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.