Marjorie Cohn /AlterNet & he Jerusalem Post – 2007-02-15 23:24:43
(February 2, 2007) — As Congress and the American people protest the travesty Bush created in Iraq, our President is gunning for a confrontation with Iran. Bush is rattling the sabers and opting for gunboat diplomacy by pledging to “seek out and destroy” Iranian networks “providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies” in Iraq.
But he has produced no hard evidence that Iran is supplying forces in Iraq with such weapons or manufacturing their own nuclear weapons.
When I say “gunboat diplomacy,” I mean that literally. Bush recently sent US warships and Patriot missile batteries to the Persian Gulf and moved US attack aircraft to Turkey and other countries on Iran’s borders. US forces stormed the Iranian consulate in northern Iraq and captured six Iranian nationals, and Bush announced he will go after any Iranians he considers a threat. There are also indications the Bush administration would support military action by Israel against Iran.
On Tuesday, the administration stepped up its inflammatory rhetoric. US officials said Iranians may have trained attackers who killed five Americans in Karbala on January 20. They also implicated the Mahdi Army, the militia controlled by Moktada al-Sadr.
It’s very interesting that the New York Times characterized the focus on Iran and the Mahdi Army as “convenient from the point of view of the Bush administration.”
Investigators were stumped at how the attackers, who wore American-style uniforms, secured forged US identity cards and American-style M-4 rifles, and used stun grenades like those used only by US forces. They are also confounded at the way the attackers’ convoy of SUV’s gave the impression that it was American and slipped through Iraqi checkpoints.
Wednesday’s article in the Times cites a theory that “a Western mercenary group” may have been involved. In the past the US government used the CIA to covertly overthrow governments, such as Iran’s in 1953 and Chile’s in 1973. Could mercenaries now be doing the Bush administration’s dirty work?
The plan to attack Iran has been in the works since Bush inaugurated that country into his “axis of evil” in January 2002. Bush’s 2006 National Military Strategy says, “We may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran.”
In April 2006, Seymour Hersh revealed the US military was making preparations for an invasion of Iran. “Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups,” Hersh learned from current and former American military intelligence officials.
One of the military proposals calls for the use of bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapons against underground nuclear sites in Iran. That would mean “mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties, and contamination over years,” a former senior intelligence official told Hersh. A Pentagon adviser said the Air Force would strike many hundreds of targets in Iran, 99 percent of which have nothing to do with nuclear proliferation.
A former defense official who still advises the Bush administration informed Hersh the military planning was grounded in the belief that “a sustained bombing campaign in Iran will humiliate the religious leadership and lead the public to rise up and overthrow the government.” That’s the same faulty logic the US government has used to justify its cruel embargo and blockade of Cuba since Fidel Castro’s 1959 revolution.
Congress has the responsibility to prevent Bush from attacking Iran. In view of congressional opposition to his war in Iraq, Bush will not likely ask permission to make war on Iran. We can expect Bush to provoke — or even fabricate a la Tonkin Gulf — an incident with Iran and then claim he’s responding to Iranian aggression.
Senior Pentagon officials reported in Wednesday’s Los Angeles Times that Air Force and Navy fighter planes along the Iran-Iraq border may be used more aggressively. Bush will then try to bootstrap the September 2001 and October 2002 congressional authorizations for force in Afghanistan and Iraq respectively into consent to attack Iran.
Offensive military action against Iran would be illegal under the United Nations Charter, which requires that members settle international disputes by peaceful means. The UN Charter is a treaty ratified by the US and thus part of American law under the Supremacy Clause of the Constitution.
Under the Charter, a country can attack another only in self-defense or with the blessing of the Security Council. Moreover, the use of nuclear weapons would violate our obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.
Congress should immediately pass a binding resolution reaffirming the United States’ legal obligations and informing the Bush administration that it will not concur in any invasion or military action against Iran, would refuse to approve any funding for it, and would consider actions taken in contravention of the resolution as impeachable offenses.
Marjorie Cohn is a professor at Thomas Jefferson School of Law, president of the Cowboy Republic: Six Ways the Bush Gang Has Defied the Law, will be published in June.
© 2007 Independent Media Institute
Report: US Plans Strike against Iran
The Jerusalem Post
TEL AVIV (January 31, 2007) — The US was drawing up plans to attack sites where Iran is believed to be enriching uranium before President George W. Bush’s candidacy comes to an end, the UK-based Times reported on Wednesday.
According to the Times, the Bush government has been inviting defense consultants and Middle East experts to the White House and Pentagon for tactical advice.
The Pentagon was reported to be considering ways for the US to destroy nuclear facilities such as Iran’s main centrifuge plant at Natanz, despite the fact that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney hoped that diplomatic efforts to restrain Iran would succeed.
Senior Pentagon planners recently advised the White House, however, that they did not yet have accurate intelligence as to the whereabouts of all Iran’s nuclear enrichment sites.
Iran’s nuclear program has been generating world-wide tension in recent months, despite claims by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the research is for peaceful means. The UN has threatened to put sanctions on Iran if they do not abandon the program.
According to analyst Shmuel Bar of the Institute for Policy and Strategy at the Herzliya Interdisciplinary Center in Israel, an American strike would only trigger the Iranian regime’s primordial survival impulse. This would almost certainly result in a full-scale Iranian assault on Kuwaiti and Saudi oil fields, in an attempt to exact a price that would dissuade the West from carrying its assault to the point of regime change, he told The Jerusalem Post.
In addition, there is a ‘real danger’ that the Iranian regime could instigate labor strikes among the Shi’ites of southern Iraq, said Dr. Ian Bremer, president of the risk consultancy firm, Eurasia Group. This could drop oil production from over a million barrels per day, ‘even to zero for short periods of time,’ he warned.
Furthermore, as several analysts pointed out, any strike that was not dramatic enough to bring down the regime and discredit Ahmadinejad outright would trigger a surge of popular support for Ahmadinejad’s faction in the regime, giving him a decisive advantage in the complex power struggles that characterize Iranian politics.
According to the Times report, despite speculations and divided opinions, the favored US scenario is to attack the Iranian nuclear plant with a small number of ground attack aircraft flying out of the British dependency of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.
The British would however have to approve the use of the American base there for an attack and would be asked to play a supporting role by providing air-to-air re-fuelling or sending out surveillance aircraft, ships and submarines.
The British Foreign Office has insisted that a diplomatic solution is still possible.
Haviv Rettig contributed to this report.