Nuclear Showdown: Is anyone besides Iran going to show up to the O.K. Corral?
Ronen Bergman a local terrorism expert and author in Israel has a brief interview translated over at YNET. In typical gruff Sabra style he lays out some of his opinions on the Iranian nuclear issue, though none of it is groundbreaking stuff. Some of the key points of his opinion include;
- Israel has the means to hit Iran’s programs
- Israel would seek to delay those programs not destroy them utterly
- Israel believes that S300 Russian anti aircraft missile systems are already in Iran
- Israel would benefit greatly from some American assistance in striking these programs
On the issue of the S300, Jpost is also carrying a report that the willy Croats have already themselves sold off their now no longer in use S300 systems to the Iranians. What is interesting about the S300 issue is that Israeli intel has quietly hinted this is indeed the case and that the missiles are already probably deployed, what makes this issue interesting is the divergence between this opinion and that of the USA.
Sec Def Gates himself adamantly opposed to striking Iran, has issued statements to the effect that no S300 systems have been sold / delivered to Iran. When Israel raised eyebrows about such definitive statements the Pentagon became slightly more mild on the topic, to the effect that the s300 issue was being ‘monitored’ by the US in an ongoing manner, and they have again reaffirmed on the issue. Frankly, US intelligence has been lacking – unaware of the Syrian nuclear program and a great many other developments and things going on around the world.
I’d say they are unaware because they have chosen to be, in order to avoid the inconvenience of coping with realities in direct contravention to long standing US national security policy. Worse, any Russian assurances given previously regarding issues like the S300 or nuclear fuel and assistance to Iran are now moot in light of the Georgian rift and new cold war developing between Russia & the USA. The Americans under Secretary Rice & Sec. Def. Gates have been outplayed on every single front across the Middle East, Asia and now Europe in a most embarrassing way. Aside from General Petraeus’ serious heroics rallying US strategy and forces in Iraq, American policy everywhere else has pretty much collapsed.
Endless stalling, dithering
The unstable political climate in both the US & Israel due to elections and government changeovers has not helped. One gets the feeling everyone is waiting around for someone else to deal with these matters, in Israel but most especially in the US despite the fact there is no one else. The only people not waiting around are the Iranians. Aided by the Russians they are spinning centrifuges for Uranium enrichment, and now are preparing to send the Bushehr Plutonium reactor online. That is a full dual track, two full nuclear programs Uranium & Plutonium based that are speeding ahead with no one in sight to stop them. The IAEA, who’s task it is to ensure the multilateral negotiation based efforts and monitoring systems to prevent strikes, as well as theoretically prevent Iranian weaponization has fallen nearly totally silent.
The Sanctions efforts for the diplomacy push also appear to be quite ineffective. It’s quite a mess, the kind of mess you make when leaders stop leading. Olmert & Bush are both fairly guilty in this regard, both of them stopped leading a long time ago and it has nothing to do with upcoming elections in either country. The notion that lightweights like Barack Obama or Tzipi Livni can roll back these realities with their good looks and comforting words is comical. One hopes that the IAF and the US Navy / Air Force have been somewhat more responsible in these matters until now in preparation, as the Iranians have been preparing, running military exercises and speeding their missile programs ahead at breakneck pace.