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Archive for ianuarie, 2012

In the effort to stir global action against the Iranian nuclear program, Israel has played its hand brilliantly.  Having twice sent fighter-bombers to erase nuclear reactors in hostile states — to Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007 — its conspicuous preparations against Iran form a firm flank in the effort to corral world opinion. This week, as the European Union joined the United States in launching exceptionally potent sanctions on Iran’s petroleum industry and central bank, a senior French official explained the urgency as follows:  ”We must do everything possible to avoid an Israeli attack on Iran.”

But could Israel go it alone?

The question is addressed in detail in the latest print edition of TIME. The full article is available to subscribers here. But as quoted by a senior security official, the assessment offered to the cabinet of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last autumn was not altogether encouraging:

“I informed the cabinet we have no ability to hit the Iranian nuclear program in a meaningful way,” the official quoted a senior commander as saying. “If I get the order I will do it, but we don’t have the ability to hit in a meaningful way.”

The key word is”meaningful.” The working assumption behind Israel’s military preparations has been that, to be worth mounting, a strike must be likely to delay Tehran’s nuclear capabilities by at least two years. But given the wide geographic dispersion of Iran’s atomic facilities–combined with the limits of Israel’s air armada–the Jewish State can expect to push back the Iranian program only by a matter of months — a year at most, according to the official, who attributed the estimate to the Atomic Energy Commission that Israel has charged with assessing the likely effect of a strike.

That assessment comes as no surprise to military experts both inside and outside Israel.  ”That’s a perfectly logical calculation, for somebody who actually knows how Israel assesses this,” says Anthony Cordesman of the Center for Strategic and International Studies.  Perhaps the most respected military analyst working stateside, Cordesman went on for a while in our telephone interview about how weary he’d grown of reading back-of-the-envelope estimates of “former Israeli officials.”  The reality, he says, is that the decisive, actual capabilities are known only to the military professionals who have the details in front of them.  Even then, the course of action – in this case, whether Israel will launch the attack it has spent more than a decade equipping and training its military for — will be determined by more than strictly military matters:

Israel is going to act strategically. It’s going to look at the political outcome of what it says and does, not simply measure this in terms of some computer game and what the immediate tactical impact is.

What everyone agrees, however, is that as formidable as the Israeli Air Force is, it simply lacks the capacity to mount the kind of sustained, weeks-long aerial bombardment required to knock down Iran’s nuclear program, with the requisite pauses for damage assessments followed by fresh waves of bombing.  Without forward platforms like air craft carriers, Israel’s air armada must rely on mid-air refueling to reach targets more than 1,000 miles away, and anyone who reads Israel’s order of battle sees it simply doesn’t have but a half dozen or so.  Another drawback noted by analysts is Israel’s inventory of bunker-busting bombs, the sort that penetrate deep into concrete or rock that shield the centrifuge arrays at Natanz and now Fordow, near Qum.  Israel has loads of GBU-28s, which might penetrate Natanz. But only the U.S. Air Force has the 30,000-pound Massive Ordnance Penetrator that could take on Fordow, the mountainside redoubt where critics suspect Iran would enrich uranium to military levels.

Still, Israel could launch a surprise strike of a single wave and do significant damage.  And sometime this year it probably will, according to the Israeli author of  ”Will Israel Attack Iran?” the New York Times Magazine story that went online Wednesday.  The piece begins in the high-rise apartment of Defense Minister Ehud Barak and more or less maintains that perspective throughout.  The bottom line is attributed not to an individual or institution but to a state: “Israel believes that these platforms have the capacity to cause enough damage to set the Iranian nuclear project back by three to five years.”

It’s also entirely possible, of course, that Israel’s credible threat to go it alone is both sincere and, at the same time, understood as a wonderfully effective motivator for sanctions and other coercive measures short of war. (Indeed, amid another round of Strait of Hormuz threats by Iranian politicians, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad declared today that his country was ready to talk about its nuclear program–though he insisted it was not going to give it up.) The world paid a lot more attention than it might have to the Nov. 8 report of the IAEA — the one detailing Iran’s efforts to prepare a nuclear weapon — because in the fortnight before its release, Israel fairly thrummed with debate over whether it should launch an attack.  There’s surely a limit how many times the threat can be made and remain credible. Already, the dynamic between Jerusalem and Washington is being compared to Fred and Grady in  ”Sanford and Son” — “Hold me back!”  But as enriched uranium piles up inside the mountain outside Qum, the calendar may well provide the suspense.

Read more: http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2012/01/26/will-israel-attack-iran-and-if-it-does-can-it-really-stop-tehrans-nuclear-program/#ixzz1kZyzucFY

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By Chris Floyd 

January 25, 2012 “Empire Burlesque” –  This week, the warlords of the West took yet another step toward their long-desired war against Iran. (Open war, that is; their covert war has been going on for decades — via subversion, terrorism, and proxies like Saddam Hussein.) On Monday, the European Union obediently followed the dictates of its Washington masters by agreeing to impose an embargo on Iranian oil.

The embargo bans all new oil contracts with Iran, and cuts off all existing deals after July. The embargo is accompanied by a freeze on all European assets of the Iranian central bank. In imposing these draconian measures on a country which is not at war with any nation, which has not invaded or attacked another nation in centuries, and which is developing a nuclear energy program that is not only entirely legal under international law but is also subject to the most stringent international inspection regime ever seen, the EU is “targeting the economic lifeline of the regime,” as one of its diplomats put it, with admirable candor.

The embargo will have serious, perhaps disastrous effects on many of Europe’s sinking economies, which are heavy users of Iranian oil. This is particularly true in Greece, the poster boy for our modern “Shock Doctrine über alles” global economic system. For even as Greece writhes beneath the blows of European bankers determined to bleed the country dry to avoid the consequences of their own knowingly corrupt loan policies, the Iranians have been giving the Greeks substantial discounts on oil, which has helped ease — at least in some measure — the economic ruin being imposed on the “birthplace of democracy.”

Now this slender lifeline is being cut, leaving Greece — and other nations under assault by the plutocrats and their political lackeys — to seek a replacement for discounted Iranian oil in what will be a seller’s market, thanks to the shortages caused by the embargo. The result will be higher prices across the board, leading to more economic ruin for all those beyond the golden penumbra of the One Percent.

And of course, the effects will be even more catastrophic for millions of innocent people in Iran. Already the lives of these innocent people — including all of the dissidents supposedly so cherished by the West — are being diminished and degraded by the series of sanctions imposed by the United States and its pack of tail-wagging Europuppies. But who cares about that? After all, it is glaringly obvious that our Euro-American elites are more than happy to see their own rabble go down the shock-doctrine toilet; it is inconceivable that the ruin of a bunch of dirty Mooslim furriners would disturb them for even a nano-second.

The ostensible aim of all these sanctions, we are told, is to “force Iran back to the negotiating table” on its nuclear program. This is patent nonsense. Innumerable “negotiations” — including major concessions by Iran — have been rejected by Washington and the puppies. For example, who can forget Barack Obama’s “major diplomatic initiative” in 2010, when he proposed a solution to the impasse: Iran should ship its nuclear fuel to Brazil and Turkey for processing. What happened? Well, as we noted here at the time:

Obama puts forth what is purported to be a major “diplomatic” solution to have Iran ship its nuclear fuel to Brazil and Turkey for processing. This was, of course, a hollow gesture, meant to show how intransigent and untrustworthy  Iran really is; the nuke-hungry mullahs would naturally reject the deal. But when Iran made an agreement with Brazil to do exactly what Obama requested, this wasimmediately denounced – by Obama — as …. a demonstration of how intransigent and untrustworthy Iran really is. Meet a benchmark, and the masters simply change the rules. That’s how it works until they get what they want: regime change in strategic lands laden with natural resources.

The latter statement is the key. The aim of this endless string of sanctions, this constant tightening of the noose, is not more “negotiations.” It is regime change, by any means necessary. The Russian foreign minister, Sergei Lavrovlaid out one possible school of thought motivating the Western warmongers: “[The sanctions have] nothing to do with a desire to strengthen the nuclear nonproliferation. It’s aimed at stifling the Iranian economy and the population in an apparent hope to provoke discontent.”

That is a scenario often touted by our high and mighty mongerers: squeeze an enemy regime until the people rise up and get rid of a ruler you don’t like. Of course, as we saw in Iraq, a people driven to their knees by murderous sanctions rarely have the strength or capability to overturn a regime. In fact, the leaders of sanctioned regimes are almost always strengthened (and enriched) by sanctions.

But unlike some bitter cynics, I happen to have great faith in the abiding intelligence of our betters. I believe they know perfectly well that sanctions will not drive the Iranian regime from power. Instead, I think the current strategy here is two-fold.

First, while long-running sanctions do not in themselves overturn a regime, they do make the entire country much weaker. Infrastructure falls apart, society crumbles, communities wither, families fray, the people themselves become physically weaker — indeed, they can die in droves, in multitudes, as in Iraq. All of this makes for a much softer target when you finally decide to pull the trigger on military action.

Second — and I think much more relevant to this case — there is the hope that ever-tightening sanctions will provoke a violent response from the victim, thereby “justifying” a war of “self-defense” against the “unprovoked” attack. The series of escalating provocations being carried out by Washington and its allies, chiefly Israel — including an increasingly open program of assassinations — is clearly designed to goad the Iranians into a casus belli retaliation.

So far, the Iranians have resisted — a forbearance that has driven the Western warmongers into ludicrous attempts to manufacture casus belli incidents. such as the recent “Gleiwitz gambit”: the story that the super-duper Iranian spymasters tried to hire a goofball car dealer to kill a Saudi diplomat on the streets of Washington.  But the matches our masters keep throwing at this bone-dry pile of tinder are getting closer and closer to sparking the desired conflagration. The Iranians have already threatened to close the Straits of Hormuz if the EU goes through with its embargo. This, of course, would likely be the “Pearl Harbor” moment the war-whoopers are waiting for: an “unprovoked” attack aimed at — what else? — “targeting the economic lifeline” of the West. (Targeting economic lifelines is a tactic reserved solely for God’s good eggs, you understand; it’s an unmitigated evil when those heathen devils try it.)

The Iranians might back down on this threat, of course; the wily Persians tend to play the long game, and usually with more subtle calibration than the Western elites, who, like spoiled children, like to have their loot and power now now now! But if this latest provocation doesn’t do the trick, rest assured there are more coming in the, er, pipeline. For the bipartisan goal, as noted above, remains the same: “regime change in strategic lands laden with natural resources.” And our masters have already demonstrated that they do not care how many people are ruined — or are killed — in pursuit of this aim.

UPDATE: Arthur Silber offers some powerful amplification of these observations in his latest post. As always, you should read the whole thing, but here is one particularly piercing — and tragically true — insight from his piece:

After Iraq, after Afghanistan, after Libya, after all of these horrors and many more, can the American people be led into another war? Why, it’s the easiest thing in the world.

Again, read the whole piece to see the background leading to this tragic and inevitable conclusion.

http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article30353.htm

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Gary Sick was earlier. Here George Friedman of Stratfor presents an argument that it may be possible for the Obama administration and Iran to reach some agreement that reduces tensions. Again I disagree, but I’ll be wrong when I see an indication that the US is willing to abandon its policy that Iran must not be able to acquire legal nuclear weapons capabilities like those Japan, Brazil and many other countries have.

For structural reasons, I don’t think that is possible. It would be very difficult for Iran to both have legal nuclear weapons capabilities and to be a weak enough power to fit into the US’ objective for a balance of artificially weak powers in the region.

George Friedman presents a scenario where the US wants three things regarding the Persian Gulf: 1) that the US does not have to directly intervene 2) that there is no disruption to the flow of oil 3) that Iran not become more powerful.

Iran wants three things: 1) Reduction in the US presence in the Persian Gulf, 2) Recognition as a major power in the region 3) An arrangement of some sort that shifts more Gulf oil revenues to Iran.

For Friedman, the nuclear issue in itself is not important while negotiations somehow or other can resolve the US’ differences with Iran over their differences.

If Friedman was right and these were the US’ and Iran’s primary objectives, then other than the US’ third, these objectives are complementary. All the US has to do to ensure free flow of oil is stop increasing tension with Iran. The US could accommodate all three of Friedman’s supposed Iranian objections without harming its own objectives if it papers over the objective of Iran not becoming more powerful.

It is not clear from Friedman why Iran not being powerful would be a first order objective for the US.

What Friedman misses is that the constraint the US’ commitment to Israel puts on US policy in its region. I’ve talked about why the US’ commitment to Israel led to the US’ intervention in Iraq.

A balance of powers could have been accomplished without an invasion of Iraq. A balance of powers could be accomplished without the expensive current attempt to economically isolate Iran.

A balance of very weak powers. Subject to the constraint that none of the powers is strong enough to threaten Israel is much more expensive to emplace and maintain. The US does it for emotional reasons, but will stop when the costs become too high. But the cost of maintaining that constraint is part of the cost of US support for Israel.

US policy in the Middle East is driven by oil and the strategic implications of a large amount of that resource that is concentrated in the region. But the US has accepted, for reasons that have nothing to do with pure strategy, a strategic priority in protecting Israel’s status as a Jewish state that imposes heavy and costly constraints on that policy.

In short, balance of power is easy. Balance of power where none of the balanced powers prevents Israel from being viable as an enforced Jewish political majority state is much more difficult.

That difficulty alone explains why it is a US objective that Iran not be powerful.

As an aside, many Westerners have convinced themselves that the Arab world is prepared to accept Israel in the context of a two-state solution. I’ve talked about this before, but it is interesting to discuss the polls that supposedly support this idea. Western pollsters like to go to Arab and Muslim populations and ask: “If Israel retreats to the 1967 borders, accepts the Palestinian refugees and resolves other issues to the Palestinians’ satisfaction, would you accept Israel?”

That’s a complicated question, huh? Not the simpler, more relevant and more direct “Do you consider Israel a legitimate country”. Readers Digest asked that question of Iranians in 2006. But I guess Western pollsters have learned their lesson. I’ve never seen that question asked of a Middle Eastern population since. Populations that, unlike Iran’s, are Arab and majority Sunni can be presumed to be even less likely to consider Israel legitimate.

Question 18: Level of Agreement – The state of Israel is illegitimate and should not exist

Strong disagreement: 3.9%
Weak disagreement: 4.6% (Total disagree, 8.5%)
Neutral: 21.1%
Weak agreement: 14.6%
Strong agreement: 51.9% (Total agree, 66.5%)

But Israel has never offered to retreat to the 1967 borders or accept the Palestinian refugees. What the Arab populations that are being polled are being asked is an impossible and irrelevant hypothetical. When Israel’s actual conditions, that Israel keep some of the territory and that the right of refugees to return be limited, are added, even the supposed majority that supports two states always disappears. But what this question does is allows Westerners to continue to feel justified in terms of their own moral systems as they support Zionism, which is the whole point. Westerners fooling other Westerners who willingly go along. I guess interesting to observe, nothing to actually take seriously.

So anyway, Friedman seriously underestimates the deepness of the dispute between the United States and Iran. Iran cannot agree to remain a weak enough state to fit into the US weak balance of power that Israel requires to remain viable. Until the US removes that constraint on its regional policy, it will be in opposition to Iran and to any and every independent, which is to say non-colonial, state in the region.

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Relations between Iran and the West, fraught with tension and conflict for decades, have in the past few months reached a fever pitch. There is talk of war on a daily basis from both sides. Hundreds of millions, if not billions, have been spent both to fuel the Iranian missile and nuclear program and the counter-measures taken by the West to frustrate it. Leaders on both sides have worked themselves into paroxysms of rage regarding the alleged homicidal intensions of the other side.

The situation is volatile and the danger of war real. But the premise of the Western approach to Iran has dangerous shortcomings.

There is a common conception of Western policy as based on a two-pronged, carrot and stick approach: one a diplomatic track and the other a military threat. There is certainly the guise of a real diplomatic track. Both sides have talked at various times of the need for negotiations, and for very short periods there have been talks. Recently, Iran expressed willingness to begin a new round of talks with its opponents about its nuclear program.

But by all appearances, the Western approach is solely designed to achieve Iranian capitulation to Western demands that it dismantle its nuclear research program. It is not designed as an open-ended negotiation in which both sides are open to compromise to achieve a mutually agreed-on objective. The United States and Israel are little interested in acknowledging Iran’s perceived interests or compromising over its nuclear program so that each side will end up with some of its key interests satisfied.

Bad Faith

To study the efficacy of the diplomatic track, let’s look at its history. In 2003, Iranian President Mohammad Khatami made his famous offer to discontinue Iran’s nuclear program in return for the full normalization of its relations with the United States, including an end to sanctions. In the run-up to the Iraq War and in the context of the Bush-Cheney “stand tough” approach to the Islamist militancy of that era, the United States not only spurned the offer, it soundly berated the Swiss diplomat representing U.S. interests in Iran for having the temerity to pass the proposal along.

Barack Obama came into office with some vague notions of pursuing talks with Iran, criticizing the unhelpful threats of the previous administration. Western powers, however, only held talks with Iran for a mere three weeks. At those talks, the West again presented demands on a more or less take-it-or-leave-it basis; this was again not a negotiation of equals. It was one side communicating to the other what it expected of them to end the impasse. That’s why the talks ended almost before they began.

In recent years, Brazil and Turkey successfully negotiated a compromise with Iran involving the transfer of the country’s enriched uranium to a third country. But the Obama administration dismissed the plan and wasn’t even willing to pursue further negotiations about it.

If the diplomatic track was truly what Western officials have claimed it to be, there would be a more flexible and less destructive sanctions regime in place. Even officials in the U.S. government told The Washington Post that U.S. policy toward Iran, including the sanctions plan, is designed to achieve regime change, rather than policy change. The administration later attempted to deny that its officials had made such a claim, but it’s no wonder that Iran understands the U.S. approach as unilateral and categorical, rather than open-ended.

One-Track Policy

So there is not a two-track policy regarding Iran. There is instead a one-track policy with two facets. On the one hand, there is a program of sanctions and covert war designed to intimidate and bloody Iran into capitulation. But if that doesn’t work (and it surely cannot), there is a military option designed to destroy Iran’s nuclear program. It’s no surprise, then, that the Iranians see their enemies closing in on them like a vise. An enemy who believes he has no options left is very dangerous. He is likely to lash out in unforeseen ways. Such desperation is precisely what could fuel not just a bilateral military conflict, but a full-scale regional war.

There is another misconception about Western policy. The liberals among us talk about a “military strike” as an option of last resort. The more clear-eyed, like the Brookings Institution’s Bruce Riedeltalk of a potential war against Iran. Neither is precisely right. As Israeli journalists have pointed out, there already is a war under way against Iran. It is bought and paid for by a $400 million allocation by the Bush administration in 2007. It has funded all the tools in the Mossad arsenal that were used to sabotage Iran’s nuclear program and foment general unrest inside the country.

Former Mossad chief Meir Dagan outlined Israel’s thinking in a Wikileaks cable in which he told the State Department’s Nicholas Burns that Israel planned to sow general discord inside Iran by acts of sabotage perpetrated by domestic minority groups like the Sunnis and Kurds:

Dagan said that more should be done to foment regime change in Iran, possibly with the support of student democracy movements, and ethnic groups (e.g., Azeris, Kurds, Baluchs) opposed to the ruling regime…Iran’s minorities are “raising their heads, and are tempted to resort to violence.”

Dagan urged more attention on regime change, asserting that more could be done to develop the identities of ethnic minorities in Iran. He said he was sure that Israel and the U.S. could “change the ruling regime in Iran, and its attitude towards backing terror regimes.” He added, “We could also get them to delay their nuclear project. Iran could become a normal state.”

Though the cable doesn’t mention the Mujahedeen-e Khalq (MEK), the Mossad clearly views it as a potent force with an extensive internal network within the country, whose muscle could be exploited to further Israeli interests.

Mark Perry recently published an expose of one particular Mossad project, a false flag operation in which it recruited the leader of Jundallah, a Sunni terrorist group operating in Iran, by posing as NATO and CIA agents. When the Bush administration discovered the nature of the program, it was furious. But ultimately it decided it had other fish to fry and would not make a major stink about the danger the duplicitous operation posed to U.S. agents in the region.

Such Israeli tactics suggest that Israel pursues its own interests with little or no regard for how its behavior will impact friend or foe. For example, it utilizes the MEK as a partner in many of its terror operations inside Iran, even though U.S. State Department officially designates the MEK as a terror group.

This, of course, doesn’t stop the MEK and its well-paid domestic allies in the United States from pursuing an aggressive campaign to delist it as a terror group. Millions of dollars have been spent to further this goal, including enlisting prominent figures on both the Democratic and Republican sides to shill for delisting. The MEK appears to believe that terrorist activities in which it may be engaged inside Iran will not have an impact on its delisting by the United States. This is all the more reason for journalists in Israel and outside to make known its cooperation with the Mossad, so that the U.S. government can make an informed judgment about whether or not the MEK has renounced terrorism as it claims.

Some analysts have called this a black ops campaign or covert war. Whatever we call it, it is war by another means. If the United States is serious about seeking a diplomatic solution with Iran, then why would it both encourage and fund such a powerful campaign of terror inside Iran?

The campaign has included the Stuxnet computer worm, most certainlydeveloped by the Israel Defense Force’s cyber warfare Unit 8200 with some U.S. assistance. Israeli security correspondents and a former Israeli minister reported to me that the Mossad and the MEK have jointly engaged in numerous terror operations that have killed five nuclear scientists and resulted in an almost fatal attack on a sixth. There have been crashes of Revolutionary Guard military planes and two more recent explosions: one that wiped out a missile base and killed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard general directing the entire national missile program, and another that sabotaged an Isfahan uranium enrichment facility.

So how much credence should Iran’s leaders put in the claim that the West is pursuing a diplomatic track? If there is no such real option for negotiation to resolve this conflict, is there any other prospect than war?

An Alternative to War

After following Iranian-Western relations for years, I believe the diplomatic track is a mirage and that the sanctions regime, which the West has pursued without success for 30 years, will not gain Iran’s capitulation. That leaves only two options: war, or Western impotence in the face of Iran’s implacable determination to pursue a nuclear option. Either option is bad, but the first is far worse than the second.

The fallout from a war with Iran has been widely discussed. Iran might mine the Straits of Hormuz and activate its shore-based defenses to repel U.S. naval forces. The price of oil would skyrocket, imperiling a global economy already teetering on the brink of recession or worse. Iranian allies in Lebanon, Gaza, and Syria could make mayhem for Israel and the United States alike. Iran could activate elements inside Afghanistan and Iraq to make life even more miserable there than it already is.

Since the United States doesn’t appear prepared for a real negotiation with Iran regarding its nuclear program, there is only one real approach short of war: containment. The United States adopted this approach during the Cold War against the Soviet Union. Though it was never optimal, considering the dysfunction in the relationship between the superpowers, containment worked reasonably well until the Soviet collapse in 1989.

As former Defense Department Undersecretary Colin Kahl argues in his latestForeign Affairs article, the United States already has the assets in place in the region to pursue a policy of containment: 40,000 troops are stationed in the Gulf, with 90,000 more in Afghanistan.  There are two carrier task forces deployed in the Gulf, and various allies view Iran with deep suspicion. They could be a local bulwark against any possible Iranian aspirations that threaten the regional status quo.

Containment still isn’t an optimal approach, but it’s the least bad one considering the current dysfunction characterizing relations between Iran and the West. In the future, Iran may turn to a reformist, more democratic government that might approach these issues differently. Or the climate in the West may change so that it would be willing to seriously engage with Iran on a similar basis to the Khatami 2003 proposals. But given the almost lunatic tone of the Republican presidential debates concerning Iran, and the fact that Barack Obama appears convinced that he must maintain impeccable national security credentials to protect his right flank, the United States is unlikely to adopt a more reasonable, pragmatic approach to Iran.

Under the circumstances, containment is the only remaining option that doesn’t lead to regional war, stalemate, and deeper dysfunction.

http://www.fpif.org/articles/an_alternative_to_war_with_iran?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FPIF+%28Foreign+Policy+In+Focus+%28All+News%29%29

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by Madison Ruppert    EndtheLie.com   January 25, 2012

With the European Union passing new sanctions on Iranian oil exports and freezing the assets of the Iranian central bank and the suspicious murder of yet another Iranian military figure, the grim situation in Iran does not seem to be letting up.

Ramin Mehmanparast, the spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry called the EU’s new sanctions “psychological warfare” aimed at trying to halt Iran’s nuclear program, an assessment which I think is hardly inaccurate.

Russia has already come out against the new EU sanctions, saying in a statement, “Under pressure of this sort, Iran will not make any concessions or any corrections to its policies.”

Seeing as Iran is doing nothing more than pursuing the same civilian nuclear technology as every Western nation, I do not think this statement is out of line in any way.

However, as the weeks and months have passed, it has become clear that the United States and the West in general will not be satisfied with the fact that Iran is not pursuing the development of nuclear weapons, something which United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta had to admit himself.

It appears that they will not give up until Iran has given up all hopes of a domestic nuclear program for energy or research purposes, something which is hardly fair or justified.

The European Union’s sanctions are arguably the harshest that have been passed thus far.

They include an immediate halt to any and all new contracts for Iranian crude oil and other petroleum products.

However, existing contracts are allowed to run until July, meaning that Iran will not feel the full force of these sanctions for some time.

The 27 nation European Union also froze all assets belonging to the Iranian central bank, something which will likely end up hurting the average Iranian citizen more than anyone else, just like the rest of the sanctions.

Currently it seems that the Iranian currency is being hurt most by the sanctions, with the value dropping to record lows compared to the US dollar.

Seeing how roughly 80% of Iranian oil revenue is derived from their exports, these latest sanctions coming from the EU could severely damage the Iranian economy and skyrocket the cost of living for average Iranians due to the devalued currency.

Whereas, a year ago the Iranian rial was trading roughly 10,500 to the US dollar, it is now trading around 21,000 to the dollar.

Obviously this is a massive devaluation — and in just the short period from Friday to Monday, the rial dropped around 14% in value.

We must keep in mind who these sanctions are hurting: working Iranians and others who do not have access to foreign currencies or the assets to absorb such an immense devaluation of their currency.

For those unfortunate Iranians that are just scraping by and do not have some kind of foreign investments to protect their assets, these sanctions could very well be a matter of life and death.

With the European sanctions on Iranian oil exports, Iran will likely be forced to turn East and sell at a discount to those operating outside of the Western markets.However, the United States has been pressuring Asian nations to move away from Iran as well, something which has the potential to be quite devastating if the US manages to get Japan, South Korea and India to cut off Iranian crude.

With these latest sanctions, Iran has renewed their threats to close the Strait of Hormuz, something which led the United States to make some remarkably pointed statements about what they would do if Iran decides to close off the Strait.

Many analysts, myself included, believe the chances of Iran actually following through with their threats to close the strait are quite slim.

This is because it is likely the case that Iran is well aware of the fact that the West is getting “an itchy trigger finger” as it were, and thus any remotely aggressive move would be exploited and used to justify an attack on Iran.

The United States’ Ambassador to NATO, Ivo Daalder, stated that international navies will work together to keep the Strait of Hormuz open amidst renewed Iranian threats to close the channel through which an estimated 20-40% of the world’s oil passes (estimates are chronically unreliable and the same publications will routinely publish the 20% number and the 40% number without reconciling the massive difference).

“I have not looked at the exact military contingency plannings that there are and how long that would take,” Daalder said on BBC Radio 4′s “Today” program, according to Bloomberg.

“But of this I am certain: the international waterways that go through the Strait of Hormuz are to be sailed by international navies including ours, the British and the French and any other navy that needs to go through the Gulf; and second, we will make sure that happens under every circumstance,” he added.

It is important to note here that the British have already deployed their most advanced warship to the region and the United States appears to be increasing their presence there with the USS Abraham Lincoln moving into the 5th Fleet’s area of responsibility (AOR) which includes the Persian Gulf region.

Furthermore, the United Kingdom’s defense ministry said in an e-mailed statement that American, British, and French warships sailed as a group through the Strait of Hormuz.

According to the statement, this was done not in an attempt to provoke the Iranians, as I suspect it was intended to do, but instead “to underline the unwavering commitment to maintaining rights of passage under international law.”

“I am convinced that the Straits of Hormuz need to remain open and that we need to maintain this as an international passageway and we will do what needs to be done to ensure that is the case,” Daalder said to the BBC.

While this statement is somewhat cryptic, what is clear is that a military strike is not only on the table but a viable and quite possibly imminent option.In my analysis of this situation, which has now stretched into a seven-part series (see the end of the article for a list of links to previous articles in this series) with more to come and many other materials outside of this series to be read on End the Lie (click here to see a list of articles related to Iran), it has become clear to me that the West wants to attack Iran, but will not do so without having some justification which would not be politically and diplomatically unpopular.

This justification could be real, or could very well be contrived through the use of a false flag attack in the blueprint of the now infamous Gulf of Tonkin incident which brought the United States into Vietnam.

Indeed I believe that the chances of a false flag attack are growing with the presence of the USS Enterprise in the region.

The USS Enterprise would be the perfect target for a false flag attack, because like the World Trade Centers plagued by asbestos, the Enterprise would cost a great deal to decommission.

The USS Enterprise, or CVN-65, was launched all the way back in 1960 and originally ordered in 1957 and is scheduled to be decommissioned next year.

The Enterprise has actually been in operation since 1962 and boasts a whopping 8 Westinghouse A2W nuclear reactors, meaning that all of this would have to be disposed of in the costly manner in which nuclear waste is supposed to be dealt with.

The Enterprise, or “Big E,” is an incredibly symbolic vessel due to the fact that she is the longest naval vessel on the planet, and is the second oldest commissioned vessel in the US Navy.

The Big E has also been in operation for the longest of any aircraft carrier at 51 consecutive years.

Originally, she was slated to be decommissioned in 2014 or 2015, but the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2010 changed this to 2013.

If a false flag attack was carried out on the USS Enterprise and then blamed on Iran to justify an attack, it would be hitting two birds with one stone.

Firstly, it would save the military a great deal of money dealing with the process of decommissioning the vessel and handling the eight nuclear reactors.

Secondly, it would give the West the justification they have sought to attack Iran while keeping the international community on their side.

It would also make it harder for Russia and China to come to Iran’s aid in a politically popular manner as it would just appear that they are helping the aggressor.

The sad fact is that we know our military and intelligence establishment is capable of such an operation as evidenced by the Gulf of Tonkin incident and other false flag attack plans like Operation Northwoods.

Hopefully our so-called leaders are not psychopathic enough to carry out such an operation but given the historical precedent and the current situation in the region, it is hardly possible to rule it out entirely.

Previous installments in this series:
Iran: a quickly evolving geopolitical imbroglio
Iran: a quickly evolving geopolitical imbroglio – part II
Iran: a quickly evolving geopolitical imbroglio – part III
Iran: a quickly evolving geopolitical imbroglio – part IV
Iran: a quickly evolving geopolitical imbroglio – part V
Iran: a quickly evolving geopolitical imbroglio – part VI

http://hamsayeh.net/middle-east/1530-iran-a-quickly-evolving-geopolitical-imbroglio-part-vii.html


Madison Ruppert

 

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Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

Events continue to progress at blinding speed and only seem to be getting increasingly dangerous.

While the United States has been building up a considerable military presence in the Persian Gulf region for years, this effort seems to have accelerated in recent weeks and months .

The Pentagon is now shifting a great deal of military assets into the vicinity of the Persian Gulf under the guise of a contingency plan, while continuing to deny that it means a buildup to war.

These deployments are, in fact, nothing new and have been in the works some time now.

Marine Corps General James Mattis – head of United States Central Command – gained the White House’s approval for the deployment of troops to the region last year in response to the talks between the U.S. and Iraqi governments regarding extended American troop presence broke down.

As Stars and Stripes aptly points out, “the extent of the Pentagon moves is only now becoming clear,” and the timing of this can hardly be dismissed as pure coincidence.

Stars and Stripes cites unnamed United States officials who claim, “the deployments are not meant to suggest a buildup to war, but rather are intended as a quick reaction and contingency force in case a military crisis erupts in the standoff with Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program.”
The glaring problem here is that there is no Iranian nuclear weapons program. This is so clear that even the United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had to admit as much on nationaltelevision just days ago.

With Iran not actually developing nuclear weapons and with the United States continually insisting that they abandon an imaginary nuclear weapons program, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the West will not relent until Iran abandons all nuclear technology and research, be it civilian or military.

There has already been a small force of American troops present in Kuwait, along with weapons deals with the small Gulf nation, which I have mentioned in a previous part of this series.

However, this small amount of troops is now going to be augmented by a much larger group which includes 15,000 new troops.

These new units in Kuwait – which is located dangerously close to Iran – include two infantry brigades from the United States Army along with a helicopter unit.

In addition, these troops include the United States Army’s 1st Calvary Division’s 1st Brigade which boasts tanks, artillery and over 4,500 troops.

The 1st Brigade has been dubbed a “mobile response force” for the region according to Colonel Scott L. Efflandt, commander of the brigade.

There is also a National Guard brigade form Minnesota which has been present in Kuwait since August and in December a combat aviation brigade arrived as well.

Apparently there is yet another unit which will be heading to Kuwait in the near future, but details on the unit’s size, composition and mission have not been provided by officials.

Whereas Kuwait has primarily been used as a staging area for troops and equipment to be moved into Iraq in the past, it is now clearly becoming yet another American military outpost and launching point in the region.

Just days ago it was reported that in addition to all of these buildups, a marine expeditionary unit along with a group of landing warships were being deployed to the Persian Gulf.

This is to include the Makin Island groups accompanied by the USS New Orleans and the Pearl Harbor amphibious transport dock ships.

The personnel on these ships, which will include sailors, marines and airmen, will be backed up by a general support battalion along with attack helicopters.

This is being explained as a move to replace Navy troops who have been patrolling the area for the last 10 months, but the presence of amphibious transport dock ships is quite interesting indeed.

This might indicate that a plan involving movements of land-based forces is in the works, or is already being implemented in order to augment the naval presence, air superiority via aircraft carriers, and overwhelming regional alliances.

The Pentagon has also made the highly questionable decision of ordering two aircraft carriers – along with their sizable and powerful strike groups and associated troops – to remain in the region; a move which will likely upset Iran.

Previously, Iran has made ambiguous threats to the United States regarding the presence of carriers in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz; and the latest decision to keep them in the general region is not going to reassure the Iranian government as to the United States’ noble intentions.

As I reported in part four of this series, the American aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson joined the USS John C. Stennis (which previously sailed through the strait eliciting protest from Iran) in the region in order to sustain the naval presence and threat.

There are also reports of another aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, moving to the region, again something which will not serve to comfort the Iranian government in this time of record-level saber rattling.

Indeed the official website for the Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln along with guided missile cruiser Cape St. George left Thailand and are now “en route to support coalition efforts in the 5th Fleet AOR.”

The AOR, or Area of Responsibility, for the Fifth Fleet includes the Persian Gulf region as the Fifth Fleet is based out of nearby Bahrain.

The USS John C. Stennis is slated to return home to the United States in the near future, but according to Stars and Stripes, officials have stated that the Stennis will be replaced by the USS Enterprise so two carriers are still present in the region.

This is being done while claiming that it is just going to give “commanders major naval and air assets in case Iran carriers out its recent threats to close the Strait of Hormuz,” according to Stars and Stripes.

However, those who are aware of American military history, especially in the past few decades, know that these buildups inevitably occur before a conflict breaks out which is often billed as an unplanned, unexpected event.

As a recent Russia Today article outlined in detail, this buildup has been going on since 2003 – if not earlier – and the plans for war have been drawn up long ago.

It is only that in recent months the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released what Russia called a “politicized” report which claimed that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons program, giving newfound impetus to the long-term campaign against Iran.

However, since the evidence of this program is hardly as concrete as they make it out to be (as highlighted by Panetta’s own statements) there needs to be another reason to justify a full-on military offensive against Iran.

An incident with the Strait of Hormuz would be the perfect excuse for the United States, given that they have previously issued warnings to Iran over closing the Strait.

Iran continues to threaten closure, and the upcoming Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)exercises in the region are unlikely to ease tensions.

If Iran even conducts a mock closing of the Strait of Hormuz, this might in fact be enough of a justification for a Western strike, which would likely involve the United States, Britain, Israel and the regional Western allies.

The massive joint Israeli-American drills in the region, which very well might coincide with the new Iranian exercises, could also provide a situation where a conflict could spark up.

There is also the very real possibility of a Gulf of Tonkin-style false flag incident being manufactured to give the justification for an attack.

The possibility of such an event was reinforced by a recent article in the Jerusalem Post which read, “Iran, just like Nazi Germany in the 1940s, will take the initiative and ‘help’ the US president and the American public make up their mind by making the first move, by attacking a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.”

Of course there is the very real possibility that such “help” would be a purely contrived false flag attack, which the United States would create if Iran refused to actually take that first step.

As one reader pointed out via email, it seems likely that this might occur as an attack on an aging United States Coast Guard (USCG) vessel.

This would be preferable because the USCG is often treated as a semi-civilian humanitarian organization, not a purely military force like the United States Navy.

However, I think that most Americans know that an attack on any American – or perhaps even allied – interests in the region would be more than enough justification for a strike on Iran.

If it was a USCG vessel over a Navy one, it would only be icing on the cake and serve to help put the favor of the international community on the side of the United States in this conflict.

This would be completely ignoring the fact that the United States has been behind the military buildup in the region; and, as I have repeatedly posited, this very well might be intended to goad Iran into doing something to justify an American assault.

Stars and Stripes points out that United States Navy officials have stated that while Iran might be able to temporarily close the Strait of Hormuz using anti-ship missiles and other weapons – something which Iran said would be as easy as drinking water – American commanders claim that they would be able to quickly reverse such a closure if needed.

The establishment media is continuously stating – without much in the way of evidence or explanation – that the United States Fifth Fleet out of Bahrain on its own could dominate the entire Iranian navy.

On the other hand, individuals only heard in the alternative media have repeatedly pointed out that this very well might not be the case and indeedIran might have an advantage in the Strait of Hormuz andPersian Gulf.

 

In a recent RT article, this possibility was highlighted, something which completely conflicts with the unsourced, blanket statements repeatedly made by such establishment media powerhouses as Reuters.

There is also the diplomatic aspect to this conflict which became even more significant with the Obama administration placing sanctions on three corporations which provide gasoline to Iran.

While Iran exports so much oil that they claim the top 3 position in the world, their domestic refinement facilities are not sufficient to meet demand, so they are forced to import the majority of their refined  gasoline.

These sanctions will be imposed on China-based Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp., Singaporean Kuo Oil Pte Ltd., and United Arab Emirates-based FAL Oil Co.

This will result in the barring of all American export licenses along with most financing for these corporations, including Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp., which is the largest seller of gasoline to Iran.

This will likely hurt Iran a great deal and raise the price of their gasoline imports while also having some serious consequences for China.

This move elicited quite a negative response from China, including an unusually heated editorial on the issue published in China’s Global Times which can be read here.

It is quite clear that the Chinese are not going to sit by silently while the United States hurts their economy by cutting off their business with Iran.

Honestly, I find their reaction to be totally reasonable. After all, what right does the United States have to tell other nations who they can and cannot trade with? This seems especially ludicrous when the nation they’re trading with does not in fact have nuclear weapons and is not in the process of developing them.

As the editorial quite aptly pointed out, the United States cannot afford to get into a trade war with China right now, and the increasing sanctions and global domineering are pushing China towards exhausting that option.

Another matter of significant concern for analysts like me is the statement from Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin.

“Iran is our neighbor,” he said. “And if Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.”

This is arguably the strongest pro-Iranian statement coming from a Russian government official since the tensions have risen to these record levels, although they have been making similarly significant remarks about the international pressures on Syria.

A somewhat similar statement was made by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in saying that the international community would interpret new sanctions and/or a military strike on Iran as an attempt at regime change.

“Additional sanctions against Iran, as well as a probable military attack on Iran, will be doubtlessly taken in the international community as those pursuing the goal of power change in Tehran,” Gatilov said according to ITAR-TASS News Agency (note the article has some less-than flawless translation as it is primarily a Russian-language publication).

Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Kremlin Security Council, who has also been making some of the most notable statements about Syria, has stated that Russia is concerned that Israel is pushing the United States into military conflict with Iran.

Patrushev, who is reportedly a close friend of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, also highlighted the total lack of evidence supporting the claims made by Western countries regarding the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program.

“Talk about Iran creating an atomic bomb by next week we have heard for many years,” he said.

Indeed those of us who have been following this issue closely for years are beginning to get weary of the alarmist rhetoric which never seems to materialize in the dramatic fashion pundits and government officials are always talking about.

Another important piece in this puzzle is the report coming from Foreign Policy, a publication of the Slate Group, which is a division of the Washington Post Company.

I find the providence of this report quite interesting given that it goes over reports which allegedly, “detail CIA field reports saying thatIsrael’s recruiting activities occurred under the nose ofU.S. intelligence officers, most notably inLondon, the capital of one ofIsrael’s ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.”
Jundallah, a Sunni terrorist organization based out of Pakistan, is allegedly responsible for the assassination of Iranian governmental figures and also for the murder of Iranian women and children.

It’s interesting that such a thing could be going on while Israel “apparently didn’t give a damn what we [the CIA/United States] thought,” one anonymous intelligence officer said.

This is especially ridiculous when one considers that one of the main charges leveled against Iran is that they support terrorist organizations.

Meanwhile, the West supports terrorist organizations at the same time and turns a blind eye to Israeli false flag operations.

Indeed Mark Perry wrote Foreign Policy, “the existence of the Israeli false-flag operation was confirmed to me by four retired intelligence officers who have served in the CIA or have monitored Israeli intelligence operations from senior positions inside the U.S. government.”

“There is no denying that there is a covert, bloody, and ongoing campaign aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program,” Perry wrote.

The covert war against Iran, which Israel is heavily involved in, is something which I have been covering for some time now, and with every mysterious incident that occurs, like the assassination of Roshan, it just becomes that much clearer.

This latest revelation also lends support to the notion that a false flag attack on Western interests might be conducted in order to justify an attack on Iran, or very possibly an attack on Iran could be used to push Iran into acting first.

Either way, it seems that as every day goes by the pieces just slide closer into place and a disturbing picture is beginning to form.

Did I miss a story or an aspect of this rapidly changing situation? Please email me attips@endthelie.com with links or other information I might have skipped in order for me to provide you with the best possible geopolitical coverage.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/01/iran-quickly-evolving-geopolitical_19.html

 

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Iran: a quickly evolving geopolitical imbroglio – part V

Madison Ruppert, Contributing Writer
Activist Post

Events continue to progress at blinding speed and only seem to be getting increasingly dangerous.

While the United States has been building up a considerable military presence in the Persian Gulf region for years, this effort seems to have accelerated in recent weeks and months .

The Pentagon is now shifting a great deal of military assets into the vicinity of the Persian Gulf under the guise of a contingency plan, while continuing to deny that it means a buildup to war.

These deployments are, in fact, nothing new and have been in the works some time now.

Marine Corps General James Mattis – head of United States Central Command – gained the White House’s approval for the deployment of troops to the region last year in response to the talks between the U.S. and Iraqi governments regarding extended American troop presence broke down.

As Stars and Stripes aptly points out, “the extent of the Pentagon moves is only now becoming clear,” and the timing of this can hardly be dismissed as pure coincidence.

Stars and Stripes cites unnamed United States officials who claim, “the deployments are not meant to suggest a buildup to war, but rather are intended as a quick reaction and contingency force in case a military crisis erupts in the standoff with Tehran over its suspected nuclear weapons program.”
The glaring problem here is that there is no Iranian nuclear weapons program. This is so clear that even the United States Defense Secretary Leon Panetta had to admit as much on nationaltelevision just days ago.

With Iran not actually developing nuclear weapons and with the United States continually insisting that they abandon an imaginary nuclear weapons program, the only conclusion to be drawn is that the West will not relent until Iran abandons all nuclear technology and research, be it civilian or military.

There has already been a small force of American troops present in Kuwait, along with weapons deals with the small Gulf nation, which I have mentioned in a previous part of this series.

However, this small amount of troops is now going to be augmented by a much larger group which includes 15,000 new troops.

These new units in Kuwait – which is located dangerously close to Iran – include two infantry brigades from the United States Army along with a helicopter unit.

In addition, these troops include the United States Army’s 1st Calvary Division’s 1st Brigade which boasts tanks, artillery and over 4,500 troops.

The 1st Brigade has been dubbed a “mobile response force” for the region according to Colonel Scott L. Efflandt, commander of the brigade.

There is also a National Guard brigade form Minnesota which has been present in Kuwait since August and in December a combat aviation brigade arrived as well.

Apparently there is yet another unit which will be heading to Kuwait in the near future, but details on the unit’s size, composition and mission have not been provided by officials.

Whereas Kuwait has primarily been used as a staging area for troops and equipment to be moved into Iraq in the past, it is now clearly becoming yet another American military outpost and launching point in the region.

Just days ago it was reported that in addition to all of these buildups, a marine expeditionary unit along with a group of landing warships were being deployed to the Persian Gulf.

This is to include the Makin Island groups accompanied by the USS New Orleans and the Pearl Harbor amphibious transport dock ships.

The personnel on these ships, which will include sailors, marines and airmen, will be backed up by a general support battalion along with attack helicopters.

This is being explained as a move to replace Navy troops who have been patrolling the area for the last 10 months, but the presence of amphibious transport dock ships is quite interesting indeed.

This might indicate that a plan involving movements of land-based forces is in the works, or is already being implemented in order to augment the naval presence, air superiority via aircraft carriers, and overwhelming regional alliances.

The Pentagon has also made the highly questionable decision of ordering two aircraft carriers – along with their sizable and powerful strike groups and associated troops – to remain in the region; a move which will likely upset Iran.

Previously, Iran has made ambiguous threats to the United States regarding the presence of carriers in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz; and the latest decision to keep them in the general region is not going to reassure the Iranian government as to the United States’ noble intentions.

As I reported in part four of this series, the American aircraft carrier the USS Carl Vinson joined the USS John C. Stennis (which previously sailed through the strait eliciting protest from Iran) in the region in order to sustain the naval presence and threat.

There are also reports of another aircraft carrier, the USS Abraham Lincoln, moving to the region, again something which will not serve to comfort the Iranian government in this time of record-level saber rattling.

Indeed the official website for the Commander of the U.S. 7th Fleet announced that the USS Abraham Lincoln along with guided missile cruiser Cape St. George left Thailand and are now “en route to support coalition efforts in the 5th Fleet AOR.”

The AOR, or Area of Responsibility, for the Fifth Fleet includes the Persian Gulf region as the Fifth Fleet is based out of nearby Bahrain.

The USS John C. Stennis is slated to return home to the United States in the near future, but according to Stars and Stripes, officials have stated that the Stennis will be replaced by the USS Enterprise so two carriers are still present in the region.

This is being done while claiming that it is just going to give “commanders major naval and air assets in case Iran carriers out its recent threats to close the Strait of Hormuz,” according to Stars and Stripes.

However, those who are aware of American military history, especially in the past few decades, know that these buildups inevitably occur before a conflict breaks out which is often billed as an unplanned, unexpected event.

As a recent Russia Today article outlined in detail, this buildup has been going on since 2003 – if not earlier – and the plans for war have been drawn up long ago.

It is only that in recent months the United Nations’ International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released what Russia called a “politicized” report which claimed that Iran was pursuing a nuclear weapons program, giving newfound impetus to the long-term campaign against Iran.

However, since the evidence of this program is hardly as concrete as they make it out to be (as highlighted by Panetta’s own statements) there needs to be another reason to justify a full-on military offensive against Iran.

An incident with the Strait of Hormuz would be the perfect excuse for the United States, given that they have previously issued warnings to Iran over closing the Strait.

Iran continues to threaten closure, and the upcoming Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)exercises in the region are unlikely to ease tensions.

If Iran even conducts a mock closing of the Strait of Hormuz, this might in fact be enough of a justification for a Western strike, which would likely involve the United States, Britain, Israel and the regional Western allies.

The massive joint Israeli-American drills in the region, which very well might coincide with the new Iranian exercises, could also provide a situation where a conflict could spark up.

There is also the very real possibility of a Gulf of Tonkin-style false flag incident being manufactured to give the justification for an attack.

The possibility of such an event was reinforced by a recent article in the Jerusalem Post which read, “Iran, just like Nazi Germany in the 1940s, will take the initiative and ‘help’ the US president and the American public make up their mind by making the first move, by attacking a US aircraft carrier in the Persian Gulf.”

Of course there is the very real possibility that such “help” would be a purely contrived false flag attack, which the United States would create if Iran refused to actually take that first step.

As one reader pointed out via email, it seems likely that this might occur as an attack on an aging United States Coast Guard (USCG) vessel.

This would be preferable because the USCG is often treated as a semi-civilian humanitarian organization, not a purely military force like the United States Navy.

However, I think that most Americans know that an attack on any American – or perhaps even allied – interests in the region would be more than enough justification for a strike on Iran.

If it was a USCG vessel over a Navy one, it would only be icing on the cake and serve to help put the favor of the international community on the side of the United States in this conflict.

This would be completely ignoring the fact that the United States has been behind the military buildup in the region; and, as I have repeatedly posited, this very well might be intended to goad Iran into doing something to justify an American assault.

Stars and Stripes points out that United States Navy officials have stated that while Iran might be able to temporarily close the Strait of Hormuz using anti-ship missiles and other weapons – something which Iran said would be as easy as drinking water – American commanders claim that they would be able to quickly reverse such a closure if needed.

The establishment media is continuously stating – without much in the way of evidence or explanation – that the United States Fifth Fleet out of Bahrain on its own could dominate the entire Iranian navy.

On the other hand, individuals only heard in the alternative media have repeatedly pointed out that this very well might not be the case and indeedIran might have an advantage in the Strait of Hormuz andPersian Gulf.

 

In a recent RT article, this possibility was highlighted, something which completely conflicts with the unsourced, blanket statements repeatedly made by such establishment media powerhouses as Reuters.

There is also the diplomatic aspect to this conflict which became even more significant with the Obama administration placing sanctions on three corporations which provide gasoline to Iran.

While Iran exports so much oil that they claim the top 3 position in the world, their domestic refinement facilities are not sufficient to meet demand, so they are forced to import the majority of their refined  gasoline.

These sanctions will be imposed on China-based Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp., Singaporean Kuo Oil Pte Ltd., and United Arab Emirates-based FAL Oil Co.

This will result in the barring of all American export licenses along with most financing for these corporations, including Zhuhai Zhenrong Corp., which is the largest seller of gasoline to Iran.

This will likely hurt Iran a great deal and raise the price of their gasoline imports while also having some serious consequences for China.

This move elicited quite a negative response from China, including an unusually heated editorial on the issue published in China’s Global Times which can be read here.

It is quite clear that the Chinese are not going to sit by silently while the United States hurts their economy by cutting off their business with Iran.

Honestly, I find their reaction to be totally reasonable. After all, what right does the United States have to tell other nations who they can and cannot trade with? This seems especially ludicrous when the nation they’re trading with does not in fact have nuclear weapons and is not in the process of developing them.

As the editorial quite aptly pointed out, the United States cannot afford to get into a trade war with China right now, and the increasing sanctions and global domineering are pushing China towards exhausting that option.

Another matter of significant concern for analysts like me is the statement from Russia’s ambassador to NATO, Dmitry Rogozin.

“Iran is our neighbor,” he said. “And if Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.”

This is arguably the strongest pro-Iranian statement coming from a Russian government official since the tensions have risen to these record levels, although they have been making similarly significant remarks about the international pressures on Syria.

A somewhat similar statement was made by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Gennady Gatilov in saying that the international community would interpret new sanctions and/or a military strike on Iran as an attempt at regime change.

“Additional sanctions against Iran, as well as a probable military attack on Iran, will be doubtlessly taken in the international community as those pursuing the goal of power change in Tehran,” Gatilov said according to ITAR-TASS News Agency (note the article has some less-than flawless translation as it is primarily a Russian-language publication).

Nikolai Patrushev, head of the Kremlin Security Council, who has also been making some of the most notable statements about Syria, has stated that Russia is concerned that Israel is pushing the United States into military conflict with Iran.

Patrushev, who is reportedly a close friend of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, also highlighted the total lack of evidence supporting the claims made by Western countries regarding the alleged Iranian nuclear weapons program.

“Talk about Iran creating an atomic bomb by next week we have heard for many years,” he said.

Indeed those of us who have been following this issue closely for years are beginning to get weary of the alarmist rhetoric which never seems to materialize in the dramatic fashion pundits and government officials are always talking about.

Another important piece in this puzzle is the report coming from Foreign Policy, a publication of the Slate Group, which is a division of the Washington Post Company.

I find the providence of this report quite interesting given that it goes over reports which allegedly, “detail CIA field reports saying thatIsrael’s recruiting activities occurred under the nose ofU.S. intelligence officers, most notably inLondon, the capital of one ofIsrael’s ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.”
Jundallah, a Sunni terrorist organization based out of Pakistan, is allegedly responsible for the assassination of Iranian governmental figures and also for the murder of Iranian women and children.

It’s interesting that such a thing could be going on while Israel “apparently didn’t give a damn what we [the CIA/United States] thought,” one anonymous intelligence officer said.

This is especially ridiculous when one considers that one of the main charges leveled against Iran is that they support terrorist organizations.

Meanwhile, the West supports terrorist organizations at the same time and turns a blind eye to Israeli false flag operations.

Indeed Mark Perry wrote Foreign Policy, “the existence of the Israeli false-flag operation was confirmed to me by four retired intelligence officers who have served in the CIA or have monitored Israeli intelligence operations from senior positions inside the U.S. government.”

“There is no denying that there is a covert, bloody, and ongoing campaign aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program,” Perry wrote.

The covert war against Iran, which Israel is heavily involved in, is something which I have been covering for some time now, and with every mysterious incident that occurs, like the assassination of Roshan, it just becomes that much clearer.

This latest revelation also lends support to the notion that a false flag attack on Western interests might be conducted in order to justify an attack on Iran, or very possibly an attack on Iran could be used to push Iran into acting first.

Either way, it seems that as every day goes by the pieces just slide closer into place and a disturbing picture is beginning to form.

Did I miss a story or an aspect of this rapidly changing situation? Please email me attips@endthelie.com with links or other information I might have skipped in order for me to provide you with the best possible geopolitical coverage.

http://www.activistpost.com/2012/01/iran-quickly-evolving-geopolitical_15.html

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Despite its proximity to Europe and its status as a major African oil producer, Libya’s sparse population and relative isolation from its neighbors make the stakes of civil unrest much lower than in other regions of the Arab world

Libya returned to the headlines Saturday when a protest in front of the headquarters of the National Transitional Council (NTC) turned violent. A group of demonstrators in Benghazi broke into the building, vandalized and looted the property and reportedly drove NTC head Mustafa Abdel-Jalil to flee through a back exit. A leading member of the council has since resigned, and Abdel-Jalil has warned that the country risks heading toward civil war if protests continue to intensify. The euphoria many Libyans felt at the death of former leader Moammar Gadhafi last October has faded, and though elections for a constituent assembly are scheduled for June, it is hard to see a stable, democratic government on the horizon in Libya.

The young men at the protest shared a general feeling of discontent with Libya’s direction more than three months after Gadhafi’s death. But they also share another trait: they all live in Benghazi, the city where the NTC was formed and is supposed to have the highest level of support. Benghazi is where the Libyan revolution started, and many of the NTC leaders come from the city. In less than a year, the council’s self-appointed leaders — many are still involved in the governance of the country — have gone from beloved to vilified in the eyes of many who supported the revolution, including those from Benghazi.

Halfway across the country, reports emerged Monday that “pro-Gadhafi fighters” had retaken the central Libyan town of Bani Walid – the last to fall during the war. Revolutionary brigade commanders in Bani Walid gave several interviews claiming that the city had fallen to elements of the former regime, though this does not appear to be the case at the moment. Although the attackers quite likely once fought on behalf of the former Libyan leader, it would not be entirely accurate to label them as “pro-Gadhafi fighters.” Their objective now probably centers on regaining their positions locally, rather than reclaiming the country as a whole. Even though Bani Walid appears not to have fallen, the incident underscores just how unstable much of Libya remains. The criticism levied at NTC leadership by the militia leaders who described the attacks, meanwhile, highlights how little authority Abdel-Jalil and his NTC associates hold over Libya.

Though Libya probably has yet to experience the worst of post-war instability, problems so far have remained relatively contained. While Libya is close to Europe and is one of Africa’s major oil producers, its scattered population and relative isolation from its neighbors lessen the impact of civil unrest in comparison with other regions of the Arab world. Stratfor pointed this out in the first month of the so-called Arab Spring. The events taking place in North Africa at that time, while dramatic, did not carry nearly as much strategic significance as what was happening and continues to happen in the Persian Gulf. The unrest that broke out among Shiite communities in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s oil-rich Eastern Province, beginning last February, raised the question of whether Iran, in its bid for regional hegemony, was developing or activating covert assets in the eastern Arabian Peninsula with which to intimidate its Arab neighbors. The United States was reducing its military presence in Iraq, making the timing ripe for Tehran to encourage an Arab Shiite uprising in its former Persian domain as a means of expanding Iran’s sphere of influence.

Repeated efforts by Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states to contain Shiite demonstrations in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province have failed to entirely fix the problem due to domestic and regional sectarian dynamics. In fact, while Shiite unrest has simmered in Bahrain, the city of Qatif in the Eastern Province has seen a steady escalation of incidents that seem to indicate Shiite protesters – and what are referred to as “unknown assailants” by Saudi officials — are provoking Saudi security forces into more frequent clashes. Iranian media has for several months eagerly reported on Shiite demonstrations in Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. They are trying to shape a perception in the region that the GCC states are not as ideally equipped to handle the unrest. Iran went a step further on Monday: Senior Iranian military commander Brig. Gen. Mirfeisal Baqerzadeh told Iran’s Fars News Agency that “the Islamic revolution of the Bahraini people will gradually enter a phase of sporadic military, guerilla and irregular operations” against the regime of King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa. The obvious question that follows from this statement is: What means does Iran have left to attempt to develop an armed resistance in Bahrain, and possibly even in Saudi Arabia?

Iran’s covert capabilities in the eastern Arabian Peninsula fall well short of what it has developed in Iraq, Lebanon and even Afghanistan, where Tehran has the ability to supply and sustain an insurgency. However, the GCC states may not be able to completely ignore Iran’s bluster. Through recent military maneuvers, Iran has already highlighted the threat it can pose to the energy-vital Strait of Hormuz via regular and irregular naval tactics. More recently, Iran has been trying to remind its adversaries of its global network of covert assets, especially those it claims to have in Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. Iran may be constrained in its operations within GCC states, but these states are on high alert for further signs of Iranian meddling within their borders. That the threat of Shiite armed resistance on the eastern littoral of the Arabian Peninsula arises at the same time the United States and Iran appear to be opening a diplomatic channel of communication, further amplifies the concerns of these Arab states. It doesn’t cost Iran much to attempt to scare its neighbors with threatening rhetoric — but nor is it clear, in the current geopolitical climate, that the GCC states are prepared to call an Iranian bluff.

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Debkafile reported on 17 January that an imminent joint Israeli-US exercise had been cancelled by Israel’s prime minister, and not by the US as widely supposed. Convinced that Iran has made the decision to become a nuclear power Mr Netanyahu is preparing for possible unilateral attacks on Iranian nuclear sites.

British press reports say agents from the CIA and MI6 are operating within Syria while British and French Special Forces are training members of the Free Syrian Army in Turkey. Pravda has claimed that NATO snipers who fought in Libya have been sent to Syria.

As regional war threatens drastic and unforeseen consequences in the Middle East some commentators claim that humanitarian benefits justify Western intervention in repressive states. This claim is worth considering in the context of the events that have befallen Libya.

No one should be under any illusions about the intentions of Western governments in Libya following their activities throughout the 42 years of Muammar Qadafi’s rule. During this time there were 39 coup attempts inspired by US, British and French agencies, most of which were centred on Benghazi and the province of Cyrenaica. Many involved an attempt at assassination, as did the US fighter-bomber attack on Tripoli in 1986 in which eight of the 18 aircraft flying from Britain specifically targeted Col Qadafi’s private residence.

Qadafi’s overthrow began as an uprising in Benghazi which followed a Facebook call, from London on 17 February 2011, to commemorate the 2005 massacre at Abu Salim prison. In response to the ensuing fighting the UN Security Council unanimously approved resolution 1970 on 26 February. Calling for an end to all violence, it required all member states to apply an arms embargo which also prohibited the provision of technical assistance, training, finance and all other assistance related to military activities. It soon became clear that British forces were in breach of the resolution when six members of the SAS were taken prisoner by rebels in Benghazi on 4 March. What the troop was trying to achieve, and what went wrong with the operation has never been revealed.

Following reports of civilian massacres by Libyan aircraft the Security Council responded by approving resolution 1973 on 17 March 2011, although this time one-third of the fifteen members abstained. (The claims concerning civilian massacres were later refuted by Amnesty International, along with allegations that the Libyan regime had been employing foreign mercenaries.) This called for an immediate cease-fire and for all sides to seek a solution to the crisis while requiring them to protect civilians. Responding to a call from the Arab League it authorised the enforcement of a no-fly zone.

A US-drafted amendment allowed for “all necessary measures [to protect Libyan civilians] under threat of attack”. The American Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, promptly claimed that this allowed for arming the rebels under the terms of the resolution. Jose Cabral, the chair of the Sanctions Committee, disagreed and declared that “the resolution [1973] imposes a full embargo on arms.” The US and NATO however had no interest in legal formalities and large quantities of arms were subsequently supplied to the rebels from Qatar via the Egyptian border. France also in shipped some supplies direct, while NATO Special Forces supplied training and expertise.

On the following day and in response to resolution 1973, the Libyan Foreign Minister announced an immediate ceasefire and a stoppage of all military operations against rebel forces. The next day, 19 March, French aircraft carried out an airstrike which was followed by the launch of 110 Tomahawk missiles by US and British warships against air defences in Tripoli and Misrata. Thus only two days after its approval, the Security Council resolution was rendered a sham by NATO forces which placed civilian lives unnecessarily at risk when they ignored the offer of an immediate cease-fire and refused to seek a solution to the crisis. All subsequent calls for a ceasefire by the Libyan government were summarily dismissed by either the rebels or NATO. By 29 March the Russian Foreign Minister was moved to comment “We consider that intervention by the coalition in what is essentially an internal civil war is not sanctioned by the UN Security Council resolution.”

Apart from coverage of the murder of Muammar Qadafi and his contemptuous secret burial there has been little mainstream reportage of the results arising from this international banditry. Even casualty figures are vague. (NATO does not do casualty figures: they have still to produce accurate figures for the number of civilians killed during the bombing of Kosovo in 1999. Sorting out the carnage is always someone else’s responsibility.) The lowest estimate of casualties came from the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) which claimed in September that “between 50-100 civilians had perished from air strikes in the six months of the campaign”. Considering even the National Transitional Council has estimated 30,000 dead and 50,000 injured, RUSI’s claim is an insult to intelligence. One of the highest estimates has come from Thomas Mountain, who used the NATO figure of 9,658 strike sorties flown to estimate that 30,000 tons of explosives were used, and by allowing two deaths per ton arrived at a death toll of 60,000.

Failing any details from the perpetrators themselves some of the vocal supporters for this war might have provided details on their behalf. Brian Whitaker of the Guardian has written extensively on the subject, and like a barrack room lawyer picked over the Security Council resolutions to claim that NATO forces on the ground were legal. (Jose Cabral’s statement was not amongst the information he considered.) However Mr Whitaker’s personal website al-Bab, stopped writing about the Libyan war in August, and has therefore not covered the devastation left in the wake of the bombardment. The veteran peace campaigner Uri Avnery also supported the war (and proposed a similar intervention in Syria) suggesting that opponents of the action were driven by a hatred of the US and NATO rather than any concern for the people of Libya. He added that he was “ready to support even the devil, if that is necessary to put an end to this kind of atrocities”. For the people of Sirte this might sound bitterly ironic, particularly since Mr Avnery has not returned to the subject to write about their once prosperous city that now resembles war-torn Stalingrad or Fallujah. Uri Avnery wondered whether opponents of the NATO operation were really concerned for the well-being of the Libyan people. Bassam Haddad, writing on the Jadaliyya website, had similar concerns about criticism of the Syrian regime, while expressing his desire to see an end to the abuse of human rights in Syria. But Prof Haddad is under no illusion about the duplicity and self-interest driving foreign interference, and appears to draw an opposing conclusion:

“… the actors that are amassed to benefit from the fall of the Syrian regime are, in the final analysis, no less problematic than the Syrian regime itself. In sum, these actors are certainly more violent, discriminatory, and anti-democratic in terms of their collective and/or individual long-term vision for the region.”

But if one did need to have an object to hate, then the calculating planners of the Libyan rape, who appear indifferent to all the misery they have caused, would make as good an object as any. Prior to the bombing, Libya had the best health care and the best education in Africa, free of charge. Essential food staples were heavily subsidised, while fuel was plentiful and cheap. Having bombed to kingdom come schools, hospitals, electricity and water supplies, oil installations, men, women, children, black Africans and Arabs, the planes and warships have departed. Reports of the use of depleted uranium and cluster bombs suggest that they will have left some areas dangerously polluted as well as poverty stricken. An occupation army is now preparing to arrive: according to former US Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, 12,000 US troops in Malta are about to move into Libya, while trigger-happy NATO troops already occupy the petroleum platforms and ports.

There have been victory speeches from Nicholas Sarkozy (who received Col Gaddafi as a guest of honour in France only two years ago), David Cameron (who visited Egypt peddling British arms immediately after the fall of Hosni Mubarak) and Barak Obama. (What greater irony could befall those who were conquered, injured or even killed, at the behest of a peace prize laureate? What greater folly could the Nobel Prize committee have concocted?)

And still the misery continues. The entire 31,000 population of Tawergha are said to have fled their homes during the war and it is not clear how many have returned. IRIN has reported that the delivery of emergency humanitarian aid has been hindered by a lack of funding, despite the fact that NATO countries control over $100billion worth of frozen assets belonging to the people of Libya. In mid-December International Crisis Group reported that more than 125,000 Libyans now carry arms, while estimates on the number of militias range from between 100 to 300. Rivalry exists among the different bands which issue their own identity cards, apply their own investigation techniques and issue arrest warrants (and reportedly in Misrata continue to kill black Libyans). Feuding is commonplace. Meanwhile senior officials who defected from the former regime (possibly after payoffs from NATO) expect to retain positions in the new leadership.

It must be acknowledged that Qadafi the tyrant is dead. In a perfect world he most certainly would have faced trial in the International Criminal Court, following even worse criminals such as George W Bush and Tony Blair. In this context it should not be forgotten that the crimes of Barak Obama, which include greatly expanding the drone attacks on civilian areas in Pakistan, might have earned the death penalty at Nuremburg. In our imperfect world Col Qadafi brought stability and prosperity to Libya along with considerable benefits to other parts of Africa. No less an eminence than Nelson Mandela paid homage to this. Above all, Qadafi’s nefarious crimes do not justify the savage assault that has befallen his people.

With the re-colonisation of Libya completed, NATO and its allies are looking for the next conquest. In this they are being encouraged once again by some sincere peace activists. These people would be well advised to do the arithmetic. In eight months between 30 and 60 thousand Libyans are believed to have been killed. By contrast in eleven months the estimated death toll in Syria is between five and seven thousand. In addition Syrian buildings and infrastructure appear to remain largely intact and there is no danger from the remains of depleted uranium or cluster bombs.

At the present time amidst the chaos and the mayhem it is still Syrian citizens who control Syrian assets. This is not the case in Libya, where NATO troops control the nation’s desirable assets, and the imminent arrival of US occupation troops, according to evidence from Iraq and Afghanistan, is to be feared rather than welcomed.

The jokers in the pack this time are Russia and China who, duped and angered by NATO’s shameful misuse of resolution 1973 and excluded from future trading deals in Libya, are more minded to apply a proactive stance on behalf of Syria and Iran. This is likely to mean support for the existing repressive regimes, such as the shipload of munitions that Russia recently sent to Syria. The problem is that outside interference reduces the opportunities for internal compromises that could herald new freedoms.

During the twentieth century both Syria and Libya experienced the brutal repression and racism of European colonialism, while Iran was invaded by British Empire forces a few years before Anglo-American meddling imposed a brutal puppet regime. For Libya a parallel experience has now returned. For Syria and Iran the same fate awaits the unwary and the unprepared. The dark shadow of colonial occupation has made an unexpected and unwelcome return.

Richard Lightbown is a researcher and writer who has volunteered with Viva Palestina, International Solidarity Movement, Golan for Development,and as a forester with Voluntary Service Overseas.

http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28841

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Both professor Richard Falk (Princeton University) and professor Gary G. Sick (Columbia University) have blamed the Zionist regime for pushing the US and other western powers to start WW III in the Muslim world. Israel wants this new war as a ploy to divert world’s attention from its own Zionazi policies on daily basis. Both Falk and Sick are on the National Advisory Committee of Middle East Policy Council.

United Nations special rapporteur Richard Falk has posted an article entitled Stop Warmongering in the Middle East on January 20, 2012. Gary Sick, who has served on the US National Security Council under presidents Ford, Carter and Reagan with special expertise on Iran – told radio The Voice of Russia that the price of war with Iran would be enormous.

Probably the very last thing the president Obama wants to have at this point is a war with Iran. He had two wars that he is winding down as the result of some severe budgetary problems on his hands. He’s got an economy that’s in trouble, he is cutting back on the military and he is running for office. And the combination of all those things makes it very unlikely that he wants to start a war at this point. So, I personally think that president Obama is going to do whatever he can to avoid getting into a situation, which is actually counter-productive for everybody. It would not just be bad for Iran or for the United States. It would be bad for everybody in the region and the price would be simply enormous. I think he wants to avoid that,” said Dr. Sick.

Dr. Sick claims that the US has refused to negotiate its differences with Iran in good faith. He also believe that Mossad carried out the recent assassination of Iran’s nuclear scientist in Tehran as Israel wanted to sabotage United States contact with Turkey and Iran about restoring the negotiations.
Dr. Richard Falk, who has the honor to be listed among 8,000 ‘Self-Hating Israel-Threatening (S.H.I.T) Jews says when it comes to the Middle East, the US has no national foreign policy. It just follow Israeli dictation.

The public discussion in the West discussing Iran’s nuclear program has mainly relied on threat diplomacy, articulated most clearly by Israeli officials, but enjoying the strong direct and indirect backing of Washington and leading Gulf states. Israel also has engaged in covert warfare against Iran in recent years, somewhat supported by the United States, that has inflicted violent deaths on civilians in Iran. Many members of UN Security Council supported escalating sanctions against Iran, and have not blinked when Tel Aviv and Washington talk menacingly about leaving all options on the table, which in ‘diplospeak’ their readiness to launch a military attack,” wrote Dr. Falk.

It is not only an American insistence, despite pretending from time to time in an interest in diplomatic solution, that only threats and force are relevant to resolve this long incubating political dispute with Iran, but more tellingly, it is the stubborn refusal by Washington to normalize relations with Iran, openly repudiate the Israeli war drums, and finally accept the verdict of history in Iran adverse to its strategic ambitions. the United States has shown no willingness despite the passage of more than 30 years to accept the outcome of Iran’s popular revolution of 1978-79 that nonviolently overthrew the oppressive regime of the Shah,” added Dr. Falk.

To be objective commentators we must ask ourselves whether Iran’s posture toward its nuclear program is unreasonable under these circumstances. Is not Iran a sovereign state with the same right as other states to uphold its security and political independence when facing threats from its enemies armed with nuclear weapons? When was the last time resorted to force against a hostile neighbor? The surprising answer is over 200 years ago! Can either of Iran’s antagonists claim a comparable record of living within its borders? Why does Iran not have the same right as other states to take full advantage of nuclear technology? And given Israeli hostility, terrorist assaults, and military capabilities that includes sophisticated nuclear warheads, delivery style, and a record of preemptive war making, would it not be reasonable for Iran to seek, and even obtain, a nuclear deterrent? True, the regime in Iran has been oppressive toward its domestic opposition and its president has expressed anti-Israeli views in inflammatory language (although exaggerated in the West), however unlike Israel, without ever threatening or resorting to military action. It should also be appreciated that Iran has consistently denied an intention to develop nuclear weaponry, and claims only an interest in using enriched uranium for medical research and nuclear energy. Even if there are grounds to be somewhat skeptical about such reassurances, given the grounds for suspicion that have been ambiguously and controversially validated by reports from International Atomic Energy Agency, this still does not justify sanctions, much less threats backed up by deployments, war games, projected attack scenarios, and a campaign of terrorist violence,” says Dr. Falk.
River to Sea Uprooted Palestinian

http://uprootedpalestinians.blogspot.com/2012/01/experts-israel-is-pushing-world-toward.html

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