Friday, July 11, 2008

"Takedown": Israel's Imminent Attack on Iran

This article has been posted to World Security Network

From Human

Will Israel Strike Iran?

Thursday, July 10, 2008

By: W. Thomas Smith

In a recent piece for the Washington Post, Israeli commentator Yossi Melman writes: “No decision to attack Iran has been made in Israel” and it is “a matter of at least one year” before any decision will be made.

Melman’s words seem enough to convince the editorial staffs of publications like the Post and the Nation. But sources inside the U.S. intelligence and Defense communities are telling us, there is an increasing “probability” that the Israeli Air Force (IAF) will soon strike Iranian nuclear facilities. The strikes -- if they take place -- will be far more extensive than that which occurred during the strike against Iraq’s Osirak nuclear facility in 1981. The new strikes will target much more than just the nuclear sites. The extent to which America will or will not provide support will depend on multiple variables. And the strikes will not be over in a single night.

“To hit the number of targets the Israelis need to hit with their force structure would require several days,” Lt. Gen. Thomas G. McInerney (U.S. Air Force, ret.), former assistant vice chief of staff of the Air Force, tells HUMAN EVENTS. “If they did it in a night -- with, say, 100 airplanes -- they’d probably inflict significant damage to Bushehr and other facilities, but it would be more difficult to hit the deep bunkers at Natanz.”

But, McInerney adds, the problems associated with an air campaign that goes beyond 24 hours is “it becomes more difficult politically because you’ve got to have more people complicit in terms of airspace requirements, etc.”

Nevertheless, a multi-phased campaign lasting several days is what the current plan looks like according to analysts and insiders.

One intelligence community source tells us, “The campaign will last more than a few days, perhaps up to a week or more.” And it looks as if the operational green-light will be given at some point within the next few months before any window of opportunity closes that would prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon (a reality that could come to pass within six months to a year -- perhaps sooner in a crash-building program -- according to a MEMRI interview with International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Dr. Muhammad El-Baradei).

One former Defense Department official says he believes a strike against Iran’s developing nuclear infrastructure might be “a bad idea because of Iranian national pride in the program: it's likely to strengthen the regime without accomplishing any strategic objective.”

He adds, “The only way to deal with these guys is to hit the regime itself, hard, and leave the nukes alone for the moment.”

Others say hitting the nuke sites is part of a much broader plan that will facilitate regime change.

“It’s not just the nuclear sites,” Maj. Gen. Paul E. Vallely (U.S. Army, ret.), former deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Forces Pacific, tells HUMAN EVENTS. “It’s regime target sites.”

According to Vallely, the approximately 75 regime targets on the tier-one targeting list -- updated daily -- includes Iran’s command-and-control, the country’s air defense network, the various Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps units and positions, as well as the nuclear sites. There are many targets beyond those on the tier-one list.

Without getting into specifics, the current plan calls for a “takedown” that may be supported by U.S. air and naval forces in the both the Persian Gulf and the Mediterranean. Israeli F-15 and F-16 fighters and refueling tankers will be running back-and-forth through U.S. Central Command controlled air corridors. Mossad agents and Iranian (anti-government) operatives will help coordinate the strikes from the ground. Meanwhile, home-based Israeli ground forces (with helicopter support) will reinforce defenses in northern Israel and on the Golan Heights; prepared for the possibility of defensive cross-border operations against Hizballah in southern Lebanon and perhaps operations inside Syria along geographic points where -- in recent weeks -- two Syrian mechanized-infantry divisions have been reinforced. Other Israeli ground and air assets will reinforce Gaza positions.

If the Iranians -- in retaliation for strikes against their facilities -- make a move against American forces in the region, or if they try to shut down the Strait of Hormuz (the strategically vital waterway between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman) as they have threatened to do, U.S. forces will “unleash hell and more than complement what the Israelis are doing,” says Vallely.

McInerney says, “The Iranians may try to shut down the Strait, but they are deathly afraid that we’ll get involved.”

An intelligence source says, “Iran’s provoking the Americans into the game is exactly what Israel wants, because overwhelming U.S. airpower would be able to finish the job in very short order.”

McInerney agrees, adding, “That’s why I believe if the targets are going to be hit, we need to be the ones to do it.”
Some experts contend such a strike “mu
st be” before the U.S. presidential elections because the Israelis know that any operation prior to the elections would give plausible deniability to either one of the American presidential candidates. After the election, it would be difficult for the president-elect to deny knowing because of the access and leverage held by a president-elect. Others say it may be after the election, but before the inauguration because if Barack Obama is elected the Israelis fear he would not support any form of military action against Iran, whereas the Israelis are confident in both John McCain’s support of Israel and in his willingness to use military force -- either directly or indirectly -- in support of Israel.

In a recent article for Middle East Times I explained how Iran's frequent threatening of Israel and the United States, its covert operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, its recent military-political victories in Lebanon (through its proxy army, Hizballah), a newly signed defense pact with Syria, and -- most important -- its nuclear ambitions; may be forcing the West's hand.

During the first week in June, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reportedly told Japanese Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda that "influential nations should get ready for a world minus the U.S." We know Ahmadinejad frequently threatens to "wipe Israel off the map," Moreover, his surrogate deputies, like Hizballah’s chief Hassan Nasrallah, often call for the "deaths" of America and Israel.

The same week Ahmadinejad made his comments to Fukuda, the IAF conducted a massive military air-exercise over the Mediterranean, flying and refueling over a distance roughly equal to that which would be required in a strike against Iran.

Israel isn’t just saber-rattling. “The only one thing worse than Israel’s having to launch an attack against Tehran's nuclear facilities is an Iranian nuclear bomb,” Brig. Gen. Dieter Farwick (German Army, ret.), the former director of Germany's military intelligence office and the current editor-in-chief of World Security Network, tells HUMAN EVENTS. “An Iranian nuclear bomb would trigger a nuclear arms race in the broader Middle East. Still any attack against Iran should remain a last resort; and timely, limited negotiations should be given a last chance."

Closed-door negotiations are continuing. But so is Iran’s nuclear program, its president’s threats, and an uncertain American political landscape: Which is why -- in Israel’s mind -- chances, opportunities, and certainly time may be running out.
The big question remains: if Israel with it’s current force structure attacks Iran with only a nod -- and very little direct support -- from the U.S., can the Jewish state pull it off successfully.

“Yes, but the timing of this thing is important,” says Vallely. “The Israelis know that politically they have to do it this year, because they and we don’t know who is going to be the U.S. president next year. They also know this thing has to be done as a regime change. If they want this to be successful -- and they do -- they can’t just go in and only take out the nuke sites.”

The stakes for Israel go beyond any operational success or failure; for as IAF Col. Ziv Levy told Bob Simon in a 60 Minutes interview earlier this year, Israel cannot lose: “The first war we lose, Israel will cease to exist.”

A note from Radarsite: We are, it appears, on the edge of history. As these fateful hours pass, the possibility of an Israeli attack on Iran is increasingly becoming more of a "probability". As Iran and their surrogates, Hizbullah, continue to escalate their bellicose rhetoric, the West in general, and Israel and the US in particular, appear to be listening. Listening and planning. And, so it would seem, preparing to act.

Radarsite has long advocated striking Iran's defense and nuclear infrastructure. This is not irresponsible war-mongering, it is merely fact-mongering. Iran has often and explicitly made their hegemonic intentions known to the world, believing wholeheartedly that the world was too weak and too divided to react.

They are wrong.

The myopic and fanatical Iranian mullahs are in the process of making a monumental strategic blunder, one which they and their hateful regime will be unlikely to survive.

And, most importantly, the whole world is watching this drama unfold. Our enemies are watching, and planning their next moves accordingly. - rg

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  1. The Israelis will strike after the election unless Iran provokes them to do it earlier. And the US President-Elect can claim he didn't know since he isn't briefed on everything that the President is.

    When the Japanese PM heard that the US would be no more he should have reminded them of what happened to Japan after Japan attacked the US.

  2. Love that suggested reminder from Japan Findalis lol.

  3. What would you do if you were the president of Iran?
    What does Iran want?

    I think more than anything to be able to defend their country. Iran wants the same things as Israel, security. Who can they trust?

    They remember 1979; Arabic nations who supported Iraq against Iran. The integrated financial, technical, and armaments that were provided by many Arab countries to support Arabic Iraq against non-Arab Iranians was responsible for death of about 500,000 Iranians and injury of several millions.

    They remember our financial and technical support of Sadam Hossein to use chemical bombs against Iranians.

    Iranians remember summer of 1953.

    President George Bush often states that Iran is threatening the interests of the Unites States in Persian Gulf! What are the interests of England and the United States in Persian Gulf, the Persian front door to Iran?
    A primer for discussion of these issues must start with review of British and the United States policies relative to the Persian Gulf region. Stephen Kinzer, a veteran New York Times correspondent, in his book “All the Shah’s Men, an American coup and the roots of Middle East Terror”, published by John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2003, brilliantly reconstructs the events leading to the present dilemma of the United States in the Middle East. The events described in this marvelous book are not fiction; the events actually happened during the summer of 1953 in Tehran, Iran.

    The United States Central Intelligence Agency operation Ajax staged coup d’état in 1953 against democratically elected Prime Minister Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. Democracy was substituted with the despotic regime of Mohammad Reza Shah. The dawn of democracy in Iran, started in late 1880, flickered by democratically elected Mossadegh, was extinguished. This was the beginning of Iranian servitude once more to the interests of England and the United States. During his last years, Shah did not trust Iranian people; his inner palace was guarded by Israel commandos. Since 1979, the United States has been punishing Iranian people for ousting the immature, weak, despotic Mohammad Reza Shah. This punishment, Iranian assert, included Iraq invasion of Iran instigated by President Regan. During this war, the United States and her satellite nations helped materially and logistically Iraqi military forces to invade Iran and use chemical and biological weapons on Iranian population.

    In the preface of his book, Kinzer recalls his conversation with an Iranian lady about Dr. Mohammad Mossadegh. He asked her: “What do you remember…about the coup against him?” She responded:

    “Why did you Americans do that terrible thing? We always loved America. To us, America was the great country, the perfect country, the country that helped us while other countries were exploiting us. But after that moment, no one in Iran ever trusted the United States again…”

    This un-American act was instigated by Winston Churchill-Anthony Eden of England and two American brothers John Foster Dulles (US Secretary of State) and Allen Dulles (Director of Central Intelligence Agency). The primary reason for this regime change was to subordinate Iranian people and exploit the Iranian natural resources.

    Harry Truman once said: "There is nothing new in the world except the histories you do not know.” Have we learned from our past mistakes committed during 1953 not to repeat it once more? This time the price would be much larger for both the Iranian and our American societies!

    Please read Persian Paradox [].

    Israel, cool it!
    Let us diplomatically talk to Iran.

  4. To MyAmerica -- Here we go --
    Poor little Iran only wants to defend itself against the evil machinations of the evil United States. How fitting that you choose to quote from the NYT. And to quote their Islamist apologist Kinzer. The title of his book says it all: "All the Shah’s Men, an American coup and the roots of Middle East Terror”. It's all our fault. Nothing to do with Islamism or the Qur'an.
    Your America, MyAmerica, is quite different from my America.

    I have left your comment in place for now, but don't bother coming back to Radarsite. It is clearly stated in our welcome notice that anti-American rants will not be allowed, and that this site is not about debating the merits of America, but is about supporting America. Something you seem incapable of doing.