15 May 2008

Iran, the wolves circle

The 'hungy wolves', as Castro recently referred to the US and Europe, are circling for the kill. The pack is being positioned for the attack.

As mentioned in my posting of 12 May, "According to Philip Giraldi writing on The American Conservative blog on Friday 09 May 2008:

"There is considerable speculation and buzz in Washington today suggesting that the National Security Council has agreed in principle to proceed with plans to attack an Iranian al-Qods-run camp that is believed to be training Iraqi militants."
"Momentum is being built up against Iran in a list of growing, and more frequent, accusations against Tehran. Iran is portrayed as the main threat against Israel. It is also accused of intervening in occupied Iraq and Afghanistan. In this sense, the Israeli-U.S. war plans in the Levant have been tied to Iran, as well as Syria. The investigative journalist Seymour M. Hersh, a Pulitzer Prize winner, reported in 2006 that the Israeli war against Lebanon was part of this Israeli-U.S. military roadmap to ultimately target Iran.The accusations against Tehran and Damascus are part of a calculated effort to justify attacks against Iran and Syria as the only means to achieve peace in the Levant between Israel and the Arabs. They are also upheld as justification to ensure the security and success of occupation forces, for Anglo-American and NATO forces respectively in Iraq and Afghanistan.In this regard, the Gaza Strip, alongside Lebanon, is now being described by Tel Aviv as an “Iranian base” against Israel. Israel is pointing the finger more and more towards Tehran as the source of its problems."

Bush's recent speech in Israel confirms all this, and the Democrats are also on board: Hilary Clinton threatened to obliterate the country, and Pelosi also recently did not rule out a military strike as a last resort, while threatening "the rest of the world that if they want to be friends with America, they need to do more to keep Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons". Obama, while refusing to rule out force altogether, says military force is "not the only option for dealing with Iran".

I mentioned several pointers:
the economic war declared on Iran;
the steady stream of accusations coming from the U.S. regarding Iranian influence in Iraq, Gaza and the Lebanon;
the nuclear charade;
the non-existent existentialist threat to Israel;
the fact that six weeks prior to May 2nd, president Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, would be unprecedented in its scope;
US carrier groups are on station, and according to the Navy Times, the San Diego-based Peleliu Expeditionary Strike Group and the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit from Camp Pendleton "left San Diego Naval Base on Sunday (o4 May 2008) for a scheduled six-month deployment to the Western Pacific";
the fact that, for the first time ever, the entire class of the Navy's newest modern guided-missile submarine, the Ohio-class are at sea;
continued Israeli violations of Lebanese airspace;
the USS Cole has taken up station off the coast of Lebanon;
and now we hear that not only has the US Navy's most advanced command, control, and intelligence vessel been stationed off the Lebanese coast, but also that "the USS Harry Truman carrier strike group began cruising in the Mediterranean around Greece, whence the aircraft on its decks can reach Syrian and Lebanese skies."

This last piece comes from a website associated with Israeli intelligence that I tend not to rely on too closely but which when taken together with all the other pointers, shows that either a very elaborate hoax or bluff - a very expensive form of gunboat diplomacy -is being perpetrated or indeed, we are in the final stages of the build-up to the Iran blitzkrieg, which will necessarily be a region-wide agression, with coordinated US/NATO/Israeli military attacks on Hizbollah and its allies in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, Sadr in Iraq, and Iran itself:

"The extraordinary buildup of European naval and military strength in and around Lebanon’s shores is way out of proportion for the task the European contingents of expanded UNIFIL have undertaken: to create a buffer between Israel and Hizballah.

Close investigation by DEBKAfile’s military and intelligence sources discloses that “Lebanese security” and peacemaking is not the object of the exercise. It is linked to the general anticipation of a military clash between the United States and Israel, on one side, and Iran and possibly Syria on the other, some time from now until November

This expectation has brought together the greatest sea and air armada Europe has ever assembled at any point on earth since World War II: two carriers with 75 fighter-bombers, spy planes and helicopters on their decks; 15 warships of various types – 7 French, 5 Italian, 2-3 Green, 3-5 German, and five American; thousands of Marines – French, Italian and German, as well as 1,800 US Marines.

It is improbably billed as support for a mere 7,000 European soldiers who are deployed in Lebanon to prevent the dwindling Israeli force of 4-5,000 soldiers and some 15-16,000 Hizballah militiamen from coming to blows as well as for humanitarian odd jobs.

A Western military expert remarked to DEBKAfile that the European naval forces cruising off Lebanese shores are roughly ten times as much as the UNIFIL contingents require as cover, especially when UNIFIL’s duties are strictly non-combat. After all, none of the UN contingents will be engaged in disarming Hizballah or blocking the flow of weapons incoming from Syria and Iran.

So, if not for Lebanon, what is this fine array of naval power really there for?

First, according to our military sources, the European participants feel the need of a strong naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean to prevent a possible Iranian-US-Israeli war igniting an Iranian long-range Shahab missile attack on Europe; second, as a deterrent to dissuade Syria and Hizballah from opening a second front against American and Israel from their eastern Mediterranean coasts.

Numbers alone do not do justice to the immense operational capabilities and firepower amassed opposite Lebanon. Take first the three fleet flagships.

From France’s nuclear-powered 38,000-ton Charles De Gaulle carrier (see insignia), 40 Rafale M fighter craft whose range is 3,340 km can take off at intervals of 30 seconds. The ship also carries three E-2C Hawkeye surveillance craft. The combat control center of the French carrier can handle 2,000 simultaneous targets. The carrier leads a task fore of 7 warships carrying 2,800 French Marines.

Charles De Gaulle s also a floating logistics center operating water desalination plants for 15,000 men and enough food to feed an army for 90 days.

The USS Mount Whitney has the most sophisticated command and control suite in the world. Like the French Charles De Gaulle , it exercises command over a task force of 1,800 sailors, Marines, Air force medical and other personnel serving aboard the USS Barry, the USS Trenton , HSV Swift and USNS Kanawha .

f#L!GaribaldiGiuseppeC 551.jpg" align="left" border="0" hspace="10" vspace="5">

The new European naval concentration tops up the forces which permanently crowd the eastern Mediterranean: the Italian-based American Sixth Fleet, some 15 small Israeli missile ships and half a dozen submarines and the NATO fleet of Canadian, British, Dutch, German, Spanish, Greek and Turkish warships. They are on patrol against al Qaeda (which is estimated to deploy 45 small freighters in the Mediterranean and Indian Ocean). The British have permanent air and sea bases in Cyprus.

This vast force’s main weakness, according to DEBKAfile’s military sources, is that it lacks a single unified command. A sudden flare-up in Lebanon, Syria or Iran could throw the entire force into confusion.

On paper, it has three commanders:

1. French General Alain Pellegrini is the commander of the expanded UNIFIL ground, naval and air force in Lebanon. In February 2007, he hands over to an Italian general who leads the largest of the European contingents of 3,000 men. It is hard to see France agreeing to place its prestigious Charles De Gaulle flagship under non-French command.

2. The American forces opposite Lebanese shores are under direct US command. Since the October 1993 debacle of an American peace force under the UN flag in Somalia, Washington has never again placed its military under UN command. (There is no American contingent in the UNIFIL ground force either.)

In other words, USS Mount Whitney , while serving the European fleets as their operational and intelligence nerve center will stay under the sole command of Vice Admiral Stufflebeem in all possible contingencies.

3. Similarly, the NATO fleet will remain under NATO command, and Israel’s air and naval units will take their orders from Israeli Navy Headquarters in Haifa and the General Staff in Tel Aviv.

The naval Babel piling up in the eastern Mediterranean may therefore find itself at cross purposes when action is needed in an armed conflict. Iran, Syria and Hizballah could be counting on this weakness as a tactical asset in their favor."

No comments: