Doing our part

Daniel Pipes notes a civilian study, out of MIT, that examines Israeli capability to significantly impede Iran’s progress toward creating nuclear weapons. It is likely that only Israel will have the political will and capability to mount such an attack:

Barring a “catastrophic development,” Middle East Newsline reports, George Bush has decided not to attack Iran. An administration source explains that Washington deems Iran’s cooperation “needed for a withdrawal [of U.S. forces] from Iraq.”

If correct, this implies the Jewish state stands alone against a regime that threatens to “wipe Israel off the map” and is building the nuclear weapons to do so. Israeli leaders are hinting that their patience is running out; Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz just warned that “diplomatic efforts should bear results by the end of 2007.”

Can the Israel Defense Forces in fact disrupt Iran’s nuclear program?

The short answer is that there is a “reasonable probability of success,” the most difficult part being the navigation of other countries’ airspace. My read is that “reasonable” is being cautious. In any case, if your survival is at stake, you would certainly take “reasonable” as reasonable.

The medium answer is to read Pipes post, linked above.

The full answer is to read the study itself.

Pipes believes this report deserves the “widest possible dissemination.” Well, TOC is doing its part, and I’m sure Joe Lieberman has read it already. Joe would like NATO to be engaged:

…The stability and well being of both the EU and the U.S. are threatened by Iran’s program to develop nuclear weapons. For two years, the “EU3” – in coordination with the U.S. — has engaged in a vigorous and conscientious engagement with Iran. These efforts merit our profound gratitude, because when the EU and U.S. work together, our prospects for success are all the better. Unfortunately, the Government of Iran has responded by reneging on multiple treaty obligations and other pledges, and continuing to push forward with their nuclear program.

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad recently asked an audience to realize a “world without the America” and recommended “wiping Israel off the map.” He is only the most recent and extreme example of the small, fanatical, corrupt leadership in Iran who have made similar hateful, violent statements about other religions, countries, and cultures. History teaches us this crucial lesson: that sometimes people advocating hate and violence do exactly what they say they are going to do. The evidence of this is as varied as the writings of Hitler in the thirties and the polemics of bin Laden in the nineties. So we must take Ahmadinejad’s statements literally and seriously. We have seen this chilling pattern of extremist statements, disingenuous negotiations, preparation for aggression, and repudiation of international commitments followed by war before. Let us not deceive ourselves into letting it happen again.

Iran will test us all. If we ignore the threat it poses, or cover it with endless and hopeless negotiations, we will regret it. Given the recent agreement among the five permanent members of the UN Security Council that Iran will be “reported” to that body, I urge our respective governments to pursue vigorous measures under UN auspices to induce Tehran to abandon its aspiration for a nuclear arsenal.

However, should the efforts at the United Nations fail, then we in the transatlantic community must be ready to apply a cohesive regime of sanctions against Iran in an economic coalition of the willing. For instance, the United States and European nations, acting together, could effectively halt foreign direct investment in Iran. “Smart sanctions” that capture the assets of the government and its multi-millionaire rulers will best work with transatlantic coordination. I suggest that NATO begin to plan now how its military assets might be employed to enforce our shared goal to stop Iran’s military nuclear program. For example, NATO can conduct surveillance and interdiction activities that are sufficiently intense and enduring to secure an economic or political blockade and defend against Iran’s potential reaction to it. And I also agree with John McCain that both the U.S. and NATO should make clear that military action to destroy or deter Iran’s nuclear arsenal is not an option we seek, but it is also not an option that we can eliminate.

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