William Thomas / www.willthomas.net exclusive – 2007-01-21 23:54:42
(January 19, 2007) — A recent strike by nuclear-armed Israeli Air Force fighter-bombers bound for targets in Iran was turned back after being intercepted by US fighters over Iraq, this reporter has learned.
Two sources have independently confirmed the encounter, which took place on January 7, 2007. Though the first informant offered few details beyond an initial tip, a second source long-known by this reporter to have well-placed US and “non-US” military and government contacts provided specific information regarding the raid, which was aimed at the radical religious ayatollahs holding ultimate power in Iran.
Israeli nuclear strikes are not unprecedented. Soon after Desert Storm, US Navy pilots told this reporter in Kuwait how in late 1990, Israel made good on its pledge to respond in kind to WMD attacks by launching nuclear-armed aircraft against Baghdad following a lethal assault on Tel Aviv by Scud missiles tipped with chemical warheads. That air strike was called off when the Americans refused to provide the vital IFF codes needed to fly through US-controlled airspace.
When questioned concerning the “Identification Friend or Foe” transponder codes needed to overfly Iraq today, this source said that allied Israeli aircraft are routinely provided “squawk codes” when flying missions aimed at acquiring the characteristics of air defence radars triggered by their approach to Syrian, Jordanian, Iranian and US-controlled Iraqi airspace.
This source added that visiting IAF warplanes are routinely “topped off” by American aerial refueling tankers, but only on condition that the Israeli jets fly a “racetrack” holding pattern-and do not continue “downtown” toward Iran.
The designated turn back point is the “160 station” — a clearly charted tapline road located 160 kilometers from Baghdad. Any aircraft proceeding beyond this point must declare its intentions. Otherwise, a USAF F-15 will take position off its wingtip. After waggling its own wings to attract attention, if the interloper fails to turn back, the American Eagle “drops behind and gets tone” by locking a Sidewinder anti-aircraft missile onto the offending plane.
According to this very reliable source, on two previous occasions Israeli fighter-bombers armed with nuclear bombs have headed “downtown” before being turned back over Iraq.
The January 7th mission, which trespassed beyond 160 station before being recalled by Israeli authorities, comprised three IAF F-16s. Each carried conventional munitions — as well as a single 20-kiloton nuclear bomb.
The atomic detonation that razed the city of Hiroshima and killed 140,000 people outright was a 13-kiloton blast. [Agence France- Presse Aug 6/05]
This report of an attempted nuclear strike contradicts military analysts who have long maintained that Israel would deploy as many as 25 I-model F-15 fighter-bombers from the 69th Squadron based at Hatzerim Air Base in the northern Negev, about 50 miles south of Tel Aviv. Any Israeli Air Force attack, it is believed, must first suppress Iranian air defenses, while ensuring that enough conventionally-armed F-15s get through to set back that country’s widely dispersed nuclear program for many years.
The latest model F-15 can carry as much ordnance as a neighborhood- flattening World War II B-17 heavy bomber. As the independent think tank Strategic Forecasting points out, the IAF “has repeatedly demonstrated the ability to conduct long-range strikes”- including the 1976 raid on Entebbe, 2,600 miles from Israel, and a 1985 attack on the PLO headquarters in Tunis, 1,500 miles away. [www.stratfor.com]
But Iran’s air defenses are far more formidable than any the Israeli Air Force has yet faced. Manufactured at the KBM factory near Moscow, Russian-supplied SA-18 Igla-S mobile missile batteries are said to be highly effective against low-flying jets. According to Russian intelligence sources known as DEBKA, the Igla’s mobility “makes them difficult to target and limits the maneuverability of Israeli planes.”
DEBKA has also revealed that Russian advisers from the Raduga OKB engineering group based in Dubna near Moscow have completed installing two advanced radar systems around the Bushehr nuclear reactor on the Persian Gulf. Codenamed “Tin Shield”, the mobile 36D6 systems are modified to protect Iran’s Russian-supplied nuclear facilities from American or Israeli aircraft, stand-off missiles, and cruise missile attacks. On January 12, 2006, Tin Shields also went operational around the uranium enrichment plants at Isfahan in central Iran.
Other air defenses supplied by Moscow to Syria-and most likely Iran- include advanced mobile SS-26 Iskander-E surface to surface missiles carrying a 1,000-pound multiple warhead capable of dodging air defense radars and electronic jamming, as well as surface-to- air SA-10 “Grumble” missiles capable of engaging several targets simultaneously at various altitudes, and SA-18 “Grouse” shoulder- launched anti-aircraft missiles fitted with a 4.5-pound high- explosive warhead. The SA-18 has a maximum range of 5.2 kilometers and a maximum altitude of 3.5 kilometers.
Another major worry for Israeli pilots is Iran’s first satellite. Carried into orbit by a Russian booster in October 2005, the Sinah-1 can provide a “look down” capability to spot low-flying aircraft long before they intrude Iranian airspace.
“The Iranians’ space programme is a matter of deep concern to us,” said an Israeli defence source at the time. “If and when we launch an attack on several Iranian targets, the last thing we need is Iranian early warning received by satellite.”
Moscow has also supplied an estimated $1 billion worth of advanced Tor-M1 anti-missile systems capable of destroying guided missiles and laser-guided bombs dropped from high-flying aircraft. “Once the Iranians get the Tor-M1, it will make our life much more difficult,” worried an Israeli air force source. “We can’t waste time on this one.” [www.envirosagainstwar.org; Sunday Times Dec 11/05; WorldNetDaily.com Dec 11/05]
OSIRIK – THE SEQUEL
According to DEBKA, Moscow intends to secure its investment at Bushehr “against the fate of the Saddam Hussein’s French-built Tamuz nuclear center, which the Israeli air force bombed out existence 24 years ago.”
Fitted with modified drop tanks to extend their range, a trio of smaller, more agile F-16s presents a much more difficult challenge to Iran’s defenders than a larger force of twin-engine F-15s. Renowned for their ability to “tweak” American-supplied weapons, the Israelis have, according to my inside source, managed to reduce the F-16’s radar profile “to the size of a kid’s tricycle.”
As he described it, “We fuel ’em up and they go off the reservation, hit afterburners, hit the deck, and vanish…”
Demonstrating his insider knowledge, he further noted that the Israelis have modified the original drop tanks supplied by the Americans to simultaneously feed the F-16’s single engine, thereby avoiding the fuel management distractions required to keep the fighter in balance using the one-tank-at-a-time US system.
Also unlike their USAF counterparts, Israeli F-16s can simultaneously jettison their spent underwing fuel tanks without the risk of a tumbling drop tank striking live ordnance suspended under the fighter’s wings.
But even fitted with drop-tanks, unless assisted by USAF tankers or allowed to land in Iraq, low-flying F-16’s will burn too much fuel to return. Unless they receive a message in flight to turn back, this source said, Israeli pilots “have already been told before they get into the plane they are not coming back.” He added that volunteer pilots are prepared to fly their nuclear bombs “into their targets” if necessary.
On January 7, after crossing into Iranian airspace, the three ground-hugging nuclear-armed Israeli F-16s would have turned north. Using conventional munitions, the jets would have attacked the 3rd Tactical Air Base at Hamadan to preclude pursuit by the obsolete Iranian air force F-4s stationed there.
Because the small Israeli strike force was expected to be flying a one-way mission, more modern Iranian F-5s and MiG-29s based at the 2nd Tactical Air Base at Tabriz would not have presented a problem on egress. [www.stratfor.com]
This source further stated that the crowded Iranian capitol and the “huge” Revolutionary Guard training facility at Hamadan are “defined targets.” He added that Hamadan is also the Revolutionary Guard’s “central depository for WMD.”
Late in 1990, as a Desert Storm gathered on Iraq’s western border, a convoy of six blacked out transport trucks departed a heavily guarded al-Jesira factory loading dock just outside Mosul. The vehicles included a 1983 red and white Scania transport van, a 1985 Scania with white cab and red box, an orange 1975 MAC truck, an orange 1986 Scania, a brown and white Volvo truck of unknown vintage, and another Scania transport sporting an orange cab and red box.
Already targeted by allied war planners, the al-Jesira Factory produced the uranium hexaflouride used in the difficult technical task of turning low-grade uranium into highly enriched uranium for weapons purposes.
License plates obscured with mud, and traveling only at night, the trucks drove south to a second loading stop in Baghdad, before turning east into Iran. According to a declassified US military intelligence report, the containers sent to Shiite Teheran by Saddam’s dissident Shiite generals were clearly labeled: “Tularemia,” “Anthrax,” “Botulinum” and “Plague”.
Their gift package also included an advanced Hewlett Packard computer, and a Linatron X-ray machine marked “pbg”. Both were shipped from Iraq’s nuclear weapons facility at Mosul, along with sealed containers of uranium hexafluoride.
Details of these WMD transfers were contained in a September 30, 2004 US Department of Defence intelligence report widely distributed among US government and military leaders:
Filename:22010744.91r, PATHFINDER RECORD NUMBER: 11224;
SUBJ: TRANSFER OF NUCLEAR, BIOLOGICAL, AND CHEMICAL (NBC) MATERIEL DURING DESERT STORM
[original text: www.gulfwarvets.com/gulflink/95071920.txt]
Also contradicting military aviation experts and IAF cover stories, this source revealed that the intended targets on July 7th were not aimed at turning Iran’s five heavily defended nuclear reactors into as many Chernobyls. Nor could the Israeli attackers expect to hit Iran’s hundreds of widely dispersed nuclear research facilities. Instead, the January 7 mission objective was to pre-empt Teheran’s ability to attack Israel by eliminating Iran’s “Command and Control”-the religious leadership holding the “go codes” required to launch an Iranian attack on Israel.
“This cuts off the head of the snake and makes response impossible,” my source said. “Decapitating” the country’s top leaders is possible, he went on, because they tend to feel safer by congregating. “Iranians are so untrusting of the communications networks and methodologies most other people use, they don’t use the Internet,” he asserted. “They use the ‘sneaker net’ to walk the message over.”
According to a London newspaper, a “massive” Israeli intelligence operation has been underway in Iran since that country was designated the “top priority for 2005.” [Sunday Times Dec 11/05]
But my source described “years” of insertions of Israeli agents into Iran. Besides locating that country’s underground nuclear installations, Israeli “moles” are principally charged with “pinpointing individuals that would have to be taken out,” he said. “To assure that the government is nonfunctional, you have to go at least 10 people back” from Iran’s top religious and political leaders.
“It’s like a fatwa,” he continued. Acting as “target designators,” Israeli agents equipped with miniaturized homing beacons “stay glued” to Iranian leaders.” Because Iran’s religious and civil leadership often holds meetings on trains, a single well-timed Israeli strike “can take them all out,” he affirmed. “Going downtown, goin’ for the black robes, they have on the ground confirmation.”
Unlike a conventional high-explosive bomb, detonation of a hydrogen bomb ensures “success” in aborting a perceived Iranian attack by frying that all of that country’s computers, phones, radio and other electronic equipment in a massive Electromagnetic Pulse. Because Iranian military electronics are not “hardened” against EMP, and because Iranian war-fighting doctrine stipulates that commanders “use everything they have and hold nothing in reserve,” this source pointed out that if an Israeli air raid is suspected, “all their stuff will be lit up.” As a consequence, after an EMP from an atomic air burst, “Everything on will now be permanently off.”
So will everyone caught in the initial blast wave and firestorm extending more than a dozen miles from the mushrooming blast’s epicenter, as well as all those caught in the radioactive fallout that follows. Ensuring regional radiation sickness, the sharkay day wind blows from NW to SE over Iran and surrounding countries, before shifting 180 degrees during the nighttime shamal.
CROSSING THE RED LINE
With Iranian missiles able to hit Tel Aviv and the Israeli nuclear plant and atom bomb dump at Dimona, and major powers pledged to Teheran’s defense, how Israel and the world expects to escape the moral, military and political consequences of another Hiroshima was not explained.
According to my informant, the three “warning” nuclear strikes launched against Iran and aborted by Israel came in response to threatening military moves that accompanied belligerent public statements by Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
“When they start to deploy, you decapitate so they can’t issue a go order,” he said. “What would you do if your country was as small and vulnerable as Florida? If someone keeps saying they are going to punch you in the face, and then they start to get up out of their chair, what are you going to do? When it’s the survival of your family, the survival of your [race], there are no rules.”
Though this source would not confirm the other two dates, one Israeli nuclear strike might have been launched shortly after December 14, 2005, when Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the Holocaust a “myth” and suggested that Israel’s Jews be relocated to Europe or Alaska.
Dubbing Ahmadinejad, “Admin-job”, this source dismissingly described the Iranian President’s role as “tech support” for the radical ayatollahs, whose national constitution calls for unremitting terror attacks against Israel and the United States- despite near unanimous opposition by Iran’s predominantly younger demographic.
Because Ahmadinejad “does what the black robes tell him,” the Iranian president’s pre-approved public utterances are taken seriously by Israelis, who reportedly became alarmed just prior to January 7 when the Iranian political leader made a short radio statement to his nation saying that a “consolidated” response was required to Bush “and the Zionists”. That the Iranian president issued his address over more publicly accessible shortwave radio, instead of making his usual televised announcement was apparently considered especially menacing by Israeli intelligence.
Likening Israel to a tiny white desert scorpion that is “utterly fearless” in its own defense, this source emphasized that its leaders are “more than deadly serious” in defending their UN- imposed homeland. Determining the point where Iran becomes “a mortal threat” to Israel’s security by crossing the so-called red line “is a minute by minute decision,” he said.
That red line was said to be breached in March 2006, when an Israeli army assessment warned that Iran was capable of enriching enough uranium to start producing nuclear weapons within three years. The previous December, Israeli President Ariel Sharon had declared, “Israel-and not only Israel-cannot accept a nuclear Iran. We have the ability to deal with this, and we’re making all the necessary preparations to be ready for such a situation.” [www.stratfor.com]
Israel’s military intelligence chief Aharon Zeevi Farkash also warned the Knesset, “If by the end of March the international community is unable to refer the Iranian issue to the United Nations Security Council, then we can say the international effort has run its course.” [www.envirosagainstwar.org; Sunday Times Dec 11/05; WorldNetDaily.com Dec 11/05]
DESPERATION IN THREE ALLIED CAPITOLS
Writing for Newsweek and the Associated Press, Mideast journalist Robert Parry observes, “Bush is looking for ways to ‘double-down’ his gamble in Iraq by joining with Olmert-and possibly outgoing British Prime Minister Tony Blair — ” in a desperate roll of violent dice.
Despite Israeli President Ehud Olmert’s misadventure in Lebanon, which has inflamed public sentiments against Israel and vastly strengthened Hammas-as well as Tony Blair’s deepening disgrace, and the resounding defeat of Bush’s war policies in the November 7, 2006 congressional elections-the three leaders have recently conducted private discussions: Olmert meeting with Bush on November 13, Blair visiting the White House on December 7, and Blair conferring with Olmert in Israel on December 18.
Sources close to Parry say “the three leaders are frantically seeking options for turning around their political fortunes as they face harsh judgments from history for their bloody and risky adventures in the Middle East.”
But the veteran correspondent adds, “There is a clock ticking. If the Bush-Blair-Olmert triumvirate has any hope of accomplishing the neoconservative remaking of the Middle East, time is running out. Something dramatic must happen soon.”
Parry refers to that “something” as “Armageddon.”
“I would expect an attack in the next six months,” concurred Larry Johnson, a former deputy director in the State Department’s counter- terrorism office, earlier this month. “This is not just planning for possible military contingencies. There is real planning underway for carrying out a military strike against Iran”-a strike the Israeli military has reportedly already attempted three times. [Consortium News Jan 8/07]
Faced with rising clamor for his own ouster among the American populace, and outright refusal by his top generals to carry out a previously ordered ground attack against Iran using B61-11 nuclear bombs, George Bush continues to defy nearly everyone, while claiming to receive his apocalyptic instructions directly from God. [New Yorker, Apr 17/06]
According to DEBKA, after stating in April 2006 that US intelligence does not believe Iran could produce a nuclear weapon within a decade, then Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte “infuriated neoconservative hardliners who wanted a worst-case scenario on Iran’s nuclear capabilities, much as they pressed for an alarmist view on Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction before the US invasion in 2003.”
As DEBKA sees it, “Bush’s neocon advisers fear that if Bush doesn’t act decisively in his remaining two years in office, his successor may lack the political will to launch a preemptive strike against Iran.
“Attacks on Iran and Syria also would fit with Bush’s desire to counter the growing Shiite influence across the Middle East, which was given a boost by Bush’s ouster of the Sunni-dominated government of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.” [www.debkafile.com Jan 24/05]
The Washington Post agrees, reporting how “Bush began pondering how best to throttle Shiite expansionism” after the neocon fantasy “of a US-orchestrated transformation of the Middle East had turned into a nightmare of rising Shiite radicalism.” [Washington Post, July 16/06]
Bush’s closest advisers also blame Syria and Iran for supporting Iraq’s defenders. “Lacking the military and political capacity to expand the conflict beyond Iraq, the Bush administration turned to Israel and its new Prime Minister Ehud Olmert,” DEBKA says.
By summer 2006, Israeli sources were describing Bush’s obsessive interest in finding a pretext to take down Syria and Iran. Toward this end, he removed the American Ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad when that moderate Muslim objected to Bush’s decision to hang Saddam Hussein. (While governor of Texas, Bush set an all-time record for hangings there.)
Parry also notes that on November 8, two days after Donald Rumsfeld’s memo urging a “minimalist” US presence in Iraq, and the day after American voters threw the Republican majority out of the House and Senate, Bush fired his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld “for going wobbly on the war.” [Consortium News Jan 8/07]
On January 4, 2007 Bush replaced his two top Middle East commanders after Generals John Abizaid and George Casey opposed his military escalation in Iraq. Alluding to upcoming attacks on Iran and Syria, Bush stated, “I’m not predicting any particular theater, but I am predicting that it’s going to take a while for the ideology of liberty to finally triumph.” [Consortium News Jan 8/07]
By then, he had already dispatched US marines and two carrier task forces to the coast of Iran.
Working for the Canadian think tank, Global Research, Ottawa-based Middle East analyst Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya has pieced together Bush’s personal war fleet.
Now on station in the Persian Gulf, “Expeditionary Strike Group 5” includes more than 2,000 marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. Equipped with landing craft and 38 helicopters, the marines are not going to bolster US forces inside Iraq. Instead, they are prepared to “rapidly deploy” on orders received from either of two- men comprising the National Command Authority-the President, or the Secretary of Defense.
The Expeditionary Strike Group’s flagship, the marine assault vessel USS Boxer is accompanied by the massive dock landing vessel, USS Dubuque, the troop ship USS Comstock, battle cruiser USS Bunker Hill, guided-missile destroyers USS Benford and USS Howard, and HMCS Ottawa.
Though ostensibly joining its American ally to prosecute the “War on Terror,” prior to steaming for Iran the Canadian frigate took part in Strike Group 5’s anti-submarine drills off Hawaii aimed at countering Iran’s diesel-electric submarines.
Leading this attack armada is the nuclear carrier USS Enterprise escorted by the destroyer USS McFaul, the frigate USS Nicholas, the battle cruiser USS Leyte Gulf, the attack submarine USS Alexandria, and the fast combat support ship USNS Supply.
A second powerful Strike Group comprises the similarly escorted nuclear aircraft carrier USS Eisenhower. One of these naval strike groups is steaming in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea; the second is bottled up in the Persian Gulf.
As Nazemroaya narrates, “The Persian Gulf could be closed off and turned into a shooting gallery” by Iranian forces deploying advanced Chinese and Russian anti-ship missiles, as well as 225 miles-per-hour torpedoes.
In addition, Iran’s huge hovercraft fleet is augmented by missile- firing drones and helicopter squadrons, silent submarines, and new “Joshan” PT boats capable of speeds in excess of 45 knots. Equipped with a variety of missiles striking beyond 62 miles, the Joshans’ rapid-firing 76-mm shells can shred sea and air targets within 19 kilometers at altitudes up to 23,000 feet.
While such a pornographic catalogue of costly killing machines reads like a Tom Clancy thriller, the results of war in the Persian Gulf will be widespread death and chaos ashore, major casualties for the US and Canadian navies, and worldwide economic and political spasm following the closing of major oil tanker routes through the Strait of Hormuz
Anticipating heavy losses, overall command and control of both Carrier Air Groups has for the first time been transferred onshore. The US Coast Guard vessel USS Midgett has also been dispatched to assist US and Canadian naval vessels wrecked by the Iranian armed forces.
Retired Colonel Gardiner, who once taught military strategy at the US National War College, declares that the US carrier deployments are “very important evidence” of Bush’s intentions to wage war against Iran. “It’s a very significant order, and it’s not done as a training exercise,” Gardiner noted. “You cannot issue a PTDO and then stay ready for very long,”
A PTDO requires all crews to be onboard, and all ships and aircraft ready to deploy by a certain date-in this case, October 1, 2006. “I think the plan’s been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran,” says Gardiner. “It’s a terrible idea. It’s against US law and it’s against international law, but I think they’ve decided to do it.”
Toward this end, Bush has appointed Admiral William Fallon as the new head of Central Command (CENTCOM) for the entire Middle East Theater of Operations. The former Navy pilot will oversee two ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as any American involvement following Israel’s proxy attacks on Iran.
According to DEBKA, “Though not considered a Middle East expert, Fallon has moved in neoconservative circles. attending a 2001 awards ceremony at the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs.” JINSA lobbyists dominate US Middle East policy by encouraging the White House to directly link “American defense policy and the security of Israel.” [DEBKAfile Jan 24/05]
Award-winning Middle East correspondent Robert Fisk also links “Vice-President Dick Cheney, the arch-hawk in the US administration” to the powerful JINSA. “Richard Perle, chairman of the Pentagon’s Defence Policy Board, is still an adviser on the institute, as is the former CIA director James Woolsey,” Fisk adds. “Perle advises the Defence Secretary.”
As Jeff Halper, an Israeli professor of anthropology and Coordinator of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions points out, “Israel is a center of neocon ideology and mobilization. Many of the founders of neo-conservatism in the 1970s and most of its prominent advocates today are [Zionists]. This is not an irrelevant fact, nor is it ‘anti-Semitic’ to say so.”
Though opposed by many Jewish people, Zionists believe “every inch of the Holy Land should belong to Israel, and that there should never be a Palestinian state,” explains The Guardian’s Matthew Engel. [Days of Deception by William Thomas]
Robert Parry worriedly observes that US naval strike forces currently steaming off Iran offers “perhaps a last chance at achieving the regional transformation that has been at the heart of Bush’s strategy of ‘democratizing’ the Middle East through [more] violence if necessary.”
Another source familiar with high-level thinking in Washington and Tel Aviv believes that an unstated reason for Bush’s troop surge is to bolster Baghdad’s Green Zone in anticipation of a mass uprising among Iraqi Shiites following attacks on Iran by Israeli and American forces. In addition to appointing a known “technocrat” to head CENTCOM, Bush has also replaced America’s top spy chief, John Negroponte with retired Vice Admiral John McConnell.
“Navy, Navy, Navy,” my source noted. “Do you see a pattern? The Gulf of Tonkin was started by the Navy. Admiral Crowe covered-up the shootdown of the Iranian Airbus” (by USS Vincennes), and the electromagnetic-beaming “poppers” used to interfere with the minds and moods of Iraq’s populace and national leadership were “a US Navy invention put in place by the Office of Naval Intelligence.”
As for George Bush Senior-the man who gave the world the first Gulf War, more than 740,000 Iraqi deaths, and a thousand burning oil wells-“Navy,” he added. Regarding his son, this source pointed out, “He gets rid of everyone who’s telling him ‘no’. That to me is dangerous because there’s no fail-safe.”
ISREAL VS THE UNITED STATES?
Providing a “fail safe” for pressing home the January 7 nuclear strike were three IAF F-16s. “Only one needs to reach the target,” this source explained. “Of the other two, one is to take out resistance or hold hostage, the third is backup.”
He meant American “resistance”.
In order to defend its national interest, if ordered to prosecute their attack on Iran, Israeli warplanes are prepared to take on their American sponsors, my source stated. But instead of dog- fighting over Baghdad, he described how altimeter-armed nuclear bombs set to go off at a specific altitude would prevent American fighters from shooting down the Israeli jets.
“Which way will the surge surge?” I asked.
My source laughed grimly. “We need a surge protector,” he declared. On January 7, the Israeli nuclear strike was turned back over al- Samawah, “a hair away from an-Nasiriyah. That was not the first time. It’s not going to be the last time. But every time it happens, it goes further and gets closer. There is no way to turn this off. This is not an ‘if’ – it’s a ‘when'”.
In a move that must have sent chills through wintertime Europe, a pugnacious Putin has reportedly informed EU leaders that he will “pull the plug” on Russian oil and natural gas shipments if Israel attacks Iran.
Heightening tensions, military exercises involving Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan forces were held in late August 2006. At the same time, China and Kazakhstan held joint “anti-terrorism” drills. That same month, war games coordinating Russian, Chinese, CSTO and Iranian forces took place throughout Iran.
In September 2006, Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan also held joint “anti-terrorism drills” aimed at blocking US and NATO “interference”. During this time, China and Tajikistan also conducted their first joint military exercise.
“Roughly 12,000 mostly American troops in Afghanistan will begin to integrate with NATO in October 2006,” Nazemroaya further notes. Following attacks on Iran and Syria, NATO and the US anticipate intervening in Pakistan, where the collapse of General Musharraf’s government could place Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal in the hands of that country’s al-Qaeda and Taliban opposition-and perhaps Osama bin Laden. [Global Research Oct 1/06; Navy Times Sept 12/06; Time; CNN Sept 17/06 Nation Sept 28/06]
Seeking further provocation with Teheran, on January 11, 2007, US forces stormed the Iranian consulate in the northern Iraqi town of Irbil, seizing six staff members, computers and classified papers. Bush presaged the embassy raid by pledging to take a hard line towards Iran and Syria, whom he accused of “destabilizing” a country plunged into anarchy by the American occupation.
The US also accuses Iran of seeking nuclear arms to counter the American and Israeli nuclear arsenals. Denying both charges, Tehran recently warned the U.N. General Assembly that escalating US military involvement in the Middle East “threatens to drag the world into war.” [BBC Jan 11/07]
WHAT CAN WE DO?
“These war plans must be taken very seriously,” warns Global Research director Michel Chossudovsky. “The world is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, a long war, which threatens the future of humanity. In the weeks ahead, it is essential that citizens’ movements around the world act consistently to confront their respective governments and reverse and dismantle this military agenda.”
This Canadian analyst further urges, “What is needed is to break the conspiracy of silence, expose the media lies and distortions, and confront the criminal nature of the US Administration and of those governments which support it.”
As a Democratic Congress moves to block Bush’s latest military escalation, spontaneous street protests calling for his immediate impeachment have broken out in Santa Cruz, California and other US cities. These demonstrations are expected to grow. Calling by cell phone from the raucous streets of Santa Cruz, resident Rich Valles said, “I’m getting the strong feeling that the American people are soon going to be taking this to Washington-where they will be joined by the army.”
In the end, it may be even more important to impeach Washington’s militaristic mindset than the man it personifies.