Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Israel Will
The World

I believe Israel will surprise the world in how they deal with the Iranian nuclear threat. If the United States doesn't get up off their butts soon, and massively bomb the Iranian nuclear facilities, then Israel will do it.

Many naysayers have been opining about how it will be impossible for Israel with the equipment they have. But, these people are not taking into account Israel's history. Everytime Israel is threatened existentially, their victory is swift and shocking and is a leapfrog in the history of military strategery.

Atlas has a great post up today about some of the ingenious tactics Israel may use in destroying the Iranian facilities:

It looks like the Iranians are proceeding full speed ahead with their Manhattan Project, and it is now in the hands of the UN Security Council to stop it. The likelihood of that happening is slim, I believe. It took us 12 years and endless resolutions to deal with Saddam, who was actively violating UN sanctions, shooting at our pilots, and killing his own people.

If it took us that long to deal with Saddam under the auspices of the UN, Iran will get the bomb, period.

While this may be an academic exercise for the UN, it isn’t for Israel. Even the United States may not be able to muscle the political maneuvering room to launch the kind of attack on Iran that would be necessary to knock out its reactors.

This crisis comes down to how long Israel feels it can wait for Iran to acquire its WMD and delivery capability. This timeline may be running out more quickly than people realize. If state-sponsored uranium enrichment has truly begun in earnest, and delivery capability is being researched, Israel may be forced to act sooner rather than later.

The attack would definitely be a single, massive air strike the likes of which the MidEast has never seen. Here is how I think it would go down.

It is widely believed that Iran is out of range of Israeli fighters and bombers. The range problem could be ameliorated by mid-air re-fuelers, but that would cause problems. Israel only has 5 KC-130 re-fuelers, and the idea of refueling over enemy airspace would complicate an already complicated plan.

The solution to this problem is to establish forward landing areas close to Iran, in order to “leap-frog” into Iran. This would, of course, be an act of war against (speculating here) either Saudi Arabia or Syria.

I believe that the Israelis would attempt to bypass Turkish, and Iraqi airspace. They would have to either seize an airfield, or construct one themselves. Paratroopers would insert into the area, secure the airfield, and set up a defensive perimeter. Then the transport aircraft would begin to land and set up a FARP (forward area re-arm/re-fuel point). I assume we’ll have passed the “international incident” by this point, and all out war will be declared by one (or many countries against Israel.

If the FARP is established in Syria, it would have to be set up in the northern hinterlands, the bulk of Syrian forces (including their ADA assets) are located in the south near the Israeli border. Such a move would undoubtedly initiate a direct attack on the Israeli defensive positions by Syrian troops, possibly employing their WMD capability.

I doubt that this would interfere with the airlift to the FARP, and I base that from judging the last Israeli duel with the Syrian air force/air defense system.

The other option is to establish the FARP in the Saudi desert somewhere near the Kuwaiti border. This approach would violate the airspace of Jordan, as well as Saudi Arabia, but would provide a more direct flight path across the Persian Gulf to Iran. Establishing the FARP in Saudi Arabia may be a less dangerous course of action than in Syria, but Syria may very well attack Israel anyway once the cover of the operation is blown.

That being established, Israeli aircraft would land at the FARP, re-arm, reload, and then begin the assault on Iran. This would include forward EW craft like the EC-707, IAI-201, and the Do-28D B1 (ELINT). These aircraft would identify and jam Iranian ADA, and would have to proceed with a fighter escort to deal with the Iranian Air Force.

Behind the EW craft would be the main strike force. Each target would have to have multiple strike waves, but the timing of the attacks and the vulnerability of the FARP would necessitate a massive “shock and awe” strike against each target.

Such an attack would become the stuff of legend, if Israel manages to pull it off.

However, such an attack really uses technology which is already known to exist. The thing about Israel is they tend to be ahead of the curve technologically. I believe there is a strong possibility that they have something in their arsenal that is completely new. Like, for instance, this:

THE first well-known strategic weapon was the Trojan horse, which allowed the Greeks to capture Troy without damaging the city's walls. If comments last year by Donald Rumsfeld, America's defence secretary, are to be believed, new electromagnetic weapons may yet allow America to do the same to Baghdad. This would, some think, represent the first combat use of such weaponry.

Using different types of electromagnetic energy (the same stuff as radio waves, X-rays and light), these weapons are able to destroy electronic systems and temporarily incapacitate people, all without the mess of explosions and gunfire. Although the systems are still said to be experimental, the recent use of armed, unmanned drones in Afghanistan and Yemen has shown that America's armed forces have become good at applying new weapons technology in the field.

It all started in 1962, when America first exploded a nuclear bomb 30km (19 miles) up in the atmosphere. The energetic gamma rays caused by the explosion triggered an electromagnetic pulse that disrupted radio stations 1,200km away. Although the pulse lasted for only a fraction of a second (and thus was harmless to humans) it was enough to seed the idea that electromagnetic pulses were possible, and potentially useful.

Luckily, an electromagnetic pulse can be generated without a nuclear explosion. America's efforts are centred at a research laboratory at Kirtland Air Force Base in New Mexico. A spokesman from Kirtland refuses to comment on the research, but according to a study done for the Australian air force, the most likely way of creating weaponised high-powered microwaves (HPMs) is through a device known as a vircator.

A vircator works by discharging stored electricity into a coil of wires wrapped around an explosive. The flowing electricity creates a magnetic field, which is then compressed as the (relatively small) explosive goes off. This causes a low-frequency electromagnetic pulse that is used to accelerate electrons to high energies and punch through a sheet of foil. The electrons form an unstable bubble of charge that oscillates in a cavity designed for the purpose. The oscillation creates HPMs that are then emitted from an antenna that guides them towards the target.

Because the source of the energy is a compact explosive, a vircator could fit inside bombs or cruise missiles. Deployed, they could disrupt a variety of enemy systems, from missile targeting and launch electronics, to command-and-control systems. It is possible that they could penetrate hundreds of metres below the ground and reach underground bunkers built for protection against explosives. Larger, reusable weapons are also being developed for use on ships to disable incoming missiles such as China's Silkworm.

It is possible that such a weapon could give the Israelis the ability to actually land in Iran, and attack the nuclear facilities from the ground. I do not think that the Iranian military, thusly immobilized would be able to put up much of a fight. The Israelis military might be able to actually walk into each facility individually, and plant explosives which would absoltuely obliterate Iran's nuclear dreams.

Let us see. You never know.