Saturday, November 30, 2013

Matt 24 watch 229l: The Iran Nuke Deal in charts

First, Powerline:

If you think this is dismissible gross exaggeration, the Endowment for Middle East Truth  puts it in these terms:

The former Iranian Revolutionary Guard who uses the pseudonym Reza Khalili, observes:
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic’s uranium enrichment process “will never witness the stop of enrichment in Iran and that enrichment is our red line.”

Early Sunday, Iran and the 5+1 world powers, the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany, reached an agreement in Geneva over its illicit nuclear program. Under the agreement, Iran, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, will keep much of its nuclear infrastructure, is limited to enriching uranium at the five percent level for six months, will convert its highly enriched uranium of 20 percent to harmless oxide and will allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will be limited to only agreed-on facilities.
We need to think very soberly about where this points. END

Friday, November 29, 2013

A strange report of finding ammunition, bullet-reloading machinery and "more than 3,000 warheads" in Port Kingston, Jamaica

Drudge report just now had up a strange AP report from MyFoxNY, on a seizure of illegal ammunition-making machinery (at BerthNo. 5, Kingston Wharves, Jamaica).

After probing around in Jamaica's major news media, I found a report at RJR news. {U/D Nov 30, the JCF site has a somewhat helpful report, but it too is a bit garbled, though a picture -- now inserted -- helps. (I think this is indeed evidently a case of hand loading.} In key part:
Seized ammunition components -- now clearly
hand loading supplies (SOURCE: JCF)
A high-level probe is in progress following the seizure of an ammunition-making machine along with more than 3,000 warheads {JCF: "warheads or projectiles"} in a shipment at Berth Five, Kingston Wharves.

The equipment is also used to reload ammunition. It is the first seizure of its kind in Jamaica.

The items were found Thursday afternoon during an operation involving the police and personnel from Customs . . . . “We found everything that makes ammunition,” said DSP Brown. He declined to disclose the origin of the shipment and where it was destined.

A typical small handloading press
for bullets and cartridges, cf. video
here via Youtube, which shows
how precise and complex the
process -- essentially home
manufacturing of high
precision items, is. (HT:
This seems garbled. "Warheads" usually denotes the business part of heavy weapons, such as a guided missile. Most likely {U/D Nov 30: now essentially confirmed via the picture from JCF}, there were 3,000 bullets, with cartridge cases, primers and propellant "smokeless" powder, along with the sort of ammunition reloading press that is commonly used by target shooters in the USA. (Hand loaded ammunition can be more precisely controlled than factory ammunition, if you know what you are doing.)

So, I suspect, for now, that we are dealing here with a target shooter; a criminal would be more likely to just buy already loaded, ready to fire ammunition. (If the police were to tell us the calibre, that would likely solve the mystery. Target shooters are quite likely to shoot unusual calibre ammunition.)

So, I hope Mr O’Neil Schrouder -- asked to turn himself in by mid-day today, Friday, will do so with a lawyer. (That name is not typically Jamaican as well and makes me further inclined to believe we have here a would-be target shooter or hunter -- Jamaica now has a fair population of White-Tail deer -- whomay be unfamiliar with how draconian Jamaican law is on guns and related matters.)

I trust things can be reasonably sorted out, if something like that is what is going on. END

Matt 24 watch 229k: Israeli Pesident Shimon Peres appeals to the people of Iran

TOI reports how, on a state visit to Mexico City, Israeli President Shimon Peres has appealed to the people of Iran:
“There are countries that try to take advantage of this transition [in the Middle East] and attempt to overpower other countries and stop their march to the new age,” Peres said. “They do it by building nuclear threats, centers of terror, tongues of hatred. Iran has signed an interim agreement with the P5+1. Success or failure of the deal will be judged by results, not by words.

“As far as Israel is concerned, we do not consider the Iranian people our enemies,” he stressed. “We do not share a border. We do share a common history. It demonstrates that we can be friendly. There is an opportunity to solve this issue diplomatically. It is in your hands. Reject terrorism. Stop the nuclear program. Stop the development of long-range missiles,” he continued . . . .

No one threatens Iran. When Iran will cease to threaten others, it will liberate itself from the burden which it has brought upon itself. I truly hope that this deal will free the Iranian people from being a source of menace and will turn it into a contributing nation for peace. Only time will tell . . . ”
While this is obviously a heart-felt appeal, we should note that the events of 2009 forever proved that he Mullahs are not listening to the actual voice of the people of Iran. END

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Matt 24 watch 229j: A further Churchillian reflection on Munich 1938, after the Second World War

After the Second World War had been fought and won -- insofar as such a thing can be said to have been won -- Churchill made a further reflection on the Munich deal of 1938. He did so in the first volume of his multi-volume eyewitness history on the war, The gathering Storm.  

HT Hayward of PL in March 2012, let us clip:
Sir Winston Leonard Spencer Churchill
No case of this kind can be judged apart from its circumstances.  The facts may be unknown at the time, and estimates of them must be largely guesswork, coloured by the general feelings and aims of whoever is trying to pronounce.  Those who are prone by temperament and character to seek sharp and clear-cut solutions of difficult and obscure problems, who are ready to fight whenever some challenge comes from a foreign Power, have not always been right.  On the other hand, those whose inclination is to bow their heads, to seek patiently and faithfully for peaceful compromise, are not always wrong.  On the contrary, in the majority of instances they may be right, not only morally but from a practical standpoint . . . . 

The Sermon on the Mount is the last word in Christian ethics.  Everyone respects the Quakers.  Still, it is not on these terms that Ministers assume their responsibilities of guiding states.  Their duty is first so to deal with other nations as to avoid strife and war and to eschew aggression in all its forms, whether for nationalistic or ideological objects.  But the safety of the State, the lives and freedom of their own fellow countrymen, to whom they owe their position, make it right and imperative in the last resort, or when a final and definitive conviction has been reached, that the use of force should not be excluded.  If the circumstances are such as to warrant it, force may be used.  And if this be so, it should be used under the conditions which are most favourable.  There is no merit in putting off a war for a year if, when it comes, it is a far worse war or one much harder to win.  These are the tormenting dilemmas upon which mankind has throughout history been so frequently impaled . . . 
The Christian Faith is indeed, far more inclined to err on the side of pacifism than waspish bellicosity. And before Jesus spoke those immortal words on a Mount in Galilee, the wise one said that a soft answer turns away wrath.

Howbeit, that is not the whole story, for as we may read in Rom 13:
Rom 13:For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. [ESV]

That is, the ruler has a responsibility beyond the personal, which in a world of evil-doers, calls forth the power of the sword. In service to God in the cause of defending the civil peace of justice from those who would prey upon it.

So, yes, there must be a heart-lurching moral struggle and there must be an examination of reasonable alternatives. But, in a world where too often we can see the clouds of a gathering storm triggered by those who are deaf to reason, morality and decency, then there is the duty to wield the sword in defense. And, where too often the real choice is between acting now or delaying at fearful additional cost and hazard.

It is after all the duty of the shepherd to defend the sheep from wolves and worse.

And that requires courage, skill and equipment, sound judgement and effective tactics.

In the case in front of us, we have a regime openly bent on genocide, with a track record of sponsoring terrorism, and with a known pattern of deceptive behaviour in pursuit of the means of genocide, both nuclear weapons and the ballistic missiles to mount them on.

In the face of such a situation, the evidently calculated action of this US administration, has been deeply questionable. 

I fear, that action will likely have horrific consequences. 

Perhaps some miracle may yet come to rescue us but neither scripture nor history suggest that the possibility of such deliverance allows us to be imprudent. END

Monday, November 25, 2013

Matt 24 watch, 229i: A Churchillian, post-Munich lesson from history (as given in the UK Parliament House of Commons by a great historical and strategic thinker)

In the aftermath of the Munich debacle, Churchill went on record in the UK House of Commons in a classic speech. It is highly relevant to our current circumstances.

Let us clip, to breathe the bracing air of forthright truth and sound strategic analysis taught by a great, iron-souled man -- one who, like Joseph, had been laid in irons of lonely adversity, so that iron might be laid in him:
I will . . .  begin by saying the most unpopular and most unwelcome thing. I will begin by saying what everybody would like to ignore or forget but which must nevertheless be stated, namely, that we have sustained a total and unmitigated defeat, and that France has suffered even more than we have.

The utmost my right hon. Friend the Prime Minister has been able to secure by all his immense exertions, by all the great efforts and mobilisation which took place in this country, and by all the anguish and strain through which we have passed in this country, the utmost he has been able to gain for Czechoslovakia in the matters which were in dispute has been that the German dictator, instead of snatching the victuals from the table, has been content to have them served to him course by course . . . .

All is over. Silent, mournful, abandoned, broken, Czechoslovakia recedes into the darkness. She has suffered in every respect by her association with the Western democracies and with the League of Nations, of which she has always been an obedient servant. She has suffered in particular from her association with France, under whose guidance and policy she has been actuated for so long . . . . 

There must always be the most profound regret and a sense of vexation in British hearts at the treatment and the misfortune which have overcome the Czechoslovakian Republic.

They have not ended here. At any moment there may be a hitch in the programme. At any moment there may be an order for Herr Goebbels to start again his propaganda of calumny and lies; at any moment an incident may be provoked, and now that the fortress line is turned away what is there to stop the will of the conqueror? Obviously, we are not in a position to give them the slightest help at the present time, except what everyone is glad to know has been done, the financial aid which the Government have promptly produced . . . . 

But we cannot consider the abandonment and ruin of Czechoslovakia in the light only of what happened only last month. It is the most grievous consequence of what we have done and of what we have left undone in the last five years - five years of futile good intentions, five years of eager search for the line of least resistance, five years of uninterrupted retreat of British power, five years of neglect of our air defences.

Those are the features which I stand here to expose and which marked an improvident stewardship for which Great Britain and France have dearly to pay. We have been reduced in those five years from a position of security so overwhelming and so unchallengeable that we never cared to think about it. We have been reduced from a position where the very word "war" was considered one which could be used only by persons qualifying for a lunatic asylum. We have been reduced from a position of safety and power - power to do good, power to be generous to a beaten foe, power to make terms with Germany, power to give her proper redress for her grievances, power to stop her arming if we chose, power to take any step in strength or mercy or justice which we thought right - reduced in five years from a position safe and unchallenged to where we stand now.

When I think of the fair hopes of a long peace which still lay before Europe at the beginning of 1933 when Herr Hitler first obtained power, and of all the opportunities of arresting the growth of the Nazi power which have been thrown away, when I think of the immense combinations and resources which have been neglected or squandered, I cannot believe that a parallel exists in the whole course of history.

So far as this country is concerned the responsibility must rest with those who have had the undisputed control of our political affairs. They neither prevented Germany from rearming, nor did they rearm themselves in time. They quarrelled with Italy without saving Ethiopia. The exploited and discredited the vast institution of the League of Nations and they neglected to make alliances and combinations which might have repaired previous errors, and thus they left us in the hour of trial without adequate national defence or effective international security . . . .
In my holiday I thought it was a chance to study the reign of King Ethelred the Unready. The House will remember that that was a period of great misfortune, in which, from the strong position which we had gained under the descendants of King Alfred, we fell very swiftly into chaos. It was the period of Danegeld and of foreign pressure . . . Here is what the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle said, and I think the words apply very much to our treatment of Germany and our relations with her.

"All these calamities fell upon us because of evil counsel, because tribute was not offered to them at the right time nor yet were they resisted; but when they had done the most evil, then was peace made with them."

That is the wisdom of the past, for all wisdom is not new wisdom . . .
This, too, I think I must add:
We are in the presence of a disaster of the first magnitude which has befallen Great Britain and France. Do not let us blind ourselves to that. It must now be accepted that all the countries of Central and Eastern Europe will make the best terms they can with the triumphant Nazi power. The system of alliances in Central Europe upon which France has relied for her safety has been swept away, and I can see no means by which it can be reconstituted. The road down the Danube Valley to the Black Sea, the road which leads as far as Turkey, has been opened.

In fact, if not in form, it seems to me that all those countries of Middle Europe, all those Danubian countries, will, one after another, be drawn into this vast system of power politics - not only power military politics but power economic politics - radiating from Berlin, and I believe this can be achieved quite smoothly and swiftly and will not necessarily entail the firing of a single shot . . . . 

In a very few years, perhaps in a very few months, we shall be confronted with demands with which we shall no doubt be invited to comply. Those demands may affect the surrender of territory or the surrender of liberty. I foresee and foretell that the policy of submission will carry with it restrictions upon the freedom of speech and debate in Parliament, on public platforms, and discussions in the Press, for it will be said - indeed, I hear it said sometimes now - that we cannot allow the Nazi system of dictatorship to be criticised by ordinary, common English politicians. Then, with a Press under control, in part direct but more potently indirect, with every organ of public opinion doped and chloroformed into acquiescence, we shall be conducted along further stages of our journey . . . 
Nor should we neglect his often cited crescendo and conclusion:
I do not grudge our loyal, brave people, who were ready to do their duty no matter what the cost, who never flinched under the strain of last week - I do not grudge them the natural, spontaneous outburst of joy and relief when they learned that the hard ordeal would no longer be required of them at the moment; but they should know the truth. They should know that there has been gross neglect and deficiency in our defences; they should know that we have sustained a defeat without a war, the consequences of which will travel far with us along our road; they should know that we have passed an awful milestone in our history, when the whole equilibrium of Europe has been deranged, and that the terrible words have for the time being been pronounced against the Western democracies:
"Thou art weighed in the balance and found wanting."
And do not suppose that this is the end. This is only the beginning of the reckoning. This is only the first sip, the first foretaste of a bitter cup which will be proffered to us year by year unless by a supreme recovery of moral health and martial vigour, we arise again and take our stand for freedom as in the olden time.
Let us at least be willing to learn, that we may do better onward; bitter though the path ahead must be -- absent, as always, the mercy of a miracle of deliverance. For which we may pray, but upon which we have no right to presume. 

So, now, let us steel our hearts and set our firm resolve for what we may well face ahead. 

For, it is through adversity firmly met with implicit faith in God, hope from him and courage that does not shirk to steadfastly do duty in the face of danger and threat and yes pain too, that iron comes into the soul. END

Matt 24 watch, 229h: A Neville Chamberlain moment -- "Mr. Masaryk, you happen to believe in Dr. Benes, I happen to trust Herr Hitler."

Some months after the infamous "peace for our time" Sept 30 1938 statement at the London airport captured in this photograph (which gives more context than the usual ones):

. . . Hitler proceeded to occupy what was left of Czechoslovakia.

As Chaim Weizmann, who succeeded Herzl as head of the Zionist movement and who would become first president of Israel noted in his biography (HT: Brian Thomas of TOI):
Neither the Jews nor the Czechs will forget the words of Chamberlain on the occasion of Hitler’s occupation of the Czech capital.  Why should England risk war for the sake of ‘a far-away country of which we know very little and whose language we don’t understand?’   Words which were swallowed down by a docile Parliament many members of which must have known very well that the Czech Republic was a great bastion of liberty and democracy, and that its spirit and its institutions had all the meaning in the world for the Western Powers.   It was, apart from everything else, a colossal insult to a great people.   And I remember reflecting that if this was the way the Czechs were spoken of, what could we Jews expect from a Government of that kind?
Weizmann then continued, as Thomas cites:

When Jan [Masaryk, son of the founder of the Czechoslovak Republic and a friend of Zionism as his father was before him]  arrived at our house that evening he was almost unrecognizable. The gaiety and high spirits which we always associated with him were gone. His face was the colour of parchment, and he looked like an aged and broken man. My wife, my children and I felt deeply for him – perhaps more than anyone else in London – and without saying too much we tried to make him comfortable.  For a while he was silent, then he turned to us and, pointing to the little dog he had brought with him, said: ‘That’s all I have left, and believe me, I am ashamed to look him in the eyes.’   Once he had broken the silence he went on talking, and what he told us was terrible to listen to. He had had a conversation that morning with the Prime Minister, and had taxed him with the deliberate betrayal of Czechoslovakia. ‘Mr. Chamberlain sat absolutely unmoved. When I had finished he said: “Mr. Masaryk, you happen to believe in Dr. Benes, I happen to trust Herr Hitler.”There was nothing left for Masaryk but to get up and leave the room.

A great democratic country, a magnificent army and a superb munition plant [--> Skoda, the first class weapons forge of the former Austro-Hungarian empire . . . ] had been delivered to the future conqueror of Europe, and a people which had fought valiantly for its freedom was betrayed by the democracies.  It was cold comfort to us to reflect that the misfortunes which had befallen Czechoslovakia were in a way more poignant than those we faced – at least for the moment.  We could not tell what the future held in store for us; we only knew that we had little to expect in the way of sympathy or action from the Western democracies. [Trial and Error, The Autobiography of Chaim Weizmann, pp 493-591. Cited by Brian Thomas.]
We have, I fear, come to just such a sad and evil day, across this past weekend. 

A weekend, frankly, of willful folly and betrayal.

Just ignore the fancy rhetoric of the spinmeisters trying to make a silk purse out of a pig's ear. 

The pivotal issue is that Iran is now at nuke threshold, the Non-Proliferation Treaty is dead, and within two weeks once the Mullahs deem the pause sufficient, enough highly enriched Uranium can be refined to make the first bomb. Where, rest assured, the Iranians already have in hand Khan's bomb designs. and the ballistic missiles to put them on. And God help us if they have designs for suitcase or backpack demolition nukes to sponsor nuclear suicide terrorism. (Don't even bother with the child's play of dirty bombs that scatter radioactive materials.)

And -- absent a miracle (for which, let us pray for an undeserved mercy) -- the predictable price for willfully ignoring such a history as has been cited will not merely be in toil, and sweat and tears, rivers of tears, but in blood. END

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Matt 24 watch, 229g: March 2012 -- US Obama administration leak games to hamper or block Israeli options on Iran

Some time ago, as I thought about the Israeli strike options to hit and delay Iran's nuke programme sufficiently for sense to prevail:

. . . given the list of possible target-points:

. . . I could not but help observing how inviting the "back -door" across the Caspian Sea must be. Providing, Georgia and Azerbaijan (both of which have had fairly good relations with Israel) were willing to co-operate.  But of course Georgia was hit by Russia (an Iranian ally) in 2008, and I thought, that probably puts that off the list of serious possibilities.

So, imagine my astonishment to be informed of the following Obama Administration leak, circa March 29, 2012:
JERUSALEM - Two reports today about Iran's nuclear program and the possibility of an Israeli military strike have analysts in Israel accusing the Obama administration leaking information to pressure Israel not to bomb Iran and for Iran to reach a compromise in upcoming nuclear talks.

The first report in Foreign Policy quotes anonymous American officials saying that Israel has been given access to airbases by Iran's northern neighbor Azerbaijan from which Israel could launch air strikes or at least drones and search and rescue aircraft.

The second report from Bloomberg, based on a leaked congressional report, said that Iran's nuclear facilities are so dispersed that it is "unclear what the ultimate effect of a strike would be…" A strike could delay Iran as little as six months [--> a very familiar figure, as that is the period of the "interim" deal just struck], a former official told the researchers.

"It seems like a big campaign to prevent Israel from attacking," analyst Yoel Guzansky at the Institute for National Security Studies told ABC News. "I think the [Obama] administration is really worried Jerusalem will attack and attack soon. They're trying hard to prevent it in so many ways."
When we put this with the "deal" diplomatic game now in progress, and the earlier reports of secret negotiations to set it up, it looks like further support for the view that the current US administration has long since decided to accept a nuclear-armed Iran, regardless of implications for Israel, other Middle Eastern states and the wider world.

My overall personal assessment of Nov 13 -- willful betrayal of allies and retreat in the face of a growing global threat by an unstable, terrorism sponsoring state that has repeatedly threatened genocide (when sanctions were beginning to have a significant effect) -- remains unfortunately valid:
I hate to say this, and know some will be angered by such a chain of reasoning -- especially as updated, but logic in light of evident facts and consequences that MUST be recognised in strategic decision making centres in Washington DC, Jerusalem, Tehran, London, Paris, Moscow, Beijing and elsewhere now pushes me:
I: this is patently too co-ordinated, too neat and definitive in potential outcomes -- and too well timed to exploit a predictable distraction over a controversial US domestic policy issue that has been bubbling up since 2010 -- to be mere coincidence and feckless bumbling.
II: It looks deliberate.
III: There is no way the senior officials in Washington could be unaware of the chain of highly likely geostrategic consequences outlined above.
IV: Obviously, those consequences are acceptable to them and reflect a fundamental alienation from Israel and willingness to live with the sort of Middle East that is emerging.
Though many Americans would not agree with such a re-alignment, it is obvious that they have lacked the capability to block any number of radical and questionable "change[s]" emanating from this administration. 
Further conclusion:
V: The United States is being fundamentally realigned in the post-Christian, secularist, statist European mould, and:
  •  it seems the balance of forces is now on the side of that re-alignment,  
  • from seeking to corrupt marriage (the most fundamental civilisation-stabilising social institution)  under false colours of equality and rights, 
  • to massive statist takeovers of major sectors of the US economy 
  • to alienating hitherto pivotal allies across the world (especially in major trouble-spots)  and 
  • allowing or even actively enabling the rise of fundamentally hostile powers to a place where 
  • they will predictably seriously hamper or even block any future US geo-strategic actions designed to be protective of the free world and pivotal trade choke points, starting with no 1 and 2 -- the Persian Gulf and the Suez Canal. 
  • Thus ushering in a new post-Christian era with radical Islam as the pivotal power bloc [probably envisioned as a third world champion and balance/ check to US imperialism . . . about as likely as Germany under Hitler was as a check to French and British Imperialism . . . ]
That very unwelcome summary is a recipe for global chaos and war on a scale hitherto unimaginable.
Indeed, the pattern of untrustworthy behaviour now clearly goes back to at least early 2012, where the Obama Administration did not hold back from revealing serious options that Israel had in hand. In an attempt to frustrate or block them.

No wonder, in the March 29, 2012 report, we see this further remark:
In a column this afternoon titled "Obama Betraying Israel?" longtime defense commentator Ron Ben-Yishai at Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper angrily denounced the leaks as a "targeted assassination campaign."

"In recent weeks the administration shifted from persuasion efforts vis-à-vis decision-makers and Israel's public opinion to a practical, targeted assassination of potential Israeli operations in Iran," Ben-Yishai writes. "The campaign's aims are fully operational: To make it more difficult for Israeli decision-makers to order the IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] to carry out a strike, and what's even graver, to erode the IDF's capacity to launch such strike with minimal casualties."
This is further evidence of something gone very rotten indeed.

We have come to a grim, sobering pass. 

Right now, I feel like a passenger in a car that has skidded out of control and is veering into the path of heavy, fast-moving traffic on the other side of the road. END

Matt 24 watch, 229f: Israel -- from PM Netanyahu on down -- responds to the just signed interim "deal" with Iran; historian Victor Davis Hanson sums up

Israel's leadership -- for cause -- have not minced words in response to the just signed deal with Iran.

Netanyahu (HT: PL):
Benjamin Netanyahu did not mince words about the deal President Obama has negotiated with Iran. The Israeli Prime Minister declared it “a historic mistake”. He added: “Today the world has become much more dangerous because the most dangerous regime in the world took a significant step to getting the most dangerous weapon in the world”.

Netanyahu explained that for the first time, the leading powers of the world have agreed to uranium enrichment in Iran. In addition, they have removed sanctions it took years to build up. All they received in exchange are “cosmetic Iranian concessions that are possible to do away with in a matter of weeks.”

Netanyahu emphasized that Israel is not bound by the deal. “I want to make it clear [that] Israel will not allow Iran to develop a military nuclear capability,” he stated.
Various Ministers (HT: TOI):
Top Israeli ministers harshly criticized the nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers early Sunday, with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman saying the agreement had shifted the status quo in the Middle East.

“This brings us to a new reality in the whole Middle East, including the Saudis. This isn’t just our worry,” he told Israel Radio. “We’ve found ourselves in a completely new situation.” 

When asked if this would lead to an Israeli military strike on Iran, Liberman said Israel “would need to make different decisions.”

Home Front Command Minister Gilad Erdan told Army Radio that it would now be more difficult for Israel to act for the duration of the six-month agreement.

Intelligence Minister Yuval Steinitz, who is responsible for monitoring Iran’s nuclear program, said there was no reason for the world to be celebrating. He said the deal, reached in Geneva early Sunday, is based on “Iranian deception and [Western] self-delusion.”

“Just like the failed deal with North Korea, the current deal can actually bring Iran closer to the bomb,” Steinitz said. “Israel cannot take part in the international celebrations based on Iranian deception and self-delusion.”
Historian and author, Victor Davis Hanson, sums up on the long view, in a NRO column, "Peace for our Time":
The Iranian agreement comes not in isolation, unfortunately. The Syrian debacle instructed the Iranians that the Obama administration was more interested in announcing a peaceful breakthrough than actually achieving it. The timing is convenient for both sides: The Obama administration needed an offset abroad to the Obamacare disaster, and the Iranians want a breathing space to rebuild their finances and ensure that Assad can salvage the Iranian-Hezbollah-Assad axis. The agreement is a de facto acknowledgement that containing, not ending, Iran’s nuclear program is now U.S. policy.

After all, to what degree would an Iranian freeze really retard development of a bomb, or simply put it on hold? . . .
He concludes:
 There is not a good record, from Philip of Macedon [--> the father of Alexander, who conquered the main Greek city states . . . ] to Hitler to Stalin in the 1940s to Carter and the Soviets in the 1970s to radical Islamists in the 1990s, of expecting authoritarians and thugs to listen to reason, cool their aggression, and appreciate democracies’ sober and judicious appeal to logic — once they sense in the West greater eagerness to announce new, rather than to enforce old, agreements.
James Jay Carafano is withering in his own NRO column, tellingly titled "Munich II":
The idealists’ assessment is delusional. They see a “freeze” as a confidence-building measure, the first step in disassembling Iran’s weapons program. But where there is freeze, there can also be a thaw. Nothing in this agreement prevents Iran from just picking up where it left off. Nothing in this agreement affects Iran’s effort to improve its long-range ballistic missiles. Nothing can stop Iran from continuing to work on how to weaponize (build a bomb suitable to be put on a missile) a nuclear device in secret. [--> They probably have Khan's designs in hand, which were on sale to all comers]

In return for getting precious little, the negotiators oppose Iran at the table gave up the one thing the mullahs really feared – a continuing squeeze on Tehran’s dwindling bank account.

The only “fact” offered so far to prove that the pact will lead to something other than a good deal for Iran is the blithe assurance that the deal was negotiated by really smart people who know what they are doing. 

After all . . .

The British think the deal with Iran makes sense. Then, again, it was a British government that believed Munich meant we could all get a good night’s sleep now.

The Russians laud the deal. But it was a government in Moscow that believed the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact solved all its problems.

Our White House likes this deal. But, our White House also thinks its policies in Iraq, Libya, Egypt, and Syria have been just super.

The cold fact about the Iranian nuclear freeze is this: Any diplomatic deal that is not grounded in shared interests or a common sense of justice will surely fail. There is no evidence Iran shares either with the West. The negotiations with Iran bear too many similarities with the most spectacular failures in diplomatic history to leave any hope for optimism.

 In short, we have come to a grim time, one that -- absent a miracle -- is liable to end in blood and ashes. Where, one of the grimmer lessons of history is that we ever so often refuse to learn from its hard-bought lessons. (An even worse species of folly than the one skewered in the old saying that experience is a good teacher, but his fees are very dear; alas for fools, they will learn from none other. For, there are those who will not even learn from carefully preserved and passed on experience, which is what sound history is about.)  END

Matt 24 watch, 229e: "Historic" "Deal" with Iran struck in Geneva . . . "Peace for our time" (NOT -- Iranian President Rouhani celebrates "right" to enrich Uranium . . . putting Iran 2 weeks away from enough Highly Enriched Uranium to make bombs at any time)

Those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to relive, or at least to echo, its worst chapters.

So, it is appropriate to begin this post with how on September 30, 1938, on his return from the Munich deal that stabbed Czechoslovakia in the back, British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain announced a deal that gave "peace for our time." (In reality, war was now all but certain, and would break out just eleven months later as Hitler went after his next victim, Poland.)

Here he is at the moment of infamy where he had just stepped off the plane from Germany, and was triumphantly waving the meaningless piece of paper:

Peace for our time -- NOT, Sept 30, 1938. (HT: Wiki)
 The BBC news piece for this date that forever lives in shameful infamy, in part reads:

1938: 'Peace for our time' - Chamberlain
The British Prime Minister has been hailed as bringing "peace to Europe" after signing a non-aggression pact with Germany. 

PM Neville Chamberlain arrived back in the UK today, holding an agreement signed by Adolf Hitler which stated the German leader's desire never to go to war with Britain again. 

The two men met at the Munich conference between Britain, Germany, Italy and France yesterday, convened to decide the future of Czechoslovakia's Sudetenland. 

Mr Chamberlain declared the accord with the Germans signalled "peace for our time", after he had read it to a jubilant crowd gathered at Heston airport in west London. 

The German leader stated in the agreement: "We are determined to continue our efforts to remove possible sources of difference and thus to contribute to assure the peace of Europe." 

But many MPs are bound to criticise it as part of the Prime Minister's "appeasement" of German aggression in Europe. 

And Mr Chamberlain's personal pact will be little comfort to the Czechoslovakian Government which has been forced to hand over the region of Sudetenland to Germany [--> which just happened to contain the key defense line against Germany, and the loss of which shortly led to German occupation of all of Czechoslovakia], despite not being present at the conference . . .  
Fast forward to 2013, with Iran at the nuke threshold after years of a persistent declarations of genocidal intent towards Israel, and pursuit of the means of genocide via ballistic missiles and the nukes to put on them, costing well north of US$ 100 billions. 

The Washington Post, overnight, tells us:

Iran, world powers reach historic nuclear deal

GENEVA — Iran and six major powers agreed early Sunday on a historic deal that freezes key parts of Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for temporary relief on some economic sanctions.

The agreement, sealed at a 3 a.m. signing ceremony in Geneva’s Palace of Nations, requires Iran to halt or scale back parts of its nuclear infrastructure, the first such pause in more than a decade.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed the deal, which was reached after four days of hard bargaining, including an eleventh-hour intervention by Secretary of State John F. Kerry and foreign ministers from Europe, Russia and China.

“It is important that we all of us see the opportunity to end an unnecessary crisis and open new horizons based on respect, based on the rights of the Iranian people and removing any doubts about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program,” Zarif told reporters in English. “This is a process of attempting to restore confidence.”  . . . .

The Associated Press reported that hours after the accord was reached, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said the deal recognizes Tehran’s “rights” to maintain an atomic program. . . . . His reference to “nuclear rights” in a nationally broadcast speech touches on the country’s demand to keep its uranium enrichment program . . . .

In an address from the White House after the deal was announced, President Obama praised the negotiators’ work. “Today, that diplomacy opened up a new path toward a world that is more secure — a future in which we can verify that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that it cannot build a nuclear weapon,” he said. “While today’s announcement is just a first step, it achieves a great deal. For the first time in nearly a decade, we have halted the progress of the Iranian nuclear program, and key parts of the program will be rolled back.”

Times of Israel adds, quoting Rouhani:

“No matter what interpretations are given, Iran’s right to enrichment has been recognized,” said Rouhani, who later posed with family members of nuclear scientists whose slayings in recent years Iran has blamed on Israel and allies.

He said that in a final deal, Iran’s nuclear enrichment will be able to proceed “similar to the past.”

In his speech, Rouhani repeated Iran’s claim that it would “never” seek atomic weapons, calling the accusation a “historical joke,” and praised the Iranian team that carried out the negotiations . . . [Also cf. Geller here.]
 Given that there is a track record of discovering hidden, undisclosed  facilities, and given the track record of evasions, lies and  steady progress to the end game of genocide, pardon my skepticism. 

The pivotal point on the "deal" is that Iran is able to enrich and feels its 'rights" to do so have been secured. That is a major surrender, and it is a strong sign that the US Administration's intent is to surrender to the idea of Iran as a nuclear power -- a new nuclear weapons armed power. One based on a ruthless terrorism-sponsoring and empire building dictatorship (what else do you think Iranian domination of Syria and Lebanon is?), with openly declared genocidal intent towards Jews and especially Israel.

The further implication of this "deal" is that the Nuclear Weapons Non-Proliferation Treaty is dead. All across the Middle East and beyond, a belt of unstable states will draw the appropriate conclusion, that their only hope for security lies in building their own nuclear weapons and the means to acquire such.

The likely consequences of that are obvious: a massively bloody nightmare.

War -- already delayed by a year because of US pressure on the now openly betrayed Israel -- is probably only months away. 

I have no reason to doubt that Israel will strike -- regardless of diplomatic and public relations consequences -- in defense of its people's right to exist rather than be incinerated in a new holocaust of Iranian nuclear weapons, or living in the meanwhile under the shadow of terrorism backed up by the threat of nuclear annihilation. Terrorism that is likely to include so-called dirty bombs that use ordinary explosives to scatter radioactive materials.

 We have decided to echo the sad history of 1938, and -- absent a miracle -- will pay the consequences. In blood. END

Friday, November 22, 2013

Matt 24 watch, 229d: You can't make this up dept. -- a top Obama administration official says Israel's position on the Iran nuke talks would "essentially lead to war" . . .

AS7 News, Israel reports:
U.S. Official: Israel's Position on Iran Could Lead to War
Top White House official warns that Israel’s proposal that Iran totally dismantle its nuclear capacity would likely lead to war.
By Elad Benari
First Publish: 11/22/2013, 1:15 AM
. . . . the unnamed official made the comments in a conference call on Wednesday with think tanks and advocacy groups sympathetic to the Obama administration’s Iran strategy. 
A think tank participant on the call said that Israel’s posture, demanding a total halt to enrichment and the dismantling of all of Iran’s centrifuges, was a path to war.

Agreeing that such reasoning was “sound,” the White House official said that given a choice between “total capitulation” and advancing toward a nuclear weapon, Iran would choose the weapon.

That posture would “close the door on diplomacy” and would “essentially lead to war,” the official said, according to JTA, which obtained a recording of the call on condition that it not name the participants or fully quote them.

The official sounded frustration with Israel’s pushback against the U.S. proposal for a “first step” deal that would exchange some sanctions relief for some rollback of Iran’s nuclear program, saying it would provide Israel with a six-month window to influence the shape of a final deal . . .
 This needs to be answered in steps of thought, starting with the backdrop of the 1950's Atoms for Peace initiative and culminating in the international Non-Proliferation Treaty from the 1970's on:
A simple view of the Atom (Cf. here)

1 --> In 1939, nuclear fission was discovered, by which when heavy atomic nuclei split, they release large amounts of energy 10 - 100 million times as much as in typical chemical reactions.  This is in accord with Einstein's famous 1905 result that mass and energy are inter-convertible. As the binding energy per nucleon (protons or neutrons) shows:

2 --> So, very soon a nuclear bomb development race was underway in World War II, won by the Americans and British. Stalin's spies put him on the fast track and by the late 1940's the world was divided by a nuke-armed cold war, with several other countries seeking nuclear weapons. The fate of Hiroshima and Nagasaki was not very far from our minds in those days:

Devastation at Hiroshima (Cf. here, warning, graphic and horrific)

3 --> By the 1950's, fusion weapons had also been made, which have unlimited potential: just like in the sun, light elements release energy when their nuclei fuse. (With fission weapons, beyond a certain size they start to disintegrate before full fission. And, by putting a jacket of fissionable materials on a fusion bomb, you get a huge additional fission yield.)

4 --> The world was on track to a very dangerous and unstable state, especially as the simplest weapon, the gun-type nuke, is so simple and reliable that the Americans didn't bother to test it before use at Hiroshima: set up a [modified] 4" howitzer barrel to fire a chunk of highly enriched uranium into a waiting chunk at the end of the barrel, making a super-critical mass. Boom, a city-buster, just fuse to go off at 2,000 ft above ground for maximum effect. For instance:

A gun-type fission bomb, essentially as used at Hiroshima (HT: Wiki)

5 --> But also, across the 1950's, the first nuclear power reactors had been developed. These used the energy from moderated, controlled fission to generate heat that could be used to make steam and turn turbines and shafts tied to electricity generators. It was at first thought that it could make electricity too cheap to meter, houses would just be hooked up and charged a flat rate (just like for cable TV). For instance:

A boiling water reactor. Steam is led out to turn a turbine that drives an electricity generator

6 --> So, the idea was to restrain proliferation of weapons, while promoting peaceful research, medical uses and electricity generation. Thus atoms for peace (and development). 

7 --> By 1968 when the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) was first signed under UN auspices (and when it entered into force in 1970), there were five known nuke powers with bombs [USA, Russia, Britain, France and Red China], and dozens of states that could easily enough go nuclear. As Wiki aptly points out, the treaty aimed to counter this by balanced emphasis on:
  1. non-proliferation,
  2. disarmament, and
  3. the right to peacefully use nuclear technology
 8 --> As the treaty says, in regards to non-nuclear weapons states:
Article II

Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to receive the transfer from any transferor whatsoever of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices or of control over such weapons or explosive devices directly, or indirectly; not to manufacture or otherwise acquire nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices; and not to seek or receive any assistance in the manufacture of nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices.

Article III

1. Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agencys safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Procedures for the safeguards required by this article shall be followed with respect to source or special fissionable material whether it is being produced, processed or used in any principal nuclear facility or is outside any such facility. The safeguards required by this article shall be applied to all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction, or carried out under its control anywhere.

2. Each State Party to the Treaty undertakes not to provide: (a) source or special fissionable material, or (b) equipment or material especially designed or prepared for the processing, use or production of special fissionable material, to any non-nuclear-weapon State for peaceful purposes, unless the source or special fissionable material shall be subject to the safeguards required by this article . . .
 9 --> Iran is such a signatory, Israel -- which partnered with France in the development of nuclear capacity in the 1950's [to the point where the first French nuke bomb tests were probably French-Israeli tests] -- is not. Iran (since 1979)  is also a dictatorship with a track record of genocidal declarations and global sponsorship of terrorism. Israel is a robust democracy unlikely to use nuke weapons save as a deterrent to several states with hostile intent towards it. (It is a safe assumption that Israel has such weapons, especially since 1973, a subtle context behind the cessation of attempts to wipe it out by direct invasion.)

10 --> Also, for at least a decade, Iran (which had at least one research reactor at Tehran University in the 1970's) has led the international organisations and powers acting on behalf of the NPT on a merry dance of deception, concealment, hidden installations and credible attempts to acquire weapons grade materials, other weapons components and the ballistic missiles to deliver them. It has patently spent well in excess of of US$ 100 billions in that pursuit, funded of course by oil exports. (Hence, the major target of sanctions.)

11 --> In short, Iran is patently in persistent material breach and the Israeli complaints that it is moving ever closer to the nuke weapons threshold in a context of dangerous instability and declared genocidal intent are obviously on target. Why else would Iran have built a reported 19,000 centrifuges for Uranium enrichment? Why else would it be working on ballistic missiles of 1,000 - 2,000 miles range? Why else all the subterfuges, lies and concealment? Why else the repeatedly declared genocidal intent?

12 --> Under these circumstances, the White House official's remarks boil down to irresponsibly blaming the designated intended victim for crying out in warning. In a context where genocidal intent multiplied by moving to the means of carrying such out are indisputably causus belli.

13 --> Instead, what has clearly happened is that especially over the past year or so, sanctions have begun to bite, and Iran -- with a duly hand picked new presidential face card -- has gone on a charm offensive to buy time to finish the job.

14 --> The US Administration must know all of this, and much more, so there is no excuse  whatsoever for a top official to speak as cited above.

15 --> If anything, sanctions should be tightened until Iran agrees to return to the NPT's letter and spirit, declaring its facilities, programs etc and allowing inspection controls. There is no shortage of reactor grade materials or refining capacity, so legitimate research, medical uses and energy production can easily be accommodated in a non-threatening way. 

16 --> In short, on simple common sense, the ONLY reason for what we have seen instead is intent to get the nukes that are the means of genocide.

17 --> In such a context of an unaccountable and unstable dictatorship, we can only get progress to genuine peace if the Mullahs realise that the world's leading powers, especially the USA, are serious and Iran faces either crippling sanctions or beyond a tripwire threshold, targetted bombing that will reduce its hundreds of billions worth of investments in nuke-powered genocide to rubble in short order.

18 --> It is clear that the Mullahs are gambling that the global powers will back down, and Israel cannot really do the job.

19 --> So far, the Obama administration has sent a clear we surrender message, and now we see a blame the intended victim message.

20 --> Israel is obviously pretty much on its own and faces a choice of (a) limited war now by striking the facilities in the teeth of global opinions and implied threats of retaliatory sanctions, or if it waits too long (b) war with a nuke armed, genocidal and frankly fanatical enemy not amenable to normal deterrence. But, I think Israel is in fact capable of knocking back the Iranian nuke programme for a very long time, and it will err on the side of a rather than b especially now that it is clear that it is unlikely that the Obama administration will stand up to Iran. On Israel's potential capability:

. . . I would see (I) a sub-launched Persian Gulf cruise missile strike.

I would also reckon with (II) the possibility of surface ships carrying containers that launch weapons from out in the Indian Ocean in much larger numbers than might be recognised, once an initial wave of sub launched missiles knocks out Iran's air defence capability. With proper intelligence driven, GPS "in the right window" precision targetting, a lot of precise damage can be done to Iran's nuke programme. 

Before (III), a follow-up wave of low-flying supersonic aircraft wearing blue stars of David arrive to clean up the job, and maybe from unexpected directions, too. (Remember at Entebbe, in 1976, the actual final stage of the rescue came out of Kenya. Frankly, it would not astonish me under the emerging threat of an Iranian nuke attack, to hear -- after the fact of course -- that Israeli aircraft operated from bases in even Saudi Arabia or Iraq or other countries not even on our radar screens now; so worried must the Arab governments be. [Cf. here on what such a strike could credibly do.])

 Such a blow would not eliminate the Iranian capability to get back on its programme, but it would buy precious time for good sense to prevail. But, will good sense prevail in the ever polarised Middle East?
{U/D Nov 23:} Let's add a known sites/targets list:

{U/D 2, Nov 23} Let me add some more, from Gemany's Der Spiegel:

Der Spiegel envisions Popeye variant cruise missiles being launched from the Persian Gulf or the Mediterranean,
where there are believed to be variants of the Popeye missile with a range of 1,500 km. I believe a third possible site
is the Arabian Sea, and as a cruise missile runs on a small jet engine (it is effectively a small pilotless drone aircraft with
a warhead and a guidance system), range is mainly set by the fuel tank. 1600 km, 1,000 miles is very feasible.
Der Spiegel comments, in a context of envisioning nuclear warheads mounted on the missiles:
Insiders say that the Israeli defense technology company Rafael built the [cruise] missiles for the nuclear weapons option. Apparently it involves a further development of cruise missiles of the Popeye Turbo SLCM type, which are supposed to have a range of around 1,500 kilometers (940 miles) and which could reach Iran with a warhead weighing up to 200 kilograms (440 pounds) . . . . The question of how developed the Israeli cruise missiles are is a matter of debate. Their development is a complex project, and the missiles' only public manifestation was a single test that the Israelis conducted off the coast of Sri Lanka.

The submarines are the military response to the threat in a region "where there is no mercy for the weak," Defense Minister Ehud Barak says. They are an insurance policy against the Israelis' fundamental fear that "the Arabs could slaughter us tomorrow," as David Ben-Gurion, the founder of the State of Israel, once said. "We shall never again be led as lambs to the slaughter," was the lesson Ben-Gurion and others drew from Auschwitz . . . . 

Is Berlin recklessly promoting an arms race in the Middle East? Or should Germany, as its historic obligation stemming from the crimes of the Nazis, assume a responsibility that has become "part of Germany's reason of state," as Chancellor Merkel said in a speech to the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, in March 2008? "It means that for me, as a German chancellor, Israel's security is never negotiable," Merkel told the lawmakers . . . . The German government has always pursued an unwritten rule on its Israel policy, which has already lasted half a century and survived all changes of administrations, and that former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder summarized in 2002 when he said: "I want to be very clear: Israel receives what it needs to maintain its security."

And, HT Wiki, the Popeye:

i-HLS shows what seems to be a cruise version in flight:

 The same Israeli site observes:
The Israeli cruise missile ‘Popeye Turbo’ designed as a Submarine-Launched Cruise Missile (SLCM) is a stretched and advanced model of the “Popeye” Israeli air missile designed for bomber planes. According to a report by the Federation of American Scientists (FAS) in 2002 an experiment was conducted in which an early model of the missile was launched from a Dolphin submarine in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Sri Lanka. The test was viewed at the time by members of the U.S. Navy’s intelligence. According to the report the missile was capable of reaching a range of 1,500 km and could carry a nuclear powered plutonium based warhead, weighing 200 Kg.
 The Turbo SLCM cruise-missile uses a jet engine powered by liquid fuel. The missile’s length is 6.25 meters and its diameter is about 52 cm. According to what was reported by the FAS about the Sri Lanka test – the missile hit the target 1500 km from the launch pad. It is estimated that the cruise missile is the main weapon for Israel’s ‘second strike’ ability, launched from submarines.

Wiki notes on the Popeye family of missiles:
  • Popeye (also known as Have Nap) - this is the standard solid-rocket–powered stand off missile, 4.82 m (15 ft 10 in) long and weighing 1,360 kg (3,000 lb) with a 340 kg (750 lb) blast fragmentation or 360 kg (800 lb) I-800 penetrating warhead, inertial and imaging infrared or TV guidance.[3]

  • Popeye II or Popeye Lite (also known as Have Lite) - this is a reduced size (shortened to 424 cm/167 in) and weight version (weight is now 1125 kg/2500 lb) of the Popeye to give light aircraft such as the F-16I Sufa a precision standoff strike capability.[4]

  • Popeye Turbo ALCM - The air-launched Popeye Turbo which uses a jet engine and liquid fuel is approx 6.25 m (20.5 ft) long, it is reported to have a range of more than 320 km (200 mi).[5]

  • Popeye Turbo SLCM - A suspected stretched version of the Popeye Turbo developed primarily for use as a submarine-launched cruise missile (SLCM) was widely reported in a US Navy observed 2002 test in the Indian Ocean to have hit a target at 1500 km, it can allegedly carry a 200 kg nuclear warhead. It is suspected that the stretched Popeye Turbo is the primary strategic second strike nuclear deterrent weapon which can be fired from the 650mm secondary torpedo tubes of the Israeli Dolphin class submarines.[1] It is believed that the SLCM version of the Popeye was developed by Israel after the US Clinton administration refused an Israeli request in 2000 to purchase Tomahawk long range SLCM's because of international MTCR proliferation rules.[6] While the standard Popeye is 533mm the Dolphin class submarines have four 650mm torpedo tubes in addition to the six standard 533mm tubes allowing for the possibility that a SLCM Popeye derivative may be a larger diameter.[7]

  • Have Rain - A 2004 report indicated that Rafael was developing a new anti-ship version known as the “Have Rain.” The new missile is believed to have a launch weight of 900 kg, for deployment aboard P-3 Orion aircraft.[8]

  • Spice - Spice (guidance kit) In 2000, Rafael promoted a "Smart Precise Impact Cost Effective" (SPICE) add-on "smart bomb" guidance kit for Mk 84 bombs, this system was based on the Popeye seekers.[3]
I add:

a: The stretched 1500+ mile range cruise version of such a missile could easily be adapted to launch from a container ship or a similar vessel, which could host a very large number of the missiles. 

b: Given the ~ 1 metre precision possible with GPS technology, Israel's known satellite reconnaissance capacity and the effectiveness of Mossad, Israel is in a position to target and cripple vulnerable points of nuclear facilities using conventional warheads, WITHOUT having to overfly the countries between Israel and Iran.  

c: And even if Israel does use an air strike, the standoff, precision attack capability described for some variants is significant.

d: If bunker-busting is necessary, we should note that the first precision bunker-busters were improvised at the beginning of the 1991 Persian Gulf campaign by filling howitzer barrels with explosives and putting on a guidance and fuze pack. 

e: Israel's claim that it could hit the Iranian nuke programme hard and set it back for a long time is credible.

21 --> Were I in the Mullah's shoes, I would not bet against Israel on this. But, after spending an insane amount of money that could instead have done a lot of good, I frankly doubt that they are going to back down, save when they are staring down the abyss and scrambling to get back on safer ground. By which time, it's odds on it will be too late.

That's not a pretty choice, but obviously it is what we have come to, with the Obama administration pulling out the rug from under Israel's feet.

Absent a miracle, the issue now is, when we will have war, and whether it will be before Iran sprints across the finish line to nukes and the missiles to carry them. Which goal is probably not very far off, judging by Iran's willingness to negotiate for six month windows.

Instead of such horrific alternatives, let us pray for a miracle of deliverance, even as the Jews of the Persian Empire once did under Mordecai and Queen Esther when Haman threatened genocide. END