10 Responses

  1. Internally, Iran is moving toward a harder line. From The Economist:

    Anticipating trouble, Iran’s hardliners have been stifling the remaining repositories of dissent as fiercely as ever. The most notable of these is Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, an establishment heavyweight and former president who became an opposition figurehead after the contentious poll of 2009. The two most controversial of his five children—his daughter Faezeh and his son Mehdi—have recently been arrested, undoubtedly with the approval of Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei. Mr Rafsanjani had been expected to put up a fight when Mr Khamenei tries, as he probably will, to install his own nominee as president in elections that are due next spring. But with his children behind bars, the former president may favour circumspection over principle.


  2. For what it’s worth, some in Israel say the sanctions are working.

    Israel regards the prospect of its arch enemy developing nuclear weapons as a threat to its existence, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has said that, although sanctions are taking their toll, they are not yet forcing Iran to abandon work that could soon lead to a nuclear warhead.

    However, Israeli officials appear increasingly ready to acknowledge the effect of recent American and European sanctions designed to restrict Iran’s lifeline oil exports.

    “The sanctions on Iran in the past year jumped a level,” Steinitz told Israel Radio, noting that as finance minister, he follows Iran’s economy.

    “It is not collapsing, but it is on the verge of collapse. The loss of income from oil there is approaching $45-50 billion by the year’s end,” Steinitz said.

    The United States, Israel’s main ally, says it will not allow Tehran to produce the bomb, but sanctions should be given more time to work before force is considered.

    American and Israeli commentators say a military strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear plants, which Iran says are designed only to develop a nuclear generating capacity, could trigger a regional war with unforeseeable consequences.

    In Israel too, some prominent political and military figures question Netanyahu’s warning that Iran is so close to the threshold of nuclear capability that military action will soon be the only way to stop it.



  3. Mark–

    Since this isn’t light reading by any means, I haven’t tackled it yet. . . but I have to say that my knee jerk reaction to the title is that I can’t think of a single benefit. I don’t know most of the signatories, except by name, although I did serve “with” LTG Kearney (I say “with” because he was a COL and I was a CPT at the time) and he had a good reputation as a commander.

    There isn’t going to be a test tomorrow, is there?

    P.S. What a game, huh?! All three of the late games yesterday were barn burners.


  4. I skimmed it and the item that came to my attention was how detailed they were with the logistics of an attack on the nuclear facilities. They have clearly put a lot of thought into this. Perhaps too much.


  5. YJ, that was one of the reasons I posted.


  6. And then there’s this:

    Azerbaijan, the oil-rich ex-Soviet republic on Iran’s far northern border, has, say local sources with knowledge of its military policy, explored with Israel how Azeri air bases and spy drones might help Israeli jets pull off a long-range attack.

    That is a far cry from the massive firepower and diplomatic cover that Netanyahu wants from Washington. But, by addressing key weaknesses in any Israeli war plan – notably on refueling, reconnaissance and rescuing crews – such an alliance might tilt Israeli thinking on the feasibility of acting without U.S. help


    Israeli officials dismiss talk of Azeri collaboration in any attack on Iran but decline public comment on specific details.

    Even speaking privately, few Israeli officials will discuss the issue. Those who do are skeptical, saying overt use of Azeri bases by Israel would provoke too many hostile reactions. One political source did, however, say flying unmarked tanker aircraft out of Azerbaijan to extend the range and payloads of an Israeli bombing force might play a part in Israeli planning.

    Though denying direct knowledge of current military thinking on Iran, the Israeli said one possibility might be “landing a refueling plane there, made to look like a civilian airliner, so it could later take off to rendezvous mid-air with IAF jets”.

    Oh, how I hope we stay out of this!


    • Also related, Kelley, are these observations.


      I don’t see how we will stay out. Certainly, we cannot possibly afford war with Iran. Our economic strength is probably far more important to our national security than their nuke capability, but their nuke capability frightens us so much that we are willing to risk our economy on it. Listen to BHO or WMR and they are promising war if Iran turns to producing nukes.

      Perhaps Iran will take the threats and the promise of lifted sanctions as valid and comply. The Economist link thinks Iran will not do so. Perhaps Iran does not actually want a nuke.
      I would not bet on that. Perhaps Iran would not arm Hizbollah with nukes. That is probably a good bet, but Israel is probably unwilling to rely on it.

      The section of the posted material that is weakest is about exit strategy.

      We somehow have to get through to Iran that it can live long and prosper without nukes, or we will be at war there by 2014, it seems to me.


  7. About a dozen countries have nuclear weapons including Pakistan and North Korea. This seems to be an odd line in the sand to draw. I don’t know how you prevent a country determined to have a nuclear capability from obtaining one short of regime change. Are we really willing to go that far?


    • Both debaters Wednesday night say yes, YJ. We needed GJ in the debates if this question was going to be addressed from another direction.


  8. The season premiere of Homeland starts off in the aftermath of an Israeli attack on Iran.



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