Israel’s two air force strikes on Syria in three days – the second targeting the emblems of Assad rule overlooking Damascus from Mt. Qassioun – appear to be part of a tactical plan put together by the US Israel, and two Sunni powers, Turkey and Qatar, to break up the Tehran-Damascus-Beirut radical bloc and eventually force Iran to give up its nuclear bomb aspirations.
This is how it will be interpreted by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Bashar Assad and Hassan Nasrallah as they prepare their responses for the Israeli attacks.
Without officially confirming those strikes ever took place, Israel insisted that its air force and rockets singled out the advanced Iranian weapons waiting in Syria for transfer to Hizballah – and Hizballah itself. This message was designed for a purpose: It was meant to support Washington’s argument to Moscow that Israel had not aimed its bombs and rockets against Assad and his army – only the Iranian and Hizballah military presence in Syria.
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A top general in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps on Sunday warned Israel that any military action against Lebanon and the Hezbollah terror group would result in Israel’s destruction.
In an address in the southwestern Iranian city of Shahrekord, Brigadier General Mohammad Hossein Sepehr claimed that Iran now extends all the way to the Mediterranean coast, presumably an allusion to Tehran’s influence in Lebanon and Syria via its proxy Hezbollah.
Former IDF intel chief says Tehran will be able to break out to the bomb this summer; calls for drastic increase in sanctions
Iran has essentially crossed the “red line” set by Israel for its nuclear activity, and the coming few months will be a crucial period, Maj. Gen. (res.) Amos Yadlin, a former head of IDF Military Intelligence, said on Tuesday.
Speaking at a security conference in Tel Aviv, Yadlin said that “for all intents and purposes, Iran has crossed Israel’s red line… in the summer, Iran will be a month or two away from deciding about a bomb.”
Technicians upgrading Iran’s main uranium enrichment facility have tripled their installations of high-tech machines that could be used in a nuclear weapons program to more than 600 in the last three months, diplomats said Wednesday.
They say the machines are not yet producing enriched uranium and some may be only partially installed. Still the move is the latest sign that 10 years of diplomatic efforts have failed to persuade Tehran to curb its uranium enrichment. Instead, Iran continues to increase its capacities.
The installations also suggest that Iran possesses both the technology and the raw materials to mass-produce centrifuges that can enrich uranium much faster than the more than 12,000 inefficient machines now making up the backbone of its enrichment program.
Iran has announced that it will open two new uranium-processing facilities on Tuesday as Western efforts to convince Tehran to abandon its nuclear program ended in failure last week.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is preparing to inaugurate the “Saghand uranium complex near the Central city of Ardakan and Shahid Rezayeenejad Yellow Cake production facility” on Tuesday to mark the regime’s “National Day of Nuclear Technology,” according to Iran’s Fars News Agency.
To recap: 1) We facing a growth threat from North Korea both in aggression against the South and in proliferating nuclear weapons material; 2) The White House has no effective policy for dealing with that; 3) The White House’s effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program through a combinations of sanctions and diplomacy is a complete failure; and 4) In the midst of this they sent a political flak, a know-nothing on foreign policy, out to stumble through TV appearances.
The result is the appearance of confusion and fickleness. Sitting in Pyongyang and Tehran, the rogue dictators must think we are exceptionally indecisive and disinclined to challenge them. And on his they would be right. (There is bipartisan failure here, certainly. The Bush administration did no better with Iran and North Korea than its successors.)
Iran could have the capability to build a nuclear bomb by July, unnamed security sources said in a report published Friday.
The sources added that Israel’s leadership had been mollified by US President Barack Obama’s visit earlier this month, which saw Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu seemingly cotton to Washington’s later timeline on when Iran could have a nuclear bomb.
The security sources, said to be close to Netanyahu’s talks with Obama, claimed that after seeing North Korea wield nuclear weapons despite heavy Western opposition, Tehran’s leadership had also decided to break out toward the bomb, which could be ready between July and September.
“The Iranians aren’t messing around after North Korea. What Kim Jong Un has Ahmadinejad has,” a source told the Israeli daily Maariv, referring to North Korea’s and Iran’s respective leaders. “At the end of 2012 the Iranians carried out a simulation of a nuclear explosion and since then have been advancing at a murderous pace every day.”
Washington and its allies must insist that Tehran verifiably stop increasing the number and quality of its centrifuges.
Iran’s nuclear program dominated last week’s meeting between U.S. President Barack Obama and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A key challenge for both leaders: how to stop Iran’s rapid advance toward “critical capability.”
Critical capability means the point at which Iran could dash to produce enough weapons-grade uranium or separated plutonium for one bomb so quickly that the International Atomic Energy Agency or a Western intelligence service would be unable to detect the dash until it is over.
The [war game] crisis was spinning out of control.
So the [war] game ended. I believe this abrupt termination was artificial, but it was no accident. I’ve played in games that just got too intense. The design team had to break it off to prevent the animosity from getting out of hand.
Lessons were drawn, as they always are after a game. The United States needed better intelligence. Cruise missiles are a problem. The list went on with the usual items.
But there was an overarching lesson. Iran had thrown Israel into pandemonium without firing a shot. The population was terrified. The economy was in ruins. Israel’s reputation as the Prussia of the Middle East was smashed. Yes, nuclear war had been avoided. Deterrence worked. But who in Israel, the United States, or, for that matter, Iran would claim this was the real lesson? Iran had used a small nuclear force to overturn Israeli deterrence and rupture the Middle East order. Tehran was now empowered with a tremendous psychological victory. Iran had stood up to the Israelis and the Americans and had gotten away with it.
A small Iranian nuclear force will be able to drive a crisis spinning out of control rapidly. That’s why it is in Isael’s best interest to attack Iran before it gets nuclear weapons. Even if it is only to delay the problem. Israel must change the game or else. Failure to change the game means that things will only get worse in the future.
In the above war game, does preventing nuclear war mean a happy ending, or does it mean that next time it will only be much worse? And there will be a next time.
Iran and Hezbollah ‘have built 50,000-strong force to help Syrian regime’ | World news | guardian.co.uk
Iran and Hezbollah have built a 50,000-strong parallel force in Syria to help prolong the life of the Assad regime and to maintain their influence after his fall, Israel‘s military intelligence chief has claimed.
Major General Aviv Kochavi said Iran intended to double the size of this Syrian “people’s army”, which he claimed was being trained by Hezbollah fighters and funded by Tehran, to bolster a depleted and demoralised Syrian army.