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05 May 2009


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Abu Sinan

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?

William R. Cumming

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?

Bill Wade, NH, USA

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.

robt willmann

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.

James Vanasek

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?

Neil Richardson


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.

exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of [aerial] radioactive fallout.

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.

Mad Dogs

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?

William R. Cumming

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.

Mac Nayeri

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.

Cold War Zoomie

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).

G Hazeltine

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.

I know many influential Israelis and Iranians agree that this is the case.

Influential in what sphere, please?

Byron Raum

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.

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