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03 May 2010

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Castellio

Wonderfully succinct.

Fred

Right, I'm sure Syria gave them all of Saddam's WMDs, too.
http://www.nysun.com/foreign/saddams-wmd-moved-to-syria-an-israeli-says/24480/

mo

Do the facts matter? They never really have done when it has come to the Israeli "Reasons to Invade Lebanon" handbook.

I have heard and read many a theory and reason behind this report. Bad intelligence, good intelligence, propaganda, excuse to attack Lebanon, excuse to attack Iran, scuttling of US-Syrian rapprochement.

But, personally, I think there is a good chance that what the Israelis are really doing is testing the US. I think this may be an exercise in checking how much their stock has fallen (if at all) amongst US congressmen and women and the reaction of the executive branch.

The lack of logic in their statements, i.e why didn't they attack this transfer, why would Hizballah need scuds when they have Zelzals etc. seem to point to this being an exercise in PR.

Phil Giraldi

Colonel, I am one of many who feel that war is coming and that it will be triggered by an Israeli surprise attack on Iran. The Lebanon scud story appears to be completely bogus and is an attempt to heighten security concerns to justify some preemptive action. As the US will relinquish control of Iraqi airspace to the Baghdad government in August, I believe the attack could come sooner than that time to avoid the spectacle of Baghdad calling on Washington to shoot down Tel Aviv's warplanes.-Phil Giraldi

J

Colonel,

I wait with baited-breath the response of the Israel firster crowd like Dov Zakheim making excuses for Israel's 'Intel'. Don't you know that anybody who dares to 'question' Israel's word for anything, sends individuals like Zakheim thorugh the roof and into overdrive having kittens.

Heaven forbid that anybody would dare to stand up and say -- and we are not they. -- LOL LOL. D.C. are you 'listening' -- we are NOT 'they'!

To have to put up with so much 'kooked' Intel that the Israeli crowd spouts ('SITE' on the Taliban, etc.), causes one's eyelids to spasm.

Cloned Poster

When Capitalism and Socialism were at odds and there was serious guilt about the treatment of Jews in Germany/Europe, Israel was a guilt project.

It's a media guilt pet project now,

Walrus

The next statement in the play book is: "Israel has the right to defend itself against this existential terrorist threat posed by Hezbollahs possession of weapons of mass destruction aimed at the heart of Israel. Syria, Lebanon and Iran must also pay a price for this outrageous deliberate provocation."

At all costs the Lebanese economy, especially the tourism industry, must be prevented from attracting Western patronage and investment.

To borrow the words of Rabbi Hillel: "If not this summer, When?"

Patrick Lang

J

I am not his favorite person. pl

Trent

Castellio, I agree. While reading the other commentators I thought of the old saying about editing: "I'm sorry for such a long essay, I didn't have time to write a short one."

J

Phil,

If Israel does decide to bet stupid (which they always seem to be) and attack Iran, Iran has some surprises waiting for the kamikaze Israeli pilots. Surprises like the S300 systems for starters.

This time it won't be as easy as their Osrik cake-walk was. Don't forget that it was the Persians who invented the game called Chess.

Oh one other thing, the only leader to ever in man's recorded history be a winner and 'no' losses was a Persian leader -- King Cyrus the Great.

J

Colonel, Phil,

Me thinks that the Persians will have 'advance warnings' from some very heavy players 'before' the Israelis have even had a chance to mission brief.

The Persians will have their dominoes lined up. I pity (No I Don't!) the poor Israeli pilots.

Russ Wagenfeld

Pat,
I once was far closer about (50 feet) than I wanted to a Syrian training exercise featuring the field deployment of a SCUD launcher (with Missile) and supporting vehicles.I keep a picture of it on the wall next to my desk. If memory serves, only one variant has a decent CEP. and the warheads are small compared to aircraft payloads. I too cannot imagine the Israelis not observing the movement to or the deployment of SCUDs in Lebanon. If one was fired from Lebanon by Hezbollah, the Israelis would conclude (correctly I think)that Syrian technical expertise would have been necessary
Dov Zakheim is not one of my favorites either. If I remember correctly he was largely responsible for pushing through the funding by the US of 3 diesel subs built in Germany for Israel. Threat assessments (needless to say) did not support Israel"s need for the subs.

elkern

Phil G & all -

Wouldn't it be be better for Israel to wait for us (US) to hand over "control" of Iraqi airspace to a government unable to enforce its will, reduced to begging us (US) to shoot at our "ally" attacking our "enemy" (their "freind")?

Israel could fly a bunch of blimps* to Iran & back before the command would get through to shoot at them. The chain would be crazy:
- US radar detection (seconds)
- report uphill to Pentagon (minutes)
- POTUS & cabinet woken & notified (half hour?)
- decision to notify Govt of Iraq (assuming it exists by then)(half hour? or maybe never) Putative US officials notify Israel (minutes)
- official communique sent/rec'd (half hour?)
- Govt Iraq notifies Iran (minutes, but after the strike), then argues about what to do next (hour, or infinite - collapse possible)
- Iraq officially asks US to shoot down invading aircraft (half hour?)
- White House responds, Iraq replies (N communication loops at 1 hr per loop - set N = 1 for this exercise)
- White House decides to fire on invaders (1 hr, maybe never)
- Decision transmitted to Pentagon (minutes), then (I hope this is not first) to Israel (minutes later)
- Order to fire transmitted back down to US forces in Iraq (minutes)

Do the fuzzy math - I get 5 Hrs, a whole buncha minutes, a few seconds, and a couple Maybe Nevers. Plenty of time to get across; maybe time to get back.

OK, les freres Montgolfiers couldn't really do the job, and even the I"D"F might not want to count on flying back across. Do they have one-way options?
Georgia? India? (both too far)
Ditch in the Arabian Sea, rescue by Sub?
Do they have a bunch of old heavy airframes which they would be willing to sacrifice? Fire missiles, set crash course, bail, rescue?
Do they have enough heavy UAV's yet? (one-way is OK for those)

It seems to me that having the (as yet imaginary) Iraqi government in the loop would actually make the attack safer for Israel. Before August, the US is singularly responsible for Iraqi airspace. If Israel is certain that we wouldn't shoot at them, and thinks that Iraq may have some independent AA capability, then they would go sooner, but otherwise, isn't it better to wait?

Also, I think the US would have better excuses after August. "The Iraqi request was unclear", or "untimely", that's State's problem. And embarrassing the US may actually be a feature, not a bug: US looks weak no matter what we do.

If we shoot down Israeli planes, "Obama took Iran's side against our BFF Israel".
If we don't, "Brave little Israel had to do it because Obama's a wimp".
And August is a slow news month, a couple months before US mid-term elections...

But I'm hoping that they (Israel) has thought through the long-term consequences of such insanity. I still think they really just want us to do it for them. It would be much safer, cheaper, and more effective (for Israel)...

- elkern

* any LTA geeks here know the correct word for a "bunch" of blimps? "Fleet" sounds wrong (too fast); flotilla, maybe; how 'bout a "billow of blimps"?

Adam L Silverman

Sir,

Here's an interesting piece on how the proposed missile shield for Europe was supported by Poland, not because they were worried about missile attacks, but because they wanted to see NATO expand into Poland by opening more installations there:
http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2010/04/29/polish_foreign_minister_we_re_not_actually_worried_about_iranian_missile_threat

The beaver

In the mean time ,guess who went for dinner with the King of KSA:

http://www.examiner.com/x-39852-DC-RNC-Examiner~y2010m5d3-Cheney-In-Saudi-Arabia-Whats-Being-Planned

confusedponderer

Russ Wagenfeld,
speaking of the subs, I understand that Germany has been paying for them. So, in which way was Zakheim pushing this through. Was it in part paid for with US money? And then, if he pushed it through, he's an American, it's a German-Israeli weapons deal, why did Germany end up at least in part paying for something that he could push through? Just out of guilt? Some arm twisting? Part of the German compensation for US expenses in the first Gulf War?

From what I understand the boats costed some 1,3 billion euros, with Germany covering one-third of the bill.

Just curious.

William R. Cumming

There is some historical evidence that when the US is distracted by large scale domestic events those bit players that want to star see their chance. Predicting outbreaks before Labor Day of military activity somewhere in Arab-Israeli world.

robt willmann

Yes, indeed ... one of the oldest tricks in the book pops up again, the "if true" disclaimer.

After some media outlets were exposed for having presented brazen falsehoods to promote the invasion of Iraq in 2003, those wanting to promote a war with Iran are having to dance a little differently.

In the referenced National Journal article, "Is War Brewing in the Middle East?", Sydney J. Freedberg, Jr. cobbles together several odd sentences in the first paragraph.

Leading off with the inflammatory statement that "some" senior Israeli "officials" have said that Syria has passed Scud missiles to Hizbullah, Mr. Freedberg quickly throws in the cheesy qualifier "if true", before shifting gears and heading in the direction of his real target -- Iran -- which "almost certainly" would be the source of the missiles.

Then he strangely makes light of the whole thing, saying that the alleged missiles would be a "potential" escalation in the arming of Hezbollah.
Silly me, for having thought that giving missiles to a country adjoining another would be a real escalation in arming one, and not a benign potential escalation.

Mr. Freedberg, having lost interest in Hizbullah and missiles, next brings up mounting pressure by the U.S. and Europe against Iran to "curb its uranium enrichment", without realizing that the nuclear nonproliferation treaty gives Iran the inalienable right to have full civil nuclear power, without discrimination, as long as it does so within the terms of its safeguards agreement.

Then he veers completely off the road when trying to explain why the Iranian leaders will try "to change the subject and deflect the pressure", in the paragraph's final sentence. Without explaining how Iran will do it, Mr. Freedberg implies that it will instigate conflict between Israel and its neighbors, or with "terrorist proxies" of Iran, "such as Hezbollah and Hamas". Although such conflicts standing alone would probably "change the subject", they change it by "inciting anti-Western outrage on the Arab Street" and by "forcing" the U.S. to stand with Israel and against the Arab allies of the U.S.

Wow. That is a lot to do to just change the subject from a nuclear power program that is still subject to inspections and a safeguards agreement.
Furthermore, if Mr. Freedberg did not mean that Iran would instigate the conflicts, it would have to just sit passively by and hope that they would start for some other reason.

Iran does not want a wider war in the Middle East, and would not want one even if it possessed nuclear weapons. Neither do Lebanon, Syria, and Jordan. Iraq doesn't want a wider war in the Middle East because it is still in one.

Such a war would have to be desired by other countries, peoples, and organizations.

Such a war would also cost a lot of money, which reminds me of Dov Zakheim, who was mentioned in comments above. He was comptroller and chief financial officer of the Pentagon, the U.S. Department of Defense, from 2001 to April 2004.

http://www.boozallen.com/capabilities/services/services_article/zakheim

He acted as the "Secretary of Defense's principal advisor on financial and budgetary matters, developing and managing the world's largest budgets, overseeing all aspects of the Department's accounting and auditing systems ...."
From 2002-2004, Zokheim was the Defense Department's coordinator of civilian programs in Afghanistan. I wonder ... did those civilian programs settle things down in Afghanistan ... or not?

But back to the money.

In 2001, I think it was, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld made the startling statement, reported on a CBSNews.com story, that "according to some estimates, we cannot track some $2.3 trillion dollars in transactions" [at the Pentagon]. It appears about one minute into the story--

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xU4GdHLUHwU&feature=related

Maybe I missed it, but I don't recall hearing Mr. Zakheim hollering and calling press conferences about the missing $2.3 trillion dollars, and demanding that the Justice Department crank up some federal criminal grand juries to investigate where the money went and how.

I saw Zakheim not long ago on C-Span as a member of some commission investigating contracting in Iraq and Afghanistan, at which time I did a double-take: is that really him on such a commission?

I thought, as was said in vaudeville, "Get the hook!"

http://www.barrypopik.com/index.php/new_york_city/entry/get_the_hook

Phil Giraldi

J-Russia has yet to deliver any S-300s to Iran on a contract that was originally signed in 2005. They would indeed make a huge difference against both US and Israeli aircraft. The delay in delivery is reportedly due to pressure from Washington and Tel Aviv. Iran's air defenses can be easily suppressed by the US Air Force and Navy and are probably not up to the task of stopping Israel. One more good reason why Israel might want to strike sooner rather than later.

JP

I peruse the internet and find that the Lebanese Hizballah has SCUDs, the carbomb in NYC was an Israeli "false flag" operation, and that a North Korean mothership carrying midget submarines torpedoed the TransOcean oil rig.

My oh my, what have I done with my tinfoil hat?

Facts do matter indeed, and real facts seem to be in perilously short supply.

Hang in there, friends, the light at the end of the tunnel may be a bullet train.

J

Phil,

You're forgetting the Iranian 'knock-off' of the Russian S300 system. I think it's a serious mistake to under-rate the Persian abilities. While the Russian made systems have yet to be delivered 'in the public eye', who is to say that in addition to the domestic S300 model, the Iranians haven't already received Russian S300 systems behind the scenes. To prevent a strike on Iran is in both Russian AND Chinese interests. And who is to say that the Chinese (who are great reverse-engineers) didn't assist the Persians in their domestic S300 systems.

From what I have been able to ascertain, if Israel does bet stupid, they are in for some rather rude awakenings in their attempts to attack Iran.

We can thank the Israelis for handing the Russians their modern day Russian S300 system advanced tech. Israel is like a stab in the heart, and the back, and..... .

Castellio

Maybe Phil could clarify why Russia hasn't delivered the S-300s?

Russ Wagenfeld

confusedponderer
The meetings I referred to concerning the subs occurred about 20 years ago and I haven't been in a position to monitor how this deal evolved since then. So the financial arrangement may have changed or may never been made public. At that time, I was given to understand that the newest diesel subs were almost as quiet as nuclear subs at a fraction of the cost. The reason for building them in Germany was a bit convoluted. The last thing the American nuclear submariner community wanted was to have these diesel subs built in the US for fear that Congress might realize that if the facilities and expertise for building diesel existed here it might be used to meet the US Navy’s requirement for subs (Gott in Himmel!). So the subs were to be built with US FMS funds in Germany. At the time, it was hard to conjure up a creditable Arab naval threat to Israeli interest which would justify acquisition of modern German Dolphin class subs. This case was made and ignored at the meetings I attended. I understand that Israel now has acquired two more Dolphins.
I saw your comment on National ID cards in Germany. I lived in Germany for 8 years and feel that it is time we had something similar here.
Russ

Roy G

Israel is also 'concerned' that Hizballah wants to shoot down one of its warplanes...which violate Lebanese airspace daily. Ah, chutzpah!

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/127628

William R. Cumming

Okay enough of Syria. Apparently, substantial efforts are being made by the Syrians as Iranian proxies. Syria is readily reachable by Israli and US aircraft. What are arguments pro and con for military effort in Syria? I believe that Syria is Iran's soft underbelly but could be wrong! Also what is the real foreign policy of Turkey which should be a huge huge factor in the arena of the Islamic World but seems to be completely uninterested in achieving some sort of regional hegenomy! Is that good or bad?
And of course when I ask these questions are doing so from the point of view of US foreign policy and foreign relations long-term not short term. Probably should look at a decade down the road. Personally I think admission of Turkey to the EU should be accomplished but others may differ.

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