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Iran Super Thread- Merged

Just pointing out my opinion, no attacks, and a well worded few paragraphs.
thunderchild said:
I don't think that an attack by the U.S. unilaterally is likely without real unmistakable proof,

I do not share your opinion in any way. I know better than to disount it as a possibility. If the Americans can be counted on for one thing, its is to act when they want to regardless of anyone else.

This is due to the botch up in Iraq.

Alot of things were done wrong in Iraq IMHO but going in and invading wasnt one of them.

  The U.S. would destroy Their military equipment without breaking a sweat, but they'd go broke doing it.

Go broke ? I hardly think so.

Then what? Would there be peace, or would we have a post 1st gulf war scenario were we would control the air and occasionally drop a few cruise missiles on them when they step out of line.

I dont have a big issue with that. Op DESERT FOX was simply enforcing UNSC resolutions IIRC.

Now, want to talk more about missiles and IADS ?
thunderchild said:
I could see the U.S. attack Iran in retaliation but not without as you said causing the whole middle east  to burst into a war that nobody can win. 

You misread what i posted to suit the way you think of things. Please read it again. What i said applied to any Israeli retaliation to an Iranian missile attack. Pick up a few books on the ME.
Firstly  I want it made clear Right now that I don't think any soldier dies in vain nor would I belittle the sacrifice they and their families make.  The allied troops in Iraq did an amazing job and don't get enough credit for it they were dumped into the middle of 3 cultures that have been killing each other for centuries, they helped turn that mess into start of a country.  The decision to attack Iraq lies with politicians using questionable reasons to push an invasion when other means may have been a better option.  What other options might they have had I don't know.  Iran and Syria supply the training, supplies and money to Hamas, Hezbollah and many others as well as threatening to start the very war I mentioned in my post by Burning Israel off the map.  If you want to deal with the terrorists eliminate their source of supplies, training and money, yes it would be hard and costly but without them how would they operate?  Religious points aside if you can't buy bullets you can't fight . I know over simplified and there is far more to it than simply destroying their supply chain, but if that were to happen they may be willing to talk rather than fight, they would have few other options.
thunderchild said:
The decision to attack Iraq lies with politicians using questionable reasons to push an invasion when other means may have been a better option.  What other options might they have had I don't know.

Wow.  That is about as insightful as “What if they had a war and nobody showed up?“  ::)

There is only so much heavy lifting that Israel should be expected to do.  They fight the enemy at their door step but what would be the reaction if they projected out to Syria or Jordan?  Or Saudi Arabia? Or ultimately Iran?  Hell, the planet seems too thrilled to dog pile on them as it is for going after the mindless dolts who huck rockets into residential neighborhoods for no justifiable reason ("Justifiable" doubtless being a topic for another thread).  Doing a rear echelon manoeuvre that you are speaking of would require more support than they currently enjoy. 
If Syria or Iran were to attack Israel I'm sure that Israel would not be fighting alone, and I doubt that more moderate states like Jordan, and Egypt would have something to say but they wouldn't get involved.  Now about dealing with hamas, Hezbollah, Islamic jihad and the multiple number of other terrorist groups that attack Israel then yes Israel should defend it's self and should have our support in doing it.  The reasons for this are simple Syria and Iran support these organizations and use them to fight a shadow war against Israel because they wouldn't survive a open war against the Israeli military and most likely Israel wouldn't either.
Oh what a tangled web they weave:


Clinton's Iranian Connection
Rachel Ehrenfeld 01.05.09, 12:00 AM ET

On Dec. 19, 2008. at 2 p.m., the New York-based Alavi Foundation, which supports Iranian causes, contributed between $25,000 and $50,000 to the William J. Clinton Foundation. This can be best described as the ultimate chutzpah, for on the very same day, the U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York indicted the president of the Alavi Foundation, Farshid Jahedi, "on a charge of obstruction of justice for allegedly destroying documents required to be produced under a grand jury subpoena concerning the Alavi Foundation's relationship with Bank Melli Iran and the ownership of a Manhattan office building."

Alavi's contribution to Clinton came just two days after the Treasury Department also designated Alavi's partner, the New York-based ASSA Corp., as a terrorist entity, and the New York Southern District's attorney seized and forfeited its assets. According to the Treasury Department, "Assa ... continued to provide services to Bank Melli by maintaining Melli's interest in 650 Fifth Avenue Co. and transferring income from 650 Fifth Avenue Co. to Bank Melli." ASSA owned 650 Fifth Avenue Co. together with the Alavi Foundation. Incredibly, the government seized only 40% of the 36-story building controlled by ASSA, leaving the Alavi Foundation in charge of the remaining 60%.

The Alavi Foundation was established in 1973 by the Shah of Iran as the Pahlavi Foundation, "to pursue Iran's charitable interests in the United States." It was renamed the Mostazafan Foundation in 1981 by the Ayatollah Khomeini and renamed again in 1992 as the Alavi Foundation.

As early as 1979, the foundation and its partner Bank Melli were recognized as procurement fronts for Iran's nuclear weapons program. Twenty years later, the U.S. government recognized Bank Melli as a vehicle controlled by the Iranian Government. The bank was finally designated a terrorist entity on Oct. 25,2007. What took so long? The Alavi Foundation's Web site states that its mission is promoting and supporting Shiite educational, religious and cultural programs: in essence, delivering the mullahs' message to America. The foundation also owns and funds several mosques and educational centers in New York, Maryland, Texas and California.

In 2007, Alavi's IRS filing reported $87,899,567 in assets and $3,315, 237 that went to charity. Of this, $365,056 went to schools and universities, $328,667 was spent on book publications and distribution, and $262,325 was given to schools in the form of interest-free loans.

The Alavi Foundation continues to operate despite five different lawsuits against it in the U.S., filed by survivors of Iranian and Hezbollah terror attacks. The fact that the Iranian government appoints the board of this Iranian foundation apparently does not satisfy the courts. Thus, the plaintiffs failed to prove that Alavi takes direct orders from Tehran. Yet Alavi's function as an arm of the radical leadership of Iran is evident. In 1993, the foundation's director after Khomeini took over in 1979, Manoucher Shafie, together with his successor Mohammad Hossein Mahallati, director from 1983 to 1992, were suspected by U.S. authorities of "exporting germ-warfare toxins to Iran." Neither was convicted.

The Mahallatis are well known in revolutionary Iran. Ayatollah Fazlollah Mahallati, father of foundation director Mohammad Hossein, was Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's mentor and the head of Iran's Revolutionary Guards. He oversaw the 1983 U.S. Embassy bombing in Beirut, killing 241 American Marines.

Mohammad Hossein Mahallati's brother, Mohammad Ja'far Mahallati, served as Iran's Ambassador to the U.N. from 1987 to 1989, during which time the foundation, run by his brother, gave at least $1.4 million to Sheikh Omar Abdul-Rahman's Brooklyn mosque. The blind sheikh is serving a life sentence at the Federal Correctional Complex, in Butner, N.C., for his role in the 1993 World Trade Center bombing. Meanwhile, former Ambassador Mahallati has become a popular lecturer at America's elite universities and is now a visiting professor of religion at Oberlin College. His research focuses on the "ethics of friendship in Muslim cultures."

Moreover, to better spread the mullahs' dogma, in 1999, Mohammad Ja'far Mahallati co-founded his own charity, the Boston-based Ilex Foundation, of which he is a trustee. Ilex is described as "a cultural bridge-building institution." Ilex's Trustees' list reads like the who's who among Middle East academics in the U.S., with names like Richard W. Bulliet of Columbia University and Olga M. Davidson of Wellesley College.

Although the Alavi contribution to Clinton is legal, it is malodorous. However, as long as the U.S. government continues to treat different Iranian entities as though they are separate from the state it recognizes as a sponsor of terrorism, the mullahs will be free to advance their agenda in the U.S.

Dr. Rachel Ehrenfeld is director of the American Center for Democracy and author of Funding Evil: How Terrorism is Financed and How to Stop It.
If this is true the Iranian regime may be in much more trouble (and be far more unstable and dangerous) than previously recognized:


Is Iran in Trouble?

Posted By Michael Ledeen On January 4, 2009 @ 5:33 pm In Uncategorized | 43 Comments

After years of refusing to see Iran’s aggressive intentions, most sensible observers of things Middle Eastern now recognize that the most important terrorist organizations, from Islamic Jihad to Hezbollah and Hamas, are essentially Iranian proxies. Figaro this weekend carries [1] a story bluntly headlined “Iran Behind Hamas’ Grad Missiles,” and flatly states that Hamas military commanders have been trained in Iran and Syria to use the deadliest missiles in their inventory.  The battle of Gaza is therefore the second between Israel and Iran in two and half years, the first being the 2006 conflict with Hezbollah (which, lest we forget, was kicked off when Hamas kidnaped three Israeli soldiers).

It follows that Iran could well lose this battle, and defeat is very dangerous to a regime like Tehran’s, which claims divine sanction for its actions and proclaims the imminent arrival of its messiah and of the triumph of global jihad.  If Allah is responsible for victory, what can be said about humiliating defeat?  The mullahs are well aware of the stakes, as we can see in their recent behavior.

For some time now, the regime in Tehran has shown signs of urgency, sometimes verging on panic.  Of late, the mullahs have organized raucus demonstrations in front of numerous embassies, including those of Egypt (with chants of “Death to Mubarak”), Jordan, Turkey, Great Britain, Germany and today (imagine!) France. These demonstrations were not mere gestures;  the regime’s seriousness was underlined on Sunday, the 4th, when it offered a million-dollar reward to anyone who killed Mubarak (the Iranians called it a “revolutionary execution”).  Significantly, the announcement came at a rally of the Basij, the most radical security force in the country, at which the Revolutionary Guards official Forooz Rejaii spoke.  The Egyptians take it seriously;  they have been on alert of late, looking for the possibility of a Mumbai-type operation in Cairo or elsewhere.

At the same time, the regime intensified its murderous assault against its own people, most notably hanging nine people on Christmas Eve, and assaulting the headquarters of Nobel Prize Winner Shirin Ebadi.

This intense tempo of activity bespeaks alarm in Tehran, which is fully justified by a number of setbacks.  First of all, the dramatic drop in oil prices is devastating to the mullahs, who had planned to be able to fund terrorist proxies throughout the Middle East, Europe and the Americas.  Suddenly their bottom line is tinged with red, and this carries over onto their domestic balance sheets, which were already demonstrably shaky (they were forced to cancel proposed new taxes when the merchant class staged nation-wide protests).  No wonder they seize on any international event to call for petroleum export reductions.  Just today they called for a [2] drastic reduction of oil shipments to all countries that supported the Israeli military incursion into Gaza.

No doubt, the Iranians believe the fall in oil prices is the result of satanic will, rather than the shock to demand produced by the runup to $140/barrel.  Not for them the subtleties of the free market;  given the way they view the world, they must be convinced that the same strategy that beggared the Soviet Union–Saudi cooperation with America to hold down prices–is now deployed against them.  This belief was no doubt reinforced when the recent official cut in petroleum production did not lead to markedly higher prices.

Second, their terror strategy has not been working as well as they wished and expected.  Most American and European analysts have not appreciated the effect of the defeat of al Qaeda, Hezbollah and the Revolutionary Guards in Iraq, but you can be sure that the high and mighty in Arab capitals have taken full notice.  The Iranians not only lost a considerable number of skilled and experienced terror leaders–Imad Mughnieh, the long-time operational chieftain of Hezbollah is the most important, and Abu Musab al Zarqawi was close behind, having created al Qaeda in Iraq alongside a network throughout Europe–but also several of their own Revolutionary Guards officers.  Some of these were captured, others have defected, and most all have provided details of the Iranian network. This sort of thing is bad for operations, bad for recruiting, and weakens the Iranians’ efforts to bully their neighbors into appeasement or more active cooperation.

Third, despite all their efforts to crush any sign of internal rebellion, many Iranians continue to publicly oppose the mullahs.  A few weeks ago, students at universities all over the country demonstrated in significant numbers, and as one Iranian now living in Europe put it to me, “they were surprised that the regime was unable to stop the protests, even though everyone knew they were planned.”  This is the background for the new wave of repression, accompanied by an intensification of jamming on the Internet, and an ongoing reshuffle of the instruments of repression;  Khamanei and Ahmadinejad have no confidence in the efficacy or blind loyalty of the army or of large segments of the Revolutionary Guards.  Most public actions are carried out by the Basij, who are judged more reliable, and repression is less in the hands of the traditional ministries than in new groups freshly minted in the Supreme Leader’s office.

In short, we are dealing with a regime that is very concerned about its future, and is not very comfortable with its friends, allies, and proxies.  The mullahs know that most Iranians would like to see their leaders treated the same way as the nine executed on Christmas Eve, and, like all tyrants, the Iranian despots are trying to demonstrate that they dominate both Iran and the region.  No surprise, then, that Sa’id Jalili, the very important secretary of the “Supreme National Security Council,” hit the airwaves of Al Manar TV to call on “the Arab and Islamic countries and other countries that have an independent will” to fight for a Hamas victory in Gaza and deliver a forceful blow to “the Zionist entity.”

But, significantly, when he was asked to get down to brass tacks, Jalili wimped out.  The Al Manar interviewer asked him what Iran could do in the Gaza fighting.  Jalili’s words:

    We believe that the great popular solidarity with the Palestinian people as expressed all over the world should reflect on the will of the Arab and Islamic countries and other countries that have an independent will so that these will move in a concerted, cooperative, and cohesive manner to draft a collective initiative that can achieve two main things as an inevitable first step. These are putting an immediate end to aggression and second breaking the siege and quickly securing humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza.

In other words, the head of the Supreme Council wants to hold some meetings.  This is supposed to be the glorious jihad?

The Iranians aren’t promising much of anything to the embattled Hamas forces, unless you consider that their [3] “threat” to send boatloads of humanitarian supplies is a serious menace.  Indeed, no less a personage than the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, General Mohammad-Ali Ja’fari, [4] blithely said that “Hamas has enough weapons…the people in Gaza does not need the help of other armies, and it is capable of dealing with the steps taken by the Zionist regime..”  In simple English, General Ja’fari told Hamas, “you get ‘em big boy, we’re right behind you.”

To be sure, there are the occasional calls to Iranians to sacrifice themselves for the cause, but even these lack all conviction.  One Mahdi Kalhar, an adviser to President Ahmadinejad, [5] told a group of students that “Iran must take action… we must send (Hamas) aid [in the form of] boatloads of [fighters] on a one-way ticket… An Israeli attack on the boats is nothing to be afraid of – for how else are we to become martyrs?”

I don’t think many Iranian students will gobble up those one-way tickets, frankly.  Nor do I think that the Iranians have any intention of sending “fighters” to Gaza.  That’s not their way.  They send others, preferably Arabs, to martyr themselves.  Not Iranians.  I can’t think of a single Iranian suicide bomber in Iraq or Afghanistan or Lebanon or Saudi Arabia in the last seven years.  Despite Ahmadinejad’s frequent hymns to martyrdom, that fate is reserved for others, certainly not for himself and his countrymen.

Many worried that if Israel invaded Gaza, there would be a wave of terrorism against Iran’s enemies, and almost surely an assault in the north, courtesy of Hezbollah.  So far, this has not happened, and the Hezbollah-dog-that-did-not-bark goes hand in mailed glove with the Iranians’ sudden preference for conferences rather than suicidal assaults.  And as for Iran’s Syrian allies, there, too, the silence is deafening.  Those guys may have declared themselves the “winners” of the 2006 battle with Israel, but they don’t seem to be itching for a rematch.  They rather look like scaredy cats, rather like the Hamas leaders who seem to be hiding in hospitals in Gaza City rather than fighting for martyrdom.

I have long argued that the Iranian regime is fundamentally hollow, that much of its apparent strength is bluster and deception rather than real power and resolve.  At a minimum, it is a regime that must constantly fear for its own survival, not because of any willful resolve from its external enemies but because of the simmering hatred from its own people.  This is a moment when those people are, as so often in the recent past, looking for at least a few supportive actions.  If the West is now convinced that Iran is the proximate cause and chief sponsor of Hamas’ assault against Israel, it should demonstrate once and for all that we are prepared to fight back.

There’s an attractive parlay:  attack the terrorist training camps in Syria and Iran, and destroy the assembly lines that produce the deadly EFPs that have killed and maimed so many Americans, Iraqis and Afghans.  It’s legitimate self-defense, it shows that we recognize the Iranian threat for what it is, and it will deliver an important message to the Iranian people.

UPDATE:  To Iran’s other troubles, add their rage at the security agreement (SOFA, or Status of Forces Agreement) signed with the United States.  You can hear Khamenei spitting in[6] this account of his recent meeting with Maliki.

UPDATE 2:  Welcome Instapunditeers!  Happy to see you on this sunny Monday.

UPDATE 3:  Welcome Powerliners!  Glad you got out of the frozen tundra, heh.

Article printed from Faster, Please!: http://pajamasmedia.com/michaelledeen

URL to article: http://pajamasmedia.com/michaelledeen/2009/01/04/is-iran-in-trouble/

URLs in this post:
[1] a story: http://www.lefigaro.fr/international/2009/01/03/01003-20090103ARTFIG00152-l-iran-derriere-les-missil

[2] drastic reduction of oil shipments: http://africa.reuters.com/wire/news/usnDAH452978.html
[3] “threat” to send boatloads of humanitarian supplies: http://english.ohmynews.com/articleview/article_view.asp?no=384561&rel_no=1
[4] blithely said : http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/12668.htm
[5] told a group of students: http://www.thememriblog.org/iran/blog_personal/en/12665.htm
[6] this account : http://www.mehrnews.com/en/NewsDetail.aspx?NewsID=812166
Tough call, despite how much they despise their leaders, the Iranians are a very emotional patriotic bunch and attacks might cause them to rally around the flag. However some stealth pinpoint attacks on secret installations away from civilian centres may have an effect on the administration without giving enough juice to start a public response. You would think by now the US would have "sterile" bombs and missiles to use in such cases, or even better yet bomb revolutionary guards with ordinance marked the same as used by the regular Iranian Air Force. Nothing like casting a bit of doubt between your enemies.  >:D 
Bush Protested Planned Israeli Strike on Iran
President Bush reportedly revealed to the Israelis that he already had authorized a covert U.S. effort to sabotage Iran's nuclear capabilities.


Two well placed sources confirmed to FOX News that Israel last year made "various requests" for U.S. assistance with a planned Israeli air strike on Iran's nuclear program.

Israel's plan, however, was scuttled when the United States rebuffed Israel in its request to fly through Iraqi airspace, according to a New York Times report on a covert U.S. program.

The Times story, published Saturday, cites unnamed American and foreign officials in reporting that President Bush also turned away an Israeli request for bunker-busting bombs for use in its planned attack on the Iranian nuclear complex. The president then revealed to the Israelis that he already had authorized a covert U.S. effort to sabotage Iran's nuclear capabilities, the Times reports.

The Bush administration was "particularly alarmed," the Times says, by the Israeli request for access to Iraqi airspace.

Sources told FOX News that the Israeli requests were made directly to the White House because the Israelis were "disturbed and fearful" of leaks from the U.S. intelligence community and "did not trust" Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

One source told FOX News the Israelis approached the Bush White House at least once last summer, possibly twice, and were "slammed down" because senior administration officials felt such assistance would "unravel our position in Iraq." President Bush was convinced by aides, sources said, that any such American aid to an Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear program would cause the Iranians "to foment great upheaval in Iraq."

One source told FOX News the Israeli emissary sent to request Washington's help was Meir Dagan, head of the Israeli spy agency Mossad.  Dagan was sent reportedly because the Israelis considered him "the only trusted channel."

Back in the summer of 2007, shortly before the Israelis' now legendary September 6, 2007 air strike on a nascent Syrian nuclear facility -- built with the help of North Korea -- it was Dagan whom the Israelis authorized to alert Washington to the impending attack. (It is this timeline that accounts for the New York Times' reference to its work on this story dating back "fifteen months.")

Sources tell FOX News the upper echelons of the Central Intelligence Agency are "royally peeved" that the Israeli requests for assistance last summer went directly to the White House and not through Langley.  From the Israelis' point of view, that was because they believed that CIA had tried to force the Israelis to abort the 2007 Syrian strike hours before it was launched.

According to one source: The "CIA leaked the impending raid [on Syria in 2007] the day before in order to, as the Israelis suspected, scuttle it. Israel almost called it off, but when their sources detected no heightened Syrian readiness or defensive measures, they were sure Syrian intelligence had not picked the leak up, and thus Israel decided to go ahead and do the raid.  From that experience, Israel believed that the Iran raid would need to be through even more restrictive channels -- direct to the president by Olmert's most trusted channel, Dagan. They did not trust Condi."

The refusal of the Bush administration to provide the assistance the Israelis requested occasioned sharp dispute among senior policymakers, who split along the now-familiar lines that saw Vice President Cheney and his aides favoring harsher measures against the Iranians and Secretary Rice and others opposing them.

"It's yet another example," said one source, "of the Bush administration morphing into the Obama administration before Obama was elected."

The Times report suggests that Bush is about to hand off to President-elect Obama a more advanced operation of counteracting Iran's nuclear capabilities than has yet been made public.
What if they conclude they can no longer wait?


More grave than Gaza
If the West does not impose real sanctions, the Israeli consensus is for pre-emptive action against Iran.

From Saturday's Globe and Mail

January 10, 2009 at 12:25 AM EST

JERUSALEM — Even as the international community remains focused on the heartbreaking images emerging from Israel's confrontation with the jihadist Hamas in Gaza, the countdown has begun for a far more devastating tragedy that could lead the Middle East toward apocalypse.

According to Israeli intelligence estimates, the time remaining before Iran is capable of producing a nuclear bomb may now be measured in months, not years. A nuclear Iran would end hopes for the eventual emergence of a sane Middle East. And if economic sanctions and diplomatic efforts fail to dissuade the mullahs from abandoning their nuclear program, Israel is likely to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. And some Arab leaders may well be hoping that Israel will do precisely that.

Shared dread of a nuclear Iran has helped create the first tacit alliance between Israel and Sunni Arab states. So desperate are some Arab leaders to forestall an Iranian bomb that they have in effect sided with Israel against Iran's proxies in the Arab world. Egypt's President Hosni Mubarak has condemned Hamas for instigating the current conflict. Two years ago, during the Second Lebanon War, Jordan and Saudi Arabia joined Egypt in condemning Iran's Lebanon proxy, Hezbollah, for provoking Israel. And in 2007, when the Israeli air force destroyed a Syrian nuclear facility, reportedly intended as a future bomb factory for Iran, the silence in the Arab world was overwhelming. What was inconceivable just a few years ago — that some Arab states would side with Israel against fellow Muslims — has now become a pattern in regional politics.

Arab countries fear Iranian hegemony, fulfilment of the ancient Persian ambition of dominating the Middle East. Israel's fear is even more primal: that a lunatic regime in Tehran, driven by messianic theology and hatred of Zionism, might be tempted to launch a nuclear attack on the Jewish state. Iranian leaders have called for Israel's destruction so often that those incitements to genocide scarcely make news any more.


The argument over whether or not Tehran's leaders are rational was resolved for the Israeli public in December, 2006, when Iran hosted a world conference of Holocaust deniers. Only a lunatic regime, Israelis concluded, would summon a gathering of crackpots to prove that the most documented atrocity in history never happened. Still, however demented, there was a strategic logic behind Iran's promotion of Holocaust denial: The mullahs are convinced that the West supports a Jewish state only because of guilt for the Holocaust. If the Holocaust can be unmasked as a Zionist lie, then support for Israel will disappear. The mullahs, then, weren't really interested in disproving the past destruction of the Jews, but in preparing the way for their future destruction.

What keeps Israeli strategists awake at night is fear that a new strain of apocalyptic Shia theology — positing that the Hidden Imam will return when the faithful use sufficient military force to wipe out evil — has emerged within the Iranian leadership. To be sure, not all of Iran's leaders subscribe to the new theology, which reverses the traditional Shia quietism that has relied on prayer rather than force to summon the redeemer. But the circle around President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has passionately embraced that politicized messianism. And while Mr. Ahmadinejad is not the ultimate authority in Tehran, he may well be positioned to gain access, say, to a nuclear suitcase.

Some Israeli strategists believe Iran can be deterred from launching a nuclear attack against the Jewish state by Israel's own nuclear capacity. But even those optimists worry about a nuclear suitcase passed on to a terrorist proxy. Imagine a scenario like this: After months of rocket attacks launched by Hamas against Israeli towns and villages, Israel threatens to invade Gaza again. But then a previously unknown terrorist group announces that it has planted a suitcase with a nuclear device in a European capital and will detonate the bomb if Israel retaliates. Would Israel be able to protect itself against such terrorism? Would any Western state, for that matter, dare to militarily confront a jihadist threat if it risked nuclear terrorism in return?

Even if the worst-case scenarios turn out to be exaggerated, the very fact that a regime committed to Israel's destruction would now possess the means to fulfill its threats would have a chilling effect on the self-confidence of Israelis in their country's ability to protect itself. Confronting a permanent genocidal threat would effectively end the promise of Zionism to provide the Jews a safe refuge. In a poll taken last year, 7 per cent of Israelis said they would emigrate if Iran developed a bomb; another 20 per cent said they would consider leaving. The effects of a nuclear Iran on the Israeli economy would be devastating. Why would foreign investors, who are currently attracted to Israeli high-tech companies, risk investing in a country living under a death sentence?


No less worrying, the prospect of a nuclear Iran has triggered a process that could lead to a nuclear arms race in the world's least stable region. Several Arab countries, including Egypt and Saudi Arabia, have declared their interest in acquiring nuclear power, ostensibly for peaceful purposes, but in fact timed as a response to Iranian nuclear ambitions. Mr. Mubarak has stated explicitly that Egypt may feel a need to protect itself against Iran's nuclear threat. Although Israel's nuclear arsenal has been the region's worst-kept secret for four decades, most Arab countries didn't feel impelled to enter a nuclear arms race. Even Israel's enemies understood that it is a rational state and wouldn't launch an unprovoked nuclear strike. Few in the Middle East hold such an assurance about Iran, however.

A nuclear Iran can still be stopped by peaceful means. The decline in world oil prices has badly undermined the already fragile Iranian economy; intensifying sanctions could encourage opposition to a widely detested regime. But given the continuing opposition of Russia and China to further sanctions, and the extensive trade that Western countries such as Germany and Austria engage in with Iran, an effective sanctions effort is unlikely to emerge in time. If the sanctions efforts fail, the thankless task of militarily preventing a nuclear Iran will fall, by default, to Israel.

Israeli leaders are acutely aware of the potentially devastating consequences of an Israeli strike against Iran — devastating most of all to Israel itself. Iran has threatened to launch retaliatory missile attacks against Tel Aviv, and Hezbollah and Hamas would almost certainly join the assault. For the first time in Israel's history, the entire country is exposed to missile attack. During the Persian Gulf war of 1991, when Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein launched Scud missiles against Tel Aviv, Israelis sought refuge in Galilee in the north. When Galilee was attacked by Hezbollah in 2006, residents there fled southward to Tel Aviv. If Israel is attacked by both Iran and its proxies, there will be nowhere to run.

Nevertheless, a rare consensus exists among Israeli leaders — from left-wing Labour to centrist Kadima to right-wing Likud — that the Jewish state must thwart a nuclear Iran, even at the risk of all-out war against the Israeli home front. As one Labour politician who is dovish on the Palestinian issue but hawkish on Iran told me, "No one knows if Iran would use the bomb or not. But I can't take the chance."


Barack Obama, the U.S. president-elect, is committed to preventing a nuclear Iran, but there is potential disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem over tactics and timetables. Although they won't say so openly, Israeli leaders are deeply skeptical of Mr. Obama's intention to diplomatically engage Iran. Israelis fear that diplomacy would only buy the Iranians time as they approach the nuclear threshold. Mr. Obama says he will back up his diplomatic overture with the threat of intensified sanctions if the Iranians persist in their nuclear efforts.

Mr. Obama's first test on the Iranian crisis will be how he responds to the Gaza crisis. Israel's operation against Iran's ally Hamas will provide the new president with an unexpected opportunity. If he backs Israel and makes sure that Hamas achieves no diplomatic gains in exchange for a ceasefire, he will deliver a strategic defeat to Iran and enter negotiations from a position of strength. If, on the other hand, he pressures Israel into easing the siege against Hamas and allows the jihadist organization to proclaim victory, the Iranians will rightly conclude that the inexperienced president poses no real obstacle to their nuclear goals.

Perhaps Mr. Obama's most compelling argument with the Iranians is that, if negotiations fail, Israel will act. And if the Israeli air force is compelled to save the Middle East from a nuclear Iran? Those likely to most vociferously condemn the Jewish state will be the very Arab leaders most grateful to it for eliminating their greatest fear.

Yossi Klein Halevi is a senior fellow at the Adelson Institute for Strategic Studies of the Shalem Center in Jerusalem, and a contributing editor to The New Republic.
The problem is not in destroying just the equipment Iran may need for a bomb but the people who would build it.  No conventional attack would do this, even if the majority of Scientist are killed the question would remain could there be enough left to re start a weapons program after the attack?
I'm beginning to think  that the only way out for this is either a civil war in Iran or the possibility of a first strike nuclear attack by Israel.(How much would it take for either to happen, is Israel really that scared?)
Hey TC, I think you've been reading too many Tom Clancy novels.


Tom Clancy is a good writer.  The question remains How scared of Iran is Israel?  If Israel thinks that it's going to be attacked will/can it strike Iran first and prevent Iran from getting Nuclear warheads for their missiles?
thunderchild said:
Tom Clancy is a good writer.  The question remains How scared of Iran is Israel?  If Israel thinks that it's going to be attacked will/can it strike Iran first and prevent Iran from getting Nuclear warheads for their missiles?

Deja vu.  I am positive I have seen the results of such a question in the past, and know of positive results by a certain Airforce.
George Wallace said:
Deja vu.   I am positive I have seen the results of such a question in the past, and know of positive results by a certain Airforce.

The general population has selective memory, the news media have selective archives, and its not information that will be portrayed accurately on Wikipedia...