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Monday, August 31, 2009

The Israelis aren't bluffing: War preparations continue

A Wall Street Journal editorial points out on Monday, for those who still need to be reminded, that a nuclear Iran is an existential issue for Israel. This country will not let Iran go nuclear without trying to stop it militarily. Ironically, the unwillingness of the United Nations and the Western powers to take serious action against Iran is making it more likely that Israel will attack. Iran recognizes this, and therefore it is seeking to ban all attacks against nuclear facilities. Meanwhile, the Obumbler fiddles.
The reality that Western leaders don't want to admit is that preventing Iran from getting the bomb is an Israeli national imperative, not a mere policy choice. That's a view shared across Israel's political spectrum, from traditional hawks like Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to current Defense Minister and former Labor Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Israelis can see the relentless progress Iran is making toward enriching uranium, building a plutonium-breeding facility and improving on its ballistic missiles—all the while violating U.N. sanctions without consequence. Iran's march to the bomb also alarms its Arab neighbors, but it represents an existential threat to an Israeli nation that Iran has promised to destroy and has waged decades of proxy war against.

This threat has only increased in the wake of Iran's stolen election and crackdown. The nature of the regime seems to be changing from a revolutionary theocracy to a military-theocratic state that is becoming fascist in operation. The Revolutionary Guard Corps is gaining power at the expense of the traditional military and a divided clerical establishment.

On the weekend, Ahmadinejad called for the arrest and punishment of opposition leaders, and last week he nominated Ahmad Vahidi, a commander in Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, to become defense minister. Vahidi is wanted on an Interpol arrest warrant for his role in masterminding the 1994 attack on a Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires. That attack killed 85 people and wounded 200 others. Vahidi's nomination shows that when Ahmadinejad talks of wiping Israel off the map, no Israel leader can afford to dismiss it as a religious allegory.

Israel also looks warily on the Obama Administration's policy of diplomatic pleading with Iran, which comes after six years of failed diplomatic overtures by the European Union and Bush Administration. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's suggestion in July that the U.S. would extend a "defense umbrella" over its allies in the Middle East "once [Iranians] have a nuclear weapon" may have been a slip of the lip. But Israelis can be forgiven for wondering if the U.S. would sooner accept a nuclear Iran as a fait accompli than do whatever is necessary to stop it.
Meanwhile, the weasel ElBaradei tries to protect his 'Iranian brothers' by hiding the most damning evidence that was collected for the report he released on Friday. Israel has demanded that all of the evidence be released. Take it with a grain of salt, but DEBKA is reporting that the US, Israel and four other nations are going to see to it that what ElBaradei tried to hide sees the light of day. If DEBKA is correct, it's a small ray of light being shined into an overwhelming darkness.
The four governments are Britain, France, Netherlands and Japan. All six had provided ElBaradei with new and detailed information on the advances made by Iran in its race to develop a nuclear bomb for inclusion in his last report on Aug. 28 before he retires next month. But ElBaradei, true to his usual custom of blurring Iran's breaches, omitted the new evidence.

In Paragraphs 18 to 20 of his report, he admits to possessing substantial intelligence but regrets he is unable to use it to confront Iran without betraying his sources and so Iran was not able to fully answer IAEA queries.

US and Israeli sources denounce this evasion as a diplomatic scandal verging on fraud.

The material passed to him left no doubt that Iran was engaged in developing a nuclear weapon and revealed for the first time that it reached the final stages, weapon design, of the process. But ElBaradei decided to keep it hidden on the pretext of not exposing sources.

One official told DEBKAfile that passing the new information to the IAEA director had compromised its sources anyway so there was no point in holding it back any longer.

The seven governments concerned will decide very soon which parts of this unpublished information to air. According to our sources, it will not be attributed directly to any government but to "Iranian exiles" who will present it as coming from inside Iran.
And if any of you think Israel has stopped preparing for a strike against Iran, perhaps this story will convince you otherwise.
In preparation for a non-conventional attack on Israel, the National Emergency Authority will hold the largest-ever exercise to train security forces how to respond to a city-wide biological attack.

The drill will begin on January 1 and is being prepared by the NEA, a branch of the Defense Ministry established after the Second Lebanon War to coordinate between all of the civilian and military bodies that provide services during a nationwide emergency.


The threat scenario will include a biological attack on a major Israeli city and will include the IDF Home Front Command, Magen David Adom, the Israel Police, the IDF Medical Corps, the IDF Spokesman's Office and the Fire and Rescue Service.

Syria, according to foreign reports, is believed to have developed offensive biological capabilities. A military facility near the city of Cerin is reportedly suspected of being used for the development and production of biological agents.

Syria also has a significant arsenal of long-range Scud-C and Scud-D missiles that would be capable of carrying the agents.

Diseases known to have been weaponized include Ebola, anthrax, Q fever and smallpox. The exercise will focus on some of these diseases. One possibility that will be considered during the drill will be to close down and quarantine the entire city in the event that the disease spreads.
Israel anticipates that in the event that it strikes Iran, the retaliation will include Syria, Hezbullah and Hamas.

The fact that Israel is willing to chance such a serious retaliation ought to tell the West that we do not intend to live with a nuclear Iran, even if they do. The Obama administration's policy of 'engaging' Iran is an unmitigated disaster that has done nothing but buy the Mullahs more time to develop nuclear weapons. Arguably, even a tough sanctions regime adopted today is too little too late. Obama will go down in history with Neville Chamberlain as someone who has led the world to the brink of disaster.

Can Netanyahu play Winston Churchill? We can only hope and pray that the answer is yes.


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