MIDEAST NUCLEAR SABER RATTLING
July 07, 2008
GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - The US, Israel and Iran are playing a very dangerous game
of chicken that could soon result in a new Mideast war.
To the chagrin of President George Bush and VP Dick Cheney, the combined US
intelligence agencies concluded late last year that Iran was not working on
nuclear weapons. UN nuclear weapons experts, who have been inspecting Iran's
nuclear facilities under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NNPT), concur
with US intelligence.
However, Israel, which refused to sign the NNPT, and has a large, undeclared
nuclear weapons program, claims that Iran is within 18 months of developing a
nuclear weapon and must be stopped at all costs.
The Bush administration and Israel, recently joined by France, are issuing
increasingly loud threats of military action to frighten Iran into halting its
nuclear enrichment program which they claim sets the stage for a possible
Iranian break-out to develop nuclear weapons. To do so, Iran would have to
boost enriching its uranium from 5-6% to over 93%.
Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely for civilian use to generate
electrical power. Iran's once vast oil reserves have peaked and are going into
decline while its population continues to rise. Washington dismisses Iran's
need for civilian nuclear power as `preposterous,' though in the 1970's Donald
Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney went to
Tehran to try to sell 27 US nuclear reactors to the Shah of Iran.
Tehran is alternating between conciliatory statements and threats of inflicting
economic chaos on the global economy in retaliation for any attack. Europe
mostly fears the economic damage a war against Iran would bring far more than
Iran's nuclear program.
Senior Israeli officials are openly threatening to attack Iran's nuclear
installations before President George Bush's term expires. Early, this month,
Israel staged a large, US-approved exercise using F-15's and F-16's to rehearse
an attack over 900 miles – precisely the distance to Iran's nuclear facilities.
The highly regarded American journalist Seymour Hersh just confirmed that the
US Congress authorized a $400 million plan to overthrow Iran's government and
incite ethnic unrest. This column reported a year ago that US and British
special forces were operating in Iran, preparing for a massive air campaign.
Israel's destruction of an alleged Syrian reactor last fall was a warning to
This week, an unnamed senior Pentagon official claimed an Israeli attack on
Iran was coming before year end. Other Pentagon and CIA sources say a US attack
on Iran is imminent, with or without Israel.
The Bush administration is even considering using small tactical nuclear
weapons against deeply buried Iranian targets.
Senior American officers Adm. William Fallon and Air Force chief Michael Mosley
were recently fired for opposing war against Iran. According to Israel's media,
President Bush even told Israel's prime minister Ehud Olmert that he could not
trust America's intelligence community and preferred to rely on Israeli
Intensifying activity is evident at US bases in Europe and the Gulf, aimed at
preparing a massive air blitz that may include repeated attacks on 3,100
targets in Iran. These would include air defenses, nuclear installations and
reactors, telecommunications, government and military HQ, transport nodes,
airfields, naval bases and barracks, ports, military industries, pumping
stations and oil terminals, and `high value government targets' – ie.
leadership. In short, a total air blitz delivered in successive waves over days
if not weeks.
Other sources say Iranian Revolutionary Guards installations will be barraged
by cruise missiles as a warning to Tehran.
In Washington, Congress, under intense pressure from the Israel lobby, is about
to adopt a resolution calling for a naval blockade of Iran, an overt act of
war. When Egypt closed the Strait of Tiran to Israeli shipping in 1956, Israel
deemed this an act of war.
Interestingly, the same Congressional Democrats who claimed they were duped
into supporting Bush's war against Iraq have all joined the rush to war against
Iran. In Washington, wisdom only seems to come in hindsight.
Pro-Israel groups in Washington have been airing alarmist TV commercials
claiming Iran is attacking American troops in Iraq and threatening the US.
The Bush administration's last desperate act, its `Gotterdammerung,' could be
war with Iran. Even though there is no proof Iran is working on nuclear arms,
the neocon war party in Washington is determined to loose a final Parthian
shaft by striking Iran.
Israel asserts the right to maintain its Mideast nuclear monopoly by destroying
all fissile-producing reactors in the region. In return, Iran vows to retaliate
against Israel with its inaccurate, conventionally-armed Shahab missiles.
Israel's new anti-missile defense system could shoot down most of the Shahab
warheads. But there is a danger that Israel could over-react and order its
invulnerable triad of air, land and sea-based nuclear weapons to strike at
Should Iran be attacked, Tehran also threatens to
shut the 23-mile wide strait of Hormuz, and mine the Gulf, producing worldwide
financial panic, severe fuel shortages, and $400-500 dollars per barrel oil.
Iran will likely attack US forces in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain,
Qatar and Kuwait, and strike Saudi and Kuwaiti oil facilities.
The embattled Bush administration's bunker mentality is leading to war that
will gravely damage long-term US Mideast interests. A single Iranian missile
hit on Israel's reactor would do more damage to the Jewish state than all its
previous wars. Besides, Israel cannot totally destroy Iran's nuclear
infrastructure. A US or Israeli attack on Iran will absolutely guarantee that
Tehran decides to build nuclear weapons. Israel and Iran have turned their
regional rivalry into a deadly confrontation that now threatens all.
Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khomenei, who controls that nation's military, not
its bombastic president, Mahmoud Ahamdinejad, insists Iran will not produce
nuclear weapons. Israel claims it faces imminent attack. Iran counters that
Israel's nuclear saber rattling threaten its existence. The dogs of war are