Al Jazeera – December 22, 2005
In October, a Russian rocket carried Iran’s first spy satellite, the Sinah-1, into orbit. This launch accelerated Israel’s plans to strike Tehran’s nuclear facilities; the Jewish state is now getting ready for an attack by the end of March.
While Iran’s nuclear program is Israel’s main concern, its space capabilities are also considered a “point of no return”, which determined the actual timing of the Israeli strike. "The Iranians' space program is a matter of deep concern to us," said an Israeli defense official. “If and when we launch an attack on several Iranian targets, the last thing we need is Iranian early warning received by satellite."
Iran wants to master space technology as soon as possible, amid fears the West will seek to impose restrictions on its satellite program like those placed on its NUCLEAR PLANS. According to an article on Global Research.ca, the Sinah-1 is just the first of several Iranian satellites set for Russian launches in the coming months. The Islamic republic is also working on a Shahab-4 missile that could carry an Iranian-built satellite on its orbit.
Thus the Iranians will soon have a satellite network in place to give them early warning of an Israeli attack. However, Iran‘s satellites won’t be as efficient as more powerful Israeli and American space spies that can track the slightest movements; cameras on Israel’s Ofek-5 spy satellite have been monitoring the activities in Arab countries and Iran since 2002.
Moreover, Russia signed a $1 billion contract to sell Iran an advanced defense system that can destroy guided missiles and laser-guided bombs, the Sunday Times reports
. This too will be ready in the next few months.
The timing of the Israeli attach is closely linked to Israel’s political situation. With a parliamentary elections on March 28, Prime Minister ARIEL SHARON, who quit the right-wing Likud to form a new centrist party, wants to look strong. Former PM Benjamin Netanyahu, the newly elected Likud leader, pledged that if Sharon doesn’t act against Iran, "then when I form the new Israeli government, we'll do what we did in the past against Saddam's reactor, which gave us 20 years of tranquility."
This all pushed SHARON to rally the country, and stave off this lunge from the right, with a strike against Tehran. "Israel — and not only Israel — cannot accept a nuclear Iran," the Israeli Prime Minister said recently. "We have the ability to deal with this and we're making all the necessary preparations to be ready for such a situation."
A strike against Iran would be popular in Israel, where everyone agrees that Iran cannot be allowed to have the kind of nuclear weapons that Israel itself possesses in such bristling abundance. By the late 1990s, the U.S. intelligence community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130 nuclear weapons, including missiles and bombs, according to the Federation of American Scientists.
Israel did its homework. The March deadline also comes with an International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran’s NUCLEAR PROGRAM, which could lead to UN sanctions against Tehran, as Israel and the United States want. According to the Sunday Times, SHARON had already ordered Israel’s special forces to be at the “highest stage of readiness” for the strike. Commenting on the report, a top White House official said that the threat of a nuclear Iran was moving to the top of the international agenda, and the question "what next?” would have to be answered in the next few months. (Meaning: Sure, March could work for us.)
Only a fool would believe that the Bush administration gave up its ambitions for “full-spectrum dominance” in the Middle East just because Iraq turned into a disaster. To Washington, Iraq has always been a step towards Iran; which was never punished for removing the U.S.’s puppet, the shah, and seizing the American Embassy in Tehran. In fact, Iran is the first step to Washington’s ultimate goal; planting U.S.-controlled hands on Middle Eastern and Central Asian oil, thus halting the political rise of China and India, and ensuring a “new American century” of unchallenged profit and privilege. For the elite, of course; as always, those back home have to deal with the bills and the body bags from these war games.
The United States and Israel have already begun a covert war against Iran. With defiant Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, BUSH and SHARON will have little trouble gaining support for such an attack. In the next few months, we’ll see the usual charade of “diplomacy” as military plans are being final.
Satellite Launch Gives Tehran Some Security
Israel readies forces for strike on nuclear Iran
And our archive on the mounting tension between Iran, Israel and America:
Last updated 17/03/2006