Michel Chossudovsky / Global Research – 2007-01-09 23:14:00
Israel plans to nuke Iran
Michael Carmichael / Global Research
(January 8, 2007) — In 1986, an Israeli civil servant who worked in the state-owned nuclear industry flew to London where he was invited to meet with reporters working for The Sunday Times. In these meetings, Mordechai Vanunu revealed Israel’s top secret – that they were in control of a growing stockpile of nuclear warheads.
In the weeks immediately following his explosive revelations, Mr Vanunu visited Rome where he was abducted by agents of the Israeli security services. Back in Tel Aviv, Mr Vanunu was placed on trial for treason. He served an eighteen year sentence in solitary confinement.
Now released, Mr Vanunu converted to Christianity. Prohibited from travel to other nations where he has been offered academic posts, Mr Vanunu is now living in the sanctuary of a Church in Israel.
In the early 1990s, one of America’s premiere journalists, Seymour Hersh, published a best-selling book, The Samson Option, detailing Mr Vanunu’s testimony and a great deal of new information about Israel’s vaunted nuclear defense capability.
While the vast majority of the peoples of the earth have known about Israel’s nuclear arsenal since 1986, many Americans still do not accept the existence of WMDs under the direct control of the Israeli defense establishment. In the mid-1990s, Michael Moore – not known for his conservatism nor his reflexive support of Israel – made disparaging remarks during an interview that touched on the existence of the Israeli nuclear arsenal, because he was obviously oblivious to either Mordechai Vanunu’s testimony or Mr Hersh’s bestselling book.
In the reports below, The Sunday Times have just revealed new evidence that Israel is currently planning to launch a nuclear attack against Iran. Aimed at destroying the embryonic Iranian nuclear industry, the war heads will be delivered via conventional jet fighters. In The Sunday Times coverage, no reference was made to the possibility of a nuclear strike from Israeli submarines that have been equipped with Sea-to-surface missiles that could be fitted with nuclear warheads.
Two years ago, Seymour Hersh began publishing a series of papers in The New Yorker detailing a vast planning project in Donald Rumsfeld’s Pentagon to attack and wage war on Iran. In the interim, many other authors have now reported details of the highly publicized policy of the Bush-Cheney White House to use military force to compel Iran to abandon any ambitions she might have to develop nuclear weapons. These American military options include the use of nuclear weapons.
From a lengthening series of reports, it is now clear that the Bush-Cheney administration has been severely weakened by the recent midterm elections, and they apparently no longer feel capable of launching a direct nuclear strike against Iran.
In negotiations in Washington between Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President George Bush as well as in the highly publicized negotiations between Vice President Dick Cheney and King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, it would now appear that the planning to strike Iran has altered only slightly from the grandiose schemes designed by Donald Rumsfeld prior to his retirement on the day after the midterm elections last year.
Rather than a direct American nuclear strike against Iran’s nuclear targets, Israel has been given the assignment of launching the nuclear strike aimed at the Iranian cities: Natanz, Isfahan and Arak.
What remains to be seen is whether the American media – now ranked 53rd on the International Press Freedom Index – will cover the story – and whether the American people will be informed of the intimate collaboration between the Bush-Cheney White House, the Olmert government in Israel and other governments now known to be involved in the military planning to contain Iran’s still nascent nuclear development.
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization.
© Copyright Michael Carmichael, GlobalResearch.ca, 2007
Plans for US-Israeli Attack on Iran
Michel Chossudovsky / Global Research
(May 1, 2005) — At the outset of Bush’s second term, Vice President Dick Cheney dropped a bombshell. He hinted, in no uncertain terms, that Iran was “right at the top of the list” of the rogue enemies of America, and that Israel would, so to speak, “be doing the bombing for us”, without US military involvement and without us putting pressure on them “to do it”:
“One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked… Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards,” (quoted from an MSNBC Interview Jan 2005)
Israel Is a Rottweiler on a Leash
The US wants to “set Israel loose” to attack Iran. Commenting the Vice President’s assertion, former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in an interview on PBS, confirmed with some apprehension, yes: Cheney wants Prime Ariel Sharon to act on America’s behalf and “do it” for us:
“Iran I think is more ambiguous. And there the issue is certainly not tyranny; it’s nuclear weapons. And the vice president today in a kind of a strange parallel statement to this declaration of freedom hinted that the Israelis may do it and in fact used language which sounds like a justification or even an encouragement for the Israelis to do it.”
The foregoing statements are misleading. The US is not “encouraging Israel”. What we are dealing with is a joint US-Israeli military operation to bomb Iran, which has been in the active planning stage for more than a year. The Neocons in the Defense Department, under Douglas Feith, have been working assiduously with their Israeli military and intelligence counterparts, carefully identifying targets inside Iran ( Seymour Hersh, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/HER501A.html )
Under this working arrangement, Israel will not act unilaterally, without a green light from Washington. In other words, Israel will not implement an attack without the participation of the US.
Covert Intelligence Operations: Stirring Ethnic Tensions in Iran
Meanwhile, for the last two years, Washington has been involved in covert intelligence operations inside Iran.
American and British intelligence and special forces (working with their Israeli counterparts) are involved in this operation.
“A British intelligence official said that any campaign against Iran would not be a ground war like the one in Iraq. The Americans will use different tactics, said the intelligence officer. ‘It is getting quite scary.'” (Evening Standard, 17 June 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/FOX306A.html )
The expectation is that a US-Israeli bombing raid of Iran’s nuclear facilities will stir up ethnic tensions and trigger “regime change” in favor of the US. (See Arab Monitor, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/ARA502A.html).
Bush advisers believe that the “Iranian opposition movement” will unseat the Mullahs. This assessment constitutes a gross misjudgment of social forces inside Iran. What is more likely to occur is that Iranians will consistently rally behind a wartime government against foreign aggression. In fact, the entire Middle East and beyond would rise up against US interventionism.
Retaliation in the Case of a US-Israeli Aerial Attack
Tehran has confirmed that it will retaliate if attacked, in the form of ballistic missile strikes directed against Israel (CNN, 8 Feb 2005). These attacks, could also target US military facilities in the Persian Gulf, which would immediately lead us into a scenario of military escalation and all out war.
In other words, the air strikes against Iran could contribute to unleashing a war in the broader Middle East Central Asian region.
Moreover, the planned attack on Iran should also be understood in relation to the timely withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, which has opened up a new space, for the deployment of Israeli forces. The participation of Turkey in the US-Israeli military operation is also a factor, following an agreement reached between Ankara and Tel Aviv.
In other words, US and Israeli military planners must carefully weigh the far-reaching implications of their actions.
Israel Builds up its Stockpile of Deadly Military Hardware
A massive buildup in military hardware has occurred in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.
Israel has recently taken delivery from the US of some 5,000 “smart air launched weapons” including some 500 BLU 109 ‘bunker-buster bombs.
The (uranium coated) munitions are said to be more than “adequate to address the full range of Iranian targets, with the possible exception of the buried facility at Natanz, which may require the [more powerful] BLU-113 bunker buster “:
“Given Israel’s already substantial holdings of such weapons, this increase in its inventory would allow a sustained assault with or without further US involvement.” (See Richard Bennett, The Israeli Air Force would attack Iran’s nuclear facility at Bushehr using US as well Israeli produced bunker buster bombs.
The attack would be carried out in three separate waves “with the radar and communications jamming protection being provided by US Air Force AWACS and other US aircraft in the area”. (See W Madsen, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MAD410A.html
Bear in mind that the bunker buster bombs can also be used to deliver tactical nuclear bombs. The B61-11 is the “nuclear version” of the “conventional” BLU 113. It can be delivered in much same way as the conventional bunker buster bomb. (See Michel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO112C.html , see also http://www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn=jf03norris).
According to the Pentagon, tactical nuclear weapons are “safe for civilians”. Their use has been authorized by the US Senate. (See Miochel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO405A.html )
Moreover, reported in late 2003, Israeli Dolphin-class submarines equipped with US Harpoon missiles armed with nuclear warheads are now aimed at Iran. (See Gordon Thomas, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/THO311A.html
Even if tactical nuclear weapons are not used by Israel, an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities not only raises the specter of a broader war, but also of nuclear radiation over a wide area:
“To attack Iran’s nuclear facilities will not only provoke war, but it could also unleash clouds of radiation far beyond the targets and the borders of Iran.” (Statement of Prof Elias Tuma, Arab Internet Network, Federal News Service, 1 March 2005)
Moreover, while most reports have centered on the issue of punitive air strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, the strikes would most probably extend to other targets.
While a ground war is contemplated as a possible “scenario” at the level of military planning, the US military would not be able to wage a an effective ground war, given the situation in Iraq. In the words of former National Security Adviser Lawrence Eagelberger:
“We are not going to get in a ground war in Iran, I hope. If we get into that, we are in serious trouble. I don’t think anyone in Washington is seriously considering that.” ( quoted in the National Journal, 4 December 2004).
Iran’s Military Capabilities
Despite its overall weaknesses in relation to Israel and the US, Iran has an advanced air defense system, deployed to protect its nuclear sites; “they are dispersed and underground making potential air strikes difficult and without any guarantees of success.” (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 2005).
It has upgraded its Shahab-3 missile, which can reach targets in Israel. Iran’s armed forces have recently conducted high-profile military exercises in anticipation of a US led attack. Iran also possesses some 12 X-55 strategic cruise missiles, produced by the Ukraine. Iran’s air defense systems is said to feature Russian SA-2, SA-5, SA-6 as well as shoulder-launched SA-7 missiles (Jaffa Center for Strategic Studies).
The US “Military Road Map”
The Bush administration has officially identified Iran and Syria as the next stage of “the road map to war”.
Targeting Iran is a bipartisan project, which broadly serves the interests of the Anglo-American oil conglomerates, the Wall Street financial establishment and the military-industrial complex.
The broader Middle East-Central Asian region encompasses more than 70% of the World’s reserves of oil and natural gas. Iran possesses 10% of the world’s oil and ranks third after Saudi Arabia (25 %) and Iraq (11 %) in the size of its reserves. In comparison, the US possesses less than 2.8 % of global oil reserves. (See Eric Waddell, The Battle for Oil, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/WAD412A.html)
The announcement to target Iran should come as no surprise. It is part of the battle for oil. Already during the Clinton administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated “in war theater plans” to invade both Iraq and Iran:
“The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President’s National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman’s National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command’s theater strategy.
The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran.
USCENTCOM’s theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of US engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the United States’ vital interest in the region – uninterrupted, secure US/Allied access to Gulf oil.
(USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy , emphasis added)
Main Military Actors
While the US, Israel, as well as Turkey (with borders with both Iran and Syria) are the main actors in this process, a number of other countries, in the region, allies of the US, including several Central Asian former Soviet republics have been enlisted. Britain is closely involved despite its official denials at the diplomatic level.
Turkey occupies a central role in the Iran operation. It has an extensive military cooperation agreement with Israel. There are indications that NATO is also formally involved in the context of an Israel-NATO agreement reached in November 2004.
Planning The Aerial Attack on Iran
According to former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, George W. Bush has already signed off on orders for an aerial attack on Iran, scheduled for June._(See http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/JEN502A.html)
The June cut-off date should be understood. It does not signify that the attack will occur in June. What it suggests is that the US and Israel are “in a state of readiness” and are prepared to launch an attack by June or at a later date. In other words, the decision to launch the attack has not been made.
Ritter’s observation concerning an impending military operation should nonetheless be taken seriously. In recent months, there is ample evidence that a major military operation is in preparation:
• 1) several high profile military exercises have been conducted in recent months, involving military deployment and the testing of weapons systems.
• 2) military planning meetings have been held between the various parties involved. There has been a shuttle of military and government officials between Washington, Tel Aviv and Ankara.
• 3) A significant change in the military command structure in Israel has occurred, with the appointment of a new Chief of Staff.
• 4) Intense diplomatic exchanges have been carried out at the international level with a view to securing areas of military cooperation and/or support for a US-Israeli led military operation directed against Iran.
• 5) Ongoing intelligence operations inside Iran have been stepped up.
• 6) Consensus Building: Media propaganda on the need to intervene in Iran has been stepped up, with daily reports on how Iran constitutes a threat to peace and global security.
Timeline of Key Initiatives
In the last few months, various key initiatives have been taken, which are broadly indicative that an aerial bombing of Iran is in the military pipeline:
November 2004 in Brussels: NATO-Israel protocol: Israel’s IDF delegation to the NATO conference to met with military brass of six members of the Mediterranean basin nations, including Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. “NATO seeks to revive the framework, known as the Mediterranean Dialogue program, which would include Israel. The Israeli delegation accepted to participate in military exercises and “anti-terror maneuvers” together with several Arab countries.
January 2005: the US, Israel and Turkey held military exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean , off the coast of Syria. These exercises, which have been held in previous years were described as routine.
February 2005. Following the decision reached in Brussels in November 2004, Israel was involved for the first time in military exercises with NATO, which also included several Arab countries.
February 2005: Assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The assassination, which was blamed on Syria, serves Israeli and US interests and was used as a pretext to demand the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.
February 2005: Sharon fires his Chief-of-Staff, Moshe Ya’alon and appoints Air Force General Dan Halutz. This is the first time in Israeli history that an Air Force General is appointed Chief of Staff (See Uri Avnery, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/AVN502A.html )
The appointment of Major General Dan Halutz as IDF Chief of Staff is considered in Israeli political circles as “the appointment of the right man at the right time.” The central issue is that a major aerial operation against Iran is in the planning stage, and Maj General Halutz is slated to coordinate the aerial bombing raids on Iran. Halutz’s appointment was specifically linked to Israel’s Iran agenda: “As chief of staff, he will in the best position to prepare the military for such a scenario.”
March 2005: NATO’s Secretary General was in Jerusalem for follow-up talks with Ariel Sharon and Israel’s military brass, following the joint NATO-Israel military exercise in February. These military cooperation ties are viewed by the Israeli military as a means to “enhance Israel’s deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria.” The premise underlying NATO-Israel military cooperation is that Israel is under attack:
“The more Israel’s image is strengthened as a country facing enemies who attempt to attack it for no justified reason, the greater will be the possibility that aid will be extended to Israel by NATO. Furthermore, Iran and Syria will have to take into account the possibility that the increasing cooperation between Israel and NATO will strengthen Israel’s links with Turkey, also a member of NATO.
Given Turkey’s impressive military potential and its geographic proximity to both Iran and Syria, Israel’s operational options against them, if and when it sees the need, could gain considerable strength. ” (Jaffa Center for Strategic Studies, http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v7n4p4Shalom.html)
The Israel-NATO protocol is all the more important because it obligates NATO to align itself with the US-Israeli plan to bomb Iran, as an act of self defense on the part of Israel. It also means that NATO is also involved in the process of military consultations relating to the planned aerial bombing of Iran. It is of course related to the bilateral military cooperation agreement between Israel and Turkey and the likelihood that part of the military operation will be launched from Turkey, which is a member of NATO.
Late March 2005: News leaks in Israel indicated an “initial authorization” by Prime Minster Ariel Sharon of an Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant “if diplomacy failed to stop Iran’s nuclear program”. (The Hindu, 28 March 2005)
March-April 2005: The Holding in Israel of Joint US-Israeli military exercises specifically pertaining to the launching of Patriot missiles.
US Patriot missile crews stationed in Germany were sent to Israel to participate in the joint Juniper Cobra exercise with the Israeli military. The exercise was described as routine and “unconnected to events in the Middle East”: “As always, we are interested in implementing lessons learned from training exercises.” (UPI, 9 March 2005).
April 2005: Donald Rumsfeld was on an official visits to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. His diplomatic endeavors were described by the Russian media as “literally circling Iran in an attempt to find the best bridgehead for a possible military operation against that country.”
In Baku, Azerbaijan Rumsfeld was busy discussing the date for deployment of US troops in Azerbaijan on Iran’s North-Western border. US military bases described as “mobile groups” in Azerbaijan are slated to play a role in a military operation directed against Iran.
Azerbaijan is a member of GUUAM, a military cooperation agreement with the US and NATO, which allows for the stationing of US troops in several of the member countries, including Georgia, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. The stated short term objective is to “neutralize Iran”. The longer term objective under the Pentagon’s “Caspian Plan” is to exert military and economic control over the entire Caspian sea basin, with a view to ensuring US authority over oil reserves and pipeline corridors.
During his visit in April, Rumsfeld was pushing the US initiative of establishing “American special task forces and military bases to secure US influence in the Caspian region:
“Called Caspian Watch, the project stipulates a network of special task forces and police units in the countries of the regions to be used in emergencies including threats to objects of the oil complex and pipelines.
Project Caspian Watch will be financed by the United States ($100 million). It will become an advance guard of the US European Command whose zone of responsibility includes the Caspian region. Command center of the project with a powerful radar is to be located in Baku.” ( Defense and Security Russia, April 27, 2005)
Rumsfeld’s visit followed shortly after that of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami’s to Baku.
April 2005: Iran signs a military cooperation with Tajikistan, which occupies a strategic position bordering Afghanistan’s Northern frontier. Tajikistan is a member of “The Shanghai Five” military cooperation group, which also includes Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. Iran also has economic cooperation agreements with Turkmenistan.
Mid April 2005: Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets George W Bush at his Texas Ranch. Iran is on the agenda of bilateral talks. More significantly, the visit of Ariel Sharon was used to carry out high level talks between US and Israeli military planners pertaining to Iran.
Late April 2005. President Vladmir Putin is in Israel on an official visit. He announces Russia’s decision to sell short-range anti-aircraft missiles to Syria and to continue supporting Iran’s nuclear industry. Beneath the gilded surface of international diplomacy, Putin’s timely visit to Israel must be interpreted as “a signal to Israel” regarding its planned aerial attack on Iran.
Late April 2005: US pressure in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been exerted with a view to blocking the re-appointment of Mohammed Al Baradei, who according to US officials “is not being tough enough on Iran…” Following US pressures, the vote on the appointment of a new IAEA chief was put off until June.
These developments suggest that Washington wants to put forth their own hand-picked nominee prior to launching US-Israeli aerial attacks on Iran’s nuclear facilities. (See VOA, http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-04-27-voa51.cfm ). (In February 2003, Al Baradei along with UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix challenged the (phony) intelligence on WMD presented by the US to the UN Security Council, with a view to justifying the war on Iraq.)
Late April 2005. Sale of deadly military hardware to Israel. GBU-28 Buster Bunker Bombs: Coinciding with Putin’s visit to Israel, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (Department of Defense) announced the sale of an additional 100 bunker-buster bombs produced by Lockheed Martin to Israel. This decision was viewed by the US media as “a warning to Iran about its nuclear ambitions.”
The sale pertains to the larger and more sophisticated “Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) BLU-113 Penetrator” (including the WGU-36A/B guidance control unit and support equipment). The GBU-28 is described as “a special weapon for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground. The fact of the matter is that the GBU-28 is among the World’s most deadly “conventional” weapons used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, capable of causing thousands of civilian deaths through massive explosions.
The Israeli Air Force are slated to use the GBU-28s on their F-15 aircraft. (See text of DSCA news release at http://www.dsca.osd.mil/PressReleases/36-b/2005/Israel_05-10_corrected.pdf
Late April 2005- early May: Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Israel for follow-up talks with Ariel Sharon. He was accompanied by his Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, who met with senior Israeli military officials. On the official agenda of these talks: joint defense projects, including the joint production of Arrow II Theater Missile Defense and Popeye II missiles. The latter also known as the Have Lite, are advanced small missiles, designed for deployment on fighter planes. Tel Aviv and Ankara decide to establish a hotline to share intelligence.
May 2005: Syrian troops scheduled to withdraw from Lebanon, leading to a major shift in the Middle East security situation, in favor of Israel and the US.
The US has troops and military bases in Turkey, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and of course Iraq.
In other words, Iran is virtually surrounded by US military bases. (see Map below). These countries as well as Turkmenistan, are members of NATO`s partnership for Peace Program. and have military cooperation agreements with NATO.
In other words, we are dealing with a potentially explosive scenario in which a number of countries, including several former Soviet republics, could be brought into a US led war with Iran. IranAtom.ru, a Russian based news and military analysis group has suggested, in this regard:
“since Iranian nuclear objects are scattered all over the country, Israel will need a mass strike with different fly-in and fly-out approaches – Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and other countries… Azerbaijan seriously fears Tehran’s reaction should Baku issue a permit to Israeli aircraft to overfly its territory.” (Defense and Security Russia, 12 April 2005).
The World Is at an Important Crossroads
The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.
Iran is the next military target. The planned military operation, which is by no means limited to punitive strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities, is part of a project of World domination, a military roadmap, launched at the end of the Cold War.
Military action against Iran would directly involve Israel’s participation, which in turn is likely to trigger a broader war throughout the Middle East, not to mention an implosion in the Palestinian occupied territories. Turkey is closely associated with the proposed aerial attacks.
Israel is a nuclear power with a sophisticated nuclear arsenal. (See text box below). The use of nuclear weapons by Israel or the US cannot be excluded, particularly in view of the fact that tactical nuclear weapons have now been reclassified as a variant of the conventional bunker buster bombs and are authorized by the US Senate for use in conventional war theaters. (“they are harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground”)
In this regard, Israel and the US rather than Iran constitute a nuclear threat.
The planned attack on Iran must be understood in relation to the existing active war theaters in the Middle East, namely Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.
The conflict could easily spread from the Middle East to the Caspian sea basin. It could also involve the participation of Azerbaijan and Georgia, where US troops are stationed.
An attack on Iran would have a direct impact on the resistance movement inside Iraq. It would also put pressure on America’s overstretched military capabilities and resources in both the Iraqi and Afghan war theaters. (The 150,000 US troops in Iraq are already fully engaged and could not be redeployed in the case of a war with Iran.)
In other words, the shaky geopolitics of the Central Asia- Middle East region, the three existing war theaters in which America is currently, involved, the direct participation of Israel and Turkey, the structure of US sponsored military alliances, etc. raises the specter of a broader conflict.
Moreover, US military action on Iran not only threatens Russian and Chinese interests, which have geopolitical interests in the Caspian sea basin and which have bilateral agreements with Iran. It also backlashes on European oil interests in Iran and is likely to produce major divisions between Western allies, between the US and its European partners as well as within the European Union.
Through its participation in NATO, Europe, despite its reluctance, would be brought into the Iran operation. The participation of NATO largely hinges on a military cooperation agreement reached between NATO and Israel. This agreement would bind NATO to defend Israel against Syria and Iran.
NATO would therefore support a preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and could take on a more active role if Iran were to retaliate following US-Israeli air strikes.
Needless to say, the war against Iran is part of a longer term US military agenda which seeks to militarize the entire Caspian sea basin, eventually leading to the destabilization and conquest of the Russian Federation.
The Antiwar Movement
The antiwar movement must act, consistently, to prevent the next phase of this war from happening.
This is no easy matter. The holding of large antiwar rallies will not in itself reverse the tide of war.
High ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of the military and the US Congress have been granted the authority to uphold an illegal war agenda.
What is required is a grass roots network, a mass movement at national and international levels, which challenges the legitimacy of the military and political actors, and which is ultimately instrumental in unseating those who rule in our name.
War criminals occupy positions of authority. The citizenry is galvanized into supporting the rulers, who are “committed to their safety and well-being”. Through media disinformation, war is given a humanitarian mandate.
To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war machine (namely the production of advanced weapons systems) must be stopped and the burgeoning police state must be dismantled.
The corporate backers and sponsors of war and war crimes must also be targeted including the oil companies, the defense contractors, the financial institutions and the corporate media, which has become an integral part of the war propaganda machine.
Antiwar sentiment does not dismantle a war agenda. The war criminals in the US, Israel and Britain must be removed from high office.
What is needed is to reveal the true face of the American Empire and the underlying criminalization of US foreign policy, which uses the “war on terrorism” and the threat of Al Qaeda to galvanize public opinion in support of a global war agenda.
• The Dangers of a Middle East Nuclear War, by Michel Chossudovsky (This article goes into detail on nuclear weapons and nuclear policy), February 2006
• Nuclear War against Iran, by Michel Chossudovsky, January 2006
• Is the Bush Adminstration planning a Nuclear Holocaust, Febraury 2006
Israel’s Nuclear Capabilities
With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the World’s 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China in the size and sophistication of its nuclear arsenal. Although dwarfed by the nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia, each possessing over 10,000 nuclear weapons, Israel nonetheless is a major nuclear power, and should be publicly recognized as such.
Today, estimates of the Israeli nuclear arsenal range from a minimum of 200 to a maximum of about 500. Whatever the number, there is little doubt that Israeli nukes are among the world’s most sophisticated, largely designed for “war fighting” in the Middle East.
A staple of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are “neutron bombs,” miniaturized thermonuclear bombs designed to maximize deadly gamma radiation while minimizing blast effects and long term radiation— in essence designed to kill people while leaving property intact.(16) Weapons include ballistic missiles and bombers capable of reaching Moscow…
The bombs themselves range in size from “city busters” larger than the Hiroshima Bomb to tactical mini nukes. The Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass destruction clearly dwarfs the actual or potential arsenals of all other Middle Eastern states combined, and is vastly greater than any conceivable need for “deterrence.”
Many Middle East Peace activists have been reluctant to discuss, let alone challenge, the Israeli monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region, often leading to incomplete and uninformed analyses and flawed action strategies. Placing the issue of Israeli weapons of mass destruction directly and honestly on the table and action agenda would have several salutary effects. First, it would expose a primary destabilizing dynamic driving the Middle East arms race and compelling the region’s states to each seek their own “deterrent.”
Second, it would expose the grotesque double standard which sees the U.S. and Europe on the one hand condemning Iraq, Iran and Syria for developing weapons of mass destruction, while simultaneously protecting and enabling the principal culprit. Third, exposing Israel’s nuclear strategy would focus international public attention, resulting in increased pressure to dismantle its weapons of mass destruction and negotiate a just peace in good faith.
Finally, a nuclear free Israel would make a Nuclear Free Middle East and a comprehensive regional peace agreement much more likely. Unless and until the world community confronts Israel over its covert nuclear program it is unlikely that there will be any meaningful resolution of the Israeli/Arab conflict, a fact that Israel may be counting on as the Sharon era dawns.
From John Steinbach, Israel’s Nuclear Arsenal, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/STE203A.html
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Centre for Research on Globalization. www.globalresearch.ca
© Copyright Michel Chossudovsky, GlobalResearch.ca, 2007
Isreali Pilots Training for Nuclear Attack
(January 7, 2007) — Robert Gates, the new US defence secretary, has described military action against Iran as a “last resort”, leading Israeli officials to conclude that it will be left to them to strike.
Israeli pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000-mile round trip to the Iranian targets. Three possible routes have been mapped out, including one over Turkey.
Air force squadrons based at Hatzerim in the Negev desert and Tel Nof, south of Tel Aviv, have trained to use Israel’s tactical nuclear weapons on the mission. The preparations have been overseen by Major General Eliezer Shkedi, commander of the Israeli air force.
Sources close to the Pentagon said the United States was highly unlikely to give approval for tactical nuclear weapons to be used. One source said Israel would have to seek approval “after the event”, as it did when it crippled Iraq’s nuclear reactor at Osirak with airstrikes in 1981.
Scientists have calculated that although contamination from the bunker-busters could be limited, tons of radioactive uranium compounds would be released.
The Israelis believe that Iran’s retaliation would be constrained by fear of a second strike if it were to launch its Shehab-3 ballistic missiles at Israel.
However, American experts warned of repercussions, including widespread protests that could destabilise parts of the Islamic world friendly to the West.
Colonel Sam Gardiner, a Pentagon adviser, said Iran could try to close the Strait of Hormuz, the route for 20% of the world’s oil.
Some sources in Washington said they doubted if Israel would have the nerve to attack Iran. However, Dr Ephraim Sneh, the deputy Israeli defence minister, said last month: “The time is approaching when Israel and the international community will have to decide whether to take military action against Iran.”
Democrats: Nuclear Iran unacceptable
Hilary Leila Krieger / Jerusalem Post
(January 7, 2007) — Iran with nuclear weapons is unacceptable, new House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer told The Jerusalem Post hours after entering the party leadership position. The Maryland Democrat said the view is shared by his party, rejecting assertions that the Democrats would be weaker than the Republicans on Iran. He also said that the use of force against Teheran remained an option.
Hoyer, second only in the hierarchy of the House of Representatives to Speaker Nancy Pelosi, is charged with articulating and strategizing on party policy.
He spoke to the Post on Thursday, the opening day of the 110th Congress, after making an appearance at the National Jewish Democratic Council reception honoring the six new Jewish members of Congress.
The council gathering was one of scores of events on Capitol Hill held to celebrate the start of the new session.
Hoyer is considered close to the Jewish community and many Israel supporters have hailed his elevation in the House.
He was one of the few non-Jewish lawmakers to attend the council reception.
Hoyer said the Democrats’ position, like that of the Bush administration, was that preventing a nuclear-armed Iran had to be done through “discussions, negotiations, sanctions.” Hoyer added that the US needed to work with the international community to block Teheran’s nuclear ambitions.
At the same time, Hoyer said the use of force hadn’t been taken off the table.
“I’ve not ruled that out,” he said, but added, “It’s not an option we want to consider until we know there is no other option.”•
Teheran: Israel Will Regret any Attack
JERUSALEM (January 7. 2007) — In response to a report on Sunday that Israel planned to attack Teheran’s nuclear sites, Iran declared that any attack would provoke a reaction and that “anyone who attacks will regret their actions very quickly.”
According to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Muhammad Ali Husseini, the report published in the London-based Sunday Times proved that Israel was in possession of nuclear weapons.
“This step even comes after the Israeli prime minister’s admission, which revealed the fact that the Israeli regime has nuclear weapons in its possession,” Husseini said, referring to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s slip-of-the-tongue last month, when he hinted on German television that Israel was among the world’s nuclear-equipped nations.
“Now this will convince the international community that the main threat to the world, and to our region in particular, is the Zionist regime,” Husseini added.
The Prime Minister’s Office, however, said it would not respond to the Times claim. “We don’t respond to publications in the Sunday Times,” said Miri Eisin, Olmert’s spokeswoman.
Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman also declined to comment on the report, which claimed that Israel had drawn up plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.
But Foreign Ministry spokesman Mark Regev denied the report and said, “The focus of the Israeli activity today is to give full support to diplomatic actions and the expeditious and full implementation of Security Council resolution 1737. If diplomacy succeeds, the problem can be solved peaceably.”
Earlier, Meretz MK Zehava Gal-On urged Olmert to refute the report.
“It is impossible that Israel would plan to get caught up in another adventure after [our] experience in Lebanon, and act as the world’s sheriff,” Israel Radio quoted Gal-On as saying. She added that diplomacy was the only way to solve the problem.
According to the Times report, military sources had reportedly disclosed to the British newspaper details of two IAF squadrons that have been training to blow up an enrichment plant in Natanz using low-yield nuclear “bunker busters.”
Jerusalem officials refused to comment on the report later Sunday morning, Army Radio said.
A heavy water plant at Arak and a uranium conversion plant at Isfahan would also be targeted, using conventional bombs, according to the Times.
Reportedly, the plan envisaged conventional laser-guided bombs opening “tunnels” into the targets. Nuclear warheads would then be fired into the plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce radioactive fallout.
IAF pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 2,000 mile round-trip to the Iranian targets, the Times said, adding that three possible routes to Iran had been mapped out, including one over Turkey.
The Times suggested that Israel may be trying to scare Iran or to cajole the US into taking stronger action against Teheran’s nuclear program.
However, the report went on to speculate that Israel may strike at Iran’s nuclear facilities and pressure the Americans to agree with the move after the event.
Israeli analysts denounced the report on Sunday as entirely false.
“I refuse to believe that anyone here would consider using nuclear weapons against Iran,” Reuven Pedatzur, a prominent defense analyst, told the AP in Israel on Sunday. “It is possible that this was a leak done on purpose, as deterrence, to say: ‘Someone better hold us back, before we do something crazy.'”
Ephraim Kam, a strategic expert at Tel Aviv University’s Institute for National Strategic Studies and formerly a senior army intelligence officer also dismissed the report.
“No reliable source would ever speak about this, certainly not to the Sunday Times,” Kam said.
In March 2005, the Sunday Times reported that Israel had drawn up secret plans for a combined air and ground attack on targets in Iran if diplomacy failed to halt the Iranian nuclear program.
The newspaper then claimed that the inner cabinet of former prime minister Ariel Sharon had given “initial authorization” for an attack at a private meeting on his ranch in the Negev.
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