Bibi’s Holocaust – or Ours?

Today, May Day, 2009, the Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz, posed this question: "Is Netanyahu bringing Israel closer to a ‘second Holocaust’?"

Well, the answer is yes or no, depending upon how one defines a "second Holocaust."

Netanyahu’s definition of the "second Holocaust," according to Ha’aretz, is the ongoing attempt – allegedly being led by the Mullahs in Iran – to "eradicate the State of Israel."

And why should those views of an Israeli paranoid concern you? Well, in Netanyahu’s view, the Jewish people’s continued existence, anywhere – including in the United States – depends upon the State of Israel’s continued existence.

Ha’aretz goes on to report that –

"Since Netanyahu’s return to the Prime Minister’s Office, and ahead of his trip to Washington, Israel has upped its verbal tirade against Iran, and there is evidence of a media campaign with one, simple message: If the world doesn’t halt Iran’s nuclearization, Israel will act alone, and it is already preparing for such an eventuality."

And what nuclearization might that be?

Well, Iran’s pursuit – as is its "inalienable right" as a signatory of the Treaty on Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons – of programs designed to provide Iranians all the benefits of the peaceful uses of atomic energy.

And how do the rest of us non-paranoids know Iran’s pursuit thus far has been entirely peaceful?

Because – particularly since 2003, after the Iranians signed an Additional Protocol to their Safeguards Agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency, and voluntarily began to comply with its provisions, in advance of its ratification by the Iranian Parliament – the IAEA Director-General consistently repeatedly reports that he can find no indication [.pdf] that any NPT-Proscribed materials, or any activities involving them, have been diverted to a military purpose.

Not even the Israeli paranoids dispute those reports!

But, for them, it is the Iranian IAEA-Safeguarded peaceful nuclear programs that constitute an "existential" threat to Israel – an impending "second Holocaust," not only for Israelis, but for Jews everywhere.

Right now might be a good time for you, dear reader, to refer to the "Study on a Possible Israeli Strike on Iran’s Nuclear Development Facilities" by Anthony Cordesman, published in March by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, based here in Washington.

The CSIS study "addresses the possibility of an Israeli strike against the Iranian [IAEA Safeguarded] nuclear facilities, with the objective of either destroying the [IAEA Safeguarded] program or delaying it for some years."

Cordesman’s scenarios assume the Israelis will attack what he considers to be the three main target facilities, which if destroyed, would seriously delay Iran’s attempt to realize its inalienable rights to the enjoyment of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

Natanz facility apparently covers some 670,000 sq ft in total, the Fuel Enrichment Plant (FEP) complex was built some 8 meters-deep into the ground and protected by a concrete wall 2.5 meters thick, itself protected by another concrete wall. By mid-2004 the Natanz centrifuge facility was hardened with a roof of several meters of reinforced concrete and buried under a layer of earth some 75 feet deep.

• The Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC) is an Industrial-Scale Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF). The U3O8 [yellowcake] is transported to ENTC to convert it to UF6 (Uranium Hexafluoride).

• The Arak Facility covers an area of approximately 55,000 sq ft and contains the [uncompleted] Heavy Water Reactor [and a completed ‘heavy water’ production facility] and a set of cooling towers.

Cordesman presents in mindboggling detail – specifying the number and types of Israeli aircraft (virtually all U.S.-supplied) required, the refueling-in-flight requirements (going and returning), the number and types of bombs required, the optimum altitudes to be flown at each phase of the route, etc. – three possible aircraft-accomplished scenarios, as well as one Israeli missile-accomplished scenario.

Targets that Cordesman concludes also need to be attacked include all ten of Iran’s military aircraft bases, Iran’s known ballistic missile sites and known air-defense surface-to-air missile sites.

Cordesman predicts that the Israelis will suffer a "very low attrition rate" in taking out all these Iranian military targets, now, because Iran now lacks "modern weapons systems, integration and C4I Battle Management."

However, if Israel waits until Russia delivers to the Iranians the S-300V (SA-12, Giant) Mobile SAM system – which the Iranians have already bought and paid for and for which Cordesman provides detailed specifications and resulting capabilities – then "the whole analytic model, beginning from C4I Early Warning to Response and Scramble times in the engagement of Israeli aircraft with [the Iranians in possession of] this integrated mobile air defense system, will have to be calculated."

Cordesman estimates that once that Russian Mobile SAM system is operational the attrition for an Israeli Air Strike of 90 aircraft could then be "between 20 to 30 aircraft," a loss he supposes Israel could hardly afford.

In passing, Cordesman also provides an informed analysis of the dire probable environmental consequences of an Israeli attack on the Bushehr nuclear-power plant, once it becomes operational later this year.

So, in March of this year, Cordesman tells the Israelis – in an update of a study he originally published in 2007, entitled "Iran, Israel and Nuclear War; An Illustrative Scenario Analysis" [.pdf] – that if they want to "successfully" attack Iran and destroy its IAEA Safeguarded nuclear programs, they better do it before the Russians [a] start-up their 1000MWe power plant at Bushehr and [b] install the world’s best missile and aircraft defense system to defend it.

But last week DEBKAfile – an Israeli website that specializes in disseminating information (and allegedly quite a bit of intentional dis-information) – reported that "intelligence sources" had "disclosed" to them that "Moscow warned Tehran Friday, April 17, that Israel was planning to destroy all 140 fighter-bombers concentrated at the Mehr-Abad Air Force base for an air show over Tehran on Iran’s Army Day the following day."

"Moscow had informed the Iranians that its spy satellites and intelligence sources had picked up preparations at Israeli Air Force bases to destroy the 140 warplanes, the bulk of the Iranian air force, on the ground the night before the display, leaving its nuclear sites without aerial defense."

According to DEBKAfile, as a result of the Russian warning, the Iranians quickly dispersed all their aircraft and cancelled the air show.

Great Zot!

Can that DEBKAfile "report" conceivably be true?

Well, if it is, to the question – "Is Netanyahu bringing Israel (and you soccer-moms) closer to a Holocaust?" – the answer appears to be "You Betcha."

Author: Gordon Prather

Physicist James Gordon Prather has served as a policy implementing official for national security-related technical matters in the Federal Energy Agency, the Energy Research and Development Administration, the Department of Energy, the Office of the Secretary of Defense and the Department of the Army. Dr. Prather also served as legislative assistant for national security affairs to U.S. Sen. Henry Bellmon, R-Okla. -- ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee and member of the Senate Energy Committee and Appropriations Committee. Dr. Prather had earlier worked as a nuclear weapons physicist at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California and Sandia National Laboratory in New Mexico.