Waar Israel zich militair voorbereidt op een ‘preventieve’ aanval op Iran, is het essentieel om te weten hoe ons kabinet en de oppositiepartijen tegenover zulk een mogelijke oorlog staan. Dit is ook van belang voor de besluitvorming over de Nederlandse ISAF-missie in Afghanistan, omdat oorlog met Iran vergaande consequenties heeft voor de hele regio, zo niet voor de wereld.
Wat betreft Iran’s verwerven van nucleaire wapens, ben ik het eens
met de Nederlands-Israelische hoogleraar krijgsgeschiedenis Martin van Crefeld in zijn artikel ‘Een Iraanse kernbom is niet erg’ ( NRC Handelsblad van dit weekend, 6.2.10):
– het is volstrekt begrijpelijk dat Iran streeft naar een militair-nucleaire capaciteit
gezien m.n. zijn omsingeling door (potentiele) tegenstanders ("En eerlijk gezegd zou ik, als ik in hun schoenen stond, precies hetzelfde doen", schrijft MvC);
– de wereld (speciaal VS en Israel) zullen met een nucleair bewapend Iran moeten leren leven;
– daartoe zullen Amerikaanse strijdkrachten in het Golfgebied moeten blijven om Iran van een aanval op Iran te weerhouden;
– het risico dat Iran Israel nucleair zal aanvallen is minimaal gezien de zekere vernietigende vergelding daarvan door de VS en Israel;
– de VS zullen daarom vrijwel zeker met sancties volstaan;
– Israel zal de toestand verder uitbuiten om (nog) meer hulp van de VS en Duitsland te verkrijgen;
– de doelmatigheid van een ‘preventieve’ aanval op Iran is twijfelachtig qua effect op zijn kernprogramma, en contraproductief wat betreft de gevolgen :
"Tot slot zou een aanval op Iran een bijzonder onzekere onderneming zijn. Of zo’n aanval het kernprogramma van Teheran kan uitschakelen is twijfelachtig, maar dat het Midden-Oosten erdoor in lichte laaie zal komen te staan, wellicht met rampzalige gevolgen voor een groot deel van de wereld, lijkt nagenoeg zeker", zo besluit Van Crefeld – zelf allerminst een duif! – zijn artikel.
Nederland zou zich in de daarvoor geeigende fora (NAVO, EU en VN) moeten verzetten tegen oorlog-ophitserij. De behandeling van het rapport van de Commissie Davids biedt een goede gelegenheid om dit onderwerp voor het voetlicht te brengen.
By Ray McGovern
Adm. Mike Mullen, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, came home with sweaty palms from his mid-February visit to Israel. Ever since, he has been worrying aloud that Israel might mousetrap the U.S. into war with Iran.
This is especially worrying, because Mullen has had considerable experience in putting the brakes on such Israeli plans in the past. This time, he appears convinced that the Israeli leaders did not take his earlier warnings seriously — notwithstanding the unusually strong language he put into play…
WASHINGTON — Here’s a war game involving Iran, Israel and the U.S. that shows how unintended consequences can spin out of control:
With diplomacy failing and precious intelligence just received about two new secret Iranian nuclear facilities, Israel launches a pre-emptive strike against Tehran’s nuclear complex. The strike is successful, wiping out six of Iran’s key sites and setting back its suspected quest for a bomb by years.
But what happens next isn’t pretty…
More than 46 years ago, President John F. Kennedy sought to preclude a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. In June 1963, he wrote the last in a series of insistent letters to Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion. Those letters sought what Israel now demands of Iran: international inspections of its nuclear facilities. The key difference: Kennedy knew for certainthat Israel, while portraying itself a friend and ally, repeatedly lied to Kennedy about its nuclear weapons development at the Dimona reactor in the Negev Desert.
Best estimates point to sometime between 1962 and 1964 when Israel produced its first weapon in what is now a vast nuclear arsenal estimated at 200-400 warheads. Kennedy’s letter to Ben-Gurion was anything but friendly. The words he chose were drawn not from diplomacy but from the instructions that a judge gives a jury on criminal culpability. In that brusque letter, the U.S. commander-in-chief insisted that this purported ally prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the Zionist enclave was not developing nuclear weapons…
The lead-up to the first U.S.-Iran talks in three decades saw a replay of the same modus operandi that induced the U.S. and its allies to invade Iraq in March 2003. Then as now, the invasion of Iran is consistent with a regime change agenda for Greater Israel described in a 1996 strategy document prepared by Jewish-Americans for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
As with Iraq, the threat of weapons of mass destruction is again marketed as a causa belli. As with Iraq, the claim is disputed by weapons inspectors and intelligence analysts. The Iraqi program had been shut down a dozen years before the invasion. In Iran, there is no evidence that uranium is being enriched beyond the low levels required for energy and medical purposes…
Tel Aviv long ago proved its mastery at waging war “by way of deception” – the operative credo of the Mossad, Israel’s intelligence and foreign operations directorate. Yet its latest operation reveals a need to freshen up its repertoire of dirty tricks. As Israel’s patron, those of us who live in the U.S. are painfully familiar with such duplicity. Yet the recent frequency of its frauds renders their latest treachery remarkably transparent.
Consider the similarities. First a network of pro-Israelis fixed the intelligence that induced us to invade Iraq in support of an expansionist agenda for Greater Israel. Who can forget Iraqi WMD, scary images of mushroom clouds and secret meetings in Prague? Who can fail to recall the yellowcake uranium from Niger and those ominous warnings of “high-level contacts” between secular Baghdad and the religious fundamentalists of Al Qaeda?..
..An Iranian threat to destroy Israel has been a major propaganda theme of the Bush administration for months. On March 10, President George W Bush said, "The Iranian president has stated his desire to destroy our ally, Israel. So when you start listening to what he has said to their desire to develop a nuclear weapon, then you begin to see an issue of grave national-security concern."
But in 2003, Bush refused to allow any response to the Iranian offer to negotiate an agreement that would have accepted the existence of Israel. Flynt Leverett, then the senior specialist on the Middle East on the National Security Council staff, recalled in an interview that it was "literally a few days" between the receipt of the Iranian proposal and the dispatch of a message to the Swiss ambassador expressing displeasure that he had forwarded it to Washington.
Interest in such a deal is still very much alive in Tehran, despite the US refusal to respond to the 2003 proposal…
Seven in 10 Americans believe that Iran currently has nuclear weapons, according to a new national poll…
The poll indicates that 71 percent of the public says Iran has nuclear weapons, with just over one in four disagreeing. More than six in ten think the U.S. should take economic and diplomatic efforts to get Iran to shut down their nuclear program, with only a quarter calling for immediate military action.
"But if economic and diplomatic efforts fail, support for military action rises to 59 percent, with only 39 percent opposing military action under those circumstances," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland…
Israeli air force have practiced simulated strikes at Iran’s nuclear facilities using airspace of at least two unidentified Arab countries, a newspaper published in east Jerusalem reported.
According to Al Manar paper, several Israeli combat jets carried out in late February bombing drills "targeting" known Iranian nuclear sites "in two Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, which are close territorially with the Islamic republic and cooperate with Israel on this issue."
Al Manar said Israel had received the permission to use the airspace from the top leadership of these countries and Washington "gave a blessing" to Tel Aviv to conduct these exercises.
Despite broad international efforts to persuade Tehran to halt its uranium enrichment, both the United States and Israel have not ruled out military action if diplomacy fails to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program.
Iran, which is currently under three sets of UN sanctions for refusing to halt uranium enrichment, insists it needs nuclear technology to generate electricity, while Western powers suspect it of pursuing an atomic weapons program.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has recently called for the international community to impose a new set of ‘crippling’ sanctions on Iran to make the Islamic republic scrap its controversial nuclear program.
WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates has warned in a secret three-page memorandum to top White House officials that the United States does not have an effective long-range policy for dealing with Iran’s steady progress toward nuclear capability, according to government officials familiar with the document…
Mr. Gates’s memo appears to reflect concerns in the Pentagon and the military that the White House did not have a well prepared series of alternatives in place in case all the diplomatic steps finally failed. Separately, Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, wrote a “chairman’s guidance” to his staff in December conveying a sense of urgency about contingency planning. He cautioned that a military attack would have “limited results,” but he did not convey any warnings about policy shortcomings.
“Should the president call for military options, we must have them ready,” the admiral wrote…
Israel would regard any expansion of nuclear weapons capability within its region as an intolerable threat to its survival. As such, Iran’s developing nuclear program has triggered serious concern in Israel and speculation that the Israeli government may choose to attack Iran’s nuclear installations in an effort to delay its acquisition of nuclear weapons capability. This Center for Preventive ActionContingency Planning Memorandum by Steven Simon assesses the likelihood of an Israeli strike on Iran, the policy options available to diminish that likelihood, the implications should it take place, and measures that can be taken to mitigate the consequences should it occur. The memo concludes that Israel is not eager to start a war with Iran, or disrupt its relations with the United States, but it will act if it perceives an imminent existential threat in the form of a nuclear Iran. Thus, American arguments for restraint must be backed by concrete measures to contain the perceived threat and affirmations of the special relationship.
..Looking down the road, however, it’s not nukes that scare me the most. Biology is much more frightening than physics. Biology is the field where science is making the most rapid strides and the coming decades are going to see a biotech revolution that could be as revolutionary and disruptive as the Neolithic Revolution all those millenniums ago when people first figured out that whole farming thing. Genetically-engineered plagues that attack either humans or crops, biologically produced toxins that can be released into the water or the air: the possibilities unfortunately are nearly endless for weapons that in their potency make those nuclear apples look like duds…