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US Intelligence Expert: Regime-Change the Answer in Iran

Former U.S. Justice Department prosecutor and intelligence expert John Loftus says that Israel is unable to thwart Iran's nuclear projects through military action – but that there is an alternative.
By Ezra HaLevi
First Publish: 12/13/2005, 1:52 PM / Last Update: 12/13/2005, 3:04 PM

"Israel only has a few option and striking back is not one of 'em," Loftus told Israel National Radio's Tovia Singer. "The F-16-IL version that Israel possesses only has a combat radius of about 2,200 kilometers and you would need about 3,000 to hit the hard targets in Iran. Iran saw what [Israel] did to the Osarik reactor in Iraq and have spread their nuclear development stuff all over the country and a lot of the stuff is in the northeast corner of the country – completely out of Israel's flight range. So, unless Iraq votes to allow Israel overflight rights to attack Iran – which isn't going to happen - then Israel simply doesn't have the fuel to fly around Saudi Arabia to come up the Straits of Hormuz and attack Iran. There is simply not a military option available to Israel."

Loftus stressed, however, that there are other options that are likely to succeed and are already being put into effect. "The Bush administration is hoping that, ironically with [French Prime Minister Jacques] Chirac's help, UN pressure will cause a regime-change in Syria. That the [UN's] Mehlis investigation [examining the Syrian government's connection to the assassination of former Lebanese PM Rafik Hariri] is going to come down hard and heavy. The US military is chomping at the bit to go across the border and take out the terror bases in Syria that Assad claims are not there. Once Syria is gone, Iran is isolated, with US troops on both their borders, in Afghanistan and in Iraq."

The intelligence expert, who has contacts in the Pentagon, says that the strategy is not for the US to actually invade Iran, but to affect a regime-change. "One of the intelligence agencies, which shall remain nameless, asked me to hold a conference of dissident groups in Iran. We are holding that conference and getting ready for regime-change."

Singer asked Loftus why US fighter jets do not bomb Iranian nuclear targets on their own from aircraft carriers in the region.

"That's a real good question that has been carefully studied," Loftus answered. "There are over 360 separate targets inside Iran that have been identified. Most of them are non-vulnerable – many underneath residential neighborhoods and Islamic shrines. These are not places we can bomb. The Iranians were paying attention when Iraq's reactor was bombed and have learned the lessons."

"So what is to be done to bring about a regime-change?" singer asked.

"The aircraft carriers are there to defend the picket-line of ships that will place a blockade on the Straits of Hormuz," Loftus said. "Ninety percent of Iran's economy is based on oil exports – so a blockade of as little as three weeks can cause their economy to collapse, the people to rise up and the mullahs to be overthrown. The problem with this is that Iran knows that this is the most likely scenario and they have been preparing for three years to thwart it. They [Iran] have developed vessels whose job is to sink as many oil tankers as possible to block the Straits of Hormuz [to other countries that use that route]. Once two, three or four vessels are sunk, you have cut off 40% of the world's oil supply. So the US doesn't mind – we have a six-month stockpile of oil - but the EU is much more fragile and susceptible to oil shocks. So we might have to dump a large share of the US stockpile on the world market until the regime falls."

Asked whether he really thinks the government will topple so easily, Loftus responded, "It is hard to do polling in Iran – you have to do it by telephone and you therefore only end up talking to the urban population. But we found that 83% of the Iranian urban population hates the mullahs and don't want to grow up under a dictatorship. Most of the country is young and wants music videos and TV and not the mullahs."