Skip to comments.If Israel had tactical nukes, would it use them against Iran?
Posted on 01/08/2007 7:37:04 AM PST by SJackson
Strikes on key facilities could stop Teheran's nuclear drive, Israeli officials say.
A nuclear weapon has not been used since 1945, when the US Armed Forces dropped two such bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II. Now, according to London's Sunday Times, Israel is preparing for its own Hiroshima and has drawn up plans to not only introduce the weapon of mass destruction into the Middle East but even use it against Iran.
The newspaper report, improbable as it might sound, should not be immediately dismissed. While Israel is publicly rooting for diplomatic efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program, there is no doubt that the IDF - and particularly the Air Force - are preparing for the possibility that Israel might decide to launch a military strike against the Islamic Republic's nuclear facilities.
But would Israel use tactical nuclear weapons - if it had them - to do so? According to foreign reports, Israel has a large arsenal of nuclear weapons and according to the Sunday Times report, has been training with low-yield warheads that are just large enough to cause the necessary destruction at Iran's nuclear facilities, but also just small enough to contain the blast and prevent major collateral damage and fallout.
While it would be difficult to completely destroy all of Iran's several dozen nuclear facilities, senior officials and IAF officers believe that a successful strike on a number of key elements of the nuclear program - such as the uranium enrichment center in Natanz, the heavy water facility at Arak and the Isfahan nuclear technology center - would be enough to stop the country's race for nuclear power.
Assuming strikes on these facilities would suffice in at least temporarily stopping Iran's atomic race, there are still many hurdles along the way, some of which could potentially be passed by using tactical nuclear weapons.
The Sunday Times report is not the first to raise the "tactical nuclear" possibility. Last April, Seymour M. Hersh wrote in the New Yorker magazine that the United States was considering using bunker-buster bombs tipped with nuclear warheads to strike at Iran's nuclear facilities.
If Israel decided to attack Iran, in addition to the difficulty in flying directly to the country and neutralizing its air defenses, the IAF would also have to succeed in penetrating bunkers at the nuclear facilities - some known to be dozens of feet below ground and reinforced by concrete and steel.
According to Israeli officials, while an air strike on Iran could be successful, the IAF would need exact intelligence on each target and on the type of bunker, its depth, and what type of reinforcements it featured. Those pieces of information are crucial for choosing the type and number of bombs the IAF would need to drop. This is where tactical nuclear weapons could conceivably come in.
While bunker buster bombs would still be needed, the powerful blast of a low-yield nuke could do the trick in further penetrating and destroying the underground facility. If Israel indeed has nuclear weapons and the ability to manufacture low-yield warheads, as the Sunday Times report claims, this option would definitely be under consideration.
While the use of nuclear weapons might be tempting - due to their strength - there is a downside that could in the end tilt the scales in the direction of conventional weapons. While Israel is suspected of possessing nuclear weapons, the official Israeli policy has for years been not to be the first country in the Middle East to introduce nuclear weapons into the region. In addition, Israel would be reluctant to use a WMD that could set off a regional war.
If, however, Iran is Israel's greatest existential threat ever, as Prime Minister Ehud Olmert claims it is, then even the hitherto unthinkable might be considered - even tactical nukes - when it comes to Israel's survival.
No, Israel would use full size nuclear arms against Iran. And that would be due to an imminent or launched attack on Israel itself.
It's called deterance.
There, fixed it.
This whole Israel nuke thing is probably a bunch of bull. The source of the story is Bassam Abu Sharif, former PLO press officer and senior adviser to Yasser Arafat. The creep is probably getting his jollies watching the western press hype everyone into a frenzy of worry.
Is the Pope German?........
Israel will not go quietly.
If it feels threatened with extinction, and that that feeling reflects an imminent concern, I think Israel would not hesitate to use nuclear weapons against Iran.
"But would Israel use tactical nuclear weapons - if it had them - to do so?"
No they wouldn't. Because if they did that would open up Pakistan and India using them in Kashmir, South & North Korea using them. It would legitimatize the use of nukes as a preemptive measure, which means NK may get one off against the US and with a RAT congress in, we may not get to retaliate.
What Israel should do is threaten to launch a conventional attack on Irans oil terminals. The reason Iran is not getting touched is because they are hiding behind their oil. Threaten to destroy that and now see how quick China and Europe tell Iran to stop.
In addition, Israel would be reluctant to use a WMD that could MB>set off a regional war.
Regional war?!?!? YAAKOV KATZ must be on crack.
The next country that uses a nuke starts WWIII (or IV or V, take your pick of terms). And personally I don't want to get incinerated by a Russian nuke because Israel has a problem with Iran.
So what ? China has plans for us. Russia has plans for us. The USA has plans to nuke practically everyone. Making a plan is just a sign of a good staff.
Is there any sense that the US should have any input into Israel's use of nukes if US support, and potentially US blood, are much of the reason Israel is prepared to deal with response?
I don't disagree with much of what Israel does. What I disagree with is blind loyalty.
Just a thought.
I don't think Russia will launch against us in the event of an Israeli attack on Iran. $6.00 gas is much more likely. In either case I don't think Israel will consent to extermination for our benefit.
I doubt Israel will use nukes.
There's no reason for the US to shed blood to defend Israel, Israel can defend herself.
I admit to being one of those who thinks "war for oil" is legitimate. That's why we were in Kuwait and Saudi Arabia a decade ago. It wasn't about rescuing the Kuwaitis. In that context, the US has a legitimate interest in preventing a nuclear Iran, which will dominate the region and thus 60% of the worlds oil.
I think you're right. By raising the spectre of a nuclear attack, world wide opposition to any attack against Iran's nuclear facilities is raised.
I don't disagree with much of what Israel does. What I disagree with is blind loyalty.**** Israel (or any country for that matter, even if we don't like them) has a natural right to self defense.
However, if an 'ally' starts feeling froggy solely because they're counting on us to bear the brunt of any retaliation and to back them 100% what ever the situation better think again (This would go for GB or Australia too). I'm not 'going Buchanan' but dammit we are not the world's babysitter or cop. Plus, right now we're having enough trouble 'winning' against a bunch of wackos with guns. (They're almost like street gangs on steroids)
I've been watching programs on the History Channel about WWI and how it started. The current situation in the ME is eerily similar - and that ain't good.
How is Israel counting on us to bear the brunt of any retaliation?
If the survival of their country was at stake, of course the Israelis would use their nuclear weapons. The United States would do the same.
No kidding, survival is survival. Look, if any sensible and decent person was faced with a choice of themselves and their families being killed by an axe murderer, they'd be fully justified in pulling out a gun and killing the SOB. Nukes are just the national equivalent of a 12-gauge.
That being said, using them is a last resort for any sane and moral nation. Israel has other options. Of course, if the US is going to stand in the way (not by failing to cooperate, but by actually saying "no, rely on negotiations" even as Iran reaches the point of no return on getting sufficient nuclear material for a bomb), then Israel will have fewer (or no) options but to nuke Iran.
The simple fact is that Israel is the canary in the coal mine. Condor51, do you really believe that if Israel ceased to exist that the Arabs/Moslems would suddenly stop hating us? Israel is an excuse, an easy one for them. Remove it, and another excuse will pop up within an hour. We are definitely next on Iran's "needs to be nuked" list.
Execute plan "R"...
(I would have thought that it was incredible that we had plans that far down the alphabet...)
But it still was a funny film...My precious bodily fluids have been well protected since then...
I'm not so sure of that.
I think the people would have to force the government to take action.
Tar and Feather futures are looking good.
Yes. I am remembering certain Iraqi nuclear reactors that were under construction several decades ago.
This will only go so far...
Israel wants Iran to think that those 'evil Jews' just might do it.
Israel do not let military plans leak unless they want them leaked.
This shows Israel's restraint instead of an immediate military action.
Through Mutual Defense Treaties (pacts).
And that's the same way stupid WWI started - mutual defense pacts. All because a GD anarchist killed Archduke Ferdinand and Serbia wouldn't turn the maggot over. And then WWII with Poland and GB, etc, etc, etc.
"The next country that uses a nuke starts WWIII (or IV or V, take your pick of terms). And personally I don't want to get incinerated by a Russian nuke because Israel has a problem with Iran."
Put the bong down, Condor51.
If Israel nukes all Muslims everywhere in the Mid Ease, and the 'Stans', Russia would be happy to be rid of them.
Look at Russian history under Stalin. He spent quite a bit of time and effort killing Muslims in the Caucasus.
PS Israel's problem with Islamic terrorists today, OUR's
tomorrow - 'member 9/11?
You'd rather be incinerated by an Iranian nuke because Isreal didn't act?
(Of course, that's not terribly likely, because nearly half of this country would vote to surrender to Islam's demands rather than stand and fight for the future of mankind.)
why would Russia nuke the US to protect Iran?
In a fight for your continued existance, you don't abstractly ponder the implications that using a tool to save your life might allegedly set a precidence for some criminal to abuse a similar tool against someone else.
"Detatched reflection is not required in the presenece of an upraised knife."
I wasn't aware Russia had a mutual defense treaty with Iran.
The US definitely doesn't have one with Israel.
If true, Russia would attack Israel, what was left, not the US.
This is all pie in the sky stuff, but to the extent there's validity in your fabrication, it underlines the importance of preventing Iran from obtaining nukes.
"In a fight for your continued existance, you don't abstractly ponder the implications that using a tool to save your life might allegedly set a precidence for some criminal to abuse a similar tool against someone else."
Sure you do. Israel's existence was directly threatened this past summer by the animals who seek to destroy it. Instead of inflicting collateral damage to make a point that Israel's enemies have nowhere to hide, Israel chose to fight a war based on negative CNN coverage.
You really think with Iran having a nuke Israel would launch a preemptive strike? If that is the case, they would have done it before Iran could set in motion a defensive strategy to prevent an Israel strike.
Iran with a nuke only guarantees one thing, that Israel will be forced to fight a conventional war against Syria and the Hezzies with Iranian and European support.
A preemptive nuke strike opens up the idea of a nuclear exchange in regional conflicts.
Last summer's Israel-Hezbollah conflict could be fought over time and on CNN. However bad it turned out, Israel still viably exists.
Iran's leader has made it abundantly clear that he's building a nuke to erase Israel from the map. Should that happen, Israel won't viably exist.
It's the difference between the neighbor's kid bullying your kid, vs. the neighbor publicly promising to kill you and is now setting up rifle & bipod with a clear view into your bedroom window.
...that there will be a bright flash near Tel Aviv shortly thereafter.
Iran also promised that we were going to be non-existent. I don't see us doing too much about it.
Any thought of Iran nuking Israel is ridiculous. I would think the first reason is if Israel is nuked, the Palestinians will also be destroyed, since a nuke hitting Tel Aviv will also have a severe impact on the West Bank and Gaza.
As of yet, I don't see the Palestinians having any concerns about being wiped off the face of the earth by their sponsors.
In addition, the Jordanians, Lebanese and Syrians don't seem to be complaining about the thought that they will also lose thousands of people from radiation sickness and god knows what else.
No, Iran having a nuke just makes it easier for a conventional war because it neutralizes Israel's nuclear capabilities. And if Israel isn't willing to inflict collateral damage, then Israel will not exist, because their enemies already proven that they will attack cities.
"Get a sense of proportion."
I have a sense of proportion. If Israel isn't willing to kill the enemy 5 miles from their border, they are not going to launch a nuke and kill thousands of people to stop Iran from building a nuke. Especially if Iran puts civilians in the way?
I still contend that the only way to stop Iran is to threaten China and Europe by taking out Irans capacity to pump oil. And that can be accomplished with minimal casualties and have the most impact.
"Any thought of Iran nuking Israel is ridiculous."
And the other way around too. If they were really planning to do that, first of all they wouldn't write about It in their own newspapers.
This a very deep thought... Would you prefer to be incinerated by Iranian nukes?