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Was Israel’s Latest ‘Air’ Attack on Syria from a Submarine?

10:40 AM, Jul 20, 2013 • By TOM GROSS
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Israel believes that a nuclear Shia Islamic regime in Tehran will not only prove to be a threat to the entire region and beyond, but it will almost certainly result in nuclear proliferation among the Sunni powers such as Saudi Arabia (who could simply buy a nuclear arsenal from fellow Sunni Pakistan) and Egypt, states which are liable to become far less stable in future. (Israel is believed to have had nuclear weapons for the last 50 years but it has never threatened to use them – or even acknowledged their existence – and it is only the specter of Iran gaining them that now so worries the Arab states.)

American and European diplomats I have spoken to recently seem to have concluded that America doesn’t have the willingness to stop Iran from going nuclear, and Israel doesn’t have the means.

They have not taken on board the full range of Israel’s ability to attack Iranian nuclear installations. The Israeli air force has limited flight range while carrying heavy payloads, but submarines can place themselves much closer to Iranian nuclear installations. Iran has sonar capabilities, and has devoted considerable resources to confronting both surface and underwater naval threats, yet it remains vulnerable to both. It is much harder to track the movement of submarines than it is of aircraft.

Combine this with the sophisticated electronic measures Israel is known to have mastered, for example, the use of EMP (electromagnetic pulses) and malicious computer code introduced into critical infrastructure, and possible special forces operations launched remotely, and it appears Iran and the West have more than an Israeli air strike to consider.

An EMP of the kind Israel has developed, for example, can be emitted from installations the size of a suitcase smuggled into Iran by land and used to disable specific buildings or target specific offices – for example, the office of the Iranian defense minister, to make it impossible for him to communicate by phone or computer with the outside world for a period of time.

It is still not too late for the Iranian regime to stand down or for the West to ratchet up sanctions to make them do so. If Iran does back down it may be a result of a realization that Israeli capacity to attack and stop them is far greater than might at first be apparent.

Tom Gross is a former Mideast correspondent for the Sunday Telegraph.

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