Osirik Revisited

StrategyPage: The Coming Air Raid on Iran

Israel is apparently preparing to conduct a long range bombing mission to destroy Iranian nuclear weapons development facilities. Iran has denied trying to build nuclear weapons, but journalists and international nuclear weapons inspectors have found otherwise. It is thought that Iran might assemble its first working nuclear weapon as early as this year. The Islamic conservatives who dominate the Iranian government, and run the nuclear weapons program, loudly and regularly proclaim that Israel and the United States are the greatest enemies of Islam and must be destroyed. Israel made a similar raid on an Iraqi nuclear facility in 1981. The targets are 1600-2500 kilometers away. Getting through Jordanian air space is not a major problem, as the use of surprise and electronic warfare techniques can disable Jordanian air defenses temporarily. Getting through Iraqi air space is not a problem either, although there will probably be an “understanding” that American jets and anti-aircraft missiles in the area will not fire on the Israelis. Israel has smart bombs and electronic warfare weapons that give it bombing capabilities comparable to that of the United States. The major risks in such an air raid would be that one of Israelis Boeing 707 aerial tankers would be shot down while refueling the Israeli warplanes.

Such an air raid would raise an enormous stink in the Moslem world, but the danger of Islamic radicals in Iran getting nuclear weapons is too great to ignore. Already, Iranian Islamic radicals are one of the main supporters (along with money stolen from UN and European Union economic aid to Palestinians) of anti-Israeli terrorism.

Works for me.

FILED UNDER: Middle East, Terrorism, , , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Paul says:

    hmmmm- I’m not 100% sure they would need the tankers.

    The normal range of the F-16 is about 2500 miles and it is only about 1000nm from Jerusalem to Tehran.

    But in 1999(ish) Israel bought 50 long range versions that could probably make the trip. Indeed they were purchased specifically because they could reach Libya and Iran.

    Israel also has a few flavors of drop tanks for the F-16 that extend the range dramatically.

    They might have to wait for good weather but I’m pretty sure they could make it unassisted.

  2. Attila Girl says:

    I’m surprised that this is being publicized. If the Israelis got wind of that, they might have mentioned the need for the tankers to throw people off what the real plan is.

    After the Iraqi reactor, I’m surprised anyone else thought they could build another one without adequate air defense: the Israelis don’t screw around.

  3. Kate says:

    It’s because they really intend to use one of those top-secret ground wave weapons they tested on the city of Bam.