An Israeli strike on Iran would happen only with the authorization of the government, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Thursday, speaking toReshet Bet.Barak noted that the United States and Israel are approaching a common assessment of the situation. A recent U.S. report shows that Iran has made significant progress in its nuclear program, bringing the U.S. view of the urgency of the situation closer to Israel’s, he said.
Defense Minister Ehud Barak on Thursday said that a recently reported US intelligence report is closer than ever to Israel's own intelligence estimates on Iran. The latest US estimate, he told Israel Radio, gives much more urgency to stopping Iranian nuclear proliferation."As far as we know it (the intelligence assessment) brings the American assessment much closer to ours ... it makes the Iranian issue even more urgent and (shows it is) less clear and certain that we will know everything in time about their steady progress toward military nuclear capability," the Defense Minister told Israel Radio.Earlier in the week, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu once again shot down the idea that a nuclear-armed Iran could be contained. If Iran gets a nuclear bomb, it may actually use it, he said in a meeting with Australian Foreign Minister Bob Carr on Monday.That the Iranians might actually use the bomb is a reality that cannot be denied, Netanyahu said.
Barak referred to the new US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran as confirming that both capitals understand that not much time is left for making decision on whether or not to go on the offensive against Iran’s nuclear facilities and when, because, he said, “a nuclear Iran is taking shape right before our eyes.”Defense Minister Barak's key remark was this: "I am aware of an American intelligence finding (not the new National Intelligence Estimate) that brings American intelligence assessments [of the current state of the Iranian nuclear program] very close to ours. This makes the Iranian question [i.e., the issue of the Iranian nuclear program and a possible military operation against it] extremely urgent," he said without further explanation.American-Israeli talks about a military operation against Iran wound up months ago in early 2012. The administration was made aware that notwithstanding President Barack Obama’s objections, Israel would soon go into action against Iran's nuclear facilities.Barak stressed that he and the prime minister are in total harmony on this issue. "What we (the prime minister and I, and the Americans) understand is that there is not much time left for deciding [about an attack on Iran]"
As to the public disputes over the media on the wisdom of attacking Iran, the defense minister said some of the debates and public disclosures not only harm Israel’s security but actually aid Tehran.
The price of allowing Iran to attain a nuclear weapon will be much greater than the cost of an attack. It is already happening, said the Israeli minister. "And we must take into account the dangers and the very steep price in human life and in resources, if Iran goes nuclear. First, we must consider the outcome of first Saudi Arabia, then Turkey, and then the New Egypt becoming nuclear powers in their turn.”
He did offer a prediction on Syria, estimating that quite soon "we would see Syrian President Bashar Assad hunkering down with his army in a fortified Alawite enclave" encompassing the Syrian coast and the Alawite Mountains.
"The longer the war in Syria drags on," he said, "the greater the prospects of total chaos."
The defense minister underlined the importance of attempts to renew peace negotiations with the Palestinians as quickly as possible. He cited the growing strength of Hamas and its ties with the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt and in other Arab countries as lending urgency to the revival of the peace process."On this issue, time is not on our side," he said. "But if progress proves evasive, both of us [Israel and the Palestinians] may be faced with having to perform certain mutually-agreed unilateral measures.”
Should any of the Iranians taken hostage by rebels in Syria be harmed, America should expect Iran’s intelligence agents to respond in kind, the Islamic regime has warned.Forty-eight Iranians were seized Saturday in Damascus by rebels seeking to overthrow Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime. Iran claims they are pilgrims, but Abdel Nasser Shemir, a rebel commander, in an interview with the news organization Al Arabiya, charged they were members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards whose confiscated documents proved as much.
Fearing an Iranian attack on strategic and essential oil and military facilities in the Middle East, the United States is helping Gulf countries build a missile defense system, which will include advanced radar missile detection systems and Patriot missiles to shoot down incoming Iranian rockets.Among the countries to be included in the plan, a report Thursday said, are Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain, Oman, and Qatar. All of these countries are seen as extremely vulnerable in case Iran decides to advance on them militarily.
At a news conference Wednesday morning, Kate Hutton of the U.S. Geological Survey at Caltech said there had been at least 30 quakes since Tuesday night, but only three could be felt by residents. She said officials are studying the quakes to understand whether it was a swarm or some other type of pattern.
"This is all part of the same earthquake sequence; they're all in the same area,'' Hutton told reporters at the briefing. "We haven't had anything in the L.A. Basin in the last few years, but that doesn't mean we're totally quiet, and we certainly have been active in the southern part of the state,'' she added.
The series of quakes — including the 4.5 quake Wednesday morning and 4.4 quake Tuesday night — has rattled residents in the area.
“No one really freaked but everyone sure felt it,” said Roxann Reeves, supervisor at a Starbucks on Yorba Linda Boulevard, where about 20 customers were in line when the aftershock hit. “We’d all just been talking about the one last night.”The first earthquake hit near Yorba Linda at 11:23 p.m. Tuesday; the second — upgraded from an initial magnitude of 2.2 — followed about a minute later, according to data from the U.S. Geological Survey. About a dozen aftershocks ranging from magnitudes of 1.2 to 2.2 rumbled the same area until about 3 a.m. Wednesday.
New figures are fanning concerns that the eurozone debt crisis is driving its powerhouse economies, France and Germany, into recession.France is heading into recession, according to its central bank, adding to fears that the eurozone debt crisis is causing the region’s strongest economies to follow their troubled southern neighbours into an economic downturn.The forecast came as official figures from Germany, the eurozone’s economic powerhouse, showed that its industrial production and exports both fell in June. The data raised concerns that Germany too is succumbing to the crisis and will fall back into a recession.