Why is Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu risking all his political capital with the Obama administration, and for that matter, the entire world over Iran? Israel has always planned to bomb Iran if it crosses the red line. Netanyahu made that very clear at his United Nations speech on September 27, 2010. Almost three years ago, the prime minister said:
The relevant question is not when Iran will get the bomb. The relevant question is at what stage can we no longer stop Iran from getting the bomb. The red line must be drawn on Iran’s nuclear enrichment program because these enrichment facilities are the only nuclear installations that we can definitely see and credibly target. I believe that faced with a clear red line, Iran will back down.
Israel’s vow of “never again” is not a slogan; it is an existential threat to its enemies. There are terms Israelis use often to describe themselves: the Auschwitz Syndrome and the Masada Complex. There is no question that Israel has built the most powerful Air Force in the entire Middle East.
According to Business Insider, “Israel has space assets, advanced fighter jets, hi-tech armed drones and nuclear weapons. Its air force has incredibly high entry and training standards.” http://www.jewsnews.co.il/2015/07/29/israels-air-force-the-best-in-the-world-study-finds-2/
Among those assets are:
Lockheed F-16I ‘Fighting Falcon’, Hebrew nickname: ‘Sufa’ (‘Storm’)
Boeing AH-64 Apache (Hebrew nickname: ‘Peten’ (‘Adder’), ‘Saraph’)
C-130J-30 Super Hercules (Shimshon, Hebrew for Samson)
Heavyweight UAVs such as “Eitan” feature extremely long flight endurance abilities of over 24 hours, making them perfectly suitable for missions where continuous military presence is required. http://www.iaf.org.il/907-en/IAF.aspx
Without a doubt, Israel has one of the best nuclear programs worldwide. With this plan in place since the 1950s, it is estimated that Israel has the following stockpile to protect itself:
- 2010– According to Jane’s Defense Weekly Israel has between 100 and 300 nuclear warheads, most of them are probably being kept in unassembled mode but can become fully functional “in a matter of days”. http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3873755,00.html
- 2010– “More than 100 weapons, mainly two-stage thermonuclear devices, capable of being delivered by missile, fighter-bomber, or submarine.” http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/09/the-point-of-no-return/308186/
- 2014– Approximately 80 nuclear warheads for delivery by two dozen missiles, a couple of squadrons of aircraft, and perhaps a small number of sea-launched cruise missiles. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bulletin_of_the_Atomic_Scientists
- 2014 – “300 or more” nuclear weapons https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_weapons_and_Israel#cite_note-130
Iran is not an existential threat to Israel, and will never be; Israel will never allow it to become that. Israel’s preemptive policies are non-negotiable. In 1967 after months of saber rattling by Egypt, Syria, and Jordan, Israeli military strategists unfolded a brilliant defense plan. Early on June 5, 1967 almost the entire Israeli Air Force took off for Cairo launching a lightning attack against the Arab states. Israeli fighter pilots destroyed 304 Egyptian Air Force planes, 53 Syrian jets, and 28 Jordanian planes. Less than two hours later and following its first preemptive sortie, the Israel Air Force returned to home base.
Prime Minister Netanyahu’s obsession is based on three very critical realities:
- Regime change in Iran is desperately needed.
Present sanctions against Iran are having a huge impact; the mullahs in Tehran must be bankrupted. The key to defeating the terror state and return its control to the people is to wreck the theocracy that is Iran by increasing these sanctions. The Shah of Iran was not overthrown with bullets, but with boycotts and nationwide strikes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iranian_Revolution
- Prime Minister Netanyahu’s second obsession has to do with $150 billion in sanction relief for Iran which it will use to prepare for an Israeli attack the Iranians know is coming.
The Iranian deal would give more spendable cash to Iran than the $124 billion in total U.S. aid given to Israel since 1948. Those dollars will buy an enormous quantity of ordnance that can be supplied as missiles to Hezbollah in Lebanon, arms and missiles to Hamas in Gaza, or artillery within Iran. That amount of money, $150 billion, will mean a large number of Israelis will die.
- Lastly, Israel wants the U.S. to support an attack that would be difficult, if not almost impossible for Israel to achieve alone, foremost by direct participation with Israel, which would guarantee success.
Even if the United States did not directly participate in an Israeli air strike on Iran, it would need to provide some support during the initial attack and ensuing conflict. Israel would use its F-15 and F-16 fighter jets sold to the nation by the U.S., and it might also be called upon to refuel Israeli jets involved in air strikes on Iran. The newest fighters in Israel’s attack force are the Lockheed-Martin manufactured F-16I Soufa (“Storm”) fighters. The second mainstay of the IAF is the 1990s Boeing-built (originally McDonnell Douglas) F-15I Ra’am (“Eagle”) fighter planes. Both aircraft have a strike radius that should extend to targets in Iran without having to be refueled. However, the distances involved would leave little room for error.
The F-16Is can be fitted with a pair of removable conformable fuel tanks mounted on both sides of the upper fuselage, to hold 450 gallons of extra fuel, plus detachable wing tanks carrying another 600 gallons of fuel. The F-15Is carry 4.5 tons of fuel in the internal tanks, conformal tanks, and detachable tanks, giving the F-15I an unprecedented range of 4,450 kilometers (2,765 miles). Still, a mission without refueling, which would have to be supplied by the U.S., would be pushing the performance window of the aircraft.
Israel has been petitioning the U.S. to supply her with the Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP, a 30,000-pound bomb with a guidance system designed to destroy Iran’s underground nuclear facilities. These are the only munitions in the U.S. arsenal that can purportedly reach the underground site at Fordo. There has been an ongoing effort on Israel’s part since 2011 to obtain these massive bombs.
At least two dozen Israeli aircraft would be required in any strike against Tehran’s nuclear program. It is believed that it would take multiple strikes over several days given the size of Iran’s facilities and its defense system. The sites at Fordo, Parchin, Natanz, Isfahan, and Bushehr would be primary targets for the raids. Arak could be bombed, as well, if the Iranians had not yet disabled the facility’s reactor as required under the new agreement.
The use of mid-air refueling would be crucial for Israel, particularly if the Israelis are unable to persuade a regional power to host a forward-deployed Israeli Air Force contingency. Despite Saudi Arabia being in favor of the attack, it is highly unlikely that the new King Salman would dare to partner with Israel. Iran is an existential threat to the Saudis as the two countries share the 200-mile long Persian Gulf. It is also problematical that some 4.5 million Shiites residing in Saudi Arabia would be loyal to Iran’s 73 million Shiites.
The mission to establish a route into Iranian airspace would be even more complicated. It would inevitably mean that the Israelis might have to take the Jordanians, Turks, or Azerbaijanis into their confidence. It would be virtually impossible for Israel to get her aircraft stationed on Turkish soil in order to shorten the amount of time and the quantity of fuel necessary just to reach the targets.
An attack on Iran would close the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz through which flows 40 percent of the world’s oil. That would have a grave impact on the global economy.
Without U.S. cooperation, both with sanctions and an eventual air strike, Iran’s nuclear program would not be completely destroyed; it would only suffer a setback of several years. Neither the U.S. nor Israel has ever considered a ground invasion. The calculations made were that such a move would end in a decade-long war with more than 250,000 U.S. body bags required.
In 2007, I wrote the #1 New York Times bestseller, The Final Move Beyond Iraq: The Final Solution While the World Sleeps. It predicted the formation of a radical Islamic state in Iraq:
Appeasement has been the offshoot of self-loathing. We hate war rather than believe that those who wage war against us are evil. The liberal left believes we are evil by retaliating, or even worse by striking preemptively to prevent danger. Self-loathing replaces righteous indignation and begets appeasement. The desire to negotiate no matter the cost gives rise to those of the West who unwittingly become cohorts to the jihadists. These individuals rationalize the presence of evil and attacks by terrorists based on their perception of our own past sins.
President Obama’s strategy is a quid pro quo—a get-out-of-jail card for an appeasement plan that will allow Iran’s leaders to creep out from under the harsh sanctions that brought them to the table in the first place. Iran helps the U.S. leave the Middle East, as it is doing in Iraq, and Obama gives Iran the bomb—with plausible deniability, of course. http://jcpa.org/article/how-nuclear-talks-help-iran-dominate-the-middle-east/
Imagine the response of the American people if Israel were to lobby the world to give al Qaeda or ISIL $150 billion in exchange for a promise not to build an atomic bomb any time soon.
Mike Evans is the author of The Final Move Beyond Iraq: The Final Solution While the World Sleeps. His current books are available at www.Timeworthybooks.com.