Monday, November 7, 2011

Israel Will Not Bomb Iran - Barry Rubin

This is an informed opinion on the under the radar conflict been waged between Iran and Israel. Many scares have been mooted about suggesting Israel will stage a preemptive strike against Iran’s nuclear industry.  That option suffers from been obvious.  As the writer makes clear, it is not the best option at all and he outlines much more convincing stratagems.

On top of that it appears that the Iranian centrifuges mysteriously were hacked and effectively sabotaged, obviously in a way to cause lasting damage.  That is certainly way more effective than visibly blowing them up in broad daylight.

What we all find difficult to grasp is that Islamic military capacity is always off the shelf with inevitable technical deficiencies in training particularly.  The result is that for every advance an Islamic power buys, Israel is able to bounce two generations technically ahead.

At the same time Israel is clearly implementing a stealth aggrandisation plan to accommodate a burgeoning population now closing in around eight million.  Thus real man power parity is effectively in place to face of against even a large Arab army.  That it will match the US in its kill ratio is a given and that must be effectively awful when no enemy force can actually face down an American force.

Barry Rubin: Don’t worry, Israel won’t bomb Iran

National Post  Nov 3, 2011 – 4:57 PM ET
By Barry Rubin

The latest war scare arises from a mix of sensationalism and misinterpretation. It’s being reported not only that Israel may attack Iran, but that the United Kingdom and United States are ready to join in. Such claims appear every few months, largely because of failure to understand this issue’s political and strategic framework.

Israel’s government decided for very good reasons not to attack Iran. Instead, it developed a longer-range strategy rather similar to U.S. policy during the Cold War.

This policy, which I think is correct, consists of preparing both offensive and defensive forces to act decisively if Israel ever feels that an Iranian nuclear strike is likely.

Why is it wrong to expect an Israeli attack in the near future?

First, Iran is still far from getting deliverable nuclear weapons. There’s no need to act now. Even if Iran could build a bomb, it would need time to build one small enough to be carried on a missile.

Second, an Israeli attack would merely postpone, not stop, Iran’s nuclear program. And temporary success entails huge costs: Full-scale war, potentially nuclear war, would be inevitable once Tehran obtained nuclear weapons.

Third, recent reports — including the new one from the International Atomic Energy Agency — don’t add anything to what Israel already knows.

Fourth, all the reasons for Israel not attacking Iran are stronger than ever. Israel cannot depend on U.S. support and faces a worse regional situation. While many newly empowered Islamist movements aren’t direct supporters of Iran, an Israel-Iran war would unite anti-Israel extremists who would otherwise be quarrelling among themselves.

Any expectation of Britain and America joining in an attack runs contrary to the policy of both countries, which is aimed at avoiding confrontations. Any expectation of war must ignore these governments’ actual behaviour and worldview.

So what’s happening? The answer is obvious. Israel understandably has plans for a possible attack against Iran if needed and its military trains for that contingency. Israel leaks this fact to unnerve Iran and give Western countries incentives to increase sanctions and work harder to block Tehran from getting nuclear weapons.

Israel’s strategy is use the time before Iran gets deliverable nuclear weapons to build offensive and defensive capabilities. On the offensive side, Israel prepares missiles — one such system just tested recently — submarines, and planes to hit Iranian nuclear facilities and launching pads if the need arises.

On the defensive side, Israel develops a layered system of anti-missile missiles and other methods to knock down Iranian missiles. It also benefits from U.S. early warning stations and defensive missiles being stationed in Saudi Arabia to defend Gulf Arab states from any Iranian attack.

Israel’s goal, which is being realized, is to make it harder for Iranian missiles to reach its territory, while still avoiding war (but being ready to wage one, if necessary).

Some observers claim that the Iranian regime is so crazy that it will attack Israel with nuclear weapons the moment it gets them. They also point out, more correctly, that no defensive system is perfect, and even a few nuclear strikes would be devastating to Israel.

Iran has shown itself to be aggressive and dangerous but not insane. The main purpose for getting nuclear weapons is to shield its more conventional aggression, spreading revolution and sponsoring terrorism with almost no risk to itself. Iran’s regime does have a strong radical Islamist ideology and talks about genocide against Israel. Yet political leaders and strategic planners understand that an Israeli attack now wouldn’t solve the problem.

Finally, unless Iran has a dozen nuclear weapons that can be fired off simultaneously — a goal that’s quite far away — Israel can handle the threat with a high likelihood of success. Knocking out two or three missiles and launching pads is far easier than completely destroying numerous production facilities. Iran is nowhere near having a strong enough nuclear strike force to let it attack Israel without receiving a devastating Israeli retaliation.

Israel’s response to this dangerous situation is neither foolishly optimistic nor adventurous. Much of the media and Western observers don’t get it, but that just fits with their generally low level of understanding Israel’s genuine moderation, desire for peace, and real security requirements.

National Post

Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center. His new book, Israel: An Introduction, is being published in January by Yale University Press.

Bombs Hit Iran

By Nick Hodge | Friday, November 4th, 2011
I'm pretty sure Israel has already unilaterally attacked Iran.

Their single bomb was launched in 2009. It was called Stuxnet.

But it wasn't a bomb in the traditional sense. It was a computer worm — one of the most powerful ever built.

And it was built precisely to attack large-scale industrial facilities like power plants, dams, refineries, and water treatment operations... from the inside.

This worm in particular was used to attack a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, Iran.

The Stuxnet worm crept in, undetected, to a computer component that controlled the rotor speed of the centrifuges and rewrote its code. It caused enough damage to significantly set back Iran's nuclear program, perhaps by years.

Stuxnet was so powerful the global consensus is that a government was behind it.

I'll give you one guess who it was...


Some say it was a good thing.

Others see what Stuxnet means for the rest of the world.

If a sophisticated computer worm can be designed to silently infiltrate secret enrichment facilities in Iran, it can certainly be duplicated or modified to do so elsewhere — on any number of critical infrastructure components.

Take it from Michael Assante, former chief security officer for the North American Electric Reliability Corporation:

"It's just a matter of time. Stuxnet taught the world what's possible, and honestly it's a blueprint."

The Department of Homeland Security has arranged a new training program to combat such a threat — a threat that's more likely to become a reality than most people realize.


You probably haven't heard of Duqu. I hadn't until just this week.

It's the world's newest and most dangerous computer bug. And it's only been around since late October.

It finds its way in through a Microsoft Word document and exploits a hole in the Windows operating system to spread from computer to computer.

You have Windows, right?

A note on the website of computer security firm Symantec had this to say about it this week:

The installer file is a Microsoft Word document (.doc) that exploits a previously unknown kernel vulnerability that allows code execution. We contacted Microsoft regarding the vulnerability and they're working diligently towards issuing a patch and advisory. When the file is opened, malicious code executes and installs the main Duqu binaries.

What does that mean?

If you open the wrong Word document, you could lose control of your machine.

Six organizations have already reported infection in eight countries.

This week, Reuters called in the “next big cyber threat.”

And what about that Stuxnet-being-a-blueprint talk?

Symantec has also said Duqu shares a source code with Stuxnet. That means the creators of Stuxnet either gave the code away, had it stolen, or also created Duqu...

The scariest part is there is no solution. All you can do is try to avoid getting it.

A recent Homeland Security test pitted Red Team (hackers) against Blue Team (pumping station computer operators), each with their own command center.

Red Team had no problem hacking into Blue Team's network and slowing it down. Then it killed its power, turning out the lights and computer screens, causing Blue Team to fly blind. As Blue Team sat helpless, Red Team overran their entire system, took control, and turned on the pumps.

What if those pumps controlled radioactive waste at a nuclear plant? Or a massive oil pipeline? Or caustic chemicals?

As Blue Team's commander noted during the exercise, “There's nothing we can do. We can only sit here and watch it happen.”

Scarier still, we don't know Duqu's intentions.

Call it like you see it,

Nick Hodge

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