If the Bidenites have their way, and the U.S. returns to the 2015 Iran deal, lifting all sanctions on the Islamic Republic, the malign regime in Tehran will potentially have a windfall of more than a hundred billion dollars, much of which it can plow into its nuclear program. Iran is a vast country, with many possibilities for hiding nuclear facilities, including places it has already built some 50 meters underground. The IDF understands that if it were to attack Iran, trying in one fell swoop to destroy its nuclear program, it might manage – just – to do so, but the immediate response of Iran’s army, and that of its ally Hezbollah, would also bring terrific destruction to Israel. The IDF chief Aviv Kochavi has pledged that Israel will never let Iran get nuclear weapons, but he is also well aware of the enormous price Israel would have to pay – militarily and diplomatically – if it were to launch a massive first strike. While Israel managed to destroy much of a centrifuge plant built 50 meters underground at Natanz, it’s not known if it has a MOP (Massive Ordnance Projectile), commonly known as a bunker-buster, large enough to destroy a nuclear facility built even deeper underground, or inside the mountain at Fordow; Israel will not be ready to carry out such an attack until the U.S. agrees, as part of guaranteeing Israel’s QME, or Qualitative Military Edge, to supply such weapons.
So far the job of slowing down Iran’s nuclear program has been entrusted by the Israeli government to the Mossad. There have been many successes and no known failures (if there had been, Iran would have been crowing about them) of the Agency. Now it seems that both Mossad and the IDF, pleased with Israel’s success so far, are planning to keep on keeping on, with the Mossad continuing to deliver the death of a thousand cuts. The story is here: “Report: IDF, Mossad Push Plan for Multiple Small-Scale Operations Against Iran Nuclear Program,” by Benjamin Kerstein, Algemeiner, July 21, 2021:
Israel is examining possible changes to its operational plans against the Iranian nuclear program in order to contend with a US reentry to the 2015 nuclear deal.
According to Walla [an Israeli news website], the IDF and the Mossad have emphasized to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and the government generally that while it is necessary to prepare for the possibility of an Israeli air strike on Iran’s nuclear infrastructure, such an approach would be greatly complicated by a renewed nuclear deal.
One source in the security establishment told Walla that if Iran cuts a new deal with the US, “It’ll be a problem to bomb from the air.”
It’s unclear what this statement means. Does it refer to the possibility that if the US and Iran return to the 2015 deal, Washington would be less willing to supply Israel with bunker buster bombs? Or is it something else, perhaps an attempt by the Bidenites to place a limit on Israel’s use of American F-35s, limiting their use in offensive operations? Could it be a reference to Zbigniew Brzezinski’s infamous advice to Barack Obama, that if Israel launched an aerial attack against Iran, the Americans in Iraq should shoot the Israeli planes down so as to prevent a full-scale war in the Middle East that might endanger oil supplies? Or is it something else entirely? I leave it up to you to decide.
Moreover, the IDF has told Bennett that its latest assessment has found that the IDF is still not at full readiness for a major conflict with Iran.
This admission could refer to many things. It might mean that Israel does not have the bunker busters it will need to destroy key nuclear facilities that Iran is building deep underground, as well as inside a mountain. It may mean that for now Israel lacks the ability to defend against the 150,000 rockets, some of them precision-guided missiles, that Hezbollah has at the ready in Lebanon, and would certainly launch them into the Galilee were Israel to bomb Hezbollah’s backer, Iran. In the recent war with Hamas, Israel’s Iron Dome missile defense system did manage to intercept 90% of the hundreds of rockets launched each day from Gaza, but Hezbollah has more than ten times the number of missiles, 150,000 as compared to the 14,500 that Hamas had at the beginning of the recent war. If Hezbollah were to launch, say, not hundreds, but five thousand rockets every day for a month, Israel’s Iron Dome batteries would be completely depleted within the first week. What does Israel then do to stop the remaining Hezbollah rockets from smashing into all of northern Israel? Meanwhile, there will be other rockets launched at Israel from both Hezbollah and Iranian units based in Syria. And most worrisome of all, Iran itself will be able to send long-range ballistic missiles (that the 2015 deal does not cover), such as the Khorramshar (which can travel 3,000 kilometers), into Israel. Right now Israel still has much to do before it will be in any condition to take on Iran in a direct conflict. It needs to improve its laser anti-missile system, and either to manufacture itself, or to persuade the Americans to supply, bunker-buster bombs of sufficient size to destroy targets hundreds of feet underground or inside a mountain.
Given all this, the IDF and the Mossad stressed that Israel should develop multiple operational plans, which could be put into operation whether the US signs a new deal with Iran or not….
IDF sources said that further operations are already in the planning stages, saying, “There are big plans and small plans.”…
A “big plan” would be for something like the Stuxnet computer worm that in 2010 caused more than 1,000 centrifuges to speed up so fast they destroyed themselves, or like the two different acts of sabotage, one in 2020 and another in 2021, on two centrifuge plants at Natanz, both of which destroyed many thousands of the centrifuges on which Iran relied to enrich its uranium.
A “small plan” would be the assassination of a nuclear scientist – Israel has so far managed to “neutralize” at least five of Iran’s top scientists, including the most important one of all, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, taken out of commission in 2020.” Another “small plan” would be halting Iranian delivery of precision-guided missiles to Hezbollah.
The purpose of the operations is not solely military, but also to “humiliate the Iranians” and harm their morale, giving them the feeling that they are under siege by Israeli operations they are powerless to stop.
The “small plans” would include the many attacks Israel has been carrying out against Iran’s power plants, petrochemical plants, missile sites. These attacks all over Iran have clearly rattled the Iranians, who understand that this is Mossad’s handiwork, that they can neither stop, nor have they been able to catch a single Israeli agent. These attacks become known to the Iranian public, that now realizes that for all its talking tough, the regime in Iran can do nothing about these attacks. Another way Israel has managed to shake up the Iranians are several cyberwar attacks in July 2021 on the computers that run the National Transportation Ministry, bringing “complete chaos” to the national rail system, as well as the computer attack that brought “total disarray” to the Shahid Rajaee terminal, near the Iranian coastal city of Bandar Abbas, which led to enormous backups both of ships in the port and of trucks loaded with produce that were lined up for miles at the terminal, waiting to be taken on board.
Think of everything the Israelis have done with their “death of a thousand cuts” campaign: the Stuxnet computer worm in 2010 destroyed more than 1,000 centrifuges; forever after the Iranians have been deeply worried about the vulnerability of their computers to similar Mossad mischief. Then, between 2010 and 2012, in four acts of derring-do, in the midst of Tehran traffic Mossad agents managed to assassinate, one by one, four top nuclear scientists. In 2018, 20 agents working for Mossad located where Iran had hidden its entire nuclear archive. Within seven hours the Israelis (and no doubt some Iranians were also in the mix) managed to blast open 32 steel doors, found 100,000 documents, went quickly through them, selected those deemed most important, and scanned them to Mossad headquarters in Israel (a precautionary measure taken in case the agents were caught before the archive could be spirited out of the country). Then there was the sabotaging of the centrifuge plant at Natanz in 2020 with a mysterious explosion, and in 2021, there was a different act of sabotage, the result of cutting all the power to the centrifuge plant that Iran had just completed at Natanz, and that the Iranians had assumed would be secure because it was built 50 meters underground. They were wrong.
That’s by land. By sea, Israel has attacked at least a dozen Iranian ships carrying oil and weapons to Syria. Israeli commandos have also attacked an Iranian intelligence ship, the Saviz, in the Red Sea, by attaching a limpet mine that caused major damage. Iran has managed to attack the Tyndall, a cargo vessel in the Indian Ocean that it wrongly believed was Israeli-owned; it had been sold to other owners the month before the attack. One more Iranian fiasco.
The IDF and Mossad have agreed that for now, on the Iranian front, Mossad agents will do the heavy lifting. They will not only continue to attack every aspect they can of Iran’s nuclear program, but concomitantly will attack non-nuclear assets, including power and petrochemical plants, as it has been doing since 2019. Israel will not try to land a knockout blow when it knows it lacks the wherewithal and may still require certain weapons from the Americans – though the IDF will be training for such a future attack — but will continue to batter the Iranians with “small plans and big plans.” The Iranians, already rattled, will be reeling from blow after after Israeli blow. The attacks will be carefully calibrated so that they do not trigger a major response from Iran. So far, despite the many attacks Israel has carried out against Iran, the Islamic Republic has yet to lay a hand on the Israelis, except for two drone or missile attacks on Israeli vessels that caused minimal damage. And not a single Israeli agent has been caught by the Iranians.
The Death-Of-A-Thousand Cuts seems to be working. Or as they used to say in Scotland: Many a little makes a muckle. Mossad is about to bring the Islamic Republic a world of woe.