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* Missed messages on Iran  Robert Kagan

* Envoy Condemns US Officials' Irresponsible Comments on Iran  News Report

* 'Israel will be destroyed if it attacks Iran'  News Report

* Warning of long war if Israel attacks Iran  News Report

* Iran unlikely to halt nuclear program, secret letters show  News Report

* Iran denies Ahmadi-Nejad was attacked  News Report

* Sanctions set stage for a new push on Iran  News Report

* اطلاعیۀ آیت الله منتطری دربارۀ حرام بودن مقاومت در برابر رأی مردم  Ali Behrooz

* لیست اسامی با حروف فارسی، تا تاریخ 08/09/08  Ali Behrooz

* War of words, or words of war  Ali Behrooz

* Could Israel use submarines against Iran?  News Report

* Iran deplores UAE claim on 3 islands  News Report

* 'Iran will respond to any attack'  News Report

* Carter to meet Hamas leadership in Cairo  News Report

* No Peace Without Hamas  News Report

* Ahmadinejad again voices Sept. 11 doubts  News Report

* Clinton, Obama tackle Iran issue in debate  News Report

* Bomb kills at least 9 in Iran mosque  News Report

* Iran demands Israel stop force threats  News Report

* Ahmadinejad to dismiss 2 cabinet ministers in Iran  News Report

* Iran: Naval encounter routine check  News Report

* Tony Blair's Palestine  News Report

* Clinton attacks Obama and McCain over Iraq  News Report

* Reza Pahlavi: Leadership for Democracy in Iran  News Report

* Petraeus: Return to 'pre-surge' troop levels, then wait  News Report

* Blast rocks US complex in Sanaa  News Report

* Clashes in Nile Delta after strike aborted  News Report

* When a great power goes mad  News Report

* Iranians defy censor with bootleg DVDs  News Report

* Putin says Iran is no threat  News Report

* Creating a US-Iran Bridge  News Report

* Court removes PKK from terror funds list  News Report

* 12 militants wanted by Israel flee Palestinian jail in West Bank after fight  News Report

* Limiting Tehran’s Influence?  Ali Behrooz

* UAE detains ship as grip on Tehran tightens  News Report

* Iranian critic not guilty of espionage  News Report

* Israelis and Palestinians pledge to reach peace pact by end of 2008  News Report

* Conference in Qom focuses on Iran-US challenges  News Report

* FM spokesman: Iran's plan on Iraq not put for voting  News Report

* Iran's top dissident cleric calls for U.S. talks  News Report

* Islamic militants take fight against Musharraf to 'Pakistan's Switzerland'  News Report

* 'Desperate' Musharraf declares martial law  News Report

* US Sanctions on Iran Leave Europeans in a Quandary  Sir Cyril Townsend

* After Thamilselvan  News Report

* Analysis: Is Abbas playing his cards right ahead of ME summit?  News Report

* Bahrain accuses Iran of nuclear weapons lie  News Report

* Senior Tamil Tiger leader killed  News Report

* US declares PKK 'a common enemy'  News Report

* Iran urged to join Gulf nuclear deal  News Report

* Iran's leaders need enemies like Bush, and at every turn he obliges them  News Report

* Giuliani hits Democrats on Iran  News Report

* Iran: We have no information on Arad  News Report

* Clinton hails US move on Iran  News Report

* Israel to prepare for potential missile attack  News Report

* US First Lady in Kuwait  News Report

* Rice: Mideast solution in jeopardy  News Report

* Kurdish fighters defy the world from mountain fortress as bombing begins  News Report

* Protesters confront Condoleezza Rice as she testifies on Middle East  News Report

* Showdown With Iran  News Report

* U.S. outlines Baghdad security handover plan  News Report

* Poll shows global opposition to Iran - and U.S.  News Report

* Iraq promises Turkey it will curb Kurdish rebels  News Report

* Big shoes to fill  News Report

* LUKOIL says halts Iran oil project on US sanctions  News Report

* Three soldiers killed in Darfur camp attack - UN  News Report

* There's a better - and cheaper - way that Washington can help Lebanon  News Report

* Lebanese patience for Nahr al-Bared displaced wears thin  News Report

* Iran, Syria urge diplomatic means instead of military incursion into Iraq  News Report

* Talabani refuses to deliver PKK leaders to Turkey amid protests against incursion  News Report

* Turkey vows to defeat PKK rebels  News Report

* Iran N-case on Olmert's Paris agenda  News Report

* Motaki (FM): US in No Position to Attack Iran  News Report

* We will fight to the death, Kurdish rebel leader vows from his hideout  News Report

* Deaths And Hostages In Border Clash  News Report

* Flash News: Kurdish separatistand 12 Turkish soldiers killed  News Report

* IRGC Commander:Aggressions to Be Reciprocated with a Rain of Rockets  News Report

* 2 leaders back Blair as European Union president  News Report

* Babacan stresses dialogue as key to solving Lebanese crisis  News Report

* Jordan hopes for positive outcome of Annapolis meeting  News Report

* Iran's nuclear negotiator resigns  News Report

* Larijani Resigns  Ali Behrooz

* NATO says shipment of roadside bombs was 'from Iran'  News Report

* Israel impeding effort to clear cluster bombs  News Report

* Bhutto defiant over bomb attack  News Report

* Democrats' stance on Iran criticized  News Report

* Top Palestinian negotiator may resign  News Report

* UN condemns killing of its truck drivers in Darfur  News Report

* Kurds sign oil deals beyond regional borders – former minister  News Report

* Jerusalem is ours, warns Likud  News Report

* Rice back in Israel after Egypt talks  News Report

* Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane workers in southern Iran go on strike  News Report

* Ahmadinejad: Caspian states to form economic cooperation organization  News Report

* Putin lands in Iran for nuke talks  News Report

* Mideast Conference and the Illusive Peace  News Report

* Coalition of the Reluctant  News Report

* World bank neglects African farming, study says  News Report

* Putin dismisses threat of assassination in Iran  News Report

* Israel signals readiness to cede parts of Jerusalem to Palestinians  News Report

* Christiane Amanpour: 'People think I relax with a Kalashnikov - I don't'  News Report

* After honeymoon, Sarkozy method poses three risks  News Report


Could Israel use submarines against Iran?
[ News Report]  [2008-04-17 08:58:44]
[Source: Reuters - 17/04/08]


By Dan Williams

HAIFA, Israel (Reuters) - Anticipating a showdown with Iran, Israel decides secretly to deploy a submarine off its arch-foe's coast.

But how? The quickest route from Israel's Mediterranean coast is via the Suez Canal, which runs through Egypt and which the classified vessels shun. So the submarine is hidden in the belly of a commercial tanker, which delivers it to the Gulf.

Such is the plot of an Israeli thriller, "Undersea Diplomacy". Does it hold water? Perhaps not. Then again, the author, Shlomo Erell, is no mere novelist. He's an ex-admiral with experience in Israel's most sensitive military planning.

"It's pure fiction, but it's informed fiction," he said simply, when asked if his book reflects how the Israeli fleet of Dolphin-class submarines could be used against Iran, whose leadership has called for Israel to be "wiped off the map", stoking international concern over Tehran's nuclear programme.

Israel has three Dolphins, with two more on order from Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft, a German shipyard custom-building them at a steep discount as part of Berlin's bid to shore up a Jewish state founded in the wake of the Nazi Holocaust.

The submarines are a subject of deepest secrecy given speculation that they carry nuclear-tipped cruise missiles.

Many analysts believe the Dolphins are Israel's "second strike" weapons, referring to the Cold War theory that a country can deter foes from launching nuclear attacks by maintaining the ability to retaliate, even after its own territory has been laid waste. A nuclear "platform" out at sea is the best guarantee.

Iran denies seeking nuclear weapons, and independent experts say it is years away from any such capability. Some, in turn, think Israel's expanding submarine fleet may be part of preparations to foil the perceived future threat through force.

"There is nothing on the horizon to suggest Iran would have the capability to knock out Israel's nuclear delivery means," said Sam Gardiner, a retired U.S. air force colonel who stages Middle East war games for U.S. government and private clients.

The Dolphins, he said, may be part of "a conventional capability to deal with the number of targets Israel believes would need to be struck in a conventional preemptive attack".

DISTANCE NO OBJECT?

Israel sent jets to bomb Iraq's nuclear reactor in 1981 and has hinted it could do the same against Iranian facilities if U.S.-led diplomatic pressure failed to rein in Tehran's plans.

But the Iraqi raid was on a single site, relatively close to Israel's borders. Targets in Iran might be too numerous and distant for Israel's air force, especially as intermediate Arab states or Turkey would likely refuse overflight rights.

Israel is assumed to have ballistic missiles, yet its small size may make surprise launches impossible: an unannounced missile test in January became news within minutes as the startled residents of nearby towns reported the roaring takeoff.

Submarines could bridge the gap, especially if positioned in Iranian waters. That possibility has given rise to speculation that Israel wants five Dolphins in order to allow for at least one to be at sea at all times while others are being serviced.

The question remains of how far they might travel.

Israeli navy sources say the Dolphins do not use the Suez -- to avoid being inspected by Egyptian harbormasters. That means that, to reach the Gulf, Israel would either have to resort to fantastical ruses like the one in "Undersea Diplomacy", or send the submarines around Africa -- a month-long trip at least.

Jason Alderwick, a maritime analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, is skeptical.

"I don't buy the idea of a rotation. These submarines have not been purchased with a view to operating in the Gulf," he said. As Dolphins run on conventional rather than nuclear power so require regular refueling and shore maintenance, he described them as better suited to close Mediterranean missions.

Israel also has access to the Red Sea through Eilat port. But navy sources said there was no plan to dock submarines there because the narrow Red Sea, which is shared with several Arab states, is vulnerable to blockades at the Straits of Tiran.

DETERRENTS NEVER USED

Restricted to the Mediterranean, analysts point out, the Israeli Dolphins could pose a "second-strike" threat to Iran only if they carried nuclear cruise missiles capable of hitting targets as far as 1,500 km (970 miles) away.

Lee Willett of the Royal United Services Institute for Defence and Security Studies noted that Dolphins lacked the vertical tubes used by much bigger Western and Soviet-era submarines to launch ballistic missiles.

Cold War tests showed nuclear warheads are too heavy to be delivered long distances on cruise missiles, so Israel could hit Iran only with conventional warheads if they were fired from the Mediterranean, he said.

A nuclear attack on Iran by a Dolphin, Willett argued, would have to be from the Gulf, which in turn would give away an unsupported submarine's position and probably doom it to being destroyed by surviving Iranian forces.

"The whole point of a deterrent is that it's never used," Willett said. "In designing the Dolphins as a second-strike platform, I imagine the Israelis were thinking 'it's not ideal, but it's the best we've got'."

Israel does not discuss its nuclear capabilities, under an "ambiguity" policy billed as warding off regional enemies while avoiding the kind of provocations that can trigger arms races.

Erell appeared to support such thinking. The message of his book -- which made a modest splash in Israel, and is currently available only in Hebrew -- was "how to use a submarine without resorting to war". "It's about affecting statecraft," he said.

(Editing by Andrew Roche and Sara Ledwith)





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