AP Photo/Ariel Schalit, File

Israel’s Attack on Iran Sent a Subtle Message About Why FAFO Is Not Good Defense Policy

Wreckage of apparent Israeli origin located in Iraq indicates that Israel’s retaliatory strike Thursday sent a very significant message to the ruling Islamist clique that holds power in Tehran.

On April 13, Iran launched a furious barrage of missiles and suicide drones at Israel. The attack was in response to Israel killing seven senior IRGC commanders at a “consular” space in Damascus. The best count is that 170 drones120 ballistic missiles, and about 30 cruise missiles were aimed at Israel.


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Over half of the Iranian missiles crashed en route. Most of the rest were shot down by Israeli or allied air forces. The main target was the Israel Air Force base at Nevatim. The hits at Nevatim, an estimated seven ballistic missiles hit on or near the air base, seem to have moved a lot of dirt around and cratered one taxiway that was quickly repaired.

The Planet Labs PBC image, taken Friday for the AP, shows fresh blacktop across a taxiway near hangars at the southern part of Nevatim air base, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of Jerusalem. The daily newspaper Haaretz, which published lower-resolution images of the site Thursday, identified the hangars nearby as housing C-130 cargo aircraft flown by transport squadrons.
The satellite image corresponds to footage earlier released by the Israeli military, which showed construction equipment working on the damaged taxiway. A hangar in the background of the video mirrors those seen nearby.

Needless to say, there was a lot of, in the vernacular of my people, “hootin’ and a-hollerin'” about the damage. Even disgraced pedophile Scott Ritter made an appearance to tell us it was game over for the dastardly Israelis.

As expected, Israel retaliated.


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Israel’s target was Khatami Air Base near Isfahan. Isfahan is also a critical city for Iran’s totally legit and peaceful nuclear program.

Initial reports of Israel’s counterattack, which hit targets in Syria and Iran, focused on drones. That doesn’t seem to be the real story. Israel targeted an S-300 surface-to-air missile battery at the air base. 

While Israeli media are talking about the “Rampage” air-launched cruise missile, the range of that missile is a fraction of that needed to hit Isfahan without overflight, including refueling, of Syrian and Iraqi airspace.

Recovered wreckage in Iran indicates the attack was carried out by an air-launched ballistic missile.

The message sent was clear. Israel doesn’t need to launch hundreds of weapons that violate the airspace of neighboring countries. Israel can cut its way through what passes for an air defense system in Iran and dump ballistic missiles on a very specific target deep in Iran. Thursday, that target was an S-300 surface-to-air missile system. Tomorrow, it may be something a little more precious.

Was the message received? I think so.

“How many missiles were launched and how many of them hit their target is not the primary question, what really matters is that Iran demonstrated its power during that operation,” Khamenei said on Sunday.

Khameini didn’t mention Israel’s counterattack.

Message received.

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