Things to Think About Before Israel Attacks Iran | Defense Media Network

An excelent piece by Larry Bond wargame Designer and author :

For several years, Israel has publicly and explicitly stated that if Iran attempts to develop a nuclear weapon, Israel will attack to prevent the program from succeeding or to destroy Iran’s nuclear capability. This is the most important security threat of the new century.

via Things to Think About Before Israel Attacks Iran | Defense Media Network.

Dual use technology MOPs up?


A DUAL-USE technology is one that has both civilian and military applications. Enriching uranium is a good example. A country may legitimately do so to fuel power stations. Or it may do so illegitimately to arm undeclared nuclear weapons. Few, however, would think of concrete as a dual-use technology. But it can be. And one country—as it happens, one that is very interested in enriching uranium—is also good at making what is known as “ultra-high performance concrete” (UHPC).
Iran is an earthquake zone, so its engineers have developed some of the toughest building materials in the world. Such materials could also be used to protect hidden nuclear installations from the artificial equivalent of small earthquakes, namely bunker-busting bombs.

The above quote is from this wonderful Economist article, read it, as always clear prose, useful info well presented and minimal spin (&despite what some say that’s about as good as it gets spin wise if you want to explain/make a point.). It’s actually of general interest if you are interested in Civil Engineering or modern buildings and structures.
The point is that the US and others have been working on bunker busting for decades. The Massive Ordinance Penetrator shown dropping from a B52 above and in more detail below are the king of the hill right now.


Their reason for existence right now is to hold Iran’s nuclear bunkers at risk. The MOP is supposed to penetrate up to 200 ft of concrete:

The problem is that the work of Iranian engineers on tough concrete could mop up the MOP. The Iranians have added metal nano fibers and particles as well as fairly ordinary metallic, plastic and ceramic, whiskers, flakes etc to the mix to toughen the concrete in various ways. This work is being done to save lives world wide, including the US since it’s focus is on Earthquake damage reduction. But this is a wonderful example of dual use since exactly the same technology could make future bunkers all but impregnable to conventional weapons, which big as it is the MOP still is.
Bottom line if the best of the best tech were used they might get 6 or more times the strength and testing has shown just doubling concrete strength reduces penetration by more than half!
This is not good news and probably explains this:
Congress ‘Urgently’ Approves $82 Million To Improve Its Biggest Bunker-Buster
Despite this:
The 30,000-lb Massive Ordnance Penetrator Bomb Works So Well It Earned A Rare Honor
It would seem we may soon get a chance to see if the Iranians were smart enough to use the super concrete vs if our super bunker busters can slam, blast, burrow their way in. There is also the question of corruption, in a vastly corrupt civil society using expensive concrete which probably looks like any other concrete is an invitation for shaving. Many is the time when a fortress has fallen because of under spec materials. Also you have the long term espionage and internal strife driven sabotage the story is that bunkers for Nazi super Vengeance weapons were sabotaged by the addition of small amounts of sugar to the mix drastically weakening it.
This would all be a wonderful background for a comedic farce, if so many people’s lives were not at risk.

Enough said….


Study of the Syrian Rebellion–update and some broader context

This is an update of the earlier Syrian post. I think these two pieces supplement and bring up to date the ISW paper. First an article on the violence in Syria, which if compared to the white paper seems to show a continuing not accelerating level of violence. The bombings in Damascus would also appear to be part of a continuous ark rather than some large step, though I remain skeptical about who bears responsibility. The other Strapage article is a short discussion about the dueling use of orphans in sectarian violence, these boys and men grew up under awful circumstances and they tend to be easily turned into ruthless fighters. Another article the other day referenced the same socio-economic background for the Iranian Baij irregulars.

The Struggle for Syria in 2011 | Institute for the Study of War.

The scale of unrest in Syria has made it impossible for the regime’s security forces to simultaneously garrison all of the country’s key terrain. The regime has maintained control over Syria’s armed forces, despite limited defections. Therefore, the regime’s strategy has been to maneuver elite forces to key centers of unrest and conduct large clearance operations, using selective brutality in an effort to end the crisis.

The regime successfully suppressed demonstrations in Dera’a, where the protests began in March 2011, by conducting aggressive clearance operations. This allowed the regime to focus resources elsewhere as the conflict progressed.

Homs has become the conflict’s center of gravity because of its strategic location and its frequent sectarian violence. The regime attempted to quash Homs’ dissent in May, but emergencies elsewhere in Syria diverted attention and resources. By the time the security forces refocused on Homs in September, peaceful demonstrations had given way to armed resistance.

Despite large demonstrations in Damascus’ northeast and southwest suburbs, the regime’s security presence and targeting campaign has successfully prevented demonstrations from overrunning downtown Damascus. The size of the pro-regime population in Damascus has also contributed to dampening unrest in the capital. From the beginning of the uprising, the regime has deliberately consolidated its control over the Alawite homeland of Syria’s coastal region. Clearance operations in Latakia, Baniyas, and Tel Kalakh targeted Sunni enclaves and shored up regime lines of communication

From the Paper, a breakdown of the ethno religious makeup of the Syrian Populaion

From the Paper, the distribution of the ethno religious groups in Syria
From ArticleFrom the Paper, Gov’t Operations this year

Richard Fernandez at the Belmont Club pointed out this paper and has a very good analysis of it and some other bits, such as this, 58 Foreign Policy Analysts are urging Obama to act regarding Syria. And the article has an interesting lead in picture…

Our Favorite Middle Eastern Leaders

Getty Image/ Our Favorite Middle Eastern Leaders

Now the problem is, which is more important for us to do keep our powder dry ready to deal with Iran, Ahmadinejad (in gray) or do we use assets and energy on Syria, Assad (dark blue) which is the more important world issue? Hands down, right now it would seem that Iran’s nuclear weapons and delivery system development is. Whereas sad Syria is suffering the agonies of realizing that the Dear Leader, is wasting the majority of its subjects potential and that the only way to change that is to change the leadership.

Now some are asking why can’t we ‘do a Libia’ and I think the argument is that both the socio/economic and military situations are far more complex in Syria, the bad guy and his military are not utterly incompetent and the rebels are dispersed and often ambivalent about the use of violence. I think that the maps and the text show that the majority of the Military Potential of the Anti Assad camp have not become engaged.

  • What happens if Iraq blows up as we go in and blow up Syria, and then we really do have to do something about Iran.
  • Is it possible the Kurd, Shia, Sunni ethno religious cocktail goes cablooey.
  • What if the Kurds get the bit in their tenth regarding a Kurdistan stretching across their ethnic foot print (Turkey, Syria, Iraq and I think Iran)Do the Shia try for Shiastan…and that means bits of Shiadom on the other side of the Sunni Crescent in Iraq and Syria.
  • Do the Sunni go for an Emirate partnered with Saudi Arabia

Things could really go to hell…and they may be on their way already regardless of what we or the west in general want.