Archive for February, 2012

IAEA report on Iran nukes

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

The IAEA report (pdf, 11 pages) on their recent (Feb. 2012) failed trip to Iran has just been leaked. The news media have reported on its finding:

Guardian reportCNN reportBBC reportReuters reportJerusalem report.

For the record, here is the November 2011 IAEA report on Iran (pdf file, 25 pages), for comparison.

Errors in superluminal neutrino experiment

February 24, 2012 Leave a comment

Just as several physicists had suspected that something is wrong with the OPERA experiment (back in November 2011) that concluded that neutrinos have traveled faster than light, it now looks like their suspicions were correct.  Two major errors seem to have surfaced in the experiment at CERN — namely, two problems with the GPS synchronization system used and another problem that had to do with fiber optic cables used in transmitting the GPS signals.  This was reported by NATURE Magazine.  Einstein must be smiling in his grave.

The next issue to look forward to is whether the signals announced by CERN in December 2011 to be possible signs of the Higgs boson will in fact be confirmed to a 5 sigma level of certainty. (The data in December gave about a 3 sigma level of confidence.)  And how about supersymmetry (SUSY)? Still a no-show.

Categories: News, Physics, Science

Bombing Iran – response to Economist essay

February 24, 2012 3 comments

My response to some points in a recent Economist essay on Iran.  Some I agree with, except a few major ones — including the case that Iran’s nuke sites should not be bombed. The position of the author(s) of this article that Iran should not have nuclear weapons and at the same time taking off the table the threat of force, the author does not give a viable solution to the stand off. Indeed, that position is exactly what Iran has been banking on and investing on to reach its current advancement in its nuclear program — after 9 years of negotiations and diplomacy (since 2003). As you know, the IAEA has failed again and again to get Iran to cooperate (even in their second recent visit, where they were denied access to the Parchin military site). (Blue boldfaced comments are quotes from the Economist article which I wish to address.)

If Iran is intent on getting a bomb, an attack would delay but not stop it.

But an attack could deter it, and severely weaken its ability and delay it. That is a much better option than allowing Iran to be dangerous nuclear state akin to North Korea in the Middle East.

Indeed, using Western bombs as a tool to prevent nuclear proliferation risks making Iran only more determined to build a weapon—and more dangerous when it gets one.

And conversely, Israel & the US too would be even more determined to stop Iran (esp. if Obama loses the election and the US inaugurates a Republican president) – and Israel even more so determined because of Iran’s nuclear annihilation threat. As a matter of fact, the Palestinian issue would be ignored and further placed in the back burner seeing that now Israel has to invest more of its focus and resources to defending itself against an existential threat. Thus the Iran threat is worsening the Palestinian issue than it currently is, just as the Arab states before have managed to do.

The danger is keenly felt by Israel, surrounded by threats and especially vulnerable to a nuclear bomb because it is such a small land.

The vulnerability to Israel that you speak of here is exactly why Israel — if not the United States — has the greatest stake in dealing with Iran militarily to deter it from developing nukes (an action that you oppose). Also, it is hardly new for Israel to deal with several enemies at once, and I don’t have to give you a history lesson on that front.

It could retaliate, including with rocket attacks on Israel from its client groups in Lebanon and Gaza. Terror cells around the world might strike Jewish and American targets.

They have already been doing that and still are. So that is not new. Further, Hizbullah is more constrained nowadays from acting because of its gov’t position in Lebanon after it learned its lesson back in 2006. If they do react with rockets, Lebanon could descend into ashes and it has much more to lose. Nasrallah’s recent statement that they will make their own decision independently of Iran may be an indication that they will not retaliate. But if they do, then know to expect a much worse outcome than what occurred back in the 2006 war.

The article raises a number of ‘dooms-like’ scenarios as a means to weaken the argument for war — thereby honoring Iran with nuclear weapons. They are guesses at best, but what Israel will not hedge its bets on is allowing Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon while threatening its very existence. There is no clearer logic than this. Those scenarios you paint should be placed right at Iran’s door step, not anyone else. Iran denies the Holocaust but aims to create the conditions for it. The author of the article is not faced with the imminent danger that his/her people/nation will be annihilated by Iran, so he/she can afford the academic position advocated by the article. But when you are a nation of people who suffered horrible deaths in a Holocaust just 70 years ago and you witness yet another such threat, you would soon learn that you can not afford academic exercises – and that you MUST act. Never again. And never will Israel allow Iran to achieve its dangerous ambitions. I pray that the US will regain its conscience and either take to the fight and/or join Israel to fight this good fight against this dangerous evil in the Middle East.

Anyway, short of Iran giving up its nukes completely, you can be sure that Israel (and/or the US) will attack Iran to save itself. This is a matter of paramount importance for any state: to protect its people and to protect its very existence. Iran made a huge mistake for threatening another powerful nation as it did, and it alone bears the responsibility for the consequences of its threats and actions.

In Iran crisis, who will be the leader?

February 13, 2012 Leave a comment

If Israel attacks Iran’s nuke facilities before the US does, then it would show that the US is not leading the effort to stop Iran’s nuclear program. The US has not been playing any leadership role in the Mideast under Obama (in the Libya bombing, it played a secondary role under NATO). And the Iran crisis, a high profile issue in that part of the world, would further show, and affirm, that it is Israel that will take that leadership role to address world fears concerning Iran.

In fact, Israel has an opportunity to form alliances in the region to form a front against Iran, Syria, Hizbullah. With such an alliance can come leadership.

Obama could, if he wanted to, take over the leadership role by dealing with Iran before Israel does. And this could be where the two are in friction: the timing. So now … who’s going to be the leader?

Egyptian women in dire straits

February 2, 2012 Leave a comment to what the women’s secretary to the Muslim Brotherhood (in Egypt), Manal Abul Hassan, had to say regarding Egyptian women who marched to protest the Military’s brutal treatment of women:

the [Muslim Brotherhood women] refused to participate in the march because participants were funded and had a particular agenda.  When a woman marches to defend her rights, this affronts her dignity.

That’s the kind of ‘democracy’ that’s in store for Egyptian women, Muslim brand.  You defend your rights, you’re undignified. This is getting to be quite tragic. And Egypt stands to lose the most when they treat their women with such indignity & disrespect — the indignity legalized by their Sharia law. What is more tragic is when other women think women should be subjected to Sharia law.

Categories: News, Politics, Religion

James Clapper on Iran’s nuclear path

February 1, 2012 2 comments is an issue I have with the position James Clapper (director of National Intelligence) had stated at the Senate Intelligence Committee — at least as reported by VOA, and the paragraph that reads:

Iran has denied taking part in assassination plots [against Saudi Ambassador to US] and insisted it has no intention of building nuclear weapons. On that second point, Clapper told senators Iran could be telling the truth, at least for now. “They are certainly moving on that path, but we do not believe they have made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon,” said Clapper, adding that the extent to which Iran enriches uranium will be a key signal of its intentions.

If, as he says, Iran is moving on that path — namely, toward building nuclear weapons — then it is absurd or meaningless to say that Iran has not made “the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon.”  If Iran is moving on a path, it already decided! Secondly, the IAEA report made more clear Iran’s decisions regarding nuclear weapons.

What I do find interesting is Clapper’s other comment that “Iran is increasingly willing to conduct attacks in the United States or against U.S. interests overseas.” That could be signaling raising the rhetoric against Iran to get it to do the wrong thing.