Monday, March 12, 2012

Hey, you do it! Will USA attack Iran?

This is the heart of the matter.  It is extremely unlikely that Israel can pull off a successful bombing mission against Iran.  So naturally, they want USA to do it for them.  The USA military seems to not want to get involved.  But that doesn't mean Israel won't try every trick in the book to get USA to do their dirty work.  Meanwhile, the military seems to be doing whatever it can to impress Israel they are tough without actually getting into a large-scale shooting war in the Persian Gulf.  The question will be—Will USA armed forces be tough enough to stand up to the crazy warmongers who are threatening Armageddon?

‘Israeli spies against military strike on Iran’ – ex-ambassador

Despite Israel’s rulers pushing for an attack on Iran, intelligence does not recommend it, Thomas R. Pickering, former US Ambassador to Israel, told RT. It is mutual distrust between Iran and the US that stalls the diplomatic settlement, he believes.

“The really interesting thing about the Israeli situation is…that the heads of the three Israeli intelligence services do not seem to be recommending any military attack. They seem to be against it, for good reasons: it involves many too many risks and complications and it is unlikely to achieve, in any serious and continuing way, the objective of stopping the Iranian program,” Thomas R. Pickering said.

Israel has announced recently that it will take a decision on whether or not to strike Iran independently, without the US’s authorization. Pickering believes the attack would not be the wisest bet.

“I believe if you were to attack Iran militarily under the current situation, one result would be that they will have a perfectly legitimate reason for saying ‘We had no interest in a bomb, but now that we have been attacked we obviously have to make a bomb.’ So it is counterproductive,” he added.

Just like the Americans do not trust Iran, the Iranians have their reasons to be suspicious of the US, Pickering said, and this disrupts the very possibility of diplomatic settlement of the ongoing crisis.

“Iran has sat down and catalogued all the things that it sees negative about the United States: overthrow of Mossadegh, support of the Shah, support of Iraq during the eight-year war, the shoot down of the airplane by the cruiser Vincennes, sanctions and all of these things hemming Iran around. What do they conclude? ‘They must want to change our government!’” he said. more
Well, Pickering, we hope you are right.  The following seems more like the normal state of affairs.
‘Israel to US: I’m off to Iran… You’d better come…!’

Published: 06 March, 2012, 14:10

It seems Israel’s leadership considers that its strategic, military, diplomatic and political ‘window of opportunity’ to make war against Iran is fast closing.

Israeli and US leaders seem united in their strategic goal of destroying Iran – as they were in destroying Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan – but they’re also at loggerheads as to which tactical road to tread.

The US prefers more economic and diplomatic pressure, coupled with continued covert operations inside Syria until the Assad government collapses and then Iran can be dealt with.

Israel favors unilateral all-out military attack against Iran now.

Either way, this week may mark the final days of very intensive talks between US leaders and Israeli leaders. Last week, Israel’s president Shimon Peres and ultra-right Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman were in Washington putting pressure on US authorities, calling for immediate military action against Iran. Then, on Monday President Barack Obama welcomed Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the White House, reassuring him that “the United States will always have Israel’s back” and that whilst the United States “would prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon”, he added that, “we do believe there is still a window that allows for a diplomatic resolution to this issue.”

Still, tensions have been running high between the two countries. When US General Martin Dempsey called for moderation over Iran, it earned him Mr. Netanyahu’s accusation of being “a servant of Iran”.

Whatever finally happens, it will have to happen soon, because Israel, the US and the UK are very much aware that like the proverbial boy that cried “Wolf!” until nobody believed him anymore, they just cannot continue crying “We’re gonna take out Iran over its nukes!” and then do nothing.

Last week’s meetings in the US were particularly important. They had President Obama visiting for the Nth time the pro-Israel lobby AIPAC – American Israeli Public Affairs Committee – an organization that wields tremendous political, economic, financial, media and military leverage inside the US. So much so that at times it seems that AIPAC and the intricate network of pro-Zionist organizations it is part of, literally run the country. For AIPAC is the key transmission system whereby Israeli objectives and interests are imposed upon the US government, Congress and its media; and they do this in no uncertain terms.

Anybody who dares criticize AIPAC will immediately be struck by its Olympian bolts of lightning and branded an “Anti-Semite”, which is the very worst thing that can happen to any politician, diplomat, military officer, academic or journalist in the United States of America.

Among those hit by such Israeli lightning, are former president Jimmy Carter, his National Security Advisor and Trilateral Commission ideologue Zbigniew Brzezinski, and academics Stephen Walt of the Kennedy School at Harvard University and John Mearsheimer of Chicago University. more
This thoughtful little piece is by Chris Hedges who spent seven years as the Middle East bureau chief of the New York Times.  Not surprisingly, he isn't a big fan of the foreign policy meddling by the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
AIPAC Works for the 1 Percent
By Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges gave this talk Saturday night in Washington, D.C., at the Occupy AIPAC protest, organized by CODEPINK Women for Peace and other peace, faith and solidarity groups.

March 05, 2012 "Truthdig" --The battle for justice in the Middle East is our battle. It is part of the vast, global battle against the 1 percent. It is about living rather than dying. It is about communicating rather than killing. It is about love rather than hate. It is part of the great battle against the corporate forces of death that reign over us—the fossil fuel industry, the weapons manufacturers, the security and surveillance state, the speculators on Wall Street, the oligarchic elites who assault our poor, our working men and women, our children, one in four of whom depend on food stamps to eat, the elites who are destroying our ecosystem with its trees, its air and its water and throwing into doubt our survival as a species.

What is being done in Gaza, the world’s largest open-air prison, is a pale reflection of what is slowly happening to the rest of us. It is a window into the rise of the global security state, our new governing system that the political philosopher Sheldon Wolin calls “inverted totalitarianism.” It is a reflection of a world where the powerful are not bound by law, either on Wall Street or in the shattered remains of the countries we invade and occupy, including Iraq with its hundreds of thousands of dead. And one of the greatest purveyors of this demented ideology of violence for the sake of violence, this flagrant disregard for the rule of domestic and international law, is the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, or AIPAC.

I spent seven years in the Middle East. I was the Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times. I lived for two of those seven years in Jerusalem. AIPAC does not speak for Jews or for Israel. It is a mouthpiece for right-wing ideologues, some of whom hold power in Israel and some of whom hold power in Washington, who believe that because they have the capacity to war wage they have a right to wage war, whose loyalty, in the end, is not to the citizens of Israel or Palestine or the United States but the corporate elites, the defense contractors, those who make war a business, those who have turned ordinary Palestinians, Israelis and Americans, along with hundreds of millions of the world’s poor, into commodities to exploit, repress and control.

We have not brought freedom, democracy and the virtues of Western civilization to the Muslim world. We have brought state terrorism, massive destruction, war and death. There is no moral distinction between a drone strike and the explosion of the improvised explosive device, between a suicide bombing and a targeted assassination. We have used the iron fist of the American military to implant our oil companies in Iraq, occupy Afghanistan and ensure that the Muslim world remains submissive and compliant. We have supported a government in Israel that has carried out egregious war crimes in Lebanon and Gaza and is daily stealing larger and larger portions of Palestinian land. We have established a network of military bases, some the size of small cities, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Kuwait, and we have secured basing rights in the Gulf states of Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emirates. We have expanded our military operations to Uzbekistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Egypt, Algeria and Yemen. And no one believes, except perhaps us, that we have any intention of leaving.

And let us not forget that deep inside our secret world of offshore penal colonies, black sites, and torture and interrogation centers, we practice the cruelty and barbarity that always accompanies unchecked imperial power. There were scores of graphic pictures and videos from the prison in Abu Ghraib that were swiftly classified and hidden from public view. And in these videos, as Seymour Hersh reported, mothers who were arrested with their young sons, often children, watched in horror as their boys were repeatedly sodomized. This was filmed. And on the soundtrack you hear the boys shrieking. And the mothers were smuggling notes out to their families saying, “Come and kill us because of what is happening.”

We are the biggest problem in the Middle East. It is we who legitimize the Mahmoud Ahmadinejads, suicide bombers and radical jihadists. The longer we drop iron fragmentation bombs and seize Muslim land, the longer we kill with impunity, the more these monsters, reflections of our own distorted image, will proliferate.

“If you gaze into the abyss,” Friedrich Nietzsche wrote, “the abyss gazes into you.”

I am no friend of the Iranian regime, which helped create and arm Hezbollah, is certainly meddling in Iraq, has persecuted human rights activists, gays, women and religious and ethnic minorities, embraces racism and intolerance, and uses its power to deny popular will. And yes, it is a regime that appears determined to build a nuclear weapon,(Geeze, Hedges, sometimes the liberal habit of repeating the official lies is truly annoyingalthough I would stress that no one has offered any proof this is occurring.  I have spent time in Iranian jails. I was once deported from Tehran in handcuffs. But I do not remember Iran orchestrating a coup in the United States to replace an elected government with a brutal dictator who for decades persecuted, assassinated and imprisoned democracy activists. I do not remember Iran arming and funding a neighboring state to wage war against our country. Iran never shot down one of our passenger jets, as did the USS Vincennes—nicknamed Robocruiser by the crews of other American vessels—when in June 1988 it fired missiles at an Airbus filled with Iranian civilians, killing everyone on board. Iran is not sponsoring terrorist strikes within the United States, as our intelligence services and the Israeli intelligence services currently do in Iran. We have not seen five of our top nuclear scientists since 2007 murdered on American soil. The attacks in Iran include suicide bombings, kidnappings, beheadings, sabotage and “targeted assassinations” of government officials and other Iranian leaders. What would we do if the situation were reversed? How would we react if Iran carried out similar acts of terrorism against us?

We are, and have long been, the primary engine for radicalism in the Middle East. The greatest favor we can do for democracy activists in Iran, as well as in Iraq, Afghanistan, the Gulf and the states that dot North Africa, is to withdraw our troops from the region and begin to speak to Iranians and the rest of the Muslim world in the civilized language of diplomacy, respect and mutual interests. The longer we cling to the doomed doctrine of permanent war the more we give credibility to the extremists who need, indeed yearn for, an enemy that speaks in the same crude slogans of nationalist cant and violence that they do. The louder the Israelis and their idiot allies in Washington call for the bombing of Iran to thwart its nuclear ambitions, the happier are the morally bankrupt clerics who are ordering the beating and murder of demonstrators. We may laugh when crowds supporting [President] Ahmadinejad call us “the Great Satan,” but there is a very palpable reality that informs the terrible algebra of their hatred. And since even the most optimistic scenarios say that any strike on Iranian nuclear installations will at best set back Iran’s alleged weapons program by [only] three or four years, we can be sure that violence will beget violence, just as fanaticism begets fanaticism.

The hypocrisy of this vaunted moral crusade is not lost on those in the Middle East. Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Pakistan, India and Israel did not and developed nuclear weapons programs in secret. Israel now has an estimated 400 to 600 nuclear weapons. The word “Dimona,” the name of the city where the nuclear facilities are located in Israel, is shorthand in the Muslim world for the deadly Israeli threat to Muslims’ existence. more
This is a small comfort, but Israel has been screaming about Iran's nuclear ambitions for 20 years.  Iran still doesn't have a nuke and Israel still hasn't attacked them.  I would like this situation to remain as is, thank you very much.
Netanyahu 1992: Iran will Have the Bomb by 1997
Posted on 03/06/2012 by Juan Cole

Scott Peterson at the Christian Science Monitor did a useful timeline for dire Israeli and US predictions of an imminent Iranian nuclear weapon, beginning 20 years ago.
  • 1992: Israeli member of parliament Binyamin Netanyahu predicts that Iran was “3 to 5 years” from having a nuclear weapon.
  • 1992: Israeli Foreign Minister Shimon Peres predicts an Iranian nuclear warhead by 1999 to French TV.
  • 1995: The New York Times quotes US and Israeli officials saying that Iran would have the bomb by 2000.
  • 1998: Donald Rumsfeld tells Congress that Iran could have an intercontinental ballistic missile that could hit the US by 2003. more
George Galloway uses this speech to ridicule the USA for listening to AIPAC on Iran and at one point warns that if Iran is attacked, oil WILL cease to flow from the Persian Gulf—even at $500 a barrel—and this will plunge the global economy into chaos.

This is just one entry from a long list of the weapons Iran has purchased over the last couple of decades.  If you have an oil income, the world's arms merchants WILL show up at your door.
FROM MOSKIT TO MiG: Check Out Iran's Fearsome Military Arsenal
The Oil Drum | Mar. 5, 2012

The Oil Drum's Luis de Sousa analyzes Iran's arsenal at the critical Strait of Hormuz. This list isn't exhaustive and includes only military information made available to the public.

SS-N-22 Moskit

The Moskit was designed at the end of the Cold War by the USSR

This is the most important sea warfare weapon Iran has. Originally called Moskit, it was designed at the end of the Cold War by the USSR specifically to avoid NATO anti-missile defences.

First of all it is very fast, cruising at Mach 3 at high altitude and Mach 2.2 near the surface; at maximum speed this missile can cross the Strait of Hormuz from coast to coast in less than one minute.

Secondly it is capable of executing random changes of direction when closing the target, thus making it very difficult for automatic defences to calculate its trajectory. This is a large missile, weighing 4.5 tones, capable of transporting a warhead of 320 kg; its range is reported differently from different sources but modern versions seem to reach more than 100 km. This technology was inherited by Russia who has continued their development, producing more advanced versions. This family of missiles is usually referenced as the deadliest naval weapon in existence, with an accuracy rate over 99%.

Visiting Moscow in 2001 the Iranian Defence Minister requested a demonstration of these missiles and was impressed enough to order an undisclosed amount. Apart from this information is scant, though speculation abounds. Iran certainly has this weapon, but in what quantities and exactly which version is not public. Was the order in 2001 the only one or has Iran continued to buy these missiles? Has Iran acquired older or modern versions, in particular the upgraded Yukhon?

In the first years of the last decade, when it became known Russia was selling these missiles to China, India and Iran, there was speculation that NATO had no effective defence against them. Being known for more than two decades at the time, NATO surely has had the time to study ways to defend itself against these weapons. Nevertheless, NATO has never faced such missiles in combat and considering the close distances in the Strait and the possibility of Iran using several of them in a simultaneous attack, the hypothesis of relevant damage inflicted in case they ever come to be employed seems reasonable. (much more)

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