Iran’s nuclear facilities


I find it good for the heart (as well as the mind) to touch base with Uri Avnery on a regular basis. He remains consistently optimistic about the impossibility of an Israeli attack on Iran. He has said it repeatedly: ‘it will not happen!’ And the truly encouraging thing is that his positive prophecy isn’t based on his faith in his leaders, let alone in God (being an atheist) but on his cold, hard political realism.

Father Dave

Uri Avnery

August 18, 2012

Mad or Crazy?

by Uri Avnery

BINYAMIN NETANYAHU may be crazy, but he is not mad.

Ehud Barak may be mad, but he is not crazy.

Ergo: Israel will not attack Iran

I HAVE said so before, and I shall say so again, even after the endless talk about it. Indeed no war has been talked about so much before it happened. To quote the classic movie line: “If you have to shoot, shoot. Don’t talk!”

In all Netanyahu’s bluster about the inevitable war, one sentence stands out: “In the Committee of Inquiry after the war, I shall take upon myself the sole responsibility, I and I alone!”

A very revealing statement.

First of all, committees of inquiry are appointed only after a military failure. There was no such committee after the 1948 War of Independence, nor after the 1956 Sinai War or the 1967 Six-day War. There were, however, committees of inquiry after the 1974 Yom Kippur war and the 1982 and 2006 Lebanon Wars. By conjuring up the specter of another such committee, Netanyahu unconsciously treats this war as an inevitable failure.

Second, under Israeli law, the entire Government of Israel is the Commander in Chief of the armed forces. Under another law, all ministers bear “collective responsibility”. TIME magazine, which is becoming more ridiculous by the week, may crown “King Bibi”, but we still have no monarchy. Netanyahu is no more than primus inter pares.

Third, in his statement Netanyahu expresses boundless contempt for his fellow ministers. They don’t count.

Netanyahu considers himself a modern day Winston Churchill. I don’t seem to remember Churchill announcing, upon assuming office, “I take responsibility for the coming defeat.” Even in the desperate situation of that moment, he trusted in victory. And the word “I” did not figure large in his speech.

IN THE daily brainwashing, the problem is presented in military terms. The debate, such as it is, concerns military capabilities and dangers.

Israelis are especially, and understandably, worried by the rain of tens of thousands of missiles expected to fall on all parts of Israel, not only from Iran, but also from Lebanon and Gaza. The minister responsible for civil defense deserted just this week, and another one, a refugee from the hapless Kadima party, has taken his place. Everybody knows that a large part of the population (including myself) is completely defenseless.

Ehud Barak has announced that no more than a measly 500 Israelis will be killed by enemy missiles. I do not aspire to the honor of being one of them, though I live quite near the Ministry of Defense..

But the military confrontation between Israel and Iran is only a part of the picture, and not the most important one.

As I have pointed out in the past, far more important is the impact on the world economy, already steeped in a profound crisis. An Israeli attack will be viewed by Iran as American-inspired, and the reaction will be accordingly, as explicitly stated by Iran this week.

The Persian Gulf is a bottle, whose neck is the narrow Strait of Hormuz, which is totally controlled by Iran. The huge American aircraft carriers now stationed in the gulf will be well advised to get out before it is too late. They resemble those antique sailing ships which enthusiasts assemble in bottles. Even the powerful weaponry of the US will not be able to keep the strait open. Simple land-to-sea missiles will be quite enough to keep it closed for months. To open it, a prolonged land operation by the US and its allies will be required. A long and bloody business with unpredictable consequences.

A major part of the world’s oil supplies has to pass through this unique waterway. Even the mere threat of its closure will cause oil prices to shoot sky-high. Actual hostilities will result in a worldwide economic collapse, with hundreds of thousands – if not millions – of new unemployed.

Each of these victims will curse Israel. Since it will be crystal clear that this is an Israeli war, the rage will be turned against us. Worse, much worse – since Israel insists that it is “the state of the Jewish people”, the rage may take the form of an unprecedented outbreak of anti-Semitism. Newfangled Islamophobes will revert to old-time Jew-haters. “The Jews are our disaster,” as the Nazis used to proclaim.

This may be worst in the US. Until now, Americans have watched with admirable tolerance as their Middle East policy is practically dictated by Israel. But even the almighty AIPAC and its allies will not be able to contain the outburst of public anger. They will give way like the levees of New Orleans.

THIS WILL have a direct impact on a central calculation of the warmongers.

In private conversations, but not only there, they assert that America will be immobilized on the eve of elections. During the last few weeks before November 6, both candidates will be mortally afraid of the Jewish lobby.

The calculation goes like this: Netanyahu and Barak will attack without giving a damn for American wishes. The Iranian counter-attack will be directed against American interests. The US will be dragged into the war against its will.

But even in the unlikely event that the Iranians act with supreme self-restraint and do not attack US targets, contrary to their declarations, President Obama will be compelled to save us, send huge quantities of arms and ammunition, bolster our anti-missile defenses, fund the war. Otherwise he will be accused of leaving Israel in the lurch and Mitt Romney will be elected as the savior of the Jewish State.

This calculation is based on historical experience. All Israeli governments in the past have exploited American election years for their purposes.

In 1948, when the US was required to recognize the new Israeli state against the express advice of both the Secretary of State and the Secretary of Defense, President Truman was fighting for his political life. His campaign was bankrupt. At the last moment Jewish millionaires leaped into the breach, Truman and Israel were saved.

In 1956, President Eisenhower was in the middle of his re-election campaign when Israel attacked Egypt in collusion with France and Britain. It was a miscalculation – Eisenhower did not need Jewish votes and money and put a stop to the adventure. In other election years the stakes were lower, but always the occasion was used to gain some concessions from the US.

Will it work this time? If Israel unleashes a war on the eve of elections, in an obvious effort to blackmail the president, will the American public mood support Israel – or could it go the other way? It will be a critical gamble of historic proportions. But like Mitt Romney, Netanyahu is a protégé of the Casino magnate Sheldon Adelson, and he may be no more averse to gambles than the poor suckers who leave their money in Adelson’s casinos.

WHERE ARE the Israelis in all this?

In spite of the constant brainwashing, polls show that the majority of Israelis are dead set against an attack. Netanyahu and Barak are seen as two addicts, many say megalomaniacs, who are beyond rational thinking.

One of the most striking aspects of the situation is that our army chief and the entire General Staff, as well as the chiefs of the Mossad and the Shin Bet, and almost all their predecessors, are totally and publicly opposed to the attack.

It is one of the rare occasions when military commanders are more moderate than their political chiefs, though it has happened in Israel before. One may well ask: how can political leaders start a fateful war when practically all their military advisors, who know our military capabilities and the chances for success, are against it?

One of the reasons for this opposition is that the army chiefs know better than anyone else how totally dependent on the US Israel really is. Our relationship with America is the very basis of our national security.

Also, it seems doubtful whether Netanyahu and Barak have a majority for the attack even in their own government and inner cabinet. The ministers know that apart from everything else, the attack would drive investors and tourists away, causing huge damage to Israel’s economy.

So why do most Israelis still believe that the attack is imminent?

Israelis, by and large, have been totally convinced by now (a) that Iran is governed by a bunch of crazy ayatollahs beyond rationality, and (b) that, once in the possession of a nuclear bomb, they will certainly drop it on us.

These convictions are based on the utterances of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in which he declared that he will wipe Israel off the face of the earth.

But did he really say that? Sure, he has repeatedly expressed his conviction that the Zionist Entity will disappear from the face of the earth. But it seems that he never actually said that he – or Iran – would ensure that result.

That may seem only a small rhetorical difference, but in this context it is very important.

Also, Ahmadinejad may have a big mouth, but his actual power in Iran was never very great and is shrinking fast. The ayatollahs, the real rulers, are far from being irrational. Their whole behavior since the revolution shows them to be very cautious people, averse to foreign adventures, scarred by the long war with Iraq that they did not start and did not want.

A nuclear-armed Iran may be an inconvenient near-neighbor, but the threat of a “second holocaust” is a figment of the manipulated imagination. No ayatollah will drop a bomb when the certain response will be the total annihilation of all Iranian cities and the end of the glorious cultural history of Persia. Deterrence was, after all, the whole sense of producing an Israel bomb

IF NETANYAHU & Co. were really frightened by the Iranian Bomb, they would do one of two things:

Either agree to the de-nuclearization of the region, giving up our own nuclear armaments (highly unlikely);

Or make peace with the Palestinians and the entire Arab world, thereby disarming the ayatollahs’ hostility to Israel.

But Netanyahu’s actions show that, for him, keeping the West Bank is vastly more important than the Iranian bomb.

What better proof do we need of the craziness of this whole scare?

Uri Avnery is an Israeli writer and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement



This article is simply chilling! The details of this alleged military campaign against Iran read like a plot of a B-Grade movie.  Surely no semi-intelligent human being would believe that the government and people of Iran will simply roll over and comply with US demands after being bombarded with Tomahawk missiles for a few days!  The only thing more insane than the plan is the premise for the attack – namely, that Iran poses a genuine existential threat to the people of Israel! 

As a younger man, I assumed that things like this could not happen – that nobody was that stupid! And yet I have seen the insane and the stupid happen so many times now within my own short life!

Lord, have mercy on us all!



U.S. Leaks War-Plan for Iran Attack

by Richard Silverstein on August 3, 2012 ·

in Mideast Peace

Yediot’s lead story on U.S. war plans against Iran
‘America’s goal: to neutralize the Iranian nuclear program
Date of mission : another year and a half’

I’ve written regularly here about Israel’s manipulation of U.S. media and public opinion in favor of military intervention against Iran. This perception management campaign has gone on for years. But recent days have proven that two can play at this. The U.S. too has a horse in this race. It doesn’t want Israel to strike. So it too is using various methods to massage Israeli perception of such an attack.

As I wrote yesterday, some of the most senior Obama administration officials have come to Israel over the past two weeks including Hillary Clinton, Leon Panetta, and Tom Donilon. They offered a mix of encouragement and tongue-lashing, all to remind Israel’s leaders that they should be grateful for the protective layer we’ve offered Israel from Iran’s nuclear threat.

Various Israeli officials have come forward too, espousing the message that an Israeli assault on Iran would be foolish. Those include no less a figure than IDF chief of staff Benny Gantz, who was quoted in an Israeli news report that was censored at the demand of Ehud Barak.

The latest to join the chorus is former IDF intelligence chief Zvi Farkash, who offered his views to no less a hawkish forum than Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Katz, who’s known as a stenographer for the IDF military brass. You can tell that if the Post and Katz are offering a venue to those against an attack, that this is not an issue about which Israel is at all unified.

Here is how Katz characterizes his subject’s views:

Farkash [said] that from what he is reading and hearing a decision is not far off. But, he warns, a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities now would be wrong.

“The timing is not now since, even if it is successful, it will ruin the legitimacy that is needed,” he said, suggesting instead that Israel wait six to eight months or even until spring 2013 before deciding on such an attack.

One word that repeats itself throughout the interview with Farkash is “legitimacy,” a reference to the required diplomatic support Israel will need after a strike to ensure that the Iranians are not allowed to rebuild their facilities and race toward the bomb – something he believes they will definitely and immediately do.

“An attack is not a single strike and once it happens we are in a whole other world,” he said. “Iran will pull out of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei and [President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad will reunite and it will be clear that they need a bomb now so that we cannot attack them again.

“Let the [diplomatic and sanctions] process run its course and don’t break the legitimacy,” he said…Right now, he adds, European and Asian countries are paying a heavy price for agreeing to the sanctions and stopping to do business with Iran.

“If Israel attacks, we will find ourselves being asked why we attacked when the world was imposing tough economic sanctions and was paying for this and was hurting as a result,” he said.

…Farkash does not accept the “immunity zone” argument [of Ehud Barak] – he is not alone; the Pentagon has also dismissed it – but ultimately says that when the immunity zone is up against the question of legitimacy, legitimacy should take precedence…Israel without legitimacy will not be able to – over time – maintain the results of a successful attack.”

I am not saying that statements by Gantz or Farkash are instigated by the U.S. (though they might be). They each have institutional reasons of their own for speaking out. But the U.S. will have done whatever it could within the constraints permitted by diplomatic protocol to make its friends within the Israeli power élite know that it would welcome such public statements.

We also appears to be leaking like crazy to trusted sources within the Israeli media. After Donilon’s visit, someone leaked to Haaretz’s Barak Ravid that the former had shared with Bibi and Barak the U.S. war-plan against Iran. Similarly, both Shimon Shiffer, Yediot’s Washington correspondent, and Ben Caspit, Maariv columnist, have published what are presumably portions of the plan.

After reading them in Hebrew, all I can say is that they’re the biggest pile of elephant dung I’ve read in some time. If an American official actually conveyed this information to the reporters and believes half the nonsense in it, then Don Rumsfeld’s ghost from the days of the Iraq invasion must still be haunting the halls of the Pentagon.

Here’s a rough summary of the U.S. plan. Despite the fact that many of you may find some of the views expressed here ironic or downright bizarre, I assure you I’ve done as little editorializing as possible except for the occasional [!] accompanying especially outrageous passages:

The attack begins with scores, perhaps hundreds of Tomahawk missiles attacking Iran’s defensive concentrations, command and control facilities, and intelligence capabilities. We will attack from everywhere in the globe from which we can field such weapons including bases in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia and ships in the Mediterranean. The weapons will be precise and highly lethal. Casualties among bystanders would be “minimal [!]”

We attack Iran over the course of anywhere from a few days to two months, of course using extreme caution not to harm Iranian civilians. We then wait to see the Iranian response. If it’s “reasonable,” follows the “rules of the game,” and only involves attacking U.S. warplanes or ships which are attacking it, and doesn’t escalate into attacks on Saudi Arabia or far-flung terror attacks using Iran’s proxies, then the U.S. can ratchet down the military pressure. But if the Iranians decide to up the ante, then we come in with all guns blazing. We attack IRG installations, the symbols of the regime, and strike mortal blows against the country’s military forces. In short, we’ll threaten to burn down the house and take the entire regime with it. We even send the fleet to the shores of Lebanon–warplanes, aircraft carriers and all–to make Nasrallah think twice about supporting his Iranian patrons.

After the first U.S. attack comes the ultimatum. Pres. Obama will speak from the White House and offer the Iranian leadership a choice of immediately stopping its nuclear program, the evacuation of enriched uranium from the country, and closing of uranium enrichment sites (especially Fordo). In return, the west will offer Iran civilian nuclear reactors. The Iranians will take a few days to respond to this offer (which they’ll find impossible to refuse). There will no new negotiations. No give and take. No further delays. It will be take-it-or-leave-it. If they refuse, the Tomahawks will rain down on them and all hell will break loose. Shock and Awe II.

Strategic weapons will be next: the recently upgraded 30,000 pound GBU 57 bunker buster (including 5,000 tons of explosive) that can, presumably, penetrate 300 feet down to take out the Fordo enrichment plant. This weapon involved $300-million in research and development and is produced by Boeing. It’s also known by its acronym: MOB (“Mother of all bombs”). You don’t want to be around when this baby hits the ground. Not much will remain of these nuclear sites afterward.

Unlike Iraq, the U.S. doesn’t plan any significant ground campaign in Iran. It will learn the lesson of Iraq. There will not be hundreds and thousands of coffins returning home from the field. There will be no Iranian quagmire.

The American goal will be to confine the attack to Iran’s nuclear facilities and not turn this into a regional war [!] The ayatollahs can be expected to be pragmatic, according to this American “wisdom,” to batten down the hatches, lower their heads, and take the blows we rain down. We don’t expect them to go wild and don’t believe they’d be willing absorb the murderous blows that would follow a full-scale Iranian counter-attack.

Such an American attack won’t wipe out Iran’s nuclear program, but it will set it back five to ten years [!]

Shimon Shiffer’s Maariv article likely comes from either the same or similar source. It adds that the Americans aren’t prepared to launch this attack for another year and a half. The paper’s Washington correspondent says that U.S. sources told him they’re quite aware of the opposition voiced by IDF chief Gantz to an Iran attack. He adds a few new details not offered in Caspit’s “exclusive.” Included as targets in the first wave of attacks will be Iranian infrastructure including power generation and water supply. The oil industry will also be a primary target. The destruction of Iran’s infrastructure will somehow lead to the fall of the regime.

One thing you’ve got to hand it to ‘em: whoever sold this bill of goods really put on a good show. But that’s all it was: a show. Like a used car salesman offering the few attractive qualities of his product and leaving out the flood of flaws. Frankly, I think the American pitch was a load of bull. If left to the Americans, there will be no attack on Iran. No doubt Bibi and Barak knew that when they heard it from Donilon and Panetta, who left Israel yesterday.

If any American general really believed the load of crap that was peddled in these stories, he should not only have his head examined, he should be busted down to private. Aircraft carriers in Beirut harbor? Regime change? Shock and Awe II? An offer the Iranians can’t refuse? Whoever wrote this script has seen The Godfather too many times and confuses cinema for reality. How about some “ocean-front” property in the Everglades or a bridge in New York? Any takers?

But I find myself in the unlikely position of saying, if that’s what it takes to persuade Israel not to take leave of its senses and launch a new regional war against Iran, then more power to ‘em. Whatever it takes, even if it’s based on fantasy and delusion. My problem is that I don’t believe any Israel will be fooled by this. You’re not and I’m not. Why would they?

To those who believe the Israelis won’t attack either, all I can say is that Zvi Farkash isn’t a Hollywood celebrity and doesn’t need media exposure. He doesn’t shoot his mouth off. If he speaks, like the old John Houseman commercial, everybody listens. If he thought Bibi was bluffing he wouldn’t waste his time. He believes an attack is likely, as do I. If I were a betting man (I’m not), I’d put the odds at 70-30.