ElBaradei’s candor

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Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei's most prominent personality trait is his chutzpah. Two weeks before Israel destroyed the North Korean-built nuclear reactor in Syria on September 6, ElBaradei, the director of the International Atomic Energy Agency, was complaining to Australian television about the US's decision to augment its military assistance to Israel by $30 billion over the next 10 years. The move, he said, would lead to a regional arms race.

As far as ElBaradei is concerned, diplomacy means never having to say you're sorry and always attacking people who actually care what you think. And so it is not surprising that ever since Israel destroyed the installation in al-Kibar, ElBaradei has reserved his sharpest attacks not for Syria, which was exposed as an illicit nuclear proliferator, but for Israel and the US.

Unlike Israel, Syria is a signatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. At this week's meeting of the IAEA's Board of Governors, ElBaradei discussed how – in breach of its treaty obligations – Syria has refused IAEA requests to inspect the bombed out site and three other suspected nuclear sites in the country.

The IAEA has been asking for permission to inspect al-Kibar since September. And since September Damascus has ignored the requests. Satellite photography has shown that Syria has used the intervening months to build a new structure over the destroyed reactor to hide it. Evidently Damascus is now comfortable with the situation on the ground because it has apparently agreed to allow UN inspectors to visit the site later this month.

Damascus's belated response to IAEA requests is anything but a sign that Syria is ready to come clean on its nuclear programs. While allowing inspectors at the altered al-Kibar site, Syria has refused IAEA requests to inspect three other military installations where it is suspected of developing nuclear weapons. Nuclear experts told news agencies this week that two of those sites are operational. One is suspected of having equipment that can reprocess nuclear material into the fissile core of warheads.

But ElBaradei doesn't really care. At the Board of Governors meeting this week he sufficed with the laconic statement that Damascus "has an obligation to report the planning and construction of any nuclear facility to the agency."

The countries that really got his goat were Israel and the US.

ElBaradei complained bitterly that the US waited until April to tell the IAEA what Israel bombed last September. And, of course, he attacked Israel for attacking the nuclear reactor in the first place.

In his words, "It is deeply regrettable that information concerning this installation was not provided to the agency in a timely manner and that force was resorted to unilaterally before the agency was given an opportunity to establish the facts."

ElBaradei has headed the UN's nuclear watchdog agency for six years. His stewardship of the IAEA landed him the Nobel Peace Prize in 2005. Given the Nobel committee's open anti-Americanism and embrace of terrorists and their state sponsors, the committee's support for ElBaradei makes sense. For under ElBaradei's leadership, the IAEA has devoted itself to performing two tasks. It seeks to be informed of rogue regime's illicit nuclear weapons programs before those programs are exposed in the media and cause the IAEA embarrassment; and it works to ensure that nothing will be done to thwart these rogue regimes' nuclear weapons programs.

If he had to choose between the first and second goal, ElBaradei has been clear that he will always choose to protect rogue nuclear programs – even if they are hidden in plain sight. As he explained to the BBC in May 2007, "I have no brief other than to make sure we don't go into another war or that we go crazy killing each other."

Hinting at his reason for obfuscating Iran's quest for the atom bomb he added, "You do not want to give additional arguments to new crazies who say, 'Let's go and bomb Iran.'"

To prevent such "crazies" from acting, in August 2006 ElBaradei launched an attack against the US Congress. In an icy letter to the then-chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, Rep. Peter Hoekstra, ElBaradei attacked the committee's report on Iran's nuclear program that accused Iran of developing nuclear weapons and accused the IAEA of working to prevent conclusions from being drawn about the nature of Iran's nuclear program.

IT IS in light of ElBaradei's unrelenting work to protect Iran's nuclear program and his campaign against Westerners who wish to take concerted action to prevent Teheran from acquiring nuclear weapons that the IAEA's latest report on Iran is so remarkable.

The IAEA submitted its latest report to the UN Security Council and its own Board of Governors on Monday. A far cry from its anemic predecessors, the latest report is a smoking gun.

The report sets out considerable evidence implicating Teheran in an attempt to develop nuclear weapons. It also admits that Iran has failed to explain documented evidence of military aspects of its program.

Specifically, the IAEA report noted that Iran is building structures that fit the description of a nuclear test site. Iran has performed work designing a missile re-entry vehicle. It has conducted studies toward building a uranium conversion facility that would convert uranium yellowcake to UF4, or Green Salt – a process vital for producing uranium metal for weapons cores. Iran made advances toward adapting its Shihab-3 ballistic missiles to detonate some 650 meters above their targets – a capacity only relevant for nuclear warheads. It has developed and tested exploding bridgewire detonators "that could be applicable to an implosion-type nuclear device."

The IAEA report also warned that the Iranian Revolutionary Guards-owned company Kimia Maadan has been actively involved in the nuclear program, as have several other firms run by the Iranian military. These firms include the Physics Research Center, the Institute of Applied Physics, the Educational Research Institute and the Defense Industries Organization.

The IAEA's report is devastating. Indeed, it seems to back up the Mossad's warning that Iran could have an atomic arsenal by next year. At a minimum, it moves the international conversation about Iran's nuclear program from the question of whether Iran is building nuclear bombs to when Iran will acquire nuclear bombs.

THE QUESTION that naturally arises from the IAEA report is why did ElBaradei agree to publish it?

Given his openly stated objective of preventing anyone from attacking Teheran's nuclear installations, the only reasonable explanation for ElBaradei's behavior is that he is convinced that Iran's nuclear installations are safe. That is, ElBaradei is willing to point a finger at Iran because he is sure that neither the US nor Israel will prevent it from getting the bomb.

To have reached this conclusion, ElBaradei needed no further intelligence than the morning papers. Reading them, he would have seen that the US intelligence and foreign policy communities have decided to throw in the towel on the war everywhere other than Iraq. The US capitulation, which began with the Bush administration's decision to appease North Korea last year, went into full gear with December's publication of the National Intelligence Estimate on Iran which claimed it had ended its nuclear weapons program in 2003.

Then came the Bush administration's embrace of Palestinian statehood as what Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice referred to as "a vital US interest" in her address to AIPAC's policy conference this week.

After that came the downfall of Pakistani dictator and guardian of Pakistan's nuclear arsenal Pervez Musharraf. As the effective release of Pakistan's Dr. Strangelove, A.Q. Khan, from house a
rrest this week, and the new "democratic" Pakistani government's surrender of North and South Waziristan to the Taliban in recent weeks show, the US's support for Musharraf on the one hand, and failure to support or develop anti-jihadist forces in Pakistani society and the Pakistani military on the other, has brought about a situation where the US has no one to turn to in Pakistan today. Rather than take action to secure Afghanistan from the Pakistan-based Taliban or arrest Khan, the Bush administration has sufficed with whining and begging the new pro-jihad and anti-American "democratic" government to accept more US military assistance.

On the ideological front, the US has similarly capsized its war efforts. In April the Homeland Security Department distributed a memo instructing US officials not to use the terms "Islamic," "Islamist," "jihad" or "jihadist" to describe the US's enemy in the war. Moreover, the new guidance – which the State Department reportedly adopted happily – also asserts that it is wrong for the US to use the word "liberty" to describe what it hopes to replace jihad with in Muslim societies. From now on, the war is to be described as a campaign to bring "progress" to the Middle East. And the war is no longer a war. Rather, it is the "Global Struggle for Security and Progress."

But not everyone was satisfied with the new Orwellian terminology. Last week the Financial Times reported that Charles Allen, the Department of Homeland Security's undersecretary for intelligence and analysis, wrote a memo arguing that the term "war on terror" should also be dropped. In his view, the term creates "animus" toward the US in the Muslim world, which automatically (and unaccountably) associates terrorism with Islam.

And of course, in ordering US officials responsible for analyzing intelligence and conducting US diplomacy to ignore the nature of the enemy as well as the US's counter-ideology of liberty, the US is merely following the example of the EU and Britain, which abandoned any attempt to bring rationality into their intelligence analyses long ago. Given that these are the people who are responsible for assessing data on Iran's nuclear program, ElBaradei probably figured that he has nothing to worry about.

To all of this, of course, must be added the developments in Lebanon. Apparently, the US's new policy for Lebanon is to ignore the fact that two weeks ago, the Doha agreement between Hizbullah and the Saniora government transferred control of the country to Hizbullah and its state sponsor Iran. In her speech before AIPAC, Rice applauded the Doha agreement as a "positive step." Earlier in the week, in a visit to Beirut, Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Eric Edelman announced that the US intends to increase its assistance to the Lebanese army, which takes its orders from Hizbullah and Iran.

So through its serial capitulation to its enemies, the US has convinced ElBaradei that Washington has washed its hands of the war.

THAT OF course leaves Israel.

For the past five years, Israel's leaders – from Ariel Sharon to Ehud Olmert, Tzipi Livni, Ehud Barak and Eli Yishai – have acted as though Iran's nuclear program is someone else's responsibility. "Washington is leading the campaign against Iran," everyone has said. Aside from issuing periodic backhanded threats, Israel has developed no coherent diplomatic or coercive policy for actually preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Israel can delude itself no longer in thinking that someone else will protect it from annihilation. ElBaradei's lack of concern that "crazies" will attack Iran shows the Israeli people that if we wish to survive, we must ensure that our leaders understand that we alone are responsible for our security and survival.

Originally published in The Jerusalem Post.

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  • Bob 06/06/2008 at 16:28

    The whole world seems delusional and in denial–or worse– Unless Bush and Olmert (busha) wake up, their replacements will have something very bad on their hands to contend with. I look forward to your columns with anticipation –their terse wit and analysis –and trepidation–because they knock the reader’s brain with a heavy dose of reality–and the reality is not something that bodes well for us if we continue down the current path.

  • R Garrett 06/06/2008 at 18:34

    Your insights as usual are right on the money, between the blindness in the US & the naivete in Israel some hard times are on the horizon for both countries. US Jewish citizens continue to support the Democratic party whose leadership has shown time and again that its support for Israel is weak at best and at its worst will sell out Israel for the approval of the rest of the middle east & Europe. Just look at how US Senator Joe Lieberman was & is treated by the Democratic party even though He supports their positions 90%+ of the time. He has varied with the party only with regard to positions that would have a negative affect on Israel & US security. When we are defeated it will be because of the weak-minded peace at any cost crowd that has purchased the soul of the Democratic party in the US and is attempting to do the same in Israel. The US upcoming elections will greatly impact not only the US but the security of all Jews whether in Israel or Europe. Caroline keep on shining light on the policies of the cowardly “leaders” in US & Israel.

  • vinny 06/06/2008 at 19:32

    A settler in the Judea is to Israel, like Israel is to the western civilization. I wish our settlers success and perseverance.

  • Bill K. 06/06/2008 at 22:08

    Granted that George Bush, at this point, is just an empty suit spouting words that mean nothing whenever he talks about the danger Iran poses. Except when his Administration says that there are no plans to attack Iran. That we can all believe in.
    That leaves only Israel to do the job that needs to be done in Iran, just like she did in Iraq and Syria. Israel can expect no help from the ingrates in the United States and Europe. Look at the grudging approval that the Bush Administration granted Israel to attack the nuclear installation in Syria and without even a public “well done” after it was destroyed.
    The question now is does Israel have the will and the capability to destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities on its own?

  • Avi Solomon 06/07/2008 at 0:16

    The IAEA report is clear on Iran’s intentions:
    Your warnings are just like those Churchill kept on giving against the tyrannical maniac Hitler throughout the 1930s but none listened to him until it was too late. Israel will have to fend for itself and attack Iran’s nuclear sites asap, probably as an Inauguration address gift to Obama, the naive Chamberlain.

  • Dan 06/07/2008 at 8:40

    Count me as one of the “crazies,” because I’ve wanted American ordnance landing on Iranian targets for decades now.
    And when the IAF goes in, because Washington is wed to the notion of “the grand bargain,” and has reconciled itself to Iran going nuke and is now looking only for a fig leaf to veil their nakedness, the IAF should target first the regime itself.
    And the single best way to make sure you get the leadership, in a single strike, would be neutrons. Modern neutrons have a diameter of about 700 meters.
    That provides for a rather tailored strike.
    The Iranian Manhattan project is attributable to the regime. It’s not that Iranians are taking to the streets by the millions, demanding nukes instead of food, nukes instead of clean water and sewage facilities, nukes instead of trade, nukes before all else. It’s not, as Senators like Joe Biden often say, the result of national aspirations.
    It’s the regime.
    It’s all the regime.
    That regime is the foremost sponsor of muslim mayhem on the planet Earth. And it is the regime that lusts to get their hands on weapons of supreme slaughter.
    Thus they must NEVER do so.
    Which means they must be prevented.
    Diplomacy has already failed, and the only thing that continued diplomatic efforts will accomplish is to intensify the contempt they hold us in, {and that contempt is appropriate by the way, they hold us in contempt, and what’s more, they should us in contempt}.
    So go after that regime, and decapitate it, and do so in a single, lethal strike.
    Wait for them to gather all in one spot, like when they come together to observe their takeover of my embassy, and when they’re all there, all in one spot, the whole Ruling religious council, ————— that’s when to hit them.
    Don’t give them any chance to respond, in a single strike, remove them from the chess board.
    Of course the whole world will flip.
    But as soon as you go after the Manhattan Project, they’re going to flip out. That’s a given, and there’s not much you can do about it. That being the case, that they’re going to rip and tear into Israel, then make sure you at least get your money’s worth, and take that regime out, once and for all. And when you do it, simultaneously go after Iran’s wholly owned and controlled subsidiary, Hezbollah. Move in strength against Iran’s regime, their Manhattan project, and their intelligence/terror wing in Lebanon.
    Go after them, and this time, unlike in ’82, don’t let a single one of them escape to the north and northwest.
    Serious times call for serious measures.
    Exestential threats call for an existential response.
    Regimes that cry out for the eradication of states, peoples and communities, shouldn’t be surprised when karmic justice strikes, and that regime itself ceases to exist.
    My country is not going to hammer the Iranians.
    Get that settled fact in your mind’s eye.
    My country, the United States of America, is NOT going to prevent the Iranian ruling religious council going nuke.
    Iranians are killing Americans in the field, and the Texan hasn’t the wisdom, the prudence, but most of all, he hasn’t the manhood to unleash and unload on Iran, despite Iran killing men in his own command.
    That tells you all you need to know about George Walker Bush.
    Washington can barely bring itself to admit what Iran is doing, and has been doing, not just in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan.
    What’s the conclusion then?
    The United States is not going to do spit.
    Washington is increasingly subscribing to the Arab narrative.
    That’s a fact.
    There are many in the State Department and CIA overflowing with eagerness to embrace the European approach to the Mideast, which is cozy up to creeps, and throw a pro-Western, modern society, Israel, right under the bus that Obama has been throwing so many people and groups under of late.
    Washington is TIRING of the “Israeli-Palestinian” disupte. And their idea of a “solution” is to pressure Israel, because pressure on the other side gets nowhere.
    Israel’s own reasonableness is now a weapon against her.
    The Arab powers have successfully finagled my country into a situation where it is used to ratchet pressure, constant and growing pressure, on Israel.
    It’s disgusting, it’s revolting, it’s morally repugnant.
    But there it is.
    Israel needs to break free from having their foreign policy micromanaged by Washington.
    Israel needs to inform Washington that “either you hit the Iranians, or we nuke the Iranians, but either way, their support for terror, and their Manhattan Project, is over, OVER, and over NOW.”
    Netanyahu has the wisdom, the strategic sense, the feel for the future and the manhood to issue that simple ultimatum to Washington.
    And Washington would believe him, because they sense within him a resolve.
    Tell Washington that “either you do it, and use conventional weaponry, or we’re forced to do it, and we’ll have to use nukes, for we don’t have the Air Force to handle such a task, for it would require SUSTAINED air operations, at greath length from our bases,” {our there being the Israeli position}.
    The US knows how difficult such an op would be for their own Air Force, let alone for the Israelis.
    Lt. General Thom P. McInerney, former Vice Chief of the Air Force has said on the air that Israel’s Air Force is great, but such a task is beyond it, because of varying difficulties.
    Israel is being left with little option other than nukes, to ENSURE destruction of the Manhattan Project.
    The Iranians are burying their project, dispersing their project, burying it under residential areas, using their own citizens as human shields.
    And they’re getting sophisticated help from Europe, to “harden” their targets.
    Every day that goes by, or rather, that is allowed to slip past, is a day that regime is using to make their targets more difficult to fully destroy.
    The window of opportunity is rapidly closing.
    Present Washington with an ultimatum.
    Tell them the games are over, the diplomatic charade is finished, and the whole squalid display is over and done with.
    Tell them it’s time to go in.
    Situation is grim, grim indeed.

  • Will48 06/13/2008 at 2:25

    “So go after that regime, and decapitate it, and do so in a single, lethal strike.”
    Dan – thank you for pointing out the US’s treachery. But then again, some contend that it was their line always, for decades. They gave cover to Arafat in 1982. They “let Israel bleed” in 1973. They put a blockade, er, weapons embargo on Israel in 1948. They didn’t spare even one bomb on the gas chambers to slow down the Nazi factories of death.
    You and I don’t know two major facts though. One, Is Really Israel has a BOMB. Maybe uncle Sam made us some promises in 1964 and there’s no underground floors in Dimona after all. And promises are easy to break.
    Second, we don’t know the level of American threats to Israel in order to enforce their policy of putting Israel into “its proper place”. An H-bomb can go off in a ship’s container (G-d forbid) and Osama is easily be blamed. There will be no bounds for American outrage for the atrocity, and no-one will ever know the truth.

  • Dan 06/17/2008 at 9:21

    Before, when the Arab powers were able to rely upon the Soviets, and the threat of Soviet intervention, conventional and nuclear, the wariness of my country for escalation was understandable.
    In ’73, a showdown between NATO and the Warsaw Bloc, was a dicey proposition, to be sure.
    But there was a window of opportunity created the moment the Soviets collapsed. Once that happened, Syria was very much alone, and that was the time to move on her in strength, and polish off old scores.
    But Israel declined to do so.
    Over the last 40 years, but especially over the last two presidencies, the Arabs have been buying love in the West, in academia, the media and in politics.
    Robert Baer highlights some nauseating details in most his second book.
    I’ve no doubt that the pressure that the State Department is putting on the state of Israel is enormous. And it’s no longer confined to the State Department.
    Consider the Annapolis conference for instance.
    It was a disgrace, {words fail me here…} it was an absolute disgrace for the Bush administration to so contrive things that the Israeli delegation came in separate doors, so that the delegation wouldn’t contaminate the Arab delegations.
    But a question needs to be asked. Why did the Israeli delegation put up with it. They simply should have said to Condi and to Bush: “Here’s the deal, we all go in together, we all shake hands together, or we’re going to take a powder, and go out and lambast your administration for kowtowing to Arab anti-semitism, and the Democrats will make hay on it, and you’ll be seen as weak, pathetic, and all the old stories about anti-semitism circulating in your family will come to the fore once more.”
    That, or something like it, would have forced Condi either to capitulate, or it would have blown the whole squalid conference sky high, {which would have been better by the way}.
    It’s one thing for my government to do something stupid and squalid. Democratic governance is no assurance of virtue and probity.
    But why did the Israelis go along with this disgusting display.
    The Arabs are buying love in Europe, and in Washington. That’s what’s going on.
    What action has the state of Israel taken to draw that fact into the light of day.
    The American people, in increasing numbers, side with Israelis over Palestinians. All the polls attest as much.
    But instead of Israel seeing her true allies, the American people, it prefers to do some pathetic dance with temporary American governments, all of whom foolishly delude themselves that somehow they have it within their power to bring peace to the Mideast, and end the Arab/Israeli dispute, which they’ve recast as the Israeli/Palestinian dispute.
    Not to mention the Israelis have screwed up recently in Lebanon. Regardless of the pressure placed upon her by my country, ————– why did Israel accede to that pressure?
    Sharon came out and said years ago, that “Israel is NOT Czechoslovakia!”
    He saw the writing on the wall, and stood up and told the President and the State Department not to try to foist some deal on him, and present it as a fait accompli.
    Why have the Israeli people elected a dolt like Olmert, when they could have chosen a man like Netanyahu.
    Amir Taheri wrote a piece, which is posted over at Frontpage Magazine, about how the West is going to allow Iran to go nuke.
    I said as much elsewhere, and said it years ago.
    What is Israel going to do about it?
    Israel could take several actions, short of outright air attack, which would get the message across to Washington that Israel is NOT going to accept that Manhattan Project being completed, even if the weaklings in Washington have so reconciled themselves.
    As soon as Israel takes any action, in Southern Lebanon, Gaza, the West Bank, Syria, Iran, ——————— Israel will be ripped by the establishment, by elites especially, by Soros types, by international opinion.
    That being the case, when Israel goes in, {and I see no alternative presenting itself, for sanctions won’t work, and what’s more, they won’t even be applied, and my country is not going to send in the USAF} so when Israel goes in, —————- you have to get the source of all the problems, all the terror, all the terror training and financing, the source of the Manhattan Project, and that’s the regime.
    So how do you insure you get the regime?
    Answer: Neutrons.
    Conventional weaponry won’t assure the decapitation of that regime.
    But don’t judge the resolution of all Americans by the weakness of George Walker Bush.


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