Israel has a problem. Iran’s President Ahmadinejad wants nuclear capability. He enriches uranium to weapons-grade levels. He also wants to destroy Israel. He says that destroying Israel will bring an Islamic ‘twelfth Imam’, the Muslim version of Messiah.
He won’t stop enriching uranium. He won’t stop talking about destroying Israel.
The nations of the world aren’t worried. They dismiss Israel’s concerns--or say negotiations-with-sanctions will work. They want Israel to wait. Meanwhile, according to some calculations, Iran could be ready to produce a nuclear weapon before the sanctions succeed.
Now, 35 former high-ranking US officials have told President Obama that sanctions against Iran will not work. Nevertheless, the President continues with sanctions—and Iran continues to push closer to weapons-grade uranium.
With a nuclear weapon, Iran could bully everyone, if only to showcase how Muslims can now control the Destiny of the world: end the sanctions, Iran could say, and I won’t bomb Israel; keep the sanctions, I will bomb.
Some argue that Israel must attack Iran immediately. But that’s difficult because there’s no single Iranian nuclear facility to attack. There are multiple facilities. Worse, the nuclear production sites Iran does have are not easy targets, as they had been in Syria (2007) and Iraq (1981). In Iran they are underground, deeply buried. Then, worst of all, they are not located near Israel. They are spread far and wide across Iran—multiple targets, all challenging for Israel to reach.
Before the US committed to sanctions, many hoped that the US would attack Iran on Israel’s behalf because only the US has the planes and weapons to take on Iran’s embedded facilities. But, while the US has said that all options are still on the table, so are significant enough US military budget cuts that the US may soon lose the ability—or willingness-- to undertake such an expensive raid.
This may be why AP news now reports that US Secretary of Defense Charles Hagel has announced that Washington is willing to allow Israel to decide on its own whether and when to attack Iran.
Israel has no one to turn to. She has to take care of this herself because, as in the past, no one else will. Israel is alone, just as prophesied. The challenge is, those nuclear sites are heavily protected; and even if Israel can destroy some of them, she might only delay the creation of a bomb by perhaps six months.
What good would that do?
The best argument to attack, given such a reality, is a punch line from Jewish lore: maybe we’ll get lucky and succeed; or, after we attack, the Iranians could change their mind; or, maybe, the US will help; or, Ahmadinejad could die; or, maybe, the Iranian people will revolt; but whatever happens, six months is better than nothing.
Few in Israel like that answer. Instead, conventional wisdom is adamant: Israel must (1) destroy those facilities; and, (2) do it in a single attack.
But conventional wisdom is wrong. Israel cannot destroy all the facilities—and she may lack the equipment to attempt such destruction in a single assault.
So what can Israel do? Ignore conventional wisdom.
Instead of destruction, Israel should aim to render the sites unusable. The practical result will be the same: nuclear work stopped.
The ancient Chinese military work, The Art of War, by Sun Tzu, says that in war, one should avoid what is strong and strike what is weak. This is how Israel can stop the Iranian nuclear machinery: attack what is weak.
Iran’s nuclear facilities are embedded deep underground. But these same protected facilities have several weak points: tunnel entrances, roads, emergency exits, ventilation shafts and connections to power plants. Many of these are hidden. But tunnel entrances, power plant connections and roads are not.
They are weak-points.
If these facilities cannot be destroyed, do not attempt to destroy them. Instead, use smart bombs to seal the entrances, and destroy service roads and power supplies.
This approach does not stop productivity. It changes productivity. It causes delays. It disrupts.
It also prompts repairs.
Those repairs are important. Sun Tzu says, force the enemy to reveal himself so you can find his vulnerable spots. This means that after you bomb, you watch how Iran officials rebuild and reinforce. That will reveal what they want to protect.
That tells you where to bomb again. And again.
Conventional wisdom says Israel has only one opportunity to bomb. But that’s not true. The truth is, Iran could make Israel’s navy famous.
Israel’s navy relies on Popeye. In America, Popeye is a cartoon character. In Israel, it’s a long-range surface-to-surface missile called Popeye Turbo SLCM (submarine launched cruise missile).
It’s just like Popeye: ugly, but with a big punch.
Iran’s goal is a Jew-free Islamic world hegemony. Iran is serious—and dangerous.
Ah, but so is Popeye.