Iran Covenant, by Chet Nagle
(BookSurge Publishing, 306 pages, $16.95 paper)
Plan B for Israel, as it turned out, was the three-week operation to stop Hamas from firing rockets at it. It may have discouraged Iran temporarily from supplying Hamas with the rockets, but it was no substitute for Plan A: crippling Iran's nuclear weapons development program.
Plan A never took off because our government turned down Israel's request to buy bunker-buster bombs. If there ever had been an Iran Covenant between the United States and Israel -- that is, a promise to work together in the face of an Iranian threat to Israel's existence -- it was put on the shelf in the final weeks of the Bush Administration.
An air attack on Iran would never work, said numerous pundits. Israeli aircraft wouldn't be able to refuel for the mission; one attack would not be enough; Iran's nuclear facilities were too dispersed; and, finally, the U.S. would be blamed for the attack and if we, ourselves, launched it, we would be drawn into a ground war. The pundits' bottom line: if tried it would fail; it would not halt the inevitability of Iran's nuclear weapons program. Only (surprise) diplomacy would do.
Those pundits should get a copy of Iran Covenant by Chet Nagle, a former Naval officer with extensive experience in the Middle East and, for many years, one involved in international intelligence. His 306-page book is a recipe for successfully damaging Iran's nuclear program and setting back its hegemonic impulse. This "recipe book" takes the form of a novel, a gripping novel that is the kind of stay-up-late-until-its-finished book that doesn't come along often.
The actual recipe begins about Page 272, but don't cheat. Start with Page One. In time you'll get to the recipe which you will conclude shows that its planners have thought through every detail.
First, though, you will meet Jeremiah (Gerry) Adams, an American intelligence agent, and his Israeli counterpart, Gideon Karski. Just as the author does, these two know Iran and Iranians. One who particularly holds the attention of Adams and Karski is Morteza Dehash, the man in charge of Iran's plan to destroy Israel.
If you thought that Mr. Green, the eco-terrorist villain in the latest James Bond film was evil, Dehash trumps him. He derives pleasure from a variety of depraved and ghastly tortures. He is fond of having some of his victims dismembered with parts of them pickled in jars for the shelves of his library. He enjoys these trophies whilst sipping expensive French wines.
He contrives a cluster of interrelated plans to draw the United States and Israel into a shooting war with Iran. One involves spreading a smallpox epidemic in Israel. There are plots within plots, all designed to deflect attention from the ultimate plot. By the time you get to that one and to the "recipe" for crippling Iran's nuclear program and its economy, I guarantee you that no matter the hour, you will not put this book down until you have finished it.
In her Senate confirmation hearing the other day, Hillary Clinton hinted that, as Secretary of State, she would launch a fresh diplomatic initiative toward Iran. If so this would be the eleventy-seventh over the last five years, with as much chance of success as its predecessors. While this is going on, let us hope that the right people in the Pentagon are reading the dose of realism that is Chet Nagle's Iran Covenant. The publisher is BookSurge, a unit of Amazon. The book is available at amazon.com and www.irancovenant.com.
Mr. Hannaford is a member of the Committee on the Present Danger.
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