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Joe Biden? The Map Office is Calling!

by Bruce Webb

The blogosphere is alive with news that Joe implicitly green-lighted an Israeli attack on Iran. Well I had my say here and there. I just want to share a map from Cordesman and Toukan’s Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities in part because it tells its own story. Plus it’s pretty damn cool looking.


Gosh if a ‘sovereign’ Israel just decides to bomb Iran who could possibly blame the U.S.? It is not like we totally control Iraqi air space.

Oh wait.

Israel cannot attack Iran without material assistance from the U.S. which at a minimum means refueling assistance and emergency landing fields. Full stop.

Update 2. Well the map apparently didn’t tell the whole story. So here is Cordesman and Toukman’s ‘Mission Analysis’. Note the mismatch between refueling requirements and actual refueling planes in the Israeli fleet. Note too that the analysis assumes zero effectiveness among Iranian Air and Ground Defense. Iranian pilots may be as bad as Buff assumes, but I don’t think we can say the same thing about Iran’s large supply of Soviet built surface to air missiles.

(update- JS Kit doesn’t recognize my phone. So I will respond to comments here

The Sunday Times (UK) released a very short report based on a supposed secret briefing by Mossad to Netanyahu about some clearance by Saudi Arabia. The only source actually named in the story is John Bolton and considering the J Post/Sunday Times/Murdoch/AIPAC nexus I am waiting for some more authoritative sourcing. For example Haaretz is today reporting an official government denial.

As for the Eitan it is an unmanned turbo-prop more designed for surveilance than bombing hardened targets with its negligible payload. It would be shot down the instant it went under 20000 feet. At 40000 ft it is practically untouchable. Then again so was the U-2-we thought.

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Trace the Bombing Route from Israel to Iran


Time for our military readers to step up.

Various basement bloggers belonging to the 101st Fighting Keyboardists continually tell us the next step is Israel bombing Iran. But can someone explain exactly how this would work in detail? I mean in actual detail including 1) Israeli strike capabilities, 2) Iranian air defense capabilities, 3a) how you get overflight rights or 3b) how you give a big FU to the Turks or Saudis if you don’t try to get those rights, and 4) the biggie, how do you establish and maintain aerial refueling capacity?

I can see fairly reasonable scenarios under which Israel could pull a fast one and get bombers on target in Iran, but I don’t see any that allow them to get back to Israel that don’t require full co-operation from the United States. Which co-operation would be legally the equivalent of a declaration of war.

A few months ago Israel reportedly did a practice run over much the same distances but instead of flying East flew West over the Med. Which didn’t require them getting overflight rights from anyone, still less having to take air defense capabilities into account. This map tells me a much different story. Someone, anyone lay out a serious case of how Israel physically pulls this off.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Turkish_Air_Force Note that Turkey is part of NATO and has 210 F-16s and around 200 F-4s. It is not like they could just be brushed aside.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Royal_Saudi_Air_Force American equipped and trained with all the money in the world for buying and upgrading equipment. Among other aircraft around 150 F-15s.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamic_Republic_of_Iran_Air_Force Handicapped somewhat in that their original fleet was American supplied and so have suffered from parts embargoes. But in recent years have had plenty of opportunity to buy Russian planes and missiles.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Israeli_Air_Force Nobody doubts the IAF are good, but do they really have the fire power to both bomb Iran AND protect whatever air-refueling capability they would need? Or do their planes really have the range to fly both ways while ignoring surface-to-air defences from territories they are crossing?

This isn’t a game of Battleship, or Stratego, or Risk. Real Commanders need to have real plans to get real planes on target across real terrain plus a plan to safely extract those planes. I don’t see any way of doing this without the full compliance of President Obama. Which raises two questions for any would be war monger.

One. How do you get Obama to greenlight this? or Two. What do you do if he says ‘No’? Given the realities revealed by this map. Because from all I see there is a lot more involved than Bibi just saying ‘Go’.

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