Fordow & al: Between Strike technicalities and International policy pressures

Fordow & al: Between Strike technicalities and International policy pressures
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The last decade has been punctuated by many prediction about likely strikes from Israel on Iranian’s nuclear installations. Talking again about these possibilities is deja-vu and we won’t try to predict again when this will happen, even among the current increasing tensions. According to the Washington Post, Defense Secretary Panetta think that Israel may strike Iran as early as this April. Spring offers better weather conditions for a multi-targeted strike.

The Fordow underground site, is probably very representative of the technicalities and complexity of a targeted and fast paced strike. Fordow, near the city of Qom, is the site of an underground uranium enrichment facility at a former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps base.Existence of the then-unfinished Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant (FFEP) was disclosed to the IAEA by Iran on 21 September 2009,but only after the site became known to Western intelligence services.  Fordow facilities seem to be shielded from aerial surveillance and protected against air strikes by up to 90 metres of mountain rock.

At this depth, its not sure that the Boeing’s 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), an ultra-large bunker buster, delivered by B-2 Stealth bombers will be able to destroy the deep buried uranium enrichment chamber.

It’s not clear what would such strike on Fordow and other sites achieve. Probably delaying an allegedly military grade enrichment program but not totally wiping it.

How would Iran react to such strikes and what would be the impact on oil prices? How would the world economy absorb the choc and what asymmetrical warfare will be used by the wounded country to seek revenge?

In this US, French and Chinese year of Presidential Elections, stakes are high.

The following two videos from CBS Evening News and the CSIS (Center for Strategic and International Studies) provide an interesting perspective on the current situation and some of its implications.


Schieffer Series: Iran: U.S. Policy Options from CSIS.

Photo Credit: Fordo Underground Uranium Enrichment Facility, North of Qom, Iran By Podknox / FlickR