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by John Helmer, Moscow 

No Russian military source will publicly express the line that Iran’s attack on Israel of April 14 was a strategic success, despite the tactical shortcomings. This is first of all because Iran is a strategic ally of Russia in its war against the US and NATO in the Ukraine, in Syria, and in Yemen.

It is also because of what may happen next. If Israel escalates by attacking Iran and striking at the country’s infrastructure, then Iran’s counter will be to take a page out of Russia’s book and commence the one line of attack which Israel, the US and their allies cannot withstand any better than Ukraine – that’s Electric War.  

For the seven months which have elapsed since Hamas began its operation against Israel on October 7, and Israel commenced its genocide against the Palestinians,  there has been no targeting by Hamas, Hezbollah, the Houthis, or the Syrian and Iraqi groups of Israel’s highly vulnerable maritime gas platforms, gas pipelines, coal and oil-fired electricity generating plants, the coal and oil storages nearby, solar and wind power units, or the electricity grids keeping the country alight.

The Arab inhibitions and calculations are understandable. Iran’s will disappear if Israel triggers a new round of attacks.

If and when that happens, the Palestinian failure in the US and in Europe to counterattack and stop Israel financing its war through the $60 billion genocide bond issue won’t matter.  Bond holders don’t invest in blackouts.

On the published Israeli counts to date, Iran launched between 180 and 185 drones, 30 to 36 cruise missiles, and 110 to 120 ballistic missiles; click to read the calculations reported by the New York Times    and the local Israeli media.  

The outcome counted by Israel’s enemies is that Israel, the US, British, French and Jordanian forces intercepted almost all of the drones and other decoys fired from Iran. Nine missiles beat the Iron Dome, Arrow,  and other ground–to-air defences,  five of them hit Nevatim air base and  four of them hit the Ramon base. Iranian officials confirm those target strikes.In a briefing on April 16, the Iranian ground force commander, Brigadier General Kioumars Haydari, added that “the attack targeted the most strategic base and surveillance site of the Israeli military at the Jabal al-Sheikh Heights on the border between the occupied Palestinian territories and Syria.”  Haydari did not mention Ramon or a Mossad facility as targeted or hit. 

The case is being made by a group of retired colonels, majors,  and lieutenants publishing in the US alt-media that the 6% rate of penetration – that’s 9 divided by 140 or by 156  – make a tactical victory over the US radar and missile combinations protecting Nevatim and Ramon, and therefore a strategic success for Iran. The US protection is Site 512 in the Negev region of southern Israel.  According to one American interpretation, “the best surveillance radar in the world, working in concert with the most sophisticated anti-missile defences in the world, were impotent in the face of the Iranian attack…Who has deterrence supremacy? It ain’t Israel.”

Another American assessment goes further strategically without going as far tactically. The point of the penetrations at Nevatim and Ramon, this argument runs, was not to destroy the bases but to prove that, having beaten the US-Israeli defences this time round, the next time will be much more destructive; also, that the Israeli-American combination cannot afford the cost attrition of $1 billion spent per night to defend against larger and cheaper Iranian swarms.   A third American interpretation is that even as slight as the 6% penetration rate appears to be, the Iranians have demonstrated the military and  technological expertise to defeat the US technology on which Israeli defences are based.

A Russian military source acknowledges that “yes, several people have made this point that at least some projectiles got through at the airstrips; that the Iranians have learned from the defences and might have spotted weaknesses to exploit.” He dismisses this strategic victory as wishful thinking. “In a class room, these calculations of the pundits make sense. But up to the 10th Grade.”

A NATO veteran and expert in applying electrical engineering to war comments: “Honestly, I  don’t believe the Iranian strikes were all that effective in terms of damage done. This being said, again, they weren’t meant to be. They mostly used drones and older missiles with a few of the newer models thrown in to test, and send a message.”

“The problem for the Iranians, and anyone else in the region taking on the Israelis, is that they are facing a military machine backed by a US money printing machine propped up by a largely indifferent population. On top of that, the relative cost to the Iranians of maintaining the burn rate necessary to stifle the joint air U.S./Israeli/flunky coalition is prohibitive. Other actors will have to join in the strikes, or feed in the ammunition, for this to be a successful strategy. Past the above, if the Iranians turn to electric war strikes, things will look a lot different.”

He is repeating what the Israelis began admitting publicly last week. “A war scenario with Hezbollah presented last week by the head of the Ministry of Defense’s National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA), Brigadier General Yoram Laredo, sparked widespread concern about the level of preparedness for such an event within the energy sector. Despite the fact that state bodies should have been well-prepared long ago for such an event, mudslinging, budgetary problems, and lack of coordination and communication are rampant between various organizations. This bears great significance especially in recent days which have been marked by an unprecedented alertness over the first possible direct military clash with Iran, which has threatened to retaliate for assassinations of senior members of the Revolutionary Guards attributed to Israel.”  

Source: https://www.calcalistech.com/
On February 18, 2024, Brigadier General Yoram Laredo warned: “I advise everyone to buy, among other things, a transistor radio, batteries and bottled water. We are also working on an energy solution for several cellular endpoints that will function during prolonged power outages. Medical ventilators and breathing support machines are another example of needed devices, and the Ministry of Health has already approved ways to help patients on ventilators during a prolonged power outage. Time is precious and plans must be ready.”  Laredo was addressing the possibility of an Israel Defence Forces crossing of the Litani River and an escalation of the fighting on the northern front, when Laredo thought Hezbollah might retaliate with missile attacks on Israel’s power infrastructure.

In the latest NEMA report, according to industry press summaries, “it is evident that the lessons of Ukraine have not been absorbed by Israel, with security sources citing the lack of preparedness of the Israel Electric Corporation. In addition to Russia, Iranian weapons are used by their proxy organizations including Hezbollah. Israel’s power grids are similar to those of Ukraine, Iran, and Lebanon, so its weak points have been marked by the enemy.”

“According to NEMA, in a full-scale war with Hezbollah, about 5,000 rockets, precision missiles, and suicide drones will be launched at Israel every day, targeting critical electricity infrastructure as well. The damage to this infrastructure would lead to two nationwide power outages lasting from 24 to 48 hours, for at least 60% of the country, in addition to 11 regional power outages and numerous local power outages. There would also be power outages lasting weeks and even months in some parts of the country, mainly in the north.”


Source: https://www.researchgate.net/


Source: https://crml.eelabs.technion.ac.il

For a list of Israel’s power generation sources by megawatt (MW) output, click to read.  

This paper from an Israeli military think tank explains the vulnerability of these power generating plants and the transmission systems they supply. “The security of the electrical system during emergencies and a reduction in the risk of an excessive and protracted blackout are critical issues that demand national attention and response,” the Israelis claimed in June 2017. “We maintain that the current systemic responses to threats against the electrical system are inadequate in light of the unique geostrategic characteristics of the State of Israel.”   

The report goes into detail on the risks and remedies for cyber attacks on the electrical system, earthquakes, tsunamis, electro-magnetic pulse. There is a brief acknowledgement of the risk of missiles and rockets, but they were not taken seriously at the time because of the political and economic costs of installing anti-air defence batteries to protect both Israel’s cities and also its power infrastructure.

The report concluded that  Israel cannot  afford to do both. “There is a need to create a parallel response of active protection for both the population and the critical infrastructure installations, such as essential electricity installations that are highly vulnerable to kinetic weapons. A consideration of the need for reasonable active defense for IDF bases, particularly for IAF airfields, makes it apparent that there is no alternative other than to increase the number of anti-missile batteries significantly and prepare for their operational deployment during emergencies, so as to provide adequate defense for the infrastructure installations within the range of these batteries as well.”

“To protect the functional continuity of the state and the capability of the IDF to maintain an ongoing offensive effort until victory has been achieved implies the protection of power stations and IAF bases before the protection of the large cities. It is possible that in the future we will be able to protect both, but currently, with the number of batteries and interceptor missiles at our disposal, we have to designate an order of priorities for the deployment of our assets. We have to make a difficult, painful, and clear-cut decision.”  

That was seven years ago – the Israelis were taking no account of the development by the Iranians of drone decoys and hypersonic missiles, and of the impossibility of defending against their combination.

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