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14 December 2005  |     mail this article   |     print   |   
This article is part of the series: The coming war against Iran
1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5 - 6 - 7 - 8 - 9 - 10 - 11 - 12 - 13 - 14 - 15 - 16 - 17 - 18 - 19 - 20 - 21 - 22 - 23 - 24 - 25 - 26 - 27 - 28 - 29 - 30 - 31 - 32 - 33 - 34 - 35 - 36 - 37 - 38 - 39 - 40 - 41 - 42 - 43 - 44 - 45 ]
The coming war against Iran - Part 6
Preemptive nuclear strike, spring 2006?
By Daan de Wit
As we have illustrated in the preceding five parts of this series, the U.S., Israel and Britain are getting ready for an attack on Iran - a preemptive nuclear attack, if the U.S. gets its way. Premier Sharon of Israel is adding fuel to the fire: 'ISRAEL'S armed forces have been ordered by Ariel Sharon, the prime minister, to be ready by the end of March for possible strikes on secret uranium enrichment sites in Iran, military sources have revealed',
reports The Sunday Times. And the US midterm elections are becoming important at that time in the U.S. Plus, as a number of specialists in this DeepJournal contend, a war with Iran would not turn out bad at all for the Republican Party.

The Dutch in the original article has been translated into English by Ben Kearney.
The Sunday Times continues: '[...] Sources inside special forces command confirmed that “G” readiness — the highest stage — for an operation was announced last week'. Israel denies that these plans exist. The Sunday Times also takes into account the rhetoric relative to the Israeli elections: 'The date set for possible Israeli strikes on Iran also coincides with Israel's general election on March 28, prompting speculation that Sharon may be sabre-rattling for votes.'

Iran still far from developing nuclear weapon
The Washington Post reported in September: 'A recent U.S. intelligence estimate [...] judged Iran to be as much as a decade away from being able to manufacture the fissile material necessary for a nuclear explosion. A report issued last week by the International Institute for Security Studies, a London-based research group, found Iran was 10 to 15 years from the technical know-how to build a bomb.' Bush, Sharon and Blair are nevertheless screaming bloody murder. In 2002 The London Times reported: '[...] Sharon [...] considers that Iran is a "centre of world terror", and that as soon as an Iraq conflict is concluded, he will push for Iran to be at the top of the "to do" list [...]'. And this month Reuters noted: '"Israel, and not only Israel, cannot accept a situation in which Iran has nuclear weapons," Sharon told reporters. "We are also taking all the necessary preparations to be ready for this kind of situation."' 'Teheran would not be allowed to become a "threat to our world security"', according to Tony Blair. 'Asked whether Mr Blair was making a veiled threat of military action, a senior government source replied: "The prime minister didn't use the 'M' word - but he is making clear that we have to think about these things very seriously indeed."'

Rumors of war against Iran in spring 2006
In September The Telegraph (India) reported: 'Top-ranking Americans have told equally top-ranking Indians in recent weeks that the US has plans to invade Iran before Bush's term ends. In 2002, a year before the US invaded Iraq, high-ranking Americans had similarly shared their definitive vision of a post-Saddam Iraq, making it clear that they would change the regime in Baghdad.' 'In a season of discontent for the White House, Tuesday's election results intensified Republican anxiety that next year's midterm contests could bring serious losses unless George W. Bush finds a way to turn around his presidency and shore up support among disaffected, moderate swing voters', reported The Washington Post almost two months later. Author Dan Plesch also sees the period around the midterm elections as a strong possibility: 'For US domestic political purposes a “crisis” in spring 2006 when the EU and the UN can once more be confronted with their alleged failures, and challenged to support US leadership, would be timely for mid-term elections in which the ultra-conservative coalition will wish to consolidate its gains and eliminate any nascent moderate or realistic Republican candidate in good time for the 2008 presidential election.' 'As for the succession to President Bush, Bob Woodward has named Mr Cheney as a likely candidate, a step that would be easier in a wartime atmosphere', writes Plesch in another article. Then in the meantime President Cheney can - after Iran - set his sights on Syria and North Korea and (according to statements made by Plesch during a debate on whether a war with Iran could potentially be near at hand, held last Saturday in Amsterdam) China. Plesch said (and earlier wrote) during his presentation that the 'US strategy is to prevent any state being able to deter it as did the USSR'. For him this means that it is now Iran's turn, and later it will be China's.

U.N. Security Council - just as with Iraq - a formality
Earlier discussions between Europe and Iran over the nuclear energy program became deadlocked in August. 'Talks have been tentatively scheduled for December 21, but Iranian leaders have dismissed in advance an EU-backed proposal for its uranium to be purified in Russia as "a failed idea"', reported Reuters. At the same time the Iranians are goading the Americans on: 'Iran will allow one of its fiercest critics, the United States, to bid on the construction of a nuclear plant [...]', reported CNN. France and England have already declined an offer to bid on the plant. The headline of the Reuters article says it all: 'Iran's tough nuclear stance dims hope for talks'. What if, by way of all this quarrelling, Iran gets summoned before the Security Council? Professor Jorge E. Hirsch takes a peek into the future when he writes: '[...] when Iran's case comes before the SC [Security Council] and no sanctions are passed due to Russia's and China's vetoes, the U.S. will be left with no diplomatic options – not a desirable position to be in, unless the purpose all along was to resort to a military option.' In another article Hirsch writes: 'Military action will occur before Russia ships uranium fuel to Iran, and will inevitably lead to the use of nuclear weapons by the U.S. against Iran. How will it all get started? No matter how much Bush and Cheney want it, the U.S. Senate is unlikely to authorize the bombing of Iranian installations out of the blue. Unless there is some major disturbance in Iraq that can be blamed on Iran, Israel is likely to pull the trigger. It knows how to and has every motivation to do so.'

Possible cooperation between U.S. and Israel to stage attack
Hirsch's prediction calls to mind statements by Dick Cheney from the beginning of this year, in which he outlined these steps exactly: European diplomacy, Iran before Security Council, sanctions, an Israeli attack. Cheney: 'Well, one of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked, that if, in fact, the Israelis became convinced the Iranians had significant nuclear capability, given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.' Cheney wouldn't mind too much, since he is putting himself squarely in Israel's corner in advance: '[...] look around the world at potential trouble spots, Iran is right at the top of the list.'
The 'major disturbance' (Hirsch) through which Israel 'might well decide to act first' (Cheney) will be launched after a second September 11th, according to author Webster Tarpley. He repeated this last month at the Axis For Peace conference in Brussels during a presentation entitled Stop the Third World War. This is a war arising from the War on Terror, which he feels is based on the myth of September 11th, about which DeepJournal has written extensively.
Given the many common interests of the U.S. and Israel it is not unlikely that an old plan will be pulled off the shelf: the torpedoing of Americans by Israel with the consent of the American government, which will be blamed on the enemy-of-the-day, in this case Iran. This type of plan, resulting in many deaths, has already been carried out via Operation Cyanide. DeepJournal has written on this subject in the Dutch magazine De Humanist. The story in brief: In 1967 the U.S. wanted to become involved in Israel's battle against Egypt, and therefor sacrificed a U.S. Navy vessel that would ostensibly be attacked by Egypt. The ship was actually attacked by unmarked Israeli fighters, torpedoed by Israeli ships and shelled with napalm. Contrary to all expectations, a portion of the crew survived, and the American airplane that was already en route to Egypt in order to avenge the attack with a nuclear bomb was called back.

Problems with an attack on Iran - 1
As indicated earlier in this series, all signs point to a preemptive nuclear strike. Part of the reason for this is the military necessity. Professor Hirsch explains this further: 'Why are nuclear weapons an indispensable part of the enterprise? Because conventional military action against Iran would be very costly and would likely lead to disaster. Iran has dozens of Shahab 3 missiles that can reach Israel and many more short-range missiles that can target U.S. forces in Iraq, potentially with chemical warheads. It also has a 7 million-strong Basiji volunteer militia and local support from the Shi'ite population in southern Iraq, all of which would easily overwhelm the 150,000 U.S. troops and the weak Iraqi army. Before the U.S. invaded Iraq, a conventional aerial attack against Iranian installations (like Israel did to Osirak's reactor in 1981) would also have been futile. Iran's facilities are numerous, many are underground, and partial destruction would only have led to a radicalization of Iran's regime and a full-scale drive toward nuclear weapons.' Former CIA agent Philip Giraldi says: 'Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option.'
With the limited availability of troops being one concern, the importance of the nuclear option for the U.S. is multi-layered. These problems could be partially tackled by the use of small teams of covert Special Forces in place of large troop deployments. But the solution to the one problem gives rise to the other. Rumsfeld has seen to it that much of the U.S.'s clandestine activity is no longer carried out by the CIA, but by the military. Giraldi 'who served three years in military intelligence before joining the C.I.A.' and other Special Operations officers foresee problems, writes journalist Seymour Hersh: '"If you're going into a village and shooting people, it doesn't matter. [...] But if you're running operations that involve finesse and sensitivity, the military can't do it. [...] They've got to have a different mind-set. They've got to handle new roles and get into foreign cultures and learn how other people think. [...] Which is why these kind of operations were always run out of the agency."'

Problems with an attack on Iran - 2
Seymour Hersh focuses on the sentiment that would live amongst the neocons - that an attack on Iran would result in disaster for the religious powers-that-be in that country. This fantasy invokes feelings of déjà vu: 'I believe demolishing Hussein's military power and liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk', wrote Republican and former assistant to Donald Rumsfeld Ken Adelman in 2002. Hersh writes: '“The idea that an American attack on Iran's nuclear facilities would produce a popular uprising is extremely illinformed,” said Flynt Leverett, a Middle East scholar who worked on the National Security Council in the Bush Administration. “You have to understand that the nuclear ambition in Iran is supported across the political spectrum, and Iranians will perceive attacks on these sites as attacks on their ambitions to be a major regional player and a modern nation that's technologically sophisticated.” Leverett, who is now a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy, at the Brookings Institution, warned that an American attack, if it takes place, “will produce an Iranian backlash against the United States and a rallying around the regime.”'
Media Monitors Networks sees 'a fierce dispute between the realists and the neoconservatives regarding the best approach towards Iran. The row has permeated all sections of the US government and has divided institutions like the State Department, the Pentagon and the CIA. The disagreements over Iran came to ahead in July 2004 with the publication of the report entitled “Iran: Time for a New Approach” which was prepared by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) under the direction of Zbigniew Brzezinski, President Jimmy Carter's national security adviser. The report argued that Iran was not ripe for regime change as advocated by the neoconservatives. The report stated: “"[D]espite considerable political flux and popular dissatisfaction… Iran is not on the verge of another revolution. Those forces that are committed to preserving Iran's current system remain firmly in control…”'

The possible sequel: Syria, North Korea and China
Earlier in this series we posed the question of whether or not a conflict between Israel, the U.S., and England with Iran will spin totally out of control with the possible intervention of Russia and China. In addition it is none too trivial to ask whether, after Iran, the invading of countries will finally come to an end. Earlier we wrote about Syria, a country that is routinely kept in check by American threats. But don't forget about North Korea. White House advisor and author Robert Kaplan was quoted recently in the Belgian magazine HUMO (48/3404, '05): 'At a certain moment North Korea is going to collapse, that is unavoidable. The people there have practically been dying of hunger for decades; the day that the country falls apart you are going to be looking at the greatest humanitarian catastrophe in history. Who should be the one to deliver food and assistance? The U.S. - because we have so many troops in the region - South Korea, Japan and China. Because of this the American military is now making plans for a huge invasion of North Korea along with those four powers. Not an invasion to kill people, but an invasion designed to quickly get a humanitarian disaster under control.' China also finds itself on the list: 'The military strategy adopted under President Bush's father, continued under President Clinton and accelerated under the current administration is based on the idea that the US should have “full spectrum dominance” of all aspects of warfare and be so far ahead that, in the words of the current national security strategy, any state will be “dissuaded” from even trying to compete', writes Dan Plesch.

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