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Thread: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

  1. #101
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    And that is exactly why Iraq was and is so important.

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    And precisely the reason Obama GAVE UP IRAQ.

    Now we can't fly out of there EITHER.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Iran is threatening Straits of Hormuz war games now.
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  4. #104
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Iran tests West with plans for more war games in Strait of Hormuz

    Reuters Jan 6, 2012 – 8:31 AM ET
    REUTERS/Jamejamonline/Ebrahim Norouzi
    Iranian ships participate in a naval parade on the last day of the Velayat-90 war game on the Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran January 3, 2012.



    By Robin Pomeroy
    TEHRAN — Iran announced plans on Friday for new military exercises in the world’s most important oil shipping lane, the latest in weeks of bellicose gestures towards the West as new sanctions threaten Tehran’s oil exports.
    Real Admiral Ali Fadavi, naval commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, said exercises next month would focus directly on the Strait of Hormuz, which leads out of the Gulf and provides the outlet for most Mid-East oil.
    Iran held a 10-day drill which ended on Monday in neighboring seas.
    “Today the Islamic Republic of Iran has full domination over the region and controls all movements within it,” Fadavi said in remarks reported by the Fars news agency.
    Iranian officials have threatened in recent weeks to block the strait if new sanctions harm Tehran’s oil exports, and this week said they would take action if the United States sails an aircraft carrier through it.
    The United States, which has a massive naval fleet in the area that is overwhelmingly more powerful than Iran’s sea forces, says it will ensure the international waters of the strait stay open. Britain said on Thursday that any attempt to close it would be illegal and unsuccessful.
    New financial sanctions signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama on New Year’s Eve are aimed at making it difficult for most countries to buy Iranian oil. The European Union is expected to announce tough measures of its own at the end of the month.
    Most traders believe Iran will still be able to find buyers, at least in the short term, for its exports of 2.6 million barrels of oil per day (bpd). But it may have to offer steep discounts that reduce the hard currency revenue it needs to feed its 74 million people.
    The sanctions are already having an effect on Iran’s streets, where prices have been rising and the rial currency is falling. Iranians have been queuing up at banks to convert their savings into dollars.
    National Post Graphics
    Click to enlarge this map of the region




    The economic hardship comes less than two months before a parliamentary election, Iran’s first since a 2009 presidential election that led to mass street protests across the country.
    Iran’s rulers successfully put down those demonstrations two years ago with force, but since then the Arab Spring has shown the vulnerability of authoritarian governments in the region to public protest fueled by anger over economic hardship.
    NUCLEAR PROGRAMME
    Washington and its allies are imposing the measures to force Iran to abandon a nuclear program which they say is aimed at producing an atomic bomb. Iran says the program is peaceful.
    European Union officials say the EU, which collectively buys about 500,000 bpd of Iranian oil, rivaling China as the largest market, has agreed to impose an embargo halting all imports.
    EU diplomats said they are discussing how long they will give member countries to halt purchases, with France, Germany and others wanting the ban imposed within three months but Greece favoring a grace period of up to a year.
    China has also cut its imports by more than half in January and February while haggling with Tehran over the size of the discount it wants in return for doing business with it.
    Other big buyers, including Turkey and Japan, say they are seeking a waiver from the U.S. sanctions.
    The new American law allows Obama to give temporary waivers to allies to continue to buy Iranian oil to prevent a price shock, but to receive the permits, countries are meant to show they are reducing trade with Iran.
    Iran has put on a brave face over the sanctions. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Thursday the country would “weather the storm.”
    “Iran, with divine assistance, has always been ready to counter such hostile actions and we are not concerned at all about the sanctions,” he told a news conference.
    But in a sign it is seeking to alleviate the pressure, Salehi said Tehran was interested in resuming negotiations over its nuclear program with Western powers.
    Turkey’s visiting foreign minister brought an offer from Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief who negotiates on behalf of major powers.
    Talks over Iran’s nuclear program collapsed a year ago. Iran has repeatedly offered to restart the talks since then, but has insisted it will not negotiate over its right to continue enriching uranium.
    Western countries say talks are pointless unless a halt to enrichment is on the table. Enriched uranium can be used to fuel a reactor or build a bomb.
    OIL PRICES IN SPOTLIGHT
    After years of sanctions that had little impact, Western countries have adopted a far more direct approach in recent months, with sanctions that explicitly impact the oil industry that provides 60 percent of Iran’s economy.
    The new U.S. measures would cut off any institution that deals with the Iranian central bank from the U.S. financial system. If implemented fully, it would make it impossible for most countries’ refineries to buy Iranian crude.
    But Washington has to balance its determination to isolate Tehran with concern that driving its oil off markets will raise prices and hurt the fragile global economy. Brent crude futures hovered above $113 a barrel on Friday, up nearly $7 since Obama signed the new sanctions law.
    To ease the impact on markets, the new U.S. measures take effect over several months, and the leeway given to Obama to offer waivers allows countries time to find other suppliers. Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil exporter and a foe of Iran, says it will make up for any supply shortfall.
    Traders and analysts believe it is unlikely Iran will actually carry out its threats to block the strait.
    “We’ve seen this movie before,” said Cliff Kupchan, an Iran analyst at the Eurasia Group. “Neither side wants a war. A lot of this rhetoric is overstated.”
    Even if it tried, Iran could not blockade the strait for long in a direct challenge to a U.S. fleet led by the giant supercarrier John C. Stennis, accompanied by a guided-missile cruiser and flotillas of destroyers and submarines.
    The Combined Maritime Force protecting Gulf shipping also includes other countries such Britain, France, Canada, Australia and the Gulf Arab states, under the command of a U.S. admiral.
    Still, Iran has many ways it could provoke a Western response, from missiles within range of U.S. targets in the region, to small boats that could attack a ship near shore, to allied militia in Palestine and Lebanon that can strike Israel.
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  5. #105
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    And just a small side note here...

    US Navy rescues Iranians from Somali pirates – no 'thank you' expected

    A US Navy search-and-seizure team rescued the crew of an Iranian fishing vessel that had been hijacked by Somali pirates in November. Maybe Iran will send a fruit basket.


    By Anna Mulrine, Staff writer / January 6, 2012






    The guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd responds to a distress call on Thursday from the master of the Iranian-flagged fishing dhow Al Molai, who claimed he was being held captive.
    US Navy/AP

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    Troops from a US Navy carrier strike group on Thursday rescued Iranians who had been held on a pirate mother ship for more than a month in “horrific” conditions, according to US military officials.


    The gesture seems an unlikely one at a time when relations between the US and Iran – always strained – have been growing even tenser. As the US leads international efforts to ramp up sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program, Iran has warned a US aircraft carrier not to pass through the Strait of Hormuz.
    But a member of the search-and-seizure team from the USS Kidd that stormed the pirate ship said he and other members of the crew “went out of our way” to treat the Iranian fishermen “with kindness and respect.”
    RECOMMENDED: Top 5 blunders of Somali pirates

    “They had been through a lot,” said Josh Schminky, a Navy Criminal Investigative Service agent aboard the USS Kidd, in a statement.
    One US military official notes that the Iranians had been held aboard a ship infested with three-inch cockroaches for 40 to 45 days. The US is not anticipating any “thank you’s” from the Iranian government, though maybe, the US military official joked, “They won’t threaten our ships for another week or so in gratitude.”
    It is conceivable that a low-level Iranian official could acknowledge the rescue and even officially express gratitude for it, says Anthony Cordesman, a defense analyst with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
    RECOMMENDED: Could accelerating covert war with Iran spiral into military action?

    That does not, however, augur any change in relations between two countries. “The problem is [Iran’s] drive to move forward with its nuclear program – to expand Iranian power at a time it feels US power is weakening,” Mr. Cordesman says.
    “Does rescuing fishermen change anything? No,” he adds. “Even if you get a fruit basket, it’s just a fruit basket.”
    The saga began when an Iranian-flagged fishing vessel and its 13-member crew was seized in November by pirates operating in the northern Arabian Sea.
    Two US military officials said the pirates were from Somalia, though a US Navy spokesperson says the pirates’ origin is still under investigation.
    US sailors aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS Kidd saw a suspected pirate skiff Thursday alongside the Iranian shipping vessel, the Al Molai. At the same time the captain of the Al Molai was able to make a distress call claiming he was being held by pirates.
    The search-and-seizure team from the USS Kidd seized the Al Molai and detained the pirates, who “surrendered quickly,” according to a US Naval Forces Central Command statement. There were no deaths or injuries reported.
    The pirates had turned the Al Molai into a mother ship, which was being used to conduct piracy operations in the region.
    Three satellite ships operated by the pirates were operating nearby, according to a Navy officer who spoke on condition of anonymity.
    Some members of the Iranian crew also appear to have been force “against their will to assist the pirates with other piracy operations,” said Mr. Schminky in the statement.
    The Iranian crew told the US Navy rescue team that they “were forced by the pirates to live in harsh conditions, under the threat of violence with limited supplies and medical aid,” according to the statement.
    “There were three-inch cockroaches – it was just horrific,” said the US military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not cleared to speak on the matter publicly.
    The search-and-seizure team gave the Iranian mariners food, water, and medical care.
    The pirates were detained by the USS Kidd boarding party until Friday morning, when they were transferred to the USS John Stennis “where the matter will be reviewed for prosecution,” according to the statement.
    RECOMMENDED: Top 5 blunders of Somali pirates
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    By the way, I LOVE the name of the ship... "USS Kidd"

    William "Captain" Kidd (c. 1645 – May 23, 1701)[1] was a Scottish sailor remembered for his trial and execution for piracy after returning from a voyage to the Indian Ocean. Some modern historians deem his piratical reputation unjust, as there is evidence that Kidd acted only as a privateer. Kidd's fame springs largely from the sensational circumstances of his questioning before the English Parliament and the ensuing trial. His actual depredations on the high seas, whether piratical or not, were both less destructive and less lucrative than those of many other contemporary pirates and privateers.
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  8. #108
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Everyone is reporting this now, and PAYING ATTENTION.

    This is why the US really can't let them slap us around over and over.

    The world watches.

    Iran plans more war games in strait as sanctions bite

    Agence France-Presse
    Tehran, January 06, 2012




    First Published: 14:27 IST(6/1/2012)
    Last Updated: 22:49 IST(6/1/2012)









    Iran is to hold fresh military exercises in and around the strategic Strait of Hormuz within weeks, the naval commander of its powerful Revolutionary Guards was quoted as saying on Friday.

    The manoeuvres are to be held in the Iranian calendar month that runs from January 21 to




    February 19, the Fars news agency quoted Ali Fadavi as saying.
    They will underline Iran's assertion that it has "full control over the Strait of Hormuz area and controls all movements in it," Fadavi added.
    The announcement -- which narrowed down a timeframe for the exercises the Guards had previously only given as "soon" -- risked aggravating tensions with the West over the strait.
    The waterway is the world's "most important chokepoint" for oil tankers, according to the US Energy Information Administrations. Some 20% of the world's oil flows through the narrow channel at the entrance to the Gulf.
    Iran's regular navy completed 10 days of wargames to the east of the strait, in the Gulf of Oman, early this week with tests of three anti-ship missiles.
    Iran's military and political leaders have warned they could close the strait if increased Western sanctions halt Iranian oil exports.
    The navy has also warned it will react if the United States tries to redeploy one of its aircraft carriers to the waterway.
    The Revolutionary Guards, who use high-speed skiffs mounted with missile launchers and other lightweight vessels, periodically hold manoeuvres in and around the Strait of Hormuz.
    The last ones took place in July 2011 and included the firing of several anti-ship missiles, including two Khalij Fars missiles with a range of 300 kilometres (190 miles).
    Fadavi did not give details of the new manoeuvres.
    "The 7th in the series of Great Prophet Manoeuvres will be conducted in the area of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. They will have significant differences from the previous ones," Fars quoted him as saying.
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  9. #109
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Of course it SOUNDS different coming from NPR, doesn't it?

    U.S. Defiant As Iran Threatens Its Aircraft Carrier

    Categories: National News, Foreign News

    11:13 am
    January 3, 2012



    by Eyder Peralta


    Enlarge Ronald Reeves /AFP/Getty Images Iran claims the USS John C. Stennis has entered a zone near the Strait of Hormuz, which is being used by the Iranian navy for wargames.


    Iran issued a threat to a U.S. aircraft carier, today, which further complicates the tense relationship between the two countries. The threat comes just a day after Iran performed naval maneuvers in the Strait of Hormuz. As Mark reported, yesterday, Iran also claimed that it had made a nuclear fuel rod and had "successfully test-fired a new long-range coast-to-sea missile called Qader [Capable]."
    The Iranians have threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, a key pathway for oil, in retaliation for new sanctions from the United States.
    The Financial Times reports the latest threat comes from Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi who said:
    "'Iran advises, recommends and warns them [the US] not to move its carrier back to the previous area in the Gulf because Iran is not used to repeating its warnings and warns just once,' the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Maj Gen Salehi as saying.
    "It added that Maj Gen Salehi said Tehran was not going to take 'any unreasonable' action, but was 'ready to counter any threat'."
    The United States was defiant. A military spokesman told Reuters the country had no plans to curtail its deployments.
    "These are regularly scheduled movements and in accordance with our long-standing commitments to the security and stability of the region and in support of ongoing operations," Cmdr. Bill Speaks told Reuters. "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."
    The war of words did have a direct effect on the commodities market. The AP reports that the price of oil jumped to more than $101 a barrel.
    "The ever-growing frequency of intense saber-rattling and muscle flexing between Iran and the U.S. should keep the markets jittery and vulnerable to sudden price jumps," analysts at JBC Energy in Vienna told the AP.
    If you remember the latest tensions stem from a U.N. report that found that Iran has worked and may be working on attaining nuclear weapons. Since the report was released in November, the United States has pushed for stiffer sanctions against Iran, which has always maintained its nuclear ambitions are peaceful.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    ran war games sign of 'distress': Israel


    Published on Jan 3, 2012



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    Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that the past week's Iranian war games in the Strait of Hormuz were a sign of the regime's 'distress' in the face of tightening Western sanctions. -- PHOTO: AFP

    JERUSALEM (AFP) - Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak said on Monday that the past week's Iranian war games in the Strait of Hormuz were a sign of the regime's 'distress' in the face of tightening Western sanctions.
    'We saw reports about the large Iranian drill near the Strait of Hormuz today, which included missile firings,' Mr Barak told members of his Atzmaut (Independence) faction.
    'To my mind, this reflects first and foremost Iran's distress in the wake of the tightening sanctions, including recent deliberations around sanctions on petroleum export and the possibility of sanctions on the central bank,' he said.
    Iran test-fired three missiles on the last day of naval war games near the Strait of Hormuz on Monday, in a display of its military might and ability to close the strategic waterway through which 20 per cent of the world's oil flows - if the West applies more sanctions.

    TO READ THE FULL STORY...http://www.straitstimes.com/Breaking...ry_751273.html
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  11. #111
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Iran’s warnings in Gulf reflect hardening military doctrine



    By Associated Press,


    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — During a graduation at Iran’s main army academy, the country’s leader laid down a tougher military posture for the Islamic Republic. Iran must never hesitate to display its power in a hard-edged world where the weak pay the price, he told the newly minted officers.
    “We answer threats with threats,” said Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the November ceremony.


    Comments















    ( Office of the Supreme Leader, File / Associated Press ) - FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 10, 2011 file photo released by an official website of the Iranian supreme leader’s office, Iranian army cadets parade in front of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, unseen, during a graduation ceremony in a military university, in Tehran, Iran. During a graduation at Iran’s main army academy, the country’s leader effectively sketched out the Islamic Republic’s tougher military posture. Iran’s must never hesitate to display its power in a hard-edged world where the weak pay the price, he told the newly minted officers. Less than two months later, Khamenei’s words were echoed by commanders who warned that Iran could block oil tanker shipping lanes in the Gulf in retaliation for sanctions and described foreign forces _ including a recent visit by an U.S. aircraft carrier _ as unwelcome interlopers in the region.



    Less than two months later, Khamenei’s words were echoed by commanders who warned that Iran could block oil tanker shipping lanes in the Gulf in retaliation for new American sanctions, and they described foreign forces — including a recent visit by an U.S. aircraft carrier — as unwelcome interlopers in the region.
    But Tehran’s bluster likely holds other messages directed to the Iranian public.
    The greater emphasis on displays of military strength and brinkmanship-style posturing may reflect mounting insecurities among Iran’s leadership, experts say. There’s certainly no shortage of concerns for Iran’s ruling clerics and the powerful Revolutionary Guard force that increasingly directs the country’s policies.
    The latest U.S. sanctions targeting Iran’s Central Bank and oil industry — and the possibility that Europe could follow suit — sent the Iranian currency into temporary freefall and forced emergency efforts this week to stabilize markets, even though the sanctions have yet to even go into effect. The fading economy looms as a potential trigger to revive the opposition movement before parliament elections in March — the first major voting since disputed presidential elections in 2009 that touched off Iran’s most serious internal turmoil since the 1979 Islamic Revolution.
    “They want to show a public, facing more economic hardships, that Iran is strong, capable and not afraid to fight if it has to,” said Abdulaziz Sager, director of the Gulf Research Center headquartered in Geneva.
    Iran also sees itself locked in an escalating cloak-and-dagger conflict with the U.S. and its allies. Iran this week said it started production of remote-controlled surveillance helicopters in an apparent response to American spy craft, including a sophisticated CIA drone captured by Iran last month.
    The Revolutionary Guard now plans another naval exercise in February in the strategic Strait of Hormuz — the pathway for more than a third of the world’s oil tanker traffic. Iran this week wrapped up 10 days of maritime war games that included a threat that it was capable of choking off the strait as backlash to the latest sanctions.
    But Iran also is seriously outgunned.
    U.S. forces have major bases across the Gulf, including air wings and the Navy’s 5th Fleet in Bahrain, and are backed by Gulf Arab leaders who see Iran as their main threat. Last month, the U.S. reached a deal to sell $3.48 billion worth of missiles and related technology to the United Arab Emirates and announced the sale of $30 billion worth of F-15SA fighter jets to Saudi Arabia.
    Iran, in turn, has invested heavily in upgrading its missile range — covering Israel and the entire Gulf region — and has developed anti-ship arsenals based on Chinese designs. Last year, two Iranian warships sailed into the Mediterranean for the first time since the Islamic Revolution and made a port call in Syria, the most important Iranian ally in the Arab world.
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  12. #112
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Thousands of US troops land in Israel. Aircraft carrier coming soon

    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report January 6, 2012, 6:41 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags:


    US Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) Weapon System


    Thousands of US troops began descending on Israel this week. Senior US military sources told debkafile Friday, Jan. 6 that many would be staying up to the end of the year as part of the US-IDF deployment in readiness for a military engagement with Iran and its possible escalation into a regional conflict. They will be joined by a US aircraft carrier. The warplanes on its decks will fly missions with Israeli Air Force jets. The 9,000 US servicemen gathering in Israel in the coming weeks are mostly airmen, missile interceptor teams, marines, seamen, technicians and intelligence officers.

    The incoming American soldiers are officially categorized as participants in Austere Challenge 12, the biggest joint US-Israeli war game ever held.

    The maneuver was originally designated Juniper Stallion 2012. However, the altered name plus the comment heard from the exercise's commander, US Third Air Force Lt. Gen. Frank Gorenc, during his visit two weeks ago, that the coming event is more a "deployment" than an "exercise," confirmed that Washington has expanded its mission. The joint force will now be in place ready for a decision to attack Iran's nuclear installations or any war emergency.

    Our sources disclose that it was decided at the last minute in Washington and Jerusalem to announce the forthcoming Austere Challenge 12 on Thursday night, Jan. 5, ahead of the bulletin released by Tehran about another Iranian naval exercise at the Strait of Hormuz to take place in February, although its 10-day drill in the same arena only ended Monday, Jan. 2.
    The early release was decided in consultations among US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak and the two army chiefs, US Gen. Martin Dempsey and Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz.

    British Defense Minister Phillip Hammond, on a visit to Washington, was brought into the discussion.

    The handout circulated to US correspondents from Hammond's talks in the US capital affirmed that Britain stands ready to strike Iran if the Strait of Hormuz is closed.

    However, that phrase was omitted from the British minister's remarks at a news conference, following a last-minute request from Panetta, signifying the Obama administration's interest of keeping a low profile on plans for attacking Iran.

    Tehran too is walking a taut tightrope. It is staging military's maneuvers every few days to assuring the Iranian people that its leaders are fully prepared to defend the country against an American or Israeli strike on its national nuclear program. By this stratagem, Iran's ground, sea and air forces are maintained constantly at top war readiness to thwart any surprise attack.

    The joint US-Israeli drill will test multiple Israeli and US air defense systems against incoming missiles and rockets, according to the official communiqué.

    debkafile's military sources add that they will also practice intercepting missiles and rockets coming in from Syria, Hizballah in Lebanon and Hamas in the Gaza Strip.

    It will not be the first time a US aircraft carrier docks in Israel for joint operations with the Israeli Air Force. On June 9, 2010, the USS Truman dropped anchor opposite Israel to test a joint deployment against Iran and its allies. The carrier and its air and naval strike force then staged joint firing practices with the Israeli Air Force over the Negev in the South.

    Washington and Jerusalem are doing their utmost to present a perfectly synchronized military front against Iran: American officers are stationed at IDF command centers and Israeli officers posted at the US European Command-EUCOM. At the same time, debkafile's military sources disclose that full consensus has not been reached on every last particular of shared operation against Iran, should one go forward.

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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."



  13. #113
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    West readies oil stocks release as Iran plans war games

    Related News



    A new medium-range missile is fired from a naval ship during Velayat-90 war game on Sea of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz in southern Iran, January 1, 2012.
    Credit: Reuters/Jamejamonline/Ebrahim Norouzi


    By Robin Pomeroy and Peg Mackey
    TEHRAN/LONDON | Fri Jan 6, 2012 7:13pm EST

    TEHRAN/LONDON (Reuters) - Iran announced on Friday new military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, but the West has readied plans to use strategic oil stocks to replace almost all Gulf oil lost if Iran blocks the waterway, industry sources and diplomats told Reuters.

    They said senior executives of the International Energy Agency (IEA) discussed on Thursday an existing plan to release up to 14 million barrels per day (bpd) of government-owned oil stored in the United States, Europe, Japan and other importers.

    This rate of release could be kept up for a month, offsetting most of the 16 million barrels a day of crude passing through the world's most important shipping lane that could be halted by an Iranian blockade.

    Iranian officials have threatened in recent weeks to block the strait if new sanctions imposed by the United States and planned by the European Union, with the aim of discouraging Iran's nuclear program, harm Tehran's oil exports.

    Earlier this week Iran said it would take action if the United States sailed an aircraft carrier through the strait, and followed this by announcing new military exercises, shortly after completing 10 days of naval drills in neighboring seas.

    Real Admiral Ali Fadavi, naval commander of the Revolutionary Guards Corps, said the exercises next month would focus directly on the Strait of Hormuz, which leads out of the Gulf and provides the outlet for most oil from the Middle East.

    "Today the Islamic Republic of Iran has full domination over the region and controls all movements within it," Fadavi said in remarks reported by the Fars news agency.

    The United States, whose Fifth Fleet based in the area is far more powerful than Iran's naval forces, says it will ensure the international waters of the strait stay open. Britain said on Thursday that any attempt to close it would be illegal and unsuccessful.

    In a brief respite from the rising tension between the two foes, the U.S. navy rescued 13 Iranians held hostage for weeks by pirates who had apparently used their fishing vessel as a "mother ship" for their operations, the Pentagon said on Friday.

    The Iranians were freed by the very carrier group that Iran has said should not return to the Gulf.

    The captain of the Al Molai expressed his "sincere gratitude" for their rescue by ships of the USS John C. Stennis carrier strike group, and the Iranians were returning home, a U.S. Navy officer with the strike group said.

    New financial sanctions signed into law by U.S. President Barack Obama on New Year's Eve are aimed at making it difficult for most countries to buy Iranian oil. The European Union is expected to announce its own tough measures at end-January.

    Most traders believe Iran will still be able to find buyers, at least for now, for its exports of 2.6 million barrels of oil per day (bpd). But it may have to offer steep discounts that reduce the revenue it needs to feed its 74 million people.

    The sanctions are already hurting ordinary Iranians, faced with rising prices and a falling rial currency. They have been queuing at banks to convert their savings into dollars.

    Iran holds parliamentary elections in two months, the first since a 2009 presidential election that led to nationwide mass street protests, put down by force. However, the Arab Spring has shown the vulnerability of authoritarian governments in the region to protests fuelled by anger over economic hardship.

    NUCLEAR PROGRAMME

    Diplomatic sources in Vienna said Iran had come closer in recent weeks to starting uranium enrichment deep inside a mountain at a protected site near the holy city of Qom.

    Starting production at the Fordow site could make it harder to revive nuclear talks that collapsed a year ago, worsening Iran's confrontation with the West.

    Iran is already refining uranium to a fissile purity of 20 percent - far more than the 3.5 percent level usually required to power nuclear energy plants - above ground at another site.

    It is moving this higher-grade enrichment to Fordow in an apparent bid to protect the work more effectively against any enemy attacks. It also plans to sharply boost output capacity.

    Washington and its allies say Iran's nuclear program is aimed at producing an atomic bomb, and they are imposing the new sanctions to force it to abandon such plans. Iran says the program is peaceful.

    European Union officials say the EU, which collectively buys about 500,000 bpd of Iranian oil, rivaling China as the largest market, has agreed to impose an embargo halting all imports.

    EU diplomats said they are discussing how long they will give member countries to halt purchases, with France, Germany and others wanting the ban imposed within three months but Greece favoring a grace period of up to a year.

    China has also cut its imports by more than half in January and February while haggling with Tehran over the size of the discount it wants in return for doing business with it.

    Turkey, Japan and other big buyers say they are seeking a waiver from the U.S. sanctions.

    The new American law allows Obama to give temporary waivers to allies to continue to buy Iranian oil to prevent a price shock, but to receive the permits, countries are meant to show they are reducing trade with Iran.

    Iran has put on a brave face over the sanctions. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said on Thursday it would "weather the storm," telling a news conference "Iran, with divine assistance, has always been ready to counter such hostile actions and we are not concerned at all about the sanctions."

    He also said Tehran was interested in resuming negotiations over its nuclear program with Western powers, a sign it is trying to alleviate the pressure.

    Turkey's visiting foreign minister brought an offer from Catherine Ashton, the EU foreign policy chief who negotiates on behalf of major powers.

    Iran has repeatedly offered to restart the nuclear talks that collapsed a year ago but has insisted it will not negotiate over its right to go on enriching uranium. Western countries say talks are pointless unless a halt to enrichment is on the table.

    OIL PRICES IN SPOTLIGHT


    After years of sanctions that had little impact, Western countries have adopted a far more direct approach in recent months, imposing sanctions that explicitly impact the oil industry that provides 60 percent of Iran's state revenue.

    The new U.S. measures would cut off any institution that deals with the Iranian central bank from the U.S. financial system. If implemented fully, it would make it impossible for most countries' refineries to buy Iranian crude.

    But Washington has to balance its determination to isolate Tehran with concern that driving its oil off markets will raise prices and hurt the fragile global economy. Brent crude futures hovered above $113 a barrel on Friday, up nearly $7 since Obama signed the new sanctions law.

    To ease the impact on markets, the new U.S. measures take effect over several months, and the offer of waivers gives countries time to find other suppliers. Saudi Arabia, the world's biggest oil exporter and a foe of Iran, says it will make up for any supply shortfall.

    Traders and analysts believe Iran is unlikely to block the strait. "Neither side wants a war. A lot of this rhetoric is overstated," said Cliff Kupchan, Iran analyst at Eurasia Group.

    If Iran did try to blockade the strait, it would be no match for a U.S. fleet led by the giant supercarrier John C. Stennis, accompanied by a guided-missile cruiser and flotillas of destroyers and submarines.

    The Combined Maritime Force protecting Gulf shipping also includes countries such as Britain, France, Canada, Australia and the Gulf Arab states, under the command of a U.S. admiral.

    There are other ways in which Iran could provoke a Western response, from missiles within range of U.S. targets in the region, to small boats that could attack a ship near shore, to allied militia in Palestine and Lebanon that can strike Israel.

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Quote Originally Posted by michael2 View Post
    What i'm trying to figure out is the 'why'? of the timing of all this; The Straits of Hormuz are Iran's lifeline too, and most of Iran's oil is mainly going to China.

    This isn't about the Straits, it's about creating a false crisis so a certain individual can look good for solving it, just before Election Day 2012.
    TADA!!!!!!! The booby prize goes to Michael!

    Yup... "False crisis" or "False Flag" incident. What ever you want to call it.

    Iran however IS trying to get into a fight with the US. Why? Because they KNOW we won't invade their country right now. They can hit a couple of our ships, we flatten the targets that shot at us. They claim a victory for "Slapping us in the face" and everyone walks away happy (relatively speaking).

    The Iranians NEED some kind of military victory right now that they can point to in order to rile up the Middle East even more and give them and Syria a chance to go after Israel.

    Unless they can call us "Chicken" enough to get us to cross back over "the line in the water" they can't do that. They are just shrill voices screaming for a fight.

    With a fight, even a small one, they can "claim victory" over the Great Satan and look better in the Middle East.

    We should GIVE them the opportunity.

    But don't stop when we flatten one or two ships. Flatten their entire military structure to shut their asses up. And let Israel bomb the bejeezus out of any nuclear power plants.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Iran has had sanctions put upon them so as NOT to allow them to sell to China.

    Oh, wait, see I KNEW there was a reason that sanctions won't work. They will STILL sell to China won't they?
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    And China will NOT let Iran's ships be stopped.

    This is why we need to kick their asses now. Before they get nukes, before they cause a world war.

    This is why Isolationism IS NOT A GOOD IDEA!
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Yes... there might be some backdoor surprises in this. Obama is likely involved.

    But I don't see it quite that way. He has said almost NOTHING at all about Iran. Clinton has said more, but she's just his "side job" I think. She does a lot on her own without involving the President so that he doesn't look bad when the time comes.

    If the White House would come out and put the foot down and tell Iran to shit or get off the pot - then at least he could show some leadership.

    I think he is going to try to do that, just waiting for the right moment when it looks like it will propel him back up in the polls, and perhaps on to victory next November.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Quote Originally Posted by michael2 View Post
    Rick, that's the problem of interventionism, not isolationism. Always having to intervene and reintervene to try to 'fix' the fuckups associated with the last series of interventions....

    As you say, China will not allow Iran's ships to be stopped-so what else is going on here, as we obviously aren't going to scrap with China?
    No, it's isolationism. If you do NOTHING at ALL... we drove our ships out, left things "alone". The next day Iran shook their fist and said "And you'd BETTER NOT COME BACK!" and laughed at us.

    I think many here simply do not understand the Arab "need" to win any little thing, even a showboating incident at the expense of their "enemies" - of which the whole Western world is involved whether they LIKE it or not. France, England, Italy, Portugal, Spain, all of Europe is nothing more than Infidels to the Arabs. The US and Israel are the "leading Infidels" to them.

    This isn't "intervening" when we send ships into the area. That's nonsense. We have as much right to send ships through there as Iran has to play cat and mouse off the coast of Florida.

    We haven't told them "Don't bring your ships back". And by the way, they are still out there along the US coast.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Iranian war fears spark closure of Israel reactor

    • From: The Times
    • January 09, 2012 12:00AM

    ISRAEL is preparing to shut its nuclear reactor at Dimona, where it makes nuclear weapons, because of the site's vulnerability in a war with Iran.

    The decision, taken by the Israel Atomic Energy Commission and the country's civil defence authorities, follows a realisation that the facility could be vulnerable to a missile attack.

    The Haaretz newspaper quoted officials last week as saying they had concluded the reactor was no longer impenetrable in the event of war.

    Deactivating the reactor in the southern Negev desert would minimise the dangers of nuclear fallout in the area "should it be targeted by missiles from as far away as Iran".

    The official explanation is that work on the reactor is conducted for research and does not need to be carried out around the clock.

    According to defence sources, the shutdown at Dimona would begin before the launch of any Israeli or US assault on Iran's nuclear facilities.

    Whistleblowing technician Mordechai Vanunu, who first revealed Israel's nuclear arsenal to London's The Sunday Times in 1986, worked at Dimona.

    Uzi Even, one of the founders of Israel's nuclear program and now a professor in Tel Aviv, said it would take a long time, many weeks, to cool down a nuclear reactor and lower the level of radioactivity.

    He said the Dimona reactor, built in 1964, was probably the second oldest active reactor in the world.

    It was dangerous and "should have been closed a long time ago", he said.

    Dimona, constructed with French help, was used to make plutonium for nuclear weapons and experts say the reactor produces tritium for H-bombs.

    The defence of Dimona is a top priority.

    Huge air defence batteries ring the site, but this is no longer considered sufficient.

    An Israeli intelligence officer said last week that in the event of war with Iran "no fewer than 15,000 rockets and missiles will land on Israel".

    The decision to close Dimona follows Iranian warnings that the site is a legitimate target.

    Iran's deputy chief of staff Brigadier-General Massoud Jazzayeri has warned that Dimona would be targeted in retaliation to an Israeli attack.

    A leaked defence department report suggested security arrangements at Dimona had been "severely deficient" for years.

    Dimona is within range of Iranian and Syrian missiles, and some of those possessed by the Lebanese militia Hezbollah.

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    US threatens action if Iran closes Hormuz

    Israel to shut Dimona nuclear reactor citing site's vulnerability

    • By Jumana Al Tamimi, Associate Editor
    • Published: 00:00 January 9, 2012

    Dubai: The escalating tension between Iran and the international community yesterday took a grim turn that military experts said could be "indicators of war, but would not lead to a military conflict".

    Israel is preparing to shut its nuclear reactor at Dimona citing the site's vulnerability to a missile attack, feared to come from Iran, press reports said.

    As both the US and Israel are preparing for what is being described as the largest ever joint drills by the two countries, senior US military officials warned that if Iran executes its threats and closes the strategic Strait of Hormuz, it will be crossing a "red line".

    "We made it very clear that the United States will not tolerate the blocking of the Strait of Hormuz," US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta was quoted as saying yesterday.

    Iran has the ability to block the Strait of Hormuz "for a period of time," and the US would take action to reopen it, Joint Chiefs of Staff chairman General Martin Dempsey said.

    Iran's army chief warned last week that American warships that exited from the Arabian Gulf for the country's just-concluded 10-day military drill shouldn't return.

    "The Islamic Republic of Iran doesn't intend to repeat this warning," official Iranian media quoted Major General Ataollah Salehi as saying. "All these are indicators to war, but they will not lead to an actual war," said Mohammad Abdul Salam, an Egyptian military expert.

    "We are talking about real indicators that are related to credible threats that don't aim to launch an attack against Iran, but rather to push Iran to retreat from what it could do: close Hormuz," he told Gulf News.

    Both sides, Iran and the US are trying to avoid a war, and they don't aim to engage in one, experts believe, and they are "sending each other a message: don't push me to enter a war."

    No exact date for the US-Israeli exercise has been announced but a senior military official said he expected it in the next few weeks.

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