Middle East Escalation: Financial Times’ Revealing Account of Israel Risk of Ukraine-Style Air Defense Attrition; Helmer on Possible Electrical Grid Campaign

Israel has vowed to respond to Iran’s missile attack over the last weekend, despite many reports of US and its allies urging Israel to declare their defense against a very large-scale Iran missile barrage to be a victory. The US and Iran both appear united in wanting to stop further escalation. But Israel has a mind of its own, as demonstrated by its stunning attack on Iran’s embassy grounds in Damascus which initiated this crisis.

It’s possible that Israel could use a cyber attack to retaliate. But that seems unlikely given Israel’s long established policy of making hard hits back in response to assaults. It also seems unlikely given what Alastair Crooke has described as the implicit premise of Israel, that Jews in its borders would be assured of safety. That sense of security took a body blow on October 7. Israelis seem almost driven to re-establish their appearance of military potency.

The next question is whether Israel can be herded or coerced into what would amount to a negotiated attack on Iran, as in hitting targets conveyed to Tehran in advance so it could bolster defenses and get personnel and high-value equipment out of the way. There is still a possibility that Israel could engage in deception, as in communicate it would strike certain locations, then hit different ones.

Another possibility is Israel blowing up Al Aqsa mosque. That would be disproportionate and would set the entire Muslim world on fire. From a recent post at NC by Kevin Kirk:

So the Temple Institute Organization, based in Jerusalem (and supported by Henry Swieca, a wealthy New York financier), who are committed to building the 3rd Temple and restoring animal sacrifice, have swung into action and submitted an application to the Israeli police to use knives to slaughter 5 perfect red heifers as part of a purification ritual elucidated in Numbers Chapter 19 of the Bible. This ceremony, which is taking place on a specially built altar situated on the Mount of Olives opposite the Temple Mount, is set to take place in April 22nd, which is during Passover. Once the purification ceremony has been undertaken then the stage is set for the building of the Temple, leading to the coming of the Messiah and the final battle between good and evil on a hill just outside Haifa called Tel Megiddo, or, as it is called in the Bible: Armageddon.

Some Israelis are already planning their Temple Mount project. Echoes of Israel developers promoting their plans for Gaza post-Palestinians, but with vastly higher stakes:

For now, we will limit ourselves to the focus of Western concern, that of a kinetic attack on Iran. A remarkable story at the Financial Times, prominently places as a “Big Read”, Ukraine’s air defence struggle shows risks to Israel, departs radically from Anglosphere practice of heavily propagandized coverage about both the Ukraine and Gaza (and now Iran) conflict. It’s quite the twofer. It not only admits what until recently has been verboten, that Russia has seriously weakened Ukraine’s air defenses and the West can’t do much to shore them back up. It also provides a detailed description of Iran’s barrage and discusses how despite claims of success, they showed Israel vulnerability, particularly to a sustained campaign by Iran. This is not all that different from what you see in the independent media.

So why is the Financial Times making so many admissions against Western interest? It’s not as if these facts are not well known among insiders, particularly the military. My guess is this is an effort to influence Israel loyalists in political circles, particularly the US, as well as private Israel influencers, that escalating with Iran has very high odds of turning out badly for Israel. Nevertheless, it’s surprising to see so much candor while events are still in play.

Key sections:

Israel fended off hundreds of drones and missiles fired by Iran on Saturday using an enviable combination of its own sophisticated air defences and the critical support of western powers and Arab partners.

But Israel may not be able to pull off that performance and sustain crucial outside support forever — especially if the Jewish state launches a major retaliatory strike against Tehran, which would escalate regional tensions in a way that none of Israel’s allies want.

This is a remarkably stark admission, right at the top.

The article does not mention facts presented by Israel critics like Scott Ritter, who has depicted Iran’s weekend attack as “one of the greatest victories of this century.” Those commentators point out that Iran successfully hit all targets, including air defense sites even after advanced notice. As Ritter stated: “….all of Israel was vulnerable to being struck by Iran at any time, and that there was nothing Israel or its allies could do to stop such an attack.”

The Financial Times quickly starts to inject uncomfortable amounts of reality into Israel’s and its backers’ performance:

While only a handful of Iran’s missiles, and none of its cheap diesel-powered drones, made it through Israel’s multi-layered Aerial Defense Array last weekend, Tehran and its proxies are sitting on a bank of missiles and drones estimated to number in the tens of thousands.

In an all-out war, even Israeli military officials admit at least some of these would break through, especially in the face of repeated salvos fired from multiple directions by Iran-armed militants in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria and Iraq.

Such an assault, in other words, would resemble the desperate situation faced by another western ally: Ukraine…

Iran’s attack against Israel last weekend was massive, by any standard. Tehran launched about 170 drones, more than 30 cruise missiles, and some 120 ballistic missiles…

Unlike Russia’s recent attacks on Ukraine, however, nearly all the incoming Iranian missiles and drones were intercepted. That was partly achieved by Israel’s well-stocked and multi-layered air defences, built and paid for largely with US military assistance.

But it was also thanks to substantial help from a US-led coalition, and the fact that the Iranian salvo was telegraphed in advance, allowing ample time to prepare.

Note that the article does not point out that the drones were sacrificial. If they got through, terrific, but having them serve as decoys was useful to get Israel and its supporters to waste fire before the powerful missiles waves arrived.

The story later says:

Israel threw significant resources at repelling the Iranian barrage…

“Israel defended itself under ideal conditions last weekend when it faced a one-time punitive strike,” said Franz-Stefan Gady, an associate fellow at the International Institute for Strategic Studies think-tank in London.

“The real danger for Israel is that its air defences become saturated during a sustained war . . . that is, if it faces a large number of aerial attacks, over very short intervals, which eventually overwhelm every kind of air defence system,” he added. “Even Israel would then sooner or later deplete its stocks [and] it would face similar challenges as Ukraine does now.”

The piece continues with other Israel-unfavorable facts, such as West’s shortage of air defense missiles and the difficulty of solving that any time soon, and competing demands from Ukraine. The story does not mention that this retaliation was Iran’s show, with no meaningful Hezbollah or Axis of Resistance participation. In a hot conflict, they would almost certainly join up, and in a big way.

The pink paper also omits the cost of Israel’s defense, which an Israeli general put at roughly $1.1 to $1.3 billion. Nor does it mention the cost to the US and other participants, which some experts estimate brought the total cost of the response to the $2 billion range.

And there were other types of costs. From Middle East Eye in US push for a ‘Middle East Nato’ failed to emerge during Iran strikes:

Middle East Eye reported on Friday that the Gulf monarchies were shutting down US options to launch strikes against Iran in the event Washington felt the need to retaliate against Tehran’s attack on Israel. Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Oman, and Kuwait all scrutinised their basing agreements with Washington to do the bare minimum that was required and avoid being involved in direct strikes on Iranian targets.

Bilal Saab, a former US Department of Defence official, now at Chatham House, told MEE that the Gulf states’ calibrated actions underscored the limits of the Biden administration’s push for a Middle East Nato.

“When we start seeing authorisations to use Gulf airspace to launch strikes on Iranian targets, then we can start talking about a Middle East Nato. Right now, it’s the exact opposite,” he said.

But but but….what about Israel having the ultimate upper hand with its nukes? There is more here than meets the eye. From Simplicius the Thinker:

…one of the common counterarguments is that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, which ultimately trumps anything Iran can throw at them. But in reality, now that Iran has proven the ability to penetrate Israel, Iran too can cause nuclear devastation by striking the Israeli Dimona nuclear power plant. Destroyed nuclear plants would produce far more radioactive chaos than the relatively ‘clean’ modern nuclear weapons. Furthermore, Israel is much smaller than the comparatively gigantic Iran. Iran can take many nuclear hits and survive; but a single mass nuclear event in Israel could irradiate the entire country, making it uninhabitable.

Finally, John Helmer discusses the possibility of Iran following Russia’s electric war strategy with Israel if the conflict escalates. Helmer’s sources venture that due to lack of Israel preparedness, Iran could inflict a great deal of damage in short order.

By John Helmer, the longest continuously serving foreign correspondent in Russia, and the only western journalist to direct his own bureau independent of single national or commercial ties. Helmer has also been a professor of political science, and an advisor to government heads in Greece, the United States, and Asia. He is the first and only member of a US presidential administration (Jimmy Carter) to establish himself in Russia. Originally published at Dances with Bears

No Russian military source will publicly express the line that Iran’s attack on Israel of April 14 was a strategic success, despite the tactical shortcomings. This is first of all because Iran is a strategic ally of Russia in its war against the US and NATO in the Ukraine, in Syria, and in Yemen.

It is also because of what may happen next. If Israel escalates by attacking Iran and striking at the country’s infrastructure, then Iran’s counter will be to take a page out of Russia’s book and commence the one line of attack which Israel, the US and their allies cannot withstand any better than Ukraine – that’s Electric War.

For the seven months which have elapsed since Hamas began its operation against Israel on October 7, and Israel commenced its genocide against the Palestinians,  there has been no targeting by Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, or the Syrian and Iraqi groups of Israel’s highly vulnerable maritime gas platforms, gas pipelines, coal and oil-fired electricity generating plants, the coal and oil storages nearby, solar and wind power units, or the electricity grids keeping the country alight.

The Arab inhibitions and calculations are understandable. Iran’s will disappear if Israel triggers a new round of attacks.

If and when that happens, the Palestinian failure in the US and in Europe to counterattack and stop Israel financing its war through the $60 billion genocide bond issue won’t matter.  Bond holders don’t invest in blackouts.

On the published Israeli counts to date, Iran launched between 180 and 185 drones, 30 to 36 cruise missiles, and 110 to 120 ballistic missiles; click to read the calculations reported by the New York Times    and the local Israeli media.

The outcome counted by Israel’s enemies is that Israel, the US, British, French and Jordanian forces intercepted almost all of the drones and other decoys fired from Iran. Nine missiles beat the Iron Dome, Arrow,  and other ground–to-air defences,  five of them hit Nevatim air base and  four of them hit the Ramon base. Iranian officials confirm those target strikes.In a briefing on April 16, the Iranian ground force commander, Brigadier General Kioumars Haydari, added that “the attack targeted the most strategic base and surveillance site of the Israeli military at the Jabal al-Sheikh Heights on the border between the occupied Palestinian territories and Syria.”  Haydari did not mention Ramon or a Mossad facility as targeted or hit.

The case is being made by a group of retired colonels, majors,  and lieutenants publishing in the US alt-media that the 6% rate of penetration – that’s 9 divided by 140 or by 156  – make a tactical victory over the US radar and missile combinations protecting Nevatim and Ramon, and therefore a strategic success for Iran. The US protection is Site 512 in the Negev region of southern Israel.  According to one American interpretation, “the best surveillance radar in the world, working in concert with the most sophisticated anti-missile defences in the world, were impotent in the face of the Iranian attack…Who has deterrence supremacy? It ain’t Israel.”

Another American assessment goes further strategically without going as far tactically. The point of the penetrations at Nevatim and Ramon, this argument runs, was not to destroy the bases but to prove that, having beaten the US-Israeli defences this time round, the next time will be much more destructive; also, that the Israeli-American combination cannot afford the cost attrition of $1 billion spent per night to defend against larger and cheaper Iranian swarms.   A third American interpretation is that even as slight as the 6% penetration rate appears to be, the Iranians have demonstrated the military and  technological expertise to defeat the US technology on which Israeli defences are based.

A Russian military source acknowledges that “yes, several people have made this point that at least some projectiles got through at the airstrips; that the Iranians have learned from the defences and might have spotted weaknesses to exploit.” He dismisses this strategic victory as wishful thinking. “In a class room, these calculations of the pundits make sense. But up to the 10th Grade.”

A NATO veteran and expert in applying electrical engineering to war comments: “Honestly, I  don’t believe the Iranian strikes were all that effective in terms of damage done. This being said, again, they weren’t meant to be. They mostly used drones and older missiles with a few of the newer models thrown in to test, and send a message.”

“The problem for the Iranians, and anyone else in the region taking on the Israelis, is that they are facing a military machine backed by a US money printing machine propped up by a largely indifferent population. On top of that, the relative cost to the Iranians of maintaining the burn rate necessary to stifle the joint air U.S./Israeli/flunky coalition is prohibitive. Other actors will have to join in the strikes, or feed in the ammunition, for this to be a successful strategy. Past the above, if the Iranians turn to electric war strikes, things will look a lot different.”

He is repeating what the Israelis began admitting publicly last week. “A war scenario with Hezbollah presented last week by the head of the Ministry of Defense’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Brigadier General Yoram Laredo, sparked widespread concern about the level of preparedness for such an event within the energy sector. Despite the fact that state bodies should have been well-prepared long ago for such an event, mudslinging, budgetary problems, and lack of coordination and communication are rampant between various organizations. This bears great significance especially in recent days which have been marked by an unprecedented alertness over the first possible direct military clash with Iran, which has threatened to retaliate for assassinations of senior members of the Revolutionary Guards attributed to Israel.”

Source: https://www.calcalistech.com/
On February 18, 2024, Brigadier General Yoram Laredo warned: “I advise everyone to buy, among other things, a transistor radio, batteries and bottled water. We are also working on an energy solution for several cellular endpoints that will function during prolonged power outages. Medical ventilators and breathing support machines are another example of needed devices, and the Ministry of Health has already approved ways to help patients on ventilators during a prolonged power outage. Time is precious and plans must be ready.”  Laredo was addressing the possibility of an Israel Defence Forces crossing of the Litani River and an escalation of the fighting on the northern front, when Laredo thought Hezbollah might retaliate with missile attacks on Israel’s power infrastructure.

In the latest NEMA report, according to industry press summaries, “it is evident that the lessons of Ukraine have not been absorbed by Israel, with security sources citing the lack of preparedness of the Israel Electric Corporation. In addition to Russia, Iranian weapons are used by their proxy organizations including Hezbollah. Israel’s power grids are similar to those of Ukraine, Iran, and Lebanon, so its weak points have been marked by the enemy.”

“According to NEMA, in a full-scale war with Hezbollah, about 5,000 rockets, precision missiles, and suicide drones will be launched at Israel every day, targeting critical electricity infrastructure as well. The damage to this infrastructure would lead to two nationwide power outages lasting from 24 to 48 hours, for at least 60% of the country, in addition to 11 regional power outages and numerous local power outages. There would also be power outages lasting weeks and even months in some parts of the country, mainly in the north.”


Source: https://www.researchgate.net/


Source: https://crml.eelabs.technion.ac.il

For a list of Israel’s power generation sources by megawatt (MW) output, click to read.

This paper from an Israeli military think tank explains the vulnerability of these power generating plants and the transmission systems they supply. “The security of the electrical system during emergencies and a reduction in the risk of an excessive and protracted blackout are critical issues that demand national attention and response,” the Israelis claimed in June 2017. “We maintain that the current systemic responses to threats against the electrical system are inadequate in light of the unique geostrategic characteristics of the State of Israel.”

The report goes into detail on the risks and remedies for cyber attacks on the electrical system, earthquakes, tsunamis, electro-magnetic pulse. There is a brief acknowledgement of the risk of missiles and rockets, but they were not taken seriously at the time because of the political and economic costs of installing anti-air defence batteries to protect both Israel’s cities and also its power infrastructure.

The report concluded that  Israel cannot  afford to do both. “There is a need to create a parallel response of active protection for both the population and the critical infrastructure installations, such as essential electricity installations that are highly vulnerable to kinetic weapons. A consideration of the need for reasonable active defense for IDF bases, particularly for IAF airfields, makes it apparent that there is no alternative other than to increase the number of anti-missile batteries significantly and prepare for their operational deployment during emergencies, so as to provide adequate defense for the infrastructure installations within the range of these batteries as well.”

“To protect the functional continuity of the state and the capability of the IDF to maintain an ongoing offensive effort until victory has been achieved implies the protection of power stations and IAF bases before the protection of the large cities. It is possible that in the future we will be able to protect both, but currently, with the number of batteries and interceptor missiles at our disposal, we have to designate an order of priorities for the deployment of our assets. We have to make a difficult, painful, and clear-cut decision.”

That was seven years ago – the Israelis were taking no account of the development by the Iranians of drone decoys and hypersonic missiles, and of the impossibility of defending against their combination.

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  1. Louis Fyne

    Israel’s non-Arab population is under 8 million. (until recently, ultra-Orthodox were exempted from conscription).

    the public IDF-police death toll >650 per wikipedia.

    If the US experienced a similar wartime death toll, the equivalent would be 25,000 dead Americans. All in 6 months against a relatively low-tech insurgency.

    The US Vietnam War had 58,000 dead Americans over 10 years.

    Israeli social unity is going to get wrecked at this rate.

    1. i just don't like the gravy

      Israeli social unity is going to get wrecked at this rate.

      Don’t get my hopes up!

      1. Louis Fyne

        the most interesting thing is that the pro-Zion media-politicans-pundits-people are so deep in their own bubble that if/when Israel falls apart socially from the unequal distribution of bearing the costs of conscription/fighting—akin to the US in the Vietnam War—it’s going to doubly brutal to process for them.

        Wild times ahead.

    2. Ghost in the Machine

      You have to imagine that the Arab population would rise up also in the event of an attack such as described above. Chaos and blackouts would be a good time for revenge for all the past humiliations. Sabotaging repairs etc.

    3. Kevin Smith

      In WSJ a few days ago they listed off a sample the number of deaths in combat by grads from several Israeli high schools. I suppose one could gather this open-source info and extrapolate it across the Israeli educational system to derive an independent estimate of the number of combat deaths Israel has suffered so far.

    4. Pavel

      Just look at all the Israeli dual-passport holders queuing up at the airport desperate to flee the country. I assume many of them see the writing on the wall: even if their lives are not at stake (depending on where they live and other factors) life in Israel is going to become very difficult. After the genocide in Gaza we see many EU and other nations calling for boycotts, a two-state solution, and/or recognition of Palestine at the UN.

      If Israel does something like bombing the mosque, all hell will break loose.

      Greenwald just did an interview with Norman Finkelstein on his System Update podcast. I haven’t heard it yet but I have listened to “self-hating Jew” Prof Finkelstein many times over a decade or more. He apparently describes Israel as a “lunatic state” in this podcast and I think tragically that that’s a fair description.

      Be against all violence. Peace.

  2. Michaelmas

    Couple of points.

    Yves S: Note that the article does not point out that the drones were sacrificial. If they got through, terrific, but having them serve as decoys was useful to get Israel and its supporters to waste fire before the powerful missiles waves arrived.

    The drones were additionally useful for enabling the Iranians to map out Israeli air defenses and resources.

    Yves S: what about Israel having the ultimate upper hand with its nukes? … From Simplicius the Thinker: “…Destroyed nuclear plants would produce far more radioactive chaos than the relatively ‘clean’ modern nuclear weapons.”

    Don’t count on that. Modern thermonuclear weapons are frequently dial-a-yield, so Simplicius is out over his skis there. (In fact, it’s even possible that the Israelis could set some of their H-bombs to neutron bomb-type thermal blast and radiation releases, given that they had a substantial interest in neutron bombs in the 1980s-90s).

    But his point about Israel, as a small territory, being terminally vulnerable to a single nuclear event — be it from the Dimona plant — is a good one.

    1. Lefty Godot

      Striking Dimona might cause a localized radiation problem, and it would be a tactic to hamper future Israeli production on nuclear weapons. But that would still leave the Samson Option available based on existing weapons. Doesn’t Israel have a number of submarines, many of which the US built for them, that are capable of launching nuclear warhead-equipped missiles? Those, and the multiple missiles they are armed with, have to be the greatest danger to world peace and to the safety of European capitals (including Moscow and Istanbul as well as Berlin, Paris and Rome). Are those subs being shadowed by the submarines of other major powers, so that their threat can be at least partially neutralized?

      1. John Steinbach

        Israel has 5 Dolphin-class diesel-powered subs in service given them by Germany, plus another currently being fitted. In 2027-31, the first 3 Dolphin 1s will be replaced by the new, upgraded Dakar-class subs. These subs have a range of over 8,000 nautical miles & can remain submerged for up to 30 days. Each sub is capable of carrying a total of 18 torpedoes or cruise missiles. The Popeye cruise missiles have a range of about 1,000 miles and are widely believed to be equipped with 200 kiloton nukes, about 10 times larger than Nagasaki.

        1. Carolinian

          So basically they are expanding, not stepping away from, their not so secret nuclear option. Should the world decide to once again embrace a non proliferation goal the Lobby will even be standing in the way of that. Those looking forward to Arnageddon must be pleased.

      2. scott s.

        ” Doesn’t Israel have a number of submarines, many of which the US built for them, that are capable of launching nuclear warhead-equipped missiles?”

        Israel has 5 submarines, all built in Germany and partially funded by Germany. There is general agreement that tube-launched SLCM could be fitted with a nuclear warhead, but I don’t think Israel has ever confirmed that.

        “Are those subs being shadowed by the submarines of other major powers”

        Don’t think we will ever know, unless something happens. Their newest ones use AIP, making them quiet and able to stay submerged.

        1. Paradan

          The missile is called the Popeye Turbo, it’s a derivative of the AGM-142 Raptor. Range is ~900 miles. 20kt warhead, though that’s probably the least reliable data point here, just assume its anything from 20kt – 1 Mt.

          US sonar is so supposedly so good that it hears the flow of water across the subs hull, a quiet engine doesn’t matter as much. China and Russia are still playing catch up.

      3. Carolinian

        I believe Germany supplied Israel with its submarines and perhaps not that many.

        It’s all rather vague because the Israelis are waiting to announce their Doomsday weapon at the party congress. Oh sorry that was the Kubrick film–it’s all getting jumbled up. In any case didn’t Samson also die as a result of the Samson option? So it’s more of a murder/suicide thing.

        Israel getting nukes may have made some vague sense as a way station on the road to becoming a secure and normal country. But here we are all these years later and they still haven’t made peace with their neighbors. Is there any endgame in sight other than try to win through intimidation? I think the above article is correct that the American lobby merely fosters it’s own power by keeping all this going. Despite all their protestations it’s really about them, not Israel.

        1. aaron

          In any case didn’t Samson also die as a result of the Samson option? So it’s more of a murder/suicide thing.

          Literally, yes.

      4. elkern

        The problem with the Samson option is that it would doom pretty much *all* Jews on Earth to persecution which would make the Holocaust look like summer camp. Sadly, I have no confidence that the current leaders of Israel understand this – or that knowing it would prevent them from pushing that button.

  3. The Rev Kev

    The Iranians could also target water filtration plant, port facilities, airports, railway hubs, oil and gas storage sites, weapons depots, naval bases, arms manufacturers and anything else that would make Israel a viable country to support their population. Take the country back infrastructure-wise to 1947. And without that infrastructure, the IDF is reduced to a ground based force of limited means.

    1. Polar Socialist

      Or the pumping stations of the National Water Carrier of Israel, a huge canal/pipeline transferring fresh water from Sea of Galilee to the south. No irrigation, no drinking water, soon no food.

  4. ciroc

    Until Israel is a safe land for all Palestinians, none of the Israelis should live in peace. The Iranians did what they had to do.

    1. Antifa

      This. The disaster of Israel losing its deterrence over Iran, Hezbollah, and even Hamas means Israel cannot keep “redeeming” the lands of Greater Israel. Don’t forget that after the Palestinians are dead and gone, most Israelis want (or will happily accept) Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, a big chunk of Saudi Arabia, and the Sinai right up to Cairo. It doesn’t stop here.

      Losing their deterrence against their Arab neighbors currently means they have to think twice before attacking Iran or Hezbollah. But in future, it means those people can tell Israel to stop killing the Palestinians or else. This is the unbearable moment for Bibi and friends.

      Brand new equation.

      1. Brett

        That’s delusional. There are religious extremists and right wing Zionists that dream of a greater Israel incorporating ‘Judea and Samaria’ ( West Bank and Gaza) but no-one in Israel has designs on Syria, Jordan, Egypt etc. Keep the colouring between the lines please.

        1. The Rev Kev

          It should be pointed out that right now that it is the religious extremists and right-wing Zionists are running Israel and they do want a Greater Israel. I heard a Settler woman explain that a reason to have so many kids is that their numbers would be needed to occupy those lands with. But if no-one in Israel has designs on Syria, then what is the Golan heights all about? Or the Sheeba farms? Or Israeli pronouncements that they want to go into Lebanon all the way to the Litani river? Colonial regimes are by their nature expansionary.

        2. Ernesto Che

          @Brett: ever heard of the Yinon Plan? Check it out in Wikipedia, for starters. It describes exactly what @Antifa mentions.

          Coloring between the lines? Not now, or ever, when/where ShitsraHell is concerned.

  5. ISL

    I have seen many sources (including Alistair Crooke) estimate Hezbollah has 50-100k missiles and underground drone and missile factories. So why on earth would Iran have less? A variant of Russia is running out of missiles, shells, tanks? Even Hamas, under constant bombardment, seems able to churn out newer, improved versions of weapons.

    Another point these articles seldom mention is recovery times. Lead times on major transformers are up to years! usually addressed by re-routing, and demand is for a few per year. So if the grid is removed, its years to decade (assuming the new ones are not destroyed by an incoming missile). Same for destroying power plants (specifically load-sharing power plants)

    No electricity, no economy that can support the trade imbalance for food and energy to continue to oppose hostile neighbors.

  6. Louis Fyne

    daily, lowest-tier missile-drone barrages directed at seaports and the Tel Aviv airport = de facto economic blockade of Israel—as just as w/the Red Sea, commercial carriers will not go into an active war zone given the zero insurance coverage from insurers involving war.

    No imports, no exports beyond what can be carried on Israeli-flagged ships and planes (which likely will get unlimited insurance coverage from Israel).

    Just as with any western economy, there are too many soft targets to defend in a high-intensity war: see LNG port facilities, jet fuel farms. The electrical infrastructure can be ignored on the lowest rungs of the escalation ladder (and will hang over the Israeli govt like the Sword of Damocles).

  7. JonnyJames

    Very informative article but I have one small issue: “…The problem for the Iranians, and anyone else in the region taking on the Israelis, is that they are facing a military machine backed by a US money printing machine propped up by a largely indifferent population…”

    True, but I would argue the population is not indifferent, but we have very little democratic accountability. Both factions in Congress and both “candidates” for POTUS offer no choice at all: they all support funding Israeli genocide, and funding Israel. They all promise “unwavering” “ironclad” “unconditional” support for Apartheid and genocide. Democracy, rule of law and all that BS.

    A majority of US folk have wanted an immediate ceasefire for some time.
    Public opinion is ignored with impunity. As Bill Clinton said with a chuckle when he “alienated his base” by signing NAFTA, Crime Bill, Communication Act, Financial Services Moderinization Act etc. “Whadda they gonna do? Vote Republican?” The joke is on us, but most are still captivated by the mass media spectacle of Elections Inc.

    Protesters in the SF Bay Area shut down the GG bridge and shut down I 880 for hours, causing a traffic nightmare.



    1. Kouros

      The money printing machine cannot print air defense missiles at the necessary rates, not for one war of attrition, never mind two wars of attrition, and even less three wars of attrition…

  8. QABubba

    The problem with the “Temple Mount” is twofold. The Al Aqsa Mosque sits atop it. But it also has the very serious problem of no springs.
    The Temple was in the City of David, which lies below the “Temple Mount” and has springs to wash away the sacrificial blood. Archeological evidence from underground excavations point very strongly to this as the original site.
    There is no way the Zionists will construct the new Temple below the “Temple Mount.” Especially after having built their whole Zionist project on the foundations of a Roman fort.
    A major conundrum.

    1. Kouros

      The picture was something else: the bronze age barbarians want to replace the magnificent cupola of Al Aqsa with a bronze age hideous structure, resembling a bit Speer’s and Mussolini’s structures…

  9. Feral Finster

    Only one of Israel’s allies matter, and that is the United States. Moreover, Israel doesn’t care what the United States wants, only with what it can be leveraged into doing.

    1. JonnyJames

      On the other hand, Israelis can be sacrificed if any escalation occurs, they will suffer the damage and mass death. The US enjoys “splendid isolation”. Also, many believe that it is not in the US “national interest” to support Israel. That much seems obvious, but not to the ruling oligarchy – they all benefit from US foreign policy. The “national interest” is to transfer trillions more into the MICIMATT – that alone is a powerful incentive.

      Also, Israel, as an arm of Western Imperialism, furthers the geostrategic interests of the US/UK by preventing Russian and Chinese interests from taking hold in the region. Palestine, Iran and the general region has been a highly coveted strategic area for millennia, and no different today.

      Blocking Belt and Road (and pipelines) is key to preventing the global majority from circumventing the stranglehold of sea lanes and global commerce that the US and vassals largely control. (See Halford Mackinder, Zbig B., Henry K. etc.) It seems many forget about the larger geostrategic position of Israel and Israel’s usefulness to the US’s desperate attempts to maintain global hegemony. But this too shall fail, the empire is on the decline and time is not on Israel’s (or the US/UK) side.

      1. Feral Finster

        Saddam would have been delighted to have been able to sell oil freely for dollars on global markets and then recycled those dollars into T bills and shiny new western toys.

        For that matter, Syria was not only cooperative during the GWOT, they did some of dirty work that was too dirty even for the CIA.

        There was no reason, viewed in light of American interests to turn either of these countries into failed states. But that is what we did, to Israeli cheers.

        1. JonnyJames

          Israelis can cheer all they want, but they will be the ones who suffer, and they already are.

          But that’s just it: what are “American interests”? This aint no democracy, it’s the interests of the oligarchy. Blaming everything on Israel is far too simplistic, and once again, the larger geostrategic picture is ignored. Mackinder, Zbig and Henry K. were imperialists, but they were not stupid.

          1. Feral Finster

            Israel certainly did not suffer as a result of our wars on Iraq or Syria.

            For that matter, they are betting that Iran will suffer more than they will. Just as Israel’s slights since October 7 can in no way be compared with those injuries inflicted in Gaza.

      2. WJ

        “not to the ruling oligarchy”

        True. Although should be noted that supporting Israel is not required for the MIC to keep churning out its profits. We have Ukraine/Russia and China waiting in the wings. Billions to be spent in preparation for some major Asian confrontation down the line.

        I do think that AIPAC’s complete control of both parties, at both the House and the Senate level, combined with Zionist money backing major media organs in the US, are chiefly the cause of our Israel policy. It is the lobbyist control of elected officials through donation and/or blackmail operations.

        You can tell there’s a split developing here among the elite. Mearsheimer has long held that it is better for US to focus on China, and Tucker Carlson’s recent expose of Israelis murdering Palestinian Christians is probably in part cynically driven by his own desire to extricate the US from Israel’s clutches so that it can focus on China.

        In other words, I believe there is a real split between the Anglo-WASP elite and the Zionist Jewish and Evangelical-elite on this issue, with the former becoming increasingly impatient with the latter’s dominance since the late 1990s. Not sure there’s a good guy here. But the division is to my mind interesting and important to note.

        1. JonnyJames

          It’s a bit frustrating that many of my points above were ignored.

          Chicken and Egg: who is at fault if The Lobby has disproportionate control over ME foreign policy? Why do the US oligarchy support Israel policy as well? Who is to blame that unlimited political bribery is now formalized and legal? Again blaming all this only on “Zionists’ or neocons fails to explain the situation fully.

          Like all empires, the US will destroy it’s own power through internal rot and corruption, blaming Israel is far too convenient and comforting for those who want to blame anyone but Americans.

          But as we write, Congress crooks are looking to give away MORE billions to the MICIMATT. Israel and Ukraine policy is extra gravy on top for them.

          Focus on China, Pivot to Asia, Containment etc. is already baked in. The DT and JB regimes have already named China as the #1 enemy. The nuclear forces modernization package is already policy, which amounts to several trillion.

          China must be prevented from influence in the ME region. Belt and Road must be blocked, any pipelines that are not controlled by the West, must be blocked. (Nordstream might be a good example).

          1. Donald

            I see this argument a lot. Yes, the US is an imperial power and would be engaged in ugly imperial activity if Israel never existed. Our government does not work for most Americans.

            But there is an Israel Lobby and they do bend Mideast policy in their direction. The settlements do no good for “ American interests” even defined as American imperial interests.

            Tom Friedman is a useful barometer for what US imperial interests are. He wants a U.S. led alliance between Israel and various Arab monarchies and dictatorships against Iran, and Bibi and his rightwing fanatics are making that difficult because the Arab governments fear their own populations and their hatred of Israel’ actions. Friedman wants some sort of Palestinian state firmly under our thumb so we can say that issue is settled. He doesn’t care about Palestinians except as a PR problem, but Netanyahu is in the way.

            And the Lobby stands in the way of putting pressure on Israel.

            Or put it another way— imperialists don’t all favor exactly the same brand of imperialism and different factions will fight it ou

  10. Susan the other

    This is such incredible information. It is the admission, after all the Cold War supremacist delusions, that human infrastructure is so ultimately fragile as to make war not just one big nemesis, but completely absurd. So can admissions about our obligation to the planet and each other be far behind? Will the failure of a kinetic war mindset lead us to logically realize that we can no longer neglect the everyday maintenance of our existence? Will we look at it straight on now? A psychological second coming.

  11. Morongobill

    The reddest of red lines to the whole Islamic World is Al-Aqsa. Considering the makeup of the Netanyahu coalition, I doubt any serious attempt will be made to stop any settler actions against that Holy Site.

    I believe an attempt will be made to destroy Al-Aqsa.

      1. Revenant

        I agree (see my comment of a few days ago). 22nd April is the date set for the purification ritual, after which the now-purified Zionists can enter Temple Mount.

        The question is, will it be a spectacular (blowing it to [somebody’s] Kingdom come)? Or will it be an exercise in controlled tension, to divert media attention from Israel’s unique twofer of genocide and geopolitical suicide? An endless fight card of settler/Waqf showdowns, West Bank uprisings, civilian slaughter, on a blood rinse-and-repeat, with the ultimate aimof provoking Iran and/or other neighbours and dragging Uncle Sam into the fight or legitimising an Israeli nuclear strike on Iran….

        I think the latter. Blowing up the mosque is a fait accompli, the Islamic countries are reduced to sanctions and arguing over the rubble. It might be hard to justify attacking Israeli militarily when it would politically be a pariah. Whereas fomenting tension is Netanyahu’s modus operandi and it is clear that Israel has no security unless it is provably under America’s nuclear umbrella. Iran (taking its word in good faith) has no nuclear weapons ergo Israeli would regain escalation dominance. Russia and China would not risk WW3 for Iran but the cleavage between the BRICS and the West would be complete. The west will end up in quasi wartime rationing of commodities and consumer goods because we will have repudiated our suppliers (rather than had their shipments interdicted).

        Stock up while you can!

        1. paul

          Dates are set, they pass, believers and skeptics will remain unchanged.

          The problem is the invested think they have an endless line of credit.

        2. hemeantwell

          From Frederic Lordon at NLR Sidecar a couple days ago. “Ideological perdition” is wonderful: if you want an eschatology, then go to hell:

          Yet all the denials and symbolic compromises, all the intimidation and censorship, will do nothing to stem the relentless surge of reality from Gaza. What the camp of unconditional support for Israel is supporting, and at what cost, is something that it is evidently no longer capable of seeing. For everyone who has not completely lost their senses, and looks on in horror, the ideological perdition – between biological racialism and messianic eschatology – into which the Israel government is sinking is bottomless.

      2. Uncle Doug

        I wish the notion were hair-on-fire crazy. I’m pretty sure it’s not.

        And I think Morongobill is right: The folks currently running Israel probably wouldn’t try very hard to prevent that mother of all provocations.

      3. Candide

        The depth and dedication Miko Peled has brought to the struggle for equality in Israel/Palestine has repeatedly included serious warnings of the plans to destroy Al Aqsa.
        Now that Iran’s drone and missile test has demonstrated to military analysts that new limits have emerged, we’ll see if reality can catch up with fanaticism.

    1. dandyandy

      When parties act as rabid beasts, then they have to be put down as rabid beasts.

      Ain’t no game of chicken this no more.

    2. Susan the other

      Maybe some new genre of false flag – the intra nationalist false flag. Nutcases like Netanyahu and his ilk – even inkier than Bibi – could be conjured and staged to blow up Al Aqsa. But at what price? And the ultimate discount rate – bedrock sanity – might win out. Because, wtf, what the hell are we doing?? I don’t think that even the ultimate-venal oligarchs are that evil. Or, should I call it stupid… yes, stupid.

      1. Ael

        Good point. Israel now has plenty of Iranian missile debris.
        What are the chance that the next time that Iran strikes Israel,
        some “Iranian” missile will “miss target” and blow up Al Aqsa?

        The Israeli government could then rebuild it as a “shared” use religious facility like the Tomb of the Patriarchs

        1. paul

          Optimistic,but unlikely.

          The site has been contentiously shared already for at least 70 years.

          Ayhodya in India has been lately (30 years or so) in contention and hindutva feeling is even stronger.

      2. paul

        I think you (one has to) have to accept that possibility.

        Sunk cost + what you might lose <= (everything going your way +) -( dead people you never cared about)

        looks like what early american authors called a 'rheumy idea'd bet'.

  12. Ashburn

    Certainly any new attack on Iran from Israel would be seen as having Washington’s approval by Iran and most of the rest of the world. Would it not be much easier for Iran to simply close the Strait of Hormuz to all oil shipping, even for just a month? Watching oil prices spike, even temporarily, would do wonders to focus the minds of the American people, as well as our politicians, (not to mention the Japanese and Europeans) to the costs of continuing to support Israeli aggression and genocide. This also has the advantage on not being a direct attack on either Israel or the US.

      1. paul

        While I think that kubrick was a very talented person,
        he was no sage,
        he was no comedic,
        he was no real critic,

        he was part of the problem.

        If you watch the last,tortured, pile of shit that was his tom cruise movie, he understood that

        Of course, that is just my opinion.

  13. elkern

    I wonder how the people of Jordan feel about their government shooting down drones attacking Israel? And the continuing ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from Gaza and the West Bank? And the defunding of UNRWA (which runs camps in Jordan housing 370,000 Palestinian refugees!)?

    Jordan has been remarkably stable for decades, despite its huge refugee population. That will presumably continue, until it doesn’t.

    Also, the Hashemite King (of Jordan) is still technically the “Custodian” of the Al Aqsa Mosque (and various other Muslim and Christian holy sites in the West Bank). Israel presumably considers King Abdullah II to be a reliable “ally”, but nobody likes being a puppet, especially to a Master (Bibi) who is so blatantly incapable of respect for others.

    I don’t claim to know what will happen in Jordan, but I’m betting on some kind of surprises there within the next year.

  14. Uncle Doug

    Hmm. Sy Hersh says, today:

    . . . [I]t’s time now to applaud the brilliance of the Pentagon planning staff and the operational officers who did what America assured Iran’s religious and military leadership it could do: allow Iran to respond to yet another Israeli assassination by flinging more than three hundred drones and missiles toward Israeli targets that as many as possible would be shot out of the sky before hitting ground there. It was a huge gamble, and it paid off.

    The Pentagon was essentially resisting—a word I choose to use—the foreign policy of the Biden White House and NATO by secretly approaching one of Iran’s closest allies—Russia—and persuading a senior general there to reassure Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran’s 84-year-old supreme leader, that America had the know-how to make the strategy succeed.

    Hersh says this was a Pentagon scheme that was sold to the White House and to Iran. I’m a long-time fan of his, but claims like this should probably be considered with . . . umm . . . caution.

    1. JCC

      My understanding of Hersh’s article was that the White House was not informed of the plan beforehand and knew nothing about it until it was a done deal. Considering the White House and Dem’s “unqualified support” for anything and everything the Israelis are doing, that made sense to me.

      Also, considering how well the Iranian move was telegraphed, what he states in his article is plausible, even if taken with a grain of salt.

      Hersh’s article is worth taking the time to read. .

  15. Willow

    April 22nd only a few days away, so we should know how much merd is going to hit the fan. Markets could be very interesting opening next week.

    1. SocalJimObjects

      The stock market looks 6 months ahead, and so far it’s full speed ahead with some bumps along the way /sarc.

      The likes of Bill Ackman, etc would have sold heavily if a big crash is coming, there’s supporting Israel and the US and then there’s the matter of their bank accounts.

      I expect a series of escalations with no climax, with each side getting close to the red line but not crossing it.

  16. ilsm

    US and several years of Arab royals have not bombed Houthis with any effect.

    What could Israel with US tankers and intel do to Iran?

    The retaliation talk is lame, as lame as the best air and missile defenses US dollars can buy have proved in Ukraine and now Israel.

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