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Leon Panetta (Pentagon): Israel ar putea ataca Iranul in aceasta primavara/ “RAZBOIUL SE COACE IN VAILE HERMONULUI”

Secretarul american al apărării, Leon Panetta, consideră că există o “foarte mare probabilitate” ca, în primăvară, Israelul să pornească o intervenţie militară împotriva instalaţiilor militare din Irana afirmat joi cotidianul Washington Post într-un editorial. “Israelul a făcut cunoscut că are în vedere” lovituri aeriene, iar “noi ne-am exprimat îngrijorarea” din acest motiv, a declarat Leon Panetta, scrie Agerpres.
Potrivit Washington Post, şeful Pentagonului este de părere că loviturile israeliene ar putea avea loc în aprilie, mai sau iunie, înainte ca Iranul să intre într-o “zonă de imunitate” şi să înceapă să producă bombe atomice. Panetta a menţionat duminică, la postul de televiziune CBS, că Teheranul are nevoie de “aproximativ un an” ca să producă suficient uraniu îmbogăţit pentru o bombă atomică, dacă se hotărăşte să deţină arma nucleară, şi de încă un an sau doi pentru ca să o instaleze pe un vector, cum ar fi o rachetă.
Statele Unite susţin că sancţiunile la adresa Iranului trebuie să-şi arate rezultatele şi continuă să privilegieze demersurile diplomatice cu scopul de a convinge Teheranul să renunţe la controversatul său program nuclear. Israelul, care consideră ambiţiile nucleare iraniene ca pe o “ameninţare existenţială”, menţine suspansul în privinţa eventualelor lovituri aeriene asupra instalaţiilor nucleare ale Republicii Islamice.
În octombrie, mass-media din Israel au dat asigurări că premierul Benjamin Netanyahu şi ministrul apărării, Ehud Barak, sunt favorabili loviturilor împotriva Iranului, dar că armata şi serviciile secrete, printre care Mossadul, se opun. Cu toate acestea, în cursul unei vizite efectuate la Washington săptămâna trecută, şeful Mossadului, Tamir Pardo, a evocat, potrivit televiziunii israeliene, posibilitatea ca Israelul să atace unilateral Iranul.

[…] Ieri, Washington Post a relatat că secretarul american al apărării Leon Panetta crede că există o probabilitate mare ca Israelul să recurgă la o intervenţie militară în aprilie sau mai împotriva instalaţiilor nucleare din Iran.Chestionat în legătură cu aceste lucruri, Panetta nu a spus, da, dar nici nu a negat că
ar fi afirmat sau gândit ceea ce a relatat Washington Post.

Mai departe: pe un ton aparent neutru, generalul Aviv Kochavi, şeful serviciilor israeliene de informaţii, a susţinut astăzi că Iranul poate produce în prezent patru bombe nucleare, dar că mai are nevoie încă de un an până la a le face funcţionale. Va aştepta Israelul până atunci? Generalul nu a spus, dar a amintiti că Teheranul are 200.000 de rachete care ar putea fi aruncate asupra Israelului. Subiectul “zonei uitate” este reluat de publicaţia britanică The Telegraph care remarcă: întreaga lume vorbeşte de Iran, de un posibil război în zonă, dar a uitat de războiul care se pregăteşte în văile muntelui Hermon.
Uniunea Europeană s-a alăturat SUA şi a impus Iranului un embargou petrolier dur, a suspendat relaţiile cu banca centrală iraniană – măsuri ce s-ar putea dovedi sufocante pentru Teheran care nu mai ştie cum să ţină în frâu devalorizarea monedei naţionale. Uriaşe nave de luptă americane şi britanice patrulează sau se pregătesc să patruleze în strâmtoarea Ormuz, poarta petrolului arab. Ideea ar fi ca revolta împotriva regimului să pornească din interior, iar scânteia să fie chiar prăbuşirea nivelului de trai.
În aceeaşi vreme, războiul se coace “în văile Hermonului”. De o parte a frontierei cu Libanul sunt miliţiile Hezbollah, înarmate de Iran şi susţinute de Siria. De cealaltă parte temuta IDF (Israeli Defense Force). Ţinta Hezbollah este să distrugă Israelul, ţinta IDF să-şi apere ţara. Ultimul război între cele două părţi din 2006 a durat o lună, a făcut 1.200 de morţi, dar s-a terminat indecis. Israelul nu a putut distruge Hezbollah, mai mult, acesta s-a întărit în ultimii ani cu rachete cu rază medie de acţiune.
Armistiţiul între părţi este vegheat de căştile albastre ale ONU dislocate în sudul Libanului. Dar un atac israelian împotriva Iranului, nu numai că ar presupune o intervenţie americană de partea Israelului, dar ar atrage o intervenţie a Hezbollah de partea iranienilor. În Siria, războiul intern a făcut zeci de mii de morţi, fără ca regimul lui Bashar al-Assad, să dea semne că ar dori să predea puterea. Iar ONU este legată de mâini şi de picioare pentru că Rusia, aflată în campanie electorală, nu-şi dă acordul – şi nu şi-l va da- pentru sancţiuni dure împotriva regimului. Cum ar continua o intervenţie israeliană în Iran de care preşedintele Barack Obama s-ar teme atât de mult?
The Telegraph crede că, dacă Teheranul nu răspunde sancţiunilor care i-au fost impuse, Israelul nu va mai aştepta mult până să atace. Replica va fi, cum arătăm, un atac al Hezbollah împotriva Israelului, o coalizare a Siriei, cu un preşedinte considerat acum un criminal, întărit pe plen intern de sentimentele antiisraeliene. Nou instalatul regim islamist de la Cairo nu va mai sta deoparte cum s-a întâmplat pe vremea fostului preşedinte Hosni Mubarak, duşman pentru poporul său, dar aliat al americanilor. Iar războiul ar putea fi unul între Israel şi, dacă nu întreaga lume arabă, cel puţin o parte a ei.
Iată de ce pentru multe cancelarii occidentale, criza din zona euro este o ecuaţie cu mai puţine necunoscute decât războiul care se întrevede la orizont în Orient.

Iranul avertizează că va riposta în cazul oricărui atac militar“Ne-au ameninţat spunându-ne că nu este exclusă nici

nicio opţiune, dar orice război ar fi mai dăunător de zece ori pentru Statele Unite“, avertizează liderul suprem iranian.
Iranul va răspunde tuturor ameninţărilor militare sau petroliere, punând în aplicare propriile ameninţări, avertizează liderul suprem iranian, ayatollahul Ali Khamenei, citat de AFP. “Ameninţările vor fi în dezavantajul celor care le proferează. Americanii trebuie să ştie, şi ştiu, că pe fondul ameninţărilor militare şi petroliere, avem şi noi propriile ameninţări care vor fi puse în aplicare”, a declarat Khamenei.
“Ne-au ameninţat spunându-ne că nu este exclusă nicio opţiune, dar orice război ar fi mai dăunător de zece ori pentru Statele Unite”, avertizează liderul suprem iranian. Statele Unite şi Israelul au sugerat în mai multe rânduri, în ultimii ani, că nu este exclusă posibilitatea unei acţiuni militare pentru a împiedica Iranul să se doteze cu arme atomice. Statele occidentale au înăsprit sancţiunile împotriva regimului islamist de la Teheran începând cu 2010, pentru a forţa suspendarea programului nuclear iranian.

Legaturi:

By Barry Lando

Iran: Only Half the Story

Yesterday upon the stair
I met a man who wasn’t there
He wasn’t there again today
Oh, how I wish he’d go away

William Hughes Mearns, 1899

One of the most overlooked ironies today is that Israel is threatening military action to prevent Iran from continuing the same clandestine route to nuclear weapons that Israel took, just as Israeli planes destroyed nuclear reactors in Syria and Iraq to prevent those countries from following Israel’s lead.

A parallel irony: President Obama champions an economic embargo to force Iran to back off its nuclear program. Yet for more than half a century, one American president after another declined to sound any alarms over Israel’s secret drive for nuclear weapons. Indeed, U.S. leaders refused to even officially acknowledge the foreboding intelligence about Israel’s intentions that American analysts were providing. That flimflam continues to this day.

(Perhaps the most incisive chronicle of this official deception is “The Samson Option,” written in 1991 by investigative reporter Seymour Hersh. Most of the following is drawn from that book.)

The charade began in the early 1950s during the Eisenhower administration. Worried about Israel’s survival in the face of massive Arab opposition and unable to get assurances from Eisenhower that the new Zionist state would be protected by America’s nuclear umbrella, Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion set out clandestinely to provide Israel with its own nuclear weapons.

 

The secret facility would be constructed at Dimona in the Negev desert. The mammoth project would be off the books, paid for by wealthy Jews from around the world. France would also play a key but secret role, engineering a sophisticated reprocessing plant deep under the reactor at Dimona.

The Israeli leader who oversaw the clandestine program was Shimon Peres. These days, as president of Israel, Peres talks darkly of Iran’s nuclear deception. For decades, however, he repeatedly lied to American officials about Israel’s nuclear intentions, claiming that Israel was working on a small reactor for peaceful purposes.

It was impossible, however, to hide the massive new construction from America’s highflying U2 spy plane. In late 1958 or early 1959, CIA photo intelligence experts spotted what looked almost certainly to be a nuclear reactor being built at Dimona. They rushed the raw images to the White House, expecting urgent demands from the Oval Office for more information. This was, after all, a development that could initiate a disastrous nuclear arms race in the Middle East.

But there was absolutely no follow-up from the White House. As one of the analysts later told Hersh, “Nobody came back to me, ever, on Israel.” Though the analysts continued regular reporting on Dimona, there were no requests for high-level briefings. “ ‘Thank you’ and ‘this isn’t going to be disseminated is it?’ It was that attitude.”

“By the end of 1959,” writes Hersh, “the two analysts had no doubts that Israel was going for the bomb. They also had no doubts that President Eisenhower and his advisers were determined to look the other way.”

The reason was evident: Eisenhower publicly was a strong advocate of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). If he was formally to “know” of Israel’s nuclear program, he would be obliged to react—against Israel. In the U.S., that could mean serious political consequences.

It was only in December 1960 that the Eisenhower administration, nearing its end, leaked word about Dimona and France’s involvement to The New York Times. The administration hoped that, without having to make any official accusations itself, it could oblige the Israeli government to sign the NPT.

But Ben Gurion flatly denied the Times report. He assured American officials—as well as the Israeli Knesset—that the Dimona reactor was completely benign. French officials guaranteed that any plutonium produced at Dimona would be returned to France for safekeeping (another lie).

The Eisenhower administration, however, had no stomach to take on Israel and its American lobby. Despite the reports of CIA analysts, Ben Gurion’s denials went unchallenged. That hypocrisy would remain officially America’s policy—even as U.S. presidents decried the attempts of countries such as India, North Korea, Pakistan, Libya and Iraq to themselves develop the bomb.

Even John Kennedy, who also felt strongly about nuclear proliferation, was forced for domestic political reasons to back off his demand for full-scale inspections of Dimona by the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency. Instead he agreed to a charade: Inspections would be carried out only by Americans, who would be required to announce their visits well ahead of time, with the full agreement of Israel. No spot checks were allowed. The inspectors also were never shown some of the key intelligence that CIA analysts had gathered on Dimona.

In April 1963, when Kennedy asked Peres point-blank about Israel’s nuclear intentions, Peres replied with the prevarication that remains to this day: “I can tell you forthrightly that we will not introduce atomic weapons in to the region. We certainly won’t be the first to do so. We have no interest in that. On the contrary, our interest is in de-escalating the armament tension, even in total disarmament.”

Five years later, however, in 1968, Dimona began producing four or five warheads a year. But when Lyndon Johnson received a CIA report of that fact, he ordered CIA Director Richard Helms to bury the estimate. No one else was to be informed, not even Secretary of State Dean Rusk or Secretary of Defense Robert McNamara.

Later, though Israel was still refusing to sign the non-proliferation treaty, Johnson agreed to supply that country with high-performance F-4 fighters capable of carrying a nuclear weapon on a one-way mission to Moscow.

Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger came to power in 1969 with an even more sympathetic attitude toward Israel. Its nuclear ambitions, they felt, were fully justified. They had only contempt for the NPT. As Kissinger’s deputy Morton Halperin later told Hersh, “Henry believed that it was good to spread nuclear weapons around the world. … He felt it inevitable that most major powers would get nukes and better for the United States to be on the inside helping them, than on the outside futilely fighting the process.”

 

In fact, Israel’s real nuclear intentions were hair-raising: It would target its nuclear weapons not on Egypt or Syria, but the Soviet Union—and it would make sure that Moscow understood that. The calculation was that Egypt and Syria would never dare launch a war against Israel without the support of the Soviets, at the time their principal ally and arms provider. But if the men in the Kremlin realized they might face nuclear immolation themselves, they would never permit their Arab clients to drive Israel into the sea.

Indeed, that calculation may have worked in 1973. According to Hersh, after Egypt and Syria launched a surprise attack overwhelming Israel’s defenses, an alarmed Golda Meir gave the order to prepare the nuclear weapons for imminent use. Alerted to Israel’s action, the Soviets immediately cautioned the Egyptians to back off. At the same time, Nixon and Kissinger—informed by the Israelis themselves of the nuclear deployment—agreed to a massive emergency airlift to replace Israel’s depleted arms and ammunition.

But even after those near-cataclysmic events, Kissinger kept the lid on the entire matter. And when Egyptian President Anwar Sadat claimed that Israel had developed nuclear weapons, Peres again categorically denied the charges. He accused Sadat of “gathering information of his own making.”

And so it went with the administration of Jimmy Carter. On Sept. 21, 1979, when an American spy satellite picked up a brilliant double flash over the South Indian Ocean, some American analysts concluded that it was the product of a nuclear explosion—a test conducted jointly by Israel and South Africa’s apartheid regime.

Once again, the discovery presented the White House with a terrible dilemma, as President Carter was also brandishing the banner of non-proliferation. If he were obliged to formally recognize Israel’s nuclear status, and didn’t seek tough sanctions against the Jewish state, he would be roundly criticized as a hypocrite. But, as always, punishing Israel could also mean serious domestic political trouble.

Once again, the administration shielded the Oval Office from the truth. Wrote Hersh, “It was important that an American president not know what there was to know.”

But then, in 1986, the London Sunday Times published an extraordinary account of Dimona. It was based on extensive interviews and pictures furnished by Mordecai Vanunu, a 31-one-year-old Moroccan Jew who had been working inside Dimona. He claimed that Israel’s nuclear stockpile totaled more than 200 warheads.

(Even before the report was published, Israel’s leaders discovered Vanunu’s apostasy. He was enticed by a female Mossad agent to fly to Rome for a few days; he was then drugged, kidnapped and returned to Israel to stand trial. He was ultimately sentenced to 18 years in a maximum security prison, spending 11 of those years in solitary confinement. Even today in Israel he is still being harassed, forbidden from speaking with any foreigners or reporters, or attempting to leave the country.)

American intelligence experts were floored by the Times account and the evident sophistication of Israel’s clandestine program. Officially, however, Washington still went along with the fiction that Israel was not a nuclear state.

Yet again in 1991, Israel made use of its stockpile, deploying missile launchers armed with nuclear weapons facing Iraq, a terrible warning of retaliation to Saddam Hussein if he were to fill the Scud missiles he was firing at Israel with chemical weapons. He never did.

“Which makes our case!” defenders of Israel’s nuclear program will exclaim. Faced with the implacable Arab hostility, Israel was obliged to get the bomb. And thank God it did.

The problem is that other embattled regimes make the same argument. Since the days of the shah, for instance, Iran’s leaders, feeling threatened first by the Soviet Union then after 1979 by the United States, have pushed for nuclear weapons. And not without reason. To this day, the American president—not to mention rabid Republican primary candidates—openly discuss the option of attacking Iran.But wait, we are assured, Israel is different—an ally, not governed by crazies like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who have sworn to wipe Israel from the map.

 

Not to defend the tyrants running Iran, but many experts convincingly dispute that Ahmadinejad actually threatened nuclear annihilation of Israel. In addition, the Zionist state has had its own share of crazies who have long advocated using force to create a “Greater Israel.” Ariel Sharon, for instance, precipitated a bloody invasion of Lebanon in 1982 in a futile attempt to wipe out the PLO. He also openly talked about overthrowing King Hussein to turn Jordan by force into a Palestinian state.

Officially, however, Washington and Israel continue the ridiculous pretense that Israel has no nuclear weapons. To this day, Israeli reporters can write about their country’s nuclear capacity only if they cite foreign publications as the source. And in the U.S., Washington’s official silence seems curiously contagious: How often, in the current flurry of media reports about the threat from Iran, is there any mention of Israel’s own nuclear arsenal?

The bottom line is this: Whatever your view about Iran or Israel’s right to nuclear weapons, how can statesmen or reporters or anyone seriously discuss the current crisis over Iran when a key part of the dispute is officially hidden from view? How can the U.S. and Israel deal with proposals for a nuclear-free Middle East when they still refuse officially to acknowledge that the region is not nuclear free—and hasn’t been for the past 50 years?

http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/iran_only_half_the_story_20120202/

By Pepe Escobar

Persian Gulf? Khaleej-e-Fars? Forget it; time to call it the American Gulf – to the delight of the vultures, jackals and hyenas of war, Israeli and Anglo-American. The House of Saud wouldn’t be too displeased either.

So much for the Pentagon’s “pivoting” strategy from the Middle East to East Asia – recently announced by United States President Barack Obama. The confrontation against China starts in Southwest Asia – in the American Gulf; and goes way beyond Washington cheerleading the hardcore Sunni sectarian killers of Jundallah in Iran’s Sistan-Balochistan province, Israeli Mossad agents posing as US Central Intelligence Agency operatives, serial assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists, computer viruses, and ludicrous accusations of Tehran helping al-Qaeda and vice-versa.

MOP it all up
Time to review the evidence. In roughly one month, no less than three US aircraft carriers and their strike groups will be sloshing around the American Gulf, the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea; the USS Abraham LincolnUSS Carl Vinson and USS Enterprise, plus good ol’ French nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle. And yet one more Pacific-based US aircraft carrier can be swiftly dispatched.

Apart from this naval hajj of US aircraft carrier groups, the 40-year-old USS Ponce is being retrofitted into a special ops amphibious hub – to be dispatched to the American Gulf.

The Pentagon’s CENTCOM is fast upgrading the 14,000-kilogram Orwellian bunker-buster monster known as Massive Ordinance Penetrator (MOP), theoretically capable of taking out Iran’s underground nuclear installations.

A certain Bipartisan Policy Center’s National Security Project – one of those myriad revolving doors in Washington mixing politicians and military-complex types – wants to give Israel some 200 additional MOPs and three KC-135 aerial refueling tankers to “increase the credibility of a military strike” against Iran.

DEBKA-Net is a digital front for Israeli propaganda/disinformation – so it’s essentially untrustworthy. But its latest bombast deserves scrutiny. DEBKA is peddling that the Pentagon is in fast and furious mode in two strategic islands; the paradisiacal Socotra, 380 kilometers southeast of Yemen (where the Pentagon has been building a giant base since 2010); and Camp Justice in Masirah, 70 km south of the Strait of Hormuz, in Oman.

Socotra thus joins key American Gulf nodes of the US Empire of Bases such as Jebel Ali and al-Dahfra in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), al-Udeid in Qatar and Arifjan in Kuwait. It’s crucial to keep in mind the extra 15,000 US troops deployed to Kuwait only a few weeks ago. The Pentagon, predictably, is thunderously mum about the build up in both Socotra and Masirah, and Yemeni and Omani officials are not talking.

DEBKA claims that in two weeks, around 50,000 US troops, flown in from Diego Garcia, 3,000 km away, will be massed in both islands – plus the 50,000 troops already based in the American Gulf. Add to this air, naval and special forces from Britain and France constantly pouring into Saudi Arabia and the UAE. Not enough to launch a ground invasion of Iran – but more than enough for major logistical support in a “no options off the table” (copyright Obama) scenario.

Build up, and pray for war 
DEBKA predictably spins all these developments – not independently confirmed – into Obama’s “resolve to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities in the course of 2012″, which is absolute nonsense. This may mirror (hysterical) wishful thinking by the Benjamin Netanyahu government in Israel, but has nothing to do with the Obama administration’s strategy, which essentially is to impose a “roll over and die” form of “diplomacy” on Iran (sanctions/oil embargo + Pentagon build up in the American Gulf) as a means of extracting an Iranian capitulation in the nuclear dossier.

Wishful thinking is also the weapon du jour for The New York Times, which now seems to be subcontracting the Iran dossier to Israeli writers, as in getting rid of the US middleman.

One Ronen Bergman writes that “after speaking with many senior Israeli leaders and chiefs of military and the intelligence, I have come to believe that Israel will indeed strike Iran in 2012″. Gary Sick conclusively debunked this nonsense [1] stressing how “his conclusion is at odds with virtually everything he produces as evidence”.

The only good thing among all this weaponized orgy is that Tehran and Washington are still talking – sort of – using the proverbial back channels; in Baghdad (via both ambassadors); via Turkey (with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan as middleman); and in Vienna, the headquarters of the International Atomic Energy Agency (via diplomats). There’s a five-month window for good sense to prevail until July 1 – when the US/European Union oil embargo on Iran kicks in.

And then there’s the resurfacing of “Austere Challenge 12″ – the massive joint Israel-US war games involving thousands of US soldiers and testing of a number of Israeli and US missile defense systems.

“Austere Challenge” is now rescheduled for October, less than a month before the US presidential election, when Mitt Romney, the neo-con gang and deranged evangelicals will be bombing Iran non-stop on cable TV. Until then, it’s up to world public opinion, to quote Percy Bysshe Shelley in The Mask of Anarchy, to “rise like lions, after slumber, in unvanquishable number”, and drive fear and loathing away from the American Gulf.

Note
1. See here.

http://atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/NB03Ak04.html

Al Qaeda in Iran

Virtually unnoticed, since late 2001, Iran has held some of al Qaeda‘s most senior leaders. Several of these operatives, such as Yasin al-Suri, an al Qaeda facilitator, have moved recruits and money from the Middle East to central al Qaeda in Pakistan. Others, such as Saif al-Adel, an Egyptian that served as head of al Qaeda’s security committee, and Abu Muhammad al-Masri, one of the masterminds of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in East Africa, have provided strategic and operational assistance to central al Qaeda. The Iranian government has held most of them under house arrest, limited their freedom of movement, and closely monitored their activities. Yet the organization’s presence in Iran means that, contrary to optimistic assessments that have become the norm in Washington, al Qaeda’s demise is not imminent.

Perhaps more disturbing, Iran appears willing to expand its limited relationship with al Qaeda. Just as with its other surrogate, Hezbollah, the country could turn to al Qaeda to mount a retaliation to any U.S. or Israeli attack. To be sure, the organization is no Iranian puppet. And the two have sometimes been antagonistic, as illustrated by al Qaeda in Iraq’s recent attacks against Shias. But both share a hatred of the United States. U.S. policymakers should think twice about provoking a closer relationship between them and should draw greater public attention to Iran’s limited, but still unacceptable, cooperation with al Qaeda.

Evidence of the Iranian-al Qaeda partnership abounds — and much of it is public. This past year, I culled through hundreds of documents from the Harmony database at West Point; perused hundreds more open-source and declassified documents, such as the U.S. Department of Treasury‘s sanctions against al Qaeda leaders in Iran; and interviewed government officials from the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and South Asia.

Iran is in many ways a safer territory from which al Qaeda can operate. The United States has targeted al Qaeda in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries, but it has limited operational reach in Iran.

Through that research, the history of al Qaeda in Iran emerges as follows: over the past several years, al Qaeda has taken a beating in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa. In particular, an ongoing campaign of drone strikes has weakened — although not eliminated — al Qaeda’s leadership cadre in Pakistan. But the group’s outpost in Iran has remained almost untouched for the past decade. In late 2001, as the Taliban regime collapsed, most al Qaeda operatives fled Afghanistan. Many of the leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, bin Laden’s deputy and future successor, headed for Pakistan. But some did not, choosing instead to go west. And Iran was apparently more than willing to accept them. Around October 2001, the government dispatched a delegation to Afghanistan to guarantee the safe travel of operatives and their families to Iran.

Initially, Iran’s Quds Force — the division of the Revolutionary Guard Corps whose mission is to organize, train, equip, and finance foreign Islamic revolutionary movements — took the lead. Between 2001 and 2002, it helped transport several hundred al Qaeda-linked individuals. By 2002, al Qaeda had established in Iran its “management council,” a body that bin Laden reportedly tasked with providing strategic support to the organization’s leaders in Pakistan. Key members of the council included Adel, Sulayman Abu Ghayth, Abu al-Khayr al-Masri, Abu Muhammad al-Masri, and Abu Hafs al-Mauritani. All five remained influential over the next several years and retained close ties to bin Laden. Among the most active of the council, Adel even helped organize groups of fighters to overthrow Hamid Karzai’s regime in Afghanistan and provided support for the May 2003 terrorist attacks in Riyadh.

According to U.S. government officials involved in discussions with Iran, over time, the growing cadre of al Qaeda leaders on Iranian soil apparently triggered a debate among senior officials in Tehran. Some worried that the United States would eventually use the terrorist group’s presence as a casus belli. Indeed, in late 2002 and early 2003, U.S. government officials held face-to-face discussions with Iranian officials demanding the regime deport al Qaeda leaders to their countries of origin. Iran refused, but around the same time, the country’s Ministry of Intelligence took control of relations with the group. It set to work rounding up al Qaeda members and their families.

By early 2003, Tehran had detained all the members of the management council and their subordinates who remained in the country. It is not entirely clear what conditions were like for al Qaeda detainees. Some apparently suffered through harsh prison confinement, while others enjoyed informal house arrest with freedom to communicate, travel, and fundraise. Over the next several years, bin Laden, Zawahiri, and other leaders apparently sent messages to Tehran threatening to retaliate if al Qaeda personnel and members of bin Laden’s family were not released. Iran did not comply. Bin Laden did not follow through.

After that, the details of al Qaeda’s relationship with the Iranian government are hazy. It seems that many of the operatives under house arrest petitioned for release. In 2009 and 2010, Iran did begin to free some detainees and their family members, including members of bin Laden’s family. And the management council remained in Iran, still under limited house arrest. Tehran appears to have drawn several red lines for the council: Refrain from plotting terrorist attacks from Iranian soil, abstain from targeting the Iranian government, and keep a low profile. As long as it did so, the Iranian government would permit al Qaeda operatives some freedom to fundraise, communicate with al Qaeda central in Pakistan and other affiliates, and funnel foreign fighters through Iran.

Today, Iran is still an important al Qaeda hub. Suri, who was born in 1982 in al-Qamishli, Syria, is a key operative. According to U.S. Treasury Department accounts, Tehran has permitted Suri to operate discretely within Iran since at least 2005. He has collected money from donors and transferred it to al Qaeda’s leadership in Pakistan and other locations; facilitated the travel of extremist recruits from the Gulf to Pakistan and Afghanistan; and according to U.S. State Department accounts, “arranges the release of al-Qaeda personnel from Iranian prisons.”

On the surface, the relationship between Shia Iran and Sunni al Qaeda is puzzling. Their religious views do differ, but they share a more important common interest: countering the United States and its allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom. Iran’s rationale might be compared to that of British Prime Minister Winston Churchill, who declared, “If Hitler invaded Hell, I would make at least a favorable reference to the devil in the House of Commons.”

Iran is likely holding al Qaeda leaders on its territory first as an act of defense. So long as Tehran has several leaders under its control, the group will likely refrain from attacking Iran. But the strategy also has an offensive component. If the United States or Israel undertook a bombing campaign against Iran, Tehran could employ al Qaeda in a response. Tehran has long used proxies to pursue its foreign policy interests, especially Hezbollah in Lebanon, and it has a history of reaching out to Sunni groups. In Afghanistan, for example, Iran has provided limited support to the Taliban to keep the United States tied down. Al Qaeda’s proven willingness and ability to strike the United States make it an attractive partner.

Al Qaeda is probably making similar calculations. To be sure, some revile the Ayatollahs. Abu Mus’ab al-Zarqawi, the now-deceased head of al Qaeda in Iraq, actively targeted Shias there. In a 2004 letter, Zarqawi explained that they are “the insurmountable obstacle, the lurking snake, the crafty and malicious scorpion.” Yet, in a sign of Churchill-esque pragmatism, Zawahiri chastised Zarqawi in 2005, writing that the Shias were not the primary enemy — at least not for the moment. It was crucial, Zawahiri explained, to understand that success hinged on support from the Muslim masses. One of Zarqawi’s most significant mistakes, Zawahiri chided him, was targeting Shia communities, because such a strategy would cripple al Qaeda’s support among the broader Muslim community. And most al Qaeda operatives since the debacle in Iraq have cautiously followed Zawahiri’s lead.

Moreover, Iran is in many ways a safer territory from which al Qaeda can operate. The United States has targeted al Qaeda in Iraq, Pakistan, Yemen, and other countries, but it has limited operational reach in Iran. In addition, Iran borders the Persian Gulf, Iraq, Turkey, Afghanistan, and Pakistan, making it centrally located for most al Qaeda affiliates. No wonder that Suri has been able to move money and recruits through Iran to various theaters, including al Qaeda central in Pakistan. Although most governments in the region have clamped down on al Qaeda, Iran’s willingness to allow some activity sets it apart.

The United States should think twice about actions that would push Iran and al Qaeda closer together — especially a preemptive attack on the country’s nuclear program.

With the management council still under limited house arrest, Iran and al Qaeda remain at arm’s length. But that could change if Washington’s relationship with Tehran does. So far, the conflict between Iran and the West has been limited to diplomatic pressure and economic sanctions. It has also occasionally deteriorated into cyber attacks, sabotage, assassinations, kidnappings, and support to proxy organizations. But much like the struggle between the U.S. and Soviet Union during the Cold War, it has not spilled into overt conflict. Should an increase of those activities cause a broad deterioration in relations, however, or should the United States or Israel decide to attack Iranian nuclear facilities, Iran and al Qaeda could come closer together.

For one, Iran would likely respond to an attack by targeting the United States and its allies through proxies in Iraq, Afghanistan, and other countries. The regime might increase its logistical support to al Qaeda by providing money, weapons, housing, travel documents, and transit to operatives — some of which it is already doing. In a worse scenario, Tehran might even allow al Qaeda officials in Iran to go to Pakistan to replenish the group’s depleted leadership there, or else open its borders to additional al Qaeda higher-ups. Several of the operatives already in Iran, including Adel and Abu Hafs al-Mauritani, would be especially valuable in this regard, because of their prestige, experience in paramilitary and external operations, and religious credentials. In an even more extreme scenario, Iran could support an al Qaeda attack against the United States or one of its allies, although the regime would surely attempt to hide its role in any plotting. Based on Iran’s cautious approach over the past decade, Tehran’s most likely strategy would be to gradually increase its support to al Qaeda in response to U.S. actions. That way it could go slowly, and back away at any time, rather than choosing an all-or-nothing approach from the start.

It would be unwise to overestimate the leverage Tehran has over al Qaeda’s leadership. The terrorist organization would almost certainly refuse Iranian direction. But given the group’s current challenges, any support or tentative permission to plot on Iran’s soil would be helpful. It could set about restoring its depleted senior ranks in Pakistan and other countries, or else rebuild within Iran itself. The organization might thus be amenable to working within Iranian constraints, such as seeking permission before planning attacks in the West from Iranian soil, as long as the taps were flowing.

It is true that the United States has limited leverage with Iran, but it still has several options. The first, and perhaps easiest, is to better expose the existence and activities of al Qaeda leaders in Iran. Al Qaeda has killed tens of thousands of Sunnis, Shias, and non-Muslims over the past two decades and has unified virtually all governments in the world against it. Iran, too, has become an international pariah. Its limited aid to al Qaeda is worthy of further public condemnation. But Iran has largely escaped such scrutiny.

The United States could encourage more countries to prohibit citizens and companies from engaging in commercial and financial transactions with al Qaeda leaders and their networks in Iran. The U.S. Treasury and State Departments have taken steps against some al Qaeda operatives and their supporters in Iran, including against Suri and his circle. But those efforts have not been coupled with robust diplomatic efforts to encourage other countries to do the same. Nor have they been successful in eliminating al Qaeda’s sanctuary in Iran.

Finally, the United States should think twice about actions that would push Iran and al Qaeda closer together — especially a preemptive attack on the country’s nuclear program. Thus far, Iran and al Qaeda have mutually limited their relationship. It would be a travesty to push the two closer together at the very moment that central al Qaeda in Pakistan has been severely weakened.

Thankfully, there is still time to deal with the problem. But the stakes are too high for the United States to remain quiet any longer.

http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/137061/seth-g-jones/al-qaeda-in-iran?


USS Monterey interceptor missile guided missile cruiser off Georgian port of Batumi in June 2011

Times.am
January 30, 2012

Will Iran be bombarded from Georgia?

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The experts are sure that precisely Iran will become the main issue of discussions in Washington as the US intends to use Georgian territory for actions against Iran. And it is not accidental that the US provide much money for military airports in Vaziani, Marneuli and Batumi.

“I do not accept Saakashvili participating in an anti-Iranian campaign in return for keeping his position”, ex-Georgian President Eduard Shevarnadze considers. “It may become a real catastrophe for our country. War against Iran must not be led from our territory.”

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Today, on January 30 Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili will meet his American counterpart Barack Obama. According to experts, Georgia’s possible participation in the military operation against Iran will be the main issue of the discussions. Mr. Saakashvili seems to be ready to make Georgian territory available for the conflict against Tehran and he will explain its readiness with the necessity to be protected from the “Russian military danger,” Russian kommersant.ru writes.

According to the source, the Georgian opposition claims that the upcoming Georgian parliamentarian and presidential elections will be another theme of the discussions. “Obama will claim that the parliamentarian elections in 2012 and the presidential election in 2013 passed fairly and without falsifications”, a representative of the political party New Rights, Davit Gamkrelidze, informed Kommersant…

As independent expert, George Nodia, considers that “the first invitation to Saakashvili from the US President is not connected with the elections, but is in regard to the regional situation, coperation between the USA and Georgia in the security sphere including from the point of view of Iranian processes.”

The experts are sure that precisely Iran will become the main issue of discussions in Washington as the US intends to use Georgian territory for actions against Iran. And it is not accidental that the US provide much money for military airports in Vaziani, Marneuli and Batumi.

The experts have no doubts that Mikheil Saakashvili will agree with the US. “Georgia will be more loyal in case of war with Iran compared with Turkey and other Iranian neighbors,” conflicts expert Paata Zakareishvili is assured. Tbilisi has demonstrated its devotion to Washington for many years. In 2012 Georgian forces in Afghanistan will be increased and will include 1,600-1,700 soldiers and officers and will become the biggest contingent in Afghanistan of countries which are not NATO members. [Exceeding NATO Contact Country partner Australia’s 1,550 troops.] “I do not accept Saakashvili participating in an anti-Iranian campaign in return for keeping his position”, ex-Georgian President Eduard Shevarnadze considers. “It may become a real catastrophe for our country. War against Iran must not be led from our territory.”

Anyway, many military experts are sure that Georgia is unable to refuse to assist the US if the latter wants it. “Of course it will be more comfortable for the Americans to bombard targets in Northern Iranian partly from the South Caucasus. But Georgia has no common border with Iran and Armenia and Azerbaijan will hardly agree to provide the sue of their territory,” editor-in-chief of the Arsenal military-analytic magazine Irakli Aladashvili said.

“Besides this, South Caucasian air territory is completely supervised by Russian systems, which are situated in Armenia, Abkhazia and South Ossetia. The US may lose the element of the surprise. The Russian side will just inform Iran about the approach of the American planes to their territory.”

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Rustavi 2
February 2, 2012

Saakashvili meets with Hillary Clinton

Georgia is a valued partner and interest in Georgia is very great, said US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as he welcomed President of Georgia Mikheil Saakashvili on Wednesday.

`Georgia is a valued partner. They are actively participating in Afghanistan, where Georgian soldiers are showing great courage and professionalism. We are pursuing a system of consultations to determine the way forward on further trade and investment. There’s a lot of work going on in…defense and security cooperation…,” Mrs. Clinton said.

In his turn Mikheil Saakashvili thanked the Secretary of State for the great support which Georgia has always had from the side of the United States.

“Thank you, Madam Secretary. First of all, I would like to express the utmost gratitude for your strong support, not just in words but in action, for Georgia’s territorial integrity and sovereignty and independence, because it’s lots of daily work. It’s a great struggle. Sometimes it’s like an uphill struggle because it’s against the forces that are trying to undermine us. And your personal participation, President Obama’s personal backing for it was – it goes without saying – and that’s something that we really appreciate a lot. And certainly, I also walked out from this office, and also from the Oval Office where we were also present totally elated because I heard everything I wanted to hear. And I mean, it’s – I’ve been in there before. But this time, because the country has also matured – my country has also matured up to the challenges – I think we now are moving to another level in cooperation. And with free trade
agreement, nobody could have imagined that Georgia would ever start to qualify for that a few years ago. The next level of defense cooperation – and we are proud to serve with you in Afghanistan – was unimaginable a couple of years ago,` Saakashvili said.

The meeting was held at 3 p.m. local time and the president and the Secretery Clinton made statements for media.

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Rustavi 2
February 2, 2012

U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission website launched

The U.S. Department of State has published a press release which says that a new website on the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission has been launched.

“The site presents important information on the work of the Commission, including statements from senior U.S. and Georgian policy-makers and information on the efforts of the bilateral working groups on democracy; defense and security; economic, trade, and energy issues; and people-to-people and cultural exchanges.

As senior U.S. and Georgian officials lead annual working group meetings to review commitments, update activities, and establish future objectives, the website will outline publicly the commitment of both governments to make concrete progress on our mutual goals,` the press release says.

The embassy of the United States to Georgia has also commented on the innovation. The statement says that the U.S.-Georgia Strategic Partnership Commission website will publish the specific steps made by both governments toward common goals.

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Civil Georgia
February 2, 2012

Georgian Defense Minister Meets U.S. Secretary of Defense

Tbilisi: Georgian Defense Minister, Bacho Akhalaia, met with U.S. Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta, in Brussels on February 2 on the sidelines of a meeting of defense ministers from NATO members and 20 partner states, the Georgian Ministry of Defense said.

It said in a statement that the meeting was “a follow up to the agreement reached at the meeting between President Saakashvili and President Obama at the White House” on January 30.

The U.S. has “expressed its readiness to extend assistance with regard to enhancing Georgia’s defense capabilities, which implies new levels of cooperation, deepening existing relations in key areas and implementation of specific training and assistance programs,” the Georgian MoD said.

Defense Minister Akhalaia said that from now on the defense cooperation with the U.S. would focus not only on training of Georgian troops for the Afghan deployment, but also on enhancing and improving Georgia’s “self-defense capabilities.”

“We are talking about an absolutely new phase of relations, which means that if until now we were focused on military training and military assistance, which was basically directed to our units participating in the ISAF operation, from now on we will have the opportunity to think about those types of assistance which will be focused on the development of the entire armed forces that will ultimately contribute to the strengthening of the country’s self-defense capabilities,” Akhalaia said.

The Georgian MoD said that consultations would continue to discuss “specific fields of cooperation in details.”

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Civil Georgia
February 2, 2012

Georgian Defense Minister Visits NATO HQ

Tbilisi: Georgia’s Defense Minister, Bacho Akhalaia, is in Brussels where defense ministers from NATO members and 20 partner states are meeting on February 2-3 to discuss a range of issues, including Afghanistan.

Akhalaia is expected to hold bilateral talks with U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on the sideline of the defense ministerial meeting, Georgian MoD’s spokesperson Salome Makharadze told Civil.ge by phone from Brussels on February 2.

Georgia’s Ambassador to the U.S., Temur Yakobashvili, said after the meeting between the U.S. and Georgian presidents in Washington on January 30 that it had been agreed to hold consultations, including between the Georgian Defense Minister and the U.S. Defense Secretary on bringing cooperation over “Georgia’s self-defense capabilities to a new level”, which would help Georgia “to better defend” itself.

Georgia’s Deputy PM and State Minister for European and Euro-Atlantic Integration, Giorgi Baramidze, said on February 1, that the “time has come when U.S.-Georgia military cooperation is elevated in essence to a new stage.” He told Rustavi 2 TV that this new level of cooperation included not only partnership in international operations, like in Afghanistan, but also “giving more focus to Georgia’s self-defense.”

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Civil Georgia
February 2, 2012

Russia Says ‘Strongly Against’ Arms Supply to Georgia

Tbilisi: Russia’s Deputy Defense Minister, Anatoly Antonov, told journalists on February 2 that U.S. arms supplies to Georgia, if such a decision had really been taken, would destabilize the Caucasus region.

“We are strongly against of any kind of arms supplies to the Saakashvili’s regime. If such a decision was taken, it will destabilize the situation in the Caucasus,” RIA Novosti news agency reported, quoting Antonov on February 2.

Since the meeting between the Georgian and U.S. presidents in the White House on January 30, Georgian senior officials including President Saakashvili stressed a number of times that an agreement had been reached to deepen defense cooperation.

While the Georgian officials stop short of mentioning “arms sales” or the “supply of arms”, they are speaking of a “new level” of defense cooperation, “elevating defense cooperation to a new stage” and deepening defense cooperation to go beyond training of Georgian troops for the Afghan deployment by “focusing on enhancing and improving Georgia’s self-defense capabilities.”

After meeting with his Georgian counterpart, President Obama said on January 30: “We have talked about how we will continue to strengthen our defense cooperation, and there are a wide range of areas where we are working together.”

After that meeting, President Saakashvili thanked the U.S. president for, as he put it, “talking about Georgia’s self-defense capabilities and developing them.”

http://rickrozoff.wordpress.com/2012/02/02/will-u-s-bomb-iran-from-georgia/

Când un regim politic este nesigur în privinţa viitorului său scoate armata la înaintare, iniţial prin mediatizarea performanţelor unor noi arme, de regulă de producţie proprie, apoi trimiţând blindatele în stradă, pentru descurajarea potenţialei revolte populare şi, dacă mai este cazul, ordonând represiuni dure, de genul celor din Siria.

Conducerea statului iranian se află în prima etapă. Ultima demonstraţie de forţă, anunţată prin presă, fiind precizarea amiralului Habibollah Sayyari, care a confirmat derularea, în viitorul apropiat, a unui exerciţiu militar naval în apele internaţionale. Având numele de cod „Velayat 90”, acesta se va desfăşura într-un spaţiu maritim cuprins între Marea Omanului şi nordul Oceanului Indian.

Velayat 90” va permite testarea unui echipament sofisticat, menit să demonstreze puterea Forţelor Navale Iraniene în apărarea teritoriului naţional. Sună frumos. Dar în spatele acestor informaţii livrate pe un ton sever se tupilează teama regimului de la Teheran. Aceea de a nu împărtăşi soarta celui care a fost demantelat la Tripoli.

Un argument, în acest sens, fiind faptul că exerciţiul anterior s-a derulat în anul 2010, timp de opt zile, purtând numele de cod „Velayat 89”. Adică la numai câteva săptămâni după ce serviciul german de informaţii/BND/Bundesnachrichtendienst, respectiv German intelligence agency, informa pe cel american/CIA şi cel israelian/Mossad, adică HaMossad leModi’in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim, altfel spus Institute for Intelligence and Special Operations, că Iranul are capacitatea tehnologică de a produce arma nucleară.

Derulat în luna mai, anul trecut, „Velayat 89” a permis testarea distrugătoarelor, submarinelor, minelor anti-submarin, a fregatelor cu lansatoare de rachete, a rachetelor cu rază medie de acţiune şi a avioanelor de luptă. Ceea ce indică previziunea generalilor iranieni că, indiferent cum ar începe atacul inamicilor Iranului, el va fi urmat de două operaţiuni militare de mare anvergură, ca în Libia – una aeriană şi alta maritimă.

Numai că, din anul 2010, până în prezent, multe piese, pe tabla de şah, geopolitică, a Orientului Mijlociu, s-au schimbat. Ceea ce şi determină Pentagonul să aibă o altă evaluare a (in)oportunităţii unei intervenţii militare americane în Iran. Una vizibil amânată, din considerente pur electorale.

Cu excepţia unei provocări, de ordin militar, neinspirată, a regimului de la Teheran – posibilă ca urmare a nesfârşitei serii de exerciţii militare maritime, aeriene şi terestre, alternată cu demonstrative filmate, cu tot felul de noi rachete sol-aer -, pentru anul 2012 nu este avută în vedere, la Departamentul Apărării al SUA, vreo operaţiune de amploare contra armatei iraniene. Asta deoarece în luna noiembrie, anul viitor, se vor desfăşura alegerile prezidenţiale. După cunoaşterea câştigătorului voturilor majorităţii americanilor, lucrurile se vor schimba rapid, chiar dacă Barack Obama rămâne la Casa Albă, pentru un al doilea mandat. Cu atât mai mult dacă devine şef al statului american un republican.

Nici guvernul israelian, cu tot tam-tamul ultimelor declaraţii belicoase, care creau impresia că a doua zi vor zbura escadrile ale Tzahal-ului/Forţa de Apărare a Israelului, spre centralele nucleare iraniene, nu va face primul pasul spre un război de anvergură, în condiţiile în care Statele Unite au alte priorităţi, în primul rând de ordin economic.

De partea cealaltă a baricadei, Teheranul ştie că aliaţii săi economici sunt primii care vor depăşi bariera alegerilor prezidenţiale. În luna martie, 2012, la Kremlin, Dmitri Medvedev va preda sceptrul prezidenţial lui Vladimir Putin Redivivus. Iar la Beijing, tot în primele luni ale anului viitor, China va avea un nou preşedinte, prin voturile parlamentarilor chinezi.

Asta va crea Teheranului un confort, pe termen scurt, capacitatea de decizie politică şi implicare militară, în diferite forme, a Chinei şi Rusiei, pentru menţinerea actualei conduceri iraniene, fiind cu efecte imediate. Miza Beijingului şi a Moscovei nefiind una ideologică, ci una pur economică, petrolul iranian având rostul său în proiectele de dezvoltare ale celor două puteri menţionate.

Din această perspectivă sunt ridicole acuzaţiile la adresa Statelor Unite, etichetate de presa oficială de la Teheran ca fiind interesate în instituirea unui regim pro-american, cum a fost cel al şahinşahului Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, menit a mări cota de petrol necesar SUA. Un enunţ demn de anii ’50 ai veacului trecut.

Extrem de tânără – media de vârstă fiind sub 40 de ani -, în majoritatea sa bine educată, în colegii liceale şi universităţi, populaţia iraniană a dat semnale repetate de saturaţie ideologică faţă de regimul ayatolahilor,instituit de Ruhollah Musavi Khomeini şi condus acum de Seyed Ali Hoseyni Khāmene’i.

Ultimele alegeri – bine administrate de Gardienii Revoluţiei – au arătat forţelor de opoziţie că pe cale democratică nu pot prelua puterea. De altfel, la momentul declanşării demonstraţiilor de stradă ce au marcat, în Tunisia, începutul Primăverii Arabe, la Teheran a fost o tentativă a tinerilor iranieni de a manifesta pentru democraţie. Una rapid descurajată de agenţii serviciului secret iranian, infiltrat printre junii decişi să oprească circulaţia, să facă un areal liber de opresiunea liderilor religioşi, aflaţi la conducerea Republicii Islamice Iran.

Cetăţenii iranieni, educaţi şi bine informaţi, înţeleg că nu este deloc o gogoriţă ideologică, lansată de peste Ocean, ideea privind arma nucleară produsă la ordinul conducerii religioase de la Teheran. Am scris produsădeoarece Mossad-ul consideră că prototipul rachetei iraniene cu ogivă nucleară nu mai este doar un contur,admirat pe ecranele computerelor inginerilor des vizitaţi de oficialităţile regimului condus de Khāmene’i.

De altfel şi Al Mukhabarat Al A’amah, adică General Intelligence Service, respectiv Serviciul General de Informații al Arabiei Saudite – cel mai ostil vecin al Iranului – consideră că numai o forţă militară disuasivă extrem de puternică poate ţine Gardienii Revoluţiei Islamice, de la Teheran, departe de tentaţia unei recurgeri la manu militari, inclusiv cu arma nucleară, pentru a materializa intenţia lor de a conduce lumea arabă. Din acest motiv a şi fost semnat şi achitat, în tranşe etapizate în timp, contractul privind achiziţiile masive de armament şi tehnică de luptă, made in SUA, pentru Forţele Armate Saudite.

Şi totuşi, admiţând ipoteza unui conflict militar, mai mult sau mai puţin îndepărtat, între Iran şi SUA, plus Arabia Saudită şi Israel, cum s-ar derula acesta?

Generalul Robert Kehler, comandantul Comandamentului Strategic al SUA, declara, în noiembrie a.c., agenţiei Reuters, că nu sunt necesare autorizări explicite, pentru a declanşa şi conduce operaţiuni militare de orice fel, ca replică la atacurile cibernetice îndreptate împotriva economiei, armatei şi instituţiilor guvernamentale americane.

Prima operaţiune de anvergură ar fi cea aeriană. În care raportul de forţe este de la bun început defavorabil aviaţiei militare iraniene.

Concomitent ar fi derulată operaţiunea navală, în care submarinele iraniene, atâtea câte sunt, mici şi puţine la număr, ar fi primele trimise, pe veci, în adâncurile apelor maritime limitrofe Iranului.

Pierderile previzibile, în rândurile forţelor aliate, ar duce la decizia iniţierii operaţiunii chirurgicale vizând cucerirea locaţiilor guvernamentale din Teheran, în urma unui desant masiv a forţelor aeropurtate americane.

Cu toată propaganda, care le umflă artificial muşchii, forţele terestre iraniene nu sunt cu mult mai breze decât cele din Irakul condus de Saddam Hussein, unde înaintarea trupelor americane şi engleze a fost posibilă datorită dezertării în masă atât a corpului de comandă – fie cumpărat cu bani buni, fie sătul de un regim anacronic – cât şi a soldaţilor, ce refuzau să lupte pentru o lideranţă care nu îi mai reprezenta cu nimic.

Aliatul din ultima vreme al Iranului, Turcia, va interveni doar pe cale diplomatică, liderilor de la Ankara convenindu-le menţinerea la ei, nu la Teheran, a steagului conducerii naţiunii arabe.

Prin urmare, nimic nou în Golful Persic, în anul 2012. Pentagonul va reitera rezervarea dreptului SUA de a utiliza toate mijloacele avute la dispoziţie, diplomatice, informaţionale, militare şi economice, pentru a apăra naţiunea americană, aliaţii, partenerii şi interesele Statelor Unite.

Teheranul va relua lozincile cunoscute, cu nerecunoaşterea statului evreu, pericolul imperialist american şi necesitatea unirii naţiunii arabe, evident sub conducerea sa.

Schimbare de regim, în Iran, anul viitor? Răspunsul adecvat îl vor oferi chiar cetăţenii iranieni, bine conectaţi la reţelele de socializare, pe Internet. Dacă nemulţumirea lor va atinge pragul critic necesar unei revolte irepresibile.

Col. (r) dr. Ion Petrescu

Global Research, January 30, 2012

URL of this article: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=28969

“Clean Break: A New Strategy for Securing the Realm”   exposes the key authors  … America’s sadistic neo-cons Richard Perle, David Wurmser and Douglas Feith …A decade later, the authors of that study are gone in name but their spirit of unending wars is alive and well within the Obama Administration’s recently announced “Defense Strategic Guidance” as part of “Sustaining US Global Leadership: Priorities for 21st Century Defense,” Where Clean Break offered what was then a radical Middle East military strategy, Obama’s DSG identifies US military priorities for the 21st century to “confront and defeat aggression anywhere in the world” with an emphasis on the Middle East and Asia-Pacific region as the “greatest challenges for the future. (Panetta, 1-5-2012). … .Neither the president nor Panetta felt any need to articulate a credible global threat that requires eternal armed vigilance as the country continues to dismantle its People Programs and as its infrastructure continues to crumble — nor did either provide the American people with a thoughtful rationale for who, why, when, where and how… After the president’s departure, Panetta, once known as a liberal House Democrat from California, began to morph into a gnarl-faced Dr. Strangelove with every utterance of war, enemies, threats, death and destruction as he touted U.S. military dominance and its ability to “decisively prevail in any conflict.” (Renee Parson “US Plans for Perpetual War” ICH: 01/27/2012)

“The US government is so full of self-righteousness that it has become a caricature of hypocrisy. Leon Panetta, a former congressman who Obama appointed CIA director and now head of the Pentagon, just told the sailors on the USS Enterprise, an aircraft carrier, that the US is maintaining a fleet of 11 aircraft carriers in order to project sea power against Iran and to convince Iran that “it’s better for them to try to deal with us through diplomacy … Washington has kept America at war for ten years while millions of Americans lost their jobs and their homes. War and a faltering economy have exploded the national debt, and a looming bankruptcy is being blamed on Social Security and Medicare. The pursuit of war continues. On January 23 Washington’s servile puppets–the EU member states–did Washington’s bidding and imposed an oil embargo on Iran, despite the pleas of Greece, a member of the EU. Greece’s final ruin will come from the higher oil prices from the embargo.”  (Paul Craig Roberts, “Drowning in Hypocrisy”, Paulcraigroberts.org: 01/24/2012)

Politics is a fantasy – more so in the United States mass media dominated culture, a combination of pretension, willful deception, institutionalized manufactured lies and individualistic propaganda and fear mongering suspicion of the disbelief to manipulate the common folks to manage the informed herd and exploit their patriotism to serve the multiple interests of the 1% ruling few elite. Despite its ambiguous claims the liberal democracy seemed at loss to provide any sense of moral or intellectual security to the 99% masses – the political engine of the democratic legitimacy.  The well paid corporate news media networks boost the self-crafted fear of wars – the agenda for continuous struggle as if peace is endangered specie even in utopian configuration.

The mankind lives in One World on One Planet. War waged by aggressors in one part of the planet, is a war against the whole of the mankind. Since the elected leaders faltered to deliver peace, they must be questioned for their treacherous role-play. There is no shortage of visionary, competent and intelligent people in the Western societies. Why not nominate intelligent, honest, proactive and responsible Americans rather than wasting time and opportunities on Obama, Romney and Gingrich. Perhaps, the 99% forceful voices of the people and changing fortunes of time signaling tangible shifts in thinking and political perceptions of the Western liberal democratic functionaries fearful of the unknown forces of change, time  and history will reinforce the demand to hire competent political leaders rather wasting money and efforts in electing sadistic egomaniacs persons pretending to be leaders. Those with credibility and chosen by the 99% masses could serve the interest of the people for peace, security and economic well being rather than waste money and hopes and disregard institutionalized political cynicism and bigotry – not Obama, not Mitt Romney, not Gingrich or Bush, not Cheney, not Blair – some have been fund guilty of “crimes against humanity” others are candidates in public perceptions for war crimes against humanity.

At the State of Union address this week to both the Houses, President Obama sounded abstract economic remedies to the official ills and mismanagement and politically disconnect rhetoric except to enhance his self-image for re-election in 2012. He failed to explain the rationale of his current warmongering against Iran and made no mention to resolve the unilateral conflicts through negotiation and dialogue as he had originally claimed. The political and intellectual dishonesty was self explanatory as his thoughts barricaded in words and hollow rhetoric devoid of any appeal to human conscience and REASON in dealing with issues of grave importance to the US strategic interests. He seemed hasty, from one point to another – in between waiting for clapping sounds but embracing self-serving fantasy of oratory and power. He claimed major accomplishments killing of Osama bin Laden and continued war against long dead Al-Qaida and other unknown terrorist figures. While the ordinary American folks feel pain and anguish for their human losses for the unworthy and bogus wars on terrorism and continued financial mismanagement, Obama’s trouble is that he has gone to the dark forces of the military-industrial complex and Washington based lobbyists and worships the form of self-serving agenda and denies facilitation to the political essence of responsibility of being a people serving leader. Re-election was the motivational punch line for the State of the Union address.

Robert Kagan (“Grading of Obama’s Foreign Policy”, Foreign Policy, January 30, 2012) paints a rosy picture of his win-win stories but sees the total US troop exit from Iraq as “unnecessary and unwise” and “the deep cuts looming in defense will go a long way to undermining the U.S. position in the world.”  None of the current analytical trends indicate complete collapse of the working of the US financial institutions and 15 trillion official budgetary deficit and American political governance as the Republican presidential candidates would allege – moral and political decline in public perceptions that according to the CNN polls 83% American people disapprove the role and working of the Congress and Obama’s standing maintains a marginal static image.

Almost four years have passed since the exciting presidential election night, President Obama signaled a major shift in American policy to “rebuild America” – a visionary outlook- a picture of tomorrow’s New America, from the Audacity of Hope to the first elected colored and intellectually viable President of a collapsed superpower effectively besieged and run down by the handful of Mujahideen challenging the US war plans in Iraq and Afghanistan. Reconstruction of a nation involves rethinking from bottom–up and change of strategic direction to make it happen. After tough lifelong struggle to acquire the White House occupancy as a popularly elected President, Mr. Obama was an actor in a soap opera stage show but consciously speaking to the well informed global audience across many continents and defying physical distances and conflicting time zones to transmit refurbished optimism out of prevalent darkness of lost America that a New America will come into being with a new zeal and best opportunities for peace, liberty and freedom away from the continued wars of greed and institutionalized corruption.

Global humanity is intelligent, informed and mature enough not to long for political cynicism and dubious characterization of aims, interpretations and technical explanations. Someone as intelligent as Mr. Obama appears to be, should have known clearly what his strengths and weaknesses are, and absurdities of the people around him and how best he could have performed effectively as a new visionary President with a new colored image of considerable historic proportion at a time of a war-torn and financially bankrupt and morally exhausted American nation. After almost four years, President Obama appears to be taking the in-between seat on a rollercoaster- a new game of missing moral and intellectual credibility and engaging in a bluffing game of absurdity. As a first legal act of promised closing down the infamous Guantonmo Bay Terror prison, he failed miserably exposing a morally and intellectually weak characteristic. Obama accelerated the war activities in Iraq and Afghanistan onward to Pakistan.  Bob Woodward calls it “Obama’s War.” Paul Craig Roberts (“The World’s Least Powerful Man – the Obama Puppet”: 01/2010), points out the Obama’s tragedy in progress:

“Obama also found out that he cannot change anything else either, if he ever intended to do so. The military/security lobby has war and a domestic police state on its agenda, and a mere American president can’t do anything about it. President Obama can order the Guantanamo torture chamber closed and kidnapping and rendition and torture to be halted, but no one carries out the order. Essentially, Obama is irrelevant. President Obama can promise that he is going to bring the troops home, and the military lobby says, “No, you are going to send them to Afghanistan, and in the meantime start a war in Pakistan and maneuver Iran into a position that will provide an excuse for a war there, too. Wars are too profitable for us to let you stop them.” And the mere president has to say, “Yes, Sir!”

To blame Assange of Wikileaks for the disclosures of the US global atrocities is simply to transfer moral and political responsibility to the unknown. Wikileaks cannot destroy America but the two bogus wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have caused the US financial collapse, moral decline and political downfall. To the informed citizens of the global village, war is war and peace is peace. Wickedness and righteousness cannot be combined in one human character – one policy statement. It is unthinkable that both terms could be taken for the same meaning and purpose.  War is not synonymous to peace. After one year in the office, President Obama attempted to underscore the informed intellect and optimism of the global well wishers while speaking at the Oslo Nobel Peace Prize ceremony: “to say that force is sometimes necessary is not a call to cynicism; it is recognition of history.”  History tells us that force has been used by various transgressors when they failed to envision their strategic aims come true through bigotry and wickedness. So President Obama needs to re-read the relevant chapters of the living history. Force is necessary when diplomacy and reason fail to produce results but none are applicable to the Obama’s Presidency. Obama came into office with the declared aim to renounce war as a means for the growth of American capitalism and the future course of America foreign policy. Yet after a short span of time in the office, he wants to justify the use of naked force and bomb the graveyards of Afghanistan and continues to destroy the left-over human habitats in Pakistan. Seemingly, an entrenched President, Obama bluntly told the audience that “peace is desirable” but that is not enough whereas the cost of the war will be that “some will kill, some will be killed.” With gruesome outlook, in moments and crossing over the unthinkable time hurdles, Obama assumed the role of a War President instead of being a Peace President. The souls of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. must have been tortured and tarnished how a President of Hope is fast changing to be a President off the people and far the people.

In view of his intellectual foresights, it was improbable to imagine that a majority elected President Obama could renegade his own publicly pronounced commitment for change and ANEW America for a sustainable New World Order. To transform the pacifists into optimists, to energize the depressed with new hope and motivate the soft-hearted and peace loving masses of the US, you had enliven them with a new vision when you declared the intent for a new dialogue and friendship with the Muslim world at the day of your official inauguration. You had the courage and commitment to tell the Arabian audience at Cairo visit (2009) enthusiastically:

“I’ve come here to Cairo to seek a new beginning between the United States and Muslims around the world, one based on mutual interest and mutual respect, and one based upon the truth that America and Islam are not exclusive and need not be in competition….As a student of history, I also know civilization’s debt to Islam.  It was Islam — at places like Al-Azhar — that carried the light of learning through so many centuries, paving the way for Europe’s Renaissance and Enlightenment.  It was innovation in Muslim communities – it was innovation in Muslim communities that developed the order of algebra; our magnetic compass and tools of navigation; our mastery of pens and printing; our understanding of how disease spreads and how it can be healed.  Islamic culture has given us majestic arches and soaring spires; timeless poetry and cherished music; elegant calligraphy and places of peaceful contemplation.  And throughout history, Islam has demonstrated through words and deeds the possibilities of religious tolerance and racial equality.”

President Obama crafted the illusion of HOPE and willful bluffing strategy to talk of peace and harmony amongst varied nations and more so to your global well wishers for a New World of friendly relationship between the US and the Muslim world. It was all charged deceit and bluffing to kill the time and find new issues to reassert the American absolute authoritarianism in global affairs.  Mr. President, you wanted to appear proactive and smart to talk about peace-building and bridging the generational gaps between the conflicting ethnic and religious fantasies and you did that enthusiastically in your performance at the Oslo Nobel Peace ceremony on December 10, 2009.

Mr. Obama (“Son of Africa” as Ghaddafi addressed you), you knew well that America is broke in moral and political standing and that the nations of the world even some of your closest European friends do not take the US on its own words. The crippling images are outcomes of the American failed warmongering in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan. During the election campaigns, you promised to reverse the Bush’s era violations of human rights, torture and the savagery of killings across the globe but once you were in the White House, you preferred marriage of convenience to settle down in Bush’s psychopathic behavior as business as usual. You know your talents, abilities and limitations, you have never been to any war fronts in your whole life – like George Bush, you are a drawing room decorated legal Commander-in. Chief, you have no capacity to win these wars nor a strategy to bring your troops home safely and alive. Time is ticking fast if and when you will sit face to face to your assumed enemies to workout safe exist for your fighting men.

Do you think that the global humanity is totally dumb or that ignorant to believe in you and the mockery of your contentious war policy aims? According to Michael Meacher, the British Minister of Environment in PM Tony Blair Cabinet (“This War on Terrorism is Bogus”, The Guardian, Sept 6, 2003), explains that the overriding motivation for the war on terror has been the scarcity of hydrocarbon energy supplies and the US and UK will run out of sufficient supplies by 2010. Whereas, the Islamic world will control 60% of the global oil production and equally important, 95% of the remaining oil export capacity. Minister Meacher concludes that “the global war on terrorism has the hallmarks of a political myth propagated to pave the way for a wholly different agenda – The US goal of world hegemony built around securing by force command over the oil supplies required to drive the whole project.”

Had the President stayed on the right course for change “Yes We Can”, he would have scored high popularity standing not just within America but in global perception as an optimistic President powerful enough to mould and shape the future of the world with America leading as a power of influence, intellect and morally strong political values as was its history. One fundamental factor is often ignored by most American scholars that none of these guys waging the wars from their drawing rooms ever fought on a real war front, their advisors (including the former speech writer David Frum who indoctrinated George Bush to assert the notion of “axis of evil”) brief them to talk, but war is not about talking, it is madness of killing fellow human beings under the glued labels of hatred and animosity and nothing else.

Why the intents and real purposes of the War on Terrorism are politically so secretive that none of the US policy makers would dare to talk in public – the wars and the 9/11? Imagine, if the actions of President Bush were legally and politically justifiable, was India not justifiable by the same legal precedent to invade the US after the Union Carbide’s plant gas leak had killed approximately 8,000 to 12,000 civilians in Bhopal in few minutes in1984. Aftermath of the gas leaks affected millions of others in that state. But India did not threaten the US with force and opted for reason to prevail over the perpetuated tragedy. Could it be that human victims of the Indian tragedy were not viewed as important and valuable as were the casualties of the 9/11 in American crafted media images?  What makes terrorism of the few so intimately aligned to the US politics and friends of the Bush family elite as suddenly undesirable and marked to be killed along with millions of other innocent people throughout the world? Is there a secretive puzzle and political dimension untold and unknown to the genius of the global community?

“It was curious,” wrote Orwell in Nineteen Eighty-Four, “to think that the sky was the same for everybody, in Eurasia or Eastasia as well as here. And the people under the sky were also very much the same, everywhere, all over the world … people ignorant of one another’s existence, held apart by walls of hatred and lies, and yet almost exactly the same people who … were storing up in their hearts and bellies and muscles the power that would one day overturn the world.” (John Pilger, “Welcome to Orwell’s World 2010”).  Obviously, in a short span of time, according to Paul Craig Roberts, President Obama has reverted to become “the World’s Least Powerful Man – the Obama Puppet” (ICH: 01/2010). Roberts explains that:

“No American national interest is served by the war in Afghanistan. As the former UK Ambassador Craig Murray disclosed, the purpose of the war is to protect Unocal’s interest in the Trans-Afghanistan pipeline. The cost of the war is many times greater than Unocal’s investment in the pipeline. The obvious solution is to buy out Unocal and give the pipeline to the Afghans as partial compensation for the destruction we have inflicted on that country and its population, and bring the troops home.”

At the 2009 Cairo gathering, President Obama reiterated the proactive policy aim in “change” by using diplomacy, not force to resolve the conflicts: “Let me also address the issue of Iraq.  Unlike Afghanistan, Iraq was a war of choice that provoked strong differences in my country and around the world.  Although I believe that the Iraqi people are ultimately better off without the tyranny of Saddam Hussein, I also believe that events in Iraq have reminded America of the need to use diplomacy and build international consensus to resolve our problems whenever possible. Indeed, we can recall the words of Thomas Jefferson, who said:  “I hope that our wisdom will grow with our power, and teach us that the less we use our power the greater it will be.” You were right on Mr. President, somehow the imbalanced scale of power vs. wisdom failed to materialize. The soft hearted US masses are caught in the middle. America is fighting with itself, with its own ideals to defy the aims and spirit of its own Thomas Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence:

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. That to secure these rights, Governments arc instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government. (American Declaration of Independence: 07/04/1776)

The US news media reported that for days President Obama worked on his own on the Oslo Nobel Peace speech composition. Obama must have felt lonely as the American publics do not seem to share his conviction and outlook on the continued bogus wars on terrorism. How strange that Mr. Obama was elected enthusiastically by the will and passion of the American electorates, yet, he is overriding the primary interest of his own people in prolonging the wars of aggressions across the globe. It is estimated that the US and Britain forces alone have killed three million civilians in Iraq and devastated large parts of the human habitats in Iraq and Afghanistan. Is this the on-going bloodbath of the innocent humanity not the premeditated genocide? Would President Obama assume the responsibility for the wars including the possibility of crimes committed against the humanity? One of the important features of the 21st century effective leadership is to be listening and learning enabling the leaders to be responsible to those who have expressed faith and trust in them. Would President Obama analyze his role and the policy outcomes for a navigational change?

What needs to be changed by President Obama is to live upto the proclaimed hopes and commitments made to the American masses during the elections?  Adam Curtis, the author and producer of the Nightmares, BBC world famous documentary on the false pretext of the War on Terrorism streamlines the facts of human affairs and political falsification: “In the past, politicians promised to create a better world. They had different ways of achieving this. But their power and authority came from the optimistic visions they offered to their people. Those dreams failed. And today, people have lost faith in ideologies. Increasingly, politicians are seen simply as managers of public life. But now, they have discovered a new role that restores their power and authority. Instead of delivering dreams, politicians now promise to protect us from nightmares. They say that they will rescue us from dreadful dangers that we cannot see and do not understand. And the greatest danger of all is international terrorism. A powerful and sinister network, with sleeper cells in countries across the world. A threat that needs to be fought by a war on terror. But much of this threat is a fantasy, which has been exaggerated and distorted by politicians. It is a dark illusion that has spread unquestioned through governments around the world, the security services, and the international media.”

To replace peacemaking with the nightmare of the war, President Obama offered no different discourse at the Oslo Nobel Peace Prize gathering than what Adam Curtis is reiterating to the whole world. Reconstruction of America would have involved the visionary leadership, a new THINKING to change the course and direction of the US foreign policy and warmongering and a new beginning to stop the wars of aggression in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan, but these hopes were mere words, not part of the current US policy or rational thinking.

If President Obama was serious enough to rebuild America, he would need a navigational change and start THINKING anew, a different perspective to understand the prevalent realities of the world and put an end to the bloodshed carried on with active US forces and support to many self-styled illegitimate dictators and politicians in those countries implementing the American war agenda. Renee Parsons – former lobbyist for Friends of the Earth in Washington (“US Plans for Perpetual War” ICH, 01/27/2012) captioned the prevalent Obama’s naïve momentum:  “With the world’s largest military force including an incomparable nuclear arsenal and a budget to match, exactly who are we protecting the Homeland from — and what condition will it be in when they arrive? If al Qaeda’s goal was to destroy the country’s quality of life, its economic prosperity or its high regard for the First Amendment and civil liberties while creating a second-rate banana republic, they have done a terrific job.”

Historically, all those leaders and powers challenging the Laws of God ended up in self-defeats and got destroyed by natural causes of earthquakes, flooding and  sound blasts. The US cannot fight against God and Islam – it does not have the weapons or the capacity to achieve that goal.

Paul Craig Roberts (“Drowning in Hypocrisy”paulcraigroberts.org: 01/24/2012), shares crucial knowledge-based observations and a rational context to President Obama’s excelsior across the Rubicons:

“But it is in the War Crimes Arena where Washington shows the greatest hypocrisy. The self-righteous bigots in Washington are forever rounding up heads of weak states whose countries were afflicted by civil wars and sending them off to be tried as war criminals. All the while Washington indiscriminately kills large numbers of civilians in six or more countries, dismissing its own war crimes as “collateral damage.” Washington violates its own law and international law by torturing people…… There is no question that Bush/Cheney/Obama have trashed the US Constitution, US statutory law, and international law. But Washington, having overthrown justice, has established that might is right. No foreign government is going to send its forces into the US to drag the war criminals out and place them on trial………War abroad and austerity at home is the policy that is being imposed on the western “democracies.”

Dr. Mahboob A. Khawaja specializes in global affairs (global security, peace and conflict resolution) and comparative Western-Islamic cultures and civilizations, and author of several publications including the latest one: Arabia at Crossroads: Arab People Strive for Freedom, Peace and New Leadership. VDM Publishers, Germany, September 2011. Comments are welcome at: kmahboob@yahoo.com)

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