Kevin M. Martin / Peace Action & Uzi Mahnaimi/ The Sunday Times – 2010-06-17 00:40:58
Israel Stations Nuclear Missile Subs off Iran
Kevin M. Martin / Peace Action
(June 16, 2010) — News of three Israeli submarines, armed with nuclear-tipped cruise missiles and positioned off the coast of Iran in the Persian Gulf, is most disturbing.
It would surely be madness for Israel to launch a nuclear attack against Iran, an act I wish I could say with confidence is unlikely. In fact, given recent events, gauging the potential for such disaster is pointless. Acting to prevent it is the only rational course of action.
President Obama must be told by those of us who know our history that such a disaster cannot be allowed to occur. I’m not talking about telling Israel that’s our bottom line and leaving it at that, but rather taking immediate action to resolve the crisis with Iran over its alleged nuclear ambitions.
Frankly, after a good start, a new beginning and high hopes for success, the President has bungled the job. Sanctions and threats are the stuff of failed diplomacy.
The administration’s rejection of the deal brokered by Brazil and Turkey, followed by the revelation the President had sent a letter to Brazilian President Lula da Silva endorsing the deal is fodder for the Daily Show, except it’s very serious.
What Can We Do?
Tell President Obama he must make clear to Israel no military action against Iran is acceptable. The President needs to know a proxy war is not an option. Israel needs to know the US pursuit of a non-military solution is a priority for the administration and our ‘special relationship’ is at stake.
Peace Action has been a consistent advocate for restarting negotiations for a Mideast Nuclear Weapons and Weapons of Mass Destruction-Free Zone, which was one of the action items that made the final report from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Review Conference last month.
The US reluctantly signed off on the report, so it will need to a good push to play a meaningful role in restarting negotiations. We need to keep up the heat.
We’ll continue to oppose sanctions on Iran. The Obama administration’s hot pursuit of sanctions to punish Iran for not complying quickly enough with US demands poisons the diplomatic waters. Negotiations require give and take, perhaps with a sprinkling of Reagan’s ‘trust but verify’ added to satisfy the less rabid skeptics. The ‘my way or the highway’ approach Obama seems to have chosen is more reminiscent of the Bush approach than ‘change we can believe in.’
We’ll support the agreement crafted by Turkey and Brazil to exchange Iran’s low yield uranium for the fuel it needs for medical purposes. This is the best way to begin to constructively address any weapons-related activity Iran might be involved in.
US reaction to the nuclear fuel deal, a deal which differed from an earlier US-sponsored proposal by only a few insignificant details, was to brush it aside — a really bad move if you’re a serious negotiator.
We’ll oppose all US weapons sales to the Middle East. Gasoline is proven to be useless when extinguishing fires.
We’ll continue to support the international peace movement and most especially peace activists in Israel and Palestine working for a real and permanent peace. Peace Action members around the country have been working to support the Freedom Flotilla actions and to end Israel’s blockade and collective punishment of Gaza and the Palestinians inside, and around, occupied territories.
Supporting grassroots action increases your impact. The President isn’t Horton and we’ll need every voice involved to be heard.
Kevin M. Martin is Executive Director of Peace Action.
P.S. Abolishing nuclear weapons is the only true path to security. Join us in our campaign to rid the world of nuclear weapons in our lifetimes.
Israel Stations Nuclear Missile Subs off Iran
Uzi Mahnaimi/ The Sunday Times
TEL AVIV (May 30, 2010) — Three German-built Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles are to be deployed in the Gulf near the Iranian coastline.
The first has been sent in response to Israeli fears that ballistic missiles developed by Iran, Syria and Hezbollah, a political and military organisation in Lebanon, could hit sites in Israel, including air bases and missile launchers.
The submarines of Flotilla 7 — Dolphin, Tekuma and Leviathan — have visited the Gulf before. But the decision has now been taken to ensure a permanent presence of at least one of the vessels.
The flotilla’s commander, identified only as “Colonel O,” told an Israeli newspaper: “We are an underwater assault force. Weâ€™re operating deep and far, very far, from our borders.”
Each of the submarines has a crew of 35 to 50, commanded by a colonel capable of launching a nuclear cruise missile.
The vessels can remain at sea for about 50 days and stay submerged up to 1,150ft below the surface for at least a week. Some of the cruise missiles are equipped with the most advanced nuclear warheads in the Israeli arsenal.
The deployment is designed to act as a deterrent, gather intelligence and potentially to land Mossad agents. “We’re a solid base for collecting sensitive information, as we can stay for a long time in one place,” said a flotilla officer.
The submarines could be used if Iran continues its programme to produce a nuclear bomb. “The 1,500km range of the submarines’ cruise missiles can reach any target in Iran,” said a navy officer.
Apparently responding to the Israeli activity, an Iranian admiral said: “Anyone who wishes to do an evil act in the Persian Gulf will receive a forceful response from us.”
Israel’s urgent need to deter the Iran-Syria-Hezbollah alliance was demonstrated last month. Ehud Barak, the defence minister, was said to have shown President Barack Obama classified satellite images of a convoy of ballistic missiles leaving Syria on the way to Hezbollah in Lebanon.
Binyamin Netanyahu, the prime minister, will emphasise the danger to Obama in Washington this week.
Tel Aviv, Israel’s business and defence centre, remains the most threatened city in the world, said one expert. “There are more missiles per square foot targeting Tel Aviv than any other city,” he said.
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