Tag Archives: Bushehr

Love-hate triangle: Syria, Iran, & Lebanon

Is Lebanon about ready to collapse? Awaiting the outcome of the tribunal examining the 2005 assassination of then Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq al-Hariri, some observers see a potential conflagration in that country if Hezbollah feels they’ve been put on the spot by being held responsible for the murder. Will Hezbollah use the occasion to assert complete control of the state? Will Syria take occasion to reassert the control it had largely relinquished the year of the assassination? Syrian dictator Bashar Assad is reported to have recently made aggressive statements to that effect. And what about Iran?

In case no one has noticed, I have used this blog more as a soap box than a platform for in-depth analysis, but sometimes that’s just not enough. I thank blogger IsraeliGirl for publishing an interview a couple of weeks ago with Lebanon expert Dr. Omri Nir of Tel Aviv University, Hebrew University and Ben Gurion University. As you might surmise, the interview covers the landscape in considerably greater detail than I am able to here. If I would dare begin to summarize Dr. Nir, I might say something about Iran having created Hezbollah nearly thirty years ago to serve a relatively straightforward purpose (to export the Islamic revolution to Lebanon), but that since that time Hezbollah has morphed into a hybrid creature, partly its own, partly Iran’s, partly Lebanon’s and maybe partly Syria’s, but not really anybody’s. Armed and aimless, and all the more dangerous. And unpredictable.

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While we’re discussing Iran, we have to wonder how it can think it has the energy to run matters in Lebanon or anywhere else when it is having to batten down the hatches at home. The West is well aware of the pressures from within forced by the street revolts following the 2009 elections; we might not be so well acquainted with the troubles Iran faces from internal jihad. (Yes, Virginia, there are Islamists who do not feel that the Islamic Republic is Islamist enough. It’s never enough for these folks. There were also published reports recently of a “terrorist attack” at an important Iranian missle base. Evidence suggests that it was not a terrorist attack at all—that Iran’s claim is merely an attempt to deflect attention from what may be the real cause of the blasts, like, say, maybe an Israeli sabotage hit. We won’t go there.)

But it’s apparently worse than that. The latest reports indicate that Iran feels it necessary to take aggressive action against the threats posed by such horrible things as the university-level study of law, management and human rights, not to mention the arts, cinema, music and books. It’s that bad. Read the details in IsraeliGirl’s report on the subject. “If a regime change will happen in Iran it will come from within,” she says. Or, if I may say, by books not bombs. If Stuxnet doesn’t do it, maybe social studies will.

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Bushher_gets_loaded_maybe_RS All right, since I brought up Stuxnet – a report two days ago indicated Iran’s scientists have fixed the problem and have begun loading the Bushehr reactor. I’m still not so sure. I mean, if it really was Israeli cyber sabotage, I suspect it won’t be that easy to stop them. Then again, while all fingers were pointing at Israel, Israel was saying, “Who, me?” As I keep saying, we’ll see.

See you around,

lineman

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Not yet getting stuck on Stuxnet, but…

LeBron_cr One of the more amazing aspects of the way events are handled in the major news media is how a huge story will burst on the scene one day and practically disappear the next. Or how some personal situation (such as marital strife or new job offer) in the life of a major sports figure or other entertainer will push out coverage of matters that affect all of us, but aren’t so flashy. Or how we never hear of some things like significant violence in some forgotten corner of the world.

JPost_Bushehr_2Oct I had to wonder a little bit going into the weekend whether coverage of the Stuxnet computer virus was beginning to fall into that first category. Big news—really big news—on Wednesday, hardly a mention on Thursday, back again, more or less, on Friday.

And now we’re seeing a little more about it again. On Saturday, Iran admitted that Stuxnet had been found to be a problem, but they were saying that it had not affected the main plant at Bushehr. (At the same time Iran announced the arrest of several “nuclear spies,” but wouldn’t quite say what that had to do with the situation at hand.)

Others have noted that Iran is not the only country where the problem has appeared (China has been especially hard hit), but some have explained that away as a natural consequence of the method chosen by it’s authors (whoever they are) to ensure infection of the target. Or targets.

But then today we see  an admission coming from Iran that yes, indeed, significant delays at the plant have been specifically linked to the virus.

220px-Esther_haram_cr1 From another angle comes the suggestion that the computer code itself contains a reference to the Biblical Queen Esther – you know, the Jewish heroine who was key to her people inflicting a military defeat on their enemies in Persia (modern day Iran) hundreds of years ago. Which of course in turn implicates Israel as the point of origin. Maybe.

One of the more interesting commentaries I’ve seen today is from Caroline Glick. Though remaining among the sane voices still not ready to nail Israel on this, she points out the potential for a new cyber arms race, drawing a parallel with the way the nuclear arms race began some sixty-odd years ago. What is the world in for?

AhmmadinnerjacketYnetAs I read the various reports, especially those relaying Iran’s responses, the overall impression I’m left with is that this a serious problem, but not the end of the world. Iran is trying, it seems, to put a cool face on it, and the major media appear to me to be playing along. But I imagine that what we’re not seeing is a substantial amount of rage going on behind closed doors. I mean, here is Iran’s obvious (and stated) purpose of destroying Israel, the U.S. and the rest of the world (pretty much in that order), and they’re being seriously tripped up by a computer malfunction of all things! Now remember that they have a stark raving lunatic in charge, and well — need I say more?

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Keeping tabs on Bushehr…

I was wondering aloud late last month whether Israel was granting a free pass on the scheduled startup of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear plant, even after John Bolton’s well publicized warning.

Then news appeared last week of a mysterious but amazingly powerful computer virus, raising the possibility of Israel (if they’re the source of the virus—and that’s still a big “if”) being able to shut down the nuclear plant without setting a foot in or flying an aircraft over Iran.

Numerous writers other than I have connected the dots on this one, though not all agree. But today’s lead story in World Jewish Daily reports that the startup has been delayed two months. The Iranians are blaming the weather. But there is also an acknowledgement that Bushehr has indeed been affected “by a computer virus.” But it’s really the weather, of course.

We’ll see.

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