UPDATED: Three dangerous developments this week in the epicenter.
First, “Iran now has the technical capability to build a nuclear bomb and the only thing separating it from the bomb is the decision to go ahead and build one, said Brig.-Gen. Yossi Baidatz, head of Military Intelligence’s research division, on Monday,” according to a Jerusalem Post report. “Baidatz also said that Iran had been upgrading its missile arsenal, and that it had developed missiles with the capability of carrying nuclear weapons that could reach Israel.”
Second, Al-Arabiya reported that “Ahmadinejad says US planning to prevent coming of Mahdi; US wants to stop mankind’s savior: Iran leader.” Excerpt from the story: “Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said he has documented evidence that the United States is doing what it can to prevent the coming of the Mahdi, the Imam that Muslims believe will be ultimate savior of mankind, press reports said Monday….’They have devised all these plans to prevent the coming of the Hidden Imam because they know that the Iranian nation is the one that will prepare the grounds for his coming and will be the supporters of his rule,” said Ahmadinejad….”
Third, the EU voted Tuesday for a resolution calling for Jerusalem to be divided. This won’t lead to peace. It will encourage the Radicals to use all means necessary — including extreme violence — to seize Jerusalem and kill Israelis. Crazier still, the EU resolution didn’t address the immediate obstacle to peace: the fact that the Palestinians refuse to return to the negotiating table with Israel, despite the fact that the Israelis are showing goodwill in terms of freezing West Bank settlement building for 10 months, removing roadblocks in Palestinian areas, helping improve the Palestinian economy, etc.
Analysis: The Obama administration now says they will pursue international sanctions on Iran in January. That could be a good development, but it comes very late in the game. It’s still not clear even crippling sanctions would stop Iran from getting the Bomb. And it may simply be too late. Iran is ready to build the Bomb, according to Israeli intelligence, and has missiles that can reach Israel. So Netanyahu is running out of time. He may feel compelled to hit Iran hard, and soon. Netanyahu’s calculus is complicated by the fact that Ahmadinejad may be growing frustrated that the so-called Islamic Messiah has not yet arrived. In 2007, Ahmadinejad gave a series of speeches says the 12th Imam’s arrival on earth was “imminent.” The Iranian president seemed sincere in that belief, but the Mahdi still has not come. Meanwhile, Ahmadinejad may also be laying the groundwork for apocalyptic violence against the U.S. and Israel, and casting the rationale for such violence in eschatological terms. Bottom line: the situation in the region is steadily deteriorating. Someone’s going to make a move. It’s just not clear who’s going to move first.
- U.S. Eyes January for New Iran Sanctions
- EU foreign ministers: Jerusalem must be joint capital of Israel, Palestinian state
- Fascinating interview on CNBC with the author of “Start-Up Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle”