Would military action stop Iran developing a nuclear bomb?

#1
here
BBC news said:
Iran: Can a military strike work?
Gordon Corera
Security correspondent, BBC News

The US has not ruled out the use of force against Iran
A new report from a respected British nuclear weapons scientist warns that a military strike on Iran could speed up rather than slow down Iran's production of a nuclear bomb.


It claims it would bolster domestic support and increase the country's willingness to use all means possible to attain a weapon.

In his report, Frank Barnaby argues that an attack might not destroy all of the nuclear programme. In its wake, it would be much more feasible for Tehran's political leadership to pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and launch a crash programme, devoting maximum resources to developing one or two bombs as quickly as possible.

This, it is argued, means that a nuclear-armed Iran might end up occurring sooner rather than later as a result of military intervention.
The Iranian government denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and insists its interest in nuclear technology is for peaceful purposes only.

The UN atomic watchdog, the IAEA, has been unable to either rule out or confirm a weapons programme based on what it has seen. But international proliferation experts generally agree that Iran is, at the very least, seeking to develop technology which could quickly be diverted towards weapons if required.

Learning lessons

The US has examined the possibility of military strikes on other countries' nuclear facilities in the past.

It came closest in 1994, when a White House meeting discussing whether to strike North Korea was interrupted by news of a possible deal over the country's nuclear programme.

The option of military strikes against Pakistan's Kahuta plant were also examined in the late 1970s but ruled out because the chances of success were rated too low when compared to the consequences of going ahead.
In June 1981, eight Israeli fighter jets took only 90 seconds to destroy Iraq's Osirak reactor in an audacious bombing raid. It is sometimes cited as a precedent for a US or Israeli (or joint) attack on Iran, but is it really a useful parallel?

In that case, Israel had come to the conclusion that the US and the international community were not willing to take sufficient action after Iraq purchased a reactor from France. Once it became clear that diplomatic pressure and covert methods had failed to stop Iraq - and also that an attack by commandos was too difficult - Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered an aerial assault.

But did the Osirak raid stop - or even significantly slow down - the Iraqi nuclear programme?

The evidence is not conclusive. In terms of intent, the raid did not stop Saddam Hussein, it only forced him to change tactics for achieving his goal of a nuclear bomb and also intensify his work.

Increased determination

In the wake of the Israeli raid, Saddam Hussein personally summoned an experienced British-educated scientist Dr Jafar Dhia Jafar from jail. "He told me we must develop a deterrent," Dr Jafar recalled in an interview with me shortly after he fled Baghdad in 2003.

It was in the wake of the raid that Saddam Hussein moved far more definitively towards an active weapons programme rather than a latent programme which could be diverted towards weapons at a later stage.
The number of scientists increased from 400 to 7,000 and Saddam Hussein poured far more resources into the programme - something like $10bn over the coming years. He was also far more careful in hiding the programme from the outside world.

The result was that when inspectors scoured Iraq after the 1991 war they found that it had made much more progress than anyone had realised (although what many failed to spot, according to Dr Jafar, was that in 1991 Saddam gave orders to destroy the programme).

Iran - and other countries - have also learnt from the Osirak raid by dispersing their nuclear research over a number of sites and by building plants such as Natanz deep underground covered by layer upon layer of earth and concrete, making the effectiveness of even bunker-busting bombs questionable.

There are also far more sites in Iran now than there were in Iraq back in 1981 and there are real questions over whether US and Israel can be confident enough that their intelligence has sight of all of the programme. Because of the way in which states learnt from the Israeli raid on Osirak, that strike may well be a one-off in terms of effectiveness which cannot be easily replicated.

Tough choices

So a strike against Iran would risk leaving more of the programme and knowledge intact than was the case in 1981 but could have the same political impact in terms of increasing the determination to develop nuclear technology as fast as possible. Of course, much would depend on the intensity of the strike - but a prolonged strike might lead to many more civilian casualties and a much greater international backlash.
But what is less fully analysed or debated are the consequences of failing to act and of Iran actually developing a nuclear arsenal (if indeed that is what it is seeking).

Even if traditional deterrence made it unlikely that Iran would use the weapon, it could embolden Iranian behaviour across the region, directed not just against Israel through allies like Hezbollah but also against other states in the Gulf.

In turn it would almost certainly lead other Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and Egypt at the very least to consider whether they too required a nuclear option.

If the choice was between the status quo and military action then there would be no real need for a debate but, in the minds of many experts and policymakers, that is not the choice that is being faced.
 
#2
Damned if you do and damned if you don't.

Shame Bush doesn't give a fcuk.

Or a damn.
 
#4
I see it as basically America have no choice, once they get the bomb. They can wipe out any place out they feel like. I feel military action from America can only stop them. The sactions arnt working. If Britain decides to join America, Britain couldnt afford and it would turn out as a mess. It would also step up exterisim for more attacks on Britain and America. Its a very hard situation. No one will be a winner.
 
#5
Romeo_47 said:
I see it as basically America have no choice, once they get the bomb. They can wipe out any place out they feel like. I feel military action from America can only stop them. The sactions arnt working. If Britain decides to join America, Britain couldnt afford and it would turn out as a mess. It would also step up exterisim for more attacks on Britain and America. Its a very hard situation. No one will be a winner.
I thought sanctions hadn't begun yet. Are we not still at the trying to negotiate stage, with the threat of sanctions if no solution can be found, and military action remaining on the table?
 
#6
MrNurse said:
Romeo_47 said:
I see it as basically America have no choice, once they get the bomb. They can wipe out any place out they feel like. I feel military action from America can only stop them. The sactions arnt working. If Britain decides to join America, Britain couldnt afford and it would turn out as a mess. It would also step up exterisim for more attacks on Britain and America. Its a very hard situation. No one will be a winner.
I thought sanctions hadn't begun yet. Are we not still at the trying to negotiate stage, with the threat of sanctions if no solution can be found, and military action remaining on the table?
I had thought they had put santions on? Thats what i had read somewhere.
 
#7
Intersting bloke on BBC R4 this am:


The Oxford Research Group says military strikes against Iran could speed up the country's development of nuclear weapons. We speak to the author of the group's most recent study Dr Frank Barnaby.

Hear him again (and again)
His reasoning seems pretty sound to me. When has any nation been more motivated to innovate, than when it faces a serious military threat, or is in the middle of a war? It worked for Oppenheimer.

Also made the point that - at this time - Iran is prob'ly about 5yrs way from nukes as a viable wpn system.

So - plenty of time for diplomacy (if only Dubya knew what the word meant)
 
#8
I hope you don't mind a random civilian, attracted by the quality of debate here from joining in.

Is it possible, that the whole Iran WMD thing, like the whole Iraq WMD thing is just a propaganda exercise to garner support for something they want to do anyway?

It seems much more likely to me that the US wants to smash Iran up a bit because it can't think of any more sensible way to redress the huge strategic gift it gave Tehran by invading Iraq and handing it over to various more or less Iran-linked Shia groups.
 
#9
Romeo_47 said:
MrNurse said:
Romeo_47 said:
I see it as basically America have no choice, once they get the bomb. They can wipe out any place out they feel like. I feel military action from America can only stop them. The sactions arnt working. If Britain decides to join America, Britain couldnt afford and it would turn out as a mess. It would also step up exterisim for more attacks on Britain and America. Its a very hard situation. No one will be a winner.
I thought sanctions hadn't begun yet. Are we not still at the trying to negotiate stage, with the threat of sanctions if no solution can be found, and military action remaining on the table?
I had thought they had put santions on? Thats what i had read somewhere.
There have been a degree of sanctions on Iran for sometime now. However they are nothing in comparison to those placed on N Korea, as an example.

I heard the article that Stonker refers to as well. Well thought out with pragmatic views being put across.

Thing is I can't see how USA can really do anything. Russia and Iran are starting to get on pretty well. China is already Iran's main oil recipient and Japan also gets a large proportion of its oil from Iran.

The latter two nations would be more than a little pissed off if their oil supply is disrupted. It translates in old speak to mean a serious threat to their national interests and security.

That means USA would lay itself open to economic sanctions and that could be crippling if China plays hardball.

I only hope that Dubya is smart enough to speak to his advisors and for once, listen to them. The consequences would be too much for USA's economy which is teetering on the brink of recession as it is. :frown:
 
#10
Caractacus said:
I hope you don't mind a random civilian, attracted by the quality of debate here from joining in.

Is it possible, that the whole Iran WMD thing, like the whole Iraq WMD thing is just a propaganda exercise to garner support for something they want to do anyway?

It seems much more likely to me that the US wants to smash Iran up a bit because it can't think of any more sensible way to redress the huge strategic gift it gave Tehran by invading Iraq and handing it over to various more or less Iran-linked Shia groups.
It probably is mainly posturing by both sides. If Iran does have a purely civil program it's not helping it's case by preventing inspections. That was the same mistake Saddam made. But Dubya isn't helping by being stupid and backing them into a corner. If he doe's attack them, the chances are that the attack will not be able to seriously affect production but they'll turn round and work on nukes because they've already been damned for them.
 
#11
Caractacus said:
I hope you don't mind a random civilian, attracted by the quality of debate here from joining in.

Is it possible, that the whole Iran WMD thing, like the whole Iraq WMD thing is just a propaganda exercise to garner support for something they want to do anyway?

It seems much more likely to me that the US wants to smash Iran up a bit because it can't think of any more sensible way to redress the huge strategic gift it gave Tehran by invading Iraq and handing it over to various more or less Iran-linked Shia groups.
There probably is a bit of that but remember as well you are talking about a Christian (fundamentalist? - my view, yes) power that has deep suspicion of what it still sees as a radical source of terrorism, of an ideology it doesn't understand or like and worse a source of oil it can't touch! + they never have got over that embassy fiasco in Carter's time.

Remeber as well Iraq is a strategic interest of the USA -an oil source it can tap for the future. What happens when the next door neighbour builds the bomb? That interest is under threat and therefore the USA will push v v hard for that threat to be neutralised, one way or the other. As I said for the reasons in my last post, it has to be awfully careful how it does this.
 
#12
Sure, but it's pretty obvious that short of invading and occupying, which they're not in a position to do, they can't actually stop Iran from building a bomb, something that their military people must have made very clear. So if they're still thinking of doing it, it must be for some other reason. The combination of strategic interests, vengefulness and the desire to 'turn around' the horrible mess they've made in Iraq might add up to a motive.
 
#13
I have said this before, what would be the point in Iran making a nuclear weapon then using it. Because as soon as they launched or even prepared to launch Iran would cease to exist. So Iran would lose everything if it ever used or prepared to use a nuclear bomb. Military action against Iran would however help to create thousands of Iranian insurgents hell bent on revenge.

Iraq would become the first place for them to go and exact their revenge.
Surely that is not a good idea. It does seem though that george Bush has started talks with Iran-I hope so. I hope this is not just a smoke screen that hides the real plan.

There is nothing anyone in Britain could do about it now anyway. If America has already decided then it will happen.
 
#14
rockape34 said:
here
BBC news said:
Iran: Can a military strike work?
Gordon Corera
Security correspondent, BBC News

The US has not ruled out the use of force against Iran
A new report from a respected British nuclear weapons scientist warns that a military strike on Iran could speed up rather than slow down Iran's production of a nuclear bomb.


It claims it would bolster domestic support and increase the country's willingness to use all means possible to attain a weapon.

In his report, Frank Barnaby argues that an attack might not destroy all of the nuclear programme. In its wake, it would be much more feasible for Tehran's political leadership to pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and launch a crash programme, devoting maximum resources to developing one or two bombs as quickly as possible.

This, it is argued, means that a nuclear-armed Iran might end up occurring sooner rather than later as a result of military intervention.
The Iranian government denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and insists its interest in nuclear technology is for peaceful purposes only.

The UN atomic watchdog, the IAEA, has been unable to either rule out or confirm a weapons programme based on what it has seen. But international proliferation experts generally agree that Iran is, at the very least, seeking to develop technology which could quickly be diverted towards weapons if required.

Learning lessons

The US has examined the possibility of military strikes on other countries' nuclear facilities in the past.

It came closest in 1994, when a White House meeting discussing whether to strike North Korea was interrupted by news of a possible deal over the country's nuclear programme.

The option of military strikes against Pakistan's Kahuta plant were also examined in the late 1970s but ruled out because the chances of success were rated too low when compared to the consequences of going ahead.
In June 1981, eight Israeli fighter jets took only 90 seconds to destroy Iraq's Osirak reactor in an audacious bombing raid. It is sometimes cited as a precedent for a US or Israeli (or joint) attack on Iran, but is it really a useful parallel?

In that case, Israel had come to the conclusion that the US and the international community were not willing to take sufficient action after Iraq purchased a reactor from France. Once it became clear that diplomatic pressure and covert methods had failed to stop Iraq - and also that an attack by commandos was too difficult - Prime Minister Menachem Begin ordered an aerial assault.

But did the Osirak raid stop - or even significantly slow down - the Iraqi nuclear programme?

The evidence is not conclusive. In terms of intent, the raid did not stop Saddam Hussein, it only forced him to change tactics for achieving his goal of a nuclear bomb and also intensify his work.

Increased determination

In the wake of the Israeli raid, Saddam Hussein personally summoned an experienced British-educated scientist Dr Jafar Dhia Jafar from jail. "He told me we must develop a deterrent," Dr Jafar recalled in an interview with me shortly after he fled Baghdad in 2003.

It was in the wake of the raid that Saddam Hussein moved far more definitively towards an active weapons programme rather than a latent programme which could be diverted towards weapons at a later stage.
The number of scientists increased from 400 to 7,000 and Saddam Hussein poured far more resources into the programme - something like $10bn over the coming years. He was also far more careful in hiding the programme from the outside world.

The result was that when inspectors scoured Iraq after the 1991 war they found that it had made much more progress than anyone had realised (although what many failed to spot, according to Dr Jafar, was that in 1991 Saddam gave orders to destroy the programme).

Iran - and other countries - have also learnt from the Osirak raid by dispersing their nuclear research over a number of sites and by building plants such as Natanz deep underground covered by layer upon layer of earth and concrete, making the effectiveness of even bunker-busting bombs questionable.

There are also far more sites in Iran now than there were in Iraq back in 1981 and there are real questions over whether US and Israel can be confident enough that their intelligence has sight of all of the programme. Because of the way in which states learnt from the Israeli raid on Osirak, that strike may well be a one-off in terms of effectiveness which cannot be easily replicated.

Tough choices

So a strike against Iran would risk leaving more of the programme and knowledge intact than was the case in 1981 but could have the same political impact in terms of increasing the determination to develop nuclear technology as fast as possible. Of course, much would depend on the intensity of the strike - but a prolonged strike might lead to many more civilian casualties and a much greater international backlash.
But what is less fully analysed or debated are the consequences of failing to act and of Iran actually developing a nuclear arsenal (if indeed that is what it is seeking).

Even if traditional deterrence made it unlikely that Iran would use the weapon, it could embolden Iranian behaviour across the region, directed not just against Israel through allies like Hezbollah but also against other states in the Gulf.

In turn it would almost certainly lead other Gulf states like Saudi Arabia and Egypt at the very least to consider whether they too required a nuclear option.

If the choice was between the status quo and military action then there would be no real need for a debate but, in the minds of many experts and policymakers, that is not the choice that is being faced.



No.
 
#15
As I see it Iran is certainly trying to develop a nuclear weapon. As soon as it carries out its first live test Israel will attack. Bush and prob indeed this govt don't give a fcuk about the region save for the oil revenue and a few misc defense contracts but Israel faces annihilation on the whim of the mad mullahs running that odious country.
TB
 
#16
Tytus_Barnowl said:
As I see it Iran is certainly trying to develop a nuclear weapon. As soon as it carries out its first live test Israel will attack. Bush and prob indeed this govt don't give a fcuk about the region save for the oil revenue and a few misc defense contracts but Israel faces annihilation on the whim of the mad mullahs running that odious country.
TB
Hopefully, not with their own undeclared nuclear arsenal!

But being madder than the maddest of Mullahs, you can't rule it out.
 
#17
frenchperson said:
Tytus_Barnowl said:
As I see it Iran is certainly trying to develop a nuclear weapon. As soon as it carries out its first live test Israel will attack. Bush and prob indeed this govt don't give a fcuk about the region save for the oil revenue and a few misc defense contracts but Israel faces annihilation on the whim of the mad mullahs running that odious country.
TB
Hopefully, not with their own undeclared nuclear arsenal!

But being madder than the maddest of Mullahs, you can't rule it out.
Your proof of this laughable view?

At least Israel is not governed by a millenarian lunatic who actually wants to bring about Armageddon in order to hasten the return of someone - the 12th Imam - who was last heard of sometime in the 9th century (give or take a century).
 
#18
gallowglass said:
frenchperson said:
Tytus_Barnowl said:
As I see it Iran is certainly trying to develop a nuclear weapon. As soon as it carries out its first live test Israel will attack. Bush and prob indeed this govt don't give a fcuk about the region save for the oil revenue and a few misc defense contracts but Israel faces annihilation on the whim of the mad mullahs running that odious country.
TB
Hopefully, not with their own undeclared nuclear arsenal!

But being madder than the maddest of Mullahs, you can't rule it out.
Your proof of this laughable view?

At least Israel is not governed by a millenarian lunatic who actually wants to bring about Armageddon in order to hasten the return of someone - the 12th Imam - who was last heard of sometime in the 9th century (give or take a century).


And at least Britain AND America are not governed by people who believe that God is sending them a message to wage war....erm.
OK now let us all pray and in the quiet of our minds we can ask the lord to send us the six numbers for saturdays lottery. Oh no thats right it only works if your planning international destruction-in the name of god of course. Ahhh religious fanatics they are the ones to vote in.

They do it all by the book-only problem there is that there are soooo many books in our little world and everyone who reads them suffers their own type of indoctrination.
:study:
 
#19
EAGLE1 said:
I have said this before, what would be the point in Iran making a nuclear weapon then using it. Because as soon as they launched or even prepared to launch Iran would cease to exist. So Iran would lose everything if it ever used or prepared to use a nuclear bomb. Military action against Iran would however help to create thousands of Iranian insurgents hell bent on revenge.

Iraq would become the first place for them to go and exact their revenge.
Surely that is not a good idea. It does seem though that george Bush has started talks with Iran-I hope so. I hope this is not just a smoke screen that hides the real plan.

There is nothing anyone in Britain could do about it now anyway. If America has already decided then it will happen.
my bold. And i have said before, MAD doesn't work when one side is looking forward to death and their many virgins.

Ski.
 
#20
Hopefully, not with their own undeclared nuclear arsenal!
Y'see, this is what really worries me about the whole thing.
 

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