Israel leaks plans for nuclear strike on Iran.
January 6, 2007 8:25 PM   Subscribe

Israel leaks plans for nuclear strike on Iran. The details were leaked (on purpose it appears) from Israeli military personal in order to test the waters, prepare the world, and/or put pressure on others to act first. One source: "As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished." Glad I don't live in the Middle East.
posted by bhouston (102 comments total)
 
"...in order to test the waters, prepare the world, and/or put pressure on other to act first."

Where did you get that?
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:31 PM on January 6, 2007


Baby_Balrog, if you read the article, you'll encounter this passage: "Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack."
posted by bhouston at 8:35 PM on January 6, 2007


Yeesh, this is very scary stuff.
posted by Diskeater at 8:36 PM on January 6, 2007


What a wonderful precedent to set.

I'm gonna sing the doom song!!!
Doom-dee-doom,da-da-da-dooooooooommm!!!
posted by Derive the Hamiltonian of... at 8:39 PM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


You forgot the batshitinsane tag.
posted by Mitheral at 8:40 PM on January 6, 2007


I hope I'm not just whistling in the dark here, but I've got my doubts they'll do it. Israel is already on the shit-list of every neighbor it has, and they've been dealing with low level civil war ever since the nation was founded. If anything is going to get the various and mutually unfriendly Islamic nations united for a big attack on Israel it'd be the use of nukes.

I can easily believe that Bush would want Israel to play hatchetman the way they did when they destroyed the Iraqi atomic plant in 1981, I just have a hard time believing that Israel would commit suicide and that's what an atomic strike against an Islamic nation would be (from my POV anyway).
posted by sotonohito at 8:40 PM on January 6, 2007


Glad I don't live in the Middle East.

as if distance will help us.
posted by ab3 at 8:42 PM on January 6, 2007


ah. Sorry.
posted by Baby_Balrog at 8:44 PM on January 6, 2007


sotonohito, I think there is a possibility that they will do it with the knowledge that they have +200 nukes in reserve that will dissuade anyone from significant retaliation.
posted by bhouston at 8:45 PM on January 6, 2007


Baby_Balrog, if not those reasons, what would be the purpose of leaking that information? I'm curious as to what your thoughts are. Remember that these are just third party analysis speculating, and not the Israeli military personnel themselves.
posted by bhouston at 8:47 PM on January 6, 2007


Yeah. I have to agree with bhouston there. I mean, what the fuck is Iran thinking anyway? Seriously? I mean, do they really think that if push came to shove that Israel wouldn't do something like this?

I think it's more like a choice between unchoosable choices. If that makes sense. If Israel does nothing, they're fucked. If they do this, they're definitely fucked.

Bad stuff all around seems to me.
posted by geekhorde at 8:49 PM on January 6, 2007


I don't think Olmert would do it.
I do think Netanyahu would do it.
posted by The White Hat at 8:51 PM on January 6, 2007


200+ nukes is not that much of a deterrent if you've got nothing to lose - they can't bomb people within their own borders. MAD was based on the fact that neither side would win a nuclear contest.

They would've need a big attack. The United States won't come running to help, we can't afford it...and if the oil supply is threatened for long enough, our economy will go into a tailspin.
And destroying Iran's nuclear capability doesn't stop their military OR the threat of a Islamic coup in Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.
posted by black8 at 8:53 PM on January 6, 2007


geekhorde, I actually don't think it is necessary for Israel do to for its survival (Iran's president is blustery but Iran's nuclear program started long before he came to power and will continue after he is voted out), I strongly believe that mutually assured destruction (MAD) works just as well in the Middle East as it did between the US and the USSR. (In fact, I just made a semi-MAD argument here about Israel's potential to retaliate.) But Israel's strategy for a long time has been to maintain a local hegemony in the Middle East, and from this perspective it makes perfect sense to ensure that no rivals emerge and that the Middle East doesn't end up in a MAD-based stalemate. Israel (and its ally the United States) wants to maintain is regional superiority/dominance -- and that is one of the reasons why there are continuing tensions in the region and why it will remain a dangerous place.
posted by bhouston at 8:55 PM on January 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


I've said it before and I'll say it again, lock the leaders of a lot of these countries up together in small but comfortable room and dose them with moderate amounts of ecstasy, and I don't think we'd really have a problem anymore.

I'm only half joking.
posted by geekhorde at 8:59 PM on January 6, 2007


The nukes will explode UNDERGROUND.
That way it'll be SAFE.
Why is everyone so UPSET?
posted by Dizzy at 9:01 PM on January 6, 2007


However, American experts warned of repercussions, including widespread protests that could destabilise parts of the Islamic world friendly to the West.

Well there is the fucking understatement of the year.

Israel nuking Iran would lead to destabilization and protests. You heard it here first people.
posted by quin at 9:03 PM on January 6, 2007


The nukes will explode UNDERGROUND.
That way it'll be SAFE.
Why is everyone so UPSET?


Because.
posted by The White Hat at 9:05 PM on January 6, 2007 [2 favorites]


"The nukes will explode UNDERGROUND.
That way it'll be SAFE.
Why is everyone so UPSET?"


...about the cups?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:06 PM on January 6, 2007


I do think Netanyahu would do it.

Bebe is pretty crazy. He might even consider nuking Israel in a false flag op, if it would help launch a nuclear war on the Middle East.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:06 PM on January 6, 2007


geekhorde : lock the leaders of a lot of these countries up together in small but comfortable room and dose them with moderate amounts of ecstasy

A good first attempt. But if that doesn't solve the problem, I say we lock them in a room with an angry gorilla on PCP and suggest that the fastest way out is to make nice with each other.
posted by quin at 9:08 PM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


The White Hat: phenomenal!
posted by bhouston at 9:09 PM on January 6, 2007


Oh guin. I love that. Absolutely.
posted by geekhorde at 9:15 PM on January 6, 2007


Agree - they would do it. Nothing to lose, given their fear that a nuclear Arab state = doom for Israel.
posted by A189Nut at 9:21 PM on January 6, 2007


Absolute madness. The best case scenario is that Israel completely obliterates the entire Iranian nuclear complex while being cast as murderers to almost every other country on earth, and solidifying a permanent jihad against Israel that will only end after a war that would rival WWII in body counts. The worst case scenario involves the entire population of Tel Aviv melting.

I cannot imagine a more fantastic concept of hubris in this era as the belief that Israel will somehow perpetually prevent any other country from having nukes. It's going to happen. This defies any rational definition of "dealing with it."
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:26 PM on January 6, 2007


Fools! Damn fools!
posted by loquacious at 9:26 PM on January 6, 2007


So Israel delays Iran's ambitions for a few years - or even speeds up the process. The Taliban are just one bullet (in General Musharraf's head) away from having nuclear tipped ballistic missiles, or maybe that dude in North Korea, or an unhappy Russian general will help out.

In the long term, however, I do not see how military power ensures Israel survives as a nation. Iran can absorb a nuclear strike and remain a nation. Israel cannot. It seems more and more clear that the Zionists have sold out the survivors of the Holocaust.
posted by three blind mice at 9:35 PM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]



Oh how nice:

Democrats: Nuclear Iran Unacceptable

Our new Democratic House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer won't rule out a pre-emptive strike either. They're all drinking the same water, those assholes.
posted by bukharin at 9:36 PM on January 6, 2007


This is just silliness and certainly will not happen. Military strategists put together all kinds of plans -- that's what they do -- and this is just another one of them. It doesn't mean they will carry them out, just as the US has drawn up plans to invade Canada and will never carry them out.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:37 PM on January 6, 2007


The White Hat---
"The Core" only made $10, even with nationwide release.
Thus--
Nooks are SAFE.
posted by Dizzy at 9:38 PM on January 6, 2007


Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese, the article says that there are two military teams training for the strike -- it seems like it has passed just the stage of a strategic plan, although it is had not yet happened thus it could just be a bluff, but a semi-serious bluff at that.
posted by bhouston at 9:40 PM on January 6, 2007


Remember the "imminent plans" the US had to invade Iran? Some reports even said there were US special forces teams across the border, and the rest of the military would be there before the end of 2006. Those plans didn't happen either.
posted by Kraftmatic Adjustable Cheese at 9:43 PM on January 6, 2007


Fire pig = war pig
posted by stbalbach at 9:45 PM on January 6, 2007


I'd like to suggest that the United States had best bring its so-called "elected representatives" into line with reality as regards nukes being an absolute no-no. By any means neccesary. Otherwise, we're all going to die. It is just that simple.

God-damned Republocrats and Demolicans!
posted by Goofyy at 9:49 PM on January 6, 2007



Those plans didn't happen either.

I think we are already at a kind of soft-war with Iran, however, which they are fighting via taking advantage of our paralysis in Iraq to foster the Shi'ia ascendancy there. I find credible Seymour Hersch's assertions that we had already deposited special forces within Iran to map out potential targets and that we are supporting in one way or another groups within Iran to topple that regime. I think both countries are walking a fine line because the US does not have the public support (until it can manufacture some) for open war (nor did we have it for Cambodia, thus a similar secrecy there) and the Iranians are wary of open provocation because they are not stupid and do not want to be destroyed. But both countries are militantly vying for influence in the region and at this point Iran is winning.
posted by bukharin at 9:51 PM on January 6, 2007


Ostensibly, details were leaked [...] in order to test the waters, prepare the world, and/or put pressure on others to act first.

I suspect the real story here is that this is none of those things. It is an extraordinary piece of brinksmanship designed to hasten the end of Ahmadinejad's tenure.

Consider that Iran's internal circumstances have dealt the first real vulnerability to it's recent strategic gains in quite some time (being the sole apparent "winner" in Iraq, it's proxy Hezbollah fighting Israel to a stalemate, gains in nuclear weapons development and international paralysis...they've been on a roll).

As luck would have it...the two poles of political power in Iran find themselves on (relatively) shaky ground. The hardline conservatives were dealt a serious blow in recent elections, and Khamenei's health is faltering. The likely successor to real power is the (relatively) moderating influence of Rafsanjani, who brings the added bonus to the West of being a known quantity.

It is astonishing to witness Israel progressing from long standing denial of nuclear membership, to a "whoops our Prime Minister admitted it in public" to nuclear sabre-rattling (albeit plausibly deniable nuclear sabre-rattling) -- all in a span of weeks. (!)

Considering the recent Iranian juggernaut in the middle east...the alternatives to such a bold "leak" could be even graver, even in the short term. The concerns of a nuclear armed Iran are obvious, but perhaps less obvious to the casual observer are the enormous risks of a responsive nuclear buildup within the Arab world -- everyone from Saudi Arabia to the UAE will seek nukes to counter the prospect of Persian (and/or Shia) hegemony.

This unprecedented "leak" could well be the option with the lower risk of unintended consequences. If a thoroughly credible threat of pre-emptive Israeli nuclear strikes freaks you out, imagine the effect on moderates in Iran who oppose the hardliners. Turning up the heat on Ahmadinejad could cause him to overplay his hand. From the west's perspective, better he come under public pressure, lose influence and leave office than, uh...other ways of leaving office.
posted by edverb at 10:11 PM on January 6, 2007 [3 favorites]


edverb, the only issue is that Iran's nuclear program was in place before the recent election of the hardliners. It is likely to continue even with moderates in charge because of its deterrent value, although threats to wipe Israel off the map and the hosting of Holocaust denial conferences will likely end -- thus reducing world pressure on Iran.
posted by bhouston at 10:27 PM on January 6, 2007


What makes this all somewhat believeable is that finally, the IAF has a new, long range fighter-bomber variant of the F-16 that can deliver whopping big bombs to Iran. The Israeli Air Force has never had a major mid-air refueling capability, although it is believed to have a few converted "KC-707" tankers, and so fighter-bombers which can reach distant targets without mid-air refueling are major new tools in Israeli war planning, which the Bush administration approved, when previous administrations were loath to do so.

This has not been lost on Israel's Arab neighbors, but if you were an Iranian public official, living now within strike distance of Israeli nuclear weapons, what would be your response?
posted by paulsc at 10:36 PM on January 6, 2007 [1 favorite]


bhouston, another interpretation is that threats to "wipe Israel off the map" and Holocaust denial conferences serve the dual purpose of A) red meat for the base and b) a carefully devised act to keep the West off balance and win concessions (also known as the "crazy fearsome cripple gambit".)
posted by edverb at 10:41 PM on January 6, 2007


edverb, I guess. funny, I was just reading that previous post of yours since it was also another thread in which you and I were posting.
posted by bhouston at 10:43 PM on January 6, 2007




paulsc: dispersal. Lots and lots of digging and dispersal. Iran is not poor.
posted by Malor at 10:46 PM on January 6, 2007


bhouston: I thought your comments were very astute in that thread (and this one).
posted by edverb at 10:52 PM on January 6, 2007


what would be your response?

"Bring it on!"

While I would prefer nukes didn't proliferate, at the end of the day it's a state sovereign right for the craazy Iranians to do whatever the fuck they want in this area.

If Iran didn't have that sweet sweet crude it'd be easier to nonviolently attitude-adjust them, but c'est la vie.
posted by Heywood Mogroot at 11:09 PM on January 6, 2007


And it isn't like the Israelis have never previously blown up a nuclear plant in a neighboring country with F-16s before. Ironically, the development of the long range F-16s with greater range was paid for by an Arab country (the United Arab Emirates as part of the UAE-funded Block 60 development program).
posted by Doohickie at 11:09 PM on January 6, 2007


A good first attempt. But if that doesn't solve the problem, I say we lock them in a room with an angry gorilla on PCP a butt-plugged gibbon on raspberries and suggest that the fastest way out is to make nice with each other.
posted by Anything at 11:26 PM on January 6, 2007


don't worry any of you. as tom robbins said many times, "the international situation is desperate, as usual." and it will always be. take comfort in this.
posted by localhuman at 11:59 PM on January 6, 2007


For the sake of discussion, I'll assume that someone in the Isreali military or government really did leak this info. There's no way to know whether this is actually the case.

But if they did... then I really think the most likely explanation is that this individual (and s/he's probably not the only one in his/her peergroup) realizes (A) that this plan goes beyond insanity all the way to absurdity and (B) that the only way to be really sure that it won't come to fruition is to make it public. This individual probably doesn't know whether the government is going to do this or not; most likely no one - not even Netanyahu - knows that yet. But the leaker probably tested the political winds, listened to the rumor mill, gathered the available info and - correctly or incorrectly - judged that there's some kind of real world chance that it might actually happen. And s/he figured; better safe than sorry.

Anyway, that's my theory: to the leaker it looked like a possibility and the leak was a way of stopping it before it started.
posted by Clay201 at 12:25 AM on January 7, 2007


Iran attempts to build nuclear power facilities? Sanctions and threats of war.
Israel plans and begins training for nuclear war? Tsk, Tsk, that's very naughty.
posted by textilephile at 3:15 AM on January 7, 2007


The supposed method is to use one bomb to make a crater, then guide a second nuclear bomb and explode it inside the crater you just made. How sensible a war-plan does that sound? After all, if you're causing the first hostile use of Nukes in fifty years, you don't want to miss.
posted by grahamwell at 4:12 AM on January 7, 2007


Wing attack, plan R.
posted by flabdablet at 4:30 AM on January 7, 2007


"...How sensible a war-plan does that sound? After all, if you're causing the first hostile use of Nukes in fifty years, you don't want to miss."
posted by grahamwell at 7:12 AM EST on January 7

The Union of Concerned Scientists thinks it's a lousy idea, and offers this 2 minute animation to explain their viewpoint. At the end of the short animation are links to various papers further discussing problems with RNEP (Robust Nuclear Earth Penetrator) type weapons.

The largest U.S. conventional bunker busters are built using surplus cannon barrels as the weapon casements, in order to allow the weapon to physically penetrate earth or reinforced concrete structures as deeply as possible before detonation. (For various packaging reasons, it would be pretty hard to get a standard nuke of significant yeild into such a casement.) Yet even with these extremely hard physical casings, and precision guidance of these weapons borrowed from JDAM weapons, the success of the best conventional U.S. bunker busters against shallow underground targets in Iraq has been questionable. The idea of dropping nukes into "holes" that have been "pre-drilled" by conventional "bunker busters" is laughable to anyone who has seen bomb damage assessments in the wake of use of large conventional bombs against cave and bunker targets in Afghanistan and Iraq.

If the Israelis are stupid enough to actually do this, they are rolling the dice big time on a global scale, for all kinds of repercussions to themselves and to third party populations.
posted by paulsc at 5:42 AM on January 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


this story strikes me as without merit. Israel does not need to test the waters. They know now that the world is timid, condemning, and passive--ie, the UN--and that there was an outcry at first when they struck Iraq's facilities.

Second, Israel has never ever announced or let leak in advance any plans it has had militarily. Why would they do this now and in advance of an attack? (were a secret made public there would by now be investigations and arrests).
posted by Postroad at 5:56 AM on January 7, 2007


Also, just for the record, a look back at the five times in 2006 the Murdoch-owned Times claimed there would be an attack on Iran.

All this needs to do is happen on the same day Condi replaces a retiring Dick Cheney as Vice-President while the AP completely fabricates a news story and we'll have our first ever full-on right-wing blogger orgasmic unsubstantiated bullshit trifecta.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:17 AM on January 7, 2007


Israel says NOT SO
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=6736836
posted by Postroad at 7:43 AM on January 7, 2007


Israel is already on the shit-list of every neighbor it has, and they've been dealing with low level civil war ever since the nation was founded. If anything is going to get the various and mutually unfriendly Islamic nations united for a big attack on Israel it'd be the use of nukes.

Not a lot they could do to get off those lists at the best of times, and if the local loonybins keeps talking about how nice it would be nuke Israel, they might be forgiven for taking him at his word. As to local reaction, bear in mind that plenty of Sunni gov'ts (and possibly populations) have no particular use for Iran, much less its current swanking, and there is talk of quiet Israeli/Saudi understanding on the whole issue of a nuclear Iran. (How it might shake out after the fact is of course another question, but going into it, maybe not so bad, given the alternative. Run a google search on Israel Saudi alliance or similar and check it out.)

"...it's a state sovereign right for the craazy Iranians to do whatever the fuck they want in this area."

True, of course, but not especially meaningful in this instance. Even assuming the whole Iranian nuke program is just a wasteful project of natational pride, it's a pretty stupid one given what else is going on in the area. You talk trash in tough neighbourhoods, you will get hurt, right or wrong.

Ugly stuff, realpolitik.
posted by IndigoJones at 8:59 AM on January 7, 2007


Just to make sure I understand the backstory, is it OK or not OK for any country to be able to generate electricity from a nuclear reaction? Leaving alone for the moment the fact that the biggest naysayers have nuclear reactors, nuclear arms, and one country has even used them on populations.

Ugly stuff, principles.
posted by Artful Codger at 9:19 AM on January 7, 2007


These are clearly the kind of plans that are for leaking, not ofr enacting.

Israel is not nearly stupid enough to make itelf an international pariah by being the first nation since WWII to use nukes.

And I say that even after the immoral and stupid bullshit that was the cluster bombing of Lebanon.
posted by Artw at 9:27 AM on January 7, 2007


textilephile: "Iran attempts to build nuclear power facilities? Sanctions and threats of war.
Israel plans and begins training for nuclear war? Tsk, Tsk, that's very naughty."


Jeffrey Dahmer wants to babysit my daughter? Lock the door and call the police.
The nice girl next door wants to babysit my daughter? Fine, let her.

The notion of political equality works quite well on the individual level, but is disastrous on the national level. Anybody who thinks that Iran will never us nuclear capabilities for evil knows nothing about Khameini. Nothing.
posted by koeselitz at 10:48 AM on January 7, 2007


Would we have peace if we didn't have a mid-East Israel?

Let's move them to somewhere in South America. Or Quebec.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:50 AM on January 7, 2007


Just to make sure I understand the backstory, is it OK or not OK for any country to be able to generate electricity from a nuclear reaction? Leaving alone for the moment the fact that the biggest naysayers have nuclear reactors, nuclear arms, and one country has even used them on populations.

The question is moot. The issue is not Iran as a full partner in Atoms For Peace, but the current Iranian government as seeking nuclear weapons with the stated intention (or at least stated desire) of dumping them on a won't-get-fooled-again kind of neighbouring country. If Rafsanjani and Ahmadenijad had kept their big mouths shut, openly and with IAEA oversight built powerplants and not gone for enrichment on the sly, they probably would not be in this position today. You places your bets, you takes your chances.

As to point two- I agree, we should leave it alone. It's irrelevant and has already discussed here many times before.

Principles are lovely things, but tend to get back seated when there's a threat to survival, perceived or real. Pretty unremarkable phenon, I would have thought.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:51 AM on January 7, 2007


Israel is not nearly stupid enough to make itelf an international pariah by being the first nation since WWII to use nukes.

I would bet that Iran already has nukes and has likewise figured out that it needs Israel to strike first before "wiping" it out.
posted by Brian B. at 10:52 AM on January 7, 2007


phenom, of course. (Thumbs, thumbs.)

On preview, what koeselitz said.

Also, interesting read on local thinking vis a vis Iran.
posted by IndigoJones at 10:58 AM on January 7, 2007


I would bet that Iran already has nukes and has likewise figured out that it needs Israel to strike first before "wiping" it out.

Interesting. What could they hope to gain by it?
posted by IndigoJones at 11:00 AM on January 7, 2007


I would bet that Iran already has nukes and has likewise figured out that it needs Israel to strike first before "wiping" it out.

Highly doubtful. The point of nukes is to not use them, but rather deter others from using theirs.
posted by bhouston at 11:07 AM on January 7, 2007


Interesting. What could they hope to gain by it?

Besides long-term security? Maybe some short-term internal populism.
posted by Brian B. at 11:13 AM on January 7, 2007


It's my beleif that the inept Iraq war was the result of Dubyas lack of experience, hubris, and a need to look tough. Apparently, the same conditions exist in Israel right now. Anything could happen in regards to Iran.
posted by Xurando at 11:15 AM on January 7, 2007


bhouston: "Highly doubtful. The point of nukes is to not use them, but rather deter others from using theirs."

In a world where every person, and every nation, places his own survival above all else, this would be true. The middle east is not that world.
posted by koeselitz at 11:17 AM on January 7, 2007


Highly doubtful. The point of nukes is to not use them, but rather deter others from using theirs.

The "point" of nukes above is by accident of their total destruction potential. If they can be used to neutralize an immediate threat, the equation changes.
posted by Brian B. at 11:25 AM on January 7, 2007


A continuation of the idea-less foreign policy we've been pursuing with respect to Iran. They're going to get the bomb, there's almost nothing we can do about it, and they know it.
posted by atchafalaya at 12:03 PM on January 7, 2007


Perhaps the only thing that could be done about it would be (or would've been) much, much lower oil prices. But of course in that regard, the Iranian and American elite have similar interests.
posted by cell divide at 12:08 PM on January 7, 2007


Israel is not nearly stupid enough to make itelf an international pariah by being the first nation since WWII to use nukes.

"Israel" is not a person who can be stupid. Individual leaders of Israel, however, are people who can be stupid. And there are certainly politicians in Israel right now who would have no problem being *that* stupid. Let's hope those people never wind up in a position where we'll find out for sure.
posted by mediareport at 12:09 PM on January 7, 2007


In a world where every person, and every nation, places his own survival above all else, this would be true. The middle east is not that world.

Is your contention that the entire nebulous region with it's history, peoples and complexities somehow sums up to leaders who are immune to the eternal human desire for self-preservation? Because if so, I'd dispute that.

Any interest group sporting a return address is clearly subject to mutually assured destruction, and even those without a return address. This universal truth is not lost on anyone -- every nation-state and non-state-actor has a value system, and whether or not "survival" is at the top of their particular list, something is motivating them to action.

If something is valued, something can be ransomed. Even still I dispute your premise...survival of self and nation is still at the top of the list even where it appears otherwise.

In the case of Iran...the starting point is that they desire national security first and regional hegemony second.
posted by edverb at 12:16 PM on January 7, 2007


We're going to run into this again and again. As fossil fuels become more scarce or unacceptable, each country will turn towards nuclear power, as many of them just don't have the solar / wind / geothermal / OTEC renewable resources handy, and the technology seems to be constantly out of reach.

The whole "Let the USA sell you this reactor and give you power so we don't have to worry about you being naughty" thing isn't going to work. What sovereign state is going to put a foreign country so much in charge of their power infrastructure that the whole land could be turned off like a light switch? Until thorium reactors out there and tested (which supposedly have the side benefit of not being useful to produce the scary fissionables), country after country will turn towards nuclear power, from countries that are Our Friends to absolute wingnut countries. People like their electricity. Policy has yet to catch up with that concept.

Israel's "Nevar Forget" Holocaust Shield o' Guilt has a half-life, just like those radioactive materials it fears. After it decays sufficiently, their allies will be a little sick of their self-fulfilling paranoia, and at that point, the fireworks will begin. I think that country has probably destroyed any remaining chances it might have had to make peace with its unhappy neighbors.
posted by adipocere at 12:24 PM on January 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


Interesting. What could they hope to gain by it?

Besides long-term security? Maybe some short-term internal populism.


Security? Israel is hardly going to go out of its way to trouble Iran if they would just knock it off with the Nuke Israel schtick. As to short term local populism, they have about as much as they're going to get already. Will it increase if they arrange to have a big cloud of radioactivity carried southward and eastward (and homeward) on prevailing winds the day after vitrifying Israel? (The Israeli strike by contrast seeks to minimize the whole fallout issue. Which raises the question- science majors, is this realistic?)

survival of self and nation is still at the top of the list even where it appears otherwise

Respectfully disagree. Plenty of times pride risks self destruction where objective commonsense would have saved the day. This applies both personally and internationally.
posted by IndigoJones at 12:24 PM on January 7, 2007


IndigoJones - Thanks for the response.

OK, is it inconceivable that Iran is seeking nuclear capability (real or feigned) because of the threat from the all-but-stated hostile intents of the US and Israel? Would this be equally unremarkable?

I know you're trying to illuminate the reality of the situation, but I do not, cannot accept being driven to the cynical conclusion that its simply a "them or us situation" which justifies first strikes and all sorts of other immoral actions.
posted by Artful Codger at 12:29 PM on January 7, 2007


Security? Israel is hardly going to go out of its way to trouble Iran if they would just knock it off with the Nuke Israel schtick.

The neocons have talked openly about invading Iran for years.

As to short term local populism, they have about as much as they're going to get already

And so they would need more in the short term then.
posted by Brian B. at 12:34 PM on January 7, 2007


The whole "Let the USA sell you this reactor and give you power so we don't have to worry about you being naughty" thing isn't going to work.

Especially when US reactor technology is crap. Isn't it the Chinese who have the safest and best design at the moment (pebble-bed)?

warning: opinion may not be based on fact.
posted by five fresh fish at 12:40 PM on January 7, 2007


AC thank you for your serious response (I weary of sarcasm on Mefi, as elsewhere)

I don't disagree that may be part of Iran's thinking, but given the current state of affairs there, I tend to think it more posturing than anything else. It's the kind of strutting that diverts internal attention from things like poverty and foreseeable decline in serious money from oil.

As to morality of first strike- as you say, I am merely pointing to reality.

The neocons have talked openly about invading Iran for years.


The Neocons you cite are American. We're talking Israel. Or at least I was. As to the short term populism, I reiterate- very short term once the winds come from a vitrified Israel.

country after country will turn towards nuclear power, from countries that are Our Friends to absolute wingnut countries

No doubt, but wingnut counties with nukes are not going to be viewed or treated the same way that Nice Countries are. Fact of life. Is this a bad thing?
posted by IndigoJones at 1:05 PM on January 7, 2007


The Neocons you cite are American.

They are lobbyists for Israel, a fact which Iran is no doubt fully aware of.
posted by Brian B. at 1:30 PM on January 7, 2007


I said "Our Friends," not "Nice Countries." Not all Nice Countries are Our Friends. Not all of Our Friends are Nice Countries. They will be treated differently, which is precisely why it won't fly. "So you're saying it's okay for (for instance) Brazil to get a nuclear reactor, but we can't? Screw you, America!"

Saying "if you're not already in the nuclear club, you can't join" won't work. Saying, "we'll only let our friends join the nuclear club" won't work, either. While I don't exactly wave the "information wants to be free" flag, I can't see how we can expect the relevant technology not to seep out to every country ('cept maybe Sealand) on the globe. Policy must be aimed not towards "stopping X from getting nuclear technology" but towards preparing for when the eventuality occurs.
posted by adipocere at 1:38 PM on January 7, 2007 [2 favorites]


The Neocons you cite are American.

Yes, but...
- The Israel Lobby
- Israel lobby in the United States
posted by bhouston at 1:56 PM on January 7, 2007


No doubt, but wingnut counties with nukes are not going to be viewed or treated the same way that Nice Countries are.

but they've signed the same treaties ... which does present a certain problem, doesn't it?

my view is that we (or israel, or whoever) can be willing to assume the risk of possible nuclear trouble with iran, including use of nukes by them ... or we can be willing to start a serious war with them with uncertain, major consequences, among which will be the reaction of russia, china, and india

the latter option is too dangerous ... i can only hope the u s and israel realize that
posted by pyramid termite at 2:07 PM on January 7, 2007


is it OK or not OK for any country to be able to generate electricity from a nuclear reaction?

It's OK for India, not OK for Iran, according to Bush administration foreign policy.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:15 PM on January 7, 2007


(bhouston, if you're quoting someone else, it helps to highlight the text and click the "I" at the bottom right of the preview window to italicize it.)
posted by mediareport at 2:16 PM on January 7, 2007


Playing Defcon and then reading about real countries threatening each other with real nukes is... disconcerting to say the least.
posted by EndsOfInvention at 2:42 PM on January 7, 2007


IndigoJones writes "Principles are lovely things, but tend to get back seated when there's a threat to survival, perceived or real."

Then they're not principles, and merely component parts of a philosophy of convenience.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 4:56 PM on January 7, 2007 [1 favorite]


That does it. I now officially hope Iran DOES develop nukes.
posted by tkchrist at 4:59 PM on January 7, 2007


but they've signed the same treaties ... which does present a certain problem, doesn't it?

my view is that we (or israel, or whoever) can be willing to assume the risk of possible nuclear trouble with iran, including use of nukes by them


Signing ain't necessarily abiding by, which is where the problem arises. Do admit, Iran has not been big on impartial (IAIC) inspections, the way, say, Brazil might be. Yours is a view shared by many, and it may be a safely assumable risk. My point was, it is a risk that Israel or whoever might understandably not wish to take.

By the way, here's another article (British Spectator, but still) suggesting that this could be Iranian goading the world so they can be Big Man in Islamdom. Not sure I buy it for reasons given above, certainly don't thinks it's sensible, but Brian B. et al, whose point was similar, might like it if they get to the end.

(Call 'em what you like angelboy, they're what gets hauled out when push comes to inevitable shove.)

Enough of this. I've already overspent my quota on this post. Luego
posted by IndigoJones at 5:27 PM on January 7, 2007


IndigoJones writes "(Call 'em what you like angelboy, they're what gets hauled out when push comes to inevitable shove.) "

Not always. Principles do sometimes trump survival--and should more often, I think. Witness Buddhist monks in the 70's setting themselves on fire, people being run over in Tiananmen Sqare, etc.
posted by dirtynumbangelboy at 5:32 PM on January 7, 2007


mediareport: thx for the civil cluebyfour re: the n00b. much nicer than our usual savagery!
posted by five fresh fish at 5:35 PM on January 7, 2007


The Neocons you cite are American.

Yes, but...
- The Israel Lobby
- Israel lobby in the United States


Does this mean we can blame all Muslims for terrorism?


That does it. I now officially hope Iran DOES develop nukes.

Yes, yes, *this* was the final straw. You weren't a rabid, kneejerk nutcase before *this* came to pass.
posted by Krrrlson at 7:23 PM on January 7, 2007


Does this mean we can blame all Muslims for terrorism?

That would be a simplistic generalization wouldn't it? Such fuzzy thought usually doesn't get one anywhere, no matter what the topic.
posted by bhouston at 7:49 PM on January 7, 2007


IndigoJones said: The Israeli strike by contrast seeks to minimize the whole fallout issue. Which raises the question- science majors, is this realistic?

IANASM, but let us count a few of the hurdles:
  1. The right political and military timing.
  2. Communication and coordination with the USA and other friendlies.
  3. Adequate visibility and favorable weather conditions (perhaps on the same day.)
  4. Approach and invade the airspace of a hostile, alert enemy with anti-aircraft defenses (and a chip on its shoulder) without detection.
  5. Pre-identify and precisely locate multiple, widely dispersed targets.
  6. Drop conventional HE bunker-busters first on the correct target (in a vulnerable geological spot.)
  7. Immediately follow the HE BBs down their hole with a second drop of tactical nuclear roto-rooters.
  8. No HE or nuclear misses.
  9. No mechanical, hardware or software failures, pilot errors, command & control errors, AA missiles, or other FUBARS.
  10. No fallout — nuclear or otherwise — over downwind friendly, enemy, or neutral countries.
Conclusion: I hope this scenario is science fiction: it certainly isn't Entebbe or Osirak. If Israel is going to start wars like this, better use the Force, Luke.
posted by cenoxo at 8:09 PM on January 7, 2007


You weren't a rabid, kneejerk nutcase before *this* came to pass.

Hey everybody Krrrlson posted a defensive, insulting, chicken-shit drive-by when the topic of Israel came up! Wow. What a shock!

Make sure you all mark it as a fav! ( after 4 years he'll have almost 51 favs out of 1146 posts! That's almost 5%! SCORE! Way to go Mr. Popular!)

Krrrlson. Your clear-headed out-of-the-box views are not only refreshing but a constant surprise! What an addition to the community you are. Don't ever change, bro.
posted by tkchrist at 11:27 AM on January 8, 2007


Hmmm... Army War College said last year Israel didn’t have the military capability to seek and destroy Iranian nuclear assets and the Israeli Air Force couldn’t operate at those long distances without bases.
Shlomo Brom (former top kick of IAF strategic planning) sed the backbone of their air capability was the F-15I and the F-16C/D which can go out about 600 km - and back (operational radius about double that, with a bit over 2000 km for an F-16)
Iran is about 1000 km, their -speculative - nuke sites are about 1,500 to 1,700 km out from Israel.
The problem with the F-16’s however is that the F-15’s are better at range. It’s not how far you can go, it’s how good a shape you are in after going that far. F-15’s’d be my choice at distance, because you’re not just dropping bombs when you get there, fueled up or not you’re going to have to fight. And they’re going to know you’re there and will scramble their goodies, whether they can hit you with SAMs or not.

Getting back would be harder than getting out there. But I don’t know that they would mind ditching or suiciding for something like this. It’d be better psyops if they didn’t though. It’d make their military look far more capable. Even though there’s no way they could sustain a strategic air op.

But they could pull off a one time surgical air strike with enough support aircraft, ECM, COM and refuling craft. That’d cost some big $. Unless the U.S. lent them some help.
They would still need very serious and very high confidence intelligence. (Nuke a civilian center and people are NOT going to forgive you.)
And they’d have fly low to avoid detection or being shot down... the key of course is surprise. Publishing something in the paper sort of defeats the purpose.

Hmmm.... Israeli national security strategy is founded on the premise that Israel cannot afford to lose a single war. They have to deter, failing that they have to prevent escalation, failing that they have to take the fight to the enemy’s territory.
They’ve relied on the Samson Option and their insistance they won’t introduce nukes to the Middle East....
The IDF doctrine and tactics have always taken quality over quantity (which is why they use the assault rifles they do) and mobility.
Our presence in the region skews some of that in their favor. We’re their allies, they could cross Iraq under our protection...
In addition, there’s nothing to gain by waiting for Iran to build up their stockpiles and everything to lose - enemy doctrine (as percieved by Israel whether it’s wholly true or not) has been to eliminate the state of Israel. Whether it’s actually necessary or not, it’s what’s on the table.

Hmmm....yeah, if I was Israel, I’d hit them now.
If I was the U.S. I’d officially break off relations with Israel before they do. Today, in fact.
Of course, that wouldn’t actually change the nature of what is going to be the engagement because we’d let them waltz across Iraq to boot Iran in the nuclear winkies anyway. But it’d look really good for the U.S.
Especially if the intelligence fails. But if it works, we can flip it on the Iranians.
(“Well of COURSE they nuked your nuke sites - didn’t we tell you not to build nukes? And you lied about it, didn’t you? And here’s the proof.” etc.)

Uh, that’s all morality aside of course.

(background stuff
posted by Smedleyman at 12:18 PM on January 8, 2007


/also aside is the political game of leaking this story, training, etc. etc. with the goal of stopping Iran from developing nukes - in parity with the IDF’s strategy of deterrence and de-escalation.
posted by Smedleyman at 12:21 PM on January 8, 2007


Actually the situation reminds me of a joke - There’s an old man in a deli and he orders a bowl of chicken soup. The waiter brings the soup and the old man calls him back.
“Waiter,” he says “Try this soup.”
The waiter says “Is there a fly in it?”
The old man says “Just try it”
The waiter says “Is it too hot?”
The old man says “Try the soup yourself?”
The waiter says “Is the soup cold?”
The old man says “Just take a taste.”
The waiter says “Is the chicken too stringy? You want to send it back?”
The old man says “Look, just taste the soup!”
The waiter says “Ok, I’ll taste it...where’s the spoon?”
The old man says “A-haa!”
posted by Smedleyman at 1:36 PM on January 8, 2007


In other news: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is not dead.
posted by homunculus at 1:39 PM on January 8, 2007






Huh. The Iranian people are going to do something the American people apparently won't: remove the nutjob from the helm.

Go figure.
posted by five fresh fish at 7:59 PM on January 10, 2007


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