14 January 2007

The US-Iran-Iraq-Israeli-Syrian War

Robert Parry, who broke many of the Iran-Contra stories in the 1980s for the Associated Press and Newsweek, warns us that "the preparations for a wider Middle Eastern war are very serious and moving very quickly".

Several indicators point to this according to Parry.

1. Bush's recent speech on Iraq in which he stated ""We will interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria," Bush said. "And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq." He also stated that "Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria"

Parry suggests that the whole troop 'surge' could have a different reason than the one offered in public by Bush, namely, that "Bush’s escalation of troop levels in Iraq would make sense as a way to protect the Green Zone and other sensitive targets" against "pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Iraq seeking revenge against U.S. troops" for any attack on Iran.

He 's not the only one. Paul Craig Roberts also believes the "“Surge” Is A Red Herring".

2. The "deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region" as Bush himself remarked in the same speech, adding “We will expand intelligence sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies.”

Parry comments:

"Militarily, a second aircraft carrier strike force would do little to interdict arms smuggling across the Iran-Iraq border. Similarly, Patriot anti-missile batteries would be of no use in defeating lightly armed insurgent forces and militias inside Iraq. However, both deployments would be useful to deter – or defend against – retaliatory missile strikes from Iran if the Israelis or the United States bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities or stage military raids inside Iranian territory. Iran has a relatively sophisticated arsenal of short- and medium-range missiles. Those short-range missiles could be fired at U.S. bases in Iraq or elsewhere in the Persian Gulf. The medium-range missiles could conceivably hit Tel Aviv. Not only could Patriot missiles be used to knock down Iranian missiles while they’re heading toward their targets, but the fearsome firepower of two aircraft carrier strike forces could deter any Iranian retaliatory strike following a U.S. or Israeli attack. The deployments would fit with Israel or the United States bombing Iran’s nuclear sites and then trying to tamp down any Iranian response."

3. President George W. Bush's choice of a Navy admiral to head Central Command after Gen. John P. Abizaid. As Martin Sieff, UPI's Senior News Analyst, asked recently: "An admiral to command a land war?" He comments " If the Bush administration either plans to launch air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities in the foreseeable future, or if it expects any significant Iranian offensive operations against U.S. forces in Iraq, in the Persian Gulf region, or against U.S allies in the Gulf, then Adm. Fallon's appointment, and his vast experience in directing carrier-borne air strikes makes far more sense."

4. The removal of Negroponte as intelligence Czar. Parry comments: "McConnell is seen as far more likely than Negroponte to give the administration an alarming assessment of Iran’s nuclear capabilities and intentions in an upcoming National Intelligence Estimate. To the consternation of neoconservatives, Negroponte has splashed cold water on their heated rhetoric about the imminent threat from Iran. “Our assessment is that the prospects of an Iranian weapon are still a number of years off, and probably into the next decade,” Negroponte said in an interview with NBC News in April 2006. Expressing a similarly tempered view in a speech at the National Press Club, Negroponte said, “I think it’s important that this issue be kept in perspective.”

5. The fact that the US has sent warplanes to Turkey's Incirlik military base. On 11 January 2007 the Kuwait News Agency (KUNA) reported that "According to Local Cihan News Agency, at least 16 F-16 jets joined by early warning system AWACS airplane, as well as tanker airplanes landed here at Incirlik coming from an American base in Germany." In his speech Bush stated "We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border." Both Turkey and Iraq border Iran.

6. "Pentagon sources tell CBS News the U.S. military has planned covert cross-border raids into Iran — but so far none has been approved."

7. The First Post's Robert Fox has noted that the "British media appears to be softening us up for an attack on Iran,"

You have been warned.

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