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|Topic: On Iran|
Joined: 27 July 2006
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| Topic: On Iran
Posted: 24 August 2006 at 5:32pm
Bush Ensured Iran Offer Would Be Rejected
8.22.2006 -- Even before Iran gave its formal counter-offer to ambassadors of the P5+1 countries (the US, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China) Tuesday, the George W. Bush administration had already begun the process of organising sanctions against Iran.
Washington had already held a conference call on sanctions Sunday with French, German and British officials, the Washington Post reported.
Thus ends what appeared on the surface to be a genuine multilateral initiative for negotiations with Iran on the terms under which it would give up its nuclear programme. But the history of that P5+1 proposal shows that the Bush administration was determined from the beginning that it would fail, so that could bring to a halt a multilateral diplomacy on Iran's nuclear programme that the hard-liners in the administration had always found a hindrance to their policy.
Britain, France and Germany, which had begun negotiations with Tehran on the nuclear issue in October 2003, had concluded very early on that Iran's security concerns would have to be central to any agreement. It is has been generally forgotten that the Nov. 14, 2004 Paris Agreement between the EU and Iran included an assurance by the three European states that the "long-term agreement" they pledged to reach would "provide ... firm commitments on security issues."
The European three had tried in vain to get the Bush administration to support their diplomatic efforts with Tehran by authorising the inclusion of security guarantees in a proposal they were working on last summer. In a joint press conference with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in July 2005, French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy referred to the need to "make sure ... that we discuss with [the Iranians] the security of their country. And for this, we shall need the United States ... "
The European three and the Bush administration agreed that the P5+1 proposal would demand that Iran make three concessions to avoid Security Council sanctions and to begin negotiations on an agreement with positive incentives: the indefinite suspension of its enrichment programme, agreement to resolve all the outstanding concerns of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and resumption of full implementation of the Additional Protocol, which calls for very tight monitoring of all suspected nuclear sites by the IAEA.
That meant that Tehran would have to give up its major bargaining chips before the negotiations even began. The Europeans wanted security guarantees from Washington to be part of the deal. Douste-Blazy said on May 8 if Iran cooperated, it could be rewarded with what he called an "ambitious package" in several economic domains as well as in "the security domain."
The European 3 draft proposal, which was leaked to ABC News and posted on its website, included a formula that fell short of an explicit guarantee. However, it did offer "support for an inter-governmental forum, including countries of the region and other interested countries, to promote dialogue and cooperation on security issues in the Persian Gulf, with the aim of establishing regional security arrangements and a cooperative relationship on regional security arrangements including guarantees for territorial integrity and political sovereignty."
That convoluted language suggested there was a way for Iran's security to be guaranteed by the United States. But the problem was that it was still subject to a U.S. veto. In any case, as Steven R. Weisman of the New York Times reported on May 19, the Bush administration rejected any reference to a regional security framework in which Iran could participate.
Rice denied on Fox News May 21 that the United States was being "asked about security guarantees", but that was deliberately misleading. As a European diplomat explained to Reuters on May 20, the only reason the Europeans had not used the term "security guarantees" in their draft was that "Washington is against giving Iran assurances that it will not be attacked."
In light of these news reports, the public comment by Iran's U.N. Ambassador Javad Zarif May 27 is particularly revealing. Zarif declared that the incentive package "needs to deal with issues that are fundamental to the resolution" of the problem. "The solution has to take into consideration Iranian concerns."
Zarif seems to have been saying that Iran wanted to get something of comparable importance for giving up its bargaining chips in advance and discussing the renunciation of enrichment altogether. That statement, which departed from Iran's usual emphasis on its right to nuclear technology under the Non-Proliferation Treaty, suggested that Tehran was at least open to the possibility of a "grand bargain" with Washington such as the one it had outlined in a secret proposal to the Bush administration in April 2003.
The partners of the United States in the P5+1 made one more effort to convince Rice to reconsider the U.S. position at their final meeting in Vienna Jun. 1 to reach agreement on a proposal. As Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov revealed in a talk with Russian media the following day, the issue of security guarantees for Iran was raised by the negotiating partners of the U.S. at that meeting.
But the Bush administration again rebuffed the idea of offering positive security incentives to Iran. In the final text of the proposal, the European scheme for a regional security system was reduced to an anodyne reference to a "conference to promote dialogue and cooperation on regional security issues".
The Europeans, Russians and Chinese knew this outcome doomed the entire exercise to failure. In the end, only the United States could offer the incentives needed to make a bargain attractive to Iran. A European official who had been involved in the discussions was quoted in a Jun. 1 Reuters story as saying, "We have neither big enough carrots nor big enough sticks to persuade the Iranians, if they are open to persuasion at all."
Despite the desire of other members of the P5+1 for a genuine diplomatic offer to Iran that could possibly lead to an agreement on its nuclear programme, the Bush administration's intention was just the opposite.
Bush's objective was to free the administration of the constraint of multilateral diplomacy. The administration evidently reckoned that, once the Iranians had rejected the formal offer from the P5+1, it would be free to take whatever actions it might choose, including a military strike against Iran. Thus the Jun. 5 proposal, with its implicit contempt for Iran's security interests, reflected the degree to which the administration has anchored its policy toward Iran in its option to use force.
As Washington now seeks to the clear the way for the next phase of its confrontation with Iran, Bush is framing the issue as one of Iranian defiance of the Security Council rather than U.S. refusal to deal seriously with a central issue in the negotiations. "There must consequences if people thumb their noses at the United Nations Security Council," Bush said Monday.
If the European three, Russia and China, allow Bush to get away with that highly distorted version of what happened, the world will have taken another step closer to general war in the Middle East. Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service
"Significant Gaps" in American Intelligence on Iran
8.24.2006 -- A congressional report yesterday warned that the US was facing "significant gaps" in its intelligence on Iran that could be as serious as the shortcomings in its prewar knowledge about Iraq, leaving Washington ill-prepared to assess Tehran's military capabilities.
The warning came as the Bush administration struggled to hold together an international coalition to force Iran to give up its nuclear programme. On Tuesday, Iran rejected a UN security council ultimatum to give up uranium enrichment by the end of this month, responding instead with a 21-page proposal for "serious talks". US diplomats said yesterday they were consulting their European allies on how to treat the proposal, in the face of Russian and Chinese reluctance to impose strong sanctions.
"We acknowledge that Iran considers its response as a serious offer, and we will review it," state department spokesman Gonzalo Gallegos said in a statement. "The response, however, falls short of the conditions set by the security council, which require the full and verifiable suspension of all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. We are consulting closely, including with other members of the security council, on next steps."
A new report by the staff of the House of Representatives intelligence committee suggested that the administration was ill-equipped to drive a hard bargain. It found "significant gaps in our knowledge and understanding of the various areas of concern about Iran" and said "policymakers will need high-quality intelligence to assess Iranian intentions to prepare for any new round of negotiations".
Iran, by contrast, is widely considered to be in a strong negotiating position. Analysis published yesterday by the Royal Institute of International Affairs at Chatham House said there was "little doubt that Iran has been the chief beneficiary of the war on terror in the Middle East".
The report said Iran had gained from the defeat of two of its most immediate regional rivals, Saddam Hussein in Iraq and the Taliban in Afghanistan.
"The US-driven agenda for confronting Iran is severely compromised by the confident ease with which Iran sits in its region," it said. "Iran views Iraq as its own backyard and has now superseded the US as the most influential power there."
The month-long war between Hizbullah and Israel has strengthened Iran's regional influence further, because the Arab world perceived the US as uncritically backing Israel. Hizbullah, backed by Iran, saw its status soar in Arab public opinion for its ability to survive Israeli attacks.
UN diplomats said any concerted response to Iran's offer of talks would only come after a report on its nuclear programme by the International Atomic Energy Agency at the end of this month. Julian Borger, The Guardian
Joined: 27 July 2006
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|Posted: 31 August 2006 at 12:21pm|
Carter Agrees to Hold Talks With Khatami
Ex-president of Iran to visit US amid tensions over Tehran's nuclear program.
8.31.2006 -- For an event that would turn a page in American history, former president Jimmy Carter has agreed in principle to host former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami for talks during his visit to the United States starting this week.
Carter's term as president was dominated by the rupture in relations after the 1979 Iranian revolution and the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran, where 52 Americans were held hostage for 444 days until the day he left office.
Iranians made the overture for the meeting, and the Carter Center in Atlanta is working on the possible timing, said Phil Wise, the former president's aide. "President Carter, in his role since leaving the White House, has made his office and services and center available to basically anybody who wants to talk. He believes that it is much better to be talking to people who you have problems with than not to, and that's the approach he takes now," Wise said. "I can confirm that President Carter is open to a meeting if the former president of Iran would like to have one."
Despite mounting tensions between Washington and Tehran over the latter's nuclear program, the Bush administration issued a visa for Khatami yesterday, as well as for about a dozen family and staff members, for a visit lasting about two weeks, the State Department confirmed. Khatami is expected to arrive in the United States tomorrow.
Khatami, a reformer who served as president from 1997 to 2005, is scheduled to speak at the Washington National Cathedral on Sept. 7. His schedule may include speeches at the University of Virginia and to an Islamic group in Chicago. He may also pay a private visit to Thomas Jefferson's home at Monticello, according to sources familiar with his trip. He will begin his visit in New York at a U.N. conference on the dialogue of civilizations.
The White House said yesterday that Khatami had been invited by private organizations and is not part of the current Iranian government. "Mr. Khatami is free to meet with who he chooses and is able to speak freely in the United States - the very freedoms that do not exist in Iran," a White House official said on the condition of anonymity.
"We expect that Khatami will face tough questions from his audience in the United States about the past and present behavior of the Iranian regime, especially with respect to human rights violations that occurred during his presidency," the official added.
Talks between Carter and Khatami, if they materialize, would be politically poignant. "Carter, who has every reason to be angry about the way in which the Iranian revolution undid his presidency over the hostage affair, is willing to meet, with no hesitation, a person who was president of the Islamic republic and who has never disavowed Ayatollah Khomeini's actions when he was supreme leader," said William Quandt, a national security staffer in charge of the Middle East during the Carter administration. Robin Wright, The Washington Post http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/08 /29/AR2006082901412.html
Joined: 27 July 2006
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|Posted: 25 September 2006 at 7:27am|
The March to War: Iran Preparing for US Air Attacks
9.21.2006 -- Iran is bracing itself for an expected American-led air campaign. The latter is in the advanced stages of military planning.
If there were to be war between the United States and Iran, the aerial campaign would unleash fierce combat. It would be fully interactive on multiple fronts. It would be a difficult battle involving active movement in the air from both sides.
If war were to occur, the estimates of casualties envisaged by American and British war planners would be high.
The expected wave of aerial attacks would resemble the tactics of the Israeli air-war against Lebanon and would follow the same template, but on a larger scale of execution.
The U.S. government and the Pentagon had an active role in graphing, both militarily and politically, the template of confrontation in Lebanon. The Israeli siege against Lebanon is in many regards a dress rehearsal for a planned attack on Iran.1
A war against Iran is one that could also include military operations against Syria. Multiple theatres would engulf many of the neighbors of Iran and Syria, including Iraq and Israel/Palestine.
It must also be noted that an attack on Iran would be of a scale which would dwarf the events in Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Levant. A full blown war on Iran would not only swallow up and incorporate these other conflicts. It would engulf the entire Middle East and Central Asian region into an extensive confrontation.
An American-led air campaign against Iran, if it were to be implemented, would be both similar and contrasting in its outline and intensity when compared to earlier Anglo-American sponsored confrontations.
The war would start with intense bombardment and attacks on Iran's infrastructure, but would be different in its scope of operations and intensity.
The characteristics of such a conflict would also be unpredictable because of Iran's capabilities to respond. And in all likelihood, Iran would launch its own potent attacks and extend the theatre of war by attacking U.S. and American-led troops in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf.
The United States must also take into account the fact that Iran unlike Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon would be an opponent with the capability to resist the US sponsored attacks on the ground, but also on the sea and in the air.
Unlike the former opponents faced by the United States and its partners, Iran would be able to target the military launch pads used by the United States. Iran would also be able to attack the U.S. supply and logistical hubs in the Persian Gulf. American ships carrying supplies, troops, and warplanes would be vulnerable to Iranian counter-attacks by way of Iranian missiles, warplanes, and naval forces. It is no mere coincidence that Iran has been demonstrating its military capabilities during the “Blow of Zolfaqar” war games conducted in late August .2
Iranian Preparations for an American-led Air Campaign
The United States has continually threatened to attack Iran. These threats are made under the pretext of halting the development of nuclear weapons in Iran. The development of nuclear weapons by Iran is something the IAEA and its inspectors have refuted as untrue3, but the United States insists on continuing the charade as grounds for a military endgame with Iran.
The threat of an American-led attack against Iran with the heavy involvement of Israel and Britain, amongst others, has primed Iran to prepare itself for the anticipated moment. Over the years, this has led Iran to stride for self-sufficiency in producing its own advanced military hardware and the development of asymmetrical tactics to combat the United States.
Iranian defense planners have stated publicly that they have learned from the cases of neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq. They are acutely aware of the U.S. military’s heavy reliance on aerial strikes.
August 2006 saw the start of the virtually unprecedented events of the Blow of Zolfaqar war games throughout Iran and its border provinces.4 These were similar to those conducted in April 2006.
The latter were also held during a period of tense confrontation between Iran and the United States.
April 2006 was a period that could have resulted in military conflict between both the United States and Iran. In April 2006, Iran had not only dismissed the deadline set on its nuclear program, but it announced in defiance to the United States that it had successfully enriched uranium for the first time.
Iran has taken the opportunity of the launching of both the April 2006 and Blow of Zolfaqar war games to display its preparedness and capability to engage in combat. Additionally, Iran has taken the occasion to fine tune its defenses and mobilize its military apparatus. This exhibition of Iranian military might is intended to deter America's intent to trigger another Middle Eastern war.
During the war games, the Iranian military has adjusted and modified its air defense shield for maximum dexterity and efficiency in preparation, to stop incoming missiles and invading aircraft..5 The war games have been an opportunity for testing of Iranian capacity to wage war in the air
The Iranian military has also reported the testing of laser-guided weaponry, advanced torpedoes, ballistic missiles, anti-ship missiles, bullets that pierce through bullet-proof vests, and electronic military hardware during the Blow of Zolfaqar war games.6 Surface-to-surface and ocean-to-surface missiles (submarine-to-surface missiles) in the Persian Gulf were also tested in late-August 2006. These included missiles that are invisible to radar and can use multiple warheads or carry multiple payloads to hit numerous targets simultaneously.
Iran has also tested a “2,000 pound guided-bomb with long-range capabilities.” This “2,000 pound bomb” is said to be a “special weapon developed for penetrating military, economic and strategic targets located deep underground or on the soil of the [impending] enemy.”7 In the case of war, this weapon could be directed against Anglo-American military infrastructure in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf. This guided bomb is an unmanned aircraft carrying an explosive warhead. Following the execution of the Blow of Zolfaqar war games, the Iranian Defense Minister stated that “Iran now joins the few countries that possess guided missile technology,”8
Iran has also been manufacturing its own warplanes,9 submarines, attack helicopters, tanks, torpedoes, and missiles. This includes remote-controlled modified Maverick Missiles.10 Brigadier-General Amini, the Deputy Commander of the Air Branch (Air Force) of the Regular Forces, has highlighted that Iran has starting the development and manufacturing of new types of warplanes besides the “Lighting fighter jets” that have been showcased in Northern Iran.11
To discourage the United States in its plans to attack Iran, the Iranian military has additionally been showcasing its abilities to dog fight in the air with its fighter jets.12 Iranian fighter and bomber jets have been progressively equipped with advanced software and hardware, developed in Iran or by way of technology transfers from China, the Russian Federation, and the republics of the former Soviet Union.
Iranian Commanders have also stated that Iran can track and hit warplanes without using conventional radar. Iran has also been showcasing its signal jamming devices and electronic military hardware, which it compares to NATO standards13.
Warnings to the United States To Stop Its War Plans
In Iran military commanders and state officials have also directly warned the United States to halt its march towards war in the Middle East. An account of a statement by Major-General Salehi, commander of the Iranian Army, sums up the generic view of Iranian military officials and planners in the advent of another Middle Eastern war initiated by the United States;
“Pointing to the joint maneuvers to be carried out by the U.S. army [meaning military] and some other countries in the regional waters in the coming days, the General said that the U.S. presence in the region [Middle East] is considered as a threat to the security of the regional countries, and further warned Washington that in case the U.S. dares to practice threats [by actually attacking], it will then have to face a defeat as bad as the one that the Zionists [Israel] had to sustain in Lebanon.”14
The Iranian Defence Minister has said “that his ministry is now equipping the border units of the army with modern military tools and weapons in a bid to increase their military capabilities,”15 and “that any possible enemy invasion of Iran will receive a severe blow, adding that failures of alien troops [meaning U.S., British, Coalition, and NATO forces] in Iraq and Afghanistan have taught trans-regional powers extreme caution.”16
Other examples of public warnings by Iranian military commanders directed at the United States and its partners include;
Acting Deputy Commander [Brigadier-General Ahmadi] of the Iranian Mobilized Forces (Basij), noting the intensification of the psychological operations and pressures against Iran, stressed that his troops are fully prepared to encounter “any stupid act by the enemies.”17 (September 9, 2006)
[Brigadier-General Mohammad Hejazi] advised the U.S. to relinquish the idea of invading Iran, stressing that as soon as the U.S. dares to make such a big mistake, it will lose its forged reputation due to its [the U.S. military’s] frequent and shocking defeats from the Iranian troops.18 (September 10, 2006)
[Commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Major-General Safavi has warned that Revolutionary Guard] ground troops form a defensive force, but meantime warned that in case any foreign threats are posed to Iran, [assured that the] IRGC adopts an aggressive strategy and hits enemy targets in strategic depth. He also described the southwestern province of Khuzestan as the most strategic region of the country, saying, “Considering that Khuzestan is a border province located at our sensitive borders with Iraq where British and American occupying troops aim at devising cultural and security plots for Khuzestani people through their intelligence organizations and bodies, IRGC and Basij troops should maintain their preparedness at [the] highest levels possible in order to confront and defuse any such measures by the enemies.”19 (September 13, 2006: Also See British Troops Mobilizing on the Iranian Border)
During the August war games, Iranian military commanders claimed, in a gesture directed towards the United States, Britain, and Israel, “that no air force of any power stationed in the Middle East is capable of confronting the Iranian military’s ground forces.”20
This might seem like a psychological tactic to influence morale on both sides and deter any possible aerial assaults against Iran. This statement cannot be easily overruled if a comprehensive analysis is made and studied. In this regard, one must look at Lebanon, where Hezbollah and the Lebanese Resistance were able to withstand Israeli air raids and overcome the Israeli military on the ground. The Lebanese Resistance is reported as being armed and trained by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. What would an Iranian defensive of a larger magnitude, with state resources and air capabilities, be like?
The anticipation of a conflict are also coming from Iraq. Iraqi leaders have been charging that the United States and Britain plan on attacking Iran from Iraqi territory. Government representatives of Anglo-American occupied Iraq have asked that Iraq not be turned into a theatre of war between the United States and Iran. “We do not want Iraq to become an arena where other states [i.e., the United States, Britain, and Iran] settle their accounts,”21 said the Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Barham Salih while visiting the Iranian capital, Tehran. This message looked as if it was mainly directed at the United States, as well as Iran.
Iran Always a Military Objective for the United States Washington: “Anyone can go to Baghdad! Real Men go to Tehran!”
According to Michel Chossudovsky (The Next Phase of the Middle East War, September, 2006), the war on Iran is another phase of a “military roadmap” which includes the invasions of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) and the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli siege of Lebanon (2006) as earlier stages.
In May, 2003 after the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq in March 2003, the motto in Washington D.C. was
“Anyone can go to Baghdad! Real men go to Tehran!”
One should ask why "real" men would continue towards Tehran after the invasion of Iraq. This slogan demonstrates that Iran was an objective or a phase in a broader military operation. With that said, Washington would prefer some form of internal "non-violent" regime change in Iran leading to American control of the Iranian economy and oil resources rather than a high-risk and high cost military confrontation. The shape and nature of this conflict, however, is uncertain.
The possibility of conflict with Iran and a major aerial assault are widely known.
The United States has been planning to attack Iran for years. Colonel Sam Gardiner (Retired, U.S. Air Force) has stated that the campaign against Iran is one where “the issue is not whether the military option would be used, but who approved the start of operations already.”
The March to War with Iran and Syria
With time fleeting, the Iranian military is positioning itself in battle formations under the pretext of nationwide war games and other pretexts. Iran has been steadily strengthening its air defenses and air units in preparation for the possibility of strikes. Iranian and Syrian coordination is also intensifying with the passing of time.
An attack on Iran and Syria would be a combination of heavy air bombardment by the U.S. Air Force, including the U.S. Army’s air units. It would also include a ground offensive led by the U.S. Marines and Army from the American bases surrounding both Iran and Syria. The U.S. Navy and Coast Guard would predominately manage the theatre of war in the Persian Gulf, with a view to guaranteeing the unimpeded flow of oil through the strategic Straits of Hormuz.
The Israeli military would deal with military operations in the Levant. Both Israeli troops and Israeli public opinion are being prepared for the possibility of another Middle Eastern conflict. In this context, Israel would face the possibility of aerial assaults from Iran. Iran has threatened to retaliate if it is attacked, using its ballistic missiles.
British and Australian forces in southern Iraq would deploy with the strategic aim of occupying the Iranian province of Khuzestan and securing its oil. Khuzestan is where most of Iran’s oil fields are located. Meanwhile a naval build-up is developing in the Persian Gulf which also includes the U.S. Coast Guard and the Canadian Navy.
The United States and its partners meanwhile are continuing to marshal and siphon their forces into the Middle East and Afghanistan. Both the United States and Britain have promised troop reductions in Iraq, but are actually increasing their troop levels. It also seems that a muzzle is being placed on Lebanon to stop any attacks on Israel by the presence of troops from member states of NATO.
Syria also seems to be expecting a possible aerial campaign. A vessel sailing to Syria under the flag of Panama, the “Grigorio I,” has been reported to have been stopped off the coast of Cyprus transporting 18 truck-mounted mobile radar systems and three command vehicles for delivery to Syria. This equipment appears to be part of an air defence system.22
In Iran, the Intelligence Minister has warned that “enemies are seeking to create instability in Iran through different measures, including assassinations, explosions and extensive insecurities” and that “his forces, in cooperation and coordination with other governmental bodies, have defused enemies’ plots in different Iranian provinces, including Tehran.”23
Venezuela has also threatened to halt oil exports in the event of an Anglo-American aggression against Iran and Syria. Venezuela has gone on to caution that it will defend Iran “under threat of invasion from the United States.” This was a warning given to the United States by Venezuela during the Conference of the Non-Aligned Movement in Cuba.24
The United States has already started to target both Iran and Syria’s financial bodies and institutions in an act of economic warfare. Syria has in step with Iran taken “preventative steps” in early 2006 by switching from using the U.S. dollar to using the Euro for all its transactions. The head of the state-owned Syria Commercial Bank has said that such measures have been taken to protect Syria from American sanctions (economic warfare).25
Actions have been taken against the large, state-owned Bank Saderat of Iran by the United States.26 The Bank Saderat has been cut off from the U.S. financial system and its network(s). This is part of a deliberate objective to financially cut off Iran from the rest of the world. Three large Japanese banks, the Bank of Tokyo-Mitsubishi UFJ, Mizuho Corporate Bank and Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation have followed in step and will terminate business with Bank Saderat.27
1 Seymour H. Hersh, Washing Lebanon: Washington’s Interest in Israel’s War, The New Yorker, August 14 & 21, 2006 http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060821fa_fact
2 Iranian War Games: Exercises, Tests, and Drills or Preparation and Mobilization for War?, Global Research (CRG), August 21, 2006 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&a mp;code=DAR20060821&articleId=3027
3 IAEA: US report on Iran “Outrageous,” Aljazeera, September 15, 2006 http://english.aljazeera.net/NR/exeres/84145EE0-6DF6-467D-AB 67-670A83EF307A.htm
4 Iranian War Games: Exercises, Tests, and Drills or Preparation and Mobilization for War?, Global Research (CRG), August 21, 2006 http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=viewArticle&a mp;code=DAR20060821&articleId=3027
5 Iran 'successfully' tests new air defence system, People’s Daily, September 5, 2006 http://english.people.com.cn/200609/05/eng20060905_299651.ht ml Iranian Missile Test; Xinhua News Agency, September 5, 2006 http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-09/05/content_5050931 .htm
6 Iran tests laser-guided bomb during war games, The Hindu, September 5, 2006 http://www.hindu.com/thehindu/holnus/003200609051820.htm
7 Iran completes military exercise by testing 2,000-pound bomb, Pravada; September 7, 2006 http://english.pravda.ru/news/world/07-09-2006/84317-weapons -0
8 Iran tests first-ever 2,000-pound guided bomb: Minister; IRNA, September 6, 2006 http://www.irna.ir/en/news/view/line-22/0609065169142007.htm
9 Karimi, Nasser; Iran deploys locally-manufactured warplane, Hindustan Times, September 6, 2006 http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_1787643,00050004.htm, Originally published by the Associated Press
10 Enemy Targets Destroyed by Maverick Missiles, Fars News Agency, September 6, 2006 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8506140347 Maverick missiles are American made or developed air-to-surface missiles which are conventionally used to attack armoured units, warships, air defences, military transport and logistics units, and military depots.
11 Iran to Manufacture a New Jet Fighter, Fars News Agency, September 12, 2006 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8506210548
12 Complicated Dogfight Tactics Exercised during 'Blow of Zolfaqar' War Games, Fars News Agency, September 4, 2006 http://english.farsnews.net/newstext.php?nn=8506130203 Iranian F14s Carry Hawk Missiles Successfully, Fars News Agency, September 4, 2006 http://english.farsnews.net/newstext.php?nn=8506130205
13 Iran says ready to combat electronic warfare, Iranmania, Sunday, March 05, 2006
14 Army Prepared to Force Back Trans-Regional Threats, Fars News Agency, September 6, 2006 http://www.farsnews.com/English/newstext.php?nn=8506140520 Trans-regional powers mean non-Middle Eastern nations with substantial force in the Middle East (the region being talked about).
15 Defense Minister: Any Foreign Aggression Responded by Force; Fars News Agency; September 2, 2006 http://english.farsnews.net/newstext.php?nn=8506110568
16 Defence Minister: Any Military Aggression against Iran Struck Back Heavily, Fars News Agency, September 4, 2006 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8506130415
17 Mobilize Forces Prepare to Encounter Enemies, Fars New Agency, September 9, 2006 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8506180167
18 Basij Comander: Enemies Awe Shattered Once they Err, Fars News Agency, September 10, 2006 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8506190583
19 Commander Warns o IRGC’s Aggressive Strategy in Case of Foreign Threats, Fars News Agency, September 13, 2006 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8506220539
20 No Air Force Capable of Confronting Iranian Army, Fars News Agency; August 19, 2006 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8505280544
21 Iraq Not a Place for Others to Settle Accounts, Fars News Agency, September 6, 2006 http://www.farsnews.com/English/newstext.php?nn=8506140551
22 Cyprus finds air-defence systems on Syria-bond ship, Reuters, September , 2006 http://go.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=worldNews&s toryID=13449090&src=rss/worldNews
23 Intelligence Minister: Enemies Plots Defused in Tehran, Border Provinces, Fars News Agency, September 13, 2006 http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=8506220518
24 Chavez pledge support for Iran, British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), September 15, 2006 http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/5347978.stm
25 Syria switches to euro amid sanctions threat, Xinhua News Agency, February 13-14, 2006 http://news.xinhuanet.com/english/2006-02/14/content_4177423 .htm
26 Lawder, David; US Treasury say Iran pressure can be unilateral, Reuters, September 12, 2006
27 Three big Japan banks decide not to deal with Iran's Bank Saderat, Forbes, September 16, 2006 http://www.forbes.com/markets/feeds/afx/2006/09/16/afx302182 2.html
Joined: 27 July 2006
Online Status: Offline
|Posted: 25 September 2006 at 7:30am|
The October Surprise
9.23.2006 -- It should come as no surprise if the Bush Administration undertakes a preemptive war against Iran sometime before the November election.
Were these more normal times, this would be a stunning possibility, quickly dismissed by thoughtful people as dangerous, unprovoked, and out of keeping with our national character. But we do not live in normal times. And we do not have a government much concerned with our national character. If anything, our current Administration is out to remake our national character into something it has never been.
The steps will be these: Air Force tankers will be deployed to fuel B-2 bombers, Navy cruise missile ships will be positioned at strategic points in the northern Indian Ocean and perhaps the Persian Gulf, unmanned drones will collect target data, and commando teams will refine those data. The latter two steps are already being taken.
Then the president will speak on national television. He will say this: Iran is determined to develop nuclear weapons; if this happens, the entire region will go nuclear; our diplomatic efforts to prevent this have failed; Iran is offering a haven to known al Qaeda leaders; the fate of our ally Israel is at stake; Iran persists in supporting terrorism, including in Iraq; and sanctions will have no affect (and besides they are for sissies). He will not say: ...and besides, we need the oil.
Therefore, he will announce, our own national security and the security of the region requires us to act. "Tonight, I have ordered the elimination of all facilities in Iran that are dedicated to the production of weapons of mass destruction....." In the narrowest terms this includes perhaps two dozen targets.
But the authors of the war on Iraq have "regime change" in mind in Iran. According to Colonel Sam Gardiner (author of "The End of the 'Summer of Diplomacy': Assessing U.S. Military Options in Iran," The Century Foundation, 2006) to have any hope of success, such a policy would require attacking at least 400 targets, including the Revolutionary Guard. But even this presumes the Iranian people will respond to a massive U.S. attack on their country by overthrowing their government. Only an Administration inspired by pre-Enlightenment fantasy could believe a notion such as this.
Embracing this reverie requires believing in the Iranian Ahmed Chalabi, or perhaps even Mr. Chalabi himself since he has been working both sides of the street in both countries for some time.
It does not involve much imagination to understand the timing. The U.S. is poised to adopt a Congressional regime change of its own in November. A political strategy totally based on fear can offer few other options to prevent this. Besides, occupation by Democrats of even one house of Congress in January would make this scheme more difficult (one would certainly hope).
Further, time for super-power military conquest may be running short in the emerging age of fourth generation warfare. "...the age of Western military ascendancy is coming to an end." ("No Win," Andrew Bacevich, The Boston Globe, August 27, 2006).
The consequences? The sunny neoconservatives whose goal has been to become the neo-imperial Middle Eastern power all along will forcast few. But prudent leaders calculate all the risks, and they are historic.
These include: violent reaction throughout the Islamic world; a dramatic increase in jihadist attacks in European capitals and the U.S.; radicalization of Islamic youth behind a new generation of jihadist leaders; consolidation of support for Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda, and a rapidly spreading malignant network; escalating expansion of anti-American sentiment throughout the world, including the democratic world; and the formation of WWIII battle lines between the U.S. and the Arab and Islamic worlds.
In more rational times, including at the height of the Cold War, bizarre actions such as unilateral, unprovoked, preventive war are dismissed by thoughtful, seasoned, experienced men and women as mad. But those qualities do not characterize our current leadership.
For a divinely guided president who imagines himself to be a latter day Winston Churchill (albeit lacking the ability to formulate intelligent sentences), and who professedly does not care about public opinion at home or abroad, anything is possible, and dwindling days in power may be seen as making the most apocalyptic actions necessary. Gary Hart, HuffingtonPost.com http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gary-hart/the-october-surprise _b_30086.html
Joined: 27 July 2006
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|Posted: 05 October 2006 at 6:27pm|
Waiting for Ahmadinejad to Deliver
10.2.2006 -- TEHRAN, While President Mahmud Ahmadinejad is busy running a high voltage campaign against the United States and its policies, back home citizens are wondering if he will ever make good on an election promise to crack down on the corrupt and distribute Iran's vast oil revenues more equitably.
''My whole family voted for Ahmadinejad because he promised to improve our lives. He said he was going to fight corruption and create jobs. He said oil money belonged to the people. I haven't seen any of the oil money in my house yet, but I have to deal with the ever increasing prices anyway," says Ahmad (second name suppressed), a 67-year-old pensioner. "I'm running a family of three on Rls. 2,000,000 (less than 220 US dollars) a month and the price of the cheapest cut of meat is six dollars per kg. Thank god I'm not paying rent or we wouldn't have anything to eat."
"Dissatisfaction with the administration of President Ahmadinejad is not yet widespread, but it is growing fast. The hard line government that outran reformists on a plank to check inflation, uplift living standards, create employment, and take the bite from the corrupt and the rich and give it to the impoverished, has not only failed to deliver those promises, but has clearly moved in the opposite direction in economic experts' view," a political analyst in Tehran told IPS.
"Iran is the 30th largest economy of the world. The per capita income in 2006 is estimated to rise to 3,465 dollars or 700 dollars more than the previous year. But according to Social Security Organisation figures, 30 percent of the population is still living under relative poverty line. The top 20 percent of the population is holding 50 percent of the national income and 80 percent of the total wealth, so it's quite natural that economic improvement means a great deal to the president's most ardent supporters, the impoverished,'' the analyst said.
"Results of an opinion poll reported by Mehr News Agency in September show that, in May, 61 percent of those asked found his team successful in the nuclear issue, 44 percent in managing inflation and only 37 percent in fighting corruption," he added.
"The report doesn't mention percentages but says those asked consider unemployment and inflation the administration's most urgent problems. It seems Ahmadinejad has concentrated his efforts more in foreign policy rather than in the more challenging economic arena. His administration seems to have failed for the time being to deliver the economic promises abundantly made at election time and the results of wrong and hasty economic decisions, like forcing government and private banks to lower their interest rates, are now beginning to show in people's reluctance to make long term deposits in banks, for example," he told IPS.
Fourteen months ago when Ahmadinejad took office he talked of "taking oil revenues to people's dinner tables", charging that governments run by his predecessors had ignored poverty and the poor, something his team would remedy.
Economic indicators now show a huge decrease in the stock market value and private banks claim they are on the brink of bankruptcy resulting from lowered interest rates. The inflation rate is said to be just above 12 percent now, and is forecast to rise to 14û15 percent economists say. There is a huge budget deficit, amounting to eight billion dollars. Even Iran's top judiciary has warned about capital drain. The highly subsidised, oil revenue-dependent Iranian economy is struggling with inflationary stagnation, they believe.
"It's still too early to make a good assessment of the government's economic performance, but some of the contradictions resulting from lack of a clear economic theory are already becoming evident. Single digit interest and inflation rates that Ahmadinejad promised to achieve quickly is one example. They can't be both achieved at the same time. Lower interest rates meant to bring growth to the national economy can in countries like Iran and the U.S. lead to higher inflation. In our case, the economic growth rate wasn't accelerated by lowering interest rates and when prices started to go up, the panicky government had to back down and resort to controlling and manipulating prices," Saeed Leylaz, economic analyst in Tehran, told IPS.
"Moreover, the government sector is growing fast and the private sector is losing ground. The government has been granting huge contracts by the order of the president and without holding tenders to military bodies. Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps has over the past few months been granted eight billion dollars worth of government contracts alone," he said.
"On the other hand, the government's slogans and its domestic and foreign policies have scared away investment. The stock market has lost 50 percent of its total value compared to its peak time," Leylaz added.
The huge amount of subsidies paid by the government is widening the gap between the rich and the poor, economists warn. "The Iranian economy will be injected with around 50 billion dollars worth of subsidies this year. But it will do little to help the poor. Fuel subsidies comprise one-third of the total subsidies paid by the government and more than half the fuel subsidies, for example, will find their way into the pockets of the top 10 percent of the population who have and use cars, meaning that the top 10 percent are getting one-sixth of all subsidies. The populist government believes in paying subsidies to overcome poverty and deprivation but they should try instead to achieve economic growth and create jobs," Laylaz said.
The parliament closed the budget on oil revenues of 40 dollars per barrel (pb) for the current Iranian year (Mar. 21, 2006 to Mar. 20, 2007). The high oil prices, up to more than 50 dollars pb and even topping the 70 dollar mark for a while from around 8 dollars pb in 1998, has given the hard line government courage to spend, economists say. The extra money is supposed to go to the Oil Stabilisation Fund, set up by the reformist government a few years ago.
Only to pay fuel subsidies in the first half of the current Iranian year, the government has drawn 2.5 billion dollars from the fund and is seeking the approval of Parliament for 3.5 billion dollars more for the next six months. "The government is expected to draw a total of at least 14 billion dollars till March and there is a danger the fund will run dry by then," a political observer who asked not to be named told IPS.
"The government drew five times more from the Oil Stabilisation Fund than the same period last year in the first five months of this year (beginning Mar. 21), but you can't see any growth. Parliament is not politically strong enough to stop the government and will give it the go ahead. We are now five times more dependent on oil revenues than we were in 1998. The real results of what is being done now will become only too evident in 2008. The government will have enough forex resources to mask its mismanagement," Laylaz said.
"Oil revenues are used to import things to control inflation. Imports are expected to amount to 60 billion dollars this year. Apart from items like meat and fruits, lowered tariffs are being applied to import of construction material like cement and steel, too, to bring down the soaring real estate prices and rent. But even so, the government has yet not been able to lower inflation. Even hard line members of parliament and the hard line ‘Keyhan' newspaper are now crying out against rising prices," the political observer said.
"Ahmad Tavakkoli and Mahmoud Khoshchehreh, both hard line MPs and former Ahmadinejad allies, have now turned into government critics. They, too, are accusing the government of following a populist approach. There may come a time when the Islamic Republic may not be able to cope with the highly increased expectations it originally created, the dismal outcome of which will be political upheaval," he added. Kimia Sanati, IPS
Joined: 27 July 2006
Online Status: Offline
|Posted: 27 October 2006 at 9:08am|
A new report by retired Air Force Col. Sam Gardiner – entitled "The End of the ‘Summer Diplomacy’" – make clear that the military option against Iran is moving rapidly toward implementation. Gardiner says that one of the "seven key truths" guiding Bush to war is that "you cannot negotiate with these people." That "truth," combined with suspicions about Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Tehran’s relationship with Hezbollah and other militant Islamic groups, has led the Bush administration into the box-canyon logic that war is the only answer, despite the fact that Gardiner’s war games have found that war would have disastrous consequences.
Gardiner also noted that Bush’s personality and his sense of his presidential destiny are adding to the pressures for war.
Joined: 12 February 2006
Location: United States
Online Status: Offline
|Posted: 27 October 2006 at 12:54pm|
hahaha 5 posts and they are all from you, do you talk to yourself at home like you do here?
Get it through your heads that I don't support Bush or the Israeli's! Thank your lucky stars for America is here to stay!!!
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