As a result of today’s vote of the UNSC permanent members plus Germany in Vienna, consideration of stronger sanctions is no longer on the table. Time for the Ministry of Defense in Israel to go into high gear. Surprise along with intensive planning, preparation and training are the keys to success in well executed combined military operations. Given that the Obama Administration is now focused on the emerging geo-political problems in the South China Sea, Israel, alone, may have to be prepared to execute a military option.
The question is what does Israel have in its technical quiver that might enable it to confront a nuclear Iran? Moreover, has it demonstrated some of this capability previously?
Some insight as to what lies in Israel’s quiver was revealed in an article in The Daily Beast by Eli Lake about Israel’s electronic warfare capabilities integrated with the use of high flying long endurance UAVs, “Israel’s Secret Iran Attack Plan: Electronic Warfare”.
A U.S. intelligence assessment this summer, described to The Daily Beast by current and former U.S. intelligence officials, concluded that any Israeli attack on hardened nuclear sites in Iran would go far beyond airstrikes from F-15 and F-16 fighter planes and likely include electronic warfare against Iran’s electric grid, Internet, cellphone network, and emergency frequencies for firemen and police officers.
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Israel also likely would exploit vulnerability that U.S. officials detected two years ago in Iran's big-city electric grids, which are not “air-gapped”—meaning they are connected to the Internet and therefore vulnerable to a Stuxnet-style cyber attack—officials say.
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The likely delivery method for the electronic elements of this attack would be an unmanned aerial vehicle the size of a jumbo jet. An earlier version of the bird was called the Heron, the latest version is known as the Eitan. According to the Israeli press, the Eitan can fly for 20 straight hours and carry a payload of one ton. Another version of the drone, however, can fly up to 45 straight hours, according to U.S. and Israeli officials.
Fred Fleitz, who left his post this year as a Republican senior staffer focusing on Iran at the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, said in his meetings with Israeli defense and intelligence officials, they would always say all options were on the table.
"I think Israel has the capabilities with their air force and mid-air refueling to take on these sites," said Fleitz, who is now managing editor of Lignet.com. "They would have to take out radar and anti-aircraft. They could also attack with missiles and their drone fleet."
When Israel took out convoys containing Iranian shipments of rockets and weapons in northern Sudan in January 2009, we noted in a March, 2009 NER article, “American Versus Israeli Geo-Political Objectives in a Free South Sudan”:
The London Times revealed in a later report that Israel may have used armed UAVs, the Hermes 450 manufactured by Elbit, which is equipped with two Hellfire missiles. A Hermes UAV squadron is based at Pachamim air base south of Tel Aviv. Mossad may have developed the target intelligence. Further, the Israel Air Force may have used the larger Eitan UAV with a wingspan of 110 feet to possibly refuel the Hermes UAVs. The Hermes 450 UAV can remain aloft for 24 hours, while the Eitan can stay up for 36 hours.
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What should not be lost on Iran and its ally Sudan is that the alleged IAF raid on the convoy in January was within the same operational radius of approximately 700 nautical miles-equidistant from Jerusalem to both Port Sudan and Tehran. Like the September, 2007 IAF raid that took out a nuclear weapons assembly plant being built with North Korean assistance in Northeastern Syria, the details of the Sudan raids will remain shrouded in official silence.
Lake’s Daily Beast report supports what we have been saying for several years, now. That Israel’s military option against a nuclear Iran would not be conventional, but would use the IDF’s vast technological advantages. The mainstream media has painted Iran’s nuclear development program and air defense capabilities as foolproof. Let them perpetuate that myth. The IDF knows better, but it is not going to let on just yet.