Sunday, September 30, 2007

Panic In Iran

I think it is time to digest the results of the Israeli air raid on Syria that happened on September 6th and see how it has affected Iran. Let us start with an early report from the Guardian.

Syrian air defences opened fire on Israeli aircraft that violated Syrian airspace overnight, a Syrian military spokesman said today.

The Israeli planes broke the sound barrier and "dropped ammunition" over deserted areas of northern Syria, the official Syrian Arab news agency quoted the official as saying.

"We warn the Israeli enemy government against this flagrant aggressive act, and retain the right to respond in an appropriate way," the spokesman said.

Syria said the Israeli aircraft entered its territory through the northern border, coming from the Mediterranean and then heading east. "Air defence units confronted them and forced them to leave after they dropped some ammunition in deserted areas without causing any human or material damage," the spokesman said.

Witnesses said they heard five planes or more above the Tal al-Abiad area on Syria's border with Turkey, around 100 miles north of the Syrian city of Rakka. They said the planes then headed south.
We can see from the report that the Israeli planes covered quite a bit of Syrian territory. We also know that none of the planes were shot down. In addition there are unconfirmed reports of Israeli commandos on Syrian territory.
LONDON (Reuters) - A British newspaper said on Sunday Israeli commandos seized North Korean nuclear material in Syria to help secure U.S. approval for an Israeli air strike that destroyed a suspect weapons plant on September 6.

The Sunday Times report, citing Israeli and U.S. sources, was the latest version of an incident shrouded by contradictory accounts from officials and diplomats and by Israeli military censorship of media operating in the country, including Reuters.

As with previous such reports in foreign media, Israel's own public broadcaster led bulletins with the Sunday Times account.

Elements of the story, which did not say when the commando raid took place, coincided with what political sources in the Middle East told Reuters on September 6 and subsequently -- that an air strike reported by Syria that day was linked to a covert Israeli ground raid and that this was linked to Israeli fears its neighbor was developing "weapons of mass destruction".
About a week after the attack some North Koreans visited Syria.
ROME (AP) - A senior U.S. nuclear official said yesterday that North Koreans were in Syria and that Damascus might have had contacts with "secret suppliers" to obtain nuclear equipment.

Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, did not identify the suppliers but said North Koreans were in the country and that he could not exclude that the network run by the disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan might have been involved.

He said it was not known whether the contacts had produced any results. "Whether anything transpired remains to be seen," he said.
Interesting. However not only were North Koreans in Syria, but also Syrians were meeting with the North Koreans in North Korea about a week after that.
SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 22 (AP) — North Korea’s No. 2 leader met with a Syrian delegation in Pyongyang, the North Korean capital, on Saturday, the North’s media reported, amid growing international concerns about weapons technology cooperation between the countries.

Kim Yong-nam, head of the North’s rubber-stamp legislature, had “a friendly talk” with the Syrian delegation, led by Saaeed Eleia Dawood, director of the organizational department of Syria’s Baath Arab Socialist Party, the official Korean Central News Agency reported.

The Syrian official expressed satisfaction that the “friendly and cooperative ties” between the countries were growing under President Bashar al-Assad of Syria and Kim Jong-il of North Korea, the news agency said.

On Friday, the Syrian official held talks with Choe Tae-bok, a senior official of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party.
Just hangin' with the homies I guess discussing the plans for the next partay.

Some people have a different idea about what might have been discussed.
On September 6, 2007, something very important may have happened in northern Syria near the Turkish border. It is believed that Israeli Air Force (IAF) F-16s and F-15s attacked a site in Syria that may have had nuclear material. What is alarming is not the increase in tensions from Syria and Israel, but the silence that exists on both sides. Complicating matters is the contention that North Korea is involved in Syrian nuclear ambitions.

There are scattered and unverifiable reports that Israel carried out a strike against a Syrian target. What exactly the target was and what was struck is not yet clear; however, something very important may have occurred, akin to the strike on Osirak in Iraq in 1981. Global Security has constructed a timeline of the events and news reports that have leaked out since the incident occurred.

An unnamed source stated four days after the incident that a pilot nuclear enrichment operation was the target of the strike. The next day, a U.S. government official stated that the target was a Syrian weapons shipment destined for Hezbollah militants in Lebanon. On September 13, 2007, Washington Post reporter Glenn Kessler wrote that "...a former Israeli official said he had been told that it was an attack against a facility capable of making unconventional weapons." On September 15th, Kessler reported that an Israeli official provided the U.S. with evidence of Syrian-North Korean cooperation on a nuclear facility.
Well, well, well. Most interesting. Most interesting indeed.

Even more interesting is the Russian connection.
Military experts conclude from the way Damascus described the episode Wednesday, Sept. 6, that the Pantsyr-S1E missiles, purchased from Russia to repel air assailants, failed to down the Israeli jets accused of penetrating northern Syrian airspace from the Mediterranean the night before.
Looks like all the old gang is back together again, eh comrades?

Evidently Iran is none too happy about the failure of the Russian eqipment to defend Syrian airspace.
September 28, 2007:
Information coming out of Iran indicates that the military there is very dismayed at how ineffective new Russian anti-aircraft systems were during the Israeli September 6th air strike on a Syrian weapons development facility near the Iraqi border. Syria and Iran have both bought billions of dollars worth of the latest Russian anti-aircraft missile systems. Apparently the Israelis were able to blind these systems electronically. Syria isn't saying anything, nor are the Israelis, but Iranian officers are complaining openly that they have been had by the Russians. The Iranians bought Russian equipment based on assurances that the gear would detect and shoot down Israeli warplanes.

Over the Summer Russia delivered the first dozen or so (of 50) Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft systems to Syria. It is believed that some of these systems are going to Iran, if only because Iran is apparently paying for them. Russia made the sale to Syria, despite $13.4 billion still owned for past purchases. Russia forgave most (73 percent) of the old debt, and is taking some of the balance in goods. In return, Syria is able to buy $400 million worth of anti-aircraft systems, mainly the self-propelled Pantsir-S1. This is a mobile system, each vehicle carries radar, two 30mm cannon and twelve Tunguska missiles. The missiles have a twenty kilometer range, the radar a 30 kilometer range. The missile can hit targets at up to 26,000 feet. The 30mm cannon is effective up to 10,000 feet. The vehicle carrying all this weighs 20 tons and has a crew of three.
We now come to the heart of the story. The reaction of the Iranian government and their military.
"Everyone in the government and military can only talk of one thing,' he reports. 'No matter who I talked to, all they could do was ask me, over and over again, 'Do you think the Americans will attack us?' 'When will the Americans attack us?' 'Will the Americans attack us in a joint operation with the Israelis?' How massive will the attack be?' on and on, endlessly. The Iranians are in a state of total panic.'

And that was before September 6. Since then, it's panic-squared in Tehran. The mullahs are freaking out in fear. Why? Because of the silence in Syria. On September 6, Israeli Air Force F-15 and F-16s conducted a devastating attack on targets deep inside Syria near the city of Dayr az-Zawr. Israel's military censors have muzzled the Israeli media, enforcing an extraordinary silence about the identity of the targets. Massive speculation in the world press has followed, such as Brett Stephens' Osirak II? in yesterday's (9/18) Wall St. Journal. Stephens and most everyone else have missed the real story. It is not Israel's silence that 'speaks volumes' as he claims, but Syria's.

Why would the Syrian government be so tight-lipped about an act of war perpetrated on their soil? The first half of the answer lies in this story that appeared in the Israeli media last month (8/13): Syria's Antiaircraft System Most Advanced In World. Syria has gone on a profligate buying spree, spending vast sums on Russian systems, 'considered the cutting edge in aircraft interception technology.' Syria now 'possesses the most crowded antiaircraft system in the world,' with 'more than 200 antiaircraft batteries of different types,' some of which are so new that they have been installed in Syria 'before being introduced into Russian operation service.' While you're digesting that, take a look at the map of Syria: Notice how far away Dayr az-Zawr is from Israel. An F15/16 attack there is not a tiptoe across the border, but a deep, deep penetration of Syrian airspace. And guess what happened with the Russian super-hyper-sophisticated cutting edge antiaircraft missile batteries when that penetration took place on September 6th. Nothing.

El blanko. Silence. The systems didn't even light up, gave no indication whatever of any detection of enemy aircraft invading Syrian airspace, zip, zero, nada. The Israelis (with a little techie assistance from us) blinded the Russkie antiaircraft systems so completely the Syrians didn't even know they were blinded. Now you see why the Syrians have been scared speechless. They thought they were protected - at enormous expense - only to discover they are defenseless. As in naked. Thus the Great Iranian Freak-Out - for this means Iran is just as nakedly defenseless as Syria.

I can tell you that there are a lot of folks in the Kirya (IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv) and the Pentagon right now who are really enjoying the mullahs' predicament. Let's face it: scaring the terror masters in Tehran out of their wits is fun. It's so much fun, in fact, that an attack destroying Iran's nuclear facilities and the Revolutionary Guard command/control centers has been delayed, so that France (under new management) can get in on the fun too. On Sunday (9/16), Sarkozy's foreign minister Bernard Kouchner announced that 'France should prepare for the possibility of war over Iran's nuclear program.' All of this has caused Tehran to respond with maniacal threats. On Monday (9/17), a government website proclaimed that '600 Shihab-3 missiles' will be fired at targets in Israel in response to an attack upon Iran by the US/Israel.
Now comes the speculation part. By showing that the Russian equipment can't defend Iran, American and Israeli forces have tipped their hand. Iran is probably scrambling madly with Russian assistance to fix what ever the problem was. This means that if American or Israeli forces are going to attack Iran, their attacks must come soon. Probably within the next month or two.

Cross Posted at Classical Values

13 comments:

Karridine said...

",,,within the next month or two..."

Lets see, is "...sometime within the next 72 hours..." within the next month or two?

What a RUDE AWAKENING!

Strutting popinjays of the Arrogant Arab Assortment spent BIGTIME on air-defense systems that might as well have been large, tin trumpets feeding hoses to earholes on the side of football helmets...

Nah, those would have been BETTER than the blind electronics gear, because the guys in the football helmets would have HEARD the jets, sooner or later...

But not a whimper, not a blip on the green-screen! Woof, howzabout THAT, Mad Mullahs?

Reliapundit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reliapundit said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reliapundit said...

YOU ARE 100% CORRECT. AND I LOVED THE OCNUS POST.

papertiger said...

Iran is probably scrambling madly with Russian assistance to fix what ever the problem was. This means that if American or Israeli forces are going to attack Iran, their attacks must come soon.

That is an assumption. How about this for a counter assumption. There is nothing wrong with the Russian gear, Israel was just that good.
That would mean there is no urgency to bomb in the next two months. Syria and Iran will spend Millions more looking for a flaw that doesn't exist, and later find out that they are just as naked as before.
I like my assumption better.

M. Simon said...

How about this for speculation with out even a shred of evidence.

Russia is playing a double game, selling out its Arab "friends".

I can't put my finger on it, but there is a nagging suspicion in there.

Anonymous said...

I like that speculation. About a year ago I recall Olmert meeting Putin and saying that everything was in perfect order, although superficially that was far from being true because of the syrian deals.

So I have the same suspicion. Further, I would bet that the qpq from Israel would be to take no more actions than are necessary to prevent war, and certainly not to start one. Though I do think taking out an Iranian nuclear program would be within the envelope.

M. Simon said...

qpq

Stand for Quid Pro Quo.

Olmert, Putin discuss Iranian threat.

M. Simon said...

It is more than possible that there is a back door in the software for the Russian missile system if the above speculation is true.

The Israelis then send a code to the radar and nothing shows up on the screen.

This is possible because a radar return signal declines as the fourth power of the distance while for an incoming aircraft it only declines as the second power of distance for the aircraft.

This means an attacking aircraft will know a radar is on well before the radar operator can pick up a detectable signal.

Once the aircraft detects a radar is on it can send a return signal which also declines as the second power with respect to the radar.

So if there is a trapdoor the radar can be turned off well before the radar can detect a signal.

M. Simon said...

More on Olmert's visit to Russia.

Karridine said...

Much like a Magic IFF...

-Plink!-
and there's no radar blip; with an automatic cutoff in (say) 20 minutes... no large scale attacks, unless they include physically eliminating ALL the air-defense units almost simultaneously...

(Interrogator: Friend or Foe) signal

Of course, such speculation would be based on the same long-term assessment as MAD, that is: the Russians ARE a rational people, a rational race, NOT much inclined to have a nuclear-armed insanitron on their southern border region...

LarryD said...

On Monday (9/17), a government website proclaimed that '600 Shihab-3 missiles' will be fired at targets in Israel in response to an attack upon Iran by the US/Israel.

Makes me wonder about anti-missile battery deployments. Already in place? Shhhh.

M. Simon said...

Larry,

I can't recall where I read it but in fact Israel has deployed something like 200 anti-missile batteries around Israel.

That would mean at least 400 missles (2 per battery) probably more.