Guide to the Perplexed

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Israel’s leaders are reportedly concerning themselves with one question today. Are there any circumstances in which US President Barack Obama will order the US military to strike Iran’s nuclear installations before Iran develops a nuclear arsenal? 

 

From Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu down the line, Israel’s leaders reportedly raise this question with just about everyone they come into contact with. If this is true, then the time has come to end our leaders’ suspense. 

 

The answer is no. 

 

To all intents and purposes, there are no circumstances in which Obama would order an attack on Iran’s nuclear installations to prevent Iran from developing and fielding nuclear weapons. Exceptions to this statement fall into two categories. Either they are so implausible that they are operationally irrelevant, or they are so contingent on other factors that they would doom any US attack to failure. 

 

Evidence for this conclusion is found in every aspect of Obama’s foreign policy. But to prove it, it is sufficient to point out point three aspects of his policies.

 

First of all, Obama’s refuses to recognize that an Iranian nuclear arsenal constitutes a clear and present danger to US national security. Obama’s discussions of the perils of a nuclear Iran are limited to his acknowledgement that such an arsenal will provoke a regional nuclear arms race. This is certainly true. But then that arms race has already begun. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, the UAE, and Kuwait have all announced their intentions to build nuclear reactors. In some cases they have signed deals with foreign countries to build such facilities.

 

And yet, while a nuclear arms race in the Middle East is bad, it is far from the worst aspect of Iran’s nuclear program for America. America has two paramount strategic interests in the Middle East. First, the US requires the smooth flow of inexpensive petroleum products from the Persian Gulf to global oil markets. Second, the US requires the capacity to project its force in the region to defend its own territory from global jihadists. 

 

Both of these interests are imperiled by the Iranian nuclear program. If the US is not willing to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, it will lose all credibility as a strategic ally to the Sunni Arab states in the area. For instance, from a Saudi perspective, a US that is unwilling to prevent the ayatollahs from fielding nuclear weapons is of no more use to the kingdom than Britain or China or France. It is just another oil consuming country. The same goes for the rest of the states in the Gulf and in the region.

 

The Arab loss of faith in US security guarantees will cause them to deny basing rights to US forces in their territories. It will also likely lead them to bow to Iranian will on oil price setting through supply cutbacks. In light of this, the Iranian nuclear program constitutes the greatest threat ever to US superpower status in the region and to the wellbeing of the US economy. 
Then there is the direct threat that Iran’s nuclear program constitutes for US national security. This threat grows larger by the day as Iran’s web of strategic alliances in Latin America expands unchallenged by the US. Today Iran enjoys military alliances with Venezuela, Nicaragua, Ecuador, Brazil and Bolivia. 

 

As former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton has argued, at least the Soviets were atheists. Atheists of course, are in no hurry to die, since death can bring no rewards in a world to come. Iran’s leaders are apocalyptic jihadists. Given Iran’s Latin American alliances and Iran’s own progress towards intercontinental ballistic missile capabilities, the prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran makes the Cuban missile crisis look like a walk in the park.

 

In the face of this grave and gathering threat, Obama cancelled plans to deploy anti-ballistic missile shields in Poland and the Czech Republic. He has shunned the pro-American Honduran and Colombian governments in favor of Nicaragua and Venezuela. He has welcomed Brazil’s anti-American president to the White House. He cancelled the F-22. 

 

THE FACT that Obama fails to recognize the danger an Iranian nuclear arsenal poses to the US does not in and of itself prove that Obama would not attack Iran’s nuclear installations. After all, the US has fought many wars and launched countless campaigns in its history against foes that posed no direct threat to the US. In most of these cases, the US has fought on behalf of its allies. 

 

In the case of Iran’s nuclear weapons programs, because the Iranians have openly placed Israel first on their nuclear targeting list, US debate about Iran’s nuclear program has been anchored around the issue of Israel’s national security. Should the US attack Iran’s nuclear installations in order to defend Israel? 

 

Given the distorted manner in which the debate has been framed, the answer to that question hinges on Obama’s view of Israel. Recent moves by Obama and his advisors make clear that Obama takes a dim view of Israel. He views Israel neither as a credible ally nor a credible democracy. 

 

First there is the character of current US military assistance to Israel and to its neighbors. In recent months, the Obama administration has loudly announced its intentions to continue its joint work with Israel towards the development and deployment of defensive anti-missile shields. Two things about these programs are notable. First, they are joint initiatives. Just as Israel gains US financing, the US gains Israeli technology that it would otherwise lack. 

 

Second, as Globes reported last week, the Obama has actually scaled back US funding for these programs. For instance, funding for the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic missile program – intended to serve as Israel’s primary defensive system against Iranian ballistic missiles — was cut by $50 million. 

 

The defensive character of all of these programs signals an absence of US support for maintaining Israel’s capacity to preemptively strike its enemies. When the Pentagon’s refusal to permit Israel to install its own avionics systems on the next generation F-35 warplanes is added to the mix, it is difficult to make the argument that the US supports Israel’s qualitative edge over its enemies in any tangible way.

 

An assessment that the US has abandoned its commitment to Israel’s qualitative edge is strengthened by the administration’s announcement this week of its plan to sell Saudi Arabia scores of F-15 and F-16 fighter jets for an estimated $30 billion. While the US has pledged to remove systems from the Saudi aircraft that pose direct threats to Israel, once those jets arrive in the kingdom, the Saudis will be able to do whatever they want with them. If one adds to this equation the reduced regional stature of the US in an Iranian nuclear age, it is clear that these guarantees have little meaning. 

 

Obama’s moves to reduce Israel’s offensive capacity and slow its acquisition of defensive systems goes hand in hand with his rejection of Israel’s right to self-defense and dismissive attitude towards Israel’s rule of law. These positions have been starkly demonstrated in his administration’s treatment of Israel in the wake of the IDF’s takeover of the Turkish-Hamas Mavi Marmara terror ship on May 31. 

 

In the face of that blatant display of Tur
kish aggression against Israel as it maintained its lawful maritime blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza’s coastline, Obama sided with Turkey and Hamas against Israel. Obama demanded that Israel investigate its handling of the incident. Moreover, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton claimed that Israel was incapable of credibly investigating itself and so required Israel to add non-Israeli members to its investigative committee. 

 

Yet even Israel’s acceptance of this US humiliation was insufficient for Obama. His UN envoy Susan Rice then demanded that Israel accept a UN investigative panel that is charged with checking to see if the Israeli committee has done its job. And if the UN panel rejects the Israeli commission’s findings, it is empowered to begin its own investigation. 

 

As to the UN, as former Obama and Clinton administration officials Ray Takeyh and Steven Simon explained in an article in the Washington Post last week, Obama’s national security strategy effectively revolves around subordinating US national security policy to the UN Security Council. In the remote scenario that Obama decided to use force against Iran, his subservience to the UN would rule out any possibility of a surprise attack. 

 

 Although in theory the US military’s capacity to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities is much greater than Israel’s, given its practical inability to launch a surprise attack, in practice it may be much smaller. 

 

ALL OF these factors constitute overwhelming evidence that there are no conceivable circumstances under which Obama would order a US strike on Iran’s nuclear installations to forestall Iran’s development of nuclear weapons. And this reality should lead Israel’s leaders to three separate conclusions. 

 

First, and most urgently, Israel must attack Iran’s nuclear installations. Iran’s nuclear ambitions must be set back at least until 2017, the latest date at which a new — and hopefully more rational — US administration will certainly be in office. 

 

Second, given the fact that the US will not take action against Iran’s nuclear installations, there is no reason for Israel to capitulate to US pressure on lesser issues. The Obama administration has nothing to offer Israel on this most important threat and so Israel should not do anything to strengthen its position. Among other things, this conclusion has clear implications for Jewish construction in Judea, Samaria and Jerusalem, Israel’s future responses to Lebanese aggression, as well as for Israel’s continued cooperation with the UN probes of the Turkish-Hamas terror ship. 

 

Finally, Obama’s behavior is a clear indication that Israel was wrong to allow itself to become militarily dependent on US military platforms. Former defense minister Moshe Arens wrote recently that Israel should strongly consider abandoning plans to purchase the F-35 and restore the scrapped Lavi jetfighter to active development. Arens suggested that in doing so, Israel may find willing collaborators in the Indians, the French and even the Russians. 

 

No, the US has not become Israel’s enemy – although the Obama administration has certainly struck an adversarial chord. Polling data suggests that most Americans disagree with Obama’s treatment of Israel and recognize that Iran is a threat to the US.
 
But polls aside, the answer to Israel’s desperate queries is that it is up to us. If the Obama administration teaches us anything, it teaches us that we must rely first and foremost on ourselves. 

 

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post. 

 

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28 Comments

  • Anonymous 08/13/2010 at 8:54

    Correction on the last sentence:
    If the Obama administration teaches us anything, it teaches us that we must rely first and foremost on H-shem, not on US or Israeli governments.

    Reply
  • Charles Smyth 08/13/2010 at 9:12

    The key to Israel’s well being is the ability to finance its own advanced weapons systems and trade that technology with the likes of India and China, so as not to be reliant on technology swaps and vendor financing out of the US. The likelihood of a more rational–from Israel’s perspective–administration in the US come 2017 is moot, given that the US is going through a sociopolitical transformation, which will fully occupy the Americans well beyond 2017.

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  • Andre 08/13/2010 at 9:44

    3 years ago, our rabbi stated during his weekly speech that Jews and Israel should never take US support for Israel as a given and that US support could be withdrawn literally overnight. We all thought that our Rabbi had found the key to the Manischewitz cabinet.
    How prescient he was! Think of the way the world has changed since September 12/2001, the “day after”.
    Would anyone then have believed that less than 10 years later, a US president with the middle name of “Hussein” would turn US foreign policy against Israel? That a mosque was planned to be built right at Ground Zero with an inauguration on the 10th anniversary of the greatest terrorist attack on US soil? That the US economy would be technically and practically bankrupt, held hostage by China through the purchase of its bonds? That some US states were ripping out roads so as to save the cost of maintaining them, etc…?
    This truly shows how America has fallen, and fallen hard. 10 years is not a long time, and yet, anyone asleep for 10 years would truly be speechless at how far America has fallen. I pray every day that America will be salvageable once BHO is out of power. There may be a chance after 4 years. There is NO chance if, G-d forbid, it is 8 years.

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  • DaveB 08/13/2010 at 11:19

    Caroline Glick presents a dire warning to Israelis and to Americans supporters of Israel and of the US role in the world. I am therefore chagrined that such warnings by Ms. Glick don’t seem to have reached the Netanyahu government.
    Perhaps, Netanyahu is lying low while he tries to exhaust all efforts to get the US to face the reality of the Iranian nuclear threat. But the price of lying low is that it prevents Israeli supporters in the US from being alerted to the fact that the 78% of US Jews have backed an Obama government that is not supportive of Israel and is even virulently hostile. If that is not what they wish US policy to be, US Jews must withdraw their earlier, mistaken, support for Obama.

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  • Marc Handelsman, USA 08/13/2010 at 12:53

    There are NO circumstances where President Obama will order an air raid on Iran’s nuclear installations before Iran develops a nuclear arsenal. The US is stretched too thin with current commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. The US defense budget will shrink, and so will American involvement overseas. Israel is on its own, and will need to unilaterally destroy Iran’s nuclear sites. Former defense minister Moshe Arens is correct that the IAF needs to develop the Lavi jetfighter. Finally, Israel has the talent to innovate and deploy first class weapons systems.

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  • Louis Hoeffner 08/13/2010 at 14:32

    thank you writing this

    Reply
  • HEP-T 08/13/2010 at 14:41

    I would expect Obama (PBUH) to more likely bomb Israel for attacking iran than a US attack on iran.

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  • DaveP 08/13/2010 at 15:15

    The world is entering into a phase of uncertainty, the very worst that could happen, for it is then that a miscalculation can ignite a world war.
    If the US attacks Iran’s nuclear facilities, then most of the world will go along with it. The US is a superpower, it has the Security Council + NATO leaders will back it. There will be demos, protests, UN declarations, but everyone will know, that go too far, and the US could get really angry. Besides no one really wants to tweak the giants tail.
    OTH, if America does not shoulder its responsibility, and Israel is forced to do so, then all hell will break loose in the world. Forces will gather to attack Israel. Israel will be fighting for its life, while the US uses the crisis (never let a crisis go to waste), to force Israel to give up its territory till it is nothing but Tel Aviv. At this juncture, Israel will start to think of the Masada/Samuel option.
    Meanwhile, Muslims in the West, and Europe in particular, will go on a spree of such violence, mayhem, looting and arson, that nothing short of marshal law will calm things down – even that may not be enough. The political fallout will be so great, that there will be a re-arranging of the map of the world – a new world order, the expulsion of Muslims from Europe, and much else. Armageddon.
    The US, in its timidness, is causing this uncertainty. Americans may well ask, why they have to shoulder the burden. It is because at this moment in time, it is America’s, whether she likes it or not.

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  • Geoffrey Britain 08/14/2010 at 0:20

    “If the Obama administration teaches us anything, it teaches us that we must rely first and foremost on ourselves”
    Yes, which means at the least, a substantial reduction of, if not the end of US economic and military aid to Israel. And the Obama administration abandoning any support for Israel in the UN.
    That is what is holding Netanyahu back, that and the fact that his government would fall were he to act unambiguously in Israel’s defense because he doesn’t have the political support within Israel (both by politicians and the public) to take such a stand.
    Your own articles Caroline; “Israel’s ruling class” and “Reclaiming our language from the Left” indicate your awareness of this factor.
    Netanyahu is acting as he has in desperate hope of avoiding the calamity that he knows is approaching but evidently fails to see that all he is doing is delaying the inevitable consequence that lies at the end of the path known as placating the US.
    It’s nearly time to cut through the ‘Gordian knot’ of the various factions and International ‘repercussions’. Once Iran attacks through Hezbollah, Netanyahu needs to act decisively and “let the chips fall where they may”.
    And as he acts, he needs to address the Israeli people and offer them a choice; assert that two paths lie before them, either that of Churchill or Chamberlain’s.
    Israel’s MSM and left will deny that to be the case and Israeli’s will choose Chamberlain’s path, just as they have been since the 1967 war.
    Netanyahu must then bide his time in the wilderness, until the situation compels Israeli’s to finally see the liberal/left for the Chamberlains that they are, it’s either that or accept the historical judgment of himself being labeled another Chamberlain.
    The one good thing about Obama is that he is bringing to light the true cost of US aid, which is that the US effectively prescribes Israel’s foreign policy. As in order to retain the appearance of “being fair and not taking sides” US policy effectively prevents resolution of the Israeli/Islam conflict.
    That has been the situation at least since Pres. Nixon, Obama is just actively hostile, instead of the passive ineffectiveness of the prior administrations.
    Until the Israeli public wakes up (problematic) Israel will continue to be led to the gallows in fits and starts.

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  • Ahmad Ameen 08/14/2010 at 6:03

    You said “.. arms race has already begun. Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Turkey, the UAE, and Kuwait have all announced their intentions to build nuclear reactors. In some cases they have signed deals with foreign countries to build such facilities”
    This is very obvious misinformation, which many fail to recognize. Nuclear reactors sought by those countries are for commercial use to produce electric power, and they are fully recognized by many countries, particularly the United States which presented proposals to build them.

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  • Mick 08/14/2010 at 12:10

    And now John Bolton tells us that the nuclear rods for Iran’s nuclear reactor will be inserted on August 21st. If Israel waits, as they most likely will for fear of being the cause of WWIII, then it becomes even more improbable that they will take out the power plant. Ugh! Interesting times!
    http://www.newsmax.com/InsideCover/John–Bolton–Iran–Nuclear–israel/2010/08/13/id/367449

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  • anonymous2 08/14/2010 at 12:11

    Hashem didn’t prevent the Shoah and will not prevent the extermination of Israel.

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  • anonymous2 08/14/2010 at 12:18

    The US of course will shoot down any Israeli planes on their way to Iran and planes flying around the Arabian peninsula will be spotted by US/Saudi radar who will warn the Iranians so no surprise attack is not possible and the hardened Iranian installations will have time to prepare.
    Will a strike actually delay the Iranian programme for 7 years?? That may be impossible to calculate.
    In the meantime Netanyahu’s appeasment policy is weakening Israel and even without an Iranian Bomb, Israel may be finished.

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  • anonymous2 08/14/2010 at 12:23

    Amad no doubt believes the Iranian nuclear reactor will be totally separate from its nuclear weapons programme – as if somehow its personnel trained in the nuclear industry cannot be used in a weapons programme or its radioactive byproducts cannot be enriched to weapons grade materials.

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  • anonymous2 08/14/2010 at 12:25

    Its too bad the Lavi fighter programme was scrapped in favour of dhimmitude.

    Reply
  • Arius 08/14/2010 at 12:49

    The building of nuclear reactors is the first step in the construction of the infrastructure to support the development of nuclear weapons. Saudi Arabia is even talking to Russia about buying nuclear weapons. A nuclear arms race is definitely up and running in the Middle East.

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  • Ron Grandinetti 08/14/2010 at 20:22

    Caroline, unfortunately Obama cannot be trusted, that’s the bottom line.
    Israel cannot rely on the US, and as much as a majority of Americans support Israel, we are not in charge. Sad, but true.
    November can’t come too soon as far a majority of Americans are concerned. House cleaning time.
    Israel has, I am sure the pulse on Iran and her proxies and above all Israel does not need permission from the Obama administration to take action against Iran.
    Remember Obama is clueless and on top of that secretary of defense is a wimp. One of the worst appointments G. Bush made.
    Not much here to hang your hat on or go to the bank with.
    Tough decision time for the Israel government.
    I pray G-d will shed His grace on Israel.

    Reply
  • Sue 08/14/2010 at 20:23

    Isaiah 54: the Lord’s love for Israel
    2 Make the tent you live in larger; lengthen its ropes and strengthen the pegs! 3 You will extend your boundaries on all sides; your people will get back the land that the other nations now occupy. Cities now deserted will be filled with people. 4 Do not be afraid- you will not be disgraced again; you will not be humiliated. You will forget your unfaithfulness as a young wife and your desperate lonliness as a widow. 5 Your Creator will be like a husband to you- the Lord Almighty is His name. The holy God of Israel will save you- He is the ruler of all the world.
    15 If anyone attacks you he does it without My consent; whoever fights you will fall. 16 I create the blacksmith who builds a fire and forges weapons. I also create the soldier who uses the weapons to kill. 17 But no weapon will be able to hurt you; you will have an answer for all who accuse you. I will defend my servants and give them victory.
    The Lord has spoken.

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  • naomir 08/14/2010 at 22:56

    Shavuah Tov Caroline. I inadvertently forgot to turn off my radio alarm for Shabbat and was awakened by the news that Obama was paying homage to Ramadan and our wonderful Muslim friends. His hope was a mosque in all fifty states (at least this time he remembered how many states we have) and especially endorsed the building of the mosque at Ground Zero. Is this a man who has the interests of the only democratic country in the Middle East at heart? I think not. The only “hope and change” Israel can count on is the one she does herself. Your columns should be required reading for everyone in the government starting with Netanyahu.

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  • Mette Thomsen 08/15/2010 at 5:07

    Wouldn’t Obama actually prefer to force Israel to take action against Iran (and maybe loose) instead of the US, so that the Jewish State can once again stand as the international prügelknabe in the turbulent times to come – described scaringly well by DaveP above – and the US can survive as the “savior” of business as usual?

    Reply
  • tom 08/15/2010 at 7:59

    Hi
    It is not just the US but the whole of the West which is hopelessly biased against Israel these days. The Prime Minister of the bankrupt little island off our East Coast here in the Isle of Man (ie David Cameron of the UK)recently described Gaza as a prison.
    We take him to task here
    http://sharecrazy.com/beta/daily/4020/shalom-part-4-david-cameron-is-a-liar
    The response we get from “normal Britons” shows how desperate the situation is with readers of our site accusing us of being paid by the Jewish lobby to write pro Israel comment or threatening darkly that we will lose trade for taking such a position or indeed questionning my sanity.
    We will not be deterred but these are frightening times across the “civilised” West
    Tom Winnifrith
    http://www.ShareCrazy.com

    Reply
  • anonymous2 08/15/2010 at 10:31

    Sue
    God kept his mouth shut while the Jewish state was devastated by the Romans twice (including the destruction of the Temple), He kept His mouth shut while the Jews in Mainz, Trier, and Worms were massacred by Christians, He kept his mouth shut during innumerable murders of Jews in pogroms by Christians, as well as keeping His mouth shut during the Shoah.
    God kept His mouth shut while the soldiers in the six wars Israel has fought in 62 years were killed or maimed not to mention the civilians murdered and maimed by the terrorists. Sorry, saying God haz spoken doesn’t cut it and is ar rather cheap preaching from someone never in danger of getting murdered.

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  • sid 08/15/2010 at 11:01

    Well, it is high time for us to care for ourselves, and not about this Obama, however, the art of diplomacy si not simple, and I would not prefer to be in the skin of Bibi Netanyahu. Hard times now. I write this from the very centre of Europe,Prague-CZ, where Obama met Medvedev twice. But,I am vomitting, as the common hate towards us,the Jews, exist even here and now, my fellow-citizens, that hardly enjoyed paying 2 USD for the “Solidarity with the Palestina Fund” in times of East block existence once a year, now support the “Gazaians”,and teach everybody on the kind and peaceful hearts of Hamas combattants and killers there. Part of them are idiots, but another, the journalists (e.g.) are able to write, that Kuntar is a hero. And instead of discussing how to safe-haven all our jewish people possible, the frankists and other trends are being discussed in our jpress. Day by day I wait, that more Carolinas will appear. As in the Latin hard times was said: lux in tenebris…

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  • Robert Pereira 08/15/2010 at 11:05

    In the video link below Mr. Jamie Fly the former Director for Counter-proliferation Strategy at the National Security Council gives a great synopsis on how we got here and the need for the US to exercise the military option since Iran does have the blood of US servicemen/women on it’s hands among other reasons.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rNyqKXKh3Ls

    Reply
  • Anonymous 08/15/2010 at 13:52

    very informative post ms. glick. you always write cogently with a great eye for overview and details. yasher koach!
    one point. it’s when you write that we, israel, must rely upon ourselves, you are only partially correct. we must relay on the Master of the World, nu? the Ribbono Shel Olam. this is The One upon whom we must rely. when we do this, then we will be guided properly on how to act with the nations of the world.

    Reply
  • ripalinsky 08/16/2010 at 23:15

    John Bolton: Russia’s Loading of Nuke Fuel Into Iran Plant Means Aug. 21 Deadline for Israeli Attack
    Friday, 13 Aug 2010 01:41 PM
    By: David A. Patten
    News that Russia will load nuclear fuel rods into an Iranian reactor has touched off a countdown to a point of no return, a deadline by which Israel would have to launch an attack on Iran’s Bushehr reactor before it becomes effectively “immune” to any assault, says former Bush administration U.N. Ambassador John R. Bolton.
    Once the fuel rods are loaded, Bolton told Fox News on Friday afternoon, “it makes it essentially immune from attack by Israel. Because once the rods are in the reactor an attack on the reactor risks spreading radiation in the air, and perhaps into the water of the Persian Gulf.”
    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin declared in March that Russia would start the Bushehr reactor this summer. But the announcement from a spokesman for Russia’s state atomic agency to Reuters Friday sent international diplomats scrambling to head off a crisis.
    The story immediately became front-page news in Israel, which has laid precise plans to carry out an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities while going along with President Obama’s plans to use international sanctions and diplomatic persuasion to convince Iran’s clerics not to go nuclear.
    Bolton made it clear that it is widely assumed that any Israeli attack on the Bushehr reactor must take place before the reactor is loaded with fuel rods.
    “If they’re going to do it that’s the window that they have,” Bolton declared. “Otherwise as I said before, once the rods are in the reactor, if you attack the reactor you’re going to open it up and radiation will escape at least into the atmosphere and possibly into the waters of the Persian Gulf.
    “So most people think that neither Israel nor the United States, come to that, would attack the reactor after it’s been fueled.”
    Bolton cited the 1981 Israeli attack on Saddam Hussein’s Osirak reactor outside Baghdad and the September 2007 Israeli attack on a North Korean reactor being built in Syria. Both of those strikes came before fuel rods were loaded into those reactors.
    “So if it’s going to happen in Bushehr it has to happen before the fuel rods go in,” Bolton said.
    The conversation that touched off the de facto deadline for Israeli military action was a telephone conversation with wire services involving Sergei Novikov, a spokesman for Rosatom, the Russian Energy State Nuclear Corp.
    Novikov said: “The fuel will be loaded on Aug 21. This is the start of the physical launch” of the reactor.
    “From that moment the Bushehr plant will be officially considered a nuclear-energy installation,” Novikov said, adding that the head of Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, will visit Bushehr Aug. 21 to conduct a ceremony for the event.
    According to Bolton, once the reactor is operational, it is only a matter of time before it begins producing plutonium that could be used in a nuclear weapon.
    “And in the normal operation of this reactor, in just a fairly short period of time, you could get substantial amounts of plutonium to use as nuclear weapons,” Bolton told Fox.
    Russia, which is operating under a $1 billion contract with Iran, has spent more than a decade building the reactor. If Russia moves forward with its plan to fuel the reactor, it could be seen as a major setback to the Obama administration’s strategy of engaging Russian leaders in order to win their cooperation.
    “The U.S. urged them not to send the Iranian’s fuel rods,” Bolton said. “They did that. The Obama administration has urged them not to insert the fuel rods in the reactors, but as they’ve just announced that will begin next week. What that does over time is help Iran get another route to nuclear weapons through the plutonium they could reprocess out of the spent fuel rods.”
    The developments mean Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu soon may face a stark choice: Attack the Bushehr reactor in the next 8 days, or allow it to become operational despite the certainty it would greatly enhance Iran’s ability to create nuclear weapons.
    Russian leaders have said the Bushehr reactor project is being closely monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN’s nuclear watchdog group. According to Iran’s ISNA news agency, IAEA inspectors will be on hand to observe the fuel-rod loading process that is now scheduled to begin Aug. 21.
    According to Russian officials, Iran has promised in writing to send all spent fuel rods from Bushehr back to Russia for reprocessing, to ensure they cannot be used for nuclear weapons.
    Bolton said the reactor has been “a hole” in American foreign policy for over a decade.
    The failure to demand it be shut down began in the Bush years, he said, and continues with the Obama administration “under what I believe is the mistaken theory that Iran is entitled to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.”
    “I don’t think Iran is entitled to that, or I don’t think we ought to allow it to happen, because they’re manifestly violating any number of obligations under the non-proliferation treaty not to seek nuclear weapons. But this has been a hole in American policy for some number of years, and Iran and Russia are obviously exploiting it,” Bolton said.
    Russia’s move would put Iran “in a much better position overall,” he said, adding, “I think this is a very delicate point, as I say, it closes off to the Israelis one possible target for pre-emptive military action.
    U.N. sanctions against Iran, he said, “have not had and will not have any material effect on Iran’s push to have deliverable nuclear weapons.”

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  • Sue 08/16/2010 at 23:32

    Anonymous 2
    For the depths of Jewish suffering at the hands of the world, I have no answer to offer you, except that I believe that the God of Israel was there in every moment, sharing every single moment of agony and pain and loss felt by every single Jew. We Gentiles will certainly have to answer to God for our persecution of His people Israel and world events tell me the time for that is rapidly approaching. In the meantime, I will continue unwaveringly to believe that God is actively working for Israel’s (very!)longterm survival, that however bleak things may look, the God of Israel is the one ‘sure thing’ we can pin our hopes on.
    As for preaching, what a horrible thought! ‘The Lord has spoken’ were not my words; they were the closing words of that particular passage of the old testament. I included them not to preach but hopefully to encourage, because they mean that if God has said something, we can be absolutely sure He means it, that we can be sure it will happen. God is not bringing the Jewish people back to the land of their biblical birthright to see them destroyed. If Israel’s enemies are confident they can defeat Israel in an upcoming Middle East war, they are in for the shock of their lives.
    If you are living in Israel then yes, I am a long way from the dangers that are close to you and the terrible pressure you must be feeling. Israel is constantly in my thoughts and prayers (and that’s not from a place of complacency).
    If Islam has its way, then in not too many decades ahead the lives of Jews, Christians and all non-Muslims on earth will be in danger. We will all be required to either submit to Islam or be murdered. And I will still stand for the God of Israel and for His people Israel. And if you are Jewish then it would be my honour to stand with you.

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  • Loudmer 08/17/2010 at 11:11

    The Obama administration is 100% rational,and CYNICAL exactly as the FDR administration was in 1941-1945: FDR refused to ” waste ” one single bomb to crush the Nazi death machine ; Obama will NOT waste one single bomb to avoid Iran wipping off the map Israel with nukes. Best case: The iran nukes are a drag on the whole Mid-East and arab countries like Egypt turn belligerent anew with Israel since they feel Israel is weaker.This ” best case ” scenario will come at a hefty economic price for the US citizens, since Iran will impose the payment of oil in Euros and the rest of arab oil producers will abide given Iran nuclear power and new strategic dimension!Imagine the US industry paying twice as much as today for their basic commodities. Worst case: Iran just use the nukes ASAP to deal a mortal blow to Israel at whatever cost the Israeli retaliation may come ( even the ” moderate ” pres.Khatami declared that this would be the right choice even at the cost of 25 millions iranians citizens death ). In both case the Obama adm.or it’s republican carbon copy will put the blame on Israel’s stubborness .So Netanyahu should waste no time hoping Israel’s problem should be also the western world problem: Illusions, emunot tfilot, shtuyot. The western world is an empty closet, since Reagan, Tathcher, Begin , are gone we see a bad show of empty suits. Long live Israel !!

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