By Haaretz Service
Tags: Iran, nuclear, U.S., Mossad
Former Mossad Chief Ephraim Halevy told Time magazine in an interview published Thursday that an Israeli attack on Iran "could have an impact on us for the next 100 years" and should only be considered as a last resort.
Halevy, who currently heads the Center for Strategic and Policy Studies at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, added that an Iranian attack on Israel would probably have little impact, because Iranian missiles would largely be intercepted by Israel's advanced anti-missile defense system.
(Don't count on it. These systems have NEVER performed successful tests on the type of missile which would be used in a counter-attack by Iran or Russia.)
Another former senior Mossad official, who reportedly served during Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's administration, told the American magazine that "Iran's achievement is creating an image of itself as a scary superpower when it's really a paper tiger."
(It hasn't created this image. The Extremists in Israel and DC have done this.)
An additional Israeli source told Time that Israel sees the period between the U.S. elections in November and the president's inauguration in January as the "window of opportunity" for a possible attack on Iran. The source explained that any military move against Iran would not be carried out before the elections, because it would negatively impact the presidential candidates, especially Republican candidate John McCain and "No Israel leader wants to be blamed for destroying the Republican chances," Time cited the source as saying.
(Very telling. But unless Diebold and ES&S get to work their magic again, McCain and the Neo-Cons have absolutely no chance of winning the election.)
However, the magazine quoted intelligence sources as saying that an Israeli attack on Iran would likely stall the Islamic republic's nuclear aspirations only by "a year or two."
(Meaning its "ambitions" to generate nuclear power ...)
Launching a long-range strike against a multitude of hidden targets in Iran entails huge risks and uncertain rewards, which makes the cost-benefit analysis weigh against an air strike on Iran, according to some senior Israeli officials who urge caution.
Iran is not the belligerent party
By Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News
Published: June 23, 2008, 23:33
In recent years Iran has become the target of a belligerent campaign against it, orchestrated by usual suspects the US, Israel and Britain.
(The REAL 'Axis of Evil"?)
This aggressive nuclear-armed trio has badgered other nations to back anti-Iranian sanctions without even the flimsiest evidence that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Since 2006, Iran has been subjected to three rounds of ever-tightening UN sanctions while the European Union (EU) is preparing to freeze funds and assets of Bank Melli, Iran's largest bank. And what heinous crime has Tehran perpetrated to warrant this treatment?
In truth, Iran hasn't done anything wrong. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which it is a signatory, it has an "inalienable right" to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, which includes the right to enrich uranium.
But because Washington harbours old grievances against the Iranian government and Israel is determined to eliminate potential powerful rivals within the region Iran is being squeezed to relinquish its rights.
The stance of the US and its allies is not only based on an unfounded and unfair premise, it reeks of hypocrisy when nuclear-armed Israel has a green light to continue its ridiculous policy of nuclear ambiguity and is not being pressed to sign-up to the NPT.
On the rare occasions that Western leaders are asked about this inconsistency, they deftly change the subject, terminate the interview, or launch into a tirade, which usually includes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "wipe Israel off the map" statement, knowing full well that his words were mistranslated. They cannot debate the issue because it defies logic.
When it comes to demonising Iran, the US, Israel and Britain have a unified message and a compliant media, which has learned nothing from its mistakes during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, and seems happy to continue to act as a government propaganda arm in some cases.
Thanks to the dutiful corporate mouthpieces, most Americans and Britons have no idea that Tehran is acting within its rights under the NPT.
They don't know that in December, a US intelligence estimate stated categorically that Iran is not currently developing nukes or that the nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors Iranian facilities, has no proof it seeks to do so.
The West's propaganda campaign is so effective that the majority of Westerners believe that Iran is the belligerent even though the facts support the contrary argument.
For instance, the US President George W. Bush has rarely missed an opportunity to insult, condemn and threaten Iran throughout his two terms in office beginning with his puerile "Axis of Evil".
The Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, made his feelings known in his "bomb, bomb Iran" ditty. And even his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, has vowed to eliminate the threat posed by Iran whatever it takes.
Israeli leaders have gone a step further. Earlier this month, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said an attack on Iran appeared "unavoidable". Interestingly, every time the rhetoric is ratcheted up so is the price of oil, which is good news for Tehran's coffers.
Worse, Israel recently launched a military air exercise over the eastern Mediterranean involving over 100 fighter jets and helicopters, which, according to US officials was a prelude to a possible strike on Iran's enrichment plant at Natanz.
An Israeli spokesperson told the Times that Iran should "read the writing on the wall" as this was a "dress rehearsal" and Iranians should "read the script before they continue with their programme" else Israel "will take military steps to halt Tehran's production of bomb-grade uranium."
In this case, shouldn't this dry run constitute an act of war? It is certainly a provocative act and should be taken seriously in light of Israel's recent incursion into Syrian airspace to bomb a military facility and its 1981 attack on Iraq's Osirak reactor.
When Egypt amassed over 200,000 troops in the Sinai in early June 1967, Israel struck first, blamed Egypt for initiating hostilities and claiming it had acted out of self-defence. Surely, Israel's self-confessed rehearsal is similarly provocative and in the extremely unlikely event Iran struck first, it could also argue self-defence.
Whether Israel is merely sabre-rattling in an attempt to persuade Iran to agree to the latest EU package of inducements or whether it is deadly serious is the subject of debate.
IAEA Chief Mohammad Al Baradei seems to be taking it seriously and if Iran is attacked he says he will resign.
"I don't believe that what I see in Iran today is a current, grave and urgent danger. If a military strike is carried out against Iran at this time, it would make me unable to continue my work," he said, warning that such an attack would turn the region into "a fireball".
Iran is taking it seriously too. Last Sunday, its Defence Minister Mustafa Mohammad Najjar told the nation that if attacked Iran would use "all means available" to come up with a devastating response. Those of us who live in the neighbourhood can only pray that cooler heads put an end to this madness before it's too late.
Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at email@example.com.
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