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Sunday, July 06, 2008

Pentagon fears Israel cannot destroy Iran's nuke program

London's Sunday Telegraph reports that the Pentagon fears that an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear enrichment program - which appears likely to happen within the next twelve months - will only delay Iran's acquisition of a nuclear weapon and not destroy the program altogether.
Gaps in the intelligence on the precise location and vulnerabilities of Iran's facilities emerged during recent talks between Admiral Mike Mullen, the Chairman of the American Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Israeli generals, according to an official familiar with the discussions who has briefed Iran experts in Washington and London.


Those familiar with the Israeli-American military talks believe that Israel is still determined to act before Iran has enough highly enriched uranium to build a bomb, and before Tehran has acquired the Russian SA-20 air defence system to protect its nuclear facilities. "The Israelis have a real sense of urgency," the official said. "They are stepping up their preparations. But the Israelis and the Americans are worried about the other's lack of intelligence.

"The Americans had spies in Iran until they were rounded up in 2003 and now they do not have much by way of humint [human intelligence] on the ground. The Israelis have better information. But the Americans went away from the meetings unconvinced that the Israelis have enough intelligence on where to strike, and with little confidence that they will be able to destroy the nuclear programme."

The shortage of good intelligence could explain reports that President George W Bush has quietly sanctioned a dramatic increase in covert operations by American special forces inside Iran. These intelligence gaps lay behind Admiral Mullen's decision to speak out on Wednesday against military action, saying it would be "extremely stressful" to "open a third front" in the war on terror. But the admiral is at odds with hawks in the Bush administration, led by Vice-President Dick Cheney.

A former CIA officer with three decades of Iranian experience said: "Their belief… is that the US would get the blame from Iran whether or not we play a major role in any attack, so we might as well do the job properly."
The Americans believe that to destroy Iran's nuclear program they would need to hit some 2000 targets inside Iran. But they acknowledge that the Israelis have better intelligence on the ground in Iran. Could it be that the Israelis have isolated the key facilities while the Americans - with less human intelligence - believe the job can only be done by hitting everything to 'make sure?'

While I'd love to see the Cheney school win and have the US destroy everything in sight to make sure they get it all, if that's not going to happen, I agree with the Israeli assessment that Israel must act. We cannot leave ourselves in a situation where Barack Hussein Obama is President, and Iran has enough highly enriched uranium in place to build a bomb and the Russian SA-20 air defense system in place. Ahmadinejad would try to destroy us while Hussein is waiting on hold for him. Besides, the only chance of Israel getting the United States to act is to convince the US that if they won't act, we will. That's the whole rationale behind the Cheney school of thought.

Read the whole thing.


At 12:13 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 12:14 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Just my thinking. Its NOT necessary to destroy everything. Just the critical part of Iran's nuclear infrastructure. The point is a strike would send a message to Iran's leadership that Israel is here to stay. And it will ensure that for awhile at least, nuclear weapons are not going to be transferred to terrorist groups like Hezbollah. It would better for the U.S to do it. If not Israel is going to act because there's no chance Iran is going to stop its uranium enrichment activities.

At 5:30 PM, Blogger Luv4Zion said...

Somebody needs to act. If the USA is not willing or able to, then Israel must. I don't blame them. They need to defend themselves. Iran has a madman in office. You can't appease monsters. They must be dealt with swiftly for the safety and security of your own people. Sanctions and diplomacy aren't going to work against someone like this.


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