"The Israel Air Force recently staged military exercises between Israel and the British colony of Gibraltar near southern Spain, the French magazine L'Express reported on Saturday.
The fact that the drills were held 3,800 kilometers away from Israel "confirms that the Israel Defense Forces is making concrete preparations" to attack Iran over its refusal to cooperate with the international community over its contentious nuclear program, according to L'Express. " Ha'aretz
""Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words," one senior Israeli defense official told The Times.
The London Times report appeared to be an Israeli message to Iran conveying its capability and readiness to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons." Ha'aretz
"Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.
The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.
Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.
“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.
The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years."
Times on Line, 7 January, 2007
It is about 3200 km. roundtrip from the Israeli coast to Natanz, Iran. Ha'aretz says that the IDF is flying long range training missions to Gibraltar practising in-flight refueling among other things. It is 3800 km. roundtrip to Gibraltar from the Israeli coast.
- This is undoubtedly a message. The big question is whether or not it is a message that that will become a mission if Israel does not have its way. Is it a "bluff?" There is only one way to find out. That is how "bluffs" work.
- 3800 kms. is the more or less straight line distance across Jordan and Iraq.
- Small yield nuclear weapons? It never made any sense even as a planning drill any other way.
- President Peres is supposed to tell President Obama today that Natanyahu is a bit of a wild man who might do anything imaginable if not given what he wants. This is an interesting ploy, but unlikely to work well with Obama and Clinton.
- And then one must consider the Jericho force…
Taken altogether these indicators point to a massive Israeli psychological campaign intended to push Iran and the US into doing what Israel wants.
The big question remains whether or not Israel will do the deed if frustrated. pl
The use of nuclear weapons, in any manner, would be an “own goal” as they say in European football play.
It would be the worst thing the Israelis could do and the best thing that could happen to the Palestinians.
An unprovoked use of nuclear weapons by Israel would rally the world against Israel in a manner that nothing else would.
Prediction:use of nuclear weapons by Israel would be seen, in historical terms, as the begining of the end for the state.
Does the Security Council no longer convene emergency meetings to defuse threats by one country to attack another?
May have misheard but in listening to Shimon Peres interview on NPR he seemed to indicate that several Arab states were also worried about Persian nuclear capability they would not side with Israel unless certain quid pro quos were met like ceasing development of certain communities in border areas. Peres then stated that there was no relationship between Israeli domestic politics and the Iranian threats or so I heard. Wondering what that really means? If the US cannot restrain Israel and the nation-states surrounding Israel cannot restrain Israel where exactly does Israel stand with respect to the internaional polity and norms that usually apply to nation-states? Are they really beleivers they are exempt because of the holocoust and that “never again” means total policy adoption of “premption” as national policy despite what the international community is saying? If so then again the record of Israeli leadership has led them into the blindest corner of all. If you really truly believe you have NO options then just the same as having NO options. Should the international community allow this point of view to exist without challenge? Who will stand up to challenge it?
I’m praying this doesn’t happen but now suspect it will (I never thought this before – just never seemed a smart thing to do).
I don’t think the Iranians will counter-attack.
Without vouching at all for what disinformation / information appears on the debkafile website, this item says the Russians on April 17 warned the Iranians that Israel was planning to bomb its airplanes which were in place for an airshow, so the Iranians dispersed them.
Reuters is reporting that U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Rose Gottemoeller speaking at the meeting of signatories to the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty and stated “Universal adherence to the NPT itself, including by India, ISRAEL, Pakistan and North Korea … remains a fundamental objective of the United States.”
I don’t believe such words have ever been uttered by the State Dept. This is analogous to mentioning to your thirty-year old son who is still living in your house that it’s time for him to start looking for a job.
Go get them Jews. All the worlds leaders secretly hope you have the guts to do it. Because they don’t.
The Iranians leadership consists of a bunch of muslim religious zealots. Who will justify any nut bag thoughts, like nuking Tel Aviv, NYC, or DC in the name of bring back the Mahadi Prophet. Not to mention for bonus points the Iranians can try to dominate the entire middle Eastern oil infrastructure. Using nuclear blackmail.
You guys think Obama is going to stop them with his “can’t we all just be friends” cum by ya.
He knows it needs to be done (by now the breifing about the effects of a Nuke on Pennsylvania Ave. on him and his family has had time to sink in), but he and his staff(by and large Jewish)don’t have the Cajones.
So let the Israelis do the dirty work. And then he and the other world leaders can put on a little “Kubuki Act” about those “Mean Old Zionist” not being very nice! And we ought do something.
Nice didn’t get the Jews 3,000 years of survival, being realistic did. I seriously doubt the American Empire will see 300 years, and the American people will be scattered to the winds. With no cultural cohesion to help them survive like those damn near immpossible to eliminate Jews.
I come back to the economy. The Obama Administration has done everything in its power and everything well outside its power to create a feel-good atmosphere around the economic horror the country is experiencing.
That’s the kind of backdrop that historically has permitted Israel and the US to do just about anything they wish.
I would say the key question is how this will play in China. I know that may sound nuts, but China’s relationship with the US is deteriorating. They can not match us militarily, but they can inflict some very major pain economically. I suspect very strongly that China simply does not want a world with powerful rogue states running around loose.
Nuclear weapons? Israel will lose the entirety of the European and Arab street overnight. I hope the satraps in Cairo, etc., fully understand that.
It seems to me that the Israeli Likud hardliners are acting much like my four year old son does, when he doesn’t get something he wants, namely throw a fit. The administration keeps ignoring the tantrums so the fits keep getting louder and louder in an effort to get some attention.
Having been burned so badly by poor intelligence which coincidentially confirmed the Neocon view in Iraq, I have serious doubts that the Mossad “evidence” (which mirror’s Bibi’s outlook)has any more credibility than what the Obama national security team is looking at (i.e. the much more classifed version of last years NIE stating that Iran is still years away from a bomb).
Upon logical examination, this strike “plan” completely falls apart. First of all, it’s probably not even technically feasible. While smart bomb accuracy has improved, it has to be awfully hard to lob in a nuke in such a small hole and at the right angle as a bomb crater (I encourage anyone with the sufficient training/knowledge to rebut my amateur assessment).
Second, it isn’t even necessary to have such a two stage bombing run. I mean, why even bother when a nuclear blast vaporizes and irradiates the entire area? It doesn’t matter how much rock, concrete and steel all those centerfuges are under when the entrances and everything else on the surface are either blown to smithereens or can’t be entered without killing someone.
Like the Colonal stated, it all adds up to one big bluff. Kind of like when someone in poker pushes such a disporpotionate amount of money into the pot in an effort to look strong, that they telegraph the holding of a weak hand.
If the IAF were really serious, you wouldn’t be reading about it in Ha’aretz. They would just go and do it. After all, how many media reports about the preparations were there prior to when they struck Osirak?
If Bibi is indeed contemplating the use of nuclear weapons, perhaps someone ought to bring up Anthony Eden in 1956. IMHO no other decision could possibly drive home the point that our national interest is not necessarily identical to that of Israel. I don’t expect the current administration to use hard measures in negotiations with Israel (e.g., holding up foreign aid), but a stupid decision like this could become a tipping point. The Taiwan lobby couldn’t stop Nixon.
Anybody who really believes that Israel would use a preemptive nuclear strike has lost the ability to think of Israelis as anything other than caricatures, the way the Bushies viewed all Iranians as mad mullahs, wild eyed with long pointy beards and turbans, frothing at the mouth for their chance to end the world.
Thereby becoming well poisoners when the fallout percolates into the groundwater. Iran does not have water to spare.
Not an antisemtic remark, Norm C. Merely pointing out a potential irony/perversity.
Well, what could possibly go wrong? How about these:
–failure of the nuclear weapons system to work. At one-fifteenth of the yield of Hiroshima, we’re talking around one KT of yield, which turns out to be a tough design point to reach in practice (it’s arguably easier to scale up a nuclear weapons design than it is to scale it down). So there’s a good chance such a weapon might not even work, with said chance compounded by the fact that Israel has never tested any of its designs.
–the whole “staged bunker buster” idea seems far-fetched as far as precision goes (it’s up there with Biggs and Luke successfully attacking the Death Star). And the phrase “exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout” translates as “lots of potential for ugly fallout”, since even at 1KT, these things make a mess.
–Israel is arguably the country most vulnerable to WMD attacks, by virtue of its small size, relatively open society, proximity to attack, etc. Does the Israeli government really wish to take the chance that retaliation would not occur using non-radiological WMD’s, e.g., chem/bio weapons? You open up the WMD Pandora’s Box and a lot of awful stuff flies out into play, and payback could get existentially ugly.
–if the Symington Amendment still holds, then any nuclear attack by Israel renders all U.S. aid illegal, and whoever is lucky enough to be currently responsible for that aid (e.g., the Secretary of State?) probably should hire a good lawyer, fast. I would guess that if the modern GOP were given the choice between (a) catching members of the Obama administration participating in an illegal foreign aid conspiracy and (b) keeping AIPAC happy, the David Duke wing of the party would step right up to choose (a).
That could get mighty interesting.
So what genius dreamed up this idea, anyway? I thought that Israelis were supposed to be the folks with the high IQ’s, but with this plan, you gotta wonder.
Shimon Peres, as recently as yesteday at the AIPAC conference, has repeatedly said over a number of years that “Nobody is threatening Iran…”
Who knew a few “Mini-nukes” was an Israeli gesture of friendship?
Hope no one overlooked Israeli MRBM! Substantially built on blueprints of the US Pershing missile system.That US system was by eliminated by the Nitze “walk in the woods.”
Strangely not the Soviet equivalent.
Get a grip, Iran is not the enemy, Israel is. You seem to know nothing about Persian history. You expect them to lie down while Israel tries a stomp the yard on them? You have no idea as to the tenacity/cunning/capabilities of the Persians when boxed into a corner. You forget who invented the game of chess, and it was NOT the Israelis!
Israel if they are stupid enough to attack Iran, are in for a very rude awakening.
I believe the answer to your question is no, there will not be any shooting between Tehran and Tel Aviv.
Israel and Iran are natural allies and for all the bluster, both sides know this and have operated with this fundamental strategic fact for decades. The rapproachment process is simple recognition of this reality. I know many influential Israelis and Iranians agree that this is the case.
Where they do compete is for strategic influence in Washington, but thats about it.
I seriously doubt the American Empire will see 300 years,…
As far as I’m concerned, there should have never been an empire in the first place!
I’m sick and tired of being a superpower. It’s a royal pain in the ass.
Mark my words: Israel will not attack Iran. This is all just more bluster and fuel for the tea leaves (whatever that mixed metaphor means!).
Anybody notice that Symington Amendment prohibits “nuclear reprocessing” technology to be transferred? (eg. Japan’s plan in Kazak is a no go.) This is very interesting. I got the feeling that law was designed to inhibit allies to compete in nuclear market. (japan and france specially)
This change my entire view how Iran should play their nuclear diplomacy game.
(ps. Israel definitely transfers nuke tech. No way they don’t make a few buck from it. but there is no proof.)
The Glenn Amendment (Section 670) was later adopted in 1977, and provided the same sanctions against countries that acquire or transfer nuclear reprocessing technology or explode or transfer a nuclear device. This provision, as amended, is now contained in Section 102 of the Arms Export Control Act (AECA).
Hezbollah fired two Noor antiship missiles in 2006. One disabled an Israeli corvette, the other sank a merchant ship. Hezbollah for God’s sake!!!
Iran has been manufacturing these things for years. What is it about most of the Gulf as a kill zone is so hard for people to understand? Threat umbrella? Flooding attack? Millennium Challenge?
The tone here is a little detached, it seems to me.
Seems to me the Iranians have done as much as they can to provoke an attack and still remain the victim if one takes place. Since they are not likely to gain many friends in a world dominated by the pro-Israel Western press it’s a safe bet their ambitions are within the Muslim world.
Iranian prestige in that world is high right now, especially as any nominal Sunni/Arab leadership has proven itself either incapable of halting Western expansionism or complicit in its activities. I think the Iranian goal has always been leadership of the Muslim world, something the Arabs have forefeited and the Turks don’t seem to want. The only thing that could even approach unifying Muslims is a shared sense of injustice -which an attack on Iran will surely awaken.
An attack on these facilities will also result in many civilian deaths, including women and children as they are sure to have some of the amenities that such places usually have. Every second will be filmed and on the news withing minutes, maybe even real time.
Forever war will start then. But I just can’t see it. An Iraqi Army dominated by Shia, Hazara in Af with a long history of Iranian support during and after the Catastrophe (Herat was the Shia Peshawar, remember) – too many variables, too much risk for our country.
Influential in what sphere, please?
Well, the real problem with trying to frighten Obama into beating up on Iran is [a] Obama commands some of the most powerful forces in the world and [b] knows this. Something about the idea that Israel is trying to force Obama’s hand doesn’t seem quite right. If so, in my opinion, they are seriously underestimating Obama. But would they really do that? Would we not underestimate them if we thought that they were going to underestimate Obama?
It causes me to at least look around for other possible motives. Overtures to the Arabs? (the Iranians are our common enemy, we will save you.) Trying to scare the Iranians into over-reacting?
diplomatic jockeying… (what’s up?)
In a similar report, IRNA news agency said on Monday that “President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has canceled a regional tour of Latin American states and will instead leave Tehran for Damascus (Syria) on Tuesday.”
In an announcement on Sunday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said Ahmadinejad will pay official visits to Brazil, Venezuela, and Ecuador from May 7 to 8.
Israel has expressed its concern over Ahmadinejad’s visit to Brazil, but Brazilian Foreign Minister Celso Amorim has rejected the concerns and said that the “planned visit would go ahead as scheduled.”
“If we stop taking visitors because certain countries disagree with them, we would not be able to accept hardly anyone,” Amorim was quoted as saying.
The United States has also accused Iran of engaging in “subversive activity” in its backyard Latin America, particularly South America and Central America, under the cover of economic cooperation.
Perhaps the Israelis can launch an air strike on an Iranian nuclear facility and achieve the coordination and precision described. But could they do this more than once? I doubt that.
Iran’s nuclear capabilities are dispersed and hardened. They can be attritted, but not entirely eliminated. And if Iran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon now, they certainly would be after being attacked. And an attack would strengthen the mullahs and hard liners.
Does Israel want to become a pariah, rogue state, and present itself with an existential dilemma? Who would be willing to ally or trade with them? All of the ground they have gained politically and diplomatically over the past thirty years would be instantly lost. Egypt has just cleared its throat and made some warning grumbles. And Israel would lose the support of most jews in the US and throughout the world.
The US might turn a blind eye to one attack, but we could not permit further acts. And we would face international pressure to act to restrain Israel, and would have to accede.
So, if Israel wants Iran to develop a nuclear weapon and to have an absolute predisposition to use it against Israel, then they should attack without delay.
Someone needs to read Bibi and his cabinet the riot act, quietly and behind closed doors. They are not helping themselves.
Highlander: The Iranians leadership consists of a bunch of muslim religious zealots.
Ok and to whom is the Iraqi leadership (Maliki, Hakim, et al) loyal to?
Hint: Not the US; and especially not Israel, as well all know
Answer: The Iraqi leadership is loyal to `The Iranians leadership [which] consists of a bunch of muslim religious zealots.’
Saddening, sickening, and frustrating to know that the Iraqi leadership (Maliki, Hakim, et al) is based upon the deaths of so many Americans who also happened to finance their empowerment, paid to equip their army, etc.
Israeli religious zealots and the Bushies sure did a heckuva job!!
True if we had not entered a religious war.
As usual … its ALL about the Israelis:
Israel would inform, not ask U.S. before hitting Iran
Israel would want to ensure that its jets would not be shot down by accident if overflying U.S.-occupied Iraq, and to give Americans in the Gulf forewarning of possible Iranian reprisals.
I say blow any Israeli jets who dare to intrude on Iraqi/U.S. airspace, out of the sky, no exceptions. Lock=n=load.
Remember that Israel is currently trying its best to acquire 3 U.S. made E3s, and they have been greasing the skids of the U.S. Congress to do it.
I would love to see the shock=n=awe expressions on the Israeli pilots (just before they auger into the dirt) who are stupid enough to try and attack Iran, they’re in for a few surprises/rude awakenings.
Well shucks, heck-e-darn, I made a foopaw, I dared to criticize Israel, therefore I’m ant-Semitic according to a ‘law’ that Mr. Bush signed into law on Oct. 16 04. So are you legally anti-Semitic?
According to this ‘law’ some of the following sets of beliefs are determined as being anti-Semitic.:
Any strong anti-Israel sentiments is — anti-Semitic.
Virulent criticism of Israel’s leaders (ya know their War Criminals), past or present is — anti-Semitic.
Criticism of the U.S. government and Congress for being under influences of AIPAC, is — anti-Semitic.
Calling Israel a racist state is — anti-Semitic.
Should such an attack be launched, it would be an act of war with no casus belli, very like Pearl Harbor. Iran could have no other course than to declare war. The combatants would then be in the position of being unable to come to grips with each other on the ground and lack the means to wage decisive long range (strategic) combat. Thus, I would conclude that it would be a lengthy affair, with both sides employing proxies and other indirect means.
In a proxy-war, Iran would appear to have the advantage,particularly if outrage in the Middle East would be as wide, deep, and sincere as most suppose it would be. The consequences could be severe for Israel, border warfare, diplomatic isolation, boycotts, embargoes and a collapse of the moderate Arab/Turkey group as a buffer and moderating influence.
Israel can have only one proxy with forces near Iran and that proxy is, (the envelope please) is, What a surprise!, us. The other, but related Israeli asset is the powerful, resourceful, never-sleeping, with friends in very high places, Lobby. I have to believe that the Lobby’s influence would rapidly wane or, perhaps, diappear like a puff of smoke. As for America engaging Iran on her borders or in the Gulf, I suspect that we might decline to do so.
Another problem for us, should the attack take place, is that unless we actively and openly forbid and take measures to prevent it, we shall be seen to be the accomplices of our “ally”, as we were in 1973, Lebanons I and II, the Intifadas, and the Gaza atrocities.
In the end, I find it hard to believe that they will actually do it.
Pakistan is not terribly stable right now. Wouldn’t an Israeli nuclear attack on its western borders (prevailing winds are west to east) destabilize it further?
Oh, and the other country bordering Iran on the east is…the envelope please…Afghanistan.
Gosh, I guess the Israeli’s are really sure about the possibility of fall-out from those bunker busters.
“Mr. President, the Israeli’s assured us there would be no fall-out in Afghanistan. It was an honest mistake.”
Let me run this up the flagpole and see what reaction it gets.
Only a week or so til Netanyahu and Obama meet in the White House. A very big meeting. Both sides have been putting on the pressure.
Netanyahu has been pushing Congress and all of Washington hard through AIPAC and the hundreds of delegates going out from there to lobby their representatives. Israel has also been pushing very hard on Iran – hardly a day goes by without threats to bomb Iran. They’ve also been playing Dennis Ross whose been saying that the Egyptians and the Arabs in general have become very worried about Iran’s nuclear ambitions. (Comments directly contradicted by other newspaper reports saying the Egyptians et al aren’t at all worried by this).
On the American side they’ve been playing Under Secretary of State Gottemoeller’s statements about all of the Middle East’s nuclear powers – including Israel – having to abide by NPT rules. But mainly they’ve been pushing the need for a peace settlement between Israel and Palestine, with a two state solution. Positions fairly different from those taken by Israel’s new leaders.
Various accounts of personnal skirmishing have also been raked up – suspected Israeli spies not allowed into the room with Clinton, the Clinton’s and Emmanuel’s personal stand-offs with Netanyahu back in the 90’s.
But what is really on the table here? What do the two sides really want? Is the endless Israeli threat to attack Iran merely a counter to any serious deal with the Palestinians? Is Obama, mainly because of the Israeli Lobby inside the US, largely impotent in his dealings with Netanyahu?
What’s the state of play as we go into the last week?
President Obama should tell Bibi that there’s not to be an attack in any way, shape, or form – end of discussion. And, if they do attack against our advice, that we, the United States, will lead the global effort to isolate them diplomatically and financially.
J, you said:
Is that kind of comment really necessary? Glee at the prospect of killing those who would implement a policy you don’t like does not exactly cast you in a positive light – especially since you’re not the one who will do the killing.
arbogast: according to stuff in print, winds depend on season.
The Israelis will soon learn, if they haven’t already, that they are not dealing with an Administration of easily manipulated, swaggering idiots, as they were with Bush & Co. Whether the current Israeli gov’t is smart enough and capable enough to adapt to the new reality is debatable.
JohnF wrote “Is the endless Israeli threat to attack Iran merely a counter to any serious deal with the Palestinians?”
If I were going to place a poker chip on one of the options, that’s the one I’d pick.
Nice didn’t get the Jews 3,000 years of survival, being realistic did.
Oh, please. Enough with this BS. The Egyptians have survived much longer and they dont resort to occupation and pre-emptive warmongering. Sixty years has proven to me that maybe the Israelis dont deserve what the British Mandate ultimately gave them because they dont have the maturity to change or take responsibility for an inch of their demise.
We have seen rumours of an IDF strike on Iran for years now.
At the same time, anybody with half a brain knows that the end result would be a closure of the Persian Gulf, another crippling blow to the world economy, and massive popular unrest against Israel, which of course, at some point in time, will add up to actual censure and sanctions, if not more.
So a strike on Iran, would be mad.
So, are the Israeli’s running a Nixon?
If the Israeli’s are running a Nixon, (pretend to be a mad dog with nukes to intimidate an opponent and gain concessions), it does not appear, from the timing of the recent “attack” leaks, or the previous ones, that the target of the Nixon Strategy is Iran.
It would appear very much that the goal of the “Information Operations” is to influence and gain concessions from the US.
I take no glee in any death of any kind. A human death is a loss to all of mankind. The ‘expression’ I’m talking about is that those IDF pilots will realize that they were being played for fools by their leadership back in Tel Aviv/Jerusalem as expendible mere pawns in Tel Aviv/Jerusalem’s mad lust for domination and power.
And as for the IDF, they did not hesitate to murder U.S. military personnel on the USS Liberty, and the Israeli Mossad had no hesitation in intentionally withholding critical life-saving Intel of the pending Beriut Barracks Bombing that cost over 200 U.S. Marines their lives.
I have no pity for any IDF or Mossad bloke that bites the dust, as I view them in the same light as Al-Qaeda, they both have intentionally shed American blood!
Israel has proven they are an enemy to my U.S. and those I love!!!
The Israelis have begun to sense that things are no longer like they were in the good old days: