Analysis – Israeli credibility on line over Iran nuclear challenge, The West, By Crispian Balmer and Dan Williams, 29 April 13 JERUSALEM (Reuters) – Israel risks a loss of credibility over both its “red line” for Iran’s nuclear programme and its threat of military action, and its room for unilateral manoeuvre is shrinking.
After years of veiled warnings that Israel might strike the Islamic Republic, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu laid out an ultimatum at the United Nations last September.
Iran, he said, must not amass enough uranium at 20 percent fissile purity to fuel one bomb if enriched further. To ram the point home, he drew a red line across a cartoon bomb, guaranteeing him front page headlines around the world.
However, a respected Israeli ex-spymaster says Iran has skilfully circumvented the challenge. Other influential voices say the time has passed when Israel can hit out at Iran alone, leaving it dependent on U.S. decision-makers……
some officials have also questioned the wisdom of Netanyahu’s red line, arguing that such brinkmanship can generate unwelcome ambiguity -….. Tehran denies there is any military component to its nuclear activities, saying it is focused only on civilian energy needs. It charges that Israel, widely believed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, is the greater regional threat.
Keeping in step with Netanyahu, Israeli defence and military officials issued clear warnings this month that Israel was still prepared to go it alone against Iran, once more beating the drums of war after months of relative quiet……
But there is increasing scepticism within diplomatic circles about the viability of such an option. Envoys doubt that the Israeli military could now make much of a dent on Iran’s far-flung, well-fortified nuclear installations……. http://au.news.yahoo.com/thewest/a/-/world/16914529/analysis-israeli-credibility-on-line-over-iran-nuclear-challenge/
Ben Zygier didn’t betray his country. Ben Zygier was betrayed. Between his two home countries, he was placed in a situation he couldn’t deal with.
Israel allowed itself to cross three boundaries: a Mossad man was asked to retain Australian citizenship – leading to a dual-loyalty dilemma; the identity that he was instructed to use as a cover was his real Australian identity; and, worst of all, he was sent to operate in his homeland.
The prime minister must send a letter to the Zygier family – that have been broken by their son’s breakdown – saying, “Your son was not a traitor.”.
Ben Zygier was no traitor, he was betrayed, Haaretz, 22 Feb 13, By Sefi Rachlevsky He wanted to contribute to Israel and did not mean to betray both his homelands, or his father for that matter. Israel cast him into a situation from which he could only be liberated by death..
… The fundamentals of its [Israel's]power have not changed since David Ben Gurion established them: might, the support of friendly powers, the mobilization of world Jewry that can also influence their home countries, and the memory of the Holocaust. But the Zygier affair highlights how in an existential moment, Israel isn’t “only” immoral, but tramples arrogantly over these fundamentals without observing any boundaries…..
Mossad agent known as prisoner X linked to killing of Hamas leader: Report http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2013/02/15/289034/prisoner-x-linked-to-hamas-chief-murder/ 15 Feb 13, The Australian-Israeli ‘Mossad agent’ who has become known as ‘Prisoner X’ may have been linked to the assassination of a Hamas commander in Dubai in 2010, the same year he was found dead in a maximum security jail near Tel Aviv, a report says.
According to a report by the New York Times quoting the Kuwaiti daily Al Jarida on Thursday, Ben Zygier, identified as Prisoner X, was among the 26 suspects in a murder plot in which Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, a Hamas official, was tracked and killed in his hotel room hours after his arrival in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, in January 2010.
The assassins had reportedly used fake passports from Australia, Britain, Ireland, Germany and France, among other countries.
The report added that ‘Prisoner X’, who apparently spent a decade working for Mossad, had provided the officials in Dubai with “names and pictures and accurate details” in exchange for protection.
However, the Israeli regime kidnapped him from his hideout and jailed him over treason nearly a month after the operation over the speculation that he had been on the verge of exposing Tel Aviv’s secrets about the passports.
Australian media also quoted a security official familiar with the case as saying that Zygier “may well have been about to blow the whistle, but he never got the chance.” Read more »
Why Israel Couldn’t Contain Prisoner X Story, The Daily Beast, by Dan Goldenblatt Feb 14, 2013 Even with the increased flow of information about Prisoner X—Ben Zygier, aka Ben Alon, aka Ben Allen, aka…—we will probably never really know the truth. What could be the chain of events that led a good Jewish boy from Melbourne, Australia, who, it was confirmed by Israel, worked for the Mossad for 10 years, to end up as an anonymous prisoner in complete isolation in Israel’s most secure and watched prison cell? The fact that under what was supposed to be 24-7-365 observation he also succeeded to hang himself only adds to the mystery. Read more »
Not for nothing have the major news organizations ignored Kahlili’s Fordow report. Beyond his questionable credibility, there is no supporting evidence. If a large explosion did occur at Fordow a week ago, why have no satellite photos appeared of dozens of vehicles on the site involved in rescue operations? And if there are 240 workers trapped underground, how come no worried relatives have expressed concern on one of the social networks? Iran may have a repressive regime, but tens of millions of citizens are connected to the Internet and are experts at evading the regime’s attempts to monitor and filter their communications. Something would have come out by now.
Who spread reports of an ‘explosion’ at Iran’s Fordow nuclear plant and why?
According to the report, the explosion in Fordow seriously damaged many of the centrifuges in the plant and trapped underground 240 employees who have yet to be rescued. But if this is true, why have the major news networks dismissed it?
Haaretz, By Anshel Pfeffer | Jan.27, 2013 The Internet has been abuzz over the last couple of days with an uncorroborated report regarding a huge explosion in the underground uranium enrichment plant at Fordow in Iran. According to the report, the explosion seriously damaged many of the centrifuges in the plant and trapped underground 240 employees who have yet to be rescued.
If this is true, it will be the most serious sabotage caused yet to the Iranian nuclear program. If this is true.
The main problem with the report is that no supporting evidence has appeared so far from any reliable sources to corroborate it, nor has a statements been released from an official source in Iran or any other country. All the main Western news organizations with contacts and sources in the intelligence community have steered well away from the story. (In Israel, only the tabloid Yedioth Ahronoth, which splashed the story on the front page of its Sunday edition, took notice of the story.)
Perhaps it’s the identity of the report’s author which leads to the disbelief: Reza Kahlili, an Iranian exile with an interesting past who is well known to many reporters covering intelligence and Iranian affairs. He published the report on the explosion, which apparently took place on Monday, the eve of the Israeli elections, on World News Daily, a veteran website with close contacts to the far-right in the United States. Kahlili himself is a frequent speaker at events organized by right-wing organizations and those that support the right in Israel. It’s not hard to realize why. In an interview he gave Haaretz two years ago, upon the publication of his book “A Time To Betray”, Kalili set out a worldview on Iran that was surprisingly similar to that of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. He also compared the regime in Tehran to that of the Nazis, and called upon Israel to bomb Iran’s nuclear installations…… Read more »
UN Calls on Israel to Open Nuclear Facilities TIME By Associated Press Dec. 04, 2012 (UNITED NATIONS) — The U.N. General Assembly has overwhelmingly approved a resolution calling on Israel to quickly open its nuclear program for inspection and backing
a high-level conference to ban nuclear weapons from the Middle East which was just canceled.
All the Arab nations and Iran had planned to attend the conference in mid-December in Helsinki, Finland, but the United States announced on Nov. 23 that it wouldn’t take place, Read more »
UN call on Israel to open its nuclear program is opposed by US MONDOWEISS, by Annie Robbins December 10, 2012 Last month, four days after Iran announced that it planned to attend a high-profile meeting on the banning of WMD’s in the Middle East, the
US backed out, saying that the “time is not opportune.”
But along with Russia and the UK, the U.S. was one of the key sponsors of the conference, set to take place in Helsinki, Finland, by the end of 2012. 189 member nations of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty had agreed to attend, but not Israel. Now the meeting has been called off.
That is the backdrop behind the UN General Assembly’s approval of a resolution last week calling on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty and open its nuclear program for
Israel behind bogus Iran nuclear data leak – reports Rt.com 11 December Israel may be behind a series of leaks implicating Iran in nuclear weapons experiments, Western diplomats say, stressing that in doing so Tel Aviv could have compromised the ongoing UN investigation intoTehran’s nuclear activities and ambitions.
In its efforts to raise international pressure on Tehran, Israel supposedly carried out leaks of several documents from an International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) investigation, The Guardian reported on Monday citing Western diplomats. Read more »
The US and Israel should welcome the conference if curbing Iranian nuclear programme is their real concern. Iran had explicitly welcomed the conference and vowed its full participation and cooperation. During his August 2012 visit to Iran UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon visited Ayatollah Khamenei, who reiterated Iran’s stand on a ME nuclear weapons-free zone and that the UN should make serious efforts to allay the concerns regarding nuclear weapons. Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s ambassador to the UN IAEA told reporters: “Iran is determined to participate actively in the Helsinki conference … We are of the strong belief that all countries should be mobilizing themselves to make sure that this noble goal of a Middle East free from all the weapons of mass destruction will be realized.” Iran is the present Chair of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and is very active in pushing for nuclear-free zone in the ME. The NAM, the largest international organization after the UN, with 120 members, had dismissed the US allegations for cancelling the conference, and has demanded that Israel join the NPT.
American Nuclear Hypocrisy http://mwcnews.net/focus/editorial/23374-eliasakleh-nuclear-hypocrisy.html, 09 December 2012 By Elias Akleh Hypocrisy is the most prominent characteristic of the successive American administrations. The observer could easily detect this hypocrisy when it comes to administration’s policies towards the Middle Eastern countries generally and towards the Palestinians specifically.
One of the administration’s latest hypocritical acts was the cancellation of the Middle East nuclear weapons-free zone conference that was scheduled mid this month in Helsinki, Finland. Read more »
“It is very hard to think about Israel calling what it is doing defending itself when it is occupying Palestinian territory. It’s collective punishment.
The answer is simple, and increases the chances of security on all sides: End the occupation.
In Gaza, It’s the Occupation, Stupid,http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/in_gaza_its_the_occupationg_stupid_20121121/? Nov 21, 2012 By Amy Goodman “The Palestinian people want to be free of the occupation,” award-winning Israeli journalist Gideon Levy summed up this week. It is that simple. This latest Israeli military assault on the people of Gaza is not an isolated event, but part of a 45-year occupation of the sliver of land wedged between Israel and the Mediterranean Sea, where 1.6 million people live under a brutal Israeli blockade that denies them most of the basic necessities of life.
Without the unwavering bipartisan support of the United States for the Israeli military, the occupation of Palestine could not exist. Read more »
When Israelis in the occupied territories now claim that they have to defend themselves, they are defending themselves in the sense that any military occupier has to defend itself against the population they are crushing… You can’t defend yourself when you’re militarily occupying someone else’s land. That’s not defense. Call it what you like, it’s not defense.” ~ Noam Chomsky — with Paula Johnson Francesshelli.
Nuclear hit ‘Israel’s best plan for Iran’ THE AUSTRALIAN, from The Times November 12, 2012 “………..”Israel’s plans have been constantly evolving in recent years according to the progress Iran is making,” a senior defence source said. “A decade ago when Ariel Sharon (the former prime minister who suffered a stroke in 2006) was in charge, it was relatively easy to strike Iran as its air defences were almost non-existent. Now they’ve upgraded and our tactics have to change.”
Western sources believe a single Israeli Jericho-3 missile could carry a tactical nuclear warhead with a yield of less than one kiloton, which would be sufficient to “bury” the plant.
In a conventional attack Israel might, according to experts, lose up to 20 per cent of its planes.
Well aware of the hostile international response to even the suggestion of a nuclear attack, the option is not being debated publicly. But last week it was referred to indirectly by Shaul Mofaz, head of the Kadima party and leader of the opposition.
For some time Mr Mofaz, 64, a former defence minister and one of the few Israeli politicians privy to the country’s nuclear secrets, has believed that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is playing a dangerous game.
Mr Mofaz shocked many Israelis last week when during a press conference he unveiled a poster showing a red mushroom cloud with the slogan: “Bibi will endanger Israel.”
Most Israelis assumed the poster referred to the Iranian threat. But its message may have been more subtle, hinting at an argument that Mr Mofaz cannot articulate in public: that he believes Mr Netanyahu could be considering a nuclear option. ….
Rising To The Surface: Germany?s Hushed Shipments Of Nuclear-Capable Submarines To Israel ANALYSIS A new report is raising important questions about Germany’s commitment to Israel’s defense capabilities.International Business Times, BY Jacey Fortin | June 06 2012
German magazine Der Spiegel published an investigative article in and online on Monday, arguing that German officials were aware that the submarines they have supplied to Israel over the past several years are capable of launching nuclear warheads.
Research Spiegel has conducted in Germany, Israel and the United States, among current and past government ministers, military officials, defense engineers and intelligence agents, no longer leaves any room for doubt: With the help of German maritime technology, Israel has managed to create for itself a floating nuclear weapon arsenal: submarines equipped with nuclear capability, said the article.
Officially, Israel does not admit to having nuclear weapons in the first place. Also officially, the German government denies any knowledge of Israel’s nuclear capabilities or intentions. Read more »
The Drone in the Desert http://isnblog.ethz.ch/ Itamar Rabinovich, 8 November 2012 TEL AVIV – A drone recently penetrated Israel’s airspace from the Mediterranean. It was allowed to fly for about half an hour over southern Israel before being shot down by the Israeli air force over a sparsely populated area.
It is still not known who dispatched the drone and from where, but it is now assumed that it was launched from Lebanon, either by Hezbollah, acting in Iran’s service, or by forces of the Iranian regime itself.
If that is indeed the case, the episode should not be regarded as yet another incident in a region fraught by conflict and violence. On the contrary, it is a significant window into the arena in which the conflict over the future of Iran’s nuclear program is being waged.
Several developments and forces are now shaping this arena. One is by Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s decision, announced in his
speech to the United Nations General Assembly last month, to suspend his threat to launch unilateral military action against Iran’s nuclear installations. He has said that Israel will give the US and the rest of the international community an opportunity to stop Iran’s progress through other means by the spring or early summer of 2013. (more…)
Could Iran’s Supreme Leader be more cautious than we think?
The Telegraph, By David Blair World November 1st, 2012 My interview with Ehud Barak in London on Tuesday attracted a good deal of attention and comment. The Israeli defence minister’s most striking statement concerned Iran’s decision to convert much of its stockpile of 20 per cent enriched uranium into harmless fuel rods. Without that event, Barak confirmed that the crisis over Iran’s nuclear ambitions would “probably” have peaked about now. Instead, Iran’s decision “allows contemplating delaying the moment of truth by eight to ten months”.
In his speech before the UN General Assembly in September, Benjamin Netanyahu softened Israel’s position on the possibility of an imminent military strike, saying that the critical moment would arrive next spring or summer. Barak told me that Iran’s move was “in the background of our decision”.
So the figures tucked away on page 8 of the last IAEA report on Iran’s nuclear programme turned out to be of vital importance. They showed that Iran took 71.25 kg of its stockpile of 20 per cent enriched uranium and converted it into fuel rods for the Tehran Research Reactor, a civilian facility. The uranium enriched to 20 per cent purity is the material that is closest to weapons-grade. Out of a total holding of 189.4 kg, Iran has devoted 37.6 per cent to a peaceful purpose…..
In 2003, we know that Iran suspended its research on how to build a nuclear warhead (although the evidence suggests that some work was restarted later). Now we know that during the course of this year, Iran took a big chunk of the uranium that was closest to weapons-grade and used it for a harmless purpose. Thanks to Barak’s candour, we also know that this decision probably averted a crisis.
Could Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, be more cautious than we think? Instead of treading a straight Roman Road to a nuclear weapon, he has twice veered off course. To me, that suggests that he is nervous and feeling the pressure. Is the ultimate destination of Iran’s nuclear programme still an open question? http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/davidblair/100187473/could-irans-supreme-leader-be-more-cautious-than-we-think/
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