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Stop The Spying Now

Stop the Spying!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007




Iran holds the northern side of the Straits of Hormuz, the narrow neck in the Persian Gulf through which two fifths of the world's traded oil passes. A hi-tech torpedo could be used with devastating effect against oil tankers and western warships sent to protect them, choking off the world's oil supply, driving up prices and causing global economic chaos.

By Patrick J. Buchanan

Is the United States provoking war with Iran, to begin while the Congress is conveniently on its August recess?

One recalls that it was in August 1964, after the Republicans nominated Barry Goldwater, that the Tonkin Gulf incident occurred.

Twice it was said, on Aug. 2 and Aug. 4, North Vietnamese patrol boats had attacked the U.S. destroyers Maddox and Turner Joy in international waters. The U.S. Senate responded by voting 88 to two to authorize President Johnson to assist any Southeast Asian nation whose government was threatened by communist aggression.

The bombing of the North began, followed by the arrival of U.S. Marines. America’s war was on.

As Congress prepares for its August recess, the probability of U.S. air strikes on Iran rises with each week. A third carrier, the USS Enterprise, and its battle group is joining the Nimitz and Stennis in the largest concentration of U.S. naval power ever off the coast of Iran.

And Tonkin Gulf II may have already occurred.

In Baghdad, on July 1, Gen. Kevin J. Bergner charged that Iranians planned the January raid in Karbala, using commandos in American-style uniforms, that resulted in the death of five U.S. soldiers.

As the New York Times reports, this “marks the first time that the United States has charged that Iranian officials have helped plan operations against American troops in Iraq and have had advance knowledge of specific attacks that have led to the death of American soldiers.”

The Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards is using Hezbollah to train Shi’ites to attack our soldiers and providing them with enhanced IEDs that have killed scores of U.S. troops, Bergner charged. He says we have captured a veteran Hezbollah agent and documents pointing to direct Iranian complicity in the Karbala raid.

Iran has denounced the charge as “ridiculous.” But the Senate has voted 97 to zero to censure Iran for complicity in killing the Americans.

If what Bergner alleges is true, President Bush has not only the right but appears to have the blessing of Congress to attack Iran. And he now has the naval and air forces at hand. What is stopping him?

For it is surely not Congress, which buried a resolution last spring declaring that Bush must come to Congress before taking us into a new war in the Middle East. Congress appears to be signaling Bush: “If you want to hit Iran, you have the green light. No need to consult us.”

Is this yet another abdication by Congress of its moral and constitutional duty to decide when and whether America goes to war?

And something smells awfully fishy here.

Iran has no interest in a war with the United States, which it seems to be toying with. Iran supports the pro-American Shia regime in Baghdad. And the al-Qaeda umbrella group in Iraq, which is our mortal enemy, has just warned Iran it faces terror attacks if it does not stop supporting Shi’ites in Iraq.

Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, who leads the al-Qaeda group known as the Islamic State in Iraq, says his fighters have been preparing for four years for war on Iran.

“We are giving the Persians, and especially the rulers of Iran, a two-month period to end all kinds of support for the Iraqi Shi’ite government and to stop direct and indirect intervention – otherwise a severe war is waiting for you,” Baghdadi said in a 50-minute videotape.

Baghdadi also warned Arab Sunnis in the region who do business with Shi’ites in Iran that they were inviting assassination.

Query: If Iran’s ally, the Maliki government, is our ally, and if Iran’s enemy, al-Qaeda in Iraq, is our enemy, why would Iran use the Quds Force to attack Americans and risk U.S. retaliation?

Killing Americans in Iraq is not going to defeat the United States. But it could trigger heavy U.S. retaliation, not only on the Quds Force, but on Iran’s nuclear facilities – and a war with the United States. Yet Iran’s diplomatic behavior suggests it wishes to avoid such a war.

Another explanation comes to mind. Iran is not initiating, but is responding to U.S.-inspired attacks inside Iran, in the Kurdish north, the Arab southwest, and the Baluchi southeast of its country. Was Karbala an attempted kidnapping to exchange U.S. soldiers for the five Iranian “diplomats” we are holding?

Has Bush secretly authorized covert attacks inside Iran? Are U.S. and Israeli agents in Kurdistan behind the attacks across the border to provoke Iran? On July 11, Iranian troops clashed with Kurd rebels inside Iran, and the Iranians fired artillery back into Iraq.

Why is Congress going on vacation? Why are a Democratic-controlled House and Senate not asking these questions in public hearings? Why is Congress letting Bush and Vice President Cheney decide whether we launch a third war in the Middle East?

Or is Congress in on it?


Bush and Cheney Cornered; The Need to Impeach Before Iran Attack
Political Cortex, NY - Jul 30, 2007Acknowledging the prospect of Bush mounting military action against Iran as a result of his cornered status in the wake of death and failure in Iraq coupled ... - Journalist: U.S. planning for possible attack on Iran...
The Bush administration has been carrying out secret reconnaissance missions ... Hersh said U.S. officials believe that a U.S. attack on Iran might provoke - 51k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Iran readies military, fearing a U.S. attack / Tensions with Bush ...
Iran readies military, fearing a US attack Tensions with Bush administration surge over Tehran's disputed nuclear - 50k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Annals of National Security: The Iran Plans: The New Yorker
The Iran Plans. Would President Bush go to war to stop Tehran from getting the ... inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. - 116k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

'America would back Israel attack on Iran' - Telegraph
'America would back Israel attack on Iran' ... Moments later, Mr. Bush was asked another question on Iran and appeared to return to his script - this time - 40k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this
Despite assurances from Bush and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that they have no plan to attack Iran, the steady build-up of U.S. forces in the region - 34k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

RTÉ News: Bush: Iran attack 'ridiculous'
George W Bush Attack on Iran 'ridiculous'. George W Bush Attack on Iran 'ridiculous'. EU-US Summit Historic family photo. EU-US Summit Historic family photo - 30k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Mohammed Cartoons Prep Europe For Bush Iran Attack
Of course, if these regimes decide to play Mussolini to Bush's Hitler and actually send their troops to join the Anglo-Americans in war with Iran, - 42k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

US generals ‘will quit’ if Bush orders Iran attack - Times Online
SOME of America’s most senior military commanders are prepared to resign if the White House orders a military strike against Iran, according to highly - Similar pages - Note this

Why Bush will Choose War Against Iran
So this is why I reluctantly believe today that Bush will indeed launch an attack on Iran before the expiration of his term of office: - 20k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Think Progress » U.S. General: Iran Attack Fraught With Risk, Bush ...
Does anyone really believe that Bush wants to attack Iran? Come on! What the hell is that useless debate society, better known as the UN doing about - 86k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

The Washington Note
If we were to attack Iran, our naval forces could also be vulnerable to counterattack. Is there anyone in this last-throes Bush-Cheney administration who - 51k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this A Bush pre-election strike on Iran 'imminent'
The Iran attack plan was reportedly drawn up after internal polling indicated that if the Bush administration launched a so-called anti-terrorist attack on - 13k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this - Bush: Talk of Iran attack 'wild speculation' - Apr 10, 2006
President Bush on Monday dismissed as "wild speculation" reports that his administration has considered nuclear strikes against sites in Iran to prevent the - 41k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

War Summit - Bush, Sharon Meet To Plan Iran Attack
Meet To Plan Iran Attack Thermonuclear Armed Israeli Leader To Visit Bush at Ranch Rattled CIA Types Now Sounding The Alarm About Israel MER - 41k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this IRANArchives
In furtherance of Dick Cheney's buildup for an attack on Iran, the Bush Administration is planning to declare Iran's largest military branch, - 977k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Annals of National Security: The Next Act: The New Yorker
Is a damaged Administration less likely to attack Iran, or more? ... Bush announced the resignation of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, - 112k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Prelude to an Attack on Iran - TIME
Reports that the Bush Administration will put Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on the ... starting with the attack on the Marines in Beirut in 1983.,8599,1654188,00.html - 30k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Democracy Now! Seymour Hersh: Bush Administration Planning ...
Seymour Hersh: Bush Administration Planning Possible Major Air Attack on Iran ... inside Iran and intensified planning for a possible major air attack. - 48k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

AlterNet: MediaCulture: Are Bush & Co. Gearing Up to Attack Iran?
See more stories tagged with: iran, attack, war, rove, cheney, bush ..... Bush will attack Iran because liberals and progressives are gutless blowhards. - 131k - Cached - Similar pages - Note this

Bush Tries To Allay E.U. Worry Over Iran (
"This notion that the United States is getting ready to attack Iran is simply ridiculous," Bush said. "And having said that, all options are on the table." - Similar pages - Note this

Will There Be An Attack On Iran?

Wake Up America - 6 hours agoTimes Online reports on President Bush's comments concerning Iran's pursuit to an atomic bomb could lead to a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East and ...

Bush attacks 'forces of radicalism'

, VA - 18 minutes agoBush’s invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, his planned attack on Iran [See Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East, PDF], ...

POLITICS: Israel Warned US Not to Invade Iraq after 9/11

Inter Press Service (subscription), Italy - 8 hours agoWilkerson notes that the main point of their communications was not that the United States should immediately attack Iran, but that "it should not be ...

News Analysis Departures Offer Chance for a Fresh Start as Term Ebbs

New York Times, United States - 4 hours agoLike Ronald Reagan after the Iran-contra scandal, Mr. Bush wants to prevent his final year in office from being dominated by Congressional inquiries. ...

Philadelphia Inquirer

French Leader Raises Possibility of Force in Iran

New York Times, United States - Aug 27, 2007But Mr. Sarkozy harshly criticized the Bush administration for going to war against Iraq on its own and for failing to address the global warming crisis ...

AlterNet, CA - Aug 23, 2007A former CIA analyst estimates the chances of an attack on Iran and shows that the mainstream media is already cheering it on. A shorter version of this ...

Philadelphia Daily News

New York Times, United States - 22 hours agoAll of this means that there is nothing between Mr. Bush and another unilateral and pre-emptive attack on a country that is not an imminent threat. Iran ...The Great Divide Australia-Israel Jewish Affairs Councilall 474 news articles »

Who’s on First? Fighting on many fronts in Iraq

Blogger News Network - 1 hour agoIran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which could be used to attack American and NATO troops. Iran has arrested visiting American scholars who ...

The Same-old same-old: Are we going to get on that same slippery ...

Intellectual Conservative, AZ - 14 hours agoIf Bush embarks on a bombing campaign of Iran that is based on the restrictive "gradualism" to send his own version of the Vietnam-era diplomatic message, .

A poodle for a lapdog

Payvand, Iran - 12 hours ago[iv] Mr. Bush is intolerant of any news which may indicate Iran to be a force for progress and peace in the region. He, too, has had his orders to attack ...
of evil” was enormously detrimental to ...


ABC Online, Australia - 7 hours agoMr. Ahmadinejad also dismissed the chance of any US attack on Iran over its nuclear drive, saying a warning by his new French counterpart Nicolas Sarkozy ...Iran Ready to Fill Any Vacuum in Iraq Forbesall 262 news articles »

No Light Unto the World: Hegemonic Hubris
Pacific Free Press, Canada - Aug 26, 2007According to Baer, the Bush regime has given no consideration to whether Iran's response to a US attack might be different than to welcome it as liberation. ...

We've got to get Bush out of office, NC - 18 hours agoTo The Editor: If Congress does not start impeachment immediately, Bush will render them powerless to govern and Cheney will initiate an attack on Iran. ...

MIDEAST: Bush Peace Plan Met with SkepticismInter Press Service (subscription), Italy - 19 hours ago"The proposed peace summit is only meant to provide the US with the political cover it needs to attack Iran," Ibrahim Eissa, political analyst and ...

From the Lives of the Marionettes: Gonzo Gone But the Grotesquerie ...
Empire Burlesque, UK - 5 hours agoIt will not stop the now-inevitable attack on Iran, and the hideous murder that will follow. It will not close the concentration camps at Guantanamo Bay, ...

Bush: Fight Against Extremism Is Crucial
Guardian Unlimited, UK - 8 hours ago``Iran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan to be used to attack American and NATO troops,'' Bush said. ``Iran has arrested visiting American ...

The Crisis Papers on DU
Democratic Underground, DC - 13 hours agoFormer Middle East CIA specialist Bob Baer says that senior intelligence officials told him that Cheney Bush are likely to attack Iran within six months. ...

Bush Applauds Iraq Officials
FOX News - Aug 27, 2007"Success in Iraq will be a major blow to the extremists and radicals who would like to attack America again. And that's why the United States will continue ...

CIA said to step up operations against Iran as hawks seek to tie ...
Center for Research on Globalization, Canada - Aug 26, 2007by Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane In an effort to build congressional and Pentagon support for military options against Iran, the Bush administration ...

Clash with Cheney over Iran prompted Rove departure
Arab American News, MI - Aug 25, 2007It is as though I'm back as an analyst at the CIA, trying to estimate the chances of an attack on Iran. The putative attacker, though, happens to be our own ...

Cheney, Lieberman and the Iran War Conspiracy
AlterNet, CA - Aug 18, 2007I was never one of those who believed the Bush administration was getting ready to attack Iran in 2006 or early 2007. But it is now clear that at least Vice ...

Congressional approval would be needed to attack Iran


McClatchy Newspapers

WASHINGTON Taking military action against Iran could put President Bush on a collision course with Congress, leading Democrats and a Republican lawmaker cautioned Friday.

Bush on Thursday threatened unspecified consequences for alleged Iranian meddling in Iraq.

It has been the consensus for months among the Democrats that Bush must get congressional authorization before any military strike.

The authorization would be no easy sell. Two knowledgeable U.S. officials said that the administration so far doesn’t have “smoking-gun” evidence that could be used publicly to justify an air attack.

The presumed target of an attack would be camps in Iran where officials think that the Iranians are teaching Iraqi Shiite fighters how to fashion bombs that can destroy American armored vehicles.

The U.S. officials refused to discuss whether such evidence exists but can’t be made public because doing so would betray intelligence sources.

Even with such evidence, however, the Democratic-controlled Congress could be hard to convince, five years after Vice President Dick Cheney kicked off the administration’s public relations campaign against Saddam Hussein with a speech in Cincinnati.

Several administration officials said that Cheney has advocated launching air strikes against targets in Iran if there is clear evidence of Iranian support for Shiite Muslim militants in Iraq.

Sen. Kit Bond, a Missouri Republican and vice chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, appeared Friday to steer the administration toward requesting authorization.

“I doubt the president could or would do so without coming to Congress,” he said. “Nevertheless, there are a number of wide-ranging actions he could be taking, primarily focusing on expanding diplomatic efforts to increase pressure on Iran.”

To reach Matt Stearns, send e-mail to

Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran

The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as well as government buildings and infrastructure, using long-range bombers and missiles, according to a new analysis.

The paper, "
Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East" – written by well-respected British scholar and arms expert Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and Martin Butcher, a former Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament – was exclusively provided to RAW STORY late Friday under embargo.

"We wrote the report partly as we were surprised that this sort of quite elementary analysis had not been produced by the many well resourced Institutes in the United States," wrote Plesch in an email to Raw Story on Tuesday.

Plesch and Butcher examine "what the military option might involve if it were picked up off the table and put into action" and conclude that based on open source analysis and their own assessments, the US has prepared its military for a "massive" attack against Iran, requiring little contingency planning and without a ground invasion.

The study concludes that the US has made military preparations to destroy Iran’s WMD, nuclear energy, regime, armed forces, state apparatus and economic infrastructure within days if not hours of President George W. Bush giving the order. The US is not publicizing the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. The US retains the option of avoiding war, but using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran’s actions.

Any attack is likely to be on a massive multi-front scale but avoiding a ground invasion. Attacks focused on WMD facilities would leave Iran too many retaliatory options, leave President Bush open to the charge of using too little force and leave the regime intact.

US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours.

US ground, air and marine forces already in the Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan can devastate Iranian forces, the regime and the state at short notice.

Some form of low level US and possibly UK military action as well as armed popular resistance appear underway inside the Iranian provinces or ethnic areas of the Azeri, Balujistan, Kurdistan and Khuzestan. Iran was unable to prevent sabotage of its offshore-to-shore crude oil pipelines in 2005.

Nuclear weapons are ready, but most unlikely, to be used by the US, the UK and Israel. The human, political and environmental effects would be devastating, while their military value is limited.

Israel is determined to prevent Iran acquiring nuclear weapons yet has the conventional military capability only to wound Iran’s WMD programs.

The attitude of the UK is uncertain, with the Brown government and public opinion opposed psychologically to more war, yet, were Brown to support an attack he would probably carry a vote in Parliament. The UK is adamant that Iran must not acquire the bomb.

The US is not publicizing the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely. The US retains the option of avoiding war, but using its forces as part of an overall strategy of shaping Iran’s actions.

When asked why the paper seems to indicate a certainty of Iranian WMD, Plesch made clear that "our paper is not, repeat not, about what Iran actually has or not." Yet, he added that "Iran certainly has missiles and probably some chemical capability."

Most significantly, Plesch and Butcher dispute conventional wisdom that any US attack on Iran would be confined to its nuclear sites. Instead, they foresee a "full-spectrum approach," designed to either instigate an overthrow of the government or reduce Iran to the status of "a weak or failed state." Although they acknowledge potential risks and impediments that might deter the Bush administration from carrying out such a massive attack, they also emphasize that the administration's National Security Strategy includes as a major goal the elimination of Iran as a regional power. They suggest, therefore, that:

This wider form of air attack would be the most likely to delay the Iranian nuclear program for a sufficiently long period of time to meet the administration’s current counter proliferation goals. It would also be consistent with the possible goal of employing military action is to overthrow the current Iranian government, since it would severely degrade the capability of the Iranian military (in particular revolutionary guards units and other ultra-loyalists) to keep armed opposition and separatist movements under control. It would also achieve the US objective of neutralizing Iran as a power in the region for many years to come.

However, it is the option that contains the greatest risk of increased global tension and hatred of the United States. The US would have few, if any allies for such a mission beyond Israel (and possibly the UK). Once undertaken, the imperatives for success would be enormous.

Butcher says he does not believe the US would use nuclear weapons, with some exceptions.

"My opinion is that [nuclear weapons] wouldn't be used unless there was definite evidence that Iran has them too or is about to acquire them in a matter of days/weeks," notes Butcher. "However, the Natanz facility has been so hardened that to destroy it MAY require nuclear weapons, and once an attack had started it may simply be a matter of following military logic and doctrine to full extent, which would call for the use of nukes if all other means failed."

Military Strategy

The bulk of the paper is devoted to a detailed analysis of specific military strategies for such an attack, of ongoing attempts to destabilize Iran by inciting its ethnic minorities, and of the considerations surrounding the possible employment of nuclear weapons.

In particular, Plesch and Butcher examine what is known as Global Strike – the capability to project military power from the United States to anywhere in the world, which was announced by STRATCOM as having initial operational capability in December 2005. It is the capacity that could provide strategic bombers and missiles to devastate Iran on just a few hours notice.

Iran has a weak air force and anti aircraft capability, almost all of it is 20-30 years old and it lacks modern integrated communications. Not only will these forces be rapidly destroyed by US air power, but Iranian ground and air forces will have to fight without protection from air attack.

British military sources stated on condition of anonymity, that "the US military switched its whole focus to Iran" from March 2003. It continued this focus even though it had infantry bogged down in fighting the insurgency in Iraq.

Global Strike could be combined with already-existing "regional operational plans for limited war with Iran, such as Oplan 1002-04, for an attack on the western province of Kuzhestan, or Oplan 1019 which deals with preventing Iran from closing the Straits of Hormuz, and therefore keeping open oil lanes vital to the US economy."

The Marines are not all tied down fighting in Iraq. Several Marine forces are assembling in the Gulf, each with its own aircraft carrier. These carrier forces can each conduct a version of the D-Day landings. They come with landing craft, tanks, jump-jets, thousands of troops and hundreds more cruise missiles. Their task is to destroy Iranian forces able to attack oil tankers and to secure oilfields and installations. They have trained for this mission since the Iranian revolution of 1979 as is indicated in this battle map of Hormuz illustrating an advert for combat training software.

Special Forces units – which are believed to already be operating within Iran – would be available to carry out search-and-destroy missions and incite internal uprisings, while US Army units in both Iraq and Afghanistan could mount air and missile attacks on Iranian forces, which are heavily concentrated along the Iran-Iraq border, as well as protecting their own supply lines within Iraq:

A key assessment in any war with Iran concerns Basra province and the Kuwait border. It is likely that Iran and its sympathizers could take control of population centres and interrupt oil supplies, if it was in their interest to do so.

However it is unlikely that they could make any sustained effort against Kuwait or interrupt supply lines north from Kuwait to central Iraq. US firepower is simply too great for any Iranian conventional force.

Experts question the report's conclusions

Former CIA analyst and Deputy Director for Transportation Security, Antiterrorism Assistance Training, and Special Operations in the State Department's Office of Counterterrorism, Larry Johnson, does not agree with the report’s findings.

"The report seems to accept without question that US air force and navy bombers could effectively destroy Iran and they seem to ignore the fact that US use of air power in Iraq has failed to destroy all major military, political, economic and transport capabilities," said Johnson late Monday after the embargo on the study had been lifted.

"But at least in their conclusions they still acknowledge that Iran, if attacked, would be able to retaliate. Yet they are vague in terms of detailing the extent of the damage that the Iran is capable of inflicting on the US and fairly assessing what those risks are."

There is also the situation of US soldiers in Iraq and the supply routes that would have to be protected to ensure that US forces had what they needed. Plesch explains that “"firepower is an effective means of securing supply routes during conventional war and in conventional war a higher loss rate is expected."

"However as we say do not assume that the Iraqi Shiia will rally to Tehran – the quietist Shiia tradition favored by Sistani may regard itself as justified if imploding Iranian power can be argued to reduce US problems in Iraq, not increase them."

John Pike, Director of
Global Security, a Washington-based military, intelligence, and security clearinghouse, says that the question of Iraq is the one issue at the center of any questions regarding Iran.

"The situation in Iraq is a wild card, though it may be presumed that Iran would mount attacks on the US at some remove, rather than upsetting the apple-cart in its own front yard," wrote Pike in an email.

Political Considerations

Plesch and Butcher write with concern about the political context within the United States:

This debate is bleeding over into the 2008 Presidential election, with evidence mounting that despite the public unpopularity of the war in Iraq, Iran is emerging as an issue over which Presidential candidates in both major American parties can show their strong national security bona fides. ... The debate on how to deal with Iran is thus occurring in a political context in the US that is hard for those in Europe or the Middle East to understand.

A context that may seem to some to be divorced from reality, but with the US ability to project military power across the globe, the reality of Washington DC is one that matters perhaps above all else.

We should not underestimate the Bush administration's ability to convince itself that an "Iran of the regions" will emerge from a post-rubble Iran. So, do not be in the least surprised if the United States attacks Iran. Timing is an open question, but it is hard to find convincing arguments that war will be avoided, or at least ones that are convincing in Washington.

Plesch and Butcher are also interested in the attitudes of the current UK government, which has carefully avoided revealing what its position might be in the case of an attack. They point out, however, "One key caution is that regardless of the realities of Iran’s programs, the British public and elite may simply refuse to participate – almost out of bloody minded revenge for the Iraq deceit."

And they conclude that even "if the attack is 'successful' and the US reasserts its global military dominance and reduces Iran to the status of an oil-rich failed state, then the risks to humanity in general and to the states of the Middle East are grave indeed."

Larisa Alexandrovna is managing editor of investigative news for Raw Story and regularly reports on intelligence and national security stories. Contact:

Muriel Kane is research director for Raw Story.

Nuclear Weapons

Iran's nuclear program began in the Shah's era, including a plan to build 20 nuclear power reactors. Two power reactors in Bushehr, on the coast of the
Persian Gulf, were started but remained unfinished when they were bombed and damaged by the Iraqis during the Iran-Iraq war. Following the revolution in 1979, all nuclear activity was suspended, though subsequently work was resumed on a somewhat more modest scale. Current plans extend to the construction of 15 power reactors and two research reactors.

Research and development efforts also were conducted by the Shah's regime on fissile material production, although these efforts were halted during the Iranian revolution and the Iran-Iraq war.

The current nuclear program is headed by the President, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the head of the Defense Industries Organization, and the head of Iran's
Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO). These leaders continue the pursuit of WMD's and support Chemical, Biological, and Nuclear programs against all pressures from the United States and its allies.

Iran ratified the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty in 1970, and since February 1992 has allowed the IAEA to inspect any of its nuclear facilities. Prior to 2003 no IAEA inspections had revealed Tehran's violations of the NPT.

Since the end of the Iran-Iraq War, Tehran redoubled its efforts to develop weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and
ballistic missiles. In addition to Iran's legitimate efforts to develop its nuclear power-generation industry, it is believed to be operating a parallel clandestine nuclear weapons program. Iran appears to be following a policy of complying with the NPT and building its nuclear power program in such a way that if the appropriate political decision is made, know-how gained in the peaceful sphere (specialists and equipment) could be used to create nuclear weapons (dual-use technologies have been sold to Iran by at least nine western companies during the early 1990's). Also, in this atmosphere of deception, unconfirmed reports have been made that Tehran purchased several nuclear warheads in the early 1990's

It is evident that Iran's efforts are focused both on uranium enrichment and a parallel plutonium effort. Iran claims it is trying to establish a complete
nuclear fuel cycle to support a civilian energy program, but this same fuel cycle would be applicable to a nuclear weapons development program. Iran appears to have spread their nuclear activities around a number of sites to reduce the risk of detection or attack.

Iran does not currently have nuclear weapons, and would appear to be about two years away from acquiring nuclear weapons. By some time in 2006, however, Iran could be producing fissile material for atomic bombs using both
uranium enriched at Natanz and plutonium produced at Arak. The Natanz facility might produce enough uranium for about five bombs every year, and the Arak facility might produced enough plutonium for as many as three bombs every year.

If Iran did acquire atomic bombs, it would put pressure on other countries in the region do the same. Many Arab countries believe it is unfair that Israel has nuclear weapons. If Arab countries, notably Saudi Arabia but also Egypt and possibly Syria, found themselves caught between a nuclear-armed Israel and a nuclear-armed Iran, it would greatly increase pressures to pursue their own nuclear options. This could result in a regional arms race in the Middle East which is likely to be quite destabilizing, given the number and intensity of conflicts and instabilities in the region.

In December 2003 Presidential hopeful John Kerry said that he would explore "areas of mutual interest" with Iran.

And in June 2004 Kerry proposed providing nuclear fuel to Iran in
exchange for Iran's abandoning the fissile material production complex at Esfahan, Arak, Natanz and other locations. In an interview on 29 August 2004, reported in the Washington Post on 30 August, Democratic vice presidential nominee John Edwards proposed a "Grand Bargain" with Iran, under which the US would drop objections to the nuclear power reactor at Bushehr, in exchange for Iran abandoning the material production complex.

According to Edwards, if Iran rejected this offer, it would confirm that it was building atomic bombs. Edwards also said that Kerry would ensure that European allies would join the US in imposing sanctions on Iran. "If we are engaging with Iranians in an effort to reach this great bargain and if in fact this is a bluff that they are trying to develop nuclear weapons capability, then we know that our European friends will stand with us," Edwards said. "Iran is further along in developing a nuclear weapon than they were when George Bush came into office... A nuclear Iran is unacceptable for so many reasons, including the possibility that it creates a gateway and the need for other countries in the region to develop nuclear capability -- Saudi Arabia, Egypt, potentially others," Edwards said.

Iranian Weapons
07 April 2006

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The Iranian government claims to have developed new weapons. One is a torpedo that can supposedly destroy ships and submarines at any depth and any speed. The second weapon is a missile that Iran claims can avoid radar and hit several targets simultaneously. Iran also said it test-fired a high-speed underwater missile.

Bryan Whitman, a U.S. Defense Department spokesman, says, "Iranians are always trying to improve their weapons systems by both foreign and indigenous measures":

"It's possible that they are increasing their capability and making strides in radar absorbing materials and targeting. However, the Iranians have been known also to boast and exaggerate their statements about greater technical and tactical capabilities."

White House spokesman Scott McClellan says that Iran's "aggressive military program and defiant rhetoric are further examples of how the regime is isolating itself and the Iranian people from the rest of the world":

"It is also a reminder of why the international community is united in its concern about the regime's possible development of nuclear weapons, and why the international community is calling on Iran to comply with its international obligations, or face further isolation."

Mr. McClellan says the United Nations Security Council "sent a very clear statement to the [Iranian] regime":

"It said: Comply with your obligations, come clean. You have thirty days to come clean, make a commitment to come clean and comply with your obligations, or we're going to be back at the Security Council consulting about next steps to take."

The United States, says White House spokesman McClellan, has "a number of concerns about the [Iranian] regime's behavior and there appears to be a pattern. . . .of concealing its nuclear activities, a pattern of supporting terrorism, [and a] pattern of threatening rhetoric." He says, "You can understand why we are skeptical given their history of hiding their activities."

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.
Iran sends a message to the West by boasting about its high-speed torpedo

By Tim Butcher, Middle East Correspondent
Last Updated: 1:49am BST 03/04/2006

Iran announced that it has carried out successful test-firings of the world's fastest torpedo, capable of outrunning any warship.

The message was intended as a signal to western military planners considering attacks to deal with Iran's nascent nuclear capability.

While military plans remain secret, it is believed that Washington, London and Tel Aviv have begun drawing up options ranging from surgical air strikes to helicopter-borne commando raids.

A new torpedo of the speed and capability described by Ali Fadavi, a rear admiral of the Revolutionary Guards, would not be used to combat western warships involved in an attack on Iran but to punish western military action by crippling the world's oil supply.

Iran holds the northern side of the Straits of Hormuz, the narrow neck in the Persian Gulf through which two fifths of the world's traded oil passes. A hi-tech torpedo could be used with devastating effect against oil tankers and western warships sent to protect them, choking off the world's oil supply, driving up prices and causing global economic chaos.

"This device evades sonar technology under the water and even if the enemy's sonar system could detect its movement, no warship could escape from it because of its high velocity," Admiral Fadavi said.

"The Islamic Republic is now among only two countries that hold this kind of missile." He did not name the other. "Under water, the maximum speed that a missile could move was 25 meters per second. But now we possess [one] that goes as fast as 100 meters per second.

"It carries a very powerful warhead that enables it to operate against groups of warships and big submarines."

Iran is known to have a number of Kilo-class submarines. Built in Russia, they are relatively sophisticated hunter-killer boats, designed to sneak up on enemy shipping, attack with torpedoes and escape. Iran lied to the international community for more than 10 years about its nuclear capability, denying that it had any technology or ambitions.

Intelligence leaks to the West eventually forced Teheran to admit that it had a relatively advanced nuclear program but even now it insists that this is purely to generate energy. It flatly denies any military ambitions.

There has been a significant toughening of the language used by western diplomats about Iran recently.

By Ali Akbar Dareini, Associated Press Writer

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran conducted its second major test of a new missile within days on Sunday, firing a high-speed torpedo it said no submarine or warship can escape at a time of increased tensions with the U.S. over its nuclear program.

The tests came during war games that Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards have been holding in the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea since Friday.

On the maneuvers' first day, Iran said it successfully tested the Fajr-3 missile, which can avoid radar and hit several targets simultaneously using multiple warheads.

The new torpedo, called the "Hoot," or "whale," could raise concerns over Iran's power in the Gulf, a vital corridor for the world's oil supplies and where the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet is based. During Iran's war with Iraq in the 1980s, Iranian ships attacked oil tankers in the Gulf, and Iran and the U.S. military engaged in limited clashes.

Iran's state television stopped its normal programs to break news of the torpedo test, showing it being launched from a ship into the Gulf waters, then hitting its target, a derelict ship.

Gen. Ali Fadavi, deputy head of the Revolutionary Guards' navy, said the ships that fire the Iranian-made Hoot had radar-evading technology and that the torpedo — moving at 223 miles per hour — was too fast to elude.

"It has a very powerful warhead designed to hit big submarines. Even if enemy warship sensors identify the missile, no warship can escape from this missile because of its high speed," Fadavi told state television.

The Hoot's speed would make it about three or four times faster than a normal torpedo and as fast as the world's fastest known underwater missile, the Russian-made VA-111 Shkval, developed in 1995. It was not immediately known if the Hoot was based on the Shkval.

The new weapon gives Iran "superiority" against any warship in the region, Fadavi said, in a veiled reference to U.S. vessels in the Gulf. It was not immediately clear whether the torpedo can carry a nuclear warhead.

Cmdr. Jeff Breslau, spokesman for the U.S. 5th Fleet based on the tiny Arab island nation of Bahrain in the Gulf, said no special measures were taken in reaction to the Iranian war games, even after the latest missile test.

He would not comment on whether the new torpedo represents a threat to American forces in the region.

"In general terms, no matter where we operate in the world, we're aware of other capabilities that exist and of other countries that aren't as friendly to the U.S., and we pay attention to those capabilities," he said.

The U.S. and Iranian navies have had brush-ups during the past — during the "Tanker War," when U.S. warships moved into the Gulf to guard oil tankers.

In 1988, the frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts was badly damaged by an Iranian mine. In response, the U.S. Navy launched its largest engagement of surface warships since World War II. Two Iranian ships were destroyed, and an American helicopter was shot down, killing the two pilots.

Iran is now trying to show its strength amid worries of U.S. military action over its nuclear program, which Washington says aims to produce nuclear weapons. Iran denies the accusation, saying it intends only to generate electricity.

The U.N. Security Council has demanded Iran give up uranium enrichment, a crucial part of the nuclear process. Washington is pressing for sanctions if Tehran continues its refusal to do so, though U.S. officials have not ruled out military action as an eventual option, insisting they will not allow Iran to gain a nuclear arsenal.

Iran's hard-line president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has warned that the United States will "suffer" if it takes action against its nuclear program. Some have seen that as a threat to increase militant action in the region or turn to the oil weapon, though Iranian oil officials have ruled out any squeeze in supplies.

Iran, which views the United States as an arch foe and is concerned about the U.S. military presence in neighboring Iraq and Afghanistan, says the maneuvers aim to develop the Guards' defensive capabilities.

The United States and its Western allies have been watching Iran's progress in missile capabilities with concern. Iran already possesses the Shahab-3 missile, capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and hitting U.S forces in the Middle East.

The upgraded version of the ballistic Shahab-3 missile can travel about 1,200 miles, putting Israel within easy range.

Fadavi said Sunday's torpedo test was the outcome of six years of hard work at the Iranian Aerospace Industries, affiliated with the Defense Ministry.

More than 17,000 Revolutionary Guards forces are taking part in the weeklong maneuvers in the Gulf.

On Sunday, guards paratroops practiced a drop in an attack on a mock enemy position, and warships, jet fighters, helicopters and sophisticated electronic equipment were used in other exercises.

The television report said Sunday's war games included measures to respond to electronic jams caused by a mock enemy.

Iran has routinely held war games over the past two decades to improve its combat readiness and test locally made equipment such as missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers.

Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo. Since 1992, Iran has produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, missiles and a fighter plane.

Joseph Cirincione:
For months, I have told interviewers that no senior political or military official was seriously considering a military attack on Iran. In the last few weeks, I have changed my view. In part, this shift was triggered by colleagues with close ties to the Pentagon and the executive branch who have convinced me that some senior officials have already made up their minds: They want to hit Iran.

Apparently senior sources in Britain have been getting the same message.
From the Telegraph:

It is believed that an American-led attack, designed to destroy Iran's ability to develop a nuclear bomb, is "inevitable" if Teheran's leaders fail to comply with United Nations demands to freeze their uranium enrichment program.

....A senior Foreign Office source said...."If Iran makes another strategic mistake, such as ignoring demands by the UN or future resolutions, then the thinking among the chiefs is that military action could be taken to bring an end to the crisis. The belief in some areas of Whitehall is that an attack is now all but inevitable."

There's no question that the administration is already preparing the ground for an air strike on Iran, but it's likely that the real push won't come until late summer when it can be used as a cudgel in the midterm elections. Same song, new verse.

And once more: If Democrats
don't start thinking about how they're going to respond to this, they're idiots. We don't always get to pick the issues to run on. Sometimes they're picked for us.

n 1994, Russian military contractors were handing out
brochures touting their "high-speed underwater missiles." This weapon, called the Shkval, had a "high kill capability," the contractors promised. Against it, "known anti-torpedo defense system[s]" were "not effective." Someone in Tehran liked what they read, apparently. Check out today's New York Times.

Iran said Sunday that it had test-fired what it described as a sonar-evading underwater missile [video of the test

The new missile is among the world's fastest and can outpace an enemy warship, Gen. Ali Fadavi of the country's elite Revolutionary Guards told state television.

General Fadavi said only one other country, Russia, had a missile that moved underwater as fast as the Iranian one, which he said had a speed of about 225 miles per hour.

That's because this Iranian weapon -- called the "
Hoot," or "whale" -- is based on the Russian Shkval, according to former Naval Intelligence Officer Edmond Pope. "I was informed in late 1990's by a Russian government official that they were working with Iran on this subject," he tells Defense Tech. "A cooperative demonstration/program had already been conducted with them at Lake Issy Kul in Kyrgyzstan."

Shkval goes so fast because it creates an air bubble around itself, essentially. The process, known as supercavitation, keeps friction to a minimum. "Instead of being encased in water," New Scientist noted, the weapon "is simply surrounded by water vapour, which is less dense and has less resistance." (Pope has more about the technology on his website. The Airborne Combat Engineer blog rounds up supercavitation speculation here.)

As the AP notes, the Russian-Iranian cooperation could have major strategic consequences for the U.S. navy, possibly keeping American ships from operating freely in the
Persian Gulf. "The U.S. and Iranian navies have had brush-ups during the past."

During the "Tanker War," when U.S. warships moved into the Gulf to guard oil tankers.

In 1988, the frigate USS Samuel B. Roberts was badly damaged by an Iranian mine. In response, the U.S. Navy launched its largest engagement of surface warships since World War II. Two Iranian ships were destroyed, and an American helicopter was shot down, killing the two pilots.

(Big ups: NH, RC,

UPDATE 12:22 PM: As Aaron and Hambling both note,
Darpa has its own supercavitation project -- an ultra-fast torpedo for shooting SEALs through the seas. Defense Technology International has the scoop.

Kathryn clues us into the fact that Iran is planning to test-fire another new torpedo later today.

"Because of its high speed, this torpedo is able to strike any type of submarine at any depth," Rear Admiral Mohammad Ibrahim Dehghani told the state-run news agency Fars.

"This torpedo will be fired from mini-warships to combat pretend enemy submarines in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz," Dehghani said.

ACE digs through Ed Pope's site, and finds that "a concerted effort to develop an underwater supercavitating vehicle was begun here in the US and the Russians obtained key documents from us and reportedly bought at least one patent from a company in the US."

ACE also echoes a
commenter below, who says that the Germans have "developed a supercavitation torpedo which is able to intercept and destroy a Shkval."

Original source


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