Iran

Written By: - Date published: 9:20 am, March 4th, 2012 - 106 comments
Categories: energy, war - Tags: , , ,

Israel and the US have both been ratcheting up their rhetoric against Iran in the past few months and an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities looks highly likely. Just the other day, Obama told Iran to stop its nuclear programme or else adding, “I don’t bluff”. I really, really hope he’s bluffing. Because Iran’s ready to make an attack on it cost the world big time.

Why war with Iran?
There’s no just war case for attacking Iran. Yes, the government is a quasi-dictatorship and it has brutally repressed uprisings but this is no Syria and Libya. In those cases, there were/are armed attempts by popular movements to overthrow their dictators – outside intervention would merely be leveling the playing field before the rebels get blasted apart by the regime’s heavy weapons.

In a perfect world, governments like the Iranian one wouldn’t exist but you can say that about the majority of the world’s governments and only the most fevered neo-con dream do you go knocking them off one at a time. In fact, we’ve already seen the result of that fevered neo-con dream in Iraq where the regime was knocked off without any domestic alternative extant, leading to sectarian violence, occupation and perhaps as many as a million deaths, with the very real prospect of civil war in the near future.

And Iran is not an external threat. It hasn’t started a war against its neighbours in over 150 years and its posture is clearly defensive. If it is trying to acquire nuclear weapons than it is for the same reason that any country – bar the US – has acquired them: not to use but as a deterrent to other nuclear powers. The Iranian government isn’t mad – they know that if they were to actually launch a nuclear weapon against Israel it would be signing Tehran’s death warrant. Ironically, the ‘threat’ Israel sees is that Iran will soon either have nukes or as good as have them, making them ‘invulnerable’ to Israel’s own nuclear arsenal because the Iranians will have a matching deterrent (and triggering the Saudis to develop their own nuke).

Iran’s not about to nuke anyone. The strategic case here is purely about preserving the nuclear high ground for Israel. Not a real threat in my book.

So, there’s no good reason to start a war with Iran (and I’ll argue no realpolitik one either). That’s never stopped wars happening before. In fact, its the just wars that don’t happen and the unjustified ones that do. What happens, then, if Israel or the US decides to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities?

Israeli/US offensive
In fact, the war is already underway. Israel has been assassinating Iranian nuclear scientists and Iran has been attacking Israeli diplomats with car bombs in return.

If Israel decides to for direct action against Iran’s nuclear facilities it could use its long-range missiles, the first time ICBMs would be used in combat, it could launch missiles from its submarines in the Persian Gulf, or it could launch an air strike. The latter would be more pinpoint but would involve a large portion of the Israeli air force and require overflight of at least one uninvolved Muslim country, which would be inviting scorn in the Muslim world and retaliation from Iran if it agreed.

The Yanks could launch cruise missiles and air strikes from carriers in the Gulf and its airbases in the region although, again, host countries would be inviting retaliation.

Iran’s nuclear facilities are heavily-fortified and dispersed, and it has some advanced air defence (in fact, it has some impressive domestic military equipment full stop). This wouldn’t be as simple as flying over and bombing a single reactor, as Israel did to Iraq and Syria. If I were a betting man, I wouldn’t put money on an attack by the US or Israel succeeding in destroying Iran’s capacity to soon build a nuclear bomb – unless they use nukes themselves.

Iran’s reaction
But the bigger issue from our perspective in New Zealand is what Iran does if it is attacked.

Iran’s entire posture is around presenting a credible threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, through which a third of the world’s oil exports pass (17 million barrels per day in an average of 14 tankers).

Iran wouldn’t even have to actually sink or capture oil tankers – a credible threat will be enough to get the insurance companies to withdraw any cover for tankers going through the Strait. And that would cripple the world economy virtually overnight.

To present a credible threat, Iran has developed and deployed hundreds of small, stealthy missile boats equipped with domestically produced anti-ship missiles that can be dispersed to numerous deployment positions along the coast in the event of a war, as well as domestically-built submarines and mines. It maintains a large land-based cruise missile force with mobile launchers that could be fire on tankers or docks and refineries in neighbouring countries. If Israel or the US attacks Iran, the Strait would be over-run with small fast Iranian boats and missile forces that would threaten any nearby tankers and US naval vessels.

Iran learned the lessons of the Iraq/Iran war, where its mass assault tactics lead to huge casualties for little gain, and its strategy of trying to stop Iraqi oil shipments resulted in the US sinking its largest ships. Now, by going for small and numerous weapons systems and concentrating on a single strategic vulnerability, rather than trying and failing to match the US’s naval capital ships in the Gulf, Iran is adopting classic guerrilla tactics. With all those little boats and mobile launchers running around, it would be very hard for the US to re-establish safe passage through the Strait for tankers and every day would cost hundreds of billions in economic activity to the US and its allies. It is a very clever strategy.

Oh, and Iran has its own ICBMs it could throw back at Israel.

Economic impact
Alternative routes to the Strait do exist – the biggest being the East-West Pipeline in Saudi Arabia but it can only carry up to 5 million barrels and is within range of Iranian missiles. Meanwhile, Iran has lessened its own dependence on the Strait by building refineries so that it no longer has to import refined oil products and a pipeline to Pakistan that will soon allow it to export more gas without going through the Strait. Countries also have strategic oil reserves but they take time to be accessed and they only spread the cost of the lost oil imports because the reserve shave to refilled later. The economic importance of the Strait of Hormuz cannot be over-estimated. The world needs the oil that passes through the Strait and has no other way of getting at most of it.

The oil experts are saying that world oil prices would hit $150 a barrel instantly if Israel or the US attacks Iran, even before the shortages hit. I don’t know how long they could stay up before the price simply destroys demand by plunging the world into a deep recession but I bet that it wouldn’t be too many days. All Iran has to do is stay in the fight long enough to make war too costly for the attackers.

Israel and the US must have every large oil importer in the world screaming at them right now to see sense – and not start a war.

Of course, war isn’t about being sensible, almost by definition. Israel and the US both see Iran as a bete noir out of all proportion to the actual danger it poses to them if they leave it alone. But if they kick over that hornets’ nest, the whole world will get stung. An attack could well fail in its aim of crippling Iran’s nuclear programme while unleashing economic devastation across the globe by turning off quarter of the oil.

The realpolitik doesn’t add up.

I really do hope Obama is bluffing. And that he can control the Israelis.

106 comments on “Iran”

  1. Colonial Viper 1

    New war = US re-election.

    • Lanthanide 1.1

      Not if it puts the price of gasoline up to $5/gallon during “driving season”.

      • Colonial Viper 1.1.1

        Yes, but they already have an answer for that. Higher fuel prices would be spun as “how ordinary Americans can patriotically support our brave men and women in uniform in the war against nuclear terror”.

        Also for the 2 months leading up to the election, Obama would ask the oil majors to eat a loss at the pump to keep prices reasonable.

        • Lanthanide 1.1.1.1

          Given that the oil majors prefer republicans, that seems unlikely.

          More likely is a drawdown from the strategic petroleum reserve.

          Also when it comes to Americans, I think they put their pocket books ahead of “support the troops” rhetoric, as can be seen in their general under-funding of veteran support services.

          • Colonial Viper 1.1.1.1.1

            Given that the oil majors prefer republicans, that seems unlikely.

            Yes quite possibly the case, but what’s there not to like about Obama if you are an oil major?

            You’re speaking as if the Republican and Democratic parties are not equally great friends with corporate America. Since the Deepwater Horizon disaster Obama has continued to approve new deep sea exploration off the US coast, ‘liberated’ the oil fields of Libya and done nothing to slow down the expansion of oil and gas fracking on the continental US. That’s just off the top of my head.

  2. Lanthanide 2

    Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Surely he won’t start a war and make even more mockery of that?

    • ianmac 2.1

      Wonder what Obama did to earn that?

      • rosy 2.1.1

        It was an aspirational Nobel 😉 Who knows, maybe he will think about it when drawing up attack plans and have a change of heart.

    • Bill 2.2

      Maybe the award was the result of poor communication and he was actually up for a ‘Noble Piece Prize’ on the back of those Presidential sandwiches.

    • muzza 2.3

      Lanth you were kidding right?

    • Vicky32 2.4

      Obama won the Nobel Peace Prize. Surely he won’t start a war and make even more mockery of that?

      I hope you’re being sarcastic, Lanth?

  3. ianmac 3

    Sounds like
    “Iraq has weapons of mass destruction. Definitely.”
    “Iran is developing weapons of mass destruction. Definitely.”
    Unconvincing.

  4. infused 4

    “Iran’s not about to nuke anyone. The strategic case here is purely about preserving the nuclear high ground for Israel. Not a real threat in my book.”

    Where do you pull this shit? You have no clue what is going on there.

    • Colonial Viper 4.1

      Iran’s rulership is very rational and very smart. Its a far larger country than Iraq, with far more people and resources. It also has a continuous history which stretches back to antiquity. It is not in the interests of the Iranian Government to self-terminate by ever using what would have to be a primitive and clumsy nuclear device anywhere on anyone, when the Americans and the Israelis dozens of their own nuclear weapons stationed 15 minutes away from Tehran.

      • Populuxe1 4.1.1

        Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is “rational and smart”? Mr “there are no gays in Iran, and Israel must be wiped from the surface of the earth” is as batshit crazy as any dictator in recent history. And having a history stretching back to antiquity has little to do with it – Iraq’s was even older. Calling it a “primitive and clumsy nuclear device” is patronising and greatly misrepresents the level of technological expertise in Iran, and even the most primitive and clumsy nuclear device is a huge danger if it falls into the hands of extremists with the will to use it.

        • McFlock 4.1.1.1

          Ahmadinejad is not the only influence on government in Iran, nor do archaic bigotries negate the possibility of some sophisticated realpolitik.
           

        • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.2

          and Israel must be wiped from the surface of the earth”

          You no doubt know that this is a contextual and cultural mistranslation (as well as a clear case of speaking to local populist politics), but have decided to go ahead and ignore that. Now, please explain why?

          Calling it a “primitive and clumsy nuclear device” is patronising and greatly misrepresents the level of technological expertise in Iran, and even the most primitive and clumsy nuclear device is a huge danger if it falls into the hands of extremists with the will to use it.

          Nah, its just most likely to misfire (like the North Korean one) for fuck all yield, and is going to be so big and heavy as to be impossible to weaponise.

          greatly misrepresents the level of technological expertise in Iran

          Which seems to be less now, after many of Iran’s top nuclear scientists were killed in unusual circumstances.

        • Morrissey 4.1.1.3

          “Israel must be wiped from the surface of the earth”

          Ahmadinejad never said that. You are (perhaps unwittingly) repeating U.S. disinformation.

          even the most primitive and clumsy nuclear device is a huge danger if it falls into the hands of extremists with the will to use it.

          Indeed. Which country was it that was extreme enough to use such devices? Twice.

          Was it Iran?

          • Populuxe1 4.1.1.3.1

            It’s a bit hard to use what you haven’t got, you twit. And their were particularly good strategic reasons for Hiroshima and Nagasaki, even if the outcome was horrific. A direct invasion from the south (the plan B) would have resulted in many hundreds of thousands more deaths for both sides. And, in the Americans defense, we were all very ignorant about the effects of radiation in those days.

            • Colonial Viper 4.1.1.3.1.1

              And, in the Americans defense, we were all very ignorant about the effects of radiation in those days.

              You heard of Madam Curie? Trust me, people knew that ionising radiation was a killer. They just didnt know what exact damage a nuclear weapon might have on people.

              Therefore the Americans used the Japs as guinea pigs. Teams of specialist researcher medical and damage assessment teams were on the ground in Nagasaki and Hiroshima within a day or two of the Japanese surrendering.

              I take it you are either an American or American educated. Starts to explain a lot about you.

              • Populuxe1

                No, I’m fully Kiwi born, raised and educated – I’m just not enough of an arrogant arsehole as to pass judgment on an entire nation of people. I also have American friends who are horrified by the actions and policies pursued by their government. Fuck you and your assumptions.
                Um, and no, you display a remarkable ignorance of the history of science. Ever heard of Operation Ploughshare – as late as the 1960s the Americans and even the Australians were considering using nukes to build canals, blast new harbours and so forth. They were very relaxed about radiation.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Plowshare
                Actually there is plenty of historical evidence to suggest that Japan was far from being “within a day or two” of surrendering. They were launching nasty little balloon bombs into the jet stream, still fervently believing in the divinity of their Emperor. It wasn’t a question of Japan’s remaining military capability as it was their bloody-minded determination to go on fighting.
                http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire_balloon
                You, Sir, are a prize dickhead
                 

                • Colonial Viper

                  I reckon you’re American. You’ve used American spellings more than once that I’ve noticed now, which tells me you’re either an American citizen or US trained/educated. You’ve been made buddy.

                  Ever heard of Operation Ploughshare – as late as the 1960s the Americans and even the Australians were considering using nukes to build canals, blast new harbours and so forth. They were very relaxed about radiation.

                  Yeah but that was caused by the fact a lot of the top secret knowledge was highly compartmentalised. During that time the US designed the Enhanced Radiation Weapon (aka the neutron bomb) and they knew it would kill organic life forms very efficiently indeed.

                  Actually there is plenty of historical evidence to suggest that Japan was far from being “within a day or two” of surrendering.

                  Reread what I wrote and respond to that please, not to something that you imagined up.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Well, first off I would rather stab myself in the thigh with a fork than use the American spelling – unless it was a cut ans paste from an American source. But I can assure you that you are wrong – I am not American, nor have I trained at an American institution. Otago, Massey and Canterbury. I am also at the tender mercies of the Firefox spellcheck.
                     

                    Yeah but that was caused by the fact a lot of the top secret knowledge was highly compartmentalised. During that time the US designed the Enhanced Radiation Weapon (aka the neutron bomb) and they knew it would kill organic life forms very efficiently indeed.

                    The concept of the neutron bomb was developed in 1958, an enhanced radiation weapon. Not an ordinary nuke. Civilians could still watch surface tests at that time. And if that knowledge was so compartmentalised a decade after the Second World War, why is it so difficult to understand that in 1945 there was general ignorance about the effects of radiatiopn.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      why is it so difficult to understand that in 1945 there was general ignorance about the effects of radiatiopn.

                      I agree. Which is why the US sent a large number of researchers in to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, after their experimental detonations there on live targets.

                      But I can assure you that you are wrong – I am not American, nor have I trained at an American institution. Otago, Massey and Canterbury. I am also at the tender mercies of the Firefox spellcheck.

                      That’s really reassuring thanks.

                    • Populuxe1

                      I agree. Which is why the US sent a large number of researchers in to Nagasaki and Hiroshima, after their experimental detonations there on live targets.

                      So you’ve reversed you position to admit that no one had any idea about the effects of radioactive fallout from a nuclear bomb at the time. Knowledge gathering after the event is hardly an “experiment”, and one could hardly call the dropping of the bombs as experimental – It was a propagandistic display of might to subdue the Japanese (also working on biological weapons at the time – so much for being about to surrender) and a warning to the Soviets.
                      You really should see someone about your paranoia and compulsive contrarianism.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      “That’s really reassuring thanks.”

                      The entire exchange speaks volumes, although not about Populuxe.

            • Morrissey 4.1.1.3.1.2

              And their [sic] were particularly good strategic reasons for Hiroshima and Nagasaki…

              Yes, it certainly was a salutary warning for the Russians.

              would have resulted in many hundreds of thousands more deaths for both sides.

              Nonsense, but it’s official nonsense. You’ve obviously internalized it all.

              we were all very ignorant about the effects of radiation in those days.

              Nonsense. Is your name Rob Fyfe?

              • Populuxe1

                Really I shouldn’t feed cretinous trolls like you, but I suggest you actually do some research into what would have been involved in Operation Downfall (the “Plan B” to Hiroshima and Nagasaki), and then try to imagine Iwo Jima extended over the whole Japanese archipelago.
                 

                • Morrissey

                  … cretinous trolls like you,

                  A word of advice, my friend: people who resort so quickly (or, in your case, immediately) to abuse are in effect signaling that they are not up to a rational discussion.

                  … what would have been involved in Operation Downfall…

                  It’s hard to decide which is more troubling: your blithe recycling of sixty-seven-year-old official lies, which not even the most addled State Department or Pentagon apparatchik* would have the temerity to endorse nowadays, or your naive recycling of counterfactual fantasies.

                  * With the possible exception of Crazy John Bolton.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Care to present your academic credentials? I’m sorry, I had no idea you knew more than the hundreds of military historians of various stripes who have dedicated decades to trawling through archives around the world in order to come to a comprehensive understanding of the war. Silly me.
                    I’m sure you must also be an expert on Japanese cultural anthropology and military history, too. You must have some interesting opinions on the inevitability of Japanese militant imperialism as seeded by the Meji Restoration and reinforced by their victory against the Russians at Battle of Tsushima in 1905. What observations can you share on the pathology of an army from a culture obsessed with saving face, modeled after the Prussian disciplinary structure, centred on the absolute rule of a divine Emperor? What insights can you offer about the resurgent extreme-right in Japan today, their links to the Yakuza, and so forth?
                    Go on….
                    Cretinous troll…

                    • Morrissey

                      Care to present your academic credentials?

                      I could but it’s not relevant here. What matters is what I write, and the quality and extent of my knowledge. I am more than confident that I know what I’m talking about because I read widely and seriously on this and many other topics. I can tell almost immediately that you have not. Your vague yet ridiculously extravagant citing of “hundreds of military historians” is about as convincing as a 9/11 Truther citing “hundreds of engineers” to imaginatively bolster his fantasies.

                      I’m sure you must also be an expert on Japanese cultural anthropology and military history, too.

                      In fact I am.

                      You,my friend, clearly are not.

                    • Populuxe1

                      You,my friend, clearly are not.

                      Possibly not as much as I would like, but enough to call bullshit.
                      Bullshit, you cretinous troll.

                    • Grumpy

                      Populuxe1 wins by TKO………

                    • Morrissey

                      Possibly not as much as I would like,

                      Definitely not as much as you need to debate with any degree of authority. You won’t see me truculently joining into a discussion about, say, medieval metaphysics or electronic engineering, because these are things I know little or nothing about. If I knew as little as you do about politics and history, I would devote my time to a serious course of reading for a couple of years, and then come back on line.

                      … but enough to call bullshit.

                      Sorry to disabuse you, but you do not know enough to do that.

                    • Morrissey

                      Populuxe1 wins by TKO………

                      That was dear old “grumpy” endorsing you, Populuxe.

                      I’ll bet it feels good to know you enjoy such high-powered intellectual support!

    • MValley 4.2

      I say Iran’s not going to nuke anyone just because they nukes because 9 other countries have nukes and a dozen more the ability to build them in pretty short time yet no-one has used them since more than one country had them.

      Iran’s rulers would be signing their own death warrants and those of their major cities if they ever used a nuke and they have no good reason to – if there is such a thing as a ‘good reason’ to bring down nuclear fire on your own country.

      Ever seen Yes, Prime Minister on nuclear deterrent? Pretty accurate

      Using a nuke would be suicide but having it means that it’s suicide for anyone else to use it on you.

      Basically, MAD works.

  5. The WMD question is only a pretext, like Iraq. All the more hollow for its total cynicism in the age of wikileaks.
    Like Iraq what is at stake here is rivalry between the US and China/Russia for control of the so-called Middle East and Central Asia.
    China is the main imperialist backer of Iran, and Pakistan is a volatile ally of the US and likely to swing towards China.
    Not only that China’s inroads into Africa and Europe are extending to the ME with a deal with Saudi Arabia.
    China is winning the economic war and the US and its proto-fascist lackey in the ME, Israel, have no way of countering without escalating war threats. The US has blown trillions on lost wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Now caught in a global economic crisis do you think its warmongering over Iran will be any the less desperate and destructive?

    http://redrave.blogspot.co.nz/2010/03/us-and-chinese-imperialism-hands-off.html

  6. locus 6

    1. Israel and the USA are sure that Iran is working towards nuclear weapons capability.
    2. IAEA inspectors have just released a report confirming that over the past three months, Iran has tripled its production capacity for purified nuclear fuel of the type needed to make a nuclear weapon, and is doing this in its new deep underground facility, which may be beyond the strike capabilities of Israel.
    3. Nothing is more important to Israel right now than stopping Iran developing nuclear weapons.
    4. If Israel lets Iran get past the stage where they can launch an effective strike on the potential nuclear weapon construction facilities, then their ‘protection’ against Iran is in the hands of the USA, which is not an acceptable position for the Israelis
    5. It’s not about having evidence that Iran’s going to nuke anyone. It’s about what the Israeli government believes Iran will do with nuclear weapons, e.g. help them to get into the hands of a terrorist group, or use them to gain political influence over the region, so spurring a nuclear race by ME states.

    Let’s hope that next week Obama and Netanyahu can agree on a strategic bottom line regarding how to force Iran to stop their nuclear programme, and that what they agree on will work.

    • Colonial Viper 6.1

      1. Israel and the USA are sure that Iran is working towards nuclear weapons capability.

      Are they more or less sure as the time they said Saddam Hussein had WMD?

      2. IAEA inspectors have just released a report confirming that over the past three months, Iran has tripled its production capacity for purified nuclear fuel of the type needed to make a nuclear weapon, and is doing this in its new deep underground facility, which may be beyond the strike capabilities of Israel.

      Nope. 20% enriched uranium is required for medical purposes and is several times lower than the level required to make a nuclear weapon.

      3. Nothing is more important to Israel right now than stopping Iran developing nuclear weapons.

      I’d love to see a quote from any Israeli Government minister to this effect, given that Israel is currently dealing with an economic and employment crisis.

      4. If Israel lets Iran get past the stage where they can launch an effective strike on the potential nuclear weapon construction facilities, then their ‘protection’ against Iran is in the hands of the USA, which is not an acceptable position for the Israelis

      Random and illogical. “Potential nuclear weapon construction facilities” =! “actual nuclear weapon construction facilities”.

      5. It’s not about having evidence that Iran’s going to nuke anyone. It’s about what the Israeli government believes Iran will do with nuclear weapons, e.g. help them to get into the hands of a terrorist group, or use them to gain political influence over the region, so spurring a nuclear race by ME states.

      Perhaps Israel could diffuse the nuclear arms race you say it is so concerned about by dismantling its own nuclear arsenal?

      Or do you think Israel would prefer a ME nuclear arms race where it is the only runner?

      • “Perhaps Israel could diffuse the nuclear arms race you say it is so concerned about by dismantling its own nuclear arsenal?”

        That would be an admission that they actually have one. Whilst the consensus appears to be that Israel DOES have an arsenal, the probability of getting them to admit it either verbally, or by dismantling their nuclear weapons and their means of making them is pretty low.

      • Populuxe1 6.1.2

        1. Israel and the USA are sure that Iran is working towards nuclear weapons capability.
        Are they more or less sure as the time they said Saddam Hussein had WMD?

        So you are saying because the Republican Bush government lied or misrepresented Iraq’s nuclear capability (though not their biological and chemical capabilities) ipso facto The Democrat Obama government must also be telling porkies about Iran. That’s rather curious logic.
         

        2. IAEA inspectors have just released a report confirming that over the past three months, Iran has tripled its production capacity for purified nuclear fuel of the type needed to make a nuclear weapon, and is doing this in its new deep underground facility, which may be beyond the strike capabilities of Israel.
         
        Nope. 20% enriched uranium is required for medical purposes and is several times lower than the level required to make a nuclear weapon.

        Because governments have never been known to lie about their nuclear technology? India, Pakistan, Israel, South Africa, North Korea… Even South Korea got into trouble because they were found to be developing an ultra efficient laser-based centrifuge process.
         

        3. Nothing is more important to Israel right now than stopping Iran developing nuclear weapons.
         
        I’d love to see a quote from any Israeli Government minister to this effect, given that Israel is currently dealing with an economic and employment crisis.

        Hence the desirability of distracting the Israeli population with a saber-rattling enemy. And this
         

        4. If Israel lets Iran get past the stage where they can launch an effective strike on the potential nuclear weapon construction facilities, then their ‘protection’ against Iran is in the hands of the USA, which is not an acceptable position for the Israelis
         
        Random and illogical. “Potential nuclear weapon construction facilities” =! “actual nuclear weapon construction facilities”.

        It’s possible they may already have
         

        5. It’s not about having evidence that Iran’s going to nuke anyone. It’s about what the Israeli government believes Iran will do with nuclear weapons, e.g. help them to get into the hands of a terrorist group, or use them to gain political influence over the region, so spurring a nuclear race by ME states.
         
        Perhaps Israel could diffuse the nuclear arms race you say it is so concerned about by dismantling its own nuclear arsenal?
         
        Or do you think Israel would prefer a ME nuclear arms race where it is the only runner?

        Oh yes, because Israel is going to end it’s decades long denial of having nukes just to calm the rest of the Middle East down. Given that Bibi, and a hawkish Knesset dominated by Likudniks and Ultra Orthodox religious conservatives would precisely love to be the only nuclear power in the region.

        • Colonial Viper 6.1.2.1

          a hawkish Knesset dominated by Likudniks and Ultra Orthodox religious conservatives would precisely love to be the only nuclear armed power in the region.

          FIFY. That’s what I thought. Thanks.

          • Populuxe1 6.1.2.1.1

            What is your point? It means the same thing – or are you going to argue that it’s somehow an exclusively American expression and therefore I’m working for the CIA? You’re priceless.

            • Colonial Viper 6.1.2.1.1.1

              No it doesn’t mean the same thing. Countries are legally permitted to develop nuclear technology for peaceful uses. Israel hasn’t done that, however.

              • Populuxe1

                Semantics. A nuclear power is a nation known to have a nuclear capability, regardless of whether it is overt or covert.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I think the distinction between peaceful uses of nuclear power (which is allowed under international law) and the development and proliferation of nuclear weapons (which is not) is an important distinction to make.

                  • Populuxe1

                    Semantics. The word “power” in this context implicitly suggests a country the potential for a military strike.  No one refers to Germany, which has nuclear reactors, as a “nuclear power”. Japan isn’t referred to as a “nuclear power”. You’re just being contrary for the sake of it.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I like being clear on language. You might not think it important though, despite your education at Otago, Massey and Canterbury.

                      Its also good to know that you understand that Israel would like nuclear arms all to itself, you know, to be a unique and special military power in the region.

    • KJT 6.2

      And they said Iraq had WMD too!

  7. locus 7

    I am utterly opposed to any country having nuclear weapons. Preventing nuclear proliferation is essential. A nuclear arms race in the ME is unthinkable. So is a conventional war between Israel and Iran. I’m sure this will be a key theme in Obama’s meeting with Netanyahu next week.

    As for the points I raised and your replies – I should have made it clear that I paraphrased from a column in Friday’s New York Times written by Ethan Bronner (not yet published on the NYT website). So yes, my comments were derivative and speculative, but they do reflect some of what I’ve been reading in the US papers over the past week.

    I have no idea whether the recent IEAE report is reliable or whether the information is sufficient to suggest that Iran has a weapons construction capability. And I did draw an assumption (maybe incorrect) in point 3 from a quote four years ago by Netanyahu to Obama: “Senator, as President many things will come across your desk, but the most important by far, will be stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

    • Colonial Viper 7.1

      I am utterly opposed to any country having nuclear weapons. Preventing nuclear proliferation is essential. A nuclear arms race in the ME is unthinkable.

      Oh relax, I look forwards to you writing 500 words in your next comment about how Israel should immediately dismantle its nuclear arsenal which has been variously estimated at over one hundred deployable nuclear warheads in order to difuse a ME nuclear arms race.

      And I did draw an assumption (maybe incorrect) in point 3 from a quote four years ago by Netanyahu to Obama: “Senator, as President many things will come across your desk, but the most important by far, will be stopping Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons.”

      Who provides you with these quotes? This is just Israel telling the US what it wants the US to do. 4 years ago.

      So answer me, is the US and Israel more certain or less certain about Iran’s nuclear weapons than they were about Saddam Hussein’s WMD?

      • Populuxe1 7.1.1

        It amazes me how your knee-jerk anti-Americanism trumps the pragmatic view that a nuclear weapon in the hands of a state run by fanatical mullahs, might not be a good thing.

        • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1

          So you think that the US is right about Iran obtaining nuclear weapons just like they were right about Saddam Hussein having WMD?

          • Populuxe1 7.1.1.1.1

            That’s not even a rational argument. Obama is not Bush. The Democrats are not the Republicans. Iran is not Iraq. Chalk is not cheese.

            • Colonial Viper 7.1.1.1.1.1

              So you think that the US is right about Iran obtaining nuclear weapons just like they were right about Saddam Hussein having WMD?

              Do you or don’t you?

              • Populuxe1

                I’m not as arrogant as you. I don’t presume to have enough information to know. I lack the global intelligence network of the US or your smug certainty. None of this, however, prevents your premise from being illogical.

                • Colonial Viper

                  So you think that the US is right about Iran obtaining nuclear weapons just like they were right about Saddam Hussein having WMD?

                  Do you or don’t you?

                  Because everything you write seems to assume that the US is spot on, even though they got Iraq’s WMD so dreadfully wrong. Two out of three maybe?

                  • Populuxe1

                    I have answered your question. I do not know. However I do have enough functioning braincells to realise that because Iran is not Iraq, Obama is not Bush, and the Democrats are not Republicans, that it is conceivably possible that the US might, once in a while, be correct about something.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      it is conceivably possible that the US might, once in a while, be correct about something.

                      More correct about Iran than it was about Saddam’s WMD? With something like reasons to start a war I would want to be more sure than a roll of the dice. But if you want to take it on faith, or on the basis of trying for two out of three, that’s up to you.

                    • Populuxe1

                      “More correct about Iran than it was about Saddam’s WMD? With something like reasons to start a war I would want to be more sure than a roll of the dice. But if you want to take it on faith, or on the basis of trying for two out of three, that’s up to you.”

                      Um, yes. Especially as presumably Obama listens to the Pentagon, the CIA, and the NSA, instead of just making shit up like Bush did. You are extremely obtuse if you cannot see these are separate and different events that must be assessed on their own merits.

                    • Colonial Viper

                      So you clearly assess the merits of Obama’s position on Iranian WMD as being much superior than that of Bush/Cheney/Powell’s position on Iraqi WMD?

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      So you clearly assess the merits of your own position as being much better informed than anyone else’s, despite the fact that you have no more information than them. Interesting.

                    • muzza

                      “I have NOT answered your question. I do not know. However I do NOT have enough functioning braincells to realise that because Iran is not Iraq, Obama IS Bush, and the Democrats ARE Republicans, that it is conceivably IMpossible that the US might, once in a while, be correct about something THAT THEY HAVE MANUFACTURED WITH THE ISRAELIS.” – FIFY

                      Good to see that the NZ tertiary education you claimed you have has relieved you rational thought POP, between you and OAB, there is almost zero geopolitical understanding, as it relates to propaganda and your inability to filter it!

                      Gulp gulp gulp – Argh, drank it all down!

                      USA USA USA!

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Muzza, ma gavte la nata.

    • McFlock 7.2

      Did Bibi offer to get rid of Israel’s nukes?

  8. McFlock 8

    Gwynne Dyer had an article on this in November, from a slightly different angle. On ofthe other things he points out is that Iran’s program, even if the intelligence hyperbole turns out to be correct, is completely legal.

    • MValley 8.1

      meh. Yeah they haven’t signed the NPT but it wouldn’t matter if they had. ‘Illegal’ in international law is just code for ‘what those with power decide to limit others from doing’. Actually, that’s the definition for domestic law too.

      • Draco T Bastard 8.1.1

        Iran did, as a matter of fact, sign the NPT – it was under the US installed shah at the time and did as it was told. Hell, the US was even going to help build Iran’s nuclear reactors but then Iran had a revolution and the US got upset that the Iranians had told them to fuck off.

        ‘Illegal’ in international law is just code for ‘what those with power decide to limit others from doing’.

        /agreed

        The NPT specifically requires that nuclear powers don’t trade nuclear knowledge and parts with non-NPT signatories and yet the US is trading these with India.

        • Bill 8.1.1.1

          And worth repeating, the US couldn’t have traded nuclear knowledge and parts with India without the help of Phil Goff who threw away NZ’s veto on the matter for the promise of talks about free trade talks.

    • Vicky32 8.2

      even if the intelligence hyperbole turns out to be correct, is completely legal.

      As my friend Raffaele pointed out in December – thereby showing that even someone who speaks English as a 3rd language and left school at 15, can see the obvious!
      Unlike many ‘educated’ people with their own agenda… 🙁

  9. KJT 9

    Trying to dissuade Iran from making nuclear weapons by threatening to invade? FIFY.
     
    Wasn’t it an invasion threat from Japan/Germany that started nuclear weapon development in the first place?
     
    If the USA diverted the trillions they spend on assuring oil supplies, (By invading oil rich nations)  on alternative energy and poverty reduction, everyone, including Americans, would be much better off.
    http://climatecrocks.com/2012/02/27/laffer-throws-a-new-curve-bob-inglis-explains/

  10. Sweet Jesus,

    Were did you guys find this imbecile. His “analysis” has so many holes in it it’s worse then Gruyere. I don’t have the energy to go over his epistle now but I’ll be having some fun with it tomorrow that’s promise.

    I’ll give you some hints.

    Iran wants to start an oil bourse not based on the US dollar (Like Gaddaffi and Sadam Hussein)

    Only 147 businesses rule the planet and the first fifty are banks.

    The entire financial system is collapsing and everybody is beginning to suspect the bankster Mafia.

    Ahmadinajad, the black sheep du jour and the so called mad dictator of Iran has announced to go back to being a university professor so that gives them a sort of limited option; attack now or having to vilify an whole new character while the lies are wearing thin.

    As I said, it would be helpful if your new “Geopolitical analyst” would give some back ground links so we could check up on his fables and other then that your attempt at adding some global geopolitical pizzazz to this blog is seriously pathetic and insufficient and the guy you picked to do it is woefully uninformed and just regurgitating the mud stream media. Again!

    [take a week ban for insulting an author and the standard without grounds, and another because I’m sick of every thread involving the US being hijacked by your conspiracy theories. The internet’s a big place, ev. Eddie]

    • muzza 11.2

      To be fair this article while really missing the main issues rather seriosuly, was an improvement on last weeks Syria disaster writing….

      Yes Iran is selling their oil in gold and trade in some cases now, which as you can imagine is red rag to a bull stuff, or middle finger to the bankers/oil/pharma/bombs/bullets mob, something like that anyway!

      Eddie the reference to conspiracey theories is IMO missplaced here, as Ev was making some valid points. I guess the line about the author may have ruled out any wiggle room..hey ho!

      • Colonial Viper 11.2.1

        Several major countries are working very hard to be able to trade with each another free of the US dollar. This includes China, India, Pakistan, Iran, Russia, Japan. The US does not like this at all as it undermines the usefulness, control and printability of the US dollar as the reserve currency of the world.

        http://www.mintcollc.com/wordpress/archives/1708

        • Colonial Viper 11.2.1.1

          China is working hard to get off its dependence on the USD. By not being reliant on the USD for increasing amounts of trade, China can be a partner in building financial and banking systems outside of US control.

          And the classic tool that China is using to do this is known as a “bilateral currency swap”. That is, an agreement between China and another country to conduct trade with each other in their own currencies, avoiding the US dollar altogether.

          http://english.people.com.cn/90778/7709301.html

          Since the onset of the global financial crisis in late 2008, China has signed a total of 1.3-trillion-yuan currency swap agreements with 15 countries and regions such as South Korea, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Belarus, Argentina, etc. Some of the agreements have taken effect and promote the bilateral trade and investment between China and these economies.

          That’s almost US$200B worth of bilateral currency swap agreements signed since late 2008.

          • ianmac 11.2.1.1.1

            Some years ago there was a discussion that the Euro could usurp the place of the $US, if it was able to get a strong agreement among the Member countries. I suppose the USA might be pleased at the current disaster of the Euro?

            • Colonial Viper 11.2.1.1.1.1

              The US aims to slow down the loss of the USDs reserve currency status as much as possible; instability in the Euro assists with this but at a very significant cost – disruption to the economies of key allies. So “pleased” might be a tad strong.

          • Draco T Bastard 11.2.1.1.2

            What the banksters and their poodles in the governments didn’t get around to realising is that, in a free-market, there isn’t a reserve currency. This lack prevents the present economic hegemon (The USA) from printing money hand over fist and then buying up all the resources with that printed money.

  11. tsmithfield 12

    I seriously doubt Iran will attempt to nuke Israel. They might well succeed in wiping out Israel if they managed to get the first strike in. However, they would also solve the Palestinian problem permanently through the nuclear fallout. Also, the nuclear fallout would probably affect the entire Arab region, including the Iranians themselves.

    On the other hand, they may be more interested in launching a nuclear attack on the US if they can develop intercontinental missiles. Of course, there would be immediate nuclear retaliation from the US. However, I remember reading/seeing something about the great fear being of a state that saw itself in the same light as suicide bombers. That is, the state is willing to sacrifice itself for a cause, similar to the way that some deranged individuals are.

    • McFlock 12.1

      The suicide-state theory assumes a single homogenous ruling body. That isn’t Iran.
      And then there’s the Dome of the Rock also against the Israel option.
      And then there’s the sheer logistics of arranging enough ICBMs capable of hitting continental US before they decide to get pre-emptive.
          
      Or there could just be a major regional power going nuclear to get ahead of the game as an oil producer in a peak oil world, with the option of dirty bomb materials if they really are that nuts. Which I don’t think they are.
        
       

      • Populuxe1 12.1.1

        The suicide-state theory assumes a single homogenous ruling body. That isn’t Iran.

        It’s the will of the Mullahs that matters – The actual government has surprisingly little power, as the reformist President Mohammad Khātamī found out.

        And then there’s the Dome of the Rock also against the Israel option.

        A nuclear strike in Tel Aviv isn’t going to harm the Dome of the Rock.

        And then there’s the sheer logistics of arranging enough ICBMs capable of hitting continental US before they decide to get pre-emptive.

        Supposedly it would be really difficult for a group of terrorists to hijack passenger jets and use them on US targets… Oh wait. Anyway, all it would require is some bloody-minded fanatics to smuggle them into the US. Suicide bombers are just as effective as cruise missiles. It might be a bit 24 but not impossible.

            
        Or there could just be a major regional power going nuclear to get ahead of the game as an oil producer in a peak oil world, with the option of dirty bomb materials if they really are that nuts. Which I don’t think they are.

        That doesn’t sound all that nuts, and frankly religious extremists like Iran’s mullahs are not exactly known for calm rationality.
         
         
         
         
         

        • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1

          Supposedly it would be really difficult for a group of terrorists to hijack passenger jets and use them on US targets… Oh wait.

          yeah it would be really difficult. Like precision flying a large passenger liner nap of the earth into the Pentagon after only having trained a few flight school lessons on single prop light aircraft…oh wait.

          • Populuxe1 12.1.1.1.1

            Oh. I see. You’re a conspiracy nutter. I’ll leave you alone then – I had thought you were rational enough to be worth debating. Obviously you’re not.

            • Colonial Viper 12.1.1.1.1.1

              So how did someone who had a handful of lessons in a light propeller plane managed to fly a heavy passenger jet liner nap of the earth, less than 50m of the ground for at least a kilometre into the side of the Pentagon?

              Sure I guess it could have been a skilful fluke, you know, beginners luck and all that.

              You must believe it was a skilful fluke, right?

              • Populuxe1

                Do you have any idea how automated a passenger jet is? It doesn’t take a lot of skill to fly once it’s in the air, and even less skill to crash it.

                • Colonial Viper

                  I get it, your idea is the guy with a few lessons on light aircraft managed to set the autopilot on a heavy passenger jet liner with the co-ordinates of the Pentagon?

                  Where did he learn to do that?

                  Or is flying a heavy passenger jet liner just like having a few goes on MS flight simulator?

                  • Populuxe1

                    Who knows? You’ve obviously never felt sufficiently passionate about something to know what can be achieved if one puts everything into it – and obviously you have little understanding of how accurate flight simulators are these days.  Or indeed video games. It is quite possible, epsecially if you have no plans for surviving it.
                    http://www.ehow.com/video_4459664_airplane-landing-pilot-training.html

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Do not feed the truther.

                    • muzza

                      POP – Again you have just had your point of view shown to be idiotic. Auto Pilot, could have allowed that, FFS bro, back to Uni you go, those three schools were not enough. Ok, now how many flying lessons have you had, how many hours in a flight simulator have you had?
                      There are numerous commercial, and ex military experts who state on record that amateurs pilots , COULD NOT, have made the maneuvers of the flight 77

                      OAB – Not a Truther, Not a Denier , ma gavte la nata , and apparantly NOT an Italian either – Tu non hai capito nulla niente di realtà

                    • Colonial Viper

                      I play racing games on my PS3 lots, I’m totally ready for winning the UK Touring Car championship and the WRC now. Let me at ‘m.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Muzza, have you read Foucault’s Pendulum? It’s about three friends who invent an alternative version of history, and a group of morons who don’t understand it’s a fantasy.

                    • felix

                      “It is quite possible, epsecially if you have no plans for surviving it.”

                      Actually Pop, whether or not you plan to survive it has no bearing whatsoever on the difficulty of the manoeuvre.

                    • Kotahi Tane Huna

                      Felix, of course it does, unless are you saying that your mental state is irrelevant.

        • McFlock 12.1.1.2

          The suicide-state theory assumes a single homogenous ruling body. That isn’t Iran.
          It’s the will of the Mullahs that matters – The actual government has surprisingly little power, as the reformist President Mohammad Khātamī found out.

          Yes, the civil branch will always lose a pissing match against the ruling council – but it’s not like the ruling council consists only of cosmic warriors in the fashion of AQ. The internal politics of Iran, what little I’ve read, make my head hurt. They have their share of delusional nutbars, like any totalitarian regime, but there’d be very few apocalyptics on the ruling council.

          And then there’s the Dome of the Rock also against the Israel option.
          A nuclear strike in Tel Aviv isn’t going to harm the Dome of the Rock.

          True – but multiple strikes against Tel Aviv, Dimona, and so on would be wasted without targetting Jerusalem. That was the lynchpin in 1948, and it will be come WW3.

          And then there’s the sheer logistics of arranging enough ICBMs capable of hitting continental US before they decide to get pre-emptive. Supposedly it would be really difficult for a group of terrorists to hijack passenger jets and use them on US targets… Oh wait. Anyway, all it would require is some bloody-minded fanatics to smuggle them into the US. Suicide bombers are just as effective as cruise missiles. It might be a bit 24 but not impossible.

          Oh please – the PFLP were hijacking multiple airliners in the 60s. It was simply a game-changer to use the planes as weapons, rather than simply take hostages (although had been attempted in I believe 1974 and in the 1990s). As soon as the passengers found out the change in script, they foiled the plan.

          Or there could just be a major regional power going nuclear to get ahead of the game as an oil producer in a peak oil world, with the option of dirty bomb materials if they really are that nuts. Which I don’t think they are.
          That doesn’t sound all that nuts, and frankly religious extremists like Iran’s mullahs are not exactly known for calm rationality.

          Actually, they are. And a connection with a dirty bomb would have equivalent repercussions to if they really did use nukes.

    • Colonial Viper 12.2

      On the other hand, they may be more interested in launching a nuclear attack on the US if they can develop intercontinental missiles.

      Nope.

      It would take a couple of hours for Iranian ICBMs to be fueled, launched, and fly to reach the continental United States. But once surface launches from Iran were confirmed US nuclear tipped SLBMs launched from the Persian Gulf would hit Tehran in 15 minutes.

      The Iranians can do this math as well as anyone else.

      The Iranians are interested in having regional influence. They aren’t interested in gaining threatening but expensive capabilities (ICBMs) which would put the likes of global powers Russia and China on edge for no advantage to themselves.

      • insider 12.2.1

        Are you an American? Only an American stooge would say ‘math’.

        • Colonial Viper 12.2.1.1

          Never said I wasn’t American. And unlike Populuxe I’m not blaming a spell checker either.

    • DH 12.3

      One of the more convincing arguments against Iranian nukes is the Syria and North Korea example. It condemns the people of a country to being ruled by tyrants permanently. Iran’s rulers don’t represent the people, Iranians are a pretty progressive bunch especially the educated ones. Give the mad mullahs nukes and the people would never be able to overthrow them. Despotic rulers can nearly always put down a local uprising by force as long as there’s no outside interference. That’s been demonstrated many times.

      Syria will keep slaughtering it’s citizens until quiet reigns again. The main reason no-one is intervening in Syria is because they threatened to start a regional war & use their WMDs against Israel if anyone attacked them. They’ve got nothing to lose, they know they’re dead if the revolt overthrows them, so MAD has lost its effectiveness. Iran would be the same.

      There’s other good arguments, such as starting a nuclear proliferation among Arab states.

  12. Rusty Shackleford 13

    Just more reason to support limited central government. No matter who the leader is, they are always going to abuse the power they are given.

  13. rosy 14

    It seems Obama didn’t give quite the speech to AIPAC the Israelis were looking for. Despite saying…

    A nuclear-armed Iran is completely counter to Israel’s security interests. But it is also counter to the national security interests of the United States. Indeed, the entire world has an interest in preventing Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. A nuclear-armed Iran would thoroughly undermine the non-proliferation regime that we have done so much to build. There are risks that an Iranian nuclear weapon could fall into the hands of a terrorist organization.

    (no mention of Israel’s nuclear weapons and non-membership of the non-proliferation regime, cf the legality of Iran’s position). He was adamant that ‘containment’ of the Iranian nuclear ambition was not an option, prevention was the aim, he then went on to say:

    … I firmly believe that an opportunity remains for diplomacy – backed by pressure – to succeed…
    Already, there is too much loose talk of war. Over the last few weeks, such talk has only benefited the Iranian government, by driving up the price of oil, which they depend upon to fund their nuclear program. For the sake of Israel’s security, America’s security, and the peace and security of the world, now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built. Now is the time to heed that timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly, but carry a big stick.

    The speech tone, as a whole, is being interpreted by analysts as a restatement of position and a rebuke to Israel.

  14. mick 15

    Mordechai Vanunu brought his camera to work in late 1985, shortly before leaving his eight-year stint as a technician at Israel’s nuclear weapons factory at Dimona.
    Acting on his conscience, he carefully took about 60 photos of the top-secret labs and unique production processes involved. When some of these photos were originally published in the London Sunday Times’ exposé, they confirmed his eyewitness testimony about the extent of Israel’s nuclear weapons program and revealed Israel to be one of the world’s top nuclear powers. To this day, the Israeli government refuses international inspection of Dimona and continues to deny the existence of its nuclear arsenal. [click here for more of Vanunu’s story: archive/story.html]
    While their publication resulted in Vanunu being locked away for an 18-year prison sentence, his photographs of Israel’s nuclear weapons factory – a bold statement against nuclear secrecy and for the abolition of nuclear weapons – are here for all to see.
     
     
     
     
     
    http://www.vanunu.com/uscampaign/photos.html
     
     
     

  15. mick 16

    I go from thinking Israel or America only ever attack near helpless peoples. So all will be well. Hopefully.
    From whatreallyhappened.com this …
    Iran vs Israel: What The Media Wants You To Forget
    The corporate media have been given their orders to throw the focus back on to Iran.
    Here is a recap of what they are trying to make you forget.
    1. Last Spring, Rose Gottemoeller, an assistant secretary of state and Washington’s chief nuclear arms negotiator, asked Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Israel refused.
    2. The United Nations passed a resolution calling on Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to submit to inspections. Israel refused.
    3. The IAEA asked Israel to sign the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and to submit to inspections. Israel refused.
    4. Iran’s formal notification to the IAEA of the planned construction of the backup fuel-rod facility underscores that Iran is playing by the rules of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty which Iran has signed.
    5. Iran allows IAEA inspections of all its facilities.
    6. Contrary to face-saving claims, it appears that the US and Israel were both caught off guard by Iran’s announcement of a planned underground (to avoid being bombed) enrichment facility. The reasoning is simple. Had the US or Israel announced the existence of he new facility before Iran’s notified the IAEA, it would have put Iran on the defensive. As it is now, the US and Israel seem to be playing catch up, casting doubt on the veracity of Israel’s claims to “know” that Iran is a nuclear threat.
    7. The IAEA and all 16 United States Intelligence Agencies are unanimous in agreement that Iran is not building and does not possess nuclear weapons.
    8. In 1986, Mordachai Vanunu blew the whistle and provided photographs showing Israel’s clandestine nuclear weapons factory underneath the reactor at Dimona.
    9. Israel made the same accusations against Iraq that it is making against Iran, leading up to Israel’s bombing of the power station at Osirik. Following the invasion of 2003, international experts examined the ruins of the power station at Osirik and found no evidence of a clandestine weapons factory in the rubble.
    10. The United Nations has just released the Goldstone Report, a scathing report which accuses Israel of 37 specific war crimes and crimes against humanity in Gaza earlier this year. Israel has denounced the report as “Anti-Semitic (even though Judge Goldstone is himself Jewish), and the United States will block the report from being referred to the War Crimes Tribunal at the Hague, thereby making the US Government an accessory after-the-fact.
    11. Recently revealed documents prove not only that Israel has nuclear weapos, but actually tried to sell some to Apartheid South Africa. Who else Israel approached to sell nuclear weapons remains an unasked question.
    12. In 1965, Israel stole over 200-600 pounds of weapons-grade uranium from the United States.
    13. Declassified documents from the former South African regime prove not only that Israel has had nuclear weapons for decades, but has tried to sell them to other countries!
    We all need to be Joe Wilson right now. We need to stand up and scream, “LIAR!” at every politician and every talking media moron that is pushing this war in Iran. And we need to keep dong it until they get the message that we will not be deceived any more.
    Israel wants to send your kids off to die in Iran, and YOU are the only one that can stop them.
    Please forward this comment to your social networks.

    • Morrissey 16.1

      Israel has denounced the report as “Anti-Semitic (even though Judge Goldstone is himself Jewish)

      That’s merely a standard Israeli government response to any criticism.

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    The UN climate summit is happening in new York next week, and unlike previous years, coal-burners and denier-states are not being invited to speak:Leading economies such as Japan and Australia will not be invited to speak at next week’s crunch UN climate change summit, as their continued support for coal ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    3 days ago
  • Jojo Tamihere Salutes Herr Goff.
    Get Back Jojo! The elation in Mayor Phil Goff’s camp may be easily imagined as they watched social media light up in indignation at challenger John Tamihere’s "Sieg Heil to that" quip. Just when JT’s notoriously right-wing, sexist and homophobic stains were beginning to fade back into his ‘colourful’ past, ...
    3 days ago
  • Hard News: A fun but flawed weed documentary
    Patrick Gower is good value when he's high. Not that I've ever, you know, got stoned with him. But in the second part of his documentary Patrick Gower on Weed, he does what you'd expect in a modern weed documentary and immerses himself – first with a doctor, then a ...
    3 days ago
  • Candidate Survey: Western Bay of Plenty – Local Body Elections 2019
    We surveyed candidates on their attitudes to issues facing the Western Bay Region, find out what they think: “Closing the Gap” Tauranga, one of the area groups of Income Equality Aotearoa NZ Inc., has surveyed all candidates in the three local body elections to discover attitudes to some basic issues ...
    Closing the GapBy Tracey Sharp
    4 days ago
  • Project Nettie calls on scientists to defend biology
    Please spread widely, and sign, to support science and rationalism over the new irrationalism sweeping universities and institutions.  PROJECT NETTIE Sexual reproduction, the generation of offspring by fusion of genetic material from two different individuals, evolved over 1 billion years ago. It is the reproductive strategy of all higher animals ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • I’m glad I don’t live in Auckland
    Just when I was thinking that Palmerston North's mayoral race (which includes a convicted child molester / public wanker and a convicted child beater) was the worst in the country, Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere opened his mouth:Auckland mayoral candidate John Tamihere is being slammed for using the words "sieg ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • Index of Power Update, 2018-19: China #2
    We reprint below an article from the excellent website the Economics of Imperialism by Tony Norfield This is an update of the statistics for my Index of Power, using data for 2018-19 and discussing what a country’s ranking reflects. The major change is that China’s rank has shifted up and ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    4 days ago
  • Climate Change: A history lesson
    Why is New Zealand climate change policy so crap? The Herald this morning has a long article on the twists and turns of climate change policy in New Zealand [paywalled / depaywall script], which shows where we've been. The short version is that the government first began worrying about this ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    4 days ago
  • What the All Blacks Mean to Us
    The All Blacks have been, for more than a century, arguably the most successful International sports team in the world. But they are more than that; even for those Kiwis who are immune to the charms of rugby (and there are more than a few), the All Blacks are ambassadors ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    4 days ago
  • No one is born into the wrong body
    A short and incredibly powerful speech from a young lesbian woman. No one is born in the wrong body. ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Contempt
    Back in June, the UK Court of Appeal ruled that that country's continued arms sales to Saudi Arabia were unlawful. So you'd expect that the UK government stopped approving them, right?Of course not:The government has apologised for breaching a court ruling against the sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Covering up the cover-up
    Yesterday NZDF officials were put on the stand about the lies they had told over Operation Burnham, making implausible claims that it was all a big mistake. But along the way, we learned they had already been put on the spot about it by a previous Defence Minister, who had ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Not as important as they think they are
    Farmers have been whining a lot lately, about the methane targets in the Zero Carbon Bill, about Canterbury's proposed nitrogen limits, and about the government's new proposals to stop them from shitting in our lakes and rivers. These policies are "throwing farmers under the tractor", they will force farmers off ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    5 days ago
  • Behind Every Good Woman Should Stand – Another Good Woman.
    Alone, Alone, All, All, Alone: To argue that the Prime Minister is the victim of her advisers’ failure to keep her informed may offer Jacinda some measure of exoneration – but only at the cost of casting her as a hopeless political ingénue. A star-dusted muppet, whose only purpose is to ...
    5 days ago
  • Poor quality, poorly educated kiddie ‘Journalists’ spreading fake news
    In times of hysteria about the “World coming to an end” and “rising sea levels” so-called ‘Journalists’ who can barely spell words longer than four letters are having a ball! Though the majority of the Public have worked out that manmade climate change is nothing short of pseudo-science, and the ...
    An average kiwiBy admin@averagekiwi.com
    5 days ago
  • Chris Trotter on the BFD
    I don't want to give pblicity to certain parts of the internet that are better left to fester in their own irrelevance (I know, a bit like this place) but the listing of Chris Trotter as a 'author' on Cameron Slater's spinoff website, the BFD requires some explanation.Now, I don't ...
    5 days ago
  • Sex is not a spectrum
    The text below is a Twitter thread by Heather Heying that explains the essence of sexual reproduction and it long evolutionary history. She is an evolutionary biologist and a “professor-in-exile” after she and her husband, Bret Weinstein, stood up to supporters of an enforced “Day of Absence” for white staff and teachers ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    5 days ago
  • Climate Change: Trees, aviation, and offsets
    With crunch time for new Zealand climate policy approaching, most of the New Zealand media have got on board with a global reporting effort to cover the issue. There's one strand of stories today about polling and what it shows about changing public attitudes to the crisis, but the strand ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • Pissing-Off The Israelis Is A High-Risk Strategy.
    Dangerous Foes: For those readers of Bowalley Road who feel disposed to dismiss any prospect of an Israeli destabilisation of New Zealand politics, the example of the United Kingdom repays close attention. Ever since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as leader of the British Labour Party, the Israelis have sanctioned, funded and ...
    6 days ago
  • Something to go to in Wellington
    Make It 16, the youth-led campaign to lower New Zealand's voting age, is holding an official campaign launch at Parliament this Friday from 16:30. If you'd like to attend, you can register using EventBrite here. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • A founding member responds to Peace Action Wellington
    by Don Franks It was a lovely sunny Wellington afternoon with blue skies above  the beaches.  In Courtenay Place, political activists packed out a stuffy upstairs room for an important meeting. The assembled pacifists, anarchists, communists and independent young radicals of Peace Action Wellington felt the need for a mission ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • “Mistakes and errors”
    Current and former NZDF top brass are being publicly grilled this week by the hit and run inquiry over their public responses to allegations of civilian casualties. Previously, they've claimed there were no casualties, a position which led them to lie to Ministers and to the public. Now, they're saying ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    6 days ago
  • “Homosexuality is same-sex attraction and relationships, not heterosexuals with delusions of gende...
    by Rafael D. Quiles (gender-critical gay man from Puerto Rico) The writing on the wall is right in people’s faces and people just don’t see it or don’t want to. What could actually possess a heterosexual male to want to feminize himself and claim that he is a lesbian? Because ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    6 days ago
  • Trump: “Where’s my favourite dictator?”
    From the Wall Street Journal:Inside a room of the ornately decorated Hotel du Palais during last month’s Group of Seven summit in Biarritz, France, President Trump awaited a meeting with Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi. Mr. Trump looked over a gathering of American and Egyptian officials and called out in ...
    7 days ago
  • Magdalen Burns, 1983-2019, fighter for women’s liberation
    by the Redline blog collective At Redline we are very saddened to hear of the death of Magdalen Burns who passed away on the morning of Friday, September 13 (British time). Magdalen was a great fighter for the rights of women in general and lesbian women in particular, a defender ...
    RedlineBy Admin
    1 week ago
  • Parliament and the Executive
    The Brexit issue has certainly brought with it a series of apparently difficult constitutional issues, many of them concerning the respective roles of the executive and parliament. Most of them arise because of the unwillingness of MPs, despite their professions to the contrary, to be bound by a constitutional rarity ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    1 week ago
  • The Abigail Article; Martyn Bradbury’s Article, and My Response
    . . This blogpost is different to my usual format of reporting on issues… Since July 1011, I have blogged on a variety of political issues; near always political and/or environmental; mostly highly critical of the previous National Government. Other issues included Israeli occupation of Palestinian lands and repression of ...
    Frankly SpeakingBy Frank Macskasy
    1 week ago
  • Police will have to wear silly Buckingham Palace hats from now on, says Police Minister
    Those close to the Police Minister believe the initiative may be the result of Nash “seeing a great deal” on AliExpress. In a move that comes seemingly out of nowhere, Police Minister Stuart Nash announced this afternoon that he expects all frontline staff to don bearskin hats, famously worn by ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • A sensible crackdown
    The government has released its Arms Legislation Bill, containing the second tranche of changes to gun laws following the March 15 massacre. And it all looks quite sensible: a national gun register, higher penalties for illegal possession and dealing, tighter restrictions on arms dealers and shooting clubs, and a shorter ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • California bans private prisons
    Private prisons are a stain on humanity. Prison operators explicitly profit from human misery, then lobby for longer prisons terms so they can keep on profiting. And in the US, prison companies run not only local and state prisons, but also Donald Trump's immigration concentration camps. Faced with this moral ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Why PPPs are a bad idea
    When National was in power, they were very keen on Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs) - basicly, using private companies to finance public infrastructure as a way of hiding debt from the public. They were keen on using them for everything - roads, schools, hospitals. But as the UK shows, that "service" ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • A Movement That No Longer Moves.
    Moving And Shaking: There was a time when people spoke matter-of-factly about the “labour movement” – a political phenomenon understood to embrace much more than the Labour Party. Included within the term’s definition was the whole trade union movement – many of whose members looked upon the Labour Party as ...
    1 week ago
  • NZ ‘left’ politically embracing extreme postmodernism
    by Philip Ferguson Much of the left, even people who formally identify as marxists, have collapsed politically in the face of postmodern gender theory of the sort pioneered by American philosopher Judith Butler. For Butler even biological sex is socially constructed. “If the immutable character of sex is contested, perhaps ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    1 week ago
  • The obvious question
    The media is reporting that the (alleged) Labour party sexual assaulter has resigned from their job at Parliament, which means hopefully he won't be turning up there making people feel unsafe in future. Good. But as with everything about this scandal, it just raises other questions. Most significantly: why the ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • The moment I found out that you found out, I acted swiftly
    By Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern I am every bit as angry as you are. I am every bit as disappointed as you must be. The people with power, oversight and the ability to do something about these processes within the Labour Party should be ashamed. Whoever those people are, I ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • This is why people hate property developers
    Property developers think there is an "oversupply" of houses in Auckland:High turnover rates and falling prices may be a sign that there are too many new houses going in to some parts of Auckland, commentators say. [...] Property developer David Whitburn said there was a "bit of an oversupply" in ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Australia to Pacific: “Fuck you, you can all drown”
    World leaders are meeting in New York in two weeks for the 2019 Climate Action Summit, where they are expected to announce new and more ambitious targets to stop the world from burning. But the Australian Prime Minister won't be there, despite being in the USA at the time:Scott Morrison ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Implausible ignorance
    Labour Party president Nigel Haworth resigned yesterday over the party's sexual assault scandal. But while that's good news, its unlikely to take away the stench of a coverup. Because according to Paula Bennett in Parliament yesterday, pretty much everyone in the Prime Minister's office was involved as well:I have been ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • Labour’s Fatal Flaw.
     Two-Faced? Labour insiders' commitment to the neoliberal status quo puts them at odds with their party’s membership; its trade union affiliates; and a majority of Labour voters, but this only serves to strengthen the perception they have of themselves as a special elite. Among the lesser breeds, they’ll talk up a ...
    1 week ago
  • Ten reasons the Tories do NOT want an election
    There has been a lot of talk about Boris Johnson wanting an election, and he has blustered with great gusto about 'chicken' Jeremy Corbyn refusing one, but I think there are many reasons why he is secretly glad he has been refused the opportunity:The Tories are an utter rabble,tearing themselves ...
    1 week ago
  • Prorogation Illegal, rule Scottish judges
    Scottish appeal court judges have declared that Boris Johnson’s decision to suspend parliament in the run-up to the October Brexit deadline is unlawful. The three judges, chaired by Lord Carloway, Scotland’s most senior judge, overturned an earlier ruling that the courts did not have the powers to interfere in the prime ...
    1 week ago
  • Let me explain what I meant by Everyday New Zealanders
    By Simon Bridges. The following is a press release from the office of Simon Bridges, leader of The National Party. Key ora, New Zealand. Happy Maori Language Week. Look, I’m writing to you today because I want to clear something up. There’s been a lot of kerfuffle around some things ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    1 week ago
  • Yes, the SIS is subject to the Public Records Act
    I understand there's some stuff going round about how the SIS "was removed from the list of public offices covered by the Public Records Act in 2017". The context of course being their records derived from US torture, which will be disposed of or sealed. The good news is that ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    1 week ago
  • An evidence-based discussion of the Canadian fluoride/IQ study
    Dr. Christopher Labos and Jonathan Jarry discuss the recent Canadian fluoride/IQ research. They provide an expert analysis of the paper and its problems. Click on image to go to podcast. The critical debate about the recent ...
    2 weeks ago
  • Climate Change: Australia in denial
    Australia is burning down again, and meanwhile its natural disaster minister is denying climate change:Australia’s minister responsible for drought and natural disasters, David Littleproud, has said that he doesn’t “know if climate change is manmade”. Clarifying earlier comments that the question is “irrelevant” when considering the Coalition government’s response to ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Philippines activist speaking on the Duterte tyranny
    Auckland Philippines Solidarity is excited to host Professor Judy Taguiwalo for a speaking tour of NZ in September. She is a well-known activist in the Philippines and was a political prisoner under the Marcos dictatorship. Professor Taguiwalo briefly served as a Cabinet member under President Duterte but was forced from ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Disgust
    I have no special insights to offer on the Labour sexual assault coverup. All I have is disgust. Disgust that an organisation could fail its people so badly. Disgust that they punished the victims rather than the perpetrator. Disgust that its party hacks are apparently blaming the victims for demanding ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Speak Up for Women calls out Greens’ censorship
    This open letter to the Green Party was penned after an opinion piece by Jill Abigail, a feminist and founding member of the party, was censored by the Greens’ leadership. (Redline has reprinted her article here).The intolerance of the Green Party leaders and their acceptance of the misogyny of gender ...
    RedlineBy Daphna
    2 weeks ago
  • Member’s Day: End of Life Choice, part 3
    Today is a Member's day, and David Seymour's End of Life Choice Bill continues its slow crawl through its committee stage. They're spending the whole day on it today, though the first hour is likely to be spent on voting left over from last time. After that they'll move on ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Flight to Los Angeles turned back after passengers decide they don’t want to go anymore
    An ambitious plan to fly to Los Angeles petered out into a brief sight-seeing trip and a desire to return home and get some sleep before work tomorrow. Air New Zealand has confirmed a flight to Los Angeles last night was turned back about a quarter of the way into ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Indigenous Futures: defuturing and futuring – an analytical framework for policy development?
    There appears to be consensus – by omission – that the concept of indigenous futures should be accepted at face value. So I scavenged the internet to see if I could locate an academic descriptor or a framework around how we think about it as a concept, and whether it ...
    EllipsisterBy Ellipsister
    2 weeks ago
  • Cadbury rumoured to be releasing the Pineapple Trump
    Here’s another novelty chocolate to shove in your gob, New Zealand Cadbury could be seeking to make itself great again with a rumoured new release: Pineapple Trumps, a spin on its classic chocolate-encased pineapple treat and do-it-yourself tooth remover. The global confectionery manufacturer and bumbling “before” character in an infomercial, ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • The coming resource war.
    During my time in the Pentagon I had the privilege of sitting down with military leaders and defence and security officials from a variety of Latin American nations. Sometimes I was present as a subordinate assistant to a senior US defence department official, sometimes as part of a delegation that ...
    KiwipoliticoBy Pablo
    2 weeks ago
  • Māori Language Week with The Civilian
    Kia ora, Aotearoa. It’s that magical time of year. Te Wiki o te Reo Māori. In English, the week that frightens talk radio. As you probably know by now, all your favourite media outlets are participating, some more successfully than others. Stuff has changed its name to Puna for the ...
    The CivilianBy admin
    2 weeks ago
  • Will Horizons act on climate change?
    Local body elections are coming up next month. And it looks like all Palmerston North candidates for Horizons (the Manawatu-Whanganui Regional Council) want to take action on climate change:Climate change is set to be a key issue in Palmerston North for the next three years if those wanting to get ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • BORA reform is stalled
    Eighteen months ago, the government promised to strengthen the Bill of Rights Act, by explicitly affirming the power of the courts to issue declarations of inconsistency and requiring Parliament to formally respond to them. So how's that going? I was curious, so I asked for all advice about the proposal. ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Corbyn and Brexit
    As the Brexit saga staggers on, the focus is naturally enough on the Prime Minister and his attempts to achieve Brexit “do or die”. But the role played by the Leader of the Opposition is of almost equal interest and complexity. The first problem for Jeremy Corbyn is that he ...
    Bryan GouldBy Bryan Gould
    2 weeks ago
  • A ditch for him to die in
    Last week, English Prime Minister Boris Johnson boldly declared that he would rather die be dead in a ditch than delay Brexit. Unfortunately for him, the UK parliament accepted the challenge, and promptly dug one for him. The "rebellion bill" requires him to ask for and secure yet another temporary ...
    No Right TurnBy Idiot/Savant
    2 weeks ago
  • Warning! Warning! Danger Jacinda Ardern! Danger Marama Davidson! Warning!
    Lost In Political Space: The most important takeaway from this latest Labour sexual assault scandal, which (if I may paraphrase Nixon’s White House counsel’s, John Dean’s, infamous description of Watergate) is “growing like a cancer” on the premiership, is the Labour Party organisation’s extraordinary professional paralysis in the face of ...
    2 weeks ago

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