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10 January 2012


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Meanwhile, the apparent campaign of targeted assassinations against Iranian scientists is starting to make some people uncomfortable.

I'll just ask the naive, I-want-to-believe-in-fairies question: Is there any chance that this might not be an Israeli operation - and/or that it would not have been greenlighted by the US?


I believe Panetta has had to walk things back before. Hopefully, this time there won't be any "clarification".

Charles I

I don't watch the Sunday shows, they give me a headache...,

Testament to your scholarly nature, discernment and Sunday time allocation.

But seriously who/what defines the line between weapon and capability? Politicians or Intelligence?

Charles I

Who do you suggest? Saudis?


Panetta's remarks are potentially huge, in that they potentially allow for a real compromise. If Iran's goal is not a nuclear weapon but nuclear capability (which pretty much all observers, even the Israelis, realize it is), and if the US redline is a nuclear weapon, then there is plenty of room for an accomodation that allows both sides to acheive their goals. Of course, given that at roughly the same time Panetta was making his remarks other officials were acknowledging that the real goal was regime change, it's hard to see that Panetta will have much effect:


BTW, on the Israelis, the simulation they ran described here has some fascinating tidbits:


Particularly for this discussion:

In their report, the Israeli authors, INSS fellows Yoel Guzansky and Yonatan Lerner, wrote: "Iran is closer than ever to the juncture at which its leaders will need to decide whether to stay in a relatively comfortable position on the verge of nuclear capability or, alternatively, to break through to the bomb. Iran has an interest in postponing the decision whether to cross the threshold to a later stage. Nevertheless, a series of regional and international developments is likely to cause Iran to decide to accelerate its nuclear development and to break through toward nuclear weapons."

The authors basically acknowledge Iran doesn't need a bomb, doesn't want a bomb, and doesn't want to be in position where it needs a bomb. Iran will have to be pushed by "regional and international developments" to build one.

I'm surprised I haven't seen anyone delve into this report yet.


Politicians interpreting intelligence - now that’s a scary thought!


MeK, it is in their nature, would help instigate the New World War in which they inherit the Peacock Throne, and there is plenty of authoritarian supremacist billionaires willing to fund them as freelancers.

Bill H.

On CBS News tonight (Wednesday) Scott Pelley said at the end of the piece about the assassination of the nuclear scientist in Teheran that, "On Sunday the Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, told CBS News that Iran was about one year away from being able to build a nuclear weapon."


Imagine this politician getting to interpret it. See http://mondoweiss.net/2012/01/wasserman-schultzs-opposition-goes-to-settlers-gathering-in-ny-and-says-palestinians-belong-in-jordan.html

The Moar You Know

No surprise that the American media is pushing the Israeli line on this. I am somewhat surprised that they'd resort to out-and-out lying, but on further reflection, why shouldn't they? It's not like any other media outlet is going to counter the story with the facts.

Adam L Silverman

Charles I: thanks for the compliment. As to your question: that's outside my area of expertise.


"And our red line to Iran is, do not develop a nuclear weapon. That’s a red line for us.”

Why should I even care, when Obama won't even admit publicly that Israel has nukes?

Charles I

Well a million years ago I was a lawyer and so could shamelessly argue capability is anywhere between a purchase order for the milling machines to make the first experimental cores and a complete weapon save for the insertion of the little tritium boost core on a dial-a-yeild bomb.

Ditto on intention, and whether a weapon is a capability or a weapon, or a capable weapon.

Since I'm not in charge, my bet is the Cheyney Doctrine, Ramming Speed!



Capability is when the weapons are usable and are in the hands of those who can use them. pl

Charles I

I agree, right up to cep. By the time they get one ready to launch, you'll be able to shoot it down from the new space plane.

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