Saturday, July 5, 2008

Iran, Iran, Iran

"eych omrim, Iran o Iraq?" ("whatsitcalled, Iran or Iraq?") was a joke circulating around the time of the 1991 first Gulf War. It poked fun at the local tembelim (dummies) who were finding it difficult to distinguish between these previously vague entities who - especially Iraq - were suddenly new enemies.

No-one 's asking that question anymore. It's Iran, Iran, Iran, and, as someone mentioned on the radio this week, we'll all getting pretty fed up with hearing the word. This week there was sudden buzz of heightened anticipation that Israel was preparing to attack Iranian nuclear facilities by the end of the year!

Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of America's Joint Chiefs of Staff, recently paid us a visit but, according to Israeli officials, was not reassured by what he heard here. This is apparently why he complained on Wednesday that an Israeli attack on Iranian nuclear facilities would be a high-risk move that could destabilize the Middle East. Asked whether he was concerned Israel would strike Iran before the end of the year, Mullen said: "This is a very unstable part of the world and I don't need it to be more unstable." As military analyst Amir Oren explained in Ha'aretz, the last thing the already overextended US army, (hoping to extricate itself from Iraq and Afghanistan) needs right now is to open another front and this Administration is not going to give the order. Which means that Israel can't rely on the US to "do the job", which means...

Another concerned American is Admiral James "Sandy" Winnefeld , who noted this week that, "a volley of missiles fired offensively by Iran at Israel is by far the most likely employment of ballistic missiles in the world today, and it demands our immediate attention in the event of a need for a U.S. or NATO response." Sandy should know. At present, he is commander of the Mediterranean Sixth Fleet, which is expected to participate - in Haifa Bay and with the help of Herev Magen (the Arrow missile) and Yahalom (the Patriot missile) - in the interception of Iranian Shahab-3 missiles.

And here was me assuming that it was be us that would hit them first. The risk just doubled!

Of course what got the buzz going was the revelation of Israel's large air force exercise over the eastern Mediterranean in the first week of June, which was widely described as a "dress rehearsal" for an attack on Iran.

Iran, Iran , Iran. Was it premonition that got me sufficiently motivated to arrange the emptying of the bomb shelter in the building and start organising it for emergencies? (must get cracking on that). In particularly morose moments, when taking in the view from the rooftop, I've started imaging the destruction a ballistic missile could cause.
Otherwise of course, life continues pleasantly into the summer. We saw Blondie and the Stranglers (both excellent) and on an organised daytrip to the Galil I shot (in Capernaum) this photo that evokes biblical prophesies (we shouldn't know!)

No comments:

Five Sinai Scenes

1. Crossing the border The transition into the Third World is immediate. Time slows down. The Egyptian customs officials greet...