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Sunday Times:’Israel has approved military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, if diplomatic efforts fail’

Analyst David Essing:’Apparently report is part of carrot and stick policy being coordinated by US’

The British newspaper the Sunday Times reports that Israel’s security cabinet has approved an airborne operation against Iran’s nuclear facilities if all else fails to block the ayatollahs from acquiring nuclear weapons. PM Ariel Sharon was said to have convened the secret session at his Negev farm last month. The newspaper also reported that the US approved the Israeli strike. David Essing says although there is no confirmation on the report, it may be part of a 'carrot and stick' policy now being coordinated by the Bush administration to prevent the Iranians from producing 'the bomb'.

Iranian Reactor

An Israeli air strike to knock out Iran's nuclear weapons drive - this is not the first time such a report has surfaced recently. Several weeks ago, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney spoke of how Israel might go solo and destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities before they pass 'the point of no return'. The Israeli intelligence assessment is Iran is just months away from that point; the independent capability to enrich uranium to weapons grade for nuclear weapons. This is the final missing link in the Ayatollahs' drive for acquiring the 'bomb'. IDF intelligence says the Iranians would then be able to produce nuclear weapons within a couple of years. Their Shihab 3 ground-to-ground missiles, with a range of over thirteen hundred kilometers can be armed with nuclear warheads with the capability to hit Israel, most Middle East countries and a number of European capitals. The Iranians are known to be developing longer-range rockets and even intercontinental missiles capable of reaching the U.S. But now to the veracity of the London Times story which is not being confirmed by any Israeli source.First - the whole report is a 'cock and bull' story fabricated by the newspaper - highly improbableSecond - an unauthorized Israeli or foreign source leaked the story - highly improbableThird - an authorized Israeli source deliberately leaked the story through one source or another to the newspaper- most probable. So if Israel has leaked the story WHY and WHY NOW? Despite the diplomatic efforts by Britain, France and Germany, Tehran is as defiant as ever in rejecting international monitoring of its nuclear program. The offer by U.S. President George W. Bush to join the Europeans in trying the diplomatic route also appears to have hit a dead end. The American offer to throw in some economic incentives has also been rejected by an Iranian spokesman who declares 'no pressure, incentive or threat can force Iran to give up its rights!' The Iranians apparently believe they can win the race before the U.S. and Europeans get around to imposing sanctions at the U.N. Security Council. The Israeli Stick - The question is sometimes raised about why so much pressure is put on Iran and not on Israel, which has a nuclear reactor at Dimona and is thought to have a nuclear arsenal of its own. Aside from the technical aspect of Iran's commitment as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, Tehran is on record declaring that Israel must be wiped off the face of the earth. Moreover, Ayatollah Rafsanjani once spoke publicly about how one Muslim nuclear bomb could annihilate the entire state of Israel. The Iranians back up these threats by arming, training and bankrolling Hizbullah terrorists in south Lebanon who pose a constant threat to Israel, even though the U.N. has confirmed that IDF forces have withdrawn from all of Lebanese territory. Tehran and Damascus have also supplied Hizbullah with some 13,000 rockets, which can hit Israeli population centers in northern Israel down the Coastal Plain to Hedera. In addition, Iran and its Hizbullah proxies are also inciting Palestinian terror organizations to resume attacks on Israel. The tentacles of Iranian terror are also suspected of playing a key role in the horrendous bombings of Jewish centers in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

Eitan Ben Eliyahu

So, the Iranians can be counted upon to back up their threats with deeds.General (ret.) Eitan Ben Eliyahu, a former commander of the Israel Air Force, says obviously Israel must take the Iranian nuclear threat seriously. Interviewed on Israel Radio, he refused to relate to the 'London Times' story but he did make several observations. Ben Eliyahu noted that several years ago, the Israel Air Force opted for buying a 'mix' of longer range F-15 fighter bombers together with F-16s which would enable the IAF to conduct long range operations. He explained that an air strike on Iran's nuclear facilities would be more 'complicated' that the Osiraq raid in Iraq because of the greater distances and the fact that the Iranian facilities were spread over the country. However, Ben Eliyahu was confident that the IAF could carry out such a mission.

The Timing: The U.S. has agreed to soften its stance on Iran and to back the European 'dialogue' with the Ayatollahs. The Bush administration is ready to join the Europeans in dangling some 'carrots' to the Iranians for halting their nuclear weapons drive. But 'The Great Satan', as the Iranians brand the Americans, has not backed off its declared stance that the Iranian regime must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. Israel, ' The Little Satan' is apparently being cast in the role of 'the big stick'; a warning to the Iranians that they may have to cope with an 'Israeli point of no return' before they reach their own 'nuclear point of no return!'

David Essing

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