Der Spiegel reported last September that, in coordination with the United States, Israel is planning an air strike against 6 suspected Nuclear facilities in Iran:

The German weekly Der Spiegel reported Saturday that the Mossad has marked six Iranian nuclear facilities as targets for an Israeli Air Force pre-emptive strike. An unnamed IAF pilot told the weekly that such a mission would be “complex, but feasible.” The Los Angeles Times reported that Israel has modified U.S.-made Harpoon cruise missiles so it can launch nuclear warheads from submarines.

Prime Minister Ariel Sharon ordered Mossad chief Meir Dagani to devote “utmost efforts” to gather information about Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities, Maariv reported today. According to Maariv, Sharon told associates that “Iran is the greatest danger to Israel” and that he was coordinating intelligence gathering efforts with the United States “down to the last detail.”

In a recent related story in the Jerusalem Post, senior Israeli officials have been quoted as claiming Iran will have nuclear capability within 2 years:

“Iran is one to two years away, at the latest, from having enriched uranium,” said Mossad Chief Meir Dagan during his annual report to the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee late Tuesday morning.

“From that point, the completion of their nuclear weapon is simply a technical matter. If Iran goes undisturbed, they will reach technical nuclear development independence in the coming months,” said Dagan.

The comments echoed those of IDF Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Dan Halutz, who earlier this month said it is possible that Iran would be able to complete building a bomb as early as 2008 or as far as 2015.

Just last week it was reported in the Jerusalem Post that Iran recently acquired 12 cruise missiles with a range of up to 3,000 kilometers. OC Intelligence Maj.-Gen. Aharon Ze’evi (Farkash) noted the missiles had the ability to carry a nuclear warhead.

This is more than a little frightening. To my mind, these stories did not come out of the blue. I suspect a coordinated campaign to garner Israeli and American public support for a strike against Iran.

Meanwhile, there is this story from Sunday’s Washington Post regarding criticism of the Bush administration’s policy toward Iran by the Pro-Israeli group, AIPAC:

(Cross-posted at Daily Kos)

After years of unwavering support for the Bush administration, the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group AIPAC has begun to sharply criticize the White House over its handling of Iran’s nuclear program.

In lengthy news releases and talking points circulated to supporters on Capitol Hill, AIPAC describes the Bush administration’s recent policy decisions on Iran as “dangerous,” “disturbing” and “inappropriate.” One background paper suggests that White House policies are actually helping Iran — a sworn enemy of the Jewish state — to acquire nuclear weapons.

AIPAC, as many of you know, has myriad ties with the neo-conservative faction in the Bush administration. Why are they are taking such a strident action against the Bush adminsitration at this point in time? Is it an attempt to support Vice President Cheney and other neo-conservatives in the administration whose influence has reportedly been on the wane recently? Is it part of a coordinated strategy to coerce Bush to support a proposed Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, with or without US military assistance?

Whatever the reason behind this sudden rash of stories regarding the Iranian nuclear threat, and the potential Israeli response to it, it can only be extremely troubling to those of us who would like to see an American withdrawal from Iraq. Any attack on Iran, whether from Israel alone, or with US military assistance is likely to inflame the region, increase hostility toward the United States among Muslims world wide, Arab and Non-Arab alike, and quite possibley lead to a widening of current conflicts. There is no question in my mind that it would lead to increased attacks against our forces in Iraq, from both Sunni and Shi’ite gtoups.

Do I want Iran to get the bomb? No. But I also do not want to see Iran attacked by Israel or the United States at this time, before diplomatic efforts from Russia and Europe have been given the fullest opportunity to reach an accomodation with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, particularly in light of the fact that the most recent CIA report indicated Iran was at least ten years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. Any military action now would be foolhardy and extremely dangerous for our nation’s future national security interests. I do not believe we can adequately anticipate all of the potential consequences for our troops in the region, or for the security of our homeland, should such a reckless military action come to pass.

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