At the outset of Bush's second term, Vice President Dick Cheney dropped a
bombshell. He hinted, in no uncertain terms, that Iran was "right at the top of
the list" of the rogue enemies of America, and that Israel would, so to speak,
"be doing the bombing for us", without US military involvement and without us
putting pressure on them "to do it":
"One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being
asked... Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is
the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let
the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards,"
(quoted from an MSNBC Interview Jan 2005)
Israel is a Rottweiler on a leash: The US wants to "set Israel loose" to
attack Iran < http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/AVN502A.html
> . Commenting the Vice President's assertion, former National Security
adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in an interview on PBS, confirmed with some
apprehension, yes: Cheney wants Prime Ariel Sharon to act on America's behalf
and "do it" for us:
"Iran I think is more ambiguous. And there the issue is certainly not
tyranny; it's nuclear weapons. And the vice president today in a kind of a
strange parallel statement to this declaration of freedom hinted that the
Israelis may do it and in fact used language which sounds like a justification
or even an encouragement for the Israelis to do it."
The foregoing statements are misleading. The US is not "encouraging
Israel". What we are dealing with is a joint US-Israeli military operation to
bomb Iran, which has been in the active planning stage for more than a year. The
Neocons in the Defense Department, under Douglas Feith, have been working
assiduously with their Israeli military and intelligence counterparts, carefully
identifying targets inside Iran ( Seymour Hersh, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/HER501A.html
Under this working arrangement, Israel will not act unilaterally, without a
green light from Washington. In other words, Israel will not implement an attack
without the participation of the US.
Covert Intelligence Operations: Stirring Ethnic Tensions in Iran
Meanwhile, for the last two years, Washington has been involved in covert
intelligence operations inside Iran. American and British intelligence and
special forces (working with their Israeli counterparts) are involved in this
"A British intelligence official said that any campaign against Iran would
not be a ground war like the one in Iraq. The Americans will use different
tactics, said the intelligence officer. 'It is getting quite scary.'" (Evening
Standard, 17 June 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/FOX306A.html
Bush advisers believe that the "Iranian opposition movement" will unseat
the Mullahs. This assessment constitutes a gross misjudgment of social forces
inside Iran. What is more likely to occur is that Iranians will consistently
rally behind a wartime government against foreign aggression. In fact, the
entire Middle East and beyond would rise up against US interventionism.
Retaliation in the Case of a US-Israeli Aerial Attack
Tehran has confirmed that it will retaliate if attacked, in the form of
ballistic missile strikes directed against Israel (CNN, 8 Feb 2005). These
attacks, could also target US military facilities in the Persian Gulf, which
would immediately lead us into a scenario of military escalation and all out
In other words, the air strikes against Iran could contribute to unleashing
a war in the broader Middle East Central Asian region.
Moreover, the planned attack on Iran should also be understood in relation
to the timely withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon, which has opened up a
new space, for the deployment of Israeli forces. The participation of Turkey in
the US-Israeli military operation is also a factor, following an agreement
reached between Ankara and Tel Aviv.
In other words, US and Israeli military planners must carefully weigh the
far-reaching implications of their actions.
Israel Builds up its Stockpile of Deadly Military Hardware
A massive buildup in military hardware has occurred in preparation for a
possible attack on Iran.
The (uranium coated) munitions are said to be more than "adequate to
address the full range of Iranian targets, with the possible exception of the
buried facility at Natanz, which may require the [more powerful] BLU-113 bunker
buster " < http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/gbu
Even if tactical nuclear weapons are not used by Israel, an attack on
Iran's nuclear facilities not only raises the specter of a broader war, but also
of nuclear radiation over a wide area:
"To attack Iran's nuclear facilities will not only provoke war, but it
could also unleash clouds of radiation far beyond the targets and the borders of
Iran." (Statement of Prof Elias Tuma, Arab Internet Network, Federal News
Service, 1 March 2005)
Moreover, while most reports have centered on the issue punitive air
strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, there are indications that the possibility
of a ground war is also being contemplated.
Iran's Military Capabilities
Despite its overall weaknesses in relation to Israel and the US, Iran has
an advanced air defense system, deployed to protect its nuclear sites; "they are
dispersed and underground making potential air strikes difficult and without any
guarantees of success." (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 2005). It has upgraded its
Shahab-3 missile, which can reach targets in Israel. Iran's armed forces have
recently conducted high-profile military exercises in anticipation of a US led
attack. Iran also possesses some 12 X-55 strategic cruise missiles, produced by
the Ukraine. Iran's air defense systems is said to feature Russian SA-2, SA-5,
SA-6 as well as shoulder-launched SA-7 missiles (Jaffa Center for Strategic
The US "Military Road Map"
The Bush administration has officially identified Iran and Syria as the
next stage of “the road map to war”.
Targeting Iran is a bipartisan project, which broadly serves the interests
of the Anglo-American oil conglomerates, the Wall Street financial establishment
and the military-industrial complex.
The broader Middle East-Central Asian region encompasses more than 70% of
the World's reserves of oil and natural gas. Iran possesses 10% of the world's
oil and ranks third after Saudi Arabia (25 %) and Iraq (11 %) in the size of its
reserves. In comparison, the US possesses less than 2.8 % of global oil
reserves. (See Eric Waddell, The Battle for Oil, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/WAD412A.html
The announcement to target Iran should come as no surprise. It is part of
the battle for oil. Already during the Clinton administration, US Central
Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated "in war theater plans" to invade both Iraq
"The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the
President's National Security Strategy (NSS) and the Chairman's National
Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central
Command's theater strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual
containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as those states pose a
threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own
citizens. Dual containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the
region without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM's theater strategy is
interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused
in the NSS, is to protect the United States' vital interest in the region -
uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil.
Main Military Actors
While the US, Israel, as well as Turkey are the main actors in this
process, a number of other countries, in the region, allies of the US, including
several Central Asian former Soviet republics have been enlisted. Britain is
closely involved despite its official denials at the diplomatic level. Turkey
occupies a central role in the Iran operation. It has an extensive military
cooperation agreement with Israel. There are indications that NATO is also
formally involved in the context of an Israel-NATO agreement reached in November
Planning The Aerial Attack on Iran
The June cut-off date should be understood. It does not signify that the
attack will occur in June. What it suggests is that the US and Israel are "in a
state of readiness" and are prepared to launch an attack by June or at a later
date. In other words, the decision to launch the attack has not been made.
Ritter's observation concerning an impending military operation should
nonetheless be taken seriously. In recent months, there is ample evidence that a
major military operation is in preparation:
1) several high profile military exercises have been conducted in recent
months, involving military deployment and the testing of weapons systems.
2) military planning meetings have been held between the various parties
involved. There has been a shuttle of military and government officials between
Washington, Tel Aviv and Ankara.
3) A significant change in the military command structure in Israel has
occurred, with the appointment of a new Chief of Staff.
4) Intense diplomatic exchanges have been carried out at the international
level with a view to securing areas of military cooperation and/or support for a
US-Israeli led military operation directed against Iran.
5) Ongoing intelligence operations inside Iran have been stepped up.
6) Consensus Building: Media propaganda on the need to intervene in Iran
has been stepped up , with daily reports on how Iran constitutes a threat to
peace and global security.
Timeline of Key Initiatives
In the last few months, various key initiatives have been taken, which are
broadly indicative that an aerial bombing of Iran is in the military
November 2004 in Brussels: NATO-Israel protocol: Israel's IDF delegation to
the NATO conference to met with military brass of six members of the
Mediterranean basin nations, including Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco,
Algeria and Mauritania. "NATO seeks to revive the framework, known as the
Mediterranean Dialogue program, which would include Israel. The Israeli
delegation accepted to participate in military exercises and "anti-terror
maneuvers" together with several Arab countries.
February 2005. Following the decision reached in Brussels in November 2004,
Israel was involved for the first time in military exercises with NATO, which
also included several Arab countries.
February 2005: Assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik
Hariri. The assassination, which was blamed on Syria, serves Israeli and US
interests and was used as a pretext to demand the withdrawal of Syrian troops
February 2005: Sharon fires his Chief-of-Staff, Moshe Ya’alon and appoints
Air Force General Dan Halutz. This is the first time in Israeli history that an
Air Force General is appointed Chief of Staff (See Uri Avnery, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/AVN502A.html
The appointment of Major General Dan Halutz to IDF chief of Staff is
considered in Israeli political circles as "the appointment of the right man at
the right time." The central issue is that a major aerial operation against Iran
is in the planning stage, and Maj General Halutz is slated to coordinate the
aerial bombing raids on Iran. Halutz's appointment was specifically linked to
the Iran agenda. "As chief of staff, he will in the best position to prepare the
military for such a scenario."
March 2005 NATO's Secretary General was in Jerusalem for follow-up talks
with Ariel Sharon and Israel's military brass, following the joint NATO-Israel
military exercise. These military cooperation ties are viewed by the Israeli
military as a means to "enhance Israel's deterrence capability regarding
potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and Syria." The premise underlying
NATO-Israel military cooperation is that Israel is under attack:
"The more Israel's image is strengthened as a country facing enemies who
attempt to attack it for no justified reason, the greater will be the
possibility that aid will be extended to Israel by NATO. Furthermore, Iran and
Syria will have to take into account the possibility that the increasing
cooperation between Israel and NATO will strengthen Israel's links with Turkey,
also a member of NATO. Given Turkey's impressive military potential and its
geographic proximity to both Iran and Syria, Israel's operational options
against them, if and when it sees the need, could gain considerable strength. "
(Jaffa Center for Strategic Studies, http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v7n4p4Shalom.html
The Israel-NATO protocol is all the more important because it obligates
NATO to align itself with the US-Israeli plan to bomb Iran, as an act of self
defense on the part of Israel. It also means that NATO is also involved in the
process of military consultations relating to the planned aerial bombing of
Late March 2005: News leaks in Israel indicated an "initial authorization"
by Prime Minster Ariel Sharon of an Israeli attack on Iran's Natanz uranium
enrichment plant "if diplomacy failed to stop Iran's nuclear program". (The
Hindu, 28 March 2005)
March-April 2005: The Holding in Israel of Joint US-Israeli military
exercises specifically pertaining to the launching of Patriot missiles.
US Patriot missile crews stationed in Germany were sent to Israel to
participate in the joint Juniper Cobra exercise < http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jsource/US-Israel/junipe
> with the Israeli military. The exercise was described as routine and
"unconnected to events in the Middle East": "As always, we are interested in
implementing lessons learned from training exercises." (UPI, 9 March
April 2005: Donald Rumsfeld was on an official visits to Iraq, Afghanistan,
Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. His diplomatic endeavors were described by
the Russian media as "literally circling Iran in an attempt to find the best
bridgehead for a possible military operation against that country."
In Baku, Azerbaijan Rumsfeld was busy discussing the date for deployment of
US troops in Azerbaijan on Iran's North-Western border. US military bases
described as "mobile groups" in Azerbaijan are slated to play a role in a
military operation directed against Iran.
Azerbaijan is a member of GUUAM < http://www.guuam.org/
>, a military
cooperation agreement with the US and NATO, which allows for the stationing of
US troops in several of the member countries, including Georgia, Uzbekistan and
Azerbaijan. The stated short term objective is to "neutralize Iran". The longer
term objective under the Pentagon's "Caspian Plan" is to exert military and
economic control over the entire Caspian sea basin, with a view to ensuring US
authority over oil reserves and pipeline corridors.
During his visit in April, Rumsfeld was pushing the US initiative of
establishing "American special task forces and military bases to secure US
influence in the Caspian region:
"Called Caspian Watch, the project stipulates a network of special task
forces and police units in the countries of the regions to be used in
emergencies including threats to objects of the oil complex and pipelines.
Project Caspian Watch will be financed by the United States ($100 million). It
will become an advance guard of the US European Command whose zone of
responsibility includes the Caspian region. Command center of the project with a
powerful radar is to be located in Baku." ( Defense and Security Russia, April
Rumsfeld's visit followed shortly after that of Iranian President Mohammad
Khatami's to Baku.
April 2005: Iran signs a military cooperation with Tajikistan, which
occupies a strategic position bordering Afghanistan's Northern frontier.
Tajikistan is a member of "The Shanghai Five" military cooperation group, which
also includes Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. Iran also has economic
cooperation with Turkmenistan.
Mid April 2005: Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets George W Bush at
his Texas Ranch. Iran is on the agenda of bilateral talks. More significantly,
the visit of Ariel Sharon was used to carry out high level talks between US and
Israeli military planners pertaining to Iran.
Late April 2005. President Vladmir Putin is in Israel on an official visit.
He announces Russia decision's to sell short-range anti-aircraft missiles to
Syria and to continue supporting Iran's nuclear industry. Beneath the gilded
surface of international diplomacy, Putin's timely visit to Israel must be
interpreted as "a signal to Israel" regarding its planned aerial attack on
Late April 2005: US pressure in the International Atomic Energy Agency
(IAEA) has been exerted with a view to blocking the re-appointment of Mohammed
Al Baradei, who according to US officials "is not being tough enough on Iran..."
Following US pressures, the vote on the appointment of a new IAEA chief was put
off until June. These developments suggest that Washington wants to put forth
their own hand-picked nominee prior to launching US-Israeli aerial attacks on
Iran's nuclear facilities. (See VOA, http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-04-27-voa51.cfm
). (In February 2003, Al Baradei along with UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix
challenged the (phony) intelligence on WMD presented by the US to the UN
Security Council, with a view to justifying the war on Iraq.)
Late April 2005, Sale of deadly military hardware to Israel. GBU-28 Buster
Bunker Bombs: Coinciding with Putin's visit to Israel, the US Defence Security
Cooperation Agency ( http://www.dsca.osd.mil/
Defense) announced the sale of an additional 100 bunker-buster bombs produced by
Lockheed Martin to Israel. This decision was viewed by the US media as "a
warning to Iran about its nuclear ambitions."
The sale pertains to the larger and more sophisticated "Guided Bomb Unit-28
(GBU-28) BLU-113 Penetrator" http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/systems/munitions/gbu
(including the WGU-36A/B guidance control unit and support equipment). The
GBU-28 is described as "a special weapon for penetrating hardened command
centers located deep underground. The fact of the matter is that the GBU-28 is
among the World's most deadly "conventional" weapons used in the 2003 invasion
of Iraq, capable of causing thousands of civilian deaths through massive
Late April 2005- early May: Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in
Israel for follow-up talks with Ariel Sharon. He was accompanied by his Defense
Minister Vecdi Gonul, who met with senior Israeli military officials. On the
official agenda of these talks: joint defense projects, including the joint
production of Arrow II Theater Missile Defense < http://www.fas.org/spp/starwars/program/arrow.htm
> and Popeye II missiles. The latter also known as the Have Lite, are
advanced small missiles, designed for deployment on fighter planes. Tel Aviv and
Ankara decide to establish a hotline to share intelligence.
May 2005: Syrian troops scheduled to withdraw from Lebanon, leading to a
major shift in the Middle East security situation, in favor of Israel and the
The US has troops and military bases in Turkey, Pakistan, Azerbaijan,
Afghanistan, and of course Iraq.
In other words, Iran is virtually surrounded by US military bases. (see Map
below). These countries including Turkmenistan are members of part of NATO`s
partnership for Peace Program. < http://www.nato.int/issues/pfp/index.html
> and have military cooperation agreement with NATO.
In other words, we
are dealing with a potentially explosive scenario in which a number of
countries, including several former Soviet republics, could be brought into a US
led war with Iran. IranAtom.ru < http://iranatom.ru/indexen.html
>, a Russian based news and military analysis group has suggested, in this
"since Iranian nuclear objects are scattered all over the country, Israel
will need a mass strike with different fly-in and fly-out approaches - Jordan,
Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and other countries... Azerbaijan seriously fears
Tehran's reaction should Baku issue a permit to Israeli aircraft to overfly its
territory." (Defense and Security Russia, 12 April 2005).
The World is at an important crossroads.
The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which
threatens the future of humanity.
Iran is the next military target. The planned military operation, which is
by no means limited to punitive strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, is
part of a project of World domination, a military roadmap, launched at the end
of the Cold War.
Military action against Iran would directly involve Israel's participation,
which in turn is likely to trigger a broader war throughout the Middle East, not
to mention an implosion in the Palestinian occupied territories. Turkey is
closely associated with the proposed aerial attacks.
Israel is a nuclear power with a sophisticated nuclear arsenal. (See text
box below). The use of nuclear weapons by Israel or the US cannot be excluded,
particularly in view of the fact that tactical nuclear weapons have now been
reclassified as a variant of the conventional bunker buster bombs and are
authorized by the US Senate for use in conventional war theaters. ("they are
harmless to civilians because ther explosion is underground")
In this regard, Israel and the US rather than Iran constitute a nuclear
The planned attack on Iran must be understood in relation to the existing
active war theaters in the Middle East, namely Afghanistan, Iraq and
The conflict could easily spread from the Middle East to the Caspian sea
basin. It could also involve the participation of Azerbaijan and Georgia, where
US troops are stationed.
An attack on Iran would have a direct impact on the resistance movement
inside Iraq. It would also put pressure on America's overstretched military
capabilities and resources in both the Iraqi and Afghan war theaters. (The
150,000 US troops in Iraq are already fully engaged and could not be deployed in
the case of a war with Iran.)
In other words, the shaky geopolitics of the Central Asia- Middle East
region, the three existing war theaters in which America is currently, involved,
the direct participation of Israel and Turkey, the structure of US sponsored
military alliances, etc. raises the specter of a broader conflict.
Moreover, US military action on Iran not only threatens Russian and Chinese
interests, which have geopolitical interests in the Caspian sea basin and which
have bilateral agreements with Iran. It also backlashes on European oil
interests in Iran and is likely to produce major divisions between Western
allies, between the US and its European partners as well as within the European
Through its participation in NATO, Europe, despite its reluctance, would be
brought into the Iran operation. The participation of NATO largely hinges on a
military cooperation agreement reached between NATO and Israel. This agreement
would bind NATO to defend Israel against Syria and Iran. NATO would therefore
support a preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear facilities, and could take on a
more active role if Iran were to retaliate following US-Israeli air
Needless to say, the war against Iran is part of a longer term US military
agenda which seeks to militarize the entire Caspian sea basin, eventually
leading to the destabilization and conquest of the Russian Federation.
The Antiwar Movement
The antiwar movement must act, consistently, to prevent the next phase of
this war from happening.
This is no easy matter. The holding of large antiwar rallies will not in
itself reverse the tide of war.
High ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of the military
and the US Congress have been granted the authority to uphold an illegal war
What is required is a grass roots network, a mass movement at national and
international levels, which challenges the legitimacy of the military and
political actors, and which is ultimately instrumental in unseating those who
rule in our name.
War criminals occupy positions of authority. The citizenry is galvanized
into supporting the rulers, who are "committed to their safety and well-being".
Through media disinformation, war is given a humanitarian mandate.
To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war
machine (namely the production of advanced weapons systems) must be stopped and
the burgeoning police state must be dismantled.
The corporate backers and sponsors of war and war crimes must also be
targeted including the oil companies, the defense contractors, the financial
institutions and the corporate media, which has become an integral part of the
war propaganda machine.
Antiwar sentiment does not dismantle a war agenda. The war criminals in the
US, Israel and Britain must be removed from high office.
What is needed is to reveal the true face of the American Empire and the
underlying criminalization of US foreign policy, which uses the "war on
terrorism" and the threat of Al Qaeda to galvanize public opinion in support of
a global war agenda.
TEXT BOX: Israel's Nuclear
With between 200 and 500 thermonuclear weapons and a
sophisticated delivery system, Israel has quietly supplanted Britain as the
World's 5th Largest nuclear power, and may currently rival France and China in
the size and sophistication of its nuclear arsenal. Although dwarfed by the
nuclear arsenals of the U.S. and Russia, each possessing over 10,000 nuclear
weapons, Israel nonetheless is a major nuclear power, and should be publicly
recognized as such.
Today, estimates of the Israeli nuclear arsenal range from a minimum of 200
to a maximum of about 500. Whatever the number, there is little doubt that
Israeli nukes are among the world's most sophisticated, largely designed for
"war fighting" in the Middle East. A staple of the Israeli nuclear arsenal are
"neutron bombs," miniaturized thermonuclear bombs designed to maximize deadly
gamma radiation while minimizing blast effects and long term radiation- in
essence designed to kill people while leaving property intact.(16) Weapons
include ballistic missiles and bombers capable of reaching Moscow...
The bombs themselves range in size from "city busters" larger than the
Hiroshima Bomb to tactical mini nukes. The Israeli arsenal of weapons of mass
destruction clearly dwarfs the actual or potential arsenals of all other Middle
Eastern states combined, and is vastly greater than any conceivable need for
Many Middle East Peace activists have been reluctant to discuss, let alone
challenge, the Israeli monopoly on nuclear weapons in the region, often leading
to incomplete and uninformed analyses and flawed action strategies. Placing the
issue of Israeli weapons of mass destruction directly and honestly on the table
and action agenda would have several salutary effects. First, it would expose a
primary destabilizing dynamic driving the Middle East arms race and compelling
the region's states to each seek their own "deterrent."
Second, it would expose the grotesque double standard which sees the U.S.
and Europe on the one hand condemning Iraq, Iran and Syria for developing
weapons of mass destruction, while simultaneously protecting and enabling the
principal culprit. Third, exposing Israel's nuclear strategy would focus
international public attention, resulting in increased pressure to dismantle its
weapons of mass destruction and negotiate a just peace in good faith. Finally, a
nuclear free Israel would make a Nuclear Free Middle East and a comprehensive
regional peace agreement much more likely. Unless and until the world community
confronts Israel over its covert nuclear program it is unlikely that there will
be any meaningful resolution of the Israeli/Arab conflict, a fact that Israel
may be counting on as the Sharon era dawns.