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Israel’s Final Countdown on Iran?

IDF Gen. Amos Yadlin: ‘Israeli Leadership’s Check- List For Attacking Iran Is Nearly Complete!’

‘Political & Security Leaders Are Now Debating If U.S. President Barack Obama’s Pledge To Halt Iran Is Credible’

IsraCast Assessment: Crucial Next ‘Twelve Weeks’ Warning To Iranians By Former Mossad Director Ephraim Halevi Apparently Refers To Fall Of Assad Regime in Syria & Optimal Weather Conditions for Israeli Air Strike.

Is Israel’s final countdown for an air strike on Iran’s nuclear weapons sites already underway? Ephraim Halevi, a former Mossad director has set the alarm bells ringing by telling the New York Times that if he were an Iranian he ‘would be very fearful of the next twelve weeks’. However IsraCast Analyst David Essing noted that Gen.(res.) Amos Yadlin, the former commanding officer of IDF Intelligence, has now said that although Israel’s ‘checklist’ for such an attack is just about complete, he believes that 2013 should be the year of decision.

 Yadlin’s checklist for attacking Iran…

Gen.(res.) Amos Yadlin knows a thing or two about attacking hostile nuclear targets; he was one of the pilots who bombed Saddam Hussein’s nuclear reactor in 1981 and he also served as the IDF’s commanding officer when Israel purportedly took out Bashar Assad’s secret reactor in 2007. Interviewed on Channel 1 TV, Yadlin said: ‘ You don’t need to be a former Mossad chief, like Halevi, to realize the Israeli leadership’s checklist for attacking Iran is just about complete. ‘All the necessary conditions were now checked with an affirmative V’.

This is the check list:

1. Failure of nuclear negotiations with Iran

2. Failure of sanctions to halt Iran’s nuclear weapons project

3. Failure of clandestine operations to bring Iran’s nuclear program to a halt

4. Failure of internal dissent to topple the regime

This being the current situation, Yadlin explained that Israel’s political leadership (Netanyahu and Barak) would be tending to the only remaining option – a military strike. In this vein, he noted that Barak had warned some four months ago that ‘Iran was approaching a zone of immunity’ in which Israel’s limited military capabilities could not eliminate the nuclear menace. Yadlin referred to the cascades of additionial centrifuges at the new Fordo facility near Qom that are spinning out more enriched uranium, the central component in the nuclear weapons program. So Israel’s political echelon was now debating the two very problematic decisions – ‘either bomb Iran or acquiesce in an Iran A-bomb’.

Iran feeling the heat…

The Iranian Missile Range

Yadlin then presented his personal position, what he called a ‘third way’. He contended that Iran was indeed feeling the heat despite its bluster. The good news was that since the EU embargo on Iranian oil went into effect on July 1, Iran has been losing $140 million dollars daily. In a year this would skyrocket to 10% of Iran’s annual GNP. In fact, Gen. Mohammed Ali Jafari, the commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, has warned that Iran is entering ‘a sensitive and fateful period’. He referred to the ‘soft war’ being waged against Iran that includes economic sanctions, computer viruses, and espionage. Oddly enough, the high level commander made no mention of a military strike by Israel. The fact is the Iranians scoff at the notion that Israel would dare to attack Iran against the express will of the U.S., nor do they believe that President Obama will risk an American attack, if at all, before the U.S. presidential election in November.

One way or the other!…

But on this score, Halevi known for his understatement, has warned the Iranians ‘they have got their math wrong’ if they think more nuclear talks would dissuade Israel. On this score, Prime Minister Netanyahu has drawn his line in the sand by declaring that so far Iran has not backed down ‘one iota’. And secondly, when it comes to the reports that current security leaders, including Chief of Staff Benny Gantz and Mossad director Tamir Pardo, oppose a solo Israeli strike, the PM declared: ‘I will decide and I haven’t decided yet’. In any case, Netanyahu would need government approval to launch an attack. Yadlin noted that in the eight member security there were two former IDF chiefs-of- staff, Ehud Barak and Moshe Yaalon well versed in military matters. Yadlin believed that speculation about the security echelon differeing with the political leadership was ‘exaggerated’.

The decision on an attack involved many military and political aspects – ‘not only if, how and when to attack but also what happens the day after’. Gen. Benny Gantz had also served as an IDF attache in Washington and was well aware of the potential backlash from the Obama administration. Therefore it was essential that a serious in-depth dialogue was being conducted behind closed doors before any proposal be brought to the full cabinet. (Another consideration would be to prevent security leaks -DE). Gantz had not made any public statement on the question and when the time came he could be expected to present his professional position to the cabinet before it voted on whether to launch a military operation against Iran.

What does it boil down to? If Ephraim Halevi gave the impression that Israeli fighter-bombers may soon be on the tarmack revving their engines to take off for Iran, it’s possible. In a subsequent interview with Channel 22 TV, Halevi said he did not think that Israel would attack Iran without the green light from the U.S. Go figure. For their part, the Iranians have been revving up their centrifuges with one official commentator even warning that Iran may enrich its uranium to fifty or sixty percent, a hair’s breadth from 90 percent weapons grade. Iran stands defiant in the face of the ‘soft war’.

The visits by high level U.S. officials to Israel such as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta as well as additional military aid and fresh financial sanctions on foreign banks obviously make an impact on Jerusalem. Amos Yadlin thinks there are solid reasons for giving the U.S. more time and that 2013 should be the year of decision. In his view, a nu clear armed Iran is also an intolerable threat to America’s national security and no U.S. president, be it Obama or Mitt Romney, will allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons. But if this is true, it could mean that Israel, by waiting too long, could forfeit its capability of self- defense and become entirely dependent on a U.S. defense umbrella, something Hillary Clinton has proposed for the Gulf states.

David Essing

Aug 05, 2012

Related link – http://tinyurl.com/cj3qejk

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