Apparently Israel's air force is not capable of taking out Iran's nuclear installations. That narrows Israel's options to long-range missile strikes or sending Israeli special forces into Iran to attack the sites.
Those are the conclusions of the authoritative Jane's Defence Weekly which finds even a commando attack would face "substantial difficulties."
"Senior Israeli officials have said the country is prepared to take unilateral action to stop Iran acquiring a nuclear bomb. Israel destroyed Saddam Hussein's Osirak nuclear reactor in 1982 and hit a Syrian reactor in 2007. However, for Iran, the air force would have to carry out numerous strikes with air-to-air refuelling, possibly over several days.
'''This is not going to be one strike and they are out, not like Syria or Iraq where facilities were not underground, it is much harder than that,'' said Malcolm Chalmers of the Royal United Services Institute. ''And the Iranians are experts in building reinforced concrete because of their long problems with earthquakes. But air strikes could destroy power plants, supply facilities, communications and the centrifuges themselves would be very sensitive to blast. They could do quite a lot of damage which would set back the program for a period.'''
Which leads to the unasked questions. Would the United States do the job for Israel either of its own volition or from Israeli arm twisting and a compliant Congress? And, if the United States did attack Iran's nuclear installations, what would be the ramifications for the Middle East/South Asia region? Would that play straight into Russia's and China's hands? The first Cold War divided Europe, east from west. The next Cold War between the West and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization might be divided along a line from the Caspian Basin to the mouth of the Persian Gulf, the Shiite/Sunni divide.