That’s where eyes are turned now, after the operation in Syria.
French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner, speaking in a television/radio interview, said that while every effort at negotiations must be tried, "We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war." From France, this is no small statement.
Meanwhile, from the Sunday Telegraph in London came reports that the US Department of Defense has drawn up 2,000 targets to hit in Iran. Reportedly, the White House, recognizing that diplomatic efforts have run their course, is gearing up for war. Intelligence sources say there are two contingency plans, one to hit the nuclear facilities only, and the other to hit other military sites as well (which is where the 2,000 targets come in). Apparently, prior to attack there will be a period of psychological preparation with a condemnation of Iran for training militants in Iraq.
Not only do top officials in both the CIA and the Defense Department think that diplomacy has failed, Secretary of State Rice is said to be heading in that direction as well after hearing from officials concerned about proliferation.
It would seem that what just happened in Syria has moved her along in this opinion. Caroline Glick says that this operation, if media reports are accurate, may "serve as a pivotal event in the free world’s understanding of the enemy it faces in the current global war."
I think we did good — real real good! — here.
Fox News has carried a similar report , saying that Under Secretary of State Burns has advised Rice that military action is necessary, especially as Germany is now indicating it will not support further sanctions against Iran in the UN, and the Chinese, and now the Russians, are being obstructionist on this as well.
One diplomat told Fox, "There are a number of people in the administration who do not want their legacy to be leaving behind an Iran that is nuclear armed…"
Speculation is that this might take place in the next eight or ten months, well before the next presidential elections. There would likely be two weeks or more of sustained bombing.
Quite a shift, is it not? Maybe we are going to achieve the upper hand against the bad guys after all. Maybe the world is not about to self-destruct.
I cannot help but speculate as to how this might affect Bush policy with regard to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Pressure on us has been a key element in plans to keep so-called moderate Arab states happy so they will cooperate with the US with regard to Iraq. And now? I have no answers, I merely wonder.
According to YNet, Dr Alon Liel, a former director-general of the Foreign Ministry, believes that Rice, who is due here tomorrow, is coming more to say thank you for our operation in Syria than to discuss Palestinian affairs. I’ll believe that when I see it.
But Liel says that we have supplied intelligence to the US regarding the situation in the northeast of Syria, which is an area of considerable concern to the Americans because of its proximity to Iraq.
Meanwhile, Iran has responded with bombast, saying that it has 600 Shihab-3 missiles pointed at targets throughout Israel, which be launched if either Iran or Syria are attacked.
And Zaki Shalom, who is a research fellow at the Institute for National Security Studies, has speculated that Iran may initiate a major terror attack as retaliation for the Syrian operation.
Syrian president Assad is reportedly furious about the intelligence leaks that revealed to the world that Israel has entered Syrian airspace with impunity. He is ordering a major investigation of the leaks.
While our prime minister, behaving in a fashion that is to me incomprehensible, and maddening, today stated that he is ready for negotiations with Syria, without preconditions or ultimatums.
"I have a lot of respect for the Syrian leader and for Syrian policy," he said.
Huh? Are we talking about the same Syrian leader that presumably brought in nuclear material, putting us at risk?
If I lived to be 100, I would never be able to figure out what’s in Olmert’s head. I’m not as upset about this statement as I might be because Syria has preconditions — we have to agree to give them the Golan before we start negotiations — and I don’t take this seriously.
Just seven years ago the incident involving the boy Muhammad al-Dura, who was allegedly killed by IDF forces shooting towards him, made press everywhere. This happened after 55 seconds of edited video footage purporting to show the murder of the 12 year old in Gaza was broadcast by the France 2 television network, whose permanent correspondent here had filmed it, and then shared broadly.
You may remember the incident. The scene was of a father, crouched behind a barrel, sheltering his son, as bullets sailed by. Muhammad al-Dura became the poster boy for Israeli cruelty.
Subsequent investigation by private individuals demonstrated that, because of the location of the various parties and the angles involved, it was close to impossible for the IDF to have fired shots that killed this boy. It was most likely a fraud, as evidence emerged as well of staging of events.
But the IDF stayed frustratingly silent on this libel. Until now. Now an official request has been made to France 2 by the IDF that the 27 minutes of unedited film be sent to the IDF spokesman’s office. It was motivated in part by a law suit that had been filed by a watchdog site against France 2.
To date, France 2 has not complied with the IDF demand, and I do not know what follows. But, oh! is it refreshing to know that finally our official silence has been broken.
For further details , see Caroline Glick on this: