Tuesday, August 07, 2012

Arlene Kushner On The Closing Window Of Opportunity For Israel To Stop Iran

From Arlene Kushner
August 7, 2012

What Does This Sound Like?

I offer no analysis on this issue today, only reportage:
Yesterday, Prime Minister Netanyahu, in a Jerusalem meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr, outlined what the situation would likely be if Iran acquired nuclear weapons.
"This is a regime that has broken every rule in the book,” he said. “They very likely could use weapons of mass death."

Everyone talks about the cost of stopping Iran, "but they shouldn’t ignore the cost of not stopping Iran."  (Emphasis added)
And Israeli Ambassador to the US Michael Oren wrote a piece -- "Time Is Short For Iran Diplomacy" -- in the Wall Street Journal  (emphasis added):
"Nearly two decades ago, Israel started alerting the world about Iran's nuclear program. But the world ignored our warnings, wasting 10 years until the secret nuclear enrichment plant at Natanz was exposed in 2002. Then eight more invaluable years were lost before much of the international community imposed serious sanctions on Iran.

Throughout that time, the ayatollahs systematically lied about their nuclear operations, installing more than 10,000 centrifuges, a significant number of them in a once-secret underground facility at Qom. Iran has blocked International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors from visiting its nuclear sites, refused to answer questions about the military aspects of its program, and rejected all confidence-building measures. Iran has tested long-range missiles capable of reaching any city in the Middle East and, in the future, beyond.

...With them [nuclear weapons], it [Iran] can commit incalculable atrocities anywhere in the world, beginning with Israel. As the chief of staff of the Iranian military recently stated, "the Iranian nation stands for the full annihilation of Israel." Last week, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said "the annihilation of the Zionist regime is the key for solving the world problems."

Accordingly, Israel believes that Iran is far from forfeiting its nuclear ambitions...

Iran will continue to drag out the negotiations while installing more centrifuges. These, according to the IAEA, are spinning even faster. The sanctions, which have dealt a blow to Iran's economy, have not affected the nuclear program. Meanwhile, more of Iran's expanding stockpile will be hidden in fortified bunkers beyond Israel's reach.

No country has a greater stake than Israel in using negotiations and economic pressure to dissuade Iran from developing nuclear weapons. We appreciate the determination of President Obama and the U.S. Congress to advance the sanctions and their pledge to keep all options on the table.

At the same time, the president has affirmed Israel's right 'to defend itself, by itself, against any threat,' and 'to make its own decision about what is required to meet its security needs.' Historically, Israel has exercised that right only after exhausting all reasonable diplomatic means. But as the repeated attempts to negotiate with Iran have demonstrated, neither diplomacy nor sanctions has removed the threat.

A combination of truly crippling sanctions and a credible military threat—a threat that the ayatollahs still do not believe today—may yet convince Iran to relinquish its nuclear dreams. But time is dwindling and, with each passing day, the lives of eight million Israelis grow increasingly imperiled. The window that opened 20 years ago is now almost shut."
Rest assured, the Ambassador would not write such a piece without approval from the top.
While Israel Hayom cited an official in the Israeli Foreign Ministry who said that senior Americans visiting Israel in recent weeks had been asked to announce that talks with Iran had failed.  Although there is no date set for additional talks, the Americans refused the request.
"As long as there is no such declaration, 'the Iranians think that they are protected because of the talks,' he said. The source added that many Israeli officials believed the coming elections were the reason behind the U.S.’s refusal to declare that the talks had broken down, as the administration did not want to be responsible for further rises in fuel prices." (Emphasis added)
 Today, Haaretz reported that:
"New intelligence information obtained by Israel and four Western countries indicates that Iran has made greater progress on developing components for its nuclear weapons program than the West had previously realized, according to Western diplomats and Israeli officials who are closely involved in efforts to prevent Iran from building a nuclear bomb."

"...Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu reportedly said in a closed meeting last week that he was not deterred by the prospect of an inquiry committee investigating a possible Israeli attack on Iran.

"...Netanyahu told U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney that an Israeli or American military attack on Iran's nuclear facilities was likely to help topple the ayatollah regime, just as the 1976 Entebbe raid led to the defeat of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin, according to a senior Israeli official.

"The comment came when Romney asked Netanyahu during their July 29 meeting in Jerusalem whether he thinks an Israeli attack on the nuclear facilities would unite Iranians, ultimately strengthening the regime, the official said."
Read: New intelligence reveals Iranian military nuclear program advancing faster than previously thought
The dots are connecting themselves.  Should we act soon, let no one in the world say they weren't forewarned.
An exceedingly serious attack planned by terrorists crossing the border from the Sinai has been foiled by the IDF.   I'll have details and analysis of implications in my next posting.
© Arlene Kushner. This material is produced by Arlene Kushner, functioning as an independent journalist. Permission is granted for it to be reproduced only with proper attribution.

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