When the IAF attacks, Iranian leaders have promised to unleash their missile force. Some intermediate-range ballistic missiles have a high probability of getting through anti-missile defenses and hitting Israeli population centers.
The 620-mile-range Iranian Shahab-3, a derivative of the North Korean No-dong series, is a powerful and dangerous missile. Like the V-2 barrage on London during World War II, innocent people will suffer but the nation will survive, and once an intermediate-range ballistic missile inventory is depleted, that threat is over and unless replenished, it ends.
In an attack against hardened Iranian ground targets, the IAF will first have to neutralize Iranian air defenses, including Iran’s air force. Iran’s current air order of battle includes a mix of Russian, French, Chinese and U.S. design systems, though the actual number of combat-effective aircraft is a guess because of the lack of spare parts and limited insight into the training and tactics of Iranian fighter pilots. However, even older Iranian F-4s, F-14s, MiGs and Sukhois can make a nasty hash of Persian Gulf targets.
So the big unanswered question is: What do Russia, China and North Korea do to help their client? Does an IAF attack lead them to race in and provide arms to help Iran?