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‘Standoff’ warfare

Israel likely has looked at an “Option B” for attacking Iran that would not involve the risky business of manned flights through inhospitable airspace.

Such “standoff” warfare would rely heavily on drones to deliver bombs, complemented by sea- and land-based missiles, cyberattacks and sabotage by Iranian dissidents trying to oust Iran’s hard-line mullahs.

“They are probably pretty close to what the United States has in cyberwarfare,” Mr. Maloof said. “If they, along with the United States, developed the Stuxnet bug, that shows they do have a high level of technical and cyberwarfare capability.

“They really focus on these things that give the greatest punch for the least amount of effort.”

No one has claimed ownership of the Stuxnet worm, which can attack industrial machinery and processes that are operated by computers.

In Iran’s case, the worm was designed to infiltrate and disable uranium-enrichment machinery in Iran, which discovered the sabotage in June 2010.

Suspicion immediately focused on Israel, perhaps in partnership with the CIA or the National Security Agency because precise knowledge of Iran’s enrichment process would have been needed to design a successful worm. Iran last year acknowledged removing damaged centrifuges from its major plant at Natanz.

The question is, was Stuxnet an Israeli test? Will it send a barrage of malicious computer programs into Iran’s nuclear complexes at some point?

“They can do this without airplanes,” Mr. Maloof said. “Standoff warfare is the coming thing.”

Shadow war

Someone is killing Iranian nuclear scientists.

Most recently, chemical engineer Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was killed Jan. 10 by a “sticky” bomb attached to his car by a motorcyclist who fled the Tehran neighborhood after the explosion.

Roshan was the fourth Iranian atomic scientist assassinated in the past two years. Coupled with the Stuxnet attack and various industrial explosions in Iran, the killings point to some sort of sabotage under way.

Iran blames Israel. So does NBC News, which reported that Israel’s intelligence agency, the Mossad, is in cahoots with Iran’s largest opposition group in a shadow war to disrupt Iran’s nuclear-arms ability through assassinations, explosions and cyberwarfare.

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