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How a full-scale US strike on North Korea could play out

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It’s the no-win situation that can only be imagined by US military officials tasked with preparing for a worst-case scenario – conducting a preemptive strike on North Korea.

With little time to evacuate, millions of innocent citizens would be caught in the crossfire if the US and its regional allies were to initiate a first strike, that would almost certainly result in high casualties on both sides. Friday morning, President Donald Trump warned on Twitter that “Military solutions are now fully in place, locked and loaded,” though he said, “hopefully Kim Jong Un will find another path!

A military operation would consist of a swift and multi-dimensional attack, as the fight would be defined by the first minute of combat, according to Jerry Hendrix, a retired Navy captain and senior fellow at the Center for New American Security.

While Hendrix has not been briefed on the specifics of a possible preemptive strike option, he told CNN that the operation would likely include several strategies aimed to neutralize North Korea’s defensive and counterstrike capabilities. Countering North Korea’s relatively formidable surface-to-air missile defense capabilities, stealth American F-22s, F-35s and B-2 bombers would likely lead a joint air campaign with the help of Japanese and South Korean F-15 or F-16 fighters, he said. Unmanned aircraft could also be used to limit risk to pilots.

The US would likely move additional aircraft to the region in the event of an imminent strike, but also maintains two major air bases in South Korea — Osan with F-16 fighters and A-10 “tank killers,” and Kunsan with F-16s. Heavy airpower can be called in from the Pacific island of Guam, through which the US rotates B-1, B-2 and B-52 bombers.

As US and allied aircraft take out priority targets from the sky, American warships would launch a barrage of Tomahawk missiles concentrated on North Korean missile sites, air defense systems and response corridors capable of launching a retaliatory nuclear weapon, Hendrix said. The US Navy has 10 guided-missile cruisers and destroyers based in Japan. The ships are armed with Tomahawk missiles for offensive purposes and the Aegis missile defense system that could be used to intercept North Korean launches.

The US could use cyber attacks to disrupt Pyongyang’s weapons programs — though experts say that would only delay, rather than stop them. Urgent efforts to take out priority targets like air defense systems, retaliatory missile launch sites and service facilities – coupled with assumptions that the US-led offensive would be met with heavy resistance — are likely to take a toll on the US’ inventory of bombs and missiles, warned Hendrix.

“What is the plan to resupply?” he said.

The US would need to ensure it had enough bombs, missiles and electronic warfare planes to destroy or disable North Korea’s air defenses before deploying its heavy bombers, likely B-1s stationed in Guam, needed to strike North Korea’s fortified nuclear weapons sites, according to Carl Schuster, a former director of operations at the US Pacific Command’s Joint Intelligence Center.

Within minutes of initiating the attack, US aircraft and artillery assets would also be forced to coordinate with allied forces to destroy the thousands of North Korean missile tubes pointed directly at the South Korean capital of Seoul.
And that would just be the beginning.

Read more here. The article has been originally written by Zachary Cohen, CNN.

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Israel Will Never Allow Iran’s Bases in Syria

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The Israeli Prime minister met with the Russian defense minister to discuss the situation in Syria, as well as the Iran nuclear deal in light of the US decision not to certify the agreement. Israel would not allow Iran’s permanent military presence in Syria, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said during talks with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu, adding that Tehran “must understand this.”

Commenting on the agenda of his meeting with Shoigu, the Israeli prime minister said that the talks were dedicated to “above all, Iran’s attempts to establish military bases in Syria.”

Netanyahu earlier stated Israel “will act to prevent Iran from establishing permanent military bases in Syria for its air, sea and ground forces.”
The Russian Defense Ministry is yet to comment on Israel’s concerns over Iran’s actions in Syria. Commeting on the negotiations, the Russian deputy defense minister has said that Shoigu and Netanyahu had “expressed confidence that the meetings held on the Israeli soil will give an additional impetus to the development of Russian-Israeli cooperation.”

Israel has been long opposing Iran’s and Lebanon-based Hezbollah’s presence in Syria. Iran has been providing support to the Syrian government in its fight against various terrorist groups, including Daesh, and acts alongside Russia and Turkey as one of the guarantor states of the ceasefire in Syria. Tehran has repeatedly refuted media reports claiming that its military had conducted independent operations in Syria.

During his September meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused Iran of building sites in Syria and Lebanon to produce missiles allegedly aiming to eradicate Israel. When asked to comment on the statement, the Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrov said that Moscow has “no information that someone is preparing an attack on Israel.”

Iran Nuclear Deal

The Israeli prime minister and the Russian defense minister have also discussed the US president’s decision not to certify the Iran nuclear deal. Netanyahu has reiterated Tel Aviv’s stance, warning of Iran potentially acquiring nuclear weapons if the deal isn’t changed. During his UNGA speech in September, Netanyahu has again addressed the threat Israel believes Iran poses to its security. According to him, the nuclear deal with Iran must be changed or canceled entirely.

US President Donald Trump has repeatedly voiced support for Israel’s stance on the nuclear agreement, calling it a “bad deal for Israel.”

On October 16, Trump suggested that Washington might unilaterally exit the agreement despite Rex Tillerson’s earlier comments, saying that the United States will try to negotiate the agreement, which is, according to him, in the best interests of his country.

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Iran Pledges to Confront Israel After Attack on Syrian Air Defense

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Iran’s Military Chief has warned Israel against violating Syrian airspace in the wake of this week’s attack of Israeli Air Force on an anti-aircraft battery in Syria.

“It’s not acceptable for the Zionist regime to violate the land and airspace of Syria anytime it wants,” Baqeri said during a news conference with his Syrian counterpart Ali Abdullah Ayoub in Damascus on Wednesday, and promised to increase cooperation with the Syrian military “to confront our common enemies, the Zionists and terrorists”.

The sides established the board lines for this cooperation.

The comments of the Iran’s Chief of Staff come in the follow up to the attack of the Israeli Air Force on an anti-aircraft battery in Syria, which had allegedly shelled at Israeli warplanes as they were conducting a reconnaissance mission at the Syria-Lebanon border.

The Syrian Army however said the Israeli aircraft violated Syria’s airspace near the border with Lebanon in the early hours of Monday and therefore had been attacked by its defense systems.

Israeli Air Forces earlier said that its jets have struck Hezbollah and Syrian military facilities and convoys nearly 100 times during the six-year-long war, with the goal of preventing the transfer of weapons from Iran to the Lebanon-based Hezbollah group.

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