March 14, 2006

The Case for Targeting Tehran

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Pentagon is looking into the possibility of striking Iran's nuclear facilities, as Iran may force a military response by refusing to back down from the further development of a nuclear weapons program, despite growing international pressure.

I covered the subject in Thunder over Iran in December in some detail, and do not doubt for a second that the IDF/AF is capable of inflicting significant damage on Iran's nuclear facilities if they do take this route. Damage, of course, could be far more extensive if Israeli commando units on the ground, or other allied air and ground forces also participated in the strike. Unsurprisingly, Great Britain and the United States have assets in the region capable of conducting such a strike.

What remains shrouded in doubt is the retaliatory capability and intentions of Iran and its allies.

Iran is rumored in some circles to already have some nuclear weapons capability, but those rumors are far from confirmed. Iran can, however, potentially strike Israel with its Shihab-3 missile carrying conventional or non-nuclear WMDs that it may have in its possession. A WMD strike by Iran would be counterproductive and justify more reprisal attacks against it, but as Iran has not missed a chance to make a bad decision to date, so it would hardly be surprising if this eventuality happened.

There is also the probability that Iran's ally Syria might be pushed by Tehran to honor their mutual defense pact by launching an attack against Israel, but I suspect that Syria would not uphold their end of the agreement. Faced with an unstable regime at home and the quite real possibility of crushing military defeat at the hands of the IDF in the east and an a nearly-assured response (or threat of a response) from U.S. air and armored forces stationed in Iraq's al-Anbar province to the west, not to mention the very real possibility of a coup at home, Syria's strongman would likely chose to sit this one out.

If Assad does not honor the pact, he risks losing the support of his Iranian ally. If he does honor the pact, he risks losing his country. Either eventually is a plus for the United States and Israel.

Iran-supported terrorist organization Hamas would almost certainly attack Israel with a spate of suicide bombings and rocket attacks in response to an Israeli strike on Iran, but this would actually play into the hands of the Israelis, further delegitimizing the Hamas-led Palestinian government and providing Israel with an excuse to crack down harder against Hamas and other terrorist organizations in the West Bank, Gaza, and southern Lebanon. Again, an armed retaliatory response is likely to be more of a benefit to Israel.

In many respects, the continued press forward by the Iranian government with their nuclear ambitions could very well trigger a small war that changes the fate of Iran's mullahs, their relationship if not the very existence of their Baathist allies in Syria, and the continued existence of Hamas in the Palestinian territories.

I have a better question for the Pentagon's planners: Why shouldn't Israel bomb Iran's nuclear sites?

Posted by Confederate Yankee at March 14, 2006 01:19 PM | TrackBack

Stand off and hit them with missile strikes...continually...until we either take out their entire military and civilian infrastructure, or they capitulate.

Yes, Europe's oil supply will suffer--and we might have some problems with a small portion of our supply, but that is a LOT better than a nuclear Iran...a LOT BETTER.

Posted by: WB at March 14, 2006 06:23 PM

My personal view on this is that Israel has the best reason to blast these scumbags back into the stone age. The only problem with that is that the innocent Iranians, seeking democracy and freedom from the tyranny of the Mullahs, will suffer as a result. We need to look at this with a bit more concern for those poor people who reject the tyranny.

Posted by: Retired Spy at March 14, 2006 08:02 PM

Did you see the reports that there are anti-goverment riots happening in Iran right now? I am not sure of the extent but a festival of fire that is part of Iranian tradition has resulted in demonstrations and rioting in a number of places.

Posted by: Shoprat at March 14, 2006 08:09 PM

Forgot to give you a link. Sorry

There are a number of reports on this at.

Posted by: Shoprat at March 14, 2006 08:12 PM

I think WB's approach has the most merit. These Mullah bastards think they hold all the cards because of their oil and proximity to the Straits of Hormuz. But if we take out their infrastructure -- transportation, oil facilities, power grid, ports, communications, industry, military, etc. -- in addition to zapping their nuclear facilities, we may be able to turn the tables on them.

They have NEVER done anything but fight dirty against us, in every possible way, and if it comes to a shooting conflict, everything short of out own nukes should be employed to take down this insane theocracy through airpower, while formenting a secular counter-revolution on the ground. Like the Third Reich and Imperial Japan, this is a regime that can't be allowed to live once the shooting starts.

Posted by: Redhand at March 14, 2006 08:27 PM

Iranian civilians in general are probably among the most Western-friendly Muslims in southwest Asia, and I would not want to see them hurt if it is at all possible.

Luckily, the GBU-28s that would be the most likely munitions used to strike hidden sites are deep underground detonating guided weapons, and if civilains are not almost directly hit by the bomb casing itself (think giant lawn dart), then the odds of significant civilian casualties should be fairly small.

Posted by: Confederate Yankee at March 14, 2006 09:42 PM

I am with everyone else, AIRPOWER, AIRPOWER, AIRPOWER, Take out their command and control capability and military infrastructer and their done. Israel has the most to lose with a nuclear capable Iran but, if Israel bombs Iran then other Arab nations are going to get envolved. Every radical in the world will descend on Israel. People have to understand every radical Mullah will call for there destruction. Those weak minded individuals will follow whatever their leaders want them to do. Don't forget they are the ones that gave birth to the suicide bomber.
I just feel sorry for the pro western folks. I hope they understand we are all trying to help them.

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