Friday, November 11, 2011

War with Iran - Is it Inevitable? (Part 1)

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‘U.S. will work with Israel in preventing a nuclear Iran’, said Obama
Obama has been attempting to regain his political support by American Jews, many of whom were angered at his rhetoric about Israel and his treatment of Netanyahu.
Jim Kouri
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
President Barack Obama stated on Sunday that the United States will cooperate with the Israeli government in preventing Iran from joining the world’s “nuclear club.” But Obama quickly noted that a diplomatic solution to this nuclear crisis is still his goal.
During an interview with NBC News from the Oval Office, Obama said that both the U.S. and Israel—which is “rightly” concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions—believe that “Iran has to stand down.”
When he was asked if Israel is determined to attack Iran, Obama replied that he didn’t think Israel has made a decision. “We don’t see any evidence that they have those intentions or capabilities right now,” he said, adding that his administration and Israel will work “in lockstep” on dealing with the Iranian nuclear crisis.
The President again emphasized that his goal is to deal with the Iranian nuclear provocation diplomatically, and Obama repeated his usual mantra that “he was not taking any options off the table.”
“We’re going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating an arms race—a nuclear arms race—in a volatile region,” Obama said during his interview with NBC, a TV network accused by some of being openly pro-Obama.
President Obama made his remarks after news stories surfaced on Thursday that U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta believed that Israel could attack Iran this spring to prevent Tehran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
Panetta believed that there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June before Iran enters what Israelis described as a “zone of immunity” to commence building a nuclear bomb, according to an article written by the Washington Post columnist David Ignatius.
The article said that Obama and Panetta had cautioned the Israelis that the U.S. opposes an attack, believing that it would derail an increasingly successful international economic sanctions program and other non-military efforts to stop Iran from crossing the nuclear threshold.
While believing that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has not made a final decision to attack Iran, senior U.S. officials are still worried about “the guns of spring—and the unintended consequences,” the article added.
“Obama has been attempting to regain his political support by American Jews, many of whom were angered at his rhetoric about Israel and his treatment of Netanyahu. I wouldn’t put a lot of stock in what he’s been saying on a number of issues,” said Mike Baker, a political strategist.
Jim Kouri, Vice-president of the National Association of Chiefs of Police. Jim writes for many police and crime magazines including Chief of Police, Police Times, The Narc Officer, Campus Law Enforcement Journal, and others.
Jim can be reached at: jkouri@thenma.org
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Targetting Iran: The Dogs of War are off the Leash
Israel to the US: 'We'll Give You the War, You Give Us the Cannon Fodder"
By Tom Burghardt
Global Research, February 5, 2012
In meeting rooms in London, Tel Aviv and Washington the dice have been thrown: snake eyes.
Flashback, 1963: When John F. Kennedy decided not to escalate the soon-to-be disastrous Vietnam war and issued National Security Action Memorandum 263 (NSAM 263), he signed his death warrant.
Scarcely six weeks after vowing to pull all American forces out of South Vietnam by 1965, Kennedy was dead, the target of an "executive action" orchestrated by the CIA, a coup d'état on behalf of America's corporatist masters--the military-industrial cabal of hardline cold warriors who stood to lose billions if Kennedy lived.
That sweet little deal to "win" the war in Southeast Asia cost some two million Vietnamese lives, 58,000 dead Americans and precipitated an economic crisis which dealt a death blow to post-World War II prosperity and launched the United States on its inexorable glide path towards becoming a failed state.
Flash forward to 2012: We have Barack Obama in the White House; a fraudster who promised "hope and change" and instead led his wilfully blind constituents into embracing the third term of a George W. Bush administration.
Comparing Obama with Kennedy one can only conclude: They don't make bourgeois politicians like they used to!
Following on from a decades-long drive to transform the Gulf into an "American lake" (under provisions of the so-called "Carter Doctrine," another "peace loving" Democrat), the coming war with Iran is a transparent scheme to ensure U.S. hegemony over the vast petroleum resources of Central Asia and the Middle East--to the detriment of their geopolitical rivals.
U.S. and NATO naval forces on high alert threaten the free flow of oil in the Persian Gulf, the life's blood of the global capitalist economy.
A war will lead to an oil price spike as Iranian, but perhaps also Saudi and GCC oil is removed in one fell swoop from the market, thereby setting-off a chain reaction that will exacerbate the West's economic decline--to the benefit of financial jackals waiting in the wings who will gobble up what remains of America and Europe's publicly-owned assets at fire sale prices in a desperate move to stave off the crisis.
Currently, Iran is ringed with military bases. American, British and Israeli submarines equipped with nuclear cruise missiles keep silent watch. Aircraft carrier battle groups carry out provocative maneuvers. U.S. and Israeli drones routinely overfly Iranian territory. Scientists are murdered in orchestrated terror attacks. Defense installations are bombed.
Economic sanctions, universally recognized as a prelude to war, strangle the Iranian people and their economy, all in the quixotic hope of inducing (coercing) "regime change" in Tehran.
The U.S. media, reprising their role during the run-up to the 2003 invasion and occupation of Iraq, are chock-a-block with scare stories that Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) are preparing to carry out terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States.
Indeed, the Shiite regime "may have" given "new freedoms" to Sunni Salafist extremists, including members of the "management council" of the Afghan-Arab database of disposable Western intelligence assets also known as "Al Qaeda" detained in Iran and "may have provided some material aid to the terrorist group," if an account published last week by The Wall Street Journal can be believed, which of course it can't.
Meanwhile, the CIA and Mossad recruit, train and then unleash Salafist terrorists such as Jundallah or Saddam Hussein's former henchmen, the cultic Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) for terror ops, just as they did in Libya when former Al Qaeda "emir," the MI6 asset Abdelhakim Belhaj was appointed chief of Tripoli's Revolutionary Military Council.
And what "evidence" did U.S. officials offer for these dastardly Iranian plots to murder us all in our beds? Why the now-discredited FBI fable which had a failed Texas used-car dealer, Manssor Arbabsiar, and a still-unnamed DEA snitch posing as or actually a member of the notorious Zetas narcotrafficking cartel, plotting to murder the Saudi ambassador by blowing up a tony Georgetown restaurant, that's what!
Former CIA chief Leon Panetta, who replaced Robert Gates, also a former CIA chief, now helms the Defense Department.
Corporate media in Europe and America report that Panetta and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, have tried to "cool" the Israeli's ardor for a preemptive strike and deny that the U.S. is preparing for war.
This too, is a carefully contrived disinformation campaign.
In a syndicated column for The Washington Post, war hawk David Ignatius wrote Thursday that "Panetta believes there is a strong likelihood that Israel will strike Iran in April, May or June--before Iran enters what Israelis described as a 'zone of immunity' to commence building a nuclear bomb."
According to Ignatius, "the administration appears to favor staying out of the conflict unless Iran hits U.S. assets, which would trigger a strong U.S. response," and that Washington's alleged disapproval of an Israeli first strike "might open a breach like the one in 1956, when President Dwight Eisenhower condemned an Israeli-European attack on the Suez Canal."
Ignatius' unnamed "senior administration official," since identified as Panetta, "caution that Tehran shouldn't misunderstand: The United States has a 60-year commitment to Israeli security, and if Israel's population centers were hit, the United States could feel obligated to come to Israel's defense."
In other words, should America's "stationary aircraft carrier in the Middle East" launch a sneak-attack on Iran, hitting their civilian nuclear and defense installations, thereby inflicting "collateral damage," i.e., the wanton slaughter of innocent Iranian citizens, if Tehran has the temerity to defend itself and strike back, the full military might of the imperialist godfather will be brought to bear.
Inter Press Service reported Wednesday that JCS Chairman Dempsey, "told Israeli leaders Jan. 20 that the United States would not participate in a war against Iran begun by Israel without prior agreement from Washington, according to accounts from well-placed senior military officers."
According to journalist Gareth Porter, "Dempsey's warning, conveyed to both Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, represents the strongest move yet by President Barack Obama to deter an Israeli attack and ensure that the United States is not caught up in a regional conflagration with Iran."
Claiming that "Obama still appears reluctant to break publicly and explicitly with Israel over its threat of military aggression against Iran, even in the absence of evidence Iran has decided to build a nuclear weapon," Porter alleges that "the message carried by Dempsey was the first explicit statement to the Netanyahu government that the United States would not defend Israel if it attacked Iran unilaterally."
Holding onto the thinnest of reeds, Porter writes that Panetta "had given a clear hint" of the U.S. position "in an interview on 'Face the Nation' Jan. 8 that the Obama administration would not help defend Israel in a war against Iran that Israel had initiated."
When asked by CBS host Bob Schieffer, who pressed the issue of a unilateral Israeli attack, Panetta said, "If the Israelis made that decision, we would have to be prepared to protect our forces in that situation. And that's what we'd be concerned about."
What are we to make of these claims?
If their purpose was to force Israel to rethink their attack plans, it clearly isn't working. If however, Panetta's remarks were meant to disarm domestic opponents of U.S. war plans, then mission accomplished!
"Speaking at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center's annual conference," The Christian Science Monitor reported that "Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak compared the current standoff with Iran to the 'fateful' period before the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, when Israel launched a preemptive strike against Egypt."
"The temperature is rising in Israel," Iran analyst Meir Javedanfar told the Monitor. "He says that if the defense minister sees the current period as similar to the run-up to the [1967] Six-Day War, 'that gives credibility to those who think Israel is going to launch an attack'."
In a follow-up piece published Saturday by IPS, Porter now suggests that Panetta's leak to Ignatius "had a different objective," namely that the "White House was taking advantage of the current crisis atmosphere over that Israeli threat and even seeking to make it more urgent in order to put pressure on Iran to make diplomatic concessions to the United States and its allies on its nuclear programme in the coming months."
Indeed, the "Panetta leak makes it less likely that either Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu or Iranian strategists will take seriously Obama's effort to keep the United States out of a war initiated by an Israeli attack."
Moreover, Panetta's leak to The Washington Post "seriously undercut the message carried to the Israelis by Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, last month that the United States would not come to Israel's defence if it launched a unilateral attack on Iran."
Although there is trepidation amongst military planners in Tel Aviv and Washington should Israeli officials opt for a preemptive attack on Iran--and a retaliatory counterstrike by the Islamic Republic would have devastating effects on both Israel's civilian population and U.S./NATO military forces in the Persian Gulf and beyond--should such disastrous orders be given, it is a certainty that Washington would follow suit.
This in fact, is what the Israeli leadership is banking on and, contrary to sanctioned leaks to media conduits like Ignatius, is fully in keeping with Washington's strategy of employing Israel as a cats' paw to "drag" the United States into a war with Iran.
As the World Socialist Web Site points out, "any differences between the US and Israel are purely tactical."
"Washington could of course use its considerable influence to veto an attack by Israel, which is heavily dependent on the US, diplomatically, economically and militarily," leftist critic Peter Symonds writes.
Ignatius' column however, "makes no mention of this possibility. In effect, the Obama administration appears to be giving Israel a tacit green light for an illegal, unprovoked attack on Iran, and threatening its own military action if Iran retaliates."
Indeed, the right-wing Israeli publication Debkafile reported Saturday that while Panetta "has been outspoken about a possible Israeli offensive against Iran taking place as of April ... no US source is leveling on the far more extensive American, Saudi, British, French and Gulf states' preparations going forward for an offensive against the Islamic Republic."
Accordingly, Debkafile's "military sources" (read high-placed intelligence and military officials favoring an attack) "report a steady flow of many thousands of US troops for some weeks to two strategic islands within reach of Iran, Oman's Masirah just south of the Strait of Hormuz and Socotra, between Yemen and the Horn of Africa."
Debkafile also noted that "the Saudis this week wound up their own intensive preparations for war. Large forces are now deployed around Saudi oil fields, pipelines and export facilities in the eastern provinces opposite the Persian Gulf, backed by anti-missile Patriot PAC-3 batteries. American, British and French fighter-bombers have been landing at Saudi air bases to safeguard the capital, Riyadh."
And with the Pentagon speeding-up arms sales to repressive Gulf monarchies and Saudi royals (with tens of billions in profits flowing into the coffers of American and European death merchants), the stage is now set for a bloody military confrontation.
On the so-called diplomatic front, as "useful idiots" and "accessories before the fact" in the drive towards war, the shameful part played by the International Atomic Energy Agency must be underscored.
Despite, or more likely because Iran's top leadership have expressed their willingness to reopen stalled talks over their civilian nuclear program and have taken steps to do so, the United States and NATO are stepping-up their propaganda offensive, with the IAEA playing a leading role.
Indeed, The New York Times reported Sunday that "American and European officials said Friday that a mission by international nuclear inspectors to Tehran this week had failed to address their key concerns, indicating that Iran's leaders believe they can resist pressure to open up the nation's nuclear program."
Times' stenographers Robert F. Worth and David E. Sanger averred that an unnamed "senior American official described the session between the agency and Iranian nuclear officials as 'foot-dragging at best and a disaster at worst'."
Why is the onus solely placed on Iranian negotiators?
Because "members of the I.A.E.A. delegation were told that they could not have access to Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an academic who is widely believed to be in charge of important elements of the suspected weaponization program, and that they could not visit a military site where the agency's report suggested key experiments on weapons technology might have been carried out."
What Worth and Sanger fail to mention in their report is that Iranian officials asserted that before Roshan's murder he "had talked to IAEA inspectors, a fact which 'indicates that these UN agencies may have played a role in leaking information on Iran's nuclear facilities and scientists'," Russia Today reported at the time.
Protesting the killing before the UN Security Council last month, Iranian deputy UN ambassador Eshagh Al Habib said there was "'high suspicion' that, in order to prepare the murder, terrorist circles used intelligence obtained from UN bodies."
According to the deputy ambassador's charge, "this included interviews with Iranian nuclear scientists carried out by the International Atomic Energy Agency and the sanction list of the Security Council," RT disclosed.
Sound far-fetched, the product of Iranian "conspiracy theories"? Better think again!
As former UNSCOM Iraq weapons' inspector Scott Ritter revealed in his 2005 book, Iraq Confidential, "The issue of uncovering incriminating documentation suddenly took on a higher priority, and the CIA, supported by activist elements within the Department of State, pushed for more direct involvement in the operations of UNSCOM and the IAEA. For the first time, the darkest warriors in the CIA's covert army, the Operations Planning Cell (OPC), were getting actively involved in preparing intelligence for UNSCOM's use."
According to Ritter, "The secret warriors of the CIA were accustomed to plying their trade in the shadows, far away from prying eyes. UNSCOM inspections, however, were carried out in full view of the Iraqi government, representing the antithesis of covert action. The existence of the OPC, as with any CIA affiliation with UNSCOM, was a carefully guarded secret. Officially, therefore, all OPC personnel were presented to UNSCOM as State Department 'experts'."
In light of past practices by the CIA, or for that matter the IAEA itself, Iranian fears that their scientists are being set-up for liquidation are fully justified.
Indeed, the "cautious" U.S. Secretary of Defense, former CIA chief Leon Panetta, speaking at the Ramstein Air Base in Germany on Friday, echoed Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's claim that Israel would need to "consider taking action" should nuclear inspections and sanctions fail.
"My view is that right now the most important thing is to keep the international community unified in keeping that pressure on, to try to convince Iran that they shouldn't develop a nuclear weapon, that they should join the international family of nations and that they should operate by the rules that we all operate by," Panetta asserted. "But I have to tell you, if they don't, we have all options on the table, and we'll be prepared to respond if we have to."
One of those "options," passed by the U.S. Senate Banking Committee on Friday were demands made to the Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunications, or SWIFT.
"The new Senate package," Reuters reported, "seeks to target foreign banks that handle transactions for Iran's national oil and tanker companies, and for the first time, extends the reach of Iran-related sanctions to foreign subsidiaries of U.S. companies."
The new legislation would target SWIFT with wide-ranging penalties if they failed to exclude sanctioned Iranian banks from the international system.
The bill now goes to the full Senate "where the likelihood of passage is considered strong," The New York Times reported.
With the Orwellian title, the "Iran Sanctions, Accountability and Human Rights Act" Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-SD) said that "Iran can end its suppression of its own people, come clean on its nuclear program, suspend enrichment and stop supporting terrorist activities around the globe. Or it can continue to face sustained, intensifying multilateral economic and diplomatic pressure deepening its international isolation."
Now if only Senator Johnson offered similar demands on America's Israeli allies who possess upwards of 200 nuclear weapons, refuse to join the international nonproliferation regime and carry out worldwide terrorist attacks with impunity, perhaps then diplomacy would operate on a level playing field!
SWIFT officials were quick to cave to U.S. pressure. "SWIFT fully understands and appreciates the gravity of the situation," Reuters disclosed.
In its statement, "SWIFT said it is working with officials and central banks to find 'the right multilateral legal framework' to 'expedite' a response to the issues."
"This is a complex situation, and SWIFT needs to ensure that it takes into consideration the implications to the functioning of the broader global financial payments system, as well as the continued flow of humanitarian payments to the Iranian people," the organization said.
Needless to say, a boycott of Iranian financial institutions by SWIFT would be catastrophic to Iran's economy, a provocation fully intended as a step towards war.
As the World Socialist Web Site noted, "if Israel does attack Iran, it will not simply be 'a surgical strike' that destroys Iran's key nuclear facilities. Any Iranian retaliation will be used by the US as a pretext for a massive air war aimed at destroying the country's military and infrastructure. As a result, any conflict carries a real danger of becoming a regional war that could embroil the major powers."
Despite the evident madness of countenancing an Iran attack, political calculations by capitalist elites during a critical election year in the United States, with "conservative" and "liberal" factions angling for advantage by currying favor with the powerful Zionist and U.S. defense lobbies, Israel's unambiguous message to the White House is: "We'll give you the war, you give us the cannon fodder."
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, he is a Contributing Editor with Cyrano's Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century. 
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Miscalculation, Provocation or a Staged False Flag Op.? Resist U.S. War Threats on Iran
By Sara Flounders
Global Research, January 21, 2012
International Action Center
There is growing apprehension that through miscalculation, deliberate provocation or a staged false flag operation, a U.S. war with Iran is imminent.
The dangerous combination of top U.S. officials’ public threats, the Pentagon’s massive military deployment, continued drone flights and industrial sabotage against Iran provides an ominous warning. The corporate media have been more than willing to cheer industrial sabotage, computer viruses and targeted assassinations. War maneuvers with Israel scheduled for mid-January were suddenly postponed Jan. 15 until May or later.
The U.S. Congress overwhelmingly voted to include binding provisions in the National Defense Authorization Act, and President Obama signed the legislation Dec. 31 ordering Iran’s economic strangulation. These NDAA provisions demand that every other country in the world joins this economic blockade of Iran or face U.S. sanctions themselves. This itself is an act of war.
Iran has directly charged the CIA for the Jan. 11 assassination of physicist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, which has outraged Iranians. Roshan is the fourth scientist killed in five targeted assassination in two years.
Whether or not a war will actually erupt, it is essential to look at the powerful forces that lay the groundwork for such a conflagration.
A U.S. war would kill hundreds of thousands of Iranians and create regionwide destabilization. It would cause a wild, speculative hike in oil and gas prices, devastating fragile economies of the poorest countries and unhinging the increasingly shaky eurozone.
Revolutionary Marxists like Fidel Castro, political leaders in China and Russia, and even a hardened Israeli general have joined many political commentators to warn that a U.S. or U.S.-supported Israeli attack on Iran could quickly become a far wider war.
While defending its sovereign right to develop energy self-sufficiency, Tehran has made every effort to deflect U.S. threats and charges. Iran has submitted to years of intrusive inspections of its research and industrial facilities to confirm its compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
But Washington insists on stopping Iran’s development — and not only its nuclear energy development to assure its future as oil production declines. For decades Iran was forced to import refined oil. Washington has tried to stop Iran from importing parts to build oil refineries, as it has tried to stop all Iran’s development since the 1979 revolution.
The myth of stimulus from war
David Broder, Washington Post political correspondent for 40 years and news show pundit, described in an Oct. 31, 2010, article how Obama could deal with his weakened situation when the Republicans swept Congress. He argued that to fix the economy and regain popularity, the solution is obvious and unavoidable: “War with Iran.”
Broder had more than 400 appearances on “Meet the Press.” He even won a Pulitzer Prize. Broder could be counted on to reflect political thinking and planning in Washington. Only the war machine can pull the U.S. out of economic stagnation, Broder argued.
“Look back at FDR and the Great Depression,” wrote Broder. “What finally resolved that economic crisis? World War II. [A showdown with the mullahs] will help [Obama] politically because the opposition party will be urging him on. And as tensions rise and we accelerate preparations for war, the economy will improve.”
Upon Broder’s death in March, Obama called him “the most respected and incisive political commentator of his generation.” (New York Times, March 9)
Broder’s statement shows an absolutely criminal mindset. It also shows a dangerous illusion. Broder calmly proposed the murder of tens of thousands of people, the devastation of entire cities, the destruction of a whole culture as a temporary economic fix to win a U.S. election.
Others commentators just as coldly argued with Broder that war with Iran would not be large enough, because all the weapons needed already exist and are in place. So no surge of military orders would follow. A larger war would be needed to give a big enough push!
In 1939 reviving shuttered U.S. steel, rubber and textile clothing plants with government orders for tanks, ships, jeeps, helmets, uniforms and life vests for sale to Europe was a big stimulus. The entry of the U.S. into World War II in 1941 provided an enormous surge of productive capacity that pulled the U.S. economy out of a 10-year economic depression. What worked as an economic stimulus 70 years ago, before the existence of the gargantuan, bloated, high-tech military-industrial complex, is long past.
Today the U.S. has a military machine and a military budget larger than that of the rest of the world combined, exceeding $1 trillion a year in stated and hidden costs, even without another war. It is guaranteed to grow at a rate of 5 percent to 10 percent a year. This is built into the Pentagon’s budget projections even without cost overruns.
World won’t bow to U.S. dictates
Washington’s plans to easily conquer Afghanistan and Iraq and set up stable puppet regimes were frustrated. The U.S. plan for economic war on Iran has also exposed U.S. weaknesses.
Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner launched a tour of East Asian nations in early January to convince south Korea, China, India and Japan to cut their massive Iranian oil imports and abide by the sanctions.
China and India — both major economies — refused directly. China buys a third of Iran’s oil exports.
The Obama administration said that the U.S. would offer countries that applied for a temporary waiver to continue oil purchases from Iran while they made other arrangements. An Indian cabinet minister said India will continue to do business with Iran. South Korea said it would apply for a U.S. waiver because it planned to increase oil purchases from Iran.
Japanese officials, when meeting with Geithner, seemed to agree. But after his departure Foreign Minister Koichiro Gemba backtracked, saying, “The United States would like to impose sanctions. We believe it is necessary to be extremely circumspect about this matter.” (AFP, Jan. 13)
Russia announced its refusal to comply with sanctions. So did NATO member Turkey. The European Union insisted on a six-month delay, due to fears of the economic consequences to debt-ridden Italy, Spain and Greece. The Greek government said it needs at least a year.
Saudi Arabia’s crude oil contains more sulfur than lighter Iranian oil and requires substantially higher refining costs. In a time of global capitalist recession, this added cost is no easy sell.
Even outright U.S. collaborators are refusing Washington’s demands. Pakistan, for example, refused to abandon a pipeline to transport Iranian natural gas into Pakistan and in the future even into India.
All of this would be good news. But the danger is that U.S. corporate power, seeing on every side its declining ability to ram through its dictates, is increasingly driven to military solutions.
This is exacerbated by U.S. setbacks in Iraq and Afghanistan that have weakened the U.S. superpower’s dominance of Southwest Asia relative to Iran. The more the U.S. loses its grip on the region, the more desperate imperialism may become to risk all in a mad adventure to recoup its past position.
Every voice must be raised at this urgent hour against sanctions and war.
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The War on Iran: Nuclear Assassinations Just the Tip of the Iceberg
By Dr. Ismail Salami
Global Research, January 19, 2012
"I saw a motorcycle. They were wearing ski masks -- black ski masks. They were two people. I saw the motorcycle speed by. I saw them. It seemed as if they had something in their hands,” this is how a female witness described the scene of the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan.
As the blade of blame is being directed against the CIA and Mossad for orchestrating the brutal assassination of the 32-year-old Iranian scientist in broad daylight in Tehran on Wednesday morning, the duo have preferred to feign ignorance as to the identity of the main perpetrator of the crime.
"I want to categorically deny any United States involvement in any kind of act of violence inside Iran," US Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton told reporters on Thursday.
Also, US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said the US had nothing to do with the assassination.
"We were not involved in any way -- in any way -- with regards to the assassination that took place [in Iran]," he said. "I'm not sure of who was involved...But I can tell you one thing: the United States was not involved in that kind of effort. That's not what the United States does."
The US is not the only party which has chosen to be in denial.
Israeli President Shimon Peres also denied on Thursday that Israel was involved in the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientist. In an interview with CNN, Peres was asked if Israel was involved in the nuclear assassination, to which he answered: "Not to the best of my knowledge."
"I know that it is fashionable that whatever wrong happens in Iran, it is the United States and Israel. There is nothing new in this approach," said Peres.
What kind of answer would the viewers expect from Peres to such a native question? The question is indeed as unwise in substance as the answer given by Peres.
In order to find out who really killed the Iranian scientist, one needs to put together the factual pieces.
Just two days after Iran sentenced to death CIA operative of Iranian descent Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, two unidentified men on a motorcycle attached a magnetic bomb onto the car of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a senior official at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility, and detonated it on Wednesday, killing the young scientist and his driver.
It does not seem unreasonable to say that there was a link between the two incidents.
And in comes a third party e.g. Britain which bears as equal responsibility for the crime as the other two. British Middle East minister Alistair Burt has recently visited Israel and demanded all nations intensify pressure on Tehran to stall its nuclear program. Proudly he announced that "a few weeks ago the British government imposed tough new financial restrictions against Iran. These new sanctions make it illegal for any financial institution in the United Kingdom to have any dealings with any institution in Iran. They are the toughest of their kind. And we will build on them, getting others to follow suit."
A close friend of Israel, Mr. Burt described the Iranian nuclear program as “the major issue at the top of our shared agenda," saying that Israel can serve as a partner in a common cause against a regime dangerously loose.”
Lavishing pearls of British wisdom on the audience while speaking at Bar-Ilan University's Feldman International Conference Center, Mr. Burt said Iran “does not just threaten Israel,” and sycophantically described Israel as the “bastion for stability in the region.”
Also contributing to the shared agenda of Israel and Britain in nuclear assassinations and sabotage activities in Iran is the remark of the Israel Defense Forces' Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz who said on Tuesday in an address to a closed Knesset committee that Iran should expect more "unnatural" events in 2012.
While the hawks in Washington have already declared a nuclear war on Iran in a metaphoric sense i.e. the assassination of the Iranian nuclear scientists, some of them avail themselves of a kind of literature in their reference to the nuclear assassinations which indicates the abyss of human degeneration. An impetuous example of this was reflected in a video circulated on the internet in which Rick Santorum, who is a sad excuse for a human being and a politically bankrupt White House aspirant, has unfeelingly described the assassination of Iranian scientists as “wonderful.”
"On occasion, scientists working on the nuclear program in Iran turn up dead. I think that's a wonderful thing, candidly," said Rick Santorum addressing an election campaign in Greenville, South Carolina.
He added that, "I think we should send a very clear message that if you are a scientist from Russia, North Korea, or from Iran and you are going to work on a nuclear program to develop a bomb for Iran, you are not safe.”
There are times when one wonders how on earth all these politically, ethically and intellectually Lilliputian-minded people have turned up together in this world.
All these facts aside, examples for the animosity of the UK, US and Israel towards the Islamic Republic are legion. However, this is just the tip of the iceberg of the myriad crimes orchestrated, funded and carried out by the trio.
There is no doubt that the recent assassination has caused a lot of intellectual anguish, emotional pain and political wrath in Iran.
In a stern warning, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, lashed out at the United States and Israel for orchestrating the assassination of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan. In a message of condolence to his family, Ayatollah Khamenei said the assassination was carried out under the unholy auspices of the CIA and Mossad.
“This act of cowardice, whose perpetrators and architects will never dare to confess to their foul and appalling crime or assume responsibility for it, has been engineered and funded by the CIA and Mossad [spy] services,” he said, adding, “The assassination shows that the global arrogance spearheaded by the US and Zionism has arrived at an impasse in their encounter with the determined, devout, and progressive nation of Islamic Iran.”
Central to the circle of the prime suspects in the nuclear assassinations is the IAEA itself. About two weeks ago, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan had reportedly met the agency inspectors.
Isn't it strange that the nuclear scientist was killed only two weeks after his meeting with the IAEA inspectors?
Another point which actually strengthens the speculation is that the names and identities of Iranian nuclear scientists who have so far been assassinated have been published in the list of sanctions issued by the IAEA.
Israel Defense Forces' Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Benny Gantz has said, Iran should be expecting more "unnatural" events in 2012.
Iran is certainly prepared for the worst but the enemies of the Islamic Republic should for their part await devastating consequences of colossal proportions if they wish to persevere in their path of mischief.
Dr. Ismail Salami is an Iranian writer, Middle East expert, Iranologist and lexicographer. He writes extensively on the US and Middle East issues and his articles have been translated into a number of languages.
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Red Lines and Ticking Clocks: U.S. War Plans Against Iran
The possibility of Russia's Military Involvement...
By Tom Burghardt
Global Research, December 26, 2011
Before the first bomb falls disinformation specialists prepare the ground. Leading media outlets, foreign policy journals and a plethora of think tanks funded by elite foundations, energy and weapons' conglomerates, "right," "left" or "center" take your pick, churn out war propaganda disguised as "analysis."
From the neoconservative American Enterprise Institute (AEI) to the neoliberal Center for American Progress (CAP), rhetorical skirmishes aside, the line is remarkably similar. Indeed, for "conservative" and "liberal" elite bloviators alike, Iran poses an "existential threat" to Israel and America's regional "allies," a disparate crew of land-grabbing colonizers, murderous princes and profligate potentates.
Only U.S. intervention, in the form of an overt military attack now or crippling economic sanctions followed by military action later, can save the day and bring "democracy" to the benighted Iranian people.
If we're to believe neocon acolyte Thomas Donnelly, "The rapid ticking of the Iran nuclear clock also marks an increasingly dark hour for the United States and its closest allies and partners, because it coincides with a third clock ... the timetable of retreat set in motion by Barack Obama."
Meanwhile, liberal interventionists Rudy deLeon and Brian Katulis over at CAP tell us that "President Barack Obama and his administration are ratcheting up the pressure on the Iranian regime, building an international coalition that is increasingly isolating and weakening Iran--making it pay a price for not living up to its international responsibilities."
While AEI and their fellow-travelers claim that "in the after-midnight hour when the Obama retreat is complete, the United States would find itself with few options at the chiming of the nuclear clock," CAP's liberal hawks loudly proclaim that the "Obama administration has adopted a tough approach to Iran, centered on three main components: Unprecedented defense cooperation with regional allies that enhances their security and independence; An international coalition that holds Iran accountable for its actions; Smart, targeted economic sanctions."
In other words, while elite Washington factions may disagree over tactical issues, they are in full agreement on the wider strategic goals: undisputed American hegemony over energy corridors in Central Asia and the Middle East.
From the darkest days of the Cold War to the present moment, American policy is designed with one goal in mind: smash the competition, firstly China and Russia, but also the crisis-ridden European Union, whose main task is to keep quiet and fall in line.
Red Lines
Last week in an interview with the CBS Evening News, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said that "despite the efforts to disrupt the Iranian nuclear program, the Iranians have reached a point where they can assemble a bomb in a year or potentially less."
"So are you saying that Iran can have a nuclear weapon in 2012?," reporter Scott Pelley asked. Panetta replied, "It would probably be about a year before they can do it. Perhaps a little less. But one proviso, Scott, is if they have a hidden facility somewhere in Iran that may be enriching fuel."
Never mind that the U.S.-controlled International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has not discovered a so-called "secret facility," or that two National Intelligence Estimates produced by all 16 U.S. secret state agencies, the latest one this year, reported there is not a shred of credible evidence supporting claims that Iran has diverted uranium towards the development of a bomb.
No matter; as we learned in the aftermath of the disastrous invasion of Iraq, "the intelligence and facts were being fixed around the policy" and therefore, the march to war with Iran will continue, indeed accelerate in the near term.
"If the Israelis decide to launch a military strike to prevent that weapon from being built," Pelley asked, "what sort of complications does that raise for you?"
Panetta replied, "Well, we share the same common concern. The United States does not want Iran to develop a nuclear weapon. That's a red line for us and that's a red line, obviously, for the Israelis. If we have to do it we will deal with it."
When Pelley asked what "it?" is, Panetta said: "If they proceed and we get intelligence that they are proceeding with developing a nuclear weapon then we will take whatever steps necessary to stop it."
Pelley: "Including military steps?"
Panetta: "There are no options off the table."
Ticking Clocks
While the media have gone to great lengths to portray the Israelis as proverbial loose cannons who just might launch an Iran attack without first consulting their American partners, this is a smokescreen providing political cover for the Obama administration during an election year.
As analyst Michel Chossudovsky pointed out on Global Research, "In late December 2008, coinciding with the onslaught of Israel's 'Operation Cast Lead' directed against Gaza, the Pentagon dispatched some 100 military personnel to Israel from US European Command (EUCOM) to assist Israel in setting up a new sophisticated X-band early warning radar system as part of a new and integrated air defense system."
Chossudovsky observed this development indicates that there has been "a fundamental turning point in the structure of Israel's Air Defense system and its relationship to the US global missile detection system."
Although "casually heralded as 'military aid,'" Chossudovsky wrote, "the project consisted in strengthening the integration of Israel's air defense system into that of the US, with the Pentagon rather than Israel calling the shots."
Since the Obama regime came to power, Chossudovsky noted there has "been a significant hike in US military aid to Israel," and "in fact much of this so-called military aid constitutes a veiled increase in the U.S. Defense budget."
This has been borne out by several reports in the Israeli press.
Last week, Israel National News disclosed that the "United States will double the special aid it gives Israel for the development and implementation of anti-missile systems, the Globes financial newspaper reported on Thursday."
Indeed, "the House and Senate's Committees on Appropriations approved the aid following a request by the U.S. Administration to approve aid totaling $106.1 million for the Arrow 3 anti-ballistic long-range air defense system, for the program to improve the basic capabilities of the Arrow systems, and for the David's Sling mid-range anti-missile system."
Significantly, both "Appropriations Committees went far beyond the request, the report noted, and raised the amount of aid from $129 million to $235.7 million in 2012," Israel National News reported.
These developments were underlined in a report last week by the right-wing Jerusalem Post.
According to the Post's defense correspondent Yaakov Katz, "Israel is moving forward with plans to hold the largest-ever missile defense exercise in its history this spring amid Iranian efforts to obtain nuclear weapons."
"Last week," Katz wrote, "Lt.-Gen. Frank Gorenc, commander of the US's Third Air Force based in Germany, visited Israel to finalize plans for the upcoming drill, expected to see the deployment of several thousand American soldiers in Israel."
The Jerusalem Post disclosed that "the drill, which is unprecedented in its size, will include the establishment of US command posts in Israel and IDF command posts at EUCOM headquarters in Germany--with the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East."
"The US," Katz noted, "will also bring its THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) and shipbased Aegis ballistic missile defense systems to Israel to simulate the interception of missile salvos against Israel," and that the "American system will work in conjunction with Israel's missile defense systems--the Arrow, Patriot and Iron Dome."
Similar deployments are also underway in Turkey, the staging area for terrorist attacks targeting the Syrian government for "regime change" à la Libya.
As analyst Sibel Edmonds pointed out for Boiling Frogs Post, a "joint US-NATO secret training camp in the US air force base in Incirlik, Turkey, began operations in April-May 2011 to organize and expand the dissident base in Syria."
Edmonds noted that "weekly weapons smuggling operations have been carried out with full NATO-US participation since last May."
According to Edmonds' Turkish and Pentagon sources, "the HQ also includes an information warfare division where US-NATO crafted communications are directed to dissidents in Syria via the core group of Syrian military and Intelligence defectors."
It now appears that U.S.-NATO war plans against Iran will also rely heavily on Turkish participation.
The PanArmenian News Agency reported Saturday (h/t Stop NATO) "NATO's Malatya-based ballistic missile early warning radar system will begin functioning next week, a senior Turkish official said Dec 23, reiterating that the device 'is defensive and not directed at any particular country, especially Iran'."
However, with U.S.-NATO plans already underway to install so-called Ballistic Missile Defense systems in Eastern Europe which threaten Russia with a nuclear first-strike, the deployment of these systems in Turkey can only be viewed as a shot across the bow by both Iran and Russia.
After all, as The New York Times reported earlier this month, "the American commitment to work with NATO allies and deploy the missile shield is founded on a belief that Iran is accelerating its program to field missiles capable of reaching across NATO territory in Europe."
The American ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daadler, told the Times, "our estimate of the threat has gone up, not down. It is accelerating--this is the Iranian ballistic missile threat--and becoming more severe than even we thought two years ago."
Dismissing Russian concerns that "the alliance's system of radars and interceptors could blunt Moscow's own arsenal of missiles, and thus undermine Russia's strategic deterrent," Daadler proclaimed: "Whether Russia likes it or not, we are about defending NATO-European territory against a growing ballistic missile threat."
Despite claims by Turkey that the radar deployment is strictly "defensive" and not aimed at Iran, the PanArmenian News Agency informed us that "the agreement signed between Ankara and Washington calls for the deployment of a U.S. AN/TPY-2 (X-band) early warning radar system at a military installation at Kürecik in Malatya as part of NATO's missile defense project."
Remarkably similar to the accord signed with Tel Aviv, the Turkish agreement calls for the deployment of "around 50 U.S. soldiers" at the installations, "accompanied by a number of Turkish troops."
"In addition," the news agency disclosed, "a Turkish senior commander is to be posted at NATO's headquarters in Germany, where the intelligence gathered through the radar system will be processed, Hurriyet Daily News reported."
These reports indicate that the United States, with Israel and NATO as junior partners, are coordinating strategic deployments which the Iranians will undoubtedly view as preparations for a large scale attack.
Coming on the heels of a report earlier this month by Haaretz that the "Israel Defense Forces is forming a command to supervise 'depth' operations, actions undertaken by the military far from Israel's borders," military action by the U.S., Israeli and NATO forces are perhaps only a provocation away.
The New York Times reported last week that "Iran put neighbors on notice Thursday that it was about to conduct vast naval exercises in the Arabian Sea, including war games near the Strait of Hormuz, a vital shipping lane for international oil traffic."
"The exercises," the Times reported, "to start Saturday and last 10 days, are Iran's first since May 2010 and were described by the official news media as the largest the country ever planned."
"The scale of the maneuvers, the Times disclosed, "appeared intended to demonstrate Iran's military capabilities as it faces increased isolation over its suspect nuclear energy program."
These exercises "are bound to put Iranian warships close to vessels of the United States Fifth Fleet, based in Bahrain, which patrols some of the same waters, including the Strait of Hormuz."
War threats are being taken seriously far beyond the Persian Gulf.
Earlier this month Russia Today disclosed that the "geopolitical situation unfolding around Syria and Iran is prompting Russia to make its military structures in the South Caucasus, on the Caspian, Mediterranean and Black Sea regions more efficient."
RT's correspondent Sergey Konovalov wrote that "Defense Ministry sources are saying that the Kremlin has been informed about an upcoming US-supported Israeli strike against Iran's nuclear facilities. The strike will be sudden and take place on 'day X' in the near future. One could assume Iran's reaction will not be delayed. A full-scale war is possible, and its consequences could be unpredictable."
"Recently," RT reported, "the Northern Fleet's aircraft carrier group with the heavy aircraft carrier 'Admiral of the Fleet of the Soviet Union Kuznetsov', headed towards the Mediterranean with plans to ultimately enter the Syrian port of Tartus."
Russian Defense Ministry sources would neither confirm nor deny "that the surface warships are being accompanied by the Northern Fleet's nuclear submarines."
"The tasks that will be carried out by the army and the navy in the event of a war against Iran are, of course, not being disclosed," Konovalov wrote.
That an attack on Iran might set-off a global conflict with far-reaching, and deadly, consequences was underscored by Russia Today.
Analyst Col. Vladimir Popov said that "if in the midst [of an attack on Iran] Azerbaijan supported by Turkey, attacks Armenia, then, of course, all of the adversary's attacks against Armenia will be repelled by Russia in conjunction with Armenian anti-missile defense forces."
"The analyst does not exclude the possibility of Russia's military involvement in the Iranian conflict."
"'In the worst-case scenario'," Popov told RT, "'if Tehran is facing complete military defeat after a land invasion of the US and NATO troops, Russia will provide its military support--at least on a military-technical level."
As the United States, Israel and NATO prepare the ground for war against Iran, and with operations already underway by the U.S. and NATO to effect "regime change" in Syria, Iran's close regional ally, the pieces of a slow-motion global catastrophe are falling into place.
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, he is a Contributing Editor with Cyrano's Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.
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Iran prepares to strike back
By Brian M Downing
07 December 2011
In the past few years, bombings and assassinations have taken place inside Iran that have killed scores of people. These attacks are almost certainly directed by Israeli, Saudi and United States intelligence services which are pressing Iran to open its nuclear research facilities to international inspection.
In recent weeks, Iran has decried terrorism around the world (somewhat paradoxically, to be sure), put up a clumsy plot to assassinate a Saudi ambassador, boasted of its missile strength, and briefly seized the British Embassy in Tehran - an act done not by students as with the US Embassy in 1979, but by toughs of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
The increasingly aggressive nature of these responses suggest the rising ire of the Iranian government, the political ascendancy of the IRGC, and most ominously, the likelihood of sharper hostilities in the region. Iran is signaling the possibility of violent responses well beyond the quotidian rocket attacks on Israel from Hamas and Hezbollah.
These could include encouraging Shi'ite uprisings in the Gulf, attacking US personnel in the region, and embarking on its own wave of bombings against Israel and its US and Saudi allies.
The Shi'ites in the region
The Gulf region has a large Shi'ite population, many of whom constitute majorities in countries ruled by Sunnis.
The Shi'ites complain of discrimination in employment and education and seethe at official policies encouraging foreign Sunnis to immigrate into the country to reduce the Shi'ite preponderance.
Such complaints were oft heard in the Arab Spring demonstrations in Bahrain, where on little if any evidence they were judged acts of Iranian subterfuge and harshly repressed. Similar complaints in Shi'ite parts of Saudi Arabia were tamped down last March before they could coalesce into a movement. A legitimate indigenous civil rights movement was squelched and this has piqued the interests of Iranian intelligence.
Yemen, approximately 50% Shi'ite, is amid an uncertain transition to a new president, which is not the same as a new regime. Saudi Arabia and other Sunni powers have negotiated President Ali Abdallah Saleh’s departure but Yemenis suspect an Egyptian-style ploy and the Shi'ites may be open to Iranian influence.
This is especially so in Yemen’s north, which abuts with a Shi'ite region of Saudi Arabia and which already has an armed Shi'ite movement. These Houthi fighters operate along the border with Saudi Arabia and occasionally engage Saudi forces. Iran may seek to encourage the Houthis to expand into Saudi territory and build ties with Shi'ites there.
Shi'ites in the Eastern province of Saudi Arabia have renewed their demonstrations against discrimination. Whether they have done so under Iranian influence or as a result of encouraging events in Libya and Syria is uncertain. Saudi intelligence, however, will have no doubt of IRGC’s hand, nor will they need evidence to form their conclusion and act upon it.
A Shi'ite uprising in Yemen or Saudi Arabia is unlikely, but so is a judicious response from Riyadh to any unrest that does come about. This in turn may only lead to more covert actions in Iran and harsher oppression in Saudi Arabia.
Iraq
United States troops are scheduled to be out of Iraq in four weeks, which maybe be seen as making them an unlikely target. Alternately, they can be seen as one that should be struck soon. It might be remembered that the last Soviet convoy that exited Afghanistan in 1989 suffered attacks until it crossed into the USSR, though the withdrawal had United Nations sanctioning. Beyond the first of the year, there will be US Embassy staff, training missions, and clandestine personnel.
Another response in Iraq would be against the Sunni forces of the central region which have been waging a bombing campaign on Shi'ite targets - government and civilian - for several months now. The Shi'ite have endured this campaign with remarkable and uncharacteristic forbearance, leading some analysts to think a harsh response may be in the offing once the US ground forces are no longer in position to intervene.
The Sunni forces are likely influenced by Saudi intelligence, which seeks to block a feared Shi'ite axis stretching into Lebanon and to establish an autonomous Sunni region in Iraq if not a wholly independent one, perhaps adjoined to a new Sunni-dominated Syria. The potential for sectarian warfare spilling over into Syria and Lebanon is clear and ominous.
US forces in Afghanistan and the Gulf
Iran already gives limited support, in the form of explosives and training, to Afghan insurgents, including the Taliban. This is not out of ideological affinity or broad strategic interests. Iran despises the Taliban as an intolerant Sunni movement that slaughtered tens of thousands of Shi'ites and killed a number of Iranian diplomats as well.
In the latest atrocity to inflict Afghan, 58 people were killed on Tuesday in a suicide bombing at a crowded Kabul shrine on the most important day in the Shi'ite calendar. At least 150 people were wounded when the bomb exploded in a throng of worshippers, including women and children, in a street between the Abul Fazl shrine and the Kabul River. A second bomb, which killed four people in the northern city of Mazar-e-Sharif, also targeted pilgrims on their way to mark the holy festival of Ashura.
In this case, Sunni militants from Pakistani group Lashkar-e-Jhangvi al-Alami claimed responsibility in a phone call to Radio Mashaal, a Pashto-language station set up by Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. The group has close links to al-Qaeda.
Iran works against the Taliban as well by supporting development programs in the north and west where Tajik and Hazara peoples have long had cultural and political ties to Iran and deep hatred of the Taliban.
Nonetheless, Iran may increase support for the insurgents as a means of punishing the US and deterring further attacks inside Iran, especially on its nuclear facilities. Iran can provide more weapons to insurgents, possibly to include shoulder-fired antiaircraft missiles such as the Stingers given to the mujahideen.
Iran purchased a few Stingers from the mujahideen back in the eighties and copied them, with unclear success. The importance of the Stingers in the Soviet war has been greatly overstated in Central Intelligence Agency cant (Soviet pilots altered their tactics and avoided the missiles) but their use in Afghanistan would be unsettling in Washington.
Iran could venture to deploy Qods Force troops into Afghanistan to destroy aid projects, ambush troops, and interdict International Security Assistance Force convoys coming into the southern part of the country from Chaman and Spin Boldak in western Pakistan, not far from Iranian soil. Such convoys are of course already subject to intermittent stoppages by the Pakistani army.
The US's present antagonisms with the Pakistani generals offer an opening for Iranian diplomacy. Iran could offer more favorable terms for gas and pipeline projects and support for Pakistani interests and aspirations in Afghanistan. In return, Pakistan could further restrict foreign troop convoys into Afghanistan.
The US naval presence in the Persian Gulf offers numerous possibilities. The Fifth Fleet facilities in Bahrain are within missile range, at least one carrier group is always inside the Gulf, and support ships routinely transit the Straits of Hormuz. All would be vulnerable to Iranian aircraft, missiles, and ships - especially if "swarming" tactics were used. Pentagon war-gaming of such attacks has reportedly been less than assuring.
Even a brief skirmish in the Gulf would send oil prices soaring on world markets, perhaps 15% in a day or two. Many economies would be adversely affected and world opinion might not side with Iran's opponents in affixing blame. Paradoxically, soaring prices would be a boon for Tehran.
Non-diplomatic efforts to press Iran to abandon its nuclear program have thus far been unsuccessful. They are getting out of control and are leading to violent retaliation and regional conflict.
The efforts are also firming government and popular support for nuclear research. They are also solidifying IRGC power in the state and changing Iran from a theocracy with a zealous military to a military-dominated bureaucracy with a clerical body legitimizing it. And militaries often prefer violent actions to diplomatic ones.
Brian M Downing is a political/military analyst and author of The Military Revolution and Political Change and The Paths of Glory: War and Social Change in America from the Great War to Vietnam. He can be reached at brianmdowning@gmail.com.
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THE CLOCK IS TICKING: "Shadow War" Heating Up. War With Iran: A Provocation Away?
By Tom Burghardt
Global Research, December 5, 2011
Amid conflicting reports that a huge explosion at Iran's uranium conversion facility in Isfahan occurred last week, speculation was rife that Israel and the United States were stepping-up covert attacks against defense and nuclear installations.
The Isfahan complex transforms mined uranium into uranium fluoride gas which is then "spun" by centrifuges that enrich it into usable products for medical research and for Iran's civilian nuclear energy program.
While Iranian officials sought to distance themselves from initial reporting by the semi-official Fars news agency that a "loud explosion" was heard across the city, but that "the sound of the explosion was from [a] military exercise," has been contradicted by several sources.
Indeed, some Iranian officials have denied that an explosion even took place.
On Tuesday however, The Times reported that "satellite imagery ... confirmed that a blast that rocked the city of Isfahan on Monday struck the uranium enrichment facility there, despite denials by Tehran."
"The images," Times reporter Sheera Frenkel averred, "clearly showed billowing smoke and destruction, negating Iranian claims yesterday that no such explosion had taken place. Israeli intelligence officials told The Times that there was 'no doubt' that the blast struck the nuclear facilities at Isfahan and that it was 'no accident'."
Despite clear evidence that Israel and the United States have stepped-up their shadow war against the Islamic Republic, Defense Minister Ehud Barak "played down speculation on Saturday that Israel and U.S.-led allies were waging clandestine war on Iran, saying sanctions and the threat of military strikes were still the way to curb its nuclear program," Reuters reported.
Proverbial "facts on the ground" however, tell a different tale.
The latest attack on Iran's civilian nuclear program followed a blast two weeks ago at the sprawling Bid Ganeh missile base 25 miles west of Tehran.
That blast killed upwards of 30 members of the Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including Major General Hassan Moqqadam, a senior leader of Iran's missile program.
Satellite imagery shows much of the base in ruins. The attack was described by Time Magazine as the work "of Israel's external intelligence service, Mossad."
In a backhanded confirmation that Monday's blast was the handiwork of Mossad and their terrorist proxies, the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK), Frenkel wrote that "Dan Meridor, the Israeli Intelligence Minister, said: 'There are countries who impose economic sanctions and there are countries who act in other ways in dealing with the Iranian nuclear threat'."
Frenkel reported that "Major-General Giora Eiland, Israel's former director of national security told Israel's army radio that the Isfahan blast was no accident. 'There aren't many coincidences, and when there are so many events there is probably some sort of guiding hand, though perhaps it's the hand of God'," Eiland said.
The Isfahan blast, as with other recent attacks, were allegedly in response to allegations made last month in a report filed by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran may be seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
However, while the "Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material at the nuclear facilities," the ginned-up report relied on information provided by "Member states," presumably Israel and United States in the form of forged computer laptop documents and other "intelligence sources."
The Agency claims they were "unable to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities."
Black operations targeting the Islamic Republic aren't solely the province of America's "stationary aircraft carrier in the Middle East," Israel. As Seymour Hersh reported last spring in The New Yorker: "In the past six years, soldiers from the Joint Special Operations Force, working with Iranian intelligence assets, put in place cutting-edge surveillance techniques, according to two former intelligence officers."
In 2007, ABC News disclosed that "the CIA has received secret presidential approval to mount a covert 'black' operation to destabilize the Iranian government."
Unnamed sources told ABC News that President Bush signed a presidential finding "that puts into motion a CIA plan that reportedly includes a coordinated campaign of propaganda, disinformation and manipulation of Iran's currency and international financial transactions."
Congress has appropriated some $300 million for the CIA and the Pentagon's covert war.
In the intervening years, those programs have turned lethal. Widely applauded by "liberal" Democrats and "conservative" Republicans alike, these programs have continued, indeed expanded under Barack Obama's "progressive" Democratic administration.
Despite the fact that there "is also constant satellite coverage of major suspect areas in Iran," The New Yorker reported "that nothing significantly new had been learned to suggest that Iran is pursuing a nuclear weapon."
'Shadow War' Heating Up
Iran's intelligence services haven't been sitting idly by watching American, British, and Israeli terror operations.
On Sunday, Al Jazeera reported that the Iranian armed forces "brought down an unmanned US spy plane."
"Iran's military has downed an intruding RQ-170 American drone in eastern Iran," Iran's Arabic-language Al Alam state television network quoted an unnamed source as saying on Sunday."
"The semiofficial Fars news agency," Al Jazeera averred, said "that the plane is now in the possession of Iran's armed forces. The Fars news agency is close to the powerful Revolutionary Guard."
"Fars reported that the drone had been brought down through a combined effort by Iran's armed forces, air defence forces and its electronic warfare unit after the plane briefly violated the country's airspace at its eastern border."
An unnamed source, according to AFP, warned that Iran's armed response would "not be limited to our country's borders" for the "blatant territorial violation."
AFP also reported that in June, "Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the Guards' aerospace unit, said Iran had shown Russian experts the US drones in its possession.
"'Russian experts requested to see these drones and they looked at both the downed drones and the models made by the Guards through reverse engineering,' he said."
In a further sign that the "shadow war" is heating up, last week's occupation of the British embassy in Tehran may have been a warning to the U.K. over sanctioned leaks by the British defense establishment to The Guardian which suggested that "Britain's armed forces are stepping up their contingency planning for potential military action against Iran."
"In anticipation of a potential attack," The Guardian disclosed that "British military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air and sea campaign.
The embassy occupation and subsequent downgrade of diplomatic relations between Britain and Iran mean these threats are being taken very seriously indeed.
Asia Times Online reported that Iran's claim "to have arrested 12 spies working for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is potentially a major blow to American intelligence-gathering efforts in Iran and to American intelligence generally."
Following closely on the heels of last month's arrest in Lebanon of some 30 CIA operatives by Hezbollah "is suggestive of a major American intelligence defeat, if not a full-blown disaster," Asia Times analyst Mahan Abedin wrote.
Far from being a high-quality intelligence operation, Abedin averred that the "CIA is operating a lower threshold of quality control in terms of agent recruitment and management" and that this reflects "a scatter-gun approach by the CIA inasmuch as the agency is targeting virtually any Iranian citizen it believes could potentially provide useful information on the CIA's target set."
According to Abedin's Iranian sources, the CIA's team of "operatives and analysts" appears to have been "embedded within numerous official and unofficial American organizations, including US embassies, multinational corporations, medium-sized commercial organizations, recruitment consultancies, immigration and wider legal services, academic and quasi-academic institutions and reputable (i.e. longstanding) as well as newly set up think tanks."
In other words, as many researchers have amply documented, efforts by the U.S. secret state to subvert a target nation's internal defenses prior to full-on "regime change" either through direct warfare (Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, now Syria) or via an American-brokered "color revolution" (Yugoslavia, Venezuela, Ukraine, Georgia) are not about "freedom and democracy" but to achieve Washington's geopolitical goals: total economic and political domination.
"But despite clear improvements in counter-espionage capabilities and protective security measures," Abedin writes, "Iran is still some way away from making it prohibitively costly for Western agencies to operate inside the country. Indeed, all the major West European, North American and Israeli intelligence services are either active inside Iran or work closely with some elements of the Iranian diaspora."
Describing the "psychological warfare" dimensions of a looming confrontation, Abedin wrote in a subsequent Asia Times Online piece that the covert war operates on two fronts, "one visible and rhetorical and conducted through official and unofficial media and the other secret and centered on sabotage."
"In so far as the former is concerned Iran has risen to the challenge by superseding tough American and Israeli rhetoric with even tougher rhetoric."
"However," Abedin averred, "it is on the sabotage front--where Iran appears to be under attack from several directions--that the Islamic Republic is raising eyebrows even amongst its hardcore supporters by displaying remarkable tolerance in the face of intolerable provocations."
"More broadly, the Iranians are not paying sufficient attention to the long-term consequences of military confrontation with the United States and her allies."
That the "long-term consequences" of a Western-led attack will be an unmitigated disaster for the Iranian people, indeed for people across the entire region and for world peace and stability as a whole, doesn't mean that Washington won't gamble that a "limited war" could be "contained."
As analyst William Blum wrote in his Anti-Empire Report: "The secret to understanding US foreign policy is that there is no secret. Principally, one must come to the realization that the United States strives to dominate the world. Once one understands that, much of the apparent confusion, contradiction, and ambiguity surrounding Washington's policies fades away."
"Examine a map," Blum observed. "Iran sits directly between two of the United States' great obsessions--Iraq and Afghanistan ... directly between two of the world's greatest oil regions--the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea areas ... it's part of the encirclement of the two leading potential threats to American world domination--Russia and China ... Tehran will never be a client state or obedient poodle to Washington. How could any good, self-respecting Washington imperialist resist such a target? Bombs Away!"
Commenting on the Isfahan attack which described Israeli "black ops" as a "route to war," left-wing analyst Richard Silverstein wrote on the Tikun Olam web site, that "the tragedy of this black ops program is that it will not rattle or deter Iran, as Israeli intelligence believes."
"Contrary to what Israeli generals believe," Silverstein wrote, "the Iranians are not pushovers, they can't be intimidated. They're willing to die for their country even more than Israelis. They've fought defensive wars going back decades and lost millions in conflict. A few explosions, assassinations, and computer viruses will not spook them."
The drift towards war, which include moves to strangle Iran's economy prior to a strike, has gained traction on multiple fronts.
On Friday, the U.S. Senate unanimously passed legislation as part of the $644. 3 billion 2012 Defense Authorization Act that "would give the president the power starting July 1 to bar foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank from having correspondent bank accounts in the U.S.," Bloomberg BusinessWeek reported.
Coupled with reports that Germany and other EU member states will "considerably strengthen" sanctions against Iran, the leftist publication German Foreign Policy disclosed that "Berlin is participating in the intensification of western pressure on Teheran."
Rejecting NATO rhetoric that new punitive economic measures are over "the so-called nuclear dispute," GFP's analyst correctly states that the "conflict is, in fact, over hegemony, with the West seeking to defend at all costs its predominance in the Middle Eastern resource-rich regions."
While "Berlin's politicians are still divided over Iran ... Transatlantic oriented forces are preparing the public for possible military strikes."
Regarding the strengthening of the West's sanctions regime, the World Socialist Web Site reported that the EU has "agreed to sanction some 200 Iranian companies, individuals and organisations. European Council President Herman Van Rompuy met with Obama on Monday and issued a joint statement expressing 'deep concern' over Iran's nuclear program, raising the possibility of 'additional measures' against the Iranian regime."
"France," left-wing critic Oliver Campbell noted, "which is not a major importer of Iranian oil, issued a statement calling for 'new sanctions on an unprecedented scale,' including freezing the assets of the Iranian central bank and putting an embargo on Iranian oil."
"Russia, which has acquiesced in imposing previous sanctions on Iran, has bluntly opposed further punitive measures. Russian foreign ministry spokesman Alexander Lukashevich denounced the latest sanctions as 'unacceptable' and 'contradictory to international law.' China and Turkey have also opposed additional UN penalties."
There are new signs that this sharply escalating crisis is fraught with peril.
Last week, Russia Today reported that "Moscow is deploying warships at its base in the Syrian port of Tartus. The long-planned mission comes, providentially, at the very moment when it could help prevent a potential conflict in the strategically important Middle Eastern country.
"The Russian battle group will consist of three vessels led by the heavy aircraft-carrying missile cruiser, Admiral Kuznetsov."
"Of course, the Russian naval forces in the Mediterranean will be incommensurate with those of the US 6th Fleet, which includes one or two aircraft carriers and several escort ships," former Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Viktor Kravchenko told Russia Today.
Pointedly, Kravchenko warned, "today, no one talks about possible military clashes, since an attack on any Russian ship would be regarded as a declaration of war with all the consequences."
Richard Silverstein grimly observed "that Israel knows that black ops will turn Iran more intransigent. It welcomes such Iranian rigidity because it means the day is closer when it will be set loose on the Iranians. Israel's policy toward Iran is scorched earth."
The clock is ticking...
Tom Burghardt is a researcher and activist based in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to publishing in Covert Action Quarterly and Global Research, he is a Contributing Editor with Cyrano's Journal Today. His articles can be read on Dissident Voice, The Intelligence Daily, Pacific Free Press, Uncommon Thought Journal, and the whistleblowing website WikiLeaks. He is the editor of Police State America: U.S. Military "Civil Disturbance" Planning, distributed by AK Press and has contributed to the new book from Global Research, The Global Economic Crisis: The Great Depression of the XXI Century.
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Iran delivers major blow to the CIA
By Mahan Abedin
01 December 2011
Iran's claim last week to have arrested 12 spies working for the United States Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) is potentially a major blow to American intelligence-gathering efforts in Iran and to American intelligence generally. The arrests come on the heels of the arrest of 30 alleged CIA spies in late May and are indicative of steadily improving counter-intelligence capabilities.
The recent success is reinforced by the unraveling of a CIA spy ring in Lebanon operating within the Hezbollah organization. These reports have been grudgingly confirmed by current and former US intelligence officials, which is suggestive of a major American intelligence defeat, if not a full-blown disaster.
Recent Hezbollah counter-intelligence successes against Israel and the US (in June, Hezbollah arrested two CIA spies operating inside the organization) are at least in part due to increased counter-intelligence assistance from Iran.
Asia Times Online sources in Tehran claim that Iran's Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) has been more willing in recent years to transfer sensitive counter-espionage know-how and techniques to both Hezbollah and the official Lebanese intelligence services.
Regarding the arrest of 12 alleged CIA spies by Iran, aside from the clear indication of escalating American intelligence operations, there are two outstanding observations. First, the CIA is operating a lower threshold of quality control in terms of agent recruitment and management. Second, there are signs that the MOIS is moving steadily in the direction of making Iran a forbidding space for hostile foreign intelligence services.
Information from a wide range of Iranian media - and corroborated by ATol sources in Tehran - is suggestive of a scatter-gun approach by the CIA inasmuch as the agency is targeting virtually any Iranian citizen it believes could potentially provide useful information on the CIA's target set.
While there were media reports that some government "managers" were amongst the suspected CIA spies arrested in May, this time around Iran's intelligence minister, Heydar Moslehi, told local journalists on Sunday that there were no government officials amongst the 12 suspected spies.
Speaking on the fringes of the government's weekly cabinet meeting, Moslehi gave strong indications that most, if not all, of the latest arrested suspected spies were either junior Iranian scientists or students who frequently travelled overseas as part of their studies or official scientific work.
Information gleaned from a wide range of Iranian media over the past six months - and confirmed by ATol sources in Tehran - appears to indicate that besides the high-value targets such as the nuclear program and the country's defense establishment, the CIA's target set includes Iran's banking and financial sector; logistics and transportation networks (particularly air transportation); town planning; the oil and gas sector; and the software industry, particularly private companies that design and operate specialist software for the Iranian government.
More specifically, the CIA appears to be focussed on how Iran is defeating international and unilateral US and European sanctions; how and to what extent Iran is using the international financial system to advance its critical projects as well as its ordinary day-to-day business; the vulnerabilities of Iran's transportation and logistics network; the level of preparedness by Iranian emergency and humanitarian relief organizations; and more generally the resilience of critical Iranian infrastructure in the face of a major disaster or a prolonged period of national stress, such as a military conflict.
To achieve its objectives, the CIA's National Clandestine Service (NCS) has set up a dedicated team of operatives and analysts who operate primarily from countries bordering Iran, but also further afield, particularly in countries with sizeable numbers of Iranian students, such as Malaysia.
This dedicated network is exceptionally well-trained, for example all the operatives and analysts possess a masterful command of the Persian language and display high levels of inter-cultural competence.
Early indications appear to suggest that the CIA started to develop this dedicated network in 2003 and that most of the elements were in place by the middle of 2008. This makes the MOIS' recent counter-intelligence success an even more remarkable achievement, in so far as Iranian counter-intelligence may have doomed the CIA's vast investment almost from the outset.
In the course of its investigations and specialized counter-espionage work, the MOIS claims to have identified 42 officers of the CIA's NCS operating in several countries and collected detailed information on the scope and nature of their activities.
The dedicated NCS team appears to be embedded within numerous official and unofficial American organizations, including US embassies, multinational corporations, medium-sized commercial organizations, recruitment consultancies, immigration and wider legal services, academic and quasi-academic institutions and reputable (ie longstanding) as well as newly set up thinktanks.
If accounts on online Iranian media are to be believed the focus on Iranian scientists and students may have been this dedicated team's downfall. It has been suggested that the 30-person network(s) unraveled earlier this year (and announced in late May) was initially brought to the attention of the MOIS by a patriotic Iranian student who had been approached by a quasi-academic institution (offering grants and scholarships as a means of entrapment) in Malaysia.
The MOIS subsequently investigated the Malaysia-based institution and was able to establish a clear CIA link, which in turn widened the scope of the investigation and eventually netted 30 suspected spies.
It has been reported that 75% of the suspected spies detained this year had higher education qualifications. At one level, this is suggestive of an innovative CIA approach to entrap and recruit gifted Iranian scientists and students with a view to collecting information on the target set in a short to medium time frame.
However, the relative dearth of government officials - or in fact anyone with access to classified or sensitive information - indicates a degree of CIA desperation and an acceptance by the agency that it has to make do with lower quality recruits and manage them to a shorter life span, in view of the agents' lack of ready access to classified materials and the expectation that the MOIS would catch up with them sooner rather than later.
It is also an indication that the most sensitive Iranian organizations (or at least the higher reaches of these organizations) including the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and the wider defense establishment, are now either free of American spies or at least more secure than before in the face of determined American espionage efforts.
Furthermore, it can be argued that as the CIA widens and intensifies its agent recruitment efforts it runs the long-term risk of making it more and more difficult to operate inside Iran, in view of the MOIS' proven prowess at penetrating American intelligence networks and learning the key secrets at the heart of these conspiracies at a relatively early stage.
In summary, there appears to be a disparity between escalating CIA espionage and the MOIS' growing counter-espionage resilience, with the latter steadily gaining the upper hand.
But despite clear improvements in counter-espionage capabilities and protective security measures, Iran is still some way away from making it prohibitively costly for Western agencies to operate inside the country. Indeed, all the major West European, North American and Israeli intelligence services are either active inside Iran or work closely with some elements of the Iranian diaspora.
Nevertheless, there are clear signs that in the pure intelligence war (as opposed to sabotage) Iran is beginning to turn the tide.
Mahan Abedin is an analyst of Middle East politics.
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War Clouds Form over Iran
By Wayne Madsen
URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=27584
Global Research, November 10, 2011
Israel’s all-powerful lobby in Washington, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an organization composed of Israeli collaborators, infiltrators, and outright traitors to the United States, is steamrolling through the House of Representatives H.R. 1905, which would prohibit the President of the United States, the Secretary of State, members of the U.S. Foreign Service, or any special envoy from engaging in any sort of diplomatic contact, official or unofficial, with any member or agent of the government of Iran. Only when the President informs the requisite committees may he proceed with engaging on diplomatic contact with Iran. Israel has de facto control over the foreign affairs committees of Congress, so any White House notification of the need to contact Iranian officials would be instantly transmitted to Binyamin Netanyahu’s office in Jerusalem and Israel would then circumvent any U.S.-Iranian contact. AIPAC, with its resolution, is further making the United States a vassal of the Jewish state.
Israel’s strategy is to make certain that its plans to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities and, perhaps other targets, meet no opposition from diplomatic circles in the United States... Israel has placed its own interests well beyond and in contravention of those of the United States.
Faced with the prospect of an Israeli attack on Iran, backed by Saudi Arabia – Israel’s secret ally in the region – has had ripple effects across the Middle East and Asia.
Countries in Asia are scrambling to join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) as full members. Confronted by a belligerent United States, NATO, and Israel intent on toppling the governments of Syria and Iran, the economic, cultural, and de facto collective security pact that comprises Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan announced after its prime ministers' summit in St. Petersburg that SCO would soon be opening its doors for full membership for Pakistan, Iran, and India. The Asian nations want to freeze the United States out of interference in Asia.
Ahead of the St. Petersburg summit, Russia and China strongly warned the West against any military attack on Iran. The words being used in international diplomacy are reminiscent of the Cold War era, however, it is the West that is playing to role of the aggressor, albeit an aggressor led around by Israel and its intelligence spies and assets embedded in the upper echelons of governments in Washington, London, Paris, Berlin, and within the United Nations hierarchy.
Even America's vassal state of Afghanistan, eager to break free of the bonds of NATO and Washington, has attained observer status in SCO. Recent comments by the deputy commander of NATO training in Afghanistan, U.S. Army Major General Peter Fuller, that the Afghan government leadership is erratic, ungrateful, and isolated from reality because President Hamid Karzai said Afghanistan would side with Pakistan in an American war on Pakistan, resulted in Fuller’s firing. Fuller’s comments also resulted in Karzai asking for observer status in SCO as American aggression against the Muslim world and opposition to sovereignty for Palestine has seen Washington’s standing around the world plummet.
Another nation where the CIA, Pentagon, has their agents creeping and crawling, Mongolia, is also a SCO
observer. There are also SCO "partners in dialogue" -- nations that could attain SCO observer or membership status in the future. Partners in dialogue nations include Belarus, Sri Lanka, and one that should worry Tel Aviv and Washington, Turkey, a NATO member. Moscow and Ankara agree that Turkey should eventually become a full SCO member. Turkey has close historical and cultural links with the Turkic nations of central Asia and with many of the autonomous Turkic republics of Russia, including Tuva, Bashkortostan, and Adygeya.
Turkey has grown tired of Israeli interference in its internal and external affairs, as witnessed by the vicious and bloody Israeli attack on the Turkish Gaza aid vessel, the Mavi Marmara; Mossad support for Kurdish PKK terrorist attacks in Turkey; and covert Israeli entanglement in the Ergenekon "deep state" network in Turkey.
Iran has now seen Israel's most-open secret ally, Saudi Arabia, appoint the former Egyptian intelligence chief and close Netanyahu friend, Omar Suleiman, as an adviser to Saudi heir apparent, Crown Prince Nayef bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud, who is also the Interior Minister. The Jerusalem-Riyadh axis is being further cemented as the Obama administration is shifting 4,000 troops from Iraq to Kuwait and beefing up other U.S. military assets in Bahrain -- home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet – and Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Oman. The CIA and Pentagon have set up Predator drone bases in Djibouti, Seychelles, Ethiopia, and, reportedly, Saudi Arabia.
The president-elect of Kyrgyzstan, Prime Minister Almazbek Atambaev, has announced he wants the U.S.
and NATO to leave the Manas Transit Center airbase in his country after the current lease expires in 2014. Already, Soros-funded non-governmental organization (NGO) agents in Kyrgyzstan are attempting to suggest that under the new Kyrgyz constitution, Atambaev does not have the authority to close the base. It is this type of U.S. interference in the affairs of the nations of Asia that has SCO readying an expansion of its membership to include two nations that have received direct U.S. military threats: Iran and Pakistan. Suspicion of U.S. intentions and military plans has also made Washington’s request to enter SCO as a partner in dialogue a dead issue. Washington’s interest in attending SCO summits as a “partner” says more about the CIA’s inability to crack into the inner workings of SCO, even through erstwhile “allies” like Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Mongolia, than in having any great desire to “dialogue” with SCO members and observers. After all, AIPAC and its minions have managed to jam through the U.S. House a law that prohibits any U.S. diplomatic contact with Tehran’s officials.
President Obama is under tremendous pressure from the Israel Lobby during an election year to support an Israeli military strike on Iran, action that will inevitably lead the United States military in the Gulf region into war against Iran on behalf of the Tel Aviv/west Jerusalem regime. At the G-20 summit in Cannes, French President Nicolas Sarkozy was overheard telling Obama, "I cannot bear Netanyahu, he's a liar." To which Obama replied, "you're fed up, but I have to deal with him every day."
The Sarkozy-Obama interchange is instructive. Obama did not disagree that Netanyahu is a patent liar who will do anything or say anything to advance Israeli and global Zionist interests over all else, even to the point of lying about a bogus Iranian nuclear weapons threat to promote a military attack on Iran.
Israel, using its agents of influence in the UN delegations of the United States, Britain, Germany, Canada, Sweden, and the Netherlands, has ensured that International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano has tainted his agency's report on Iranian nuclear developments in a manner that would have never been tolerated by his predecessor, Mohammed ElBaradei. Amano certainly took no interest in the fact that his own nation, Japan, was secretly producing nuclear weapons at the Fukushima nuclear complex in contravention of IAEA rules. The aftermath of the destructive earthquake in Japan laid open the secret work going on at Fukushima. Amano is perfectly willing to act as a cipher for Israel and the Israel Lobby in "discovering" IAEA violations by Iran.
The Bulletin of Atomic Scientist's "Doomsday Clock," a measure of how close the world is to nuclear war, now stands at six minutes until midnight. With the machinations of Israel toward Iran, the internal meltdown of Obama's White House staff with the demotion of chief of staff Bill Daley, and the invitation by SCO to Iran to come under the protective security umbrella of Russia and China, the clock has just jumped ahead several minutes.
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Iran Threatens 'Street War' in Tel Aviv
Iran has threatened to start a 'street war' in Tel Aviv - and in the US and Europe - should its nuclear program be attacked.
By Gavriel Queenann
Nov/8/2011
The head of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission said on Tuesday that Iran would start a 'street war' in Tel Aviv if its nuclear program was attacked.
"Israel is not big enough to launch a military strike on Iran, but if it takes such a foolish decision, the Iranian military will fight with the Zionist soldiers in Tel Aviv streets... and will force them out of the Palestinian soil," Seyed Hossein Naqavi said.
Naqavi also warned, should Tehran's nuclear program be attacked, the battlefield won't be in Iran, but "the entirety of Europe and the US."
"Iranian forces will fight with the enemies with maximum might and power all throughout the European and US soil, if Iran comes under attack," he reiterated.
Naqavi also responded to reports Britain might strike Iran's nuclear sites, saying "a look at the history reveals that the British regime has been using threat, intimidation, terror and colonialism all throughout the last 500 years."
"Now a country with such a long record of crimes and colonialist actions should know very well that the Islamic Republic enjoys a high military capability today," he added.
Naqavi's remarks have become a part of Tehran's mantra of threatening counter-strikes as international criticism of its nuclear aspirations continues to mount.
A recent indictment by the United States of two members of Iran's foreign covert action Quds force for allegedly plotting the assassination of the Saudi Arabian ambassador to Washington has served to fuel efforts to isolate the Islamic Republic.
Also, the International Atomic Energy Agency has released a report asserting that Iran is not only on the verge of being able to build an atomic bomb, but cited western and Israeli intelligence reports Tehran had actively sought nuclear weapons technology.
Tehran's bellicose rhetoric has reached a new zenith, however, amid reports both Britian and Israel were considering independent strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities.
"Iran does not stand alone in the struggle against Israel," Naqavi insisted, "Israel will be destroyed by the allies of the Islamic Republic if she so much as tries to attack us."
However, despite Iran's threats of a 'street war' in Tel Aviv, Tehran's ability to strike Israel directly is limited. While the Islamic Republic does possess a small number of long-range missiles capable of striking Israel, its air force and army would have to move through other countries in which large US and western forces are operating.
Additionally, tensions between Shiite Persian Iran and the predominantly Sunni Arab world - especially Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies - have limited Tehran's strategic latitude. Analysts say Iran would have to strike Israel by proxy, relying on Syria, Hizbullah, and various terror groups like Hamas who are at war with Israel.
Observers note, however, that Iran may not be able to rely on its regional allies to take significant action on its behalf.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is occupied with seven months of unrest and a growing armed resistance to his regime; while Hizbullah has found itself under increasing fire from Lebanon's main street for maintaining its arms and militia's in the name of 'resistance' - which has drawn Beirut into costly wars with Israel.
Even terror groups in Israel that Iran has sought to turn into proxies by funding their operations may prove unreliable. Hamas, a primary Iranian beneficiary, has consistently sought to avoid a serious Israeli incursion into its Gaza stronghold - which analysts say would be the likely result of meaningful action taken on Tehran's behalf.
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