Feature: BlackNET abuzz over Iraq showdown
By HIL ANDERSON
The pending invasion of Iraq and the possibility that it will bring new terrorist attacks to the United States has stoked the level of chatter on the Internet mailing list that has become a "must-have" for government officials, investigative reporters and world affairs scholars in the netherworld of international spooks.
"The consensus is that (Iraqi leader) Saddam (Hussein) is an eternal optimist," said Scott Malone, moderator and founder of the Web site dubbed "BlackNET," which was originally launched in Arlington, Va., in the immediate wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, suicide attack on the nearby Pentagon. "And (President) Bush is going to do exactly what he says."
Saddam's optimism is likely fading with American and British troops expected to be moving in on his dug-in military at any moment, but the imminent showdown has been the primary topic of discussion for months among the members of BlackNET who share a professional interest in the shadowy world of international terrorism.
"It was some amateur radio buffs who were monitoring some U.S. fighter pilots who said the invasion was going to be on Tuesday."
According to Iran's state-run PressTV, Tehran is feeling pretty good about the talks so far, and believes a new attitude of respect brought to the meeting by the six countries could do wonders for negotiations.
But Israel isn't buying it, and a TV report on a major Israeli station last night shows that while the rest of the world is busy talking, Israel is preparing for a full assault on Iran's nuclear facilities should diplomacy and sanctions fail to halt Tehran's nuclear ambitions.
Greg Tepper at The Times of Israel wrote about the televised report last night after it aired, calling it remarkable in terms of the access afforded the reporter, the military personnel he interviewed, and that his commentary on a strike were approved by military censors.
Tepper writes: "No order to strike is likely to be given before the P5+1 talks with Iran resume in May, the reporter, Alon Ben-David, said. '“But the coming summer will not only be hot but tense.”'
Should the P5 talks founder, and Israel launches an attack, it will be comprehensive and well coordinated with "dozens if not more planes" including attack and escort jets, tankers to refuel the jets on their long flight to Iran, rescue helicopters, and electronic warfare planes.
The televised report made clear that while Israel understands it does not have the capability to wipe out Tehran's entire nuclear program, it will bring a solid punch to the sites it considers most advanced.
One Israeli pilot is quoted saying he knows the mission won't bring the definitive results of the 1981 raid on Iraq's Osirak reactor, but that “Years of preparations are likely to come to realization,” and that “the moment of truth is near.”
Israel's fleet of F-15s will be the likely choice with their weapons options and relatively fuel efficient engines, but they could suffer at the hands of Iran's Russian built SA 17 and 22 anti-aircraft systems.
Pilots claimed on air that they're ready to make the ultimate sacrifice and that when the attack comes, and war breaks out, they have already been told where their families will be moved away from base, for safety.
Please follow Military & Defense on Twitter and Facebook.