Olmert has been saying an IAF strike against Iran would be sheer megalomania.
He has a point; the IAF isn't the USAF and Natanz isn't Osirak. Short of going nuclear Israel has only limited ability to retard the Mullah's distant well protected program. The risks to DC's fragile Iraq project and Kingship oil production are real enough to deter the much more capable Pentagon from striking themselves. Israel might risk alienating DC if it went in alone.
It's interesting to see the way the installation of a new US radar system in Israel was being read there. From Haaretz:
The deployment of the radar system may be understood in two contradictory ways. One is that it prevents Israel from taking independent action against Iran, which the United States has made clear in recent months it opposes. The radar system, and Americans stationed here, will restrain Israel, which would be wary about launching an attack that would endanger U.S. personnel.
On the other hand, the deployment of the radar system strengthens Israel's defense against missiles if Israel and/or the United States attacks Iran's nuclear facilities. The defense system could reduce casualties and damage to the home front from a response by Iran and its allies.
This would give decision-makers more freedom to attack Iran's nuclear facilities. Defense officials said they had made arrangements to receive the equipment and personnel in "record time" - two months from the July talks.
In recent weeks, Israeli sources have tried to play down the presence of an American force on Israeli soil and have portrayed it as temporary until operation of the system is transferred to the Israelis.
In any case, information from early-warning satellites, which greatly increases the radar's ability to pinpoint launches, will remain in American hands. The satellite ground station will be in Europe and transmit data to Israel.
The deployment of the radar system in Israel was an initiative by Republican Congressman Mark Kirk of Chicago, who, looking for a way to help Israel, persuaded the governments of both countries to implement the plan.
Israeli defense officials at first objected to the move, citing a possible limitation to the country's freedom of action. But they acquiesced when it was decided that the system would be supported by data from the U.S. early-warning satellite.
Iranian official: Tehran may halt enrichment programme for nuclear fuel supplies
The head of the Iranian delegation at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, said yesterday that his country would reconsider its nuclear enrichment programme if it receives guarantees from the international community that alternative fuel will be provided to its nuclear facilities. Soltanieh added that Tehran was enriching uranium due to the lack of a legally binding international accord on security of fuel supply. "We are going to continue as long as there is no legally binding internationally recognised instrument for assurance of supply," he said. However, he declined to say whether Iran would fully cease its nuclear development plans if supplied with international assistance of this sort. The Iranian diplomat noted that Iran would want to retain some enrichment capacity in order to have a contingency plan in case international supplies would be cut following a deal.
Iran has consistently rejected any calls for it to give up its enrichment programme, which could potentially be used to produce nuclear weapons. Soltanieh comments, therefore, mark a departure from the Iranian stance of resisting any attempts to halt its nuclear development. Iran claims that it is developing its nuclear capabilities for civilian use, while western countries fear that Tehran is in fact developing a nuclear weapons programme. It will be interesting to note responses to Soltanieh's comments and whether other Iranian officials support his comments. It is likely that these statements will be seen by many as just another attempt by the Iranian regime to divert attention and delay proceedings by the international community to try halt its nuclear programme.
Various international experts have tried to gauge when Iran will be capable of producing a nuclear weapon. A recent estimate on Wednesday by US weapons hunting expert David Kay predicted that Iran is within two to five years of reaching a nuclear weapon.
What is it about Telegraph Journalists in the ME Are they the last remnants of the Hollinger era?
Other relevant developments not mentioned by the Telegraph "It's gonna rain on Tehran soon, oh yes indeedy" team.
Diplomats at a 145-nation conference said that a compromise is near on a resolution criticizing Israel's nuclear activities.
At issue is an Arab draft resolution at the International Atomic Energy Agency conference expressing concern about Israel's nuclear capabilities. Although the Jewish state has never confirmed it has nuclear weapons, it is widely believed to possess them.
With the conference split on the draft resolution, its introduction would likely force a vote. That would heighten tensions between developed nations backing Israel and developing countries supporting the Muslim countries.
On Wednesday, two participants in the discussion told the AP that the sponsors of the resolution now are willing not to push for its adoption if it can be debated and if the meeting's president then summarizes what was said.
Olmert to head to Russia for talks on missiles sale to Iran
The Israeli military establishment is becoming increasingly concerned over talks between Russia and Iran about the sale of S-300 antiaircraft missiles to Tehran. The deployment of these missiles would pose a major obstacle to any Israel Air Force operation against Iranian nuclear facilities.
The whole story missed the important fact in the did they didnât they, could they couldnât they, the most vital part of the French statement was the fact that they would immediately surrender in the best tradition of the French people. Viva La Republic is French for we give up.