July 29, 2008

Latest on possible war with Iran

Op ed in New York Times by Benny Morris, suggests Israel will almost surely strike Iran in the next 4-7 months. Benny Morris is a professor of Middle Eastern history at Ben-Gurion University, is the author, most recently, of “1948: A History of the First Arab-Israeli War.”

Steve Forbes opinion is online here.

The Israelis feel the window of opportunity to destroy or seriously disrupt Iran’s nuclear ambitions is fast closing. There is a very real possibility that if Barack Obama wins in November, the Israelis will take action before he is inaugurated on January 20. If McCain wins, the Jewish state will probably wait a few months longer to see what will unfold with his administration.

UPDATE: Nobody said this to me directly but I get the feeling from my talks that if the sanctions don't work, Israel is going to strike Iran," an attendee at the meeting quoted Obama as saying, according to ABC.

Technical analysis of any potential strike.

Ben-Ari and Long agree that Israel could very likely dismantle the Iranian nuclear program from the air. What comes after that—diplomatically, financially and strategically—remains open to debate. But the quality of Iran's antiaircraft equipment may drive the debate as much as the pace of any uranium enrichment project. Russia has indicated it is willing to sell its most sophisticated missile
system, the S-300P (NATO designation), to Iran. If Israeli military planners see a future threat looming that they cannot counter, a near-term strike might look more attractive.

From the UK guardian

Israel has always believed that negotiations with Iran were doomed to failure and that the ruling clerics had made a strategic decision to go nuclear which they would not abandon.

Israeli officials had hoped the Bush administration would take action, but they now have doubts and are considering their own unilateral military options.

Those options are limited. Israeli planes would have to fly a long way to reach their targets, presuming Jordan would not give its approval for overflights. The strikes would be aimed at deeply buried targets, with no certainty that all Iran's nuclear facilities are known to Israeli intelligence. The strikes could spur Iran's nuclear ambitions while failing to hobble them.

But Israel's government believes it has no choice but to strike in the hope of slowing down the programme, even if it has to strike again and again to keep it in check. It is derisive about Iran's claims to be pursuing a purely peaceful energy generation scheme, seeing Tehran's nuclear ambitions as an existential threat and for that reason, a government adviser said recently, the standards of proof are lower.

Iran has begun a new charm offensive to head off, or to mitigate, possible new international economic sanctions following its latest refusal to suspend, or even slow down its uranium enrichment program.


John said...

I believe Stratfor is the most reliable and credible source on geopolitical issues, and they don't believe Israel will attack Iran.

Israel has completely blown any chance of maintaining the element of surprise for an attack on Iran.

Since the success of the Israeli attack on Iraq's reactor depended greatly on the element of surprise, and because Iran is much more fortified than Iraq was, the odds are pretty low that Israel will go through with it.

J. Paige said...

Whether Israel attacks is in the end their choice. The US national interest would be against such an attack, as it will cost us dearly and decrease US security. Israel is not the fifty-first state.

What to do?


Tom Craver said...

I wounder what would happen to all those Iranian centrifuges, if a bomb going off above gave them a sudden kinetic shock, even if the explosion itself doesn't penetrate?

Assuming they are storing a lot of kinetic energy, might they violently disintegrate?

Even if only a few of them were to disintegrate, they are in close proximity and probably not adequately shielded from each other. Might it not trigger a (non-nuclear) chain reaction as shrapnel from one triggers another to disintegrate, etc?

(Why do mouse-traps and ping-pong balls suddenly come to mind?)

Or am I over-estimating how much kinetic energy is stored in them, versus how strongly built they are? Probably...

Geoffrey Britain said...

"Whether Israel attacks is in the end their choice."

If someone's intent to kill you and all you hold dear is implacable, do you really have a choice?

The US national interest would be against such an attack, as it will cost us dearly and decrease US security." JPS

Beyond the immediate cost of an attack on Iran, please explain how Iran gaining nukes is not a greater decrease in US Security?
To do that, logically you must:

Explain upon what premise you postulate that should Iran gain nukes it will not provide them to a radical Islamic terrorist group(s)?

Also, upon what premise you postulate that if Iran did give nukes to terrorists, those terrorists would not use them against us?

If you cannot do so, then logic compels you to agree that you have no rational basis for your opinion and acknowledge that your position is based in either willful denial or wishful thinking (another form of denial).

If you cannot articulate why Iran is not a threat given their active support for terrorists and stated objectives and then Iran gains nukes, gives them to terrorists and they successfully use them, you are culpable in their use.

Opinions matter because nations act on them and we all bear the responsibility for what we advocate.