The Bos\’un Locker

During times of war and during times of peace, we must prepare for tomorrow with the realities of today.


Posted by thebosun on September 30, 2007

Posted by permission of the author, Dr. Jack Wheeler, To the Point News


One of India’s top ranking generals assigned to liaise with the Iranian military recently returned to New Delhi from several days in Tehran – in a state of complete amazement.

“Everyone in the government and military can only talk of one thing,” he reports.  “No matter who I talked to, all they could do was ask me, over and over again, ‘Do you think the Americans will attack us?’ ‘When will the Americans attack us?’ ‘Will the Americans attack us in a joint operation with the Israelis?’ How massive will the attack be?’ on and on, endlessly.  The Iranians are in a state of total panic.”

And that was before September 6.  Since then, it’s panic-squared in Tehran.  The mullahs are freaking out in fear.  Why?  Because of the silence in Syria.

On September 6, Israeli Air Force F-15 and F-16s conducted a devastating attack on targets deep inside Syria near the city of Dayr az-Zawr.  Israel’s military censors have muzzled the Israeli media, enforcing an extraordinary silence about the identity of the targets.  Massive speculation in the world press has followed, such as Brett Stephens’ Osirak II? in yesterday’s (9/18) Wall St. Journal.

Stephens and most everyone else have missed the real story.  It is not Israel’s silence that “speaks volumes” as he claims, but Syria’s.  Why would the Syrian government be so tight-lipped about an act of war perpetrated on their soil?
The first half of the answer lies in this story that appeared in the Israeli media last month (8/13):  Syria’s Antiaircraft System Most Advanced In World.  Syria has gone on a profligate buying spree, spending vast sums on Russian systems, “considered the cutting edge in aircraft interception technology.”

Syria now “possesses the most crowded antiaircraft system in the world,” with “more than 200 antiaircraft batteries of different types,”  some of which are so new that they have been installed in Syria “before being introduced into Russian operation service.”

While you’re digesting that, take a look at the map of Syria:
Notice how far away Dayr az-Zawr is from Israel.  An F15/16 attack there is not a tiptoe across the border, but a deep, deep penetration of Syrian airspace.  And guess what happened with the Russian super-hyper-sophisticated cutting edge antiaircraft missile batteries when that penetration took place on September 6th.

El blanko.  Silence.  The systems didn’t even light up, gave no indication whatever of any detection of enemy aircraft invading Syrian airspace, zip, zero, nada.  The Israelis (with a little techie assistance from us) blinded the Russkie antiaircraft systems so completely the Syrians didn’t even know they were blinded.

Now you see why the Syrians have been scared speechless.  They thought they were protected – at enormous expense – only to discover they are defenseless.  As in naked.

Thus the Great Iranian Freak-Out – for this means Iran is just as nakedly defenseless as Syria.   I can tell you that there are a lot of folks in the Kirya (IDF headquarters in Tel Aviv) and the Pentagon right now who are really enjoying the mullahs’ predicament.  Let’s face it:  scaring the terror masters in Tehran out of their wits is fun.

It’s so much fun, in fact, that an attack destroying Iran’s nuclear facilities and the Revolutionary Guard command/control centers has been delayed, so that France (under new management) can get in on the fun too. 

On Sunday (9/16), Sarkozy’s foreign minister Bernard Kouchner announced that “France should prepare for the possibility of war over Iran’s nuclear program.”
All of this has caused Tehran to respond with maniacal threats.  On Monday (9/17), a government website proclaimed that “600 Shihab-3 missiles” will be fired at targets in Israel in response to an attack upon Iran by the US/Israel.  This was followed by Iranian deputy air force chief Gen. Mohammad Alavi announcing today (9/19) that “we will attack their (Israeli) territory with our fighter bombers as a response to any attack.”

A sure sign of panic is to make a threat that everyone knows is a bluff.  So our and Tel Aviv’s response to Iranian bluster is a thank-you-for-sharing yawn and a laugh.  Few things rattle the mullahs’ cages more than a yawn and a laugh.

Yet no matter how much fun this sport with the mullahs is, it is also deadly serious.  The pressure build-up on Iran is getting enormous.  Something is going to blow and soon.  The hope is that the blow-up will be internal, that the regime will implode from within.

But make no mistake:  an all-out full regime take-out air assault upon Iran is coming if that hope doesn’t materialize within the next 60 to 90 days.  The Sept. 6 attack on Syria was the shot across Iran’s bow.

So – what was attacked near Dayr az-Zawr?  It’s possible it was North Korean “nuclear material” recently shipped to Syria, i.e., stuff to make radioactively “dirty” warheads, but nothing to make a real nuke with as the Norks don’t have real nukes (see Why North Korea’s Nuke Test Is Such Good News, October 2006).

Another possibility is it was to take out a stockpile of long-range Zilzal surface-to-surface missiles recently shipped from Iran for an attack on Israel.

A third is it was a hit on the stockpile of Saddam’s chemical/bio weapons snuck out of Iraq and into Syria for safekeeping before the US invasion of April 2003.

But the identity of the target is not the story – for the primary point of the attack was not to destroy that target.  It was to shut down Syria’s Russian air defense system during the attack.  Doing so made the attack an incredible success.

Syria is shamed and silent.  Iran is freaking out in panic.  Defenseless enemies are fun.

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  1. IDF Man said

    Invisible jets outwit Syria

    The Russians have sent technicians to upgrade Syria’s air defence system after Israel foiled it using stealth technology to remain invisible during an airstrike, writes Uzi Mahnaimi.

    The Israeli air force used a sophisticated electronic warfare system operated by F-15I jets and a fleet of specialist electronic warfare aircraft over the Mediterranean during the attack on a suspected nuclear facility near Dayr az-Zawr on September 6. They transmitted signals that jammed the Russian-made radar and the Syrian army’s communications.

    The top-secret system was being used for the first time. It is believed to have been designed in readiness for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.

    He Who blessed our forefathers Abraham, Isaac and Jacob — may He bless the fighters of the Israel Defense Forces, who stand guard over our land and the cities of our God, from the border of the Lebanon to the desert of Egypt, and from the Great Sea unto the approach of the Aravah, on the land, in the air, and on the sea.

    May the Almighty cause the enemies who rise up against us to be struck down before them. May the Holy One, Blessed is He, preserve and rescue our fighters from every trouble and distress and from every plague and illness, and may He send blessing and success in their every endeavor.

    May He lead our enemies under our soldiers’ sway and may He grant them salvation and crown them with victory. And may there be fulfilled for them the verse: For it is the Lord your God, Who goes with you to battle your enemies for you to save you.

  2. David Hirsch said

    It was reported by Michael Savage (Radio Commentator)that Russion nuclear scientist “fled” from Iran on September 28th. I can’t find additional information about this. What is this about?

    Thank you

    David Hirsch, Frisco Texas, USA

  3. thebosun said


    You did not leave an email address. Not much out yet on Russians being evacuated or Russian scientists fleeing to the west. Information is forthcoming, but, maybe not as much as you would like to know.

    I did not hear the Savage show that you mentioned. Perhaps this is what Michael Savage was talking about, also from DEBKAfile reports:

    Russians employed at Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor suddenly depart in a body, according to local Arab sources

    October 1, 2007, 11:32 AM (GMT+02:00)

    The Khorramshar News Agency, which is published by the ethnic Arab underground of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan, reported early Oct. 1 that the entire staff of Russian nuclear engineers and experts employed in building the nuclear reactor at Bushehr had abruptly packed their bags Friday, Sept. 28, and flew back to Russia. The agency’s one-liner offers no source or explanation. DEBKAfile have obtained no corroboration of its report from any other source.

    The story appears to have originated with the ethnic Arabs who live near the reactor or who come in contact with its Russian staff. If true, DEBKAfile can offer three hypothetical scenarios to account for the Russians’ precipitate departure:

    1. Another crisis has cropped up in the patchy Russian-Iranian dealings over the Bushehr reactor. This is unlikely because Russian president Vladimar Putin is due for a high-profile visit to Tehran on Oct. 16, when he plans to sign a series of nuclear accords with the Islamic Republic. Furthermore, Moscow, like Beijing, stands foursquare behind Iran’s efforts to delay harsher sanctions for its continued uranium enrichment. Only this week, the two powers gained Iran two to three months’ grace by forcing a delay in the UN Security Council session that was to have approved a third round of sanctions.

    2. Moscow or Tehran has been tipped off that a US or Israeli attack is imminent on the Bushehr plant and Iran’s other nuclear installations and acted to whip Russian personnel out of harm’s way.

    3. Moscow has learned that an Iranian pre-emptive attack is imminent against American targets in Iraq and the Persian Gulf and/or Israel.

    Aside from these hypothetical scenarios, DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report that the Khorramshar News Agency keeps its ear to the ground on happenings in Bushehr, because it is claimed by Khuzistan separatists as Arab land which they will fight to liberate from Iranian “occupation.”

    Another tibit of information from Debka:

    Israel lifts military censorship on Sept. 6 Israeli air force attack Tuesday, 24 hours after Assad’s partial admission

    October 2, 2007, 7:21 PM (GMT+02:00)

    Monday, Oct. 1, Syrian president Bashar Assad claimed to the BBC that Israel had struck an empty military installation under construction on Sept. 6 and that for Syria to retaliate militarily would be playing by “Israel’s rules.”

    DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report the Israeli military thereupon lifted its month-long ban on its publication Tuesday, without clearing any further information on the attack in the hope of closing the books on the affair.

    The reasoning behind this decision was that if Israel refrained from knocking down Assad’s version of the incident and let it stand as an Israeli intelligence goof shared by America, Syrian honor would be satisfied and a sequel avoided.

    Defense minister Ehud Barak promoted this rationale when he said after the attack that since neither Syria nor Israel wanted war, it would not occur.

    DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report that this simplistic policy appears to work for the moment, but is unlikely to hold up for long, for four reasons:

    1. Israeli and Syrian armed forces still confront each other on high alert at close quarters across the narrow Golan border.

    2. In the BBC interview, Assad did not exclude a military option.

    3. The impression he and his spokesmen convey of late is that they are maneuvering to gain time for the Syrian army rather than backing down.

    Even if the target were just an “empty military installation,” as claimed by the Syrian president, he did not explain the biggest enigma of how Israeli warplanes reached it undetected by Syria’s air defenses. His armed forces are still groping in the dark on this question, and are necessarily constrained from entering into military action until the problem is solved.

    Therefore, Assad’s decision to hold his war horses at this time is not a strategic one, as Barak argued, but forced on him for lack of choice. A stance of helpless inaction is not one he can sustain for long. Stretching it out could affect the stability of his regime.

    4. Syrian opposition leader Halim Khaddam, long vice president to Assad, remarked this week that the prospects of war between Israel and Syria were increasing. The Brussels-based dissident said Tehran would not let the Syrian president get away with opting out of retaliating for the Israeli attack. Iran was capable of dumping him in its own interests.

    For all these reasons, the Syrian-Israel war game is far from ended by the ping pong match played by Assad and Israel’s military censor.


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