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Alt 16.01.2006, 21:55   #3586
syracus
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The Divided States of America

NanceGreggs; Mon Jan-16-06 03:38 AM

I have an American counter-part – an exact opposite, if you will. I am a Democrat; she is a Republican. I am a Jew; she is a Christian. I live in a major metropolitan city, hundreds of miles away from where I grew up; she lives in a small town in the heartland, around the corner from the house where she was raised.

My fellow American Republican sister and I have differing views on any number of things – reproductive rights, sex outside of marriage, gay rights. On some issues, we disagree vehemently; on others, we differ only marginally.

But if you got my Republican sister and I together and asked us about most of the issues facing the country, our opinions would probably be the same. We both care more about the quality of the education our children receive than whether or not they can pray openly in school. We both worry about the out-of-control deficit, the shortcomings of our health care system, the outsourcing of our jobs to cheap labour markets, and the continuing economic burden on the poor and the middle-class. On a larger scale, we are both deeply upset by the loss of our country’s stature in the world, and the growing threat to the global environment. On the topic of the use of torture and secret prisons, we are both equally outraged.

Having said all of that, the question to be asked is this: Why have my American sister and I been pitted one against the other? Why have we been made to feel that we are not fellow Americans, but enemies?

I have always held that of all of the achievements our country has accomplished, the greatest is the fact that we survived the Civil War, when brother literally took up arms against brother. In the aftermath, we did more than merely survive; we went on to become the greatest, most powerful nation on the face of the earth.

But can we survive the civil war that this Administration has so insidiously created, a war between Red States and Blue States, between Conservatives and Liberals, between Democrats and Republicans?

The crimes of this Administration are too numerous to mention here. But this is the most egregious of its wrongdoings, and the motive is all too obvious. A nation divided against itself cannot stand up to a government that lies us into war, that benefits corporate conglomerates to the detriment of its citizens, that places the hard-earned dollars of the middle class into the pockets of the already wealthy, that ignores the poor and the homeless, and that turns its back on the very compassion and humanity that made us a respected beacon of freedom around the world.

During the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln tried to pull a divided country back together, while the current president, in the guise of a Party-of-Lincoln adherent, has done his utmost to drive a wedge between us. He pushes the obvious hot buttons at every turn – abortion, gay marriage, religion – and then stands back and waits for the inevitable to happen: further division, one citizen against another, a trickle-down effect of hate-mongering that eventually finds its way into the core of our everyday discourse.

But eventually, a nation divided against itself cannot stand at all.

Whether you are Republican or Democrat, Red or Blue, Mormon or Muslim, pro-life advocate or gay-rights activist, hawk or dove, you cannot help but question the ‘leadership’ of a president who would drive a wedge between you and your fellow citizens. You cannot ignore the destructiveness of an Administration that so delights in the division, rather than the unity, of the nation it leads.

I hope that somewhere out there my fellow American Republican sister knows that regardless of our differences, and in spite of the machinations of this current administration, I will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with her in the battle to protect the very foundation our country was built on: unity of purpose, unity of vision, unity of a common American dream.

And I hope she will stand with me in pursuit of those aims, because if we find ourselves unable to find common ground to stand on, we, as a nation, are lost.

http://www.democraticunderground.co...mesg_id=2370863

wohl eine der besten Threaderöffnungen die es gab. Und nun machts die grosse Runde
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Alt 21.01.2006, 12:53   #3587
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von dohanics übernommen......

Donnerstag, 19. Januar 2006

Neocons gegen Theocons, Götterdämmerung?

rhbl

Ein Hauch von 1914 liegt in der Luft. Der Iran lässt sich bei seiner "Atomforschung" nicht einschüchtern. Israel fordert Sanktionen, der Friedensnobelpreisträger El Baradei droht mit Gewalt. RTL-TV unterbricht eine Mitternachtssendung in Deutschland, zeigt irgendwo angreifende F-16 Kampfbomber und verkündet (zum Glück eine Ente) den unmittelbar bevorstehenden "Luftschlag" auf den Iran.

Panikverkäufe an der Börse von Tokio brachten gestern das dortige Computersystem an den Rand des Absturzes. Japan wäre von der nächsten Ölkrise am stärksten betroffen. Wenn der Iran nach einem israelischen Luftangriff auf seine Nuklearanlagen kein Öl mehr liefert und die Straße von Hormusz vermint.

Das Vorkriegs-Szenario ist bedrückend. Es enthält alle Elemente für einen dritten Weltkrieg. Dort Russland und das aufstrebende China, die beide aus der jüngeren Vergangenheit noch eine dicke Rechnung mit den USA offen haben, hier die letzte alte Weltmacht USA, hoffnungslos verstrickt in Bilanzfälschereien, Börsenspekulation, gigantische Haushalts- und Handelsdefizite, soziale Widersprüche und Rassenkonflikte im eigenen Land. In der Mitte die feindlichen Brüder Iran und Israel als Drehscheibe des Konflikts.

Die USA im Niedergang, gefesselt durch das Abenteuer der Neocons, einen verlustreichen Guerillakrieg im Irak, dessen Ende nicht absehbar ist. In seiner maßlosen Arroganz hat "der hässliche Amerikaner" es einmal mehr versäumt, sich mit der Kultur, der Sprache und der Religion seiner Opfer vertraut zu machen. Mit überlegener Militärtechnologie, Folterstrategien und Demütigungen glauben die herrschenden AmerikanerInnen immer noch, sich global behaupten zu können.

Jetzt führen in der Wüstenhitze junge, unerfahrene US-Soldaten, schlecht ausgebildete, graubärtige Reservisten und wankelmütige Kollaborateure in unbequemen, schusssicheren Westen aus ihren schweren Humveys und Bradleys einen für sie überraschend blutigen Krieg gegen leichtfüßige islamische Gotteskrieger. Ein mörderischer Partisanenkrieg, den die US-Streitkräfte, die kaum ein Wort Arabisch sprechen oder verstehen und die sich schwerfällig wie gepanzerte Kampfschildkröten im Gelände bewegen, nicht gewinnen können.

Denn die Bushkrieger benehmen sich im Irak immer noch, als wären die Vandalen gerade in Rom gelandet. Die Verluste unter der an Straßensperren einfach zusammengeschossenen Zivilbevölkerung steigen ständig weiter an. Bei Razzien treten die US-Besatzer grundlos Haustüren ein, durchwühlen die Wohnungen und Schlafzimmer von unschuldigen Irakern ohne Rücksicht auf anwesende Kinder, Mädchen, Frauen, Alte und Kranke, zerstören die Möbel, lassen jeden Anstand vermissen. Woher soll's auch kommen?

Mit den brutalen Hausdurchsuchungen schüren sie stets um ein weiteres Gran Zorn, Hass und Wut in der islamischen Welt. Die USA provozieren so pausenlos die Rekrutierung weiterer gegnerischer Kämpfer. Moslems, die zur Verteidigung ihrer Glaubensbrüder aus aller Herren Länder in den Irak strömen und von denen Hunderte wenn nicht Tausende über Kampferfahrung aus dem Guerillakrieg gegen die Sowjetunion in Afghanistan verfügen. Hochmotivierte, damals von der CIA bezahlte und von Bin Laden ausgebildete Kämpfer, die von Woche zu Woche im Irak gegenüber ihrem früheren Dienstherr USA selbstbewusster werden und in manchen Städten schon wieder ganze Stadtviertel kontrollieren.

Immer mehr US-Hubschrauber werden abgeschossen. In der letzten Woche ging fast täglich einer verloren. Immer öfter wird eines der 250.000 Dollar teuren gepanzerten Fahrzeuge der Amerikaner samt Insassen von einer Sprengfalle zerrissen. US-Journalisten trauen sich kaum noch vor die Haustür, um nicht als Geisel verschleppt und getötet zu werden. Der Irakkrieg und die Journalisten, die bereit sind, aus dem Kriegsgebiet zu berichten, sind fast unbezahlbar teuer geworden. Und das bei einem zu erwartenden US-Haushaltsdefizit für 2006 in Höhe von 400 Milliarden Dollar.

Die Bush-Administration steht angesichts dieses Debakels wie ein waidwunder Bär mit dem Rücken an der Wand. Aber anders als dem eierlosen Seniorenclub im Kreml vor dem Untergang der Sowjetunion ist der laut Hillary Clinton "schlimmsten US-Administration", in dieser desaströsen Situation in Sachen Iran alles zuzutrauen. High Noon. Die Uhr tickt schon.

Am Werk ist ein US-Präsident, der - nach Einschätzung von James Risen in seinem Buch "State of War" - in der jüngsten Abhöraffäre der NSA durchweg Recht und Gesetz gebrochen hat und noch zu einigen schlimmen, unüberlegten Schnellschüssen im Rahmen seiner Art von "Globalisierung" fähig ist. Wer stoppt diese Doomsday-Maschine, bevor sie erneut die Welt in Flammen aufgehen lässt, wie 1914?

Höchste Zeit, dass sich der Kongress auf die Hinterbeine stellt, dass sich Bill Clinton als Botschafter des Friedens auf den Weg über Moskau und Peking nach Teheran macht, bevor der erste Cruise-Missile einen Uranhexaflorid (UHF6)-Gefahrgut-LKW in Isfahan trifft oder bevor israelische F-16 Bomber Natanz oder Bushir platt machen.

http://www.pickings.de/tiki-view_bl...Id=9&postId=737
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Alt 23.01.2006, 10:20   #3588
mama mia
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...ich stell's mal hier rein - ist ja auch nicht eben vom US-feinsten

January Sunday 22nd 2006 (06h07) :
Homeland Security To Confiscate Bank Safe Deposit Box Contents
4 comment(s).

BANK OF AMERICA & COMPASS BANK MANAGERS WERE TOLD HOMELAND SECURITY WILL CONFISCATE SAFE DEPOSIT BOXES
by notepad

While all the other points I mentioned in a previous post are fairly well documented and discussed elsewhere on the Internet, the bank information I reported is not. This information is from my own experience and research. I discovered the disturbing news quite by accident - and by virtue of its importance, I decided to post my findings here and on a few other forums.

What did I hear?

A family member from Irvine, CA (who’s a branch manager at Bank of America) told us two weeks ago that her bank held a "workshop" where the last two days were dedicated to discussing their bank’s new security measures. During these last two days, the workshop included members from the Homeland Security Office who instructed them on how to field calls from customers and what they are to tell them in the event of a national disaster. She said they were told how only agents from Homeland Security (during such an event) would be in charge of opening safe deposit boxes and determining what items would be given to bank customers.

At this point they were told that no weapons, cash, gold, or silver will be allowed to leave the bank - only various paperwork will be given to its owners. After discussing the matter with them at length, she and the other employees were then told not to discuss the subject with anyone.

The family member has since given her notice to quit the bank.

I found the news alarming and decided to find out more myself. On a trip to my bank here in Houston, I remarked to a young bank employee (who’s new there), "well I guess you’ve been told all that stuff by the manager and the Homeland Security about what to tell your customers" - and to my amazement, the young woman came right out and said yes she’d been through all that, then whispered to me across the counter, "but we’re not supposed to talk about - I could lose my job."

Why haven’t you heard more about this?

First of all, since maybe only banks’ upper management is privy to the new "rules", the information doesn’t trickle down so easily.

Also keep in mind that employees have been told NOT to say anything about this, that it’s a matter of National Security (with an allusion toward arrest if they do). They face possibly losing their job too. Another reason is that bank employees may not think it’s important, or they believe they’re a unique part of the effort towards curtailing "terrorism" and helping America’s internal defenses.

It is also important to realize that not everyone’s a writer, or Internet savvy - even if the employees moved beyond their banks’ warnings & constraints, most people don’t know how to get their experience published on the Web in the public domain - it’s a mystery they are not familiar with so you never hear their story.

How to get the information yourself:

Visit your bank, ask a few well-worded questions, being careful not to arouse suspicion - if that doesn’t work, talk to friends and other family members - maybe they’ve heard something - or as a last resort, just point blank call the bank manager in private and demand to know what’s all this business with the Homeland Security deciding what I can have from my safe deposit box - tell me now or I’ll close my account today.

I’ll bet if you put forth the effort you’ll get the answers you want.

What should you do with this information?

I’m not trying to "scare" anyone - just providing some news I think is relevant to Americans. Each must find his way through this dark forest - you will do with this information what best suits you and your loved ones - me personally, I see this as another indicator of how the criminals in charge over our lives intend to fleece U.S. citizens completely then dispose of them as only refuse.

Be prepared.

# # #


By : notepad
January Sunday 22nd 2006

http://bellaciao.org/en/article.php3?id_article=10012l
__________________
http://www.derivatecheck.de/termine/default.asp jede Medaille hat zwei Seiten

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Alt 28.01.2006, 12:26   #3589
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The Pentagon Breaks the Islam Taboo

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

By Paul Sperry
FrontPageMagazine.com | December 14, 2005

Washington 's policy-makers have been careful in the war on terror to distinguish between Islam and the terrorists. The distinction has rankled conservatives who see scarce difference.

A little-noticed speech by President Bush in October gave them some hope. In a major rhetorical shift, he described the enemy as "Islamic radicals" and not just "terrorists," although he still denies that radicalism has anything to do with their religion.

Now for the first time, a key Pentagon intelligence agency involved in homeland security is delving into Islam's holy texts to answer whether Islam is being radicalized by the terrorists or is already radical. Military brass want a better understanding of what's motivating the insurgents in Iraq and the terrorists around the globe, including those inside America who may be preparing to strike domestic military bases. The enemy appears indefatigable, even more active now than before 9/11.

Are the terrorists really driven by self-serving politics and personal demons? Or are they driven by religion? And if it's religion, are they following a manual of war contained in their scripture?

Answers are hard to come by. Four years into the war on terror, U.S. intelligence officials tell me there are no baseline studies of the Muslim prophet Muhammad or his ideological or military doctrine found at either the CIA or Defense Intelligence Agency, or even the war colleges.

But that is slowly starting to change as the Pentagon develops a new strategy to deal with the threat from Islamic terrorists through its little-known intelligence agency called the Counterintelligence Field Activity or CIFA, which staffs hundreds of investigators and analysts to help coordinate Pentagon security efforts at home and abroad. CIFA also supports Northern Command in Colorado , which was established after 9/11 to help military forces react to terrorist threats in the continental United States .

Dealing with the threat on a tactical and operational level through counterstrikes and capture has proven only marginally successful. Now military leaders want to combat it from a strategic standpoint, using informational warfare, among other things. A critical part of that strategy involves studying Islam, including the Quran and the hadiths, or traditions of Muhammad.

"Today we are confronted with a stateless threat that does not have at the strategic level targetable entities: no capitals, no economic base, no military formations or installations," states a new Pentagon briefing paper I've obtained. "Yet political Islam wages an ideological battle against the non-Islamic world at the tactical, operational and strategic level. The West's response is focused at the tactical and operation level, leaving the strategic level -- Islam -- unaddressed."

So far the conclusions of intelligence analysts assigned to the project, which include both private contractors and career military officials, contradict the commonly held notion that Islam is a peaceful religion hijacked or distorted by terrorists. They've found that the terrorists for the most part are following a war-fighting doctrine articulated through Muhammad in the Quran, elaborated on in the hadiths, codified in Islamic or sharia law, and reinforced by recent interpretations or fatwahs.

"Islam is an ideological engine of war (Jihad)," concludes the sensitive Pentagon briefing paper. And "no one is looking for its off switch."

Why? One major reason, the briefing states, is government-wide "indecision [over] whether Islam is radical or being radicalized."

So, which is it? "Strategic themes suggest Islam is radical by nature," according to the briefing, which goes on to cite the 26 chapters of the Quran dealing with violent jihad and the examples of the Muslim prophet, who it says sponsored "terror and slaughter" against unbelievers.

"Muhammad's behaviors today would be defined as radical," the defense document says, and Muslims today are commanded by their "militant" holy book to follow his example. It adds: Western leaders can no longer afford to overlook the "cult characteristics of Islam."

It also ties Muslim charity to war. Zakat, the alms-giving pillar of Islam, is described in the briefing as "an asymmetrical war-fighting funding mechanism." Which in English translates to: combat support under the guise of tithing. Of the eight obligatory categories of disbursement of Muslim charitable donations, it notes that two are for funding jihad, or holy war. Indeed, authorities have traced millions of dollars received by major jihadi terror groups like Hamas and al-Qaida back to Saudi and other foreign Isamic charities and also U.S. Muslim charities, such as the Holy Land Foundation.

According to the Quran, jihad is not something a Muslim can opt out of. It demands able-bodied believers join the fight. Those unable -- women and the elderly -- are not exempt; they must give "asylum and aid" (Surah 8:74) to those who do fight the unbelievers in the cause of Allah.

In analyzing the threat on the domestic front, the Pentagon briefing draws perhaps its most disturbing conclusions. It argues the U.S. has not suffered from scattered insurgent attacks -- as opposed to the concentrated and catastrophic attack by al-Qaida on 9-11 -- in large part because it has a relatively small Muslim population. But that could change as the Muslim minority grows and gains more influence.

The internal document explains that Islam divides offensive jihad into a "three-phase attack strategy" for gaining control of lands for Allah. The first phase is the "Meccan," or weakened, period, whereby a small Muslim minority asserts itself through largely peaceful and political measures involving Islamic NGOs -- such as the Islamic Society of North America, which investigators say has its roots in the militant Muslim Brotherhood, and Muslim pressure groups, such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations, whose leaders are on record expressing their desire to Islamize America.

In the second "preparation" phase, a "reasonably influential" Muslim minority starts to turn more militant. The briefing uses Britain and the Netherlands as examples.

And in the final jihad period, or "Medina Stage," a large minority uses its strength of numbers and power to rise up against the majority, as Muslim youth recently demonstrated in terrorizing France , the Pentagon paper notes.

It also notes that unlike Judaism and Christianity, Islam advocates expansion by force. The final command of jihad, as revealed to Muhammad in the Quran, is to conquer the world in the name of Islam. The defense briefing adds that Islam is also unique in classifying unbelievers as "standing enemies against whom it is legitimate to wage war."

Right now political leaders don't understand the true nature of the threat, it says, because the intelligence community has yet to educate them. They still think Muslim terrorists, even suicide bombers, are mindless "criminals" motivated by "hatred of our freedoms," rather than religious zealots motivated by their faith. And as a result, we have no real strategic plan for winning a war against jihadists.

Even many intelligence analysts and investigators working in the field with the Joint Terrorism Task Forces have a shallow understanding of Islam.

"I don't like to criticize our intelligence services, because we did win the Cold War," says a Northern Command intelligence official. "However, all of these organizations have made only limited progress adjusting to the current threat or the sharing of information."

Why? "All suffer heavily from political correctness," he explains.

PC still infects the Pentagon, four years after jihadists hit the nation's military headquarters.

"A lot of folks here have a very pedestrian understanding of Islam and the Islamic threat," a Pentagon intelligence analyst working on the project told me. "We're getting Islam 101, and we need Islam 404."

The hardest part of formulating a strategic response to the threat is defining Islam as a political and military enemy. Once that psychological barrier has been crossed, defense sources tell me, the development of countermeasures -- such as educating the public about the militant nature of Islam and exploiting "critical vulnerabilities" or rifts within the Muslim faith and community -- can begin.

"Most Americans don't realize we are in a war of survival -- a war that is going to continue for decades," the Northcom official warns.

It remains to be seen, however, whether our PC-addled political leaders would ever adopt such controversial measures.


http://www.faithfreedom.org/oped/PaulSperry51215p2.htm

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Alt 28.01.2006, 22:58   #3590
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Krasse Seite, Danke Syr
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Alt 01.02.2006, 20:02   #3591
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Calculating the Risk of War in Iran

F. William Engdahl
www.engdahl.oilgeopolitics.net/
30 January, 2006


In the past weeks media reports have speculated that Washington is 'thinking the unthinkable,' namely, an aggressive, pre-emptive nuclear bombardment of Iran, by either the United States or Israel, to destroy or render useless the deep underground Iranian nuclear facilities.

The possibility of war against Iran presents a geo-strategic and geopolitical problem of far more complexity than the bombing and occupation of Iraq. And Iraq has proven complicated enough for the United States. Below we try to identify some of the main motives of the main actors in the new drama and the outlook for possible war.

The dramatis personae include the Bush Administration, most especially the Cheney-led neo-conservative hawks in control now of not only the Pentagon, but also the CIA, the UN Ambassadorship and a growing part of the State Department planning bureaucracy under Condi Rice. It includes Iran, under the new and outspoken President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. It includes Putin's Russia, a nuclear-armed veto member of the UN Security Council. It includes a nuclear-armed Israel, whose acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert, recently declared that Israel could 'under no circumstances' allow Iranian development of nuclear weapons 'that can threaten our existence.' It includes the EU, especially Security Council Permanent Member, France and the weakening President Chirac. It includes China, whose dependence on Iranian oil and potentially natural gas is large.

Each of these actors has differing agendas and different goals, making the issue of Iran one of the most complex in recent international politics. What's going on here? Is a nuclear war, with all that implies for the global financial and political stability, imminent? What are the possible and even probable outcomes?

The basic facts

First the basic facts as can be verified. The latest act by Iran's President, Ahmadinejad, announcing the resumption of suspended work on completing a nuclear fuel enrichment facility along with two other facilities at Natanz, sounded louder alarm bells outside Iran than his inflammatory anti-Israel rhetoric earlier, understandably so. Mohamed El Baradei, Nobel Peace prize winning head of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the UN body, has said he is not sure if that act implies a nuclear weapons program, or whether Iran is merely determined not to be dependent on outside powers for its own civilian nuclear fuel cycle. But, he added, the evidence for it is stronger than that against Saddam Hussein, a rather strong statement by the usually cautious El Baradei.

The result of the resumption of research at Natanz appears to have jelled for the first time, a coalition between USA and the EU, including Germany and France, with China and even Russia, now joining in urging Iran to desist. Last August President George Bush announced, in regard to Iran's announced plans to resume enrichment regardless of international opinion, that 'all options are on the table.' That implied in context a nuclear strike on Iranian nuclear sites. That statement led to a sharp acceleration of EU diplomatic efforts, led by Britain, Germany and France, the so-called EU-3, to avoid a war. The three told Washington they were opposed to a military solution. Since then we are told by Der Spiegel and others the EU view has changed to appear to come closer to the position of the Bush Administration.

It's useful briefly to review the technology of nuclear fuel enrichment. To prepare uranium for use in a nuclear reactor, it undergoes the steps of mining and milling, conversion, enrichment and fuel fabrication. These four steps make up the 'front end' of the nuclear fuel cycle.

After uranium has been used in a reactor to produce electricity it is known as 'spent fuel,' and may undergo further steps including temporary storage, reprocessing, and recycling before eventual disposal as waste. Collectively these steps are known as the 'back end' of the fuel cycle.

The Natanz facility is part of the 'front end' or fuel preparation cycle. Ore is first milled into Uranium Oxide (U3O8), or 'yellowcake,' then converted into Uranium Hexaflouride (UF6) gas. The Uranium Hexaflouride then is sent to an enrichment facility, in this case Natanz, to produce a mix containing 3-4% of fissile U235, a non-weapons-grade nuclear fuel. So far, so good more or less in terms of weapons danger.

Iran is especially positioned through geological fortune to possess large quantities of uranium from mines in Yazd Province, permitting Iran to be self-sufficient in fuel and not having to rely on Russian fuel or any other foreign imports for that matter. It also has a facility at Arak which produces heavy water, which is used to moderate a research reactor whose construction began in 2004. That reactor will use uranium dioxide and could enable Iran to produce weapons grade plutonium which some nuclear scientists estimate could produce an amount to build one to two nuclear devices per year. Iran officially claims the plant is for peaceful medical research. The peaceful argument here begins to look thinner.

Nuclear enrichment is no small item. You don't build such a facility in the backyard or the garage. France's large Tricastin enrichment facility provides fuel for the nuclear electricity grid of EdF, as well as for the French nuclear weapons program. It needs four large nuclear reactors, just to provide over 3000 MWe power for it. Early US enrichment plants used gaseous diffusion. Enrichment plants in EU and Russia use a more modern centrifuge process that uses far less energy per unit of enrichment. The latter or centrifuge process is also the Iranian type.

To make weapons grade Uranium requires more than conventional civilian electric power grade uranium fuel.

'Unmaking' weapons grade uranium today is also a geopolitically interesting process, not irrelevant to the current dispute over Iran. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, under agreements designed to insure that the Soviet nuclear arsenal would be converted to peaceful uses, military weapons uranium came on to the civilian market under a US-Russian agreement.

Today more than half of all the uranium used for electricity in the USA nuclear power plants comes from Russian military stockpiles. Currently 20% of all electricity produced in the US is nuclear generated meaning that Russian uranium fuels some 10% of all US electricity.

In 1994 a $12 billion contract was signed between the US Enrichment Corporation (now USEC Inc) and Russia's Techsnabexport (Tenex) as agents for the US and Russian governments. USEC agreed to buy a minimum of 500 tonnes of weapons-grade uranium over 20 years, at a rate of up to 30 tonnes/year beginning 1999. The uranium is blended down to 4.4% U-235 in Russia. The USEC then sells it to its US power utility customers as fuel. In September 2005 this program reached its halfway point of 250 tonnes or elimination of 10,000 nuclear warheads.

Worldwide, one sixth of the global market of commercial enriched uranium is supplied by Russia from Russian and other weapons-grade uranium stocks. Putin has many cards to play in the showdown over Iran's nuclear program.

The issue of whether Iran was secretly building a nuclear weapon capability first surfaced from allegations by an Iranian exile opposition group in 2002.

Natanz has been under IAEA agency purview since suspicions about Iran's activities surfaced. It was prompted by reports from an Iranian opposition organization, National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), and led IAEA head Mohamed El Baradei to tour Iran's nuclear facilities in February 2002, including the incomplete plant in that city of Natanz about 300 miles south of Tehran. The NCRI is the political arm of the controversial People's Mujahedeen of Iran, which both EU and US governments officially brand terrorist but unofficially work with increasingly against the Teheran theocracy.

Possible Iranian strategy

It's undeniably clear that Iran's newly-elected President Ahmadinejad has a more confrontational policy than his predecessor. The Iranian Ambassador to Vienna, speaking at a conference in Austria where this author was present in September 2005, shocked his audience by stating essentially the same line of confrontational rhetoric: 'If it comes to war, Iran is ready'.

Let's assume that the Western media is correctly reporting the strident militant speeches of the President. We must also assume that in that theocratic state, the ruling mullahs, as the most powerful political institution in Iran, are behind the election of the more fundamentalist Ahmadinejad. It has been speculated that the aim of the militancy and defiance of the US and Israel is to revitalize the role of Iran as the 'vanguard' of an anti-Western theocratic Shi'ite revolution at a time when the mullahs' support internally, and in the Islamic world, is fading.

Let's also assume Ahmadinejad's actions are quite premeditated, with the intent to needle and provoke the west for some reason. If pushed against the wall by growing western pressures, Ahmadinejad's regime has apparently calculated that Iran has little to lose if it hit back.

He is also no rogue agent in opposition to the Iranian clergy. According to the Pakistani newspaper, Dawn of January 24, 2006, Ayatollah Jannati, Secretary of the Guardian Council of the Constitution, stressed Iran's determination to assert its 'inalienable' rights: 'We appreciate President Ahmadinejad because he is following a more aggressive foreign policy on human rights and nuclear issues than the former governments of Khatami and Rafsanjani,' the Ayatollah reportedly said. 'President Ahmadinejad is asking, ''why only you (western powers) should send inspectors for human rights or nuclear issues to Iran - we also want to inspect you and report on your activities,' Jannati said. The paper's Teheran correspondent added, 'the mood within the country's top leadership remains upbeat and the general belief was that it would be possible to ride out international sanctions - if it comes to that.'

In this situation, some exile Iranians feel it would bolster Ahmadinejad and the ayatollahs to be handed a new UN sanction punishment. It could be used to whip up nationalism at home and tighten their grip on power at a time of waning revolutionary spirit in the country.

Ahmadinejad has been taking very provocative, and presumably calculated measures including breaking nuclear-facility seals, to announcing a major conference that would question evidence that the Nazis conducted a mass murder of European Jews during World War II. Yet he also has stressed several times publicly that in accord with strict Islam law, Iran would never deploy a nuclear device, a weapon of mass destruction, and that it is only asserting its right as a sovereign nation to an independent full-cycle civilian nuclear program.

The history of Iran's nuclear efforts should be noted. It began in 1957 when Reza Shah Pahlevi signed a civilian Atoms for Peace agreement with Eisenhower's administration. Iran received a US research reactor in 1967. Then in 1974 after the first oil shock, the Shah created the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, explicitly tasked to develop civilian nuclear power to displace oil freeing more oil for export, and for developing a nuclear weapon. The Bushehr reactor complex of civilian power reactors was begun by West Germany in the 1970's under the Shah, the same time Iran began buying major shares of key German companies such as Daimler and Krupp. After his 1979 ascent to power, Ayatollah Khomeini ordered all work on the nuclear program halted, citing Islamic beliefs that weapons of mass destruction were immoral.

In 1995, the Russian Foreign Ministry signed a contract with the Iranian government to complete the stalled Bushehr plant, and to supply it with Russian nuclear fuel, provided Iran agreed to allow IAEA monitoring and safeguards. According to an article in the March 2004 MERIA Journal, that 1995 Russia-Iran deal included potentially dangerous transfers of Russian technology such as laser enrichment from Yefremov Scientific Research Institute (NIIEFA). Iran's initial deal with Russia in 1995 included a centrifuge plant that would have provided Iran with fissile material. The plant deal was then canceled at Washington's insistence.

The monitoring of Bushehr continued until the reports from NCRI of secret nuclear weapons facilities in 2002 led to increased pressure on Iran, above all from President Bush, who labeled Iran one of a three nation 'axis of evil' in his January 2002 State of the Union speech. That was when the Bush Administration was deeply in preparation of regime change in Iraq however and Iran took a back seat, not least as Washington neo-conservatives such as Ahmad Chalabi had convinced the Pentagon his ties to Teheran could aid their Iraq agenda.

Since that time, relations between Washington and Teheran have become less than cordial. Iran has been preparing for what it sees as an inevitable war with the United States. Brig. Gen. Mohammad-Ali Jaafari, commander of the Revolutionary Guards' army, told the official IRNA news agency on October 9 2005, 'As the likely enemy is far more advanced technologically than we are, we have been using what is called 'asymmetric warfare' methods. We have gone through the necessary exercises and our forces are now well prepared for this.' This presumably includes terrorist attacks and the use of weapons of mass destruction and their means of delivery, ballistic missiles.

On January 20 2006 Iran announced it had decided to withdraw investments from Europe. This was the same week UBS Bank in Zurich announced it was closing all Iranian accounts. According to US Treasury reports, Iran has an estimated $103 billion in dollar-denominated assets alone. There is potential to cause short-term financial distress, though likely little more should Iran sell all dollar assets abruptly.

What seems clear is that Iran is defiantly going ahead with completion of an independent nuclear capability and insists it is abiding by all rules of the Non-Proliferation Treaty and IAEA.

Iran also apparently feels well prepared to sit out any economic sanctions. The country is the second largest OPEC oil producer (4.1 million barrels/day in 2005) next to Saudi Arabia (9.1 million bpd). It is fourth largest in the world just under the total oil production of the USA (4.9 million bpd). Russia with 9.5million bpd production in 2005 takes claim to being the world's largest oil-producing country.

Iran has also accumulated a strong cash position from the recent high oil price, earning some $45 billion in oil revenue in 2005, double the average for 2001-2003. This gives it a war chest cushion against external sanctions and the possibility to live for months with cutting its oil export all or partly. That is clearly one of the implicit weapons Iran knows it holds and would clearly use in event the situation escalated into UN Security Council economic sanctions. In today's ultra-tight oil supply market, with OPEC producing at full capacity, there would be no margin to replace 4 million Iranian barrels a day. A price shock level of $130 to $150 is quite likely in that event.

Iran now has decisive influence within the Shi'ite dominated new Iraqi government. The most influential figure in Iraq today is the Shi'ite spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Mohammad al-Sistani, the 75 year old cleric born in Iran. On January 16 2006, after the new Iraqi government offered al-Sistani Iraqi citizenship, he replied, 'I was born Iranian and I will die Iranian.' That also gives Teheran significant leverage over the political developments in Iraq.

The Israeli options

Israel has been thrown into a political crisis at just this time of Iran's strident moves, with the removal of the old warrior, Ariel Sharon, from the scene. Israeli elections will come March 28 for a new government. Contenders include the present acting Prime Minister, Ehud Olmert. Israeli media reports that President George W. Bush has decided to do what he can to try and ensure that Olmert, standing in for an incapacitated Ariel Sharon, is elected to be full-time prime minister when Israelis go to the polls on March 28. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has invited Olmert to visit Washington DC, probably sometime next month.

Other reports are that the Vice President, we might say, the 'spiritual leader' of the US hawks, Dick Cheney, has been covertly aiding the Benjamin Netanyahu candidacy as new head of the right-wing Likud. Netanyahu is also directly tied to the indicted US Republican money launderer, Jack Abramoff during the time Netanyahu was Sharon's Finance Minister. Washington journalists report that Vice President Dick Cheney, and his advisers David Addington and John Hannah, are working behind the scenes to ensure that former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu succeeds acting Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in March. Cheney is working to defeat the more moderate Kadima Party -- formed by Ariel Sharon and his more moderate ex-Likud allies-- in the March 28 elections.

Bush has not come out with direct vocal support for Olmert, but Olmert has stressed that he will continue to work with America to realize a Palestinian state. Israeli press report the new middle-of-road (Israeli middle) party of Olmert and Sharon-Kadima--will probably win landslide elections to the dismay of Cheney's and Karl Rove's Christian Right and neo-conservative base. According to the Palestine newspaper, Al-Manar, the Bush Administration is conducting secret contacts with the Palestinian Authority and Arab countries in an effort to have them help strengthen Olmert's stature. The US reportedly informed them that it is interested in having Olmert head Kadima and "continue the process that Sharon began to solve the Palestinian-Israel conflict." The paper further reports that Washington feels that Olmert is a 'smart leader who will be able, with his advisors, to lead the peace process and rebuff the political machinations against him.'

The Bush White House even informed Olmert, according to the paper, that it would like him to keep Sharon's advisors on his team, especially Dov Weisglass and Shimon Peres. Weisglass, Sharon's personal lawyer and broker of ties to Washington, recently said he was in almost daily contact with Condi Rice.

On January 22, Olmert addressed the issue of Iran. According to Israeli State Radio, he said that Iran was trying to engage Israel in the conflict surrounding Tehran's ongoing nuclear enrichment efforts, and that he concurs with Ariel Sharon's position that Israel would not lead the battle against Iran. He said that that 'responsibility falls first and foremost on the United States, Germany, France and the Security Council. We do not have to be the leaders.' By contrast, his Defense Minister, Shaul Mofaz, stated Israel will not tolerate Iran achieving nuclear independence, a statement that analysts feel signals a military action by Jerusalem is possible, with or without official US sanction.

This all would indicate that there is a definite split within Israel between a future Olmert government not eager to launch a pre-emptive military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities versus the ever-hawkish neo-conservative-tied Netanyahu. Notably, prominent Washington neo-conservative, Kenneth Timmerman, told Israeli radio in mid January that he expects an Israeli pre-emptive strike on Iran 'within the next 60 days,' i.e. just after Israeli elections or just before. Timmermann is close to Richard Perle, the indicted Cheney chief of staff, Lewis Libby, to Doug Feith and Michael Ledeen.

The question is whether ordinary Israelis are war weary, whether with Palestine or with Iran, and seek a compromise solution. Polls seem to indicate so. However, the very strong showing of Hamas in the January 25 Palestine elections could change the Israeli mood. The day after their vote success, Hamas leader Mahmoud A-Zahhar claimed that his movement will not change its covenant calling for the destruction of Israel, reported the Israeli online news portal Ynet.

Last week, a new element appeared in the chemistry of the long-standing Israeli Likud-US Congress influence nexus. Larry A. Franklin, a former Pentagon Iran analyst and close friend of leading Pentagon neo-conservatives, was sentenced to 12 years and seven months in jail for sharing classified Pentagon information with pro-Israel lobbyists through an influential Washington-based lobby organization, AIPAC, the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee. AIPAC has been at the heart of ties between the Israeli right-wing Likud and members of the US Congress for years. It is regarded as so powerful that it is able to decide which Congressman is elected or re-elected. Previously it had been considered 'untouchable.' That is no longer true it seems.

Franklin pleaded guilty last October to sharing the information with AIPAC lobbyists and Israeli diplomat Naor Gilon. Steve Rosen and Keith Weissman, who were fired from AIPAC in 2004 in the affair, are facing charges of disclosing confidential information to Israel, apparently about Iran. The sentencing is causing major shock waves throughout major US Jewish organizations including the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai Brith. The conviction has hit a vital lobbying tool of AIPAC and other pro-Israel lobby groups, namely, expenses paid trips for US Congressmen to Israel. Hundreds of politicians are taken to Israel every year by non-profit affiliates of groups like AIPAC and the American Jewish Committee - trips Jewish leaders say are a vital tool in pro-Israel lobbying.

The Bush Administration had tried to bury the Franklin case, unsuccessfully. They could only delay the trial until after the November 2004 US elections. The Franklin scandal in the US as well as the Jack Abramoff lobbying affair, have both hit severe blows to the suspicious money network between Likud and the White House, potentially fatally weakening the Israeli hawk faction of Netanyahu.

The Russian factor in Iran

The role of Putin's Russia in the unfolding Iran showdown is central. In geopolitical terms, one must not forget that Russia is the ultimate 'prize' or endgame in the more than decade long US strategy of controlling Eurasia and preventing any possible rival from emerging to challenge US hegemony.

Russian engineers and technical advisers are in Iran constructing the Bushehr nuclear plant, at least 300 Russian technicians. Iran has been a strategic cooperation partner of the Putin government in terms of opposing US-UK designs for control of Caspian oil. Iran has been a major purchaser of Russian military hardware since the collapse of the Soviet Union, in addition to buying Russian nuclear technology and expertise.

In March 2005 Iran-Russian relations took a qualitative shift closer. That month Moscow agreed to the sale of a 'defensive' missile system to Tehran, worth up to $7 billion-worth of future defense contracts. In 2000 Putin had announced Russia would no longer continue to abide by a secret US-Russia agreement to ban Russian weapons sales to Iran that the government of Boris Yeltsin had concluded. Since then, Russian-Iranian relations have become more entwined to put it mildly.

Moscow currently says it is in talks with Iran to build five to seven additional nuclear power reactors on the Bushehr site after completion of the present reactor. Russia expects to get up to $10 billion from the planned larger Bushehr reactors deal and additional arms sales to Iran. It is currently building the reactor on credit to be paid by Iran only after the completion of the project. Sanctions and admonitions will not change Russia's relationship with one of the most demonized states in America's 'axis of evil.' Iran has become a major counterweight for Moscow in the geopolitical game for Washington's total domination over Eurasia, and Putin is shrewdly aware of that potential.

A look at the map (see below), will reveal how geo-politically strategic Iran is for Russia, as well as for Israel and the USA. Iran controls the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the choke point for oil from the Persian Gulf to Japan and the rest of the world. Iran borders the oil-rich Caspian Sea.






Significantly, on January 23, the Russian daily, Kommersant reported that Armenia, sandwiched between Iran and Georgia, had agreed to sell 45% control of its Iran-Armenia gas pipeline to Russia's Gazprom. The Russian daily added, 'If Russia takes over this [Iran-Armenia] pipeline, Russia will be able to control transit of Iranian gas to Georgia, Ukraine and Europe.' That would be a major blow to the series of Washington operations to insert US-friendly pro-NATO governments in Georgia as well as Ukraine. It would also bind Iran and Russian energy relations. While the Armenian government denies they have agreed, negotiations continue with Gazprom holding out the prospect of demanding double the price or $110 per 1000 cubic meters rather than the present $54 unless Armenia agree to sell the stake to Gazprom.

Russia is pursuing a complex strategy regarding its cooperation with Iran. Minatom, the Russian nuclear energy group announced some time back that Russia was in discussion with Teheran to increase Iran's nuclear capacity by 6000 megawatts by 2020. The Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed a year ago that Moscow would supply Iran with fuel for the Bushehr reactor even if it did not sign the IAEA Additional Protocols. While Putin has assured the world that Iran must demonstrate full NPT compliance before the Russian nuclear transfers occur, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated previously that the IAEA's failure to condemn Iran opened the door for Russia to help build future reactors in that country. Putin has managed to put Russia square in the middle of the present global showdown over Iran, a position which clearly tells some in Moscow that Russia is indeed again a 'global player. Undoubtedly more.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, in a January 18 discussion with the daily, Nezavisimaya gazeta, stated, 'It is not profitable for Russia to impose sanctions on Iran, since we just recently signed an agreement to sell them nearly $1 billion worth of medium-range anti-aircraft weapons. These modern weapons are capable of hitting targets up to 25 kilometers away and will probably be used to defend various testing sites in Iran. Therefore, if some attempt is made to strike at the country and the deliveries from Russia are made quickly enough, we can expect a strong response. In other words, Iran will be able to defend itself.'

Ivanov added a significant caveat: 'However, if ballistic missiles are used, then nuclear sites can be targeted effectively. We must not forget that Russia has its experts working on some of these sites, and is not interested in a military scenario, if only to protect them.'

Russia's current strategy is to renew its earlier offer, rejected initially by Teheran, to take the uranium fuel from Iran to Russia for reprocessing, thus defusing the crisis significantly. On January 25, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, said that Tehran views Moscow's offer to have Iran's uranium enriched in Russia as a 'positive development,' but no agreement has been reached between the countries, according to an AP report.

Larijani repeated Iran's threat to renew enrichment activities if it is referred to the UN Security Council. Moscow has proposed having Iran's uranium enriched in Russia, then returned to Iran for use in the country's reactors - a compromise that could provide more oversight and ease tensions, at least in theory, with the United States and European Union over Iran's nuclear program. Talks have continued over the specifics, including Tehran's proposal to have China involved in the Russian enrichment process.

Following his meeting with Russian Security Council chief Igor Ivanov, Larijani told press, 'Our view of this offer is positive, and we are trying to bring the positions of the sides closer.' Further talks come in February, after the planned emergency IAEA meeting of February 2. Iran opposition groups claim the Russian talks are merely a ploy to divide the West and buy more time. Larijani and Ivanov said in a joint statement that Tehran's nuclear standoff must be resolved by diplomatic efforts in the U.N. atomic watchdog agency.

The China factor in Iran

China, in its increasingly urgent search for secure long-term energy supplies, especially oil and gas, has developed major economic ties with Iran. It began in 2000, when Beijing invited Iranian President Khatami for a literal red carpet reception and discussion of areas of energy and economic cooperation. Then in November 2004, curiously at the occasion of the second Bush election victory, the relation took a major shift as China signed huge oil and gas deals with Teheran.

The two countries signed a preliminary agreement worth potentially $70 billion to $100 billion. Under the terms, China will purchase Iranian oil and gas and help develop Iran's Yadavaran oil field, near the Iraqi border. That same year, China agreed to buy $20 billion in liquefied natural gas from Iran over a quarter-century.

Iran's Oil Minister stated at the time, 'Japan is our number one energy importer for historical reasonsbut we would like to give preference to exports to China.' In return China has become a major exporter of manufactured goods to Iran, including computer systems, household appliances and cars.

In addition to selling Iran its computers and home appliances, Beijing has been one of the largest suppliers of military technology to Teheran since the 1980's. Chinese arms trade has involved conventional, missile, nuclear, and chemical weapons. Outside Pakistan and North Korea, China's arms trade with Iran has been more comprehensive and sustained than that with any other country.

China has sold thousands of tanks, armored personnel vehicles, and artillery pieces, several hundred surface-to-air, air-to-air, cruise, and ballistic missiles as well as thousands of antitank missiles, more than a hundred fighter aircraft, and dozens of small warships. In addition, it is widely believed that China has assisted Iran in the development of its ballistic and cruise missile production capability, and has provided Iran with technologies and assistance in the development of its clandestine chemical and nuclear weapons programs. In addition, China has supplied Iran scientific expertise, technical cooperation, technology transfers, production technologies, blueprints, and dual-use transfers.

In sum, Iran is more than a strategic partner for China. In the wake of the US unilateral decision to go to war against Iraq, reports from Chinese media indicated that the leadership in Beijing privately realized its own long-term energy security was fundamentally at risk under the aggressive new pre-emptive war strategy of Washington. China began taking major steps to outflank or negate total US domination of the world's major oil and gas resources. Iran has become a central part of that strategy.

This underscores the Chinese demand that the Iran nuclear issue be settled in the halls of the IAEA and not at the UN Security Council as Washington wishes. China would clearly threaten its veto were Iran to be brought before the UN for sanctions.

EU relations with Iran

The EU is Iran's main trading partner concerning both imports and exports. Clearly, they want to avoid a war with Iran and all that would imply for the EU. The EU's Balance of Trade (BoT) with Iran is negative due to large imports of oil. Germany's new CDU-led government under Chancellor Angela Merkel has made a clear point of trying to reaffirm close ties with Washington following the tense relations under former Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder who openly opposed the Iraq war along with France's Chirac in 2002 and 2003.

Chirac for his part is the subject of major controversy since he held a speech January 19 in which he overturned the traditional French nuclear doctrine of 'no first strike' to say, were a terrorist nation to attack France, he would consider even nuclear retaliation as appropriate. The mere declaration by a French President has triggered an international uproar. Whether it was French psychological warfare designed to pressure Iran, or the reflection of a fundamental change in French nuclear doctrine to one of pre-emptive strike or something similar, is so far not clear. What is clear is that the Chirac government will not stand in the way of a US decision to impose UN sanctions on Iran. Whether that also holds for a US-sanctioned nuclear strike is not clear.

The EU-3, whose negotiations diplomatically have so far produced no results, are now moving towards some form of more effective action against Iran's decision to proceed with reprocessing. The only problem is that other than nuclear sabre rattling, the EU has few cards to play. It needs Iranian energy. It is also aware of what it would mean to have a war in Iran in terms of potential terror retaliations. The EU to put it mildly is highly nervous and alarmed at the potential of a US-Iran or Israel-US vs Iran military showdown.

The Bush Administration role in Iran

Unlike the Iraq war buildup where it became clear to a shocked world that the Bush Administration was going to war regardless, with Iran Washington has so far been willing to let the EU states take a diplomatic lead, only stepping up pressure publicly on Iran in recent weeks. On January 19 the US repeated that neither it nor its European partners want to return to the negotiating table with Iran. 'The international community is united in mistrusting Tehran with nuclear technology,' said Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice. 'The time has come for a referral of Iran to the [UN] Security Council,' she added. Rice's choice of the word 'referral' was deliberate. If Iran is only 'reported' to the Security Council, debate would lack legal weight. A formal 'referral' is necessary if the Council is to impose any penalty, such as economic sanctions.

The neo-conservatives, although slightly lower profile in the second Bush Administration, are every bit as active, especially through Cheney's office. They want a pre-emptive bombing strike on Iran's nuclear sites.

But whatever Cheney's office may be doing, officially, the Bush administration is pursuing a markedly different approach than it did in 2003, when its diplomacy was aimed at lining up allies for a war. This time, U.S. diplomats are seeking an international consensus on how to proceed, or at least, cultivating the impression of that.

Iraq and the deepening US disaster there has severely constrained possible US options in Iran. Back in 2003 in the wake of the Iraqi 'victory,' leading Washington neo-conservative hawks were vocally calling on Bush to 'Move on to Tehran' after Saddam Hussein. Now, because of the ``bloody quagmire'' in Iraq, the US is severely constrained from moving unilaterally.

With 140,000 troops tied down in Iraq, the US military physically cannot support another invasion and occupation in yet another country, let alone Iran.

Because of Iran's size, a ground invasion may require twice as many troops as in Iraq, says Richard Russell, a Middle East specialist at the National Defense University in Washington. While an air campaign could take out Iran's air defenses, it could also trigger terrorism and oil disruptions. Washington is internally split over the issue of a successful nuclear strike against Iran,

AIPAC and Abramoff impact Washington

Another little-appreciated new element in the US political chemistry around the Bush White House are two devastating legal prosecutions which have hit the heart of the black and grey money network between Washington Republicans and the Israeli right-wing Likud.

Jack Abramoff, the financial patron of several prominent Republicans, including ex-House Majority Leader, Tom Delay, and Steve Rosen, the key force behind AIPAC, were two of the most influential Jewish lobbyists in Washington before legal scandals effectively ended their careers and sent them scrambling to stay out of prison.

Abramoff has pleaded guilty to fraud, tax evasion and conspiracy arising out of his work lobbying for Indian gambling casino interests. That scandal could implicate far more Congressmen and even some in the White House.

Rosen is fighting allegations that as chief strategist at AIPAC, he received and passed classified national security information, received from Larry Franklin, to unauthorized parties. Perhaps it is coincidence that two such high-profile damaging cases to the lobbying power of right-wing Israeli hawk elements surface at the same time, at just this time when war drums are pounding on Iran.

AIPAC's drama began August 2004, when on the eve of the Republican National Convention, the FBI raided the organization's offices, looking for incriminating documents. A year later, in August 2005, the U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Virginia indicted Rosen, by then AIPAC's director of foreign policy issues, and Keith Weissman, who had been an AIPAC Iran analyst. The government disclosed it had had the men under surveillance for more than four years and alleged that they had received and passed along classified information. The indictment named a Pentagon aide, Lawrence Franklin, as their co-conspirator. Franklin, who has agreed to cooperate with prosecutors, pleaded guilty in October 2005 to passing classified documents to unauthorized persons and improperly storing such documents in his home. He was sentenced to 12 and a half years in prison last week.

Bush, as de facto head of his party, faces a potentially devastating November Congressional election. With the quagmire of Iraq continuing and more Americans asking what in fact they are dying for in Iraq if not oil, Bush's popularity has continued to plunge. He has now only 46 per cent of popular support. More than 53 per cent of people have expressed unfavorable opinion of Bush. The Hurricane Kartina debacle of bungled response by the White House, the growing perception that Bush has 'lied' to the public, all are working to seriously undermine Republican chances in November.

The stench of insider deals, not only with Cheney's Halliburton is growing stronger and getting major media coverage, which is new. Conservative traditional Republicans are outraged at the unprecedented Federal spending binge Bush Republicans have indulged to protect their own special interests. In a recent article, Michael Reagan, conservative son of the late President, wrote, 'Republican congressional leaders promised individual members of Congress up to $14 million 'in free earmarks,' (i.e. special spending allocations) if they would support, which they did, the massive $286.5 billion Bush transportation bill.' According to Reagan, 'The bill came to a total of 6,300 earmarked projects costing the taxpayers $24 billion, a clear case of bribery. The people being bribed were members of Congress. The people making the bribes were members of Congress. Congressmen bribing congressmen.'

A recent Fox News poll indicated that Americans saw the Republican congressional majority as materially more corrupt and more responsible for the current spate of scandals than the Democrats by a wide margin.

CONPLAN 8022

In January 2003 President Bush signed a classified Presidential Directive, CONPLAN 8022-02. Conplan 8022 is a war plan different from all prior in that it posits 'no ground troops.' It was specifically drafted to deal with 'imminent' threats from states such as North Korea or Iran.

Unlike the warplan for Iraq, a conventional one, which required coordinated preparation of air, ground and sea forces before it could be launched, a process of months even years, Conplan 8022 called for a highly concentrated strike combining bombing with electronic warfare and cyberattacks to cripple an opponent's response-cutting electricity in the country, jamming communications, hacking computer networks.

Conplan 8022 explicitly includes a nuclear option, specially configured earth-penetrating 'mini' nukes to hit underground sites such as Iran's. In summer 2005 Defense Secretary Rumsfeld approved a top secret 'Interim Global Strike Alert Order' directing round-the-clock military readiness, to be directed by the Omaha-based Strategic Command (Stratcom), according to a report in the May 15, 2005 Washington Post. Previously, ominously enough, Stratcom oversaw only the US nuclear forces. In January 2003 Bush signed on to a definition of 'full spectrum global strike' which included precision nuclear as well as conventional bombs, and space warfare. This was a follow-up to the President's September 2002 National Security Strategy which laid out as US strategic doctrine a policy of 'pre-emptive' wars.

The burning question is whether, with plunging popularity polls, a coming national election, scandals and loss of influence, the Bush White House might 'think the unthinkable' and order a nuclear pre-emptive global strike on Iran before the November elections, perhaps early after the March 28 Israeli elections.

Some Pentagon analysts have suggested that the entire US strategy towards Iran, unlike with Iraq, is rather a carefully orchestrated escalation of psychological pressure and bluff to force Iran to back down. It seems clear, especially in light of the strategic threat Iran faces from US or Israeli forces on its borders after 2003 that Iran is not likely to back down from its clear plans to develop the full nuclear fuel cycle capacities and with it, the option of developing an Iranian nuclear capability.

The question then is what will Washington do? The fundamental change in US defense doctrine since 2001, from a posture of defense to offense has significantly lowered the threshold of nuclear war, perhaps even of a global nuclear conflagration.

Geopolitical risks of nuclear war

While the latest Iranian agreement to reopen talks with Moscow on Russian spent fuel reprocessing have taken some of the edge off of the crisis for the moment. On January 27 President Bush announced publicly that he backed the Russian compromise, along with China and El Baradei of the IAEA. Bush signalled a significant backdown, at least for the moment, stating, 'The Russians came up with the idea and I support itI do believe people ought to be allowed to have civilian nuclear power.' At the same time Rice's State Department expressed concern the Russian-Iran talks were a stalling ploy by Teheran.

Bush added 'However, I don't believe that non-transparent (sic) regimes that threaten the security of the world should be allowed to gain the technologies necessary to make a weapon.' The same day at Davos, Secretary Rice told the World Economic Forum that Iran's nuclear program posed 'significant danger' and that Iran must be brought before the UN Security Council. In short, Washington is trying to appear 'diplomatic' while keeping all options open.

Should Iran be brought before the UN Security Council for violations of the NPT and charges of developing weapons of mass destruction, it seems quite probable that Russia and China would veto imposing sanctions such as economic embargo on Iran for reasons stated above. The timetable for that is likely sometime around March-May, that is, after a new Israeli government is in place.

At that point there are several possible outcomes.

* The IAEA refers Iran to the UN Security Council which proposes increased monitoring of the reprocessing facilities for weapons producing while avoiding sanctions. In essence Iran would be allowed to develop its full fuel cycle nuclear program and its sovereignty is respected, so long as it respects NPT and IAEA conditions. This is unlikely for the reasons stated above.

* Iran like India and Pakistan, is permitted to develop a small arsenal of nuclear weapons as a deterrent to the growing military threat in its area posed by the United States from Afghanistan to Iraq to the Emirates, as well as by Israel's nuclear force. The West extends new offers of economic cooperation in the development of Iran's oil and gas infrastructure and Iran is slowly welcomed into the community of the WTO and cooperation with the West. A new government in Israel pursues a peace policy in Palestine and with Syria, and a new regional relaxation of tensions opens the way for huge new economic development in the entire Middle East region, Iran included. The Mullahs in Iran slowly loose influence. This scenario, desirable as it is, is extremely unlikely in the present circumstances.

* President Bush, on the urging of Cheney, Rumsfeld and the neo-conservative hawks, decide to activate CONPLAN 8022, an air attack bombing Iran's presumed nuclear sites, including for the first time since 1945, with deployment of nuclear weapons. No ground troops are used and it is proclaimed a swift surgical 'success' by the formidable Pentagon propaganda machine. Iran, prepared for such a possibility, launches a calculated counter-strike using techniques of guerrilla war or 'asymmetrical warfare' against US and NATO targets around the world.

The Iran response includes activating trained cells within Lebanon's Hezbollah; it includes activating considerable Iranian assets within Iraq, potentially in de facto alliance with the Sunni resistance there targeting the 135,000 remaining US troops and civilian personnel. Iran's asymmetrical response also includes stepping up informal ties to the powerful Hamas within Palestine to win them to a Holy War against the US-Israel 'Great Satan.' Alliance. Israel faces unprecedented terror and sabotage attacks from every side and from within its territory from sleeper cells of Arab Israelis. Iran activates trained sleeper terror cells in the Ras Tanura center of Saudi oil refining and shipping. The Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia around Ras Tanura contains a disenfranchised Shi'ite minority which have historically been denied the fruits of the immense Saudi oil wealth. There are some 2 million Shi'ia Muslims in Saudi Arabia. Shias do most of the manual work in the Saudi oilfields, making up 40 percent of Aramco's workforce.

Iran declares an immediate embargo of deliveries of its 4 million barrels of oil a day. It threatens to sink a large VLCC oil super-tanker in the narrows of the Strait of Hormuz, chocking off 40% of all world oil flows, if the world does not join it against the US-Israeli action. The strait has two 1 mile wide channels for marine traffic, separated by a 2 mile wide buffer zone, and is the only sea passage to the open ocean for much of OPEC oil. It is Saudi Arabia's main export route.

Iran a vast, strategically central expanse of land, more than double the land area of France and Germany combined, with well over 70 million people, and one of the fastest population growth rates in the world, is well prepared for a new Holy War. Its mountainous terrain makes any thought of a US ground occupation inconceivable at a time the Pentagon is having problems retaining its present force to maintain the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations. World War III begins in a series of miscalculations and disruptions. The pentagon's awesome war machine, 'total spectrum dominance' is powerless against the growing 'assymetrical war'assaults around the globe.

Clear from a reading of their public statements and their press, the Iranian government knows well what cards they hold and what not in this global game of thermo-nuclear chicken.

Were the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld axis to risk launching a nuclear strike on Iran, given the geopolitical context, it would mark a point of no return in international relations. Even with sagging popularity, the White House knows this. The danger of the initial strategy of pre-emptive wars is that, as now, when someone like Iran calls the US bluff with a formidable response potential, the US is left with little option but to launch the unthinkable-nuclear strike.

There are saner voices within the US political establishment, such as former NSC heads, Brent Scowcroft or even Zbigniew Brzezinski, who clearly understand the deadly logic of Bush's and the Pentagon hawks' pre-emptive posture. The question is whether their faction within the US power establishment today is powerful enough to do to Bush and Cheney what was done to Richard Nixon when his exercise of Presidential power got out of hand.

It is useful to keep in mind that even were Iran to possess nuclear missiles, the strike range would not reach the territory of the United States. Israel would be the closest potential target. A US pre-emptive nuclear strike to defend Israel would raise the issue of what the military agreements between Tel Aviv and Washington actually encompass, a subject which neither the Bush Administration nor its predecessors have seen fit to inform the American public about.

29 January, 2006
F. William Engdahl



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Alt 06.02.2006, 21:17   #3592
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Many patriotic readers have written to me expressing their frustration that fact and common sense cannot gain a toehold in a debate guided by hysteria and disinformation. Other readers write that 9/11 shields Bush from accountability, They challenge me to explain why three World Trade Center buildings on one day collapsed into their own footprints at free fall speed, an event outside the laws of physics except under conditions of controlled demolition. They insist that there is no stopping war and a police state as long as the government's story on 9/11 remains unchallenged.

They could be right. ( Link to Scolars for 911 truth http://www.scholarsfor911truth.org/ )
There are not many editors eager for writers to explore the glaring defects of the 9/11 Commission Report. One would think that if the report could stand analysis, there would not be a taboo against calling attention to the inadequacy of its explanations. We know the government lied about Iraqi WMD, but we believe the government told the truth about 9/11.

Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration. He was Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review.


http://www.counterpunch.org/roberts02062006.html
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Alt 07.02.2006, 06:41   #3593
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http://georgewashington.blogspot.co...h.html#comments


9/11 Truth Starting to Break Through Leftwing Gatekeepers
Is 9/11 truth starting to break through leftwing gatekeeper media? Stories questioning the official version of 9/11 have run in the last couple of days in:

Counterpunch;

Common Dreams;

Alternet;

Air America's Charles Goyette show; and

Air America's Mike Malloy show.

Now that the gate is open an inch, we must redouble our efforts to get the truth through to the public.
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Alt 07.02.2006, 10:06   #3594
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Quergedacht: Was viele denken aber wenige auszusprechen wagen
Anstößige Texte zum Runterladen und Weiterverbreiten
"Wer jetzig Zeiten leben will, muß han' ein tapfres Herze..."

05.02.2006
DIESE WOCHE
Auch diese Woche bietet der Spatz wieder erstaunliche Perspektive, so zum Beispiel auf das iranische Atomprogramm. Wundert man sich vielleicht doch, warum dem Iran verweigert werden soll was andere Länder dürfen, könnte man nämlich eine versteckte Intention vermuten - und in der Tat gibt es eine Verbindung zwischen dem Iran und der Stabilität des US-Dollar, die für die USA weitaus bedrohlicher sein dürfte als ein Atomprogramm. Aber lesen Sie selbst!

Was ist am Obersten Gericht der USA so wichtig, daß die Besetzung eines Richterpostens sogar deutsche Gemüter erregt und die FAZ zu mehreren Artikeln veranlaßt?

Wer in dieser Frage nur auf die sattsam bekannte deutsche Unterwürfigkeit setzt, verbaut sich Einsichten. Nur scheinbar geht es um "konservativ" oder "liberal". Vier der neun Oberrichter sind "konservativ", jetzt soll ein Fünfter die Mehrheit bringen. "Konservativ" heißt einer Juristengruppe (Federalist Society) angehörig, die sich den Ideen Carl Schmitts (1888 - 1985) verpflichtet fühlt. Die Gruppe war 1982 mit dem Ziel gegründet worden, das US Justizwesen im Sinne Carl Schmitts auszurichten. Carl Schmitt gilt als "Kronjurist der Nationalsozialisten", ein Hinweis von wenig Erkenntniswert. Schmitt war der Rechtstheoretiker des Ausnahmezustands. Dieser herrscht, wenn (wie zu Beginn der 30er Jahre) entweder das Ausland oder ein Bürgerkrieg im inneren die Existenz eines Volkes (damals Deutschland) gefährdet.

In normalen Zeiten hätte selbst Carl Schmitt (vor dem Krieg "Bohemian", dem nachher die Bekehrung zum Radikalkatholizismus (Klerikalfaschismus) angedichtet wurde) einem Benjamin Franklin und seiner Ansicht zugestimmt, daß sich ein Volk besser regieren lasse, wenn es das Gefühl haben kann, mitreden zu dürfen (weil es von dieser "Last" ohnehin keinen Gebrauch macht). Doch der Ausnahmezustand macht Maßnahmen erforderlich, denen ein Volk ohne nähere Einsicht die Zustimmung emphatisch verweigern würde. Wie lassen sie sich trotzdem legitimieren? Auf die Frage suchte Schmitt Antworten und vor sie sieht sich der Supreme Court in den USA demnächst gestellt.

Von außen ist die USA nicht bedroht, etwa von innen? Jedenfalls scheint sich die US-Elite - wenn schon nicht das "Volk" - darauf vorzubereiten. Die Juristenvereinigung war schon 1982 entstanden. Seitdem zündete man verschiedene Ereignisse, die Ausnahme-Maßnahmen oder deren Vorbereitung zu rechtfertigen hatten. Das spektakulärste Ereignis war wohl der 11. September 2001. Da sich in den USA gegen solche Maßnahmen seit dem Desaster mit dem Irak-Krieg (der Oberbefehlshaber hatte Senat, Kongreß, Volk und Militär belogen) Widerstand regt, braucht man eine juristische Absicherung. Das ist der Hintergrund des Streits um die Berufung von Samuel Alito.

Damit ist aber die Frage nach dem Grund für die Sorge um den inneren Ausnahmezustand noch nicht beantwortet; er ist wirtschaftlicher Natur. Nach dem zweiten Weltkrieg bildete sich in den USA allmählich mit steigender Tendenz ein Handelsbilanzdefizit aus. Lag es im Jahr 2000 noch bei 400 Mrd. US-Dollar so 2005 schon bei 800 Mrd. Dollar jährlich. Gleichzeitig wuchs die Gesamtverschuldung der USA auf 37 Billionen US$ an. Um das Bruttosozialprodukt um einen Dollar anzuheben, müssen inzwischen schon vier Dollar Kredit aufgenommen werden (in den späten Siebziger Jahren hatten noch 1,4 US$ genügt). Gleichzeitig schrumpfte die Sparquote in den USA gegen Null.

Die Schulden mußten wegen des Handelsdefizits durch die Gelddruckmaschine (natürlich nicht auf Papier sondern meistens nur auf Kontoblättern) finanziert werden. Den größten Teil der Dollars nahm das Ausland gegen Güterlieferungen ab. Dollars dienten dank des Bretton Woods Abkommen (von 1944) als Reservewährung und wurden im Ausland als solche eingelagert (waren damit tatsächlich ein "Kredit" an die USA). Als die Aufnahmebereitschaft für Dollareinlagerung bei den Zentralbanken um 1971 zu versiegen begann, wurde das Ausland "genötigt" Dollars aufzunehmen. 1974 hatten angeblich die "bösen Scheichs" der OPEC den Ölpreis vervierfacht und zugleich festgelegt, daß Öl nur gegen Dollar verkauft werden durfte. Der steigende Ölverbrauch der Welt und neuerdings die steigenden Ölpreise sorgten für eine entsprechende Dollarnachfrage und seinen "Werterhalt". Doch auch dieser "Dollar Sink" ("Dollar-Pfuhl") verstopfte mit der Zeit. Ein nicht unerheblicher Teil neuer Dollars wurde an den Finanzmärkten untergebracht und führte zu einer blühenden Aktien- und Wertpapierinflation. Die Crashs von 1998 und 2001 begannen auch diesen Dollar-Abfluß zu verstopfen.

Diese Entwicklung mußte die Binneninvestitionen in den USA zurückgehen lassen. Den Rückgang glichen auch ausländische Anleger nicht mehr aus. So kam es zur Arbeitslosigkeit in den güterproduzierenden Sektoren. (Heute entfallen 81% des Bruttosozialprodukts der USA auf den Konsum, tragfähig wären rund 67%). Schrumpfen die Investitionen steigt die Arbeitslosigkeit und sinken die Einkommen. Dieser Trend wurde durch eine ("vorbildliche") Scheinblüte verdeckt. Die Banken halfen mit, eine Immobilien-Inflation aufzublasen. Mit den Immobilienpreisen wuchsen die Hypotheken und diese versorgten die Haushalte mit Zahlungsmitteln, um den Konsum trotz sinkender Einkommen aufrechtzuerhalten. Die Arbeitslosigkeit wurde zum Teil durch neue Jobs im Dienstleistungssektor überbrückt. 40% der neuen Jobs hingen von Immobilien ab (Immobilienverkäufer und Hypothekenvermittler). Zum anderen Teil wurde die Arbeitslosigkeit durch Statistik-Tricks "gesenkt". Die Arbeitslosenstatistik wird in den USA durch Telefonbefragung von 50.000 Personen erhoben. Wer auf die Anfrage vom Amt: "Haben Sie sich im letzten Monat aktiv um einen Arbeitsplatz bemüht?" mit "Ja" antwortet, kann gar nicht mehr arbeitslos sein und wird deshalb nicht mehr gezählt (Sinnvoller wäre es bei "Nein!", doch "anyway"...).

Weil die Hypothekenblase die Einkommensstatistik nicht schön aussehen läßt, werden ihr "imputed incomes" ("zugerechnete Einkommen") zugeschlagen. Da die meisten Amerikaner ein Häuschen oder eine eigene Wohnung haben und also keine Miete zahlen, rechnet man den Einkommen die eingesparte Miete als Einkommen hinzu. Diese und ähnliche Zurechnungen sollen sich inzwischen im Jahr auf 700 Mrd. US-Dollar belaufen. Auf ähnliche Weise wird die Investitionsstatistik aufgeblasen. Für den Ankauf eines Computers für 1000 US$ nimmt die Statistik den Wert von 2000 US$ auf, wenn der Computer, inzwischen die doppelte Leistung bringt, wie ein 1000-US$-Computer vor einem Jahr. Mit dieser "hedonistischen" Buchführung und ähnlichen Statistiktricks erreicht man die Scheinblüte der US-Wirtschaft, die uns unsere Medien als Vorbild einer gesunden "freien Wirtschaft" vorhalten.

Doch das ist, weil die meisten Amerikaner sich meisten selbst für ihr wirtschaftliches Mißgeschick verantwortlich machen und nicht die herrschenden Eliten, erst die halbe Wahrheit hinter dem drohenden Ausnahmezustand. Die andere Hälfte sind die "Massenvernichtungswaffen" des Auslands:

Im Jahr 2000 spielte Saddam Hussein laut mit dem Gedanken, wenn die UN-Sanktionen aufgehoben würden, sein Öl auch gegen Euros verkaufen zu wollen. Er wurde deshalb öffentlich ausgelacht, seine Drohung aber wurde ernstgenommen: daher 9/11 und der Irakkrieg. Der wurde so geführt (mit "shock and awe"), daß möglichst keinem anderen Land z.B. Saudi Arabien oder dem Iran ähnliche Ambitionen mehr aufstoßen sollten.

Bush wurde (leider auch vom Spatz) Öl-Diebstahl und Erpressung des Auslands durch die Ölkontrolle vorgeworfen. Doch die USA kann sich bisher schon Öl für billig hergestellte Dollars kaufen und das Ausland braucht dazu eben teuer erworbene Dollar. Warum die Verwaltung der Öl-Quellen mit großem Aufwand selbst in die Hand nehmen? Wie sich zeigte, bezahlte das Irakische Öl auch nicht die Kriegskosten. Es gab also andere Gründe. Als Bush den Sieg im Irakkrieg vom Flugzeugträger aus verkündete, war der zwar nicht beendet, aber der entscheidende Sieg tatsächlich errungen. Das Besatzungsregime in Bagdad hatte sich verpflichtet, wieder Öl nur noch gegen Dollar zu verkaufen. Der Rest ist demokratisches "window dressing" (dabei zeigt die Reaktion auf den Hamas-Wahlsieg, wie "demokratisch" zu verstehen ist).

Es war nicht um Öl sondern um das System gegangen. Weil die US-Elite das weiß, gab es vorher keinen ernsthaften Widerstand gegen den Krieg. Hinterher wurde damit Wahlkampf betrieben. Das System könnte man - wie es die Jungimperialisten Englands vor dem 1. Weltkrieg taten - "informal empire" nennen. Statt in militärisch kontrollierten Kolonien Arbeitsleistung, Rohstoffe und sonstige Güter direkt abzugreifen, kann man andere Länder (wie die eigene Bevölkerung) weniger Ärgernis erregend durch Geldentwertung ausplündern. Man kauft bei den Leuten zuerst mit teurem Geld, für das sie später (wenn sie zu viel davon haben) kaum noch etwas bekommen. Schon die junge USA hatte damit Erfahrung: Sie hatte mit diesem Trick nicht nur ihren Unabhängigkeits- und Sezessionskrieg bezahlt, sondern auch sonst wiederholt große Einkäufe finanziert - und nicht nur die USA.

Der informelle Imperialismus spart dem Machthaber ähnliche wie die Demokratie ("Leute lassen sich leichter regieren, wenn sie das Gefühl haben mitbestimmen zu können") zunächst Polizeikosten - aber nicht auf Dauer. Die 128 Militärstützpunkte der USA im Ausland stellen durchaus einen Kostenfaktor dar und schmälern den Ertrag aus der Dollardruckerei. Wichtiger: auch dieser Imperialismus kommt wegen eingebauter Überdehnung an sein Ende - und so kommen die "Nuklearwaffen des Iran" ins Spiel.

Der Iran hat angekündigt, ab März 2006 eine eigene internationale Ölbörse betreiben zu wollen. Bisher gibt es zwei solcher Börsen, die NYMEX in New York und die IPE in London. beide gehören der US-Elite. Eine Konkurrenz in Teheran wäre gefährlicher als das Vorhaben Saddam Husseins. Denn dort könnte jeder nicht nur gegen vielerlei Währungen Öl kaufen, sondern auch verkaufen. Die Wertunsicherheit des massenhaft billig gedruckten Dollars macht diese Börse für Länder wie Japan, Indien, China aber auch Rußland und andere interessant. Hierzu ist der in der Presse kaum erwähnte Besuch des saudischen Königs in China in der letzten Woche, höchst interessant. Die Möglichkeit, in Teheran auch mit Euros zu handeln, würde eine solche Börse auch für unabhängige Europäer (wenn es sie gäbe) interessant machen.

Wenn sich kein Ersatz "dollar sink" aufreißen läßt, hätte diese Börse den Zusammenbruch des Dollarsystems zur Folge. Das wissen die westlichen Machthaber und ihre Medien selbst in Europa, und deshalb wettern sie aus Angst vor Veränderungen gegen die iranischen "Nuklearwaffen" an. Sie hoffen, wie so manches Weichknie, der Iran könnte unter der massiven Atomkriegsdrohung klein beigeben, auf die Börse verzichten, und sie selbst könnten weitermachen wie bisher. Wenn das nicht klappt, hofft man auf einen demokratischen "Regime Change". Wenn sich keine "Widerstandskämpfer" finden lassen, bleibt nur der Krieg, der mit Nuklearwaffen zu führen wäre. Aber selbst ein solcher Krieg müßte das das System platzen lassen. Jeder Fall außer dem Weiterwurstel wie bisher bedeutete den Ausnahmezustand. Politiker werden hysterisch, wenn sie nicht weiterwursteln dürfen. Daher die hysterische Propaganda angesichts der iranischen "Nuklearwaffen". Sie ist nicht nur Einstimmung auf Krieg, sondern auch das klägliche Flehen, weiterwursteln zu dürfen wie bisher: Vorwärts von Fall zu Fall.
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-Goethe

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Alt 10.02.2006, 19:51   #3595
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Ex-CIA Official Faults Use of Data on Iraq

Intelligence 'Misused' to Justify War, He Says


By Walter Pincus
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 10, 2006; A01

The former CIA official who coordinated U.S. intelligence on the Middle East until last year has accused the Bush administration of "cherry-picking" intelligence on Iraq to justify a decision it had already reached to go to war, and of ignoring warnings that the country could easily fall into violence and chaos after an invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein.

Paul R. Pillar, who was the national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia from 2000 to 2005, acknowledges the U.S. intelligence agencies' mistakes in concluding that Hussein's government possessed weapons of mass destruction. But he said those misjudgments did not drive the administration's decision to invade.

"Official intelligence on Iraqi weapons programs was flawed, but even with its flaws, it was not what led to the war," Pillar wrote in the upcoming issue of the journal Foreign Affairs. Instead, he asserted, the administration "went to war without requesting -- and evidently without being influenced by -- any strategic-level intelligence assessments on any aspect of Iraq."

"It has become clear that official intelligence was not relied on in making even the most significant national security decisions, that intelligence was misused publicly to justify decisions already made, that damaging ill will developed between [Bush] policymakers and intelligence officers, and that the intelligence community's own work was politicized," Pillar wrote.

Pillar's critique is one of the most severe indictments of White House actions by a former Bush official since Richard C. Clarke, a former National Security Council staff member, went public with his criticism of the administration's handling of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks and its failure to deal with the terrorist threat beforehand.

It is also the first time that such a senior intelligence officer has so directly and publicly condemned the administration's handling of intelligence.

Pillar, retired after 28 years at the CIA, was an influential behind-the-scenes player and was considered the agency's leading counterterrorism analyst. By the end of his career, he was responsible for coordinating assessments on Iraq from all 15 agencies in the intelligence community. He is now a professor in security studies at Georgetown University.

White House officials did not respond to a request to comment for this article. They have vehemently denied accusations that the administration manipulated intelligence to generate public support for the war.

"Our statements about the threat posed by Saddam Hussein were based on the aggregation of intelligence from a number of sources and represented the collective view of the intelligence community," national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley said in a White House briefing in November. "Those judgments were shared by Republicans and Democrats alike."

Republicans and Democrats in Congress continue to argue over whether, or how, to investigate accusations the administration manipulated prewar intelligence.

Yesterday, the Senate Republican Policy Committee issued a statement to counter what it described as "the continuing Iraq pre-war intelligence myths," including charges that Bush " 'misused' intelligence to justify the war." Writing that it was perfectly reasonable for the president to rely on the intelligence he was given, the paper concluded, "it is actually the critics who are misleading the American people."

In his article, Pillar said he believes that the "politicization" of intelligence on Iraq occurred "subtly" and in many forms, but almost never resulted from a policymaker directly asking an analyst to reshape his or her results. "Such attempts are rare," he writes, "and when they do occur . . . are almost always unsuccessful."

Instead, he describes a process in which the White House helped frame intelligence results by repeatedly posing questions aimed at bolstering its arguments about Iraq.

The Bush administration, Pillar wrote, "repeatedly called on the intelligence community to uncover more material that would contribute to the case for war," including information on the "supposed connection" between Hussein and al Qaeda, which analysts had discounted. "Feeding the administration's voracious appetite for material on the Saddam-al Qaeda link consumed an enormous amount of time and attention."

The result of the requests, and public statements by the president, Vice President Cheney and others, led analysts and managers to conclude the United States was heading for war well before the March 2003 invasion, Pillar asserted.

They thus knew, he wrote, that senior policymakers "would frown on or ignore analysis that called into question a decision to go to war and welcome analysis that supported such a decision. . . . [They] felt a strong wind consistently blowing in one direction. The desire to bend with such a wind is natural and strong, even if unconscious."

Pillar wrote that the prewar intelligence asserted Hussein's "weapons capacities," but he said the "broad view" within the United States and overseas "was that Saddam was being kept 'in his box' " by U.N. sanctions, and that the best way to deal with him was through "an aggressive inspections program to supplement sanctions already in place."

"If the entire body of official intelligence analysis on Iraq had a policy implication," Pillar wrote, "it was to avoid war -- or, if war was going to be launched, to prepare for a messy aftermath."

Pillar describes for the first time that the intelligence community did assessments before the invasion that, he wrote, indicated a postwar Iraq "would not provide fertile ground for democracy" and would need "a Marshall Plan-type effort" to restore its economy despite its oil revenue. It also foresaw Sunnis and Shiites fighting for power.

Pillar wrote that the intelligence community "anticipated that a foreign occupying force would itself be the target of resentment and attacks -- including guerrilla warfare -- unless it established security and put Iraq on the road to prosperity in the first few weeks or months after the fall of Saddam."

In an interview, Pillar said the prewar assessments "were not crystal-balling, but in them we were laying out the challenges that would face us depending on decisions that were made."

Pillar wrote that the first request he received from a Bush policymaker for an assessment of post-invasion Iraq was "not until a year into the war."

That assessment, completed in August 2004, warned that the insurgency in Iraq could evolve into a guerrilla war or civil war. It was leaked to the media in September in the midst of the presidential campaign, and Bush, who had told voters that the mission in Iraq was going well, described the assessment to reporters as "just guessing."

Shortly thereafter, Pillar was identified in a column by Robert D. Novak as having prepared the assessment and having given a speech critical of Bush's Iraq policy at a private dinner in California. The column fed the White House's view that the CIA was in effect working against the Bush administration, and that Pillar was part of that. A columnist in the Washington Times in October 2004 called him "a longstanding intellectual opponent of the policy options chosen by President Bush to fight terrorism."

Leaked information "encouraged some administration supporters to charge intelligence officers (including me) with trying to sabotage the president's policies," Pillar wrote. One effect of that, he said, was to limit challenges to consensus views on matters such as the Iraqi weapons program.

When asked why he did not quit given his concerns, Pillar said in the interview that he was doing "other worthwhile work in the nation's interest" and never thought of resigning over the issue.

Pillar suggests that the CIA and other intelligence agencies, now under Director of National Intelligence John D. Negroponte, remain within the executive branch but "be given greater independence."

The model he cites is the Federal Reserve, overseen by governors who serve fixed terms. That, he said, would reduce "both the politicization of the intelligence community's own work and the public misuse of intelligence by policymakers."

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy...6020902418.html

Washington Post, Frontpage
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Alt 11.02.2006, 14:56   #3596
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The Long War

by William S. Lind

Every four years, the Pentagon releases its Quadrennial Defense Review (QDR), more accurately the Quadrennial Defense Rubberstamp. Usually, it offers the same, more of the same or less of the same. That is true of this QDR as well, with one interesting exception. Perhaps uniquely in the annals of strategic planning, this QDR promises strategic failure a priori. It puts that promise right up front, in its first sentence, which reads, "The United States is a nation engaged in what will be a long war."

Long wars are usually strategic disasters for winners as well as losers, because they leave all parties exhausted. If they work to anyone’s advantage, it tends to be the weaker party’s, because its alternative is rapid defeat. The Rumsfeld Pentagon certainly does not see the United States as the weaker party in its "Global War on Terrorism." So why has it adopted a long-war strategy, or more accurately lack of strategy, unless one sees national exhaustion as a plus?

The answer is a common strategic blunder, but again one that is seldom seen up front; it normally arises as a war continues longer and proves more difficult than expected. The blunder is maximalist objectives. In a speech announcing the QDR, Secretary Rumsfeld said, speaking of our Fourth Generation opponents,

Compelled by a militant ideology that celebrates murder and suicide, with no territory to defend, with little to lose, they will either succeed in changing our way of life or we will succeed in changing theirs.

It would be difficult for war objectives to be stated in more maximalist terms. Either they will succeed in turning us into Taliban-style Muslims or we will turn them into happy consumers in globalism’s Brave New World. Since most Americans would rather be dead than Talibs and most pious Moslems would rather perish than lose their souls to Brave New World, Mr. Rumsfeld has proclaimed a war of mutual annihilation. That will indeed be another Thirty Years’ War, with little chance of a renewed Westphalian order as the outcome.

It is easy enough to define alternate, less ambitious objectives that might avoid the strategic disaster of a long war. We might say that our objective is to be left alone in our part of the globe, to enjoy peace, prosperity and an ordered liberty at home, while we left Islamics alone in their traditional territories. Sadly, from the Pentagon’s perspective, such a strategy would fail the pork test: it would not guarantee to keep the money flowing, which is what QDRs are ultimately about.

Here, the new QDR reverts to type. After a few ritual bows to non-state opponents, it calls for more of the same: more Second Generation weapons systems, of ever-increasing complexity and cost. According to a story in the February 4 Washington Times, we are even to be blessed with a new penetrating bomber, which is about as useful for Fourth Generation war as squadron of pre-dreadnoughts.

But it seems that in its blatant disconnect between programs and reality, the Rumsfeld Pentagon may this time have overplayed its hand. The same Washington Times story reports that the Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, Congressman Duncan Hunter, called it like it is. "It appears that the QDR has become a budget-driven exercise, which limits its utility to Congress," he said. The HASC has been holding hearings on genuine alternatives (I testified at one last fall, on Fourth Generation war), in a process that "will provide us with a more complete picture of America’s national security needs." In other words, the Congress, or at least the House, may refuse to rubber stamp the QDR.

To anyone familiar with the Hill, this is nothing short of a revolution. The Pentagon stopped taking the authorizing committees seriously years ago, and with reason. They had become backwaters, seldom asking serious questions. The real action shifted to the appropriations committees, where the money gets doled out.

But the House and Senate Armed Services Committees have serious powers, if they once again choose to exercise them. Chairman Hunter’s response to the QDR suggests that the HASC may do just that. If it happens, not only might the relevance of many weapons programs come into question, so might Mr. Rumsfeld’s demand for maximalist objectives in a permanent war for permanent peace.

February 10, 2006

http://www.lewrockwell.com/lind/lind88.html
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Iran: A Bridge too Far?

by Mark Gaffney

10/26/04 "ICH" -- Last July, they dubbed it operation Summer Pulse: a simultaneous mustering of US Naval forces, world wide, that was unprecedented. According to the Navy, it was the first exercise of its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP), the purpose of which was to enable the Navy to respond quickly to an international crisis. The Navy wanted to show its increased force readiness, that is, its capacity to rapidly move combat power to any global hot spot. Never in the history of the US Navy had so many carrier battle groups been involved in a single operation. Even the US fleet massed in the Gulf and eastern Mediterranean during operation Desert Storm in 1991, and in the recent invasion of Iraq, never exceeded six battle groups. But last July and August there were seven of them on the move, each battle group consisting of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier with its full complement of 7-8 supporting ships, and 70 or more assorted aircraft. Most of the activity, according to various reports, was in the Pacific, where the fleet participated in joint exercises with the Taiwanese navy.

But why so much naval power underway at the same time? What potential world crisis could possibly require more battle groups than were deployed during the recent invasion of Iraq? In past years, when the US has seen fit to “show the flag” or flex its naval muscle, one or two carrier groups have sufficed. Why this global show of power?

The news headlines about the joint-maneuvers in the South China Sea read: “Saber Rattling Unnerves China”, and: “Huge Show of Force Worries Chinese.” But the reality was quite different, and, as we shall see, has grave ramifications for the continuing US military presence in the Persian Gulf; because operation Summer Pulse reflected a high-level Pentagon decision that an unprecedented show of strength was needed to counter what is viewed as a growing threat –– in the particular case of China, because of Peking’s newest Sovremenny-class destroyers recently acquired from Russia.

“Nonsense!” you are probably thinking. That’s impossible. How could a few picayune destroyers threaten the US Pacific fleet?”

Here is where the story thickens: Summer Pulse amounted to a tacit acknowledgement, obvious to anyone paying attention, that the United States has been eclipsed in an important area of military technology, and that this qualitative edge is now being wielded by others, including the Chinese; because those otherwise very ordinary destroyers were, in fact, launching platforms for Russian-made 3M-82 Moskit anti-ship cruise missiles (NATO designation: SS-N-22 Sunburn), a weapon for which the US Navy currently has no defense. Here I am not suggesting that the US status of lone world Superpower has been surpassed. I am simply saying that a new global balance of power is emerging, in which other individual states may, on occasion, achieve “an asymmetric advantage” over the US. And this, in my view, explains the immense scale of Summer Pulse. The US show last summer of overwhelming strength was calculated to send a message.

The Sunburn Missile

I was shocked when I learned the facts about these Russian-made cruise missiles. The problem is that so many of us suffer from two common misperceptions. The first follows from our assumption that Russia is militarily weak, as a result of the breakup of the old Soviet system. Actually, this is accurate, but it does not reflect the complexities. Although the Russian navy continues to rust in port, and the Russian army is in disarray, in certain key areas Russian technology is actually superior to our own. And nowhere is this truer than in the vital area of anti-ship cruise missile technology, where the Russians hold at least a ten-year lead over the US. The second misperception has to do with our complacency in general about missiles-as-weapons –– probably attributable to the pathetic performance of Saddam Hussein’s Scuds during the first Gulf war: a dangerous illusion that I will now attempt to rectify.

Many years ago, Soviet planners gave up trying to match the US Navy ship for ship, gun for gun, and dollar for dollar. The Soviets simply could not compete with the high levels of US spending required to build up and maintain a huge naval armada. They shrewdly adopted an alternative approach based on strategic defense. They searched for weaknesses, and sought relatively inexpensive ways to exploit those weaknesses. The Soviets succeeded: by developing several supersonic anti-ship missiles, one of which, the SS-N-22 Sunburn, has been called “the most lethal missile in the world today.”

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the old military establishment fell upon hard times. But in the late1990s Moscow awakened to the under-utilized potential of its missile technology to generate desperately needed foreign exchange. A decision was made to resuscitate selected programs, and, very soon, Russian missile technology became a hot export commodity. Today, Russian missiles are a growth industry generating much-needed cash for Russia, with many billions in combined sales to India, China, Viet Nam, Cuba, and also Iran. In the near future this dissemination of advanced technology is likely to present serious challenges to the US. Some have even warned that the US Navy’s largest ships, the massive carriers, have now become floating death traps, and should for this reason be mothballed.

The Sunburn missile has never seen use in combat, to my knowledge, which probably explains why its fearsome capabilities are not more widely recognized. Other cruise missiles have been used, of course, on several occasions, and with devastating results. During the Falklands War, French-made Exocet missiles, fired from Argentine fighters, sunk the HMS Sheffield and another ship. And, in 1987, during the Iran-Iraq war, the USS Stark was nearly cut in half by a pair of Exocets while on patrol in the Persian Gulf. On that occasion US Aegis radar picked up the incoming Iraqi fighter (a French-made Mirage), and tracked its approach to within 50 miles. The radar also “saw” the Iraqi plane turn about and return to its base. But radar never detected the pilot launch his weapons. The sea-skimming Exocets came smoking in under radar and were only sighted by human eyes moments before they ripped into the Stark, crippling the ship and killing 37 US sailors.

The 1987 surprise attack on the Stark exemplifies the dangers posed by anti-ship cruise missiles. And the dangers are much more serious in the case of the Sunburn, whose specs leave the sub-sonic Exocet in the dust. Not only is the Sunburn much larger and faster, it has far greater range and a superior guidance system. Those who have witnessed its performance trials invariably come away stunned. According to one report, when the Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani visited Moscow in October 2001 he requested a test firing of the Sunburn, which the Russians were only too happy to arrange. So impressed was Ali Shamkhani that he placed an order for an undisclosed number of the missiles.

The Sunburn can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or: a 750-pound conventional warhead, within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes “violent end maneuvers” to elude enemy defenses. The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. Should a US Navy Phalanx point defense somehow manage to detect an incoming Sunburn missile, the system has only seconds to calculate a fire solution –– not enough time to take out the intruding missile. The US Phalanx defense employs a six-barreled gun that fires 3,000 depleted-uranium rounds a minute, but the gun must have precise coordinates to destroy an intruder “just in time.”

The Sunburn’s combined supersonic speed and payload size produce tremendous kinetic energy on impact, with devastating consequences for ship and crew. A single one of these missiles can sink a large warship, yet costs considerably less than a fighter jet. Although the Navy has been phasing out the older Phalanx defense system, its replacement, known as the Rolling Action Missile (RAM) has never been tested against the weapon it seems destined to one day face in combat.

Implications For US Forces in the Gulf

The US Navy’s only plausible defense against a robust weapon like the Sunburn missile is to detect the enemy’s approach well ahead of time, whether destroyers, subs, or fighter-bombers, and defeat them before they can get in range and launch their deadly cargo. For this purpose US AWACs radar planes assigned to each naval battle group are kept aloft on a rotating schedule. The planes “see” everything within two hundred miles of the fleet, and are complemented with intelligence from orbiting satellites.

But US naval commanders operating in the Persian Gulf face serious challenges that are unique to the littoral, i.e., coastal, environment. A glance at a map shows why: The Gulf is nothing but a large lake, with one narrow outlet, and most of its northern shore, i.e., Iran, consists of mountainous terrain that affords a commanding tactical advantage over ships operating in Gulf waters. The rugged northern shore makes for easy concealment of coastal defenses, such as mobile missile launchers, and also makes their detection problematic. Although it was not widely reported, the US actually lost the battle of the Scuds in the first Gulf War –– termed “the great Scud hunt” –– and for similar reasons. Saddam Hussein’s mobile Scud launchers proved so difficult to detect and destroy –– over and over again the Iraqis fooled allied reconnaissance with decoys –– that during the course of Desert Storm the US was unable to confirm even a single kill. This proved such an embarrassment to the Pentagon, afterwards, that the unpleasant stats were buried in official reports. But the blunt fact is that the US failed to stop the Scud attacks. The launches continued until the last few days of the conflict. Luckily, the Scud’s inaccuracy made it an almost useless weapon. At one point General Norman Schwarzkopf quipped dismissively to the press that his soldiers had a greater chance of being struck by lightning in Georgia than by a Scud in Kuwait.

But that was then, and it would be a grave error to allow the Scud’s ineffectiveness to blur the facts concerning this other missile. The Sunburn’s amazing accuracy was demonstrated not long ago in a live test staged at sea by the Chinese –– and observed by US spy planes. Not only did the Sunburn missile destroy the dummy target ship, it scored a perfect bull’s eye, hitting the crosshairs of a large “X” mounted on the ship’s bridge. The only word that does it justice, awesome, has become a cliché, hackneyed from hyperbolic excess.

The US Navy has never faced anything in combat as formidable as the Sunburn missile. But this will surely change if the US and Israel decide to wage a so-called preventive war against Iran to destroy its nuclear infrastructure. Storm clouds have been darkening over the Gulf for many months. In recent years Israel upgraded its air force with a new fleet of long-range F-15 fighter-bombers, and even more recently took delivery of 5,000 bunker-buster bombs from the US –– weapons that many observers think are intended for use against Iran.

The arming for war has been matched by threats. Israeli officials have declared repeatedly that they will not allow the Mullahs to develop nuclear power, not even reactors to generate electricity for peaceful use. Their threats are particularly worrisome, because Israel has a long history of pre-emptive war. (See my 1989 book Dimona: the Third Temple? and also my 2003 article Will Iran Be Next? posted at < http://www.InformationClearingHouse...article3288.htm >)

Never mind that such a determination is not Israel’s to make, and belongs instead to the international community, as codified in the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). With regard to Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) recent report (September 2004) is well worth a look, as it repudiates facile claims by the US and Israel that Iran is building bombs. While the report is highly critical of Tehran for its ambiguities and its grudging release of documents, it affirms that IAEA inspectors have been admitted to every nuclear site in the country to which they have sought access, without exception. Last year Iran signed the strengthened IAEA inspection protocol, which until then had been voluntary. And the IAEA has found no hard evidence, to date, either that bombs exist or that Iran has made a decision to build them. (The latest IAEA report can be downloaded at: www.GlobalSecurity.org)

In a talk on October 3, 2004, IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei made the clearest statement yet: "Iran has no nuclear weapons program", he said, and then repeated himself for emphasis: “Iran has no nuclear weapons program, but I personally don’t rush to conclusions before all the realities are clarified. So far I see nothing that could be called an imminent danger. I have seen no nuclear weapons program in Iran. What I have seen is that Iran is trying to gain access to nuclear enrichment technology, and so far there is no danger from Iran. Therefore, we should make use of political and diplomatic means before thinking of resorting to other alternatives.”

( http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/ne...service_id=5051 )

No one disputes that Tehran is pursuing a dangerous path, but with 200 or more Israeli nukes targeted upon them the Iranians’ insistence on keeping their options open is understandable. Clearly, the nuclear nonproliferation regime today hangs by the slenderest of threads. The world has arrived at a fateful crossroads.

A Fearful Symmetry?

If a showdown over Iran develops in the coming months, the man who could hold the outcome in his hands will be thrust upon the world stage. That man, like him or hate him, is Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has been castigated severely in recent months for gathering too much political power to himself. But according to former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who was interviewed on US television recently by David Brokaw, Putin has not imposed a tyranny upon Russia –– yet. Gorbachev thinks the jury is still out on Putin.

Perhaps, with this in mind, we should be asking whether Vladimir Putin is a serious student of history. If he is, then he surely recognizes that the deepening crisis in the Persian Gulf presents not only manifold dangers, but also opportunities. Be assured that the Russian leader has not forgotten the humiliating defeat Ronald Reagan inflicted upon the old Soviet state. (Have we Americans forgotten?) By the mid-1980s the Soviets were in Kabul, and had all but defeated the Mujahedeen. The Soviet Union appeared secure in its military occupation of Afghanistan. But then, in 1986, the first US Stinger missiles reached the hands of the Afghani resistance; and, quite suddenly, Soviet helicopter gunships and MiGs began dropping out of the skies like flaming stones. The tide swiftly turned, and by 1989 it was all over but the hand wringing and gnashing of teeth in the Kremlin. Defeated, the Soviets slunk back across the frontier. The whole world cheered the American Stingers, which had carried the day.

This very night, as he sips his cognac, what is Vladimir Putin thinking? Is he perhaps thinking about the perverse symmetries of history? If so, he may also be wondering (and discussing with his closest aides) how a truly great nation like the United States could be so blind and so stupid as to allow another state, i.e., Israel, to control its foreign policy, especially in a region as vital (and volatile) as the Mid-East. One can almost hear the Russians’ animated conversation:

“The Americans! What is the matter with them?”
“They simply cannot help themselves.”
“What idiots!”
“A nation as foolish as this deserves to be taught a lesson…”
“Yes! For their own good.”
“It must be a painful lesson, one they will never forget…”
“Are we agreed, then, comrades?”
“Let us teach our American friends a lesson about the limits of military power!”

Does anyone really believe that Vladimir Putin will hesitate to seize a most rare opportunity to change the course of history and, in the bargain, take his sweet revenge? Surely Putin understands the terrible dimensions of the trap into which the US has blundered, thanks to the Israelis and their neo-con supporters in Washington who lobbied so vociferously for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, against all friendly and expert advice, and who even now beat the drums of war against Iran. Would Putin be wrong to conclude that the US will never leave the region unless it is first defeated militarily? Should we blame him for deciding that Iran is “one bridge too far”?

If the US and Israel overreach, and the Iranians close the net with Russian anti-ship missiles, it will be a fearful symmetry, indeed…

Springing the Trap

At the battle of Cannae in 216 BC the great Carthaginian general, Hannibal, tempted a much larger Roman army into a fateful advance, and then enveloped and annihilated it with a smaller force. Out of a Roman army of 70,000 men, no more than a few thousand escaped. It was said that after many hours of dispatching the Romans Hannibal’s soldiers grew so tired that the fight went out of them. In their weariness they granted the last broken and bedraggled Romans their lives…

Let us pray that the US sailors who are unlucky enough to be on duty in the Persian Gulf when the shooting starts can escape the fate of the Roman army at Cannae. The odds will be heavily against them, however, because they will face the same type of danger, tantamount to envelopment. The US ships in the Gulf will already have come within range of the Sunburn missiles and the even more-advanced SS-NX-26 Yakhonts missiles, also Russian-made (speed: Mach 2.9; range: 180 miles) deployed by the Iranians along the Gulf’s northern shore. Every US ship will be exposed and vulnerable. When the Iranians spring the trap, the entire lake will become a killing field.

Anti-ship cruise missiles are not new, as I’ve mentioned. Nor have they yet determined the outcome in a conflict. But this is probably only because these horrible weapons have never been deployed in sufficient numbers. At the time of the Falklands war the Argentine air force possessed only five Exocets, yet managed to sink two ships. With enough of them, the Argentineans might have sunk the entire British fleet, and won the war. Although we’ve never seen a massed attack of cruise missiles, this is exactly what the US Navy could face in the next war in the Gulf. Try and imagine it if you can: barrage after barrage of Exocet-class missiles, which the Iranians are known to possess in the hundreds, as well as the unstoppable Sunburn and Yakhonts missiles. The questions that our purblind government leaders should be asking themselves, today, if they value what historians will one day write about them, are two: how many of the Russian anti-ship missiles has Putin already supplied to Iran? And: How many more are currently in the pipeline? In 2001 Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that Iran was attempting to acquire anti-ship missiles from Russia. Ominously, the same report also mentioned that the more advanced Yakhonts missile was “optimized for attacks against carrier task forces.” Apparently its guidance system is “able to distinguish an aircraft carrier from its escorts.” The numbers were not disclosed…

The US Navy will come under fire even if the US does not participate in the first so-called surgical raids on Iran’s nuclear sites, that is, even if Israel goes it alone. Israel’s brand-new fleet of 25 F-15s (paid for by American taxpayers) has sufficient range to target Iran, but the Israelis cannot mount an attack without crossing US-occupied Iraqi air space. It will hardly matter if Washington gives the green light, or is dragged into the conflict by a recalcitrant Israel. Either way, the result will be the same. The Iranians will interpret US acquiescence as complicity, and, in any event, they will understand that the real fight is with the Americans. The Iranians will be entirely within their rights to counter-attack in self-defense. Most of the world will see it this way, and will support them, not America. The US and Israel will be viewed as the aggressors, even as the unfortunate US sailors in harm’s way become cannon fodder. In the Gulf’s shallow and confined waters evasive maneuvers will be difficult, at best, and escape impossible. Even if US planes control of the skies over the battlefield, the sailors caught in the net below will be hard-pressed to survive. The Gulf will run red with American blood…

From here, it only gets worse. Armed with their Russian-supplied cruise missiles, the Iranians will close the lake’s only outlet, the strategic Strait of Hormuz, cutting off the trapped and dying Americans from help and rescue. The US fleet massing in the Indian Ocean will stand by helplessly, unable to enter the Gulf to assist the survivors or bring logistical support to the other US forces on duty in Iraq. Couple this with a major new ground offensive by the Iraqi insurgents, and, quite suddenly, the tables could turn against the Americans in Baghdad. As supplies and ammunition begin to run out, the status of US forces in the region will become precarious. The occupiers will become the besieged…

With enough anti-ship missiles, the Iranians can halt tanker traffic through Hormuz for weeks, even months. With the flow of oil from the Gulf curtailed, the price of a barrel of crude will skyrocket on the world market. Within days the global economy will begin to grind to a halt. Tempers at an emergency round-the-clock session of the UN Security Council will flare and likely explode into shouting and recriminations as French, German, Chinese and even British ambassadors angrily accuse the US of allowing Israel to threaten world order. But, as always, because of the US veto the world body will be powerless to act...

America will stand alone, completely isolated. Yet, despite the increasingly hostile international mood, elements of the US media will spin the crisis very differently here at home, in a way that is sympathetic to Israel. Members of Congress will rise to speak in the House and Senate, and rally to Israel’s defense, while blaming the victim of the attack, Iran. Fundamentalist Christian talk show hosts will proclaim the historic fulfillment of biblical prophecy in our time, and will call upon the Jews of Israel to accept Jesus into their hearts; meanwhile, urging the president to nuke the evil empire of Islam. From across America will be heard histrionic cries for fresh reinforcements, even a military draft. Patriots will demand victory at any cost. Pundits will scream for an escalation of the conflict.

A war that ostensibly began as an attempt to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons will teeter on the brink of their use…

Conclusion

Friends, we must work together to prevent such a catastrophe. We must stop the next Middle East war before it starts. The US government must turn over to the United Nations the primary responsibility for resolving the deepening crisis in Iraq, and, immediately thereafter, withdraw US forces from the country. We must also prevail upon the Israelis to sign the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) and open all of their nuclear sites to IAEA inspectors. Only then can serious talks begin with Iran and other states to establish a nuclear weapon free zone (NWFZ) in the Mid East –– so essential to the region’s long-term peace and security.

* * *
Mark Gaffney’s first book, Dimona the Third Temple? (1989), was a pioneering study of Israel’s nuclear weapons program. Mark’s articles about the Mid-East and proliferation issues have appeared in the Middle East Policy Journal, Washington Report On Middle East Affairs, the Earth Island Journal, The Oregonian, the Daily Californian, and have been posted on numerous web sites

http://www.informationclearinghouse...article7147.htm

auch wenn der Beitrag schon etwas älter ist (und soweit ich weiss schon einmal hier stand), ist derzeit aktueller als damals
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Alt 12.02.2006, 12:14   #3599
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Auch zur Info....."CONPLAN 8022, Global Strike"

Not Just A Last Resort?

A Global Strike Plan, With a Nuclear Option


By William Arkin
Washington Post

Early last summer, Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld approved a top secret "Interim Global Strike Alert Order" directing the military to assume and maintain readiness to attack hostile countries that are developing weapons of mass destruction, specifically Iran and North Korea.

Two months later, Lt. Gen. Bruce Carlson, commander of the 8th Air Force, told a reporter that his fleet of B-2 and B-52 bombers had changed its way of operating so that it could be ready to carry out such missions. "We're now at the point where we are essentially on alert," Carlson said in an interview with the Shreveport (La.) Times. "We have the capacity to plan and execute global strikes." Carlson said his forces were the U.S. Strategic Command's "focal point for global strike" and could execute an attack "in half a day or less."

In the secret world of military planning, global strike has become the term of art to describe a specific preemptive attack. When military officials refer to global strike, they stress its conventional elements. Surprisingly, however, global strike also includes a nuclear option, which runs counter to traditional U.S. notions about the defensive role of nuclear weapons.

The official U.S. position on the use of nuclear weapons has not changed. Since the end of the Cold War, the United States has taken steps to de-emphasize the importance of its nuclear arsenal. The Bush administration has said it remains committed to reducing our nuclear stockpile while keeping a credible deterrent against other nuclear powers. Administration and military officials have stressed this continuity in testimony over the past several years before various congressional committees.

But a confluence of events, beginning with the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks and the president's forthright commitment to the idea of preemptive action to prevent future attacks, has set in motion a process that has led to a fundamental change in how the U.S. military might respond to certain possible threats. Understanding how we got to this point, and what it might mean for U.S. policy, is particularly important now -- with the renewed focus last week on Iran's nuclear intentions and on speculation that North Korea is ready to conduct its first test of a nuclear weapon.

Global strike has become one of the core missions for the Omaha-based Strategic Command, or Stratcom. Once, Stratcom oversaw only the nation's nuclear forces; now it has responsibility for overseeing a global strike plan with both conventional and nuclear options. President Bush spelled out the definition of "full-spectrum" global strike in a January 2003 classified directive, describing it as "a capability to deliver rapid, extended range, precision kinetic (nuclear and conventional) and non-kinetic (elements of space and information operations) effects in support of theater and national objectives."

This blurring of the nuclear/conventional line, wittingly or unwittingly, could heighten the risk that the nuclear option will be used. Exhibit A may be the Stratcom contingency plan for dealing with "imminent" threats from countries such as North Korea or Iran, formally known as CONPLAN 8022-02.

CONPLAN 8022 is different from other war plans in that it posits a small-scale operation and no "boots on the ground." The typical war plan encompasses an amalgam of forces -- air, ground, sea -- and takes into account the logistics and political dimensions needed to sustain those forces in protracted operations. All these elements generally require significant lead time to be effective. (Existing Pentagon war plans, developed for specific regions or "theaters," are essentially defensive responses to invasions or attacks. The global strike plan is offensive, triggered by the perception of an imminent threat and carried out by presidential order.)

CONPLAN 8022 anticipates two different scenarios. The first is a response to a specific and imminent nuclear threat, say in North Korea. A quick-reaction, highly choreographed strike would combine pinpoint bombing with electronic warfare and cyberattacks to disable a North Korean response, with commandos operating deep in enemy territory, perhaps even to take possession of the nuclear device.

The second scenario involves a more generic attack on an adversary's WMD infrastructure. Assume, for argument's sake, that Iran announces it is mounting a crash program to build a nuclear weapon. A multidimensional bombing (kinetic) and cyberwarfare (non-kinetic) attack might seek to destroy Iran's program, and special forces would be deployed to disable or isolate underground facilities.

By employing all of the tricks in the U.S. arsenal to immobilize an enemy country -- turning off the electricity, jamming and spoofing radars and communications, penetrating computer networks and garbling electronic commands -- global strike magnifies the impact of bombing by eliminating the need to physically destroy targets that have been disabled by other means.

The inclusion, therefore, of a nuclear weapons option in CONPLAN 8022 -- a specially configured earth-penetrating bomb to destroy deeply buried facilities, if any exist -- is particularly disconcerting. The global strike plan holds the nuclear option in reserve if intelligence suggests an "imminent" launch of an enemy nuclear strike on the United States or if there is a need to destroy hard-to-reach targets.

It is difficult to imagine a U.S. president ordering a nuclear attack on Iran or North Korea under any circumstance. Yet as global strike contingency planning has moved forward, so has the nuclear option.

Global strike finds its origins in pre-Bush administration Air Force thinking about a way to harness American precision and stealth to "kick down the door" of defended territory, making it easier for (perhaps even avoiding the need for) follow-on ground operations.

The events of 9/11 shifted the focus of planning. There was no war plan for Afghanistan on the shelf, not even a generic one. In Afghanistan, the synergy of conventional bombing and special operations surprised everyone. But most important, weapons of mass destruction became the American government focus. It is not surprising, then, that barely three months after that earth-shattering event, the Pentagon's quadrennial Nuclear Posture Review assigned the military and Stratcom the task of providing greater flexibility in nuclear attack options against Iraq, Iran, North Korea, Libya, Syria and China.

The Air Force's global strike concept was taken over by Stratcom and made into something new. This was partly in response to the realization that the military had no plans for certain situations. The possibility that some nations would acquire the ability to attack the United States directly with a WMD, for example, had clearly fallen between the command structure's cracks. For example, the Pacific Command in Hawaii had loads of war plans on its shelf to respond to a North Korean attack on South Korea, including some with nuclear options. But if North Korea attacked the United States directly -- or, more to the point, if the U.S. intelligence network detected evidence of preparations for such an attack, Pacific Command didn't have a war plan in place.

In May 2002, Rumsfeld issued an updated Defense Planning Guidance that directed the military to develop an ability to undertake "unwarned strikes . . . [to] swiftly defeat from a position of forward deterrence." The post-9/11 National Security Strategy, published in September 2002, codified preemption, stating that the United States must be prepared to stop rogue states and their terrorist clients before they are able to threaten or use weapons of mass destruction against the United States and our allies."

"We cannot let our enemies strike first," President Bush declared in the National Security Strategy document.

Stratcom established an interim global strike division to turn the new preemption policy into an operational reality. In December 2002, Adm. James O. Ellis Jr., then Stratcom's head, told an Omaha business group that his command had been charged with developing the capability to strike anywhere in the world within minutes of detecting a target.

Ellis posed the following question to his audience: "If you can find that time-critical, key terrorist target or that weapons-of-mass-destruction stockpile, and you have minutes rather than hours or days to deal with it, how do you reach out and negate that threat to our nation half a world away?"

CONPLAN 8022-02 was completed in November 2003, putting in place for the first time a preemptive and offensive strike capability against Iran and North Korea. In January 2004, Ellis certified Stratcom's readiness for global strike to the defense secretary and the president.

At Ellis's retirement ceremony in July, Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, told an Omaha audience that "the president charged you to 'be ready to strike at any moment's notice in any dark corner of the world' [and] that's exactly what you've done."

As U.S. military forces have gotten bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, the attractiveness of global strike planning has increased in the minds of many in the military. Stratcom planners, recognizing that U.S. ground forces are already overcommitted, say that global strike must be able to be implemented "without resort to large numbers of general purpose forces."

When one combines the doctrine of preemption with a "homeland security" aesthetic that concludes that only hyper-vigilance and readiness stand in the way of another 9/11, it is pretty clear how global strike ended up where it is. The 9/11 attacks caught the country unaware and the natural reaction of contingency planners is to try to eliminate surprise in the future. The Nuclear Posture Review and Rumsfeld's classified Defense Planning Guidance both demanded more flexible nuclear options.

Global strike thinkers may believe that they have found a way to keep the nuclear genie in the bottle; but they are also having to cater to a belief on the part of those in government's inner circle who have convinced themselves that the gravity of the threats demands that the United States not engage in any protracted debate, that it prepare for the worst and hope for the best.

Though the official Washington mantra has always been "we don't discuss war plans," here is a real life predicament that cries out for debate: In classic terms, military strength and contingency planning can dissuade an attacker from mounting hostile actions by either threatening punishment or demonstrating through preparedness that an attacker's objectives could not possibly be achieved. The existence of a nuclear capability, and a secure retaliatory force, moreover, could help to deter an attack -- that is, if the threat is credible in the mind of the adversary.

But the global strike contingency plan cannot be a credible threat if it is not publicly known. And though CONPLAN 8022 suggests a clean, short-duration strike intended to protect American security, a preemptive surprise attack (let alone one involving a nuclear weapon option) would unleash a multitude of additional and unanticipated consequences. So, on both counts, why aren't we talking about it?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dy...1400071_pf.html

manche beeeeehaupten er sei für Nordkorea und Iran gemacht
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Alt 13.02.2006, 20:37   #3600
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'10,000 would die' in A-plant attack on Iran

By Thomas Harding
13/02/2006

A major American attack on Iran's nuclear sites would kill up to 10,000 people and lead to war in the Middle East, a report says today.

Hundreds of scientists and technicians would be targets in the opening salvos as the attacks focused on eliminating further nuclear development, the Oxford Research Group says in Iran: Consequences of a War.

The research coincides with reports that strategists at the Pentagon are drawing up plans for "a last resort" strike if diplomacy fails. Plans for an assault have taken on "greater urgency" in recent months, The Sunday Telegraph said.

Tacticians at central command and strategic command, who report to Donald Rumsfeld, the defence secretary, have been identifying targets and the weapons needed to hit them.

The Oxford report says that Britain could be drawn into the conflict if the Prime Minister allowed American B2 bombers, which can carry 40,000lb of precision bombs, to use bases at Fairford, Glos, and on the Indian Ocean island of Diego Garcia.

Precision bombing could put Iran's weapons programme back five to 10 years but within a month the situation would become "an extremely dangerous conflict", says Prof Paul Rogers, the report's author.

The attack would result in "a protracted military confrontation" involving Israel, Lebanon and some Gulf states.

More than 100 American bombers, many based on carriers in the Gulf, would take part in a huge simultaneous surprise air attack on 20 key nuclear and military facilities, the report says.

If the targets included the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, which will become fully fuelled this year, a radioactive cloud could spread over the Gulf. Iran's small navy, which includes three submarines, would have to be attacked to negate threats to vital shipping lanes in the Straits of Hormuz.

But Iran could still retaliate with suicide speedboats, possibly leading to crippling rises in the price of oil.

Prof Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, says that American military action would also have a unifying effect on the rule of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and exacerbate anti-American hostility in the Islamic world.

The report says that a ground offensive in Iran would not be feasible, as it would require at least 100,000 troops - and American forces are already over-stretched with 130,000 soldiers in Iraq and 18,000 in Afghanistan.

Iran would probably withdraw from the nuclear non-proliferation treaty and speed up its secret nuclear weapons programme.

The report concludes: "A military response to the current crisis is a particularly dangerous option and should not be considered further. Alternative approaches must be sought, however difficult these may be."

In a similar briefing before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, the Oxford group predicted that Saddam Hussein's regime could easily be overwhelmed but that the country would become a hotbed of insurgency.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/mai...13/ixworld.html

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