Monday, April 9, 2012

Middle East To "Collapse" Into Full Conflict?

The news are becoming more and more prophetic by the day:

An Israeli pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear program will probably begin with a rain of Jericho missiles obliterating the heavy water plant in Arak and destroying four small nuclear research reactors at the Nuclear Technology Center in Isfahan.

Simultaneously, 100 Israeli F-16I and F-15I fighter jets will drop huge bunker-busting bombs on attack-hardened nuclear fuel enrichment plants buried in the mountain sides of Natanz and Fordow.

Submarine-launched cruise missiles will seek out targets at a variety of research facilities across Iran.

Some Israeli aircraft will attack Iran’s power lines with special-purpose munitions that use chemically treated carbon fibres to short-circuit transformers and switching stations to knock out Iran’s power grid.

That seems like a shocking scenario, but if Israel does indeed 'attack' Iran's nuclear facilities, this could be a very likely scenario. The question then becomes - what would happen next?

Such a scenario — played out and predicted increasingly by war game strategists — looms large as the decade-long diplomatic confrontation with Iran over its suspected nuclear weapons program appears to be drawing to an end.

Talks between Iran and six world powers — the United States, Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany — scheduled to begin in Istanbul next Friday could be the last chance to avoid full-fledged conflict.

If the talks fail, the Middle East could plunge into a regional war before the year is out.

“When Israel identifies a national security threat, it will strike and will strike at great distances,” warns Sam Gardiner, a retired U.S. Air Force Colonel and war game specialist who was hired by the Swedish Defence Research Agency to study the consequences of an Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Quiet diplomacy may be collapsing amid the steadily escalating chorus of threats and counter-threats.

“Containment is not a policy option from the Israeli perspective,” says Col. Gardiner. “The more it becomes a serious policy option for the United States, the more Israel will be pushed to take matters into its own hands.”

“The situation has a quality of inevitability about it. It has the feel of Europe prior to World War I.”

Israeli news reports say the country’s security cabinet reviewed an intelligence assessment last weekend that predicted that an Israeli attack on Iran would result in “three weeks of non-stop fighting on multiple fronts” as the result of missile attacks from Lebanon, Syria and Iran.

But Israeli and U.S. officials, while agreed on how much progress Iran has made enriching uranium, are deeply divided over how to prevent Tehran from building a weapon.

A report, published last week by the U.S. Congressional Research Service, quotes a “very senior Israeli security source” as saying: “Americans tell us there is time and we tell them that they only have about six to nine months more than we do. Therefore, sanctions have to be brought to a culmination now, in order to exhaust that track.”

The bottom line?

Washington sources disclose exclusively that the Obama administration and Netanyahu government have secretly agreed on “Formula of 1,000” as their final concession at the end of the forthcoming Six Power nuclear talks with Iran which starts Saturday, April 14. In substance, this formula would let Iran keep 1,000 centrifuges for enriching uranium up to 3.5 percent and stock 1,000 kilograms of the same grade uranium while, aside from a small amount for medical research, giving up its store of 20-percent grade uranium which can be jumped quickly to weapon quality.

...the Israeli prime minister, by giving crucial ground on the major sticking point of uranium enrichment, appears to have calculated that after going the extra mile, Obama will not be able to block Israeli military action against Iran’s nuclear sites if Tehran continues nonetheless to play games and cheat the International Atomic Energy Agency and its inspectors.
Netanyahu may have miscalculated the odds. His concession gave Obama enough rope to pull the Iranians to the negotiating table through his back channel to Tehran. That channel will remain open and the US is more likely to be induced by Iranian wiles to make more concessions than it is to give Israel the nod for military action.

The U.S.­ Navy has deployed a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf amid rising tensions with Iran over its nuclear program, Cmdr. Amy Derrick-Frost of the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet said Monday.

Derrick-Frost said that the deployment of the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise along the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group marks only the fourth time in the past decade that the Navy has had two aircraft carriers operating at the same time in the region.

The deployment announced on Monday comes less than a week before world superpowers are set to open negotiations in Istanbul with the Islamic Republic over its contentious nuclear program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran would not agree to world powers imposing pre-conditions ahead of the resumption of talks, Iranian media reported on Monday.

The Palestinian Authority will renew its efforts to win UN recognition for a Palestinian state if it does not receive a positive response from Israel to its positions on a prospective peace deal, PA President Mahmoud Abbas told an unofficial Israeli delegation on Sunday.

Abbas gave Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu a month to respond to the Palestinian positions, which will be laid out in a letter to be delivered to Netanyahu next Wednesday during a meeting in Jerusalem with Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad.

"The darkness that poses a real threat to mankind, after all, is the fact that he can see and investigate tangible material things, but cannot see where the world is going or whence it comes, where our own life is going, what is good and what is evil.

"The darkness enshrouding God and obscuring values is the real threat to our existence and to the world in general," he said.

The Pope repeating one of the central themes of his pontificate, said man was too often in awe of technology instead of being in awe of God.

"If God and moral values, the difference between good and evil, remain in darkness, then all other "lights", that put such incredible technical feats within our reach, are not only progress but also dangers that put us and the world at risk.


Scott said...

OK, I'm going to just delete all the comments in this thread, whether related or not and/or whether "correct" or "incorrect", "good" or bad"....Rather than moderate comments in advance of being posted, I'm just going to have to delete entire threads so there doesn't appear to be any partiality. Sorry for those comments that were unrelated.

Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord for that!