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Reader comment on item: The Unthinkable Consequences of an Iran-Israel Nuclear Exchange
in response to reader comment: Maybe not the end of globalization

Submitted by mark (United States), Apr 20, 2008 at 00:47

I sure hope nothing like this ever happens. This is almost too sad to contemplate but given the nature of the middle east I guess we have to. I think it is important to understand how lethal this stuff is, IF IT HITS ITS actual target. :(

Let me start by saying I think the Israelis are making a huge mistake. They ought to let the world know their deterrence plans to an extent. For example, "if any WMD explodes in Israel, we will presume that it is the collective work of the countries that have declared themselves to be our enemies (today, most prominently this is Iran and Saudi Arabia). We will take appropriate retaliatory measures which include extermination of an entire culture, its major religious and population centers.

We consider WMD to be weapons of cultural extermination and we will respond in kind" The reason they need this is that the Saudis will realize that they die the day the Iranians do anything stupid and thus have an incentive to stop them diplomatically. It creates a true deterrent. The current policy of silence does not do that as effectively.

Next, the Israelis are much smarter than you guys are giving them credit for. If you want to kill a civilization, you hit the chokepoints -- thats the whole point of precision guidance. First the rivers (the headwaters specifically) with high radiation, high dispersion "dirty" warheads. The idea is to make the river valleys uninhabitable for 50-100 years. For example, lets look at the most vulnerable nation in the Middle East, Egypt. Put some really high yield nasty stuff right on the Nile river (or at Aswan dam) on the border between Sudan and Egypt. Then the annual floods will bring a bunch of nasty radioactive particles downstream each year.

Next hit each of the major highways, railways and ports leading out of Egypt. Again, the idea is to prevent the people from getting out and keeping aid from reaching them. Third, you create a couple of emp (electromagnetic pulses) over major population centers to knock out all of the electronic gear by exploding small nukes in the atmosphere. This should knock out the airports, hospitals, etc. Basically, Egypt is a sitting duck due to the population concentration on the nile. 15 well-placed warheads at the chokepoints I describe mean you don't even have to bother with a direct hit on Cairo. The people can't get out, aid can't get in and it'll be a contest between starvation and radiation poisoning.

Saudi. Riyadh, Jiddah, Mecca, Medina. It looks like the Saudi population is more concentrated than even the Egyptian. Obviously there are really no rivers but Jiddah is the only port that matters. If you are in a war of extermination, you need to kill Mecca permanently. Oh well, just hit Mecca and Riyadh with 10 nukes apiece and each of the other big two with two nukes apiece.

I am less familiar with the topography of Iran but it can't be too hard to kill their civilization. Qom and Teheran are the two most obvious targets. The Karun is the only river that I can think of. You want to make sure you get their major roads to Pakistan, Azerbaijan Turkmenistan and Iraq though as well. You can probably hit Tabriz to take out a population center and a road to Azer and Mashhad for the same on the other side. Bushehr, Bandar Abbas, and Abadan in the South, Kermanshah on the West. EMPs again, just to make like difficult for the survivors. So if you hit Teheran and Qom with five apiece, five dirty nukes on the Karun, say two each for the seven peripheral cities I mentioned with external logistical connections plus say eight to create emps all over Iran. I say 40 well-placed nukes ends Iranian civilization. In 100 years, the Bedouin or Paks move in and it will be as if Persian culture and probably Shiism never existed.

As for Syria, why would you bother to nuke them! The proximity would mean radiation in your own backyard. Maybe just very low yield small nukes in the regional capital of Latakia and in Damascus followed by a conventional invasion. Plus, it wouldn't take much to put the Allawis and Sunnis at each other's throats.

As for Israel itself, you can't kill Israel. Israel is an idea not a physical reality. The US would just allow the Jews to come here for 50-100 years. When the glow fades in the desert, we could help them resettle.

Again, I am not encouraging any of this. I don't think people on this list understand how lethal GUIDED nukes are. But if the Israelis were actually a bit more forthcoming on what they would do, it might actually prevent this armageddon (the name is ironic given its historical location in Israel). I mean seriously, do you think technological retards like Khameini and Ahmedinejad understand what could happen to them? With confrontations of this type, dont your enemies need to understand what you could actually do to prevent it?

Submitting....

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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