Monday, December 26, 2005

Nuclear Adventures

By: Gideon Spiro
Hagada Hasmalit
14 December 2005



Translated from Hebrew by Mark Marshall

"Then, I fear, he will enter a state of atomic stress, and be
unable to resist the temptation, and will take a gamble on
the fate of all of us and initiate a grandiose military action
against Iran the consequences of which could be fraught
with disaster."
*****

The London Newspaper Sunday Times published a story according to which Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has already issued the order to the air force to prepare for the bombing of the Iranian nuclear reactor, to be carried out in the second half of the month of March, a few days before the election. The story fits in well with the ongoing media spin that has been taking place in the Israeli press regarding the "Iranian bomb" and which is preparing Israeli public opinion for the possibility that Israel will initiate a military attack, even though there have not been any dramatic developments in Iran recently.

I have no doubt that Sharon wants to imitate the late Prime Minister Menahem Begin who initiated the bombing of the Iraqi reactor in 1981 a short time before elections. That action played a decisive role in guaranteeing a second term for Begin. A similar action in Iran, if it goes well, will send Prime Minister Sharon's shares flying upwards and ensure his ultimate victory in the elections.

Except that Iran is not Iraq, and the gamble here could also end in a failure that is likely to lead to a military and political catastrophe.

Iran has spread its nuclear industry over various sites, and even if we assume that Israel has the capacity to bomb one or two sites (and there are those who have doubts about that), it will not lead to the elimination of the nuclear industry; on the contrary, the assessment is that such an action will spur Iran to double and triple its efforts at nuclear armament, not to speak of retaliatory actions that are likely to send the region on a course to conflict with weapons of mass destruction.

Not only are we threatened by the Iranian missiles that can reach anywhere in Israel, but also by hundreds and maybe thousands of Hizbullah Katyushas that can reach Haifa Bay and can hit the oil refineries and chemical industries and cause huge fires and environmental contamination that will necessitate the evacuation of Haifa and its periphery.

We must also take into consideration the fact that the Iranian missiles can reach the nuclear reactor in Dimona and cause devastation to the extent of covering the southern region with a radioactive cloud that would make it uninhabitable.

Sharon has already proved with the Lebanon war that he is a dangerous adventurer, and this quality is likely to manifest itself again, especially if his good showing in the opinion polls diminishes as the elections approach. Then, I fear, he will enter a state of atomic stress, and be unable to resist the temptation, and will take a gamble on the fate of all of us and initiate a grandiose military action against Iran the consequences of which could be fraught with disaster.

In that regard my advice to Sharon's opponents in the various parties, especially Amir Peretz, is to condition their refusal to support an alternative government composed of 61 Knesset members on a public promise by Sharon that he will not initiate any military action against Iran.
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