Jerusalem Post - The September launch of an Israeli spy satellite from India, which now faces months of postponements, was canceled due to "last-minute" pressure by the United States, the Indian press reported Monday.
The TecSar satellite - developed and manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) - initially was supposed to be launched in September, on the heels of the June launch of the Ofek 7 spy satellite. It is the first Israeli satellite with Synthetic Aperture Radar (SAR) capabilities, a technology that allows the camera to take pictures of targets in all weather conditions.
Weighing just under 300 kilograms, the TecSar was developed by the IAI's Space Division MBT and has the ability to create images of objects on Earth even in cloudy weather conditions, a capability not available in Israel's Ofek satellite series.
The Ofek 7 is a camera-based satellite, while TecSar is capable of creating high-resolution images using advanced radar technology.
In an article published in Monday's Daily News and Analysis, the Indian paper quoted sources who said US government pressure was responsible for calling off the launch of the satellite, which already had been mounted on the space-bound missile launcher.
The paper hinted that the reason for the American pressure was to prevent India from obtaining powerful military platforms. Earlier this year, the paper said, the US curtailed Indian plans to develop missiles with a 5,000-kilometer range and advised it to only manufacture missiles with a range of 800 km.
Should it occur, it would be the first time Israel launches a satellite aboard an Indian missile.
The decision to launch the missile from India was reached three years ago during a visit there by then-Defense Ministry director-general Amos Yaron. It is part of growing Indian-Israeli cooperation, which is scheduled to eventually lead to the launching of two more satellites.
Once in space, officials said, the TecSar would be by far the most advanced Israeli satellite. In addition to the Ofek 7, Eros B and the Amos 1 and 2 (both communication satellites), Israel operates the Ofek 5 spy satellite, successfully launched in May 2002. IAI plans to launch the Amos 3 in the coming months.
The Defense Ministry refused to comment on the report, but expressed confidence the satellite would be launched in the near future.
On the face of it it appears that the US has left Israel holding the bag on Iran, now that the most publicized and quickly de-classified NIE in American history has concluded that the suddenly "rational" Iranians abandoned their quest for a nuclear deterrent years ago. This new data supposedly came to light via recent intercepts of Iranian military chatter and was confirmed during interrogations of Iranian defectors. The Congressional Democrats, who seemed as surprised by this assessment as the Israelis and Iranians were, have already started to pounce on the Bush Administration with that time tested opposition party mantra of "What did you know, and when did you know it" gotcha game. Meanwhile the Iranians are running around grinnin' like shit eatin' possums and declaring "victory" over this assessment that appears to force a policy change out of the Great Satan.
Israel stands by their intelligence reports that conclude Iran is still pursing a clandestine weapons program, they are offering that data to US intelligence agencies, and then claiming our intelligence agencies are putting their hands over their ears and singing "Na Na we cant hear you".
All this is happening against the backdrop of the nuclear fuel rods for the Russian built reactor at Bushehr being prepped for their long anticipated delivery to Iran. Once they arrive at the plant, any attack on said plant would release radioactivity, making attacking the plant with conventional weapons then the environmental / geo-political equivalent of attacking it now with a tactical nuclear weapon. The likelihood of Bushehr being attacked after it goes critical decreases exponentially.
Bush and the liberal career intelligence officials are getting hammered in the Right Blogosphere for what appears to be an 11th hour blinking on what has been a core tenet of the Bush Doctrine.....that Iran would not go nuclear on his watch.
To be honest, I am having a hard time buying this sudden remarkable change of direction in US foreign policy. I am having difficulty believing America is preparing to throw our long-time Israeli ally to the wolves, that we are giving our biggest current enemy on the planet, the world's largest state sponsor of Islamic terrorism, the benefit of the doubt based on information that could have been intentionally planted. And that Bush plans to soon visit Lebanon and the West Bank to further distance ourselves from the perception in the Muslim world that the US favors Israel in the region. Security for that trip would require an battalion size occupation army of secret service assets. And now this report above suggesting that we have been pressuring India not to launch a Israeli spy satellite designed exclusively to monitor Iran's WMD signatures.
Everything is pointing to strong indicators that Bush is now prepared to let Iran go nuclear on his watch, and letting Israel and every oil-producing Sunni state in the region learn to live under a "peaceful" Iranian nuclear umbrella....... and yet I have this strong urge to call bullshit. This can not be happening. Lame duck Bush has not become Jimmy Carter. The Bushehr reactor will never go critical on his watch. This whole affair is just too surreal for it to be anything but a ruse for the ages....... we can not be letting this moment in human history turn into the greatest act of appeasement since Chamberlain declared "Peace in our time" .... can we?
There's only one way this makes any plausible sense to me, and that is to examine this issue from the perspective of a neo-con President in the White House that wants Iran destroyed without having to pay an unprecedented political price for starting another front in the war on terror when the other two current incursions into Islamic territory are, at least portrayed as, being wildly unpopular. How could you possibly achieve your objectives in Iran and survive for the remainder of your term if you actually start the World War 3 you had been warning us about just last month.
First you have to imagine what Bush's military counsels are telling him to expect from Iran after we shock and awe them, and for that you dont need an intelligence agency at all, you can simply observe Iran's statements and military exercises. In fact they have appeared to be begging to be attacked by the US, because that would give them justification to fulfill their religious fantasies and make the 12th Imam proud by launching a large portion of their long-range (Chemically tipped?) missiles at Israel, and give their proxies in Lebanon, Syria, and Gaza the green light to use all those nice toys Iran has been sending them for years through Turkey. Then with all their shorter range "super-weapons" attack whatever US naval asset or forward bases are within range in Bahrain, Dubai, Qatar, Iraq and Afghanistan. Any civilian collateral damage Iran inflicts after we attack them first will be seen by the Muslim world and International Leftists as being ultimately our fault for starting the confrontation when sanctions were working so well. Biden was already talking about starting impeachment proceeding the minute we launch an attack. The Clerics in Iran have already rationalized that a military defeat, even a nuclear attack that costs them a substantial percentage of their population, would be "worth it" as long as they destroy Israel and inflict great harm on the US. They were also planning to shut down tanker traffic in the Gulf, theoretically crippling Western civilization, by cutting its energy legs out from under it..... and half a billion Muslims, not to mention a good percentage of Westerners, along with the Russians, and Chinese would be pulling for them to weaken the world's only military superpower.
So deciding to attack Iran was going to carry a tremendous burden in both political and humanitarian terms on the Bush administration, but not attacking Iran before they went nuclear on their watch is also going to be recorded as the biggest blunder in human history as well. That really leaves only one remote avenue open to Bush as I see it..... and it would explain all the events of the last few days.
Bush has one luxury the Israelis dont.....his children are not going to live within range of a nuclear tipped Iranian missile. After all, Iran is not threatening to wipe Crawford Texas off the map.....just Israel.
Suppose the remaining classified portion of the NIE suggests a "Moderately High Confidence" that, as a last resort if we dont attack Iran first, Israel is planning to execute a strike on the Bushehr reactor before it is fueled. and Bush has known this too for months. They have been practicing for it for over a year now. They just tested new tactics in Syria against the same Russian air defense hardware that rings Bushehr.
So Bush and Cheney come up with a plan.... why should we cast the first stone when Israel will if we dont? Why should Bush assume the responsibility for everything that happens after Iran is attacked when its Israel and Iran's Arab neighbors that stand to gain the most from delaying the Iranian's quest for Nuclear weapons. I'm sure the Israelis were hoping we would take care of their problem for them, but in reality they risk no more by attacking Iran themselves than they did if we attacked Iran for them. In either case Israel was going to use up their supply of Arrows, in either case Israel runs the risk of Iranian missiles and proxies threatening the continuity of the Jewish state. It ain't like the Muslim and Leftist worlds are going to hate Israel any more after they attack another Muslim reactor than they already do now.
So knowing with moderately high confidence that the trigger for an Israeli attack on Bushehr is the Fuel Rods leaving Russia, and knowing that the IAEA has just prepared those fuel rods for delivery, Bush chooses this exact time to release this Intelligence assessment. Knowing it will appear to force an involuntary policy shift on his Administration, and give Bush an excuse to NOT fulfill his promise to keep the Iranians from going nuclear on his watch. That leaves only a short amount of time to fabricate what appears to be a growing rift between America and Israel. Just enough to plausibly disassociate ourselves from an Israeli attack, but not enough time for the Iranians and Leftists to figure out why we have made this apparent policy u-turn.
Then Israel does what it has to..... They unilaterally attack and destroy the Bushehr reactor before the fuel rods reach their destination.
WHAT DOES IRAN DO NOW?
Yeah, they're going to launch whatever they have that will reach Israel back at Israel most of which Israel will probably shoot down over Jordan or Syria. Hezbollah will throw whatever Iran has given them at Israel as well. But that was all going to happen anyway.
But what is Iran going to do with all those short range super-weapons now.
As soon as Israeli bombs start landing in Iran, we start leading the chorus of nations condemning Israel. Is Iran still going to use those weapons to attack US naval assets and bases in the Gulf like they have planning on for years? How are they going to be able to resist the urge when their prized reactor is in smoldering ruins?
Now comes phase two...... we have to provoke that Iranian response. Even if it means sacrificing an undermanned naval asset to do it, thats something we have done more than once in the past. Lets say we just happen to have an expendable asset close enough to Iranian waters that it becomes a un-resistible target of opportunity for the enraged Iranians...... and they, (or something we can prove was made in Iran) attacks it in international waters. An unprovoked attack against the US by the Iranian military. That elusive moral high ground shifts to the innocent Americans.
While images of the carnage of the unprovoked attack are fresh on CNN Bush rushes to Congress for authorization to use force in reply. What idiot Congressmen denies that request in an election year? Hillary, Biden, and Ahmadinejad will all realize at that moment that they have been outmaneuvered by a slow witted Texan.
And the B2s with their new bunker busters will be in route to Natanz.
...... yeah there's a lot of moving parts with that theory. Several triggers have to be pulled in order for the Mullahs to get their well earned ass whippin. Lots of variables that could screw it up. Russia right now appears to be the only ones that can see the cards up Bush's sleeve..... what do they have up theirs? But I like the odds of Israel casting the first stone, their long-term survival depends on it, and I am counting on the Shiite culture of martyrdom to seal their fate. Israel or the Mullahs could, if they felt defeat was at hand, break out the undeclared specials, and engulf the region in nuclear fallout. A lot of Israelis and Iranians, and even some Americans could die. But its something that needs to happen and it needs to happen soon..... I have moderately high confidence it will. Its the only way any of this makes sense to me. If I am wrong it means that the US has abandoned Israel and surrendered the War on Terror to the ultimate source of Terrorism..... and I am just not prepared to accept that yet.