NORTH KOREA NEEDS TO FACE A DIRECTED SABOTAGE CAMPAIGN
Reports now suggest, that North Korea’s simultaneous launch of several Ballistic Missiles at once is a rehearsal for a saturation attack on US defenses in Japan. North Korea has now demonstrated an intention towards a warfighting nuclear doctrine that must be answered in some substantive manner by the US and its regional allies.
There are other options open to the Trump administration to signal its wrath and to slow North Korea’s long-range Ballistic Missile and nuclear program short of airstrikes and overt military action. It was revealed this week that President Obama ordered a cyber operation against North Korea’s rocket program to destroy missiles as they were launched, and to some degree it was effective. Presumably, President Obama ordered a cyber campaign against Iran as well and if he did not that begs even more questions about the effectiveness of his leadership. Clearly, sanctions and cyber operations alone are not having the desired effect. The US ‘toolbox’ to slow the North Korean program is similar to the ‘toolbox’ to slow Iran’s programs, diplomatic action, sanctions, cyber operations, and sabotage. Sabotage can mean many things and can be robust. Sabotage requires keen intelligence, and is the one tool not used against North Korea to date that we know of. There is a model for a directed covert sabotage program to slow the North’s march to an Inter-Continental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) in someone’s campaign to slow Iran’s.
Starting as early as 2007, there are accusations that the Israelis took covert measures to slow Iran’s nuclear and missile program. Israel has never taken credit or claimed responsibility for a series of actions taken over the years to hamper the Iranians, and in fact, there are several countries that might have acted against Iran. Between 2007 and 2015 several Iranian nuclear scientists were either killed or injured. Between 2010 and 2012 four Iranian scientists were assassinated including: Masoud Alimohammadi, Majid Shahriari, Darioush Rezaeinejad, and Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, while Fereydoon Abbasiwas another top academic was injured in an assassination attempt. In January 2015, Iranian security forces claimed that they stopped an attempt by the Israeli Mossad to assassinate an Iranian nuclear scientist. Add to these assassinations a series of mysterious incidents that resulted in explosions in key facilities related to both programs. For instance, in 2011, an explosion rocked Isfahan in western Iran, home to Iran’s uranium conversion plant. Additionally, in 2011, Iran suffered a massive explosion at a military base near Tehran that reportedly killed 17 Revolutionary Guards members, including the head of Iran’s missile program. During 2014 two people were killed in an explosion at a military site near the suspected nuclear reactor in Parchin. There are rumors about other incidents, both minor and major, that had the effect of slowing the Iranian nuclear and long-range Ballistic Missile program.
One option for the Trump regime to slow North Korea’s drive to a nuclear-tipped ICBM, is to use cyber and information operations, along with a directed, covert, and robust sabotage program similar to the one executed against Iran by forces unknown. All the while, the US continues with the deployment of Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and other missile defense systems to the region. While it won’t stop the North Koreans, it will slow progress until the only limited force option left is cruise missiles and air strikes.