Ossie Makepeace writes from Tel Aviv: The latest word is that Israel has developed a plan to strike at Iranian nuclear facilities and accepts that minimum of 500 Israelis may die in the response.
Three conclusions come out of this: firstly, contingency plans are advanced. Secondly, the US would knock out Iran’s command, control and communications centres, including its air and ground-to-ground missile systems in a pre-emptive strike. And thirdly, however precise the Israeli strike would be, the aftermath would be a conflict lasting not hours, but weeks.
Israeli intelligence is launching a psychological warfare exercise to unnerve Iran at a time Tehran is concentrating on the real possibility that it may lose its only ally in the region, Syria. The Israelis have invented a system of leaking information that has enough facts in it to convince outsiders that they have something valuable. This is part of the psychological warfare programme.
The latest is the format for an attack on Iran. Anyone who has observed warfare may have half guessed that format but the source material gives it further authority.
It is said that an attack would go like this: before the strike can start there has to be a simultaneous attack on the following targets: missile positions, ground control and command centres of the Iranian air force including radar installations – a mass cyber hit on Iranian facilities.
At the same time there would be a mass jamming of every available communication facility including mobile networks so that Iranian officials could not find out what was going on and could not receive or give emergency orders.
Viruses would be introduced into every computer system possible – military and civilian. Television and radio stations and transmitters would be attacked.
Offices, laboratories and private homes of every listed official in the nuclear programme would be hit. No one would know what was going on nor what the response should be nor who was in command. Rumour would be the only news service.
Satellite, drone and manned reconnaissance would do a battle damage assessment and further attacks would be launched on what was still operational.
Known Allied groupings of the Iranians, for example, Hezbollah, plus the jihadist groups especially around Gaza and Sinai would also be attacked to disrupt any use of guerrilla-type retaliation.
It is at this point that the nuclear sites would be attacked by the Israelis using manned flights, launching so-called bunker busting bombs already delivered from the United States. The assumption is that the Americans have yet to decide to get involved in a direct attack. The international consequences of such an action do not have to be explained.
The Iranians do have a conventional missile and air delivered response. Iran also has the Islamist and jihadist groupings to disrupt and attack throughout the whole region.
Three issues are hardly discussed in public: Israel would carry out such an attack with US approval and active military support; the Israeli government does not have universal support among its population for such a hit; almost every other state in the region would tacitly if not publicly support the strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
Will it happen? One hard-line view in Israel says that it is very likely because the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna has failed to get open inspections of the whole Iranian nuclear development programme. Israel should, says this not inconsiderable opinion, make sure this programme is stopped whatever it takes.