Tag Archives: Iran

Target Iran: A War of Choice or Necessity?

Obama’s Failed Foreign Policy Has Everyone Spinning

There’s a mountain of activity, editorials, blog posts, opinion pieces & think tank rhetoric exploding outward this week regarding Iran. With Obama’s signature foreign policy of engagement crashing & burning, and no direction in sight the spinners are out in force at every level.

American envoys, like Admiral Mullen, Kerry, even VP Biden are & have been shuttling to Israel to hold off any Israeli strike. Sec. Clinton jetted off to Latin America, doing whatever it is she does to unsuccessfully rally for sanctions. On the media front, articles galore delegitimizing strikes as a possible solution..

None of it is on the level

If it were, there would be a credible strategy put forth to counter the military option. But as we’ve seen, the refined fuel blockade combined with IRGC sanctions are nowhere to be found, if anything deadlines which passed months ago are only pointing to sanctions many more months away. Those sanctions are neither a given nor are the odds very good either.

Clearly, the Obama administration is stalling for time, waiting for the Iranian nuclear bomb to become a reality because the President like so many before me have claimed, is rather weak. He was weak on tough engagement, weak on supporting regime change in Iran, and now he’s weak on stopping the Iranian nuclear drive. If he weren’t, the multiple US House & Senate resolutions for fuel sanctions now sitting in drawers nearly a year would have been long ago realities, instead they are blocked by the Administration at every turn..

There are basically three courses open to the Obama administration with respect to Iran. It can do the Full Leverett (drop all pretense of hostility toward Iran and engage them on all issues in the hopes of a grand bargain); it can pursue the course it’s on now, a slow roll of diplomacy towards possible sanctions and international condemnation of Iran that probably won’t alter their nuclear progress; or it can start a war with Iran, which may or may not fully stop their nuclear program but would open the door to a host of consequences, most of them negative.

In contrast to their neoconservative critics, the Obama administration, including senior figures in the military, apparently sees the “hard realities of the world” as mitigating against starting a third war in the Greater Middle East – even if it means conceding some nuclear weapons capability to Iran. Of course, the administration can’t publicly acknowledge this, and so they have pursued the diplomatic and sanctions track, to demonstrate that they are least trying to address the problem.

“Hard Realities of the World”

That above is ‘realism school of thought’ euphemism for weakling, its testament to the overblown Iranian rhetoric. In reality Iran is the weak link, a regime forced to beat its own peoples to remain in power who’s unending glorious pronouncements of strength do little to buttress the fact that the only outlet they have is terror. So far so good, they seem to have terrorized the Obama administration into submission. Unfortunately for him, the American public is a different story..

“Do not even think about bombing Iran,” wrote Michael O’Hanlon and Bruce Reidel in yesterday’s Financial Times.  Pointing out that the US has two unpopular and unfinished wars in the region already, and that the damage from any military strikes on the Islamic Republic would be unlikely to do enough damage to its nuclear program to justify the military and political cost, and also that Iran would have many opportunities to retaliate against US interests in the region, they urge President Obama to take this option off the table completelyLiving with a nuclear Iran won’t be fun, but it’s better than the alternatives, so let’s start making plans for the inevitable.

I actually agree with O’Hanlon and Reid that military strikes against the Iranian nuclear program aren’t likely to get us anywhere good, but that doesn’t mean we can stop thinking about them. Sixty-one percent of Americans asked called Iran’s strength a ‘critical threat’ in a Gallup poll last month;  an additional 29 percent said the Iranian threat was ‘important.’  With 90 percent of the public feeling threatened by Iran — at a moment when nothing special was happening — it’s not clear to me that domestic politics will allow the Obama administration to steer clear of hostilities with Iran even if it wants to. [...]

The Israel Factor

It is worth noting that many of those advocating strategies of retreat are the same people who so boisterously argued for engagement, their track record leaves much to be desired. They argued for shelving the military option before engagement, that worked well as we’ve seen. Now they argue for shelving the military option after engagement.. One begins to suspect their true goal is not solving the Iranian nuclear riddle – But merely shelving the military option at all costs. Good luck with that.

All these pundits may want to stack the shelves & put things in drawers, but those same ‘Hard Realities of the World’ are also in operation in Israel. Here those realities tend to be even harsher than they appear in the local American think tank, filled with lazy chairs & academic tenures. Obama may be trying to stall, his advisers may even think he’s succeeding. Kerry quipped in Israel this week how the US & Israel are on the same page. But he was speaking in the language of fuel sanctions which Israelis understand.. So far, it’s a dialect Obama seems to be unable to comprehend.

A War of Choice or Necessity?

So are we all really on the same page? It doesn’t look like it, but sooner rather than later we are all going to find out. I suspect those flimsy locks on the military engagement drawers won’t stop Israel from doing whatever it deems necessary. Therein lies the rub, those opposed to using every tool in the arsenal cast this as a war of choice, just like Iraq they might argue.

Sadly they are gravely mistaken in my opinion. Here in Israel where the threat is seen a existential in every way – Stopping Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons is a war of necessity, not choice. If Obama keeps stalling and we start shooting, the Iranians themselves will force the President to quickly realize just how wrong many of his advisers often are. With American support for Israel at record highs, and anathema for Iran in similar territory - He may not have that luxury of choice, if or when Iran attacks American interests.

Then the question inevitably becomes – Does America want to strike on its terms, or Iran’s?

Fuel My Fire: IAF Training For Long Distance Love

Shades of Osirak – Operation Opera

June 7th, 1981 eight fully loaded F-16 fighter bombers successfully penetrated Iraqi airspace & delivered a knockout blow to Saddam Hussein’s Osirak nuclear reactor which was scheduled to come online shortly thereafter, obliterating it utterly. Operation Opera as it was known was meticulously planned for months, its success so astounding in every way it drew both harsh criticism but silent admiration for the tiny country of Israel the world over.

All this was made possible through a fateful turn of events.  The fighters, the first of their kind for the IAF recently delivered from the USA - had originally been destined for the Shah of Iran who had placed the order. The Islamic revolution in 1979 changed all that, they were offered to Israel for purchase instead..

Margin of Error

In order to make the flight, the then IAF 1st generation F16s required some modifications. Their takeoff weight for the mission was so great they stood the chance of perhaps not even being able to liftoff at all. In order to complete the mission the fighter bombers would be flying beyond their allocated bingo fuel allotment, perilously close to the point of being unable to return to base with zero room for error.

So tight in fact was the fuel allotment that IAF ground crews set a dangerous precedent for aviation missions, they moved fuel trucks onto the runways and topped off the F16 tanks with their engines running, mere moments before their pilots hit the afterburners to lift the heavy birds into the sky for their fateful mission.

Now JPOST is reporting in an exclusive that IAF pilots and their ground crews are training for rapid turnaround refueling & topping off tanks on runways once again..

In preparation for long-range missions and possible conflict with Iran, the Israel Air Force has expanded its training programs to include rapid refueling operations on runways.

It’s a dangerous practice since the aircraft’s engines are running while the fuel nozzle is still connected to the jets. The training is for both pilots and ground crews and it is being done to enable the aircraft to carry as much fuel as possible for long-range missions.

Fuel nozzles are traditionally disconnected from fighter aircraft while they are still parked in hangers and before they are rolled out to the runway, where they usually wait for several minutes before takeoff and while burning fuel. The new protocol includes keeping fuel trucks on the runway, having ground personnel reattach the nozzle and fuel the aircraft to the maximum fullness, disconnecting seconds before takeoff.

“We understand that many of our threats and challenges require us to develop a long-range capability,” one senior IAF officer explained. “Part of our preparation includes knowing how to fuel our aircraft so they can have as much fuel as possible.” [...]

Rapid turnaround

The IAF & ground crews already train for danger in routine fighter operations. Israel, unlike say the USA has more limited amounts of fighter aircraft that are tasked with multiple missions in combat operations. IAF fighters in war time are often tasked with rapid refueling & re-armament. Hitting targets, landing, being re-supplied and taxiing straight off the runway for new missions with little to no downtime to make up for lack of numbers & fighters in reserve. All this goes on in the heat off battle, much like an aircraft carrier might operate but on land.

The latest generation F-16I Sufa (Storm) seen here on take-off, is custom built for the IAF for expanded range (Credit - Nir)

The latest generation F-16I Sufa (Storm) seen here on take-off, is custom built for the IAF for expanded range (Credit - Nir)

Heroic efforts

Beyond the dangerous requirements of keeping any raid tasked fighters over supplied with fuel on the runways, Israel in any long range strike will need to be vigilant on four fronts with an eye toward escalation. Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria & Iran could stretch the IAF thin if hostilities flare.. Especially with so many aircraft tasked with a long range mission far from home. Pilots & ground crews are training for extraordinary circumstances, these are no doubt extraordinary times.

After the 1st Gulf War, in honor of the extraordinary achievements of Operation Opera, Dick Cheney presented Major General David Ivry (commander IAF) a satellite photograph of the destroyed Osirak reactor signed – “For General David Ivri, with thanks and appreciation for the outstanding job he did on the Iraqi Nuclear Program in 1981, which made our job much easier in Desert Storm.”

If Israel should need to act again, one wonders.. What exactly would Obama present Israel? His lack of foresight thus far fails to impress.

LINK: Dalem Amos blogs about Popular Mechanics, and Israel’s long range drone Eitan (Heron TP). A critical new piece of the long range puzzle.

Soloists: Americans for Peace Now Manning The Empty Fringe Fort

Ally Jstreet Tacks Right while APN declares ‘Principled Lunacy’

The long cold dark winter – Iran has mocked the entire world (but most of all Obama) with its play for time tactics, rejecting every single generous offer from the West regarding its nuclear weapons program. Pretty much everyone involved now realizes this, there are however holdouts. The 1st house of cards to tumble was Jstreet which this week has reversed itself on the Iran Sanctions Act now making its way through the US government.

Goldfarb in the Standard writes..

Spencer Ackerman interviews J Street chief Jeremy Ben-Ami on that group’s announcement that it will now back sanctions to cut Iran off from its supply of refined petroleum products. Earlier today Ackerman offered one possible explanation for the move: “The attacks on J Street have worked.” I think that’s probably right. The shift is not confined to sanctions legislation — J Street has moved right on Goldstone (though their position is still way out of step with mainstream Jewish opinion) and Ben-Ami has made a number of other statements that seemed designed to appease the group’s critics, and antagonize its most left-wing supporters (denouncing Walt and Mearsheimer and taking U.S. aid to Israel off the table are the two most obvious examples). But Ben-Ami offers another explanation to Ackerman: 

TWI: Is it too wily to think that you’re doing this in order to basically signal your stand with the rest of the pro-Israel community in this country while saving the harder battles for things like Jerusalem, the two-state solution and so forth?

Ben-Ami: Well look, those are issues where we are definitely not in line with most of the other organizations. For us, we’ve always said that is the issue. The real existential threat to a Jewish democratic Israel is the failure to reach a two-state solution. There is a threat from a nuclear-armed Iran. But the real existential threat that we’re focused on is that we have got to reach a two-state solution now or else we’re going to lose Israel.

 So, according to Ben-Ami, by disagreeing with J Street, Israel is a greater threat to itself than a nuclear-armed Iran. This, I suspect, is not a widely held view in the Jewish community here or in Israel — and it is certainly not a widely-held view among Americans in general [...]

Ben-Ami can contort & wrap this up in whatever flag he likes, at the end of the day Jstreet felt the pain of being so radically far out from the mainstream of the American Jewish community. Truth is they go where Obama goes, and El Presidente has himself felt the pain of his initial radical positions - Embarrassingly so.

We already know both groups (Jstreet & APN) are really nothing more than sycophantic blocking backs for Obama, Jstreet even gleefully openly stated as much in the NY Times. With Israel having pulled its settlement freeze, and with Obama now coming around to the realization he has erred on both Iran & Middle East Peace in general - Jstreet reads the tea leaves & like the dutiful soldier tacks right with him, no surprises there sayeth Rosner

Zealots at APN

But where does that leave Americans for Peace Now? Out in the cold, and still rejecting US sanctions. Why pray tell? because they don’t empower Emperor Obama enough or something like that. I skipped past all the Zealotry & righteous BS because one line says it all..

[...] we support legislation that genuinely strengthens the US President in his efforts to deal with the challenge of Iran – not legislation that undermines his authority and forces his hand.

There you have it. We can safely ignore both Houses of Congress, the American people as polled themselves etc. What do they know anyway? As soon as Obama himself declares the Sanctions Acts good.. like Gd himself on the 6th day – You can expect the last remaining Obami, those Zealots willing to fall on his sword to do so as well.

Like Masada, only different!

This time we’re supporting the Roman hordes & pagans. Iran has once again taken to beating its people, censoring media, shutting down internet access in the last 24 hours etc. Iran has declared it needs 20 more brand new nuclear enrichment plants, but it’s no cause for concern. It’s ‘Empowerment’. None of it really matters when you are on the fringe in any case!

APN is all about empowering the weak, be it the Palestinians, the Iranians.. or even the American President. It’s highly principled stuff once you muck through all the BS & Soros funding.

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UPD: I forgot the link to Goldfarb’s quote.. That’s pretty embarrassing for a blogger going on 4yrs lol. My thanks to a reader for pointing this out. Omission, most certainly not derision.

Big Talker: Obama’s Pandering Achieved Nothing

Just as pandering to him will achieve pretty much the same..

In Honduras a new President has been elected, he’s a conservative. You know things are going real well when a tiny latin nation tells the leader of the free world to take a hike, and then a few months later he’s lacing up his hiking boots.

In Iran, illicit nuclear enrichment & plutonium work continues unabated & is even expanding while America is seemingly on the retreat. The Russians have given Obama no quarter, and the Arab world from Lebanon to Syria right down to the Palestinians themselves seemingly thumb their noses at Obama on an almost daily basis now.

What has all this talk from the podium achieved? Nothing.

One could argue that these efforts in foreign countries of re-writing history, tarnishing America’s great exceptionalism, embracing Arab narratives, and bowing deep have not delivered tangible concrete results – But that the goal was to engender a ‘feeling’, a wave of good will or hope which itself would deliver..

Such tripe may actually speak to Obama adherents, after all they staked it all on Hope & Change. However sadly for them most of all, reality has fallen flat. The old saying goes ‘talk is cheap’, yet when the President talks someone somewhere inevitably ends up paying a price. Thus far it’s been America and her allies paying with no possible hope of return on the investment.

Feeding the Crocodile

Fouad Ajami writes in the WSJ on Obama’s signature big talk program – Pandering to the Muslim World & the results as recorded by Pew intl surveys..

In the Palestinian territories, 15% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 82% have an unfavorable view. The Obama speech in Ankara didn’t seem to help in Turkey, where the favorables are 14% and those unreconciled, 69%. In Egypt, a country that’s reaped nearly 40 years of American aid, things stayed roughly the same: 27% have a favorable view of the U.S. while 70% do not. In Pakistan, a place of great consequence for American power, our standing has deteriorated: The unfavorables rose from 63% in 2008 to 68% this year.

Mr. Obama’s election has not drained the swamps of anti-Americanism. That anti-Americanism is endemic to this region, an alibi and a scapegoat for nations, and their rulers, unwilling to break out of the grip of political autocracy and economic failure. It predated the presidency of George W. Bush and rages on during the Obama presidency.

In other words, nothing has changed.

Here in Israel however plenty has changed. A nation which reveres America & her leaders has turned decidedly sour on Obama across the board. Through it all we’ve tossed concession after concession to feed the appeasement monster that is Obama’s failed policies, all in the hopes that he will have our back in regards to Iran. That’s what this is about, no one here believes the Palestinians want peace, we know what they want – Pieces of Israel one after the other until nothing is left.

Sadly, this notion that we can feed the Obama beast chunks of appeasement meat in return for his good graces is just as flawed as Obama’s own failed philosophies. We can freeze settlements, hand off Jerusalem, prostrate ourselves to failed international policies till the sun comes up. It won’t deliver peace, not with an Arab world which still hasn’t reconciled itself to Israel. Nor will it deliver American carrier groups & B-2 strike bombers to flatten those enemies which threaten us & the region as a whole.

I can’t say I blame my Prime Minister, appeasement is in fashion these days. I just hope he’s got a backup plan for when the day dawns on all of us here in Israel, that just like the Palestinians, Obama is incapable of delivering the goods.

Lion of Zion: War Fighter Ashkenazi Draws Iranian Line in German Sand

Shocka! There appears to be “Daylight” between America & Israel on Iran

IDF Chief of Staff Ashkenazi was in Germany this week speaking at a Holocaust remembrance memorial, he gave an inspired speech. There are a number of reasons to examine the text;

  1. Ashkenazi as head of the IDF is probably the 3rd most powerful man in Israel.
  2. Ashkenazi is intensely popular, trusted & respected by an Israeli public which will support his judgment. 
  3. Ashkenazi is intensely popular, trusted & respected by an IDF which will also support his judgment.

After reforming the IDF and coming off of what is widely regarded as a successful military regional war in Gaza, no one has more solid support in Israel today than Ashkenazi. On military matters he is even more trusted than the Defense Minister Ehud Barack, to which can be added the public’s respect for him which rivals that of Benjamin Netanyahu. In Israel, such superheros cut across post-partisan lines and appeal across the strata on a much more emotional level -  As the no-nonsense General, defender of Israel.

Chief of Staff General Ashkenazi in Germany has words for Israel's enemies. (Photo: IDF Press Office)

Chief of Staff General Ashkenazi in Germany has words for Israel's enemies. (Photo: IDF Press Office)

Poignant, not so veiled words

Ashkenazi fills the top General role and void left by the legendary Ariel Sharon himself. This status in Israel, and the sharp words in his German speech make for a heady mix..

“We will never look lightly upon those who scheme our demise, we will not deposit our security in the hands of foreigners and we will allow no one to control the future of the State of Israel,” he said during a ceremony held at the ill-famed Platform 17 in Berlin, from which many Jews left for concentration camps.

“Out of the silent steel plates on this platform rise the screams of our Jewish brothers, who were marched into the train cars, beaten and humiliated. Their screams echo until this very moment and they are the screams of Israel’s obligation and my own, as the man who stands at the head of its army. It is our obligation to remember forever the most horrible tragedy in the history of mankind,” Ashkenazi said [...]

Not pulling punches.. in contrast to President Obama

Ashkenazi went to add that Anti-Semitism and this threat continues to this day alluding to Iran, and that Israel would assert itself in its own defense. He has been fairly clear until now and apparently going forward as well – His is the hawkish view in regards to preventing Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. It is a view which stands in contrast to the Obama administration, which for all intents & purposes seems to have given up on stopping Iran.

Analysis: US making plans for Iran nuke strategy

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration is quietly laying the groundwork for long-range strategy that could be used to contain a nuclear-equipped Iran and deter its leaders from using atomic weapons.

U.S. officials insist they are not resigned to a nuclear Iran and are pressing negotiations to prevent it from joining the world’s nuclear club. But at the same time, the administration has set in place the building blocks of policies to contend with an Iran armed with atomic weapons.

Those elements, former officials and analysts said, include the newly revised defense shield for Europe and deeper defense ties to Gulf states that feel threatened by Iran.

Daylight? Looks more like High-Noon.

The Obama administration may be resigned to apparent surrender on a nuclear Iran, but the Israeli position seems continuously clear. Netanyahu the PM is clear, Barak the Defense Minister is clear, Ashkenazi the top man in uniform is clear.. Together with the heads of Israel’s intelligence these three men will be the arbiters of judgment in regards to Iranian issues.

All options remain on the table.

Obama Prowess: 5 Months of Negotiations; 3 Month Iranian Nuke Delay (Update)

Sorta reminds me of Robert Gibbs’ Job Creation math

Mohamed El-Baradei is finishing up his crowning achievement after providing a decade’s worth of cover for rogue regime illicit nuclear programs. It’s sure to be touted as almost messianic by Obama’s all too eager sycophantic media cheerleaders. Too bad in reality the deal stinks.

The draft agreement between the great powers and Iran celebrated by International Atomic Energy Agency Chief Mohamed ElBaradei is no more than confirmation of the proposal submitted by Iranian representative Saeed Jalili in the first round of talks with the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany.

The proposal constitutes a clever Iranian move: According to the deal, Tehran will sacrifice roughly 1,400 kilograms (about 3,000 pounds) of the low-grade enriched uranium (that is, 3-5%) produced at its enrichment plant in Natanz in exchange for Western recognition in principle of Iran’s right to enrich uranium on its own soil.

We should also note that we are talking about Iran giving up only 75% of the uranium quantity it already enriched (at least as far as the IAEA knows.) [...]

It was clear that Obama had waffled entirely on this point months ago, and the goal was now to get a deal, any deal – As opposed to stopping the Iranians. Anything to proudly tout as an accomplishment from the WH podium amid endless failures that seemingly all point to the fact that the entire Obama platform is one big bust.

We have learned that this deal has involved direct negotiations between the US & Iran stemming all the way back to June. Which explains why Obama was so non-chalant about propping up the Islamic regime while it was busy murdering & raping Iranian citizens and stealing elections. El Presidente had to be cautious, lest he tip his engagement boat which was already out to sea – Charming!

Smart Power

Doing the negotiation math, we can quickly calculate that this deal has been 5 months in the making from June until now. Sadly, the payoff is not all it is cracked up to be.

This is a modest step forward, at best.  “We are buying something like seven to 10 months,” a nameless insider told the Christian Science Monitor. And even that short timeline might be an overstatement.

There are at least 50 cascades of 164 centrifuges each now installed at at the Natanz enrichment facility, although many were still under vacuum in August. According to Alexander Glaser, a single cascade of 164 IR-1 centrifuges could be expected to produce up to 113 kilograms of 3.5% low enriched uranium (LEU) per year. Discount the efficiency of operations somewhat (Geoff Forden suggests 85% based on past performance at Natanz), and Iran could recreate 1,200 kilograms of LEU in a shade over four months using 36 cascades. With 54 cascades going, it would take less than three months.

(HT / Goldfarb)

Wooohoo!

So in return for granting total legitimacy to Iran to continue enriching Uranium. In return for dropping the number one red line set out by the west.. After 5 months of ‘negotiation’ Obama & the western powers are going to help Iran enrich their current stock even higher to 20%, then return the nuclear fuel rods and in the mean Iran will make even more enriched Uranium – Replacing the quantity sold to the west in approximately 3-7 months..

Carry the two, divide by 8.. disregard the exponent & voilà!! Fuzzy math!

That, my friend is worthy of a Peace Prize!

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UPDATE Oct 22: Hello? Where is everybody?

Been sorta scratching my head wondering where official reaction to the draft deal was!? It’s been over 24 hours now and I felt like I was hanging out on a limb. Sometimes this happens in blogging, usually when you screw up big time. I even went back to double check stories on the draft deal in case I missed something.. Because Israel, the blogs & press have been pretty silent.

Never fear, must have just been caution. Barak at the Israeli President’s Conference confirms the major beef with this very very bad deal for Israel:

Barak: Deal could give Iran legitimacy to enrich uranium.

This is now the lead at JPOST, YNET & Haaretz thankfully..