Haaretz Screaming Headline: Bibi Seeks Cabinet Approval for Iran Attack

The main headline of today’s Haaretz practically screams out (translation of Hebrew edition):

Netanyahu Seeks Cabinet Majority for Military Action Against Iran’s Nuclear Plants

The article continues (from the English edition):

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran, a senior Israeli official has said. According to the official, there is a “small advantage” in the cabinet for the opponents of such an attack.
Netanyahu and Barak recently persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who previously objected to attacking Iran, to support such a move.

The article suggests that this month’s IAEA report will be “decisive” in determining Israel’s decision.  Since Israeli media have already blared what the supposed substance of the report will be (i.e. that Iran is moving ever closer to processes necessary to create a nuclear weapon), this seems a dubious proposition.  What this means is that Bibi wants to bomb Iran and if there is any material in the report that justifies his pre-ordained outcome, then he will seize upon it.
Much more decisive in the determination will be whether there is a cabinet majority, as the headline notes.  Once Bibi has the votes it will hardly matter what the IAEA says.
The report says that Bibi and Barak currently have a “slight majority.”  Opposing are Yuval Steinitz, Dan Meridor, Bogie Yaalon (this is a shocker to me),  Benny Begin and Eli Yishai.  Maariv too has a screaming headline (Hebrew only):

Meridor: Iran Deliberations Graver than Anat Kamm Leaks

I take this to mean that the contents of the materials leaked by Anat Kamm, which revealed that IDF general had approved Palestinian assassinations in violation of Supreme Court rulings, will pale in comparison to the damage that an Iran attack could do to the IDF and Israel.
This is the first Israeli media confirmation that not only have Bibi and Barak have determined to attack Iran, but that they have attempted to dragoon the cabinet into supporting it as well.  This takes the plan one step closer to realization.  As soon as there is a cabinet majority, the attack could happen at any moment.  Don’t be terribly surprised if you wake up one morning and find pictures of Israeli missiles falling on Iran on CNN and the front page of your local paper.  It no longer seems much of a question of “if,” but rather “when.”
It’s very important that bloggers, journalists and others prepare for such an eventuality.  We should try to create open channels of communication among us and Israeli and Iranian bloggers who can tell us in real time what is happening, who’s saying what, and where the bombs are falling.  This will be a chilling, savage attack which I imagine will impact not just Iran, but Israel as well.
In this column, Haaretz columnist Reuven Pedatzur, a former IAF fighter pilot and one of Israel’s premier military analysts, practically begs the current IAF commander to stand lay his body on the railroad tracks to halt the runaway train that is the project for an Iran attack:

If anyone can save Israel from catastrophe it is the Israel Air Force commander. All Maj. Gen. Ido Nechushtan has to do is whisper to the prime minister and defense minister that an Air Force attack on Iran cannot achieve its goals.
The force’s airplanes can reach Iran and even drop bombs, he must tell them, but ultimately the operation will not destroy the Iranian nuclear program. At best it will be delay the program by a few months.
…Such an approach to the policy makers may be opposed to the “Air Force spirit,” but Nechushtan must act with national responsibility. It would not be a display of defeatism, but rather one of supreme responsibility in an era when the decision-making process has gone dangerously haywire. Only he can stop the train speeding to a collision in Iran’s skies.
…Never, it seems, has an IDF officer been in a position in which his professional recommendation could bring on Israel a disaster of such proportions. We may only hope Nechushtan will rise to the occasion.

The mystery of helicopter crash

Dr Ghayur Ayub

The death of OBL added another scepticism about the man whose whole life spiralled around sceptic stories. Someone rightly said ‘all information about bin Laden should be treated with a healthy dose of scepticism’. Even President Obama gave it a sceptic touch when he used the term ‘remains’ instead of ‘body’ in his news breaking announcement when he said ‘the military took custody of his remains’. Scepticism reached its peak on the night he was supposedly killed in a compound in Abbottabad. Enough is written on the subject in a short span of time. But in the whole episode, the crash of the helicopter was not given its due importance. All we heard was that one helicopter had crashed giving no details except that there were no casualties.

Its relevance is as important in the incidence as the relevance of Building 7 in the collapse of the Twin Towers. As the answer to the collapse of the Twin Towers lies in the answer to the collapse of Building 7; similarly, the crux of May 2nd episode is in the crash of the helicopter. Before coming to this point, let us see what the Americans didn’t find in the compound where OBL supposedly lived.

We are told that he suffered from the following infirmities;

1), Chronic Renal disease; there have been CIA reports along with other identical reports that bin Laden required dialysis because of kidney disease. It was corroborated by President Pervez Musharraf in 2002.

2), Marfan Syndrome; reports also mention that he suffered from Marfan Syndrome which affects the heart valves.

3), Cardiomegaly (Enlarged heart); this condition was mentioned in a CIA report. It was most probably caused by the torn or diseased heart valves.

4), Diabetes, Hypotension (low blood pressure); A biography, published in Egypt in 1991 reported that OBL suffered from low blood pressure and diabetes. The report also mentioned he received insulin shots for diabetes.

5), Injuries; all his life he received injuries from toes to back onto chest and neck. A video tape released in December 2001 showed intelligence officers saying “he had suffered a severe chest wound”. According to Katzman, “he wasn’t able to move his arm much” because of a shrapnel wound. Time Magazine (July 1, 2002) mentioned “he probably suffers from secondary osteoporosis” There had been other reports confirming the injuries. That could have been the reason he used walking stick.

With this track record he had to keep the relevant medicines and dialysing machine at home especially the latter to avoid risking been tracked down. On May 2, 2011, he was ambushed and supposedly killed at his home. A few days later, we were shown blood stained floors, furniture and one or two dead bodies. Mary Anne Weaver, the author of “Pakistan: Deep Inside the World’s Most Frightening State” stated,’ according to the intelligence people I’ve talked to in Washington, there was no evidence of a dialysis machine in the compound’ The exclusive video obtained by ABC News inside the compound also did not show any evidence of dialysis equipment. All the video showed was the medication bottles containing petroleum jelly, eye drops, olive oil, sunflower oil, an antiseptic and a nasal spray. There were no pain killers or medicines for kidney disease, low blood pressure, diabetes or the other conditions he suffered from.

Does it mean that the Navy Seals did not do their job properly and failed to search all the rooms? That is unlikely for the training they have for such jobs. Not finding the medicines and dialysing machine opens up a big question of validity. Secondly, the whole episode was shown live in the White House to President Obama and his team. We were told OBL’s dead body was not shown because of the disfigurement. But they could have shown him just before he was shot to confirm that they got him in the compound. Not showing ‘a dead or alive’ Osama in the compound created yet another scepticism and raising a genuine question whether OBL was in the compound. If he wasn’t there; then where was he?

In February, 2004, Iranian state radio claimed, “Osama bin Laden was arrested a long time ago, but Bush is intending to use it for propaganda manoeuvring in the presidential election,” According to another report Osama bin Laden died of kidney failure soon after the September 11, 2001 attacks. In 2002, the FBI’s top counter terrorism official, Dale Watson said, “I personally think he is probably not with us any more.” A Taliban leader told the Pakistan Observer on December 21, 2002, that Bin Laden died in mid-December in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honourably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief. Similar news was reported by Fox News. Alex Jones was told live on the radio in 2002 by high-level Council on Foreign Relations members that Osama Bin Laden had died of kidney failure in early 2002. According to, Benazir Bhutto Osama bin Laden had been killed by Ahmed Omar Saeed Sheikh. Another report stated that he died in an area so remote near Tora Bora that the best intelligence could not find him. Hundreds of reports from all over the world pointed towards his death. Had he been living, it would have been impossible not to track him because of his chronic diseases and dialysing procedures. This point was rightly raised by Adil Najam, professor of international relations at Boston University who stated that ‘the need for medical treatment could have made it easier for the Americans to track him down’.

With this background, the crash of the American helicopter becomes important for the following reasons;
  1. The wreckage became a proof or a signature that it was an American operation confirming the death of already dead OBL.
  2. Without the wreckage the operation could have been taken as Pak army’s.
  3. The wreckage distanced Pak army/ISI from the operation to degrade army/ISI and upgrade Navy Seals.
  4. The wreckage brought down the image of army/ISI (one of the objectives of CIA) in the eyes of the public.
  5. The wreckage must have had blood from injuries of the pilots and other occupants if it was a real crash.
  6. The army experts who took away the wreckage must have found the cause of the crash and the evidence of blood etc using forensic techniques.
  7. They must have found the evidence whether the helicopter was brought down deliberately by the Americans, as we know that except for it’s tail section the rest was destroyed by the Seals.
  8. Finally, each of the two UH-60 Black Hawks used for the attack can carry 11 troops with equipment and lift 2,600 lb (1,170 kg) of cargo internally. How were the occupants of two helicopters evacuated by one helicopter unless the crashed helicopter was empty and the crash landing was part of the plan.
We saw that the Americans moved fast to collect the wreckage ‘fearing’ that Pakistan might let Chinese examine it and expose its stealth technology. But there could be other reason than technology falling in wrong hands. To me the helicopter crash at Abbottabad is akin to the fall of building 7 at New York.

The end