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Thread: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Ok... More information:

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    U.S. Rejects Iran's Warning to Avoid Persian Gulf


    Jan. 4, 2012

    The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis passes through the Strait of Hormuz in November. The Obama administration on Tuesday indicated it would maintain a military presence in the Persian Gulf, despite a warning by Tehran against deploying aircraft carriers in the region (AP Photo/U.S. Navy).


    The United States on Tuesday rejected a call by Iran's army head not to deploy aircraft carriers in the Persian Gulf, attributing Tehran's demand to U.S. economic penalties targeting its disputed nuclear program, the Associated Press reported (see GSN, Jan. 3).


    Iranian Gen. Ataollah Salehi issued the cautionary remarks after Washington late last week finalized new sanctions against Iran's petroleum earnings. Tehran, which wrapped up a 10-day naval drill on Tuesday, has separately hinted it could retaliate against U.S. punitive measures by halting traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, a critical waterway for the transfer of oil out of the Middle East.


    The United States, though, indicated the statements would not affect its policies or placement of defense assets. The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis last week departed from the Persian Gulf through the Strait of Hormuz.


    "It's the latest round of Iranian threats and is confirmation that Tehran is under increasing pressure for its continued failure to live up to its international obligations," White House spokesman Jay Carney said. Washington and other governments suspect Iranian atomic activities are aimed at weapons development, a suspicion Iran has denied.

    "Iran is isolated and is seeking to divert attention from its behavior and domestic problems," the spokesman said (Bradley Klapper, Associated Press/Google News, Jan. 3). Salehi's warning "reflects the fact that Iran is in a position of weakness," Reuters quoted him as saying (Matt Spetalnick, Reuters I, Jan. 3).


    Defense Department spokesman George Little said the U.S. Navy's presence in the Persian Gulf complies with international legal norms and aims to safeguard the movement of goods through the area, AP reported.


    "The deployment of U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region will continue as it has for decades," Little said in released remarks. "These are regularly scheduled movements in accordance with our longstanding commitments to the security and stability of the region and in support of ongoing operations."


    The spokesman avoided specifying if Washington would deploy additional Navy forces to the region over Iran's hints of potentially blocking the Strait of Hormuz.


    "No one in this government seeks confrontation over the Strait of Hormuz," Little said in response to a question. "It's important to lower the temperature."


    An effort to halt movement through the strait would not be accepted, the official said, providing no further detail.


    State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said the United States would assert the freedom of movement for U.S. ships in international waters (Klapper, Associated Press).


    “Frankly, we see these threats from Tehran as just increasing evidence that the international pressure is beginning to bite there and that they are feeling increasingly isolated and they are trying to divert the attention of their own public from the difficulties inside Iran, including the economic difficulties as a result of the sanctions,” the Washington Times quoted her as saying.


    “I also … take note of the fact that there seems to have been a significant drop in the Iranian currency, and that’s, you know, among the measures of how these sanctions are biting on the country" (Rowan Scarborough, Washington Times, Jan. 4).


    Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi on Wednesday reaffirmed his country's cautionary statements over U.S. naval deployments, Agence France-Presse reported.


    "Iran will do anything to preserve the security of the Strait of Hormuz," state media quoted Vahidi as saying. "The presence of forces from beyond the (Gulf) region has no result but turbulence. We have said the presence of forces from beyond the region in the Persian Gulf is not needed and is harmful" (Marc Burleigh, Agence France-Presse I/Daily Star, Jan. 4).


    Iranian legislators are preparing a measure to restrict access to the strait by military warships, the nation's Fars News Agency quoted a lawmaker as saying.
    ""If the military vessels and warships of any country want to pass via the Strait of Hormuz without coordination and permission of Iran's navy forces, they should be stopped by the Iranian armed forces," Nader Qazipour stated (Fars News Agency, Jan. 4).


    One high-level U.S. government insider said Iran's warnings cannot be completely discounted, the Times reported on Wednesday.


    “This may very well be Iranian rhetoric, but we can’t treat it as simple rhetoric,” the unidentified official said. “We have to take threats from the Iranians seriously, even if we don’t think they’ll necessarily follow through on them. The United States wouldn’t tolerate the closure of the Strait of Hormuz.”


    Former CIA expert Larry Johnson referred to a high degree of consensus among U.S. lawmakers in approving more stringent penalties against Iran than President Obama had pursued.


    “If you are an Iranian intelligence analyst monitoring what the United States is saying, across the board there appears to be widespread support from the top of the political leadership on both sides for pursuing military action against Iran if there is a perceived movement toward developing nuclear weapons,” Johnson said.

    Iran’s threat “accompanies the increased amount of rhetoric out of the United States, and they see the global effort to impose sanctions on them. I think it’s a natural reaction,” the expert said.

    Iran would take steps to block the Strait of Hormuz solely in retaliation to a Western move it interpreted as an act of overt aggression, he said.


    “Iran is not going to take any initiative unless they are backed into a corner," Johnson said. “And being backed into a corner means if oil sanctions are fully put in place. If they can really no longer export and collect revenues from their oil, then under those circumstances, yes, I can see making an effort to block the Strait of Hormuz.”


    Still, an Iranian obstruction of the waterway would be short-lived, he said.
    "Some of our analysts say the [U.S.] 5th Fleet could open it in a heartbeat. Well, maybe yes, maybe no,” he said.


    Iran's warnings could serve to dissuade European powers from taking new steps against Tehran, said James Phillips, a Middle East specialist with the Heritage Foundation.


    "The Iranians are playing up their threats to block the Strait of Hormuz in order to deter an Israeli or U.S. preventive attack on their nuclear program, dissuade the Europeans from imposing more sanctions and push up the price of oil, their foremost export, in nervous world oil markets,” Phillips said.

    Still, “if the strait is closed, Iran actually would be one of the biggest losers,” the expert said. “Virtually all of its exports must be shipped through the strait, but Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Kuwait have access to pipelines through which they can export oil through the Red Sea or through Turkey to the Mediterranean Sea."

    “Tehran would only try to close the strait as a last resort in the event that its own oil exports already were being embargoed or otherwise blocked,” he said (Scarborough, Washington Times).


    Former British Ambassador to Iran Richard Dalton said "we should be very worried because the diplomacy that should accompany this rise in tension seems to be lacking on both sides."

    "I don't believe either side wants a war to start. I think the Iranians will be aware that if they block the strait or attack a U.S. ship, they will be the losers. Nor do I think that the U.S. wants to use its military might other than as a means of pressure. However, in a state of heightened emotion on both sides, we are in a dangerous situation," Reuters quoted Dalton as saying (Parisa Hafezi, Reuters II, Jan. 4).


    Separately, Nuland reaffirmed a September offer by Washington and European governments for further discussion with Tehran, AP reported (see GSN, Sept. 22, 2011). The five permanent U.N. Security Council member nations and Germany convened talks with Iran on two separate occasions in December 2010 and in January 2011, but neither gathering yielded clear progress toward resolving the dispute (see GSN, Jan. 24, 2011).


    Iran has not replied to the meeting proposal, the State Department spokeswoman said.


    "The Iranians know what will be expected of them," she said. "They have to meet their commitments to the international community and they have to be prepared to engage constructively and seriously on a comprehensive solution that restores the international community's confidence in the peaceful nature of their program."

    The United States would continue to enforce penalties against Iran, Nuland said, referring to the measures as the "toughest" internationally.

    "We continue to look at what more we can do," the spokeswoman said. "It's less a matter of having more sanctions on the books and more a matter of ensuring that those sanctions that we already have are fully implemented by all countries" (Klapper, Associated Press).


    The latest penalties against Iran might take an unprecedented toll on Iran's petroleum sector, which comprises six-tenths of the nation's economic activity, according to Reuters. The measures approved by President Obama on Saturday would bar U.S. financial institutions from dealing with entities engaged in business with the Iranian central bank, cutting off the primary means for the Middle Eastern nation to collect fees for sales of unrefined petroleum (Hafezi, Reuters II).


    European Union nations have completed an initial agreement to prohibit purchases of unrefined oil from Iran, but have yet to determine the measure's timing, bloc envoys said on Wednesday (Pawlak/Toyer, Reuters III, Jan. 4). French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for such a step as well as the suspension of all Iranian central bank holdings, ITAR-Tass quoted Foreign Minister Alain Juppe as saying on Tuesday (ITAR-Tass, Jan. 3).


    China has rejected calls to curb its economic ties to Iran over the nuclear dispute, but Beijing slashed its unrefined oil purchases from Iran by more than 50 percent for January. China has also pressed for lower prices for Iranian oil as Tehran's pool of potential buyers has decreased in size.


    Iran's declining petroleum revenue has resulted in higher domestic expenses for products funded partially by the government, as well as a devaluation of the nation's monetary unit (Hafezi, Reuters II).


    China's trade with Iran would not be altered by Washington's latest punitive steps, the Associated Press quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry representative Hong Lei as saying on Friday. The spokesman also reaffirmed his nation's doubts over the utility of economic pressure in addressing the atomic standoff (Associated Press I/ABC News, Jan. 4).
    South Korean government personnel could hold talks with U.S. counterparts in January or later to discuss Seoul's potential exclusion from the new measure's targeting Iranian oil operations, an informed official told the Wall Street Journal on Wednesday. South Korea needs details on "how much effort do we need to show [in cutting oil purchases from Iran] to be either an exception (to the law) or to get a waiver" by supporting U.S. interests by other means, the government source said.


    A Japanese Trade Ministry insider said discussions between Tokyo and Washington could address potential cuts in Japanese oil imports from Iran, but such reductions are not a guaranteed outcome (Min-jeong Lee, Wall Street Journal, Jan. 4).


    Turkey will request that the United States exclude the Turkish petroleum firm Tupras from penalties targeting Iran's central bank, a Turkish Energy Ministry source told Reuters on Wednesday (Reuters IV, Jan. 4). Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu is expected to discuss Iranian atomic activities during a two-day trip to Tehran slated to start on Wednesday, AP reported (Associated Press II/ABC News, Jan. 4).


    Meanwhile, analysts said Iran's reported production and vetting of an atomic fuel rod would not support a possible nuclear-weapon development effort in the country, Reuters reported on Wednesday.


    "The (fuel rod) development itself doesn't put them any closer to producing weapons," Arms Control Association analyst Peter Crail said. "[The Iranians] announced the fuel rod production and called for talks at the same time, suggesting the fuel rod is intended more as negotiating leverage,"


    Harvard University nuclear weapons expert Matthew Bunn added: "It is a step in the direction of no longer needing supply from other countries."

    "But it will be a good number of months or years before it will be at the point where they no longer need supply from other countries," he said.


    Iran "still needs to pretend" that it is producing uranium for energy production and not weapons development, said one Western envoy in Vienna, Austria.


    Iran would probably still depend for years on Russian-supplied fuel for its Bushehr atomic energy site, said Mark Hibbs, an expert with the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. "Even in an advanced nuclear power program with years of experience and lots of fuel fabrication experience -- which Iran doesn't have -- fuel testing could take a decade or more," he said.


    The Bushehr site and a medical research reactor in Tehran are not "optimal" for plutonium production, Bunn added.

    If Iran succeeds in producing fuel for its still-unfinished Arak heavy-water reactor, though, the nation "will be closer to being able to operate a facility which unlike Bushehr would be better suited to production of plutonium," Hibbs said (Fredrik Dahl, Reuters V, Jan. 4).


    Iran's fuel milestone might decrease the possibility of Tehran agreeing to a fuel-swap agreement aimed at addressing the nuclear standoff, Sharon Squassoni, head of the Proliferation Prevention Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, told Bloomberg in an e-mail (see GSN, Oct. 7, 2011).


    Tehran's statement “provides political cover for their continued enrichment of uranium” to roughly 20 percent, Squassoni said. “It has no connection to a nuclear weapons timeline" (Brian Wingfield, Bloomberg, Jan. 4).


    In Washington, discussion of a potential military clash with Iran has increased significantly, AFP reported.


    Republican presidential contenders should "begin preparing the case for a military strike to destroy Iran's nuclear program," former Justice Department official John Yoo wrote in a National Review commentary published last week.

    Iran poses an "unavoidable challenge," and a U.S. attack on the country's atomic facilities could be justified under the law, Yoo wrote. "It can argue that destroying Iran's nuclear weapons is a combination of self-defense and protecting international security," he said.


    Iran expert Trita Parsi warned such military rhetoric could prove dangerous.
    "We are in such an escalatory cycle, if we just continue on this path much longer, we will essentially sleepwalk into a war," Parsi said.


    Former U.S. national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski last month said: "We think we are going to avoid war by moving towards compulsion."

    "But the more you lean towards compulsion, the more the choice becomes war if it doesn't work. That narrows our options in a very dramatic way," he said (Agence France-Presse II/Spacewar.com, Jan. 3).
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    And OBVIOUSLY if RUSSIA says so, it MUST be TRUE.....

    Iran Lacks Ability to Build ICBMs, Russia Says





    Jan. 4, 2012

    Iran lacks the required technology to develop ICBMs, Russia asserted on Tuesday, amid reports that the Persian Gulf state had conducted trial launches of medium- or long-range missiles, Deutsche Presse-Agentur reported (see GSN, Dec. 5, 2011).
    Tehran's equipment is "not even (sufficient) for prototypes," Interfax quoted Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Vadim Koval as saying.
    Any potential Iranian long- or medium-range missiles would not be ready for deployment in the near future, the spokesman asserted.
    Iran carried out several trial missile launches on Monday that went off as planned. Some domestic news organizations reported the missiles had medium- or long-range capacities. The Qader missile, which was one of three variants to be launched, has only a typical flight capacity of about 124 miles. Additionally, the trials were reported to involve the surface-to-surface Noor missile and the short-range Nassr missile.
    The missile trials fall against a backdrop of increasing strain between Tehran and the international community following new warnings by the Iranian military that it could shut down foreign ships' ability to sail through the Strait of Hormuz -- a critical conduit for oil transportation from the Persian Gulf.
    Russia has voiced skepticism that U.S. and NATO efforts to build a European missile shield are aimed at defending the continent against an Iranian ballistic missile strike. It has said the antimissile system could be intended to counter the Russian strategic nuclear forces, a claim rejected by Brussels and Washington (Deutsche Presse-Agentur/Monsters and Critics, Jan. 3).
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    I'm sure that is true. Doesn't mean Russia, China, and North Korea won't build them for them.

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    This outta be good....

    Iran prepares bill to bar foreign warships from Persian Gulf

    MC3 Kenneth Abbate/AP - In this Nov. 12, 2011photo provided by the U.S. Navy, the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis transits the Straits of Hormuz. The Pentagon on Tuesday answered an Iranian warning to keep U.S. aircraft carriers out of the Persian Gulf by declaring that American warships will continue regularly scheduled deployments to the strategic waterway.





    By Thomas Erdbrink, Wednesday, January 4, 9:22 AM


    Iran's parliament said Wednesday it was preparing a bill that would prohibit all foreign warships from entering the Persian Gulf unless they received permission from the Iranian navy.
    The bill, disclosed by the the semiofficial Fars News Agency, surfaced a day after Iran’s armed forces commander warned a U.S. nuclear-powered aircraft carrier not to return to the gulf, remarks that rattled commodities markets and helped drive up oil prices.


    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney responded to a warning by Iran's army chief that an American aircraft carrier should not return to the Persian Gulf. (Jan. 3)



    Iran tests two long-range missiles on the last day of its naval exercises. The country is threatening to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, which would cut off a large percentage of the world's oil supply. (Jan. 3)


    The proposed legislation suggested that at least some Iranian officials are serious about trying to stop the U.S. Navy from entering the oil-rich gulf waters. Iranian analysts said the bill probably would not have been introduced if it were not supported by higher authorities.
    “If the military vessels and warships of any country want to pass via the Strait of Hormuz without coordination and permission of Iran’s navy forces, they should be stopped by the Iranian armed forces,” Fars quoted lawmaker Nader Qazipour as saying in explaining the bill. He noted that Iran regards the strait as part of its territorial waters and said the bill would be presented to parliamentary leaders next week.
    Iranian Foreign Minister Ahmad Vahidi restated Iran's position that “transnational forces” have no place in the region. Vahidi also said Iran is willing to organize joint military drills with neighboring countries, Fars reported Wednesday.
    The news agency, which has ties to Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, claimed that the carrier USS John C. Stennis, which steamed out of the Persian Gulf last week, had escaped while being “chased by Iranian warships.”
    The United States has dismissed as overblown rhetoric Iran’s threats to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, the narrow entrance to the Persian Gulf, in retaliation for Western sanctions over its uranium-enrichment program.
    The increasingly bellicose tone from Tehran has coincided with a currency crisis that has forced the government to intervene to prop up the ailing rial. Helping to drive the rial to record lows was U.S. legislation signed Saturday by President Obama that includes a provision for unilateral sanctions against Iran’s central bank.
    Iran responded by injecting an additional $200 million into the country’s currency markets Wednesday, Fars reported. While the rial’s rate appeared to stabilize, people involved in trading dollars said they were hanging onto their foreign currency for now.
    Many Iranians were trying to buy dollars anyway, but sellers were hard to find.
    “Nobody is selling their dollars,” said one exchange office representative who did not want to be identified. “The current rate is artificial.”
    The crisis spurred rumors that the job of Central Bank Governor Mahmoud Bahmani was in jeopardy. According to Fars, he has asked for more authority to clamp down on “speculation” against the rial.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    They just can't shut the fuck up, can they?

    Iran renews warning to US Navy in Gulf
    By Marc Burleigh (AFP) – 8 hours ago
    TEHRAN — Iran on Wednesday renewed its warning to America against keeping a US naval presence in the oil-rich Gulf, underlining a threat Washington has dismissed as a sign of "weakness."
    Meanwhile, diplomats said the European Union was on target to impose a threatened embargo on oil imports from Iran, which France said could come by the end of January and which drew US praise.
    "The presence of forces from beyond the (Gulf) region has no result but turbulence. We have said the presence of forces from beyond the region in the Persian Gulf is not needed and is harmful," Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, according to state television's website.
    "The long-term presence of the United States in the region increases insecurity and the possibility of tensions and of confrontation," the deputy chief of Iran's forces, Masoud Jazayeri, said, according to the Revolutionary Guards website.
    "As a result ... the United States must leave the region."
    Jazayeri noted last week's departure of the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis from the Gulf, saying: "Since you've gone, don't come back, otherwise you'll be responsible for any problems."
    His comments echoed a Tuesday warning that Iran would unleash its "full force" if a US carrier is redeployed to the Gulf.
    "We don't have the intention of repeating our warning, and we warn only once," armed forces chief Brigadier General Ataollah Salehi said.
    The White House on Tuesday said the warning "reflects the fact that Iran is in a position of weakness" as it struggles under international sanctions.
    The US Defence Department said it would continue rotating its 11 carriers to the Gulf to support regional military operations and keep the Strait of Hormuz open.
    "We are committed to protecting maritime freedoms that are the basis for global prosperity; this is one of the main reasons our military forces operate in the region," it said.
    Iran has just finished 10 days of naval exercises near the strategic strait at the entrance of the Gulf, aimed at showing it can control the channel and closing it if necessary. Twenty percent of the world's oil ships through the strait.
    On Monday, the exercises saw the test-firing of three types of anti-warship missile.
    The head of Iran's parliamentary national security and foreign policy commission, Aladdin Borujerdi, was quoted by Fars news agency as saying Wasington's description of Iran as weak "is a completely illogical stance."
    "The US talks about sanctioning our oil but they should know that if Iran's oil exports from the Persian Gulf are sanctioned, then no one will have the right to export oil through the Strait of Hormuz," he added.
    The developments helped send oil prices soaring, though they pulled back a little on Wednesday.
    New York's main contract, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for February delivery, spiked to $103.74, a level last touched on May 11. The contract fell back to $102.61, down 35 cents from Tuesday's close.
    Brent North Sea crude for February jumped to $113.97 per barrel -- its highest since November 14. It later stood at $112.82, up 69 cents from Tuesday.
    "The situation with Iran remains worrisome," said Nick Trevethan, a senior commodities strategist at ANZ Research in Asia.
    "The consequences of any military action in the Middle East will be enormous. A spike in crude prices will kill off any recovery in the US."
    In Brussels, diplomats said EU governments had reached preliminary agreement on an oil embargo against Iran and are now debating when it should come into force.
    "There is an agreement in principle to forge ahead" with an embargo, a diplomat told AFP, but "there is still a lot of work" to agree on its timing for a foreign ministers' meeting on January 30.
    The EU had been divided over an oil ban, but reached a breakthrough in late December after Greece, Spain and other nations that buy Iranian crude lifted their objections.
    Speaking of the January 30 meeting, French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in Lisbon: "It's at this occasion I hope that we can adopt this embargo on Iranian oil exports."
    "We have to reassure some of our European partners who purchase Iranian oil. We have to provide them with alternative solutions. But these alternative solutions exist and I think we can attain the objective by the end of January."
    US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said Washington hoped for even broader sanctions.
    "So these (EU measures) are the kinds of steps that we would like to see not just from our close allies and partners in places like Europe but from countries around the world," she said.
    "Because we do believe that this is consistent with tightening the noose on Iran economically," she said. "We think that the place to get Iran's attention is with regard to its oil sector."
    Amid the tension, Iran saw turmoil on its domestic currency market, with authorities trying to shore up the rial following its slide to a record low on Monday days after Washington enacted new sanctions targeting the central bank.
    In a related development, the US Treasury said Secretary Timothy Geithner will travel to China and Japan next week to discuss tougher sanctions against Iran, after China said it opposed unilateral US measures.
    The United States and other Western nations have imposed sanctions over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme, which they believe is being used to develop atomic weapons.
    Iran denies that allegation, saying the programme is entirely peaceful.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Iran Warns U.S. Aircraft Carrier Not to Return to Gulf

    Kenneth Abbate/U.S. Navy, via Associated Press
    The aircraft carrier John C. Stennis in the Strait of Hormuz in November.

    By J. DAVID GOODMAN

    Published: January 3, 2012






    Iran’s military sharpened its tone toward the United States on Tuesday with a blunt warning that an American aircraft carrier that left the Persian Gulf through the strategic Strait of Hormuz last week should not return.

    The warning, by Iran’s military chief, was the latest and most aggressive volley in a nearly daily exchange of barbed statements between Iran and the United States. Iran has just finished ambitious naval exercises near the strait, and it has repeatedly threatened to close the passage — through which roughly one-fifth of all the crude oil traded worldwide passes — if Western powers move forward with new sanctions on Iran’s petroleum exports.
    “We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf,” said Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi, the commander in chief of the army, as reported by Iran’s official news agency, IRNA. “The Islamic Republic of Iran will not repeat its warning.”
    General Salehi did not say what action Iran would take if the carrier were to re-enter the Persian Gulf.
    A spokesman for the Defense Department, Cmdr. Bill Speaks, declined to discuss future movements of the carrier, the John C. Stennis. He said that “the deployment of U.S. military assets in the Persian Gulf region will continue as it has for decades.”
    The United States dismissed Iran’s threats to close the strait. “The U.S. Navy operates under international maritime conventions to maintain a constant state of high vigilance in order to ensure the continued safe flow of maritime traffic in waterways critical to global commerce,” Commander Speaks said.
    Iran’s economy, already reeling from Western sanctions over its nuclear program, has been hit hard by discussion of new sanctions aimed at its oil exports, the world’s third largest. President Obama signed new legislation on Saturday that could penalize buyers of Iranian oil, and the European Union has openly talked of a boycott of Iran’s oil. On Tuesday, France urged the European Union to adopt stricter sanctions, including an oil embargo, by the end of the month.
    Iran’s currency, the rial, fell to record lows against the dollar on Tuesday, news agencies reported. Oil prices rose sharply in trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange, with the benchmark contract for crude up more than 4 percent to $102.91 a barrel.
    The attempts by Iran’s leadership to flex the country’s muscles on the world stage coincide with efforts to stamp out dissent at home ahead of planned parliamentary elections in March, the first ballot to be held since a disputed presidential vote in 2009 prompted national protests and a severe crackdown.
    On Tuesday, an Iranian court sentenced Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, to six months in prison for spreading what it termed “propaganda against the Islamic system,” the semiofficial Mehr news agency reported. The court also barred her from engaging in any political, cultural or media activities for five years.
    Last week, access to the Web site of Mr. Rafsanjani, who is widely perceived as having supported Mir Hussein Moussavi against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the 2009 election, was blocked in Iran.
    Ms. Hashemi, a former Parliament member and an outspoken critic of Mr. Ahmadinejad, has been active in opposition politics; she was briefly detained last year after being accused of chanting antigovernment slogans during a banned rally in Tehran. She was also detained during a demonstration in 2009 over the disputed presidential election.
    The government has prosecuted and convicted many opposition members since the 2009 street protests, but it has so far shied away from holding trials for Mr. Moussavi or Mehdi Karroubi, the principal opposition figures in Iran, who have been under house arrest for months.
    While the Iranian leadership has offered assurances that reformist candidates will be permitted to run for office in the March elections, Mr. Moussavi and Mr. Karroubi have urged their supporters to stay home.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    EU Moves Closer to Iran Oil Ban

    Q




    Enlarge image
    A woman walks past a poster during the third day of the 16th Oil, Gas, Refining and Petrochemical Exhibition in Iranian capital Tehran on April 17, 2011. Photographer: Ahmad Halabisaz/Xinhua/Landov



    European Union governments moved closer to halting oil purchases from Iran, stepping up the confrontation over the Islamic republic’s nuclear program.
    EU foreign ministers are aiming to announce harsher sanctions on Iran’s energy and banking industries at their next meeting on Jan. 30 after Greece lifted its objections to an oil embargo.
    “We want to tighten sanctions on Iran -- the things that have been mentioned are the oil sector and the financial sector,” EU spokesman Michael Mann said by telephone in Brussels today.
    French Foreign Minister Alain Juppe said in Lisbon today that he hopes a decision about an embargo on Iranian oil exports may be adopted at the Jan. 30 meeting of foreign ministers.
    Oil fluctuated near an eight-month high after the European Union said it’s working to sanction oil imports from Iran and its banks and on concern that Europe’s debt crisis will affect consumption market. Crude for February delivery rose 29 cents to settle at $103.25 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange.
    The U.S. today welcomed the push toward an embargo.
    “This is consistent with tightening the noose around Iran economically,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland said at a briefing in Washington. “The place to get Iran’s attention is in the oil sector.”
    Iranian ‘Bluster’

    Nuland also dismissed as “bluster” a threat by Iran to require permission for foreign warships to enter the Strait of Hormuz, a shipping channel from the Persian Gulf for about a fifth of the global crude oil supply.
    “This is the kind of bluster that indicates they’re feeling pressure,” she said. The U.S. will “continue to play a global role” in ensuring freedom of navigation in international waters such as the Strait of Hormuz, she said.
    A French-British push for an oil embargo was deflected last month by Greece, which relied on Iran for 14 percent of its oil imports in the first half of 2011, according to U.S. data.
    Greece has since decided to abide by any EU-imposed embargo, an official at the Greek environment, energy and climate ministry said yesterday on condition of anonymity.
    Iran, the world’s third-largest oil exporter, denies Western contentions that it is seeking to build atomic weapons and says it’s pursuing nuclear technology to generate electricity.
    To contact the reporter on this story: James G. Neuger in Brussels at jneuger@bloomberg.net
    To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Foreign Warships Will Need Iran's Permission to Pass through Strait of Hormoz

    TEHRAN (FNA)- All foreign warships will soon be unable to pass through the Strait of Hormoz unless they first receive a permission from the Iranian Navy ships deployed in the region, an Iranian parliamentarian said, adding that the country's lawmakers are now working on a relevant plan as the strategic waterway is part of the Iranian territories.



    "If the military vessels and warships of any country want to pass via the Strait of Hormoz without coordination and permission of Iran's Navy forces, they should be stopped by the Iranian Armed Forces," Nader Qazipour told FNA, explaining about the contents of the plan.

    He underlined that the plan will be presented to the parliament's presiding board next week.

    In relevant remarks on Monday, another Iranian legislator stressed that Iran will use all its capabilities and possibilities to defend the country against foreign threats and the country will use the Strait of Hormoz as a defensive tool and will close the waterway if it comes under threat.

    "Iran will definitely use the defensive potential of the Strait of Hormoz if it is faced with threats," Rapporteur of the parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Kazzem Jalali told FNA.

    Iranian lawmakers and officials have recently warned enemies that Iran is entitled to the right to close the strategic oil lifeline as a defensive option against foreign invasion.

    "The closure of the Strait of Hormuz is not on the Islamic Republic of Iran's agenda (at present), but if threats against Iran come to trample upon the rights of our nation while others use the strait for exporting their oil, then Iran will be entitled to the right to close the Strait of Hormuz," member of the Iranian Parliament Mohammad Taqi Rahbar told FNA late December.

    "The international conventions reserve such rights for the Islamic Republic of Iran as well," Rahbar underscored.

    The lawmaker, however, said, "For the time being, the Islamic Republic of Iran has not decided to close the strait, but this (closing the strait) depends on the conditions of the region."

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    January 2, 2012
    US Troops going to Israel

    January 2, 2012
    Jerusalem


    http://www.whiteoutpress.com/article...-to-israel483/

    In one of the most blacked-out stories in America right now, the US military is preparing to send thousands of US troops, along with US Naval anti-missile ships and accompanying support personnel, to Israel.
    It took forever to find a second source for confirmation of this story and both relatively mainstream media outlets are in Israel. With one source saying the military deployment and corresponding exercises are to occur in January, the source providing most of the details suggests it will occur later this spring.

    Calling it not just an “exercise”, but a “deployment”, the
    Jerusalem Post quotes US Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc, Commander of the US Third Air Force based in Germany. The US Commander visited Israel two weeks ago to confirm details for “the deployment of several thousand American soldiers to Israel.” In an effort to respond to recent Iranian threats and counter-threats, Israel announced the largest ever missile defense exercise in its history. Now, it’s reported that the US military, including the US Navy, will be stationed throughout Israel, also taking part.

    While American troops will be stationed in Israel for an unspecified amount of time, Israeli military personnel will be added to EUCOM in Germany. EUCOM stands for United States European Command.

    In preparation for anticipated Iranian missile attacks upon Israel, the US is reportedly bringing its THAAD, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and ship-based Aegis ballistic missile systems to Israel. The US forces will join Israeli missile defense systems like the Patriot and Arrow. The deployment comes with “the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East”.

    The Jerusalem Post reports that US Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc was in Israel meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Brig.-Gen Doron Gavish, commander of the Air Defense Division. While there, the US General visited one of Israel’s three ‘Iron Dome’ anti-missile outposts. The Israeli Air Force has announced plans to deploy a fourth Iron Dome system in the coming months. Additional spending increases in the Jewish state will guarantee the manufacture and deployment of three more Iron Dome systems by the end of 2012. The Israelis are hoping to eventually have at least a dozen of the anti-missile systems deployed along its northern and southern borders.

    In a show of escalated tensions in the region, Iran test fired two long range missiles today. One, called the Qadar, is a powerful sea-to-shore missile. The other was an advanced surface-to-surface missile called the Nour. According to Iranian state news, the Nour is an ‘advanced radar-evading, target-seeking, guided and controlled missile’. Additionally, the Iranian military reportedly test-fired numerous other short, medium and long-range missiles. Yesterday, Iranian authorities reported that they test-fired the medium-range, surface-to-air, radar-evading Mehrab missile. Today is supposed to be the final day of Iranian naval drills in the Straits of Hormuz.

    Iran recently made global headlines when it threatened to blockade the Straits of Hormuz if Europe and the US went ahead with their boycott of Iranian oil and the country’s central bank. One-quarter of the world’s oil passes through that waterway every day. President Obama has announced that a closure of the Straits was unacceptable and vowed to take whatever measures are necessary to keep the vital shipping lane open.

    In response to the Iranian missile tests this weekend, French authorities were the first to respond, calling it a, “very bad signal to the international community."We want to underline that the development by Iran of a missile program is a source of great concern to the international community,"the French Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. Israeli officials suggested the flamboyant Iranian military drills this weekend were a sign that international sanctions on the country were taking a heavy toll and that any additional boycotts, on its banks or oil industry, would be crippling.

    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the large missile tests showed, “the dire straits of Iran in light of the tightening sanctions around her, including the considerations in the last few days regarding the sanctions of exporting petroleum as well as the possibility of sanctions against the Iranian Central Bank." While the chances of Iran going through with its threat of closing the Straits of Hormuz are slim, the deployment of thousands of US troops and naval ships to Israel shows the US isn’t taking any chances.

    The link to the article above is now broken and looks like they just added a new paragraph.

    Here is the way it reads now.

    January 2, 2012
    US Troops going to Israel

    January 2, 2012. Jerusalem.



    In one of the most blacked-out stories in America right now, the US military is preparing to send thousands of US troops, along with US Naval anti-missile ships and accompanying support personnel, to Israel. It took forever to find a second source for confirmation of this story and both relatively mainstream media outlets are in Israel. With one source saying the military deployment and corresponding exercises are to occur in January, the source providing most of the details suggests it will occur later this spring.

    Calling it not just an “exercise”, but a “deployment”, the Jerusalem Post quotes US Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc, Commander of the US Third Air Force based in Germany. The US Commander visited Israel two weeks ago to confirm details for “the deployment of several thousand American soldiers to Israel.” In an effort to respond to recent Iranian threats and counter-threats, Israel announced the largest ever missile defense exercise in its history. Now, it’s reported that the US military, including the US Navy, will be stationed throughout Israel, also taking part.

    New Paragraph:
    Also confirming the upcoming US-Israeli military missile exercises is JTA.org - 'global news service of the Jewish people'. In their account, they report, 'Last week, plans for Gen. Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, to visit Israel in January were leaked to Israeli media; his visit likely will coincide with the largest-ever joint U.S.-Israel anti-missile exercise'.

    While American troops will be stationed in Israel for an unspecified amount of time, Israeli military personnel will be added to EUCOM in Germany. EUCOM stands for United States European Command.

    In preparation for anticipated Iranian missile attacks upon Israel, the US is reportedly bringing its THAAD, Terminal High Altitude Area Defense, and ship-based Aegis ballistic missile systems to Israel. The US forces will join Israeli missile defense systems like the Patriot and Arrow. The deployment comes with “the ultimate goal of establishing joint task forces in the event of a large-scale conflict in the Middle East”.

    The Jerusalem Post reports that US Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc was in Israel meeting with his Israeli counterpart, Brig.-Gen Doron Gavish, commander of the Air Defense Division. While there, the US General visited one of Israel’s three ‘Iron Dome’ anti-missile outposts. The Israeli Air Force has announced plans to deploy a fourth Iron Dome system in the coming months. Additional spending increases in the Jewish state will guarantee the manufacture and deployment of three more Iron Dome systems by the end of 2012. The Israelis are hoping to eventually have at least a dozen of the anti-missile systems deployed along its northern and southern borders.

    In a show of escalated tensions in the region, Iran test fired two long range missiles today. One, called the Qadar, is a powerful sea-to-shore missile. The other was an advanced surface-to-surface missile called the Nour. According to Iranian state news, the Nour is an ‘advanced radar-evading, target-seeking, guided and controlled missile’. Additionally, the Iranian military reportedly test-fired numerous other short, medium and long-range missiles. Yesterday, Iranian authorities reported that they test-fired the medium-range, surface-to-air, radar-evading Mehrab missile. Today is supposed to be the final day of Iranian naval drills in the Straits of Hormuz.

    Iran recently made global headlines when it threatened to blockade the Straits of Hormuz if Europe and the US went ahead with their boycott of Iranian oil and the country’s central bank. One-quarter of the world’s oil passes through that waterway every day. President Obama has announced that a closure of the Straits was unacceptable and vowed to take whatever measures are necessary to keep the vital shipping lane open.

    In response to the Iranian missile tests this weekend, French authorities were the first to respond, calling it a, “very bad signal to the international community."We want to underline that the development by Iran of a missile program is a source of great concern to the international community,"the French Foreign Ministry said in a written statement. Israeli officials suggested the flamboyant Iranian military drills this weekend were a sign that international sanctions on the country were taking a heavy toll and that any additional boycotts, on its banks or oil industry, would be crippling.

    Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the large missile tests showed, “the dire straits of Iran in light of the tightening sanctions around her, including the considerations in the last few days regarding the sanctions of exporting petroleum as well as the possibility of sanctions against the Iranian Central Bank." While the chances of Iran going through with its threat of closing the Straits of Hormuz are slim, the deployment of thousands of US troops and naval ships to Israel shows the US isn’t taking any chances.
    Last edited by American Patriot; January 4th, 2012 at 21:29.

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    Last edited by American Patriot; January 4th, 2012 at 21:23.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Vector, I inked out your title URL. It was invalid. The link below is good, but not the title (for the whitepress article)
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Thanks Rick,

    I found it and they added a paragraph.

    I left the original to see if any verbiage changed compared to the original story.

    Something maybe up, time will surely tell.

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Did you copy it as it was originally?

    Might be telling to copy and paste the new version into the same message (by quoting each to differentiate them or something)?
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Analysis: Iran could close Hormuz -- but not for long










    Iran's Navy Commander Sayari points at a map during a news conference in Tehran (Fars News Reuters, REUTERS / January 5, 2012)




    Peter Apps, Political Risk Correspondent Reuters 7:20 a.m. CST, January 5, 2012


    LONDON (Reuters) - Should Iran's rulers ever make good their threats to block the Straits of Hormuz, they could almost certainly achieve their aim within a matter of hours.

    But they could also find themselves sparking a punishing -- if perhaps short-lived -- regional conflict from which they could emerge the primary losers.

    In recent weeks, a growing number of senior Iranian military and civilian officials have warned that Tehran could use force to close the 54 km (25 mile) entrance to the Gulf if Western states impose sanctions that paralyze their oil exports.

    In 10 days of highly publicized military exercises, state television showed truck-mounted missiles blasting towards international waters, fast gunboats practicing attacks and helicopters deploying divers and naval commandos.

    Few believe Tehran could keep the straits closed for long -- perhaps no more than a handful of days -- but that alone would still temporarily block shipment of a fifth of all traded global oil, sending prices rocketing and severely denting hopes of global economic recovery.

    But such action would swiftly trigger retaliation from the United States and others that could leave the Islamic republic militarily and economically crippled.

    "They can cause a great deal of mischief... but it depends how much pain they are willing to accept," says Nikolas Gvosdev, professor of national security studies at the U.S. Naval War College in Rhode Island.

    He said he believed Tehran would only take such action as a last resort: "They are much more likely to threaten than to act."

    The true purpose of its recent saber-rattling, many analysts suspect, may be more a mixture of deterring foreign powers from new sanctions and distracting voters from rising domestic woes ahead of legislative elections in March.

    With the United States signing new sanctions into law on New Year's Eve -- although they will not enter force until the middle of the year -- and the European Union considering similar steps, few expect the pressure on Tehran to let up.

    "This is probably less a genuine military threat than a bid to put economic pressure back on the West and split Western powers over sanctions that threaten Iran's oil economy," says Henry Wilkinson, head of intelligence and analysis at London security consultants Janusian.

    "Iran now does not have much to lose by making such a threat and a lot to gain."

    But many fear the more Iran is pushed into a corner, the greater the risk of miscalculation.

    Its ruling establishment is also widely seen as deeply divided, with some elements -- particularly the well-equipped and hardline Revolutionary Guard -- much keener on confrontation than others.

    SEA MINES, MISSILES, SUBMARINES, SPEEDBOATS

    "I cannot see strategic sense in closing the straits, but then I do not understand the Iranian version of the 'rational actor'," said one senior Western naval officer on condition of anonymity.

    "(But) one can be pretty certain that they will misjudge the Western reaction... They clearly find us as hard to read as we find them."

    The capability to wreak at least temporary chaos, however, is unquestionably there.

    The U.S. Fifth Fleet always keeps one or two aircraft carrier battle groups either in the Gulf or within striking distance in the Indian Ocean.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Something is coming to Iran... war?

    Iran clamps down on internet use

    Restrictions on cyber cafes and plans to launch national internet prompt fears users could be cut off from world wide web






    Iran has given internet cafe owners two weeks to adopt new rules requiring them to check customers' identity cards before permitting any services. Photograph: Getty

    Iran is launching a major clampdown on web users before parliamentary elections in March with draconian new rules on cyber cafes and preparations to launch a national internet.
    A series of tests for the launch of a countrywide network aimed at substituting services run through the world wide web has been carried out by Iran's ministry of information and communication technology, according to a newspaper report. The move has prompted fears among its online community that Iran may withdraw from the global internet.
    Speculation over the ministry's intentions comes amid a major clampdown on Iranian internet users by the police, which this week imposed new regulations on internet cafes.
    The cafe owners have been given a two-week ultimatum to adopt fresh rules requiring them to check the identity cards of their customers before providing any services.
    "Internet cafes are required to write down the forename, surname, name of the father, national identification number, post code and telephone number of each customer," said an Iranian police statement, according to the news website Tabnak.
    "Besides the personal information, they must maintain other information of the customer such as the date and the time of using the internet and the IP address, and the addresses of the websites visited. They should keep these informations for each individuals for at least six months."
    In recent weeks, users in Iran have complained of a significant reduction in the speed of their internet, reported an Iranian reformist newspaper, Roozegar, which has recently resumed publication after months of closure. The newspaper said it appeared to be the result of testing the national internet.
    "According to some of the people in charge of the communication industry, attempts to launch a national internet network are the cause of disruption in internet and its speed reduction in recent weeks," Roozegar reported. Some government websites, however, cited other reasons for the drop in speed.Speaking to the Guardian on condition of anonymity, an Iranian IT expert with close knowledge of Iran's national internet project, which he described as corporate-style intranet, said: "Despite what others think, intranet is not primarily aimed at curbing the global internet but Iran is creating it to secure its own military, banking and sensitive data from the outside world.
    "Iran has fears of an outside cyber attack like that of the Stuxnet, and is trying to protect its sensitive data from being accessible on the world wide web." Stuxnet, a computer worm designed to sabotage Iran's uranium enrichment project hit the country's nuclear facilities in 2010.
    The authorities in the Islamic republic have said for some years that Iran should have its own internet, a parallel network which would conform to Islamic values and provide "appropriate" services.
    For Iranian officials, the need for such a network became more evident after the events in the aftermath of the disputed presidential elections in 2009, when many protesters used social networks.
    Less than two months before Iran's parliamentary elections in March, its first national election since 2009, the regime appears to be attempting to bring the country's online community under control.
    In June, the US was reported to be funding plans to launch new services facilitating internet access and mobile phone communications in countries with tight controls on freedom of speech, such as Iran, through a project called "shadow internet" or "internet in a suitcase". Iran responded to the move by stepping up its online censorship by upgrading its filtering system.
    More than 5m websites are filtered in Iran, but many Iranians access blocked addresses with help from proxy websites or virtual private network services. An Iranian official said last year that more than 17 million Iranians have Facebook accounts, although the site remains blocked in Iran.

    So far every country that has clamped down on the internet has wound up in a massive turmoil.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    And the UK joins the chorus.

    U.K. Warns Iran Over ‘Illegal’ Threat to Close Strait of Hormuz

    January 05, 2012, 8:43 AM EST





    More From Businessweek





    By Thomas Penny
    Jan. 5 (Bloomberg) -- The U.K. may take military action against Iran if it carries out its threat to block the Strait of Hormuz, Defense Secretary Philip Hammond will warn in a speech in Washington today.
    Any attempt by Iran to block the strategically important waterway in retaliation for sanctions against its oil exports would be “illegal and unsuccessful” and the Royal Navy will join any action to keep it open, Hammond will say, according to extracts of the address released by his office.
    “Our joint naval presence in the Arabian Gulf, something our regional partners appreciate, is key to keeping the Straits of Hormuz open for international trade,” Hammond will say. “Disruption to the flow of oil through the Straits of Hormuz would threaten regional and global economic growth,” he will say, arguing that “it is in all our interests that the arteries of global trade are kept free, open and running.”
    Iran will block the strait if sanctions are imposed on its crude-oil exports in an attempt to force the Islamic republic to abandon its nuclear program, Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi said on Dec. 27. Britain and France will press for the EU to impose an embargo on Iranian oil imports when foreign ministers meet in Brussels on Jan. 30.
    About 15.5 million barrels of oil a day, or a sixth of global consumption, flows through the Strait of Hormuz, between Iran and Oman at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. The Royal Navy will continue to play a “substantial” role in the combined maritime force to help maintain freedom of navigation, Hammond will say.
    Europeans Criticized
    Hammond, who will meet with U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta today, will also use the speech, at the Atlantic Council, to criticize other members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization for not being willing to commit resources to joint operations, including in Libya and Afghanistan, his office said.
    “Too many countries are failing to meet their financial responsibilities to NATO, and so failing to maintain appropriate and proportionate capabilities,” Hammond will say. “Too many are opting out of operations or contributing but a fraction of what they should be capable of. This is a European problem, not an American one. And it is a political problem, not a military one.”
    Budget cuts mean that many nations are having to trim defense spending and they need to find “smarter ways of working together to get greater capability from the resources that exist,” Hammond will say.
    “Without strong economies and stable public finances it is impossible to build and sustain, in the long term, the military capability required to project power and maintain defense,” Hammond will say. “That is why today the debt crisis should be considered the greatest strategic threat to the future security of our nations.”
    --With assistance from Robert Tuttle in Doha. Editor: Eddie Buckle.
    To contact the reporter on this story: Thomas Penny in London at tpenny@bloomberg.net
    To contact the editor responsible for this story: James Hertling at jhertling@bloomberg.net
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Iran ramps up warning to US over Strait of Hormuz

    Iran on Wednesday renewed its warning to America against keeping a US navy presence in the oil-rich Gulf, underlining a threat that Washington has dismissed as a sign of "weakness" from Tehran.

    Image 1 of 2
    Iran's military gave a warning that it would unleash its "full force" if a US aircraft carrier is redeployed to the Gulf Photo: Reuters










    10:30AM GMT 05 Jan 2012




    "Iran will do anything to preserve the security of the Strait of Hormuz" at the entrance to the Gulf, Defence Minister Ahmad Vahidi said, according to the website of Iran's state television.



    "The presence of forces from beyond the (Gulf) region has no result but turbulence. We have said the presence of forces from beyond the region in the Persian Gulf is not needed and is harmful," he was quoted as saying.



    The comments echoed a warning issued on Tuesday by Iran's military that it would unleash its "full force" if a US aircraft carrier is redeployed to the Gulf.



    "We don't have the intention of repeating our warning, and we warn only once," Brigadier General Ataollah Salehi, Iran's armed forces chief, said as he told Washington to keep its aircraft carrier out of the Gulf.



    The White House on Tuesday had brushed off the warning, saying it "reflects the fact that Iran is in a position of weakness" as it struggles under international sanctions.



    The US Defence Department said it would not alter its deployment of warships to the Gulf.


    But on Wednesday, Salehi reinforced his warning, and called 10 days of Iranian navy war games just held near the Strait of Hormuz a "message" to the United States.


    "The forces from beyond the region have received the appropriate message from these manoeuvres," he said, according to the official IRNA news agency.


    "Those who have come as enemies should be afraid of our manoeuvres," he said.


    The exercises climaxed on Monday with the Iranian navy test-firing three types of missiles designed to sink warships.


    The head of Iran's parliamentary national security and foreign policy commission, Aladdin Brujerdi, was also quoted by the Fars news agency as saying the US description of Iran being weak "is a completely illogical stance."


    He added: "The US talks about sanctioning our oil but they should know that if Iran's oil exports from the Persian Gulf are sanctioned, then no one will have the right to export oil through the Strait of Hormuz."


    The developments have helped send the prices of oil soaring, though they pulled back a little on Wednesday.


    Brent North Sea crude contracts in London were selling for $111.58 per barrel. New York trading of West Texas Intermediate crude was at $102.30 per barrel.


    "The situation with Iran remains worrisome," said Nick Trevethan, a senior commodities strategist at ANZ Research in Asia.


    "The consequences of any military action in the Middle East will be enormous. A spike in crude prices will kill off any recovery in the US," he added.


    Iran's war games were meant to show the Islamic republic could close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, through which 20 per cent of the world's oil flows, if it is attacked or its oil exports are curbed by sanctions.
    Last week, a US aircraft carrier, the USS John C Stennis, passed through the strait and eastward, through the Gulf of Oman and a zone being used by the Iranian navy for its drill.


    Iranian military officials said that, if the carrier tried to return through the Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf, it would be attacked.


    The US carrier would face the "full force" of Iran's navy, a navy spokesman, Commodore Mahmoud Mousavi, told Iran's Arabic television service Al-Alam on Tuesday.


    The US Defence Department said in a statement it would continue the rotation of its 11 aircraft carriers to the Gulf to support military operations in the region.


    "Our transits of the Strait of Hormuz continue to be in compliance with international law, which guarantees our vessels the right of transit passage," it said.


    The Pentagon also underlined its pledge to keep the Strait of Hormuz open, saying "we are committed to protecting maritime freedoms that are the basis for global prosperity; this is one of the main reasons our military forces operate in the region."


    The increasingly tense situation in the Gulf was taking place as Iran struggled with turmoil on its domestic currency market.


    Foreign exchange shops on Wednesday were shuttered as traders refused to comply with a central bank order putting an artificially low cap on the value of the dollar against the Iranian rial, which has come under intense pressure in recent days.


    Iranian authorities were trying to shore up their currency after it slid 12 per cent on Monday to a record low against the dollar days after the United States enacted new sanctions hitting Iran's central bank.
    Iran, however, insisted the volatility of the rial is not the result of sanctions.


    It "definitely has nothing to with sanctions," foreign ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said on Tuesday.


    The United States and other Western nations have imposed sanctions on Iran's economy over Tehran's controversial nuclear programme, which they believe is being used to develop atomic weapons.


    Iran has repeatedly denied that allegation, saying the programme is purely for energy and medical uses.
    Libertatem Prius!


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  18. #98
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    The REASON I said a few days ago that the admiral ought to have turned that ship around and rolled back through is due directly to something in the article above.

    It's called "International Law". Here's an overview.

    Basically, NO country can stop another country from transiting an area, or interfere with commercial shipping or Naval vessels, or even domestic pleasure craft.

    This is why it pisses me off so bad when the Somali Pirates get away with attacking anyone, let alone smaller vessels with civilians in the boats. Why the countries aren't fighting this with a vengeance I don't know.

    I'm a student of piracy, have been for many years and moreso now that I'm a sailor myself. And given the history, it amazes me that the US, UK and Australia at LEAST don't go out of their way to hunt down and blow up, kill and destroy pirates both on the sea and on land.

    Piracy got so bad in the Caribbean, the "Spanish Main" (along the Spanish held coast of what is now Venezuela) that eventually all the countries agreed to go after pirates, and to stop creating "Privateers". They indeed hunted down pirates and hanged them.

    Americans were a "late comer" to that fight, but they were involved in a cursory manner, going after people like Black Beard (Edward Teach). It was an American - well, all Americans were technically British Citizens then - who stopped Teach in Okracoke Island area.

    I bring all this up because this was one of many piracy stories where notorious pirates who were greatly feared were finally dealt with as they should be, like the criminals they are.

    When a STATE (which can set their limits up to 12 miles) starts acting like pirates, they should be dealt with in the same manner.

    IF the Iranian Navy attempts to stop up traffic in that region, they are doing so against International Law.

    This isn't, as someone pointed out "ego" on the Skipper of a US Naval vessel to defy such rules. It's LAW. He can go back and forth through there as often as he wishes.

    And if America says "We're putting vessels in this region to protect our other assets in the area" then we have every right to do so, as do Russians. Or the Iranians to wander around our shores if they are making passage or feel they have to "protect" something.

    Obviously, this places the Iranians in danger doing it around US coast line.

    Or Russians. However, Russian, Chinese and many, many other countries ROUTINELY bring ships near our shoreline. In general, we know about it.

    If *I* want to sail my vessel around the world and pass through that area, the Iranians can not legally touch me, or anything else. They may board me as any coast guard would do, but they have no right to stop me for other than "safety checks".

    I don't have to stop technically if they are a threat. Then again, as a small vessel of less than about 100 feet, I wouldn't have a lot of choice in the matter.

    On the other hand, LEGALLY, if they take me off my vessel at sea they are then kidnapping me. And America would consider this a hostile act.

    Though, given times as they are, we won't do much about it.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Quote Originally Posted by michael2 View Post
    It's the Islamic concept of the 'Razzia', or 'Raid', against one's enemies, a carryover from pre-Islamic Arab banditry....Kinda like the Plains Indian warrior concept of 'counting coup'. Getting within an enemies defences, making a noise and only maybe doing some damage, and getting out. Or just getting real close and talking shit to your enemy, then leaving real quick....

    Same culture approves of hostage-taking almost to an art form.

    I think Obama gets it. At the very least, his heritage and upbringing make him sympathetic automatically with Moslems, and at the worst he's a crypto-moslem himself.
    Your last statement is the one I am concerned with.

    And "You guys" means "Americans" in general and Congress specifically.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Davutoglu: We won't allow attacks on Iran from Turkey

    By JPOST.COM STAFF

    01/05/2012 16:29



    Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu vowed Thursday that his country would not allow attacks on Iran to be carried out from its territory, Turkish daily Hurriyet reported.


    Davutoglu made the comments at a joint press conference in Tehran with his Iranian counterpart Ali Akbar Salehi.

    The Turkish foreign minister attempted to dispel rumors that the NATO missile shield recently stationed in Turkey, should pose as a threat to Iran or damage relations between the countries.

    Davutoglu stated that Turkey and Iran trust each other. "I certainly do not see Iran as a threat," Hurriyet quoted Davutoglu as saying.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
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    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    until you’ll finally wake up and find you already have communism.

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    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
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    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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