Friday, January 15, 2010

War in November 2008 - God Forbid ( Based on the Theory of J.c. Rosenberg & Related Readings)

WAR IN NOVEMBER?  - A military showdown with Iran may be fast approaching.

 War clouds continue to build in the epicenter. Last month in Rome, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad vowed that the United States and Israel would soon be "annihilated," language he had not used so explicitly since October 2005 when he promised to wipe Israel "off the map" and urged Muslims to "envision a world without the United States." This week, his regime authorized a new series of Iranian war games. He ordered the digging of 320,000 graves to bury the enemies of Islam. He is calling for the unification of the Islamic world politically and economically, including the creation of a single currency.

 What's more, Iranian TV is running a new anti-Semitic documentary film series entitled, "The Secret of Armageddon." Setting the stage for a coming apocalyptic war that will usher in the Islamic Messiah known as the Mahdi or the "Twelfth Imam," the series focuses on a series of Bible prophecies that inform Jewish and Christian End Times theology. While the presentation is grossly distorted, some facts do emerge. Iranian scholar Dr. Ismail Shafe'i Sarustani , for example, tells viewers that the word "Armageddon" is "originally a Hebrew word" and "is a real geographical region, situated south of Haifa," noting that "the place was shelled by Hizbullah during the 33-day [July 2006] war." Iranian historian Mohammad-Taqi Taqipour notes that "these [Evangelical Christians], along with the Jews, believe that the War of the End of Days will take place in the desert of Megiddo , in Palestine . They believe that Jesus will return, and that then there will be a millennium of happiness."

 The series, however, accuses Jews who were victims of genocide -- during the very Holocaust Ahmadinejad denies ever happened -- of actually planning to commit genocide. "There is a genocidal Zionist Jewish plan for the genocide of humanity at the hand of the Zionist Jew-boys," claims one Iranian researcher interviewed for the program. "The Zionist Jew-boys talk about a 'Greater Israel' -- from the Euphrates to the Nile -- but their actual goal is world domination." At one point, Iranian researcher Shams Al-Din Rahmani argues that "the goal of the Zionists is the total destruction of Islam."

During the June 7th episode, the narrator embraces anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and proceeds to try to justify Iran 's own war plans. "Today, there are many indications that the 'hidden hands' of world Zionism were involved in the 9/11 terrorist attack. According to a large group of Western intellectuals, the Zionists are the real rulers of the United States . According to irrefutable documents published by independent American media outlets, the Zionists used intelligence agents and spies, with the full cooperation of agencies with the country, to carry out this terrorist operation in full view of the world, in order to prepare the ground for taking over Afghanistan and Iraq , and to realize the dream of a greater Israel ."

 Top Israeli intelligence officials, meanwhile, increasingly believe that time is running out. They believe that Iran could have nuclear weapons within a year and one former Mossad chief is urging his country's leadership to launch a massive series of air strikes against Iranian nuclear and other military facilities before it is too late. Israel 's Air Force just conducted a test run of such a bombing mission.
 John Bolton, the former U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., says he believes Israel may strike Iran sometime in late fall or early winter, after the U.S. elections in November but before the inauguration of the next American President on January 20. A senior Pentagon officials told the Washington Post several days ago he is worried about the same scenario -- a November surprise -- prompting both President Bush and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs to make strong public statements warning the Israelis not to take such actions. Until just a few weeks ago, it was widely believed in Israel that new parliamentary elections would be held in November. But at the last moment, Defense Minister Ehud Barak withdrew his threat of voting to bring down the Olmert government for a few more months, leading some to speculate that Barak may be calculating that Israelis couldn't be fully immersed in an electoral campaign and a bombing campaign simultaneously.

The U.S. does not want Israel to strike. After all, the repercussions of such a war with Iran would be global in nature. Israel would face tens of thousands of incoming missiles not just from Iran but likely from Syria , Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza and possibly the West Bank . Some of these missiles could have chemical and/or biological warheads, even if the nuclear warheads in Iran are not yet ready. Ballistic missiles would also be likely fired from Iran at the oil fields in Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States , at oil tankers in the Persian Gulf and the Straight of Hormuz, and at U.S. bases and forces in Iraq . Tens of thousands of suicide bomber cells could be activated in the region -- especially in Iraq and Israel -- and perhaps even in Western Europe and the U.S. and Canada . Iranian efforts to topple Jordan 's King Abdullah II and/or Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak in favor of radical Islamic regimes friendly to Tehran could also be set in motion. Oil prices could shoot from $140 a barrel to $300 a barrel or more. U.S. gas prices could spike to $7-$10 or more, with horrific domestic and global economic repercussions.

 No wonder Washington doesn't want a war with Iran . No wants such a war. I certainly do not, and neither do the Israelis. Yet, the U.S. does not have a convincing plan to stop the Iranian nuclear weapons program in time. Nor does the U.N., or the E.U. Diplomacy isn't working. Economic sanctions have been imposed on Iran since 1979 to little strategic effect. Unfortunately, the words of Sen. John McCain keep echoing in my head this week. In April 2006, the senior Senator from Arizona appeared on NBC's Meet the Press. He said, "there's only one thing worse than using the option of military action, and that is the Iranians acquiring nuclear weapons." For if Iran gets the Bomb, he said, "I think we could have Armageddon."

Iran tests more missiles as U.S. vows to defend allies

- By Alistair Lyon

 TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran tested more missiles in the Gulf on Thursday, state media said, and the United States reminded Tehran that it was ready to defend its allies.

  Washington, which accuses Tehran of seeking nuclear arms, said after Iran test-fired nine missiles on Wednesday there should be no more such tests if Iran wanted the world's trust.

 U.S. leaders have not ruled out military options if diplomacy fails to assuage fears about Iran 's nuclear program, which Tehran says is only to produce electricity.

  Israel, long assumed to have its own atomic arsenal, has sworn to prevent Iran from emerging as a nuclear-armed power. Last month it staged an air force exercise that stoked speculation about a possible assault on Iranian nuclear sites.

  Defense Minister Ehud Barak said on Thursday he favored the use of diplomatic pressure and sanctions, but added: " Israel is the strongest country in the region and has proved in the past it is not afraid to take action when its vital security interests are at stake."

 Iran has vowed to strike back at Tel Aviv, as well as U.S. interests and shipping, if it is attacked, asserting that missiles fired during war games under way in the Gulf included ones that could hit Israel and U.S. bases in the region.

 U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said on a visit to the former Soviet republic of Georgia that no one should be confused about Washington 's commitment to protect its allies.  "We are also sending a message to Iran that we will defend American interests and ... the interests of our allies," she said after meeting Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili.

 Rice said a planned U.S. missile defense shield, to be partly based in the Czech Republic and Poland , would dampen any threat of an attack from Iran . Russia opposes the project.

  "We also are able to look to the future of a missile defense system that will make it more difficult for Iran to threaten (and) and be bellicose and say terrible things because their missiles won't work," Rice said.
 Iranian state TV and radio said the Revolutionary Guards -- the ideologically driven wing of Iran 's armed forces -- had fired ground-to-sea, surface-to-surface and sea-to-air missiles overnight. Long-range missiles were also launched.


  "The ... maneuver brings power to the Islamic Republic of Iran and is a lesson for enemies," Guards Commander-in-Chief Mohammad Ali Jafari was quoted as saying.

 Iran has threatened to shut the Strait of Hormuz , a vital route for Gulf oil exports, if it is attacked. Thursday's exercises involved divers and speedboats, as well as the launch of a high-speed torpedo called Hout, state media said.

  Commenting on Iran 's Gulf maneuvers, Kuwait said it hoped wisdom would prevail on all sides. "The region has had enough of continuous wars," Kuwaiti Foreign Ministry Undersecretary Khaled Jarallah was quoted by state news agency KUNA as saying.

 On Iranian threats to close the Strait of Hormuz , he said: "We hope it does not come to this."

 The missile tests rattled global oil markets, pushing up the price of oil. Crude prices have dipped in recent days but have hit a series of record highs this year partly on Iran tensions.

 China urged restraint in the row over Iran 's nuclear plans, but did not echo Western rebukes over the missile firings.

 "We express our concern about these developments," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao said of the tests.

 He welcomed the prospect of fresh talks on the nuclear program being pursued by Iran , the world's fourth largest oil producer and China 's third biggest crude supplier.

 The United States , Britain , France , Germany , Russia and China have offered Iran incentives to curb its nuclear work. Tehran rejects their demand that it suspend uranium enrichment.

 European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana, acting for the six powers, is expected to meet Iranian officials for talks on the package, but no time or place has been announced.

 China and Russia , which is building Iran 's first, and so far only, nuclear power plant, have been resisting U.S.-led calls for expanding U.N. sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

 Sanctions have made Western firms increasingly wary about investing. France 's Total said on Thursday it would not invest for now in a big gas deal due to the political risk.

 Iran has brushed off the impact of Western caution saying it has a big enough cash pile from windfall oil earnings to carry out the project itself or find other interested parties.

 "This is our message. We will proceed with development with or without them," Iranian Oil Minister Gholamhossein Nozari told journalists when asked about the latest comments from Total.

Iran States Missiles Are On Launching Pads and Ready for Fire

- By Willard Payne

 Night Watch: TEHRAN - "Our missiles are ready for shooting at any place and any time, quickly and with accuracy. The enemy must not repeat its mistakes. The enemy targets are under surveillance." That was the ominous-offensive statement by the commander of the Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)-Air Force Brigadier General Hossein Salami on the nine missile tests Iran conducted yesterday as part of their The Great Prophet III maneuvers currently underway in the Strait of Hormuz. FNA reports an upgraded version of the Shahab-3 was tested with its range of 1,240 miles (2,000 km) along with the medium range Zelzal 240 miles (400 km) and the Fateh 102 miles (170 km). Tehran has in the past indicated the Shahab-3 will only be launched at Israel if Jerusalem attacks first, but the shorter range missiles are most likely targeted at the US/UK bases in Iraq and when the wider regional war begins they will be used in support of the Mahdi Army and other Islamic militias in Iraq . [FNA]

IRGC Naval commander, Morteza Saffari, explained one of the strategic concepts involved in the maneuvers is to show, "The maneuvers also sets out a reassuring message to regional countries that together we can secure the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz without the presence of foreign forces." That message resonates very favorably with governments in the Persian Gulf not only because of the disastrous situation the US/UK occupation has caused in Iraq but they no longer believe the gulf has to be a base for Western military units. They have probably viewed the West's insistence that bases be maintained as condescending and patronizing. Saffari added besides the missile firings the maneuvers also displayed a variety of other missiles, rockets and torpedo launchers. Military vessels and land-to-sea missiles were tested as well, everything Iran will use on this Persian Gulf-Strait of Hormuz front.

Great Prophet III - The France24 link has news video from Al-Alam television on the missile tests. Please keep in mind guidance systems on missiles of any kind and all ranges are extremely fragile and are prone to malfunction. Nothing works as well as advertised. Some will miss, others will be duds, some of course will work. Despite all the improvements and upgrading military-industries will never achieve perfection. [FRANCE24]

Tehran - This other France24 link contains more displays of military hardware and warnings from Iran . [FRANCE24]

Knesset - While Tehran prepares for a possible attack by the US-Israel the Wednesday Security Cabinet meeting chaired by Prime Minister Ehud Olmert targeted Hezbollah in Lebanon . INN is reporting cabinet ministers will be briefed on the massive rearmament campaign Hezbollah has been conducting as a constant stream of weaponry arrives in Lebanon through Syria . It was never any secret, since the 2006 war, that Hezbollah began its re-supplying the day after the war ended and in direct violation of the United Nations ceasefire resolution which was never enforced by the 13,000 European troops with UNIFIL in south Lebanon. Recently the Italian Foreign Minister visited Israel and its Lebanon front and Israel has also contacted France's Foreign Minister I suspect to inform both of them of Israel's planned offensive. It is quite possible one of the main reasons for Israel not having staged its offensive into Gaza against Palestinian militants is because they always knew their most serious threat is to their north across the Lebanese border and northeast into Syria . The vast majority of missiles launched at Israel will come from those two locations and the Security Cabinet discussed specific ways of halting the weapons traffic. [ INN ]

 Jerusalem is constantly aware UNIFIL is powerless and diplomacy is a lie therefore military operations are being planned which is completely consistent with Israel's security doctrine that allows for pre-emptive attacks not only to disrupt an enemy's preparation but even staging an outright invasion as in June 1967. They knew the invasion would lead to war and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) were so successful the war only lasted six days. The cabinet ministers were informed Hezbollah now has three times the number of missiles-rockets they had two years ago and I believe it was also reported Defense Minister Ehud Barak is scheduled to visit Washington next week. I suspect when Pentagon Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullen, visited Israel recently Syria may have been discussed even more than Iran especially since the Israel Air Force (IAF) raid last September on Syria 's nuclear installation did not destroy all of Syria 's nuclear weapons fuel production. Yesterday Israel Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni made some extremely strong statements against Damascus which were just short of a declaration of war.

 Jerusalem seems to be convinced they need to repeat their initiative from 1967 which kept the enemy off balance and increased Israel 's security and the only way they can do so is to not wait for Hezbollah to attack first. That was the mistake Jerusalem made in 2006 and the IDF response was not aggressive enough since they did not re-occupy south Lebanon which would have made the thousands of Katyusha rockets Hezbollah has completely ineffective. The Security Cabinet was informed a Kuwait newspaper published a report which mentioned Hezbollah intends to position anti-aircraft missiles on the peaks of Lebanon 's mountains which is a direct threat to the IAF surveillance flights and the only way Israel has been able to monitor Hezbollah-Syria-Iran's network of weapons support. Washington has always said it was never against any IDF military offensive it just wanted to be told in advance so I assume the telling will be Barak's visit to Washington next week. There will definitely be more Guns of August in 2008 than in 2006.

 The Lebanon-Syria front have become one and the same. So Tehran will not be entering the war in support of Palestinian militants in Gaza but in support of Hezbollah-Syria. Israel has also warned Damascus when the IDF attacks Hezbollah , Syria will also be targeted. That is the only way for Israel to end weapons traffic in Lebanon . There may not be as much fighting in Gaza as I expected which would really disappoint Tehran . Iran has been years in planning its magnanimous military gesture in support of Palestinian people but instead Iran may have to desperately reinforce the Lebanon-Syria front.

 Barak warns Iran 'we won't hesitate to act' 

 Defense minister issues stern warning aimed at Tehran , says ' Israel is the strongest country in the region, and it has proven in the past that it is not afraid to act when there its vital interests are threatened.'

 With Iran continuing to flex its military muscles with Wednesday's ballistic missile tests, Defense Minister Ehud Barak issued a strongly-worded warning on Thursday evening, warning Tehran that Israel would not hesitate to resort to military action.

 "This is a challenge not only for Israel but for the entire world. The focus now is sanctions and diplomatic action. Israel is the strongest country in the region, and it has proven in the past that it is not afraid to act when there its vital interests are threatened," Barak said in an address at the Labor party's Tel Aviv headquarters.

 The defense minister urged, however, for caution. "The responses of our adversaries must be taken into account. Hamas, and Hizbullah, and the Syrians, and the Iranians – there is activity all around us. And there exists a potential for confrontation," he said.

 "On the other hand, there is also potential for accords, particularly with the Palestinians and the Syrians. We have a moral responsibility to make the most of any chance to reach an agreement with our neighbors. But the considerations are very complex, and we need to see ahead, to work around the obstacles to ensure Israel 's security."

 "We must work towards an accord – but if not, then we must strike our enemy when it is required."
'Our moral duty to bring captives home'

Barak also addressed the prisoner-exchange deal with Hizbullah. "We hope to see the finish line of our fight to bring Udi and Eldad home," he said, referring to kidnapped IDF soldiers Ehud Goldwasser and Eldad Regev.

 "We have a moral obligation as commanders to bring home soldiers who go out on missions in the country's name. It is our duty to tell the truth to the public and to the families if it becomes apparent that the boys have been killed, it is our duty to say that. Meaning – their return should not be delayed by Hizbullah ploys."

 The defense minister warned that Hizbullah continues to grow stronger. "There is a constant erosion of (UNSC) Resolution 1701. Over the past two years they have doubled and even tripled their arsenal of rockets, and these cover the entire country," he said, adding that Hizbullah now maintains far closer ties with Syria .

 Regarding the ongoing negotiations to secure the release of Gilad Shalit, Barak said: "There is a window of opportunity now, created by the ceasefire. It is important for us to take advantage of this window, and it is important that the tough decisions be made in Jerusalem and not in Gaza .

 OPEC chief warns of 'unlimited' oil prices if Iran is attacked

- By James Kanter

 VIENNA: The head of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries warned Thursday that oil prices would see an "unlimited" increase in the case of a military conflict involving Iran , because the group's members would be unable to make up the lost production.

"We really cannot replace Iran 's production - it's not feasible to replace it," Abdalla Salem El-Badri, the OPEC secretary general, said in an interview.

 Iran, the second-largest producing country in OPEC, after Saudi Arabia , produces about four million barrels of oil a day out of the daily worldwide production of close to 87 million barrels.

The country has been locked in a lengthy dispute with Western nations over its nuclear ambitions.

 In recent weeks, the price of oil has risen higher on speculation that Israel could be preparing to mount an attack on the country's nuclear facilities. The saber-rattling intensified this week with missile tests by Iran .

 That has further rattled oil markets because of concerns that any conflict with Iran could disrupt oil shipments from the Gulf.

"The prices would go unlimited," Badri said during the interview, referring to the impact of a military conflict. "I can't give you a number."

 Tehran has insisted that its nuclear program is for purely peaceful purposes.

 Badri, a former oil executive who has headed the oil industry in Libya and served as deputy prime minister of that country, called for a peaceful solution, and he hinted that an additional conflict in the Middle East besides the ongoing conflict in Iraq would be severe and long-lasting.

 "If something happened there, nobody would be able to solve it," he said, referring to a war involving Iran .

 He said that current geopolitical tensions were among the principal reasons why oil prices were so high. He said that a shortfall in refining capacity and a weak dollar were other factors but reiterated OPEC's position that speculation on oil markets probably was the most important.

 He insisted that reserves of oil were plentiful and that worries about scarcity were misplaced.

 Supplies from Russia and Norway and other non-OPEC nations outside the 13-member OPEC would keep growing, helped by technologies like turning gas and coal into liquid fuel and extracting oil from tar sands and shale.

 Even so, he also sought to assuage concerns about a supply shock, saying that OPEC members already were investing $160 billion in new production capacity up to 2012.

 But he said additional investment in future production capacity could be frozen, potentially sharpening a dispute with consuming nations about whether sufficient steps are being taken to meet demand over the next decade.

 Steps taken by the European Union and in the United States to cut dependence on fossil fuels meant that OPEC had no alternative but to take a cautious approach before going ahead with plans to invest up to $540 billion in oil production up to 2020.

 "If we don't see the demand, we are not going to invest," said Badri, adding that there was real doubt over what amount of money OPEC nations would invest after 2012.

 OPEC nations "don't want to spend their money on something they cannot use," he said.

 OPEC nations contribute about 40 percent of daily worldwide production.

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