Israeli TV report shows air force gearing-up for Iran attack

Is Israel releasing misinformation? Is the purpose of allowing this to be reported now to add to the pressure for the negotiations to acheive something worthwhile? Ted Belman

Moment of truth is near

‘IAF expects losses, and knows it can’t destroy entire Iranian program’


File: Fighter jet at the Uvda Air Force Base near Eilat. (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

File: Fighter jet at the Uvda Air Force Base near Eilat. (photo credit: Ofer Zidon/Flash90)

Major Israel TV station on Sunday night broadcast a detailed report on how Israel will go about attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities in the event that diplomacy and sanctions fail and Israel decides to carry out a military strike.

The report, screened on the main evening news of Channel 10, was remarkable both in terms of the access granted to the reporter, who said he had spent weeks with the pilots and other personnel he interviewed, and in the fact that his assessments on a strike were cleared by the military censor.

No order to strike is likely to be given before the P5+1 talks with Iran resume in May, the reporter, Alon Ben-David, said. “But the coming summer will not only be hot but tense.”

In the event that negotiations fail and the order is given for Israel to carry out an attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, “dozens if not more planes” will take part in the mission: attack and escort jets, tankers for mid-air refueling, electronic warfare planes and rescue helicopters, the report said.

Ben-David said the Israel Air Force “does not have the capacity to destroy the entire Iranian program.” There will be no replication of the decisive strikes on Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981 or on Syria in 2007, he said. “The result won’t be definitive.” But, a pilot quoted in the report said, the IAF will have to ensure that it emerges with the necessary result, with “a short and professional” assault.

Ben-David said that if negotiations break down, and Iran moves key parts of its nuclear program underground to its Qom facility, the IAF “is likely to get the order and to set out on the long journey to Iran.”

“Years of preparations are likely to come to realization,” he said, adding that “the moment of truth is near.”

Ben-David interviewed several squadron leaders, pilots and other officers. He noted that some of the IAF personnel, “it is likely, will not return from the mission.” An officer named Gilad said it would be “naive” to think there would be no losses.

The IAF is said to be worried about the advanced anti-aircraft systems that Russia has sold to countries in the region, the report said. Among those systems, the SA 17 and 22 in Syria and Iran present a challenge.

According to the report, it’s the older versions of the F-15 that can fly further than any other plane in Israel’s arsenal, and this puts them on the front line of any potential attack.

One pilot said in the report that the F-15 “is a plane with a very wide range of operation — a combination of relatively energy-efficient engines, and significant flightworthiness regarding weapons and fuel.”

The IAF has a full-sized unmanned plane, the “Eitan,” that is said to be able to fly to Iran, the report indicated. “This plane can do all that is required of it when the order is given,” a pilot said, without elaboration.

The attack, the report said, would presumably trigger a war in northern Israel, with missile attacks (presumably from the Iranian-proxy Hezbollah in Lebanon). “There will be no tranquility and peace anywhere in Israel,” Ben-David said.

This could be the first full-scale war the IAF has fought in nearly 30 years, the report stated.

Pilots had already been told where their families would be moved, away from their bases, for safety, the report said.

April 16, 2012 | 11 Comments »

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11 Comments / 11 Comments

  1. @ BlandOatmeal:

    You’ve complimented my read on Obama and on the Iran situation in general. I thank you for that.

    My read on Bibi cannot be as precise; I don’t live there and I haven’t been in the same environments he has (whereas I was exposed to similar academic environments and even some of the very same influences Obama had [i.e., Rashid Khalidi], during comparable time frames; I even worked summer jobs for “community organizers” while I was in college, and I know that particular kind of animal).

    However, I’ve watched Bibi as closely as I reasonably can from here, having seen a number of his speeches on tape and some of his interviews, and I am aware of his background in terms of family, his own IDF service, education, and so on. That plus my general knowledge of the relevant history leads me to agree in broad terms with David Chase above.

    Bibi has made mistakes and he’s not perfect. He voted for the withdrawal from Gaza, along with many others. Very few stood against that, but one who did is now his FM, and despite a lot of internal and external pressure to get rid of the same, he has not.

    He’s been dealt a crummy hand, and he has played it a lot better than the alternative would have (Livni). He’s also a big improvement over Olmert. However much you or anyone else here may hate Bibi, I don’t see how you can deny that.

    If you read his recent speech before the Knesset for Holocaust Memorial Day, it is hard to interpret that as anything other than preparing his country for war. If he’s bluffing – as some here contended in comments on that post – it is the biggest bluff I’ve ever seen from a Western leader.

    Events will determine who is right and who is wrong here. I think Bibi is serious, and at the end of the day, we’ll see that.

  2. @ BlandOatmeal:
    “Bibi will have an airline ticket to the US, where he will fit in well (His English is excellent).”
    Do you actually believe what you are saying? Do you really think Netanyahu’s main interest is his own self-interest or is that just bluster. Do you really think there is any other person who could be Prime Minister that could have handled a president like Obama as well as he did without actually giving in. No land has been given away, no bad deal made, and, quietly, even if it took a freeze for 10 months, we are building again. And if you think more right wing is the answer I think Netanyahu has been able to cast a moderate shadow while still not actually giving in to basic right wing principles. I would really like to know who in Israel could have done a better job.

  3. @ Vinnie:

    So, the basic premise for this exercise in disinformation, that there is a realistic chance for successful negotiations, is not valid.

    Obama’s shennanigans in Istanbul are along the track of putting out the false hope of a negotiated solution. The IDF’s dog and pony show, though, puts forth another false hope: That Israel will do something about the matter. What all this seems to point to at the moment, is that Netanyahu is selling Israel to Obama, and Obama is re-selling it to the Iranians. When crunch time comes, Bibi will have an airline ticket to the US, where he will fit in well (His English is excellent). The other Jewish schmucks in Israel will be left to fend for themselves. Oh, by the way, I expect Livni, Mofaz et al to be at the airport to greet Bibi in his nephilah.

  4. In answer to your question, Ted, I’d say that appears to be the case, as Yamit seconds.

    However, we all know that these “negotiations” are not going to achieve anything. Whatever his faults, surely Bibi must know this, even if Obama doesn’t.

    So, the basic premise for this exercise in disinformation, that there is a realistic chance for successful negotiations, is not valid.

    Something else is going on here. I’m not going to speculate on a non-secure venue.

    And if anyone else here has special inside knowledge, please resist the temptation to show how smart and “in-the-know” you are. Past a certain point, it is best to keep one’s mouth shut.

    Zecharia=>8:23 in post #2 has the best idea.

  5. All this assumes that Israel will not use nuclear weapons until and unless they are in dire straits. Israel has far more justification to use nuclear weapons than the U.S. did in 1945 against a defeated Japan. Also Russia has long said that they would use nuclear weapons even if they were not seriously threatened.
    For Israel to still pretend it has no nuclear weapons may no longer be useful. Perhaps it is time for Israel to make it clear to the Muslims and all others that if they world fails to stop Iran then Israel is prepared to cause a global catastrophe. The world fears Iran but not Israel. It is time that the world fear Israel far more than Iran.

  6. @ zechariah=>8:23:

    Who says Netanyahu cares about homeland security? That will be up to HaShem.

    So we should then disband the whole IDF, send them home and wait for HsShem to do his thing? Why didn’t someone think of that before we spent all that money for nothing on planes, tanks, missiles and ships?

  7. @ yamit82:

    The homeland is not prepared and half the population is without gas masks. An indication of an attack is when visible actions are taking with regards to homeland security.

    That pretty much tells me that Israel hasn’t been any more serious about taking out the Iranian nuke program than the Obama administration has. In other words, Netanyahu is just soapboxing, making his popularity at home a top priority and using the Iranian threat as nothing more than a tool for personal benefit.

    I imagine the Iranians are well aware of this, which is why they haven’t ceased to taunt both the US and Israel. I can’t say I’m not disillusioned with both governments. They make the Iranian leaders look wise by comparison.

  8. It is time to pray the Psalm 20 of David for our Jewish Army and through their travail to come. I shall start today and every day until this is over. And may HaShem bless them with miracles. B”H.

  9. Psychological warfare (PSYWAR)…psychological operations (PSYOP). Only logical conclusion to announce preparations ahead of time. Where it true it would violate every Law of warfare.

    The homeland is not prepared and half the population is without gas masks. An indication of an attack is when visible actions are taking with regards to homeland security.