Slender geopolitical threads on Israel, Iran (WASHINGTON TIMES ANALYSIS/OPINION) By Arnaud de Borchgrave 05/03/12)
WASHINGTON TIMES Articles-Index-Top
A sense of inevitable war with Iran has seized Israel as Prime
Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak have
concluded 1) Iran is about to produce a nuclear bomb; 2) Iran plans
to use it to wipe out Israel; and 3) the time for Israel to bomb
Iranís nuclear production sites is now (i.e., at the height of the
U.S. presidential campaign, when neither candidate would risk losing
by criticizing Israel).
But Israelís three principal former intelligence directors - of the
Shin Bet, Mossad and Army - retired last year and came out strongly
against a pre-emptive attack.
Israelís top general, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, also disagreed with
his boss, Mr. Barak, saying in the Israeli daily Ha´aretz that
diplomatic pressures and economic sanctions against Iranís mullahs
are beginning to work. Gen. Gantz was also quoted as saying he thinks
Iranís decision-makers are ďvery rational.Ē
Mr. Barak replied he was skeptical the pressures thus far had
persuaded Tehran to change intentions about nuclear weapons, a secret
drive that started shortly after the 1979 revolution.
Gen. Gantz then said he had been misquoted and got back on his bossí
message: ďThe military force is ready. Not only our forces, but other
forces as well.Ē
The difference between the two camps was one of timing. Gen. Gantz
this there is no hurry this year; Mr. Netanyahu thinks the U.S.
presidential campaign is critical. Not only would Republican
challenger Mitt Romney and President Obama refrain from chastening,
they might even compete in praising.
A common thread in the thinking of Israelís former intelligence
chiefs is Iranís capacity and capability for the kind of retaliatory
actions that would mine and momentarily close the Strait of Hormuz
and drive oil prices skyward.
The U.S. recently deployed a second aircraft-carrier task force in
the Arabian Sea close to the Straits and doubled the number of
minesweepers based inside the Persian Gulf at Bahrain from four to
eight. The U.S. also fielded an undisclosed number of F-22 Raptor
stealth fighter-bombers to a base in the same general area.
But ďthe Tehran Triangle,Ē a new page-turner by former Air Force
Secretary Thomas C. Reed with Sandy Baker, says we are looking at the
wrong continent for Iranís nuclear eruption. In the mid-Ď70s, Mr.
Reed was the youngest-ever director of the National Reconnaissance
Office, the very existence of which was held secret until the end of
the Cold War. In the 1980s, he was a special assistant to President
Reagan for national security policy.
In ďTriangle,Ē a young, radicalized, second-generation American-
Iranian couple is recruited to build a bomb outside El Paso. The
other corners of the triangle are Juarez and Tehran. A fast-moving
CIA agent unravels the plot, which blends the ease of crossing
Americaís southern border and Iranís hostility toward the U.S. circa
2012. Some 1,300 pounds of gold buy 1,300 pounds of refined uranium,
for building and detonating Iranís nuclear surprise in what the
mullahs regard as the evil empire.
Meanwhile, in the real world, President Obamaís quick round trip (26
hours of flying, seven hours on the ground at Bagram Air Base near
Kabul) was designed to wind down the longest war in U.S. history
while at the same time pledging a close military alliance with
Afghanistan for 10 additional years after the 2014 exit of all combat
In Mr. Obamaís mind, Al Qaeda is still the principal enemy in
Afghanistan. But this is a make-believe scenario. Al Qaeda was chased
out of Afghanistan into Pakistan in the battle of Tora Bora in early
December 2001 - more than 10 years ago. Taliban chief Mullah Omar and
his terrorist guerrillas were crushed and Kabul liberated Nov. 14,
2001. That would have been a good time to declare victory - and avoid
a decade of warfare.
The first anniversary of the SEAL raid that killed Osama Bin Laden on
May 2, 2011, reminds us that was another wasted opportunity. Like it
or not, the Taliban will have to be part of whatever deal can be
negotiated. (© 2012 The Washington Times, LLC. 05/03/12)
Return to Top
MATERIAL REPRODUCED FOR EDUCATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY