Israel Said to Plan Strike Against Iran

The current most-talked-about press-scoop about current conditions in the Middle East belongs to the German newsmagazine Der Spiegel. A search on Google News indicates that scattered English-language periodicals have picked up on its eyebrow-raising report from last Saturday. (I first became aware of it via the Dutch newspaper De Volkskrant.) As before, when Al Gore cited in a speech a damning interview about the Bush administration’s economic policies in Der Spiegel by top American economist George A. Akerlof, EuroSavant is glad to step in to assist its English-speaking audience.

What is at issue here is an airstrike on multiple Iranian nuclear installations that Israel is planning, according to the rather short article that Der Spiegel put on-line. You’ll recall that Israel has done this sort of thing before (i.e. sudden airstrikes against nuclear facilities located in a hostile Muslim country with which it, however, is not technically at war) when it destroyed Iraq’s Osirak reactor in 1981, in an attack ordered by then-Israeli premier Menachem Begin. Now, the article says, the Israeli intelligence service (the Mossad) has been busy for two months with the assignment given it by prime minister Ariel Sharon (Begin’s Likud Party political successor) to work out a plan of attack on Iranian nuclear installations. Naturally, Israel has a pretty good idea of which Iranian nuclear sites constitute a serious-enough threat to conceivably be subject to attack in this way. They all involve the enrichment of uranium to weapons-grade; apparently three of them the Iranian authorities have not yet bothered to report to any international authorities, specifically the International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been closely monitoring what it knows of Iranian facilities – and has been in discussion with Teheran about them – for some time. The Mossad’s judgment of any such operation is that it would be tricky, but still “technically doable.”

That report was from Saturday. Today, Der Spiegel follows up by reporting on the Iranian reaction to that original Saturday report, The Ayatollahs Warn Sharon. It declares that the Israeli plans uncovered by the German journalists “have set off a disturbed echo in Teheran.” Iranian government spokesman Abdullah Ramezanzadeh: “We’re used to this dumb rhetoric from Israel and don’t consider it necessary to respond, but still Israel knows that it shouldn’t try anything with us.” (“. . . dass es mit uns keinen Unfug anstellen sollte” – right, German-speakers?)

Plus, according to Google News, at least one American newspaper is on top of, or even ahead of, the story: See Iran air-strike plan seen as bluff in the Washington Times.

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