Update 7 November 2013: Russian President Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, whom I like to refer to as "Gog," and Israeli PM Bibi Netanyahu are scheduled to have a face-to-face chat 13 days from now. Even though neither obviously is American nor an observant of our Thanksgiving national holiday, they will undoubtedly be talking "turkey" next week as two competent national leaders should talk "turkey" when the stakes are so high for regional and world peace.
One of the items that will undoubtedly be on their plate of fare is the as yet not officially acknowledged Iranian "genie out of the bottle" capability to construct one or more nuclear weapons by Christmas Day 2013. The former IAEA Deputy Director Ollie Heinonen says they could do this within a month at an accelerated pace, and former Israeli military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin now says the Iranians can do it in 3 months time at their leisure. To every one's best knowledge there is no intelligence that Iran has yet begun to construct these weapons and that is a huge but apparently acceptable risk to take at this juncture. Yet, there is no guarantee that Israel will sit idly by and allow such a conceivable construction to occur. This is likely the bottom line that Bibi Netanyahu will convey to his Russian counterpart because Bibi knows Vladimir cannot offer him any guarantees for what the Ayatollah will or will not do, his nuclear fatwa notwithstanding.
Assessment: The coming days will see continuing increased pressure until some aspect of this entire saga finally gives way to a resolution, one way or another.
3 November 2013: New information coming out of Iran is strongly suggesting that a very suspicious and fortuitous explosion occurred last week deep inside the Arak IR-40 plutonium reactor building as it was being prepped for a final test prior to going online. Apparently the damage inflicted by the blast was of sufficient power to prevent the fueling and testing of the reactor core. No matter the source of the explosion was, it is welcome news and buys a small additional amount of time for Israeli decision makers (PM Netanyahu and his Cabinet) as a critical P5+1 negotiation session with Iran reconvenes this week in Geneva.
1 November 2013: From DEBKAfile comes word that the lions share of the 3 billion New Israeli Shekel IDF funding cuts from last spring have been restored as of last evening. This is no 'trick or treat;' it is very bad news for the Ayatollah who might be in poor health at the present time.
IDF wins battle for supplemental budget
DEBKAfile October 31, 2013, 8:16 PM (GMT+02:00)The cabinet Thursday approved an extra NIS2.7 billion for the defense budget, replacing most of the amount slashed in the across-the-board cutbacks of the state budget last May. The high IDF command said funding was needed to speed up preparations for a military strike on Iran’s nuclear program.
30 October 2013: The bottom line of the Iranian sprint to nuclear weapons capability, and thus the initiation of Israel's final count-down clock to prevent this from happening, boils down to this: with its existing stock of enriched to 20% Uranium-235 Iran could have enough weapons grade uranium (WGU) for its first indigenous manufactured nuclear weapon by Friday, 8 November 2013, and just over a half-dozen nuclear weapons before Christmas 2013. On Monday, 28 October, PM Bibi Netanyahu placed a call to President Barack Obama to make sure he understood this from the Israeli perspective.
Very specific technical details upon which this assessment is partially based will be posted within the comments section shortly.