The Israel-Iran conflict seen from the Norwegian media

In recent weeks, newspapers have provided extensive cover of the Israel-Iran conflict. Many are prepared to place a bet that Israel will attack Iran over the  nuclear issue. They do however, often leave out of the context Iran’s repeated threats to exterminate Jews and Israel as one very clear and present danger. That is not to say that Ahmadinejad is a popular figure in Norway – I cannot think of anybody who represents any organization or institution of importance who support him.

It is more a question of downplaying the seriousness of the threats Iran’s kleptocrats keep repeating from any stage and venue they get an invitation to.

IMMINENT DANGER OVER MORE ACTIONS

Aftenposten 2012 02 16

Elisabeth Rodum

Norwegian experts holds the opinion the attacks on Israeli diplomats may be retaliation over the killings of Iranian nuclear researchers.

The verbal war between Israel and Iran has escalated further after the attacks on Israeli diplomats in Thailand, India and Georgia this week.

On Wednesday two Iranian citizens were arrested over being responsible of the explosions in Bangkok on Tuesday, a third Iranian is wanted by police. According to a Thai intelligence source Israeli diplomats, including the ambassador, were the targets of a failed bombing.

The Bangkok explosions took part the day after a bombing against Israeli diplomats in New Delhi, in which an Israeli diplomat was wounded.

On Monday, an attack in Tbilisi in Georgia was averted as the police fund a grenade beneath the car of the Israeli ambassador, before it detonated.

Retaliation.

This may be retaliations after assassinations on Iranian nuclear researchers and sabotage to technical installations, Norwegian experts hold as their opinion.

“If it made evident Iran is accomplice to this, or has supported an activity Hezbollah is behind, seeing it in the context of the killings of Iranian nuclear researchers is reasonable”, says Sverre Lodgaard, senior researcher at NUPI. Three Iranian scientist with ties to the nuclear program have been killed in the last three years. The powers in Iran has blamed this on Israel and USA. In additions to the killings, there are indications of Iran’s nuclear program being sabotaged. Several explosions have hit military bases and lines of transport. Also, a computer virus, Stuxnet, has done a great amount of damage to machines used in the program.

Restarts.

If it is about Iranian retaliation, this is the start of something new, the NUPI researcher holds as opinion.

“Terrorism in other parts of the world has been scarce, except possibly USA in  last fall. The White House claimed Iran was accomplice to an attempted assassination of the Saudi ambassador”, Lodgaard says.

Commander Ola Bøe-Hansen at the Armed Forces Staff College holds as his opinion it should not be disregarded that Iranian intelligence has been active under the clerical regime since the revolution in 1979, though little has been heard of this earlier.

He believes such terrorist actions, like the attacks on the Israeli diplomats, will increase, rather than military confrontations, in coming years.

“Israel will, but cannot. USA can, but will not, wishing sanctions to have time to work. Therefore, we must, as I see this, prepare for so called “indirect methods”, instead of open combat. While one party is waiting for the other to disintegrate and surrender, alternate actions are sought for, as a tactic of attrition”, Bøe-Hansen says.

Alternative to open confrontations.

He points to the computer virus attack and the killings of the nuclear physicists as typical of this strategy, and the attempts to assassinate the Israeli diplomats as a response to this indirect method, seen with the Israelis eyes.

“Operations are hidden, nobody dares being seen as an aggressor, openly being confronting. This is a game of wait and see, which will last for some time”.

Which group are behind these assassinations attempts?

“This is hard to say. In today’s world, it might be just anybody. In the eyes of many, however, Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in the West Bank and Gaza are flunkeys to the Iranians; groups associated to them are able to commit such assassinations. Who are pulling the strings is uncertain, however”.

According to Thai authorities “international tensions” are behind the Bangkok explosions. What “international tensions” are Thai authorities speaking of?

“The world has entered a special period of time. We see a change in power, from the West towards the East. Some Western countries are in economical trouble. EU is in trouble, the USA is in trouble, times are tough. Nobody has a wish to surrender power, attempting to marginalize those who wish for a greater piece of the international “power cake”. These tensions lead to an imminent danger over more actions like these”.

Will Israel respond to these actions?

“No, I don’t think the Israelis will reply, If it happens, however, it will be through indirect means, as I have described earlier. We may expect more like this. Nobody wishes to be seen as the aggressor in an open conflict”, says Commander Ola Bøe-Hansen

WARNING SHOTS

Verdens Gang 2012 02 16 p 14

Brynjar Skjærli, Not Online

Summary.

On alleged progress in Iran’s nuclear program, seemingly not stalled by Western sanctions.

THE SOUND OF WAR DRUMS

Verdens Gang 2012 02 16 p 15

Erlend Skevik, Not Online

Summary.

Op-ed, quoting political and military leaders as sources, describing  splits within the intelligence community of Israel. This split is described as existing between Mossad, and the military intelligence services. Military intelligences is stated as believing Iran has not yet decided upon making nuclear bombs, while Mossad believes Iran is not only intent on making nukes, but also has implemented the construction of such devices.

IN POSSESSION OF CENTRIFUGES

Aftenposten 2012 02 16 p 19, No stated author, NTB-AFP-DPA

Iran has developed its nuclear program further, Iranians news channel IRBI reported on yesterday. One of the projects concerns itself with the Uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, where it is claimed 20 percent enrichment has succeeded. The other concerns itself with the insertion of the first domestically manufactured uranium fuel rod in a Tehran research reactor, claimed to be for medical purposes by the Iranian government. The last project is stated to be about a centrifuge.

INVESTIGATES BOMB ATTACK

Aftenposten 2012 02 16, No stated author, NTB-AFP-Reuters

Thai authorities are investigating possible connections between the explosions in New Delhi and Bangkok, and the attempt to bomb a target in Tbilisi. On yesterday, two Iranians were charged over being responsible over the explosions in Bangkok on Tuesday. A third Iranian was wanted; later on he was arrested by police in Malaysia.

GLOBAL WAR

Dagsavisen 2012 02 16 p 20, Roger Hercz

Summary.

On the Iranian attacks on Israeli targets abroad and Iranian clumsiness in handling this issue, re, this statement by Iran’s ambassador to the Hindustan daily newspaper.

”We neither accept nor deny the charges over Iranian involvement”. Iran may lose regional good will in South Asia, tensions are rising.