Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Nuclear Politics in the Middle East

In a recent article from the Australian -
Iran will soon pose N-threat, says Israel (January 31, 2009)

Angus Hohenboken writes:

Israeli ambassador Yuval Rotem told a meeting of Sydney's Jewish community yesterday that he expected Iran would soon pose a major nuclear threat.

Seven News reporter Sarah Cummings reported that after telling a camera operator to turn off his camera, Mr Rotem told those gathered he expected Iran to stockpile enough uranium over the next 14 months to "be at the point of no return".

"(He said) the country's recent military offensives were a preintroduction to the challenge Israel expects from a nuclear-equipped Iran within a year," Cummings said.

During the meeting, held in a relaxed breakfast setting, Mr Rotem spoke about the war in Gaza, which has killed more than 1300 Palestinians.

Cummings said Mr Rotem made the point that "Israel's efforts in Gaza were to bring about understanding that we are ready to engage in a decisive way."

Does Israel fear an attack by Iran? On the contrary, there is much evidence in general that Israel does not fear a nuclear strike by Iran.

For many decades, Israel has employed military “pre emptive strikes” as an official defence force strategy. In September 2007, they bombed a site in Syria said by US officials to have contained a nuclear reactor built with the help of North Korea.

Incidentally, former US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld who not only armed Saddam Hussein, was also on the board of the Swiss company ABB when they sold the nuclear reactors to North Korea.

In 1981 the world's first attack on a nuclear reactor was carried out by Israel at Osiraq, Iraq.

Israel is thought to be more concerned about the reinforcement that a nuclear Iran would give to its influence in the region and to groups allied with it – such as Hezbollah in Lebanon – than about an actual nuclear strike on Israel.

In an interview with Israeli Military Historian Dr Martin van Creveld, July 2008, discussing Iran's missile tests and their possible threat, he says “They know very well that to attack Israel is suicide. In fact it is the fastest way to put an end to a 5000 year old civilisation. They will be deterred by Israel just as nuclear deterrence has worked everywhere else in the world without one exception since 1945.”

Hang on, is Dr Creveld suggesting that Israel is nuclear armed?

The short answer is; Yes. It’s an amazing quirk that when ever western media references Israel’s nuclear armament it does so using the precursor “rumored”.

Israel has never signed the Nuclear Non proliferation Treaty and has never admitted that it has nuclear weapons. As the Israeli journalist Michael Karpin once wrote, the United States has gone along with this charade because acknowledging the existence of Israel's nuclear arsenal would incite futile demands by Arabs and Iranians to get rid of it.

The 35th president of the U.S. urged Israel not to build the bomb. JFK even sent U.S. inspectors into the Dimona reactor starting in 1961. But Israeli nuclear leaders outfoxed the inspectors, and Washington's resolve faded with Kennedy's death. By Nov. 1966, Israel had the capability to detonate a nuclear device.

In 1967, shortly after the Six-Day War, a key CIA official was told that Israel probably had the bomb; the CIA relayed this information to L.B. Johnson (36th president), but the secretaries of defense and state were kept out of the loop.

Lyndon Johnson, a member of the Disciples of Christ, blessed the enterprise at least in part out of biblical appreciation of the covenant between God and the children of Israel.

It is debatable who poses the greatest threat of nuclear devastation to the world, Israel or the U.S.A. The fore mentioned Dr Martin van Creveld in 2003, believed that the Al-Aqsa Intifada then in progress, threatened Israel's existence and said "I consider it all hopeless at this point. ... We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen, before Israel goes under."

He was of course referring to the infamous Israeli “Samson Option” derived in namesake from a biblical story. Samson, an Israelite with divine strength, was betrayed by his wife Delilah, a Philistine. The Philistines cut off Samson’s hair thus robbing him of strength and imprisoned him. Samson repented his sins, his hair grew back and so did his strength unbeknown to the Philistines. At an assembly of the Philistines with Samson on show, Samson uttered “Let my soul die with the Philistines” and with that he pushed apart the temple pillars collapsing it, killing all the Philistines but also himself.

You will find in most texts mentioning the Samson Option that they are nearly always written from the point of view that Israel alludes to nuking the enemy specifically, in a last dying act of retaliation. However there are rumours that the option is far more sinister, and that Israel has its nukes pointed in all directions with the attitude, if we are to die then so shall the rest of the world. “We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen, before Israel goes under."

Louis RenĂ© Beres who chaired Project Daniel, a group advising former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, argued that the effective deterrence of the Samson Option would be increased by ending the policy of nuclear ambiguity. He recommended Israel use the Samson Option threat to “support conventional preemptions” against enemy nuclear and non-nuclear assets because “without such weapons, Israel, having to rely entirely upon non nuclear forces, might not be able to deter enemy retaliations for the Israeli pre-emptive strike.”

In the 1990 Gulf War, on the second day of the American invasion, Saddam Hussein fired eight Scud missiles at non combatant Israel. Two of the conventionally armed missiles landed on Tel Aviv. Then Prime Minister Yitzhak Shamir responded by ordering mobile missile launchers armed with nuclear weapons moved into the open and deployed facing Iraq.

“The Samsonesque strongman of the Middle East had stirred” - Seymour Hersh. Promising Patriot missile batteries and loads of future aid, the United States pressured Israel to keep cool.

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