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Leaked Israel Memo: Propaganda or Iran War Plan?

Jonathan Marcus

It is impossible to verify the document, but Silverstein calls it a product of the Israeli military's "dream factory which manufactures threats and then creates fabulist military strategies to address them. indeed an Israeli cabinet paper of some kind.

Richard Silverstein - the American blogger who says he has been given the text of a memo outlining Israel's plans for a strike on Iran's nuclear facilities - is clear about what he thinks it is.

He says it came from a senior Israeli politician - a former minister - and he describes it as a "sales pitch", used by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister Ehud Barak to try to win round sceptical members of Israel's divided inner security cabinet.

The text supplied to the BBC is just that - text.

There is no document as such and thus it is impossible to verify if it is indeed an Israeli cabinet paper of some kind. But its purpose for Mr Silverstein is clear.

He believes it was passed by a serving officer to the politician and then leaked by him precisely to alert the outside world to the scale of Israel's military plan to strike at Iran and thus to reduce its chances of ever happening.

An unprecedented public debate is underway in Israel on the wisdom of launching an attack against Iran. And this leaked document, whatever its source, and whatever its original purpose, has become an element in that debate.

'Paralyse the regime'

The document itself is striking in both the scale and scope of the military operation that it proposes.

It also employs a range of technologies, many of which we have known that the Israelis are developing, but this document suggests that they are battle-ready and fully operational.

The leaked text suggests that an Israeli operation would begin with a massive cyber attack against Iran's infrastructure, to "paralyse the regime and its ability to know what is happening within its borders".

Ballistic missiles would be fired at Iranian nuclear targets, albeit with conventional non-nuclear warheads. Cruise missiles would be fired from Israeli submarines in the Gulf.

It has long been assumed that Israel's small force of German-built Dolphin-class submarines has been adapted to fire cruise missiles, though it is not clear if these are a version of the US-made Harpoon or a derivative of the much longer range Israeli-built Popeye.

According to the text, it will not be just the main Iranian nuclear facilities that are struck, but command-and-control systems; research-and-development facilities and the residences of senior personnel in the nuclear and missile development apparatus.

Read the full BBC news report here.

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