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Ronen Bergman on the Israeli Military
Ronen Bergman is one of Israel's leading investigative journalists. The senior security and intelligence correspondent and analyst for Israel's largest daily newspaper, Yedioth Ahronoth, and an anchor on a leading Israeli television news program, he is the author of three bestselling books published in Israel. He was awarded a PhD by Cambridge University for his dissertation about the Israeli Mossad.
Question: How strong is the Israel military?Ronen Bergman: There is a quotation in the book of one of the Israeli prominent figures dealing with the Iranian issue. When he says, in a classified form in March of 2007, that his worst nightmare would be an American president picks up the phone and calls Israeli Prime Minister, whoever he or she is, and tells him, “Mister or Mrs. Prime Minister, you want to attack Iran? Be my guest. I would give you moral support. I would prevent UN sanctions against you. I would even give you an aerial corridor via Iraq, but you’re on your own.”
Israel sees this as the worst case scenario, and we do whatever we can to try and avoid it and try to convince the United States that, if needed, the United States would initiate the attack first, that, because Israel doesn’t want to be alone, and second and most important, that because the United States has vast capabilities to execute such an attack and Israel has limited capabilities.
The working group dealing with attacking Iran is discussing only a delay of the project, not a destruction, because, A) we know only what we know and we don’t know whether the Iranians that have been master of disguise before and hidden parts of their program still don’t have any sort of a hidden path somewhere else, not in Natanz or Isfahan, the two known sites, B) the known sites are partly underground and, in any case, heavily guarded with surface to air anti-aircraft missiles, and C) in any case, even if we take all these sites out, we still cannot erase the knowledge and the know how in the minds of Iranian scientists. So, they are talking only about delay.
Israeli intelligence sees four different alternatives for Iranian retaliation the day after a strike. The first launch of, I’m going to give estimations, 70 to 90 surface-to-surface Shahab long range ballistic missiles that can reach Israel. This is not considered as a major threat because they are equipped only with conventional warheads and, in any case, Israel is covered and supposed to be defended by anti-missiles, a missile called the Arrow. So, it’s not deemed as a great threat. Of course it would be deemed as a great damage to that specific someone if the missile falls on his head. But, generally speaking, this is not something that Israelis are very concerned of.
Second option for retaliation would be the bombing of oil tanker, in the Strait of Hormuz, and we saw something like that happening in the middle of the ‘80s. This might cause a direct confrontation between the US and Iran, further rise to oil prices, and crisis with world economy.
Third option, the activation of Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite militia, against the Israeli northern border. And we saw what happened with the gloomy war of 2006, when Hezbollah was able to completely paralyze life with thousands and thousands of rockets. And Hezbollah is an Iranian proxy. They do what Iran tells them to do.
And the fourth. And they even declared that, if Iran is attacked, they would immediately attack Israel as a retaliation. And fourth option, which is I think must, the most worrying one, is the activation of sleeper cells that were deployed throughout the world in the last ten years by Iran and Hezbollah in case, needed to launch a strike of suicide terrorism against the American and Israeli targets.
The book “The Secret War with Iran” contains many of the cases of these secrets cells. One of them, of a cell that was deployed as late as 2006 by Imad Mugniyah in New York, collecting information on intelligence or potential targets in case needed to strike after an American and Israeli attack on Iran.
Recorded: Sep 19, 2008
Israel may be strong, but a unilateral attack on Iran would be the "worst case scenario," says Bergman.
- Modern antibiotics can effectively treat bubonic plague, which spreads mainly by fleas.
Bacteria under microscope
needpix.com<p>Today, bubonic plague can be treated effectively with antibiotics.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Unlike in the 14th century, we now have an understanding of how this disease is transmitted," Dr. Shanthi Kappagoda, an infectious disease physician at Stanford Health Care, told <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">Healthline</a>. "We know how to prevent it — avoid handling sick or dead animals in areas where there is transmission. We are also able to treat patients who are infected with effective antibiotics, and can give antibiotics to people who may have been exposed to the bacteria [and] prevent them [from] getting sick."</p>
This plague patient is displaying a swollen, ruptured inguinal lymph node, or buboe.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention<p>Still, hundreds of people develop bubonic plague every year. In the U.S., a handful of cases occur annually, particularly in New Mexico, Arizona and Colorado, <a href="https://www.cdc.gov/plague/faq/index.html" target="_blank">where habitats allow the bacteria to spread more easily among wild rodent populations</a>. But these cases are very rare, mainly because you need to be in close contact with rodents in order to get infected. And though plague can spread from human to human, this <a href="https://www.healthline.com/health-news/seriously-dont-worry-about-the-plague#Heres-how-the-plague-spreads" target="_blank">only occurs with pneumonic plague</a>, and transmission is also rare.</p>
A new swine flu in China<p>Last week, researchers in China also reported another public health concern: a new virus that has "all the essential hallmarks" of a pandemic virus.<br></p><p>In a paper published in the <a href="https://www.pnas.org/content/early/2020/06/23/1921186117" target="_blank">Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</a>, researchers say the virus was discovered in pigs in China, and it descended from the H1N1 virus, commonly called "swine flu." That virus was able to transmit from human to human, and it killed an estimated 151,700 to 575,400 people worldwide from 2009 to 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.</p>There's no evidence showing that the new virus can spread from person to person. But the researchers did find that 10 percent of swine workers had been infected by the virus, called G4 reassortant EA H1N1. This level of infectivity raises concerns, because it "greatly enhances the opportunity for virus adaptation in humans and raises concerns for the possible generation of pandemic viruses," the researchers wrote.
The word "learning" opens up space for more people, places, and ideas.
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