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Germans, learn Farsi.
Don't call us, we gave at the office.

Iran is in a position where what can reach Berlin can also reach Moscow.

This is the time to jolt Putin, not Bush. Somebody's got to pull along a kicking and screaming Putin from Vienna to the Security Council before Bush can make the next safe move.

This doesn't give me quite all the information I need to develop an informed opinion. What does 'other parts of Europe' really mean?

Paris? Can they hit Paris?

Oh please oh please oh please

There is no cause for alarm. The Iranian nuclear program is for peaceful uses only. The rockets reflect only the nascent Iranian space program. Go about your business in peace.

You don't get it. America is the problem. Israel is the problem. Not Iran. Those stories about the Iranian president praying for armageddon? Those are fake stories planted by the Zionist/Neocon/Rove/Halliburton cabal secretly running the Chimpy McBush White House.

Sleep tight, Germany. The bigger issue is the blood-sucking AmeriJewish neocon conspiracy out to personally wreck Germany.

@Lou..
you mean 'the American locusts' destroying Germany?
and the man who said the is now the Vice Chancellor.
Yes as an American who lives in Germany, I can confirm that the Germans have suffered TERRIBLY under cowboy capitalism.. just TERRIBLY.

@Pamela
your remark about Paris was tasteless, mean and uncalled for. I would have responded sooner but I just finished laughing ;)

The shadow of the Mullahs (map)

Paris is just outside range... for a few more weeks.

"So I don't see how Iran could effectively blackmail any European country"

Thats true but surely that is presuming that the leaders of Iran care about this world and arent willing to go for a national form of suicide attack, presumably with Israel as the target. Or am I missing something here?

The Ironic thing is that it's the Israelis that are advancing systems to defend against such a missle attack. It could be Israel that defends Europe!

http://www.israeli-weapons.com/weapons/missile_systems/surface_missiles/arrow/Arrow.html

niko,
you are forgetting that these people are not rational.
(the Iranians, NOT the Jews.. the Jews are a Tätervolk, but they behave rationally ;))

there was a quote - a while back - by some mullah..
basically saying.. so what if we lose millions, it would be worth it to rid the earth of these scum.
Mutual Assured Destruction only works if both parties don't have some sort of a death wish.

sorry I should have clarified that..
the mullahs are crazy, not the Iranians.
The Iranian people are probably the most pro West in the entire Mideast.

Niko,

So, I'm looking at a map.

Saudi Arabia. Shia vs. Sunni. Competition for the Islamic center of the ummah.

The other option is of course Iraq.

But I see one crack in your reasoning.

The U.S. can take out Iran and everyone knows it. It wouldn't matter who can't retaliate. Iran so much as farts and U.S. commodoties futures in Persion glass go long.

Niko, I hope you are right..

@Niko - I don't share your presumption that the Mad Mullah would play safe, but lets assume he thinks he can intimidate an isolated Ukraine and testfires an unloaded missile through NATO airspace into the Black Sea just to show Yushchenko that the next shot can hit better. How far do you think could the blackmailing go?

Nuclear politics isnt just about perceived goals or aims from the would be nuclear power but also to do with safety assessments of the surrounding nations. With thousands of US troops in Iraq, is the US going to take this risk? With its existence at risk, is Israel going to take this risk? Should they? Against a nation that preaches hatred towards them both and is threatening to wipe one of a map that it doesnt even put it on, surely the only logical action is to make sure that it doesnt get that far? If we cannot presume the rationality of the Mullahs but can guess at a rationality of the Generals and see an anti-regime movement among the population then the hope must be to strike out at the regime and hope that the general population will do the rest. The clock is ticking on we can only guess at risk assessment while Iran remains a Theocracy.

"they want to become the badass of the block that you just don't upset."

True but they arent the badass at the moment and they are already upsetting people. Imaginary scenarios in the future are useless at the minute. The only scenario that counts is the risk that Iran gets the bomb in 2006 and decides to chuck it at Israel. So do you let them arm themselves, or not?

Missiles with nuclear warheads are only good if you don't use them. They are, as the example of North Korea shows, an insurance against invasions.

Any Iranian missile that could reach Berlin can reach Paris, too. Should one ever get fired Iran will cease to exist. Don't mess with France on that one.

And should Germany come under the threat of missiles from rogue nations that would be good enough a reason to consider its own nuclear options. Yes Germany has vowed not to have them but nothing is carved in stone when the odds change. See Japan.

Frankly, I'm not worried much about Iranian missiles landing in Munich or Berlin. A much more real danger are rogue nukes.

I haven't seen a strategy yet that deals with a response to a rogue nuke wiping a German city off the map.

@Niko - The Iranian nuclear doctrine is not some harmless maturity problem, or lust for power. The Mad Mullahs really feel themselves entitled to bring down the Great Satan and turn off the lights. There might be some individuals in the Iranian government who think if Iraq is post-WWII Germany then Iran is post-WWII Russia, but the difference is then the United Nations were just founded, while today they are an entrenched confederacy of tyranny grabbing even for the internet. Khatami has a much higher chance to become Secretary General than Stalin had at his time. There will be no repeat of the multipolar world of the cold war, now the issue is no longer whether unilateralism is emerging but who is going to control it.

Time for Voice of America and Radio Free Europe to broadcast this information into Russia. Commissar Putin and the "democratic" Duma needs to feel the rath of the protesting masses (if there are any).

Hmmm. Nuke Israel and take out al Asqa Mosque and the Palis and some Syrians and Egyptians in 1 stroke. And taint their water.

So, why are the Palis dying for land when it and they are gonna be nuked?

Al Asqa Mosque means nothing.

@Niko: I think there's another aspect of Iran's intentions that I haven't seen commented on yet: I'm waiting on them to try to extend the concept of asymmetrical warfare to the nuclear arena. What I mean by this is: Iran takes the Hamas/Hezbollah tactic of simultaneously playing the bully and victim cards. While threatening its neighbors (and maybe Europe) with nuclear destruction, it also works to portray itself as victims of oppression by same, in much the same sense that Islamists now do using fronts like CAIR. They try to make it politically costly to respond to their aggression.

Now, consider a situation in Europe where Iran not only has the bomb and a missile that can reach into Europe. They fire one and vaporize some smaller city in Germany or France or Spain. Then, they immediately go into victim mode: it was an accident, rogue elements, won't happen again, how dare you threaten poor helpless Muslims, etc. This is the asymmetrical element. Does anyone doubt that it would be politically nearly impossible for Europe to launch a retalitory attack? At that point, Iran pipes up and says, you know, we can prevent this from happening again, but it'll take, say, payments of 100 billion euros a year, indefinitely. Europe surrenders to this, because without the political will to fight back, it has no other choice. Now, not only can Iran continue to play this scenario every few years and bleed Europe dry, but its show of force will cause people in the Mideast who respect nothing beyond raw power to view it as the regional leader. It'll make it quite easy for Iran to crush democracy movements, assert control over its neighbors, and eventually dominate most of the Mideast oil supplies. And it will feed Iranian ambitions in Africa, India, and eventually Russia.

It's very, very dangerous to conclude that the missiles would not be used because of the threat of retailation. The experience with the Soviet Union does not translate very well here:

1)The Soviet leaders were materialists who did not believe in an afterlife: in their view, after nuclear annihilation, there would be nothing. This is by no means true of the Iranian leaders. Also, Marxist doctrine pointed to an "inevitable" historical process leading to their victory, so they would have been in no hurry to bring history to an end.

2)The credibility of western threats of retaliation has been greatly undercut by the appeasement-oriented behavior of so many politicians in Europe and in the U.S.

Cousin Dave
Absurd scenario. Absurdly foolish for Iran to try it once, even more foolish to try it again.

@Pamela – glass futures and options are not traded, but if they were, the sudden oversupply of glass in Iran would cause the price to fall. You would make money shorting glass, not going long.

I really don't think it will get to that point. Iran has stated its intention of killing all the Jews in Israel, and is pursuing the means of doing so. This is equivalent to a declaration of war on Israel. When it becomes obvious to all that there is no hope of a negotiated peaceful settlement, Israel is within its rights to take appropriate action.

When that time comes, if you want to make some money, Pamela, go long on houris in Paradise. There is certain to be a shortage of them.

When it becomes obvious to all that there is no hope of a negotiated peaceful settlement, Israel is within its rights to take appropriate action.

And therein lies the problem - it never becomes obvious to all. At least, not until the war is well underway...

Iran would be foolish to think that having nukes either protects them from attacks or provide them with leverage for the region.
Several nuclear powers have been attacked, the US, the Russians, and the Brits to name the most recent in the past 5 years. Terrorism is an equalizer and Iran is horribly mistaken to think that similar tactics cannot be used against them. Not only that, no regional power have an interests in the territorial integrity of Iran. Afghanistan? Pakistan? Iraq? Kuwait? Turkey? Russia? Not any one of those bordering states has the conventional capability to successfully take on Iran. The USA? if the US wanted to, the US can precision attack Iran's nuclear arsenal with conventional weapons with acceptable loses. Iran is not in a position to attack the US in retaliation. Sure US allies in the region (namely Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Israel) might be at risk but a missile defense would be in place unless Iran go first strike, in which case the US will flatten Iran as necessary even without nukes. Having nukes does not protect Iran.
Having nukes also does not provide leverage because it is only a threat that most will assume will never be delivered. true leverage are powers and resources you can use and or withheld. the most useable power is economic, not military. that is why the Soviets lost the cold war, their nuclear powers could never really be leveraged for use. Being a nuclear power will not bring them regional power. Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia are under US protection. Turkey under Nato's protection (if that means much anymore). Russia, Pakistan, and Israel are their own nuclear capable powers.
Thus the only real potential use for nukes for Iran is as an offensive weapon. Their blustering currently undermine this ability actually because everybody is concerned about this, recognizing the protection and clout angles are all a wash. Thus nations like the Israel and the US will contemplate pre-emption against Iran nukes. Stupid mullahs should reign in their guard dogs from barking so loudly so as not to alert their neighbors to having them.

Yeah, the crazies in the Iranian government may just go for broke and launch a nuclear strike against Israel. The dreaded Zionists are then gone and if a retaliatory stike hits Iran so what? They go to paradise with 72 virgins to deflower and there is still a billion Muslims left on earth to spread jihad.

That's one of only two realistically scary scenarios. Lobbing a missile at Europe? Why? The real danger is handing off a nuke to one of their terrorist fronts and sneaking it to a target. Israel? Definitely. New York? Why not? Can the affected governments (or what is left of them) definitively prove where the nuke came from? And even if they could, with all of the Idiotarians running around half of the world would not believe them anyway. They would be accused of exterminating innocent people. Then of course there is the realization that any nuclear response against Tehran would be exterminating millions of innocent people because everyone who is not an Idiotarian realizes that they great majority of Iranians would hang the Mullahs from the nearest lampost if they could.

End result:

If Iran gets nukes we lose. Millions.

25 years of "Death to America!" from the Iranian theocracy can't be ignored. I don't think the US will continue to ignore the overt aggression of Iran. I suggest the EU pay attention as well.

It's going to be difficult to time Israel's and America's attack to catch the westerly air current. The forecast is for transient global warming orders of magnitude above normal in the Middle East. On the positive side, enormous quantities of glass will become available.

I would definately not preclude the possibility of a far reaching conflict beginning in the Middle-East in very short order: Iran, Syria stress greater coordination to neutralize enemy plots.

Iran rules out pre-conditions in nuclear talks.

Iran, EU agree to continue nuclear talks in January.

Ahmadinejad has a pretty good head of steam built-up, nein?

@Risasko

"That's one of only two realistically scary scenarios. Lobbing a missile at Europe? Why? The real danger is handing off a nuke to one of their terrorist fronts and sneaking it to a target. Israel? Definitely. New York? Why not? Can the affected governments (or what is left of them) definitively prove where the nuke came from? And even if they could, with all of the Idiotarians running around half of the world would not believe them anyway."

You're hitting the nail on the head as far as the threat is concerned. Iran is already an old hand at proxy war via remote controlled terrorists. If they decided to smuggle a nuke into the US, their chances of success would be virtually 100%, despite all the billions being spent on a radiation detection Maginot line. In the event of such an attack, there would be a profound and extreme swing in the psychology of the US population. The "idiotarians" would become much less relevant, and nuclear retaliation against Iran practically forced, regardless of proof, because of their past threats. Once the genie is out of the bottle, chances of a general nuclear exchange become non-negligible, and the taboo against first use will be broken. That taboo is already weak among many in the US military, who argue that first use of small "bunker buster" nukes will insure destruction of critical enemy targets, while minimizing collateral damage. In a word, the answer to the environmentalist's dreams in the form of a drastic reduction in the human population of the planet is not out of the question. Japan currently controls around 20 tons of plutonium, and only 4 kilograms are needed to make a nuke. Any country with nuclear reactors has enough plutonium to make bombs in short order. If Germany decided to go nuclear, it could have hundreds of weapons ready within months.

@Niko - Franzis, what is the Iranian nuclear doctrine? What do you mean by "bring down the Great Satan and turn off the lights"?

The Iranian nuclear doctrine is written on the missiles paraded through Tehran, kindly in English as well so you don't need to learn Farsi. But you can as well imagine each of these missiles with a Salman Rushdie fatwa attached to it.

The Jamkaran cult which has won control of the Islamic Republic believes in a pretty weird end times theology that features the second coming of a whacky Imam with a huge Ceasar complex who allegedly went underground at the time of Emperor Otto the Great.

This is a story big enough to make all the Zen masters of Hollywood turn green of envy, but the problem of the Mad Mullahs is they don't know yet whom to cast for that role, and as it would have to be a convert to Islam, Hugo Chavez is still out of the question, but that may change if Khatami succeeds Annan.

Ahmadinejad hasn't taken off the gloves yet, as he did in the American embassy siege of his youth, but do you remember how Iran kicked out the IAEA inspectors after the Madrid attack, just to see whether Europe would lose its nerves already? Of course they said it was only some unanticipated Zoroastrian holiday...

That the Islamic Republic could have had enough once he only achieves regional hegemony is something which can only be seriously believed by somebody who is anyways making his living by preaching peace in our time from the balconies of Munich.

I understand that diplomats, due to profession, always want to keep a conversation going until the other side is cooked ready to slam the door, but anybody who wants to talk to the Jamkaran cult should know the life of Leo Ryan just as well as his own.

Niko said:"The Iranian nuke program is a national effort, and I can tell you that the nationalist forces in Iran who vie for control of the Middle East are pretty upset about Ahmadi Nezad's boasting. Several groups are dragging the nuke program for their camps, and Ahmadi Nezad is not in control of any of it. Israel sure is seen as an impediment to Iranian hegemony, but the Iranian assets are much more concentrated in Turkey, Iraq and Aghanistan."

While I don't really disagree with most of what you say here. I would like to see your sources or second or third party evidence of this.

My view are that while the military may be in control of the nuke program, there are many factions (within) that have access that may be willing to take control and push the buttons. To say that things are getting crazy there is an understatement.

Military Commanders Replace Police Forces

Thank you.

Papa Ray

Everybody´s paranoid ? I´m more afraid of getting killed in an accident. One more blind reason for transforming the EU into a police state.

The only conflation I made is that I cut off any notion of Murphy's law from this case. This is the thinking that was applied in the cold war, there may be many instances of Murphy's law affecting the enemy, but as soon as you start basing your analysis on these instances you start getting into the strategy of failure. Such as the Jamkaran cult based its analysis of the world on the assumption that Murphy's law will wear out the West, expressed in the allgeorical hourglass which it chose as a logo for the notorious conference on which Ahmadinejad called for a world without America.

If you apply this thinking to Turkey then it should become visible that the true reason to get Turkey into the European Union is to democratize that country and prevent it from going over the brink, and that the faux rationale of the Iraq denial crowd - Turkey instead of Iraq could lead the Islamic confederacy to democracy - is just that. I think we should ask Turkey to chose between EU and OIC to clear up the difference.

The nuclear program is indeed an issue greater than the Jamkaran cult, but it can only be properly addressed after that cult is entirely removed from the Iranian government. I think when the issue comes to the Security Council, a reasonable compromise can be reached that the system of Wilayat al-Faqih which allows the cultists to wield mundane power is outlawed, and that the Iranian nuclear duties and privileges are the same as of any other non-veto member state of the United Nations. If the Iranian nationalists insist that the source of their demands is universalism, then they may please explain why they are the only nation which builds a fuel cycle before the power plants and missiles with no other purpose than as a carrier system.

I suspect, and hope, that the Israelis will once again do the world's dirty work with respect to the Iranian nuclear program. They have ample reason to believe Iranian rhetoric, and know full well the hazard of ignoring threats.

Fortunately they are high-quality North Korean missiles, so their accuracy and reliability are beyond question. Whither will the French run?

Niko,

Second strike option?

You mean a strike by the members of the chocolate summit. This has to mean la frogs de fore.

Lots of problems with that option.

Do you really think the french would respond to an attack on Germany? You too have been reading much too much about the EUDF.

I surely hope the US would not envolve itself in this. I would tend to veiw the whole thing as just more of the EU 3 carrying on discussions with Iran with Iran taking a hard line.

@Joe -

Don't be so quick to dismiss France. Striking is their national pastime, they practice striking all year round. A Frenchman who isn't on strike now should be considered ready to strike at any moment. Even students go on strike, and they don't even have any productivity to withhold! You don't think they'd strike for Deutschland? They'd strike for Disneyland. Or Graceland, or Never-Neverland. A second strike, third strike, or however many strikes it takes to extort what they want - you may rely on the French.

@Niko -- I wish I had that much confidence. But I'm afraid I don't. I don't think it's a good idea to underestimate the abilities of ruthless dictators. Unless you know of something that I haven't seen suggesting that Nazad's overthrow is imminent, I think we have to assume that he will gain control of the nuclear program and the weapons sooner or later. I agree with FranzisM that, although it's true that dictatorships like that usually do foul things up eventually, I don't think it is prudent base our planning on that. We have to plan for the reasonable worst case, which is that Nazad does gain control and either fires the weapons or uses them for blackmail.

Another thing: I'm almost of the opinion that we should attack Iran right now and take the government out. Reason: Iran a few months ago seemed to be on the cusp of a liberalization movement. I'm trying to compare the situation with with existed in Argentina at the beginning of the Falklands War: rule by a posturing, swaggering military junta, which kept their supporters fired up with strong talk, and their detractors suppressed with strong-arm police tactics. But when they took on the British Navy, they got exposed as braggarts that talked the talk but couldn't walk the walk. Their support at home dried up instantly, and they got tossed out and replaced by a democratic government. I wonder if the same thing could happen in Iran. I know the Arab mindset is different in that regard, but still...

@Joe -- I hear you. I almost think that if Iran were to launch a nuke strike against Europe, the U.S. should declare itself neutral. There are two things that stop me from saying it: (1) it's heartless, and (2) it would be bad strategy. A nuke attack on western Europe would create an economic catastrophe that would eventually blow back at home, and we could not allow Iran to gain a dominant position that would threaten Israel or our allies in eastern Europe, or give Iran control over all of the Mideast oil supplies.

Hmmmm, the difference between Argentina and Iran is three patrol boats. And that's just from the Shatt-el-Arab, with the Straits of Hormuz not even considered yet.

Niko,
your quote was.........." and Europe has built up a plausible deterrent"

Question - In what century will this occur? 22nd?

Do you actually think the euro's care about defenese? They have little interest in combating terrorism.

It is apparent the Germans have no interest at all.

@Niko -
When you take a look at the map of the M.E. you'll notice that effectively Iran is encircled right now by pro- or at least affiliated-to-the-US regimes - and not -European regimes!

You may not have meant to, but I think you just gave me the first good argument in favor of the EU3 having taken charge of the Iran nuke situation.

Here is my tip how everything will workout fine in Germany without doing any harm to any American:

First we (the Germans) will run over France and Britain, because it is an old manor of the Germans to kick the snail eaters and the porridge suckers whenever we get the chance to do so. After France is coloninialized and britain got transformed into the worlds largest marina in world history the federal republic of Germany will be transformed into a new empire with a new Kaiser and the German Army will be upgraded to let´s say ten million men under arms. This new powerfull German Army will run over Europe and occupie the whole of Europe and some of the asian parts of Russia (just because of the oil you know) . The Britts will be transferred to the USA if you want them or they will be shipped to Greenland. Freedom of speech will be prohibited as well as any kind of socialism or socialdemocratric ideas. All people who think they don´t have to follow this new law will be imprisoned, sorry I mean readucated.
After Europe is ours the German military machine will turn across turkey straight into the middle east area. The people of those countries will be deported to central Africa. Were they will get the possibility to do nothing more than some agriculture. That will solve the problem of Islamism and the problem of a possible islamic nuclear bomb once and for all. Israel will not be touched in any sense because anti-semitism is something for Austrian privates.
No offer comes without any conditions. So the Germans expect the Americans to keep their nose out of that business. In trade for that you can have China and the whole of South America for whatever you want to do with them.

What do you think of it? Deal?

First we (the Germans) will run over France and Britain, because it is an old manor of the Germans to kick the snail eaters and the porridge suckers whenever we get the chance to do so.

Here is where you repeat an old mistake. Yes, fine, run over France, and trample Belgium on your way over, but every time you start kicking the 'porridge suckers', you wind up catching a faceful of Yankee iron. Call it a job well done when you hit the English Channel and I think you just might pull it off this time.

Likewise, on the way back the other way you'll have another problem - there's no path to Russia without going through other "Yank triggers" like Poland and Ukraine. If you could air drop into Belarus though, you'd probably save everyone a lot of trouble down the road, and it would make a decent staging ground to continue eastward.

If you're really going to head for the middle east though, do so with extreme caution. You're not going to grab so much of the planet's crude oil reserves without being attacked by pretty much the entire industrialized world, and that never works out in your favor. You should head that way only with many assurances in hand, and a sincere intent to honor them.

Just be sure to bribe and threaten the rotating seats on the Security Council too, or you'll have no end of the moaning and whining.

@germantommy - "Germany will be transformed into a new empire with a new Kaiser and the German Army will be upgraded to let´s say ten million men under arms."

You're saying Franz Beckenbauer is going to kick ass at the Football World Cup next year? Certainly, but don't make too much noise on the street after you enjoyed your beers, or Queen Mum is going to abduct you to the Raspberry Reich!

/channelling The Emperor

Cousin Dave,

I cannot agree with you on either of your reasons.

The first one about being heartless is a non-issue. The EU does not view this as a threat. For Americans do so would again put us at odds with the eurolanders. This we surely would not want to do given their current attitudes.

So should something happen from a non-issue, it must be an nonevent.

True current economics would in fact change. There would be some economic disruption but I am not so sure it would be as awful as you might believe. As the Germans have pointed out, they have BIG government and BIG government can handle these things unlike the small government found in the US.

But even assuming BIG government was unable to effective handle this situation, it is true some markets would be lost. It is equally true there would less producers to service the remaining markets. While there would be a period of adjustment, over the mid-term it would have little impact.

In many ways this might actually have a positive effect on the world economy. Think of the African nations. They would have more products, which could compete in the world market without the distortion of the CAP as an example. Japan and the US would gain market share in automobile production and Microsoft would be able to keep it “trade secrets”. Problems between the US – EU and the EU- and world now before the WTO would become non-issues.

The matter of Iran controlling the ME and the oil supplies might equally be over blown. First there would be less overall demand for oil. The world could survive without oil sales from the ME. You forget the other major suppliers. Other sources of oil would become more feasible to bring to market such as oil sand and shale.

Think of the oil exporting nations in the ME. Just what do they actually have to offer. I would tell you with the exception of their export of terror and hate not much. Think they would all be more or less like Syria and Palestine.

Now think of the economic boost to non-ME oil export nations. This could only be a positive for them.

So if this was confined to france and Germany, it would be a non event. We all could be french for a day, and go to their respective embassies to lay flowers and light candles and then get on with our lives.

@joe - Will we become a no-fly zone like 1990s Iraq, with Kofi Annan implementing Ahmadinejads proposal to relocate Israel to central Europe in an United Nations Jews-for-Food Program?

You realize there is a better than 50% probability the EU3 will still be in discussion when the missles do fly.

They surely will be pissed that the US did not give them more time to work a deal with Iran.

If the diplomats want more time then they must turn to Russia, it is Putin who is stealing our time with his stupid blockade in the IAEA board.

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