Date: Fri Feb 20 2009 - 19:34:23 EST
U.S. intel predicts Israel-Iran war in 2009
Admin - Feb 18, 09 07:01 PM
February 18, 2009 (Press TV) - The US intelligence chief reportedly expects
Israel and Iran to engage in a major military confrontation before the end
of the year.Dennis Blair
Dennis Blair, the newly-appointed head of US intelligence, said Tel Aviv
will eventually declare war on Tehran as a last-ditch effort to curb Iran's
enrichment capabilities, Israeli daily Ha'aretz reported on Saturday.
Detailed military plans to bomb Iran's nuclear infrastructure have long
been on the table in Tel Aviv.
Israel accuses Iran, a signatory to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty
(NPT), of pursuing a military nuclear program.
Iran, however, says it enriches uranium for civilian applications and that
it has a right to the technology already in the hands of many others.
In an annual threat assessment to Congress on Thursday, Blair reconfirmed
the findings of a 2007 intelligence report, asserting once again that Iran
is not currently working toward weaponization.
The retired admiral said that while Iran has made progress in enrichment,
there is proof that Tehran "does not currently have a nuclear weapon, and
does not have enough fissile material for one".
The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) issued in November 2007 by sixteen
US intelligence agencies has been an obstacle to Israeli efforts in
building a case for war against the Islamic Republic.
In a Friday interview, former Israeli UN ambassador Dan Gillerman
nevertheless revealed that Tel Aviv is preparing a military offensive
against the country.
Gillerman explained that Israel could no longer afford to wait for
international efforts to bring Iran's enrichment to an end.
Israeli legislator and weapons expert Isaac Ben-Israel has also called for
Tel Aviv to attack Tehran in the coming year.
The Israeli calls against Tehran come at a time when prospects for direct
US-Iran diplomacy have increased significantly in recent weeks.
Iran and the US have had no diplomatic ties for almost thirty years, but in
an abrupt volte-face in the White House policy of isolating Iran, US
President Barack Obama has vowed to break the ice and create conditions for
the two sides to "start sitting across the table, face to face" in the
"I think there's the possibility, at least, of a relationship of mutual
respect and progress," Obama said at his first prime time press conference
"My expectation is, in the coming months, we will be looking for openings
that can be created where we can start sitting across the table
face-to-face with diplomatic overtures that will allow us to move our
policy in the new direction," he added.
Israel fears US-Iran talks may lead to rapprochement between the two
countries -- a development that may be able to slightly change the balance
of power in the Middle East.
Iran has shown openness toward US calls for dialogue but insists that
Washington should be seeking lasting 'change' and not a mere shift in
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