|Israeli Jericho III Nuclear-warhead capable IRBM|
From NPR:An Israeli official said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to persuade his Cabinet to authorize a military strike against Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program — a discussion that comes as Israel successfully tests a missile believed capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to Iran.
[Netanyahu's] hawkish foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was dismissive of the reports but added: "We are keeping all the options on the table."A compilation of reports on attacking Iran, at Arutz Shiva, claims that the UK and USA are preparing to participate:
The government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing sensitive internal deliberations, told The Associated Press that the option is now being debated at the highest levels.
The official confirmed a report Wednesday in the Haaretz daily that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both favor an attack, but do not yet have the support of a majority of Cabinet ministers. The official also said Israel's top security chiefs, including the heads of the military and Mossad spy agency, oppose military action.
It is generally understood that such a momentous decision would require a Cabinet decision. Israel's 1981 destruction of Iraq's nuclear reactor was preceded by a Cabinet vote.
Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev refused to comment on the issue but did say there is a "decision-making process which has stood the test of time. ... There have been precedents, and the process works."
With most of its population concentrated in a narrow corridor of land along the Mediterranean, Israel's homefront could be vulnerable to a counterattack.
Iran's military chief, Gen. Hasan Firouzabadi, said his country takes Israeli threats seriously and vowed fierce retaliation.
"We are fully prepared to use our proper equipment to punish any mistake so that it will cause a shock," he said in comments posted on the website of the Guard, Iran's most powerful military force.
Reflecting the mood in Israel, military expert Reuven Pedatzur wrote in Haaretz that "if anyone can save Israel from catastrophe, it is the Israeli air force commander," who might simply tell Netanyahu that an attack on Iran "cannot achieve its goals."
A report in the British Guardiannewspaper Wednesday said that the U.S. and the UK were gearing up for a possible attack on Iran. According to the report, the U.S. has become increasingly frustrated – and concerned – over Iran's refusal to end its enrichment of uranium. Britain has agreed to help, despite some members of the British government being opposed to providing such assistance.Discussion of the possibility of an upcoming Israeli attack on Iran, or of US/UK participation in this has so far mostly been confined to the foreign press. Democracy Now reported on the meeting, and successful missile test together, in the same brief paragraph, this morning:
"In anticipation of a potential attack, British military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air- and sea-launched campaign,” the article says. Officials said that the U.S. would launch some missile attacks from British ships, if action was taken against Iran, as well as from the British protectorate of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean,
According to the Guardian, the decision to strike Iran came about as the result of the successful campaign that resulted in the dethroning of Muammar Qaddafi as dictator of Libya.
The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz is reporting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran. Netanyahu and Barak have reportedly persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to support such an attack. Earlier today, Israel reportedly test-fired a ballistic missile.I've been scared into thinking that an attack on Iran was imminent in the past. Is this different? We may know for sure by the end of the week. This comes a day after it was announced that a poll commissioned by the European Commission shows deep concern about Israel's path amongst Europeans:
Results of a new poll commissioned by the European Commission show that Israel is believed by Europeans in 15 countries to be the greatest threat to world peace, greater than North Korea, Iran or Afghanistan.This might be shocking to the people at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who wrote the above report on the poll, but given today's intentional leak from Netanyahu's cabinet, I'm not shocked. Are you?
While the European Commission will release the full results of the poll on Monday, the International Herald Tribune reported that the 7,500 people polled living in the European Union (500 in each of the 15 E.U. member states) were presented with a list of 15 countries and asked if these countries present a threat to world peace.
Shockingly, Israel was rated first.
Here are the stats on the Jericho III, the missile tested yesterday:
The Jericho III is believed to have a three-stage solid propellant and a payload of 1,000 to 1,300 kg. It is possible for the missile to be equipped with a single 750 kg nuclear warhead or two or three low yield MIRV warheads. It has an estimated launch weight of 30,000 kg and a length of 15.5 m with a width of 1.56 m. It may be similar to an upgraded and re-designed Shavit space launch vehicle, produced by Israel Aerospace Industries. It probably has longer first and second-stage motors. It is estimated that it has a range of 4,800 to 11,500 km (2,982 to 7,180 miles), and probably significantly greater with a smaller payload of 350 kg (the size of one smaller Israeli nuclear warhead). It is believed that the Jericho 3 is inertial guided with a radar guided warhead and silo-based with mobile vehicle and railcar capabilities.
According to an official report which was submitted to the American congress in 2004, it may be that with a payload of 1,000 kg the Jericho III gives Israel nuclear strike capabilities within the entire Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and almost all parts of North America, as well as within large parts of South America and North Oceania. MissileThreat.com reports: "The range of the Jericho 3 also provides an extremely high impact speed for nearby targets, enabling it to avoid any Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) defenses that may develop in the immediate region." On 17 January 2008 Israel test fired a multi-stage ballistic missile believed to be of the Jericho III type reportedly capable of carrying "conventional or non conventional warheads."