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Iranian Drone Downed 10 Miles from Dimona, Likely Transmitted Images of Nuclear Site to Iran

iranian drone downed

Israeli image of downing of Iranian drone near Dimona

Iran’s message to Israel regarding the drone it sent deep into Israeli airspace last week: two can play at this game.  Just as Israel has assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists and sabotaged its nuclear facilities with computer worms and sabotaging electricity lines, Iran can target Israel’s most sensitive sites almost at will.

Sheera Frenkel has just published a newsmaking account from Israeli military sources about the drone the IAF shot down last week a few miles short of the Dimona nuclear complex.  Earlier IDF claims were that it was shot down 18 miles from Dimona.  Frenkel’s report says it was only ten miles.  At that range, it’s not only conceivable, but likely the drone captured high quality images of Dimona, which could be potentially valuable should Iran decide to target the site.

I wrote here that the drone posed a security debacle as it not only appears to have been launched from Lebanon without Israel’s knowledge. It made its way virtually undetected until sometime after it entered Israeli airspace into which it penetrated 35 miles.  In other words, if a slow-moving drone can do this how could Israel stop an Iranian missile traveling hundreds of miles an hour.

Frenkel quotes Israeli generals and pols putting a convenient spin on the drone mission, saying it was an Iranian failure, when anyone can see it was precisely the opposite:

…Benjamin Netanyahu confirmed that Hezbollah was responsible for the drone, telling reporters that Israel would “act with determination to defend its borders at sea, on air and land,” just as it had “thwarted Hezbollah’s attempt” to send an unmanned aircraft into Israeli airspace.

Netanyahu, who spoke during a tour of Israel’s southern border, was seconded by Defense Ministry official Amos Gilad, who later told Israel radio that the drone had “failed on its mission.”

“Thwarted?”  Just barely.  “Failed?” Only if its mission was to attack Dimona (which it wasn’t).  If its mission was to penetrate Israel’s air defenses, point out their weaknesses, and secure aerial reconnaissance of the Dimona site and its surroundings, I’d say it was a ripping success as far as Iran is concerned.

As I was contemplating all the U.S., Israeli and Iranian drones criss-crossing Middle Eastern skies I had a vision of drones not just targeting humans on the ground, but targeting each other.  It’ll only be a matter of time before Iranian drones are shooting down Israeli drones, and Israeli drones are shooting down incoming Hezbollah missiles.  It’ll be a like shooting fish in a barrel, with the barrel being the Middle East.  What fun all those stick-jockeys should be having.  But if you live on the ground, beware what gifts the sky bears.

I don’t know how the average Israeli is absorbing this information, but anyone with sense in his head should know that this means that Iran can mount a punishing response to Israeli aggression.  No, it won’t be as powerful as Israel’s.  It won’t be as accurate nor as long-lasting.  But Israel is a far smaller country than Iran.  It would take much less to devastate Israel than it would to devastate Iran.

Israel’s war camp led by its prime minister and defense minister have conveniently neglected this fact.  They remind me of the trash-talking football player who brags to the local paper about how his team is going to steamroller the worthless opponent.  What he’s forgotten is that the lowly opponent is watching and patiently plotting how to humble the foolhardy man.  Pride goeth before a fall.

There are those pro-Israel advocates who mistakenly call me a propagandist for Hezbollah or Iran.  I’m not.  I’m actually an advocate for Israel’s best interests, not those of Iran or anyone else.  It just so happens that a peaceful resolution of the nuclear standoff is in the best interests of these parties as well as Israel.  Anyone who doesn’t understand that, who purposely misconstrues my motives, is a fool or worse.

{ 21 comments… add one }
  • Ron October 16, 2012, 3:54 AM

    Drones do not need to shoot down other drones – any basic jet fighter can do that easily. Armed drones are only good against defenseless populations (America/Israel’s favorite targets) such as in Afghanistan, Yemen, Palestine and Somalia since they have no means of shooting them down.

  • Bob Mann October 16, 2012, 5:51 AM

    You are saying the drone was Iranian? Didn’t your early post say it was Hezbollah? Is Hezbollah working in coordination with the Iranian government and vice versa?

    • David Nelson October 16, 2012, 7:28 AM

      seriously, how dare the Lebanese seek out allies. Bob, what part of “self-defense” is anathema to you?

      • Bob Mann October 16, 2012, 10:38 AM

        Are you saying Lebanon is seeking out Iran as an ally in order to defend itself from Israel?

        • David Nelson October 16, 2012, 1:48 PM

          Bob, quit being circumspect. If you have a point, make it.

    • Richard Silverstein October 16, 2012, 2:10 PM

      Launched, perhaps even assembled by Hezbollah. But the original design by Iran’s aerospace technicians. Iranians may’ve been involved with the launch as well. But Nasrallah is claiming credit for the launch & even assembly. I can’t verify who did what & how much each party contributed. But it was essentially a joint effort.

  • pabelmont October 16, 2012, 5:51 AM

    Israel and USA are rich and can buy lots of expensive drones. Maybe Iran cannot do that. To those with the SPOILS goes VICTORY.

    Anyhow, N’yahu doesn’t want to attack Iran — he wants USA to do it. Romney might, Obama seemingly will not. But if Iran is attacked (by anybody), Israel should expect drone attacks. That is Iran’s mini-Sampson-Option.

  • David Nelson October 16, 2012, 7:34 AM

    Concerning the drone, to me this looks like an attempt by Lebanon and Iran to communicate a message of deterrence to the Israelis. I think the message to Israel is: “We do not want a fight, but if Israel succeeds in starting this thing, expect hell.”

  • mary October 16, 2012, 8:31 AM

    Whatever happened to the Iron Dome defense shield that was supposed to protect Israel from projectiles entering its air space from Lebanon/Hizbullah? Looks like a waste of money if it couldn’t keep out a drone.

    @Bob Mann, back to hasbara school with you! Iran, Hizbullah and Bashar Assad are the new “Axis of Evil”!

    • Richard Silverstein October 16, 2012, 1:53 PM

      They didn’t have it deployed in the north. Now they’ve placed a battery near Haifa for just this purpose.

      • Nimrod October 17, 2012, 5:48 AM

        Iron dome is not designed for shooting downs UAFs/flow moving drones.
        they system that was placed in Haifa was the Patriot.

  • Dave Terry October 16, 2012, 10:24 AM

    “It’ll only be a matter of time before Iranian drones are shooting down Israeli drones, and Israeli drones are shooting down incoming Hezbollah missiles. It’ll be a like shooting fish in a barrel, with the barrel being the Middle East. What fun all those stick-jockeys should be having. But if you live on the ground, beware what gifts the sky bears.”

    Isn’t there a ‘video game’ that plays like that? Drones and Dragons. All they will need is to get a bunch of 14 year olds
    and tell them it is a game and offer prizes to the best ‘kill” records.

    • Bob Mann October 16, 2012, 10:39 AM

      More people have been killed in the last two years in the conflict in Syria than in the last sixty years of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

      • Richard Silverstein October 16, 2012, 1:51 PM

        All it will take is one good war with Iran to blow those Syrian death stats out of the water.

        This comment is off-topic & has been advanced multiple times by hasbarists here. Please stay on topic.

    • Richard Silverstein October 16, 2012, 1:52 PM

      I think that’s what the IAF does in their technical high schools where they seek out the best teenagers as their pilots, drone stick jockeys & cyberwarriors of the future. I wrote a blog post about precisely such a boy featured in a hasbara piece.

  • Rehmat October 16, 2012, 5:31 PM

    On October 11, Hizballah leader Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah in a speech admitted that the spy drone shot by Israeli jets – belonged to Hizballah – which was assembled by Hizballah technicians in Lebanon but the parts were Iranian-made.

    Netanyahu has already sacked Brig. Gen. Doron Gavish, commander of airforce defense layout as result of its recent humiliation by a Hizballah spy-drone operation early this month. Israeli media has reported that Gavish will be replaced by Col. Shachar Shochat, who has immediately been promoted to the rank of Brigadier-General.

    Abraham Foxman, the guru of powerful Israel lobby group ADL, called on the European Commission once again to declare Hizballah as a terrorist organization. Hizballah, which is part of Lebanese ruling unity government – is designated by only three countries (Israel, US and Canada) as a terrorist organization.

    link to rehmat1.com

    • Richard Silverstein October 17, 2012, 1:18 AM

      The claim about the sacking comes from Iranian media. Nothing I’ve read in Israeli media confirms this was anything other than a normal rotation of an officer from one military post to another. DOn’t get me wrong, I think he should’ve been sacked. But I haven’t seen any evidence to support the claim.

      • Rehmat October 17, 2012, 12:26 PM

        The sacking of IAF commander news comes to me from Palestinian Ma’an news agency, which is not owned by Iran.

        Well Richard if you promise not take it another joke – In September 9, 2004, Israel’s most circulated English daily Ha’aretz had reported that an “Iranian-made Hizbullah drone had spent about five minutes in space over Israel”, without being detected by the Israel Air Force.

        But, then, to avoid being called an ‘anti-Semite’ – I must believe that even though Israel receives annual military aid of $3 billion – Iran has no right to give drone technology to Hizballah, Right!!

        link to rehmat1.com

        • Richard Silverstein October 17, 2012, 1:20 PM

          I have a friend who works at Maan. I’ll talk to him about that report. I don’t think he was sacked. And the sacking WAS originally reported via Iran. But if there’s something to the story you can be sure I’ll report it.

          Let me know the link to the Maan story. I haven’t seen it reported in Maan’s English edition though it may’ve been reported in Arabic. At any rate, it appears the story originated with Fars (Iran’s press agency) & Maan possibly republished it.

          I know a great deal about Iranian drones related to Israel. A Hezbollah balloon also passed right over Dimona a few yrs ago. I’m not disputing that these things happened.

          As for Iran giving drone technology to Hezbollah, given Israel’s actions in this regard it’s hard to fault Iran for doing so.

  • Shmuel October 17, 2012, 1:09 AM

    rehmat- you state in your article at the above link in your comment that the terrorist attack on Israeli tourists in Bulgaria was a “false flage ” (sic) Israeli operation.

    This is an amazingly daring assumption brought by you as if it is an absolute fact.

    Do you have the slightest proof of this worrying accusation or are you just a hizbollah hasbarista inventing horrid lies to further your agenda?

    • Richard Silverstein October 17, 2012, 1:16 AM

      I don’t agree with Rehmat’s theories on the Bulgarian attack. But nor do I want to conduct a debate about them here. It’ll lead us down a rabbit hole of conspiracy theories. I’d suggest that you post this comment at his site & conduct the debate there.

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