ISIS: “Can Military Strikes Destroy Iran’s Gas Centrifuge Program? Probably Not.”
Here is one of the best public reports yet IMO about the mechanics of striking Iran’s atomic facilities.
Update: also note “As Iran Tests Missile Fleet, Experts Map High-Tech Israeli Attack“, Popular Mechanics, 9 July 2008 — hat tip to Instapundit.
“Can Military Strikes Destroy Iran’s Gas Centrifuge Program? Probably Not.”, David Albright, Paul Brannan and Jacqueline Shire, Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS), 7 August 2008, 15 pages — Here is the link, 2.2 meg PDF. About the ISIS. Conclusion:
From the time that Iran halted the suspension of its centrifuge manufacturing efforts and its adherence to the Additional Protocol, the IAEA’s knowledge of Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing complex has degraded dramatically. U.S. and other intelligence agencies appear to have only partial information about Iran’s centrifuge complex and its ability to reconstitute its program following an attack. Iran’s decision to disperse and keep secret several of its key sites further hinders the development of a full picture of its centrifuge complex.
Considering the modular, replicable nature of centrifuge plants, we conclude that an attack on Iran’s nuclear program is unlikely to significantly degrade Iran’s ability to reconstitute its gas centrifuge program.
An emphasis on military responses to this conflict also has the effect of discouraging Iran from allowing more effective IAEA inspections, something necessary for the successful conclusion of a diplomatic solution to Iran’s nuclear program. Iran is understandably concerned that more transparency on its part could lead to the U.S. and Israeli militaries gaining better targeting information on its nuclear program.
Finally, calls for military action against Iran may have the result of increasing pressure on Iran and hesitant allies to seek a meaningful diplomatic solution. If carried out, however, military strikes would likely fail to deliver on their promises and risk leading to a general war that could spill over throughout the region. It is time to set aside the military option and concentrate instead on credible diplomatic approaches to end Iran’s growing nuclear weapons capabilities.
“Is Iranian enrichment a realistic target set?“, W. Patrick Lang (Colonel, US Army, retired), posted at his blog Sic Semper Tyrannis, 10 August 2008 — Lang validates the ISIS report.
Albright knows his business. If it is his judgment that it would be this difficult to severely damage the centrifuge enrichment program, then it is probably so.
This analysis places the putative Israeli onslaught against these facilities in sharp perspective. The Israelis lack the capability for this.
Only a full fledged US air campaign would have any chance of doing the necessary degree of damage to that complex of facilities. Such a US campaign would involve hundreds if not thousands of strike sorties plus many, many more support sorties. Then, there is the issue of whether or not available targeting intelligence is adequate for the job.
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My posts about a strike at Iran by Israel
Esp. note #2!
- Is Iran dangerous, or a paper tiger? (13 November 2007)
- Will Israel commit suicide? More rumors of a strike at Iran (22 December 2007)
- Does reading Debkafile make us smarter, or dumber? (15 June 2008)
- A new story about a possible war with Iran (21 May 2008) — About the 20 May Jerusalem Post story, originally reported by Army Radio.
- “As things look, Israel may well attack Iran soon” (3 June 2008) — About the Fischer story in the 30 May Daily Star.
- “Attacking Iran, in order to stop its nuclear plans, will be unavoidable” (8 June 2008) — War-talk by a former Defense Minster of Israel.
- Der Spiegel: “Israeli Ministers Mull Plans for Military Strike against Iran” (17 June 2008) — Rumors in Der Spiegel of a strike by Israel on Iran.
- More rumors of a strike at Iran by Israel (1 July 2008)
- Leaks about a possible strike at Iran (are there any hotter issues today?) (7 July 2008)
Here is the full archive of my posts about a possible strike at Iran by Israel or the US.