The military uncertainties of an attack on Iran
August 15th, 2012
04:37 PM ET

The military uncertainties of an attack on Iran

By Michael O’Hanlon, Special to CNN

Michael O’Hanlon is senior fellow at Brookings and author of The Wounded Giant: America’s Armed Forces in an Age of Austerity. The views expressed are his own.

Military strikes against the uranium enrichment facilities at Natanz and Qom, together with other possible targets related to Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, could last for a single day and single sortie – or they could last for several days or even weeks. The latter possibility of course implies American participation too, and probably requires the use of air bases in one or more Gulf states as well, given the likely U.S. interest in using stealthy planes that at present don’t fly from aircraft carriers (though B-2 bombers could fly from Diego Garcia, for example).

So what is the likely effectiveness, and what are the likely risks, of each possible approach? I’d argue that there is there is significant unpredictability about how well an air campaign by Israel in particular would work – not least in terms of how much of the existing Iranian nuclear infrastructure it would destroy, and how long it might take Iran to recover (and that’s even leaving aside the huge issue of how Iran might retaliate).

First, though, it’s worth reviewing some basic information on previous, somewhat analogous, air campaigns, as well as the nature and locations of Iran’s nuclear facilities.

In Operation Desert Fox, in 1998, the United States and Britain used 650 aircraft sorties and 415 cruise missile strikes, against 97 targets (11 WMD facilities, 18 command and control, 8 Republican Guard barracks, six airfields, 19 key regime sites such as Special Republican Guard barracks). They were reasonably effective. But of course we had been monitoring Iraq closely for nearly a decade by this point, on the ground and in the air, and Saddam Hussein had already abandoned his nuclear aspirations, we now know.

Or consider the Kosovo campaign of the spring of 1999. In the first month of the campaign, daily strikes averaged 5 against air defenses, 2.5 against lines of communication, and 4 against command and control (for the rest of the campaign, the respective figures were 3, 5, and nearly 7). Total sorties per day averaged 250 in the first week, and close to 500 in April. This campaign had a much different purpose, but underscored the difficulty of achieving major goals with a limited number of air strikes.  Initial forecasts of a quick Milosevic capitulation, in Washington and elsewhere, were badly off.

All this suggests that a single-day air campaign against a large nuclear infrastructure would be quite unusual in the annals of modern air warfare. To be sure, the United States sometimes uses more assets than perhaps required simply because it can. But typical attacks last several days and involve hundreds of sorties. Often, those attacks that were originally expected to take just a few days take weeks, as well. Nuclear facilities, meanwhile, are typically quite large, meaning that a planeload or two of ordnance will quite often be far short of what’s required.

Recent improvements in precision strike technology and GPS guidance make it quite possible that we could successfully drop numerous munitions into the same hole, digging deeper and deeper, even in bad weather and even if dust and other debris would make laser guidance challenging. In addition, it appears likely that we have tested this methodology fairly carefully, and it appears likely the Israelis could carry it out too.  Even in a single-sortie attack, successive planes reaching a target could perhaps therefore execute such a mission.

However, air defenses could be quite problematic for non-stealthy planes and perhaps even for stealthy planes, since the locations of attack can be anticipated extremely well.  This challenge would place a greater premium on a larger attack force, to allow attacks against radars and command centers and SAM launchers, and argues against the single-sortie mission. Recent precedents suggest that dozens of bombs could be needed to deal with an air defense system, especially since Iran’s enrichment facilities aren’t near its borders.

In addition, bomb damage assessment could be challenging. We may be able to dig deep with bombs, but we may not know if we were successful right away. Protracted examination of the site after initial strikes might be needed to confirm if any activity continued at those locations, meaning that the need for follow-on strikes might not be immediately apparent. This is especially true at the second uranium enrichment site near Qom. Again, this would be a downside of the single-sortie option.

All that said, we need to remain cognizant of the risks of even the prolonged attack scenario as well – going well beyond the well-known risks of Iranian retaliation, even greater internal Iranian consensus on the desirability of going nuclear after the attack, and the likely weakening of international sanctions after the attack as well. There could be a third enrichment site that we fail to attack simply because we don’t know it currently exists. The Iranians may bring in a group of civilians to “inspect” the site of the first attack, making follow-on waves difficult with the use of such human shields. (This would be risky but much less dangerous than how the regime used its own young soldiers in the Iran-Iraq war.) Air defenses could be repaired and/or relocated as well, while any attack involving hundreds of sorties or more would very likely involve the loss of one or more airplanes due to Iranian defensive action or simple aircraft malfunction.

We frequently talk pseudo-scientifically about the likelihood of a one to two year delay in Iran’s program after such a strike. I believe the range is more like 6 months to 3 or 4 years, given how hard it would be to predict the damage to Qom, as well as other uncertainties such as the possible existence of other enrichment sites.

All this means that there’s greater uncertainty in the outcome of an Israeli or U.S. air campaign against Iran’s nuclear facilities than frequently appreciated, whether it is carried out quickly or over a period of days or even weeks.

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Topics: Iran • Iraq • Israel • Middle East • Military • NATO • Nuclear • United States

soundoff (278 Responses)
  1. Appleby

    Folks, it is all over in India. Civil war is in full swing. Rioting by minorities is rampant. Smoke fills the skies of the country.

    August 18, 2012 at 4:32 am | Reply
  2. seppe

    Stop this madness, let people every were else have there way of life.and have yours,they don't like to be told watt to do as well as YOU don't like to be told watt to do ,buy watt they sale and sale watt they are willing to pay for.AGAIN STOP THINKING THAT YOU ARE A BETTER SPECIMEN,AND EVERY ONE ELSE IS NOT GOOD TO BE PART OF THIS WORLD, WOULD YOU LIKE TO BE ON THE OTHER SIDE AND BEING SINGLE OUT? or being discriminated just because you are different ?...

    August 18, 2012 at 7:02 am | Reply
  3. seppe

    To CNN, IT'S IRRESPONSIBLE TO TEASE PEOPLE TO TALK ABOUT WAR, ON LESS ALL OF YOU IN FRONT OF A COMPUTER ARE WILLING TO DIE IN THE SAME FASHION AS YOU TREAD OTHER HUMAN AROUND THE WORLD.

    August 18, 2012 at 7:09 am | Reply
  4. Joseph McCarthy/Quigley/LyndsieGraham/krm1007 ©™/Joe Collins/J. Foster Dulles/Marine5484

    I am a useless piece of camel dung. I post anti American, anti GB, anti semite, anti India, anti modern anything because I am a good moooooslem. I steal people's monikers because I am so ashamed of myself and post the most stupid comment. When people get angry with me, I claim insanity. I am the same guy.

    August 18, 2012 at 8:15 am | Reply
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      no need to hind, absurd, hindu, ignorant, if it was not hinduism, denial of truth absolute by hindu's, criminals, you mention in your hindu, absurd post, Muslim do not have to fight in defense of truth absolute, human equality around the globe, live with it hindu's, criminals, till hindu Judaism filthy secularism and hindu's criminals are no more, to have peace, Islam among humanity.

      August 18, 2012 at 1:11 pm | Reply
  5. krm1007 ©™

    The one most successful aspect of recent American foreign policy has been the conquest of India without firing a bullet. That is the beauty of capitalism used as a Trojan Horse! Economic victory! Give them a taste of steak and they will never settle for hamburgers again. USA now owns India Inc. not only economically but also militarily as economic subjugation ultimately leads to military domination.

    August 18, 2012 at 12:17 pm | Reply
    • krm1007 ©™

      Takeaway is that the right policy can have positive implications for Iran

      August 18, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Reply
  6. tommy odderbine

    Face it, Iran's leaders have been bent on the eradication of the Jewish state of Israel, if you are any kind of intelligent human being, and are up on current, and past events, Iran DOES want Israel to go away. And its because they feel like the region was stolen from the Palestinians, not to mention for religious reasons also.
    I agree Israel is aggressive and overstepping here, but Iran DOES pose a real and very viable threat to the humans who live in Israel. Remember, in Israel, there are Jews, Muslims, Americans, Indians, Chinese Russians, ect. ect....no matter what happens, if this war does happen ( and I believe its just around the corner) there will be more innocent people die from the war, then the politicians who decided to start it, so in the end, the people who NEED to die, will remain alive to continue to beat the drums of war in the future.
    The animal world is at more peace than humans, and we call ourselves the superior species??? In actuality, humans are more of a threat to one another than anything else on the planet. We are destined to kill ourselves off, sooner or later. Why do we need nukes?? Thats an easy answer, to kill one another, like guns, they are no good for anything but destruction, and as a race we continue to build them. What kind of intelligence is that? To me, that just proves that the human race is doomed, sooner or later, one day, the nuclear holocaust WILL happen. Its inevitable as long as the weapons of destruction are available to humans.
    I might be stupid and dumb, but I know that we are in over our heads with this war obsession we have to annihilate each other, and its not getting any better. Mark my words, before the end of the year, 100s of thousands of innocent people will be murdered by the rich arrogant politicians with their fingers on the doomsday button. It's coming, its just when exactly. If anyone thinks its not going to happen, your more stupid than me. The world leader WANT this war, its just that none of them want to be blamed for starting it. In the end it wont matter, because the elites will be in their bunkers under a mountain somewhere, and us expendable humans will be vaporized in the reign of nuclear warheads raining down all over the world. Its coming soon to a city near you!! 2012 the year the world ends??? Very possibly!!!!!!!

    August 18, 2012 at 2:24 pm | Reply
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      peace, Islam, shalom is in obedience to truth absolute, not in hindu Judaism, filthy self center ism, secularism, desire peace, Islam by following hindu Judaism, criminal secularism, denial of truth absolute is way of hindu Jew's, filthy secular s to deny humanity their equality.

      August 18, 2012 at 8:51 pm | Reply
  7. kiahaalhay

    Since last 50-60 years US of A is fighting with everyone in this world.....overtly and covertly....I don't know how much they need blood to keep thier economy running......

    August 18, 2012 at 6:10 pm | Reply
  8. hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

    Israel is name of A person, not of a land, as you hindu, absurd in your hinduism, absurdity, Israelite were Hebrew, not hindu Jew's, terrorist self centered, denier of truth absolute.

    August 18, 2012 at 6:22 pm | Reply
  9. NO INDIANS IN MY NEIGHBORHOOD PLEASE

    TERRORIST GROUPS IN INDIA

    • RASHTRIYA SWAYAM SEWAK SHANG (R.S.S.)
    • VISHWA HINDU PARISHAD
    • HINDU MUNNANI
    • ARYA SAMAJ
    • SHIV SENA
    • BHARATIYA JANATA PARISHAD
    • SANT SAMITI
    • HINDU MAHASABHA
    • BAAJRANG DAL

    LEADERS: L.K. Advani; Ashok Singhal; Bala Saheb Devaras; Bal Thackeray; A.B. Vajpayee; Savarkar; Baikunnth Lal Sharma “Prem”; Balraj Madhok; The Shankaracharya of Puri, Niranjan Dev Theerth; Rama Gopalan; Variyar – Vishwan Hindu Parishad; Dharmalinga Nadar; Cho Ramaswamy

    August 18, 2012 at 7:19 pm | Reply
  10. CommonSense

    I think Obama is never going to get involved, he is not going to help Israel now due to elections, or even after elections. Israel has every right to defend their nation. Being a small nation and having to be surrounded by enemies while the U.S. can't talk because their across the Atlantic. One nuke is bad for a small nation like Israel, the casualities. Ouch.
    But, you see they have an enemy who hates Israel and is soon to have nukes, and nobody thinks they don't want to wipe them off the face of the earth. So there is know possible war with Iran and U.S. because we have a president who is afraid to ruin his chances as president and to ruin his reputation.

    August 18, 2012 at 7:37 pm | Reply
    • Say it As You See It

      Just from the point of vew of western philosophy, morals and values how can you justify a nation created by force by taking land of natives and influxing with foreign immigrants. Would you like someone to lay claim on your house and kick your family out? Give me a break. Nobody hates Israel, but the way it was created by force.

      August 18, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Reply
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Israel is a name of person, not a country, A Hebrew, hindu Jew's, criminal self centered are none other than hindu's pagan's of Egypt and Persia, having nothing to do with Israel, hindu Jew's, filthy secular s pretending to be, what they never were, Hebrew to rob and steal other's property.

      August 18, 2012 at 8:57 pm | Reply
  11. Eddie from Tucson

    Obama will eat Iran before November, promising victory at the polls.

    August 18, 2012 at 10:22 pm | Reply
    • Khorram from Teheran

      Let me tell you something. Don't mess with Iran. Iran will chew you up and spit you out like baseball tobacco. Take that to the bank and go have a shot of bloody mary.

      August 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm | Reply
  12. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Inspite of deceiving Americans by people like CNN's Mr. Fareed Zakaria saying that:

    a) Iran is a rational actor

    b) A Nuclear armed Iran can add to the stability of the region by acting as a counter balance to Israeli nukes, and even Indian & Pakistani nukes MISLEADINGLY portraying friendly India & Pakistan as adversaries to Iran!

    c) By being the VERY FIRST journalist of repute(?) to MISLEADINGLY claim that an US & Israeli attack on Iran will be seen as YET ANOTHER front of the US war on Islam, something NOT even radical Muslim countries have claimed. On the contrary, the Saudis have been urging US to attack Iran, by saying that we need to "chop the head of the snake".

    The only possible motive of Mr. Zakaria’s MISCHIEVOUS assertion…..is thwart any potential attack on Iran by COVERTLY influencing “naïve” American public opinion, and if an attack did indeed take place stir up greater problems for America all over the world incl. amongst the millions of Muslim Diaspora right here in the west.

    A notable reference to such an eventuality can be seen from the ASTOUNDING statement by a senior Pakistani diplomat (NOT just another Pakistani!) Pakistani High Commissioner to the UK Walid Shamsul Hassan who warned of Terror on the streets of London if the US drone attacks continued on his nation. He said “ There are over 1 million Pakistani Diaspora in the UK and they can make the roads of London less safe” (ref: Sunday Times Sept 8th 2008), and in eye opening 4 part BBC interview (ref: You Tube Oct 10th 2008).

    So, even as a danger from nuclear armed radical Iran, and self declared Islam bomb possessing Pakistan (which in the words of Richard Clarke is adding to 100+ nuke stockpile like SAUSAGES!!!) remains, the REAL GREATEST DANGER is US complacency.........of doing nothing at all........and this is fed by internal elements such as Mr. Zakaria an active mouth piece for Hamas, Hezbollah, the Iranians, the Pakistanis and ofcourse the Muslim Brotherhood.

    With credible reports that President Obama is considering Mr. Zakaria for the position of US Sec.of State in his second term, Americans can only pray for our country's safety!

    August 18, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Reply
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      hinduism, heart ache of hindu, ignorant from hindered gutter land india, spewing his hinduism, absurdity, not for sake of the west to hind, fool west to reach hindu, terrorist india goal, yes, Pakistan has over one hundered Nuk's, but for none other but to turn hindu filthy hindered terrorist country in to a swamp, if they look at Pakistan with an bad eye. cry out your heart hindu's, denires of truth absolute, end of hinduism, illegality will be by truth of Pakistan.

      August 19, 2012 at 12:36 am | Reply
    • Freize

      This has hindu manifesto written all over it. The writer should quit cutting and pasting these comments. If there is nothing intelligent to add...better to keep quiet.

      August 19, 2012 at 7:39 am | Reply
  13. krm1007 © ™

    India is playing a double game with Americans in Iran as well as Afghanistan. We have invested a lot of resources in India over the past two decades and given a lot of aid to prop it up. There has been no investment on this return. Instead India has squandered all the resources in building nuclear weapons while poverty remains rampant in the country and minorities marginalised. We need to revisit our relationship with India. American taxpayers will not tolerate this anymore. We need to take care of our own populace going forward. We cannot be exporting jobs to India or giving it financial or technical handouts.It has become too big to govern or create any value for western countries or even for its own population.

    August 19, 2012 at 12:12 am | Reply
  14. Amit-Atlanta-USA

    Inspite of deceiving Americans by people like India's Mr. Manmohan Singh saying that:

    a) India is a rational actor

    b) A Nuclear armed India can add to the stability of the region by acting as a counter balance to Israeli nukes.

    c) By being the VERY FIRST country of illrepute(?) to MISLEADINGLY claim that an US & Israeli attack on China will be seen as YET ANOTHER front of the US war by saying that we need to "chop the head of the snake".

    The only possible motive of Mr. Singh's MISCHIEVOUS assertion…..is thwart any potential attack on China by COVERTLY influencing “naïve” American public opinion, and if an attack did indeed take place stir up greater problems for America all over the world incl. amongst the millions of Chinese Diaspora right here in the west.

    A notable reference to such an eventuality can be seen from the ASTOUNDING statement by a senior Chinese diplomat (NOT just another Chinesei!) who said “ There are over 1 million Chinese Diaspora in the USA and they can make the roads of New York City less safe”

    So, even as a danger from nuclear armed radical China, and self declared Buddhist bomb possessing China (which in the words of Richard Clarke is adding to 100+ nuke stockpile like SAUSAGES!!!) remains, the REAL GREATEST DANGER is US complacency.........of doing nothing at all........and this is fed by internal elements such as Mr. Singh an active mouth piece for Shiv Sena and RSS..

    With credible reports that President Obama is considering Mr. Manmohan Singh for the position of Butler in Chief of Harriman House, Americans can only pray for our country's safety

    August 19, 2012 at 11:42 am | Reply
  15. David

    Iran isn't the problem of Israel... they spread terror all over the world and must be stopped.

    August 19, 2012 at 12:47 pm | Reply
    • Amit-Atlanta-USA

      You are absolutely right. Israel is out of control living on american taxpayer handouts and must and will be stopped. It is just a matter of time which is quickly running out. Shalom

      August 19, 2012 at 12:52 pm | Reply
  16. John the Historian

    An attack on Iran would be total folly. The US could not handle Iraq with almost 30 million people. Imagine A WAR WITH A COUNTRY OF 80 MILLION AND GROWING. There is no proof that Iran has or is trying to get nuclear weapons. Iran has a right to nuclear energy like any country.Always remember weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Yeah where were they.

    August 19, 2012 at 4:22 pm | Reply
    • Davehuckle

      Population does not mean anything when it comes to the military might of each country. Both Israel & the US have much more advanced weapons systems, etc.. than Iran does and it would be a short war just as it was with Saddam.

      August 19, 2012 at 7:27 pm | Reply
  17. Davehuckle

    If the Israelis go it alone, the Iranians will retaliate against both Israel & all of the US military installations in the Middle East so the US should be involved right from the start and add their military might to that of Israel and make this attack on the nuclear installations a very powerful one, so as to not start a prolonged war. I am quite sure the Israeli's have been working out a plan of attack with the US against Iran for quite a while now and have drawn up many possible scenarios. If Israel waits much longer it will be exactly like North Korea all over again. Iran is merely stalling.

    August 19, 2012 at 7:23 pm | Reply
  18. Davehuckle

    It was only last week that Iran, once again, threatened the very existence of Israel. It's like "here we are, come and bomb us because we know you won't". The time is very near.

    August 19, 2012 at 7:25 pm | Reply
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      hindusim, criminality labeled Israel has no right to exist, neither they are what they claim to be, Israelite, nor they are Hebrew's, but hindu's, pagans Jew's, secular s of Egypt and Persia, blood brothers of hindu, racist Nazis, hobo's, hungry to justify, unjustifiable by hinduism, terrorism against truthful of Islam, in their hindu Judaism, filthy secularism, self centrism, not of civilized word, but of hindu criminal Mafia. No one will miss them like elimination of a hindu filthy pond in a clean society.

      August 19, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Reply
  19. Peace Vital

    It is sad how countries with the ability to promote peace seem to be always at each others throats. Sometimes i wish you people could see the tragedy that befalls so called third world countries as a result of the actions of your leaders. I pray for the day when people around the world will realise we are not smart and cannot save ourselves, and change our livestyles before it is too late. LOVE, PEACE, JOY IN THE HEART are wonderful, definitely much better than creating bullets to massacre/lynch each other. Finally i would like to advise yhose who hate based on colour, race to desist from it. LOVE THY NEIGHBOUR. Who is your neighbour? it is your fellow mankind whom you need to show love

    August 20, 2012 at 5:32 am | Reply
    • hinduism source of hindufilthyracism.

      Very true, peace, Islam is in human "HIS DESIRE" reach, but dependent on choice, only thing human own in life, of human, a gift of our Lord, Allah, Al , the La, limit H, most high or Absolute 360* and made human "HIS" assistant on earth. Cause of disunity and mayhem is hinduism, denial of truth absolute by divide of truth absolute in to two or more by hindu's ignorant s to manipulate and control rest of the humanity by hook or crook, justified not but truth but hindu Judaism, criminal secularism, borne not of spirit but of hindu soul, filthy desire. It is good to wish love, submission to truth absolute and care for each other but, truth absolute and hinduism, denial of truth absolute do not mix, like oil and water, It is nothing but a wish to have peace, Islam among humanity in presence of hinduism, denial of truth absolute.

      August 20, 2012 at 7:31 pm | Reply
  20. parvanehpublishing

    Iran has 80 million people ... 220 million Persian speakers world wide ... and Iran is backed by Russia and China ... anyone that attacks Iran is setting themselves up for a dog fight that will last a thousand years.

    August 20, 2012 at 8:20 am | Reply
  21. Aaron Chaney

    HOMS (SANA) – Governor Mohammad visited the Military Hospital in the city of Homs along with Secretary of Homs Branch of al-Baath Arab Socialist Party, Subhi Harb, the Commander of the Central Region and a number of the People's Assembly members.

    The delegation checked on the condition of injured members of the army and law enforcement forces, who were targeted while performing their national duty in confronting the armed terrorist groups, and wished them a speedy recovery.

    The officials also visited law enforcement and military personnel at al-Mwasalat roundabout and al-Siteen street in the city.

    Members of the military stressed their high morale and determination to carry on with their national task of eliminating armed terrorist groups in defense of the homeland.

    The delegation talked with the families of a number of martyrs and offered them gifts and related their condolences.

    +

    LEBANON (SANA) – A unit of the armed forces foiled on Saturday several infiltration attempts from Lebanon into Syria by armed terrorist groups through al-Shabronieh, Idlin and Halat in Talkalakh countryside.

    A SANA correspondent quoted a source in the governorate as saying that the armed forces continue to tightly control the border and the terrorist groups were deterred and fled into the Lebanese territories.

    The source added that the infiltration attempts coincide with armed attacks on law-enforcement members in Talkalakh and al-Hosn town and a shooting reported from the Lebanese side to border guards on the Syrian side. The source added that Lebanese authorities inflicted heavy losses on the terrorists.

    ALEPPO (SANA) – The armed forces continue to carry out their duty of protecting the country and citizens and in a number of neighborhoods in Aleppo, a large number of terrorists, some of which have been determined as having Arab foreign nationalities have been extinguished.

    Field commanders say the armed forces' string of successes are due to the cooperation of Aleppo's citizens and the information they provide on the movements and whereabouts of terrorists.

    Armed forces relate they have cleared out the Saif Addoula area in Aleppo from terrorists, killing dozens of them and seizing sniper rifles, RPGs and hand grenades.

    Additionally an armed forces unit raided two terrorist hideouts, one in a building near al-Karama School another in a house near Sukkar Mosque in Bustan al-Qaser neighborhood, subsequently eliminating the terrorists who were thusly positioned inside them.

    The armed forces encountered an armed terrorist group in the areas of al-Jdeida and Souq al-Souf in Aleppo city and report several of the mercenaries were extinguished.

    Similarly in Qastal Harami, Qastal Misht, al-Shaboura and al-Tananeer Square in Aleppo the armed forces have stormed several terrorist dens and taken down many of these cowardly mercenary terrorists.

    In Aleppo's Old City, an armed forces unit flushed out and killed a sniper who had stationed himself in an abandoned building overlooking the road to the prison.

    +

    DARAA (SANA) – Authorities say they are pursuing the remnants of armed terrorist groups who were engaged in al-Hrak area in Daraa Countryside during when many were killed and host of others arrested.

    A source in the province told SANA that listed among the terrorists confirmed dead are Yasser Adnan al-Qattouf, Mohammad Ahmad al-Hariri and Husam Abdul-Latif al-Salamat.

    Authorities also continued canvassing the areas of al-Laujat, alTaf and Qalat Sahar in Daraa countryside, While in the town of Sheikh Miskin in Daraa countryside, an armed forces unit have broken up a terrorist group and killed many of who were so aligned, including the alleged ringleader identified by town residents as Anas Hamid al-Deri.

    August 20, 2012 at 1:12 pm | Reply
  22. Denverboy

    Well the outcome ...Could be....
    Total war in the Middle East....If Israel were in ANY of these operations..that would be it for the Middle East..Every Muslim \Arab nation in the Middle east would declare war on Israel...and America as well...
    Worse still would be if Russia became involved because they are supporters of Iran and Syria...What would have been a mission to End Irans Nuclear Bid..Could turn into ...World War Three....and that would end very very very badly for every one...The World over......In our Mad rush to rid one nation of Atomic weapons and safeguard Israel..We set in motion events that...I think St. John wrote about on the Island of Patmos....
    No easy solution to Iran..exsept perhaps Black OPS....Make it look like an accident..you know a Nuclear Accident....It could be better than ....Every American And Russian City blown off the face of Earth and the Middle east a smoldering heap....The only ones left perhaps if they did not party on that fatefull day would be China..But they would be left with No-One to trade with and radiation spreading across the globe....
    Yep....I would say concentrating on Iraq for the last ten eleven years...was a HUGE MISTAKE...HUGE...But America has got to do what America has got to do....Most times it makes no sense whats so ever..But is sure makes Americans feel good about America........and that ..Is realy what 6 Billion human lives on the PLANET EARTH IS ALL ABOUT...RIGHT ????

    or is it the Hoki Poki...after all

    August 20, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Reply
  23. jose luis

    ... leave the guys enrich his uranium ... don't mess with something you can control later.. don't be stupid.

    August 22, 2012 at 9:23 pm | Reply
  24. Onikami

    let's find a way to break up the iran/russia/china/ alliance quick or this might get ugly fast! do any of you realize what this team up is gonna do to us? once they hash out some of the regional disputes who do you think they will look at next? they all have enough chutzpah to make a first move if they are feeling confident enough. our defences wont quite collapse over night with proper warning, BUT they won't hold forever either. the combined might of those powers should make us a little nervous.

    August 22, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Reply
  25. Davehuckle

    Israel has to attack Iran's nuclear facilities very, very soon. It is highly likely that Israel & the USA have already worked out the various scenarios already as the Iranians will retaliate against both Israel & all of the US military facilities in the Middle East. The US could help Israel make this attack an extremely powerful one and it would be quick as opposed to a long, drawn out war. If Iran was to tell you that your country should be wiped off the face of the Earth, over & over, you would attack Iran with a pre-emptive strike. Once Iran has nukes they will completely destabilize the entire Middle East. WE do not need a nuclear war.

    August 23, 2012 at 10:56 am | Reply
  26. Onikami

    our weakness is our lack of followthru. this will never be over because we do not take and HOLD what we conquer. if we step in they whine because we hold the leash tight, if we leave them alone they whine because we don't step in so we are pretty much stuck with losing either way. we might as well gain something for ourselves and leave them alone and work on making ourselves a better and more advanced (technologicaly/and culturaly) society so when the smoke clears the survivors want be with us willing instead of being conquered.

    August 23, 2012 at 11:32 am | Reply
  27. clearick

    This analysis amounts to no more than totally idle speculation. Israel only needs to damage the sites sufficiently to make them inoperable, they don't have to destroy the entire complex and the leaking radiation will keep the Iranians away. Underground facilities could be made dysfunctional simply by bombing the entrances. The real question is, is Israel capable of such an attack without any major losses. And can it stop Iranian retaliation with further attacks.

    Pride and nationalism in Iran would be smashed by an attack by Israel, this along with the poor economy and Iran's relative isolation, could very well topple the regime, as the reality of foreign bombs falling would strike at the Iranian people's sense of safety.

    August 31, 2012 at 10:24 am | Reply
  28. Albert Leo

    If we are going to launch a military attack on Iran, I would like to see the President go to Congress and request a declaration of war. Is that so unreasonable?

    September 8, 2012 at 10:31 am | Reply
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