Saturday, September 22, 2012

How Would Israel Attack Iran?

Some thoughts I've had as a follow up to my post yesterday on the difficulties facing Israel in attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.

The primary problem seems to be the lack of mid-air refueling capabilities. When Israel conducted the raid on Entebbe, the same issue arose. The initial solution was to purchase fuel at an airfield in a neighboring country where they could land and refuel. Although that remained a backup, the Israelis final plan involved refueling while on the ground at Entebbe.

I would suggest something similar here might work, by using one or more airfields closer to Iran where they could fly in refueling bladders to either refuel before an attack, or while returning from an attack. The ideal location would be in Saudi Arabia--it is close, and there are probably several abandoned airfields built for the wars against Iraq that would accommodate their aircraft. According to the Wikileaks documents, Saudi Arabia was prepared to turn a blind eye to an Israeli attack. The problem here is three-fold: (1) it is one thing for Saudi Arabia to turn a blind eye to an overflight, but quiet another to allow Israel to land and refuel; (2) the United States will presumably not want to allow the Israelis to attack and risk a more general conflict and closure of the Straits (plus, Obama is just as likely to warn the Iranians as not--he is a very evil man who has shown that he is more than willing to abandon allies when it serves him), but there is little chance that Israel could get past the U.S. fleet without our Navy knowing about it; (3) Iran's air-defense will be concentrated in that area if, for no other reason, because of the presence of the naval forces in the Gulf.

A secondary possibility would be to attack from the north from Russia or one of the former Soviet states. This would probably require the cooperation of the Russians, but Putin had recently visited Israel....

A third possibility would be to use the chaos in Syria to their advantage and try to secure and use an airfield in Syria to stage the attack. Very risky, though, and perhaps it doesn't get them close enough to be worth the risk....

If they are desperate enough, Israel could forgo using an air attack, and slip in small teams to detonate tactical nukes that might do the job. Unlikely, but it would remedy the issue of trying to get a large number of attack aircraft into Iran.

Whatever Israel does, it will require thinking outside the box, taking full consideration that Obama will probably betray them if he is given the chance.

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