"Israel and its chief ally the United States charge that Tehran is using its civilian nuclear programme as a cover to develop atomic weapons — claims that Tehran flatly denies.Senior Israeli army intelligence officer Yossi Beidetz told parliament’s foreign affairs and defence ministry that Iran could acquire the bomb by 2009."Assuming Iran is not faced with difficulties, the most severe scenario is that Iran could have a nuclear bomb by the end of 2009," Beidetz was quoted by committee members as saying.Israel, which belongs to the IAEA but has not signed the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, is widely considered to be the Middle East’s sole — if undeclared — nuclear-armed nation.It considers Iran its chief enemy after repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Jewish state should be wiped off the map.Last month, on a tour of UN Security Council members to push for tougher sanctions against Iran, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert also criticised the IAEA chief."If ElBaradei thinks that an Iranian bomb in three years time does not bother him, it certainly worries me, even extremely," Olmert said in France."It would be better if ElBaradei made an effort to prevent them from obtaining a bomb."ElBaradei said in an interview with France’s Le Monde newspaper that Iran would need "between three and eight years" to develop a nuclear bomb and that there were was no immediate threat."I want to get people away from the idea that Iran represents a clear and present danger and that we’re now facing the decision whether to bombard Iran or let them have the bomb. We’re not in that situation at all," he said. " Yahoo News
It is increasingly clear that Israel’s fear of an annihilating Iranian "first strike" on its handful of cities is driving the world towards the possibility of another war in the Middle East.
Israeli government strategic thinking does not include a reliance on MAD (mutual assured destruction) as a basis for nuclear deterrence. The Israelis reason that their population would not survive a nuclear first strike. The list of targeted cities would be small and the same cities might be targeted several times, The gamble that anti-missile defenses would defeat such an attack is not acceptable to the Israelis. The idea that a retaliatory second strike (by them or the Americans) would destroy the attacker means little to them since their population would be gone.
Several key questions arise because of that expressed Israeli belief:
– What are the actual time lines of the putative Iranian nuclear and missile programs? The basic question is; "How long until the Iranians could have a sufficient force of DELIVERABLE nuclear weapons?" The Israelis talk about Iranian nuclear weapons in 2009. Do they really mean that or are they talking about an experimental detonation?
– Do the Iranians really possess the industrial capacity to manufacture miniaturized nuclear weapons and to "mate" them to ballistic missiles?
– Are the Iranians "rational actors" in making strategic decisions or are they driven by messianic religious impulses?
– Is Israel’s principal concern fear of an actual Iranian strike at some time in the future or is the main worry the loss of strategic influence and "clout" that would follow upon the possession of such weapons by the Iranians?
These are the kinds of question that should be considered. Instead, the world is subjected to propaganda and information operations designed to push public opinion toward another war. pl