Israel to Ignite All-Out Regional War?
The Israeli military holds its most extensive nationwide drill, signaling its intentions for a possible attack on Iran which they admit can ignite an all-out war in the region.
The nationwide exercise “Turning Point 3” will begin on May 31 and will last five days, Ynetnews reported.
During the drill, Israeli forces and civilians will exercise a war against Hamas, Hezbollah, Syria and Iran and will also practice counterinsurgency tactics against Israeli Arabs.
Last week, Israel’s Air Force held a three-day drill to exercise possible missile and air strikes by regional countries — a clear warning to regional foes such as Syria and Iran.
Israel’s hawkish Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Sunday’s cabinet meeting tried to placate Israel’s regional countries, saying “this is a routine drill, which was planned several months ago and is held every year in order to coordinate between civil and military systems.”
Tel Aviv accuses Tehran of nuclear weapons development – a charge rejected by both Iran and the U.N. nuclear watchdog, which has so far made over 14 snap inspections of the country’s nuclear facilities.
This is while Tel Aviv is widely regarded as the sixth-largest nuclear power in the world and the sole possessor of an atomic arsenal in the Middle East.
In the early 1970s, Israel had already developed missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to most countries in the region, including Iran and Russia.
Moreover, Israel reportedly houses at least 100 bunker-busting bombs, which come in the form of laser-guided mini-nukes with the ability of penetrating underground targets.
The right-leaning government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has repeatedly threatened to bomb Iran’s enrichment facilities out of existence.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Monday rejected a Western proposal for Tehran to “freeze” its nuclear work in return for no new sanctions and ruled out any talks with major powers on the issue.
The comments by the conservative president, who is seeking re-election in a June 12 presidential vote, are likely to further disappoint the United States administration of President Barack Obama, which is seeking to engage Iran diplomatically. >>>
As the West continues to press Iran on its nuclear program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad says the country considers developing nuclear weapons as “politically retarded”.
In a press conference on Monday, President Ahmadinejad said that he sees the dossier of the country’s nuclear program as a closed case.
“The talks outside the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency) will only be about participation in the management of the world and bringing peace to the world,” Ahmadinejad said.
The remarks come as the P5+1, the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany, have requested Iran to re-enter talks over its nuclear program.
Tehran says its program is directed at the civilian applications of the technology. The U.S. and Israel, however, accuse the country of developing nuclear weapons.
President Ahmadinejad reiterated Iranian assertions that the country would never seek weapons of mass destruction — including nuclear weapons.
“We think those who assume restoring nuclear weapons can have the upper hand in political equations are politically retarded,” the president said.
Iran says nuclear weapons are “un-Islamic” and “developing, producing or stockpiling nuclear weapons are forbidden under the rule of Islam.”
Reformist figure Mohammad Khatami says the all-powerful Israeli lobby in the U.S. stands in the way of President Barack Obama’s quest to bring change to Washington.
In a Sunday interview with Newsweek, Iran’s former president Mohammad Khatami said he believes that Obama has genuine intentions to make changes in U.S. ways and means, but is incapable of doing so due to increased pressure from pro-Israeli groups.
“I think Mr. Obama truly wants to have a real change inside America and in terms of America’s relations with the rest of the world. The question is whether these reforms will be cosmetic changes or substantial ones. The United States has a strong system of governance with its own policies and traditions, we can’t expect one person to change the decision making process.”
Replying a question about the main obstacles in the way of Obama, former Iranian President said “One of the biggest obstacles is the Israeli and Zionist lobby. They are a very strong lobby both financially and in the media. They can create negative publicity and psychological warfare at times when they see Israel’s interest is in jeopardy,” he said.
Khatami said that Israeli lobbying in U.S. policies is to such extent that many people have come to believe that “the real capital of the United States has been transferred to Tel Aviv”.
The reformist figure, however, said Obama must be given time to suit his action to his words. “I hope he has the courage to act upon his ideas for real change,” he added.
When asked about a U.S.-Iran reconcilement, Khatami said that although the scars from decades of U.S. antagonism run deep in Iran, the country would let bygones be bygones if Washington takes practical steps to mend its ways.
“The negative view of America in Iran doesn’t only exist in the Iranian government but among the Iranian nation in general …They remember events such as the 1953 coup … and the sanctions and embargoes after the revolution,” he said.
He also urged Washington to correct its insular mindset and respect the rest of the world.
“The United States thinks of itself as the “big brother” of the Europeans and the industrialized world and thinks of itself as the master of the Islamic and Third World countries. If this attitude changes, then we can sit down and decide what are the common interests of Iran and the United States.”
Just over half of Israelis back an immediate attack on the nuclear facilities of arch-foe Iran but the rest want to wait and see the results of U.S. diplomacy, according to a poll released on Sunday.
Fifty-one percent support an immediate Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear sites, while 49 percent believe the Jewish state should await the outcome of efforts by the U.S. administration to engage with the Islamic republic, said the survey published by Tel Aviv University.
But 74 percent of those questioned said they believe that new U.S. President Barack Obama’s efforts will not stop the Islamic republic from acquiring atomic weapons.
Israel, widely considered to be the Middle East’s sole if undeclared nuclear armed state, considers Iran its arch-foe after repeated statements by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the Jewish state to be “wiped off the map.”
Israel and Washington accuse Iran of trying to develop atomic weapons under the guise of a civilian nuclear programme, a charge Tehran has repeatedly denied. >>>
- Obama Orders Update to Iran Attack Plan (23 May 09)
- Iran (and India) Test Ballistic Missiles, Israel Enters ‘Large-Scale Military Exercises’ (20 May 09)
- Obama Not to Touch Israel’s ‘Nuclear Nerve’, Iran War Not Off the Table (17 May 09)
- IAEA Chief: ‘Israel Would Be Insane to Attack Iran’ (16 May 09)
- Israel Would Use U.S. Bombs to Attack Iran (16 May 09)