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Friday, 20 June 2008
Israel Signaling Intention

New Duranty: WASHINGTON — Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Several American officials said the Israeli exercise appeared to be an effort to develop the military’s capacity to carry out long-range strikes and to demonstrate the seriousness with which Israel views Iran’s nuclear program.

More than 100 Israeli F-16 and F-15 fighters participated in the maneuvers, which were carried out over the eastern Mediterranean and over Greece during the first week of June, American officials said...

One Israeli goal, the Pentagon official said, was to practice flight tactics, aerial refueling and all other details of a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear installations and its long-range conventional missiles.

A second, the official said, was to send a clear message to the United States and other countries that Israel was prepared to act militarily if diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from producing bomb-grade uranium continued to falter.

“They wanted us to know, they wanted the Europeans to know, and they wanted the Iranians to know,” the Pentagon official said. “There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”...

Posted on 06/20/2008 7:11 AM by Rebecca Bynum
20 Jun 2008
Special Guest

“There’s a lot of signaling going on at different levels.”...

Do the Iranians know the details of Israeli military exercises?  Maybe they do have intelligence assets inside Israel, among the large and largely unmonitored Muslim population in Israel.  They surely don't have satellite, or high-altitude overflight, or communication interception capability (although maybe the Russians or Europeans would quietly offer assistance in any or all of these areas).

But with the very visible announcement by the U.S. government, all's the Iranians need is a subscription to the NYT.  Was the U.S. government the one doing the signaling?  Signaling to the Iranians that it's time to take diplomacy seriously, or signaling to the Israelis that we will remove their element of surprise if they try something so "dangerous", or signaling to the mythical "vast majority of moderates" within Iran that now is the time to move against the "few extremists" at the top, or signaling to the North Korean, Chinese, and/or Russian nuclear technicians that now is a good time to leave Iranian nuclear facilities?

I don't want to read, in the NYT, analysis by U.S. government officials about what Israel is planning to do militarily in the future.  I'd greatly prefer, like the Syrian incident, to hear vague and unconfirmed reports after the fact, and watch the Syrians (and Iranians) issue statements of denial that anything has happened.

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