Tag Archives: nuclear arms

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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Israel giving Bushehr startup a pass… or maybe not?

Bushher_in_the_dark Let’s see, where were we? The week before last, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton warned that if Israel is going to attack Iran’s nuclear facility at Bushehr, then they had until August 21 to do it, since that was the day Russia was to begin loading the plant with radioactive fuel, and any destruction of the reactor after that process would release so much radiation as to harm the civilian population of Iran and also the entire region.

But sort of lost in the shuffle was the aspect that the process would not just happen on the 21st, but could take at least a couple of weeks. So—if Israel does have to do something, maybe the 21st wasn’t such a hard and fast deadline.

And now we’re seeing scattered reports that Israel might be up to something after all. First of all, World Net Daily relayed an observation that Israel’s purchase of military jet fuel from the US last month was at a dramatically increased level from previous orders.

Also a huge concern with regard to an attack on Iran has been the release by Tehran of its proxies in Syria and Lebanon to unleash an horrendous missile barrage on Israeli cities. Not that Israelis frighten easily, but wouldn’t it make sense for them to take a few proactive measures against such an event, preferably timed to come immediately before a move on Iran? As Gomer Pyle used to say, surprise, surprise, surprise! Today Israel National News published an allegation that Israel may be on the verge of doing something very much like that.

And for the comic relief we can always count on from Head Clown Mahmoud, Iran is now complaining about all this ‘Zionist propaganda war talk.’

War talk? What war talk? Who said anything about about war?

IAF_RS But seriously, folks, do I now think that they’ll do something? My intuition tells me no, we still won’t see anything big right yet. But having strong opinions does not mean I know anything. Stay tuned to this space, if not for breaking news, at least for more strong opinions.

lineman

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OK, so the world didn’t end last weekend – but what’s around the corner?

APTOPIX Mideast Iran Nuclear In my last post I asked the rhetorical question whether the world as we know it was about to end, specifically in reference to the potential repercussions of Iran activating its Bushehr nuclear facility on Saturday. Former US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton had earlier warned that the action would create a sort of point-of-no-return for Israel in terms of military intervention. Would Israel do something, or just sit by and let it happen?

Well, it happened, and is happening (the process is expected to take at least two weeks to complete), and the IAF remains on the ground.

Is that a surprise? No, not really. Was it a forgone conclusion? Not necessarily. But seeing no significant action on the part of Israel still leaves us wondering not only why not, but more importantly what comes next. To be sure, Israel issued a strongly worded statement, but even that came through a lower echelon spokesman (below cabinet level, anyway), as if to make the point that they know it’s not the end of the world.

GoofylookinAhmmadinnerjacketYnet Also, like a playground bully who didn’t actually beat anybody up but got his way anyway, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad upped the volume a little on his whining warnings to the world that he’s going to beat everybody up.

But we are still ultimately left watching, and waiting, and when it comes right down to it, guessing. Even as established a publication as Atlantic Monthly ends up saying basically that.

The one thing that I saw on Saturday that offered a substantially different outlook was a report in DEBKAfile indicating that the nature and extent of Israel’s response (or lack thereof) may have been dictated by an earlier back room deal between Russia and the US over a UN vote on sanctions.

President Barack Obama in New York Or then also another version from DEBKAfile today reports that Obama had made a deal with Netanyahu tying US support of upcoming direct talks with the Palestinians to Israel holding back on Iran. A deal which Obama has since reneged on, so says the report.

So does the plot thicken? Are all of the world’s leaders just watching each other to see what the other guy’s next move is? Why do I have the unpleasant feeling that all we have here is the blind leading the blind?

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Will the world as we know it end tonight?

Iran Nuclear To answer my own question – likely not. Although it’s been a little tricky to call it since Ambassador John Bolton said last week that if Israel is going to take out Iran’s nuclear capability, it had until tonight to do it without there being a drastic increase in the fallout from such a move. Fallout – in the literal 1950’s sense of the word (for those of you who were around then). The reasoning is that once uranium is loaded into Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor, any attack on the reactor will release an unacceptable amount of radiation into the atmosphere, seriously affecting Iranian civilians as well as neighboring countries. And the Aug. 21 date is determined by Russia’s promise to begin the process on that day. Which, as of this writing, is just a few hours off.

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bolton Will it happen? I don’t think so, but I don’t have a good reason to think that. You’d think that if Amb. Bolton is correct (and given the man’s track record, that’s not a big if), and nothing is done, then a sensible response might be something along the lines of, “what in the world are they thinking!?” But the world has not been sensible for quite some time now. And Israel has never been in the habit of showing its cards before a play. As most of our mothers used to say, we’ll see.

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As you may have noticed, the Arab states have been back and forth in their public support for Israel, the United States, or both dealing forcefully with Iran. Mostly back, but sometimes forth. I was just a little surprised at their silence with regard to Amb. Bolton’s warning, since the Gulf states are first in line for nuclear fallout from Iran. Maybe they were being a little more gutless than usual. Then this report came out yesterday about an editorial in an official Saudi newspaper supporting a military attack against Iran. I wonder if they were all just waiting for the other guy to speak up first. I’d be nervous, too, if I were in their Keffiyehs.

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POY2002121437 I’ve mentioned once or twice that US President Barack Obama has aligned himself not just with the Muslim world, but with the more radical segments of Islam. Another example of that came this week with his support of what’s being called the Ground Zero Mosque. We shouldn’t be surprised when he and his buddies in Hamas are on the same page, as it were. He quickly backpedalled when the stuff hit the fan over that, but we shouldn’t let ourselves be fooled by his dissimulation. The ironic thing, though, is that the Arab world in general is not being fooled. They didn’t like President Bush, but the latest information indicates that they like Obama even less. It’s not really surprising when you think about it.

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And finally, a little comic relief – sort of. Do you remember about the fake graves the Arabs created in Jerusalem? You’ll pardon my saying this, but to me it seems reasonable (and responsible) for the municipal authorities to take care of the situation. Ah, but since when are the Arabs going to be sensible, admit they were caught, and get on with things? No – now they’re crying, “desecration, desecration!” Uh… desecration of what? The graves that never existed? Lets see… you try to steal something of mine, I catch you and stop you, and suddenly you’re the aggrieved party? Kind of reminds you of that neighborhood bully angle, doesn’t it? It really would be comical if the world didn’t buy into it. But then, I wouldn’t need to be maintaining a blog like this if that were the case.

Laugh with me. Cry with me. Watch with me.

lineman

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Bang, pop – fizzle (and a few other 140s)

barack_obama_conf-209x156 Well, Pres. Obama’s much touted Nuclear Arms Summit turned out to be rather a non-event.

For starters, not only did Israel’s Prime Minister decide against attending, but also the leader of America’s longest running ally found something better to do. British Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s absence was not as well publicized as Netanyahu’s, but sends, in my opinion, and even stronger message to Obama that he’s missing the point of who our friends are, or ought to be.

As for results, well, the major outcome appears to have been that Obama said ‘I done good.’ I’m not sure anyone else was particularly impressed.

BHO bowing to Saudi King_Resize What received more attention than the ostensible purpose of the conference was all the glad-handing, pearlies-flashing, and yes, kowtowing which he was able to work into his busy schedule.

Mr. President, I don’t mean to yell, but THE AMERICAN PEOPLE DO NOT LIKE THEIR PRESIDENT BOWING TO FOREIGN LEADERS, especially when the foreign heads don’t bow back.

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While we’re still on the subject, this article by Anne Bayefsky, courtesy Unity Coalition for Israel, points out an utterly more serious side to the affair. As Ms. Bayefsky explains, the comic atmosphere attending to the event only serves to distract from a much darker agenda being promoted.

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On a positive note, it bears repeating that neither the American people as a whole, nor a majority of our elected leaders, support our current titular head of state in his antagonism toward Israel. In today’s news we see yet another indicator of that: more than 70 US Senators have joined 333 Representatives in calling upon the Administration to  rethink its opposition to the only democracy in the Middle East. We need to also keep in mind the cultural values we share with the Jewish nation, even though our President may not share those values.

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LM Kotel Ronn Ben Harav So much for positive; the UK has just come out with one of the most absurd proclamations in quite a while – they’ve decided that the Western Wall is not in Israel. Maybe Gordon Brown & Barack Obama should kiss and make up, after all.

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Oh, and I’m not sure how this relates to Obama’s hatred for Israel, but it’s too good to pass up. Did you know that Michelle Obama has admitted on tape that her husband’s home country is Kenya (not America)? This of course confirms what many have asserted that he is constitutionally disqualified from serving as President of the US. I’m not sure whether you want to take that as a positive or a negative; ask me later.

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A counter-snub, or just plain smart?

Two weeks after the shameful treatment of Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu by US President Obama, we hear that Netanyahu has decided at the last moment not to attend an upcoming nuclear security summit in Washington. The conference was being billed as a discussion of ways to deal with the danger of terrorist groups or states having  access to nuclear weapons, but the PM’s office caught wind of plans by Egypt and Turkey to turn it into another occasion to pick at Israel, rather than addressing the issues.

And Noah Pollak in Commentary Magazine raises the larger question of why didn’t Obama, as host of the conference (let alone as a respected national leader) put a stop to any such shenanigans in the first place. Pollak suggests

There are two possible explanations, and I’m not sure which is more disturbing. Obama either welcomed the prospect of another humiliation of Netanyahu, or he was afraid to stand up to two Muslim leaders. Perhaps both are true.

So is Netanyahu snubbing Washington, or is it just prudent not to attend another bash-Israel fest? I have a good friend who loves to state both/and questions as either/ors, to which the obvious answer is supposed to be “yes.” So, to answer my own question – yes. However, Israel will be well represented at the conference. Just not Bibi.

By the way, as a reminder that a great many Americans continue to support Israel and its current administration, a related report cites Liz Cheney, daughter of former US Vice President Dick Cheney, as saying

President Obama is playing a reckless game of continuing down the path of diminishing America’s ties to Israel.

This was in addressing the Southern Republican Leadership Conference in New Orleans, where the announcement of Netanyahu’s decision not to come to Washington was met with a healthy round of applause.

BBL. Lineman.

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