Tag Archive | "iran"

Israeli Defense minister leans toward operation in Iran, as Obama portrays ‘weakness’

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Moshe Ya’alon says U.S. is acting feebly – from China through the Mideast to Ukraine. ‘I hope the U.S. comes to its senses.’

By Barak Ravid

Based on his evaluation that the United States isn’t going to do anything to frustrate the Iranian nuclear program, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon said Monday he’s changed his mind and now leans toward supporting unilateral Israeli action against Iran.

“We had thought the ones who should lead the campaign against Iran is the United States,” said Ya’alon, speaking during an event at Tel Aviv University. “But at some stage the United States entered into negotiations with them, and unhappily, when it comes to negotiating at a Persian bazaar, the Iranians were better.”

If Israel had hoped others would do the job for it, this is not about to happen, Ya’alon said: “Therefore, on this matter, we have to behave as though we have nobody to look out for us but ourselves.”

His words attest to a sea-change in his attitude regarding how Israel should contend with the Iranian nuclear program. Under the previous government, Ya’alon had led the opposition in the security cabinet to a solo Israeli attack on Iran, even exchanging sharp words on the issue with the defense minister at the time, Ehud Barak. Ya’alon had taken the position that “the work of righteous men shall be done by others” – meaning the United States should be the one to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Evidently, he no longer believes this is going to happen, and is nearing the position of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who signals the belief that Israel should be behaving as though it’s on its own, right now.

Ya’alon was sharply critical on Monday of Washington’s behavior regarding Iran, even hinting that U.S. President Barack Obama would prefer to pass the hot potato to his successor at the White House. “People know that Iran cheats,” Ya’alon said. “But comfortable Westerners prefer to put off confrontation. If possible, to next year, or the next president. But in the end, it will blow up.”

From Iran being “on its knees” thanks to economic pressure and onerous diplomatic isolation, from fearing an internal eruption and military threat, Iran cleverly led a “smile offensive,” Ya’alon said, extracting itself from crisis.

“There have been delays in the nuclear program, but the [interim] agreement [signed between Iran and the superpowers in Geneva] is very convenient for the Iranians,” Ya’alon said. “They’re settling down at the threshold and can decide when to make the breakthrough to a nuclear bomb.”

Ya’alon’s criticism of Obama’s foreign policy didn’t stop with Iran. The minister repeated a number of times during his address that Washington has been showing weakness everywhere in the world. “The moderate Sunni camp in the area expected the United States to support it, and to be firm, like Russia’s support for the Shi’ite axis,” Ya’alon said. “I heard voices of disappointment in the region. I was in Singapore and heard disappointment about China getting stronger and the U.S. getting weaker. Look what’s happening in Ukraine, where the United States is demonstrating weakness, unfortunately.”

If the American government persists in demonstrating weakness on the international front, the United States’ own national security will be badly damaged, Ya’alon said. “If you sit and wait at home, the terrorism will come again,” he said. “Even if you hunker down, it will come. This is a war of civilizations. If your image is feebleness, it doesn’t pay in the world. Nobody will replace the United States as global policeman. I hope the United States comes to its senses. If it doesn’t, it will challenge the world order, and the United States is the one that will suffer.”

Discussing the relations between Israel and the United States on the security and diplomatic fronts, Ya’alon said that U.S. military aid to Israel needs to be “seen in proportion”.

“It isn’t a favor America is doing, it’s in their interest,” he said. Israel not only takes from Washington, the minister added — it also gives. “They get quality intelligence and technology,” he said. “We invented Iron Dome. The wings of the F-35 stealth fighter – we invented. We invented the Arrow,” an anti-ballistic missile.

Ya’alon also took aim at the Israeli left, implying that Justice Minister Tzipi Livni was encouraging international elements to apply pressure to Israel. “We have a serious problem of self-accusation,” he said. “There are circles where Israelis and Arabs meet. The Arabs accuse the Jews and the Jews accuse themselves.”

Hinting plainly at Livni, Ya’alon said, “There are elements within the government that have lost their equilibrium, and blame us” for the failure of negotiations with the Palestinians. “They say, why are we building? [Settlements.] Why don’t we give more? Then it becomes very convenient for everybody outside to pounce on us. We have too much self-accusation, which attracts fire, and causes people to press us and demand concessions.”

Good News: Baghdad Bomb Blasts Not Atomic

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Iraq Suicide BombingThe death toll from Sunday’s two suicide bombs in Baghdad, one of Iraq’s bloodiest attacks in years, has risen to 155 with more than 500 wounded, police said on Monday.

Sunday’s bombings, near the Justice Ministry and the Baghdad provincial government building, ripping through cars and people, was the bloodiest in Iraqi capital since mid-2007.

World leaders condemned the attacks and Iraqi officials pointed a finger at al Qaeda and remnants of former dictator Saddam Hussein’s government. Opposition politicians blamed the security forces.

Officials have blamed unnamed neighbors for not stopping the attacks — a reference to Iraqi complaints that Syria provides a safe haven for former Baathists while citizens of other Sunni Muslim states help fund the insurgency in Iraq. Iran, meanwhile, has been accused of funding and arming Shi’ite militia.

[IMHO, much too much obsessing about Israel being “wiped off the map” by a nuclear Iran and not nearly enough about the immediate threat it would pose to Iran’s neighbors. I mean, if you can make a nuclear weapon that fits on the end of a missile, how hard is it to pack the thing into the back of a van or the hold of a ship for the short trip to – take your pick – Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, or Turkey? Hey, but Obama wants to let diplomacy run its course, so who I am to argue? Most adult Americans will be dead long before Iran could deliver a nuclear weapon here anyway. Say hi to the kids for me, OK? –Dan Friedman]

Uncle Jay Explains the News – June 29th, 2009

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Hey Media Circus fans! It’s time to sing America’s praises for the 4th! Unfortunately, Uncle Jay sings about the news instead. Ever since December’s year in review, fans have screamed for Uncle Jay to sing again. So by popular demand, here’s 2009 in review. How’s that for punctual?

Iran Foced Washington to Retreat from Uranium Enrichment

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USA will play by our rules

USA will play by our rules

President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad crowed Wednesday, April 15: “Iran’s resistance and progress in nuclear technology forced Washington to retreat from its position…” Following the suggestion that the six powers’ could waive the US demand for Iran to give up enriching uranium as a pre-condition for talks, the Iranian president said: “You know well that today you are suffering from weaknesses. You have no choice. You can’t make any progress through bullying policies. I advise to you to change and correct your tone…”

He said contemptuously that Tehran was preparing a “new package” in response to the US, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia’s invitation to negotiations and “When it is ready we will present it to you.” Iranian sources stress that Ahmadinejad was telling the six powers that Tehran was not against negotiations but only on its own terms, which would be dictated when its government was good and ready.  He thus placed in its real context the formal consent to negotiations which Iran’s nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili delivered to European Union external affairs executive Javier Solana Tuesday.

“Quake” Saturday was Nuclear Bomb Test

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Israel Insider is reporting that a seismic event this weekend in southern Iran may in fact have been a massive underground nuclear bomb test. According to the USGS , the tremor measuring 5.0 on the Richter scale took place Saturday night, October 25 just before midnight Iran time, with its epicenter at 26.70°N, 55.02°E, just north of the strategic straits of Hormuz, opposite Abu Dhabi.

Zoomable map source : Google Maps.

The claim that the tremor was in fact a nuclear test came from an Iranian nuclear scientist who claims to be working in uranium enrichment for the project. A report published by Israel Insider on Friday, October 24 the following night , based on location information previously provided by the Iranian source. included a captionless map that portrayed the area of the seismic event that occurred

Israel Insider’s source reports that the test is in fact the second in a series. A 4.8 Richter scale event occurred on October 21 with an epicenter (26.70N, 54.96E) within 5 km (3 miles) of the October 25 tremor.

Israeli and foreign sources have long speculated that Iran has been in possession of ready nuclear bombs but would only begin testing them when a full production line for nuclear weapons is in place.

The source indicated that Iran is being assisted by China and North Korea. Israel Insider’s Iranian source reports that two "nuclear rockets" have been completed and are intended for use against the Jewish State in the coming months.

The site of the test and the development facility are believed to be in close proximity. The location appears to have been carefully selected. The area is exposed to significant seismic activity, which could serve to mask nuclear tests, although the recent spike in activity in that specific area significantly deviates from historical trends. A tremor measuring 6.2 struck the area on September 10, 2008 (its epicenter was 80km or 50 miles due west), the largest seismic event in the area in more than 33 years.


Source and additional data:USGS

The location on the Persian Gulf near the straits of Hormuz would also facilitate delivery and transport of material and personnel. the strategic importance of the immediate area may also be intended to deter potential strikes against the facilities, which could close down the flow of a substantial percentage of the world’s oil.

Iran Capable of Building First Nuclear Bomb by February 2009

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US intelligence’s amended estimate, that Iran will be ready to build its first bomb just one month after the next US president is sworn in, as having been relayed as a guideline to the Middle East teams of both presidential candidates, Senators John McCain and Barack Obama.

The information prompted the assertion by Democratic vice presidential nominee Joseph Biden in Seattle Sunday, Oct. 19: “It will not be six months before the world tests Barack Obama like they did John Kennedy.”

McCain retorted Tuesday, Oct. 21: “America does not need a president that needs to be tested. I’ve been tested. I was aboard the Enterprise off the coast of Cuba. I’ve been there.”)

Military sources cite the new US timeline: By late January, 2009, Iran will have accumulated enough low-grade enriched uranium (up to 5%) for its “break-out” to weapons grade (90%) material within a short time. For this, the Iranians have achieved the necessary technology. In February, they can move on to start building their first nuclear bomb.

US intelligence believes Tehran has the personnel, plans and diagrams for a bomb and has been running experiments to this end for the past two years. The UN International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna last week asked Tehran to clarify recent complex experiments they conducted in detonating nuclear materials for a weapon, but received no answer.

The same US evaluation adds that the Iranian leadership is holding off its go-ahead to start building the bomb until the last minute so as to ward off international pressure to stop at the red line.

This development together with the galloping global economic crisis will force the incoming US president to go straight into decision-making without pause on Day One in the Oval Office. He will have to determine which urgent measures can serve best for keeping a nuclear bomb out of the Islamic republic’s hands – diplomatic or military – and how to proceed if those measures fail.

His knowledge of the challenge colored Sen. Biden’s additional words in Seattle: “Remember I said it standing here if you don’t remember anything else I said. Watch, we’re gonna have an international crisis, a generated crisis, to test the mettle of this guy.”

Israel’s political and military leaders also face a tough dilemma that can no longer be put off of whether to strike Iran’s nuclear installations militarily in the next three months between US presidencies before the last window closes, or take a chance on coordination with the next president.

Waiting for the “international community” to do the job of stopping Iran, as urged by governments headed by Ariel Sharon and Ehud Olmert – and strongly advocated Tzipi Livni, foreign minister and would-be prime minister – has been a washout. Iran stands defiantly on the threshold of a nuclear weapon.

[tags]iran, nuclear, terrorist, middle east, israel[/tags]

Iran Begins Testing Ballistic First Strike Capability against Israel

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iran-missile-threat

Israeli sources report that the drill beginning Thursday, Oct. 16 in northern Iran, is Tehran’s rejoinder to Israel’s big aerial maneuver last June.

Then, more than 100 Israeli fighter-bombers went through their paces over the Mediterranean and Aegean Seas, roughly the same distance from Israel as Iran.

Tehran’s media claim the exercise will test its air force’s ability to fly to Israel and back without refueling.

The exercise will also test the US-made FBX-T band anti-missile radar system delivered in September and installed at the IAF Nevatim air base in the Negev. The Iranians say they will be practicing their ”state-of-the-art military equipment and flight tactics,” meaning an attempt to jam US and Israeli electronics and radar.

According to Iranian media, the entire range of Iran’s fighter fleet will take part, including US-made F-4, F-5, F-7 and F-14 fighters and domestic Saegheh fighters. Mid-air refueling will be provided by Boeing 707 aerial tankers.

In mid-August, Iran’s Air Force chief, Brigadier General Ahmad Miqani, maintained that its antiquated fighter jet fleet had been overhauled and upgraded to fly distances of 3,000 kilometers without refueling. That would be more than double the distance between Iran and Israel.

That is why Tabriz, in Azerbaijan, at the northwestern corner of Iran, was picked as the starting point of the exercise. The official communiqué said the planes would be flying from air fields in Tehran, Isfahan, Tabriz and Hamadan and Dezful.

Our military sources say that this means that the entire maneuver will take place over Iran and not venture out its air space. The planes will have to fly to Tabriz from bases in the south near the Pakistan border in order to replicate the more than 1,200 km distance between Iran and Israel.

The Iranian Air force also aims at deploying more than 100 warplanes for the exercise, matching the number Israel used in its maneuver four months ago.

Tehran has timed this large-scale drill for just three weeks before the US presidential election on Nov. 4, in response to speculation rife in the West that Israel may use the window between the US election and the swearing-in of the new president in January for an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.

The Iranians aim to show they have a first and second strike capability – not just with ballistic missiles but also by aerial attack.

You may also be interested in this article:

Israel fears potential Obama presidency

[tags]israel, iran, military, ahmedinijad[/tags]

UPDATE 2: Looking into “The One’s” Past; Where did Obama get his money?

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This came in to us in the form of a U Report message. I do not know the writer.
This election has everyone worried with so many things to consider.   DONOTCHANGE

From Anonymous:

About a year ago I would have voted for Obama. I have changed my mind three times since than. I watch all the news channels, jumping from one to another. I must say this drives my husband crazy. But, I feel if you view MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News, you might get some middle ground to work with.  About six months ago, I started thinking "where did the money come from for Obama".   I have four daughters who went to College, and we were middle class, and money was tight.  We (including my girls) worked hard and there were lots of student loans.

I started looking into Obama’s life.

Around 1979 Obama started college at Occidental in California.  He is very open about his two years at Occidental, he tried all kinds of drugs and was wasting his time but, even though he had a brilliant mind, did not apply himself to his studies.

"Barry" (that was the name he used all his life) during this time had two roommates, Muhammad Hasan Chandoo and Wahid Hamid, both from Pakistan .   During the summer of 1981, after his second year in college, he made a "round the world" trip.   Stopping to see his mother in Indonesia, next Hyderabad in India, three weeks in Karachi, Pakistan where he stayed with his roommate’s family, then off to Africa to visit his father’s family.  My question – Where did he get the money for this trip?  Nether I, nor any one of my children would have had money for a trip like this when they where in college. When he came back he started school at Columbia University in New York.  It is at this time he wants everyone to call him Barack – not Barry.   Do you know what the tuition is at Columbia?   It’s not cheap!  to say the least.  Where did he get money for tuition?  Student Loans?  Maybe.  After Columbia, he went to Chicago to work as a Community Organizer for $12,000. a year.  Why Chicago?  Why not New York?  He was already living in New York.

By "chance" he met Antoin "Tony" Rezko, born in Aleppo, Syria , and a real estate developer in Chicago.  Rezko has been convicted of fraud and bribery this year.  Rezko, was named "Entrepreneur of the Decade" by the Arab-American Business and Professional Association".  About two years later, Obama entered Harvard Law School.  Do you have any idea what tuition is for Harvard Law School?  Where did he get the money for Law School?   More student loans?  After Law school, he went back to Chicago.  Rezko offered him a job, which he turned down.  But, he did take a job with Davis, Miner, Barnhill & Galland. Guess what?   They represented "Rezar" which is Rezko’s firm.   Rezko was one of Obama’s first major financial contributors when he ran for office in Chicago.  In 2003, Rezko threw an early fundraiser for Obama which Chicago Tribune reporter David Mendelland claims was instrumental in providing Obama with "seed money" for his U.S. Senate race. In 2005, Obama purchased a new home in the Kenwoood District of Chicago for $1.65 million (less than asking price).  With ALL those Student Loans – Where did he get the money for the property?  On the same day Rezko’s wife, Rita, purchased the adjoining empty lot for full price.  The London Times reported that Nadhmi Auchi, an Iraqi-born Billionaire loaned Rezko $3.5 million three weeks before Obama’s new home was purchased.   Obama met Nadhmi Auchi many times with Rezko.

Now, we have Obama running for President.   Valerie Jarrett, was Michele Obama’s boss.  She is now Obama’s chief adviser and he does not make any major decisions without talking to her first.   Where was Jarrett born? Ready for this?  Shiraz, Iran ! Do we see a pattern here?   Or am I going crazy?

On May 10, 2008 The Times reported, Robert Malley adviser to Obama was "sacked" after the press found out he was having regular contacts with "Hamas ", which controls Gaza and is connected with Iran. This past week, buried in the back part of the papers, Iraqi newspapers reported that during Obama’s visit to Iraq, he asked their leaders to do nothing about the war until after he is elected, and he will "Take care of things".

Oh, and by the way, remember the college roommates that where born in Pakistan? They are in charge of all those "small" Internet campaign contribution for Obama.   Where is that money coming from?  The poor and middle class in this country? Or could it be from the Middle East?

And the final bit of news.   On September 7, 2008, The Washington Times posted a verbal slip that was made on "This Week" with George Stephanapoulos. Obama on talking about his religion said,"My Muslim faith ". When questioned, "he make a mistake".  Some mistake!

All of the above information I got on line. If you would like to check it – Wikipedia, encyclopedia, Barack Obama; Tony Rezko; Valerie Jarrett: Daily Times – Obama visited Pakistan in 1981; The Washington Times – September 7, 2008; The Times May 10, 2008.

Now the BIG question – If I found out all this information on my own, Why haven’t all of our "intelligent" members of the press been reporting this?

A phrase that keeps ringing in my ear – "Beware of the enemy from within"!!!

UPDATE: OBAMA’S TROUBLING INTERNET FUND RAISING

New York Times Editorial
By MAUREEN DOWD

Certainly the most interesting and potentially devastating phone call I have received during this election cycle came this week from one of the Obama’s campaign internet geeks.  These are the staffers who devised Obama’s internet fund raising campaign which raised in the neighborhood of $200 million so far.  That is more then twice the total funds raised by any candidate in history and this was all from  the internet campaign.

What I learned from this insider was shocking but I guess we shouldn’t be surprised that when it comes to fund raising there simply are no rules that can’t be broken and no ethics that prevail.  Obama’s internet campaign started out innocently enough with basic e-mail networking , lists saved from previous party campaigns and from supporters who visited any of the Obama campaign web sites.  Small contributions came in from these sources and the internet campaign staff  were mo r e than pleased by the results.

Then, about two months into the campaign the daily contribution intake multiplied.  Where was it coming from?  One of the web site security monitors began to notice the bulk of the contributions were clearly coming in from overseas internet service providers and at the rate and frequency of transmission it was clear these donations were ‘programmed’ by a very sophisticated user.  While the security people were not able to track most of the sources due to firewalls and other blocking devices put on these contributions they were able to collate the number of contributions that were coming in seemingly from individuals but the funds were from only a few credit card accounts and bank electronic funds transfers.  The internet service providers (ISP) they were able to trace were from  Saudi Arabia ,  Iran , and other Middle Eastern countries. One of the banks used for fund transfers was also located in  Saudi Arabia.

Another concentrated group of donations was traced to a Chinese ISP with a similar pattern of limited credit card charges.  It became clear that these donations were very likely coming from sources other than American voters.  This was discussed at length within the campaign and the decision was made that none of these donations violated campaign financing laws.  It was also decided that it was not the responsibility of the campaign to audit these millions of contributions as to the actual source (specific credit card number or bank transfer account numbers) to insure that none of these internet contributors exceeded the legal maximum donation on a cumulative basis of many small donations.  They also fo und the record keeping was not complete enough to do it anyway.

This is a shocking revelation.

We have been concerned about the legality of  ‘bundling’ contributions after the recent exposure of illegal bundlers but now it appears we may have an even greater problem.  I guess we should have been somewhat suspicious when the numbers started to come out.  We were told (no proof offered) that the Obama internet contributions were from $10.00 to $25.00 or so.  If the $200,000,000 is right, and the average contribution was $15.00, that would mean over 13 million individuals made contributions?  That would also be 13 million contributions would need to be processed.  How did all that happen?

I believe the Obama campaign’s internet fund raising needs a serious, in depth investigation and audit.  It also appears the whole question of internet fund raising needs investigation by the legislature and perhaps new laws to insure it complies not only with the letter of these laws but the spirit as well.

UPDATE 2:

So we know that fake people are registering to vote, via the AP :

The stories are almost comical: Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, registered to vote on Nov. 4. The entire starting lineup of the Dallas Cowboys football team, signed up to go the polls — in Nevada.

We know that sometimes, fake people vote fraudulently (note that it was by absentee. Hard to vote as Mickey Mouse in person, but it is really easy by absentee):

Republicans released details for 10 of those votes. The registration cards that were filled out had no social security numbers, drivers license numbers or birthdates for the voters.

We know that sometimes, fake people give to campaigns fraudulently .

Two thoughts. The first is that there should be accountability for this.  Barack Obama raised $150m last month, and only half of that money is disclosed. Now, I seriously doubt that Obama’s campaign is engaged in fraud. But they seem  uninterested in identifying it.

They should, like the McCain campaign, put all that information online, regardless of how much was given, including all the information about address, employer, etc. It’s not that hard. They have the technology to do it. When he is getting $75m in a month from sources that are not publically identified, that’s a problem. In theory, these are all different people, but given the possibility for fraud (temporary credit card numbers can make it even harder to check), this does create yet another kind of crisis of legitimacy surrounding this election.

Second,  Obama has destroyed the public financing system, handing conservatives a win on the policy, even if a substantial loss on the politics. Democrats said Republicans would do it, but they did. This is a good thing, long-term , and it should be replaced by full-disclosure of contributions within 24 hours of receipt of the donation. The easiest thing in the world with today’s technology. And it would allow individuals, groups, and the press to address the legitimacy issues in Obama’s donations (and others in the future).

[tags]pakistan, syria, iraq, iran, terror contributions, obama campaign, middle east, arab-american,tony rezko, barack obama, money, terrorism, hamas, muslim faith, terrorist funded campaign[/tags]

Israel has short time to hit Iran’s Nuclear Sites if Moscow sells Tehran S-300 Systems

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Thanks to our friends at DEBKAfile, Russian military experts now calculate that the window for an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities will shrink to 3-6 months if Moscow sells Iran (and Syria) the sophisticated S-300 system for guarding those sites against air, missile or cruise missile attack.  Moscow sources report that Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert failed in the key missions of his Moscow trip to persuade Russian leaders to discuss Tehran’s nuclear weapons program and to refrain from selling this advanced weapon to Iran and Syria.

President Dmitiry Medvedev’s bureau issued a noncommittal statement Tuesday, Oct. 7, saying that his talks with Olmert were “an exchange of opinion on threats, including terrorism and nonproliferation.” The word “nuclear” was avoided.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov, who the prime minister met Monday, trotted out the standard Russia claim that Moscow had no definite information that Iran is developing a nuclear weapon and is against tougher sanctions.

Prime minister Vladimir Putin was unable to see him.

Moscow’s mainstream media came out Tuesday with a rerun of the statement made on Sept. 17 by Anatoly Isaikin, director of the Russian arms exports agency Rosoboronexport, that his firm is in advanced negotiations with Tehran for the sale of the S-300 missiles. However, on Monday, the same firm disowned knowledge of these missiles having been shipped to Iran, although negotiations for their sale were not mentioned.

Konstantin Makiyenko, from the center for strategic and technological analysis think tank in the Russian capital, said these utterances put Israel on notice to stop selling arms to Georgia and training its army.

Moscow does not conceal its intention of selling S-300 missiles to Syria. A Russian military expert commented: “Our warships if based in Syrian ports will need to be encircled by missile batteries capable of guarding them against air and missile attack.”

According to Russian experts, the system is capable of pinpointing 100 targets and simultaneously intercepting 12 at a distance of 120 km.

Russian sources made a point of stressing that Moscow is not subject to embargoes on its foreign arms sales or any international restrictions on supplying defensive weapons to other nations.

 

[tags]russia, s-300, missile defense, iran, syria, israel, weapons program, military[/tags]

Israel asked US for green light to bomb nuclear sites in Iran

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Israel gave serious thought this spring to launching a military strike on Iran’s nuclear sites but was told by President George W Bush that he would not support it and did not expect to revise that view for the rest of his presidency, senior European diplomatic sources have told the Guardian.

The then prime minister, Ehud Olmert, used the occasion of Bush’s trip to Israel for the 60th anniversary of the state’s founding to raise the issue in a one-on-one meeting on May 14, the sources said. "He took it [the refusal of a US green light] as where they were at the moment, and that the US position was unlikely to change as long as Bush was in office", they added.

The sources work for a European head of government who met the Israeli leader some time after the Bush visit. Their talks were so sensitive that no note-takers attended, but the European leader subsequently divulged to his officials the highly sensitive contents of what Olmert had told him of Bush’s position.

Bush’s decision to refuse to offer any support for a strike on Iran appeared to be based on two factors, the sources said. One was US concern over Iran’s likely retaliation, which would probably include a wave of attacks on US military and other personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as on shipping in the Persian Gulf.

The other was US anxiety that Israel would not succeed in disabling Iran’s nuclear facilities in a single assault even with the use of dozens of aircraft. It could not mount a series of attacks over several days without risking full-scale war. So the benefits would not outweigh the costs.

Iran has repeatedly said it would react with force to any attack. Some western government analysts believe this could include asking Lebanon’s Shia movement Hizbollah to strike at the US.

"It’s over ten years since Hizbollah’s last terror strike outside Israel, when it hit an Argentine-Israel association building in Buenos Aires [killing 85 people]", said one official. "There is a large Lebanese diaspora in Canada which must include some Hizbollah supporters. They could slip into the United States and take action".

Even if Israel were to launch an attack on Iran without US approval its planes could not reach their targets without the US becoming aware of their flightpath and having time to ask them to abandon their mission.

"The shortest route to Natanz lies across Iraq and the US has total control of Iraqi airspace", the official said. Natanz, about 100 miles north of Isfahan, is the site of an uranium enrichment plant.

In this context Iran would be bound to assume Bush had approved it, even if the White House denied fore-knowledge, raising the prospect of an attack against the US.

Several high-level Israeli officials have hinted over the last two years that Israel might strike Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent them being developed to provide sufficient weapons-grade uranium to make a nuclear bomb. Iran has always denied having such plans.

Olmert himself raised the possibility of an attack at a press conference during a visit to London last November, when he said sanctions were not enough to block Iran’s nuclear programme.

"Economic sanctions are effective. They have an important impact already, but they are not sufficient. So there should be more. Up to where? Up until Iran will stop its nuclear programme," he said.

The revelation that Olmert was not merely sabre-rattling to try to frighten Iran but considered the option seriously enough to discuss it with Bush shows how concerned Israeli officials had become.

Bush’s refusal to support an attack, and the strong suggestion he would not change his mind, is likely to end speculation that Washington might be preparing an "October surprise" before the US presidential election. Some analysts have argued that Bush would back an Israeli attack in an effort to help John McCain’s campaign by creating an eve-of-poll security crisis.

Others have said that in the case of an Obama victory, the vice-president, Dick Cheney, the main White House hawk, would want to cripple Iran’s nuclear programme in the dying weeks of Bush’s term.

During Saddam Hussein’s rule in 1981, Israeli aircraft successfully destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak shortly before it was due to start operating.

Last September they knocked out a buildings complex in northern Syria, which US officials later said had been a partly constructed nuclear reactor based on a North Korean design. Syria said the building was a military complex but had no links to a nuclear programme.

In contrast, Iran’s nuclear facilities, which are officially described as intended only for civilian purposes, are dispersed around the country and some are in fortified bunkers underground.

In public, Bush gave no hint of his view that the military option had to be excluded. In a speech to the Knesset the following day he confined himself to telling Israel’s parliament: "America stands with you in firmly opposing Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions. Permitting the world’s leading sponsor of terror to possess the world’s deadliest weapon would be an unforgivable betrayal of future generations. For the sake of peace, the world must not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”

Mark Regev, Olmert’s spokesman, tonight reacted to the Guardian’s story saying: "The need to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons is raised at every meeting between the prime minister and foreign leaders. Israel prefers a diplomatic solution to this issue but all options must remain on the table. Your unnamed European source attributed words to the prime minister that were not spoken in any working meeting with foreign guests".

Three weeks after Bush’s red light, on June 2, Israel mounted a massive air exercise covering several hundred miles in the eastern Mediterranean. It involved dozens of warplanes, including F-15s, F-16s and aerial refueling tankers.

The size and scope of the exercise ensured that the US and other nations in the region saw it, said a US official, who estimated the distance was about the same as from Israel to Natanz.

A few days later, Israel’s deputy prime minister, Shaul Mofaz, told the paper Yediot Ahronot: "If Iran continues its programme to develop nuclear weapons, we will attack it. The window of opportunity has closed. The sanctions are not effective. There will be no alternative but to attack Iran in order to stop the Iranian nuclear programme."

The exercise and Mofaz’s comments may have been designed to boost the Israeli government and military’s own morale as well, perhaps, to persuade Bush to reconsider his veto. Last week Mofaz narrowly lost a primary within the ruling Kadima party to become Israel’s next prime minister. Tzipi Livni, who won the contest, takes a less hawkish position.

The US announced two weeks ago that it would sell Israel 1,000 bunker-busting bombs. The move was interpreted by some analysts as a consolation prize for Israel after Bush told Olmert of his opposition to an attack on Iran. But it could also enhance Israel’s attack options in case the next US president revives the military option.

The guided bomb unit-39 (GBU-39) has a penetration capacity equivalent to a one-tonne bomb. Israel already has some bunker-busters.

US to Sell Bunker-Busting Bombs to Israel

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AFP – The US Defense Department has notified Congress of plans to sell 1,000 bunker-buster bombs to Israel in a deal worth 77 million dollars.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency announced the possible arms sale of the GBU-39 small diameter smart bombs on its website. The deal still requires approval from Congress.

The bombs, which are touted as more precise than larger munitions, have the capacity to penetrate 1.8 meters (six feet) of reinforced concrete and carry a 50 percent probability of reaching a target within five meters.

According to the Jerusalem Post, the bombs could help Israel in a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear sites, some of which are protected by bunker-like structures.

Last month, Israel’s Defense Minister Ehud Barak said that his country will never accept Iran developing a nuclear weapons capability and refused to rule out “any options.”

Israel, the region’s sole if undeclared nuclear armed state, considers Iran its main strategic threat because of its nuclear programme, which Israel and its staunch US ally suspect is aimed at developing weapons.

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In show of force, Iran launches “air defense exercises”

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Iranian official sources report that the air force drill began Monday, Sept. 15, in half of the country’s 30 provinces. They gave out no details of which provinces or how long the exercise would last. The commander of Iran’s aerial defense, Brig. Gen. Ahmed Mighani said that any enemies attacking the Islamic Republic would regret it.

The exercise was launched on the day the UN nuclear watchdog reported that non-cooperation from Tehran had stalled its efforts to establish whether or not Iran was developing nuclear warheads, enriching uranium for military purposes, testing nuclear explosives or building nuclear-capable missiles.

Of late, certain influential voices have been raised in Israel arguing against the need of military action to cut down Iran’s covert nuclear designs.

President Shimon Peres, for instance, maintains that tough economic sanctions would “do the job” of deterring the Islamic Republic from making a nuclear bomb.

The latest IAEA report shows how invalid this argument is.

Tehran is not deterred by sanctions or tempted by international diplomacy to give up its nuclear aspirations, especially since the Georgia conflict with the United States has presented Iran with Russian backing for its nuclear program and opposition to sanctions.

Tehran is therefore free to go forward with its nuclear plans. Iran’s defense minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar was able to declare scornfully Monday: “Threats by the Zionist regime and America against our country are empty.”

Russia, US pull further apart on Iranian nuclear activities

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Russian president Dmitry Medvedev said Friday a military solution to the standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions is unacceptable and there is no need for new sanctions. At the same time, Washington has imposed new sanctions on Iran, blacklisting a main shipping line and 18 subsidiaries. The US government accuses the maritime carrier of ferrying contraband nuclear material, which Tehran denies.

Washington sources predict this may be the prelude to more series actions, such as a naval blockade to choke off Iran’s imports of fuel products.

Moscow continues to support the European Union’s diplomatic drive to trade incentives for Iran’s consent to curb “some of its nuclear activities.”

Monday, Sept. 15, the nuclear watchdog’s director Mohamed ElBaradei is expected to present a new report on Iran’s controversial neutral program to the IAEA’s board of governors meeting in Vienna.

Tehran has been asked to account for 50-60 tons of missing uranium from its main enrichment site at Isfahan. It is enough to produce five or six nuclear bombs and is suspected of having been diverted to secret sites to boost the covert production of weapons-grade uranium.