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back to article MIT eggheads plan Israeli airstrike on Iran nuke factories

A pair of postgraduate students at MIT have produced a detailed assessment of the Israeli Air Force's ability to destroy Iran's potential nuclear weapon manufacturing plants. Whitney Raas and Austin Long, PhD candidates in Nuclear Engineering and Political Science respectively, published (pdf) Osirak Redux? Assessing Israeli …

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Aspirin factories all over again

In 1998, the US bombed a pharmaceutical plant in Sudan claiming it was being used for chemical weapons production. No evidence was ever produced to support these claims. It now looks like Israel might be planning the same sort of operation.

All of the plants mentioned in the MIT report could have legitimate civilian purposes. Of all of them, only the centrifuge cascade *could* have direct military applications. Iran is still within its Non Proliferation Treaty obligations and the IAEA have not declared that any of their facilities are in contravention of the NPT.

Indeed, unlike Israel, Iran has allowed international inspectors into its nuclear plants. Before making too much of a song and dance over the Iranian sites, perhaps Israel would like to tell us what exactly is going on at the 'Negev Nuclear Research Center' - after more than forty years 'researching' you'd have thought they'd have published something by now.

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Anonymous Coward

US Backing

What the report does not consider is that the US may well support, covertly or not, an Israeli strike. This would give them potentially access to more plans and possibly bigger bombs or better technology.

Possibly a joint attack with the US use of stealth bombers masked by an Israeli diversionary attack.

I believe it would suit the US interests very much for a 3rd party to sabotage the Iranian bomb effort. The Israeli’s would be willing to do this not only to remove the Iranian threat but also to ensure US political support and more importantly military aid. I think both parties would see this as a win-win situation.

With US logistics support, such as access to US in air refuelling tankers for example, the task would be considerably less risky.

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Anonymous Coward

Nice...

A great plan... not really worthy of praise considering the potential outcome though.

Now if those two brainboxes could figure a way for the jewish, muslim and christian nutters to live peacably, I'd buy them a beer!

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Russian TOR-M1 missile

These eggheads seem to have forgotten that Iran now has multiple Russian TOR-M1 missile systems defending their nuke building sites. I doubt very much anything except America's F-117 or B-2's could get past them on a good day.

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Why???

Why did these rubes even bother with this report? The military traditionally handles these matters, and the governments of most neighboring and distant countries already have detailed plans for destroying any and everything any and everywhere. Engineering geeks picking out weapons from a catalog and creating strategies based on vendor proclamations is a gloriously bad idea.

Not to get on a soapbox but that's how the mess in Afghanistan and Iraq has gotten so cocked up; people with absolutely no idea about what they are talking about making decisions. If you feel the need to blow things up, that's OK, but make the decision and let the military handle the blowing up. Somehow I doubt the tools who wrote this report would be comfortable with 'Officer Cadet Winston' designing and deploying nuclear weapons.

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Iran's Problem

I'd personally say that Nantez isnt as protected as the Iranians think. Anyone who has worked with gyros knows how sensitive they are. A small earthquake would completely destroy the servicability of every installed centrifuge. It doesnt really matter how many SAM's they have protecting it. Those and the radar stations are the first to go with sub and destroyer launched stealth cruise missiles.

It's my opinion that a country that threatens a neighbor with destruction and uses terrorist organizations to fight their war cannot be allowed to obtain enriched nuclear material of any kind.

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Has your reporter sold you a pup?

The paper is dated April 2006, and it's contents do not support the possibility that 2006 was a typo. For example, at the top of page seven, the second sentence reads: "The reactor itself is under IAEA safeguards, and is scheduled to first become critical in late 2006."

If Lewis Page wishes to stand by his contention that the paper was published last month, i.e. April 2007, he should explain the discrepancy.

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Anonymous Coward

A Country tha threaten it's neighbor...

I couldn't agree more, but saddly I doubt Israel will be stopped anytime soon.

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Why, version 2 ???

"One thing's for sure: student life seems to have changed a lot since our day. Maybe Raas and Long need to get down to the pub a bit more. Or just join the damn Air Force, already. "

Well, yes, how can any egghead from whatever university get the needed information in order to produce any clever paper on this ?? Either they don't, then I feel confident in the US maintaining secret on highly sensitive military intelligence, and their work is a pile of shite, either they know something, and I grow very worried about military intelligence in the US, which would appear as being disseminated across whoever has the right religion profile ...

As Jesse Melton stated, it's up to the military, even if everyone will have his fav. comment on this (technical or political).

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Israel's Responsibility to protect it's citizens

Unless the western world is willing and capable of mounting a coordinated conventional attack against the Iranian Nuclear inrastructure, the successul destruction or addequate degradation of Iran's nuclear program cannot be assured. Israel has a undamental responsibility to protect it's citizens. Israel's government and military do not have the luxury of gambling with the lives of their citizens. The only way that the Israely government and military can uphold their oaths of office is to plan and coordinate a comprehensive nuclear strike on Iran that will assure the complete and utter destruction of the entire Iranian nuclear program and as much of Iran's military infrastructure as possible.

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I hope they've planned this out properly..

using the Battleground 2 simulation software.

Actually it seems to me we could have avoided a whole lot of trouble if we'd just given GW a copy when he first got elected.

Maybe all presidents should have their soldiers taken away from them, and replaced with video games - they don't seem to know the difference anyway, and obviously aren't too keen on things like "consequences" or having to plan out what you're going to do after you've finished your game of army men.

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Israel, Iran, whole damn shebang

Unfortunately as GW has recently proven, military force very rarely solves anything. It is a tragic accident of history that the two A-bombs dropped on Hiroshima and Nagasake appeared to offer a clean immediate cessation of hostilities, because ever since then any tinpot idiot with an army has come to the conclusion that talking is for wimps, and under no circumstances are they going to allow the potential deaths of thousands and thousands of humans to interfere with their self importance.

Tinpots: Most US presidents; most European presidents/monarchs/prime ministers; most middle eastern leaders (sorry don't know the complete list of titles); most every one else in charge.

I think we are forced to conclude that actually any of those who wish to lead are thoroughly disgraceful at it and should not under any circumstance be allowed to do so. I include myself in this.

All Israel will do if it pre-emptively strikes with it's nuclear arsenal is ensure it's own destruction, which would be a tragedy for the millions of quite nice relatively secular fairly innocent civilians of that country. A conventional attack, successful or not will probably not result in their destruction, but would be problematic for many many years.

Bizarre though it is the only useful route for them and us is to actually gain the trust of that rather worryingly earnest, and religious chap in Iran, which looks tricky, and convince him that friendship is the best route (trickier still). Regardless of whether he spends the time building bombs or not.

Ultimately you have to wait for Hitler types to start invading other countries before you attack them, or you are the Hitler type invading other countries. Albeit whenever there really is a Hitler type we always seem lamentably slow off the mark (WWII, Kosovo, Rwanda, Sudan etc).

I have a theory that if the major players actually acted honourably for a generation or two, tough but honest, then problems would begin to resolve. It would be a tough few years, but ultimately things would work out. Not because people are nice, but because they are clever, and honourable tough behaviour results in the same displayed back in well played game theory, because that gives the greatest chance for success (in this case a mutually beneficient draw).

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Anonymous Coward

Israel has nukes, why can't Iran?

Comments like those of Martin Sims:

"The only way that the Israely government and military can uphold their oaths of office is to plan and coordinate a comprehensive nuclear strike on Iran that will assure the complete and utter destruction of the entire Iranian nuclear program and as much of Iran's military infrastructure as possible."

Are PRECISELY the reason that Iran should get nukes as fast as possible. Countries with nukes are safe from being bullied by arrogant neighbors who aren't afraid of retaliation. As far as complying with international standards and regimes, it is important to remember that it is ISRAEL that does not even admit to owning nukes nor allow IAEA inspectors to do their job.

That's a bit hypocritical, no?

Iran isn't occupying land illegally nor building settlements and engaging in collective punishment, Israel IS.

And if Israel thinks they can pull of a major raid on a well-defended (with Russian and Chinese hardware) Iran, they should remember that times have changed since Osirak. This isn't 20 years ago. The little ass-kicking that Hezbollah gave them in Lebanon last summer should be proof enough of that.

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