Thursday, December 17, 2009

When will Israel bomb Iran

Iran is running out of time and options. The pieces are all falling into place. Spies are being caught in Iran. The president of the USA has started warning other world leaders that Israel is poised to strike. Iran is test firing new missiles.

The question now is, will Iran pull back from the brink? or will Israel bomb Iran?

I think the dye is cast. I predict Israel will bomb Iran in the next six months.

Anyone else have a prediction?

I am interested in the fallout: What will be the counteraction by Iran? Will Israel be successful? (I don't think they will be 100% but they may not need to be) What impact will it have on the economic markets? On political alliances and power structures?

Quite a lot to contemplate.


rogueregime said...

I think you are absolutely wrong.

Iran will continue to develop nuclear weapons but, if diplomacy is handled properly, will not actually test a weapon. If they're pushed hard enough, they will test it (a la North Korea).

In the first place, Iran learned the 1981 lesson from Iraq/Osirak, spreading its nuclear facilities all over Iran and burying them in reinforced bunkers. So there is no "surgical strike" option. So if Israel decided to "bomb Iran," they would have do to so knowing that (a) hitting all Iranian facilities would be impossible; (b) there would be no way to know exactly to what extent Iran's nuclear capability would be deteriorated; and (c) there would be significant civilian and military casualties on the Iranian side. Put together, this means Israel would have to undertake a military operation far more complicated than it did in 1981, with no certainty of success, and no way to measure whatever success was (or wasn't) achieved. That's a big gamble given the intense international costs Israel is likely to pay.

On the flip side, what if Israel does nothing? An extended discussion of nuclear deterrence is more than I can offer here, but suffice it to say that the real threat posed by an Iranian bomb is not a first strike against Israel. Arguments that the Iranian's have no respect for life, or believe that triggering some kind of Armageddon is a reasonable price to pay for entering the afterlife, are, frankly, not based in reality. The Mullahs want to rule Iran, not trade away their country in a nuclear exchange with Israel. No, the real threat is that an Iranian bomb would make regional deterrence more complicated (i.e., it might deter the U.S. from Gulf War I level intervention should Iran make a move in the Gulf). There are scenarios by which this damages Israeli interests, but not so much as to risk a massive, unprovoked strike against multiple Iranian installations.

As to what the "fallout" of such an attack would be, should Israel undertake one...well, they would be severe. Oil markets would surely spike. How our allies would respond is hard to say, but it would almost certainly -- and dramatically -- complicate American relations with allies worldwide. Remember, Obama was elected, in part, to be the "anti-Bush" when it comes to the rest of the world; he wants to mend fences, ntot bomb them. If Israel were to strike Iran, it would almost certianly be interpreted as having been done with America's blessings. Our allies would bolt from Afghanistan, diplomatic efforts to pressure Iran, you name it.

So yes, it is a lot to contemplate... Which is why it isn't going to happen. We've had our share of iron dice rolling over the last 10 years. I think we're done with that for a while.

The Way said...

Israel could strike using three simultaneous weapons: airstrikes by plane, land based missles, internal sabotage.

Yes Iran is not Iraq, but the Israel of 2009 is not the same Israel of 1981.

a) Israel does not need to hit all the facilities. While there are more facilities they are not all of equal importance.

b) they would approximate the damage in the same manner they assess the danger.
c)Possibly less complicated given new technology. As for significant, perhaps, but with the tacit green light from the US and Saudi Arabia and Egypt etc, manageable.

Ignoring nuclear deterance as an issue: if Israel does nothing they allow a current and powerful enemy to acheieve weapon equality. I think it is easier to deter your enemy when you have overwhelming superiority, not just mutually assured destruction.

What Iran plans to do with the weapons, if anything, is a moot point in considering the strategic loss Israel would face if an enemy achieved weapons equality.

And given the fear and hatred the oil produing arab countries have for the Persians of Iran, would a spike in prices last long? Iran mostly supplies Russia and China and I doubt Israel would disrupt the oil facilities or pipelines.