Thursday, August 30, 2012

Bibi’s Secret War Plan



Richard Silverstein reports,

In the past few days, I received an Israeli briefing document outlining Israel’s war plans against Iran. The document was passed to me by a high-level Israeli source who received it from an IDF officer. My source, in fact, wrote to me that normally he would not leak this sort of document, but “These are not normal times. I’m afraid Bibi and Barak are dead serious.”
The reason the source leaked it is to expose the arguments and plans advanced by the Bibi-Barak two-headed warrior. Neither the IDF leaker, my source, nor virtually any senior military or intelligence officer wants this war. While whoever wrote this briefing paper had use of IDF and intelligence data, I don’t believe the IDF wrote it.
I’ve translated the document from Hebrew with the help of Dena Shunra.
This is Bibi’s sales pitch for war. Its purpose is to be used in meetings with members of the Shminiya, the eight-member security cabinet which currently finds a 4-3 majority opposed to an Iran strike.
This is shock and awe, Israel-style. It is Bibi’s effort to convince high-level Israeli officials that Israel can prosecute a pure technology war that involves relatively few human beings (Israeli human beings, that is) who may be put in harm’s way and will certainly cost few lives of IDF personnel.
Bibi’s sleight of hand here involves no mention whatsoever of an Iranian counterattack against Israel. The presumption must be that the bells and whistles of all those marvelous new weapons systems will decapitate Iran’s war-making ability and render it paralyzed. The likelihood of this actually happening is nearly nil.
...The authenticity of this document is real. Or I should say that while it’s real, it is the product of the Israeli dream factory that manufactures threats and then creates fabulist military strategies to address them. The dream factory always breaks the hearts of the families of those whose members fall victim to it. It never produces the result it promises, nor will it do so here.
Remember Bush-era shock and awe? Remember those promises of precision-guided cruise missiles raining death upon Saddam Hussein’s Iraq? Remember Bush’s “Mission Accomplished” ceremony on the deck of the USS Lincoln, only six or seven years premature? Remember the promises of decisive victory? Remember 4,000 U.S. dead, not to mention hundreds of thousands of Iraqis?
Now, think of what an Israeli war against Iran could turn into. Think about how this sanitized version of 21st-century war could turn into a protracted, bloody conflict closer to the nine-year Iran-Iraq War:
The Israeli attack will open with a coordinated strike, including an unprecedented cyberattack which will totally paralyze the Iranian regime and its ability to know what is happening within its borders. The Internet, telephones, radio and television, communications satellites, and fiber optic cables leading to and from critical installations — including underground missile bases at Khorramabad and Isfahan — will be taken out of action. The electrical grid throughout Iran will be paralyzed, and transformer stations will absorb severe damage from carbon fiber munitions which are finer than a human hair, causing electrical short circuits whose repair requires their complete removal. This would be a Sisyphean task in light of cluster munitions which would be dropped, some time-delayed and some remote-activated through the use of a satellite signal.
A barrage of tens of ballistic missiles would be launched from Israel toward Iran. 300-km ballistic missiles would be launched from Israeli submarines in the vicinity of the Persian Gulf. The missiles would not be armed with unconventional warheads [WMDs], but rather with high-explosive ordnance equipped with reinforced tips designed specially to penetrate hardened targets.
The missiles will strike their targets — some exploding above ground like those striking the nuclear reactor at Arak, which is intended to produce plutonium and tritium — and the nearby heavy-water production facility; the nuclear fuel production facilities at Isfahan and facilities for enriching uranium-hexafluoride. Others would explode underground, as at the Fordow facility.
A barrage of hundreds of cruise missiles will pound command-and-control systems, research and development facilities, and the residences of senior personnel in the nuclear and missile development apparatus. Intelligence gathered over years will be utilized to completely decapitate Iran’s professional and command ranks in these fields.
After the first wave of attacks, which will be timed to the second, the “Blue and White” radar satellite, whose systems enable us to perform an evaluation of the level of damage done to the various targets, will pass over Iran. Only after rapidly decrypting the satellite’s data will the information be transferred directly to warplanes making their way covertly toward Iran. These IAF planes will be armed with electronic warfare gear previously unknown to the wider public, not even revealed to our U.S. ally. This equipment will render Israeli aircraft invisible. Those Israeli war planes which participate in the attack will damage a short list of targets which require further assault.
Among the targets approved for attack: Shahab 3 and Sejil ballistic missile silos, storage tanks for chemical components of rocket fuel, industrial facilities for producing missile control systems, centrifuge production plants, and more.
While the level of specificity in this document is, in some senses, impressive, in one critical aspect it is deficient. Muhammad Sahimi points out that the current chief of the Revolutionary Guards, when he assumed his position in 2007, deliberately addressed the issue of overcentralization of command-and-control by dividing the nation into 31 districts. Each of these has its own independent command-and-control facilities and mechanisms. So Israel wouldn’t be able to knock out a single facility and paralyze the IRG. It would need to knock out 31 separate sets of facilities, a much harder task.
There seems also to be an assumption that Iran’s leaders and nuclear specialists live nice domestic lives and that Israeli intelligence knows where they all live and can easily target them. In truth, the most senior Iranian military and scientific figures live clandestine lives, and it’s hard for me to believe even the Mossad knows where they are and how to target them.
So it appears that Netanyahu believes he’s fighting Saddam circa 2003. During that war, the Iraqi Revolutionary Guards were centralized and knocking out one command-and-control center could decapitate the entire military apparatus. But Iran has learned from Saddam’s mistakes. It isn’t fighting the last war as Bibi appears to be. It is preparing for the next one. While Israel may have new tricks up its sleeve that no one in the world has yet seen, if it doesn’t understand the nature of the enemy, its defenses, its structure, etc., then it can’t win.

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