Israel will hit back if attacked by Saddamgreenspun.com : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread
THURSDAY OCTOBER 11 2001
Israel 'will hit back' if attacked by Saddam
FROM CHRISTOPHER WALKER IN JERUSALEM
FEAR of a new Middle East war front arose yesterday with the disclosure that Israel has made clear to the US that it retains the right to self-defence and will take “all actions to defend itself” if attacked.
The warning, delivered by Ariel Sharon, the Prime Minister, to Colin Powell, the US Secretary of State, referred particularly to any action by Iraq after strong hints from Washington that President Saddam Hussein could be next in line for strikes from allied air power.
Senior members of the Bush Administration are understood to share the view of Tel Aviv’s top military planners that Israel has good reason to fear that if the campaign widens to take in Iraq, the Iraqis will attack Israel in direct retaliation. During the Gulf War the Iraqis aimed 39 Scud missiles at the Jewish state and throughout raised the prospect that any one of the missiles could be tipped with biological or chemical weapons.
Although it has never been confirmed publicly, senior Western intelligence sources say that Israel made clear to Iraq through a third party at the time of the Gulf War that any biological or chemical attack on Israel would result in a tactical nuclear response.
Binyamin Ben-Eliezer, the Defence Minister, said that Israel has taken into account the possible extension of the current war to Iraq and added: “This time, we are much better prepared. The citizens of Israel can feel calm.”
In addition to a new conflict involving Iraq in which Israel is unlikely to show such restraint and stay on the sidelines as it did in 1991, Mr Ben-Eliezer also raised the prospect that Osama bin Laden’s terror network, al-Qaeda, may launch large-scale attacks against Israel in retaliation for the campaign against him.
He said that Israeli targets and Jewish institutions at home and abroad could become possible targets for bin Laden. “We are readying ourselves accordingly,” he added, in a remark that aides later said placed all Israeli and Jewish institutions abroad on a special alert.
There was also a chance that Hezbollah, backed by Iran and Syria, would try to increase tensions along Israel’s northern border, Mr Ben-Eliezer said. Senior sources in the Defence Ministry emphasised that Israel expected an early warning if the US were to decide to attack a country in the vicinity, with Iraq seen as the most likely target.
The sources said that President Bush had told Mr Sharon of the intended attack on Afghanistan about an hour in advance, noting that such limited notice would be insufficient for Israel to prepare itself if the US were to launch an attack on a Middle Eastern country.
The Israelis would hope for four to five hours’ notice of an impending attack on Iraq, which officials in Israel’s Foreign and Defence Ministries believe would be time to prepare for possible action. The officials believe that the latest anthrax scare in the US has increased the chances of action against Iraq, where a long-term programme to use the disease as a weapon was once revealed.
In a separate development, Israel’s attorney-general ordered a police investigation of Mr Sharon and his son over campaign financing for Israel’s last election, a Justice Ministry official said yesterday. Mr Sharon won the election in a landslide vote.
-- Swissrose (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 11, 2001
It's hard to imagine any extension of war in the Middle East would not involve Isreal.
-- Uncle Fred (email@example.com), October 11, 2001.
Isreal has nukes. Thier involvement could be the beginning of World War III. That was the big fear ducing the Gulf War.
-- RogerT (rogerT@c-zone.net), October 11, 2001.
Isreal wouldn't dare use their nukes. If they did, the Palistinians would quickly overrun them and push them back into the sea.
-- M. Monk (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 11, 2001.