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Thread: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

  1. #621
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    ‘Two U.S. Aircraft Carriers Head for Gulf Region' Written by Adam Gonn
    Published Thursday, August 07, 2008

    http://www.themedialine.org/news/new...p?NewsID=22347

    On board the USS Abraham Lincoln. (Courtesy)
    Two additional United States naval aircraft carriers are heading to the Gulf and the Red Sea, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper Kuwait Times.

    Kuwait began finalizing its “emergency war plan” on being told the vessels were bound for the region.

    The U.S. Navy will neither confirm nor deny that carriers are currently en route. U.S. Fifth Fleet Combined Maritime Command located in Bahrain said it could not comment because of what a spokesman termed “force-protection policy.”

    While the Kuwaiti daily did not name the ships it believes are heading for the Middle East, The Media Line’s defense analyst said they could be the USS Theodore Roosevelt and the USS Ronald Reagan.

    Within the last month, the Roosevelt completed an exercise along the U.S. east coast focusing on communication among navies of different countries. It has since been declared ready for operational duties. The Reagan, currently with the Seventh Fleet, has just set sail from Japan.

    The Seventh Fleet area of operation stretches from the East Coast of Africa to the International Date Line.

    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. The U.S. and Iran are at odds over Iran’s nuclear program, which the Bush administration claims is aimed at producing material for nuclear weapons; however, Tehran argues it is only for power generation.

    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.

    The six members of the GCC – Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and Oman – lie just across the Gulf from Iran. Generals in the Iranian military have repeatedly warned that American interests in the region will be targeted if Iran is subjected to any military strike by the U.S. or its Western allies.

    Bahrain hosts the U.S. Fifth Fleet, while there is a sizeable American base in Qatar. It is assumed the U.S. also has military personnel in the other Gulf states, TML’s defense analyst said.

    Iran is thought to have intelligence operatives working in the GCC states, according to Dubai-based military analysts.

    The standoff between the U.S. and Iran has left the Arab nations’ political leaders in something of a bind. The TML analyst said they were being used as pawns by Washington and Tehran.

    Iran is offering them economic and industrial sweeteners, while the U.S. is boosting their defense capabilities. Presidents George W. Bush and Mahmoud Ahmadi Nejad have paid visits to the GCC states in a bid to win their support.

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  2. #622
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    I'm sure there's more than 1 nuke sub in the vicinity.

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    With this kind of Naval build up, it's pretty difficuly to believe nothing's going to happen.

    Isreal will make a strike. Iran will counter-strike. The US will then strike supporting/defending Isreal.

    The only question in my head is just how much damage is Iran capable of in the short period of time it'll be militarily operational?

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Probably... Iran is capable of hitting a lot of places at this point. They DO have pilots but their Air Force is not as up to par with the Israelis.

    The Israelis are using our anti-missile tech, so they should be able to eliminate most threats (except the country is heavily populated and there will be planes raining down on the citizens).

    Iran seems to be "mostly talk and little action"... so if the Israelis hit them (WHEN) then there may be NO retaliation at all other than Hezbula launching more rockets into the citizens.

    So... I THINK it will be pretty limited. Unless Iran happens to have a nuclear device sitting around they haven't used yet.
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Quote Originally Posted by Ryan Ruck View Post
    I'm sure there's more than 1 nuke sub in the vicinity.

    I know that there is atleast 1 ssgn within strike range. not sure about fleet ballistic missile submarines though. they dont necessarily need to be close though so thats almost a non-issue.

    in any event theres a couple of fast attack boats present and an ssgn present.


    ev

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Israel Vows To Do "Everything Possible" To Stop Iran's S-300 As Debate Swirls About Its Delivery
    Cutting Edge News ^ | August 11th 2008 | Edwin Black Israeli defense officials have declared the Jewish State would do "everything possible" to prevent Russia’s potent S-300 anti-aircraft from reaching Iran. The remarks were made to the Jerusalem Post and reported by its veteran military affairs correspondent, Yaacov Katz.


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

    Iran received Russian weapon. Belarus under suspicion
    Charter'97 ^ | 29.07.2008

    Iran has received first components of Russian S-300 ground-to-air radar systems. As The Cutting Edge News reports referring to its sources, they are still disassembled in boxes and undeployed. It’s not impossible that the weapon has been delivered via Belarus.

    In the meantime, the situation around S-300 radar systems is more than knotty, and experts’ forecasts on possible terms of their installation vary much, Lenta.ru notes.

    So, according to Pentagon’s information, the Iranians will not be receiving that Russian anti-aircraft system this year. Israel in its turn says the anti-aircraft batteries can be delivered by Russia by September of this year and then be installed and prepared for combat duty within 6–12 months.

    According to Israeli military officials, S-300s would be delivered by September via Belarus. The official Minsk refutes this information.

    At the same time, according to information of Russian sources of The Cutting Edge News, as many as five batteries were recently delivered to Iran, these having been pulled from active Russia defense units. The transaction is thought to be valued at USD800 million.

    It should be reminded that Irani minister of defence Mostafa Mohammad Najjar said in the end of 2007 about purchase of 5 S-300 systems. However, there is no official information about the contract.

    It should be noted that possible S-300 delivery is a key factor in Israel’s pre-emptive Iran strike strategy.

    The Israeli Air Forces are supposed to have tested the strengths and weaknesses of a similar S-300 system during military exercises over Crete with the cooperation of Greece.

    Israel also takes into consideration that Iran possesses 29 Tor M1 air defense short range missile systems which were delivered in 2007. They provider protection of the most important state and military objects, in first turn the nuclear ones in Esfahan and Bushehr in the east of the country.
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    the S-300 is bad news. then again, there are system designed to make it useless and they work pretty well. just ask syria, the latest network attack toolset fielded by israeli and US ECM teams or aircrews is good stuff and works well.



    ev

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    U.S. rebuffs Israeli request for arms geared toward Iran strike
    Ha'artz ^ | Wed., August 13, 2008 Av 12, 5768 | By Aluf Benn, Haaretz Correspondent

    The American administration has rejected an Israeli request for military equipment and support that would improve Israel's ability to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

    The Americans viewed the request, which was transmitted (and rejected) at the highest level, as a sign that Israel is in the advanced stages of preparations to attack Iran. They therefore warned Israel against attacking, saying such a strike would undermine American interests. They also demanded that Israel give them prior notice if it nevertheless decided to strike Iran.

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

    (WTF?)

    U.S. puts brakes on Israeli plan for attack on Iran nuclear facilities
    Haaretz ^

    The American administration has rejected an Israeli request for military equipment and support that would improve Israel's ability to attack Iran's nuclear facilities.

    The Americans viewed the request, which was transmitted (and rejected) at the highest level, as a sign that Israel is in the advanced stages of preparations to attack Iran. They therefore warned Israel against attacking, saying such a strike would undermine American interests. They also demanded that Israel give them prior notice if it nevertheless decided to strike Iran.

    Recently, however, Israel has concluded that Bush is unlikely to attack, and will focus instead on ratcheting up diplomatic pressure on Tehran. It prefers to wait until this process has been exhausted, though without conceding the military option. Israel's assumption is that Iran will continue to use delaying tactics, and may even agree to briefly suspend its uranium enrichment program in an effort to see out the rest of Bush's term in peace.

    The American-Israeli dispute over a military strike against Iran erupted during Bush's visit to Jerusalem in May. At the time, Bush held a private meeting on the Iranian threat with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Defense Minister Ehud Barak, and the Israelis presented their request for certain specific items of military equipment, along with diplomatic and security backing.

    Therefore, they said, the U.S. would not allow Israeli planes to overfly Iraq en route to Iran.

    The Americans sent a similar message to Iraq, which had objected vociferously to the idea of its air space being used for an Israeli attack on Iran.

    (Excerpt) Read more at haaretz.com ...
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    Iran Reports 4,000 Nuclear Centrifuges Working
    Reuters Aug 29, 2008

    Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Sheikh-Attar stated that Iran has 4000 centrifuges at work enriching uranium (Hassan Ammar/AFP/Getty Images)
    TEHRANIran has 4,000 working nuclear centrifuges, an official said in remarks published on Friday, in line with a number verified by the U.N. atomic watchdog but lower than a figure cited by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

    Iran says it is installing centrifuges to enrich uranium so it can make fuel for nuclear power plants. But the West accuses Tehran of seeking to master technology so it can enrich uranium to much higher levels for use in nuclear warheads.

    Ahmadinejad said last month Iran had more than 5,000 centrifuges running. But a diplomat close to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which routinely checks Iranian nuclear sites, said soon afterward Ahmadinejad appeared to have overstated the number by at least 1,000.

    "There are currently close to 4,000 centrifuges active at Natanz enrichment facility. ... Another 3,000 centrifuges are being installed," Deputy Foreign Minister Alireza Sheikh Attar told state television, the official IRNA news agency reported.

    The last IAEA report on Iran, issued in late May, said Iran was in the processing of setting up 3,000 more centrifuges beyond 3,000 already operating.

    Vienna diplomats said recently Iran's expansion of enrichment seemed to be relatively slow and the operation remained well short of "industrial" capacity producing enough fuel to run power stations or make bombs, if Iran so chose.

    World powers have offered Iran a package of trade, nuclear and other incentives to halt its sensitive nuclear work, but Tehran has repeatedly said it will not do so.

    The United States and its Western allies are pushing for more U.N. sanctions, after three sets were imposed since 2006.

    Analysts say Washington may find it more difficult to get U.N. Security Council backing for another resolution because of the Georgian crisis with Russia, which has council veto rights.

    Iran, the world's fourth largest oil producer, has brushed off sanctions, saying it has a cash cushion to cope. But analysts say sanctions, though limited, are deterring particularly Western investors and raising Iran's trade costs.

    "If the Westerners could make sure that the resolutions would bring us down, they would certainly have intensified those ... They also know that extra-resolution measures would cost them more," the deputy minister said.
    U.S. Interests

    Ahmadinejad travels to New York in September for the U.N. General Assembly. He used last year's visit to try to address the United States with a meeting at a university in New York.

    "The president is of the opinion that the American people can be our influential targets," Sheikh Attar said.

    This year's visit follows U.S. and other reports that Washington was considering opening a U.S. interests section in Tehran, after diplomatic ties were severed in 1980. The Swiss embassy now handles any U.S.-related affairs in Iran.

    Tehran has said it has not been notified of any such plans.

    "It would be gullible to think that America is seeking to relinquish its past policy," Sheikh Attar said.

    "We have received no note in this connection, but if we are to receive a note, as Mr Ahmadinejad says, we will examine it and will decide with a view to the interests of the two countries," the deputy minister added.

    A senior foreign policy adviser to the U.S. Democratic presidential candidate said on Thursday Barack Obama could open talks with Iran on its nuclear programme early next year if he wins the November U.S. election.
    Former U.S. national security adviser Tony Lake suggested Washington needed to give Tehran a sharper choice between the consequences of continuing its suspected pursuit of nuclear weapons and the benefits of giving it up.
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satelli...cle%2FShowFull

    Aug 29, 2008 11:13 | Updated Aug 30, 2008 16:50 Report: Israel won't allow a nuclear Iran

    By JPOST.COM STAFF

    Israel will not allow Iran to attain nuclear capability and if time begins to run out, Jerusalem will not hesitate to take whatever means necessary to prevent Iran from achieving its nuclear goals, the government has recently decided in a special discussion.

    According to the Israeli daily Ma'ariv, whether the United States and Western countries succeed in thwarting the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions diplomatically, through sanctions, or whether a US strike on Iran is eventually decided upon, Jerusalem has begun preparing for a separate, independent military strike.


    So far, Israel has not received American authorization to use US-controlled Iraqi airspace, nor has the defense establishment been successful in securing the purchase of advanced US-made warplanes which could facilitate an Israeli strike.


    The Americans have offered Israel permission to use a global early warning radar system, implying that the US is pushing Israel to settle for defensive measures only.



    Because of Israel's lack of strategic depth, Jerusalem has consistently warned in recent years that it will not settle for a 'wait and see' approach, merely retaliating to an attack, but will rather use preemption to prevent any risk of being hit in the first place.


    Ephraim Sneh a veteran Labor MK who has recently left the party, has reportedly sent a document to both US presidential candidates, John McCain and Barack Obama. The eight-point document states that "there is no government in Jerusalem that would ever reconcile itself to a nuclear Iran. When it is clear Iran is on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons, an Israeli military strike to prevent this will be seriously considered."



    According to Ma'ariv, Sneh offered the two candidates the "sane, cheap and the only option that does not necessitate bloodshed." To prevent Iran's nuclear aspirations, Sneh wrote, "real" sanctions applied by the US and Europe were necessary. A total embargo in spare parts for the oil industry and a total boycott of Iranian banks would promptly put an end to the regime, which is already pressured by a sloping economy and would be toppled by the Iranian people if they have outside assistance, he said.


    The window of opportunity Sneh suggests is a year and a half to two years, until 2010.


    Sneh also visited Switzerland and Austria last week in an attempt to lobby them against the Iranian threat. Both countries have announced massive long-term investments in Iranian gas and oil fields for the next decade.


    "Talk of the Jewish Holocaust and Israel's security doesn't impress these guys," Sneh said wryly.


    Hearing his hosts speak of their future investments, Sneh replied quietly "it's a shame, because Ido will light all this up." He was referring to Maj. Gen. Ido Nehushtan, the recently appointed IAF commander and the man most likely to be the one to orchestrate Israel's attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, should this become a necessity.


    "Investing in Iran in 2008," Sneh told his Austrian hosts, "is like investing in the Krupp steelworks in 1938, it's a high risk investment." The Austrians, according to Sneh, turned pale.


    In related news, a top official said Friday that
    Iran had increased the number of operating centrifuges at its uranium enrichment plant to 4,000.


    Deputy Foreign Minister Ali Reza Sheikh Attar, who visited the Natanz plant last week, said that Iran was preparing to install even more centrifuges, though he did not offer a timeframe.


    "Right now, nearly 4,000 centrifuges are operating at Natanz," Attar told the state news agency IRNA. "Currently, 3,000 other centrifuges are being installed."


    Meanwhile, the pan-Arabic Al Kuds al Arabi reported Friday that Iran had equipped Hizbullah with longer range missiles than those it possessed before the Second Lebanon War and had also improved the guerrilla group's targeting capabilities.


    According to the report, which The Jerusalem Post could not verify independently, Hizbullah was planning a massive rocket onslaught on targets reaching deep into Israel's civilian underbelly in case Israel launches an attack on Iran.

    AP contributed to this report
    I'm taking America back. Step 1: I'm taking my kids out of the public re-education system. They will no longer have liberal bias and lies like this from bullying teachers when I expect them to be taught reading, writing, and arithmetic:
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Russia Threatens To Supply Iran With Top New Missile System As 'Cold War' Escalates
    Russia is deploying the threat to sell a "game changing" air defence system to Iran as a high stakes bargaining chip in its new "cold war" with America, The Sunday Telegraph has learned.

    US intelligence fears the Kremlin will supply the sophisticated S-300 system to Tehran if Washington pushes through NATO membership for its pro-Western neighbours Georgia and Ukraine.

    The proposed deal is causing huge alarm in the US and Israel as the S-300 can track 100 targets at once and fire on planes up to 75 miles away.

    That would make it a "game-changer", greatly improving Iranian defences against any air strike on its nuclear sites, according to Pentagon adviser Dan Goure. "This is a system that scares every Western air force," he said.

    Senior US intelligence operatives believe that Russia is planning to use a stand-off over the S-300 to create a foreign policy showdown that would test the mettle of a new US president.

    Republican candidate John McCain has taken a strongly anti-Kremlin line on a series of international issues and backed Georgia's desire to join NATO. His Democratic rival Barack Obama has also indicated he supports NATO membership for Georgia.

    "The message from Moscow is very clear," said George Friedman, director of Stratfor, a leading US private intelligence agency. "They are saying if you don't stop meddling in our sphere of influence, this is what we are going to do.

    "Back Georgia and Ukraine for NATO membership and you'll see the S-300 to Iran. It is a very powerful bargaining chip and a major deterrent to US actions in the region. Moscow is playing very strategically on America's obsession with Iran."

    Moscow has been infuriated by the steady encroachment of NATO into the former Soviet bloc and the recent granting of independence to the ex-Serbian province of Kosovo against its wishes.

    After American condemnation of Russia's foray into Georgia, Moscow invited Syria's dictator Bashar al-Assad, a long-time US foe, to discuss military deals in a deliberate signal of how it could cause trouble for Washington.

    A senior US intelligence operative who recently returned from the Middle East said Russia is believed to have struck a tentative deal to sell the S-300 to the Islamic regime. There are reports that Russia has already moved some basic components for the system to its close ally Belarus, ready for possible transfer to Iran.

    "Moscow cannot simply threaten to strike the deal," the official told The Sunday Telegraph. "Iran certainly thinks it has a deal. And the Israelis believe that a deal has been reached but that they can still block it."

    The outgoing Israeli prime minister Ehud Olmert is expected to pass that message on to his counterpart Vladimir Putin and President Dmitri Medvedev when he visits Moscow next month. Israel has already ended military assistance to Georgia in an effort to placate Russia.

    Russia has denied previous assertions by senior Iranians that a deal has already been finalised on the S-300.

    Dan Goure, a long-time Pentagon adviser, said: "If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran. That could be a catalyst for Israeli air attacks before it's operational."

    Dr Friedman said that if it became operational, it would effectively rule out Israeli air raids and seriously complicate any US aerial bombardment.

    The system would take up to a year to become operational. In the meantime, Israel would come under heavy domestic pressure to launch an attack on Iranian nuclear plants, which the West believes are part of a secret atomic weapons programme but which Tehran claims are for civilian energy.

    A senior Iranian military commander warned yesterday that any attack on Iran would start a major conflict. "Any aggression against Iran will start a world war," deputy chief of staff for defence publicity, Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri, said in a statement. "The unrestrained greed of the US leadership and global Zionism... is gradually leading the world to the edge of a precipice."

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Israel Prepares To Attack Iran Amid Signs of Renewed Atomic Bomb Work

    By CON COUGHLIN and TIM BUTCHER, The Daily Telegraph |



    September 12, 2008


    JERUSALEM Fresh evidence has emerged that suggests Iran has renewed work on developing nuclear weapons, according to Western security sources.
    Experts responsible for monitoring Iran's nuclear program have discovered that enough enriched uranium, which if processed to weapons grade level could be used to make up to six atomic bombs, has disappeared from the main production facility at Isfahan.
    American spy satellites have identified a number of suspicious sites, which the Iranians have not declared to nuclear inspectors, that intelligence officials believe are being used for covert research.
    The discoveries emerged as it was learned that Israel had asked America for military supplies, including "bunker buster" bombs and refueling planes, suitable for attacking Iranian nuclear installations.
    The Israeli paper, Haaretz, reported yesterday that Israel had also asked for permission to use an air corridor through Iraqi airspace, currently controlled by America, to Iran.
    So far the requests have been turned down by Washington, which is not as keen as Israel to consider a military strike against Iran.
    But concern that Iran has resumed work on building atomic bombs has deepened following the disclosure that large quantities of uranium has gone missing.
    The Isfahan complex, which enriches raw uranium "yellow cake" into material that can be used for either nuclear power or atomic weapons, is supposed to be subject to close supervision by the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency.
    But the Iranians only allow IAEA inspectors access to the final stage of the production process, where the uranium in gas form UF6 is stored.
    By conducting a careful study of the amount of material stored at Isfahan, and the amount of "yellow cake" known to have been processed at the plant, nuclear experts believe between 50 to 60 tons of uranium which if enriched to weapons grade level would be sufficient to produce five or six bombs has disappeared.
    IAEA officials believe the Iranians have removed the uranium at a stage in the production process that is not under their supervision.
    A nuclear official said, "If Iran's nuclear intentions are peaceful, then why are they doing this?"
    IAEA officials have no idea where the missing uranium is being stored, but suspect it could be held at one of several installations spotted by American spy satellites.
    The Iranians will be asked to account for the missing enriched uranium when the IAEA's board of governors meets later this month.

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Middle East
    Sep 13, 2008



    US a step closer to Iran blockade
    By Kaveh L Afrasiabi

    The United States government has imposed new sanctions on Iran, this time targeting its shipping industry, by blacklisting the main shipping line and 18 subsidiaries, accusing the maritime carrier of being engaged in contraband nuclear material, a charge vehemently denied by Iran.

    While the economic impact of the measures against Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) will be minimal in light of the near absence of any connection between the shipping company and US businesses, this latest US initiative against Iran sends a strong signal about the US's intention to escalate pressure on Iran, even unilaterally if need be. And, perhaps, it is a prelude for more serious and dangerous actions in the near future, above all a naval blockade of Iran to choke off its access to, among other things, imported fuel.

    The outgoing George W Bush administration is slowly but surely taking strident actions that will effectively tie the hands of the next US president, particularly if that happens to be Democratic candidate Senator Barack Obama, who in the past has expressed an interest in direct dialogue with Tehran.

    Should the new sanctions prove as catalysts for more aggressive US actions against Iran in international waters or the Persian Gulf, as called for by some members of US Congress seeking the interdiction of Iranian cargo ships, then by the time Bush's successor takes over at the Oval Office next January, the climate in US-Iran hostility may have degenerated to such depths that it would take a monumental effort to undo what appears to be Bush's last hurrah.

    On the other hand, on the eve of US presidential elections in November, more tensions between the US and Iran are tantamount to greater prioritization of national security issues by the average American voter, something that benefits Obama's Republican rival, "bomb, bomb Iran" John McCain.

    Indeed, the coupling of crisis in Georgia and the Iran crisis represents a major bonus for McCain and his "get tough" approach toward the US's external foes.

    According to American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, who has done several reports on US covert actions against Iran, Bush has on more than one occasion vowed not to leave the White House with Iran's nuclear program still intact.

    With the new tensions with Russia over Georgia lessening the prospects for fresh "multilateral" Iran diplomacy at the United Nations this autumn, the White House has now begun a new chapter in coercive, unilateral action against Iran that may well be part of a comprehensive "package approach". This could include the interdiction of Iranian ships on the high seas and even incremental steps toward imposing a regime of "smart blockade" aimed at denying Iran access to badly needed imported fuel.

    The purpose of the latter would be to in effect target the Iranian population by applying tangible pain that could dissipate the popular support for the government's nuclear policy, that is, its insistence that it has the right under the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium. Doubtless, this is playing with fire and things could get nasty and rather quickly, spiralling out of control in the event of a stern Iranian reaction.

    As far as Washington and Tel Aviv are concerned, their efforts to create a wedge between Iran and Syria is paying off, thanks in part to the tireless efforts of France, and Israeli politicians have made no secret of their hope that their negotiations with Damascus will create a timely dividend in the form of breathing cold air into the hitherto hot furnace of the Iran-Syria alliance.

    In Iran murmurings of "weak and reactive diplomacy" can already be heard, thus putting the President Mahmud Ahmadinejad administration on the defensive.

    Consequently, Washington hawks increasingly smell a late opportunity to defang Iran. They will surely have made their own threat analysis and estimates of risks. Should their calculations prove incorrect, it could prove disastrous with incalculable, monstrous new headaches for the US government for years to come.

    For Iran's part, a spokesperson for IRISL has denounced the US's measure as "illegal" and based on "false accusations", promising to complain to international tribunals. IRISL is, in fact, a stock-owned private company and not government owned, and the US's action may be in violation of the terms and ambit of UN sanctions imposed by the Security Council on Iran over its nuclear program. For instance, these sanctions exempt the Bushehr power plant in Iran, thus allowing the shipment of nuclear material for the Russian-made plant nearing completion.

    This means that the US might seek to seize Russian nuclear goods bound for Iran, thus raising the ire of Moscow and using this as a payback for Russia's offensive in pro-West Georgia. Alternatively, the US could use the threat of such action as leverage with regard to both Tehran and Moscow. Russia, from Washington's point of view, needs to be brought into line on Iran.

    Again, any such action by the US is bound to have both intended and unintended consequences, and it would be foolhardy for Washington hawks to pretend to know the full scope of the ramifications, which could be dramatic in terms of heating up a new cold war and outright militarizing the Iran nuclear crisis.

    Tehran does not appear to welcome any new escalation with the US. A deputy foreign minister, Mehdi Safari, announced Iran's preparedness to engage in good-faith negotiations with the "Iran Six" nations (the UN Security Council's permanent five - the US, Britain, France, Russia and China - plus Germany).

    Ahmadinejad is due in New York in less than two weeks to attend the annual UN General Assembly gathering, and by all indications the US and Israel are deliberately picking up serious momentum in their anti-Ahmadinejad campaign, thus warranting a letter by Iran's ambassador to the UN, Mohammad Khazaee, complaining of blatant threats against Iran's president by Israeli politicians - they even said they would kidnap him.

    In conclusion, as tough new decisions on Iran are being plotted in Washington and Tel Aviv, the fate of peace and stability in the volatile oil region of the Persian Gulf seems once again on the verge of being compromised in the drive towards open confrontation with Iran.

    Kaveh L Afrasiabi, PhD, is the author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy (Westview Press) and co-author of "Negotiating Iran's Nuclear Populism", Brown Journal of World Affairs, Volume XII, Issue 2, Summer 2005, with Mustafa Kibaroglu. He also wrote "Keeping Iran's nuclear potential latent", Harvard International Review, and is author of Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts Versus Fiction. For his Wikipedia entry, click here.

    (Copyright 2008 Asia Times Online

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    US to invade Iran any day now?

    News
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    September 12, 2008, 9:50

    A few weeks ago the Russian newspaper Izvestia, a well-known and authoritive daily published nationwide and abroad, came forward with something that would have been looked upon as a conspiracy theory if published by a tabloid.
    The paper suggested that by attacking South Ossetia, the Georgian President Mikhail Saakashvili had badly damaged a planned U.S. military operation against Iran. In the newspaper's opinion Georgia was supposed to play the role of another "unsinkable aircraft carrier" for the U.S., i.e. an operational and tactical base for U.S.
    aircraft that would be making bombing raids into Iran. Something akin to what Thailand was in the Vietnam war.

    Thailand certainly benefited from the arrangement, and Georgia would have too, insists the paper, if its President hadn't put his ambitions above the US national interest and ended up beaten, disarmed, chewing on his neckties and totally incapable of providing whatever the U.S. needs from him.

    That's why, according to Izvestia in yet another article on the matter, the U.S. response to the Russian retaliation was harsh in words but very mild in action. The latest on the issue suggests that Mikhail Saakashvili may be replaced any day now by direct order from Washington.

    Having read the story in Izvestia I decided to try to figure out the extent of improbability and impossibility of the assumptions. As I was doing that, I remembered that early in August CNN had started showing U.S. generals who cried for more troops and hardware for Afghanistan which, in their opinion, was rapidly becoming a more intensive conflict than Iraq.

    Shortly after that, a phone call came from a college friend who had just come back from Kandahar in Afghanistan, where he had seen American battle tanks being unloaded from a Ukrainian-registered Antonov-124 "Ruslan", the heaviest and largest cargo airplane in the world. The friend asked if I had any idea what tanks would be good for in Afghanistan, and I said I didn't. It's an established fact from the Soviet war in Afghanistan that tanks are no good for most of the country's mountainous territory. They are good for flatlands, and the main body of flat land in the region is right across the border in Iran.

    Later in August there was another bit of unofficial information from a Russian military source: more than a thousand American tanks and armored vehicles had been shipped to Eastern Afghanistan by Ukrainian "Ruslans" flying in three to five shipments a day, and more flights were expected.

    Somehow all this, together with the series of articles in Izvestia, the information that all U.S. troops in Afghanistan are going to be reassigned and regrouped under unified command, the arrival of NATO naval ships in the Black Sea, the appointment of a man used to command troops in a combat environment as the new commander of the US Central Command and other bits and pieces. To my total astonishment, when they all fell together the Izvestia story started looking slightly more credible than before.

    Today the U.S. media reported that there had been a leak from the Pentagon about a secret Presidential order in which President Bush authorized his military (most of which is currently on Afghan soil) to conduct operations in Pakistan without the necessity for informing the Pakistani government. The U.S. military in Afghanistan - or shall we say in the whole region neighboring Iran - is getting a freer hand by the day. And it is getting more and more hardware to play with.

    Of course it's quite clear now that Georgia has lost its immediate potential as a nearby airfield, but after all, the aircraft carriers in the Gulf are not so far away.

    Believe me I'm not saying that the U.S. is going to start an all-out war against Iran tomorrow. But aren't there indications that it may happen the day after tomorrow, a month from now, or on any date before the official handover of Presidency in the U.S.? Or, as some suggest, before the election?

    I'm just asking the questions. But there are some people, like those working for Izvestia, for instance, who answer them with a "yes".

    Evgeny Belenkiy, RT.

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Russia's Medvedev: Armed action on Iran unacceptable
    09.12.08, 12:12 PM ET

    MOSCOW, Sept 12 (Reuters) - A military solution to the standoff over Iran's nuclear ambitions is unacceptable and there is no need at the moment for new sanctions, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Friday.
    But Medvedev said Russia continued to support a diplomatic drive led by European Union foreign policy chief Javier Solana to offer Tehran a package of incentives in return for it reining in some of its nuclear activities.
    Western states are anxious that a rift between Moscow and the West over Russia's intervention in Georgia may shatter the fragile international coalition that has been applying pressure on Iran over its nuclear programme.
    'We should not take any unilateral steps. It is not acceptable to opt for a military scenario. It would be dangerous,' Medvedev told the Valdai Club, a panel of journalists and academics who specialise in Russia.
    'The key is that negotiations be pursued... They have been quite positive,' Medvedev said. 'We should not adopt any additional sanctions now.'
    Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki was in Moscow on Monday for talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, the two countries' first high-level contact since Russia angered the West last month by sending troops and tanks into Georgia.
    Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has said Western states will have to tackle Iran without Russia's help if they withdraw cooperation in other areas as punishment for the Kremlin's actions in Georgia.
    The United States and other Western powers say they suspect Iran is seeking a nuclear bomb under cover of its civilian nuclear programme.
    Tehran denies it has any such intention. It says it is exercising its sovereign right to develop nuclear technology for generating electricity.
    U.S. President George W. Bush has refused to rule out the use of force against Iran, though he has said he favours a diplomatic solution.
    Russia has consistently opposed military action against Iran and has also used its veto power in the United Nations Security Council to dilute U.S.-led attempts to impose tougher sanctions.
    Existing U.N. sanctions include financial and travel curbs on a list of Iranian individuals and companies linked with the nuclear programme.
    'We will use only proportionate sanctions. They will be aimed at individuals and organisations involved in Iran's nuclear programme,' Lavrov told the Valdai Club at a separate session earlier on Friday.
    (Additional reporting by Dmitry Solovyov; Writing by Christian Lowe (nyse: LOW - news - people ); Editing by Sami Aboudi) Keywords: RUSSIA MEDVEDEV/IRAN
    tf.TFN-Europe_newsdesk@thomsonreuters.com
    COPYRIGHT
    Copyright Thomson Financial News Limited 2008

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Russia's Medvedev: Attack on Iran will endanger entire world
    By Adar Primor, Haaretz Correspondent




    "Russia has a completely different value system," he said. "When it proposes a mediation service, its sole intention is to assist in bringing about a peace that both Jews and Arabs will enjoy."

    A day before the discussion with Medvedev, the forum's members met with Russia's former president and incumbent prime minister, Vladimir Putin.

    Putin said he considers Russia's presence in the Middle East important and that his country intended to use Syrian ports "as it did in the past, but not for defined purposes."

    The president's adviser, Oleg Tsatsurin, told Haaretz: "Russia would not take any action that would change the balance of power in the Middle East or harm the excellent relations between Russia and Israel."

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Israel Waging 'Secret War With Iran'

    New Book Details Mishaps That Have Likely Delayed Iran's Efforts To Go Nuclear
    By ELI LAKE, Staff Reporter of the Sun | September 15, 2008

    WASHINGTON Israel and America are intensifying a clandestine war against Iran that has run hot and cold since the Islamic Revolution in 1979 but has grown more urgent as Iran races to obtain an atomic bomb.
    That is a central claim in a new book, "The Secret War with Iran," by an Israeli journalist, Ronen Bergman, who also details a series of mishaps during the past 2 1/2 years that have likely delayed Iran's efforts to go nuclear.
    While President Bush and other Western leaders have warned of the seriousness of the threat that Iran may obtain a nuclear weapon, little reporting has surfaced in the West on the efforts in the shadows to stop the Iranians. Mr. Bergman himself has had to skate a close line in this area, in part because of military censorship in Israel, where some of his reporting has been withheld from publication pending rulings from the Israeli Supreme Court.
    Nonetheless, the Israeli journalist compiles a picture that suggests that the West has had some successes in the war to stop the Iranian bomb. Mr. Bergman reports, for example, that in January 2007 Iran determined that some of its nuclear suppliers in Europe were fronts for Western intelligence services, specifically Britain's MI6.
    And Mr. Bergman writes that between February 2006 and March 2007, at least three planes "belonging to the Revolutionary Guards crashed in Iran, while carrying personnel connected with the security of the nuclear project." Specialized pipes for centrifuges sold to Iran have been modified, he writes, and specialized computers sold to Iran for its nuclear laboratories contained viruses that sabotaged the code.
    The secret efforts appear not to be limited to modifying equipment: On January 18, 2007, an Iranian expert on electromagnetics who worked in an Isfahan enrichment facility, Ardeshir Hosseinpour, died in his apartment, Mr. Bergman writes.
    The author quotes the deputy director of the Israeli Atomic Energy Commission, Eli Levite, as saying in a closed forum that operations against Iran "gained time for us" and have "doubtless caused significant delays in the project. The process has led to the revealing of large parts of the program in the areas of sources of supply, of the infrastructure, and of the goals, which were not known or were known at a different resolution."
    While Israel's Mossad and military intelligence have targeted Iranian terrorists almost since the 1979 revolution, the Jewish state was relatively slow to pick up on the full extent of Iran's nuclear program. Mr. Bergman reports that Israel first learned of the nuclear facility in Natanz in 1996, a full six years before the facility was first disclosed to the public, but several years after the Iranians began their initial work there. Two Israeli operatives, posing as tourists, arrived at the site and took soil samples, which they brought back to Israel in their shoes and which showed some radiation.
    Mr. Bergman also details a success for the CIA in the shadow war against Iran, when General Ali Reza Askari defected to the American side in February 2007. Mr. Bergman reports that General Askari was closer to the reformist President Khatami and felt threatened by his old rival in intelligence when President Ahmadinejad came to power in 2005.
    General Askari, for example, warned Mr. Khatami after the attacks of September 11, 2001, that Iran's Revolutionary Guards had given shelter to key Al Qaeda operatives fleeing American troops in Afghanistan. He said in his debriefings, according to Mr. Bergman, that Iran had entered into joint nuclear projects with both Syria and North Korea.
    The defector also claimed that Iran erected a secret enrichment facility near the known centrifuge area in Natanz.
    Mr. Bergman finally comes close to saying outright that Israel was responsible for the assassination in February of a master Hezbollah terrorist, Imad Mugniyah. He writes: "Although Israel has denied responsibility for the assassination, the Mugniyah hit was exactly the kind of thing needed to restore the country's faith in, and more importantly the enemy's fear of, Israel's intelligence services."
    Mr. Bergman then quotes an Israeli intelligence official, who recalls the exact model of the vehicle Mugniyah was driving when he was attacked. "Pity about that new Pijero," he said.

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Israel slated to buy US smart bombs

    By YAAKOV KATZ

    The US Department of Defense has notified Congress of a potential sale to Israel of 1,000 smart bombs capable of penetrating underground bunkers, which would likely be used in the event of a military strike on Iran's nuclear facilities.

    Two Royal Airforce men checking SBU-39 missiles attached to an F-15 fighter jet.
    Photo: Courtesy
    Slideshow: Pictures of the week
    The notification to Congress was made over the weekend by the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, the branch of the Pentagon responsible for evaluating foreign military sales. Congress has 30 days to object to the deal.
    The deal is valued at $77 million and the principal contractor would be Boeing Integrated Defense Systems.
    The bomb Israel wants is the GBU-39, developed in recent years by the US as a small-diameter bomb for low-cost, high-precision and low-collateral damage strikes.
    Israel has also asked for 150 mounting carriages, 30 guided test vehicles and two instructors to train the air force in loading the bombs on its aircraft.
    The GPS-guided GBU-39 is said to be one of the most accurate bombs in the world. The 113 kg. bomb has the same penetration capabilities as a normal 900 kg. bomb, although it has only 22.7 kg. of explosives. At just 1.75 meters long, its small size increases the number of bombs an aircraft can carry and the number of targets it can attack in a sortie.
    Tests conducted in the US have proven that the bomb is capable of penetrating at least 90 cm. of steel-reinforced concrete. The GBU-39 can be used in adverse weather conditions and has a standoff range of more than 110 km. due to pop-out wings.
    In its recommendation to Congress, the Defense Security Cooperation Agency wrote that Israel's strategic position was "vital to the United States' interests throughout the Middle East."
    "It is vital to the US national interests to assist Israel to develop and maintain a strong and ready self-defense capability. This proposed sale is consistent with those objectives," the statement read.
    The agency's announcement came amid growing concern that the Pentagon was not willing to sell Israel advanced military platforms such as bunker-buster missiles in an effort to dissuade Jerusalem from attacking Iran's nuclear facilities.
    Bunker-buster missiles would be a fundamental component of an air strike against Iran, since many of the nuclear facilities, such as the Natanz uranium enrichment complex, have been built in underground, heavily fortified bunkers.
    During the Second Lebanon War, Israel reportedly received an emergency shipment of bunker-buster missiles from the US to use against underground Hizbullah facilities.
    Yiftah Shapir, from the Institute for National Security Studies in Tel Aviv, said the GBU-39 is one of the most advanced in the world and would improve Israel's standoff fire capabilities.
    "The bomb is extremely accurate," he said. "All you have to do is punch in the coordinates, fire and forget."
    He said they could be used to attack Iranian underground facilities like Natanz but that they could only penetrate a few meters.
    "Hundreds of these would have to be used in an attack on Natanz for it to be successful," Shapir said.

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