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Posts Tagged ‘nuclear weapons’

Israel and Canada to Collaborate on Nuclear Terror Prevention

Wednesday, March 26th, 2014

After their meeting at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague this week, Israel’s Minister of Intelligence Affairs Dr. Yuval Steinitz and Canada’s Minister of Foreign Affairs John Baird announced the launching of a joint project to develop technologies for identifying the source of nuclear terror attacks.

The technology identifies the origin of the nuclear material, implicating the provider of these hazardous materials to terror groups. The development of such technologies is an imperative step in the international war on nuclear terror, as Minister Steinitz explained: “Due to terror threats in the Middle East and worldwide, developing technology to detect the source of a nuclear attack has become of the outmost significance. These detection abilities will serve as a deterrent for countries who might consider collaborating with terror groups using a nuclear bomb in a terror plot.” Minister Baird remarked that “the nuclear terror threat currently remains one of the most significant challenges to national security. The cooperation between Israel and Canada will aid Middle Eastern and other countries to pursue terrorists who are involved in illegal terror related trade.”

This project will be executed as part of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terror (GICNT), an international partnership of 85 nations and four observers who are committed to working to implement a set of shared nuclear security principles, of which Canada and Israel are members. The project, one of over 50 multilateral activities, will be funded by Canada.

Cantor Compares Obama Iran Policy to Pre-WW2 Isolationism

Tuesday, February 18th, 2014

Rep. Eric Cantor, the House majority leader, cited the lateness of American actions against the Nazis in critiquing President Obama’s foreign policy.

In a speech Monday to the Virginia Military Institute, Cantor (R-Va.), who is Jewish, described leading a congressional delegation recently to Auschwitz to mark the 69th anniversary of the Nazi death camp’s liberation.

“Standing there as the frigid wind swept through the eerily quiet ruins of the camp, I could not help but regret that American action in World War II came too late to save countless millions of innocent lives,” he said.

“Hitler’s rise and conquest of Europe did not come as a surprise. We must not repeat the same mistake by reducing our preparedness, accepting the notion that we are one of many or ceding global leadership to others.”

Cantor said that “evil and hateful ideologies still exist in the world,” citing as perhaps the most evident Iran’s “determined march” to produce nuclear weapons.

“I can imagine few more destabilizing moments in world history than Iran on the threshold of being a nuclear power,” he said.

Cantor called on the United States to prepare for additional sanctions to counter what he said was the erosion of Iran’s isolation through its participation in international talks aimed at keeping it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.

“An America that leads is an America that must work to restore the badly eroded international pressure on Tehran,” he said. “We should lay the groundwork now for additional sanctions in the event Iran violates the terms of the interim agreement.”

The Obama administration has said that the removal of a number of sanctions ahead of the talks has not diminished a tough sanctions regime. It has opposed new sanctions while talks are underway, saying that unilateral U.S. sanctions could fracture the international alliance that has nudged Iran to the talks.

US Betrayal Opens Great Opportunity for Israeli Saudi Alliance

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Here at the Muqata think tank, we’ve been analyzing the changes happening around us, and envisioning what a new Middle East could look like, or turn into, if given the chance—based on the real state of affairs in our region. Obviously, we’re looking to develop the best possible realistic scenario for Israel as can be, based on current parameters.

America’s betrayal of long time allies, and its shifting of alliances to the worst of the worst of the Islamic fundamentalist governments, has encouraged a sea change for the entire region.

After U.S. failure to turn Egypt into a fundamentalist Islamic state, it’s now turning to firmly prop up the Islamic Republic of Iran. The end result is that any hope for a popular uprising that would throw out the Ayatollahs is now lost.

A revitalized, aggressive, fundamentalist, and obviously nuclear Iran constitutes a clear and present danger to all the countries in the region, not just Israel.

The recent U.S. betrayal of its long time allies has taught Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and the Gulf States the lesson of an exaggerated reliance on the world’s biggest super power.

America’s Middle East policy has always relied on the three legged stool of Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Iran. When America lost Iran, it tried to replace it with Iraq, then with Egypt, but each attempt resulted in unexpected consequences.

For the U.S., the Iran deal represents a much sought after return to an old and familiar Mid-East policy, never mind the fact that this time Iran and Turkey are very much Islamic, and have developed an imperialistic appetite that threaten their neighbors, most emphatically the Foggy Bottom stool’s third leg, Saudi Arabia, which isn’t buying any of it.

It’s no accident that there has been noise about the Saudis preparing to assist Israel in a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Gulf States, too, save for Bahrain, are in Israel’s corner, having had thriving business relations with Israel (and shhh, even Settlers) for years. They all view Iran as a radical menace and Israel as its stabilizing antidote.

At the Muqata think tank, we’ve come up with what could be a very realistic realignment, and a plan for a truly new Middle East (Tom Friedman, eat your heart out).

Saudi Arabia has money. Lots of money. Lots of oil too. And of course, lots of desert.

But they don’t have innovation, they don’t have technology, and they no longer enjoy that sense of security they used to have.

Israel has innovation. Israel has technology. Israel knows how to make deserts bloom. Israel has security. But Israel, while becoming energy independent, doesn’t have oil or money (on the Saudi scale), or the production capability to stand alone.

Actually, both states could use better production capabilities.

Both also have had the same reliance on the U.S. to supply them with military platforms.

It’s also no secret that Israel’s military technology and know-how is superior to that of the U.S., but the latter is making sure that the former not be allowed to compete with industries in the American military industrial complex.

And don’t get us started on Israel being forced to take the less than wonderful but shockingly expensive F-35.

Ask yourself, what would happen if Saudi Arabia were to change its buying habits?

Let’s say they decided to buy an Israeli designed advanced fighter jet. Let’s say Saudi Arabia invested in Israeli green tech, to make their deserts bloom.

Let’s say that Saudi Arabia made a new alliance with Israel, based on mutual defense and mutual interests.

It would require of the hyper conservative Saudis to do something brand new, something they wouldn’t have dreamed of doing only a five years ago, when their ambassador to the U.S. was considered an adjunct member of the Bush cabinet. But those days are gone, and the Saudis, perhaps more so than Israel, are fearing for their lives.

One could think of worse reasons than the will to live for cooperation between historic enemies.

If such a pact—which could be denied ad nauseam by both sides—were to happen, we would definitely see Egypt and Jordan joining in. Secretly (at first).

The new Middle East would include Israel, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and the Gulf states, vs. Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey and Gaza.

Statement by President Obama on First Step Agreement on Iran’s Nuclear Program

Sunday, November 24th, 2013

Statement By The President On First Step Agreement On Iran’s Nuclear Program

THE PRESIDENT: Good evening. Today, the United States — together with our close allies and partners — took an important first step toward a comprehensive solution that addresses our concerns with the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program.

Since I took office, I’ve made clear my determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. As I’ve said many times, my strong preference is to resolve this issue peacefully, and we’ve extended the hand of diplomacy. Yet for many years, Iran has been unwilling to meet its obligations to the international community. So my administration worked with Congress, the United Nations Security Council and countries around the world to impose unprecedented sanctions on the Iranian government.

These sanctions have had a substantial impact on the Iranian economy, and with the election of a new Iranian President earlier this year, an opening for diplomacy emerged. I spoke personally with President Rouhani of Iran earlier this fall. Secretary Kerry has met multiple times with Iran’s Foreign Minister. And we have pursued intensive diplomacy — bilaterally with the Iranians, and together with our P5-plus-1 partners — the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, and China, as well as the European Union.

Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure — a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon.

While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back. Iran has committed to halting certain levels of enrichment and neutralizing part of its stockpiles. Iran cannot use its next-generation centrifuges, which are used for enriching uranium. Iran cannot install or start up new centrifuges, and its production of centrifuges will be limited. Iran will halt work at its plutonium reactor. And new inspections will provide extensive access to Iran’s nuclear facilities and allow the international community to verify whether Iran is keeping its commitments.

These are substantial limitations which will help prevent Iran from building a nuclear weapon. Simply put, they cut off Iran’s most likely paths to a bomb. Meanwhile, this first step will create time and space over the next six months for more negotiations to fully address our comprehensive concerns about the Iranian program. And because of this agreement, Iran cannot use negotiations as cover to advance its program.

On our side, the United States and our friends and allies have agreed to provide Iran with modest relief, while continuing to apply our toughest sanctions. We will refrain from imposing new sanctions, and we will allow the Iranian government access to a portion of the revenue that they have been denied through sanctions. But the broader architecture of sanctions will remain in place and we will continue to enforce them vigorously. And if Iran does not fully meet its commitments during this six-month phase, we will turn off the relief and ratchet up the pressure.

Over the next six months, we will work to negotiate a comprehensive solution. We approach these negotiations with a basic understanding: Iran, like any nation, should be able to access peaceful nuclear energy. But because of its record of violating its obligations, Iran must accept strict limitations on its nuclear program that make it impossible to develop a nuclear weapon.

In these negotiations, nothing will be agreed to unless everything is agreed to. The burden is on Iran to prove to the world that its nuclear program will be exclusively for peaceful purposes.

If Iran seizes this opportunity, the Iranian people will benefit from rejoining the international community, and we can begin to chip away at the mistrust between our two nations. This would provide Iran with a dignified path to forge a new beginning with the wider world based on mutual respect. If, on the other hand, Iran refuses, it will face growing pressure and isolation.

Over the last few years, Congress has been a key partner in imposing sanctions on the Iranian government, and that bipartisan effort made possible the progress that was achieved today. Going forward, we will continue to work closely with Congress. However, now is not the time to move forward on new sanctions -– because doing so would derail this promising first step, alienate us from our allies and risk unraveling the coalition that enabled our sanctions to be enforced in the first place.

Netanyahu in Moscow: I Guarantee Iran Won’t Have Nuclear Weapons

Friday, November 22nd, 2013

Speaking to an audience of Jewish community leaders in Moscow on Thursday, Netanyahu stated that he guarantees that Iran will not have nuclear weapons, according to a report in Makor Rishon.

Israel has been has been threatening, almost explicitly, that any agreement signed with Iran will not restrict Israel from acting unilaterally to prevent Iran from achieving nuclear breakout capability.

Netanyahu’s remarks came in the footsteps of Washington’s overwhelming silence in response to the latest Antisemitic remarks emanating from Iran.

Netanyahu expects that an agreement will be signed in Geneva, if not this week, then the next.

During Netanyahu’s meeting with Russian President Putin, he could not get Putin to back off from supporting the Geneva deal. But Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told Netanyahu that Russia will not allow Iran to have nuclear weapons.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in the Kremlin in Moscow.

Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meet in the Kremlin in Moscow.

A senior Israeli official told Makor Rishon that Barack Obama is interested in Iran not having nuclear weapons while he sits in the White House, but it doesn’t bother him if they are at the edge of the breakout point.

The official reiterated that Israel’s position is that Iran must remove all capabilities for making nuclear weapons, while the US government only wants Iran to not assemble the weapon itself.

In the meantime, Iran is demanding the right to continue to enrich uranium for “civilian purposes”, and wait until the world is distracted with some other problem, to put the bombs together.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon has been warning, during an official visit to Canada, that Iran would use ‘dirty bombs’ in its terror war against Western targets.

Israel's Defense Minister Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon visits the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.

Israel’s Defense Minister Moshe (Boogie) Yaalon visits the Canadian War Museum in Ottawa, Ontario.

White House officials are saying that Israeli demands that Iran stop all enrichment would lead to war, according to a JTA report. The report says that given the choice of no enrichment, the White House believes Iranians would choose to build a bomb.

Which is exactly what Iran is going to try to do either way.

Opposing the White House is Senator Mark Kirk (R), who said that that Netanyahu’s assessment is correct, and that increasing, not reducing, sanctions at this point is what will force Iran to physically halt their nuclear weapons program.

A Message to Iran – IAF Midair Refueling

Friday, October 11th, 2013

The Israeli Air Force (IAF) released a video, of what can only be called a clear message to Iran, that the IDF is fully capable of reaching the Iranian’s nuclear weapons plants, to destroy them.

Over the past week, the IDF has been training and drilling their long range offensive capabilities. Among the drills, was seeing how the IAF cooperated with a foreign army.

One of the highlights was the mid-air refueling (video below), that shows off the IAF’s long range capabilities.

Iran: Neither Lunatic State Nor Rational Actor, But Rational Aggressor

Monday, October 7th, 2013

Originally published at Rubin Reports.

The United States now estimates it will take one year for Iran to get nuclear weapons; Israel says some months.

Is Iran a Lunatic State or a Rational Actor? It is neither; it is a Rational Aggressor.

“One of the great unresolved questions of Barack Obama’s presidency,” says Time Magazine, “is whether he can peacefully resolve  America’s conflict with Iran over its nuclear weapons’  program.

Ridiculously wrong.
 
One of the great unresolved questions of Barack Obama’s presidency is whether he can successfully resolve America’s conflict with Iran over its nuclear weapons’ program.

Time continues that the Obama-Rouhani handshake “would  be the most important…handshake since the historic grip between Rabin and Arafat….””

Also wrong. Remember that while it has still not been admitted by the United States, that event 20! years later was a failure costly in lives. Israel must satisfy seemingly monthly American demands by releasing terrorists who murdered Israelis.

The handshakes of Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain with Hitler (the Munich agreement) and of the Nazi foreign minister and Stalin (the Nazi-Soviet pact) were also a historic grip, at the time peaceful but not ultimately successful.

Time continues, “It would only be a symbolic act, to be sure. But when it comes to international diplomacy, symbolism can go a long way.”

But it is not a mere symbolic act but the start of a foolish deal that Iran will break.

So is Iran a lunatic state or a rational actor? A hell of a lot more rational than U.S. foreign policy is today, as apparently has been the Muslim Brotherhood’s policy and trickery. After all, the UN just elected Iran as Rapporteur for the General Assembly’s main committee on Disarmament & International Security without Tehran having to do anything.  And Obama will blame Congress for diplomatic failure if it increases sanctions. In fact diplomats doubt Iran will actually do anything anyway.

That’s not moderate but radical in a smart way.

More politely, Iran is a rational actor in terms of its own objectives. The issue is to understand what Iran wants. Policy is always best served by truth, and the truth is best told whether or not people like it. Iran is an aggressive, rational actor.

Remember: The problem is not that Iran is eager to use nuclear weapons but that the Obama Administration is not going to apply containment properly and credibly.  And that encourages Iran’s non-nuclear aggression and terrorism.
 
The hysteria over Iran, however, had also better get under control, even as the real, very threatening situation should be understood. Armchair theorists from far away may want to provoke a U.S.-Iran war. This is a bad idea.

The fact is that the history of the Iranian Islamic regime does not show suicidal recklessness. A key reason for this is that the leaders of Iran know they can be reckless without risking suicide. In other words, Iran did face threats from the West commensurate with what Tehran was doing. Therefore, the risks it took were not suicidal. If apparently suicidal rhetoric does not produce suicide but serves a very specific purpose, that rhetoric is not in fact suicidal.

What, then, did Iran want?

Its basic goal was to be as powerful a regional hegemon as possible–including control over Syria and Lebanon. It would like to take leadership of all Muslims in the area. Today, however, it is clear that the Sunni Arabs reject Tehran’s leadership and will fight against it.

In other words, the ultimate extent of Iran’s zone of influence could only include part of Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, southwest Afghanistan, Bahrain, and the eastern province of Saudi Arabia. That is the maximum, and Iran is far from achieving that goal. And it will probably never achieve it.

Iran’s influence is limited by the location of Shia Muslims. Not all Shia Muslims favor Iran, and pretty much all Sunni Muslims oppose it. Therefore, whatever the outcome is in Syria–in other words if the regime wins–Iran will at most keep its current levels of influence. But if the regime wins, the Sunnis will hate Iran even more and will fight against it harder.

So Iran still wants to get the most power without fearing reprisal.

Nuclear weapons are a defensive shield to carry out conventional aggression.

As I’ve insisted for many years, it is increasingly clear that Iran will get nuclear weapons. We should start discussions in that framework. The recent brilliant decision of the Iranian elite–who is not only more ruthless but strategically smarter than Western leadership–to pick a national security insider, who is at best a slightly moderate extremist, as president guarantees it.

The question is only: when will Iran get nuclear weapons? The evidence seems to show that this is several years away. (It would be interesting if that development was too late to affect Syria’s civil war, and such will probably happen.)

Why will Iran certainly get nukes?

First, the West isn’t going to take strong enough action to stop it because the alternatives are deemed–perhaps accurately so–too risky. No surgical Israeli strike is going to stop it, and Obama will never support such a strike. Of course, there is a great deal of indifference about the potential victims and lots of greed about the money to be made from Iran. The sanctions may seem tough, but there are more holes than cheese.

After Ahmadinejad, though, there is perhaps a better money-making climate. His successor will further soothe Western willingness to battle on this nuclear issue.

And of course they just don’t care that much about potential genocide in Israel.

Second, with international support at a low point, the logistical difficulties, and a U.S. president who is incredibly reluctant, Israel is not going to attack Iran to stop it from getting nuclear weapons. What Israel should and will do is to make clear it will attack Iran if there is any reason to believe that Tehran might launch nuclear weapons. It will build up a multilayer defensive and offensive system.

This is not mere passive containment but would mean assured massive retaliation.

Note that there is more than one potential victim of Iran’s nuclear weapons. People, including the Israelis, talk a lot about Israel. Yet the Sunni Arab states are increasingly involved in shooting situations with Iranian proxies. Unlike Israel, they won’t do anything and perhaps can’t, except to beg the United States to take strong action. But the U.S. won’t do so.

And of course everyone can just hope everything will turn out all right.

A rare piece of good news, however, is that before the “Arab Spring,” it was conceivable that Iran might become leader or hegemon of the Arabic-speaking world. Israel-bashing was an important tool to do so. Now the Sunni Muslims have their own successful–even U.S.-backed!–Muslim Brotherhood movement. They not only don’t need Iran any more, they fight against Tehran.

Pushed on the defensive with more limited prospects–and knowing the Israel card won’t work–Tehran has lots less incentive to stake its survival on that issue. The nuclear weapons arsenal isn’t intended for a big bang to get revenge on Israel, it’s intended to keep the current regime in power against a growing number of enemies.

Put bluntly, Iran won’t waste its nuclear weapons on Israel or, as they might put it in Tehran, to give Israel an “excuse” to attack Iran. No pile of quotes from Iranian leaders to the contrary changes anything.
The key factor is not an appeal to the “international community” to protect Israel. Israel’s power rests precisely in old-fashioned credibility and deterrence:

Only Israel can credibly destroy the Islamic regime.  And the Islamic regime in Iran knows that. 
 
Israel was so important in Iranian verbal declarations precisely because Israel could at one time be turned into a card that strengthened Iran’s appeal with the Arabs and the Sunni. Iran certainly had very few other cards. But the Sunni and Arabs don’t care about this, given the big change of the last two years. The Israel card–as shown by the Syrian regime’s failure with it–is worthless.

Note that while Iran has been the leading sponsor of international terrorism and poured invective out against Israel, Iran did not notably take any material action against Israel beyond terror attacks and its sponsorship of Hizballah, Hamas, and Syria–which were its allies at the time. Compared to Arab efforts in the second half of the twentieth century, this was not very much.

In other words, against Israel, the Tehran regime talked a big game but did relatively little.

On other issues, too, Iran did not act like a country bent on suicide. Against its Arab enemies, it did not take considerable risks. Iran could wage a proxy war against America in Iraq, because the United States didn’t do very much about it.

All of the above in no way discounts an Iranian threat. Yes, of course, Iran sponsored terrorism and sought to gain influence and to spread revolution. Yet it did not attack a single country in open terms of warfare. Remember, Iran was invaded by Iraq. And when Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini himself was persuaded that the United States was entering the war against him, he quickly ended it, though he said that doing so was like eating snakes and scorpions; but that was necessary to preserve the regime.

Iran is the kind of aggressor who was once described by Winston Churchill as a thief who went down the street rattling doors to find one that was open.

Second, Iran sought to defend itself by threatening antagonists with total destruction and by obtaining the ultimate deterrence, nuclear weapons. This does not mean one should sympathize with Tehran since, after all, it sought nuclear weapons to ensure its defense while it continued aggressive policies.

Iran can also complain about American encirclement. Of course, if it did not follow the policies that were being practiced, there wouldn’t be a U.S. motive for any such efforts. The point, however, is that the claim that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons so it could destroy itself by attacking Israel is just not demonstrated.

Thus, Iran is not a demonic, crazed, kamikaze country. It is simply a typical aggressor who wants to have insurance against having to pay the price of such continued activity. North Korea and Pakistan sought nuclear weapons for the same reason, and it is working for them.

Let’s approach the issue in another way. Suppose Iran helped the Syrian regime win the civil war. Would the danger to Israel be increased? No, certainly it would not be from a nuclear standpoint. Assad would reestablish control over a wrecked and tottering country where the damage would take years to rebuild. But the problem is that Iran will be more secure in defending itself which means it will be more aggressive, but now with nuclear weapons.

The use of nuclear weapons loses whatever the possession of nuclear weapons gains.

Iran would be relieved at the Syrian regime’s survival but would not be better able to carry on a (nuclear) war against Israel. The Sunnis would be prepared to cooperate with the United States against Iran and even, covertly, with Israel up to a point. Indeed, the ability of Sunni Islamists to attack Israel would be reduced because of their obsession with the principal danger.

Again, I don’t want Assad to win in Syria. I believe that Iran is a threat. I think Iran will succeed in getting nuclear weapons. I don’t think the Tehran regime consists of lunatics who cannot wait to immolate themselves in a fiery funeral pyre. They want to stay in power for a long time. Israel has an alternative of preemption if necessary. But the United States will never help stop Iran’s getting of nukes.

This analysis should be conducted in a sober fashion. I believe, indeed I see clearly, that Israeli policymakers understand these issues. We should remember that Iran is not an insane state and that there are threats other than Iran in the Middle East.

The problem is not that Iran is eager to use nuclear weapons but that the Obama Administration is unlikely to apply containment properly and credibly. And then its version of containment might fail.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/analysis/rubin-reports/iran-neither-lunatic-state-nor-rational-actor-but-rational-aggressor/2013/10/07/

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