The incoming elections in the US and the flashy rhetoric by Republican presidential candidates have stirred the question of nuclear Iran into the front page. The Muslim Gulf states and Israel have added to the rumbling; they have sustained their pressure on the US administration, urging it to act, to stop Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons. The Obama Administration has warned Iran: “pursuit of nuclear weapons is unacceptable; the US would use all means in its disposal, including force if necessary, to neutralize Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.” But to no avail.
Still, Iran keeps its macho talk loud and condescending. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has just issued a warning—Iran will not cave in to pressure; progress toward a nuclear bomb (he did not say “nuclear bomb”, but he definitely implied it) will not be brought to an end, no matter what sanctions the Americans or the EU impose on the Islamic Republic.
The Ayatollah is serious. Although macho talk in the Islamic Middle East is a standard adopted by all militant Islamic leaders, the Iranian government is flexing its muscles, flaunting its sharp teeth. It believes that economic sanctions will hurt, but not as much as caving in to American demands. In a culture where false honor precedes anything that moves under the sun, where life without “honor” is far worse than death, where honor killing is a religious diktat, caving in to economic sanctions is equivalent to an unconditional surrender. And surrendering to the “Great Satan” merely because life is a little tough is inexcusable, dishonorable behavior; it is treason that merits the death sentence.
The loud rhetoric from all sides has been underlined by considerable measures on the ground. The US has been and is about to keep on amassing a war machine in the Persian Gulf and on several islands within reach of Iran. American, British and French warships and aircraft have been acting around the Persian Gulf and around Saudi air bases respectively, while the Saudis have reinforced their anti-missile defense gear and their delivery facilities around Saudi oil fields and along the Persian Gulf respectively.
Israel has been readying itself for war on all fronts. It has recently conducted large-scale military exercises, both defensive and offensive in nature, including the drafting of reservists under projected heavy missile bombardment of every town, road and base, as well as a large scale parachuting by over a thousand paratroopers, signaling a willingness to engage ground-troops on foreign soil in addition to relying on its air force and its rockets.
Iran has not been sitting idle either. They have announced the start of a three-week exercise in southern Iran and the Strait of Hormuz under war settings. They seem to brace for a noteworthy retaliation with the objective of blocking the flow of oil out of the Gulf. In addition, they have been concocting terror attacks on soft Jewish and possibly other civilian targets throughout the world.
The American Administration is working hard at softening its seeming aim by masking its military buildup with wishful talking points. US Defense Secretary Panetta’s recent implications concerning Israel’s imminent attack plans are part of a grand-scale deception strategy. They have been designed to refocus the Iranians on the most suspicious front rather than the one that would deliver the ultimate blow—the US military. It is obvious that if Israel embarks on a preemptive strike on the Iranian nuclear project, Iran will try to retaliate. Retaliation will not be limited to hitting Israel. The Revolutionary Guards will attempt to attack American interests throughout the Middle East, thus provide a pretext for an American involvement in a large scale “defensive” war against Iran—a war that would be supported by the American public due to its defensive nature, a war that would boost Obama’s standing in the eyes of the American people, shortly ahead of the elections.
The scenario above may not necessitate an Israeli opening (of hostilities) since the Iranian regime is stuck in a macho syndrome, which blinds their rational reasoning. They will miscalculate. They may initiate hostilities against US interests in the Persian Gulf in order to lay bare the risk associated with any American attempt to force them into submission by aggressive economic means. They do not believe that the US would retaliate by initiating an all-out-war in response. They view the US and President Obama as paper tigers. The Ayatollah will repeat the same mistake that Hezbollah had committed in 2006 when they kidnapped dead Israeli soldiers before Israel responded with an all-out-war they had not anticipated and had not wished for.
There is little doubt that a war with Iran can be avoided. There is high likelihood that the US will lead the effort even if Israel initiates the campaign. There is little doubt that the US is hard at work preparing for war in the Persian Gulf. There is high likelihood that Iran will provide the American people with a sizzling justification by provoking the US and invite a massive retaliation.
There is no doubt. 2012 will see to a new Gulf war. This time, the Ayatollah will be the one to pay the price.
_ On 1/9/2012 I wrote in http://www.jpost.com/Magazine/Opinion/Article.aspx?id=252675) that Iran would launch a Pearl Harbor type “surprise” attack on the US navy in the Persian Gulf, and that attack would serve as a justification and a pretext for a retaliatory move by the US military against the Iranian regime.
I was amazed to see the numerous (practically viral) editorials and blogs that cited this part of my article, claiming that the use of quotes around the word: “surprise” carried the implication that the US would manufacture an “incident” (I am using quotes again) where the Iranians would appear to have initiated an attack on a US warship, except, the US would initiate a provocation, inviting that attack.
No! I did not try to convey the above interpretation. You guys were all wrong!
The Iranian regime is stuck in a macho syndrome. It blinds their rational reasoning; it prevents the Mullahs from breaking off their quest for nuclear weapons even in the face of severe sanctions. The regime’s rhetoric has raised the temperature in Persian Gulf by having the Revolutionary Guards issue multiple threats against the US and its allies. Iran would close the Strait of Hormuz; they would not allow US carriers to re-enter the Gulf; they would continue to develop their nuclear capability—all pose crossings of red lines, inviting a massive retaliation by the US.
The latest incident in the Gulf where Iranian gunboats approached an American ship without having any shots fired is a first in a series of non-violent close encounters. The Iranians are playing a dangerous game. They are experts in setting up deceptive mirages, conditioning American misconceptions with regard to the Ayatollah’s true intentions.
The Iranians will continue approaching American ships, then seem to blink by shifting direction, moving away, until the Americans learn the fake drill, letting down their guard. Then and only then, the Iranians will be able to draw near—sufficiently close for a deadly strike on a key American warship.
American warships presence in the Persian Gulf is the only “provocation” required for the Iranian Mullahs to feel provoked. They have already confirmed that assertion. There is no need for a conspiracy on the part of the US. American military presence or Israel’s existence are sufficiently provocative in the eyes of these bullies.
Some people say that the Iranians are not crazy enough to start a war on the US. I disagree. The Iranians will miscalculate. They do not believe that the US would retaliate by initiating an all-out-war in response. They view the US and President Obama as paper tigers. The Ayatollah will repeat the same mistake that Hezbollah had committed in 2006 when they kidnapped dead Israeli soldiers before Israel responded with an all-out-war they had not anticipated and had not wished for.
In today’s world where proportionate responses to aggression rule the roost of the politically correct universe, the Iranians will expect a limited American response, confined to local retaliation and accompanied by loud rhetoric from political opportunists. They will not anticipate the actual reaction because they will not understand the boiling rage they have been affecting in the US since the hostage crisis in the 1970’s. They will not understand the determination of the American government to see to it that the Persian Gulf does not fall under their control. They will fail to realize that their big-headed quest for nuclear weapons is a bloody red line that a president on the verge of elections may not be able to overlook.
My prediction in my previous article: “2012 will see to a new war. This time, Iran will initiate it” is NOT a wishful thinking; it is a logical inference of an unpleasant reality where the Iranian regime will be successful in bringing about its own demise due to its own miscalculation.
_ Al-Jazeera, the Qatari-based TV news network is in the process piecing together a program titled “The day Israel crossed the nuclear threshold.” The main objective of this program is intended to expose the “truth” about how Israel satisfied its “military nuclear ambitions” while resorting to sophisticated deception, seedy lies and extortion when dealing with its supreme ally--the United States of America.
Producing a program of that magnitude and scope requires expert knowledge, analysis and opinions by those who are familiar with nuclear technology in general and Israel’s nuclear history in particular. The ideal, most credible program participants are Israelis who would explain, elaborate and confirm (on camera, in their own words) the assertion concerning Israel’s methods of deception, blatant lies and extortion schemes employed in Israel’s quest for nuclear arms capability.
Al-Jazeera approached me for an interview on the subject, and I agreed.
Right from the outset, I tried to set the record straight by arguing against the al-Jazeera’s characterization of Israel’s nuclear project as “military ambitions”. “They were not,” I claimed. “The phrase “Military ambitions” carries the implication of aggressive intentions. Israel’s intentions have not been a product of military ambitions; rather, these have been legitimate defense and deterrent needs.” Then I added. “The world doesn’t really have hard evidence that Israel possesses nuclear weapons, but regardless of whether they do or don’t,” I took a short breath before concluding, “Israel should possess these weapons of last resort.”
The al-Jazeera interviewer seemed astounded. His facial expression resembled a question mark. “Nuclear weapons,” I expounded, “have not been used in wars since World War II. In today’s world the only reason for utilizing weapons of true mass destruction is when the underlying objective is genocide. And Israel is the only nation in the world that is subject to a genocidal threat.” I offerred examples. “Abd el Nasser announced in March 1965, “The liquidation of Israel will be liquidation through violence. We shall enter Palestine, not covered with sand but soaked in blood.” Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been talking about wiping Israel off the map. Other Arab leaders have been echoing both leaders’ words and intentions. “No other nation in the world is facing these kinds of jeopardies,” I added. “Israel should never be caught naked if and when one of its genocide-seeking enemies possesses nuclear weapons. Israel must be able to defend itself, while possessing a compelling deterrent, making its enemies forego the use of nuclear weapons against the Jewish state for fear of massive retaliation.”
The questioning moved to the issue of deception. Al-Jazeera attempted to cook the background by describing the US-Israel cooperation, stressing the alliance (including the “Atoms for Peace” project) between the Jewish state and the Americans before demonstrating how Israel “double-crossed” its most dependent ally, covering up and lying about the purpose and function of its nuclear reactor in Dimona.
I rationalized. “We need to put it all in perspective.”
“During Israel’s early days following its independence, contrary to common views held throughout the Arab world, the US was not Israel’s most trusted ally. In fact, the US placed Israel under an arms embargo that lasted until the late 60s. The US refused to sell high quality arms to Israel even in the face of massive buildup of Egyptian and Syrian arms caches by the Soviet Union.
“France was Israel’s true and sole ally at that time, and cooperation between Israel and France on the Dimona project benefitted France as well. The French were working on designing and fabricating their own nuclear capability; they made use of Israeli patents, and got help from Israeli nuclear scientists. Furthermore, in 1956 a war broke out between Israel and Egypt. The war was joined by France and Great Britain (GB). The two countries invaded the Suez Canal after Nasser had nationalized it. The Soviets threatened France and GB with a nuclear attack should they refuse to withdraw their forces from the canal. The US, under the Eisenhower Administration applied pressure on France, GB and Israel to withdraw rather than standing up to the Soviets’ threats. France, GB and Israel felt betrayed by the Americans.
“To facilitate Israel’s withdrawal from the Sinai, Eisenhower provided Israeli Prime Minister, Ben Gurion, with security guaranties including the demilitarization of the Sinai and an American direct military involvement in case Egypt attacks Israel. Both guaranties proved hollow during 1967 when the Americans under the Johnson Administration did not stop Nasser’s aggressive military buildup in the Sinai, his closing of the straights of Tiran to Israeli shipping and his announcements concerning and preparations for Israel’s bloody, imminent demise.”
In response to al-Jazeera’s questions concerning the American “Atoms for Peace” project I added. “Israel was working with the French (not with the Americans) on its nuclear project. The construction of the Dimona reactor started in 1953 with French help. The American “Atoms for Peace” project had nothing to do with Dimona. It was initiated in 1955, two years following Israeli-French nuclear cooperation on the Dimona reactor. In 1960, following Ben Gurion’s admission that the Dimona project was a peaceful nuclear reactor, the US under the Kennedy Administration insisted on inspections of the facility.
“After some delays, the American visits took place but failed to uncover activities or materials indicative of nuclear weapons production. In the following years as more American inspections took place, the US administrations of Johnson and Nixon came to the realization that Israel might possess the means for nuclear bomb production even though the Americans had never uncovered any hard evidence proving their assumptions.”
Here I added my own caveat. “The Americans main concern was not Israel’s own nuclear weapons. They worried that Israel’s nuclear project may instigate a nuclear arms race in the Middle East, that it would lead to a closer collaboration between the Soviets and their Arab clients on the nuclear issue, and that it would bring about Arabs’ dependence on the Soviet Union. The Americans finally realized that Israel would never attack an Arab country with nuclear weapons unless there was a threat to Israel’s existence. The US and Israel came to an understanding that as long as Israel had not introduced--test, announce or threaten its adversaries with a nuclear attack--the risk of a nuclear arms race in the Middle East would have been diminished. The Americans realized that a nuclear Israel may even contribute to stability due to Israel’s powerful deterrent. Consequently, US administrations starting with Johnson’s were willing to replace France as the main arms supplier to Israel. It was not an Israeli blackmail or any unreasonable political pressure that brought about stronger military ties between Israel and the US. It was the realization that a strong Israel was essential to keeping the peace, to facing up to the Soviet Union.”
At this point the al-Jazeera interviewer asked about the means and the methods used by inspectors to detect efforts designed to produce nuclear weapons, and the measures taken by a nation, trying to mask these activities. I felt at home talking about Uranium enrichment process and Plutonium reprocessing. I avoided discussing details of the second part of the question other than saying that masking nuclear activities for military applications is possible.
We concluded the interview with my assertion that the world should be applying a double-standard on the issue of nuclear Iran. The civilized world understands that a nuclear Israel does not hold a real threat of launching nuclear attacks on its enemies unless Israel is attacked first and it faces a potential Holocaust. On the other hand, Iran has announced its aggressive intentions; it is a terrorist state, ruled by religious fanatics who may try to engineer Armageddon to fulfill their vision of some sick and crazy prophecies. There must be a different standard when dealing with a nuclear Iran.
Al Jazeera was trying to expose the double standard by demonstrating that Iran has been copying Israel’s expedition towards a nuclear weapons capability. I trust that my responses to their questions helped make clear that Iran must be subject to a different standard concerning their quest for nuclear weapons.
My bottom line message was: “A nuclear Iran must not be tolerated, while a nuclear Israel needs not be feared.”
The interview will be aired by al-Jazeera in the near future (no date is available at the time of this writing) after they apply their own creative editing.
Dr. Avi Perry, a talk show host at PNN (Paltalk News Network) is the author of “Fundamentals of Voice Quality Engineering in Wireless Networks,” and more recently, “72 Virgins,” a thriller about the covert war on Islamic terror. He was a VP at NMS Communications, a Bell Laboratories distinguished staff member and manager, a delegate of the US and Lucent Technologies to UN International Standards body, a professor at Northwestern University and Intelligence expert for the Israeli Government. More information is available at www.aviperry.org