Posts Tagged ‘IISS’

News and views from around the web posted to the Wonderland Wire:


Culper Ring 355 posted that Israel may strike Iran whether or not the US consents.

(I don’t argue that.)

The post cites an article from Israel Today claiming that “last summer, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert wanted to attack Iran in May, but was denied the green light he sought from U.S. President George W. Bush.

(Yes, but we don’t need to look that far back, as this isn’t such old news. TIME reported on Nov. 24 that Israel was “warned off” by Pres. Bush from any attack before Pres.-elect Obama takes office.)

The Israel Today article also reports that “for months Israeli analysts have warned that with U.S. President-elect Barack Obama in the White House, and threat of American military intervention will disappear, as will any possibility of gaining official or even tacit U.S. support for an Israeli strike.”

(Are Israel Today and these analysts seeing the same cabinet I am?)

My biggest dispute with the Culper Ring post is the statement that Iran has “continued to develop its nuclear program.”

What does that mean and how do the details of Iran’s ‘nuclear program’ make a case for Israel attacking Iran? Or better yet, is that supposed to make a case for a Pres. Obama to support such an attack?

Also, Iran is customers of Russia and China because they’ve planned for years to have a national nuclear power grid. There’s a cut n’ dry difference between a ‘nuclear program’ regulated by two of the UN Security Council Big Five, pursuing a nuclear weapon, possessing a nuclear weapon, and intending to use a nuclear weapon.

Any attack by Israel on Iran where Israel does not meet the burden of proof to fit the conditions of Art. 51 of the UN Charter make such an attack unjustified. In that case, the US has no place consenting to such an attack.

Of course, Israel will not dare attack Iran without consent form the US — whether or not the consent is blatant. Israel would have to, at least, know that the US will veto any sanction against them in front of the UN Security Council for such an attack that would violate UN Art. 51.

The US vetoing such sanctions would be disgusting and dangerous for the entire region and the US if they picked angels and demons after such an atrocity.

Russia, China, the National Intelligence Estimate, and the International Atomic Energy Agency will make a firm and valid case that the nuclear argument cannot be made against Iran for Israel to act under Art. 51. Add to that, today’s reports that a senior Russian diplomat is saying that Iran cannot make a nuclear bomb and today’s LA Times:

Mark Fitzpatrick, director of the nonproliferation program at the London-based Institute for International Strategic Studies, predicts in a 100-page report that Iran will produce enough fissile low- enriched uranium and obtain the expertise next year to build a bomb.

But unless Iran were to boot out international inspectors and begin to further refine its stockpile, steps Tehran insists it won’t take, all would not be lost, he says.

“During 2009, Iran will probably reach the point at which it has produced the amount of low-enriched uranium needed to make a nuclear bomb,” writes Fitzpatrick, who served 26 years in the U.S. State Department. “But being able to enrich uranium is not the same as having a nuclear weapon.”…

Fitzpatrick, reflecting a trend among analysts, argues that it is time to accept enrichment as a fait accompli, without officially legitimizing it.

Thus far Iran is at least trying to appear to abide by the letter of international arms-control regulations, granting access to key sites and allowing cameras to monitor sensitive activities to prevent material from being diverted. By setting aside the argument over enrichment and keeping Tehran within the umbrella of the NPT, Fitzpatrick argues, the international community would be better able to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons.

He argues for diplomacy and sanctions to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions, and opposes the military option favored by some hawks in Washington and Israel. Bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities would probably encourage an Iranian “breakout” scenario, he says in the report, according to the executive summary.

“In the aftermath of an unprovoked attack,” it says, “Iran could be expected to withdraw from the NPT and engage the full resources of a unified nation in a determined nuclear-weapons development program.”

To go with my statement from yesterday that “Iran’s nuclear compliance displays extraordinary restraint in a nuclear world” and Fitzpatrick’s statement that Iran would pull from the NPT were attacked, I would argue that this sabre-rattling is borderline goading just that: an unregulated Iran after they kick out the inspectors outside of the NPT actually creating the nuclear weapon that the US and Israel are claiming they don’t want. The rhetoric from Sec. Rice, Pres.-elect Obama, and the IDF are contradicting the motives they’re projecting.

What say you, Culper Ring?