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Posts Tagged ‘Iran. nuclear weapons’

Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech

Posted by Dana Pico on 2012/09/29

From

Netanyahu’s Bomb Diagram During U.N. Speech Stirs Confusion in Israel

By Isabel Kershner and Rick Gladstone | Published: September 28, 2012

JERUSALEM — When the prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, drew his red line on a cartoonish diagram of a bomb from the podium of the United Nations General Assembly on Thursday, he intended to illustrate in simple terms the point at which Iran’s uranium enrichment program must be stopped, at least in Israel’s view, to thwart a final sprint to a nuclear weapon.

Instead, the attention-grabbing performance seems to have created confusion in, of all places, Israel.

Mr. Netanyahu’s bomb was divided into sections marked 70 percent and 90 percent, representing the progress Iran has made, and is expected to make, toward amassing enough enriched uranium for a bomb, Israeli officials and experts said. Mr. Netanyahu drew his red line at 90 percent, asserting that the Iranians would be 90 percent along the way by next spring or summer.

But on Friday, Yediot Aharonot, a popular newspaper, published a drastically different interpretation. It assumed, erroneously, that Mr. Netanyahu had been referring not to progress made by Iran, but to actual percentages of uranium enrichment in his diagram, now known as the “Bibi Bomb,” a reference to Mr. Netanyahu’s nickname.

Much more at the link.

Whether Prime Minister Netanyahu meant that the Iranians were 70% on the way to being able to build an atomic bomb, or he was referring to 70% enrichment having been achieved, either is worrisome. Current guesstimates have Iran with a stockpile of uranium enriched to about 20% U235, which is considered weapons usable, for a crude bomb, but as the enrichment levels get lower, the amount needed to reach a critical mass grows very large. Uranium enriched to 85% U235 is considered weapons grade. However, once 20% enrichment has been achieved, further enrichment to 90% does not take that long.

Haaretz claimed that the Prime Minister’s speech was meant much more for the Israeli public:

In UN speech, Netanyahu targets Iran, but aims for Israeli public

By Aluf Benn, Editor-in-Chief | Sep.29, 2012 | 4:01 PM

In his wildest fantasy, after going up to the podium to deliver his speech at the United Nations General Assembly and voicing predictable warnings about the Jewish historical plight, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu likely pictured himself pulling out a note from his blazer and reading the dramatic message:

“IDF Chief just informed me of the successful completion of an operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities. Our soldiers are on the way home with no reported casualties, holding enriched Uranium Iran has harbored in recent years. The threats on Israel, the Gulf States and the global economy have been removed. I want to take this opportunity to thank all IDF combatants for their remarkable achievement, and join me in applauding them.”

But this wild dream did not come true. IDF soldiers remained in their bases, and the enrichment of uranium persists. Netanyahu settled for the thick red marker, which he used to draw a red line on a bomb diagram he brought from home, and tried to explain to the international community where and when to stop Iran before it’s too late.

Placing Iran at the top of his agenda serves Netanyahu’s political goals well ahead of a campaign cycle in which he will be running for his third term as Israel’s premier. He is perceived by the public as the only statesman capable of confronting the Iranian challenge, and his focus on the issue has only catapulted him to the top of the polls.

Netanyahu is, as usual, attentive to his public, catering his UN speech on Thursday to polls at home, which indicate that Israelis are concerned about Iran, but think the U.S. is the one that should take the country on, not Israel. Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have not succeeded in convincing public opinion that the IDF can handle the Iranian threat on its own. The public has spoken: Not now and not alone.

Netanyahu’s speech was precisely suited to this position: He called on the international community to determine a red line on Iran – or in other words to threaten it with war – and did not proclaim that Israel would go it alone if “the world” disappoints it. Netanyahu wanted to sound resolute, just like viewers at home love, but without barking up a tree he will have a hard time climbing down from.

Mr Benn states that the Israeli public prefer that the United States take the lead on this issue, and are not inclined to support a go-it-alone position on the part of Israel.

But when facing an existential threat, Israel may not be able to afford to rely on others. The generation which survived the Holocaust is mostly gone now, and the few survivors remaining who were older than toddlers at the time are at least in their seventies, but the history is clear: when the Jews of Europe depended on other people for their survival, half of them were slaughtered, and the other half would have been had the Third Reich won the war.
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Cross posted on THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.
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Added (admin): Also see Dana Pico’s Binyamin Netanyahu: “Do you want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”

Posted in Islam, Israel | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Binyamin Netanyahu: “Do you want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”

Posted by Dana Pico on 2012/09/16

From Karen, the Lonely Conservative:

‘A New Standard for Human Stupidity’

September 16, 2012

We now have to look to foreign leaders to hear some common sense. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared on Meet the Press this morning, saying things that make sense. I’m surprised his comments weren’t cut.

Continuing his calls for the United States to join Israel in imposing “red lines” threatening military action if Iran continues to pursue weapons made from enriched uranium, Netanyahu told David Gregory that “Iran is guided by a leadership with an unbelievable fanaticism.”

“It’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today,” he added. “Do you want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”

He then lamented that some in the American press have vocalized opposition to Israel’s desired end to an Iranian nuclear program: “I mean I heard some people suggest, David — I actually read this in the American press — they said, ‘Well, you know, if you take action, that’s a lot worse than having Iran with nuclear weapons. Some have even said that Iran with nuclear weapons would stabilize the Middle East, stabilize the Middle East.”

“I think the people who say this have set a new standard for human stupidity,” he said of those opponents.

No wonder Obama doesn’t want to meet with him.

The Other McCain has more.

Bob Woodward made a very important observation on Meet the Press, that our intelligence information, that everyone’s intelligence information, is often not as accurate as they’d like to believe it is. The most well-known failure of intelligence was when the United States believed, wholeheartedly, that Iraq retained old, and was building new, chemical weapons in 2002, but it was hardly the only one. Mr Woodward stated that any claims that anyone knew, for certain, exactly how far along Iran was toward building nuclear weapons were foolish; their intelligence estimates might happen to be dead-on accurate, but they could also be very far off.

That, of course, brings up the very old military question: do you prepare for what you believe is the worst your enemies could do, or for what you believe they are most likely to do? For Israel, a nuclear-armed Iran is an existential threat, and the answer, for most intelligent people, would be that they must prepare for the worst Iran could do; if it turns out that they overprepared, then they will have wasted time and effort and money, but their nation will endure. If they decide to base their preparations on what they think their enemies are most likely to do, and they guess wrong, the consequences could be devastating.

And that is why, to Prime Minister Netanyahu, the notion that there is anything worse than an Iran armed with nuclear weapons “set(s) a new standard for human stupidity.” Armchair strategists who have the responsibility for nothing have the luxury of theorizing about what might or could or should or probably will or will not happen; the men with the actual responsibility of protecting their nations’ actual survival don’t have that luxury.
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Cross-posted on THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.

Posted in Islam, Israel, war | Tagged: , , , | 9 Comments »

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu addresses Congress

Posted by Dana Pico on 2012/03/06

From

PM: Israel has acted against US advice before

 Binyamin Netanyahu with Speaker John Boehner.

Netanyahu tells congress Israel has historically acted in its own interests against American advice; Boehner pledges Congress will never let Jewish state ‘stand alone.’

By Herb Keinon, JERUSALEM POST CORRESPONDENT
03/07/2012 00:39

WASHINGTON – Citing historical precedents in which the US and Israel did not see eye-to-eye and Israel acted according to its own perception of its interests, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu told congressional leaders Tuesday that Israel viewed things differently than the US did at times, because it was not a global power and was more vulnerable.

Israeli sources said Netanyahu, meeting congressional leaders before flying back to Israel Tuesday evening, noted that David Ben-Gurion declared independence against the advice of the US; Levi Eshkol launched a preemptive attack in 1967, against Washington’s counsel; and Menachem Begin decided to bomb the Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981 despite US opposition.

America has global interests, while Israel is “on the ground and more vulnerable,” Netanyahu said in reference to Iran, saying that this made for a very different perspective.

A very different perspective! While the United States has global interests, Iran does not pose an existential threat to the United States; if Iran succeeds in building nuclear weapons, she would pose an existential threat to Israel.

This is not to say that the United States has never faced an existential threat. Russia has enough nuclear weapons, mounted on sophisticated delivery systems, to turn this country into a radioactive black hole in the ground. And while Russia seems like more of a remote threat now than the old Soviet Union was, the threat still persists.

But Americans really know very little about existential threats. The threat of a sudden Soviet nuclear attack, which was always possible, was still a sort of unrealistic, hazy, implausible, and just plain unreal thing. I am old enough to remember nuclear attack drills in kindergarten, where the teachers would have us scramble under our desks, on the red mats on which we’d take our daily kindergarten naps, but those were back in 1958, when Nikita Sergeievich Khrushchev was Premier and Cпутник was our new orbiting moon. For Americans, the existential threat was always just a threat, something never carried out, and something very unlikely to ever be carried out.

For the Israelis, an existential threat is all too real, because the Jews have faced a real, actual attempt to kill every last one of them, and though now quite elderly, there are still Holocaust survivors living in Israel. Even after the end of the Third Reich and the liberation from the concentration camps, the recovering Jews still faced real opposition in their attempt for form a new state, not just from the hostile Arabs in the Levant, but from the British, who, fearing the Arab reaction if too many Jewish refugees were allowed into the Levant, threw many of them into the Atlit detainee camp. Israel was formed again not by peaceful Jewish refugees from the devastation of Europe, but by an armed struggle against the British Mandatory Authority. This is part of the history that every Israeli child learns, is part of the culture that every Israeli knows, and is still attested to by some of the now very elderly men, and women, who fought for Israeli independence.

We Americans don’t understand the Arabs, and cannot see the appeal that political Islam has for Muslims in the Middle East. The Israelis, being much closer to Western civilization than the Arabs, are a people with whom we can more closely identify. But if we more closely identify with them, many of the Israelis really are cultural strangers to us. While we can kind of, sort of picture the Israeli settlers as analogous to our Western pioneers, they were actually quite different, rarely safe, scratching out an existence in a barren land, surrounded by hostile natives who could not be driven far off, and with the women just as responsible for the defense of the community as the men.

The Israelis are somewhat closer to us than the Arabs, culturally speaking, but only somewhat. When Prime Minister Netanyahu notes that Israel has gone its own way on certain issues of critical importance to them, it has often been because the Israelis believed there was no other choice. Some Americans believe that the Israelis ought to be willing to take chances for peace; that is easy to say when your country is safe and secure behind 3,000 miles of blue water. When your country is a small nation, one that can be driven across in an hour, it may not seem that there is a lot of room to take chances.
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Cross Posted on THE FIRST STREET JOURNAL.

Posted in Israel | Tagged: , , , | 3 Comments »

It looks like someone is taking action to prevent Iran from getting nuclear weapons

Posted by Dana Pico on 2011/11/15

From TIME:

Was Israel Behind a Deadly Explosion at an Iranian Missile Base?


By Karl Vick / Jerusalem Sunday, Nov. 13, 2011
Israeli newspapers on Sunday were thick with innuendo, the front pages of the three largest dailies dominated by variations on the headline “Mysterious Explosion in Iranian Missile Base.” Turn the page, and the mystery is answered with a wink. “Who Is Responsible for Attacks on the Iranian Army?” asks Maariv, and the paper lists without further comment a half-dozen other violent setbacks to Iran’s nuclear and military nexus. For Israeli readers, the coy implication is that their own government was behind Saturday’s massive blast just outside Tehran. It is an assumption a Western intelligence source insists is correct: the Mossad — the Israeli agency charged with covert operations — did it. “Don’t believe the Iranians that it was an accident,” the official tells TIME, adding that other sabotage is being planned to impede the Iranian ability to develop and deliver a nuclear weapon. “There are more bullets in the magazine,” the official says.

The powerful blast or series of blasts — reports described an initial explosion followed by a much larger one — devastated a missile base in the gritty urban sprawl to the west of the Iranian capital. The base housed Shahab missiles, which, at their longest range, can reach Israel. Last week’s report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran had experimented with removing the conventional warhead on the Shahab-3 and replacing it with one that would hold a nuclear device. Iran says the explosion was an accident that came while troops were transferring ammunition out of the depot “toward the appropriate site

More at the link. And then there’s this, from The Telegraph:

Iran claims defence computer systems hit by another ‘supervirus’

Iran says its defence computer systems have been infected with another “supervirus” known to be similar to one which severely damaged its nuclear programme last year.

Richard Spencer
By , Middle East Correspondent
2:59PM GMT 14 Nov 2011

Anti-virus experts last month identified a virus called “Duqu” that they said shared properties with the now famous “Stuxnet” worm, which spread across the world but is thought to have been successfully targeted at the nuclear programme’s centrifuges, the devices that enrich uranium to create nuclear fuel.

It was not clear on Monday from the Iranian statement whether Duqu had also struck nuclear facilities, but it was the first admission of damage.

“We are in the initial phase of fighting the Duqu virus,” Gholamreza Jalali, the head of Iran’s civil defence programme, said. “The final report which says which organisations the virus has spread to and what its impacts are has not been completed yet.

“All the organisations and centres that could be susceptible to being contaminated are being controlled.”

Although Mossad and other western intelligence agencies makes no comment on sabotage operations against Iran or any other country, there is little doubt that they are an important component of attempts to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.

Naturally, there’s no official comment from Israel, though there’s just enough unofficial bragging being leaked to let the Iranians know/fear that their suspicions are correct. Just about everyone paying any attention to this assumes that the Israelis were probably behind these things, and that’s just about the level of confirmation Israel would want. It’s kind of like the purported Israeli arsenal of nuclear weapons; everyone assumes that they have them, usually giving a number of between 100 and 200 warheads, but Israel has never confirmed nor denied the reports.

The stories quoted above follow on the heels of this one, also from The Telegraph:

Israel refuses to tell US its Iran intentions

Israel has refused to reassure President Barack Obama that it would warn him in advance of any pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear capabilities, raising fears that it may be planning a go-it-alone attack as early as next summer.

Israel is tight-lipped with US over Iran intentions Adrian Blomfield
By , in Jerusalem
7:49PM GMT 12 Nov 2011

The US leader was rebuffed last month when he demanded private guarantees that no strike would go ahead without White House notification, suggesting Israel no longer plans to “seek Washington’s permission”, sources said. The disclosure, made by insiders briefed on a top-secret meeting between America’s most senior defence chief and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s hawkish prime minister, comes amid concerns that Iran’s continuing progress towards nuclear weapons capability means the Jewish state has all but lost hope for a diplomatic solution.

On Tuesday, UN weapons inspectors released their most damning report to date into Iran’s nuclear activities, saying for the first time that the Islamic republic appeared to be building a nuclear weapon. It was with that grave possiblity in mind that Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, flew into Israel last month on what was ostensibly a routine trip.

Let’s be honest here: President Obama doesn’t trust Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and vice versa. There was the famous live microphone gaffe in which French President Nicolas Sarkozy was overheard telling President Obama that he “couldn’t stand” Mr Netanyahu, and that the Israeli Prime Minister was a “liar,” a characterization with which Mr Obama expressed no disagreement. I’ve never met Mr Netanyahu, and have absolutely no idea whether President Sarkozy’s characterization is accurate or not, but it isn’t hard for me to believe that, at least when it comes to preserving the safety and security of Israel, the Prime Minister would do whatever he believed it required, with lying certainly not excluded. He is, after all, a politician.

But if I were the Prime Minister of Israel, and my government had decided that a military strike was the only way to stop the Iranians from building atomic bombs, the President of the United States, regardless of whom that might be, would be about the last person I would inform in advance: it doesn’t seem like any secrets can be kept in Washington, and a secret like that would be way to interesting to expect it to be kept secret. In a town where a Deputy Secretary of State can gossip with a reporter about a spy’s secret identity, and literally think nothing of it until it blows up in his face, it’s easy enough picturing this making the rounds at one of Sally Quinn’s parties. Washington is too much a town all about talk; Israel is a country which actually gets things done.

Assuming that all of these stories are true, it looks like Israel really has decided that diplomacy will not keep Iran from building nuclear weapons, and that a nuclear-armed Iran is an intolerable situation. But it also looks like Israel has found methods of at least delaying Iran’s ability to build and deliver atomic bombs other than an open military attack. That’s pretty smart.

Posted in Israel | Tagged: , | 1 Comment »

 
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