Sledgehammer's Cycles

Sledgehammer's Cycles
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Monday, December 2, 2013

So what Iranian targets will Israel attack?

So even though the Obama regime isn't BFFs with the Iranian Mullahs, they look like they're going out on a date.  OK - action, reaction.  What's the reaction?

First, Saudi Arabia is almost certainly to buy as many bombs from Pakistan as they're willing to sell.  They may even look to North Korea for some.  The Gulf will see a flurry of proliferation.  After all, if Kuwait had had nukes, then Saddam wouldn't have invaded.

Second, Israel is practising long range air strikes.  They're going to hit somewhere, after flying over Saudi territory.  The question is where?  The attack has to cause serious damage to the ability of Iran to continue its nuclear program.  But the nuke facilities are said to be buried under 20 or 30 feet of bedrock.  Maybe even an Israeli nuke wouldn't take them out, and dropping one of those is a "red line" that a lot of folks wouldn't want to see crossed.

I think a strike is certain, and close (it won't happen until there's a hard agreement between Tehran and Washington, but once that deal is inked it might happen in a week or two; fruits of our "Smart" Diplomacy, no doubt).

But the strike won't aim for the heavily defended nuclear facilities.  Instead, it will aim to shut down all oil import/export from the entire nation of Iran.  Port facilities (and in particular, oil tanker loading facilities) are hard to defend (stuck way out in the ocean so that super tankers can load/unload.  Low level "under the radar" strikes over the Persian Gulf are much more likely to be undetected than flying hundreds of miles over Iranian territory.  It's a straight shot from Israel over Saudi Arabia to the sea (and back).

And shutting down all the Iranian oil will do a couple of things.  Firstly, it will seize up money flows needed for the fabulously expensive enrichment and bomb building.  Secondly, it will increase discontent within Iran.  The regime there is already unpopular; after a short-lived bump of approval ("We wuz attacked!"), the lack of cash will bite, and bite hard.  Expect unrest 3-6 months after the bombs fall.  Thirdly, Saudi Arabia can pump oil to make up for the lost Iranian crude.  This means that cash will flow to them, rather than to Iran.  Israel is doing their dirty work, so to speak.

The only thing that would stop this is the Fifth Fleet.  Interestingly, we've just removed some aircraft carriers from the Gulf.  Hmmm.

10 comments:

Divemedic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Divemedic said...

The article about the carrier deployments claims that reducing the carrier presence in the Gulf from two to one will save several hundred million dollars, including spending on fuel for the ships and the carrier's air wing, food and other supplies.

I don't see how there will be savings in food. The personnel that are assigned to the ships and airwings will have to be fed whether they are here or there.

Of course, it also says that the crews are disappointed that they didn't get to deploy. Unless the Navy has changed a whole lot since I was in, that is an out and out lie. Very few people want to leave their homes and families two weeks before Christmas, in order to sail to the PG. There are no good ports of call, no good liberty, and lots of hot steamy work.

Peter said...

I think the 'trigger' for a major Israeli strike will be evidence that Iran is preparing for - or actually conducts - a nuclear test. If that happens, all bets are off.

I believe Israel is very likely to use nuclear weapons against Iran, particularly 'hardened' targets such as the Fordow enrichment plant, buried under 70-80 yards of granite. Israel doesn't have the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, and doesn't have bomber aircraft capable of delivering it even if she did: but two or three nukes, each removing 20-30 yards of that granite overbed, would clear the way for a final warhead right in the middle of the centrifuges. Exit one enrichment plant.

I take no pleasure in that forecast. I'm just a realist - and Israel is nothing if not realistic about dealing with threats to its existence. Ask Gerald Bull, or Mordechai Vanunu, or . . .

Paul, Dammit! said...

I'm not sure that the immediate impact of an oil infrastructure strike will be perfectly predictable. There's already an embargo on Iranian exports, and the proposed agreement would only prevent new restrictions, while keeping the existing ones. Only a few countries are actually getting their oil from Iran- China, India, Japan, South Korea, Turkey and Taiwan. I read that to say that Israel would be hard-pressed to justify a strike on oil export infrastructure to the states that are still doing business, considering that gobal pricing would spike as the 6 countries would enter the competitive market that the rest of us are already bidding on.

Old NFO said...

I'm just gonna say I don't think you are wrong...

Richard said...

I would not rule out a decapitation strike. After all Israel isn't afraid of France's nukes.

juvat said...

What Old NFO said Plus, I pray you are.

Expatriate Owl said...

And let us not forget the cyberweapons (as in Stuxnet). Such probably would not be the sole (nor even the primary) salvo, but they can play a supporting role by softening the primary target(s) and/or creating diversions.

Another advantage to the nuclear option is that targets such as the port facilities (or the financial system) are not necessarily radhardened.

Borepatch said...

Paul, a strike against the oil infrastructure is indeed a blunt instrument. However, there's no doubt that the regime is dependent on oil revenue, and that damaging that revenue stream will have ripple effects all over.

Nosmo King said...

Hmmm....wonder what else Iran has above ground that's of equal or greater value than oil exporting resources. Might be a magic act going on here, because I heard a rumor that Israel has more than one airplane.

And speaking of "above ground," aren't there elevators and such used for accessing not-above-ground stuff? Last I heard, elevators tend to travel in straight, vertical lines.....