October 9, 2012
The Jerusalem Post reports today that the United States and Israel are planning a joint military operation to take out Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities.
The report appeared in Foreign Policy following a speech by presidential candidate Mitt Romney on foreign policy, including Obama’s stance on Iran.
“Iran today has never been closer to a nuclear weapons capability,” Romney said in a foreign policy address delivered at the Virginia Military Institute. “And it has never acted less deterred by America.”
CFR member and visiting scholar at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, David Rothkopf, reported that the White House and Israeli officials “assert that the two sides behind the scenes have come closer together in their views [regarding Iran] in recent days.”
According to the Post, Rothkopf quoted a “source close to the discussions” as saying that a surgical strike aimed at Iran’s enrichment facilities “might take only ‘a couple of hours'” at best and would be conducted by air using bombers and drones.
“Advocates for this approach,” according to Rothkopf, “argue that not only is it likely to be more politically palatable in the United States but, were it to be successful – meaning knocking out enrichment facilities, setting the Iranian nuclear program back many years, and doing so without civilian casualties – it would have region wide benefits. One advocate asserts it would have a ‘transformative outcome: saving Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, reanimating the peace process, securing the Gulf, sending an unequivocal message to Russia and China, and assuring American ascendancy in the region for a decade to come.’”
In addition to its nuclear program, the United States has stated it will attack Iran’s civilian population.
The U.S. is “reluctantly” considering additional covert action against Iran, according to the Christian Science Monitor. The plan calls for air strikes on power plants and other sites “that could impact Iranian civilian populations.”
In August, Richard Silverstein, who specializes in reporting on the Israeli national security state, posted a leaked document revealing details on the Israeli plan to strike Iran. The document states that Iran’s “internet, telephones, radio and television, communications satellites, and fiber optic cables leading to and from critical installations – including underground missile bases at Khorramabad and Isfahan – will be taken out of action” by the Israelis.
The nuclear reactor at Arak and the nuclear fuel production facilities at Isfahan will be targeted, according to the document. Other toxic chemical targets will be destroyed including “missile silos, storage tanks for chemical components of rocket fuel, industrial facilities for producing missile control systems, centrifuge production plants and more.”
In November, Eli Lake, writing for The Daily Beast, cited current and former U.S. intelligence officials who said Israel’s target list includes Iran’s electric grid, internet, cellphone network, and emergency frequencies for firemen and police officers.
“The existence of a program designed to cripple crucial civilian infrastructure not related to Iran’s nuclear program reveals that the Israeli-U.S. plan is to reduce the country to a Stone Age condition much the same way Iraq was leveled in 2003,” we wrote at the time.
On October 5, we reported on a report released by the Hinckley Institute of Politics at the University of Utah delving into the human and environmental consequences of an Israeli military strike on Iranian nuclear facilities.
“In our assessment, it is highly likely that the physical and thermal casualties as the result of the strikes will exceed 5,000 personnel at the nuclear sites. The secondary civilian casualties as a result of exposure to the release of toxic and radioactive materials could increase this number to over 80,000 citizens,” the executive summary states.
If the Foreign Policy report is correct, it now appears Israel and the United States may be ready to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities and produce a catastrophe that would rival Chernobyl in toxic and deadly effects.