Monday, February 6, 2012

DTN News - IRAN NUCLEAR FACTOR: Obama Says Risky To Attack Iran, Wants Diplomatic Fix

Defense News: DTN News - IRAN NUCLEAR FACTOR: Obama Says Risky To Attack Iran, Wants Diplomatic Fix
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Laura MacInnis and Parisa Hafezi - Reuters
 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 6, 2012: In a television interview, Obama also said he did not believe Tehran had the "intentions or capabilities" to attack the United States, playing down the threats from Tehran and saying he wanted a diplomatic end to the nuclear standoff.

"Any kind of additional military activity inside the Gulf is disruptive and has a big effect on us. It could have a big effect on oil prices. We've still got troops in Afghanistan, which borders Iran. And so our preferred solution here is diplomatic," Obama said.

His comments echoed concerns expressed by earlier by Iran's neighbor Turkey that an attack on Iran would be disastrous.

Obama, who is up for re-election in November, has ended the U.S. war in Iraq and is winding down combat in Afghanistan amid growing public discontent about American war spending at a time when the economy remains shaky.

He said Israel had not yet decided what to do in response to the escalating tension but was "rightly" concerned about Tehran's plans.

"My number one priority continues to be the security of the United States, but also the security of Israel, and we are going to make sure that we work in lockstep as we proceed to try to solve this, hopefully diplomatically," he told NBC.

Iranian leaders have responded sharply to speculation that Israel could bomb Iran within months to stop it from assembling nuclear weapons, threatening to retaliate against any country that launches an attack against the Islamic Republic.

Iran says its nuclear program is meant to produce energy, not weapons.

But its recent shift of uranium enrichment to a mountain bunker - possibly impervious to conventional bombing - and refusal to negotiate peaceful guarantees for the program or open up to U.N. inspectors have raised fears about Iran's ambitions as well as concerns about Gulf oil supplies.


Although tough sanctions from the United States and Europe have begun to inflict economic pain in Iran, its oil minister asserted on Saturday it would make no nuclear retreat even if its energy exports ground to a halt.

Betraying nervousness about the possibility of a military strike on Iran, two of its neighbors - Qatar and Turkey - urged Western powers on Sunday to make greater efforts to negotiate a solution to the nuclear dispute.

Speaking at a security conference in Munich, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said an attack would be a disaster and suggested the dispute over Iran's nuclear program could be ended very rapidly.

"If there is strong political will and mutual confidence being established, this issue could be resolved in a few days," he said. "The technical disputes are not so big. The problem is mutual confidence and strong political will."

He added: "A military option will create a disaster in our region. So before that disaster, everybody must be serious in negotiations. We hope soon both sides will meet again but this time there will be a complete result."

Qatari Deputy Foreign Minister Khalid Mohamed al-Attiyah said an attack "is not a solution."

"I believe that with our allies and friends in the West we should open a serious dialogue with the Iranians to get out of this dilemma. This is what we feel in our region," he said.

Turkey hosted talks between Western powers and Iran a year ago that ended in stalemate because the participants could not agree on an agenda.


Despite Obama's stated preference for a diplomatic solution, he said from the White House on Sunday he would not take options off the table to stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons.

"We're going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating an arms race - a nuclear arms race - in a volatile region," he said in the interview.

Any military strike on Iran, which might include an attack on the oilfields of No. 1 exporter Saudi Arabia, could send oil prices soaring, which could seriously harm the global economy.

Tehran has warned its response to any such strike would be "painful," threatening to target Israel and U.S. bases in the Gulf, and warning it may close the Strait of Hormuz used by one third of the world's seaborne oil traffic.

The elite Revolutionary Guards began two days of military maneuvers in southern Iran on Saturday in a show of force for Iran's adversaries. On Sunday, the deputy of that unit said Iran was ready to attack any country whose territory is used by "enemies" to launch a military strike against it.

"Any spot used by the enemy for hostile operations against Iran will be subjected to retaliatory aggression by our armed forces," Hossein Salami told the semi-official Fars news agency. The Gulf states that host U.S. military facilities are Qatar, Bahrain and Kuwait.

Experts currently estimate the longest range of an Iranian missile to be 1,500 miles, capable of reaching Israel and Europe. Las week, Israeli Vice Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said Iran had been working on a missile that could strike the United States, with a range of 6,000 miles.

Asked about that risk, Obama said there was little sign of a pending Iranian attack on U.S. soil. "We don't see any evidence they have those intentions or capabilities right now," he said.

(Additional reporting by William Maclean in Munich, Michael Holden in London and Aruna Viswanatha in Washington; Writing by Laura MacInnis; Editing by Doina Chiacu)

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By Laura MacInnis and Parisa Hafezi - Reuters
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News 

DTN News - INDIA DEFENSE NEWS: Why India Chose Rafale

Defense News: DTN News - INDIA DEFENSE NEWS: Why India Chose Rafale
Source: DTN News - - This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By K. P. Nayar - The Telergraph Calcutta India   
 (NSI News Source Info) TORONTO, Canada - February 6, 2012: When Pratibha Patil travelled to Europe last October, she and others in her entourage had a pleasant surprise in the sky. At one point along the air space that the President’s flight was using, half a squadron of Eurofighters appeared on both sides of her Air India plane.

In the graceful style of these sleek war machines, they escorted the presidential aircraft to its safe landing at Patil’s next destination. Even so, those manning the Eurofighters could not resist showing off.
When the Eurofighters displayed the prowess of this advanced new-generation, multi-role combat aircraft to the President, members of Parliament and senior officials accompanying her, New Delhi’s quest for 126 planes of its kind could not have been far from the minds of their pilots.

The competition for the biggest military aviation deal in history, which began 11 years ago when the defence ministry initiated its “request for information” or RFI, had just entered its final and decisive phase.

But the impromptu decision to send the Eurofighters across European skies to impress the President was typical of what cost some rivals of Dassault Aviation — last week’s winners — the lucrative Indian Air Force contract.

It was somewhat reminiscent of Henry Kissinger’s disastrous invitation to defence minister Jagjivan Ram to visit Washington in 1971 as the sub-continent was heading into war, as recounted by Rukmini Menon, who was then joint secretary for the US in South Block.

“Why should I visit Washington?” Ram asked a non-plussed Kissinger and proceeded to tell him how American arms supplies had emboldened Pakistan to ruthlessly suppress East Pakistanis.

Partly, it was a similar approach that resulted in Boeing’s F-18E and Lockheed Martin’s F-16E being turfed out of the competition for the IAF deal earlier in the race. Not solely with the multi-role combat aircraft deal in mind, the Obama administration had made too much noise bereft of substance about the first state visit of his administration and Barack Obama’s first state dinner in honour of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

There was a time when India’s rulers could solely be influenced by gimmicks. But theatrics and atmospherics can no longer substitute hard policy options. This is one lesson New Delhi has hopefully absorbed firsthand from intense, albeit under the radar interaction with Israelis — especially in defence matters — in the last 20 years.

Then there was A.K. Antony, whom the losers in the bid for the IAF deal had not reckoned with. Antony, by nature, is averse to being the public face of decision-making. This has been the case throughout his tenure as defence minister, especially during scandals such as the Adarsh housing scam that rocked the army. Each time it was clear that the defence minister had made up his mind, but the decisions were put out as if they were taken elsewhere, along the proper channel.

Such an approach came through clearly in his most detailed statement on January 31 on the controversy about the army chief’s age. Ending months of virtual silence in the matter, Antony blamed the army for sitting on the problem for 36 years and then dealing with it in its own wisdom. So much so the army chief Gen. V.K. Singh had to agree with the minister.

Antony has maintained in public throughout that the multi-role combat aircraft acquisition process is a technical matter that would be decided by professionals in uniform. But such a public position overlooks the reality that Antony’s core support team in his ministry is much more ideological than in any other wing of the present government. Like civil servants, men in uniform are not immune from ministerial winds blowing in a particular direction.

Ideological considerations have prevented Antony from visiting Israel and from signing at least three defence agreements with the Americans which his core team views as compromising India’s strategic autonomy.

If the Russian plane on offer, MiG-35, had not clearly failed the tests, it was conceivable that it would very much have been in the reckoning. With the Russians out of the way, it did weigh with the political leadership in the defence ministry that France favours a multi-polar world and that India is a beneficiary of such an approach.

France won the bid for the entire order because it supplemented the requirements of the global tender with sweeteners that in the real world of strategic engagement, only three countries can offer India: Russia and Israel, in addition to France itself.

The collaborations that France has offered India in recent years in the field of intelligence sharing and upgrade are without parallel. Naturally, this is an area where co-operation cannot be publicised by the very nature of such engagement.

India and France face somewhat similar threats of domestic terrorism, vastly different from the threats faced by the US, Russia or even Israel. The assistance that Paris has offered New Delhi in preparing the country against such threats and the constant upgrading of their assistance went a long way towards creating an environment that favoured the French on the aircraft deal.

It was in direct contrast to Washington’s approach: the bulk of India’s intelligence community and key bureaucrats at decision-making levels believe that the Americans two-timed New Delhi on David Coleman Headley, their double agent in Chicago who played a major role in the Pakistan-supported terrorist attack on Mumbai in 2008.

In addition, spread across India’s entire political spectrum that includes much of the Opposition, is a firm conviction that India would not have come out unscathed from the decision to conduct the 1998 nuclear tests if it were not for the steadfast backing that President Jacques Chirac — and Nicolas Sarkozy after him — offered India in an hour of great need.

It is not widely known that during the Kargil war in 1999, the French approved with lightning speed the adaptation of Indian Air Force Mirages in tandem with equally speedy Israeli supplies of laser-guided bombs which they delivered in Srinagar: without such French and Israeli support, India could have lost Kargil to Pervez Musharraf’s perfidy.

No honourable Indian in uniform can forget that in such a situation, the US or Britain would have probably suspended all military supplies to the combatants to prove their bona fides as honest brokers for peace.

Policies may be the result of collective decision-making in governments, but within that framework, individuals do matter. One such individual who has left a mark on Franco-Indian relations is Jean-David Levitte, whose critical role in securing the Rafale deal for his country will never become a matter of public record because of the nature of his job.

Levitte is diplomatic adviser and “Sherpa” to Sarkozy, who made amends for the temperamental mistakes during his President’s first visit to India as chief guest during Republic Day celebrations in New Delhi and organised a second trip that turned out to be one of most productive and substantive visits by any head of state to India.

Levitte was senior diplomatic adviser to Chirac too when Brajesh Mishra, the then principal secretary to Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, flew to Paris as his first stop abroad seeking diplomatic support after the Pokhran II nuclear tests. Mishra found such support in Paris before he extracted reluctant support from Moscow.

Soon afterwards, Levitte became French permanent representative to the UN in New York where he led, along with Russia, a split among the five permanent members of the Security Council on the issue of punishing India through sanctions on the nuclear issue. Later he was ambassador in Washington.

Two of the countries which have been after the multi-role combat aircraft deal, the US and Britain, were at that time in the forefront of efforts in the Security Council to choke India into submission and roll back its nuclear programme.

Within the political and civilian leadership of India’s defence establishment, there has been no doubt that other things being equal, India should reward a friend in need, in this case, France.

*Link for This article compiled by Roger Smith from reliable sources By K. P. Nayar - The Telergraph Calcutta India   
*Speaking Image - Creation of DTN News ~ Defense Technology News 
*This article is being posted from Toronto, Canada By DTN News ~ Defense-Technology News