51st and Iran

Juan Cole offers this reflection on the rumors of a future Israel-Iran war."Dagan and other high Israeli security officials appear to believe that Iran has no present nuclear weapons program. That is what Military Intelligence Director, Brigadier General Aviv Kochavi, has told the Israeli parliament. Kochavi thinks it unlikely that Iran would start up a military nuclear program. In other words, Israeli military intelligence holds the same position as Seymour Hersh. (Of course, one piece of hypocrisy here is that Israel has hundreds of nuclear warheads itself). In the Obama administrations pillorying of Hersh, it never came up that Dagan and Kochavi concur with him! (Iran has a civilian nuclear enrichment program, which is being inspected by the IAEA, but a civilian program is different from a military one; there is no evidence for the latter, though sometimes Iranian officials occasionally talk big. Iran probably wants what is called nuclear latency, the ability to build a bomb in short order, as deterrence against attack, but probably does not want an actual bomb, which it considers contrary to Islamic law)."President Ahmajinedad has his problems; hectoring Israel is one way to stay in office.

And more on Iranian enrichment: NYTimes.And this assessment from Philip Giraldi, former CIA, at AntiWar.com"So we are possibly contemplating entering into another war to counter the Iranian threat, which this time, per Israel, is directed against the entire civilized world. As everyone knows, the United States has a mandate given by God to deal with all uncivilized behavior, something it has done so successfully in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Libya. But stepping back a bit from the usual Israel rhetoric, there are certain problems with what is being promoted. Israel and its friends in the US have exhibited a tendency to move the goal posts back every time they discuss Iran, so much so that even well informed Americans dont really understand the issues. For many years now it has been asserted that Iran is either six months or a year away from having a nuclear weapon, but they are no closer to having one now than they have ever been. Intelligence estimates coming from sources other than shills for Israel believe that even if Iran were to make the political and economic decision to proceed towards a weapon, by no means a given, they still could not do so before 2014. And that is assuming that the CIA and Mossad do not succeed in sabotaging parts of their program, as they did when they introduced the Stuxnet computer worm last year."HT: Pat Lang

Margaret O’Brien Steinfels is a former editor of Commonweal. 

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