Iranian president-elect Hassan Rohani’s victory in the recent elections demonstrates the hollowness of the argument that stiff sanctions would unite the Iranian people around the regime, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said in an interview published Friday in The Washington Post.
“The sanctions were often dismissed because it was said [that] they would get the Iranian people to rally around the regime. Continue reading
Even though the ‘red line’ was crossed recently, the decision to invade was years ago. Syria is only the next step to the main target: Iran.
The coming DEBKA-Net-Weekly out Friday expands on its disclosure of last week that during his visit to Israel, US President Barack Obama struck a deal with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu for military action against Syrian chemical weapons. The new issue will flesh out that decision with exclusive revelations on NATO’s role in setting up the expedition, its participants, targets and ramifications, including likely responses by Moscow and Tehran. Continue reading
Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei turned down the US offer of one-on-one talks on its nuclear program Thursday, Feb. 7, just 24 hours after US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced that due to budgetary constraints, the US could only keep one, not two, US aircraft carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf, and had cancelled the departure of a second carrier, the USS Harry S. Truman.
On Saturday, US Vice-President Joe Biden suggested direct talks – separate from the wider international discussions scheduled for Feb. 26 in Kazakhstan between the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany. No previous negotiations in this format over the years have ever produced a breakthrough.
Biden said Washington was prepared for direct talks with Iran “when the Iranian leadership, supreme leader, is serious”. “That offer stands,” he said later, “but it must be real and tangible and there has to be an agenda that they are prepared to speak to. We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise,” he said. Continue reading
Israeli Air Force Commander Maj. Gen. Amir Eshel warned Tuesday, Jan. 29, that Syria is falling apart and no one knows what the next day may bring: “War may not break out tomorrow,” he said, “but we stand ready for any eventuality.”
If war is not expected tomorrow, why have Israel’s armed forces, including the air force, been on their highest level of preparedness since Friday, Jan. 25? The Syrian crisis may not technically fit the description of a state of war. However, the violent turbulence in that country may at any time spill over the border into hostilities in some shape or form.
If this happens, said the officer, “A decision to attack Syria or Lebanon will need to be implemented immediately.” Continue reading
Israel’s deteriorating security situation erupted simultaneously on two fronts Sunday, Nov. 11. The IDF fired a Tamuz precision guided missile against a mortar position 4 kilometers inside Syria after a stray mortar hit the IDF Golan defense post at Tel Hazaka. It was the fourth incident of cross-border violence from the Syrian conflict in 10 days and the first time Israel had fired across the Golan border since the 1973 war. The Tamuz was developed by RAFAEL and is operated from specially modified M-113 Hafiz armored personnel carriers.
At the same time, on the southern front, Palestinians fired Grad missiles from Gaza at the city of Beersheba after loosing a barrage of 60 missiles in less than 24 hours against multiple Israeli civilian locations. Iron Dome intercepted one of the missiles. Continue reading
The third US aircraft carrier, USS Stennis, is moving into place off the Iranian Gulf coast to lead a 12-day naval exercise of 25 nations on Sept 16-27, that will include a large-scale minesweeping drill simulating the breaching of the Strait of Hormuz against Iranian efforts to block oil passage through the strategic waterway. President Barack Obama may see Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on the last day of the exercise. He hopes to present him with proof of US readiness for military action against Iran and demonstrate that an Israeli strike is superfluous.
US officials say the Stennis will replace the Enterprise, but according to debkafile’s military and Washington sources all three carriers will remain in place opposite Iran in the Gulf region in the coming months. British and French warships are completing their transfer to new stations off Iran for the big exercise in which the Saudi and United Arab Emirates navies will also take part.
In addition to practicing tactics for keeping the Strait of Hormuz open, the exercise will simulate operations for destroying Iranian naval, air and missile bases in the Persian Gulf area.
This war game has three additional objectives, reported here by debkafile’s military sources:
1. To forestall an Israeli offensive against Iran, President Barack Obama wants to convince its leaders as well as Gulf rulers that the US-Western military option for disrupting Iran’s race to a nuclear bomb is deadly serious and ready to be exercised when the need arises – although determining “when the need arises” is the nub of the US-Israel dispute.
The exercise winds up Sept. 27, the day penciled in by the White House for Netanyahu to arrive for talks with President Obama and enable him to show his visitor that there is no need for Israel to act.
2. The exercise is intended to convey the same message to Iran, that the US military option is real and genuine and will be exercised unless it halts its nuclear weapons program. The awesome might the US-led coalition is capable of wielding against the Islamic Republic in a prospective war will be brought home to Iran’s military strategists, its Revolutionary Guards, Navy, and Air Force commanders, across their television screens, radar and spy satellites.
3. The drill will assemble massive strength on the spot in anticipation of an Israeli decision after all to cut down the Iranian nuclear menace on its own.
Full article: Massed US, UK, French navies for drill simulating breach of blocked Hormuz (DEBKAfile)
Regardless of all the concessions and overtures coming from the Obama administration, this is still the end result. They will continue to be committed to the destruction of Israel and the United States, regardless.
Cutting through the US-Israeli debate over where to put “red lines” for Iran, Hizballah leader Hassan Nasrallah said Monday night, Sept. 3 that Iran would hit US bases in the Middle East in response to any Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities, even if the Americans were not involved in the attack.
Earlier Monday, the New York Times reported on the debate in the White House over whether US President Barack Obama should declare “red lines” for Iran beyond which the US would act, in response to Israel’s complaint that he has been too vague about how far Iran will be allowed to go.
But even if Obama did set a clear red line now, the NYT admits its credibility would be questionable: “The US and its allies have allowed Iran to cross seven previous red lines in 18 years.”
Feeling the approaching heat, Netanyahu called a special cabinet meeting for Tuesday, Sept. 4 with the participation of the heads of Israel’s clandestine services, Military Intelligence, the Mossad, the Shin Bet and the Foreign Office Research Division, to hear their annual report.
It is likely to go on all day with updates on the situation in Syria, Egypt and Jordan – all weighty topics. But the agenda will certainly be topped with a detailed rundown on the current state of Iran’s nuclear program.
After that rundown, the prime minister and defense minister will enter the final decision-making stage on war against Iran.
At this critical moment, wit calculated timing, Petraeus is due to land in Israel.
Although the opponents of Netanyahu and Barak are fond of painting them as irresponsible adventurers ready to gamble with Israeli lives, it is Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei who has now raised the stakes in this game of dare and slapped down the highest cards.
Nasrallah’s pitch took the scenario straight into stage one of the war to come: “If Israel targets Iran, America bears responsibility,” he told the Beirut-based Al Mayadeen TV Monday night.
“A decision has been taken in Tehran to respond and the response will be very great,” he said, citing “Iranian officials.”
Nasrallah carried a triple message from Tehran to Washington and Jerusalem:
1. Iran believes an Israeli attack will take place before the US presidential election on Nov. 6;
2. Tehran is drawing on a powerful deterrent: Lest anyone expected a low-key Iranian response to an attack on its nuclear facilities, the Hizballah leader put them right when he said, “the response will be very great” and “America bears responsibility.”
3. By putting Nasrallah out front as a leading Iranian spokesman, Khamenei signaled that Hizballah would take an active role in the coming conflict.
Full article: If Israel attacks Iran, US Mid East bases will pay dear – Nasrallah (DEBKAfile)
To answer the question of an earlier post: Will America Forsake Israel?
The answer clearly seems to be yes.
In its bluntest message yet, the US administration under Barack Obama, declared that Israel is on its own if it decides to go for Iran’s nuclear program with a military operation. Thursday, Aug. 30, Gen. Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, offered the view for the third time in as many weeks that an Israeli attack would “clearly delay but probably not destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”
But this time, talking to journalists in London, he added impatiently: “I don’t want to be complicit if they [Israel] choose to do it.”
Dempsey then astonished his audience by saying he did not know Iran’s nuclear intentions, “as intelligence did not reveal intentions.” What was clear, he said, was that the “international coalition” applying pressure on Iran “could be undone if [Iran] was attacked prematurely.”
Israel, which is in direct line of an explicit Iranian threat of destruction, was therefore publicly slapped down by its best friend. Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak and their predecessors were shown to have wasted three years in tireless efforts to solve the Iranian nuclear peril in accord with that friend. Washington has just dumped them.
debkafile suggests that unless Gen. Dempsey spoke off the cuff (unlikely), he would certainly have been obeying a White House directive – even if Washington later issues a softening remark. That directive may have been prompted by information that Israel is on the point of attacking Iran, which Obama would seek to head off.
The latest IAEA quarterly report published Thursday must have seriously embarrassed the Obama administration by making nonsense of its dependence on diplomacy and sanctions. The top US soldier may have been deployed for an authorative answer.
But Iran’s leaders must be laughing up their sleeves at America’s futile efforts to isolate them, as they race toward their nuclear goal while showcasing Tehran as the stage for the Non-Aligned Summit attended by dozens of world leaders.
Full article: Top US soldier: “I don’t want to be complicit” if Israel attacks Iran (DEBKAfile)
Wednesday, Aug.15, debkafile revealed exclusively that the Obama and Netanyahu were discussing a one-on-one encounter on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly session opening in New York on Sept. 18 in order to resume their military and strategic dialog on the Iranian issue broken off by their polar differences.debkafile now learns that those discussions have moved forward. Handled by National Security Adviser Tom Donilon for the US president and senior adviser Ron Dermer for the prime minister, they focus essentially on a four-point plan embodying Israel’s requirements for delaying an attack.
1. President Obama will formally inform the two houses of congress in writing that he plans to use military force to prevent Iran from arming itself with a nuclear weapon. He will request their endorsement. Aside from this step’s powerful deterrent weight for persuading Iran’s leaders to give up their pursuit of a nuclear bomb, it would also give the US president the freedom to go to war with Iran when he sees fit, without have to seek congressional endorsement.
2. To underscore his commitment, President Obama would pay a visit to Israel in the weeks leading up to election-day and deliver a speech to the Knesset solemnly pledging to use American military force against the Islamic Republic if Tehran still refuses to give up its nuclear weapon program. He will repeat that pledge before various other public forums.
3, In the coming months up until Spring 2013, the United States will upgrade Israel’s military, intelligence and technological capabilities so that if President Obama (whether he is reelected or replaced by Mitt Romney) decides to back out of this commitment, Israel will by then be in command of the resources necessary for inflicting mortal damage on Iran’s nuclear program with a unilateral strike.
debkafile’s military sources note that an influx of these top-grade US military resources would bridge the gap between American and Israeli ticking clocks for an attack on Iran, and dispel the fear in Jerusalem that delay would give Iran time to bury its key facilities in “zones of immunity” – outside Israel’s reach for serious damage with its present capabilities.
4. If points 1-3 can be covered – and Netanyahu and Barak are convinced the US really means to strike Iran next spring – our Washington and Jerusalem sources report that Jerusalem may be coming around to agreeing to hold back a lone Israeli attack this autumn
Full article: US-Israeli deal on Iran? No Israeli strike now if Obama pledged a spring attack (DEBKAfile)