Archive for the ‘Israel’ Category

Rhetorical question of the day: if power is defined as the ability to accomplish national goals, is Iran more powerful or less powerful than it was last year?

OK, onto the post.  Bret Stephens asks (and answers) why hasn’t Israel bombed Iran (yet)?

Without sounding too glib, my answer is conditions aren’t right (yet).

The conditions include many disparate issues many of which Mr. Stephens addresses either directly or indirectly.  Among them:

  • The Israeli political/military/populace consensus regarding war
  • The Israeli perception of the Iranian capability and intent
  • The readiness of the Israeli war-machine to include its defensive capabilities
  • The state-of-play between Israel and Saudi Arabia
  • The state-of-play between Israel and the U.S.
  • The state-of-play between Iran and its friends (or perhaps better, its non-enemies such as China and Russia)
  • Uncertainty regarding the possible impact of recent sanctions
  • Uncertainty regarding internal Iranian stability
  • Other things that I’ve failed to identify.  How’s that for a catchall?

These factors culminate in a human judgment by Israeli leaders that reflects the total risk versus total return of an attack on Iran.  Until the perceived benefit substantively exceeds the perceived risk, wait-and-see rules the day, week, month, or year(s).

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Time relays some more chatter/balloon floating regarding military strikes against Iran.

Different tunes are not quite being sung yet…but they are being hummed.

The Iran options are all bad, but the current approach is clearly not working. That’s what happens when you are dealing with a very serious and determined adversary.  Plus, Iran has cover from China, Russia, Brazil, and Turkey, who aren’t quite sponsors, but who clearly have different interests than the U.S. and our gulf region allies.

Still, it seems unlikely U.S. leadership or direct action against Iran is likely given the current leadership team and environment.  The people of Iran may be divided regarding their own leadership, but there’s nothing like a war to bring them together.

The idea of preventive efforts to keep Iran from getting to this point would be viewed in hindsight as brilliant.  Of course, that option was politically neutered with the 2007 NIE.

Perhaps the Israelis have it right–go in, bust up the stuff as best you can, get out, and repeat as required.

BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE: this ABC link shows a picture of the alleged perp in front of what appears to be the Taj Mahal.

UPDATE: this link to Bloomberg has clarification.  Among other things, it states the FBI was posing as Mossad, and that “The (U.S.) government’s complaint doesn’t allege that Israel or anyone acting on its behalf committed a crime.”

ORIGINAL follows:

The article at The Atlantic by Marc Ambinder is certainly worth checking out.

Here is another reason Israel may have wanted to work with Nozette: industrial espionage.  While Israel certainly has an interest in knowing what the U.S. knows, they also have an interest in knowing those things about others.  And of course, Israel also has space partnerships with a number of other nations, including  India.

Or maybe they wanted to pick Nozette’s brain on the success of the Clementine program which is mentioned as coming in at $75 million (1994 dollars) and in 22 months from concept to launch.  Those figures are from the fact sheet and are not typos.  As I recall–memory being what it is–the Clementine mission had a zero second launch window.

No, but the Washington Post (via Nucleonics Week) reports that maybe Iran’s uranium won’t enrich because of impurities in their supply of low-enriched uranium.  If the impurities preclude enrichment to weapons grade, Iran has a lot of nuclear re-work to accomplish.

If true, that is good news for the world…if its true.

The article, however, is chock full of words like “appears,” “might,” “uncertainty,” and “so long as.”

It has been said hope is not a strategy.  Israel, who’s very existence is threatened by an Iranian nuclear weapon (and delivery system), is unlikely to cling to the hope-it-won’t-enrich strategy.

The link builds a case for Israel striking Iran’s nuclear program.

That case is predicated on the diplomatic, economic, and informational elements of world power failing to dissuade Iran to give up their nuclear program. If no improvement in Iran occurs, could there be an Israeli strike by the spring of 2010?

Given that many folks think Iran has crafted a plethora of secret and dispersed site, the challenge of eradicating the program would be great.