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Old 02-27-2012   #61
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http://www.der-postillon.com/2012/01...-kurz-vor.html

A satire (in German) that reminds us that Iran has been on the doorstep to nuclear weapons for 20 years now (according to Western fearmongers).
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Old 03-25-2012   #62
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Quote:
Report: Iran planned to bomb Israeli ship in Suez Canal
Egyptian paper Al-Ahram reports that two Egyptian citizens received instructions from Iranian agents to attack an Israeli ship, and offered a third man 50 million Egyptian pounds to carry out the act.
http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomac...canal-1.420463
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Old 04-04-2012   #63
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Default What Would an Air Attack on Iran Look Like?

An updated RUSI analysis, summarised as:
Quote:
A ground invasion is impossible. But Israel lacks the long-range assets unilaterally to neutralise a dispersed Iranian nuclear capability, whereas a large US co-ordinated air campaign against Iranian nuclear weapon facilities is eminently feasible. Nevertheless the effectiveness and fallout from such a campaign remains in doubt.
The author wrote a similar piece six years ago and makes some interesting points, the one about Iran's unique concrete is new to me:
Quote:
Iran is an earthquake zone, so its engineers have developed some of the toughest building materials in the world. Such materials will be used to protect hidden nuclear installations from the artificial equivalent of small earthquakes. US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently admitted that the US Air Force's new MOP bunker-busting bomb now needs an upgrade to take on the deepest Iranian bunkers. But even that may not be enough, thanks to Iran's mastery of smart 'ultra-high performance concrete'.
Link:http://www.rusi.org/analysis/comment...4F7572130F2E4/
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Old 04-10-2012   #64
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Default Striking Iran: a strategist's viewpoint

Patrick Porter's blog has a comment 'Iran: its 60/40, not 90/10' and opens with:
Quote:
The issue of whether and under what circumstances to use military force to disrupt Iran’s nuclear programme is a 60/40, not a 90/10. In other words, it is a more marginal decision than polemicists on either side often recognise.

Which is the greater evil? An Iranian bomb, or a preventative war against Iran?

A view, for what its worth: military action is probably a greater evil than Tehran’s uranium enrichment programme. But an actual weaponised nuclear capability is probably a greater evil than war.
This later point struck me:
Quote:
To make that ‘worth it’, its capabilities should be seriously degraded. Bluntly, they will hate us -even more- so the resort to force, if it comes, had better make them fear us.
Link:http://offshorebalancer.wordpress.co...6040-not-9010/
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Old 04-11-2012   #65
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Patsies have their uses.

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TEHRAN — Iranian security forces have arrested an Israeli-backed “terrorist team” that was planning attacks inside Iran, the Intelligence Ministry announced Tuesday, four days before crucial nuclear talks with world powers.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/...I8S_story.html
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Old 04-28-2012   #66
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Default Analysis & Therapy: Israeli positions on striking Iran (Part 1)

Hamid Hussain, an occasional SWC contributor, has sent this commentary on; I have very slightly changed the wording and the title is mine - inspired by text in part two.

The Chief of Staff (COS) of the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) Lieutenant General Benny Gantz gave a balanced interview to the Israeli newspaper Haaretz on April 25, 2012. In this he stated that pressure against Iran was working and he did not endorse the call for military action advocated by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu:http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomac...apons-1.426389

This resulted in speculation that the military leadership were at odds with the prime minister on the issue of a military strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Senior Israeli decision makers are fully aware of the impact of a nuclear Iran on the region but they are not unanimous about a military strike to rollback the Iranian nuclear program.

Tensions have been mounting over the last few years between Israel and Iran over the issue of the Iranian nuclear program. Mysterious fires at some Iranian facilities, computer crashes and the assassination of some Iranian nuclear scientists in the last two years are not accidents. Almost everyone believes that Israel is launching a covert war against Iran. An inevitable retaliation materialized early this year when Iranian agents targeted Israeli diplomats in Delhi, Bangkok and the Georgian capital Tbilisi.

There is a consensus among Israeli policy makers about containment of Tehran, however there are differences over the use of military strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities.

These differences have created tensions among senior Israeli policy makers and had an impact on the selection of COS of IDF last year. In late 2010, five major generals were considered for the post of COS. The list included Gadi Eizenkot, Avi Mizrachi, Gadi Shamni, Benny Gantz and Yaov Galant:http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/139238

All are respected professional officers and have gone through the usual pattern of tours in senior command and staff positions. Eizenkot served as Military Secretary (MS) to Barak and also served as commander of Northern command. Shamni; a paratrooper served as MS to prime minister and commander of Central command and Mizrachi; an armor officer served as head of Central command. Gantz; a paratrooper had served as commander of Northern Command and Deputy COS. Galant, then commanding Southern Command was unique in the sense that he was from the navy. Galant was the most hawkish of the group.

In my view, Galant was picked by Netanyahu and Barak thinking that he would go along with their hard line policy against Iran especially a military strike. This is also supported by the fact that another hawk; a reservist officer Major General Yair Naveh was also appointed as Deputy COS. Naveh had been accused of ordering assassination of Palestinians against guidelines issued by Israeli high court. When reminded of court’s guidelines, he remarked:
Quote:
Leave me alone and don't bother me with High Court guidelines.
From:http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomac...chief-1.341059

Galant was the first naval officer nominated for the COS position. Galant handed over his command to Major General Tal Russo after announcement of his nomination to be groomed for the COS position close to the power center. Galant had differences with army chief Gabi Ashkenazi dating back to 2009, when during the 2009 Gaza operation called Operation Cast Lead both had clashed (Galant was commander of the forces operating in Gaza and was against halting the attack). Ashkenazi didn’t appoint him as his deputy because of this bad blood:http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=185608

Galant’s opponents tried to scuttle his appointment and a paper emerged that suggested that Galant tried to portray his competitors in a negative light to secure his own position. It was alleged that a reserve lieutenant colonel and former intelligence officer Boaz Harpaz who was close to Ashkenazi was involved in this affair:http://www.jpost.com/Features/FrontL...aspx?id=206695

Later, Harpaz admitted that he had forged the document:http://www.jpost.com/NationalNews/Ar...aspx?id=205399

Galant dodged this bullet but a subsequent shot alleging misuse of government land proved to be fatal. In early February 2012, days before assuming his new post of COS, Attorney General (AG) Yehuda Weinstein completed his investigations about the land controversy involving Galant:http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...023817,00.html

It was alleged that Galant had illegally used land next to his house and built his driveway on public property. AG considered these charges serious thus forcing prime minister Netanyahu and defense minister Ehud Barak to cancel Galant’s appointment.

It is known that Barak and Ashkenazi had a difficult time getting along and differences over the policy on Iran aggravated the situation. Ashkenazi started to push back against Netanyahu and Barak’s rhetoric on Iran:http://www.economist.com/blogs/claus...ew_chief_staff

It soon came out into the open and Barak accused Ashkenazi of not respecting the defense minister’s authority. The most damaging accusation was that Ashkenazi was undermining Netanyahu and Barak by downplaying the Iranian threat. Barak alleged that Ashkenazi told the U.S. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, that jingoistic rhetoric of military strike against Iran by Netanyahu and Barak were empty words and that Israel has no military option:http://972mag.com/yedioth-idf-chief-...in-iran/10139/

Barak was furious and questioned Ashkenazi’s professional and ethical standards in a television interview:http://www.jpost.com/Features/FrontL...aspx?id=206695

Barak was forced to cancel Galant’s appointment just days before Ashkenazi’s retirement. The possibility of having not enough time to select a new candidate meant that Ashkenazi’s tenure could be extended until the new COS took charge. Barak showed his dislike by suggesting that Deputy COS Major General Yair Naveh could work as the temporary COS for sixty days until the appointment of new COS. Barak was criticized by his cabinet colleagues and he was forced to pick COS quickly appointing Benny Gantz:http://www.thejc.com/news/israel-new...-new-idf-chief

On his part, Ashkenazi may have tried to stop Galant’s appointment as the new COS. In March 2012, the State Comptroller’s report in Harpaz case criticized Ashkenazi’s role in the affair:http://www.haaretz.com/news/national...ffair-1.416388

The fall out from Ashkenazi-Barak clash is still haunting the relationship between the new COS and Barak, so that will affect the appointment of senior officers.

In 2011, confusing signals were coming from Tel Aviv, and in the tussle between hawks and doves, doves were gaining the upper hand:http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/...7107FR20110201

Last year, opponents of military action started to voice their concerns openly. Former head of Mossad, Ephraim Halevy warned that a military strike against Iran could result in serious consequences for the region:http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...143909,00.html

Another former head Meir Dagan called the idea of an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities as:
Quote:
the stupidest thing I have ever heard
Link:http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomac...heard-1.360367
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Old 04-28-2012   #67
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Default Analysis & Therapy: Israeli positions on striking Iran (Part 2)

Initially, only Netanyahu and Barak were passionate advocates of military option against Iran. They were able to convince foreign minister Avidgor Lieberman to their cause. Many cabinet members and senior military and intelligence officials are reported to be against the strike:http://www.haaretz.com/print-edition...-iran-1.393214

Interior Minister Eli Yishai, intelligence minister Dan Meridor, minister for strategic affairs and a former COS of IDF Moshe Yaalon and finance minister Yuval Steinitz are in the "dove" camp. There is also some pushing back from senior military and intelligence officials opposed to military strike against Iran:http://forward.com/articles/145804/i...on-iran/?p=all

A well informed journalist Nahum Barnea wrote a piece for Yediot Aharonot in October 2011 voicing the concerns of security officials:http://didiremez.tumblr.com/post/120...ak-planning-to

Opposition to military strike is almost unanimous among professional security officials. In 2010-2011, heads of all important institutions including COS Gabi Ashkenazi, head of Mossad Meir Dagan, Director of Aman (Military Intelligence) Amos Yadlin and head of Shin Bet (Internal Security) Yuval Diskin were against military strike.

The most interesting fact is that in a twelve month time period heads of all these organizations were changed but the new brass including COS Gantz, Mossad chief Tamir Pardo, Aman chief Aviv Kochavi and head of Shin Bet Yoram Cohen agreed with the assessment their respective predecessors:http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/...n-nuke-threat/

Now we have two groups of psychoanalysts and psychotherapists among Israeli leaders. One group headed by Netanyahu and Barak is arguing that Iranian leaders are ‘irrational’ and ‘psychotic’. They claim that the illness is so advanced that only electric shock therapy of massive military strike is the viable option to keep the world safe. The other group that includes senior Israeli military and intelligence officials are informing us that Iranian leaders are ‘rational’ and while they need some medication i.e. covert action but there is no need for drastic measures. They fear that a massive military strike can have many unintended consequences for the region.

In Israeli decision making process, current balance is against military strike and it is likely that Israel will continue covert operations to slow down Iranian nuclear program while working with United States and Europe to tighten the sanction regime with the hope of changing the calculation of Iranian leadership. This means that Tel Aviv and Tehran will continue their little covert action dirty games of targeting each other’s interests all around the globe.
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Old 04-28-2012   #68
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Did I already mention...?



Iran has about as much reason to rationally think about nuclear deterrence as Israel has.


(The graphic is humour, and not exactly up-to date in detail.)
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Old 04-29-2012   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fuchs View Post
Did I already mention...?



Iran has about as much reason to rationally think about nuclear deterrence as Israel has.


(The graphic is humour, and not exactly up-to date in detail.)
Upon returning from his second World War-related trip abroad a family member of mine was tickled pink to learn that he had managed to get information about his general whereabouts past the letter censors a number of times, though no one at home had picked up on it. (I was told that he said words to the effect of, "Look at how many times I told you'uns first thing in the letter, 'I ran [X number of] miles to get to where I am again today.'") Anyway, in the mid-1940s the majority of folks in Western North Carolina apparently had little knowledge of a place called Iran and employees of the U.S. Government seem to have been a little hit-or-miss on the locale, as well. Seven decades on and I'm not sure the situation is all that much better.
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Last edited by ganulv; 04-29-2012 at 01:59 AM.
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Old 04-29-2012   #70
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Quote:
Now we have two groups of psychoanalysts and psychotherapists among Israeli leaders.
That...is a great line.
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Old 06-15-2012   #71
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The usual suspects, Captain Renault?

Quote:
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran has arrested the killers of two of its nuclear scientists, state media reported on Thursday, as the Islamic state continues to hunt down those it says are responsible for attempting to sabotage its nuclear program.

The suspects are accused of assassinating a physicist at Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation (AEOI) and a deputy director at the Natanz uranium enrichment facility using magnetic bombs that were attached to the vehicles they were in.
http://ca.news.yahoo.com/iran-seizes...155704258.html
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Old 07-10-2012   #72
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Default One opinion...

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articl..._bomb_2-062112

Quote:
Why Iran Should Get the Bomb
Nuclear Balancing Would Mean Stability

The past several months have witnessed a heated debate over the best way for the United States and Israel to respond to Iran's nuclear activities. As the argument has raged, the United States has tightened its already robust sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic, and the European Union announced in January that it will begin an embargo on Iranian oil on July 1. Although the United States, the EU, and Iran have recently returned to the negotiating table, a palpable sense of crisis still looms.

It should not. Most U.S., European, and Israeli commentators and policymakers warn that a nuclear-armed Iran would be the worst possible outcome of the current standoff. In fact, it would probably be the best possible result: the one most likely to restore stability to the Middle East...
Registration is required but not all bad, Foreign Affairs does not inundate you with spam and a lot of their stuff is worth reading.
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Old 07-10-2012   #73
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Interesting, but it suffers from a couple of very questionable assumptions.

The first is the assumption that Iran really wants the bomb and the second is that Iran wants the bomb because of Israel's bomb. Essentially he wrongly places Israel at the center of Iranian thinking.

Iran's nuclear program was always about Saddam Hussein's Iraq. Iran didn't begin its program in the mid-1980's because of the Israeli bomb - far from it, since Iran and Israel were secret allies at the time. Iran's program was for developing a deterrent against Iraq and the strategic rationale for it went away in 2003.

Israel? What can Israel do to Iran beyond a one-off air strike on a few fixed facilities? Israel isn't an existential threat to Iran - what exactly is Iran deterring by pursing a weapon (if, in fact, it is)? Attempting to build a bomb at this point is the surest way to precipitate conflict, not prevent it, so the idea that would somehow produce stability is laughable.
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Old 09-30-2012   #74
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Default An iceberg slightly exposed?

One of the more curious aspects of this long running saga is Israel's relationship with other nations, notably Turkey (now waning) and recently in the media Azerbaijan. The link is to an updated report:http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/...88T05L20120930

Quote:
Azerbaijan, the oil-rich ex-Soviet republic on Iran's far northern border, has, say local sources with knowledge of its military policy, explored with Israel how Azeri air bases and spy drones might help Israeli jets pull off a long-range attack.
There is nothing like a complicated situation or "human terrain" to factor in:
Quote:
Relations have long been strained between the former Soviet state and Iran, which is home to twice as many ethnic Azeris as Azerbaijan itself. Tehran beams an Azeri-language television channel over the border which portrays Aliyev as a puppet of Israel and the West, as well as highlighting corruption in Baku.
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Old 10-03-2012   #75
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Default Strangled by the exchange rate?

I know we've considered the impact of the US$ to Iranian Rial exchange report before, but it appears an official Iranian government move to reform foreign exchange dealing has gone very, very wrong:
Quote:
The currency, the rial, weakened to 34,700 to the dollar by the end of the day's trading, according to the Mesghal.com website, a drop of 17 per cent compared to the previous day's rate of 29,600.

The Mehr news agency said the rial fell 18 per cent to 35,000. The rial has lost more than 80 per cent of its value compared with the end of last year, when it was worth 13,000 to the dollar....

The government has in recent weeks excluded almost all importers from buying dollars at its official rate of 12,260 rials per dollar, encouraging them instead to use a new "exchange centre" where the rate was fixed daily at a small discount to the open-market rate. That has sharply increased consumer prices and spurred the rial's fall.
Link:http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worl...take-hold.html
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Old 10-03-2012   #76
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Default The last straw for Iran's economy?

A reminder, albeit written in April 2012, by Chatham House (RIIA, London) that:
Quote:
History shows that sanctions have a poor record of success....there are many reasons why sanctions are unlikely to deliver the blow that could force Iran to abandon or compromise on its nuclear ambitions.

....the ultimate flaw in sanctions: applied as a form of collective punishment, they penalise the victims of the target regimes as much as their perpetrators, who become adept at deflecting the worst impacts and use the spectre of external threat to suppress internal dissent. As Gary Sick, an astute Iran analyst, has remarked: 'Sanctions do not persuade dictatorial regimes to abandon projects that they think are central to their security and survival or even their self-image'.
Link:http://www.chathamhouse.org/publicat...ve/view/182763
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Old 10-03-2012   #77
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Default Iran: The Significance of Fordo

Analysis by Paul Rogers:
Quote:
The ongoing development work at the heavily protected Fordo nuclear fuel enrichment site near Qom in Iran is highly significant in changing the terms of the evolving crisis over the Iranian nuclear programme. Open source intelligence now suggests that Fordo is a core part of the Iranian post-attack recovery capability. This has major implications for policy formulation for the longer-term resolution of the crisis, as it could potentially change the diplomatic balance.
I was intrigued by this, not that I watch the region closely, so others maybe aware, with my emphasis:
Quote:
Indeed, the Obama administration does not want any kind of conflict with Iran before the Presidential Election, and it even has the direct capability to make an attack significantly more risky for Israel. This is because the United States deploys an advanced X–band radar system, serviced by around a hundred US military personnel, on Mount Keren in the southern Negev Desert. This very powerful long-range system forms a key provider of early warning against missile and air attack and is fully integrated into Israel’s defence architecture. If the United States was privately to threaten to stand down the system, even if there was an element of bluff, it could have a potentially deleterious effect on Israel’s home defences.
Link:http://www.oxfordresearchgroup.org.u...ificance_fordo
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Old 10-06-2012   #78
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Hyperinflation Has Arrived In Iran, Posted by Steve H. Hanke, 3 Oct 2012, Cato at Liberty, http://www.cato-at-liberty.org/hyper...rived-in-iran/

Quote:
Since the U.S. and E.U. first enacted sanctions against Iran, in 2010, the value of the Iranian rial (IRR) has plummeted, imposing untold misery on the Iranian people. When a currency collapses, you can be certain that other economic metrics are moving in a negative direction, too. Indeed, using new data from Iran’s foreign-exchange black market, I estimate that Iran’s monthly inflation rate has reached 69.6%. With a monthly inflation rate this high (over 50%), Iran is undoubtedly experiencing hyperinflation.
Steve Hanke, From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steve_Hanke

Quote:
Steve H. Hanke is an American economist specializing in international economics, particularly monetary policy.

He holds a doctoral degree from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Earlier in his teaching career, he taught economics at the Colorado School of Mines and the University of California, Berkeley. As of 2005, he is a professor of applied economics at Johns Hopkins University.

In 1981 and '82, during the Reagan administration, he was a Senior Economist on the Council of Economic Advisors. In 1995 and '96 he served as an advisor to Domingo Cavallo, the Minister of Economy of Argentina. He has also held formal economic-advisory positions with Uruguay and four countries in eastern Europe, especially Bulgaria where the Lev is pegged successfully to the Euro through a Currency board. In 1997 he began writing his "Point Of View" columns for Forbes magazine. In 1998 he became special counselor to the Economic and Monetary Resilience Council of Indonesia, and continues in that role as of 2005.
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Old 10-14-2012   #79
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Default Yet another Israel-Iran-US wargame...

Technically it isn't a wargame this time--more of a US policy options exercise--but Newsweek now jumps on the bandwagon with its own crisis simulation.

Quote:
...the upshot of the simulation is a sobering one: Washington could quickly lose control of events after an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. If Iran attacks Americans or goes after Israel too aggressively, even an administration wishing to avoid another war in the Middle East might find itself in the middle of one.
You'll find my commentary on it at PAXsims, and a frequently updated list of all publicly-discussed crisis games on the topic at the (professional wargaming) blog Wargaming Connection.
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Old 11-06-2012   #80
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Default Israel vs Iran: The First 48 Hours

Israel's Institute for National Security Studies recently wargamed the first 48 hours of an Israeli attack against Iran.

The game was also the subject of a documentary by Channel 4 (UK).

More commentary at PAXsims and Wargaming Connection.
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