Iran Attack Would Last 48 Hours: Stratfor Source
In his most recent op-ed in the New York Times, Nicholas D. Kristof called talk about a military strike on Iran a consensus rather than a debate, noting that most actors believe such an attack would be “a catastrophically bad idea.” Adding to the absurd matrix of scenarios and motivations presented by pundits in the US mainstream media, here is a look at what some in the "intelligence community" think about a potential strike against Iran.
A former IDF military intelligence agent, codenamed IL701, claimed to Stratfor that if an attack were to be launched by Israel against Iran, it would be driven by “political and oil reasons and not nuclear.” The agent also said the Israelis will only initiate such an attack “as a contractor for other nations or if Iran or its proxies attack first,” emails released by WikiLeaks show.
IL701 is David Virgil Dafinoiu (doc-id 5441681), the current president of NorAm Intelligence. He is commonly relied upon by Fred Burton, Stratfor’s VP of counter-terrorism, to offer insights on Israeli operations.
This particular claim surfaced during an email discussion by Stratfor’s staff as they mulled over the potentiality of an all-out Israeli attack on Iran.
The email exchanges, dated 13 November 2011, started with Stratfor’s analysts discussing an AFP news report in regard to Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak hailing a deadly munitions blast at a base of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.
“I don’t know the extent of the explosion,” Barak reportedly said. “But it would be desirable if [there were] multiple.”
Reva Bhalla, a senior analyst, remarked the next day, “Wow, that’s an extremely revealing statement. The Israelis [I believe it was even Barak then too] made very similar comments following the Stuxnet news as well. The whole ‘I’m not going to admit publicly that we did it, but boy that was nice.’”
She added further, “I [work] out assessments on the constraints of an Israeli attack. It’s the sabotage efforts where the most resources are being concentrated, which makes a lot of strategic and tactical sense for Israel and US in dealing with Iran at this stage.”
Moments later, Chris Farnham, a watch officer, shared a previous insight report sent in by Burton one week before. The insight was from Dafiniou in regard to his opinions over whether Israel was preparing a military offensive against Iran.
Here, Dafiniou claimed that the such media reports were only “a diversion” and that the Israelis “already destroyed all the Iranian nuclear infrastructure on the ground weeks ago.”
He added, “The current “let’s bomb Iran” campaign was ordered by the EU leaders to divert the public attention from their at home financial problems.”
“The result,” Dafiniou further claimed, “will be massive attacks on Gaza and strikes on Hezbollah in both Lebanon and Syria.”
Dafiniou was then asked to elaborate further on his extraordinary statements.
He clarified, “Israeli commandos in collaboration with Kurd forces destroyed a few underground facilities mainly used for the Iranian defense and nuclear research projects.”
Moreover, Dafiniou alleged that “the promoter of a massive Israeli attack on Syria is the axis India-Russia-Turkey-Saudi Arabia,” while “the axis US-Germany-France-China” was against such an attack.
“Not many people know that Russia is one of Israel’s largest military partners and India is Israel’s largest client,” he said.
“If a direct conflict between Iran and Israel erupts,” he continued, “Russia and Saudi Arabia will gain the advantages on oil increasing prices” while “China and Europe are expected to loose from an oil crisis.”
In regard to any Israeli plans drawn up for such an attack, Dafiniou claimed that an attack on Iran “will last only 48 hours” and “will be so destructive that Iran will be unable to retaliate or recover and the government will fall.”
Although he noted the practical difficulties behind such an attack, Dafiniou asserted once again, “there is no need to attack the nuclear program at this point after the commandos destroyed a significant part of it.”
The former Israeli intelligence agent also claimed that if an attack were to be launched by Israel, it would be driven by “political and oil reasons and not nuclear” and the Israelis will only initiate an attack “as a contractor for other nations or if Iran or its proxies attack first.”
He added that the recent UN report on Iran’s nuclear development gave the Israelis “a green light to take care of the Iranian proxies in Gaza and Lebanon now with the entire world watching Iran.” (doc-id 1588898)
The credibility of the intelligence itself and the reliability of the IL701 were still considered untested at the time.
The ensuing discussion by Stratfor’s analysts seemed to reach a consensus that Israel was indeed working through proxies and other subversive means against the Islamic republic. However, Karman Bokhari, a senior analyst, seemed to be the lone voice to question such a narrative.
“Penetrating a major military installation and causing a blast is totally different ballgame. Not saying it can’t happen. But we can’t assume that because they did Stuxnet that they are capable of doing this blast as well. It is a huge leap in capabilities.”
This prompted Burton to interject, “Guerrilla actions behind enemy lines. If we think the Izzies [Israelis] have set back waiting on Iran to create a bomb we are like the CIA with their inability to predict just about anything.”
Bokhari argued, “As an intelligence entity we can’t simply accept a single piece of insight as truth.”
Burton responded, “Yes but an intelligence agency that secures a single piece of insight that is then corroborated by the infamous OS [open source] leads one to believe that either the same source is responsible for both or perhaps there is smoke that indicates a fire? We tend to not believe things unless there is OS. The best intel never sees the light of day. I’m more circumspect when it is in the OS…unless of course, we planted it.”
He concluded, not surprisingly, with a poor attempt at humor, “p.s. I’m offended that we may believe an Iranian before a Jew.” (doc-id 1034764)