On Thursday night, 2 February 2006, Dr. Ephraim Inbar, Director of the Begin-Sadat (B.E.S.A.) Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University of Tel Aviv, came to speak at a Root & Branch presentation at the Israel Center in Jerusalem on the threat of Iranian missiles.
He is a short man, with dark hair and glasses, just a bit of grey here and there. He spoke quietly and carefully, essentially telling us what those of us who read the newspapers, Stratfor, Janeâs Defence Reports, Independent Media Research and Analysis , MEMRI and other independent sources of information on security in âthe neighborhoodâ already had sensed. He limited his analysis to nuclear weapons.
Dr. Inbar did not specify a time frame for the full fruition of Iranian efforts to develop a nuclear bomb that they can deliver in an attack. He pointed out that the Iranians, once they obtain a good bomb design and fissionable material will pose a real threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia and its neighbors in the Persian Gulf, as well as Europe. He outlined, step by step, the possible solutions, pointing out why they would or would not work. Sanctions, he observed, were generally useless in instances like these. He came to the conclusion that a military effort would be necessary to deal with the Iranian nuclear threat.
In his opinion, the best agent to carry out such a solution would be the United States. He granted that the Americans were busy with a war in Iraq, but he pointed out that they have the long range capabilities to carry out a strike on nuclear weapons productions facilities that are scattered throughout Iran. They have two fleets in the area, air force bases, and planes that could go the distance.
Dr. Inbar did point out what many others have already observed in considering a military strike to disable Iranâs nuclear capabilities; that the Iranians had learned from the Iraqi experience in Osirak. The Iraqis had concentrated nearly all of their labs and production facilities in one single place, and when the Israelis hit them, they were all gone. The Iranians, by contrast, had spread everything around, and dug deep below the ground. This meant that an attack on Iran would retard their abilities, not eliminate all of facilities, and it was possible, nay probable, that the Iranians would respond.