Arnaud de Borchgrave reports
— A sense of inevitable war with Iran seized Israel as its two principal leaders — Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak — concluded 1) Iran is about to produce a nuclear bomb; 2) planned to use it to wipe out Israel; 3) the time for Israel to bomb Iran’s 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).
Israel’s three principal former intelligence directors — Shin Bet, Mossad and Army — retired last year and came out strongly against a preemptive attack. Israel’s top general, Chief of Staff Benny Gantz, also disagreed with his boss the defense minister.
|Defense Minister Ehud Barak (right) with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu (center) and army chief of staff Benny Gantz.
He thinks diplomatic pressures and economic sanctions against Iran’s mullahs are beginning to work.
Gantz was also quoted as saying he thinks Iran’s decision-makers are “very rational.”
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.
Gantz then said he had been misquoted and got back on his boss’ message: “The military force is ready. Not only our forces, but other forces as well.”
The difference between the two camps was one of timing. Gantz believes there is no hurry this year. Netanyahu believes the U.S. presidential campaign is critical. Not only would the Republican challenger, presumably Mitt Romney, and President Obama refrain from chastening, they might even compete in praising.
A common thread in the thinking of Israel’s former intelligence chiefs is Iran’s capacity and capability for the kind of retaliatory actions that would mine and momentarily close the Hormuz Strait and drive oil prices skyward.
The U.S. recently deployed a second aircraft carrier task force in the Arabian Sea close to Hormuz and doubled the number of minesweepers from four to eight inside the Gulf based at U.S. 5th Fleet HQ in Bahrain.
The U.S. also fielded an undisclosed number of 5th generation stealth fighter-bomber F-22 Raptors to a base in the same general area, which could be Qatar, near Bahrain, where the U.S. leases a base with the longest runway in the Middle East.
U.S. military deployments in the general vicinity of Iran are designed to induce concessions as the five permanent members of the Security Council (U.S., UK, France, Russia, China) and Germany meet an Iranian team in Baghdad May 23.
Another war at this juncture could deal a death blow to the European Union, now teetering on the edge of collapse, torn between austerity preached by Germany and northern European member nations, and printing more Euros, which southern European states (Spain, Portugal, Greece) need to avoid collapse.
A quarter of Spain’s university graduates have not found jobs in three years.
“The Tehran Triangle,” a new page turner by former Air Force Secretary Thomas C. Reed (Ford and Carter Administrations) with Sandy Baker, says we are looking at the wrong continent for Iran’s nuclear eruption.
In the mid-1970s, Reed was the youngest ever director of the National Reconnaissance Office whose very existence was held secret until the end of the Cold War. In the 1980s, Reed was a special assistant to President Reagan for national security policy.
He began his career during the years of Sputnik and the missile gap. He once designed two thermonuclear weapons at Livermore that were fired over the Pacific in 1963.
In “Triangle,” a young, radicalized, 2nd 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, a blend of the ease of crossing the southern border and Iran’s hostility toward the U.S. circa 2012.
Only 1,300 pounds of gold buy 1,300 pounds of refined uranium to build and detonate Iran’s nuclear surprise in what the mullahs regard as the evil empire.
Meanwhile, in the real world President Obama’s quick roundtrip (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 forces.
In Mr. Obama’s 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 — 11 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 May 2, 2011, reminds us that was another wasted opportunity. Like it or not, Taliban will have to be part of whatever deal can be negotiated.
Noted editor and journalist Arnaud de Borchgrave is an editor at large for United Press International. He is a founding board member of Newsmax.com who now serves on Newsmax's Advisory Board. Read more reports from Arnaud de Borchgrave — Click Here Now.
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