Middle East Down to the Wire Update

November 17, 2012
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Iran is moving closer to the red line by doubling its centrifuge capability, which I discussed last month in a post called “Iran Down to the Wire.” The red line has been moved up to February or March, according to “nuclear experts” cited by the Wall Street Journal. Iran currently has a stockpile of 232 kilograms of 20% enriched uranium, the article says, of which 96 kilograms is for the supposed production of fuel plates, leaving 136 kg potentially for weapons.

However, WSJ overlooked a critical element in the discussion. Iran would only need 25 kg of 90% weapons-grade enriched uranium to make a smaller tactical nuclear warhead sufficient enough to destroy a small high-density city. It is simply not necessary to amass 220 kg of 90% enriched uranium for a strategic warhead, as asserted in the WSJ article, and is the wrong discussion to be having.

Now, not only does Iran have enough 20% enriched uranium, called MEU or medium-enriched, for a smaller-implosion bomb, it could enrich as much as 136 kg from MEU to weapons-grade, high-enriched uranium (HEU) within months.

I believe the flurry of aggressive moves against Israel this week in Gaza and Syria is no coincidence. It is part of Iran’s chess game to keep Israel on the defensive.  Important to note is Iran’s longer-range Fajr-5 missiles that have a 90 kg warhead and range of up to 75 kilometers. They are now being deployed out of Gaza, aimed at Israeli civilian targets. This is a whole new level of intimidation.   This missile puts almost all major cities in Israel within range. Even the less-capable Qassam rocket can pick off a large Israeli city like Ashkelon.

source: Right Scoop

Should tactical nuclear warheads show up in Gaza, that would be a monster game changer. For example, a modest missile, the Little John, was retired forty five years ago from US arsenals and carried a 10- kiloton warhead (110 kg pay load) and had a 19 km range.  Even a 5 kiloton shot is equivalent to Nagasaki. These delivery systems are most certainly available in Iran’s arsenal and could theoretically show up in Gaza.  Even smaller one kiloton payloads could pack considerable damage in high density cities. This ups the ante should Israel strike the Iranian nuke program and/or move into Gaza.

An Israeli move into a highly dense urban area like Gaza could really bog them down in intense street fighting against the 20,000 strong Palestinian para military force,  the Al-Qassam Brigades, who would likely be last standers. It would also set in motion large numbers of civilian deaths in Gaza, and also in Israel in retaliation. Large refugee populations would pour into Egypt, which may then be drawn in. Therefore a military move into Gaza would be a poor option for Israel.

Given the down-to-the-wire deadly serious nature of dealing with this,  and given the American people bad experience with the pretense for war in Iraq, it will be necessary to rapidly generate public support for action directly against Iran. A manufactured “crisis” is an effective tool, such as the sinking of the Maine in Havana Harbor leading to the Spanish-American War of 1898 or the Tonkin Bay incident in Vietnam.  Such a false-flag operation today might look something like this. Or perhaps bad economic conditions within Iran will drive that country to instigate something like a Pearl Harbor redux in the Persian Gulf.

Months of U.S. “financial recovery” propaganda would have to be undone rapidly in order to quickly garner public support for “crisis measures.” My guess is that given Iran’s soon possession of weapons grade uranium, we’ll probably witness  a major geopolitical event (involving Americans) not in the spring, but before the end of the year.

 

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