Tag Archives: Stuxnet

"We dare not let ourselves be blindsided again."

So writes author Joel C. Rosenberg toward the end of his new book Israel at War : Inside the Nuclear Showdown with Iran. Rosenberg gives this warning as an American, to his countrymen. We were blindsided on Dec. 7, 1941, by an enemy we did not perceive as a threat. And we were blindsided on Sept. 11, 2001 by a very different enemy, one who still exists and still threatens, and concerning whom the leader of a similarly threatened ally has been warning us, and pleading with us not to be so blind to the danger as we so willingly appear by our actions (or lack thereof) to be.

Rosenberg, a former advisor to Benyamin Netanyahu, uses his experience to offer insights into the decision making processes of the one man in the world who appears to most clearly perceive the threat posed by the Iran regime, and who is most heavily burdened with the need to discern a course of action to take.

ADJ_lvg_Warwick_NYCIt is often said that the U.S. President is the de facto leader of the free world. It is very unfortunate for all of us that our current head of state has cravenly abrogated that duty. It is even more distressing that his own behavior suggests he agrees with the diminutive Madman of Tehran that America is “the Great Satan” and ought indeed to be crushed underfoot.

And so it is amazing that the duty to stand up to Iran falls on the shoulders of the leader of one of the world’s smallest nations and the only free nation in the Middle East. Rosenberg explains how Netanyahu was born into the awareness that Israel must defend itself, with or without the help of other nations, and without regard to how loudly those nations proclaim their own righteousness. He goes on to give us a rundown of the events surrounding Iran’s reach for nuclear weapons, and brings us up to date on the current status, and on what may be going on in Israel’s secret councils.

He ends with a suggestion that we pray for Israel’s leaders out of 1 Chronicles 12:32, that they might be “men who understood the times, with knowledge of what Israel should do.” I couldn’t agree more.

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Bombs, Bugs, and Brigadiers

Israel is keeping the world on pins & needles wondering if (or more to the point, when) it will take military action against Iran’s nuclear weapons operations. Good! The world deserves it!

Reports have been swirling in the media for a while now that Israel may soon go after Iran’s nuke sites. Israel isn’t saying much, but what they are saying is tantalizing, quite possibly on purpose.

A couple of months ago Mideast authority Professor Barry Rubin posted several reasons why he thinks it’s not likely to happen, but nobody I know really knows, or will say they know.

Since Professor Rubin’s column, the International Atomic Energy Commission released a report saying that—surprise, surprise—Iran may be closer than we think to getting its bomb. But that report doesn’t seem to have changed the strategic situation much, if any–maybe because it isn’t really new information.

Meanwhile the US is a little miffed that Israel might not let us in on it beforehand if they do go. It’s not like we’d actually be a help—especially considering the current US administration’s Islamist associations.

Then again, America is a truly complex entity, so I’m not altogether surprised that we may, in spite of opposite indications, be making our own preparations. This report of the USAF taking delivery of new, more potent “bunker buster” bombs may be taken as one indication of that.

Speaking of which, why would the United Arab Emirates be getting these huge bombs from us also, as reported by the Wall Street Journal, if not for a similar purpose?

Meanwhile one of Iran’s top military officers—said to be behind Iran’s missile program–was killed in a massive explosion over the weekend. Iran officially says it was an accident, but there are some who say Israel did it. You think?

And let’s not forget Duqu, Son of Stuxnet. Iran now admits the new computer virus is bedeviling their computer systems in a way similar to the one that temporarily shut them down last year. They say they have a handle on it, though. Yeah, right.

Given all this, I’m not at all sure Israel can’t keep Iran’s nuclear weapons program at bay without a massive strike. But it’s not up to us, is it? Sometimes all we can do is watch.

Watch with me, will you?

lineman

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Maybe, maybe not, but it’s a cool idea — or better yet, JUST SHUT THE PA DOWN

An alert reader said to me yesterday, “You need to make a lineman post.” Somebody noticed! I haven’t really been away, just watching. And there’s been a lot to watch; here are just a few snippets.

So what’s the “cool idea” in my title? An item in today’s Israel National News quoted the Palestinian Authority “Communications Minister” as claiming Israel was behind a widespread DoS attack directed against PA computers, coming from “more than 20 countries.” (Don’t ask.)

And what justification might I have for yelling that we should just shut the Palestinian Authority down? Well, aside from the obvious benefits to Israel and to world peace, they negated their own legal basis when they applied for UN membership last September. So if the world (and in particular, the UN) were to adhere to international agreements, the PA would be thereby dissolved. So if Israel is sabotaging their computer networks – so what? Just – shut – the – PA – down. Get it?

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foxnews_unesco While we’re on the subject of the UN, the latest circumvention of its own reason for existing (that’s French for raison d’etre) has been to admit the non-existing state of Palestine to UNESCO. At least in this case the US deserves acknowledgement for withdrawing its funding of that non-august entity. You see, it’s not allowed under US law to give money to any UN agency which admits that particular terrorist organization. So the US is abiding by one of its own laws at the risk of incurring the displeasure of the international mob. It’s a start, anyway.

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And oh by the way, how many of us realize that Israel itself has a solid basis, not only in history, but in international law, predating the UN itself by three decades? I’ve mentioned it before, but look again at the San Remo Agreement.

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WJD_israel-air-force_RS And is Israel getting ready for a pre-emptive strike on Iran? More than usual, I mean. Maybe, maybe not, but there have been a slew of media reports to that effect over the past couple of days. Some reports even fantastically suggest the UK may be planning something. Now wouldn’t that be fantastic!? I don’t mean to disappoint, but Barry Rubin gives several good reasons  to take it all with more than a grain of salt.

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And the ships of fools (“flotillas”) keep trickling out of Turkish ports. As always, they represent more noise than substance. This one says they can disprove the Palmer Commission findings on the 2010 flotilla fiasco. Or something like that.

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Now back to the subject of computer attacks—remember Stuxnet? (Did you think I’d never get back to that?) There has been a new computer virus making the rounds that some folks are speculating may be Son-of-Stuxnet. Maybe, maybe not.

There’s a whole lot more happening than I’ve been able to touch on here, but for the moment I have to stop writing go back to watching. TTYL.

lineman

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Oh thank heaven for 2011!

2010 was a rough one, wasn’t it? Wars and rumors of wars, earthquakes in divers places… but still the end is not yet. Don’t worry, it’s not my intention here to do a year-in-review-and-preview-of-the-new post. If you think about it for a moment, changing one digit on the calendar really doesn’t change anything, does it? The wars and rumors of wars that were going on a few months ago are still going on now; there was another major earthquake in another part of the world yesterday. Things happen; things continue to happen.

One of the major things that happened last year which seems to be still with us is the way the Stuxnet computer super virus appears to have stymied Iran’s nuclear arms program. Every time I think the matter has been finally dealt with, it turns up again. And now Jerusalem Post and others say it was actually the Middle East Story of the Year for 2010. But I said I wasn’t going to do that sort of post. So I won’t. I just thought it was interesting to note.

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Well, OK, even though I don’t intend to indulge, it doesn’t hurt to pay attention to the comments of others who have better credentials than do I. Once again Caroline Glick comes to mind, and she has some cogent remarks to make about what she calls “The wars of 2011.”

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sweet_little_hamas_suicide_boy_via_ICEJ Speaking of credentials, IsraeliGirl sent me another in-depth expert interview, this time with counter terrorism authority Dr. Boaz Ganor of IDC Herzliyah. Dr. Ganor answers some questions I had, such as how Iran’s Shiite terror organization manages to work so well with Sunni Hamas in spite of what would otherwise be fatal differences. An intriguing, if upsetting, perspective also is how suicide bombers constitute what might be called the terrorists’ “’smart bomb’ technology.” Talk about culture shock — there’s nothing in the culture I come from that can easily handle the notion of suicide being smart, but that only shows how much we need to learn about the nasty world existing in some others’ minds. And it is apparently not all about the “70 virgins” either, but it’s even more bizarre (to our way of thinking) than that. Read Dr. Ganor’s explanations here.

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And this morning I received an article from the same source explaining Iran’s (or at least Ahmadinejad’s) vision of a new world order to replace the failed [sic] old orders of communism and capitalism. Apparently the tyrant of Tehran thinks

Iran and its ideological teachings are emerging as the next major alternative to these ideologies…

…and that the new world can get along just fine without either the US or Israel.

His plans for the Arab states also apparently involve their moving away from any semblance of moderation into his loving yet crushing grip. It’s no wonder (and a relief, in a way) that the recent Wikileaks revelations show the Arab regimes to be more wary of Iran than of the US or even of Israel.

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changing_weather You know, I’m a little tempted at this point to say, the more things seem to change, the more they stay the same. But I’m not completely certain how long things will be that way. I’m ninety-nine and forty-four one hundredths percent sure that we will all wake up tomorrow, but beyond that…?

Talk to y’all later, Good Lord willin’ and the crick don’t rise.

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Filed under News snippets, Perspectives

Hezbollah, Iran and Turkey as they do the hokey-pokey…

hizrally_mn_web So what, exactly, is this all about? We just found out today that Iran is taking away from Hezbollah nearly half of its financial support. If Iran is cutting off Hezbollah, it’s fine with me, but it’s still puzzling when you consider the view that Hezbollah was itself created by Iran not all that long ago, and that Iran is still the terror organization’s main provider. And even though Hezbollah has gained some level of independence from Iran (or at least a degree of autonomy) since that time, it still is difficult to interpret this move as anything short of an amputation at the knees. (No pun intended this time.)

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I haven’t talked about Stuxnet much lately, but it doesn’t appear to have gone away. On the contrary, it’s looking very much like Iran’s nuclear program is still effectively hobbled by the clever little worm, with no early fix in sight.

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Speaking of Stuxnet (sort of), it’s interesting that its apparent effectiveness has become a metaphor for other things—such as Israel’s almost desperate need for an effective way to present its case to the world. UCI has published Prof. Phyllis Chesler’s report from the trenches here.

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Ah yes, Turkey. Last time around we were contemplating the through-the-looking-glass-world notion of an apology by Israel to Turkey for last summer’s attack by Turkish mercenaries on the Egyptian-Israeli naval blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza. Someone had suggested it would be a nice way of reopening an Israeli-Turkish dialogue after the latter’s greatly appreciated assistance in putting out this month’s fires on Mt. Carmel. It all sounded very odd, and by now it has become clear that Israel intends to do no such thing. The suggestion sure did ruffle some feathers, though. I even heard tell that one MK went so far as to offer to apologize for not shooting sooner, but I won’t go there.

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Time for me to go. See y’all down the road a piece.

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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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Maybe it’s just not “news” unless it’s new

Did I just hear somebody say “well, duh!” out there? I remarked last week how amazing it is that the media will seem to drop coverage of something the very next day after it was front page news. I have to admit on second thought that it’s just the nature of the beast—that if there isn’t anything actually new to report, then you can’t expect the “news” to report it.

But that should not prevent us from keeping tabs on something important, even if it’s just monitoring it day by day without there being any significant changes. I still think the Stuxnet supervirus falls in that category, even though at least one cyber security center seems to be saying that it’s more hype than horror. Maybe I could make a better evaluation if I were much of a techie, but since I’m not, I just have keep my eyes open for what might be next.

And there are still bits and pieces popping up in the news about Wonder Worm; one of the latest items from Jerusalem Post says Iran now admits that they’ve been hit with cyber espionage at their nuke sites. Of course, at that point they go off on a tirade against the insidious West, but still that’s saying a little more than they were before.

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On the eternally ongoing subject of IDS (Israel Derangement Syndrome), an alert friend sent me an essay outlining yet another reason why Israel by its very existence bugs the heck out of the rest of the world: by some objective measures they’re the happiest nation on Earth.

Another key point made in the same essay is that:

The contrast of Israeli happiness and Arab despondency is what makes peace an elusive goal in the region. It cannot be attributed to material conditions of life. Oil-rich Saudi Arabia ranks 171st on an international quality of life index, below Rwanda. Israel is tied with Singapore on this index, although it should be observed that Israel ranks a runaway first on my life-preference index, whereas Singapore comes in dead last.

Even less can we blame unhappiness on experience, for no nation has suffered more than the Jews in living memory, nor has a better excuse to be miserable. Arabs did not invent suicide attacks, but they have produced a population pool willing to die in order to inflict damage greater than any in history. One cannot help but conclude that Muslim clerics do not exaggerate when they express contempt for life.

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BHO_Buddy_Abu Another ongoing matter has of course been the peace negotiations between Israel and the the puppet Arab entity known as the Palestinian Authority. PA President Mahmoud Abbas has been pulling every stunt in the book to keep from actually sitting down and talking. The latest reported ploy is to suggest bypassing negotiations altogether, just have a big player such as the US unilaterally recognize a Palestinian state, and be done with it. Not that this is a brand new idea, but it may actually sound to them like a very simple way to make the whole problem go away. Except that it won’t. Israel is here to say, and the sooner we recognize that, the easier we’ll make it on ourselves. And that’s all I have to say about that.

lineman

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