51 thoughts on “Iran: Israel Tightens Screws for War | Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. Sir

    Israel probably plans to send nuclear-armed, Dolphin class submarines through the Suez canal, skirting Yemen and Oman , up into the Straits of Hormuz, in the Gulf, there to fire warheads directly into Iran .

    ‘The first subs of this class, equipped with sophisticated navigation and combat systems, were supplied to Israel by Germany in the 1990s, two of them as a gift. At Israel ’s request, besides the six 533 mm launching tubes, suitable for short-range cruising missiles, all the subs were outfitted with four additional 659 mm tubes for launching long-range nuclear cruising missiles: the Popeye Turbos, which can strike targets up to 1500 km away. These missiles are a spin-off from the US versions and were manufactured jointly by the Israeli firm Rafael and Lockheed-Martin in an airborne version.

    In 2010 the three nuclear attack-submarines were joined by two others, again from Germany . They were built in the Howaldtswerke-Deutsche Werft AG shipyards at a cost of 1.27 billion dollars, one third of which was financed by the German government. The Jerusalem Post confirms that also the two new ones, whose type-code is U-212, were built according to “Israeli specifications”: they are faster (20 knots), have a wider range of action (4,500 km), and are more silent, allowing them to close in on objectives without being spotted.

    According to military experts, one of the three Dolphins furnished by Germany patrols the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf, the second is deployed in the Mediterranean , while the third is held in reserve. With the addition of two more, the number of those under sail, ready to launch a nuclear attack, has as much as doubled. And this is only part of Israel ’s nuclear might, estimated as between 200-400 warheads, equivalent to almost four thousand Hiroshima-type bombs, and whose vectors include over three-hundred US F-16 and F-15 fighter planes and about fifty Jericho II ballistic missiles on mobile launching ramps. These and other nuclear weapons are ready for launching around the clock.’

    Apart from other considerations, such as toxic radiation, it is doubtful whether the UAE governments will be happy that a damaging nuclear war will be brought to their doorsteps.

    The danger to peace of disproportionate nuclear capability
    Estimated worldwide nuclear stockpiles, 2009
    Country: Total Warheads: Population
    Russia:13,000 / 142,000,000
    United States:9,400 / 307,000,000
    *Israel (undeclared):100 – 400 max / 7,400,000
    France:300 / 65,000,000
    China:240 / 1,332,000,000
    United Kingdom:185 / 62,000,000
    India:60 / 1,167,000,000
    Pakistan:60 / 167,000,000
    North Korea:10 / 24,000,000
    Dependent on the true number of undeclared nuclear warheads, Israel could be the 3rd most powerful nuclear state in the world if possessing the maximum estimated number of WMD. In that event she would be twice as powerful as the UK with a demographic just over only 1/10th the size of Britain’s.
    Undeclared nuclear states (from Wikipedia)
    Nuclear weapons and Israel
    Israel is not a member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and refuses to officially confirm or deny having a nuclear arsenal, or having developed nuclear weapons, or even having a nuclear weapons program. Israel has pledged not to be the first country to introduce nuclear weapons into the region, but is also pursuing a policy of strategic ambiguity with regard to their possession. In the late 1960s, Israeli Ambassador to the US Yitzhak Rabin informed the United States State Department, that its understanding of “introducing” such weapons meant that they would be tested and publicly declared, while merely possessing the weapons did not constitute “introducing” them. Although Israel claims that the Negev Nuclear Research Center near Dimona is a “research reactor”, or, as was originally claimed, a “textile factory,” no scientific reports based on work done there have ever been published. Extensive information about the program in Dimona was also disclosed by technician Mordechai Vanunu in 1986.

    According to the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Federation of American Scientists, Israel possesses around 75–200 weapons. Imagery analysts can identify weapon bunkers, mobile missile launchers, and launch sites in satellite photographs. Israel may have tested a nuclear weapon along with South Africa in 1979, but this has never been confirmed (see Vela Incident).
    On May 26, 2008, former US president Jimmy Carter stated that Israel has “150 or more nuclear warheads” at a press conference at the annual literary Hay festival in Wales.

    GDR 073109

  2. Richard – I’m interested to know what your strategy vis-a-vis Iran would be. First you try diplomacy, fair enough. What do you do if it becomes apparent (and I’m aware that it’s still an if) that the Iranians are committed to getting nuclear weapons? What would you like Obama’s policy on this issue to be?

    1. I know you asked Richard, but I will respond to this too. I don’t see what the issue is with Iran at all. Iran has not threatened or aggressed against another country for centuries, and shows no sign that it intends to do so any time in the foreseeable future. On the contrary, Iran has, in the last few decades, been the victim of aggression, and has been subjected to some very, very serious threats from the two most aggressive, warlike countries in the world that just happen to also have significant arsenals of nuclear weapons along with the means to deliver them.

      It makes absolute sense for Iran to seek to become a significant producer of nuclear power for domestic use, which would mean that more of its oil could be used for export rather than being used domestically. In addition, when the oil supplies begin to run out, it is possible that Iran could switch from exporting oil to exporting power to the region.

      If Iran were to undertake a nuclear weapons program in the future, that would make sense also given that it is surrounded by countries with significant nuclear arsenals, and is, as I pointed out earlier, under very credible threat from two highly aggressive countries, both of whom have large nuclear arsenals, and one of which is the only country ever to have used nuclear weapons.

      I have no fear at all of Iran with or without nuclear weapons. I have A LOT of fear of Israel and the United States with their history of brutal, merciless aggression and ambitions of dominance.

    2. I’d like his policy to be precisely what it is (or what my impression of it is): that diplomacy is THE venue we choose to resolve our disagreements. I don’t know whether Iran is attempting to produce nuclear weapons (you remember another president who claimed a certain country was producing WMD, but wasn’t??). But even if it is, how can the U.S. or Israel use force to prevent this from happening? How can we allow India, Pakistan, N. Korea and a host of other states, some rogue & some not, to have nukes, but go to war to stop Iran from doing the same?

      If Israel were in the midst of developing nuclear weapons & one of its neighbors felt this was an existential threat to it would you defend that nation’s attack on Israel to stop its nuclear program? Of course you wouldn’t. I presume you see a value in consistency.

      1. Well obviously one’s policy is going to be different towards a country that already has nuclear weapons as opposed to one that hasn’t yet. Of course it’s not fair that some countries have nukes and others haven’t etc, but – as VS Naipaul said – the world is what it is. First we need to stop nuclear weapons proliferating even further; then we need to take real steps to disarm all the countries that already have nukes – yes including Israel, and – eventually – including the members of the Security Council.

        Just to be clear: you support trying diplomacy to stop it, and if that doesn’t work, we should live with Iran as a nuclear power?

        1. if that doesn’t work, we should live with Iran as a nuclear power?

          Is the Arab world living with Israel as a nuclear power? Not easily, but it is. And the same will happen if Iran gets nukes. That doesn’t mean that I’m fully prepared to see that happen tomorrow. Every effort should be made to prevent it fr. happening–PEACEFULLY.

          And I say again, if you or any other Israeli ever supports or perpetrates war against Iran you will find not just Israel under threat, but I’d venture to say you’d find Israel’s nuclear arsenal under threat as well. Maybe not today or tomorrow, but the Iranians or their supporters will say: “If we can’t have nukes then I’ll be damned if Israel is going to have them w/o paying a supreme price.”

          This isn’t a game. This is life and death. Israel seems to think this is a game they can manipulate. All they need to do is drop a few bombs & presto change-o, Iran will no longer have a nuclear threat. But all that dropping those bombs will do is make the political situation even hotter & more dangerous than it is now. If you want to see what Armageddon could look like just march down that path to war. Blood will flow and not just Iran’s.

          1. Alex Stein is framing the issue as a fasle choice: either we stop Iran’s nuclear program or else Iran becomes a nuclear-armed country.

            There is no evidence AT ALL of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. What we have are claims about a “weapons capability” which applies equally to 40 other countries since any country with nuclear technology is theoretically capable of making nukes at some indefinite point in the future. The whole purpose of the IAEA is therefore to catch the diversion of civilinan nuclear programs to military use — and the IAEA has found no such thing in Iran.

            Nor is there evidence that Iran wants nuclear weapons. They have offered to place additional restrictions on their nuclear program well beyond their legal obligations — such as opening the program to multinational participation and enforcing greater inspections than required — yet these offers were simply ignored. Iran’s Amb. Zarif listed the offers in a NYTimes op-ed: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/04/05/opinion/05iht-edzarif.html

  3. Richard,
    Considering your great esteem for barack obama, and your certainty that HE is going to hold Israel’s feet to the fire, what is your comment re continuing settlement in the West Bank. This activity does not quite fit the definition of “freeze”.

    And what is your speculation as to what mr. obama is going to do about it.

    I don’t see Israel having its feet held to the fire. Perhaps you do?

    “NERIA, West Bank, 7/29/09, New York Times — In this land of endless history and ethereal beauty, several thousand Jewish settlers gathered on a dozen West Bank hills with makeshift huts and Israeli flags over several days this week to mark an invented anniversary and defy the American president, conveying to his aides visiting Jerusalem what they thought of his demand for a settlement freeze.”

    Ethan Bronner, 7/29/09,


    1. I apologize for not seeing yr comment & assure you my not addressing it had nothing to do with the comment itself. I’ve started to get a lot more volume of comments & sometimes ones I should see I don’t.

      The process of ending settlements & negotiating a peace deal is going to be long & complicated. I wrote a post about this specific Bronner article which you should read. The settlers live to provoke. Of course they are going to maximize their leverage within the Israeli political context. They are going to build settlements as long as Israel allows them to get away with this.

      Is Obama going to end this nonsense today or next week or even next month? No. Will he eventually do so? Yes. The best I can do is write about these outrages when they happen & myself try to hold the feet of the settler extremists & their American Jewish enablers to the fire.

  4. =Ellen, do you think it was good when Israel defied the U.S when it bombed Iraq’s nuclear facility in 81.

      1. and most likely saved thousands of lives, be it Jews or Muslims or Martians, in the long run … Imagine 1991 with a nuclear Iraq?

        I always wonder if the Saudis had knowledge of Israel going over their airspace … and if it was ‘allowed’ …

          1. LD – I try my best not to watch conspiracy theory videos (well, unfortunately I’ve watched too many of 9/11).

            I am not USING it at all to justify the First Gulf War. I said though, that had the Gulf War occurred with a nuclear Iraq, things would have been very different on many many fronts.

            “Whose lives did it save? Muslims you say? ”

            Well to answer your 1st question, 0 … That’s why I said, “most likely saved thousands of lives”. And yes, Muslims – why? Think if had used nuclear capability on Iran, or perhaps Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia, or even Israel.

          2. I watched that video, and it was not a “conspiracy theory” video as you assumed, and you are wrong to dismiss it as such without even watching it.

            Your assumption that Iraq would have used nuclear capability on Iraq or Kuwait, or Saudi Arabia (Iraq in no way threatened Saudi Arabia, despite the disproven Bush I administration lies that it was gathering troops on the Saudi border), or even more absurdly, Israel with its hundreds of nukes, completely ignores reality. Saddam Hussein was not a lunatic with a death wish, nor did he envision his legacy as bringing about the obliteration of Iraq. Even if he had been able to develop a nuclear weapon, the chances of him using it as anything other than a deterrent was exactly zero.

          3. Avram, there are people on one extreme who think everything is a conspiracy. That’s ridiculous and I understand your aversion (correct word?) to those type of people.

            But then there are people who think there are zero conspiracies and that nothing is ever done w/ that kind of nefarious nature.

            Those people are also ridiculous.

            The video I posted my seem conspiratorial but it is not – at all. You should watch it; check the sources.

        1. and most likely saved thousands of lives… Imagine 1991 with a nuclear Iraq?

          Israel committed an act of unprovoked aggression – hardly the first time or the last – and now decades later you try to justify it by building a fantasy about thousands of lives saved? You are assuming, among other things, of course, that Saddam Hussein would have ultimately succeeded in producing nuclear weapons, that he had an extremely strong death wish and that he would act in such a way as to guarantee that his greatest legacy would be the utter and complete obliteration of Iraq. That is not only a blatantly classic example of after-the-fact self-justification through pure speculation, it ignores known reality on many different levels, and denies everything we know about Saddam’s personality and goals.

          You seem like a decent, and reasonable person, but it seems that sometimes your zeal to defend Israel overtakes your reason.

          1. a few points

            a) I don’t think it was ‘unprovoked’. Israel had a genuine worry about Saddam’s intention, and decided it couldn’t take a chance. (On a slightly unrelated/related point, in your original comment here you said, “constituted an act of war.” In our other discussion on Iraqi Jewry, you said that Israel attacked in 1967 – when Egypt had actually already ‘declared war’ by closing the Straits of Tiran, a act of war as per UN Law, no? … Just interested to see how you define the term as it would seem Israel attacked ‘second’)

            b) “that he had an extremely strong death wish and that he would act in such a way as to guarantee that his greatest legacy would be the utter and complete obliteration of Iraq”

            Interesting how that’s what he did by not allowing the UN to do their job and proving his country’s total innocence in the WMD claim …

            c) Ok Shirin – You tell me then re: “denies everything we know about Saddam’s personality and goals”. What were they wrt Israel and Kuwait?

            ps – I am going away for around a month tomorrow. So I don’t respond for a while, don’t worry. I haven’t left you for another forum … 😉

          2. a) Funny how every time Israel commits an act of naked aggression it claims it did so out of a “genuine worry”. The thing is, though, that under international law, including under the UN Charter, a “genuine worry” does not constitute a justification to attack another country.

            As for 1967, there is absolutely no question that Israel aggressively attacked Egypt and not vice versa. In fact, I remember my absolute outrage as I listened to the live broadcast of the UN Security Council meetings on BBC and heard Abba Eban brazenly lie to the entire world claiming that the Egyptian air force had attacked Israel, and Israel had defended itself – a lie he later was forced to retreat from.

            As for the closure of the Strait of Tiran, that was misrepresented in a very overblown way. Under international law a state is within its rights to prevent passage through its territory of cargo that can be used to harm it, so arguably it was an act of defense, not at act of war. And in any case functionally the blockade had no effect on Israeli shipping, since it was a blockade of Israeli-flagged vessels, and no Israeli-flagged ships were passing through the Strait during that period. Besides, the only critical cargo that was being shipped to Israel through the Strait of Tiran during that time was oil, and in a pinch that could have been rerouted to the Mediterranean ports.

            The blockade of the Strait of Tiran became an “act of war” because Israel had decided to have a war and needed a cassus beli. I can go into lots and lots more detail, but as you are leaving for a month tomorrow, I will not waste my time on it now.

            b) It seems you have bought the propaganda. In fact, Saddam thwarted Bush and Blaire by admitting the inspectors, cooperating with the UN, and in fact allowing them to do their job. In December, 2002 the Iraqis produced, on time, a voluminous and truthful report showing they had no WMD’s. It was Bush who refused to give the UN adequate time to complete the job of confirming what some of us already knew – there were no WMD’s in Iraq.

            c) Come on! Do you seriously believe that Saddam thought he could destroy Israel, or that he did not understand very clearly that if he tried he would only bring about his own instant demise the near-immediate destruction of Iraq, and the complete obliteration of his fantasy to go down in history as the greatest hero since Salah Ad Din? In fact, if you were going to be around for the next several days I would go into Saddam’s rather complicated relationship with Israel, but it would be a waste of time right now.

    1. I don’t understand the question.
      How could it be “good” for anyone to bomb anyone?

      What difference what I think anyway?

      Israel has done innumerable, unmentionable, outstanding evil since then, and continues to inflict suffering at this very moment, as we sit at our computers with our lattes.


  5. There’s been news recently that the US intends to keep control of Iraqi air space past the 2011 deadline for troop withdrawal–


    Anyway, unless Israel uses its submarines for the attack as Gdriver says they might, they’d need our permission to cross Iraqi air space. So there wouldn’t be even a smidgeon of plausible deniability regarding US complicity if they did attack that way.

    Of course if they attack with nukes in Gdriver’s scenario, then it doesn’t matter much–I can’t conceive of what the results of that would be, except that they would be cataclysmic and not only for the Iranians and Israelis.

  6. This is disillusioning beyond words. What is it going to take for responsible officials (is anybody out there?) in American government to draw a definitive line in the sand against this madness.

    And this supposed recent shifting & hardening of American policy comes from the Iranian government’s crack-down and handful of killings of its own citizens? It escapes me how letting Israel threaten the Iranian nation with mass death and destruction via nuclear attack is a logical response to the recent Iranian repression and suffering.

    And (again), there’s no serious, concrete evidence that Iran is currently engaged in a nuclear weapons program. Furthermore, I’m not sure on what grounds the Iraq and Afghanistan-occupying Americans and the Gaza-strangling Israelis have a right to tell Iran it can’t develop its own nuclear {energy} program.

    America has a problematic and disturbing enough non-Israel-lobby-influenced foreign policy without having Israel yap at its heels urging on more confrontation and conflict. At some point, the sane silent majority in the Western world will have to take a stand against American-Israeli military belligerence, or we’re all lost. Ayayayai, I’m having serious Bush/Cheney flashbacks, here.

    So where is Obama in the final cut? I realize that a good portion of the pathetic Congressional Democrats are nothing but limp-johnsoned wannabe Republicans (what’s the use of consigning the Republicans to the dust-bin of history if the Democrats are just going to continue morphing into the ‘Grand Old Party’, anyway?), but I thought Obama was different. There’s a run-away train here and Obama has got his hand on the lever. I hope he chooses to objure this paranoiac death cult, WINEP and the rest of the Captain Ahabs on steroids, and remain on the side of peace, justice, humanism, life. America and Israel have meted out enough death and destruction on Middle Eastern peoples in recent months and years. It has to stop.

    1. I thought Obama was different

      I don’t understand why anyone with any sophistication thought Obama would be different on anything to do with the Arab and Muslim worlds, let alone Israel. It was obvious during the campaign based on his own statements and those of his Middle East advisers that he had no intention of ending the occupation of Iraq, and that his plan was merely to reconfigure it to have a lower profile. It was clear he planned to have military adventures of his own, since he announced he intended to significantly increase the size and budget of the military. And the first thing he did upon securing the candidacy was to make a mad dash to grovel embarrassingly at AIPAC’s feet – what part of that encouraged anyone to believe he would be fair to the Palestinians?

      1. What about the Cairo speech? For me, that was a re-assuring moment and a breath of fresh air and, to answer you, it fit with things I saw and sensed in Obama during the campaign. The Cairo speech suggested a definite shift in attitude and frame of reference when it came to American foreign policy and the Middle East, vs. the previous American orientation (certainly vis-a-vis Dick and Bush and Colon, but I thought even a more expansive shift than that…)

        1. Well, I know that a lot of people were thrilled by that speech, and he said a lot of good things in it, but there was a lot wrong with it too. And in any case, words, no matter how pretty, are just words. It is actions that matter, and Obama’s actions have not matched his pretty words. Remember that one of his very first acts during his first hours as President was to sign off on bombings in Pakistan that predictably killed more civilians than “terrorists”. And of course, even before he was inaugurated he made it clear that he intended to escalate the mess in Afghanistan, which is exactly the wrong thing to do, and of course, almost immediately he did.

          As for Iraq, he never planned to end the occupation, and very quickly after becoming President he began to backtrack even on the non-withdrawal plan he had when he was running for the office.

          And then there are his incessant deceitful references to Iran’s nuclear weapons program – something for which there is no evidence. Iran has never been and is not now a threat to world peace and security, but you wouldn’t know it to hear Obama and members of his foreign policy team.

          As for Palestine, what has he actually done so far?

          And he might actually follow through on closing Guantanamo, but he is keeping places like Bagram, which are every bit as bad, just not as high profile. What use is closing only Guantanamo? And what will actually happen to the people who are there now? Will they end up better off or just in a different hell hole?

          For me talking more nicely is not only not enough, it is beginning to seem increasingly like deception day by day. At least with Bush and his gang you knew exactly what you were dealing with.

  7. How about Noam Chomsky for Secretary of State and let’s have Rashid Khalidi replace the egregious Dennis Ross with whatever the hell he’s doing there in the corridors of power. We need a serious paradigm shift here, people.

    And yes, I realize this isn’t going to happen (anytime soon). I can dream, can’t I? And Jimmy Carter as general adviser-in-residence. I could keep going with this…

    1. Well, I would love to see Rashid in and Dennis Ross out looking for a job somewhere, but I think Rashid should be in a more powerful role than Ross seems to be now. His knowledge, and abilities would be wasted in such a small position.

      And in general, why are there always plenty of Zionist Jews and virtually no Arab-Americans on U.S. foreign policy teams, no matter who is President? Why does Obama have not a single person with Arab background in any prominent position anywhere, let alone on his foreign policy team? There are plenty of very, very well-qualified Palestinian-Americans (Rashid Khalidi among them), at least one of whom should have a place on the Middle East team of any president serious about working toward a resolution with Israel. To the best of my knowledge there has not been a single one ever in the history of the United States. When Clinton made his big push for peace the team he selected was overwhelmingly active Jewish Zionists, and not one single solitary Arab person among them. How could he claim to be acting as an “honest broker” under those circumstances? And of course, what he and his team accomplished was a “generous offer” that no Palestinian in his right mind would ever accept.

      And why, oh why, did Obama appoint as his top Iran person someone like Dennis Ross, who has no background and knows exactly nothing about Iran, does not speak the language, and has a history and reputation of acting always on Israelis behalf? Why did he choose this person instead of someone, preferably an Iranian-American, with a suitable background?

      I could go on and on, but by looking at his personnel choices from his Secretary of State on down, it is obvious that despite his pretty words in Cairo Obama is no more serious about dealing in a decent or fair, let alone a respectable way with Arabs or Muslims.

      1. Rashid Khalidi rocks (to put it real elegantly & high-brow)! He’s an inspiration and he’s brilliant. I love watching him on Charlie Rose, partly for the amusement of watching Charlie get flummoxed trying to deal with someone of Khalidi’s intellect and spirit (it’s a bit much for ol’ Charlie boy, I guess I should be grateful he occasionally has him on considering the near total corporate media blackout on intelligent ethical critical thought).

        Khalidi is both open but also real direct and focused in that context. I particularly appreciate how he abjures scoring points—when pitted with Charlie’s hemming and hawing—in the low-rent sophistic debating sense, in favor of getting larger points across and providing needed context. If we could just clone 10 Rashid Khalidis and pepper them in key posts throughout the foreign policy decision-making apparatus, our self-created “problems” in this realm would start to immediately soothe and ease. Not that rectifying and cleaning up the damage we’ve caused, to the extent that one CAN help repair and heal things (if we really were to fundamentally change course), wouldn’t be a very long, intense and fraught, harrowing but necessary process.

        1. I may go see if I can find Rose with Khalidi online somewhere. You’re right about Charlie Rose–a more abject apologist and worshipper of the powerful it would be hard to find (unless Tom Friedman is around), but to his credit, he also has people on his show who take quite a different POV.

          1. If you go to Charlie Rose’s web-site and type in Rashid Khalidi in the search box, several interviews will come up. I also recommend Charlie’s (few) interviews with the late, great Edward Said. There’s also one or two with Edward Said and Daniel Barenboim together, that’s a real treat. Daniel Barenboim is worth watching on his own with Charlie as well. Barenboim is a big hero of mine, both artistically/musically and in terms of his social-political consciousness, what he has to say. If only a lot more Israelis were like Barenboim, we’d be in a very different place with all of this.

  8. RE: the Israeli F-16 in the photo

    MY COMMENT: Killer paint job! That tail is to die for. What is that creature emblazoned with the Star of David? It looks really fierce! Marty “Macho Man” Peretz will really ‘get off’ on that.

    “Don’t f*** with the Jews.” – Marty Peretz on his TNR blog ‘The Spine’, 12/27/08

  9. Dickerson, that creature looks like an eagle to me. The American eagle branded with the Star of David, mmh, wonder what the significance of that could be.

  10. Tail art is squadron-specific and thus represents an aesthetic choice associated with a specific unit and base. But if you like ZOG conspiracies, feel free.

  11. Incidentally, “Red Flag” just means that one side simulates a known potential adversary, using doctrine-mimicking tactics and Western equipment that approximates the potential adversary’s. There is nothing terribly sinister about the name. (As opposed to “Bright Star”, in which the USAF practices being refueled by the Egyptian AF, working together against “Orangeland.”)

  12. “Your assumption that Iraq would have used nuclear capability on Iraq or Kuwait”

    Hence I said, “most likely saved thousands of lives” … Was it attacked because of Kuwait/Iran worries? Of course not. Israel was worried about her safety and acted.

    “Even if he had been able to develop a nuclear weapon, the chances of him using it as anything other than a deterrent was exactly zero.”

    It’s easy to say this as someone who wouldn’t have had to deal with the repercussions if you were wrong. Take a walk in Begin’s shows in 1981 and tell me if perhaps, just perhaps, you’d have seen things differently.

    Perhaps you should tell me what Saddam’s goals we re: Israel? Did he like us? Was he a threat to Israel in any way? Had he ever used a ‘deadly weapon’ on people in his country or in the region? Could he have done it again? Would he risk demise to try and and show Iran he was strong?

    1. Saddam was never a threat to Israel, and I have it from very good inside sources, including an Israeli general I spent hours drinking coffee with one night, that the Israeli government knew that very well. In fact, I heard from a number of sources, including that general, that there was talk in Israel after 1991, and a proposal was written up around sending out peace feelers to Saddam. I also know from insider sources in Saddam’s regime that he never had any intention of attacking Israel any more than he would have attacked the United States. And finally, I saw and heard Saddam with my own eyes and ears state explicitly in response to a direct question that he would recognize Israel if it made an agreement that was acceptable to the Palestinians.

      And before you bring up his pathetic launching of SCUD missiles to Israel in 1991, let me point out that his sole purpose in doing that was to attempt to goad Israel into attacking Iraq, which he believed would cause the Arab and Muslim countries to withdraw from the Coalition to avoid being seen as fighting on the side of Israel. And do bear in mind that although he had chemical weapons at that time and could easily have used them in the missiles he shot at Israel, he did not.

      Israel had a problem with Saddam for the same reason it has a problem with Iran now. It is not Israel’s existence that it fears for, it is Israel’s status as THE regional power. That is why Saddam needed to be taken out and Iraq brought to its knees, and it is why Iran is the target now.

      1. “I saw and heard Saddam with my own eyes and ears state explicitly in response to a direct question that he would recognize Israel if it made an agreement that was acceptable to the Palestinians.”

        That’s nice of him – I’ve heard many Arab leaders say that. I wonder if it will happen in my life time … I somehow doubt it will …

        “his sole purpose in doing that was to attempt to goad Israel into attacking Iraq”

        So in other words, we all owe the US for forcing Israel to not protect herself from those ‘pathetic scud missiles’

        “It is not Israel’s existence that it fears for, it is Israel’s status as THE regional power.”

        hmmm Considering what the IDF says internally, I somehow find that hard to believe. But oh well, what can you do, it’s fun being the “fake” regional power.

        1. Shirin: “I saw and heard Saddam with my own eyes and ears state explicitly in response to a direct question that he would recognize Israel if it made an agreement that was acceptable to the Palestinians.

          Avram: “That’s nice of him – I’ve heard many Arab leaders say that. I wonder if it will happen in my life time … I somehow doubt it will …

          That is very much up to Israel, isn’t it, given that the sole condition for recognition is coming to an agreement with the Palestinians. The Palestinians have been making it very clear since at least the ’80’s what Israel has to do, and Israel has been working very, very hard to make that solution out of the question.

          I would also suggest you consider that for the last seven years the Arab League, which consists of every Arab country, has had on the table a proposal for recognition of Israel that it has repeatedly passed unanimously. Every Arab country will agree not only to peace, not only to recognition of Israel, but also to fully normal diplomatic and economic relations with Israel that requires Israel to do nothing more than comply with international law, and its agreement to UNSC 242, and come to a mutually agreed-up resolution of the refugee issue.

          And by the way, it was not “nice” of Saddam, it was merely practical.

          Avram” “So in other words, we all owe the US for forcing Israel to not protect herself from those ‘pathetic scud missiles’

          In a word, yes. There is a lot more I could say about that, but I won’t take the time for now.

          Shirin: “It is not Israel’s existence that it fears for, it is Israel’s status as THE regional power.

          Avram: “hmmm Considering what the IDF says internally, I somehow find that hard to believe.

          Oh, come on! Every country’s military always tells its members they are fighting for the survival, if not of the country itself, at least of their “way of life”, whatever that means. Anyone who really believes any country’s internal military propaganda needs a reality check.

  13. a) Your take on the war is very much the ‘Arab side’ … The middle incorporates some of what I said, and a few bits of what yours said (what Egypt was about to do something – what, I guess we can argue and you’ll say nothing, and I’ll say something).

    b) “Saddam thwarted Bush and Blaire by admitting the inspectors” – and the latest piece where he told his ‘interview buddies” he didn’t let the UN in in the end b/c he feared Iran was propaganda?

    c) “his own instant demise the near-immediate destruction of Iraq” – you continually stress this point, and yet, (as he said in my point b) he essentially led to Iraq’s destruction by not admitting he had nothing of any danger before the Gulf War II.

    Wrt complicated relationships – Israel’s had it with every Arab country. We could have had peace with Jordan in 1948 but Meir/whoever screwed things up. We could most likely have had peace in 1970 with Egypt but we screwed up there. Etc etc … Luckily, they’ve ‘struck gold’ with Egypt (albeit a cold peace for both sides) and Jordan (always been a ‘warmish’ peace even ‘bad times’) … Maybe we’ll strike gold with the Saudis next? Naaaah.

    I do wonder sometimes if your views of Iraq are ‘tinted’ … I don’t doubt a lot of your words have truths, or have come from the mouths of very influential people in that country, but it seems that almost everything is just a big misunderstanding, or deliberate attempt by Israel/US/whoever to hurt/screw Iraq.

    1. a) My “take” on the war is very much based on an examination of a very broad range of evidence and analysis, including some from Israeli government and military officials who were involved at the time.

      b) Avram: “the latest piece where he told his ‘interview buddies” he didn’t let the UN in in the end b/c he feared Iran was propaganda?

      But he DID let the UN in in the end. I am surprised you do not know that. In fact, Saddam repeatedly invited the U.S. to send anyone they wanted to look anywhere they wanted, and was repeatedly shown the middle finger until Bush, under pressure, agreed to have U.N. inspectors sent in. To his dismay, the Iraqi government accepted them with open arms, and cooperated with them until they were forced to leave by the impending invasion.

      As for that alleged statement to his interrogators, who knows what he really said, or why he said it? The record leaves no doubt that he allowed the inspectors in, and ordered his subordinates to cooperate with them, which, according to Hans Blix and others, they did.

      c) Avram: “he essentially led to Iraq’s destruction by not admitting he had nothing of any danger before the Gulf War II.

      That is simply incorrect. He allowed the inspectors in, and his government cooperated with their efforts. His government also issued in December, 2002, on very short notice, a comprehensive report – 12,000 pages as I recall – which by the way was edited by the Bush regime before it was released to the UN, so that what UN officials saw was not the complete report.

      And by the way, Iraq is not a Gulf country, therefore calling an attack on Iraq a “Gulf” war makes no sense.

      As for your last paragraph, once again you have constructed an edifice sans foundation, and for that matter sans much in the way of building materials as well. Your edifice is, I fear, based far more on your own biases than on my views and thinking on the subject.

      1. And by the way, Iraq is not a Gulf country, therefore calling an attack on Iraq a “Gulf” war makes no sense.

        Just a minor quibble, but Iraq does have a small piece of Gulf coast at the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab.
        The 1991 war was properly called “Gulf war”, and so was the Iraq-Iran war in the ’80s (at least here and then).
        Then again, the war in NW Pakistan is called Afghanistan war, so I guess we can’t be too picky about any other name for the rose…

        1. I know Iraq has a small piece of Gulf coast – I’ve been there and seen it. That does not make Iraq a Gulf country, it makes it a country with a small piece of Gulf coast. :o}

          I don’t know why it bothers me so much to have Iraq incorrectly referred to as a Gulf state, but it does. Maybe I just don’t like having it put in the same category as the real Gulf states. The only one of those I find even remotely worthwhile is `Oman.

  14. LD _

    I gave you the benefit of the doubt (as I was really impressed by your posting in our last thread) and I’m not sure a) how this is related to what I said and b) how he disproves the incubator ‘death’ theory (which I was not aware of). He gives no evidence, one way or another that it didn’t happen – just that those who SAID it did weren’t involved.

    I’m not too fond of Barry Zwicker – I don’t really buy these 9/11 theories (well, I’m very skeptical of the Pentagon hit) and he was the head of them in Canada … But hey, I did watch all 2+ minutes of that. Honest.

    1. Avram, I am not connecting the incubator baby thing to 9/11 – he is.

      I simply cited him in relation to Gulf War 1.

      I don’t understand your response though. If he proved that those people were blatantly lying (which they were without a doubt) then why are you asking for more proof against the incubator baby stuff?

      I mean, superficially speaking, it’s a reasonable request on your part but if the Kuwaiti Ambassador had to use his own daughter (someone he could trust) and have her coached by an American PR company (to teach her to lie properly) and this entire song and dance was timed – then isn’t there some reasonable doubt that there WERE no incubator blah blah deaths? I mean, due to the charade. If there WERE incubator blah blah, then where are the legitimate witnesses and testimonies?

      It was the phony ones that got all the press and attention and might have led to the eventual vote in favor of the war.

      You’re passing the threshold of reasonable skepticism into the territory of logical fallacies.

      I brought this all up because I think it undermines your ‘official story’ type of response. What I said can be misconstrued as a conspiracy theory but it’s clearly not. Again, the guy may rub you the wrong way on 9/11 but on this point he was right.

      And since we’re talking about Gulf War 1 related stuff, I thought it was relevant. I didn’t really explain myself earlier though so it probably didn’t make sense…maybe it doesn’t still

      1. Hi LD,

        “If he proved that those people were blatantly lying”

        As I’d never heard of the incubator death story – I didn’t see proof from the 2 minute clip to say it happened or it didn’t. He said they were lying, and said that’s because the girl looks like the some girl of an Arab minister who was trained. No proof offered whatsoever for this claim bar a quick picture. Ok – that’s his evidence (Unless I missed something) that it never happened. Now, I am not saying it did or didn’t – but neither side (and I haven’t even looked for anything to back up the claim) has shown it happened or didn’t.

        “I brought this all up because I think it undermines your ‘official story’ type of response.”

        I don’t see how though – I said it ‘most likely’ saved lives because I feel (though Shirin feels otherwise), Saddam may have used weapons to cause far more damage to people in this region (We’ve seen what he’s done in the past with Chemical warfare). It cannot be proved one way or another …

        1. Avram, the lie of the babies being thrown out of incubators was one of the primary things that brought popular support for the attack on Iraq of 1991. It was concocted by a P.R. firm that was jointly hired by the Kuwaiti and U.S. governments and paid tens of millions of dollars to market the war. That has been proven without any doubt.

          the girl looks like the some girl of an Arab minister who was trained.

          Not exactly. The girl was, in fact, the daughter of the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the U.S. (didn’t you notice her perfectly American accented English?) who in fact had not been in Kuwait during the period she claimed to have witnessed the atrocities involving the incubator babies. I suspect that she was convinced by those who coached her that such an incident had occurred, and that therefore her tears were real for what she genuinely imagined had happened.

          Saddam did not use weapons “to cause damage to people in the region”. He used chemical weapons, often with the assistance of the United States, against forces that were fighting against Iraq in a war, and threatened to overrun it. Even his use of chemical weapons in Halabja was of that nature.

          None of this justifies or excuses his use of chemical weapons under any conditions, but it puts it into its correct context which does not justify the notion that he would have used chemical or nuclear weapons capriciously just to do harm.

        2. Ok, let’s agree my original comment was somewhat related (via my clarification) but ultimately Shirin provided a more pertinent response.

          That girl is in fact the ambassador’s daughter. Just do a quick google-follow-up on the info presented in the video.

          You’re right that the fact that those people lied w/ the assistance of a huge PR firm does not definitively prove the claim was a lie (the original lie is that THEY had seen the blah blah).

          But if the content were true, surely they’d find someone to confirm it rather than the charade?

          That’s my point. The incubator thing has never been proven either afaik. So when I factor in the charade + lack of real witnesses to the content of the charade + the timing of the charade + the effect of the charade = ….I think the content too was a lie.

          How does all this relate to your original comment? I felt you told an ‘official story’ type of justification and I just wanted to show you one tidbit (significant tho) that conveys my skepticism and cynicism.

          I’ll retire from this exchange because I do not know enough about Gulf War 1. I’ll just say that we (the West) have butchered that country. They were led by crappy people like Saddam but the pain we inflicted on the Iraqis is that scenario that you say we avoided. Not nuclear devastation but immense devastation nonetheless.

          1. No one has ever presented a scintilla of anything to substantiate the incubator story. On the contrary, though my memory is hazy after so many years, I believe investigations failed to turn up any actual records (e.g. credible eyewitnesses, missing incubators, reports of infant deaths or injuries that would be inevitable if such an incident had taken place) or credible witnesses who could confirm the story.

  15. LD –

    “I’ll retire from this exchange because I do not know enough about Gulf War 1. I’ll just say that we (the West) have butchered that country.”

    Join the club dude/tte – (re not knowing much about Gulf War 1).

    I think the West has caused Iraq great damage. The few Iraqi Muslims I know say it’s ‘up for debate’ who was worse (Saddam or the West)!.

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