Haaretz Article on Iranian Realities

FIF04_m "A strike mission on the three nuclear facilities would require no fewer than 90 combat aircraft, including all 25 F-15Es in the IAF inventory and another 65 F-16I/Cs. On top of that, all the IAF's refueling planes will have to be airborne: 5 KC-130Hs and 4 B-707s. The combat aircraft will have to be refueled both en route to and on the way back from Iran. The IAF will have a hard time locating an area above which the tankers can cruise without being detected by the Syrians or the Turks.

One of the toughest operational problems to resolve is the fact that the facility at Natanz is buried deep underground. Part of it, the fuel-enrichment plant, reaches a depth of 8 meters, and is protected by a 2.5-meter-thick concrete wall, which is in turn protected by another concrete wall. By mid-2004 the Iranians had fortified their defense of the other part of the facility, where the centrifuges are housed. They buried it 25 meters underground and built a roof over it made of reinforced concrete several meters thick."  Haaretz


This is a Haaretz article written by an Israeli journalist close to the IDF.  Read it all, maybe twice.  The basis for the article is a Cordesman study on the military feasibility of an Israeli effort against the Iranian Nuclear program.

The bottom line is simple.  The Israelis "can't get there from here" without nuclear weapons and the thought of the consequences of that frightens them more than it does the Iranians.

Therefore, they have to persuade Obama to either cooperate with them in a massive operation that would not involve nuclear weapons or better yet (from their point of view) persuade Obama to make this an all US war against Iran.

Thus far, Israel's best asset in the effort to get what they want in regrd to Iran are the Iranians themselves.  They have been unresponsive to President Obama's efforts to engage them in a dialogue leading to detente and they persist in bellicose rhetoric that reinforces the Israeli argument.

President Obama is not interested in doing Israel's bidding in regard to Iran, but continued Iranian intransigence could change that.

The Peace Process?  Forget that.  Bibi would rather die than see a Palestinian state come into being.  pl



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30 Responses to Haaretz Article on Iranian Realities

  1. Bill says:

    The report that serves as the basis for the Haaretz article is three months old. It got a fair amount of publicity when it was released (I read it). Why would it be the center of a “news” article now? No reason, except as one more opportunity to build the Bomb Iran echo chamber.

  2. zanzibar says:

    Any ideas what’s the strategy behind Iranian intransigence to Obama’s overture?

  3. Dave of Maryland says:

    There’s another view.
    What did the Allies do, in London, when confronted with underground German factories that sprang up in the early 1940’s? Did they use spies on the ground to determine their locations? Did they carefully track trains in & out of these hidden locations? Did they then develop bunker-buster bombs & destroy those factories?
    Or did they firebomb Dresden? Nuke Hiroshima? They had unlimited planes, many airfields, as much ordinance as they liked, they flew raids every day & every night. The Allies took the easy route. German war factories starved from lack of raw materials. They were not destroyed by Allied bombs.
    There’s another analogy. If Super Crusading Attorney General Bobby Kennedy is making your life a mess, do you take out Bobby, or do you take out his brother?
    Nuking Tehran solves many more problems than nuking desert research sites. Nuking Tehran cuts off the head of government, a far greater prize. And it’s the easy way out. And don’t they have nuke-carrying submarines?
    Are the Israelis telling the truth? Of course not. They have the same intelligence as we do. Are the Israelis squeamish? When have the Israelis ever been squeamish?

  4. b says:

    What did Obama offer/ask the Iranians to do so far?
    Iran intransigence in regard to what?

  5. dh says:

    Overture? It probably just sounds like more words to the Iranians. They are still waiting for deeds.

  6. ptw says:

    @ zanzibar re Iranian strategy
    My guess is that she has the Arab streets in mind, mainly to pressure Arab governments and help her allies in those countries. Her plans wouldn’t work without rampant anti-Americanism.
    The I/P conflict is the ‘raw material’ that allows her to maintain a ‘working level’ of such sentiments since more than anything else it is that conflict that is feeding anti-Americanism in those localities. Iran, like Israel but for different reasons, has absolutely no wish that the conflict be resolved soon.
    In this game, Netanyahu and Khameini are just Butch and Sundance (at the top of their game that is). Obama is not in the same league.

  7. Sean Paul Kelley says:

    Yes, Zanzibar, it’s election season in Iran and all foreign policy questions are on hold until after the election.

  8. greg0 says:

    And how long would it take for Iran to produce 200 to 400 nuclear weapons? Surely they wouldn’t test #1 on Dimona?!!

  9. LeaNder says:

    WaPo: EXCLUSIVE: U.S., Israel forming working group on Iran
    The United States and Israel are quietly forming a high-level working group to assess the progress of President Obama’s outreach to Iran and to share intelligence about the Islamic Republic’s nuclear weapons program, officials familiar with the two countries’ deliberations said Tuesday.
    … The Israeli side would be represented by Mr. Jones’ counterpart, Uzi Arad.
    Aipac letters senate 67, house 195 as of Tuesday.
    Senators sign AIPAC-backed letter on Mideast

  10. J says:

    One has to wonder if Bibi isn’t ‘pressing’ Obama for the 3 U.S. made E3’s that the Israelis have been greasing the skids in Congress for.

  11. curious says:

    giving E3 to Israel? Are they insane?
    – all Israel airport is so near to hostile border, might as well paint the tarmac with “bomb here” mark. Even Hamas can shot that plane.
    – Syria has mig, and awacs has zero defense, except for ability to “see” over great distance. But Israel doesn’t have such airspace. few minutes of flight and that plane is already in somebody’s airspace.
    – Awacs has tons of keys and computer. With Israel level of security, might as well send those to Moscow and Beijing and get the money. Why bother with the middle man?
    -who is going to pay for such expensive gear + maintenance? Israel can’t afford that. (lemme guess, military aid?)

  12. marcus says:

    Where is the evidence that the Iranian leadership (not the president but count him too) are suicidal fools?
    Even at a date 20 years in the future would Iran annihilate Israel at the chance the US would respond the same to them? MAD anyone?
    What’s the real issue here? The Palestinian problem. Bibi wants Greater Israel and time is running out. This is a side show, Iran is going to get the bomb unless the whole of the ME effects nuclear disarmament, and that ain’t likely.
    Israel will never attack Iran on their own–too risky–and its a real long shot to involve Obama. Bibi’s stars didn’t align with the fool and four years will be too late.
    Sorry Bibi we had the USSR and you got Iran, you are going to have to get along and avoid MAD, don’t fret, we’ve got a Roadmap for you.

  13. maui bob says:

    i say give them the green light then shoot them down. then tell them we mistook them for enemy planes

  14. LeaNder says:

    “What did the Allies do, in London, when confronted with underground German factories that sprang up in the early 1940’s? Did they use spies on the ground to determine their locations? Did they carefully track trains in & out of these hidden locations? Did they then develop bunker-buster bombs & destroy those factories?”
    Dave, they must have known about certain locations. I was born in the German South, Black Forest, and there was one such location. There are not many big cities in that area, so at one point I wondered why this one was attacked. And there was one such location.

  15. charlottemom says:

    “President Obama is not interested in doing Israel’s bidding in regard to Iran, but continued Iranian intransigence could change that.”
    I know what Obama has said, but what actionables back up the contention that he’s not interested in doing Isreal’s bidding.
    Maybe I’m not watching closely enough, but I’ve yet to see a battle won by Obama regarding Israel. Israel has gotten the funding it sought, Freeman forced out, AIPAC spy case thrown out, Jones on watch list, Congress/AIPAC Israel support lined up. I know I’m mixing congress and admin issues here but I believe they are in cahoots on this)
    I’ve seen Obama’s statement from latest ambiguous encounter with Bibi, which I contend was a photo op to inoculate him when he becomes a “reluctant proponent” for a defensive aggression toward Iran. (I think this was always to be the storyline)
    Not surprising to me that Iran sitting back now is about testing Obama’s commitment to engagement by insisting he set and prepare the negiotating table before they do anything. Seems that Iran is unconvinced this negotiating with Iran thingy isn’t for real.
    Has Obama or US envoys met with Iran (he was recently in Israel)? Maybe I’m naive, but quit talking about engagement and just do it. Has Iran refused to meet with US? Has US signalled or planned meetings with Iran and Israel?
    Now I’ll go back to baking my cookies…

  16. J says:

    So is Uzi Arad ‘latest’ a blowing out his pipe hole, or is there concrete ominous undertones to this?
    ‘We reserve operational freedom on Iran’
    Israel will not let Iran attain nuclear weapons capability, said Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s National Security Adviser Uzi Arad on Thursday, adding that the US was aware of Israel’s security needs and knew that it would not necessarily receive forewarning of an Israeli strike against Tehran’s nuclear facilities.

  17. curious says:

    I wonder what will happen if Iran says. We will get out of NPT and won’t come back as long as Israel doesn’t sign NPT.
    That would be a brilliant, but painful tactic. But sustainable if Iran has about 80-90% larger economy. (in less than 10 yrs.)
    US keeps nuclear “don’t ask, don’t tell” -Israel aide

  18. LeaNder says:

    Daniel Luban, at Jim Lobe’s blog, highly interesting new. The more people like Roger Cohen will come out support Obama’s view, the more will follow. Two more interesting voices, a secret AIPAC source and Keith Weissman:

  19. LeaNder says:

    excuse many, many typos. I am in a hurry.

  20. Sidney O. Smith III says:

    An endpoint — or the endpoint — of revisionist Zionism (as distinguished from other varieties, e.g. that of Buber) is the turning of the launch key at Dimona or its equivalent. I don’t say such from a Manichean perspective. No, not at all. I say that as someone who has had an attachment to Zionism. Revisionist Zionism, like other forms of ethnic nationalism, can lead to an exhilarating and intoxicating experience for those deeply involved, and it allows one to turn off a psychological safety switch, thereby bypassing moral considerations that are a deep part of the Judaic tradition. All you have to do is read the Psalter from the viewpoint of a West Bank settler and you will feel the sublime power of the mushroom cloud. Vindication.
    Increasingly, a number of very courageous Israelis are sending out warning signals, even at a sub textual level, to those who care to listen. One such person is Segev. Another is Burg.

  21. Ian says:

    Nuking Tehran solves many more problems than nuking desert research sites. Nuking Tehran cuts off the head of government, a far greater prize. And it’s the easy way out.
    Tehran has a population of 7.7 million people. Add the suburbs and exurbs and the population is thirteen and a half million. There are lots more people downwind. This proposed atrocity could quite possibly kill more people than the entire population of the state of Israel.
    Once the nuclear taboo is broken, why stop with Tehran? On a day when the winds are blowing the right way, why not follow up with Gaza City, Beirut, Cairo…

  22. par4 says:

    Bibi would rather…. In the famous words of Dick Cheney, So?

  23. Babak Makkinejad says:

    Sidney O. Smith III:
    Are you aware of any statistics regarding the ethnic composition of the settlers?
    Do yu know how many of them are born and raised in Israel?
    Do you know how many of them are immigrants from North America and Europe?
    And do you know what the distribution of hyper-religious, hyper-nationalists are between the native and non-native?
    Does anyone know?
    How many of the militant settlers are actually Americans or Europeans who are living a (Jewish) fanatsy?

  24. Babak Makkinejad says:

    From Jerusalem Post:
    or “Truth from AIPAC’s Mouth”

  25. Arthur A. says:

    while the Isaelis speak of irrational Iranian leadership they are now lead by a man who looks visibly unhinged, maniacal and untrustworthy.
    This poppycock about “the existential threat” is yet another example of zionist exceptionalism. MAD does not prevent anhihilation, but merely insures that the agressor will perish too. In a world of rational players this doctrine has worked quite well. Is Bibi capable of rational analysis?

  26. curious says:

    MOSCOW, May 20 (RIA Novosti) – Russia has put on a hold a contract to deliver MiG-31E Foxhound interceptor-fighters to Syria, a Russian business daily reported on Wednesday, citing defense-industry sources.
    According to Kommersant, the $400-500 million contract for the delivery of eight MiG-31E aircraft was signed in 2007. Since production of MiG-31E’s had stopped in 1994, Syria was to receive retrofitted aircraft from Russia’s Air Force reserves.
    There has been no official comment on the decision to freeze the contract, but an industry source quoted by the daily said the contract was terminated due to Damascus’s financial problems.
    TEL AVIV – Israel’s air force on Thursday wrapped up a large-scale four-day exercise which simulated its ability to combat Syria and Iran, a military official said.
    The exercise was aimed at testing the air force’s ability to “counter” attacks from the Gaza Strip, Lebanon, Syria and Iran.
    This is the first time the Israeli army has simulated strikes from Iran, located more than 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) away, the official claimed.

  27. Ian says:

    Arthur, it’s worse than that. MAD is mutual — it assumes that both sides have nuclear weapons. MAD constrains both sides, in that behaving belligerently could very easily lead to a nuclear exchange.
    Israelis have good reason to be afraid that some hateful neighbor might attempt a genocidal first strike if that neighbor had the chance. Neocon Israeli politicians have a second motive for wanting to maintain a nuclear monopoly: they presumably want to be able to continue behaving belligerently toward their neighbors without the constraints imposed by MAD. For example, the 2006 Lebanon war would have been impossible (or at least much more obviously a bad idea) if the Syrians had nuclear weapons.
    Bombing Iran is a bad idea (among other reasons) because it will fail, either in the short run if they make a hash of the raid or in the long run by demonstrating the need for a deterrent to the Iranian people. A raid would both motivate and justify a future Iranian attempt to build a deterrent.
    If the Israelis want their neighbors not to have nuclear weapons (understandable) they need to create a situation such that their neighbors do not feel the need to have a deterrent against being arbitrarily bombed by the IAF.

  28. curious says:

    For the last two years, the Israeli Army has been developing new tactics and equipment for fighting Hamas and Hezbollah-type gunmen in urban areas. The Israelis have built training areas, with dense urban construction, and run many of its ground troops through special exercises. How well the new tactics and training are will be seen in the next week or so. The new tactics are meant to minimize civilian casualties, while enabling Israeli troops to quickly move through the area and kill or capture enemy personnel and equipment. Reservist units that have not gone through the special training are being sent to the new training centers for at least a few days of instruction on the new tactics. These new methods, while officially secret, apparently involve some new fighting tactics, and lots of electronic warfare. Hamas has had to operate with both cell phones and landline communications down. In addition, their walkie-talkies are sometimes jammed, and apparently listened to carefully by Israeli electronic warfare troops. This is causing command and coordination problems for Hamas fighters.

  29. J says:

    Despite U.S. weapons budget cuts, take a look a this one —
    US: We will pay for Israel missile system / World / Home – Morning Star

    Why are we the U.S. paying for a high priced system for Israel, when the rich little nation of Israel is very capable of paying for all on its own? Why is the U.S. paying for it instead of Israel?

  30. curious says:

    here is a way to keep the population in line.
    Israel will stage its largest-ever national exercise next week to test security and emergency responses to potential missile attacks, bombings and natural disasters, an official said on Wednesday.
    The five-day exercise begins on Sunday and will simulate simultaneous rocket strikes from the Gaza Strip and Lebanon and missile attacks from arch-foes Syria and Iran, Defence Ministry spokesman Shlomo Dror told AFP.
    “We will be exercising the doomsday scenario of simultaneous strikes against Israel on all fronts and by different means,” Dror said, stressing that “such a scenario is highly unlikely.”
    This will include conventional, chemical and biological strikes against large population centres. It will also simulate a wave of Palestinian suicide bombings.
    A high point of the drill will be on Tuesday when air-raid sirens sound across the country and citizens must scramble to shelters, in some areas within seconds and others within no more than three minutes.

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