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View Poll Results: Who Will Win? That is, in possession of the land?
Israel 3 30.00%
The Palestinians 1 10.00%
Two States 4 40.00%
Neither, some other State or people rule. 0 0%
Neither, mutual destruction. 1 10.00%
One State, two peoples 1 10.00%
One State, one people (intermarriage) 0 0%
Voters: 10. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-19-2010   #521
JMA
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Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
Everything is not on the table. We're not going to go nuclear and we're not going to invade. We know it and the Iranians know it.
Six months before the invasion of Iraq I remember the pundits and analysts saying that there would be no invasion. A lot can happen in six months. A lot can happen in three months.

I certainly hope it does not come to either but I can guarantee you that there are plans for both right there on the shelf.

But how do you know with such certainly that they are both off the table?

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An alternative opinion might be that a nuclear-armed Iran could be contained in the same way that the nuclear-armed Soviet Union was contained, or China, or North Korea... by the assurance that first use of the weapon would result in absolute destruction. It's worked before.
Yes there are a lot of people saying a lot of things (some even get paid for it). I'm not sure of the use of the word contained here.

Perhaps Israel would take the view that they have too much too lose from being on the receiving end of a first strike even if they could get off a second strike in reply. Where the potential opponent already has a nuke then there is no alternative. But where there is the possibility to prevent a potential opponent from obtaining nuclear weapons in the first place one would be absolutely incompetent not to.

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Given the Israeli capacity for retaliation and the lack of any possible gain to Iran even if a strike on Israel were successful, an attack on Israel doesn't seem a likely eventuality.
After having been on the receiving end of a first strike (the aim of which would be to inflict maximum damage and to neutralise or minimise any second strike capability) there would not be much of Israel left.

Quote:
Thank you; I hope that is clear enough to settle that issue.
Nowhere near. You need to apply your mind in a more disciplined manner. Try to be more formal in your approach.

I think you have run out of steam on this one so why not consider why an effort was not made to "buy" the Pakistan nuclear capacity in return for the billions in aid needed after the recent floods? Another chance let slip by these 'smart' guys in the White House and State Department?
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Old 09-19-2010   #522
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Default Former President Carter On The Rise Of Iran

Link to BBC interview of President Carter on the rise of Iran.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7889893.stm
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Old 09-19-2010   #523
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Originally Posted by JMA View Post
So they had them after all. Who else have you shared this with?

They had an alternative to these HE warheads?
All you have to do is read the UNSCOM reports. By January 1991 Iraq had developed a number of BW missile warheads, and UN weapons inspectors themselves oversaw the destruction of 30 missile CW warheads, as well as 690 tons of CW agent.

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Originally Posted by JMA View Post
Yes I would love to know exactly (not through idle speculation) what the US used to convince Israel to sit on its hands.
This is well documented, and I've discussed it with both Israeli and US officials. Have you?

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Originally Posted by JMA View Post
This sounds interesting. You know this for sure or are you just guessing? You have some sources for this?
I realize that you are restricted to open sources, but even then it isn't terribly hard:

1) Look up the estimated size of Israeli nuclear arsenal.
2) Regarding those that may be based upon its Dolphin fleet, make the usual assumptions about the number at sea at any moment. Iranian ASW capability is negligible, so you can ignore that.
3) Make reasonable assumptions about the hardening of Jericho II missile silos (if you want to spend the time, you can even find them on Google Earth). Determine the likely psi overpressures require to destroy them. If you want to give the Iranians the benefit of the doubt, ignore BMD and missile fratricide. Make reasonable assumptions about the probable warhead yields and CEPs of future Iranian missile systems. Calculate the probable number of surviving Jericho missiles.
4) Do the same for Israeli F-16 and F15 bases, as well as the Dolphin sub base.
5) If you do the math and determine the number of surviving Israeli nukes, you'll see that if Iran were somehow to develop a handful of weapons in the next 10 years, it would not pose much of a counterforce challenge to Israel's second strike retaliatory capability.

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Originally Posted by JMA View Post
Now what leads you to believe that Israel will wait to retaliate with a second strike?

You may have missed the fact that twice (1981 in Iraq and 2007 in Syria) Israel has carried out strikes on nuclear facilities. What leads you to believe that Israel will fail to respond this time?
Actually, I know quite a bit about those strikes. As Entropy pointed out, the first actually led Iraq to augment its nuclear program. The second was an easy, single target without any local SAM or AAA defences.

As for Israel striking Iran, I haven't said they won't do it. Indeed, I think there is a significant chance they will. I'm merely trying to shift some of the discussion from undisciplined armchair speculation to the facts (in as much as they are known and can be discussed here). There is a certain amount of intellectual rigour required for effective diplomatic and intelligence analysis--the "pray and spray" approach of throwing out provocative and unsupported statements and merely hoping for the best really isn't very productive.
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Old 09-19-2010   #524
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Originally Posted by JMA View Post
I think you have run out of steam on this one so why not consider why an effort was not made to "buy" the Pakistan nuclear capacity in return for the billions in aid needed after the recent floods? Another chance let slip by these 'smart' guys in the White House and State Department?
Probably the same reason China didn't offer to buy the US nuclear deterrent after Katrina
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Old 09-19-2010   #525
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The Bearer of Bad News on Iran

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The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Monday (6 September) issued its quarterly report on Iranís nuclear program, and it contained a grain of good news, but a ton of bad news.
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Old 09-19-2010   #526
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Originally Posted by JMA View Post

I appeal to you to maintain some emotional discipline.
It's not emotion but frustration with your fallacious reasoning. For example:

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You will not be able to ascertain what air power will or will not be able to achieve unless you have knowledge of the aim. On what aim (with what limitations) do you base these defeatist statements on?
I've made the aim quite clear several times - destruction of the Iranian nuclear program. You've given a similar aim - prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, though you added "at all costs."

As for "defeatist" statements, that is an ideological accusation, not one based on evidence or analysis.

Quote:
Like with the other guy maybe you missed that the Israelis have done something twice before (1981 - Iraq, 2007 - Syria). Now what makes you think they will do nothing this time around?
As I noted before, the Israeli attack on Iraq precipitated Iraq's weapons program - it did not prevent it. If not for the Gulf War, Saddam would have had nukes.

Secondly, Israel didn't spend half a decade issuing public threats before those strikes took place. Israel's constant threats in the case of Iran ruined the opportunity for strategic surprise and, consequently, tactical surprise will be much more difficult to achieve. They've also given Iran plenty of time to hide it's important capabilities to allow reconstitution and prepare responses. If Israel thought it could achieve any lasting positive effect from air strikes, it would have done them long ago. As it stands, as time goes on, the case for air strikes becomes weaker and weaker.

Third, there is a substantial difference in nuclear technology. Countries pursuing a plutonium track (like Syria) require a nuclear reactor. That is the single "node" that will effectively disable that track to nuclear weapons. There is no such node in the uranium enrichment track. You really want to get the centrifuges and their manufacturing facilities, but centrifuges are small enough that they can be hidden anywhere.

If you've read the IAEA reports on Iran recently, you'll notice Iran hasn't installed any new centrifuges at Natanz for well over a year. The IAEA doesn't have access to the manufacturing facilities, so it's completely possible Iran is still manufacturing centrifuges and is either putting them in storage or into a hidden facility.

And this demonstrates the problem with air strikes. Unlike Syria and Osirak, there isn't a single, large fixed structure that will disable the program. The key parts of Iran's program could be hidden anywhere, and then their is the knowledge and industrial capacity to make centrifuges - two things that are very difficult to destroy with airstrikes. It is not a question of adequate military force, but a question of adequate intelligence. How well do you think Israel and/or the US can track thousands of small tubes? As I noted before, the intelligence on Iraq's program during the Gulf War turned out to be very bad as we only knew of 2 nuclear sites when there were actually 20. Key components of a uranium enrichment program are, unfortunately, very easy to hide. The belief that our intelligence is good enough to allow airstrikes to take out all the necessary nodes to set the program back by a decade or two is not supported by the historical record or a reasonable analysis of the intelligence problem.

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If you are going to get involved with unemotional contingency planning you need to get beyond prayer and unsubstantiated assumptions. (Seriously)
This coming from the guy who claims it can be done without ever stating how. No wait, you did say "shock and awe" and intimidation would do the trick and you said we should bomb the Iranian parliament while it was in session. Those are two suggestions that I regard as completely unserious. If anyone here is engaging in faith-based planning it is you. Even worse is that in the face of disagreement with you on these and other points, your response are accusations of defeatism, cowardice, etc. All that does is confirm to me your case is rather weak.

What to do about Iran's nuclear program is a topic worthy of debate. However, I'm finished discussing this with you since you ignore substantive points in favor of ideological and, IMO, inflammatory accusations. So feel free to have the last word - I happy to let my arguments stand on their own.
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Old 09-19-2010   #527
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Originally Posted by Rex Brynen View Post
All you have to do is read the UNSCOM reports. By January 1991 Iraq had developed a number of BW missile warheads, and UN weapons inspectors themselves oversaw the destruction of 30 missile CW warheads, as well as 690 tons of CW agent.
Well quite simply put they would have run the risk of US retaliation had the fired such weapon at that stage. In addition there is some doubt as to whether the fusing mechanism for CW scuds had been perfected. Nice try though.

Quote:
This is well documented, and I've discussed it with both Israeli and US officials. Have you?
Oh I am impressed. But I suppose I will have to wait until the truth comes out.

Quote:
I realize that you are restricted to open sources, but even then it isn't terribly hard:

1) Look up the estimated size of Israeli nuclear arsenal.
2) Regarding those that may be based upon its Dolphin fleet, make the usual assumptions about the number at sea at any moment. Iranian ASW capability is negligible, so you can ignore that.
3) Make reasonable assumptions about the hardening of Jericho II missile silos (if you want to spend the time, you can even find them on Google Earth). Determine the likely psi overpressures require to destroy them. If you want to give the Iranians the benefit of the doubt, ignore BMD and missile fratricide. Make reasonable assumptions about the probable warhead yields and CEPs of future Iranian missile systems. Calculate the probable number of surviving Jericho missiles.
4) Do the same for Israeli F-16 and F15 bases, as well as the Dolphin sub base.
5) If you do the math and determine the number of surviving Israeli nukes, you'll see that if Iran were somehow to develop a handful of weapons in the next 10 years, it would not pose much of a counterforce challenge to Israel's second strike retaliatory capability.
Again I am so impressed. But that is not what I am talking about. I am talking about what will be left of Israel after a nuclear first strike. Waiting for that first strike doesn't seem like a good deal to me and don't see any indication that those who matter in Israel believe any different.

OK so lets hear it from the smart guys as to what the scale of Israeli (civilian/military) casualties will be during a first strike? Add to that the collateral damage to Palestinians and assorted others in the area or downwind. And some smart guy is going to convince Israel that this would be an acceptable loss? (The technique that would have to be used would be very similar to that used to obtain volunteers for suicide bombers.)

Quote:
Actually, I know quite a bit about those strikes. As Entropy pointed out, the first actually led Iraq to augment its nuclear program. The second was an easy, single target without any local SAM or AAA defences.
I'm impressed, so you know all about that too. But may I draw you back to the point... and that was that Israel demonstrated a willingness to conduct such preemptive strikes twice before. That's the point I was making... so if you want to comment please tell me what has changed in that they may be less likely now to consider such a strike now?

Quote:
As for Israel striking Iran, I haven't said they won't do it. Indeed, I think there is a significant chance they will. I'm merely trying to shift some of the discussion from undisciplined armchair speculation to the facts (in as much as they are known and can be discussed here). There is a certain amount of intellectual rigour required for effective diplomatic and intelligence analysis--the "pray and spray" approach of throwing out provocative and unsupported statements and merely hoping for the best really isn't very productive.
OK so you tell us you are an "insider" and know what is what... and all have to just take your word for it. They real McCoy stuff will be on a strictly "need to know" basis and just how you would be on this need to know basis I can't tell.

My personal view is that Iran should be prevented from developing a nuclear weapon. That's my personal view.

The indications are that Israel will do it on its own if 1) (as is increasingly likely) the sanctions regime fails, or 2) the US doesn't do it either alone or with them.

Whether the US does it or doesn't I can't say. Personally I don't think Obama has the balls for it even though the US military will be able to achieve that quite simply. So its a political call... as these things always are.
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Old 09-19-2010   #528
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Originally Posted by slapout9 View Post
Link to BBC interview of President Carter on the rise of Iran.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/7889893.stm
One needs to be a little careful about taking anything Carter says seriously.
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Old 09-19-2010   #529
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Originally Posted by Entropy View Post
I've made the aim quite clear several times - destruction of the Iranian nuclear program. You've given a similar aim - prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons, though you added "at all costs."
The aim I have thrown around here is merely my opinion and my belief. Nothing that I have said constitutes the kind of comprehensive yet precise aim require for a planning cycle to proceed.

You should have known that. And I must share with you that your harping on about invasions and air strikes is quite ridiculous as you are and have not been privy to the contingency planning that has and continues to take place in the Pentagon. Remember the US's weakness does not lie in the Pentagon but in the White House and in Congress. The Pentagon planners if allowed to do the job will do it according to the supplied aim and it attendant limitations. What we will also not know is what the final aim settled upon by the White House will be. It may be some watered down half ass'd wake up call rather than a "getting right up their nose" effort. Will we ever know?

Quote:
As for "defeatist" statements, that is an ideological accusation, not one based on evidence or analysis.
That is aimed at those of you who for reasons you seem unwilling to share don't want a strike at any cost or maybe want Iran to obtain nuclear weapons and resort to pulling stuff out of the air like "an air strike will never work". Why not just come clean and say outright what your motive is?

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As I noted before, the Israeli attack on Iraq precipitated Iraq's weapons program - it did not prevent it. If not for the Gulf War, Saddam would have had nukes.
Again this is just talk. No substantiation. As I understand it the Israeli strike did set the Iraqi nuclear programme substantially and I suggest that if the Gulf War had not gone ahead you may well have seen another strike by Israel.

Quote:
Secondly, Israel didn't spend half a decade issuing public threats before those strikes took place. Israel's constant threats in the case of Iran ruined the opportunity for strategic surprise and, consequently, tactical surprise will be much more difficult to achieve. They've also given Iran plenty of time to hide it's important capabilities to allow reconstitution and prepare responses. If Israel thought it could achieve any lasting positive effect from air strikes, it would have done them long ago. As it stands, as time goes on, the case for air strikes becomes weaker and weaker.
That's your opinion and you are entitled to it.

I however, have faith in the Israeli ability to deal with matters of such gravity which affect their very existence. I'll go with them if its all the same to you.

Quote:
Third, there is a substantial difference in nuclear technology. Countries pursuing a plutonium track (like Syria) require a nuclear reactor. That is the single "node" that will effectively disable that track to nuclear weapons. There is no such node in the uranium enrichment track. You really want to get the centrifuges and their manufacturing facilities, but centrifuges are small enough that they can be hidden anywhere.
And your point is?

Difficult as it may be if the Pentagon is tasked to prevent/disrupt/destroy the programme they will come up with an effective plan. There is no question of that.

What are you trying to say? That it is just not possible to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons?

Quote:
If you've read the IAEA reports on Iran recently, you'll notice Iran hasn't installed any new centrifuges at Natanz for well over a year. The IAEA doesn't have access to the manufacturing facilities, so it's completely possible Iran is still manufacturing centrifuges and is either putting them in storage or into a hidden facility.
Yes, the IAEA doesn't know the half of it.

So why speculate about something you can't verify? It they are in fact doing all this hide and seek stuff then perhaps it is necessary to take a stronger position against this lunatic regime who is hell bent on make the Dr Strangelove nightmare a reality.

Quote:
And this demonstrates the problem with air strikes. Unlike Syria and Osirak, there isn't a single, large fixed structure that will disable the program. The key parts of Iran's program could be hidden anywhere, and then their is the knowledge and industrial capacity to make centrifuges - two things that are very difficult to destroy with airstrikes. It is not a question of adequate military force, but a question of adequate intelligence. How well do you think Israel and/or the US can track thousands of small tubes? As I noted before, the intelligence on Iraq's program during the Gulf War turned out to be very bad as we only knew of 2 nuclear sites when there were actually 20. Key components of a uranium enrichment program are, unfortunately, very easy to hide. The belief that our intelligence is good enough to allow airstrikes to take out all the necessary nodes to set the program back by a decade or two is not supported by the historical record or a reasonable analysis of the intelligence problem.
You have got air strikes on the brain. Well hopefully the intelligence community will be able to provide the Pentagon planners with better intel this time. The aim may well be to deal with what they know as they get to know it . Who knows what the aim of the intervention will be?

Quote:
This coming from the guy who claims it can be done without ever stating how. No wait, you did say "shock and awe" and intimidation would do the trick and you said we should bomb the Iranian parliament while it was in session. Those are two suggestions that I regard as completely unserious. If anyone here is engaging in faith-based planning it is you. Even worse is that in the face of disagreement with you on these and other points, your response are accusations of defeatism, cowardice, etc. All that does is confirm to me your case is rather weak.
Unlike so others around here I lay no claim to omniscience. I am not privy to the detail that would be available to the planners therefore to offer a plan based on nothing would be about as ridiculous as those who claim loudly that this or that won't work based on the same foundation... nothing. I don't intend to make a fool of myself. I'll lead that honour to others.

Quote:
What to do about Iran's nuclear program is a topic worthy of debate. However, I'm finished discussing this with you since you ignore substantive points in favor of ideological and, IMO, inflammatory accusations. So feel free to have the last word - I happy to let my arguments stand on their own.
Yes better to cut and run.

But do consider coming back when you are prepared to explain your real motivation about not wanting to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.
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Old 09-19-2010   #530
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But do consider coming back when you are prepared to explain your real motivation about not wanting to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.
Yes, that is the argument of an ideologue. Not much point in attempting debate on the merits.
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Old 09-19-2010   #531
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Yes, that is the argument of an ideologue. Not much point in attempting debate on the merits.
I concur. I think we're best to let this thread rest a bit until we once more get back to the point where people have new, substantive contributions to make.
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Old 09-20-2010   #532
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this doesn't violate the cooling off period. If otherwise, naturally, feel free to delete.

Thanks
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http://www.mitpressjournals.org/doi/...ec.2007.31.4.7
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Old 09-20-2010   #533
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Default Tip of the hat

I saw this, originally, I think, on Pat Lang's site:

http://csis.org/files/media/csis/pub...strikeiran.pdf

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Old 09-20-2010   #534
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Yes, that is the argument of an ideologue. Not much point in attempting debate on the merits.
The merits of what?

I am presenting a personal opinion in that I believe that Iran should be prevented from developing nuclear weapons at all costs.

I further do not believe that the Israeli will consider having to first absorb a nuclear first strike before being able to deal with this threat a sane approach to an Iranian nuclear threat.

I do not accept that the proposition that a strike by Israel and/or the US cannot succeed in disrupting and/or preventing the development of nuclear weapons by Iran.

I (personally) cannot support a policy of appeasement which will lead to more countries developing nuclear weapons and thereby increasing the risk of a future nuclear conflict.
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Old 09-20-2010   #535
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This thread has reached the end of useful discussion and is well into a descent into personality conflict. It is now locked.

To the bickering parties: Do not start a new thread to carry on your personal animosities. Take it to PM or e-mail.
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