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Subject: Can Israel get the job done?
flyingarty    9/29/2009 9:09:01 AM
What do you think? If Israel attacks Iran's nuclear sites, can they accomplish their task?
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Shirrush    No.   9/29/2009 12:14:31 PM
According to open sources, the IDF does not have what it takes to go on the offense against a foe as big as Iran. The Israel Defense Forces are presently trained and equipped to bleed an attacking enemy at, or near Israel's borders. Force projection and long-range conventional offense are not in the book, and never have been.
The IDF/AF currently has a little more than 100 fighters, i.e. one F15I and 3-4 F16I squadrons, which have the adequate nominal combat range to reach targets in Iran. There are but a handful of tanker, electronic intelligence/ attack and early warning aircraft which might be used to escort a strike package, but would be extremely vulnerable in hostile airspace, meaning all of the airspace comprising the ~1,000 miles distance to Iranian targets. None of these planes is a low-observable platform, but most of them can "pave" without exhausting their pilots, as they apparently did in Syria. One massive strike could conceivably achieve mission success, but follow-on flights would be in doubt with the enemy on full alert, and Arab (and US?) air forces running interference with the best and the latest Western fighters and IADS.
The lack of a possibility for the required sustained air campaign would probably ensure the survival of many if not most of Iran's offensive assets, such as the dispersed, mobile and concealed MRBM TELs and its cruise missiles, enabling the enemy to retaliate at will.
The damage from such a single strike on multiple, hardened nuclear installations, would probably be rather limited if not symbolic, and would not stop the mullah's programme for any length of time while ensuring the regime popular support because of the national affront, the unavoidable loss of life and the possible radioactive contamination of large areas (Hissing UF6: not pretty!).
Israel's naval offensive capabilities out of the Mediterranean are nil. While the IAI and the ISA have certainly made their point as to their ability to design and build big rockets and achieve a little more than 50% success with space shots, there is no convincing evidence that an Israeli ballistic missile capability has ever been implemented, let alone funded. Same goes, by the way, for the alleged nuclear arsenal, which lacks both the money trail and the societal footprint to be more than a rumor-milled deterrent-on-the-cheap.
Most importantly, causing dire damage to Iran's infrastructure and shedding Persian blood is definitely not in Israel's best interest. There are no territorial contention, border dispute, or even conflict of interests between the two countries.
Iran presently has a religious-fascist regime which is irrationally hostile to Israel, and which is as unpopular with the Iranian people as it is feared by the Israeli citizenry. There is much mutual understanding and even admiration between the two cultures, and 25 centuries of common recorded History. Regime change is what we want for Iran, not war: we'll have enough of that with the Arabs for the foreseeable future. Then, Iran can have its nukes if it feels it needs them, and, with Arab and Shoorevi neighbors who are not likely to change their ways it probably does. After all, who cares about India having them? A democracy is not bent on aggression, and post-Islamic Persia will probably be able to afford both a nuclear and a space program, with which Israel will be more than happy to cooperate.
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Ezekiel    YES   9/29/2009 3:39:42 PM
Yes it can!!!
if there is any airforce that has the experience, know-how, motivation and capabilities to pull this is the IAF.
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Shirrush    True...   9/29/2009 5:14:57 PM
...But unfortunately, not the stealth bombers nor the airbases in Herat and in Balad.
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Ezekiel    Underestimate   9/30/2009 5:47:16 AM
as of 15 months ago Israel had green light to use georgian air bases which no one knew about. WHy can't this be duplicated on another territory???
As for Israeli stealth and radar evading capabities....there is much we do not know, and it would be folly to underestimate Israeli resourcefulness. 
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Shirrush       9/30/2009 6:02:56 AM
Please note I wrote the above posts before reading this.
A. Cordesman is not all-knowing, but he's been in the business of making sense a lot more, and for a lot longer than I have.
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