Introduction – Nov 5, 2012
Below is yet another example of how sloppy speculation now presents itself as journalism.
What would happen, it asks, if Israel struck Iran’s nuclear facilities? As we pointed out in the opening comments that is a really dumb question because we should really be asking if Israel has the capability to carry out a strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities?
On balance we think probably not, at least not on its own.
Over the past few years Iran has steadily built up its air defence capability with a view to fending off such air strikes. In addition to probably acquiring more of the “game-changing” S-300 air defence systems than it has officially acknowledged, Iran has also developed its own air defence systems that are now coming into service.
This includes the Raad medium range air defence system, which on video looks formidable, and the shorter range Mersad air defence system, equipped with Shahin missiles.
Both the Mersad air defence system and its attendant missiles entered mass production over a year ago.
This means that Iran is well on the way to building some formidable air defences. Even two years ago there were doubts in Israel’s military command over whether they could carry out a successful strike on Iran. As reported on an Israeli TV news channel last night, senior Israeli military commanders blocked moves to strike at Iran in 2010.
Since then Iran has upgraded and strengthened its defences still further, making any unilateral Israeli strike probably doomed from the outset.
Nonetheless, apart from not considering whether Israel can overcome Iran’s sir defences the following article doesn’t even ask if Israel has the wherewithal to carry out such a strike?
Does it have the munitions to blast Iran’s nuclear facilities, which are buried deeply underground?
Does it have the planes to deliver such heavyweight munitions over such a distance or the means to refuel the aircraft on their mission?
Instead of asking such questions however, the Guardian looks at a British TV crews coverage of Israeli think tank simulation of such a scenario. We also reported on the simulation, introducing our report with the words:
“This simulation was flawed from the outset as it assumed successful Israeli air strikes.”
If anything the simulation was probably staged managed to arrive at a favourable outcome for Israel. It assumes, for example, that the Israeli Air Force manages to penetrate Iranian air defenses and successfully carry out the mission without taking into account Iran’s ongoing upgrade of those defenses.
The fact that TV crews were allowed access to the simulation only underlines this. In all probability the simulation was aimed at an increasingly nervous Israeli public with the intention of reassuring them if and when such a strike goes ahead.
Rather than be seen as a realistic simulation of the consequences of an Israeli strike, the simulation should be seen more as a propaganda exercise
What would happen if Israel bombed Iran’s nuclear plants?
Rachel Shabi – Guardian.co.uk Nov 4, 2012
Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is moaning that missile strikes haven’t hit Israel hard enough. The Americans say they support Israel’s military attack on Iran the previous day, but won’t actively engage in this war. And the Israelis are counting their country’s civilian deaths and wondering if they should launch a second strike on Iranian nuclear facilities, to “finish the job”.
This is all part of a war simulation game staged by an Israeli thinktank last month, to which a British film crew were given sole access. The result is a game-time enactment of what would happen if Israel does attack Iran.
For some time, Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu has been escalating talk of a military strike, to prevent Iran from building its first nuclear weapon. The prospect of war, and recent disaster drills to prepare for it, have terrified his own people, and the rest of the world. Israeli military and intelligence chiefs say a strike is a bad idea, while the Obama administration has told Israel to back off and wait for sanctions to work.
If Israel hit Iran’s nuclear facilities, would Hezbollah, Iran’s allies in Lebanon, join in to retaliate? Would America step in to help its best friend in the Middle East? This filmed simulation shows a group of Israeli ex-spooks, former politicians and military officials split into teams to role-play the consequences. I have not seen the full film, but was in the cutting room for a couple of days helping with translation and the scenes I saw were compelling. Team Israel, taking stock of Iranian missile attacks on civilian targets, makes the operational assumption that the situation won’t spiral totally out of control.
Is that a reasonable prediction, or totally delusional? The documentary has an interview with an Iranian former nuclear negotiator and foreign policy adviser, who returns the simulated salvo by saying that Israel has grossly underestimated Iran’s capacity for retaliation. Iran, he says, would assume American complicity in any Israeli attack and take aim at US targets in the Middle East…
Footnote – Nov 5, 2012
The above is typical of how the corporate media bases its supposed ‘informed commentary’ on pure speculation, illustrated by the line:
“I have not seen the full film, but was in the cutting room for a couple of days helping with translation”