and doe’s not reflect any real threat to the IAF. The challenging part for the IAF would be operating in such a distance.

        for some background information please look at that:
        http://www.susris.com/articles/2008/ioi/081010-nuclear-iran.html

        “The only person & country which has said that it would was you & Israel”

        Richard, These were the words of – Dani Yatom , who you chose not to quote – he said that in the same maariv article.

        “No one in Israel thinks about attacking Iran”

        You omitted the last part, and then you say that i made a false statement ? let me rephrase, no one in Israel toys with the idea of attacking Iran, only as a measure of last resort.

        as for your notion that Iran doesn’t develop a nuclear weapon at the moment , this is what Anthony Cordesman had to say about the subject back in 2009:
        “That said, it is still possible that Iran may not develop a nuclear weapons capability or deploy other weapons of mass destruction (WMDs). Diplomacy may change Iranian actions, the regime may change, sanctions and economic problems might halt or delay Iran’s efforts, and/or Iran may develop other security priorities. These options do, however, seem less probable with time.”

        http://csis.org/publication/iran-nuclear-weapons-power

        and some of the people quoted in the maariv article, have been out of office for many many years ( Gazit retired from the IDF in 1979 32 years ago) Fued was the minister of defense in 2002, etc.

        And talking of Fuad, look at this Maariv article from 2008, Fuad who was then still a minister stated that Iranian attack will be met with a destruction of Iran.

        http://www.nrg.co.il/online/1/ART1/719/138.html

        If you’ll check the government records, you will see that the same dispute took place prior to the attack of the Iraqi reactor, we all know today that it was a very smart move.
        under specific conditions attack against Iran’s effort of developing military nuclear capabilities, falls under the same category.

        • Richard Silverstein June 13, 2011, 1:23 AM

          I can’t tell you how many IAF stick jockeys have commented at this site saying virtually the same bulls(&t as you. As for me, I’d prefer to rely on actual military analysts (including Israelis) who know what they’re talking about instead of amateur wannabes who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk.

          no one in Israel toys with the idea of attacking Iran, only as a measure of last resort.

          More nonsense. Bibi Netanyahu “toyed” with the idea of attacking Iran & would’ve done so had it not been for the “treasonous” Dagan who persuaded enough of the 7 ministers to reject the idea. Don’t lie & tell us Bibi would’ve done this only as a last resort. It’s now 2 yrs later, still Iran has no bomb. What sort of last resort is this?

          As for the quotation fr. Cordesman, once again this is what he actually said:

          it is still possible that Iran may not develop a nuclear weapons capability

          In other words, he believes that Iran is likely moving in that direction but cannot prove they are. This is what many serious analysts also believe. But there is nothing in Cordesman’s statement that says definitively that he believes Iran is building a bomb.

          Are you claiming that because Fuad is no longer defense minister & Gazit no longer in the IDF that this means they don’t know what they’re talking about? If that’s the case, then why bother quoting Danny Yatom, similarly out of office for years. Isn’t it more likely you quote the people whose views you like & disregard the rest? Actually, you don’t have to be a sitting minister to have serious inside sources who inform you fully about the security situation & strategic initiatives of the IDF.

          As for what Fuad said about Iran, again you’re spouting non sequiturs. No one said Iran wouldn’t be harmed by an Israeli attack. Just that Israel too would pay a massive, devestating price. Why don’t you try to stick to the argument instead of changing the terms when it suits you?

          we all know today that it was a very smart move.

          “We” know nothing of the sort. Indeed, the head of the Israeli Atomic Energy agency quoted by me from the article says explicitly he opposed the Osirak attack because he knew it would fail even if it knocked out the reactor; because it would mean that Saddam would actually accelerate his nuclear/WMD program, which IS INDEED what he did. Did you forget that? Or was it just inconvenient to yr argument?

          under specific conditions attack against Iran’s effort of developing military nuclear capabilities, falls under the same category.

          You’re delusional & I’m so glad you’ve both left the field & been banned. I can’t tell you how tiresome your contributions have become.

  • Shunra June 11, 2011, 3:39 PM

    What’s with the out-and-out lying from Halevy? “I didn’t say a hundred years, I said ‘century’” is about at the level of “the dog ate my homework”.

    • Yoram June 11, 2011, 8:23 PM

      Shunra, you should polish your Hebrew, centuries (which is what Halevy said) can extend longer then a 100 years.
      you can guess from his sentence that he thinks that the effect of the Iranian retaliation would be felt a long time.

      • Shunra June 11, 2011, 8:27 PM

        I quote, from the article:
        לא אמרתי מאה שנים אלא אמרתי את המילה ‘סנצ’ורי’, שמתכוונת להביע יחידת זמן שהפירוש שלה למעשה הוא שתהיה להתקפה כזאת השפעה במשך דורות ולאו דווקא מאה שנים”.

        Where do you see the plural?

        You are lying about my command of Hebrew. That is inappropriate – and rather typical of disputes with a certain type of Israel (the lying type).

        • Yoram June 11, 2011, 8:40 PM

          Shunra , i didn’t mean to offend you, if i did i apologize.
          as for what he said, you focus on the english terms i on the hebrew one. he said דורות = many generations, not דור = generation.
          to the word סנצ’ורי there is no hebrew meaning, so the only thing i can go buy is hebrew,

          why are you so hostile ?.

      • Richard Silverstein June 12, 2011, 1:48 AM

        She’s a professional Hebrew translator, ferchrissakes!

        • Yoram June 12, 2011, 2:26 AM

          She very well may be, but she was wrong in her allegations towards Halevi.
          the link provides a list of single and plurals, if you don’t believe my translation, look it up yourself
          http://www.safa-ivrit.org/irregulars/pluralfm.php

          • Shunra June 12, 2011, 11:13 AM

            Yoram, look at what he said. I’ve quoted it.

            He used the word “century” in an English interview, and tried to persuade the reporter and readers that it means דורות, or generations.

            Either he was lying (which is my assumption) or unaware of the meaning of the word “century” in English.

            My guess is that it’s a lie – since the reporter was trying to pin down a specific meaning, and the spy-master did not want to give it. So he said “oh, I *said* century, but that word actually means generations”. That’s a lie. I’m very, very fed up with having Israeli spokespeople lie to me about the meaning of words, the location of borders, and the historical presence of my friends and their families in villages and cities all over historical Palestine.

            Now, if I hadn’t seen an interview with the late Professor Ehud Sprintzak where he gloated about how easy it is to derail conversations with lies, I would probably be a whole lot more patient with trying to persuade people who lie in my face. But now I know that subverting the truth is a normal and admired tactic in Israeli hasbara, so I won’t even try.

            Based on that interview with Sprintzak, though? No thanks.

          • Richard Silverstein June 12, 2011, 10:11 PM

            Personally, I think the fact that the speaker said Israel would be devestated for 100 years OR MORE helps my argument. So I’m not sure why we’re arguing about this at all. Whether it’s 100 yrs or 150 does it matter? Israel is gonna be up the creek w/o a paddle for a long, long time (just as Iran will possibly). Isn’t that bad enough–for both?

          • Yoram June 12, 2011, 11:39 AM

            What will Halevi gain from stating that he means that the Attacking Iran will affect Israel for many generations as oppose to a 100 years ? Nothing.
            I think that many generations can extended longer then a 100 years. and If you read the original Time interview you would see that the Maariv reporter took everything out of context.

            Halevi doesn’t fear Iranian retaliation, he thinks that the public opinion in the Arab world is the real issue.

            “Iran is not 10 feet tall.” Halevy contends that a barrage of Iran’s missiles on Israel would not do too much damage, since dozens would be shot down by Israel’s advanced antimissile system. (Iran staged a missile test recently in which the published photo was doctored to hide the fact that one of the fired missiles was a dud.) Halevy claims that the “relative success” of the U.S. military’s surge in Iraq has curtailed Iran’s capacity for mischief among its Shi’ite brethren in Iraq. He also doubts that Iran’s ally Syria, which has long-range missiles, or its Hizballah and Hamas allies would risk a major dustup merely to exact revenge on Iran’s behalf. Still, Halevy warns that the long-term effects of attacking Iran could be devastating for Israel — and the region. “This could have an impact on us for the next 100 years,” he says. “It will have a negative effect on public opinion in the Arab world, and we should only do [a strike on Iran] as a last resort.”

            Read more: http://www.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,1826310,00.html#ixzz1P5mUyymW

            as for you generalizing all Israeli’s – that is your problem, you are an Israeli, we generalize. most of us do that to the Palestinians, you are doing that to every Israeli who comes across.

          • Richard Silverstein June 12, 2011, 10:15 PM

            He also doubts that Iran’s ally Syria, which has long-range missiles, or its Hizballah and Hamas allies would risk a major dustup merely to exact revenge on Iran’s behalf.

            First, you’re not quoting fr. the interview but rather paraphrasing it which makes me very nervous since I don’t trust yr interpretation of what he said. Second, Anthony Cordesman & every other military analyst I’ve read (except the far right wing ones who have an axe to grind) say otherwise. So I’m inclined not to credit HaLevy as being right about this.

          • Richard Silverstein June 12, 2011, 8:34 PM

            This type of dispute is so boring it makes my eyes glaze over.

        • Yoram June 12, 2011, 10:31 PM

          “First, you’re not quoting fr. the interview but rather paraphrasing it”

          That is simply a lie, i add a link, you can use the search option integrated in any browser (ctrl-F) and see that the passage i quoted was taken directly from the link provided.

          I feel that this blog can do much better without your hostility towards anyone who thinks different then you.

          • Richard Silverstein June 12, 2011, 11:32 PM

            Did you use quotation marks? I didn’t see any. That’s the generally accepted way to show that you’re quoting from a source.

  • Chayma June 11, 2011, 4:02 PM

    I don’t even know why this is news.

    None of the Israeli military or intelligence elite have ever felt comfortable about attacking Iran, it’s not like the Osirak project in Iraq which was totally different. That was concentrated in one place. They wanted the US to do it.

    Iran is a whole new ball game. Halevy has never been happy with Israel attacking Iran. Even if the US had attacked Iran, at best it would have curtailed the nuclear program for a while, but not for good.

    The real threat here, is that Israel will lose her regional military superirority once Iran goes nuclear.

    That is the real fear. Israel knows very well that Iran will not nuke her. It doesn’t help that Ahmedinejad, likes to needle and taunt Israel which gives ammunition to the pro war crowd to make a case FOR attacking Iran.

    Remember, Ahmedinejad has NOT threatened to wipe Israel of the face of the map. His words were misrepresented by neo cons. His exact words were, “Israel will fade into the aeons of time” or someting to that effect.

  • Strelnikov June 11, 2011, 11:48 PM

    A small element nobody’s talking about; some of those shot-down pilots will survive, so on top of the crippling retaliation you will see them on TV either being stoic or dazed.

    Choosing to fight Iran is like how certain “weak” states in Europe chose to be involved in WWI; it seemed to be in the national interest, along with fulfilling treaty obligations. And for that, Czarist Russia, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire are no longer around anymore.

  • MS June 12, 2011, 12:07 PM

    I read the above written comments and wonder if the semantical discussion is what’s important here. People wake up. Netanyahu is too week as a person to make the right desicision in the right time. So is Barak. If Dagan tells you what he tells – believe him. No ex Mossad chief said anything like that before. If dagan said what he said it is only because we are in deep shit.This Netanyahu just surrendered the pressure of the Israeli extreme right ,changed in the last minuit the nomination of I. Ilan and favourd Y. Cohen. Dont you see what happends. I live in Tel Aviv and the Israeli airforce in training day and night abouve my head. Only I hear it? Are you all tiered of living?This is just another outcome of the occupation and refusal to look in the mirror.

  • Kenergy599 June 12, 2011, 1:25 PM

    There will not be any loss of Israels pilots in the attack on
    Iran…as we speak, the productions of drones is increasing.

    • Richard Silverstein June 12, 2011, 10:20 PM

      Drones do not have the range to attack Iran & I’ve never heard anyone claim that drones would be used.

    • jubran June 14, 2011, 8:13 AM

      so is production of jericho III balistic missiles…

      • jubran June 14, 2011, 8:17 AM

        richard-

        drones do not have to be launched from israel. there are plenty of sami ofer style boats floating around the persian gulf.

  • nwt June 12, 2011, 2:22 PM

    Where’s Pakistan in all that? In a country with infighting and corruption up to the highest level of its government, what would such an attack mean for the chances of fissionable material disappearing from its facilities?

  • Tahmasp June 13, 2011, 1:18 PM

    Hello,

    I think I disagree a bit. Iran is weaker than the Iranians think themselves. However that does not matter because they are punching far beyond their weight – and quite skilfully. So in the end I agree that a Third of Israel’s air force might be lost but I doubt that much of the Iranian’s air force would stay neither http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Republic_of_Iran_Air_Force

    The Iranian military does not have actually all the assets it needs, the only modern system is the Russian TorM1 (GAuntlet http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tor_missile_system). There are no S-300s http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S-300_(missile) as Russia refused to sell. See the mix of western and Russian s-a-ms

    MIM-23 Hawk
    SM-1
    Tor-M1
    S-200
    HQ-2
    SA-3
    SA-6
    HQ-7
    RBS-70
    SA-7 Grail
    SA-16 Gimlet
    SA-18 Grouse

    But the main issue is in my view – and here I am quoting Kenneth Katzman from memory – that any airattack has to make a compromise between payload and fuel. Let us assume the refuelling works technically (which I do not doubt) but it will have dramatic diplomatic consequences for any country involved (perhaps with the exception of Syria which is turmoil).

    An air strike would make sense if a) a pincer operation against Hizbullah is conducted simultanously from both sides Israel form the south and on behalf of Saudi allies from the north, that is basically reopening a real war in Lebanon; b) Saudi Arabia tacitly ok’s Israel’s air attack;

    However with no solution for the Palestinians in sight Saudi Arabia sees no reason to support Israel, I think. Just for the sake of argument: let us think a sovereign Palestinian state existed its government is fed up with Iranian meddling and so are its main financiers, the Saudis. In such an environment one even could expect something like tacit cooperation against Iranian designs for the region…

    Anyway, Hezbollah is currently rearming as anybody else in the Region, however they lost a third of their best fighters in 2006 and more important they lost Imad Mughniyah, who was not just a terrorist and hijacker but the man who made Hizbullahs military and intelligence apparatuses such formidable enemies.

    Finally the use of chemical weapons on behalf of Iran is unlikely because the regime stresses its moral credentials towards one of their core constituencies that is the war veterans most of them who were in their teens when they suffered from Gas, in any iranian commemoration event of the war the coughing now elderly “shahid-e zendeh” mostly of modest social backgroudn but still burning by the flame of the revolution builds a lot of his personal and national feeling of MORAL superiority on the fact that Iran did not use chemical weapons in the Iran-Iraq war.

    I am afraid this mail got too long. Cheers for posting

  • Steve June 18, 2011, 9:23 AM

    Regarding Iran’s air defense capabilities, there have been statements and rumours, documented in the Wikipedia article on the S-300, that they have actually got some, various sources are possible. It may be a bluff, but there’s no way of knowing for sure, it’s possible, and they would keep them well hidden until needed. It’s just one of so many uncertainties in this area that make such a gamble an unwise option to say the least. “Last resort” would have to mean a regime actually (and not just supposedly through misquotation) threatening to use its actually and not just supposedly soon to be ready nukes to annihilate Israel, even at cost of its own certain annihilation in return, an unlikely and certainly not imminent scenario, despite irresponsible propaganda attempts to scare us otherwise. Iran certainly has considerable capacity to hit back in various ways, and given the current and future short-medium term state of things such a war could be a real disaster for not only the region but the world, Israel may wish to maintain the credibility of the threat for diplomacy but as a practical option it just doesn’t cut it. Iran was maybe an easy target 20 odd years ago, now forget it. Diplomacy, containment, and internal change are the only serious chances of a generally positive outcome, and a serious policy should be built on that basis.

  • Mike August 6, 2011, 1:02 PM

    Common guys. Iran has no power over Israel at all. You remember all the bluff we heard from Iraq that America will be digging their graveyards, they will cut off the head of the snake etc?
    One thing is certain these guys are good at bluffing nothing else. Iran cannot match Israel firepower. I said to may skeptics back in 1st and 2nd Iraqi war, “I told you so.” I will be saying it again to of you who think Iran can stand Israel.

    • Richard Silverstein August 7, 2011, 2:05 AM

      You remember all the bluff we heard from Iraq that America will be digging their graveyards, they will cut off the head of the snake etc?

      And you’re saying that over 4,000 American dead, whose bodies now fill American graveyards isn’t a fulfillment of that prophecy. Not to mention you have strange timing writing this on the day when 22 U.S. Navy SEALS were killed in the largest single loss of life during the Afghan war.

      Iran cannot match Israel firepower.

      It doesn’t have to. It just has to outlast Israeli firepower and be left standing after the last bullet flies. If that happens, then Iran wins. Just like Hezbollah in Lebanon in 2006 & Hamas in Gaza in 2009.

  • Bruno November 14, 2011, 2:35 AM

    This is good analysis.

    I tend to think in a similar manner: Iran cannot match Israeli firepower, but it can exert enough pain and for enough time that it will force Israel to come to terms. I also agree that if Iran isn’t building a bomb now (which all indications are, it is not) it will do so in the event of an attack. The military “solution” in this case is no solution at all, because it merely poses the problem of an actively hostile Iran. The only solution to THAT is invasion and occupation, something that I don’t believe even the Americans are foolish enough to entertain.

    As for how the author is pretty certain that the Iranians would not chemical-arm their warheads, possibly he has thought as I have: using chemicals would invite an Israeli nuclear response. Conversely, the non-use of chemicals in the initial response allows the Iranians one more level of escalation should Israel use nukes, thereby providing some sort of deterrent effect.

    The real reason I believe, that there is so much trumpeting for war with Iran lately is because the real winner of the American invasion of Iraq has been Iran. The government in Iraq at the moment has strong ties to Iran, and the Persians are starting to flex their muscles again. The Americans have egg all over their faces after the Iraqis told them to get their troops out, and if the Iranians are brought low, then the Maliki administration will be forced to return to the American fold to keep its grip on power.

    I expect to shortly see ridiculous arguments appearing in the media along the lines of: If Iran is attacked and humiliated, the Iranian masses will rise up and depose the mullahs. Um, that’s what they said about Iraq.

  • Roger April 18, 2014, 10:59 AM

    First of all forget Iran,u can’t Evan fight and win 5000 ak47 armed Taliban and u talk about technology nukes infared stealth laser technology not to mention the European wild dogs are in afghan so are the Indiana south Koreans japs Australians all this mite and ur getting humiliated in afghan so u kill children wen asleep NATO tactic to kill children so next generation will b weak and not inuff afghan men to fight for there freedom and drive the real enemie which are the west out just like the soviets the west is broke now it’s uninevtable ur days are numbered ur fall is near,and u want to start another war especially one that has a superpower in the making on it’s side china,stop watching Hollywood and wKe up

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