Morning Report: 2009-04-19

Israeli attack on Iran in the works? The Times of London:

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.

Carl at Israel Matzav on why Israel will strike Iran cites David Samuels at Slate:
Short of an Iranian-hostage-rescue-mission-type debacle in which a small Israeli tactical force crashes in the Iranian desert, or a presidential order from Obama to shoot down

Israeli planes on their way to Natanz, any Israeli air raid on Iran is likely to succeed in destroying masses of delicate equipment that the Iranians have spent a decade building at enormous cost in time and treasure. It is hard to believe that Iran could quickly or easily replace what it lost. Whether it resulted in delaying Iran's march toward a nuclear bomb by two years, five years, or somewhere in between, the most important result of an Israeli bombing raid would be to puncture the myth of inevitability that has come to surround the Iranian nuclear project and that has fueled Iran's rise as a regional hegemon.

Read the rest of the article. Meanwhile Debka reports:

Barack Obama has set his sights and heart on friendship with the rulers of the Islamic Republic of Iran and their radical allies. The name and policies of the occupant of the prime minister's office in Jerusalem do not matter - any more than Tehran's determination to complete its nuclear weapons program in defiance of the world, or even its first A-bomb test in a year or two, for which intelligence sources report Tehran is already getting set.
Obama's Washington believes America can live with a nuclear-armed Iran – a decision probably taken first under the Bush presidency. But Israel cannot, and may have no option but to part ways with the Obama administration on this point. As a nuclear power, Iran will be able to bend Jerusalem to the will of its enemies, make it unconditionally give Syria the Golan plus extra pieces of territory, tamely accept a Hamas-dominated Palestinian West Bank louring over its heartland and let the Lebanese Hizballah terrorize Galilee in the north at will. All three would make hay under Iran's nuclear shield, while Tehran lords it over the region in the role of regional power conferred by Obama's grace and favor.

Go to the link for commentary on Egypt's government's position. Here's Debka on Defense Secretary Gates' opposition to Israeli action:

The US defense secretary Robert Gates again voiced extreme objections to an Israeli attack on Iran's nuclear sites. Addressing US marines, Wednesday, April 16, he said Iran's nuclearization can only be stopped by an Iranian decision. "A strike probably would delay Tehran's nuclear program one to three years, it would unify Iranians, cement their determination to have a nuclear program and also build into the whole country an undying hatred of whoever hits them."

I'll have my own thoughts on this in the Commentary section.

Iranian-American journalist in Iranian prison. CNN:

Roxana Saberi, the American journalist convicted of espionage charges in Iran, has lost weight in prison but is being treated well, her father said Sunday.

"She has lost weight and she looks frail and weak," Reza Saberi said. "She says she's not treated harshly. The food is pretty good and they're not hurting her. So it's just the environment of the prison that's very frustrating."

Saberi, 31, an Iranian-American from North Dakota, was sentenced Saturday to eight years in prison after a one-day trial that was closed to the public.

I'd guess that whatever the reality of the situation, her father is choosing his words carefully when speaking in public. Winston at The Spirit of Man comments:

The regime is crumbling from within and therefore it's scared of anything. It's a matter of survival for them to create phony crises and use them as bargaining chips when dealing with the weakened US under the mis-leadership of 'Dear Leader Obama'. There's a saying in Persian language that goes like this: "He who has been bitten by a snake fears a piece of string". The Mullahs suffer from paranoia and I think we should use their paranoia against them. Strike them where it is gonna hurt most. Not their balls though, but bullets for their sorry asses.

Jennifer Rubin at Commentary writes:

The Iranian-American journalist Roxana Saberi was convicted of spying by an Iranian court and sentenced to eight years in prison. She has already been detained in the notorious Evin prison since the end of January. What is the reaction of the U.S. government? We are “disappointed” — “deeply disappointed,” actually. We are not outraged. We do not condemn. We are disappointed. ...

This is what we have come to. The U.S. president either out of conviction or misguided strategy has chosen to prostrate himself before the world.

Read the rest here. Debka:

DEBKAfile's Iranian sources explain the timing of the Saberi case as an attempt by wildly anti-US elements inside Tehran's power structure, possibly in the Revolutionary Guards Corps and clergy, to choke off an Iranian-US rapprochement. Already, some political circles in Washington are up in arms over the heavy sentence, embarrassing the White House at the very moment it is extending a hand to Iran, reported to entail acceptance of its nuclear program. Saberi, born of an Iranian father and Japanese mother, lived in Iran for six years and freelanced for the BBC, Fox News and National Public Radio. Her license as a journalist was cancelled after two years when her reports did not fit the official line. She was then accused of working without valid credentials, buying a bottle of wine and finally espionage, a charge vigorously denied in Washington. She is held in Evin prison, the notorious jail for Iran's political dissidents.

Commentary. First of all, I don't for a minute believe Secretary Gates' blather about a strike "unifying" the Iranian people to support their government. Writers like Winston convince me that the people of Iran have more immediate concerns than the abstract "national pride" supposedly conferred by the regime's possession of a nuclear warhead. Something tells me the Iranian people have enough national pride with or without a nuclear bomb - and it's pretty clear to me that the people of Iran and the islamist regime are two different things.


Prejudice, Real and Invented

First, the news item, from B. Daniel Blatt aka GayPatriotWest:

The news division of another broadcast network has been staging “news” in an attempt to show the prejudices of the American people. Only this time, it didn’t work out as planned. After planting a gay couple and an actor portraying a loud-mouthed anti-gay bigot at a New Jersey sports bar, ABC News learned that the bar’s patrons are, on the whole, a remarkably tolerant lot.

Surprise, surprise. You might be reminded, as Dan was, of this incident from three years ago:

Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2006 13:05:54 -0800 (PST)
Subject: Looking for Muslim Males to participate in NBC Dateline Segment
I hope everyone is doing well.
I have been talking with a producer of the NBC Dateline show and he is in the process of filming a piece on anti-Muslim and anti-Arab discrimination in the USA. They are looking for some Muslim male candidates for their show who would be willing to go to non-Muslim gatherings and see if they attract any discriminatory comments or actions while being filmed. ...

That said, I’m urgently looking for someone who can be filmed this April 1st weekend at a Nascar event (and other smaller events) in Virginia. NBC is willing to fly in someone and cover their weekend expenses. The filming would take place all day on Saturday and Sunday.

I'll let the good folks at NASCAR have the last word on that one:

The inference is that NASCAR fans are bigots, and NBC News was hoping to bait fans into making insensitive remarks to the Muslim / Arab people it had planted at the track.

Ramsey Poston, NASCAR's managing director of corporate communications, said Wednesday that no instances of unrest were reported. "No one bothered them," Poston said.

It's hard to imagine that NBC News would try to entrap fans in a ploy to make its Dateline segment juicier. But apparently the network did just that; NBC did not deny its actions when confronted by NASCAR.

So, back to ABC's stunt:

When, however, they dispatched an actor to verbally harass a gay couple they had sent to a New Jersey sports bar, they found more tolerance than bigotry. While a handful of patrons expressed disapproval of the couple’s presence in the bar, the patrons who spoke out the loudest called the actor on his bigotry, in the process challenging the prejudices the ABC News producers apparently harbored against the patrons of a suburban sports bar.

They had the gay couple come into the bar at two different times — first during the mid-day lunch hour, then later in the evening.

In the mid-day visit, no one took much notice of the two men until the aforementioned actor, at the network’s behest, started “stirring the pot,” pretending “to be bothered” by the couple. A few guys seemed to share his sentiments but didn’t act out their animosity.

Yet when the actor pestered a “new arrival” about the gay guys, the new guy did express some animus, though not against the gay couple. He told the ostensibly bigoted actor to shut up, saying that if he had to choose between that irritated individual and the gay couple, he’d probably be asking him, not them, to leave. Indeed, he told the gay men, “I’d rather have twelve of you them than four of him.”

In the evening, the couple turned up the heat by increasing their public displays of affection. At the same time, the producers raised the stakes by having a straight couple, also actors, “appear to be bothered too.” The actor remained obnoxious. A few people grumbled, with one man saying the gay men’s display “disgusts” him. But the most agitated person was a woman who objected not to the their affection, but to the basher’s antics.

Go to the article to read the rest, but this comment from Dan caught my eye: "The only gay bashing that took place at this sports bar was a verbal one staged by ABC."

And that put me in mind of an incident (or series of incidents) in Canada mentioned by Ezra Levant (and cited by Five Feet of Fury):

Who is Canada's largest "hate group", as measured by the number of anti-Semitic, anti-gay, anti-black and pro-Nazi comments published on the Internet?

As I've pointed out before, it's none other than the taxpayers' own Canadian Human Rights Commission.

It is official CHRC policy for their employees to join neo-Nazi groups, and go online in full neo-Nazi drag, spewing filthy venom that would make Joseph Goebbels proud. ...

It's as if liberals have found they haven't got enough real bigots to keep them busy these days, and must invent them, or else lose their own relevance.

Because it's either that, or else be forced to take on the real bigots. And that's dangerous work.

Afghan Rape Law

Aziz Poonawalla at City of Brass:

In an explicit bid to appease hard-line Islamists, Afghanistan's "president" Hamid Karzai has signed a bill into law that essentially legalizes rape of a woman by her husband ...

As a bonus, the law is named the "Shia Family Law" even though the bil is not representative of mainstream Shi'a jurisprudence, but rather focused on the extreme attitudes within a distinct ethnic minority ...

Go read the rest. As AP says, this marks a return by the Obama administration to the old, dark days of so-called "realism".

Ledeen on Victory

Michael Ledeen has an excellent piece on President Obama's AfPak strategy. I'll just excerpt this snippet on the Israel/Egypt war and peace:

A few days before his Afpak speech, the president celebrated the 30th anniversary of the Israel/Egypt peace agreement. “As we commemorate this historic event, we recall that peace is always possible even in the face of seemingly intractable conflicts,” he said. And then, referring to his own intentions, he continued:

The success…demonstrated that progress results from sustained efforts at communication and cooperation…we honor the courage and foresight of these leaders…as we seek to expand the circle of peace among Arabs and Israelis, we take inspiration from what Israel and Egypt achieved three decades ago, knowing that the destination is worthy of the struggle.

But that’s not how it happened. Not at all.

First, Egypt was decisively defeated by Israel on the battlefield, convincing Anwar Sadat that there was no possibility of wiping out Israel, and that any attempt to do it would be disastrous for his country. Second, both the United States and the Soviet Union started designing a “peace” deal, and Sadat didn’t like the prospect of a renewed Soviet role in the region. He was even prepared to talk directly to the Israelis. So he went to Jerusalem.

Thus, contrary to Obama’s reconstruction of events in the 1970s, the peace treaty between Egypt and Israel was the result of an Israeli victory on the battlefield. ...

Go read the whole thing.

Stop Iran

The Spirit of Man:

I doubt Obamble would stop the crazy Mullahs from acquiring the atomic weapon but apparently some tough guy in Israel will go the extra mile to stop these crazies in Tehran:

“You don’t want a messianic apocalyptic cult controlling atomic bombs. When the wide-eyed believer gets hold of the reins of power and the weapons of mass death, then the entire world should start worrying, and that is what is happening in Iran.”

Of course the Obama administration lacks the balls to stop anything, let alone the determined Iranian regime.

Netanyahu to Obama: Stop Iran, or I will.

In an interview conducted shortly before he was sworn in today as prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu laid down a challenge for Barack Obama. The American president, he said, must stop Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons—and quickly—or an imperiled Israel may be forced to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities itself.

“The Obama presidency has two great missions: fixing the economy, and preventing Iran from gaining nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu told me. He said the Iranian nuclear challenge represents a “hinge of history” and added that “Western civilization” will have failed if Iran is allowed to develop nuclear weapons. ...

Arutz Sheva: Israeli covert ops draw Washington disapproval.

Israel plans to continue a covert operation to delay Iran's nuclear program by assassinating key Iranian scientists despite growing opposition from the United States, U.S. officials said. Active for almost a decade, the program involves targeted killings of key Iranian assets as well as disrupting and sabotaging Iran's nuclear technology purchasing network abroad, the sources said.

U.S. opposition to the program has intensified as President Barack Obama makes overtures aimed at relieving tensions between the two countries, partly due to the U.S.'s desire to use Iran's road networks into Afghanistan to help resupply U.S.-NATO forces there. ...