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XMFSinchiruna (26.59)

The Most Troubling Story of 2009



April 17, 2009 – Comments (15)


Comments to follow over the weekend, but I wanted to post the story for discussion upon discovery:

This changes everything.

Oil to $100 the moment this occurs (if it occurs), and back to $200 shortly after. Unforeseeable repercussions with respect to regional instability and proliferation of all-out warfare. Let us all retain some hope that this is just idle posturing for the purpose of presenting the incoming government with an aire of gravitas, but the specificity of the story would seem to suggest otherwise.

If such an attack proceeds, needless to say, every investment thesis out there will need to be immediately reassessed. This is a game-changer!

Israel stands ready to bomb Iran's nuclear sites

The Israeli military is preparing itself to launch a massive aerial assault on Iran's nuclear facilities within days of being given the go-ahead by its new government.

Among the steps taken to ready Israeli forces for what would be a risky raid requiring pinpoint aerial strikes are the acquisition of three Airborne Warning and Control (AWAC) aircraft and regional missions to simulate the attack.

Two nationwide civil defence drills will help to prepare the public for the retaliation that Israel could face.

“Israel wants to know that if its forces were given the green light they could strike at Iran in a matter of days, even hours. They are making preparations on every level for this eventuality. The message to Iran is that the threat is not just words,” one senior defence official told The Times.

Officials believe that Israel could be required to hit more than a dozen targets, including moving convoys. The sites include Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges produce enriched uranium; Esfahan, where 250 tonnes of gas is stored in tunnels; and Arak, where a heavy water reactor produces plutonium.

The distance from Israel to at least one of the sites is more than 870 miles, a distance that the Israeli force practised covering in a training exercise last year that involved F15 and F16 jets, helicopters and refuelling tankers.

The possible Israeli strike on Iran has drawn comparisons to its attack on the Osirak nuclear facility near Baghdad in 1981. That strike, which destroyed the facility in under 100 seconds, was completed without Israeli losses and checked Iraqi ambitions for a nuclear weapons programme.

“We would not make the threat [against Iran] without the force to back it. There has been a recent move, a number of on-the-ground preparations, that indicate Israel's willingness to act,” said another official from Israel's intelligence community.

He added that it was unlikely that Israel would carry out the attack without receiving at least tacit approval from America, which has struck a more reconciliatory tone in dealing with Iran under its new administration.

An Israeli attack on Iran would entail flying over Jordanian and Iraqi airspace, where US forces have a strong presence.

Ephraim Kam, the deputy director of the Institute for National Security Studies, said it was unlikely that the Americans would approve an attack.

“The American defence establishment is unsure that the operation will be successful. And the results of the operation would only delay Iran's programme by two to four years,” he said.

A visit by President Obama to Israel in June is expected to coincide with the national elections in Iran — timing that would allow the US Administration to re-evaluate diplomatic resolutions with Iran before hearing the Israeli position.

“Many of the leaks or statements made by Israeli leaders and military commanders are meant for deterrence. The message is that if [the international community] is unable to solve the problem they need to take into account that we will solve it our way,” Mr Kam said.

Among recent preparations by the airforce was the Israeli attack of a weapons convoy in Sudan bound for militants in the Gaza Strip.

“Sudan was practice for the Israeli forces on a long-range attack,” Ronen Bergman, the author of The Secret War with Iran, said. “They wanted to see how they handled the transfer of information, hitting a moving target ... In that sense it was a rehearsal.”

Israel has made public its intention to hold the largest-ever nationwide drill next month.

Colonel Hilik Sofer told Haaretz, a daily Israeli newspaper, that the drill would “train for a reality in which during war missiles can fall on any part of the country without warning ... We want the citizens to understand that war can happen tomorrow morning”.

Israel will conduct an exercise with US forces to test the ability of Arrow, its US-funded missile defence system. The exercise would test whether the system could intercept missiles launched at Israel.

“Israel has made it clear that it will not tolerate the threat of a nuclear Iran. According to Israeli Intelligence they will have the bomb within two years ... Once they have a bomb it will be too late, and Israel will have no choice to strike — with or without America,” an official from the Israeli Defence Ministry said.




15 Comments – Post Your Own

#1) On April 17, 2009 at 10:07 PM, dudemonkey (50.86) wrote:

That certainly would be a game changer.

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#2) On April 17, 2009 at 10:12 PM, alstry (< 20) wrote:

My friend,

We are now at the point of no return.

Everyone is running out of money.  The Fed Gov, State and Local Gov, Business and Citizens of the Nation that is the world's reserve currency.

The Fed Gov is now giving money it doesn't have to states to pay workers with money they don't have so workers can pay bankers interest with money they never would have had but for the Fed Gov giving it to the states.

When America was a creditor nation all was good....we knew this day would eventually the only question is how is the reset button going to be pushed????

My goal has always been to restructure......because much of anything else will have extremely serious consequences.

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#3) On April 17, 2009 at 10:39 PM, awallejr (56.54) wrote:

In hindsight the Baghdad raid was the right choice for Israel.  Imagine if Hussein had a nuclear weapon.  Both North Korea and Iran make me nervous.  It is highly unlikely Obama would use anything but diplomacy and economic sanctions; hence rendering  an Isreali airstrike as quite possible especially since they are the ones under constant call for annihilation by its neighbors.

Under such a scenario oil would certainly spike high.  Just another reason why I wish there would be a greater push for nat gas as the main fuel source.  As an aside At&t plans to use nat gas fuel for its 8,000 company vehicles.

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#4) On April 17, 2009 at 11:41 PM, motleyanimal (40.10) wrote:

Pardon my cynicism, but this the same sort of story that was published on nearly a weekly basis in 2008, leading up to $147 oil. I thought it was all phony then and I think so now.

And would somebody please tell Alstry that "Lost In Space" is no longer in production and he can stop auditioning for the robot job?


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#5) On April 18, 2009 at 7:47 AM, ralphmachio (< 20) wrote:

OK your a tiny rouge, or even medium sized rouge nation, and you have just developed a delivery system that could penetrate the Israeli or US defenses, now what? What can you use it for? IF they were to just launch one for the hell of it, it would assure that nobody that looks like them would roam the planet in two years. I just don't see these latecomers showing up with technology that can compare to ours, no less compete with the stockpile we have at our disposal. Has it ever occurred to y'all that they just want a deterrent to prevent some over ambitious hedgemonic corporate plutocracy from 'spreading democracy' to their region in exchange for all their oil? No? That never crossed your minds? Yeah, I can just see Iran taking over the world... Or north Korea... Might as well be north Dakota! Can't we find a more convincing bogey man? This movie is getting lame.

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#6) On April 18, 2009 at 7:56 AM, ralphmachio (< 20) wrote:

Oh yeah, two more things, #1 Israel has a guilty conscience and feels it deserves to be nuked sooo badly, it can't wrap it's mind around why it doesn't make any sense to do it. Iran nukes Israel and nobody retaliates? #2 DXO DXO DXO!

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#7) On April 18, 2009 at 8:11 AM, dudemonkey (50.86) wrote:

I looked for this story elsewhere and was not able to find it.  It seems that an annoucement of a massive airstrike on a soverign nation might warrant some news coverage, but I guess not.  Maybe the story got bumped for another article about Obama's new dog.

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#8) On April 18, 2009 at 9:05 AM, XMFSinchiruna (26.59) wrote:

Lawyer: Iran convicts US journalist of spying

TEHRAN, Iran – An American journalist jailed in Iran has been convicted of spying and sentenced to eight years in prison, her lawyer said Saturday, dashing any hopes for her quick release.

The verdict was the first time Iran has found an American journalist guilty of spying, and it was unclear how the conviction would affect recent overtures by the Obama administration for better relations and engagement with Washington's longtime adversary.

Roxana Saberi, a 31-year-old dual American-Iranian citizen, was arrested in late January and initially accused of working without press credentials. But earlier this month, an Iranian judge leveled a far more serious allegation, charging her with spying for the United States.

She appeared before an Iranian court behind closed doors on Monday in an unusually swift one-day trial. The Fargo, North Dakota native had been living in Iran for six years and had worked as a freelance reporter for several news organizations including National Public Radio and the British Broadcasting Corp.

"Saberi has been sentenced to eight years in jail. I'll definitely appeal the verdict," lawyer Abdolsamad Khorramshahi told The Associated Press. It was not immediately known when she was convicted.

The United States has called the charges against Saberi baseless and has demanded her release, and the conviction and prison sentence could put strains on efforts to improve ties.

President Barack Obama has said it wants to engage Iran in talks on its nuclear program and other issues — a departure from the tough talk of the Bush administration.

Iran has been mostly lukewarm to the idea, but on Thursday Iran's hard-line president gave the clearest signal yet that the Islamic Republic was also willing to start a new relationship with Washington.

In a speech Wednesday, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said Iran was preparing new proposals aimed at breaking an impasse with the West over its nuclear program.

But it was uncertain how Washington would react to Saberi's conviction. On Thursday, the State Department said Saberi's jailing was not helpful and that Iran would gain U.S. good will if it "responded in a positive way" to the case.

The United States severed diplomatic relations with Iran after its 1979 Islamic revolution and takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran.

Human rights groups have repeatedly criticized Iran for arresting journalists and suppressing freedom of speech. The government has arrested several Iranian-Americans in the past few years, citing alleged attempts to overthrow its Islamic government through what it calls a "soft revolution." But they were never put on trial and were eventually released from prison.

Iran has released few details about the charges against Saberi. Iranian officials initially said she had been arrested for working in the Islamic Republic without press credentials and she had told her father in a phone conversation that she was arrested after buying a bottle of wine.

An Iranian investigative judge involved in the case charged that Saberi was passing classified information to U.S. intelligence services.

Her parents, who traveled to Iran from their home in Fargo in a bid to help win their daughter's release, could not immediately be reached for comment on Saturday.



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#9) On April 18, 2009 at 11:35 AM, jgseattle (26.54) wrote:

The problem the US faces is that any strike, lets say it unprovoked attack, on Iran MUST have US consent.  Why?  The US controls the airspace needed to carry out the attack.

Isreal acting in such a manner would put the US in a loss loss situation.  So lets hope diplomacy can stop Isreal from this action.

I do think the odds are low.

It is funny when you think about the nuclear issue.  There exists a small club of nations that are in the club and there exists a small group of want to be members.  Since this is and exclusive club the members do everything in their power to restrict access.  My question is why should the members be the ones setting the restrictions?  It is obvious that with the members setting the restrictions that no new members will be allowed.

Not sure how to address this issue.  And the proliferation of nuclear weapons is very dangerious.  But membership to the club is going to be sout.

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#10) On April 18, 2009 at 1:08 PM, unvrsldeflation (64.61) wrote:

Make way for the law of unintended consequences. If Israel does this and things go sour for the US militarily in the Gulf, then it is only a matter of time before the US has to let Israel go under pressure brought by the Saudis who in turn will be under pressure from the rest of the Arab World.

What do you think that the Russians would do? Georgia becomes a testing ground for projecting force beyond the southern borders. 

Times like these, power vacuums wrought by financial devastation or incapacity to act, are where world wars come from. Alstry has got nothing on Netanyahu.

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#11) On April 18, 2009 at 1:49 PM, XMFSinchiruna (26.59) wrote:

Very interesting comments everyone... keep them coming.


Not to mention that any attack would be carried out using U.S.-made equipment, aircraft, and missiles sold to Israel for a pittance as part of this country's largest military assistance relationship.

Interesting thoughts about the club.

Fools may be interested to know that during my prior career as an Anthropologist, I spent some time dealing with nuclear issues, conducting research into documents released under the freedom of information act... a very intense time for me but also very fascinating. Profilferation is my single biggest worry for the future, along with advancements in automated warfare with next-generation versions of things like predator drones and autonomous vehicles. If you take the human consequences away from the would-be aggressor, then where is the deterrent?


I agree 100% with each of your statements, especially your last one. Forget the stock market and our jobs for a moment... the real potential fallout from the ongoing financial shift of balance relates to an uptick in strategically opportunistic skirmishes with the risk of escalating into full-blown warfare. China's moves to secure future resource supplies through concerted efforts all around the world represents an attempt to stock up before competition for resources devolves into usurpation of resources by nations involving threat or use of military force. 


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#12) On April 18, 2009 at 1:54 PM, awallejr (56.54) wrote:

Ralph do you really think the leader of North Korea is playing with all his marbles?  Or do you totally dismiss  Iran's constant call for the annihilation of Israel?  North Korea lobbing one for the hell of it really could happen with that nut job in charge.  I am more concerned about Iran handing materials over to a terrorist group.

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#13) On April 18, 2009 at 3:06 PM, GeneralDemon (26.11) wrote:

When the US was itching to invade Iraq (in 2003), some friends of mine were sitting around a poker table.

The consensus was that this was just a stepping stone maneuver designed to gain access to Iran. This "100% political" objective was deemed more plausible than the most-often stated (at the time) "oil grab". It was shocking to me to see universal awareness among all of my friends of the effect of the foreign political influence.

We must remember that these decisions were made and set into motion long ago. The attack on Pearl Harbor was devised in 1932! What is about to unfold now was most likely set in place right after 9/11/2001.


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#14) On April 19, 2009 at 1:09 AM, XMFSinchiruna (26.59) wrote:

Obama's stance worries Israelis Jason Koutsoukis April 18, 2009

CAN Israel still call the United States its best international friend? Apparently not, if you believe the tone of the local media.

Watching the drama unfold inside Israel, the increasingly tense dialogue between US President Barack Obama and new Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is taking on all the trappings of a duel.

Almost every day brings news of another sore point between the two countries, a source of yet further inflammation of their once warm relations.

One could be forgiven for thinking that the more immediate threat to Israel's national security lay across the Atlantic rather than from closer to home.

It is bad enough that President Obama uses almost every opportunity he can to set the parameters of a final peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians. Now US officials are openly using Israeli anxiety over Iran's fledging nuclear program as a bargaining chip to force Israel's hand on giving up control of the West Bank Palestinian territory.

No less a figure than White House chief-of-staff Rahm Emanuel — whose father fought with the militant Zionist group the Irgun, and whose appointment had provided such reassurance to Israeli officials — was quoted this week laying down the law to Israel.

If Israel wants US help to defuse the Iranian threat, Mr Emanuel was reported to have told Jewish leaders in Washington, then get ready to start evacuating settlements in the West Bank.

Talkback radio blazed with fury across the country the same day, as Israelis protested that no US official had the right to tell them where to live.

Then on Thursday came the news that Mr Netanyahu's planned first meeting with President Obama in Washington next month had been called off.

Mr Netanyahu had hoped to capitalise on his attendance at the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference in Washington to visit the White House.

But Administration officials informed Mr Netanyahu's office that the President would not be "in town".

Washington sources added that the Obama Administration would not be continuing the tradition that had developed during the Bush years of hosting Israeli prime ministers whenever they showed up in town, sometimes with just a phone call's notice.

It might have been no more than coincidence, but yesterday Israeli defence officials told the liberal daily Haaretz that Israel's $US15 billion ($A21 billion) purchase of 75 US-made F-35 Joint Strike Fighter jets was now under review due to "the unexpected high cost and disagreements with the manufacturer".

Contrary to initial expectations, President Obama has wasted no time becoming fully engaged in the Middle East peace process, despite the magnitude of his domestic political agenda. While Mr Netanyahu has refused to endorse a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestinian conflict agreed to by his predecessor, President Obama has made it abundantly clear that the US will accept nothing less than Israel living side by side with a sovereign Palestinian state.

Mr Obama is also demanding a freeze on Jewish settlement expansion in the West Bank, and has dropped the Bush administration's opposition to Hamas being part of a future Palestinian Authority government.

According to prominent Israeli political commentator Maya Bengal, who writes for the country's second-largest selling newspaper Maariv, the holiday is over.

"As Passover comes to an end, so comes to an end, it seems, the days of grace granted to the Netanyahu Government by the American Administration," says the commentator.

Tel Aviv barman Meir Avraham, 30, says he can feel on the street the tensions being played out between the US and Israel.

"This is one of the the main things that the people are talking about at the moment," says Mr Avraham, who recently returned to Israel after several months in Townsville.

All Israelis, says Mr Avraham, understand the vital nature of the relationship between Israel and the US. "If we lose America, then we are alone," he says. "So we must listen to what America wants. But really I think this is more about the little brother testing the limits of the big brother."


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#15) On April 20, 2009 at 1:48 PM, FleaBagger (27.34) wrote:

I don't understand why you're more worried about Israel's self-defense rhetoric than Iran's wiping-Israel-off-the-map rhetoric. There's no reason for a country not to defend itself after having been threatened the way Israel has been.

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