Oh for the day foreseen by Isaiah when ‘the word of the Lord will go forth from Jerusalem, and the LORD will judge (mediate) between nations and settle international disputes. When nation will no longer fight against nation, nor train for war anymore and swords will be beaten into plough shares!’ (Is. 2:4)
When I heard a few days ago that Iran had begun mechanical tests on its newest advanced nuclear centrifuge, which greatly speeds up its ability to enrich uranium, I was pretty certain that Israel would launch a cyber strike against it. (The works are buried too far underground for bombing to be successful).
Benjamin Netanyahu has long been unwavering in his commitment never to allow Iran to possess a nuclear weapon. For many years Israel has been determined to avert what it perceives as the most serious threat to its existence. Just over a decade ago, Israel and the US jointly produced the Stuxnet computer virus, in order to take over programmable industrial control system, and to cause equipment to malfunction. Since then there have been a number of intense initiatives to sabotage and slow down the Iranian nuclear programme. Let’s put the latest cyber attack on Iran’s nuclear programme a few days ago in context.
Towards the end of the Second World War, a staggering 500,000 people were involved in Project Manhattan, the vast American enterprise at to be the first to develop an atomic bomb. How sad that so many to this day spend their lives in projects designed to kill and destroy. It will only be when the Lord returns that we will reach the place mentioned in Psalm 46 where war shall be no more. So when we pray ‘Come Lord come’, we are praying for the time when the Lord will be exalted among the nations. (Ps. 46:8-10)
You may remember the widespread destruction caused by a mysterious explosion at its works last July which set the project back many months – as well as the dramatic ‘taking out’ of their top nuclear scientist. Sure enough, such a cyber strike has just taken place – and this one, according to one source, may have set the process back by a further nine months.
I am reminded of the strikes made by Allied bombers once they discovered the existence of the V2 testing site at Peenemünde in Denmark. It was a vital raid, which set the project back by many months, which in turn saved tens of thousands of lives. Before that, massive attempts had been made to sabotage the production of heavy water at a plant in Norway – though in that case it transpired that Germany was not as close to producing an atomic bomb as it had been feared. Vemork – Wikipedia
What is particularly in this incident is that The Jerusalem Post has gone public in acknowledging on its front page that Mossad, which usually prefers to operate ‘in the shadows’ was behind the cyber strike. Unlike western nations, Israel sets aside a high percentage of its best ‘brains’ to work in the area of cyber warfare, but it is most unusual for them to publicise their activities. Was it a leak by the Americans, who may well have been informed in advance? Or evidence of Mossad’s known rivalry with the IDF over cyber strike issues? Either way this open admission risks inviting a response from Iran, which will not only feel humiliated but will feel obligated to take some retaliatory measures.
Iran is determined now to replace the damaged centrifuges with more sophisticated and powerful uranium enrichment ones, and thereby produce nuclear fissile material both more quickly and more efficiently. It has already amassed enough reactor-grade uranium to build at least one nuclear weapon were it to refine its stockpile to weapons-grade purity.
The irony is that this attack came a time when meetings with Americans appeared to be going quite well. But Iran is already speaking of embarking on revenge for this event ‘at a proper time and place.’
So as we remember the pressure the world is under in Myanmar, Taiwan, Ukraine, and so many other places, let’s also remember the ongoing seething between Iran and Israel – the land it has vowed to destroy.