Geopolitics

Will Israel Use ‘Bunker-Buster’ Bombs Against Iran’s Nuclear Program?

Timothy Alexander Guzman, Silent Crow News – Israel is extremely worried that Iran would develop a nuclear bomb that would target the state of Israel, murdering the Israeli and the Palestinian populations since areas surrounding one of the holiest sites to Islam located in the Old City of Jerusalem. the Al-Aqsa Mosque that will also be contaminated with nuclear fallout, but Israel insists that Iran is building a nuclear weapon to destroy the self-proclaimed Jewish state.  The London-based The Arab-Weekly reported on how serious Israel is in terms of green-lighting an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities by “upgrading contingency plans to strike Iranian targets if Tehran shows signs of nuclear escalation” since US President Joe Biden is considering a possible return to the 2015 nuclear deal agreement with unrealistic pre-conditions on Iran. In the meantime, Tehran has called for Washington to lift all economic sanctions that has paralyzed the nation as a pre-condition for them to re-establish a new meeting between both nations. 

Israel’s defense minister, Benny Gantz told Fox News that Israel is  working on new plans to attack Iran “We have them (plans) in our hands of course but we will continue constantly improving them.” Gantz later said, “The Iranian nuclear escalation must be stalled. If the world stops them before, it’s very much good. But if not, we must stand independently and we must defend ourselves by ourselves.”  Then a rocket attack occurred on March 3rd on a US air base in western Iraq.  Bloomberg News reported on Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin’s response to the attack on ABC’s ‘The Week’ and said that “we’re still developing the intelligence” on the latest attack, Austin said in his first network interview as defense chief. Iran should know “that we’re going to defend our troops and our response will be thoughtful, it will be appropriate” and that “We’ll strike, if that’s what we think we need to do, at a time and place of our own choosing.” Washington and Tel-Aviv blame the “Iranian-backed militias” knowing full war that the Iraqis themselves want US forces out of Iraq, but as always, Washington and Tel-Aviv blame their number one enemy, Iran. 

However, there are former Israeli government officials and Israel Defense Forces (IDF) veterans that have suggested that dropping a 30,000 pound bunker-busting bomb to destroy Iran’s nuclear program might be a possible solution.  In 2017, Danny Yatom was interviewed by the Jerusalem Post who described him as having a long decorated history within the Israeli military and intelligence communities “Few people have walked the labyrinths of power for as long as Danny Yatom, the former Mossad director, IDF general and chief of staff, and military secretary to multiple prime ministers” The Jerusalem Post reported” and that he was with former Prime Minister Ehud Barak in what was called “the General Staff Reconnaissance Unit’s Sabena Flight 571 hostage rescue mission in 1972.”  Yatom’s skepticism of Trump was evident at first “I hope he will be a good president toward Israel, and he gives a very good first impression about Israel, but as the saying goes, the proof is in the pudding.” He went on to ask “Will Trump merely suffice with promises and platitudes about moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, or “will he give us new technologies like bunker-buster bombs,” so that Israel feels safer about future risk scenarios with Iran?  Well Trump did help move the US Embassy to Jerusalem and he also gave them the Golan Heights, but not the bunker-buster bombs.  Another report from The Jerusalem Post from 2020 ‘Would Israel still need US bunker busters for attacking Iranian nukes?’ said that “If judgment day” comes in late 2020, and Israel believes it must preemptively strike the Islamic republic’s nuclear facilities to prevent Ayatollah Ali Khamenei from having nuclear weapons, will it be able to effectively do so alone? Or would Israel need either direct US involvement or at least a transfer of key US weaponry that Israel still does not possess?  The article went on to say that “as of late 2016, former prime minister Ehud Barak was still criticizing Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for failing to get “bunker buster” bombs from the US, which would enable an Israeli solo attack on Iran’s key underground nuclear facility of Fordow.” 

The seriousness of Israel’s interest in obtaining or developing a bomb that resembles the American made Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP) also known as the 30,000-pound ‘bunker-buster” bomb is real:

Since the F-35 aircraft became operational in late 2017, Israel has publicly presented new weapons, such as the Rampage (1,200 pounds) and updated Spice bombs (2,000 pounds), both of which can penetrate some underground facilities. Another weapon that can strike underground is known as the Rocks, but its weight class is undisclosed.

The Post has also been told in the past that Israel may have upgraded other kinds of weaponry to be able to destroy underground facilities

The Associated Press published ‘Iran plans 20% uranium enrichment ‘as soon as possible’ In early January of this year based on Iran’s announcement that they will enrich uranium by 20%, “Israel, which under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has continued to criticize Iran’s nuclear program, offered no immediate comment Saturday” the article went on to name Fordo, a site for developing a nuclear power plant “Iran is enriching uranium up to 4.5%, in violation of the accord’s limit of 3.67%” and that “Iran separately has begun construction on a new site at Fordo.” According to the AP:

After the discovery of Fordo, the U.S. worked on so-called “bunker buster” bombs designed to strike such facilities. As Israel threatened at one point to bomb Iranian nuclear sites like Fordo, U.S. officials reportedly showed them a video of a bunker-buster bomb destroying a mock-up of Fordo in America’s southwestern desert

Fordo is in close proximity to the Shiite holy city of Qom roughly 90 kilometers (55 miles) in the southwest of Tehran. In a recent Op-ed in The Jerusalem Post ‘Israel needs the B-52 and MOP in order to deter Iran’ by Ehud Eilam, a PhD specializing in Israel’s  national security who also served in the IDF and was later employed as a researcher for the Defense Ministry wrote the following:

Israel could replace the US in deterring Iran. It will make it easier for the US and actually for Israel too. Although Israel needs its American patron relying on Israel’s strength works for Israel. It has been its traditional approach: to depend on itself as much as possible, particularly in military affairs. It requires having a big stick i.e. holding the arsenal needed to deter Iran.

In late 2020 there was a bipartisan bill in the US congress aimed at providing Israel with a giant bunker-buster bomb capable of destroying Iran’s heavily protected nuclear sites. Israel also needs the B-52 to carry that huge bomb. Knowing Israel can destroy their nuclear sites will deter Iran from trying to produce a nuclear weapon.

If Iran tries to produce a nuclear weapon, Israel will rush to attack with its available arsenal out of desperation. It might not be enough to destroy heavily protected Iranian sites. The US does not want to urge Israel to attack Iran let alone if this raid escalates into a war, one that might drag the US into it. If Israel is better armed it might not be necessarily bring a strike against Iran. Instead, Israel can deter Iran from producing a nuclear weapon to begin with

Forbes magazine published an article written by Eric Tegler ‘Could The Israelis Really Drop A Massive Ordnance Penetrator Bomb On Iran? The Answer May Be Yes’ said that “In 2014, retired USAF Lieutenant General David Deptula proposed transferring MOPs and a small number of B-52Hs to Israel in an op-ed he co-wrote for the Wall Street Journal  when he  suggested that Israel should “receive MOPs and B-52s was meant to be read with more than a literal interpretation, as he says the new legislation should be.” Tegler referred to a report from Politico about a house bill from October 2020 that was submitted by two U.S. Representatives  Josh Gottheimer, a Democrat from New Jersey and Brian Mast, a Republican from Florida that “would make it possible to transfer the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator to Israel as a defense against Iran if Tehran pursues nuclear weapons.”  

Tegler asked “But could the IAF drop GBU-57s?” and Lieutenant General Deptula’s answer was “Yes, the IAF could deliver an MOP,” Deptula says. He declined to elaborate but his answer would put teeth behind any transfer of MOPs to Israel,”  the next obvious question was “How then?”:

The Israeli version of the F-15E Strike Eagle, the F-15I Ra’am (Thunder) is what Israel calls its “strategic aircraft.” Officially, it can only carry about half the payload (18,000 pounds) it would need to haul a 30,000 pound GBU-57. However the Strike Eagle is cited as having an 81,000 pound maximum takeoff weight and a 31,700 pound empty weight by the U.S. Air Force. That’s 49,000-plus pounds to play with potentially. Mounting a GBU-57 on the Ra’am’s centerline would present dimensional difficulties but as noted, the IAF has pulled off the “impossible” before

Whatever bomb Israel decides to use, it will lead to another world war with dire consequences.  There are also no guaranties that the MOP will be able to fully penetrate an Iranian underground nuclear facility.  However, if Israel were to decide to “take-out” Iran’s nuclear program with a MOP bomb, Iran will retaliate with full-force targeting Tel Aviv and other areas within Israel.  Not only will Israel face an onslaught of attacks from Iran, they will also have to face attacks from Lebanon’s Hezbollah, followed by Syria and the Palestinian resistance.  All of Israel’s adversaries will somehow get involved at some point in time. 

If Israel were insane enough to use a nuclear weapon on Iran, Russia and China will back Iran while the US would unconditionally back Israel.  Whatever Israel uses in an attempt to stop Iran’s nuclear program, it will lead to a world war, so planet earth, pick your poison.         

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