Inevitably coming soon: The execution of an Israeli war plan.
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“Are we there yet, Ari?” asked the general. The lead engineer — an old Israeli Air Force pilot — shrugged in return.
“Almost, general. The guidance is almost perfect, the warhead is fine. But the penetrator, well…Maybe in another two or three weeks.”
“I can’t give you more than another two weeks, Ari. If it doesn’t work by next Sunday, we need to find another solution.”
The engineer shrugged again. “Yah, yah, yah. I know.” He walked off, gesturing to his team. They had worked 24 hours a day for the past three days. He’d give them a day off before trying again.
Israeli Combined Intelligence Center
“What we learned from their earlier war games you already know. In 2006, it was clear that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Council was in control of not only their military but also the innermost councils of their government. IRGC demonstrated the ability to control simultaneous missile launches from different locations. From 2007 through 2010, their command and control became more sophisticated and now they appear ready to conduct operations from Venezuela to the Persian Gulf.” Major General Amos Yadlin’s “just the facts” manner and soft speech always had an intended effect on his audience. There were no side conversations, not even the occasional out-burst of black humor. Only silence.
“The IRGC main bases we know. Their air base near Shiraz houses their main force, and taking out the runways there is a relatively easy task. Their naval bases are near Bushehr and a few other places spread along the coast. We think we know the three locations where their missile command centers are based. And we are confident that if they follow their normal pattern, there will be a lot of detectable radio traffic from them once the exercise begins.
“It is our firm opinion that their leadership, key personnel, and most dangerous weapon systems will be most vulnerable on the day before the exercise begins. If they gather around the regional command centers and deployment sites for the exercises — as they usually do — it will be the best opportunity we may ever have again to deliver a decisive attack.
“Everyone knows the main nuclear facilities are at Natanz, Bushehr, and Qom. We also know — from the earlier Great Prophet exercises — where many of the command and control centers are, where their missile storage facilities are, and where the main IRGC leaders are likely to be.
“They have their headquarters in Tehran and 13 regional command centers, which are known to us. These centers are all located within two kilometers of the missile storage sites, which they will activate for the wargame.
“We are moderately confident that what Unit 8200 did in the operation against the Syrian nuclear facility in 2007 can be replicated against Iran’s air defenses. But the scale of the requirement here is at least 100 times greater.” Unit 8200, Israel’s secret cyberwar group, reported directly — and only — to Yadlin.
“The Iranians use Russian-made computer equipment almost exclusively, especially Lenovos. We have already penetrated much of it. As before, when the attack is under way, the air-borne jamming should conceal the cyber attack.
“We have high confidence that we can, with assets on the ground and the satellite reconnaissance, provide the necessary targeting information and update it at least once while our forces are in the air.
“The only question I have left is if your forces will be able to digest this information and make major adjustments to the target list while the operation is going on.”
The military leaders around the table looked at him and each other.