Dog Brothers Public Forum
Return To Homepage
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 24, 2014, 03:51:38 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
Welcome to the Dog Brothers Public Forum.
83390 Posts in 2260 Topics by 1067 Members
Latest Member: Shinobi Dog
* Home Help Search Login Register
+  Dog Brothers Public Forum
|-+  Politics, Religion, Science, Culture and Humanities
| |-+  Politics & Religion
| | |-+  Iran
« previous next »
Pages: 1 ... 7 8 [9] 10 11 ... 15 Print
Author Topic: Iran  (Read 133619 times)
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #400 on: October 12, 2011, 01:43:38 PM »

Lets discuss Iran's planned hit on US soil.  Some initial questions:

a) What consequences for Saudi strategy?  Rapprochement with Baraq?  Go for its own nuke program?

b) What should US do?

c) Krauthammer made what I thought was a powerful point.  Should Iran have succeeded in a hit on our soil, then once it achieves going nuke, there is an implication that they can sneak a nuke onto US soil.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #401 on: October 12, 2011, 01:54:48 PM »


Lets discuss Iran's planned hit on US soil.  Some initial questions:

a) What consequences for Saudi strategy?  Rapprochement with Baraq?  Go for its own nuke program?

The Saudis will use whomever they can to further their strategy. I doubt they see Buraq as their savior, given his tepid response to what constitutes an act of war from Iran. The House of Saud has been pursuing nukes for a while now, and given the growing relationship with China, will have them at some point.

b) What should US do?

Well, back when the Iranian students were protesting in the streets, it would have been nice for Buraq to do something to support Iranian freedom, but I guess since it would have hurt an islamist gov't, he couldn't do that. What should we do? Kill some mullahs/Quods Force scumbags. What will we do? Give them the New Black Panther Party pass.

c) Krauthammer made what I thought was a powerful point.  Should Iran have succeeded in a hit on our soil, then once it achieves going nuke, there is an implication that they can sneak a nuke onto US soil.

That's always been a concern, since 9/11 especially but we haven't secured the borders because of the various political agendas at play in this country.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #402 on: October 13, 2011, 11:46:42 AM »



By REUEL MARC GERECHT
There is still much to learn about the Iranian-directed plot to blow up the Saudi ambassador in a Washington, D.C., restaurant. But if the Justice Department's information is correct, the conspiracy confirms a lethal fact about Iran's regime: It is becoming more dangerous, not less, as it ages.

Since the 1989 death of Iran's revolutionary leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Western observers have hunted for signs of the end of the revolution's implacable hostility toward the United States. Signs have been abundant outside the ruling elite: Virtually the entire lay and much of the clerical intellectual class have damned theocracy as illegitimate, and college-educated youth (Iran has the best-educated public of any big Middle Eastern state) overwhelmingly threw themselves into the pro-democracy Green Movement that shook the regime in the summer of 2009.

But at the regime's apex—Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, his praetorian Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the clergy who've remained committed to theocracy—religious ideology and anti-Americanism have intensified.

The planned assassination in Washington was a bold act: The Islamic Republic's terrorism has struck all over the globe, and repeatedly in Europe, but it has spared the U.S. homeland because even under Khomeini Iran feared outraged American power.

 What did Iran's top officials know about the Washington assassination plan? Was it just another in a series of half-baked plots by U.S. radicals led on by the FBI, or a bigger international incident? Evan Perez has details on The News Hub.
.Iran truck-bombed the U.S. Embassy and Marine barracks in Lebanon during Reagan's presidency, calculating correctly that the Lebanese operational cover deployed in that attack would be sufficient to confuse U.S. retaliation. But the accidental shoot-down of Iran-Air flight 655 in July 1988 by the USS Vincennes unquestionably contributed to Tehran's determination that the White House had allied itself with Saddam Hussein and therefore the Iran-Iraq war was lost. The perception of American power proved decisive.

Enlarge Image

CloseEPA
 
Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei
.One of the unintended benefits of America being at the center of Iran's conspiracies is that the U.S. is often depicted as devilishly powerful. Running against that fear, however, is another theme of the revolution: America's inability to stop faithful Iranians from liberating their homeland—the entire Muslim world—from Western hegemony and cultural debasement. American strength versus American weakness is a dangerous dance that plays out in the Islamist mind.

Within Iran, this interplay has led to cycles of terrorism of varying directness against the U.S. Khamenei, who many analysts have depicted as a cautious man in foreign affairs, has been a party—probably the decisive party—to every single terrorist operation Iran has conducted overseas since Khomeini's death.

The once-humble, unremarkable Khamenei—who was given the office of supreme leader in 1989 by the once-great Don Corleone of clerical politics, Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (who assumed Iran's presidency that same year)—has become the undisputed ruler of Iran.

It was Khamenei who massively increased the military and economic power of the Revolutionary Guards Corps while often playing musical chairs with its leadership. The supreme leader has turned a fairly consensual theocracy into an autocracy where all fear the Guards and the Intelligence Ministry, which is also now under the supreme leader's control. He has squashed Rafsanjani, his vastly more intelligent, erstwhile ally. He has brutalized the pro-democracy Green Movement into quiescence. And he has so far outplayed his independent and stubborn president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose populist-nationalist-Islamist pretensions annoy the supreme leader and outrage many religious conservatives.

Khamenei's growing power and sense of mission have manifested themselves abroad. He has unleashed the Guards Corps against the U.S. and its allies in Iraq and Afghanistan. As the Treasury Department recently revealed, Tehran has ongoing ties to al Qaeda. These date back at least a decade, as the 9/11 Commission Report depicted Iranian complicity in the safe travel of al Qaeda operatives and chronicled al Qaeda contact with the Lebanese Hezbollah and Tehran's éminence grise to Arab Islamic radicals, the late Imad Mughniyeh.

Related Video
 Matt Kaminski on Iranian plots to bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington D.C.
..Many in Washington and Europe would like to believe that the assassination plot in Washington came from a "faction" within the Iranian government—that is, that Khamenei didn't order the killing and Washington should therefore be cautious in its response. But neither this analysis nor the policy recommendation is compelling.

Lord help Qasim Soleimani—the man who likely has control over the Revolutionary Guards' elite dark-arts Qods Force, which apparently orchestrated this assassination scheme—if he didn't clear the operation with Khamenei. He will lose his job and perhaps his life. For 20 years, Khamenei has been constructing a political system that is now more submissive to him than revolutionary Iran was to Khomeini.

And for 20 years the U.S. has sent mixed messages to the supreme leader. Under both Democratic and Republican presidents, the U.S. has tried to reach out to Iran, to engage it in dialogue that would lead away from confrontation. For Khamenei such attempts at engagement have been poisonous, feeding his profound fear of a Western cultural invasion and the destruction of Islamic values.

This deeply offensive message of peace has alternated with American-led wars against Iraq and Afghanistan. These wars spooked Tehran, radiating American strength for a time, but such visions ebbed.

Khamenei probably approved a strike in Washington because he no longer fears American military might. Iran's advancing nuclear-weapons program has undoubtedly fortified his spine, as American presidents have called it "unacceptable" yet done nothing about it. And neither George W. Bush nor Barack Obama retaliated against Iran's murderous missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.

President Obama has clearly shown he wants no part—or any Israeli part—in a preventive military strike against Iran's nuclear sites. And Mr. Obama has pulled almost all U.S. troops out of Iraq and clearly wants to do the same in Afghanistan. Many Americans may view that as a blessing, but it is also clearly a sign that Washington no longer has the desire to maintain hegemony in the Middle East.

That's an invitation to someone like Khamenei to push further, to attack both America and Iran's most detested Middle Eastern rival, the virulently anti-Shiite Saudi Arabia. In the Islamic Republic's conspiracy-laden world, the Saudis are part of the anti-Iranian American Arab realm, which is currently trying to down Iran's close ally, Bashar al-Assad's Syria, and squash the Shiites of Bahrain. Blowing up the Saudi ambassador in Washington would be an appealing counterstroke against the two foreign forces that Khamenei detests most.

The Obama administration will be tempted to respond against Iran with further unilateral and multilateral sanctions. More sanctions aren't a bad idea—targeted sanctions against the Revolutionary Guards and the sale of gasoline made from Iranian crude can hurt Tehran financially. But they will not scare it. The White House needs to respond militarily to this outrage. If we don't, we are asking for it.

In the 1980s and '90s, the U.S. failed to take Secretary of State George Shultz's wise counsel after Khomeini's minions bombed us in Lebanon. We didn't make terrorism a casus belli, instead treating it as a crime, only lobbing a few missiles at Afghan rock huts and a Sudanese pharmaceutical plant. But we should treat it as a casus belli. The price we will pay now will surely be less than the price we will pay later.

Mr. Gerecht, a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #403 on: October 16, 2011, 05:45:02 PM »

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/one-way-war_595937.html?nopager=1

The One-Way War


Oct 24, 2011, Vol. 17, No. 06 • By LEE SMITH

Last week, federal authorities arrested Mansoor Arbabsiar for his involvement in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States and bomb the Saudi and Israeli embassies. Arbabsiar’s cousin, Gholam Shakuri, an official in the Quds Force, the military arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, was also indicted and remains at large in Iran. While the White House has been careful to suggest that the operations may have been plotted without the knowledge of the Iranian regime’s highest officials—namely, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei—it is highly improbable that a Quds Force project could go forward without sanction from the top.
 
It’s no wonder the Obama administration was reluctant at first to believe the evidence brought forth by the FBI and DEA. After all, engagement with the Islamic Republic has been Obama’s goal since before he assumed office. Even recently, Washington sought to establish a hotline with Tehran to prevent small episodes from blossoming into confrontation. Not surprisingly, the Iranians rejected the offer. Still, the notion that his potential dialogue partners plotted to kill an American ally in the nation’s capital, without any concern for American casualties, must be a bitter pill for the president to swallow.
 
Even as the administration has shown its evidence to U.S. lawmakers, foreign diplomats, and the press, however, a contrary theory has been building among former Western intelligence officials and policymakers as well as in various media and academic circles. It holds that the plot is too far-fetched to be true. The administration is playing wag the dog, say some. A tenured Ivy League academic hints that perhaps someone with an interest in seeing U.S.-Iranian relations deteriorate is behind the plot—by which he of course means Israel.

The Iranians, this perverse notion holds, are too “smart” to get tied up in a keystone cops scenario managed by a clumsy oaf with a prison record like Arbabsiar, a dual U.S.-Iranian national. Yet the belief that losers don’t run terrorist operations tends to ignore the evidence that those who employ terror as a political tool are by and large not the most clever or interesting people. And that belief is also based on a quasi-Orientalist fantasy that Iran’s leaders are way too skillful to get caught red-handed. After all, the Persians invented chess; as a culture of carpet weavers, they are the very exemplum of subtlety and patience, etc. And so, says one former U.S. intelligence official, Iran’s past terror projects “were very professional operations that used cutouts and had few Iranian fingerprints.”
 
Yet Iranian fingerprints were all over the arms shipments that the Israelis interdicted in 2002 when they stopped the Karine A from reaching Gaza, and in 2009 when they boarded the Syria and Hezbollah-bound Francorp. Most recently, it was the Turks who stopped passage of a plane loaded with Iranian weapons destined for Tehran’s allies. How “subtle” is that?
 
It is more accurate to say that many, including American intelligence officials, have tended to ignore the plentiful evidence of Iran’s handiwork. Happily, the authorities in Azerbaijan knew with whom they were dealing in 2008 when they captured Iranian and Hezbollah operatives before they were able to bomb the Israeli embassy in Baku. Same with the Turks and Egyptians, who in 2008 and 2009 rolled up Iranian and Hezbollah assets before they were able to avenge the assassination of Hezbollah’s liaison with the Quds Force, Imad Mugniyah.
 
Indeed the myth of the Islamic Republic’s genius has even lent its glow to Tehran’s allies, none more than Hezbollah. And yet over the span of some 30 years Iran has pumped billions of dollars into an organization now led by a man, Hassan Nasrallah, whose claims of a “divine victory” over Israel are belied by the fact that in the 2006 war Hezbollah lost perhaps a quarter of its frontline fighters, while the Shia community suffered so much damage that it fears nothing more than the prospect of another “divine victory.” Furthermore, by banking on Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, the Iranians are on the verge not only of losing their one Arab state ally, but also forfeiting Hezbollah’s supply line. Elsewhere in the region, the Iranians handed off a significant portion of their Iraq portfolio to Moktada al-Sadr, a man who has not served their interests well.
 
Nonetheless, those still inclined to believe that the terror plot against the United States sounds fishy because the Iranians can’t be this stupid can satisfy themselves by seeing it from the perspective of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Without having to resort to their most skillful operatives, the Quds Force took a shot at proving they have both the will and wherewithal to kill an American client in the U.S. capital without risking a thing. Let the skeptics doubt Iran’s hand if they like, the Revolutionary Guard must be thinking—is it any wonder these Americans will do nothing to protect their troops stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan from us?
 
It is one of the worst-kept secrets of post-9/11 U.S. Middle East policy that the Iranians and their proxies are responsible for many American casualties in the United States’ two regional wars. Both the Bush and Obama White Houses have been well aware of the camps across the Iranian border where Tehran’s Iraqi allies are trained in using the IEDs that have killed or maimed thousands of young Americans. And yet the last two administrations have shied away from taking the fight to the Iranians—who have shown no such hesitation in taking the fight to us.
 
Why would the Iranians fear American retaliation for plotting to attack the American homeland when all the evidence shows that Washington will look the other way no matter what Tehran does? The reality is that the Islamic regime is not clever or subtle and relies on nothing but brute force to ensure its rule domestically and project power externally. After oil, gas, and pistachios, all the Islamic Republic exports is terror.
 
The botched culture that the Islamic Republic has imposed on Iran does not produce deep thinkers and subtle strategists, but rather a nation in which drug addiction and alcoholism are rampant. The collapse of Iran’s birth rate over the last 20 years, from 7.0 to below replacement at 1.9, is the fastest decline ever recorded. The Islamic Republic is dying. And so is the supreme leader. We are witnessing a culture in its death throes, and its leaders mean to take as many people with it as possible—especially Americans. That’s why the Quds Force is zeroing in on the U.S. homeland.
 
For decades, U.S. officials have ignored every sign that the Islamic regime was making war against American citizens, diplomats, soldiers, interests, and allies. There was nothing subtle or clever about the regime-led chants of “Death to America.” Tehran’s campaign against us has always been out in the open. Last week it just got closer to home. If the Obama administration is going to prove reluctant to do anything about it in an election year, then Iran’s war against the United States should move to the top of any Republican candidate’s agenda. The Iranian regime’s 30-year war against us must end.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #404 on: October 21, 2011, 03:52:46 PM »

Stratfor

Russia canceled the delivery of the S-300 missile system to Iran because of a secret Russian deal with the United States, Israel and some European countries, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi said, Mehr news agency reported Oct. 21, citing Sajjadi’s interview with Fars News Agency. Sajjadi said the West promised not to attack Russia’s Bushehr nuclear power plant in exchange for the missile deal’s cancellation.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #405 on: October 25, 2011, 11:25:14 AM »

By FARNAZ FASSIHI
Iranian officials have delivered conflicting responses to U.S. allegations that Tehran plotted to assassinate Saudi Arabia's ambassador in Washington, in a new sign of a split among Iran's decision makers.

Washington has said all options are on the table to retaliate for the alleged plot, including military action and tougher sanctions on Iran's Central Bank—the only remaining conduit for the oil revenue that is the backbone of the Iranian regime's finances.

On Monday, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, Manssor Arbabsiar, pleaded not guilty in a U.S. District Court in Manhattan to criminal charges of hiring a U.S. undercover agent posing as a member of a Mexican drug cartel to murder the Saudi ambassador.

While senior Iranian officials have defiantly denied and ridiculed the U.S. allegations, Iranian diplomats have offered to help investigate, in a sign of concern that the fallout from the alleged plot could be worse for Tehran than longstanding accusations over its nuclear program.

How Iran weathers the allegations will depend in part on whether the faction advocating a confrontational tone wins over those supporting diplomacy.

Iran's conservatives, who now control the government, are divided between loyalists of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and supporters of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who favor less clerical control.

In the past, Iranian political factions have been able to unify against outside pressure, whereas internal cracks now make it difficult to present a consolidated front.

The first sign that Iran was struggling to devise an effective strategy to limit the damage from the accusation by U.S. officials on Oct. 11 came in the slow response by top officials.

It took six days for Iran's top two officials to comment on the alleged plot, an unusual lapse.

When they did respond, the two leaders ridiculed the charges with traditional revolutionary bombast.

Mr. Khamenei warned that Iran would respond harshly to any "illicit" actions by the U.S. Mr. Ahmadinejad, giggling and shrugging in an interview with al-Jazeera, refused any cooperation with U.S. investigators.

State-influenced Iranian news sources then followed the defensive effort by publishing accusations that the plot was cooked up by an opposition group.

But supporters of Mr. Ahmadinejad soon showed a more conciliatory tone. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said Iran was prepared to carefully examine the U.S.'s evidence and would conduct a "serious and patient" investigation, even if the charges were fabricated.

The statement by Mr. Salehi, an Ahmadinejad ally, reflected a leaning by the president to show some willingness to negotiate—at odds with Mr. Khamenei.

Iran's judiciary chief, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani, a critic of Mr. Ahmadinejad, said last week that he was appointing a special envoy to investigate alleged crimes against Muslims by the U.S.

This rupture is on display almost on a daily basis, in domestic and foreign policy. The conservative-dominated parliament voted on Sunday to impeach the finance minister, a close ally of Mr. Ahmadinejad, over a $2.6 billion bank fraud that has roiled Iranian politics. The president has denied any wrongdoing by himself or his administration.

That split has also been seen with regard to international pressure over Iran's nuclear program. Mr. Ahmadinejad offered publicly, while in New York for the United Nations General Assembly in September, to start talks with the U.S.

Mr. Khamenei immediately shot down the idea, according to Iranian news reports.

The contradiction in responses stems from disagreements over how to deal with the West, analysts said.

Now, the prospect that the U.S. could pursue sanctions at the U.N. Security Council against Iran's central bank is a particular concern, though China and Russia have opposed such action.

"Iran's response [to the plot allegations] shows that they are very worried," said Hossein Bastani, a political analyst based in France who worked for the administration of President Mohammad Khatami. "Many officials are secretly wondering, 'What if this true?' And even if it isn't, the damage is already done."
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #406 on: October 28, 2011, 10:10:27 AM »

Not to worry Baraq will give a speech on this, right after he gives one on the ongoing purge of the Coptic Christians in Egypt:

By FIRUZ KAZEMZADEH
In some 40 years as a university professor, I have been privileged to teach students who went on to serve their people as senators, ambassadors, prominent scholars and even U.S. president. None of this would have been possible had I lived in my family's homeland of Iran. As a member of the Bahai faith, I would have been barred from teaching freely—and I might even have been imprisoned, as seven Bahai educators now are.

While many Iranian citizens are targets of repression by the current regime, the treatment of Bahais, the country's largest non-Muslim religious community, is a special case. Unlike Jews, Christians and Zoroastrians, who have certain limited rights under the Islamic Constitution, Bahais were declared unprotected infidels immediately following the Islamic Revolution of 1979.

Bahais have faced persecution in Iran since their religion was founded more than a century and a half ago, but it was never as systematic as in the last 30 years. Since the Islamic Revolution, more than 200 Bahai leaders have been put to death. The regime has outlawed Bahai institutions, confiscated their properties, desecrated their cemeteries, demolished their holy places. Bahais are subject to constant state-sanctioned pressure to recant their faith.

To stamp out that faith, Iranian Supreme leader Ali Khamenei approved the so-called Golpaygani memorandum in 1991. Photo copies describing plans to slowly strangle Iran's Bahai community were made public by the United Nations in 1992. One measure was to deny Bahais entry to universities, thereby impoverishing them intellectually and economically.

Bahais had already begun educating their youth, founding what became known as the Bahai Institute for Higher Education in 1987. In Tehran and beyond, Bahai professors—unemployable elsewhere because of their membership in what the mullahs called "the deviant sect"—taught languages, biological sciences, civil engineering, literature and even music. Classes were held in private homes, labs were set up in garages, and the Internet eventually provided access to resources abroad.

Enlarge Image

CloseAFP/Getty Images
 
Members of the Bahai religion demonstrate in Rio de Janeiro in June for the release of seven Bahai prisoners.
.The institute avoided teaching about the Bahai faith or other religions, thus avoiding the possible accusation of proselytizing. It operated quietly but not secretly: No enterprise of such size—with thousands of students and hundreds of faculty—could be secret. No law prohibited instruction in languages, sciences, accounting and the like, so the institute didn't violate the letter or spirit of any law.

The institute's success frustrated the government. In spite of constant harassment, it achieved academic standards equal to or higher than those of state universities and was frequently recognized by foreign universities that admitted its students into masters and doctoral programs.

In 1996 and 1998, the regime raided homes where classes were held and confiscated equipment. In the second attack, agents of the Ministry of Information arrested 36 faculty and declared the institute closed. The regime demanded that the 36 sign a pledge not to cooperate with the institute. Not one complied.

The regime's latest assault began on May 22 with raids on 39 homes. Months later, widespread arrests and interrogations of faculty, staff and students continue.

This month, Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran sentenced seven Bahai faculty members to a combined 30 years behind bars. Meanwhile, a senior lawyer of theirs, Abdolfattah Soltani, remains incarcerated under suspicious circumstances.

Such repression is extreme but not isolated—Iran's regime targets other minorities as well as women, intellectuals and others. This makes many Iranians feel solidarity with their Bahai fellow citizens.

In an eloquent open letter to the Bahai community in 2009, 243 academics, writers, artists and human rights activists proclaimed, "As Iranian human beings we are ashamed for what has been perpetrated upon the Bahais in the last century and a half in Iran." That year, demonstrators on the streets of Tehran shouted slogans supporting religious minorities, including Bahais. Even Grand Ayatollah Montazeri—once an enemy of the Bahais—issued a fatwa to the effect that Bahais have every right accorded to Iranian citizens.

The rights of Iran's Bahais cannot be separated from the human rights of the general population. That journalists, artists and activists languish in jails; that students are excluded from universities based on their religion; that seven Bahai leaders have been condemned to prison for 20 years and seven Bahai educators now face a similar fate; that all Bahais are virtual outlaws in their native land—it's all part of a single assault on human dignity. One hopes the rest of the world won't close its eyes.

Mr. Kazemzadeh is professor emeritus of history at Yale and a former commissioner on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #407 on: November 04, 2011, 08:27:13 PM »

After the assassination plot on US soil of the Saudi ambassador came to light, Team Baraq sounded very fierce. 

Working from memory, near the top of the options was going after the Iranian central bank.  This is was asserted would have serious, substantial, immediate consequences on the Iranian economy.

Well, I read to today that it turns out it would cause the price of oil to go up, , , , so, surprise!!! , , , we are going to do nothing.
 tongue
Logged
DougMacG
Power User
***
Posts: 6091


« Reply #408 on: November 04, 2011, 10:48:28 PM »

Interesting that if we produced our own energy we wouldn't have our hands tied trying to put sanctions on one of the world's worst terror supporting nations.  At least up to the final nuclear fallout we can say that our air and water was the cleanest.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #409 on: November 04, 2011, 10:59:21 PM »

Funny how Buraq the bloodthirsty gets weak when it's time to confront Iran.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #410 on: November 09, 2011, 08:28:37 AM »

The International Atomic Energy Agency is expected to unveil a report Wednesday on what it knows about Iran's efforts to develop nuclear weapons, and the early word is that it contains a few bombshells. But let's not overstate its significance. There's no scarcity of reliable information about Iran's nuclear programs, licit and illicit. The only question is whether the report will do much to end the current scarcity of Western will to do something meaningful to check them.

Start with what we already know about Iran's nuclear programs. In September, the IAEA came out with its umpteenth report on Iran.

It noted that Iran had enriched 4.5 tons of low-enriched uranium—sufficient, with further enrichment, for three or four bombs—and that a third of the uranium had been enriched in the last year alone. So much for the miracle of digital deliverance that was supposed to be the Stuxnet computer virus.

It noted that Iran had begun to deploy more advanced centrifuges, capable of enriching uranium at a significantly faster rate than the ones that it had acquired from Pakistani scientist A.Q. Khan. So much for the success of sanctions in shutting down Iran's underground network of nuclear-parts suppliers.

It noted that Iran had enriched 70.8 kilos of uranium to a 20% level, a significant step toward bomb-grade material, and that it was planning to triple production at its heavily fortified facility near the city of Qom. So much for the idea that Iran faces a critical shortage of 20% enriched uranium, or that a diplomatic overture by the West to supply it could check Tehran's nuclear efforts.

Finally, the report made reference to the agency's previous disclosures about the "possible military dimensions" of Iran's nuclear program, including "producing uranium metal . . . into components relevant to a nuclear device" and "missile re-entry vehicle redesign activities for a new payload assessed as being nuclear in nature." So much for the enabling fiction that was the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, which judged "with high confidence" that Iran "halted its nuclear weapons program" in the fall of 2003.

The 2007 NIE now joins a September 1962 NIE—which claimed, just a month before the Cuban Missile Crisis, that the Soviets were unlikely to station missiles on the island—in the intelligence community's long hall of infamy. But Wednesday's IAEA report should at least put to rest the intel debate about Iran's drive to build a bomb. What remains is the policy debate.

Such a debate needs to be clear about four things.

First, it needs to abandon the conceit that there is a third way between allowing Iran's nuclear drive to proceed effectively unhindered or to use military force to stop it. The Obama administration came to office seeking a diplomatic grand bargain with Tehran, only to be rebuffed by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. It then tried sanctions, which came up short in the way most sanctions efforts do. As for covert action, see above. A (bad) argument can be made that a nuclear Iran could be contained. But another round of diplomacy or sanctions guarantees failure, signals weakness, and emboldens the hardest of Iranian hardliners.

Second, the debate must recognize that time is no longer on the West's side: Further temporizing in the face of our choice of evils inevitably means that Iran will get to make the choice for us. Israel may soon have to forsake its own (conventional) military option as Iran moves its nuclear assets to hardened installations. The U.S. doesn't suffer from Israel's military limitations, but further delay only increases the complexity and uncertainties of any strike.

Third, a debate needs to weigh the inevitable unforeseen consequences of a military strike against the all-too-foreseeable consequences of a nuclear Iran. Among the former: more Iranian meddling in Iraq and Afghanistan (particularly as U.S. troops withdraw), efforts to shut down the Straits of Hormuz, and perhaps an opportunistic war with Israel. Among the latter: all of the above, except this time with the added security of a nuclear umbrella, as well as a nuclear proliferation death spiral involving Saudi Arabia, Turkey and soon-to-be Islamist Egypt. If you thought the Cold War was scary, imagine four or five nuclear adversaries in the world's must unstable region, each of them at daggers drawn with one another.

Finally, any debate must take into account what the West can do to hasten the regime's demise. Opponents of military strikes argue that they would help the regime consolidate power. Perhaps. But the regime seems to have succeeded in re-establishing its domestic grip without the alibi of foreign intervention. And it bears wondering what a nuclear Iran might do with its weapons if faced with a slow-motion revolt on the Syrian model. Gently into that good night is not this regime's way.

Those are the contours of a real debate. A final thought: What would a strike on Iran do for President Obama's re-election chances? Improve them, I should think. At least it would be one inarguable accomplishment on which to run.

=================
TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 8, 2011     STRATFOR.COM  Diary Archives

Iran's Nuclear Program and its Nuclear Option
Details and specifics of the forthcoming International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on the Iranian nuclear program continued to leak out over the weekend, with the formal report expected later this week. The growing rhetoric about Iran — including talk from certain Israeli and American corners about an air campaign against Iran — had already begun to intensify in anticipation of the report, which will say more explicitly than previous IAEA assessments that Iran is indeed actively pursuing a nuclear weaponization program.
“The counterexamples are countries — specifically, North Korea and Iran — that already have a compelling, non-nuclear deterrent.”
There is a cyclical nature to this rhetoric, and the correlation with the most harsh IAEA report on Iran to date is hard to get past. But while the latest IAEA report is certainly set to contain new, specific information about Iran’s program, there has been little serious doubt in recent years that Iran has continued to actively pursue nuclear weapons. The impending IAEA report’s overarching tenor is not news to anyone — though it provides plenty of opportunity to talk about Iran’s program, point fingers at Tehran and once again raise the specter of war — something even those mostly looking to mount pressure for more aggressive sanctions may do.
Nuclear weaponization programs by their nature require large, fixed infrastructure that must be connected to significant sources of power. The development of such programs — particularly in countries operating without access to key, export-controlled materiel — demands considerable investment over many years. Any serious movement down this path is vulnerable to detection, which is likely to lead to an attack in short order as Iraq found out in 1981 and Syria found out in 2007. Essentially, if a country desires a nuclear deterrent because it lacks any deterrent at all, then it is unlikely to be allowed the uninterrupted space and time to develop one.
The counterexamples are countries — specifically, North Korea and Iran — that already have a compelling, non-nuclear deterrent. That existent, non-nuclear deterrent discourages pre-emptive attacks against the country while its nuclear development efforts are in their most vulnerable stages. In the case of North Korea, Pyongyang has demonstrated a very sophisticated ability to escalate and de-escalate crises year after year, keeping itself at the center of the international agenda but not inviting physical attack. One element of this is Pyongyang’s deliberate cultivation of a perception of unpredictability — the idea the North Korean dictator may not behave rationally — which convinces international actors to give the regime a wide berth. The other is continued ambiguity. North Korea has made a career out of crossing international “red lines” and has helped soften the blow of crossing those lines by doing so ambiguously, particularly with nuclear tests that are not overtly, demonstrably successful. Yet North Korea has a large but unknown number of conventional artillery and artillery rocket batteries within range of Seoul. North Korea’s real “nuclear” option is opening fire with those batteries before they can possibly all be destroyed. And that is what ultimately keeps the international response to North Korea’s nuclear program in check: the unwillingness to trade a difficult and uncertain military attempt to address a crude, nascent nuclear program in exchange for Seoul.
Tehran has three key deterrents. First, for years, the American troop presence in Iraq, particularly after post-surge quelling of violence, remained vulnerable to Iranian-instigated attack by Tehran’s proxies and with weapons provided by Tehran (something Iran demonstrated quite unambiguously that it had the capacity to do in the form of the explosively formed penetrator, a particularly deadly form of improvised explosive device). That dynamic will remain, after American troops depart, in the form of American diplomats and contractors, who will be protected by a small army of private security contractors. Second, Iran’s ballistic missile arsenal can target both American and Israeli targets across the region – and many missiles will likely be loosed before all their mobile launchers can be pinpointed and destroyed.
But the third deterrent is the critical factor. Iran has for decades cultivated the ability to essentially conduct guerrilla warfare in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz. This is Iran’s real “nuclear” option. There are inherent vulnerabilities in such tight waters, in which Iran can bring to bear not just naval mines, but shore-based anti-ship missiles and small boat swarms. This threat might be manageable tactically (particularly if a massive U.S.-led air campaign surprised Iran), but even in the best-case scenario, no one can manage the markets’ reaction to even the hint of disruption to 40 percent of the world’s sea-borne crude.
This is the heart of the problem. Whether there are six key nuclear sites in Iran or 60 (and Iran presents a significant intelligence challenge in this regard), any attacker has to neutralize not just the nuclear targets and associated air defenses, but Iran’s dispersed and camouflaged military capabilities all along the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. U.S. participation was decisive in a far less sophisticated air campaign against Libya. In an Iran scenario where so much must be hit so quickly, the United States is the only country capable of even attempting to bring the necessary military strike capacity against Iran.
But even the optimistic scenario must anticipate the potential for an outcome reminiscent of the 1980s Tanker Wars. While the United States and Europe are focused on the global economic crisis (and particularly the euro crisis in Europe), they will want to avoid at all costs video of burning oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, which could panic already skittish markets. As long as that is the case, the prospect of a military strike on Iran is dim. And in any event, surprise is a key element for a successful strike on Iran. The moment Iran should feel the most secure is when Israeli rhetoric about war is at its peak.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #411 on: November 12, 2011, 01:00:24 AM »

http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4146150,00.html

Israeli officials: ElBaradei an Iranian agent

Senior state officials accuse former IAEA chairman of covering up for Islamic Republic during his term, allowing Iranians to move ahead with nuclear program while playing for time. 'He is a despicable person,' one of them says. El Baradei calls accusations 'false'; Iranian Foreign Ministry says Tehran ready to resume nuke talks 'with respect for our nation's rights'
Itamar Eichner

Senior Israeli officials said Tuesday night that the International Atomic Energy Agency report stating that Iran has been working on developing a nuclear weapon design proves that the former UN nuclear watchdog chairman "was an Iranian agent".

 

On Wednesday, ElBaradei rejected Israel's accusations and called them "false." His response was published on the website of the Egyptian daily al-Youm al-Saba'a.

 

The former IAEA chairman, Mohamed ElBaradei, is an Egyptian diplomat who even won the 2005 Nobel Peace Prize.



For years he defended the Iranian nuclear program, claiming that it was peaceful, thus allowing the Iranians to continue their activity with the nuclear watchdog's seal of approval.

 

According to one of the state officials, the new report published Tuesday proves "just how much he was working for the Iranians.

 

"He simply rescued Iran and was constantly busy covering up for them, causing serious damage by allowing the Iranians to fool the entire world and play for time. History may judge him as the person who helped Iran obtain a nuclear weapon.

 

 
"The things exposed now are not new. These are old things which were hidden and not published," the official added. "Now it turns out that ElBaradei led an active policy of concealment and disregard. This is very serious. He is a despicable person."

 

"ElBaradei didn't just mess us up, he messed up the entire sane world," added Uzi Eilam, former head of Israel's Atomic Energy Agency. "He was dishonest his entire term. He is the one who stopped the Security Council from imposing serious sanctions, providing the Iranians with precious time."

 

In an editorial published Wednesday, the British Daily Telegraph indirectly criticized ElBaradei. "Indeed, the IAEA has known for years that Tehran was building an atomic weapon, but has been reluctant to say so. This has made it more difficult to create a united front against the threat that a nuclear-armed Iran would pose to world peace," the article read.


 

Also on Wednesday, the Iranian Foreign Ministry said Tehran remains ready to engage in negotiations with world powers concerned about its nuclear program, but only if the other parties show it due respect.


 

"We have always announced that we are ready for positive and useful negotiations but, as we have mentioned repeatedly, the condition for those talks to be successful is that we enter those negotiations in a stance of equality and respect for nations' rights," Ramin Mehmanparast was quoted as saying by the website of Iran's Arabic language al-Alam television.
Logged
JDN
Power User
***
Posts: 2004


« Reply #412 on: November 12, 2011, 10:46:32 AM »

A final thought: What would a strike on Iran do for President Obama's re-election chances? Improve them, I should think. At least it would be one inarguable accomplishment on which to run.


"With the next White House election 13 months away, an Israeli attack on Iran is Obama's nightmare. It would be hard for a president to sell another conflict to a war-weary American public on top of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

There might be a temporary rallying round the flag but Obama would lose the Democratic left, the base he needs to get out and campaign for him.

That would be problematic for a president facing a tight election. But there is an even bigger problem: the impact of rising oil prices – an almost certain consequence of conflict – on the faltering US recovery."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/02/us-heading-war-iran-obama
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #413 on: November 12, 2011, 11:07:01 AM »

A final thought: What would a strike on Iran do for President Obama's re-election chances? Improve them, I should think. At least it would be one inarguable accomplishment on which to run.


"With the next White House election 13 months away, an Israeli attack on Iran is Obama's nightmare. It would be hard for a president to sell another conflict to a war-weary American public on top of Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya.

There might be a temporary rallying round the flag but Obama would lose the Democratic left, the base he needs to get out and campaign for him.

That would be problematic for a president facing a tight election. But there is an even bigger problem: the impact of rising oil prices – an almost certain consequence of conflict – on the faltering US recovery."

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/nov/02/us-heading-war-iran-obama

Agreed.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #414 on: November 12, 2011, 11:30:02 AM »

Iran testing a nuke, or lobbing them at Israel won't go any better for Buraq.

I though he was going to have a meeting without preconditions with Ahmanutjob and smooth everything out......

No teleprompters that speak Farsi?
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #415 on: November 17, 2011, 11:16:19 AM »

Calculating Iran's Next Move
Three days after explosions at an  Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) base near Tehran killed 17 people — including senior commander Brig. Gen. Hassan Moghaddam, a key figure in Iran’s ballistic missile program — Iranian officials have publicly held to the official line that the blast was accidental. Privately, however, they appear to be contemplating whether the blast was an act of sabotage worthy of response. In a eulogy posted on Fardanews on Tuesday, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said, “Moghaddam was unknown in the Revolutionary Guard. Our enemies knew him better than our friends. He is irreplaceable.”

“Though the geopolitical climate is working in Iran’s favor, Tehran has to be aware of possible pitfalls — especially in its covert battles against its adversaries. “

In an equally cryptic statement following the explosions, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak told Israeli military radio, “I don’t know the extent of the explosion, but it would be desirable if they multiply.” Regardless of whether it was involved in the incident, Israel has an interest in spreading the perception that the mountainous barriers of the Islamic republic are not impervious to Israeli covert operations. Though the circumstances of the blast leave open the possibility that it was accidental, there remains a strong chance that this was in fact a case of Israel pulling off a significant sabotage attack against the IRGC.

If so, we would expect to see Iran clamp down internally for a while to understand how such a significant failure in munitions handling could have occurred in the first place. At minimum this was a serious accident caused by the IRGC’s negligence; at most it was a breach of operational security by foreign infiltrators. The psychological impact of such a sabotage effort is just as critical as the physical elimination of the intended target. The worries caused over where along the line the breach occurred — and the time and resources spent trying to track that leak down while reinforcing security at other potential targets that may have been compromised — is a major drain on the victim and a major boon for the saboteur. This same type of impact could potentially be accomplished by a successful Israeli disinformation campaign to falsely claim credit for an accident and label it as an attack.

During Tehran’s period of introspection, Iran will also likely contemplate the much broader question of what barriers Iran could face as it pursues its strategic aims in the region. Iran’s strong position in Iraq is beyond doubt, as the United States is withdrawing its forces and leaving a power vacuum that Iran will fill. At the same time, Iran has maintained an effective deterrence strategy against a military strike — the most potent component of that strategy being Iran’s feared ability to disrupt 40 percent of the world’s seaborne crude through the Strait of Hormuz by unconventional military means. Simply put, there is little hiding the fact that the United States, Israel and the Gulf Cooperation Council states are struggling to develop an effective containment strategy against Iran.

Though the geopolitical climate is working in Iran’s favor, Tehran has to be aware of possible pitfalls — especially in its covert battles against its adversaries. The assassinations, kidnappings and defections of Iranian nuclear scientists in recent years help sketch the outlines of a U.S.-Israeli campaign designed to slow down Iran’s nuclear program. As part of that campaign, the United States and Israel appear to have focused much of their resources on developing cyberweapons like the Stuxnet worm. The political crisis in Syria further complicates matters for Iran by threatening Tehran’s strategic foothold in the Levant. As Turkey and the Arab League states watch Iran’s moves warily, they are more likely to view the crisis in Syria as an opportunity to break Iran’s arc of influence in the region — and will increasingly focus their efforts toward this end.
 As Iran becomes more confident in the region and asserts its influence more boldly, more clandestine efforts against the country are likely to intensify. Iran’s leadership will likely consider this dynamic when contemplating a potential response to the Nov. 12 explosions. STRATFOR has already been receiving indications from Hezbollah that the Shiite militant organization is readying its artillery rocket arsenal under orders from Tehran. Though Hezbollah and its Iranian proxies have a strategic interest in spreading such information to create the perception that Iran has a potent retaliatory option to ward off further attacks, Hezbollah’s actions in and beyond the region should be watched in the coming weeks. Iran could also deploy its covert capabilities in places like Bahrain, Iraq, the Palestinian territories and northern Yemen, but Tehran faces limitations in all these arenas, particularly in Iraq, where Iran does not want to give the United States any reason to push back its timetable for withdrawal.

Iran is not likely to respond quickly or rashly to this situation — it may not even respond at all. Following the February 2008 assassination of Imad Mughniyah, one of Hezbollah’s top commanders, Iran’s adversaries braced for a response that never came. Iran likely calculated that such a response was not worth the campaign of mutual retaliation that would have ensued. It remains unclear just how shell-shocked Iran’s leaders are from the Nov. 12 explosion, but if the blast was indicative of Israel’s covert reach into Iran, we would expect Iran to be expending a lot of energy in the coming weeks trying to recover from and repair what could have been a significant breach in its internal security apparatus.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #416 on: November 17, 2011, 02:53:04 PM »

till Iran has enough material for a nuclear "device".  1.5 years till it has several.  As John Bolton said, if anyone wonders how dangerous Iran is now only wonder how dangerous they will be with nuclear weapons.   I take this comment further to mock Erin Burnett's analysis the other night on the cable nanny network (CNN) about how much a war with Iran will cost per ground troop, bombs, etc. 

(With of course her conclusion that any war with Iran vis a vis Israel is nuts because the costs would be too great.)

One must ask, "how much will it cost the US after nuclear war between Israel and Iran and the total closing of the oil rich gulf becomes a distinct reality and not some cynic's fanciful nightmare?"

For Israel there is only one answer - military action.  The big and only question is will they need do it alone.  I can only pray Nato will help.  I refuse to hold my breath while doing so lest I lose it all.

****Israel squares up to Iran
That’s right, Iceman. I am dangerous
A game-changing report by the UN’s nuclear watchdog could be the prelude to a strike on Iran. Or maybe not.
Nov 12th 2011 | from the print edition
WESTERN governments have long been convinced that Iran is pursuing military objectives with its secretive nuclear programme. But until this week the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), jealous of its credibility as a non-political, science-led body, said it had no unambiguous proof of Iran’s intention to build a bomb. A report it published on November 8th still falls just short of that proof, but nonetheless marks a watershed.

The IAEA’s report says that it “has serious concerns regarding possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear programme. After assessing carefully and critically the extensive information available to it, the agency finds the information to be, overall, credible… that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”

A 12-page annexe offers a convincing narrative of Iran’s progress towards becoming a nuclear-weapons power. It says that Iran created computer models of nuclear explosions in 2008 and 2009 and conducted experiments on nuclear triggers. It says that the simulations focused on how shock waves from conventional explosives could compress the spherical fuel at the core of a nuclear device, which starts the chain reaction that ends in an explosion. The report goes on to state that Iran went beyond such theoretical studies and built a large containment vessel at its Parchin military base, starting in 2000, to test the feasibility of such explosive compression. It calls such tests “strong indicators of possible weapon development.”

Western intelligence sources believe that Iran now has enough highly enriched uranium to build, should it choose to do so, at least one nuclear weapon within a year and that this could be rapidly followed by several more. It is less clear whether Iran is capable of putting a miniaturised warhead on one of its Shahab 3 ballistic missiles, which have a range of 1,200 miles (1,900 km), but the IAEA suggests it has conducted experiments to that end.

The report, predictably rejected by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Iran’s president, will give new impetus to Western diplomatic efforts to tighten the UN Security Council’s sanctions regime. However, with China and Russia already saying that they will oppose any attempt to impose more punitive sanctions on Iran, there has also been fresh talk of resorting to military action, particularly from Israel.

Over the past fortnight, a number of articles have appeared in Israeli newspapers claiming that the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and the defence minister, Ehud Barak, have dusted off long-standing plans for a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Many Israeli analysts believe that the two men are capable of winning round more sceptical cabinet colleagues, and that once they have done so the leadership of the Israeli Defence Force will swallow its doubts, salute smartly and get on with an attack.

Those doubts are, however, well-grounded. Iran’s nuclear facilities are numerous and dispersed; several of them are sheltered underground and defended by modern short-range Russian missiles; there may even be some that the Israelis know nothing about. It is likely that an Israeli attack would concentrate on three fairly visible sites: the uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz (a hardened underground facility that would need to be hit several times); the heavy-water reactor at Arak; and the Russian-built light-water reactor at Bushehr.

By throwing in every military thing at its disposal, Israel might slow by a few years Iran’s progress towards acquiring the bomb. But there would be no guarantee of that, and it would be a near-certainty that Iran would react with missile attacks of its own, and by its well armed proxy forces: Hizbullah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza.

Why would Israel attack now when, for some of the reasons above, it has previously stayed its hand? There are several possible answers. The first is that Iran is rapidly moving centrifuges to its once-secret site at Fordow, buried deep inside a mountain and possibly invulnerable to attack by conventional weapons. Second, Syria’s internal chaos may take Iran’s most important regional ally out of the game. Third, the departure of American forces from Iraq removes both a focus for Iranian retaliation and a constraint on America. Fourth, if Messrs Netanyahu and Barak reckon that they need America’s military might to complete what they start, there may be no better combination to ensure that than a politically weak president whose Republican opponents have made unquestioning support for Israel a wedge issue a year before a presidential election.****
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #417 on: November 17, 2011, 03:02:22 PM »

"till Iran has enough material for a nuclear "device".  1.5 years till it has several."

These are SWAG estimates. Also, this assumes they don't have weapons grade material from the NorKs, Pakistan or some other source.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #418 on: November 17, 2011, 03:05:19 PM »

Although nearly all public figures have been the same stupid fools.  More equivicating, denials, and delays, excuses, grandstanding, senseless boring repetitive and laughable talk of we must make sanctions stronger, get China and Russia on board, make Iran into a pariah....  Did I hear Romney is the first national level politician to come out and make it clear military action IS on the table?   Apparantly Iran has a system within a moutain (where was NORAD in Colorado?) that is beyond the reach conventional military means.  Folks Iranian leaders cannot make their intentions any clearer.  All I can say is Thank God Israel has leaders with real guts.  Far more than any American politician all of whom have been denying, ignoring, and putting off any honest assesment of what is going on.  That includes that charade of "smart power" Hillary Clinton.  BTW, one cannot help notice the greater public visibility of Chelsea.  Obvioulsy, this is for her eventual run for office.   I don't know though, she couldn't possibly be as obnoxious as her parents, or could she?

****Nuclear Iran, anxious Israel
The world needs to be much tougher on Iran, but an Israeli attack would still be a disaster
Nov 12th 2011 | from the print edition

THE debate about timelines is almost over. This week’s report on Iran’s nuclear programme by the UN’s watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), is its most alarming yet. Although no “smoking gun” proves beyond doubt that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, the evidence gathered in a 12-page annex is hard to interpret in any other way.

Concerted efforts by Western intelligence agencies and the Israelis to sabotage the Iranian programme have been less effective than was previously believed. Iran has already begun moving part of its uranium-enrichment capacity to Fordow, a facility buried deep within a mountain near Qom. Intelligence sources estimate that if Iran opted to “break out” from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), it could have at least one workable weapon within a year and a few more about six months after that. Iran’s leaders may not choose that path. But what happens next depends less on Iran’s technical or industrial capabilities than on politics. For the time being at least, ambiguity almost certainly serves Iran’s purposes better than a confrontation. But in Israel, talk of a pre-emptive attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities is increasing.

Publicly, Israel has stuck to its well-worn line that no option should be ruled out. But well-placed leaks suggest that the prime minister, Binyamin Netanyahu, and his defence minister, Ehud Barak, are exploring the possibility of a pre-emptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. Their cabinet colleagues seem less persuaded and Israel’s powerful military and intelligence establishment is against a strike. Polls show that Israelis are split on the issue. But Mr Netanyahu is determined not to go down in history as the prime minister who allowed Israel to become threatened by a hostile, regional nuclear power.

Rising fear, rising danger

The Israelis’ anxiety is understandable. They fear a theocratic regime that embraces the Shia tradition of martyrdom may not be deterred by a nuclear balance of terror. For a country as small as Israel, even a small-scale nuclear attack could be an existential threat. Two of Mr Netanyahu’s predecessors took action, against Iraq in 1981 and Syria in 2007, to prevent just such a threat; and it worked. The opportunity to attack Iran is now, before it is too late—or so the argument goes in many Israeli households.

Yet the arguments against an attack are still overwhelming, even for Israel. A sustained bombing campaign would take weeks and set off a firestorm in the Middle East, with Iran counter-attacking Israel through its proxies. It would do nothing to help regime change in Tehran. The economic consequences could be catastrophic. And to what end? A successful campaign would still only delay Iran, not stop it. The technical difficulties for Israel’s armed forces of carrying out such a broad mission over such a long time are immense. Indeed, the suspicion is that Mr Netanyahu would be betting that what Israel started, America would feel forced to finish.

Barack Obama should make it very clear to Mr Netanyahu that he would not do that. At the same time, he should pursue two courses: pushing sanctions, on the one hand, and preparing for a nuclear-armed Iran on the other.

So far, attempts to impose punitive sanctions have fallen short. Russia and China (Iran’s biggest trading partner) have refused to support efforts at the UN Security Council to beef up the sanctions regime, for instance by limiting Iran’s imports of refined petroleum or targeting the activities of its central bank. Yet the West should not give up the effort: there is a (slim) possibility that, as the prospect of an Iranian bomb and an Israeli strike draw near, Russia and China might shift their positions.

If Iran does not halt its nuclear programme, its rulers should expect their country to be treated as an international pariah. That means not just pushing for more serious sanctions, but also stepping up the covert campaign to disrupt Iran’s nuclear facilities. It also means preparing for the day when Iran deploys nuclear weapons. To that end, America must demonstrate to its allies who feel threatened by Iran—not just Israel, but Turkey, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states too—that its commitment to extending nuclear deterrence to them is as firm as it was to Europe at the height of the cold war. America must also be willing to make available to its allies advanced ballistic missile defences.

Iran must be made to understand that owning nuclear weapons is a curse for it rather than a blessing. And Israel must be persuaded that striking Iran would be far more dangerous than living with its nuclear ambitions.****
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #419 on: November 17, 2011, 03:32:16 PM »

"Folks Iranian leaders cannot make their intentions any clearer.  All I can say is Thank God Israel has leaders with real guts.  Far more than any American politician all of whom have been denying, ignoring, and putting off any honest assesment of what is going on."

The problem with kicking the can down the road is eventually you run out of road. Israel doesn't want to hit Iran, but it's having to choose between the best of bad options. This is why you see Israel making obvious moves telegraphing a Iran strike, in hopes of making the feckless west move rather than leave Israel out in the cold.

Normally Israel makes no mention of military strikes until the target is smoking rubble. The fact that they are sending obvious signals shows how desperate things are.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #420 on: November 17, 2011, 06:53:26 PM »

My understanding is that our military has VERY little enthusiasm for taking on Iran.  While certainly the dubious qualities of the current CiC may have more than a little to do with that, simple military options do not exist. 

As I have pointed out several times in the last few years, Iran now has some 50,000+ rockets on Israel's northern border; and Egypt's military might well be tempted to end-run its own domestic issues with a popular war on Israel's southern border at the same time.

As Stratfor has pointed out, the Iranians are not stupid and have been working asymetric options for the Gulf and the Straights of Hormuz.  How happy do you think the world is going to be when 40% of the world's supply suddenly gets shut off?  What lessons might China, which relies HEAVILY on Iran for its energy, take from the experience?  What might be the response of the US electorate? 

I'm not calling for doing nothing-- and I was glad to see a flash of testosterone from Mitt-- but let us not be glib here.

BTW I saw a report today that some new humongous bunder busters (35,000 pounds?!?) are being delivered to our military.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #421 on: November 17, 2011, 07:19:14 PM »

There are no good, easy options here. It would have been nice to see a "Persian Spring" end the Mullahocracy, but Buraq couldn't be bothered with them at the time, so that train left the station years ago.

So now, we have a narrow range of ugly options. They all suck, so we get to decide what sucks the least. Or we wait until Iran uncorks the nukes or Israel decides they can wait no longer.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #422 on: November 17, 2011, 07:48:40 PM »

It already may be too late for Israel.  Iran's program is dispersed and dug in.  As I mentioned Iran has the capability to strike hard at the Israeli homeland and the wrath that would be aimed Israel's way for getting 40% of the world's oil supply shut down would be massive-- including here in the US.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #423 on: November 17, 2011, 07:50:29 PM »

It already may be too late for Israel.  Iran's program is dispersed and dug in.  As I mentioned Iran has the capability to strike hard at the Israeli homeland and the wrath that would be aimed Israel's way for getting 40% of the world's oil supply shut down would be massive-- including here in the US.

Yup. It would be Glenn Beck-worst case scenario bad.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #424 on: November 18, 2011, 10:30:16 AM »

Everyone has been great at pointing out "no good options" for two decades.  We all know this.

Of course there are no "good" options.

We are talking Jews in Israel need to go to war for their survival OR simply be forced into exile.

That IS the choice they will soon have to face.

The strategy of waiting and hoping for some unforseen event that was going to change the dynamic in some unexpected happy way has NOT occured.  Time has run out.  Waiting has allowed Iran to dig in and build a major conglomerate in the region.

Indeed time has simply worked against the Israel's interest - not for it as hoped.

Again as Bolton has said if we think Iran is a problem now just wait till they get the nukes.

Iran will not neccessarily kill all the Jews (though probably desired).  They will give them an ultimatum.  Go back to Europe, America, and whereever else you came from, or can escape to, or, we will drive you all to the same place the Minoan empire went.

We should have become energy independent by now.  We could have been safe from the stranglehold Arab oil.

America has shown and lived weakness. Iran the whole time waited this out and stayed their course.

Instead we are a lousy country fighting over how early we can all retire, go on vacations earlier, see the sights, get onto diability, have the workers pay for all those who cannot work, choose not to work, etc.  The greatest generation is now a bunch of old hags crying about their medicare and ss payments.  The baby boomers are a bunch of 60s idiots talking peace and not war and giving this country away for ideals as one world government, cooperation and we are all part of the same family on one little tiny home called Earth.   The millineums are too stupid - look they voted for Brock - do I need say more about them. 

Israel has to decide to prepare for the very worst or essentially give up their country to avoid war.

Folks there is no other choice.  It is here and now.

I will vote for Romney.  His comments on this are the decisive factor for me.  I don't want to see Israel wiped out.

(Unless Newt can come up with something better)

Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #425 on: November 21, 2011, 11:31:18 AM »

I watched part of the interview.  Zakaria asked Barak if he thought Obama has demonstrated a strong undeniable commitment to Israel's security and has proven he is doing EVERYTHING he can.  Barak  hesitated, but then diplomatically said yes.  Zakaria could not control his obvious relief and glee that Ehud made the statement about the guy HE, Zakaria supports and advises.  His Harvard minority buddy.  For anyone to argue that Brock has demonstrated total commitment to Israel's security is ridiculous.
That said Ehud was surely trying not to offend the President by saying anything otherwise.  And Zakaria's immediate smirk at the answer surely gave it away.  There are many liberal Jews who will never stop suopporting their beloved Demcorat party.

In my opinion the time for action has already come AND GONE.

****The "time has come" to deal with Iran, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Sunday, refusing to rule out military action to curb the Islamic republic's nuclear ambitions.

Barak, speaking on CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS program, indicated that Israel's patience was wearing thin -- and provided an ominous response when asked about the growing speculation of an Israeli military strike.

"I don't think that that is a subject for public discussion," he said. "But I can tell you that the IAEA report has a sobering impact on many in the world, leaders as well as the publics, and people understand that the time has come."

The International Atomic Energy Agency published a report on November 8 saying there was "credible" information that Iran was carrying out "activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device."

On Friday the IAEA's board passed a resolution condemning Iran's nuclear activities, but stopped short of reporting Tehran to the United Nations and issuing no deadline for compliance.

"People understand now that Iran is determined to reach nuclear weapons," said Barak. There is "no other possible or conceivable explanation for what they have been actually doing. And that should be stopped."

The IAEA report -- based on "broadly, credible" intelligence, its own information and some input from Iran itself -- said that Iran had examined how to fit out a Shahab 3 missile, with a range capable of reaching Israel, with a nuclear warhead.

Tehran rejected the report "baseless," denies it is seeking nuclear weapons and maintains its nuclear activities are for civilian energy purposes.

Washington, Paris and London however jumped on the report as justification to increase pressure on Iran, already under four rounds of Security Council sanctions and additional US and European Union restrictions.****

..
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #426 on: December 04, 2011, 03:54:15 AM »

Pasting GM's post here as well:



http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/iran-showed-al-qaeda-how-bomb-embassies_610943.html?nopager=1

Iran Showed Al Qaeda How to Bomb Embassies


9:45 AM, Dec 3, 2011 • By THOMAS JOSCELYN

In a little noticed ruling on Monday, November 28, a Washington, D.C. district court found that both Iran and Sudan were culpable for al Qaeda’s 1998 embassy bombings. As is typical in state sponsorship of terrorism cases, neither Iran nor Sudan answered the plaintiffs’ accusations. But in a 45-page decision, Judge John D. Bates issued a default judgment. The court found that the “government of the Islamic Republic of Iran…has a long history of providing material aid and support to terrorist organizations including al Qaeda,” which “claimed responsibility for the August 7, 1998 embassy bombings.”




Judge Bates continued (citations omitted, emphasis added):

Iran had been the preeminent state sponsor of terrorism against United States interests for decades. Throughout the 1990s – at least – Iran regarded al Qaeda as a useful tool to destabilize U.S. interests. As discussed in detail below, the government of Iran aided, abetted and conspired with Hezbollah, Osama bin Laden, and al Qaeda to launch large-scale bombing attacks against the United States by utilizing the sophisticated delivery mechanism of powerful suicide truck bombs. Hezbollah, a terrorist organization based principally in Lebanon, had utilized this type of bomb in the devastating 1983 attacks on the U.S. embassy and Marine barracks in Beirut, Lebanon. Prior to their meetings with Iranian officials and agents, Bin Laden and al Qaeda did not possess the technical expertise required to carry out the embassy bombings in Nairobi and Dar es Salaam. The Iranian defendants, through Hezbollah, provided explosives training to Bin Laden and al Qaeda and rendered direct assistance to al Qaeda operatives. Hence, for the reasons discussed below the Iranian defendants provided material aid and support to al Qaeda for the 1998 embassy bombings and are liable for damages suffered by the plaintiffs.
 
The court further explained (citations omitted, emphasis added):
 

Following the meetings that took place between representatives of Hezbollah and al Qaeda in Sudan in the early to mid-1990s, Hezbollah and Iran agreed to provide advanced training to a number of al Qaeda members, including shura council members, at Hezbollah training camps in South Lebanon. Saif al-Adel, the head of al Qaeda security, trained in Hezbollah camps. During this time period, several other senior al Qaeda operatives trained in Iran and in Hezbollah training camps in Lebanon. After one of the training sessions at a Lebanese Hezbollah camp, al Qaeda operatives connected to the Nairobi bombing, including a financier and a bomb-maker, returned to Sudan with videotapes and manuals “specifically about how to blow up large buildings.”

None of this should come as a surprise. In Iran’s Proxy War Against America (PDF), I summarized the evidence demonstrating Iran’s and Hezbollah’s complicity in the 1998 embassy bombings.

Federal prosecutors in the Clinton administration found Iran’s hand in the embassy bombings as they prepared to try some of the terrorists responsible. They even included the relationship with Iran and Hezbollah in their original indictments of al Qaeda.

In his plea hearing before a New York court in 2000, Ali Mohamed – the al Qaeda operative who was responsible for performing surveillance used for the bombings – testified that he set up the security for a meeting between bin Laden and Hezbollah’s terror master, Imad Mugniyah. “I arranged security for a meeting in the Sudan between Mugniyah, Hezbollah’s chief, and bin Laden,” Mohamed told the court. (My profile of Mugniyah and his ties to al Qaeda, published after his death in 2008, can be read here.) 
 
Mohamed also confirmed that Hezbollah and Iran provided explosives training to al Qaeda. “Hezbollah provided explosives training for al Qaeda and [Egyptian Islamic] Jihad,” Mohamed explained. “Iran supplied Egyptian Jihad with weapons.”
 
Mohamed was forthcoming about al Qaeda’s rationale for seeking Iran’s and Hezbollah’s assistance:
 

And the objective of all this, just to attack any Western target in the Middle East, to force the government of the Western countries just to pull out from the Middle East. . . .Based on the Marine explosion in Beirut in 1984 [sic: 1983] and the American pull-out from Beirut, they will be the same method, to force the United States to pull out from Saudi Arabia.
 
Jamal al Fadl, an al Qaeda operative who was privy to some of al Qaeda’s most sensitive secrets, conversed with his fellow al Qaeda members about Iran’s and Hezbollah’s explosives training, which included take-home videotapes so that al Qaeda’s operatives would not forget what they learned. Al Fadl told federal prosecutors, “I saw one of the tapes, and he [another al Qaeda operative] tell me they train about how to explosives big buildings.”

When the 9/11 Commission investigated the embassy bombings years later, it also found Iran’s and Hezbollah’s hands in the attack. See, in particular, pages 61 and 68 of the commission’s final report.
 
To recap: A D.C. district court, Clinton-era prosecutors, and the 9/11 Commission have all found that al Qaeda received assistance from Iran and Hezbollah in executing the 1998 embassy bombings. The bombings were al Qaeda’s most successful attack prior to September 11, 2001.

And yet, many in the foreign policy establishment pretend that Iran and al Qaeda are either incapable of collusion or opposed to one another in some meaningful sense. The truth is that they have long cooperated against America.

Thomas Joscelyn is a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #427 on: December 08, 2011, 11:31:38 AM »

The Covert Intelligence War Against Iran
December 8, 2011

 

By Scott Stewart
There has been a lot of talk in the press lately about a “cold war” being waged by the United States, Israel and other U.S. allies against Iran. Such a struggle is certainly taking place, but in order to place recent developments in perspective, it is important to recognize that the covert intelligence war against Iran (and the Iranian response to this war) is clearly not a new phenomenon.
Indeed, STRATFOR has been chronicling this struggle since early 2007. Our coverage has included analyses of events such as the defection to the West of Iranian officials with knowledge of Tehran’s nuclear program; the Iranian seizure of British servicemen in the Shatt al Arab Waterway; the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientists; the use of the Stuxnet worm to cripple Iranian uranium enrichment efforts; and Iranian efforts to arm its proxies and use them as a threat to counteract Western pressure. These proxies are most visible in Iraq and Lebanon, but they also exist in Yemen, Afghanistan, Syria, the Palestinian territories, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states.
While the covert intelligence war has been under way for many years, the tempo of events that can readily be identified as part of it has been increasing over the past few months. It is important to note that many of these events are the result of hidden processes begun months or even years previously, so while visible events may indeed be increasing, the efforts responsible for many of them began to increase much earlier. What the activities of recent months do tell us is that the covert war between Iran and its enemies will not be diminishing anytime soon. If anything, with the current withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq and Iranian nuclear efforts continuing,we likely will see the results of additional covert operations — and evidence of the clandestine activity required to support those operations.
Ramping Up
All eyes were on this covert intelligence war after The New York Times published an article Jan. 15 reporting that the United States and Israel worked together to create and launch Stuxnet against the Iranian nuclear program. The visible events related to the intelligence war maintained a relatively steady pace until Oct. 11, when the U.S. Department of Justice announced that two men had been charged in New York with taking part in a plot by the Iranian Quds Force to kill Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, on U.S. soil.
In early November, a  new International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report was issued detailing Iranian efforts toward a nuclear weapons program. While this report did not contain any major revelations, it did contain new specifics and was more explicit than previous IAEA reports in its conclusion that Iran was actively pursuing a nuclear weapons program. The IAEA report resulted in an Israeli-led diplomatic and public relations campaign urging more effective action against Iran, ranging from more stringent sanctions to military operations.
Then, in the early afternoon of Nov. 12, explosions occurred at an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) ballistic missile base near Tehran, killing 17 people, including a high-ranking IRGC commander who was a critical figure in Iran’s ballistic missile program. Iran has insisted the blast was accidental, but speculation has since spread that the explosion could have been part of a sabotage operation carried out by Israeli intelligence. Israeli intelligence officials also have undertaken not-so-subtle efforts to ensure that outside observers believe they were responsible for the blasts.
Later on Nov. 12, the Bahraini government went public with the discovery of an alleged  plot involving at least five Bahrainis traveling through Syria and Qatar to carry out attacks against government and diplomatic targets in Bahrain. Iran vehemently denied it was involved and portrayed the plot as a fabrication, just as it responded to the alleged plot against the Saudi ambassador.
The next day, the Iranian press reported that Ahmad Rezai, the son of Mohsen Rezai — who is the secretary of Iran’s Expediency Council, a former IRGC commander and a presidential contender — was found dead at a hotel in Dubai. The deputy head of the Expediency Council told the Iranian press that the son’s death was suspicious and caused by electric shocks, while other reports portrayed the death as a suicide.
On Nov. 20, the Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. intelligence officials confirmed the CIA had suspended its operations in Lebanon following the arrest of several of its sources due to sloppy tradecraft on the part of CIA case officers assigned to Beirut. Following this report, the Iranian government announced that it had arrested 12 CIA sources due to tradecraft mistakes. We have been unable to determine if the reports regarding Lebanon are true, merely CIA disinformation or a little of both. Certainly, the CIA would like the Iranians to believe it is no longer active in Lebanon. Even if these reports are CIA spin, they are quite interesting in light of the Oct. 11 announcement of the thwarted assassination plot in the United States and the Nov. 12 announcement of the arrests in Bahrain.
On Nov. 21, the United States and the United Kingdom launched a new wave of sanctions against Iran based on the aforementioned IAEA report. The new sanctions were designed to impact Iran’s banking and energy sector. In fact, the United Kingdom took the unprecedented step of totally cutting off Iran’s Central Bank from the British financial sector. The Canadian government undertook similar action against the Central Bank of Iran.
On Nov. 28, there were unconfirmed press reports of  an explosion in Esfahan, one of Iran’s largest cities. These reports were later echoed by a STRATFOR source in Israel, and U.S. sources have advised that explosions did occur in Esfahan and that they caused a significant amount of damage. Esfahan is home to numerous military and research and development facilities, including some relevant to Iran’s nuclear efforts. We are unsure which facilities at Esfahan were damaged by the blasts and are trying to identify them.
Elsewhere on Nov. 28, Iran’s Guardians Council, a clerical organization that provides oversight of legislation passed by Iran’s parliament, approved a bill to expel the British ambassador and downgrade diplomatic relations between the two countries. The next day, Iranian protesters stormed the British Embassy in Tehran, along with the British Embassy’s residential compound in the city. The angry — and well-orchestrated — mob was protesting the sanctions announced Nov. 21.  Iranian authorities did not stop the mob from storming either facility.
On Dec. 1, the European Union approved new sanctions against some 180 Iranian individuals and companies over Iran’s support of terrorism and its continued nuclear weapons program. The European Union did not approve a French proposal to impose a full embargo on Iranian oil.
In the early hours of Dec. 4, a small improvised explosive device detonated under a van parked near the British Embassy building in Manama, Bahrain. The device, which was not very powerful, caused little structural damage to the vehicle and none to the building itself.
The next day, an unnamed U.S. official confirmed Dec. 4 reports from several Iranian news outlets that Iran had recovered an RQ-170 “Sentinel” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) in Iranian territory. The Iranian reports claimed that Iranian forces were responsible for bringing down the Sentinel — some even said the Iranians were able to hack into the UAV’s command link. U.S. officials have denied such reports, and it is highly unlikely that Iran was able to take control of a UAV and recover it intact.
Outlook
The United States is currently in the process of completing the withdrawal of its combat forces from Iraq. With the destruction of the Iraqi military in 2003, the U.S. military became the only force able to counter Iranian conventional military strength in the Persian Gulf region. Because of this, the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq will create a power vacuum that the Iranians are eager to exploit. The potential for Iran to control a sphere of influence from western Afghanistan to the Mediterranean is a prospect that not only frightens regional players such as Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey but also raises serious concerns in the United States.
As we have noted before, we don’t believe that a military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities alone is the answer to the regional threat posed by Iran. Iran’s power comes from its ability to employ its conventional forces and not nuclear weapons. Therefore, strikes against its nuclear weapons program would not impact Iran’s conventional forces or its ability to interfere with the flow of oil through the Strait of Hormuz by using its conventional forces asymmetrically against U.S. naval power and commercial shipping. Indeed, any attack on Iran would have to be far broader than just a one-off attack like the June 1981 Israeli strike at Osirak, Iraq, that crippled Saddam Hussein’s nuclear weapons program.
Because of this difficulty, we have seen the Israelis, Americans and their allies attacking Iran through other means. First of all, they are seeking to curb Iran’s sphere of influence by working to overthrow the Syrian regime, limit Syria’s influence in Iraq and control Hezbollah in Lebanon. They are also seeking to attack Iran’s nuclear program by coercing officials to defect, assassinating scientists and deploying cyberwarfare weapons such as the Stuxnet worm.
It is also necessary to recognize that covert action does not occur in a vacuum. Each covert activity requires a tremendous amount of clandestine intelligence-gathering in order to plan and execute it. With so much covert action happening, the clandestine activity undertaken by all sides to support it is obviously tremendous. But as the frequency of this activity increases, so can sloppy tradecraft.
Finally, as we examine this campaign it is remarkable to note that not only are Iran’s enemies using covert methods to stage attacks on Iran’s nuclear program and military capabilities, they are also developing new and previously unknown methods to do so. And they have shown a willingness to allow these new covert attack capabilities to be unveiled by using them — which could render them useless for future attacks. This willingness to use, rather than safeguard, revolutionary new capabilities strongly underscores the importance of this covert campaign to Iran’s adversaries. It also indicates that we will likely see other new forms of covert warfare emerge in the coming months, along with revolutionary new tactical applications of older forms.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #428 on: December 23, 2011, 07:33:54 PM »

By DENNIS ROSS
President Barack Obama, like President George W. Bush before him, has stated that it would be unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons. Recently, Mr. Obama has taken this a step further by declaring that he is determined to prevent the Iranians from acquiring the bomb.

Does that mean that the use of force against the Iranian nuclear program is inevitable? No, nor should it be. I don't say this because I believe we can live with a nuclear-armed Iran; I do not. An Iran with nuclear weapons would confront the world with many dangers, including the very real danger that it will trigger a nuclear war in the Middle East.

Consider that once Iran has nuclear weapons, nearly all of its neighbors will seek them as well to counter Iranian power and coercion. Israel, given Iranian declarations that it should be wiped off the map, will feel it has no margin for error and cannot afford to strike second in the event of a war.

Enlarge Image

CloseAssociated Press
 
Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, with high-ranking members of his armed forces.
.But Israel won't be the only country operating on a hair trigger. Each country, lacking the ability to absorb a nuclear strike, will adopt a launch-on-warning posture in a region that has many local triggers for conflict and enormous potential for miscalculation. Containment does not address that risk. Even the offer of a nuclear umbrella, with its implicit promise to obliterate the Iranians after a strike, can provide small comfort for any country in the Middle East, particularly Israel.

I do not doubt that the Iranians are making progress on their nuclear program. According to the most recent International Atomic Energy Agency report, released last month, the Iranians have accumulated roughly 4,900 kilograms of low enriched uranium (LEU), enough for three to four bombs if enriched further. They have 6,200 centrifuges operating at Natanz, with a production rate of about 125 kilograms a month, and have now installed 174 centrifuges in two tandem cascades and 64 in a third in their facility near Qom.

And, while the bulk of their LEU is enriched to 3.5%, the Iranians are now enriching some of their material to nearly 20%—a move that would shorten the time they would need to create weapons-grade highly enriched uranium (HEU).

Notwithstanding this very real progress, there are several reasons why we have the time and space needed to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear-weapons capability through nonmilitary means: First, Iran does not have HEU, and the IAEA inspectors at both Natanz and Qom would be able to spot the telltale signs of the repiping of centrifuges that would provide several months of warning that Iran was enriching to weapons grade.

Second, the Iranians continue to have problems developing the next generation of centrifuges they need to dramatically accelerate their production of enriched uranium. These problems stem from difficulties in obtaining specialized materials due to sanctions as well as the regime's technological inability to perfect the design of the more advanced centrifuges. Here again, IAEA inspectors would in the course of regular inspections detect if more advanced centrifuges were operating.

Third, Iran must also be able to turn HEU into a weapon. While the recent IAEA report makes it clear that the Iranians had a comprehensive and integrated program for developing such a weapon until 2003, Iran's efforts since that time have been more limited and less systematic. That could indicate an Iranian belief that they have already made sufficient progress to be able to develop a weapon quickly. But that is not the assessment of Meir Dagan, the former head of Israel's Mossad, who has no interest in downplaying the Iranian nuclear threat and has publicly said that Iran is a few years from being able to produce a nuclear bomb.

None of this argues for relaxing our guard. On the contrary, we need to be vigilant about the indicators that Iran is moving more quickly either on HEU or weaponizing. And we must use the time we have to apply greater pressure on the Iranians.

The history of the Islamic Republic reveals one thing clearly: pressure works. Iran's leaders make adjustments in their behavior when they feel they must. Ayatollah Khomeini, recognizing the high costs, ended the eight-year Iran-Iraq war in 1988, even though he likened doing so to being forced to drink poison from a chalice. The Iranian policy of assassinating dissidents in Europe stopped in the 1990s when it became clear that the price, including sanctions, made it too expensive to continue. The Iranians accepted a suspension of enrichment and even offered an interesting proposal for negotiations on their nuclear program and our other differences in 2003 when we defeated the Iraqi army in three weeks and they believed they could be next.

Today, Iranian leaders are again feeling real pain. They are discredited in the region both because they are out of step with the Arab Awakening, and because they support the Assad regime's killing of Syrian citizens. They are more isolated internationally than ever before—witness last month's vote in the U.N. General Assembly calling on Iran to protect diplomatic personnel. And they are suffering from international sanctions that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad recently referred to as the most severe economic onslaught that any nation has experienced—clearly an exaggeration but a far cry from last year's rhetoric when he said Iran "sneezed" at the sanctions.

Iran is vulnerable, and over the next few months joint efforts with the Europeans to stop buying Iranian oil and doing business with the Iranian Central Bank would dramatically add to the pressure Iran's leaders are already feeling. These two steps would mean a loss of revenue and further destabilization of Iran's already shaky currency—consequences that Iran's leaders can ill afford. This could be achieved without a spike in oil prices if phased in as additional oil is coming on the market from Libya, Iraq and a limited increase in Saudi production.

With the Iranian regime reeling, an increase in pressure can once again put Iran's leaders in a position where they seek a way out. That way out must not leave the Iranians with the capability to produce nuclear weapons at a time of their choosing. They can have civil nuclear power. They cannot have the means to translate that into nuclear weapons.

Mr. Ross is a counselor at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Until recently, he served in the Obama administration as special assistant to the president and National Security Council senior director for the Central Region.
Logged
prentice crawford
Power User
***
Posts: 778


« Reply #429 on: December 28, 2011, 11:56:45 AM »

Woof,
 I wonder why Iran is so huffy here lately?


U.S. Fifth Fleet says won't allow disruption in Hormuz
 DUBAI (Reuters) - The U.S. Fifth Fleet said on Wednesday it will not allow any disruption of traffic in the Strait of Hormuz, after Iran threatened to stop ships moving through the strategic oil route.

"The free flow of goods and services through the Strait of Hormuz is vital to regional and global prosperity," a spokesperson for the Bahrain-based fleet said in a written response to queries from Reuters about the possibility of Iran trying to close the waterway.

"Anyone who threatens to disrupt freedom of navigation in an international strait is clearly outside the community of nations; any disruption will not be tolerated."

Asked whether it was taking specific measures in response to the threat to close the Strait, the fleet said it "maintains a robust presence in the region to deter or counter destabilizing activities," without providing further detail.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Andrew Hammond; Writing by Joseph Logan; Editing by Louise Ireland)

                               P.C.
« Last Edit: December 28, 2011, 12:45:47 PM by prentice crawford » Logged

Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #430 on: December 30, 2011, 09:46:41 AM »

WSJ:

By SHIRIN EBADI
The clerical regime that misrules Iran is imploding in slow-motion while intensifying its repression at home and threatening behavior abroad. But is the international community doing all it can to support the Iranian people and hold the regime to account?

It's clear that the leadership in Tehran is wracked by internal strife, with divisions deepening between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his allies. Iran's economy is in tatters, with inflation and unemployment soaring thanks to decades of mismanagement. While popular discontent is not at a high pitch as it was after the June 2009 presidential election, the fundamental conflict between citizens and dictators continues to smolder. Externally, the regime's defiance of international norms—such as this week threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz—have left Iran more isolated than ever.

In response, the regime has created an atmosphere of fear and intimidation, renewing its crackdown against students, civil society leaders and human-rights defenders like my friend and colleague Nasrin Sotoudeh. Nasrin earned the enmity of Iran's rulers by accepting the cases of dissidents and challenging laws that deprive women and children of their fundamental rights. She was also involved in the "One Million Signatures Campaign" to abolish discriminatory laws against women in Iran.

On Sept. 4, 2010, Iranian authorities arrested Nasrin on charges of spreading propaganda against the state, acting against national security, donning improper hijab in a filmed speech, and membership in the Center for the Defense of Human Rights, the nongovernmental organization that I cofounded. She was denied bail, access to a lawyer and other procedural rights. Then, in January 2010, the regime sentenced her to 11 years in prison and barred her from practicing law for another 20.

Nasrin has spent the subsequent days in prison, most of them in solitary confinement. She has rarely been granted permission to receive visits from her family.

Her two young children have been traumatized by their mother's ordeal. On the few occasions when they have been allowed to see her, relatives report, the children have wailed inconsolably. Nasrin's husband was denied the right to see his wife several times. Nasrin has gone on two hunger strikes to protest her ill-treatment at the hands of the regime. Her health is of grave concern.

The United Nations Working Group on Arbitrary Detention concluded its investigation of Nasrin's case in May and has recently released its opinion. It found the Islamic Republic in violation of its obligations under both the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. "The detention of Ms. Nasrin Sotoudeh follows from the exercise of [her] rights and freedoms and her work as a human rights defender," the Working Group found. "There are no grounds to justify restriction of those rights."

Perhaps anticipating an unfavorable outcome in an international legal forum, the Iranian judiciary recently reduced Nasrin's prison term to six years. But every single day in prison is one too many. Her unconditional release—and that of thousands of other political prisoners languishing in the Islamic Republic's jails—is long past due.

The Iranian regime will not observe the basic principles of human rights for its own citizens without outside pressure. Thus the international community must engage Iranian rights defenders and support them with concerted action. The U.N. Security Council should urgently take up the grave status of human rights in Iran. While the appointment of a special rapporteur on human rights in Iran earlier this year was a welcome first step, Tehran's intransigence and refusal to cooperate with him left the rapporteur unable to fulfill his mandate. Only the Security Council, with coercive levers at its disposal, can meaningfully pressure Iran's rulers to stop their violations of citizens' fundamental rights.

International sanctions against Iran's human-rights abusers should also be expanded and deepened. Policy makers in the U.S. and Europe deserve praise for sanctioning leaders of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, agents of the intelligence ministry, and other top officials responsible for the violent crackdown that followed the 2009 uprising. But there is a second tier of less visible officials—including mid-ranking officers in the Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Basij paramilitary, and the regular police force—who bear similar responsibility and deserve punishment. The U.S. and EU should freeze their assets and impose visa bans on these officials and their families. The International Criminal Court would also have ample evidence to prosecute these offenders if empowered by the Security Council to do so.

Finally, the international community must more vigorously highlight the suffering of the Iranian people. To bring about the day when Nasrin and other Iranian dissidents can walk freely in the streets of Iran, we need a plan guided by moral vision. This requires the international community to act boldly in line with its highest ideals.

Ms. Ebadi, an Iranian human rights lawyer, received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2003. She serves as pro bono counsel to Nasrin Soutedeh in collaboration with Freedom Now, a nongovernmental organization.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #431 on: January 03, 2012, 03:09:58 PM »

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran's army chief on Tuesday warned an American aircraft carrier not to return to the Persian Gulf in Tehran's latest tough rhetoric over the strategic waterway, part of a feud with the U.S. over new sanctions that has sparked a jump in oil prices.

Gen. Ataollah Salehi spoke as a 10-day Iranian naval exercise ended near the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Gulf. Iranian officials have said the drill aimed to show that Iran could close the vital oil passage, as it has threatened to do if the U.S. enacts strong new sanctions over Iran's nuclear program.

The strait, leading into the Gulf of Oman and Arabian Sea, is the only possible route for tankers transporting crude from the oil-rich states of the Persian Gulf to markets. A sixth of the world's oil exports passes through it every day.

 Iran threatens to take action if the U.S.Navy moves an aircraft carrier into the Persian Gulf after Tehran test fires long range missiles. Video: Reuters.
.Oil prices rose to over $101 a barrel Tuesday amid concerns that rising tensions between Western powers and Iran could lead to crude supply disruptions.

The jump came a day after Iran test-fired a surface-to-surface cruise missile as part of the maneuvers, prompting Iran's navy chief to coast that the strait is "completely under our control."

Gen. Salehi's warning for the U.S. aircraft carrier not to come back seemed aimed at further depicting the strait and the Gulf as under Iran's domination, though there was little way to enforce his warning without military action. The strait is divided between Iran and Oman's territorial waters, and international law requires them to allow free passage through it.

"We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf," Gen. Salehi was quoted as saying by the state news agency IRNA.

He said Iran's enemies have understood the message of the naval exercises, saying, "We have no plan to begin any irrational act but we are ready against any threat."

The aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis and another vessel exited the Gulf through the Hormuz Strait a week ago, after a visit to Dubai's Jebel Ali port, according to the U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based 5th Fleet. The Fleet did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Gen. Salehi's warning.

Pentagon press secretary George Little issued a written statement Tuesday saying that the U.S. Navy presence in the Gulf is in compliance with international law. And he said it is intended to maintain what he called a "constant state of high vigilance" in order to ensure the flow of sea commerce.

Iran's sabre-rattling over the strait and the Gulf has come in response to U.S. preparations to impose tough new sanctions that would ban dealings with Iran's Central Bank. That would deeply hurt Iran's oil exports since most countries and companies use the bank to conduct purchases of Iranian crude. Iran relies on oil revenues for around 80% of its budget, meaning a cut-off would be devastating to its already weakening economy.

President Barack Obama has signed the sanctions into law but has not yet enacted them. The sanctions would be the strongest yet by the U.S., aimed at forcing Tehran to back of its nuclear program, which many in the West say is intended to produce a nuclear weapon. Iran denies the claim, saying its program is peaceful.

French Foreign Minister Alain Juppé said Tuesday that is country wants Europe to agree on similar sanctions against Iran by Jan. 30 to show its determination to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. He told the French television station i>TELE that there is "no doubt" that Iran is continuing with plans to build a bomb.

Iran's naval maneuvers took place over a 1,250-mile stretch of water beyond the Strait of Hormuz at the mouth of the Persian Gulf, as well as parts of the Indian Ocean and the Gulf of Aden, according to Iranian officials.

A leading Iranian lawmaker said Sunday the maneuvers served as practice for closing the strait if the West enacts sanctions blocking Iranian oil sales. Top Iranian officials made the same threat last week.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #432 on: January 04, 2012, 07:59:54 AM »

If there were a diagnostic list for the symptoms of a regime gone rogue, Iran would tick off every box. Taking hostages? Check. Sponsoring terrorism? Check. Covertly pursuing nuclear weapons? Check. Under international sanctions? Check. Repressing its own people? Another check.

Then there is Iran's threat to the freedom of the seas. "We recommend to the American warship that passed through the Strait of Hormuz and went to the Gulf of Oman not to return to the Persian Gulf," Iranian army chief Ataollah Salehi said Tuesday, adding darkly that "The Islamic Republic of Iran will not repeat its warning." The Iranians have also been conducting naval exercises and test-firing ballistic and cruise missiles.

As Bradley S. Russell and Max Boot write nearby, the last time Tehran interfered with shipping in the Persian Gulf, during the so-called Tanker War of the 1980s, it didn't exactly come out the winner. The "American warship" that Tehran is now threatening, the USS John C. Stennis, is a Nimitz-class carrier whose air wing alone is more capable than the entire Iranian air force. If the mullahs are serious about carrying out their threats, they're dumber than we thought.

All this bluster is almost certainly a reaction to new U.S. sanctions that target Iran's oil trade—60% of the economy—via its central bank. These, finally, are sanctions with real bite, assuming President Obama doesn't use the waiver written into the law to dull their impact.

Meantime, the best response to Iran's threats would be to send an American aircraft carrier back through the Strait of Hormuz as soon as possible, with flags waving and guns at the ready. If it can't be the Stennis, the USS Eisenhower would drive home the message.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #433 on: January 04, 2012, 08:23:00 AM »

second post of morning

By BRADLEY S. RUSSELL
AND MAX BOOT
Iran threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz last week, in response to U.S. and European Union moves to apply sanctions on its oil industry. Only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point, the strait sees the passage of roughly 28 tanker ships a day, half loaded, half empty. Some 17 million barrels of oil—20% of oil traded in the world—go through this chokepoint. If Iran really could close the strait, it would do great damage to the world economy. But it would also damage its own already shaky economy because Iran relies on the strait to deliver oil exports to China and other customers.

In any case, closing the strait is not nearly as easy as Adm. Habibollah Sayari, commander of the Iranian Navy, would have it. He said that closing the strait is "as easy as drinking a glass of water." Actually it would be about as easy as drinking an entire bucket of water in one gulp.

Iran tried this trick before and failed miserably. In 1984, during the Iran-Iraq War, Saddam Hussein attacked Iranian oil tankers and the Iranian oil-processing facility at Kharq Island. Iran struck back by attacking Kuwaiti tankers carrying Iraqi crude and then other tankers in the Persian Gulf. In 1987, after years of growing disruptions in this vital waterway, President Ronald Reagan responded by offering to reflag Kuwaiti tankers with the U.S. flag and provide U.S. naval escort. Iran shied away from direct attacks on U.S. warships but continued sowing mines, staging attacks with small patrol boats, and firing a variety of missiles at tankers.

On April 14, 1988, the guided-missile frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts struck an Iranian mine; no sailors were killed but several were injured and the ship nearly sank. The U.S. Navy responded by launching Operation Praying Mantis, its biggest surface combat action since World War II.

Half a dozen U.S. warships in two separate Surface Action Groups moved in to destroy two Iranian oil platforms. The Iranians responded by sending armed speedboats, frigates and F-4 aircraft to fire at the U.S. warships.

Enlarge Image

CloseAFP/Getty Images
 
The Iranian navy firing a missile in the Strait of Hormuz on Sunday.
.In defending themselves, the American vessels sank at least three Iranian speedboats, one gunboat and one frigate; other Iranian ships and aircraft were damaged. The only major U.S. loss occurred when a Marine Corps Sea Cobra helicopter crashed, apparently by accident, killing two crewmen.

The war all but ended less than three months later when the guided missile cruiser USS Vincennes mistakenly fired a surface-to-air missile at an Iranian passenger airliner that it had mistaken for a fighter jet. The plane was destroyed and 290 people killed. Although this was an accident, the Iranian regime was convinced that Washington was escalating the conflict and decided to reach a truce with Iraq.

The greatest loss suffered by U.S. forces during this whole conflict occurred in 1987 when an Iraqi aircraft fired an Exocet missile that hit the frigate USS Stark, killing 37 sailors and injuring 21. (Saddam Hussein claimed this was an accident.)

The Iranians had little to show for their efforts: Lloyd's of London estimated that the Tanker War resulted in damage to 546 commercial vessels and the deaths of 430 civilian mariners but many of those losses were caused by Iraq, not Iran. While these attacks temporarily disrupted the free passage of oil, they did not come close to closing the strait.

Despite the unveiling of a new antiship cruise missile called the Qader, Iran's conventional naval and air forces—on display during the Veleyat 90 naval exercises in the Persian Gulf which ended Monday— are still no match for the U.S. and its allies in the region. The U.S. alone has in the area two carrier strike groups, an expeditionary strike force (centered around an amphibious assault ship that is in essence a small aircraft carrier), and numerous land-based aircraft at bases such as Al Udied in Qatar, Al Dafra in the United Arab Emirates, and Isa Air Base in Bahrain. The U.S. and our Arab allies (which are equipped with a growing array of modern American-made equipment such as F-15s and F-16s) could use overwhelming force to destroy Iran's conventional naval forces in very short order.

Iran's real ability to disrupt the flow of oil lies in its asymmetric war-fighting capacity. Iran has thousands of mines(and any ship that can carry a mine is by definition a mine-layer), a small number of midget submarines, thousands of small watercraft that could be used in swarm attacks, and antiship cruise missiles. If the Iranians lay mines, it will take a significant amount of time to clear them. It took several months to clear all mines after the Tanker War, but a much shorter period to clear safe passages through the Persian Gulf to and from oil shipping terminals.

Antiship cruise missiles are mobile, yet those can also be found and destroyed. Yono submarines are short-duration threats—they eventually have to come to port for resupply, and when they do they will be sitting ducks. U.S. forces may take losses, as they did with the hits on the USS Stark and Samuel B. Roberts, but they will prevail and in fairly short order.

The Iranians must realize that the balance of forces does not lie in their favor. By initiating hostilities they risk American retaliation against their most prized assets—their covert nuclear-weapons program. The odds are good, then, that the Iranians will not follow through on their saber-rattling threats.

But this heated rhetoric does suggest how worried the Iranians are about the potential impact of fresh sanctions on their oil industry. All the more reason for the Europeans to proceed with those sanctions.

Mr. Russell, a navy captain, is a visiting fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. In 2010-2011 he was chief of staff to U.S. Navy Central Command/Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. Mr. Boot is a senior fellow in national security studies at the council.

Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2167


« Reply #434 on: January 05, 2012, 06:37:43 AM »

I do not know the quality of this source, but found the article interesting.  It would seem that the US is deploying troops to Israel to gird for war with Iran.

http://www.presstv.com/detail/219346.html

An unnamed source said the military deployment of US anti-missile ships and accompanying support personnel will occur in January and later this spring, Global Research reported.
 
Commander of the US Third Air Force based in Germany Lt.-Gen Frank Gorenc said it is not just an "exercise," but a "deployment," The Jerusalem Post said.
 
Washington and Tel Aviv have planned to hold what they call the largest-ever joint military exercise this spring.
 
The US commander visited Israel two weeks ago to confirm details for “the deployment of several thousand American soldiers to Israel.”
 
The US General also visited one of Israel's three Iron Dome anti-missile outposts. The Israeli Air Force has announced plans to deploy a fourth Iron Dome system in coming months.
 
While US troops will be stationed in Israel for an unspecified amount of time, Israeli military personnel will be added to United States European Command (EUCOM) in Germany.
 
This is while the US is reportedly bringing its Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) and ship-based Aegis ballistic missile systems to Israel.
 
The White House has resumed its anti-Iran war rhetoric after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) released a report in November, in which Tehran was accused of conducting activities related to developing nuclear weapons. Iran strongly dismissed the allegations.
 
US analyst Robert Parry said the documentary evidence showed that IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano was installed with the support of the US and that he privately indicated to US and Israeli officials that he would help advance their goals regarding Iran.
 
In December, Iran's Navy launched massive 10-day military drills in the strategic Strait of Hormuz to show that the country is ready to defend itself against any attack.
 
"We wanted to send this message to certain powers that Iran is always prepared to defend itself against foreign aggression," Iran's Navy Deputy Commander Admiral Amir Rastegari told Press TV.
 
Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama on Saturday signed into law fresh economic sanctions, targeting Iran's Central Bank and financial sector.
 
Anti-Iran measures provoked by the US and Israel are aimed to deny Iran's right of having peaceful nuclear program.
 
Tehran, as a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and a member of the IAEA, has repeatedly stated that its nuclear activities are solely for civilian purposes.
 
AGB/HGH/IS
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 07:54:35 AM by bigdog » Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #435 on: January 05, 2012, 07:18:52 AM »

Unable to get that to open BD.
============================
BENOIT FAUCON
LONDON -- U.S. sanctions against Iran's central bank, if combined with an increasingly likely European oil embargo, are likely to significantly dent Tehran's oil revenue.

But though experts say the sanctions' impact probably will sink in only gradually, they already have started to drive Iran's currency down.

"We could see anywhere between a 5% and 30% decrease in Iranian oil revenue this year, depending on whether the EU enacts an embargo and how aggressively U.S. sanctions are applied," said Trevor Houser, a partner at New York-based economic-research company Rhodium Group.

Until now, existing sanctions against Iran's controversial nuclear program have capped its oil-and-gas production but were offset by buoyant crude prices. But the new measures are directly targeting Iran's oil sales, increasing its transaction costs while potentially forcing the country to sell oil at discounted prices, experts said.

The views come as tensions between Iran and the West have escalated in recent days. The Islamic Republic has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz -- through which about a third of global seaborne oil exports transit.

That hasn't stopped U.S. President Barack Obama from signing Saturday new legislation sanctioning banks settling oil trades with the Central Bank of Iran. And it emerged Wednesday that the European Union has agreed in principle on an embargo against Iranian oil.

The impact of the measures would be felt only progressively.

The U.S. sanctions against the central bank come with a wide range of exemptions and a grace period of six months. The EU is also debating about how many months it would wait to implement the sanctions and if long-term supply deals should be allowed to be completed.

Yet existing sanctions against Iran already have increased the transaction cost and complexity of buying Iranian goods.

Mohammad Nahavandian, president of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, recently admitted that "sanctions [have been] raising the transaction costs" of buying oil.

Nigel Kushner, chief executive of Whale Rock Legal, a London law firm specializing in international trade and sanctions, said buyers of Iranian products -- for instance petrochemicals -- now routinely use barters against non-oil commodities instead of payments.

But the accumulation of sanctions will make its most-critical impact only once a European oil embargo is finalized.

In a report, Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies -- which is pushing for more Iran sanctions -- said the narrowing of Iranian oil-crude buyers would cut Iran's oil revenue by 7.8% to 8.5% if only Europe stops buying Iranian crude, while there would be a reduction of 37.7% to 41.5% if China is left as the only buyer.

Still, Iran has much leeway to survive tightening pressure. Its external debt stands at 5.4% of its gross domestic product for its 2010/2011 annual budget, according to the International Monetary Fund.

Yet Iran, neighboring Middle-East countries, has also increased its spending to assuage social tensions. Its budget for 2011/2012 is based on an oil price of $81.50 a barrel, compared to $75 a barrel the previous year.

Though officials have shrugged off the impact of new sanctions, the local currency -- the rial -- lost 12% early this week.

Rhodium's Houser said the ability for Iran's Central Bank to intervene will only weaken as sanctions bite.

"That leaves Tehran with two undesirable options for curbing inflation that could, if it gets out of hand, lead to political unrest--significantly raise domestic interest rates or make deep cuts in government spending," he said.

Write to Benoit Faucon at benoit.faucon@dowjones.com

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #436 on: January 05, 2012, 08:46:17 AM »

I do not know the quality of this source, but found the article interesting.  It would seem that the US is deploying troops to Israel to gird for war with Iran.

http://www.presstv.com/detail/219346.html


http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/middle_east/6260716.stm

Iran launches English TV channel

Press TV has 26 correspondents in various international locations
 
Iran's state broadcaster has launched a 24-hour English-language news channel.
Press TV, based in Tehran but with 26 correspondents around the world, says it aims to break a "stranglehold" it says the West has over world media.
 
Mohammad Sarafraz, vice-president of Iran's state broadcaster, said Press TV would offer "another point of view" unlike Western channels or al-Jazeera.
 
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #437 on: January 05, 2012, 12:56:33 PM »

With regards to the deployment to Israel I am glad yet dismayed this is clearly wag the tail.

Well this locks up the 80% of the Jewish vote and the money will keep pouring in.

Suddenly the concept of war will no longer be held to be insanity by the MSM.  Not when THEIR guy is now hinting at it.

Remember how the MSM  would try lock stock and barrel to get any Republican to state that military force should be used or even considered to stop Iran from going nuclear.  Every single one would equivicate.

Now Brock may be finally behind the scenes agreeing to this in view of falling Jewish support - just watch the MSM will report it as though it is an ok idea.  Just watch.
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #438 on: January 05, 2012, 01:18:50 PM »

While it might be a cynical matter of Baraq having the "tail wag the dog"  wink unless I mistaken the meaning I took was that this is a report from the IRANIANS-- which leads the analysis down an entirely different path  cheesy

Anyway, were the report true, who here amongst us would object?
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #439 on: January 05, 2012, 03:01:12 PM »

"Anyway, were the report true, who here amongst us would object?"

Not me.  But I can't stand to give brock any credit for this. 

"this is a report from the IRANIANS"

Well to be even more "cynical" the Iranians could be coming out with these reports which suggest Brock is actually going to do the right thing to help him - counter to them loving to keep the guy in power precisely because of his weakness.

Especially with the Repubs on the other side mostly saying they WILL use force to stop them from nucs.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #440 on: January 05, 2012, 03:09:33 PM »

From the islamist paradigm, US troops in Israel staging to attack Iran is waiving the bloody shirt. They're not trying to boost Buraq, they're energizing their base.
« Last Edit: January 05, 2012, 03:14:18 PM by G M » Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #441 on: January 05, 2012, 03:43:42 PM »

Your probably right.

That is why I noted "even more cynical".

But that doesn't deflect that Brock has been their best hope (at least till now) if not going forward.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #442 on: January 05, 2012, 11:54:17 PM »

Your probably right.

That is why I noted "even more cynical".

But that doesn't deflect that Brock has been their best hope (at least till now) if not going forward.

Of course. They are counting on him blinking and selling out Israel. It's a pretty safe bet.
Logged
bigdog
Power User
***
Posts: 2167


« Reply #443 on: January 07, 2012, 04:00:10 AM »

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/01/ron-paul-vindicated-on-iran-unfortunately/250955/#.TwfdPCM1K9E.facebook

A week ago Ron Paul tried to convey how the ever-tightening sanctions on Iran--which may soon include an embargo on its oil--look from an Iranian point of view: It's as if China were to blockade the Gulf of Mexico, he said--"an act of war".

This is sheer conjecture; Ron Paul is no expert on Iran. But now someone who does have relevant credentials has weighed in, and the picture he paints is disturbingly reminiscent of the one Paul painted. It suggests we may be closer to war than most people realize.
Vali Nasr, in addition to being a highly respected expert on the Middle East, belongs to a family that, according to Lobelog's sources, has "a direct line into Iranian Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's inner circle." In a Bloomberg View piece that is getting a lot of attention, Nasr reports that "Iran has interpreted sanctions that hurt its oil exports, which account for about half of government revenue, as acts of war." Indeed, the Iranian leadership now sees U.S. policy as "aimed at regime change."

In this light, Iran's recent threats--notably that it will close the Strait of Hormuz in response to an oil embargo--shouldn't be dismissed, says Nasr. "The regime in Tehran is ready for a fight."

The good news is that Nasr thinks war can be averted. The bad news is that to accomplish this America and other Western powers need to "imagine how the situation looks from Tehran"--not exactly a favorite pastime among American politicians these days.

Still, if only for the intellectual exercise, let's do try to imagine what things look like from Iran's point of view.

Iran's nuclear scientists have recently evinced a tendency to get assassinated, and a mysterious explosion at a military facility happened to kill the general in charge of Iran's missile program. These things were almost certainly done by Israel, possibly with American support. If you were Iranian, would you consider assassinations on your soil grounds for attacking the suspected perpetrators?

Well, we know that some notable Americans think assassinating people on American soil is punishable by war. After the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate a Saudi Ambassador in Washington was uncovered, Bill Kristol (whom you may recall from our previous run-up to a disastrous war) recommended that we attack Iran.

But I'm guessing that if I tried this Iran-America analogy out on Kristol, he might detect asymmetries. For example: We're us, whereas they're just them.

Underlying our Iran strategy is the assumption that if we keep ratcheting up the pressure, the regime will eventually say uncle. A problem with this premise is that throughout human history rulers have shown an aversion to being seen by their people as surrendering. Indeed, when you face dissent, as the Iranian regime does, there's actually a certain appeal to confronting an external threat, since confrontation tends to consolidate domestic support. As Nasr puts it, "the ruling clerics are responding with shows of strength to boost solidarity at home."

This doesn't mean Iran's rulers haven't wanted to make a deal. But it does mean the deal would have to leave these rulers with a domestically plausible claim to have benefited from it, and it also means these leaders can't afford to be seen begging for the deal. When President Ahmadinejad visited New York last year, he gave reporters unmistakable signals that he wanted to negotiate, but the Obama administration chose to ignore them. After Ahmadinejad "went home empty handed," reports Nasr, power increasingly shifted to Iranians who argued for confrontation over diplomacy.

Even so, Iran's foreign minister made another appeal to re-open talks only days ago, suggesting that they be held in Turkey. But, as the New York Times reported, western nations interpreted this overture "as an effort by Iran to buy time to continue its program." Got that? If Iranians refuse to negotiate it means they don't want a deal, and if they ask to negotiate it means they don't want a deal.

Nasr says the tightening of the screws is making Iran increasingly determined to get nuclear weapons--not to start a war, but to prevent one. Having seen what happened to Muammar Qaddafi, says Nasr, Iran's leaders worry that foreign powers would "feel safe enough to interfere in the affairs of a non-nuclear-armed state."

This is the kind of thing Ron Paul presumably had in mind when he said Iran may want nuclear weapons in order to get some "respect." But hey, what does Ron Paul know?

Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #444 on: January 07, 2012, 06:19:56 AM »

Kind of forgot the whole part of Iran waging asymmetrical war against us since 1979.
Logged
G M
Power User
***
Posts: 12124


« Reply #445 on: January 07, 2012, 06:55:03 AM »

http://www.nationalreview.com/blogs/print/271423

Iran Is at War with Us


By Andrew C. McCarthy

July 9, 2011 4:00 A.M.

‘You can clearly see what they are doing in Iraq.” Sen. Lindsey Graham was talking about the Islamic Republic of Iran, specifically the death trade plied by the mullahs, their Revolutionary Guard Corps, their Hezbollah operatives, and the assorted jihadists under their control. And while the plying is being done “in Iraq,” it is being done against America.
 
Senator Graham elaborated that Iran is setting the stage to frame the long-scheduled withdrawal from Iraq as a case of the United States being “driven out,” a cowardly retreat under fire. Nor is this happening solely in Iraq. Iran’s fortification of the Afghan Taliban also continues at a steady clip. It may even be spiking now as the planned drawdown of American forces gets under way. Again, the mullahs are determined to pose as Allah’s avengers, casting the infidels out of Dar al-Islam.
 
They are getting plenty of help from the Obama administration. The U.S. withdrawal is being driven by the political calendar, not conditions on the ground. Thus our enemies — and Iran has always been our principal enemy — get to make it look like whatever they want it to look like.
 
So, as 33,000 U.S. troops begin making their quietus, the Taliban and its jihadist allies are emboldened, not vanquished. In fact, Fox’s Jennifer Griffin reports that superior Iranian rockets enable our enemies to fire from 13 miles away, twice the range of the Taliban’s former arsenal. With U.S. air power paralyzed by the demagoguery of Iran’s new best friend, Hamid Karzai — the Afghan president minted by our government’s Islamic-democracy project — it gets awfully difficult to defend against such attacks.
 
Defending themselves is about all our troops will be able to do in the coming months. Karzai and the mullahs have finalized a joint defense and security agreement — in the jihadi pincer, Iran arms both the sharia “democracy” and its Taliban opposition; it’s the American troops getting squeezed. Meanwhile, fresh off the anti-American duet Iraq’s Pres. Jalal Talabani crooned with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at the mullahs’ recent “anti-terrorism” summit, Iran’s vice president visited Baghdad this week to call on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, another democracy project success story. As they forged deeper economic, security, and cultural ties, they also marked a month in which 15 Americans were killed in Iraq, making it the worst month for U.S. forces in over two years.
 
You may recall that time in 2009 as the fleeting period of euphoria after President Bush’s troop surge transformed Iraq just as it was about to become a humiliating American failure. According to received Washington wisdom, the surge was a triumph — indeed, so spectacular a triumph that even President Obama now claims the Iraq mission as his own, as if we all share the Obamedia’s amnesia about their hero’s prominence in Harry Reid’s anti-surge legion of “This war is lost” Democrats.
 
To be sure, Iraq is Obama’s kind of foreign-policy triumph. The strategy was not to defeat the enemy but to stabilize a sharia democracy and protect a population that remains rabidly anti-American. So we have built Baghdad into a reasonably stable Iranian client state, pulled ever deeper into the mullahs’ orbit.
 
Iran has spent eight years killing Americans in Iraq. We responded by doing nothing. Attacking the source of the problem might have jeopardized Iraq’s fragile new government, whose leading factions are beholden to Tehran, a complication we chose to paper over. In fact, even as democracy-project enthusiasts crowed about Iraq’s purported evolution into a key American ally against the jihad, the Bush administration acceded to Maliki’s demand that Iraq not be used as a staging ground for U.S. operations against other nations (translation: against Iran, the kingpin of the jihad). It seems the only country we’d be permitted to attack from Iraq is Israel. And that’s no joke: Obama adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski actually suggested that the U.S. would shoot Israeli bombers down over Iraq if they dared try to take out Iran’s ripening nuclear arsenal.
 
Of course, the 15 Americans killed in Iraq last month are fewer than the 19 Americans that Iran killed in Saudi Arabia in 1996, in the Khobar Towers bombing. And it is considerably less than the nearly 3,000 Americans killed on 9/11. Noting that the mullahs had been supporting al-Qaeda since the early 1990s, the 9/11 Commission gingerly related sketchy evidence of Iranian involvement in the suicide hijackings that vaulted the U.S. to war: the provision of safe conduct into and out of Afghanistan for al-Qaeda operatives, the “remarkable coincidence” (to borrow the commission’s phrase) that Hezbollah leaders ended up on the same Iranian transit flights as the future hijackers, etc. Iran even harbored al-Qaeda leaders, including two of Osama bin Laden’s sons, in the years after 9/11.
 
Yet, these were dots the commission was content to leave unconnected. And no one — not the Bush administration, not the Obama administration, and not Congress — has shown much interest in revisiting them, despite the hundreds of Americans Iran has since killed, and continues to kill.
 
Here at home, a phony debate rages over whether conservatives are becoming “isolationist” — whether we are the Right’s version of George McGovern’s “Come Home America” Left. But most of us have never been isolationist. We’ve been realists about the enemy — specifically, about the need to defeat rather than court the enemy.
 
In the days after 9/11, President Bush outlined the only plan that had a chance of achieving victory: Hunt terrorists down wherever they operate and treat terror-abetting regimes as terrorists. That should have been the mullahs’ death knell. Instead, we’ve tried to fight a war the enemy prosecutes globally as if it were happening in only two countries, neither of them Iran.
 
Putting aside the merits of a Marshall Plan analogue for the Muslim Middle East, the original Marshall Plan was undertaken only after total victory was achieved over America’s enemies. There could be no free, independent, pro-American Europe without Normandy and D-Day and Hitler’s annihilation. If you leave the enemy undisturbed while indulging in self-congratulation over democracy and the Arab Spring, you’re choreographing a farce. I’d call it “Springtime for Khamenei,” except the tragic joke is on us.
 
“Intervention” in 2011 has become what “negotiation” was in the Obama hey-day of 2009 — something purportedly good for its own sake. The inconvenient reality is that, if it is not based on a strategy designed to defeat America’s enemies, it is inevitably counterproductive. It gives our enemies countless opportunities to show, quite dramatically, that we lack both resolve and a cogent plan.
 
It is not isolationist to conclude that if we are not in it to win, we are wasting time, billions of dollars that we don’t have, and precious lives. I may be wrong to deem it highly unlikely that true democracy will ever take in Islamic soil. I may be wrong in concluding that the Arab Spring is diplo-lipstick on a pig better seen as the Islamist Ascendancy. But I do know one thing for certain: Freedom has no chance of advancing in the Middle East, any more than it would have advanced in Europe, unless we conquer the enemy.
 
There was a moment in time when we knew that. It was long ago, though, and perhaps beyond recapturing by a war-weary, financially tapped-out nation.
 
If we’re not in it to win it — for victory, not for tilting at windmills — we should come home. But regardless of what we do, what was true in 1983, when Hezbollah bombed our Marines, remains true today: Iran is at war with us, whether we choose to engage or not. If we are not going to win, we are going to lose. Happy talk about democracy and springtime won’t obscure the fact that there is no middle ground.
Logged
ccp
Power User
***
Posts: 4198


« Reply #446 on: January 07, 2012, 09:02:56 AM »

"It's as if China were to blockade the Gulf of Mexico, he said--"an act of war".

To further this ridiculous analogy:

That would be like China stating they want to murder every Japanese and drive them off their islands into the sea.

"This is the kind of thing Ron Paul presumably had in mind when he said Iran may want nuclear weapons in order to get some "respect." But hey, what does Ron Paul know?"

Any idiot can see this is what Iran wants.  While they murder all Jews in Israel.

"Underlying our Iran strategy is the assumption that if we keep ratcheting up the pressure, the regime will eventually say uncle. A problem with this premise is that throughout human history rulers have shown an aversion to being seen by their people as surrendering."
 
Well that has been Brock's assumption all along.  I agree this doesn't work.   Allowing Iran to have nucs as Paul so desires won't work either.  And surely if one sees Iran trying to get "respect" now just wait till they get 20 or 50 or 100 nuclear devices say in several years.

"Ron Paul is no expert on Iran. But now someone who does have relevant credentials has weighed in, and the picture he paints is disturbingly reminiscent of the one Paul painted. It suggests we may be closer to war than most people realize."

Sorry.  If this is Ron Pauls's logic as this writer  suggests than it is no wonder most consider him a nut job.






Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #447 on: January 09, 2012, 05:15:55 PM »

By BOB DAVIS, WAYNE MA and JEREMY PAGE
BEIJING—U.S. Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner is likely to get a skeptical hearing in Beijing on Tuesday and Wednesday as he presses leaders to reduce purchases of Iranian oil and explains tough new U.S. sanctions rules meant to hobble Iran's financial sector.

Chinese officials are wary about cutting off a major source of supply, as are their counterparts in Tokyo, which Mr. Geithner will visit after Beijing. In China's case, the issue is also overlaid with nationalist politics. It doesn't want to be seen as succumbing to increased U.S. pressure to punish another nation, particularly when the latest effort was driven by the U.S. Congress, not a new United Nations agreement.

Indeed, if the European Union goes through with plans to cut off oil imports from Iran, and China were one of its few big buyers left, Beijing could find itself in a strong position to wring commercial concessions from Iran on a series of oil-industry contract disputes. The U.S. and Europe have been trying to press Iran to scrap a nuclear-weapons program; Iran says it isn't developing such weapons.

"To the U.S., the Chinese will be passive-aggressive," says Patrick Chovanec, a business professor at Beijing's Tsinghua University. "They won't tell the U.S. they're not going along, but implicitly it will be 'You don't tell us what to do.' "

Vice Foreign Minister Cui Tiankai bluntly dismissed the new U.S. sanctions effort. "These issues cannot be resolved through sanctions," he said at a media briefing on Monday. "Negotiations are also needed to solve the issue."

President Barack Obama recently signed into law a measure he initially opposed that would bar from U.S. financial markets foreign financial institutions that do business with Iran's central bank, which plays a critical role in facilitating trade with Iran. One way for a nation to get an exemption is to show a "significant reduction" in Iranian oil imports. The law would increase pressure on Chinese financial institutions that finance Chinese business deals in Iran.

The administration says it won changes in the legislation before it became law to give it more flexibility. "We encourage everyone that trades with Iran to significantly reduce their oil imports," said a Treasury official.

U.S. officials say China has been abiding by the requirements of U.N.-approved sanctions, but they have been trying to encourage Beijing to go further by—among other things—instructing Chinese banks not to deal with any Iranian counterparts engaged in the country's weapons program.

Even before the new law, Washington believed that China's largest banks were becoming increasingly cooperative with U.S. sanctions efforts. But Washington is still concerned that Iran is seeking new "access points" to international finance through smaller banks in Hong Kong and mainland China.

In September, David Cohen, the undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, visited China and Hong Kong to persuade local officials and bankers to help strengthen the sanctions against Iran and North Korea. Since then other U.S. officials have had discussions on sanctions with Chinese oil companies and Chinese government agencies.

In 2011 through Nov. 30, China's oil imports from Iran rose roughly 30% from the year-ago period. China imports about 11% of its crude oil from Iran, making Iran its No. 3 supplier after Saudi Arabia and Angola.

Since December, though, exports have begun to fall compared to a year earlier. Industry analysts doubt that's the result of U.S. pressure. Rather, negotiations between China United Petroleum & Chemicals Co, known as Unipec, and the National Iranian Oil Co., over commercial issues have dragged on longer than expected, they say.

But U.S. pressure may have played a role in China slowing down the pace of investment in oil and gas projects. Chinese oil firms are concerned about being hit by U.S. sanctions, say energy executives in Beijing. Even so, the more isolated Iran becomes economically, the more leverage Beijing may have in its various disputes with Iran. In 2010, China was Iran's largest oil import market, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration, with Japan No. 2.

China is caught between its extensive commercial relations with Iran and its need to keep strong ties to the U.S. economy, said Pang Zhongying, director of Nankai University's Institute of Global Studies. "China has no choice but to prepare for the worst and try to avoid Chinese losses" in the U.S.-Iran showdown, he said.

Appearing to give in to the U.S. would play poorly at home for Chinese officials. "It will only take a few years before China is faced with zero oil," said a posting on an online forum of People's Daily, the Communist Party's newspaper. "By that time, the U.S. and EU will be strangling us."

Mr. Geithner's visit will mark a rare opportunity to discuss the issue with the two men who are expected to spearhead the new leadership of the Communist Party following a once-a-decade power transition beginning later this year.

On Wednesday, he is expected to meet Vice President Xi Jinping, the man due to take over as party chief in October or November this year, as well as Vice Premier Li Keqiang, who is widely expected to become premier after the leadership change.

U.S. officials are keen to gain to as much access as possible this year to the two men, about whom little is known outside the party elite. Mr Geithner's visit will also allow both sides to discuss preparations for Mr Xi's expected visit to the U.S. later this year, probably in February.

Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


« Reply #448 on: January 11, 2012, 10:43:23 AM »

An assailant on a motorcycle attached magnetic bombs on Wednesday to the car of an Iranian university professor specializing in petroleum, killing him and wounding two others, an Iranian semiofficial news agency reported.

The attack closely resembled earlier attacks on scientists allegedly connected to Tehran's controversial nuclear program.

The killing of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was similar to previous apparent assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists that Tehran has blamed on Israel and the United States. Both countries have denied the accusations.

Mr. Roshan, 32, was inside the Iranian-assembled Peugeot 405 car together with two others when the bomb exploded near Gol Nabi Street in north Tehran, Fars reported. It wasn't immediately clear if Mr. Ahmadi was involved in Iran's nuclear program.

Fars described the explosion as a "terrorist attack" targeting Roshan, a graduate of the prestigious Sharif University of Technology in Tehran.

A similar bomb explosion on Jan. 12, 2010, killed Tehran University professor Masoud Ali Mohammadi, a senior physics professor. He was killed when a bomb-rigged motorcycle exploded near his car as he was about to leave for work.

In November 2010, a pair of back-to-back bomb attacks in different parts of the capital killed one nuclear scientist and wounded another. The slain scientist, Majid Shahriari, was a member of the nuclear-engineering faculty at Shahid Beheshti University in Tehran and cooperated with the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. The wounded scientist, Fereidoun Abbasi, was appointed head of Iran's atomic agency.

The United States and other countries say Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons technology. Iran denies the allegations, saying that its program is intended for peaceful purposes
Logged
Crafty_Dog
Administrator
Power User
*****
Posts: 31662


WSJ
« Reply #449 on: January 13, 2012, 10:28:55 AM »

As a supervisor at the uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan was engaged in building a nuclear bomb in violation of four binding U.N. Security Council resolutions. On Wednesday he was assassinated after a bomb was attached to his car, making him the fifth senior Iranian nuclear scientist known to have been killed in recent years.

His death will serve a useful purpose if it convinces a critical mass of his colleagues to cease pursuing an atomic critical mass. That wouldn't be a bad way to bring the confrontation over Iran's nuclear program to a peaceful conclusion. But don't count on it.

Opponents of Tehran's nuclear ambitions have been attempting for years to use a combination of diplomacy, sanctions and covert action to persuade the mullahs that they have more to lose than gain from building a bomb. So far, none of it has worked: Diplomacy has mostly allowed the Iranians to play for time. Sanctions so far have been too narrowly targeted to have much effect, though that may change now that the U.S. and Europe are finally targeting Iran's oil trade.

As for covert activity, we may someday learn the full story of who did what, how they did it, and what effect it all had. But to judge by last November's report on Iran's nuclear programs by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Tehran is closer than ever to a bomb. That's despite the Stuxnet computer worm, the assassinations, and last year's mysterious explosion at a missile factory.

What goes in the cloak-and-dagger world also goes for public diplomacy. Americans can take pride in last week's dramatic rescue by the destroyer USS Kidd of 13 Iranian sailors who had spent 40 days as hostages of Somali pirates. But if the Administration thought that would break the tension following Iran's threats over the Strait of Hormuz, Tehran had other ideas.

Days after the Kidd rescue, Iran imposed a death sentence on 28-year-old Amir Hekmati, an Arizona-born Iranian-American and former U.S. Marine. Mr. Hekmati was charged with spying for the CIA and convicted of being moharebe, or an enemy of God, the worst offense in the Iranian penal code. The U.S. government categorically denies that Mr. Hekmati worked as a spy. His family says he was in Iran on his first visit to see his grandmothers when he was arrested last August.

The Islamic Republic has a long history of detaining foreigners on dubious espionage charges and then trying to use them as diplomatic bargaining chips. But if Mr. Hekmati is simply their latest victim, the death sentence is unprecedented for an American citizen. It is also a reminder of how little U.S. gestures like Thursday's rescue count in Tehran's calculus. An evil regime will not be swayed by the conspicuous performance of good deeds.

Much of the world wants to believe that force won't be necessary to stop Iran's nuclear ambitions, but the explosions and killings show that a covert war involving deadly force is already underway. The Obama Administration says Iran plotted to kill a Saudi ambassador in a Washington, D.C. restaurant, and Iran is trying to kill U.S. soldiers in Afghanistan as it previously did in Iraq. Many more people will die if the world doesn't get serious about stopping this rogue regime.

Logged
Pages: 1 ... 7 8 [9] 10 11 ... 15 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!