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Thread: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

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    The War with Iran
    FrontPageMagazine.com ^ | July 16, 2008 | Frank J. Gaffney Jr.

    The War with Iran By Frank J. Gaffney Jr.

    Last week’s Iranian missile tests prompted another round of fevered speculation that war might erupt between Iran and the United States. Largely lost in the frenzy is an unhappy fact: The Iranian mullahocracy has been at war with this country since it came to power in 1979.

    The problem is that the weapons available to Tehran for prosecuting its jihad against “the Great Satan” are no longer simply truck bombs and suicide vests. Its proxy army, Hezbollah, has taken over Lebanon and operates terror cells from Iraq to Latin America and even inside the United States. With help from Communist China and Russia, its Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps wields an array of anti-ship missiles, mines and go-fast boats capable of discouraging oil traffic from transiting the Straits of Hormuz – if not actually sealing that vital waterway for protracted periods.

    Not least, Iran is now armed with ballistic missiles of ever-longer range. Those missiles have been developed with help from North Korea for the purpose of delivering the nuclear weapons the mullahs have been developing covertly for over 20 years. Once such weapons are in hand – perhaps just a matter of months now – Tehran will be in a position to execute its threat to wipe Israel (a.k.a. “the Little Satan”) off the map.

    As a blue-ribbon commission told the House Armed Services Committee last Thursday, moreover, by launching its nuclear-armed ballistic missiles off a ship, the Iranian regime could soon be able to make good on another of its oft-stated pledges: To bring about “a world without America.”

    The commissioners warned (http://www.empcommission.org/reports.php) that, by detonating a sea-launched nuclear weapon in space over the United States, Iran could unleash an intense electromagnetic pulse (EMP) that would have a “catastrophic” effect on much of the Nation’s energy infrastructure. In short order, the ensuing lack of electricity would cause a devastating ripple effect on our telecommunications, sanitation and water, transportation, food and health care sectors and the Internet. Iranian missile tests suggest an emergent capability to execute such an attack.

    If we are already at war with the Iranian regime and the destructive power of our enemy is about to increase exponentially, what can we do to about it? For various reasons, it remains undesirable to use our own military force against the mullahs if it can possibly be avoided. If that alternative is to be made unnecessary, however, five things must be done as a matter of the utmost urgency:

    Three have to do with greatly intensifying the financial pressure on Tehran. First, we need to discourage investments in companies that provide the advanced technology and capital essential to the oil exports that underpin the Iranian economy. The campaign aimed at divesting such stocks from private and public pension fund portfolios and, instead, investing “terror-free” had a signal victory last week when the head of the French oil conglomerate Total announced that “Today, we would be taking too much political risk to invest in Iran.”

    By moving billions of dollars into certified terror-free funds like those offered by the United Missouri Bank, U.S. investors can effect more of this sort of corporate behavior-modification. Senator Joseph Lieberman is expected shortly to introduce legislation that will offer federal employees a terror-free investment option in their Thrift Savings Plan. Every American should have such a ready choice – and be encouraged to exercise it.

    Second, we need to deflate the price of oil that is sustaining the Iranian regime. We can do so by ending the monopoly oil-derived gasoline enjoys in the global transportation sector. (This imperative is the subject of a hilarious video by David and Jerry Zucker at www.NozzleRage.com.) By adopting an Open Fuel Standard, Congress can set a standard assuring that new cars sold both in America and the rest of the world will be capable of using alcohols that can be made practically anywhere (for example, ethanol, methanol or butanol), as well as gasoline. Long before vast numbers of such Flexible Fuel Vehicles are on the roads, the OPEC cartel-induced speculative bubble that has contributed to the recent run-up in the price per barrel of oil will be lanced.

    Third, we must counter the effort being made by the Iranians and other Islamists to use so-called Shariah-Compliant Finance (SCF) as a means to wage “financial jihad” against us. Before SCF instruments proliferate further in our capital markets, in the process legitimating and helping to underwrite the repressive, anti-constitutional and subversive program the Iranian mullahs (among others) call Shariah, that program must be recognized for what it is – sedition – and prosecuted as such. The effect would be chilling for Iranian and other SCF transactions in Western markets world-wide.

    Fourth, we need to deploy as quickly as possible effective anti-missile defenses – both in Europe and at sea. Russian objections notwithstanding, we cannot afford to delay any further in protecting ourselves and our allies against EMP and other missile-delivered threats.

    Finally, we must mount an intensive, comprehensive and urgent effort to aid the Iranian people in liberating themselves from the theocrats that have afflicted their nation for nearly thirty years and made it a pariah internationally. Supplying information technologies, assistance to students, teachers, unionists and others willing to stand up to the regime, aid to restive minorities and covert operations should all be in play. By adopting these measures, we may yet be able to bring about regime change in Iran – the only hope for avoiding full-fledged combat against the Islamic Republic there. But we should be under no illusion: We will not avoid war; it has been thrust upon us by the mullahs for many years now. We may, however, be able to avoid the far worse condition they wish to inflict by unleashing the weapons now coming into their arsenal.

    Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. is the founder, president, and CEO of The Center for Security Policy. During the Reagan administration, Gaffney was the Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security, the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Nuclear Forces and Arms Control Policy, and a Professional Staff Member on the Senate Armed Services Committee, chaired by Senator John Tower (R-Texas). He is a columnist for The Washington Times, Jewish World Review, and Townhall.com and has also contributed to The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The New Republic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, The Christian Science Monitor, The Los Angeles Times, and Newsday.
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Iran says deterring foes, to hold air force drill
    Reuters ^ | Wed Jul 16, 2008 6:04am EDT

    Iran can deter any threats against it, the head of the Revolutionary Guards said in comments published on Wednesday, after the country's air force announced plans for a military exercise to help deter its foes.

    Iran is embroiled in a deepening international standoff over its nuclear program, which the United States and Israel suspect is aimed at making bombs, a charge Tehran denies.

    (Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
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    'Iran missiles could hit US by 2015'
    Press TV ^ | Wed, 16 Jul 2008 04:41:42

    Director of the US Missile Defense Agency, Lt. Gen. Henry Obering, says Iran would develop missiles that could hit the US by 2015 to 2017.

    “There is good evidence that they (Iranians) are developing longer and longer range missiles and that they are planning to have this capability over the near future,” Obering said at a technical missile defense briefing on Iran's recent missile tests on Tuesday.

    “If you look at the assessment by the Intel community, they say that by about 2015, 2017, in that timeframe, they may even have a missile that can reach the United States, which is an ICBM (Intercontinental Ballistic Missile) class missile,” he added as quoted by Reuters.

    (Excerpt) Read more at presstv.ir ...
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    IRGC commander: Iran prepared to face "asymmetrical" threats
    Xinhuanet.com (China) ^ | 2008-07-16 18:06:25

    Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari said his troops are getting more prepared to face "asymmetrical" security, political, cultural and military threats, the official IRNA news agency reported Wednesday.

    Addressing a group of IRGC officials on Tuesday, Jafari said enemies of Iran "are not capable of posing any direct threat or taking open action" against the Islamic Republic.

    "The U.S. and Israel have become aware of their weakness against our country and due to the same reason they try to put Iran under pressure through different sanctions," he said.

    (Excerpt) Read more at news.xinhuanet.com ...
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    i dont see how the israelis can avoid hitting iranian nuclear sites. its clear to me that they really have no choice. they saw saddam as an imminent threat but iran is much much worse, a much greater threat. i dont see how israel can NOT strike at iran and its nuclear program and missile sites as well. in fact, ALL CBRN sites.



    ev

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    I don't see a way out of it either. Except cowardice.
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    And it has to be soon. The pre-nuke window of opportunity is closing fast. They miss this opportunity here and now it's a setup for much bigger headaches they're goning to seriously regret later.

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    U.S. Establishing "Interest Section" In Tehran
    Right Up Front ^ | 07/17/2008 | R Hargraves

    For the first time in over 30 years, the United States will station diplomats in Iran, marking a major turn around in Bush Administration policy.

    I am, to say the least, bewildered at President Bush's recent change of heart on diplomatic relationships with two of the three actors in his now infamous "Axis of Evil", North Korea and Iran. The administration is already going to be sending Undersecretary of State William Burns to attend talks with Iran, although he will be there primarily "to listen": [T]he Bush administration has decided to abandon its longstanding position that it will only meet face-to-face with Iran after it first suspends uranium enrichment as demanded by the United Nations Security Council

    All of the Bush administrations negotiating partners, particularly the Europeans and the Russians, have been pressing Washington to join the talks. They welcomed the decision to send Mr. Burns as an important signal by the Bush administration, in its final months in office, that it is seeking a peaceful solution to the nuclear crisis and not moving toward military action against Iran

    (Excerpt) Read more at rightupfront.org ...
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    Iran: Death to non-Muslims
    onenewsnow.com ^ | July 17, 2008 | Charlie Butts
    http://www.onenewsnow.com/Persecutio...aspx?id=179068

    Lawmakers in Iran are considering a proposal to make the death penalty automatic for those who leave the Muslim faith.

    Abe Ghafari of Iranian Christians International, Inc. (ICI) was at least a little surprised to learn the news. "Before, it was like an option that an Islamic judge could decide to use or not to use -- but now it will become an automatic thing. And from the language of the legislation, it seems like something that cannot be appealed," Ghafari contends.


    The death penalty would primarily apply to those who convert to the Christian faith. "There are large numbers of conversions from Islam, maybe even in the tens of thousands every year, and this is causing concern in the Islamic circles in Iran," Ghafari explains.

    People who use the Internet to convert people away from the Muslim faith will also be subject to the death penalty. Ghafari was asked if this information shocked him. "Yes, it does a bit because we do know that under Islamic law of Iran, there was always this option of issuing death penalties for any conversions from Islam. So this was already available, but it looks like they just want to escalate persecution – making the death penalty almost automatic for anyone who converts from Islam," Ghafari adds.

    While Christians are the primary target, anyone converting to the Bahá'í faith will also face the death penalty. Ghafari sees trouble ahead, and is hopeful Christians everywhere will pray for the underground church in Iran.

    Information on legislation provided by ICI about Iranian apostasy and the death penalty is available here.
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    Senior Israeli official: If nuclear talks fail, Bush will order Iran attack between November and January

    DEBKAfile Special Report
    July 19, 2008, 9:00 PM (GMT+02:00)

    This assessment was reported by Israeli national radio Saturday overnight quoting a high-placed “security-political” official.


    The source predicted that President George W. Bush would order Iran attacked between the November 4 presidential election and his exit from the White House in January. The quote was aired shortly after the six-power talks with Iran in Geneva – with US official participation for the first time – failed, and just before Israel chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi set out for Washington. He is to spend a week there as guest of Adm. Mike Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.


    DEBKAfile’s political sources describe the disclosure as a step aimed at slowing down the collapse of Israel’s stated policy of relying on international diplomatic pressure to thwart Iran’s acquisition of nuclear arms. It is expected to raise a furious outcry from the powers spearheading the diplomatic effort and prompt extreme reactions from Tehran.
    Our sources report that the unidentified Israeli “security-political” source sought to achieve three objectives:
    1. Underlining the signal that the US military option had not been taken off the table after the state department spokesman said Iran must choose between cooperation with the international community and confrontation.


    The official was also giving Israel’s answer to the latest evaluations making the rounds in Washington that the Israeli Air Force does not have enough warplanes to strike Iran’s nuclear sites without American military support.


    2. A signal that the presence at the Geneva talks Saturday, July 19, of Under Secretary of State William Burns, far from being a concession, was an implicit ultimatum. Tehran was being told that no more than three months remained for it to suspend uranium enrichment before Bush made good on his pledge to resolve the issue before he left the White House. No member of the Bush administration is saying this directly, whether Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, Defense Secretary Robert Gates or the president himself. Israel will not doubt be rebuked for its disclosure.


    3. As a high-risk step to derail the accommodations Washington and Tehran are on the way to reaching in their secret talks on a wide range of issues, with the exception of the nuclear controversy, as revealed by DEBKA-Net-Weekly and DEBKAfile. Israel fears being abandoned and left out in the cold on all its fronts against Iran by these accommodations.


    Tehran may well seize on the Israeli disclosure as a pretext to ditch the nuclear negotiations on all levels, unless all six powers offer guarantees against their pursuit of military initiatives.
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    The russkies are the only ones who can put the squeeze on. I hope they balk. It's in there best interest. They would benefit in the short term if an all out rumble erupts- Islam v Israel US and Christianity, but sooner or later- they will have to face the Muslim hordes, the fallout. I think they will opt for negotiating and stave off armageddon for a couple years or decades.

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    from purgatory, the lustful... "open your breast to the truth which follows and know that as soon as the articulations in the brain are perfected in the embryo, the first Mover turns to it, happy...."
    Shema Israel

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    Iran: Secret Nuclear Plant Discovered At Al-Zarqan Area
    Arab Times ^ | July 29, 2008



    KUWAIT CITY : A secret nuclear bomb manufacturing center at Al-Zarqan Area in Al-Ahwaziya Region, which was first established in 2000, was discovered recently, highly reliable sources told Al-Seyassah. Sources from Al-Ahwaziya claimed Tehran has started building a secret nuclear plant for manufacturing atomic bombs in Al-Zarqan Area near Al-Ahwaz City in southwest Iran and its border with Iraq. Sources said the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is not aware of this plant since it was not included in negotiations with Iran held in Geneva at the beginning of this month. Sources revealed Iran started implementing the project some time between 2000 and 2003, which led to the evacuation of a large number of Arab tribes from the area to Al-Zarqan. Sources added the Tehran administration vacated the location, destroyed all the houses, wells and farms, and started full implementation of the project in 2007...
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    Strike on Iran still possible, U.S. tells Israel
    LA Times ^ | July 30, 2008 | By Paul Richter and Julian E. Barnes, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers

    Bush administration officials reassured Israel's defense minister this week that the United States has not abandoned all possibility of a military attack on Iran, despite widespread Israeli concern that Washington has begun softening its position toward Tehran.

    In meetings Monday and Tuesday, administration officials told Defense Minister Ehud Barak that the option of attacking Iran over its nuclear program remains on the table, though U.S. officials are primarily seeking a diplomatic solution.

    (Excerpt) Read more at latimes.com ...
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    Iran Leader Adamant on Nuclear Issue

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    By GRAHAM BOWLEY
    Published: July 31, 2008

    Speaking just days before a deadline set by world powers for Iran to reply to proposals to curb its nuclear ambitions, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the countrys supreme leader, said on Wednesday that Iran would continue with its path of nuclear work, which includes the enrichment of uranium.

    Ayatollah Khameneis comments suggest Iran may be preparing to take a hard line on the demands by six nations United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany that it stop enriching uranium ahead of a deadline set to expire this weekend. His comments were quoted by state radio, according to news agency reports from Tehran.

    On July 19, representatives of the six world powers met with Iranian officials for talks in Geneva. For the first time at such a gathering, a senior United States official took part, although the talks produced no apparent progress on the chief demand: for Iran to stop uranium enrichment.

    Iran contends its nuclear program is for peaceful, civilian purposes, but the six powers suspect it may be pursuing nuclear weapons.

    The six nations know that the Iranian nation is after using nuclear energy to provide electricity but they say, Because this work gives you capability, we will not allow it, Ayatollah Khamenei was quoted as saying by state radio, according to Reuters.

    The Iranian nation by depending on its useful experience and advantages of 30 years of resistance does not pay any attention to such talk and will continue with its path, he said.

    At the Geneva meeting, Iranian diplomats reiterated their position that they considered the issue of uranium enrichment non-negotiable but the six powers gave Iran two weeks to formally respond to their latest proposal before it would be withdrawn.

    Specifically, the world powers wanted Iran to accept a formula known as freeze-for-freeze. According to the proposal, Iran would not add to its nuclear program, and the United States and other powers would not seek new international sanctions for six weeks to pave the way for formal negotiations.

    The proposal was first put to Iran last year and presented again last month as part of a new offer to ultimately give Iran economic and political incentives if it stops producing enriched uranium.

    Last week, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said the United States would seek further sanctions if Iran ignored the two-week deadline.

    According to separate news agency reports from Iran, Ayatollah Khamenei was also quoted by state television as saying in a sermon: Taking one step back against arrogant (powers) will lead to them to take one step forward.

    He added: The idea that any retreat or backing down from righteous positions would change the policies of arrogant world powers is completely wrong and baseless.
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    Contemplating The Inevitable Showdown In The Middle East
    GOPUSA ^ | 7/31/08 | Carol Devine-Molin

    Presidential elections are certainly at the forefront of the news, but Americans haven't forgotten that Iran is a tinderbox ready to ignite the Middle East. That being said, I'm not surprised that the recent USA Today/Gallup poll found that John McCain is leading Barack Obama among likely voters by a 49 percent to 44 percent margin.

    Despite all the mainstream media hype accorded Senator Obama's whirlwind nine day, eight nation tour of Western Europe and the Middle East, his "bounce" in the polls has been negligible. The primary reason is obvious: Americans are well aware that we live in a very precarious world, which requires an experienced leader in the Oval Office. Obama is not that leader. He would be a risky pick for the presidency.

    Obama is a rookie who's only been a US Senator since 2005. It's laughable how he and his surrogates, especially those in the mainstream media, are attempting to parlay his recent "photo-op tour" into the illusion of foreign policy expertise. For Senator Obama and his team of handlers, it's about stagecraft, not statecraft. Moreover, Obama is an unabashed shape-shifter who's constantly "recalibrating" his positions on issues for political expediency. Perhaps Obama has been taking lessons from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who has made doubletalk something of an artform.

    In stark comparison, John McCain has been on the national scene, first in the House, then in the Senate, for over 25 years, focusing on foreign policy and national security issues. He's been unwavering in his loyalty to our troops, and is a solid supporter of Israel. People know and trust John McCain to handle the inevitable conflagration that's looming in the Middle East. Other than the Left-leaning crowd, it's doubtful that many Americans would have confidence in Obama tackling the military and diplomatic complexities of a Middle East mega-crisis.

    Israel rightfully considers Iran an existential danger since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the mullahocracy are hell-bent on acquiring nuclear weaponry, as they continue their threats to wipe Israel off the map. Previously, intensive diplomatic efforts by "The Big Three" European powers [France Germany and the UK] and a few rounds of sanctions had failed to persuade Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. The latest collection of nations to "dialog" with Iran have been dubbed the "Iran Six" [the five permanent members of the UN Security Council & Germany], which offered up a comprehensive package of political and economic incentives that are still on the table. Secretary of State Condi Rice has urged Iran to take the deal.

    According to media reports, the Israelis believe that the Iranians are about 6-8 months away from developing a nuclear bomb. The "Iran Six" talks appear to be a last ditch diplomatic effort to ameliorate the impasse. Given Iran's intransigence, the "Iran Six" endeavor is almost certainly doomed to failure. There's a growing sense of inevitability. Israel appears poised to take military action against Iran within months, probably before the end of the Bush presidency. Ahmadinejad claims that Iran possesses 6000 centrifuges for uranium enrichment, which may be a bit of bluster since the UN's nuclear watchdog, the IAEA, reported 3500 Iranian centrifuges in May.

    According to the Los Angeles Times, "Bush administration officials reassured Israel's defense minister this week that the United States has not abandoned all possibility of a military attack on Iran, despite widespread Israeli concern that Washington has begun softening its position toward Tehran."

    Although it's difficult to read the tea leaves, the conventional wisdom floating about is that Israel will spearhead the military operation against Iran, with the US providing assistance. But, as we all well know, conventional wisdom is generally wrong. It's very possible that the US will take the lead. The US, and the entire West for that matter, cannot countenance a nuclear Iran. Without question, we would be subjected to blackmail, coercion, and nuclear terrorism.

    However, you can bet your bottom dollar that military action won't be limited to "surgical strikes" on nuclear sites, many of which are squirreled away in fortified underground bunkers. Massive attacks upon military and political sites will also take place, with a view toward regime change. Moreover, since Israel and the US know that there will be significant retaliation by the usual suspects [Iran's terror surrogates that are members of Hezbollah and Hamas] I wouldn't be surprised if Israel pulls a "Michael Corleone" and disposes of some top thugs, too. As "Godfather" character, Michael Corleone, stated: "Today, I settle all Family business."

    While Barack Obama is out promoting his 16 month timetable of troop withdrawals from Iraq, he fails to grasp that much can happen during that timeframe. For example, if the mullahocracy is toppled or substantially crippled, an influx of Iranian refugees could conceivably make their way over the Iraqi border.

    In that case, it might be prudent for our troops to remain longer in Iraq to continue the stabilization process and help avoid a humanitarian catastrophe. Senator Obama is committed to the rigid notion of a timetable while President Bush, Senator McCain and General Petraeus are wise enough to realize that the drawdown must be linked to "conditions on the ground", in order for our troops to leave with success and honor. "Retreat and defeat" is an abysmal way to run a military operation.

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

    Note -- The opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions, views, and/or philosophy of GOPUSA.
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    Mofaz says Iran heading toward nuclear breakthrough
    Reuters africa ^ | Fri 1 Aug 2008, 14:28 GMT

    Iran is heading toward a major breakthrough in its nuclear program, Israeli Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said on Friday.

    "As soon as 2010 (Iran) will have the option to reach (uranium production) at military levels," he told an audience in Washington.

    But Mofaz said he supported diplomacy and spoke of other options as "last resort".

    "It is a race against time and time is winning," Mofaz said.

    The West accuses Iran of seeking to develop nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian energy program; Iran denies it. There has been speculation that either the United States or Israel could attack Iran's nuclear facilities, though both have said force should be a last resort

    (Excerpt) Read more at africa.reuters.com ...
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    Iran Tests 'New Weapon', Says It Can Easily Close the Strait of Hormuz

    Monday, August 04, 2008

    AP

    TEHRAN, Iran Iran tested a new weapon for use at sea and says it can "easily" close a major oil passageway, the chief of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards was quoted Monday as saying by the official IRNA news agency.

    The commander, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, claimed the new marine weapon is "unique in the world" and has a range of 186 miles.

    The report provided no further details and didn't say when or where the weapon was tested, but it quoted Jafari as saying that there is "no similar weapon in the service of armies in the world." The alleged new weapon's range indicated it may be some type of torpedo.

    The Revolutionary Guards chief said Iran would easily be able to close the Strait of Hormuz, a major oil shipping route, if the country were attacked over its nuclear program.

    Iran has "the possibility of closing the Strait of Hormuz easily and on an unlimited basis," Revolutionary Guards commander-in-chief Mohammad Ali Jafari said, according to state radio.

    Iran and the West are locked in a standoff on the country's disputed uranium enrichment program, which the U.S. and its allies fear is aimed at making nuclear weapons. Iran denies the charge and says the program is only for producing electricity.
    Related

    Both the U.S. and Israel have said they would prefer a diplomatic solution to the standoff, but have not ruled out other options, including a military one.

    To show their readiness to defend, the Guards test fired missiles and torpedoes in the Persian Gulf last month, and Tehran claimed it tested a new Shahab missile with a range of 1,250 miles.

    In case of a possible strike on Iran, Jafari said the country will respond in every way it can. The enemy, he said, would prefer to make the duration of the war as short as possible.

    But, "we will prolong it," Jafari said.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Iran Issues New Warnings After Defying a Deadline
    NYT ^ | August 5, 2008 | Nazila Fathi

    TEHRAN — Iran warned Monday that it could easily close a critical Persian Gulf waterway to oil shipments and said that it had a new long-range naval weapon that could sink enemy ships nearly 200 miles away.

    The warning, by the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, followed the weekend expiration of an informal deadline for Iran to respond to an offer of incentives from six world powers to stop enriching uranium.

    The United States, which has warships deployed in the Persian Gulf, has said new sanctions should be imposed on Iran for failing to respond to the deadline. On Monday, a State Department official said the six powers — the United States, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany — had agreed to pursue new sanctions, but it remained unclear what they might be or which nations would take part.

    In comments carried by the semiofficial Iranian news agency, Fars, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of the Revolutionary Guards, said Iran was capable of imposing “unlimited controls” at the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, an important oil route.

    “Closing the Strait of Hormuz for an unlimited period of time would be very easy,” he was quoted as saying.

    “The Guards have recently tested a naval weapon which I can say with certainty that the enemy’s ships would not be safe within the range of 300 kilometers,” General Jafari was quoted as saying. “Without any doubt we will send them to the depths of the sea.”

    (Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Bush running out of time on nuclear threats
    AP ^ | Anne Gearan

    WASHINGTON (AP) President Bush is rushing the clock and running out of time as he tries to stare down nuclear threats on three fronts. Bush has seen Iran ignore a weekend deadline to say whether it will haggle with the U.S. and others worried that Iran is racing toward the bomb. And he has just days to decide whether to reward another adversary, North Korea, for inconclusive steps to get rid of weapons it already has.

    Iran's non-answer highlights that Bush has run out of time to see through either deal and another with nuclear-armed India. That means the next U.S. president will have to pick up the pieces, and possibly change the terms of any deals.

    Bush, traveling Tuesday to South Korea, will be on the spot to explain his next move with the inscrutable North. Pyongyang expects Bush to remove it from the U.S. list of terror-sponsoring countries as soon as next weekend, as promised when the North blew up its nuclear cooling tower in June. Bush will insist that the North first agree to international terms for checking up on its disarmament work.

    Whenever it comes, the reward is almost sure to be the last act for the Bush administration in stop-and-start bartering with the Stalinist regime that has given Bush political heartburn on the right.

    That second-term gambit, like the offer to Iran, would buy off nations Bush once called part of an "axis of evil" in the interest of reducing or containing the spread of nuclear weapons.

    He will leave office without any clear payoff, beyond the good will of other nations pleased at the softening of tone and tactics.

    (Excerpt) Read more at ap.google.com ...
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    I'll see if anyone notices it.

    Two more US aircraft carriers headed for Persian Gulf; nuke sub in the area?
    israelmatzav ^ | August 7, 2008 | Carl in Jerusalem
    The Kuwait Times reported on Thursday that two more US aircraft carriers are headed for the Persian Gulf. The paper did not say which two carriers they are and the US Navy refused to confirm or deny the report. The two carriers in question are believed to be USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan (pictured). Both are currently at sea (see links above). But there's much more to this report.
    Meanwhile, the Arabic news agency Moheet reported at the end of July that an unnamed American destroyer, accompanied by two Israeli naval vessels traveled through the Suez Canal from the Mediterranean. A week earlier, a U.S. nuclear submarine accompanied by a destroyer and a supply ship moved into the Mediterranean, according to Moheet. Currently there are two U.S. naval battle groups operating in the Gulf: one is an aircraft carrier group, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, which carries some 65 fighter aircraft. The other group is headed by the USS Peleliu which maintains a variety of planes and strike helicopters.

    The ship movements coincide with the latest downturn in relations between Washington and Tehran.

    ...

    Kuwait, like other Arab countries in the Gulf, fears it will be caught in the middle should the U.S. decide to launch an air strike against Iran if negotiations fail. The Kuwaitis are finalizing details of their security, humanitarian and vital services, the newspaper reported.
    Hmm. Read the whole thing.

    That 'downturn' refers to Wednesday's US call for tougher sanctions and 'punitive' measures against Iran for its failure to respond to the latest package of riches offered by the West. The American call was met by a Russian call for more 'negotiations' instead.

    (Excerpt) Read more at israelmatzav.blogspot.com ...
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