Israeli investigative journalist Ilana Dayan has just done an interview with President Obama for Israel’s Channel 2. The full interview is being aired tonight, but segments have already been released. Highlights, clearly. And what he says must be countered.
“I can, I think, demonstrate, not based on any hope but on facts and evidence and analysis, that the best way to prevent Iran from having a nuclear weapon is a verifiable, tough agreement.
“A military solution will not fix it. Even if the United States participates, it would temporarily slow down an Iranian nuclear program but it will not eliminate it.”
It’s difficult to know where to begin.
Perhaps what is most outrageous here is that he has just announced to Iran that no matter what, the US will not be attacking.
We all knew that, of course. But the US policy, enunciated every so often, has been that all options, including the military option, were on the table.
What Obama has done here, in pulling the military option off the table, is not something that should be done when in the midst of negotiations. Not if the desire is to come out with the best possible deal: then you negotiate from strength and, at the very least, keep the your adversary guessing.
This tells us a great deal about Obama’s lack of seriousness in the negotiations.
Or perhaps this is the most outrageous aspect of what he has said: He is trying to convince the Israeli public that there is no point in attacking Iran, because a military solution won’t work.
My friends, at this point in time, a military solution is the only thing that will work!
Obama is quite correct that a tough, verifiable agreement would be the best way to go. But the deal that is on the verge of being struck is neither tough nor verifiable. P5+1 – and most specifically the US – have caved on all sorts of demands for verification. Their demands have been spurned by Iran again and again, including with regard to inspections of military sites. It is something of a fiasco, which practically guarantees that Iran will acquire the ability to build that bomb.
What is more, it is not true that a military solution would only slow down Iran’s operation. Let’s parse what he said, for a moment. He didn’t refer to the US attacking Iran, but to the US “participating,” which means Israel would have the lead. This is different from a determined attack from strength directly by the US.
It is true that Israel can only set back Iran’s operation – I’ve been told by three to five years (which would be no small matter). That’s because Israel does not have the enormous 30,000 pound bunker busters – the Massive Ordnance Penetrators – that would be required to break through Iran’s underground fortifications.
But the US has them, and has the B-2 and B-52 bombers required for carrying them.
In fact, let me carry this one step further:
A mere two months ago, it was announced that the Pentagon had just upgraded and tested its bunker busters (emphasis added):
“The Pentagon has upgraded and tested the largest bunker-buster bomb in the US, powerful enough to disable Iran’s most heavily fortified nuclear facilities in case of failure to reach a nuclear deal,”
a senior US official told the Wall Street Journal.
“’The Pentagon continues to be focused on being able to provide military options for Iran if needed,’ an unnamed senior US official has been quoted as saying.
“…work on the bunker buster (the so-called Massive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP) started before the latest round of talks with Iran.
“…according to Pentagon war planners the 30,000-pound (13,607 kg) bunker buster wasn’t powerful enough to destroy some fortified Iranian nuclear facilities. So work reportedly began to upgrade the bomb’s design and guidance systems.
“According to senior officials, the results show the improved bomb—when dropped one on top of the other—is now more capable of penetrating fortified nuclear facilities in Iran or in North Korea, The Wall Street Journal reported. The Pentagon also designed the bunker buster to challenge Iran’s Fordow facility, which is built into a mountain to protect it from potential airstrikes.
“Upgraded electronic countermeasures have been added to the weapon to prevent jamming of its guidance systems by Iran, the source said. Electronic jammers could be allegedly used to throw an incoming bomb off target.
“It’s believed that the above mentioned measures will allow the destructive weapon to be targeted with a precision previously possible only for far smaller guided US bombs.”
Clearly, the Pentagon and the Obama administration are not of the same mind. Also not news. But in light of the Pentagon’s improvements to the bunker busters, Obama’s statement about the military option not being able to “fix” the situation is a glaring misrepresentation. In other words, it’s a lie.
Please note: the US has denied Israel’s request to purchase these bunker busters and the necessary planes. Obama does not want Israel to do the job.
The Israeli government is clear on why the request for those bunker busters was denied. No one here is under any delusions:
“’U.S. President Barack Obama is determined to sign a bad deal with Iran,’ a senior diplomatic official in Jerusalem said Monday. ‘It appears that there will be a [nuclear] agreement with Iran, because the American president wants there to be one.’”
Obama’s lies regarding the situation with Iran extend to this, below, as well (emphasis added):
“Iranian nuclear fuel stockpiles grew by a massive 20% over the past 18 months of negotiations between Iran and world powers, a report last month by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has revealed…
“News that Iran has been busily expanding its stockpiles contradicts claims by US President Barack Obama that the Islamic Republic had ‘frozen’ its nuclear program during the last year and a half of negotiations.”
This is what we are dealing with, then: Devoid of integrity or concern for ultimate consequences, Obama presses on in an effort to achieve his goal. And he expects us to be reassured by his words, or even take them seriously?
At the concert that followed the parade in NYC on Sunday, former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton spoke, essentially agreeing with the position of the Israeli diplomat cited above, and advancing the view that Israel must strike Iran soon.
“I don’t think Iran has any intention of giving up its efforts to get deliverable nuclear weapons. Even if a deal is signed sometime in the summer I think the ayatollahs will violate it even before the ink is dry…
“According to Bolton, the West doesn’t have enough knowledge about Iran’s covert nuclear program, nor does it possess any sufficient mechanism to monitor possible violations of a future deal…
“Israel must decide soon, he added, because once Iran has the bomb, ‘any attack would risk nuclear retaliation.’” Bolton believes Israel must make it clear before attacking, that she is acting out of legitimate self-defense.
Sirens were tested today in most parts of the country, as part of a Homeland Front security drill. And I confess: even though I knew was it a drill, and even though I handled myself quite well during the recent war, I found that the sound of those sirens sent chills through me. Next time I hear that sound it may not be a drill.
Said Prime Minister Netanyahu with regard to the drill (emphasis added):
“…when it comes to the security of Israel, I rely first of all on ourselves.” This is clearly necessary, he explained, because of “the agreement being formulated between world powers and Iran, which both paves the path for Iran to many atomic bombs and also streams in many billions [of dollars] into the coffers of Iran.
“With this money, it [Iran] can continue to arm our enemies with high-trajectory weapons and other weapons, and it will also arm its war and terror machine, which is acting against us and against the Middle East, and it is many times as dangerous as the terror machine of Daesh [ISIS], even though it too is very dangerous.”
So we have no illusions about the dangers being created for us and the larger Middle East by Obama’s relationship with Iran. And it is important that the prime minister included among those dangers the arming of terrorist entities.
The situation to our north grows increasingly unstable, as Assad’s forces in Syria are weakening. The debate has been long and involved, regarding which of the elements battling in the Syrian civil war – Assad or various rebels groups now including ISIS – is most dangerous. Israel has hoped to see Assad go down because he is a puppet for Iran. As you see above, the position Netanyahu espouses is that those working at Iran’s behest are most dangerous.
See a report on the situation here:
“’De facto, the Syrian army has ceased to exist,’
Maj. Gen. Yair Golan, the Israel Defense Forces’ deputy chief of staff, said on Monday…
”This isn’t a good moment – not for Hezbollah, not for Assad and not for Iran in Syria.”
The following article, which cites MEMRI, speaks of the “existential danger” Hezbollah is now facing.
Hezbollah has endured a heavy loss of fighters in the Syria war (I’ve read as many as a thousand have died) as well as a loss of popularity among Lebanese Shias.
While there is room for a bit of gladness when Iranian puppets are weakened – and by extension also Iran – we should certainly not be complacent. The situation just across the border in the Syrian Golan will continue to be highly unstable, and jihad forces overtly hostile to Israel may move in there with intention of carrying their jihad into Israel.
ISIS has not made its way to the border at the Golan, least not yet. As I understand it, they are being blocked by the Free Syrian Army.
One of the things we may be seeing soon is that the Druze community in Syria near the Golan, may flee into Israel as Assad abandons them to rebel troops. These Druze were loyal to Assad, but no more. Their cousins, on the other side of the border, have been loyal Israeli citizens for a long time.
We will also continue to see for some while, as well, attempts by Iran to bolster Hezbollah by sending in additional weaponry. Hezbollah is down, but not out. At present there is a report of a possible Israeli air strike in Lebanon at the border with Syria. This strike has not been confirmed, but when such hits do take place, they are to take out sophisticated weaponry intended for Hezbollah.
And the good news today? I absolutely love this because it truly is an “only in Israel” moment, reflecting something deep about our culture:
Hebrew University Prof. Sydney Engelberg, a social psychologist, was lecturing in front of a class.
One of his students had brought her baby to class. As a vice provost from Hebrew University explained:
“Israel is a very familial society, and it is not at all strange for young mothers to bring children to classes.”
Professor Engelberg, a grandfather, loves babies. He leaned over and picked up the baby, and just continued to lecture. Someone took a picture of him and it went viral.
Hebrew University Prof. Sydney Engelberg with the baby that’s made him famous.
And how about this:
According to the UN’s 2015 World Happiness Report, Israel ranks as the 11th happiest country in the world.
This is in spite of all the violence and chaos surrounding us. The article speaks of such things as personal freedom, healthy life expectancy and social support. And, indeed I am sure these are all important. But let me add here a sense of purpose, and sense of broader connectedness, and a belief system that provides meaning – which is very important.
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