Exclusive: Israel’s air maneuver did not simulate possible Iran strike strategy
debkafile‘s Western military sources do not believe that if Israel does attack Iran’s nuclear facilities, it will resort to the old-fashioned aerial blitz tactic employed in 1981 for bombing Iraq’s Osirak reactor. They therefore challenge the US officials’ conclusion that Israel’s aerial exercise in conjunction with the Greek Air Force over Crete in early June was in fact a rehearsal for Iran.
What was demonstrated was the Israeli Air Force’s capability for deploying a large aerial force of more than 100 warplanes and helicopters for long-distance operations. The distance from Israel to Crete was indeed roughly equal to the distance to Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz.
Israel has already displayed its ability to strike a nuclear site by the attack on the Syrian-North Korean plutonium reactor in northern Syria on September 6, 2007.
But these military sources argue it would be sheer recklessness for Israel to send so large a part of its air fleet for a repeat of the Israeli attack on Iraq without first demolishing Iran’s air defenses.
In the attack on Syria, Israel was able to disarm by electronic means the Russian-made air defense batteries guarding its reactor. The same systems protect Iran’s nuclear sites. It must be assumed, however, that Iran and the Russian manufacturers learned a lesson or two from the way Israel silenced the batteries in Syria, although Israel too will have added new gadgetry.
Those Western military sources also deduced from the Israeli aerial exercise eastern Mediterranean that its war planners must have taken stock of the punishing fallout a war operation against Iran would trigger.
Therefore, rather than consigning a large air fleet to Iranians skies, Israel’s war planners are likely to first use large numbers of missiles to demolish Iran’s nuclear facilities and air defense batteries. Some may be delivered by air from a distance outside the range of Iranian fighter craft (most of which are outdated and in bad shape), others from Dolphin submarines.
The Air Force would go into action at a later stage.
They calculate that the moment Iran is attacked, not only will it retaliate, but all hell will break loose on Israeli borders. Iran’s terrorist stooges, Hizballah will let loose from Lebanon, Hamas from the Gaza Strip and the Syrian air and missile forces go into action from the north. The Israeli Air Force will be vitally needed to protect the population and sufficient aircraft must therefore be kept back for the home front.
Given Tehran’s multiple reprisal capability and the limits to which the Israeli Air Force can be stretched operationally at one time, the IDF may well decide to deal with the Hizballah and Hamas short-range rocket infrastructure as well as the Syrian Air Force before going into action against Iran..
In this sense, debkafile‘s military experts note, the decision to strike Iran’s nuclear sites is tightly bound up with preventive action against the menaces closer to home, Hamas at the very least.
MK Tzahi Hanegbi, chairman of the Knesset foreign affairs and security committee said in an interview Saturday, June 21, on Day Three of the Gaza truce, that a major operation to demolish Hamas’ war machine will be unavoidable at some point. He urged the formation of a national unity government to enlist the country’s best brains and resources He urged the formation of a national unity government to enlist the country’s best brains and resources for the tough decisions ahead.