The Best Way to Stop Iran from Obtaining Nuclear Weapons Is to Destroy Its Nuclear Infrastructure

In the past several weeks, a series of mysterious explosions have erupted in the Islamic Republic. At least some of them caused damage to military sites related to the Iranian nuclear program. It appears possible that these were covert attacks by Tehran’s adversaries to slow its progress toward obtaining a bomb. Considering Israel’s previous, similar efforts to stop its enemies from obtaining such arms—most notably the daring raid on Iraq’s Osirak nuclear reactor in 1981—Benny Avni writes:

“Israel’s attack on Osirak was a major mistake,” the former director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Hans Blix, told me a while back. Blix, a Swede, had then just ended his stint as top United Nations arms inspector in Iraq. While Israel’s storied Operation Opera destroyed Saddam Hussein’s atomic plant in 1981, he said, it then motivated the Iraqi strongman to renew vigorously efforts to obtain a bomb, a headache for the non-proliferation community.

There is, though, a counter argument, one that is highly relevant right now. [Namely, that Iraq never acquired a nuclear weapon]. The pursuit of a bomb by the Assad clan at Syria ended similarly, never to be rebuilt, after Israel, in 2007, bombed its nascent nuclear facility in Deir ez-Zor.

The recent explosion [at the Iranian city of] Natanz reportedly delayed the advanced centrifuge project by at least two years. The project . . . would have given Iran the ability to produce up to four bombs a year. [But] Iran might rely on the older generation of centrifuges while it tries to reinstate faster enrichment capabilities. Yet as the past attacks on Iraqi and Syrian facilities show, and contrary to Blix’s objection to non-proliferation by military means, destroyed facilities are hard to rebuild.

Read more at New York Sun

More about: Iran nuclear program, Israeli Security, Nuclear proliferation

Hizballah Is Learning Israel’s Weak Spots

On Tuesday, a Hizballah drone attack injured three people in northern Israel. The next day, another attack, targeting an IDF base, injured eighteen people, six of them seriously, in Arab al-Amshe, also in the north. This second attack involved the simultaneous use of drones carrying explosives and guided antitank missiles. In both cases, the defensive systems that performed so successfully last weekend failed to stop the drones and missiles. Ron Ben-Yishai has a straightforward explanation as to why: the Lebanon-backed terrorist group is getting better at evading Israel defenses. He explains the three basis systems used to pilot these unmanned aircraft, and their practical effects:

These systems allow drones to act similarly to fighter jets, using “dead zones”—areas not visible to radar or other optical detection—to approach targets. They fly low initially, then ascend just before crashing and detonating on the target. The terrain of southern Lebanon is particularly conducive to such attacks.

But this requires skills that the terror group has honed over months of fighting against Israel. The latest attacks involved a large drone capable of carrying over 50 kg (110 lbs.) of explosives. The terrorists have likely analyzed Israel’s alert and interception systems, recognizing that shooting down their drones requires early detection to allow sufficient time for launching interceptors.

The IDF tries to detect any incoming drones on its radar, as it had done prior to the war. Despite Hizballah’s learning curve, the IDF’s technological edge offers an advantage. However, the military must recognize that any measure it takes is quickly observed and analyzed, and even the most effective defenses can be incomplete. The terrain near the Lebanon-Israel border continues to pose a challenge, necessitating technological solutions and significant financial investment.

Read more at Ynet

More about: Hizballah, Iron Dome, Israeli Security