Sunday, January 1, 2006

The US and Iran: Is Washington Planning a Military Strike? - International - SPIEGEL ONLINE - News

There's been a continuing confrontation between the U.S., the E.U. and Iran over Iran's nuclear power program. Iran has been building nuclear reactors, some of which weren't initially disclosed to the International Atomic Energy Commission, and whose designs could be used to build weapons grade nuclear material. They've promised up and down, those reactors were purely for "peaceful" purposes, but then why would they choose a nuclear reaction that produces weapons grade material if they had a peaceful purpose? Especially as they hid the existance of the reactors?

Coincidentally Iran's plan helps justify the neocon plan to rearrange the political map of the Middle East. So it shouldn't be surprising the Bush administration has been taking a hardline stance towards Iran. The neocon agenda is to create a war against Iran, and taking a hardline stance is the way to gaurantee a war. It worked in Iraq didn't it?

This has been developing for awhile, and as I've posted before it appears to be following the same pattern as was used to cook up justification to attack Iraq. Pressure has been kept hard on Iran, and the Bush Administration rhetoric has been that "all options are on the table" just as they said with Iraq.

In the case of the attack on Iraq, all the justifications given by the administration have been proven to be false. And it's clear that the administration knew the falsity of most of their statements while they were claiming up and down it was all true. In other words, they were lying. And lots of people around the world, including the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, have said the war in Iraq is illegal etc.

On the other hand the allegations against Iran are largely true. Iran itself has admitted to having this nuclear program. And it is a worry to have nuclear weapon capabilities proliferate beyond the set of countries that currently have that capability. So it's a puzzle where to stand. The Bush Administration has a very poor track record, and are obviously holding an agenda dating back to the mid-90's (or further) to destroy Iran's government.

In any case, right now there are some serious rumors being published in Germany saying the U.S. is clearly planning to launch an attack on Iran.

Here's some pointers to discussion:

The US and Iran: Is Washington Planning a Military Strike? (December 30, 2005, Der SPIEGEL ONLINE)

US planning strike against Iran (Dec. 31, 2005 19:33, By JPOST.COM STAFF)

Rumors Of War (January 01, 2006, Past Peak blog)

Attacking Iran (December 31, 2005, John Robb's weblog)

The source is an article in the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel. I don't have a link to that article (and no doubt it's in German) but the Der Spiegel article is a good substitute:

In a report published on Wednesday, the Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel also cited NATO intelligence sources claiming that Washington's western allies had been informed that the United States is currently investigating all possibilities of bringing the mullah-led regime into line, including military options. Of course, Bush has publicly stated for months that he would not take the possibility of a military strike off the table. What's new here, however, is that Washington appears to be dispatching high-level officials to prepare its allies for a possible attack rather than merely implying the possibility as it has repeatedly done during the past year.

... According to DDP, during his trip to Turkey, CIA chief Goss reportedly handed over three dossiers to Turkish security officials that purportedly contained evidence that Tehran is cooperating with Islamic terror network al-Qaida. A further dossier is said to contain information about the current status of Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program. Sources in German security circles told the DDP reporter that Goss had ensured Ankara that the Turkish government would be informed of any possible air strikes against Iran a few hours before they happened. The Turkish government has also been given the "green light" to strike camps of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) in Iran on the day in question.

... But the string of visits by high-profile US politicians to Turkey and surrounding reports are drawing new attention to the issue. In recent weeks, the number of American and NATO security officials heading to Ankara has increased dramatically. Within a matter of only days, the FBI chief, then the CIA chief and, most recently, NATO General Secretary Jaap De Hoop Scheffer visited the Turkish capital. During her visit to Europe earlier this month, US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also traveled to Turkey after a stopover in Berlin.

Leading the chorus of speculation are Turkish newspapers, which have also sought to connect these visits to plans for an attack on Iran. But so far none of the speculation has been based on hard facts. Writing about the meeting between Porter Goss and Tayyip Erdogan, the left-nationalist newspaper Cumhuriyet wrote: "Now It's Iran's Turn." But the paper didn't offer any evidence to corroborate the claims.

So the Der Spiegel article is not claiming outright there's a war being prepared. But it points to evidence something is going on, even if it's being kept secret enough we aren't knowing what it's about. The Jerusalem Post article is, then, overhyping the truth for some reason. Perhaps the people in Israel are more alarmed by Iran, because the President of Iran has made repeated speeches recently calling for Israel to be wiped off the map, claiming the Holocaust was a hoax, etc.

Iran rejects Russia nuclear plan (Jan 1, 2006, BBC): Russia apparently proposed doing nuclear processing on their terroritory, so that Iran wouldn't be doing the processing. I think the worry is about the expansion of the number of countries who have nuclear weapons capability. In the Der Spiegel article it quoted some General saying that the time to act is "now" because if we wait too long Iran will have their nuclear capability and it will be too late. But Iran rejected the Russian plan.

Iran vows 'crushing response' to attack by U.S., Israel (Haaretz): Tough talk between Iran and Israel just proving they don't like each other. The article provides an interesting overview of the tensions.

US planning to strike Iran's nuke facilities: Report (January 01, 2006 19:36 IST, Describes the proposed attack on Iran as just to destroy the nuclear facilities, rather than an all-out war. I suppose they might be hoping for something like Israel's 80's attack on Iraq's nuclear facilities. But in todays Middle East I suspect it would only fan the flames further, seeing the U.S. as an occupying power.

A 2006 U.S. plan to attack Iran detailed (12/31/2005 10:20:00 PM GMT, Details the same story as above, but adds to it a statement by Cheney in Jan 2005. He made a vague statement to MSNBC that Israel might be doing the dirty work (bombing Iran's nuclear facilities) leaving the rest of the international community to clean up the consequences later. Hurm.


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