Friday, January 20, 2006

Time is very Short. (with Commentary Updated)

I have very disturbing news, United Press International is reporting that a dissident group says Iran plans a Nuclear test by March 20th OF THIS YEAR. This means that they are far closer to a functional weapon than anyone suspected. The time to do something about this is now imminent.

Some would say that this cannot be possible, Iran has not been enriching Uranium long enough to build such a device. At first that sounds like a reasonable rebuttal, but after thinking about this quite a bit this evening, I believe that this is entirely possible. Consider the following:

North Korea has been enriching Uranuim for some time, probably long enough to have built up enough of a stockpile to build multiple devices.

North Korea has sold Iran all of it's missile technology.

Building a gun type U-235 bomb is childs play realtivly speaking. i\It does not require any real technological feats beyond obtaining the material. you merely shoot one subcritical mass into another at the muzzle end of a gun tube.

NK needs Oil Resources quite badly. they are quite literally freezing to death wthout it.

It would not be difficult to believe Iran bought or borrowed or bartered access to either an NK weapon or enough enriched uranium to build one with that they will replace later.

UPDATE 1-21-06:
A good friend reminds me that Iran has started pulling all of it's overseas funds (about $80 billion) out of overseas banks to prevent that money from being frozen by the UN.

Additionally, Iran has purchased state of the art SAM's from Russia recently. which means the only aircraft that have a chance at doing any damage are our stealth aircraft. Israel does not have an operational aircraft that can penetrate Iran's defensive network.

Combined, these moves on the part of the Iranians scare the daylights out of me. It appears this is going down the road towards a point of no return very quickly and we may already be past that point now. My Friends, I fear the entire Middle East will soon be aglow by the light of cherenkov radiation.

Update 1-22-06:
Link Mecca has more on this as well.

Update 1-23-06
Winds of Change has a very active discussion on this too.


Anonymous said...

During the Jimmy Carter mess, my old friends Brad Herring and Charlie Izzard of the rock band Lick called up Brian Wilson of the Beach Boys to get permission to change the words of a famous Beach Boys song, "Barbara Ann", to the now- famous song and words of "Bomb Iran."

Time to reprise the Oldie Goldies!

January 21, 2006 1:24 PM  
Blogger Pigilito said...

Yeah, What is going on seems to be outstriping the West's ability to respond collectively.

It remains to be seen if Isreal is serious about denying Iran (I am more hopeful than you on Israel's abilities: they probably know how to defeat the russkie SAMs through intelligence gathering. Also, I can't imagine that Iran's defense forces are well trained).

Europe is making hopeful sounds about denying Iran, but no one can know how serious they are. They may yet collapse in the face of economic hardship.

January 22, 2006 4:22 AM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

pigilio, I admit the IDF is THE BEST trained air force on the planet, but thier equipment is not quite as good as ours. Yes Europe (at least most of it) is making noises about preventing Iran from obtaining Nuclear weapons but thier track record for the last 75 years or so is pretty dismal. There is a good reason why the rest of the world thinks the French flag should be a solid white one. even if Chirac is talking about the concept of MAD again. That is just sending the message that France will obliterate them if they attack french interests, Not that France wil turn Tehran into a glass parking lot if they attempt to join the big boys club. That is a mixed message at best. The french are notoriously fickle in that regard, and more motivated by money than fear of the conseqences, after all wasn't it the French that built Saddam his nuclear reactor that Isreal had to bomb? Wasn't it the French that were selling Saddam all sorts of stuff despite the UN's embargo? And of course let us not forget thier involvement with the oil for food scandal. Wasn't it the Germans that built Saddam's Bunkers? The fact that both Russia and China have sworn to prevent any action by the security council just prooves to me that the un is a waste if time and money and should be disbanded, or at the least have it's charter rewritten taking most of it's power away. I have very little faith in working thrugh the UN, I have much less faith in working with the Germans or the French. We are the last remaining Superpower, to willingly shackle ourselves because some pissant country with a big mouth but little real power or for that matter conscience, is appalling in my view.

January 22, 2006 7:54 AM  
Anonymous Jeff said...

If Israel were to attack Iran their Air Force would have to transit Jordanian and Iraqi air space - correct?

While they could probably get away with the Jordanians, how would Israel traverse Iraqi air?

It looks to me that they would either not have permission from the US which would be...interesting or they would have permission (or the US stands aside as the stream goes over) in which case the US may as well be hung for a sheep as a lamb and do the job itself.

In either case and at the sharp end, I dont see that Israel has sufficient aircraft or would risk sufficent aircraft to both defeat Iranian air defense and nail sufficient Iranian nuclear facilities to put a severe dent in the Iranian timescale.

Even if they did attack, they'd only really have a one shot night before the UN expressed condemnation.:) Not enough.

By the way, the new SAM the Russians are selling is quite short range (about 8 miles)and has an operational ceiling around 30,000ft. That's great unless your attacker fires stand-off from beyond 8 miles and/or above 30,000.

Any guesses how many operational high alt SAMs (SA-2s I think they bought)the Iranians still have functioning?

January 22, 2006 12:06 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

I have to say I have no idea how many SA-2's they have operational or how many they may have purchased from NK. I agree, Israel would have to transit US controlled airspace which would make it a de-facto US operation. We could claim that they did it without our knowledge or approval but that wouldn't be believed by anyone else either. I think you are correct in thinking that if this happens, either we go it alone or we enlist the help of those willing to do it with us but we don't have a lot of coalition building time. Either that or we learn to live with a nuclear Iran.

January 22, 2006 3:12 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Jeff, I might also point out that the kind of precision bombing needed to take out Iran's bunkers would have to be made at low level, not at 30K. so the altitude limitation cuts both ways.

January 22, 2006 3:21 PM  
Anonymous Jeff said...


If an attack is made I suspect it will be 100% US.

I doubt even the British would want to get involved and if the US goes, the Israelis would probably be politely excluded - I don't think the presence of IAF craft would be worth the long term pain of cementing the US Neocon-Zionist Entity Imperialist Hegemonistic Alliance perception in the Arab street.

Besides the Sunni Arab governments would be a lot easier in their criticism if Israel was uninvolved in a military strike.

There is of course the problem of how to manage Iranian retaliation for any pre-emptive air strike.

Militarily that may not be a great problem but economically they do have that unfortunate chunk of useful commodity export.:)

Living with a nuclear armed Iran is feasible but very very chancy. Essentially its MAD again right up until a nuke goes off on some real estate were fond of.

At that point I expect the Iranians would see a noticeable retaliation just on the 'usual suspects' principle.

MAD in this case needs to be modified, far less mutual, much more assured of course

Back to the air strike, I was thinking of almost any air platform capable of delivering JDAMs. I didn't think there was an altitude limitation on where those could be released.

Assuming not and assuming no remaining Iranian air defense fighters you could even wheel out the Buff fleet. At that point the tonnage of air deliverable becomes immense.

It'll still take a couple of weeks though and we'd probably be daft enough to exclude a leadership strike from the general fun and games.

January 22, 2006 4:34 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

JDAM's accuracy is dependent on altitude. You have the inaccuracy involved with the long distances involved, and you have the problem of cloud cover, or even birds, interrupting the beam, either on the way down or on the reflected way back up, buring free-fall. Once the weapon looses lock it is a ballistic object and can no longer compensate for wind etc. BUFF's can't carry JDAM's, they do not have the targeting capacity. Buff's are good at what they are designed for, high altitude carpet bombing and Nuclear delivery, but that is of very limited use in a highly urban area with a lot of civilians around. this one will be limited to B1B's B2's, and F117's and PERHAPS a few F-22's along with F/A-18's, F-14's, and EA-6's (jamming) from carriers.

I agree that the IDF's participation would be far more of a hinderance than it would be worth and they of course understand that.

If we do this we cannot just bomb them and fly home and tell them don't do that again. That will only run the risk that they will continue to build one or buy one from NK and set it off on our shores in retaliation. They wouldn't even have to smuggle it in, they only need it on the deck of a freighter pulling into a major harbor like the port of houston or new york harbor and set it off before it docks. We will have to occupy Iran for some length of time in order to root out all of the weapons labs and to restore some kind of civilian government once we dispatch the Mullahs to Paridise. Much like we have done in Iran's two neighboring countries, Iraq and Afghanistan. THAT is going to be a long painful process.

Another possible place they could have gotten material would be through the Chechen/Russian mob. Much of the HEU in Russia is still not well secured and it would not be all that difficult for the Chechens to smuggle a qualtity out across the porous russian/iranian border.

January 23, 2006 8:10 AM  
Blogger Lou Minatti said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

January 23, 2006 3:43 PM  
Blogger Lou Minatti said...

Most people who follow these things believe that the US military has so-called "E-Bombs" in their inventory. Israel may as well. These are non-nuclear devices that cripple electronic devices in a wide area, including underground bunkers.

If we must act militarily, I hope this is the first option used. It wouldn't kill a soul and would devastate any military program they have.

January 23, 2006 3:44 PM  
Blogger SargeVining said...

I have an analysis of Israel's strike capabilites against Iran's nuclear facilities, with links to more definitive articles at:



January 23, 2006 4:16 PM  
Blogger Rorschach said...

Lou, e-bombs can disrupt civilian equipment, but most military equipment is hardened against it. They also have very little effect on fiberoptics. (only repeaters are susceptable.)

January 23, 2006 4:59 PM  

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