From a Debka article this morning, once the IAEA arrived and requested to interview the head of the nuclear program in Iran and view the site in Parchin the Iranian government refused both requests and sent them home. [Parchin is the site where they test triggers and explosives.] This of course derails the so called transparency that the rest of the world is asking for and shows that the sanctions have not actually led to any changes in Iran's policy. Also unnerving was the transfer of 20 percent uranium enrichment to the underground Fordo site near Qom has shortened Iran’s race for the 90 percent (weapons) grade product to six weeks.
Two articles one in the NYT and LA Times focus on the real danger of all the saber-rattling and what this ultimately will lead to.
Jerusalem Post headline - front page story is that Khamenei said that Iranid on Wednesday that Tehran's nuclear course would not change regardless of international sanctions, assassinations or other pressures.
The gist is that not only Israeli government but also a bipartisan group of US senators feel that a back channel exchanges held in privacy between O administration and Iran government leaders will result in:
- communication while Iran continues its nuclear program instead of freezing
- US pushing for some slack on sanctions as reciprocal action for Iran to freeze nuclear program
- ending in the result that sanctions will slack but Iran will continue in secrecy (until caught) working with its nuclear program
The result of tension between the two countries? O decided to send his US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon to an urgent visit to Israel Saturday, Feb. 18, for three days of talks “on regional issues including Syria and Iran.”
For those who have followed US and Russia cold war history what is being replayed is the Nixon, Ford and Carter years of so called diplomacy with Soviet Union over nuclear weapons. What happened during those years was the US would sign treaties or pacts with SU to eliminate certain classes of nuclear weapons technology and then the US would fulfill its end while SU didn't. This resulted with US strategically inferior in nuclear and military defense to SU by the time Carter was president. This period of time also resulted in the Peace thru Strength program of presidential candidate Ronald Reagan. He provided the data everywhere to anyone on the decline of the US military and bad faith build up of Russia. His solution was simple > military build up in the US until the US was significantly superior understanding that such a strategy would cripple the Russian economy because it could not spend what it did not have. Then from a position of strength negotiate systemic changes of the cold war mentality which led the government selection of Gorbachev and his understanding of the need for real peace and reform in the Soviet Union. Reagan's cornerstone approach "trust but verify".
What is done in secret is unable to be verified so one does not act until verification is real.
O will simply bungle through and repeat the actions of Nixon-Carter which will result in Iranian buildup and technology increases while playing around at diplomacy.
In a Kol Israel interview from Turkey, Thursday, Feb. 16, the defense minister’s pronouncement contradicted every reliable evaluation, including those of Military Intelligence Chief Maj. Gen. Aviv Kochavi on Feb. 2 and his predecessor Amos Yadlin who wrote on Jan. 26 that Iran had passed the point of no return four or five years ago. But his words were a perfect fit for the recent assertions by US President Barack Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta that Israel had not yet made up its mind to attack Iran.
Kochavi’s information was detailed: He reported that Iran had amassed 10 kilos of 20-percent enriched uranium and four tons of uranium enriched to 3.5 percent. In his view, nothing remains to stop Iran building a bomb but a decision by its ruler. Once taken, Iran’s nuclear program could produce its first bomb or warhead by the end of this year or early 2013 and four or five by 2015.
The defense minister backtracked on a second issue: While noting that Iran was scattering or burying its nuclear facilities to “impede a surgical strike,” he avoided his previous estimate that no more than three to six months were left before all those facilities had been hidden in what he himself called “zones of immunity.”
full article here
So what does this mean? My guess is that this was not so much a changing of mind but Israel's way of doing two things:
1. O and many of his government - as well as leaders in other countries - believe that the sanctions are now working and that Iran is willing to talk as long as they save face in doing it. The head of Iran does not want to be perceived by his country's citizens as bowing to the chief Satan and little Satan (US & Israel). What he will require is a resolution that will make him look powerful and victorious in talks with the rest of the world involving the nuclear issue. By Barak begrudgingly clarifying their evaluation of the matter it tells the other countries they have some time to allow sanctions to crush the internal works of Iran and get dialogue going without the worry that overnight Israel unilaterally attacks Iran making their overtures and any dialogue worthless.
2. Building on #1 this is yet another way that Israel is going to show that Iran is actually stalling and has no serious desire to work with the Satans of the world. This in Israel's eyes will be the final period of grace given and last chance for so-called diplomacy to resolve the Iran nuclear issue.
Ayatollah: Kill all Jews, annihilate Israel
The Iranian government, through a website proxy, has laid out the legal and religious justification for the destruction of Israel and the slaughter of its people.
The doctrine includes wiping out Israeli assets and Jewish people worldwide.
At the bottom of the page is a video by Islamic sources explaining that the Last Messiah is about to appear. The video is mostly in Arabic but there is enough in English subtitles that you get the picture of what they are explaining. Interesting stuff.
2 cents: I think it is much easier for people in US to sit in a position of being many thousands of miles away and base opinion on best case scenarios. Best case scenarios built with flawed interpretation of the value of words in an Islamic nation.
Israel successfully dealt with this same nuclear equation/issue in Iraq and Syria with the end result being very little loss of life and an end to those country's nuclear aspirations. With Iran the US entwined themselves in the matter and I can't help think that has made this the issue it now is. Probably logistics involved require cooperation from some other governments. I will try to email some of the reporters that are staying with the story and see if they can explain with more certainty based on facts why the difference. I find it hard to believe that the bottomline is oil.
I emailed Mr. Ignatius of the Washington Post & Mr. Sanger of the New York Times.
Iran tried to draw maximum publicity through a show of cooperation with inspectors from the UN watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency who visited Tehran this week. Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran was "prepared to make arrangements for inspection" of nuclear sites but that the IAEA team had not asked to go.
But IAEA chief inspector Herman Nackaerts and the agency number two Rafael Grossi, who headed the inspectors, did not want to visit nuclear sites, which are already monitored by the IAEA. They wanted to see Parchin, a weapons testing ground, and also to see crucial documents and scientists who work there or are connected to such work, diplomats said. The IAEA had published in November an extensive report about alleged atomic weapons research by Iran, and Parchin was a key link in this. The IAEA has also been seeking for years to interview the man believed to head Iran's alleged covert military nuclear program, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, and once again did not get to him.
The Iranians refused access to Parchin, saying it was not a site where there is nuclear material and so the IAEA which verifies use of such material had no business there. This, however, goes to the crux of what the IAEA is now trying to do, which is to verify possible nuclear weapons research that may have been carried out without nuclear material. This can include learning how to make the trigger which sets of atomic bombs or the neutron initiator which speeds up the explosive chain reaction. The IAEA needs to investigate such matters, grouped under the heading "possible military dimensions" of Iran's nuclear work, before it can say whether the Iranian program is a peaceful or military one.
In a Washington Post article dated 1/30 I learned that Iran’s enrichment site at Fordo near the Iranian city of Qom, for instance, is shielded by about 300 feet (90 meters) of rock. So the bunker busters have definitely got to be upgraded in order to have a chance of being effective if the need arises.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t want to leave the fate of Israel dependent on American action, which would be triggered by intelligence that Iran is building a bomb, which it hasn’t done yet.
Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak may have signaled the prospect of an Israeli attack soon when he asked last month to postpone a planned U.S.-Israel military exercise that would culminate in a live-fire phase in May. Barak apologized that Israel couldn’t devote the resources to the annual exercise this spring."
2 cents: so my summation of all the recent press appears to be spot on.
U.S. officials said they have seen no intelligence to indicate that Iran is actively plotting attacks on U.S. soil. But Director of National Intelligence James R. Clapper Jr. said the thwarted plot “shows that some Iranian officials — probably including Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei — have changed their calculus and are now more willing to conduct an attack in the United States in response to real or perceived U.S. actions that threaten the regime.”
The warning about Iran’s more aggressive stance was included in written testimony that Clapper submitted to Congress on Tuesday as part of the intelligence community’s annual assessment of the nation’s most serious security threats.
Whole story here
2 cents: Really! I would hope that this was on our government's radar a long time ago.
Issue 1: Differences of opinion on what Israel refers to as the Immunity Zone. It is the point in time when Iran’s accumulated know-how, raw materials, experience and equipment (as well as the distribution of materials among its underground facilities) — will be such that an attack could not derail the nuclear project of Iran. Israel believes that the window for action is nine months (so by mid-September). The US believes that the window has 15 months so until late May 2013. These calculations are based on what each country believes that their military can deliver in destroying facilities etc. hundreds of feet down in the earth. (Some data shows Iran has gone down as low as 250 feet) So Israel’s technology will be unable to achieve the desired result if they delay in acting past mid-September, all things remain constant. It would then mean that as a nation they are then going to have to make preparations for the reality of a nuclear Iran because they will be unable to stop it, again all things remaining constant. BTW - it was reported within the week that the bunker buster bombs the US currently have are not powerful enough to go down past the two hundred feet range and that the US has placed orders for more powerful versions of the bomb.
Issue 2: Is the matter that the US wants notice before Israel actually strikes. Israel to date has said they will not make that promise but sources believe that Israel actually would provide the US about 1 or 2 hours notice which is enough time for them to make some preparations but not enough time for them to derail the military strike.
Adversaries of Iran Said to Be Stepping Up Covert Actions
WASHINGTON — As arguments flare inand the United States about a possible military strike to set back , an accelerating covert campaign of assassinations, bombings, cyberattacks and defections appears intended to make that debate irrelevant, according to current and former American officials and specialists on .
( Read more... )
whole story here
US, Russian French and British air and naval forces streamed to the Syrian and Iranian coasts over the weekend on guard for fresh developments at the two Middle East flashpoints.
The Russian carrier Admiral Kuznetsov anchored earlier than planned at Syria's Tartus port on the Mediterranean Sunday, Jan. 8, arriving together with the destroyer Admiral Chabanenko and frigate Yaroslav Mudry.
To counter this movement, France consigned an air defense destroyer Forbin to the waters off Tartus.
( Read more... )
The incoming American soldiers are officially categorized as participants in Austere Challenge 12, the biggest joint US-Israeli war game ever held.
The joint US-Israeli drill will test multiple Israeli and US air defense systems against incoming missiles and rockets, according to the official communiqué.
debkafile's military sources add that they will also practice intercepting missiles and rockets coming in from Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
full article here
The armies of Saudi Arabia and fellow Gulf Cooperation Council states stood ready Thursday Jan. 5, for Washington to stand up to Iranian threats and send an aircraft carrier or several warships through the Strait of Hormuz into the Persian Gulf. Riyadh has been leaning hard on the Obama administration not to let Tehran get away with its warning to react with "full force" if the USS Stennis aircraft carrier tried to reenter the Gulf or Iran's pretensions to control the traffic transiting the world's most important oil route.
Wednesday night, the Iranian parliament began drafting a bill prohibiting foreign warships from entering the Gulf without Tehran's permission.
whole article here
Iran has embarked on "activities related to possible weaponization," said American sources Wednesday, Dec. 22, thereby accounting for the dramatic reversal of the Obama administration's wait-and-see attitude on attacking Iran. The change was articulated this week by US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Chairman of the Joint US Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey.
debkafile's Washington sources report that the Islamic Republic crossed the red line President Barack Obama had set for the United States, i.e., when Tehran begins using the technologies and fissile materials (enriched uranium) it has amassed for assembling a bomb or missile warheads. This marks the moment that Iran goes nuclear and only a short time remains before it has an operational nuclear weapon.
Washington has always claimed that when the order to build a weapon was given in Tehran, the United States would know about it within a short time.
rest of story here
Gen. Dempsey clarified another controversial point when he said the loss of the drone is not the end of US efforts to figure out what Iran is doing. America is gathering intelligence against Iran in a variety of means. "It would be rather imprudent of us not to try to understand what a nation who has declared itself to be an adversary of the United States is doing."
full article here