It’s looking more and more as if Israel, probably with significant help from the US and Britain, is in the midst of a – for now – low intensity war aimed at slowing down Iran’s nuclear program. Evidently running out of patience with years of predictably ineffective diplomatic efforts to slow down the Iranians’ nuke threat, someone seems to have decided to actually do something. And given the existential threats made by the Islamic Republic in recent years, it’s a good bet that someone is Israel. But Iran has about half a million men in uniform carrying those H&K G3s in the photo. Plus another 125,000 or so in the Revolutionary Guard…
Not that anyone’s likely planning an invasion and ground war a la Iraq or Afghanisan. But the stealth efforts appear to have accelerated lately with, er, “accidental” explosions at a couple of military facilities and the news that a US drone was shot down over Iran on Sunday. Oh, and the Brits and Iranians have all but broken off diplomatic relations. The administration doesn’t appear to be terribly concerned about keeping much of a lid on the news, either. From nationaljournal.com:
Asked whether the United States, in cooperation with Israel, was now engaged in a covert war against Iran’s nuclear program that may include the Stuxnet virus, the blowing-up of facilities and the assassination or kidnapping of scientists, one recently retired U.S. official privy to up-to-date intelligence would not deny it.
“It’s safe to say the Israelis are very active,” the official said, adding about U.S. efforts: “Everything that [GOP presidential candidate] Mitt Romney said we should be doing—tough sanctions, covert action and pressuring the international community — are all of the things we are actually doing.” Though the activities are classified, a senior Obama administration official also would not deny that such a program was under way. He indicated that the U.S. was not involved in every action, referring to recent alleged explosions at Isfahan and elsewhere. But, he added: “I wouldn’t assume that everything we do is coordinated.”
The Iranians have been reluctant to attribute the flying debris to attacks on its weapons facilities, no doubt because they’re not prepared for the popular outcry for retaliation that would result. But the frequency of military installations unexpectedly going boom is making hiding what’s going on more difficult. As miamiherald.com reports:
The second such (explosion) in as many weeks cast doubt on Iranian claims that these were “accidents” and “coincidences,” and it set off speculation of a coordinated attack by Israel, whose officials long have threatened a strike against Iran’s nuclear program. Israeli officials denied direct involvement, but the growing number of mysterious or unexplained blasts and deaths has many suspecting an official program of sabotage.
These, experts note, are only the most recent cases; a half-dozen other mysterious explosions and accidental deaths have been reported over the last two years. They include an October 2010 explosion at a military base housing Shahab-3 missiles near the city of Khorramabad and the July 2011 assassination of nuclear scientist Dariush Rezaei in Tehran.
A nuclear capable Iran won’t be good for anyone. Not even Iran, though it may be difficult convincing the theocrats running the joint of that. And there are plenty of other Middle Eastern countries who are just as anxious as the Israelis to see their nuke program delayed or demolished.
But if the first casualty of war is the truth, the second is usually the plan. Wars, no matter how justified or well-planned have a nasty way of getting away from you as soon as the first bullets (or missles) start to fly and the bunker-busters begin to drop.