Mon 22 Mar 2010
Countdown in the Middle East II. A Diary: They Do Not Know How to Tackle the World´s Chess Champion - Iran
Summary: In the looming conflict between Israel and Iran on the latter's nuclear weapons program, Israel scored an own goal during the U.S. Vice President, Joe Biden´, visit to Israel by announcing the construction of 1,600 Israeli homes in East Jerusalem, which "the international community" has chosen to be the capital of a future Palestinian state. One reason for the insult against the United States - just on the eve of the resumption of peace talks with the Palestinians - may have been that Israel wanted something to trade off with the U.S. in order to have the bunker blaster bombs needed to attack Iran's nuke plants. The latter were en route to Israel - but were called back by indecisive Obama to stop Israel from attacking. On the other hand, he is facing Israel and the Jewish lobby, the U.S.´ real rulers. So now Netanyahu is traveling to the U.S. with his defence minister to wring the bombs from Obama. Here follows a chronological surview of a confusing development during 6 months over Iran's nuclear bombs. The U.S. started by promising Iran strong countermeasures if the country would not stop the bomb production. However, China and Russia will not engage in efficient sanctions. On the contrary, Iran instead increased its the production rate, and Obama gave in, made a few scare performances - but quickly showed that the U.S. has accepted a nuke-armed Iran. Israel has the key to the further development. Although it lacks some bunker blaster bombs I believe that Israel with its nukes is already in a position to smash the plants - and that the debate goes on whether the attack is to be made with great or with minimal nuclear pollution. Whether a low-potent Israeli - or a highly potent U.S. military is to do the work. U.S. bombs are ready on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian ocean - so it is informed. In the wings is the Chief of the Russian Joint Chiefs of Staff, saying that an attack on Iran will be a disaster for the whole world - and that Russia thus could not avoid a war with America. It all can be triggered by an impending war between Israel and Iran's proxies, Hamas, Hezbollah and Syria.
Latest. DEBKAfile 20 March 2010: In mid-March Pres. Obama ordered a shipment of super bunkerblaster bombs heading for Israel to return to the base, Diego Garcia, in order to bar Israel from attacking Iran. On March 23, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defence Minister, Ehud Barack, will meet with Obama to ask for the release of the delayed bombs. One might guess that this might be a precondition for Israel postponing the construction of 1600 homes in East Jerusalem - and so for the resumption of the Middle East peace negotiations!
There are several conflicts in the Middle East: Potentially the USA vs. Russia and China, Israel vs. Syria/Lebanon/Iran proxy Hezbollah, Israel vs. Iran, Saudi Arabia vs. Iran. Israel is pressing an unwilling US to attack Iran. In the end Israel is ruling the US. However, a direct war between Israel and Iran´s proxies, Lebanon, Hezbollah and Syria seems imminent. USAs Council on Foreign Relations expects Israel to attack Iran – and silently approves of it. This probably means that the decision on the attack on Iran has been made.
Herald Scotland 14 March 2010 : "They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran. US bombers are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours. Obama may decide that it would be better for the US to act instead of Israel": Dan Plesch, director, Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, University of London.
Russia Today 16 Febr. 2010: Russia's mediation in the Middle East will inevitably lead to a confrontation with the US.
Russia Today 18 Febr. 2010: The US could deliver a strike on Iran, Russia’s military command said on Wednesday, adding that it will be devastating for the whole world. “The aftermath of a strike against Iran will be terrible not only for Asia but for us and the whole global community
also,” said Chief of Russia’s General Staff General Nikolay Makarov at a news conference. He said the US made its stance clear as the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Michael Mullen recently spoke about plans to attack Iran.
Reuters 24 Febr. 2010: A senior Russian diplomat warned the West on Wednesday against trying to paralyze Iran by targeting the Islamic Republic's energy and banking sectors with crippling sanctions.
Israel vs. Syria/Hezbollah/Lebanon
Jerusalem Post 6 Jan. 2010: If Israel were to attack Hizbullah in Lebanon, Syria would respond and not sit idly by, the Qatari Al Watan newspaper quoted unnamed Syrian sources as saying.
Haaretz 7 Jan. 2010: "Iran and Syria have a joint mission to create a new world order on the basis of justice, humanity and belief in God," Ahmadinejad told visiting Syrian Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Abrash.
DEBKAfile 22 jan. 2010: Friday, Jan. 22, Damascus ordered a Level 4 mobilization of Syria's army reserves for deployment to the Golan Heights on the Israeli border, to meet what it calls "IDF plans of attack." DEBKAfile's military sources interpret Level 4 as referring to Syrian armored and commando brigades. In Lebanon, too, Hizballah has placed "all its forces" on a state of military preparedness.
The Independent 21 Jan. 2010: The border looks peaceful, but Hizbollah and Israel are preparing for war
DEBKAfile 1 Febr. 2010: NSA chairman talks about 5.000 Hezbollah warriors being trained to invade Northern Israel on orders from Teheran.
DEBKAfile 5 Febr. 2010: The war threats from Damascus this week were backed by massive Iranian airlifts for boosting Syria's missile arsenal. Fresh supplies also reached the Lebanese Hizballah and Hamas in Gaza. Wednesday, Feb. 3, Syrian president Bashar Assad accused Israel of seeking war, while his foreign minister Walid Moallem boasted: "You know that war at this time will come to your cities." They spoke after taking delivery of 100 new medium-range surface-to-surface missiles from Iran in January.
DEBKAfile 7 Febr. 2010: The secret transfer of the mobile surface-to-surface Syrian-made Fateh-110 (range 250km) missile to Hizballah sparked the prediction Friday, Feb. 5 from an unnamed US official that cross-border arms smuggling from Syria into Lebanon outside state control was "very dangerous" and "paved the way to war similar to Israel-Hizballah conflict of 2006. DEBKAfile's military sources report hat Israel warned Syria through at least two diplomatic channels against Hizballah using this lethal weapon, which is capable of reaching almost every Israel city.
The New Republic 9 Febr. 2010: US interest in Iran´s nuclear bombs is that they would block US military interests in the Middle East – whereas China and Russia, who do not have the military necessary to intervene in the Middle East want Iran to have its nuclear bomb just to hem the US expansion. So, US now has to decide if it will give up its military presence in the Middle east– accpeting a nuclear Iran – or to destroy Iran´s nuclear capacity.
Reuters 10 Febr. 2010 "We hear a lot of Israeli threats day in and day out, and not only threats," Hariri told the BBC. "– every day we have Israeli war planes entering Lebanese air space," he said. "This is something that has been escalating, and this is something that is really dangerous," Hariri said in a video posted on the BBC's web site.
DEBKAfile 25 Febr. 2010: Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has summoned all the terrorist groups Tehran sponsors - Islamist and radical Palestinian - for a broad gathering Saturday, Feb. 27, to finalize their roles in military operations against Israel in the event of a Middle East conflagration.
DEBKAfile 27 Febr: "Israeli cannot accept the artificial differentiations between the Hizballah terrorists, the state of Lebanon and their sponsors," said Israeli defense minister Ehud Barak in a lecture in Washington Friday, Feb. 26.
He responded to the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's prediction of Israel's early disappearance earlier Friday, alongside Syrian president Bashar Assad and Hizballah chief Hassan Nasrallah, by saying he did not expect it will be possible to slide toward 2011 without decisions. This will be a complicated and tough year, he said.
The Times 4 Febr. 2010: Iran is the world´s best chess player. It is gaining time.
The Jerusalem Post 15 Febr. 2010 But what would happen to US-Israel ties if Israel flew through a US red light to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities? Not much, according to one school of thought.
While officials in the US administration would cry foul and may even impose some penalties, some experts argue that popular American opinion would be understanding of Israel, even sympathetic. However, many experts believe that Israel will not drive through an explicit American red light. What would happen if Israel violated an American red light may hinge on the results of an attack on Iran. If the mission is not a clear-cut success, if Iran’s nuclear march is not halted or significantly set back, if the Iranian people unite behind their increasingly illegitimate regime, if Iran strikes out and severely harms American troops in the region, if America’s Gulf allies are overrun and if world oil prices shoot up and stay up, then there is a strong possibility Washington could decide Israel is a country that is not entitled to American support.
By the way, I Ahmedinejad, was born a Jew. My birth name was Sabourjian. Just look!
AP News: 9 March 2010. Israel's U.N. ambassador, Gabriela Shalev, told journalists that high-ranking Israeli and U.S. government and military leaders both in Washington and Jerusalem are currently discussing whether a military strike could stop Iran's nuclear program. Israel's chief of staff is visiting Washington, while U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is in Jerusalem. Israel would like the Security council to approve "crippling" sanctions, but Shalev conceded "the chances now seem grim."
Nov. 15 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama said time is running short for Iran to accept terms of a deal offered by international negotiators seeking to prevent the Islamic republic from building a nuclear weapon.
Reuters 19 Nov. 2009 SEOUL/MANILA (Reuters) - World powers could have a package of measures against Iran "within weeks," U.S. President Barack Obama said on Thursday, warning Tehran.
Reuters 3 Dec. 2009: The United States signaled on Thursday its patience with Iran was wearing thin, saying Tehran was rapidly approaching a December deadline to accept a U.N.-brokered nuclear deal with Western powers. If the December deadline passes, the U.N. Security Council is expected to begin looking at steps toward imposing fresh sanctions on Iran.
Times 14 Dec., 2009 : IAEA said scientists at the Natanz nuclear facility had already begun refining uranium to 20 per cent, in a clear breach of UN obligations. The report also said Iran increased its low enriched uranium stockpile by some 250 kg to 2,060 kg since November - enough for one or two nuclear bombs if enriched to 90 per cent purity.
Suzanne Maloney of the Brookings Institute speaking to the House of Representatives on De.15. 2009: She is telling them that sanctions will have little or no effect on the regime in Teheran
DEBKAfile Exclusive Analysis December 19, 2009 US president Barack Obama's tough talk of sanctions has melted into soft soap for luring Iran into further dialogue.
Reuters 31 Dec. 2009 : A U.S.-Israeli dialogue on Iran has not reached the point of discussing a military option to thwart its nuclear ambitions, focusing instead on sanctions in 2010.
The Times 10 Jan. 2009 : A general who was once in charge of Israel’s nuclear weapons has claimed that Iran is a “very, very, very long way from building a nuclear capability”.Brigadier-General Uzi Eilam, 75, a war hero and pillar of the defence establishment, believes it will probably take Iran seven years to make nuclear weapons. According to well-placed defence sources, Israel is speeding up preparations for a possible attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.
Spiegel 25 Jan. 2010: New information, say American experts, will likely prompt the US government to reassess the risks coming from the mullah-controlled country in the coming days and raise the alarm level from yellow to red. Skeptics who in the past, sometimes justifiably so, treated alarmist reports as Israeli propaganda, are also extremely worried, including the IAEA.
The Los Angeles Times 31 Jan. 2010: Obama administration officials also have stressed their aversion to U.S. military action. Officials from both the Bush and Obama administrations have told Israeli officials they do not need to launch a strike against Iran.
The Obama White House believes that time remains to continue a diplomatic approach to halt Iranian weapons systems
DEBKAfile 31 Jan. 2010 : The Obama administration: The United States, Saudi Arabia and Gulf allies - the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Bahrain - have accelerated the deployment of new defenses against possible Iranian missile attacks. They are preparing for Iran, or its surrogate Hizballah, to hit back for a possible US or Israeli strikes on Tehran's nuclear facilities.
The Daily Mail 3 Febr. 2010 : Iran has backed down in a nuclear row with the West over sending its enriched uranium abroad.
CNN 4 Febr. 2010 Iran's atomic energy chief said Wednesday that no deal has been struck to export uranium for enrichment abroad.
The CIA says a terrorist attack on the US within the next 6 months is certain . ABC News 3 Febr.: - According to the nation's intelligence chiefs, a terror attack in the United States will likely be launched within the next six months.
DEBKAfile 3 Febr. 2010 : Egyptian military sources have put out information purporting to outline Israel's preparations to strike Iran. They report that the Israeli Navy together with the US Fifth Fleet have for some weeks been charting Persian Gulf waters and Iranian shorelines in preparation for attacks by Israeli naval and special operations forces.
4 febr. Israeli Strategic Affairs Minister Moshe Yaalon “Iran’s plan will probably be stopped by a regime change or, if there is no other choice, by a recourse to force to deprive Iran of its nuclear arms production capabilities.”
Reuters 9 Febr. 2010: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called for immediate and crippling sanctions against Iran on Tuesday, on the day it began making higher-grade nuclear fuel.
EuObserver 12 Febr. 2010 : EU will initiate “very strong sanctions” against Iran within days or weeks: a financial embargo and "issues related to energy"!!!
Bloomberg 16 Febr. 2010: Hillary Clinton: “We cannot just keep hoping” that Iran won’t pursue nuclear weapons, she said. “It is important for us to work with like-minded countries here in the Gulf,” where Arab leaders are concerned that Iran will cause a regional nuclear arms race.
The Times 19 Febr. 2010 : The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said it feared that Tehran could be working on "a nuclear payload for a missile" in its bluntest report yet on Iran’s uranium enrichment programme. The White House responded to the report by threatening “consequences” if Iran failed to co-operate with nuclear inspectors.
World News 19 Febr. 2010 : Senior Obama administration officials said on Thursday they were struck by the number of significant technical problems Iran appears to be encountering on the road to a nuclear weapon.
Haaretz 22 febr. 2010 : Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on Monday for an immediate embargo on Iran's energy sector, saying the United Nations Security Council should be sidestepped if it cannot agree on the move. General David Petraeus, told NBC's "Meet the Press" on Sunday that the United States is placing its efforts to thwart the Iranian nuclear program on a "pressure track."
Xinhuanet.com 27 Febr. 2010 : Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak raised doubts Friday on the likelihood of an Iranian nuclear strike on his country.
Infowars 1 March 2010: Senator John “Skull and Bones” Kerry has traveled to Israel in support of a plan to wreck Iran’s economy over the Islamic nation’s imagined nuclear weapons program. One such option may include a blockade of the Arabian Sea mouth and the Gulf of Aden, according to DefenseNews. A senior U.S. government official confirmed that U.S.-proposed sanctions are likely to expand maneuvering room to board, inspect and interdict shipping to and from Iran, an act that would undoubtedly be considered an act of war by Iran.
Kerry’s visit and the planned trip by Joe Biden next week are intended to make sure Israel does not attack in Iran before sanctions (possibly including the interdiction of Iranian ships at sea) run their course.
DEBKAfile 2 March 2010: Washington eased the threat of harsh sanctions hanging over Iran's head over its nuclear program at the very moment that it was beginning to take effect and Tehran was showing signs of stress. Hillary Clinton: "I can't give you an exact date (for sanctions), but I would assume some time in the next several months." Till then she declared "in the next 30 to 60 days."
Haaretz 3 March 2010: Do not strike” is what the Americans are telling Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “Let’s first try sanctions on Iran.”
“Do not strike” is what Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is saying to Netanyahu. “If you go crazy and go to war, it will be the end of the Zionist regime.”
Netanyahu managed to convince the world that Israel is on the verge of a preemptive war to try to foil Iran’s nuclear program. His speeches on a second Holocaust and Amalek, the acceleration of military preparations, the exercises on the Home Front, the distribution of gas masks and even the stockpiling of dollars by the Bank of Israel all suggest that Israel is preparing to strike Iran, as it did when it attacked the nuclear plants in Iraq and Syria.
American Free Press 5 March 2010: Binyamin Netanyahu, was not long permitted to rejoice over the agreement to sanction Iran which he had wrested from the Russian leadership. A few days later, China made it clear that it would in no case help to carry out such sanctions. And it would not see him - nor a deputation from him.
Reuters 7 March 2010 : Biden, the most senior U.S. official to visit Israel since President Barack Obama took office in January 2009, is widely expected to caution his hosts not to attack Iran pre-emptively while world powers pursue fresh sanctions against Tehran. Asked about the prospect of an Israeli attack, he said:
"Though I cannot answer the hypothetical questions you raised about Iran, I can promise the Israeli people that we will confront, as allies, any security challenge it will face. A nuclear-armed Iran would constitute a threat not only to Israel — it would also constitute a threat to the United States."
DEBKAfile 9 March 2010 : As sanctions recede, an Israeli strike looms larger
The Guardian 9 March 2010: Vice President Joseph Biden has told Israel that the U.S. is willing to stand by those who will "take risks for peace." Biden also told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday that he was confident Israel was prepared to take such risks.
DEBKAfile 10 March 2010 : On a visit to Jerusalem US Vice President, Joe Biden, unequivocally told Israel to not attack Iran – although the US has just gone back on its word to impose fierce sanctions on Iran. In response, Israel announced that they would start building 1600 homes in East Jerusalem – which was sharply condemned by the White House and Joe Biden – on the eve of fresh peace negotiations between Israel and Palestinians.
DEBKAfile 11 March 2010 Then on Sunday, March 7, US Centcom Commander Gen. David Petraeus, asked by a CNN interviewer, whether countries in the Persian Gulf wish to see a US military attack on Iran, said: “…there are countries that would like to see a strike, us or perhaps Israel, even…”
The Saudis are as deeply alarmed by the latest American stance on Iran is as the Israelis.
Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
Opinion Maker 11 2009 : Admiral Michael Mullen, Chairman of the US JointAdmiral Mike Mullen Chiefs of Staff (JCS oddly asserted that Iran was indeed an "existential threat" to Israel, that he was open to a US attack on Iran (which is no threat whatsoever to the US) to forestall that supposed danger to Israel, and that the attack "would also be incredibly destabilizing