Saturday, July 23, 2005

THE NEXT WAR?

From the July 18 print issue of Pat Buchanan's The American Conservative comes word of the administration plan for the invasion of Iran. An excerpt from the article is quoted as follows at Jeff Well's website:
The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney's office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. 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. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing--that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack--but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

Since as noted this plan is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in an act of terrorism there must be other reasons for the administration's planned attack. Another type of 9/11 terrorist attack in this country however would certainly provide the administration with an excuse and propaganda to do so.

From Oil, Geopolitics, and the Coming War with Iran
Michael Klare writes:
Planning for such attacks is, beyond doubt, a major priority for top Pentagon officials. In January, veteran investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reported in the New Yorker magazine that the Department of Defense was conducting covert reconnaissance raids into Iran, supposedly to identify hidden Iranian nuclear and missile facilities that could be struck in future air and missile attacks. "I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran," Hersh said of his interviews with senior military personnel. Shortly thereafter, the Washington Post revealed that the Pentagon was flying surveillance drones over Iran to verify the location of weapons sites and to test Iranian air defenses. As noted by the Post, "Aerial espionage [of this sort] is standard in military preparations for an eventual air attack." There have also been reports of talks between U.S. and Israeli officials about a possible Israeli strike on Iranian weapons facilities, presumably with behind-the-scenes assistance from the United States.

In reality, much of Washington's concern about Iran's pursuit of WMD and ballistic missiles is sparked by fears for the safety of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Iraq, other Persian Gulf oil producers, and Israel rather than by fears of a direct Iranian assault on the United States. "Tehran has the only military in the region that can threaten its neighbors and Gulf security," Jacoby declared in his February testimony. "Its expanding ballistic missile inventory presents a potential threat to states in the region." It is this regional threat that American leaders are most determined to eliminate.

In this sense, more than any other, the current planning for an attack on Iran is fundamentally driven by concern over the safety of U.S. energy supplies, as was the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq. In the most telling expression of White House motives for going to war against Iraq, Vice President Dick Cheney (in an August 2002 address to the Veterans of Foreign Wars) described the threat from Iraq as follows: "Should all [of Hussein's WMD] ambitions be realized, the implications would be enormous for the Middle East and the United States.... Armed with an arsenal of these weapons of terror and a seat atop 10 percent of the world's oil reserves, Saddam Hussein could then be expected to seek domination of the entire Middle East, take control of a great portion of the world's energy supplies, [and] directly threaten America's friends throughout the region." This was, of course, unthinkable to Bush's inner circle. And all one need do is substitute the words "Iranian mullahs" for Saddam Hussein, and you have a perfect expression of the Bush administration case for making war on Iran.

So, even while publicly focusing on Iran's weapons of mass destruction, key administration figures are certainly thinking in geopolitical terms about Iran's role in the global energy equation and its capacity to obstruct the global flow of petroleum. As was the case with Iraq, the White House is determined to eliminate this threat once and for all. And so, while oil may not be the administration's sole reason for going to war with Iran, it is an essential factor in the overall strategic calculation that makes war likely.

Enter Scott Ritter, former WMD inspector who quit Iraq before the invasion and denounced the Bush administration for not finding proof that WMD actually existed.

Scott wrote in a June 23 article in Aljazeera:
But the facts speak of another agenda, that of war and the forceful removal of the theocratic regime, currently wielding the reigns of power in Tehran.

As with Iraq, the president has paved the way for the conditioning of the American public and an all-too-compliant media to accept at face value the merits of a regime change policy regarding Iran, linking the regime of the Mullah's to an "axis of evil" (together with the newly "liberated" Iraq and North Korea), and speaking of the absolute requirement for the spread of "democracy" to the Iranian people.
...

The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated, capabilities.

The violation of a sovereign nation's airspace is an act of war in and of itself. But the war with Iran has gone far beyond the intelligence-gathering phase.

President Bush has taken advantage of the sweeping powers granted to him in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, to wage a global war against terror and to initiate several covert offensive operations inside Iran.

The most visible of these is the CIA-backed actions recently undertaken by the Mujahadeen el-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein's dreaded intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the CIA's Directorate of Operations.
...

To the north, in neighboring Azerbaijan, the US military is preparing a base of operations for a massive military presence that will foretell a major land-based campaign designed to capture Tehran.

Secretary of defense Donald Rumsfeld's interest in Azerbaijan may have escaped the blinkered Western media, but Russia and the Caucasus nations understand only too well that the die has been cast regarding Azerbaijan's role in the upcoming war with Iran....

Ritter goes on to examine the military advantages of launching air assaults and controlling airspace from bases in Azerbaijan.

From The Deep Blade Journal we read:

Azerbaijani government sources confirmed that the agreement between Baku and Washington on locating U.S. "temporarily deployed mobile forces" was indeed finalized during U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's stealth visit to Azerbaijan on April 12. Rumsfeld and Azerbaijani Prime Minister Artur Rasizade and Defense Minister Safar Abiyev -- acting on behalf of Aliyev -- struck the agreement right at Baku's international airport. The sources said that Rumsfeld, not satisfied with Baku's initial agreement, pressured the officials to set a quick fixed date to begin major deployments of U.S. forces to Azerbaijan. Aliyev, however, wants to delay the major U.S. forces' arrival -- or at least the formal announcement of it -- until later this year.

Though the US Ambassador to Azerbaijan denied a major deployment was in the offing, it is explained at a UN site concerning development in Azerbaijan that:

The so-called Caspian Guard will reportedly be headquartered in Baku and comprised of American troops trained for rapid response missions for regional crises. The guard is part of Rumsfeld's overall strategy to re-craft America's overseas military units from bulky Cold War bases to more deployable units flexible enough to put together different force packages for different operations. While specific information on the unit is hard to obtain, a recent report in the Wall Street Journal quoted Chief of U.S. European Command, General James Jones addressing the U.S. Congress about the guard. Jones said the U.S. plans to allocate some $100 million to cover the guard's first 10 years of activities.

From this source we can see that the U.S. has made a major commitment in money and troops to establish a base to protect the new Caspian oil pipeline and a launching/staging area for an attack on Iran.

Let me emphasize that we do not know what the "neo-cons" in the Pentagon and Vice President's office will do. Domination of Iran with invading US troops seems unlikely at least in the immediate future since troop levels are stretched so thin in Iraq. (Recent statements in the news media however have hinted at major troop withdrawals from Iraq in 2006.)

But air power and nukes? That's another matter. One thing we can surmise, however, is that use of nukes against Iran would require an "attack event" on US soil after which there would be a punishing response.(According to an e-mail Jeff Well's recieved from a "reputedly good source, last week the government bought up all of the available iodine in stock for treating radioactive poisoning.")

For propaganda purposes, the source of such a precipitating attack would be blamed on Iran. And there would be no fact-check requirement on the president as there was none when the "neo-cons" used WMD as an excuse to invade Iraq.

We now know that Saddam had no WMD and that the administration's machinations were a lie used to justify the invasion of a sovereign nation. We must not fall for the same propaganda again.

From The Historical Perspective we see that:
History repeats itself. Those who don't learn from it will fall for the same lies and deception propagated on this nation by the same groups controlling events since at least the mid 1800's.

A War with Iran fits right into the Grand Plan

Steve

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