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Is Bush planning an attack on Iran in March?


Douglas Caddy
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Do you remember the Iraqi Osirak Reactor?

The French built Osirak Reactor was, in 1981, destroyed by an Israeli surgical airstrike, which was then, and now, celebrated as an acme of tactical precision. This was termed Operation Opera, and was authorized by Israeli leadership subsequent to Mossad's conclusion that the reactor would be used to accelerate the production of weapons grade nuclear material to use on Israel. A key piece of (purported) evidence was a letter intercepted from Saddam Hussein to Iran's President Bani Sadr stating, in effect, that 'the weapons produced would never be used on you (Iran), our Islamic brothers, and is intended for the Zionists' (I have been looking for documentation of this information, without success, so I'm relying upon memory, sorry).

The attcak was mounted prior to initial fuel loading to preclude the release of contamination and used conventional weapons. As I recollect one or more strikes effectively created a 'window' in the copntainment which the Israelis successfully penetrated and were able to effectively demolish the reactor and its auxiliaries.

Prior to this, in September of 1980, Iran had launched an attack on the Osirak Reactor. This occurred shortly after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, and was likely due to fears of the Iraqis creating and using a nuclear weapon(s) on Iran (this information is available on many news archives), but the Iranian attack was unsuccessful.

Subsequent to the June 1981 Israeli attack Bani-Sadr was deposed (purportedly over differences between he and clerical leadership over Iranian modernization and consideration of contemporary western cultural mores).

It is noteworthy that one primary reason both Iran and Israel conlcuded that the Osirak Reactor was developed for nuclear weapons, was the fact that Iraq had no need for nuclear power, given their available oil reserves.

The US and the UN Security Council formally condemned the Israeli attack.

What parallels do you think exist between Operation Opera (Osirak Reactor attack) and possible destruction of Iranian plans for nuclear capability Do you think the Iranians learned anything from the Osirak Reactor (like protection from airstrikes)? Would there be UN and/or worldwide condemnation of an attack on Iranian facilities?

Peter

Not sure who your post addressed... but here are a few of my thoughts in response, for what they're worth.

First, if you find the documentation to which you refer, please post it. I don't recall seeing that before.

Do folk learn from history? Mostly they do, I suspect, after a fashion.

I certainly can't imagine the Iranian Government has forgotten the 1981 Israeli attack on Iraq's (perfectly legal and internationally inspected) nuclear reactor.

Why do some nations want to develop nuclear power? I suspect a range of reasons. Preparation for making bombs is an obvious possibility - but by no means the only reason. Industrialising nations need energy. Oil-rich third world countries understandably feel that - unless they develop alternative energy resources and diversify their economies - they are simply going to be used as a mine for as long as their oil reserves last and will be left in the end with no oil and no sound economy.

Personally, I think nuclear power is the wrong answer for every country. I believe what Amory Lovins has called 'soft energy paths' should be taken, worldwide.

However, while I oppose nuclear power and WMDs in general, I don't advocate bombing Three Mile Island or Aldermaston, for that matter. I disagree with even threatening to bomb such places, as a tactic. That sounds like (real) terrorism to me.

To my knowledge, not one of the Arab and Moslem countries that Israel purportly believes are an 'existential threat' has ever threatened to bomb Dimona or Nes Ziona. Unfortunately, Israel and the US ARE holding that threat over the head of the Iranians.

I imagine that if an attack on Iran proceeds, it will be condemned by most countries in the world.

The US, clearly captive to the Zionist lobby to a much greater extent than in 1981, will probably not protest this time (indeed, the US may itself bomb Iran, and would certainly be somewhere in the decision-making loop).

Poodle nations like Australia and Britain under Nu Labour will probably cheer from the sidelines.

Very soon afterwards, I expect, the price of oil would go through the roof.

Despite constant mood-minding and fear-monguering by the mass media, most middle class Americans will eventually figure out they've been had (again) - but that this time, unlike before, their pleasant, consumer-oriented existence within the trappings of a 'free society' is headed for terminal decline.

That's when thjings may really heat up - and when the machinary of a police state, installed by stealth over the last decade or so in all the major Anglo-Saxon democracies, may be widely used, not against (largely) fake terrorists, but against political dissidents.

If there is to be real regime change in Washington DC, it would probably occur around that time - in revolutionary turmoil that would make 1917 seem like a picnic.

I recall an friend of mine, many years ago, telling me his theory of how things might pan out. This guy was a well-read trot - not a Zionist posing as a trot - but the real thing. He truly believed that world revolution would eventually occur to overthrow the exploitation of the great majority by an exploitative ultra-rich elite. Either that - or reversion to barbarism.

He opined that when the USA finally undergoes revolution, it would be very violent indeed, because of high levels of gun owenership and the very high stakes.

Edited by Sid Walker
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Paul Craig Roberts gives voice to the suspicions of many.

This article, incidentally, illustrates just how far the US Government has tilted towards one-wided support for Israel over the last quarter century.

Roberts was working at Assistant Secretary level for the US Administration at the time of the Israeli bombing on Osirak.

Distracting Congress from the Real War Plan

By Paul Craig Roberts

01/10/07 "Information Clearing House" -- -- Is the surge an orchestrated distraction from the real war plan?

A good case can be made that it is. The US Congress and media are focused on President Bush’s proposal for an increase of 20,000 US troops in Iraq, while Israel and its American neoconservative allies prepare an assault on Iran.

Commentators have expressed puzzlement over President Bush’s appointment of a US Navy admiral as commander in charge of the ground wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. The appointment makes sense only if the administration’s attention has shifted from the insurgencies to an attack on Iran.

The Bush administration has recently doubled its aircraft carrier forces and air power in the Persian Gulf. According to credible news reports, the Israeli air force has been making practice runs in preparation for an attack on Iran.

Recently, Israeli military and political leaders have described Israeli machinations to manipulate the American public and their representatives into supporting or joining an Israeli assault on Iran.

Two US carrier task forces or strike groups will certainly congest the Persian Gulf. On January 9 a US nuclear sub collided with a Japanese tanker in the Persian Gulf. Two carrier groups will have scant room for maneuver. Their purpose is either to provide the means for a hard hit on Iran or to serve as sitting ducks for a new Pearl Harbor that would rally Americans behind the new war.

Whether our ships are hit by Iran in retaliation to an attack from Israel or suffer an orchestrated attack by Israel that is blamed on the Iranians, there are certainly far more US naval forces in the Persian Gulf than prudence demands.

Bush’s proposed surge appears to have no real military purpose. The US military opposes it as militarily pointless and as damaging to the US Army and Marine Corps. The surge can only be accomplished by keeping troops deployed after the arrival of their replacements. Moreover, the increase in numbers that can be achieved in this way are far short of the numbers required to put down the insurgency and civil war.

The only purpose of the surge is to distract Congress while plans are implemented to widen the war.

Weapons inspectors have failed to find a nuclear weapons program in Iran. Most experts say it would be years before Iran could make a weapon even if the Iranian government is actively working on a weapons program. Since the danger, if any, is years away, why is Israel so determined to attack Iran now?

The answer might be that Israel has the chance now. The Bush administration is in its pocket. The White House is working with neoconservatives, not with the American foreign policy community represented by the Iraq Study Group. Neoconservative propagandists are in influential positions in the media. The US Congress is intimidated by AIPAC. The correlation of forces are heavily in Israel’s favor.

Part of the Israeli/neoconservative plan has already been achieved with the destruction of civilian infrastructure and spread of sectarian strife in Iraq, Afghanistan, and Lebanon. If Iran can be taken out with a powerful air attack that might involve nuclear weapons, Syria would be isolated and Hezbollah would be cut off from Iranian supplies.

Israel has two years remaining to use its American resources to achieve its aims in the Middle East. How influential will Israel and the neoconservatives be with the next president in the wake of a US defeat in Iraq and Israeli defeat in Lebanaon? If the US withdraws its troops from Iraq, as the US military and foreign policy community recommend and as polls show the American public wants, the only effect of Bush’s Iraq invasion will have been to radicalize Muslims against Israel, the US, and US puppet governments in the Middle East. Extremist elements will tout their victory over the US, and the pressures on Israel to accept a realistic accommodation with Palestinians will be over-powering.

Now is the chance--the only chance--for Israel and the neoconservatives to achieve their goal of bringing Muslims to heel, a goal that they have been writing about and working to achieve for a decade.

This goal requires the war to be widened by whatever deceit and treachery necessary to bring the American public along.

The US Congress must immediately refocus its attention from the surge to Iran, the real target of Bush administration aggression.

______________________________________

Edited by Sid Walker
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To complete a trio of posts on this alarming yet crucial topic.. here are a couple of reports from within Israel.

First, an extract from On the Brink, by Meir Stieglitz:

Prof. Arie Eldad, a member of the Knesset (the Israeli Parliament) and a media commentator. Eldad was among the most vocal and fear-mongering advocates of the invasion of Iraq. But he does not allow himself to be satisfied with his contribution to the liberation of hundreds of thousands Iraqis from the burden of life. He has bigger people to fry. Now a day, he finishes his opinion articles (on unrelated subjects) with the admonition: "And beside, said Old Kato, Iran must be destroyed" ("Maariv", 8/18/06, 8/25/06). "Maariv" editors find it appropriate to allow unyielding promotion of the annihilation (not merely "wiping from the map") of a nation of 70 million people.

Is Eldad's genocidal cant only a marginal aberration? Nobel peace prize winner Elie Wiesel sends to Jewish the world in general and the Israelis in particular a prophetic wake up call. In an interview to "Yedioth Ahronoth" (12/22/06) he proclaims the conflict with Iran as a "Mitzva War" which he hails also as a "just war". I won't go here to the kind of commandments that one is obliged to follow in a Mitzva War, suffice it to say that all of them will most likely be considered as war crime, many of them as a crime against humanity and some of them make even Bin Laden version of Jihad look less genocidal.

In this atmosphere, a mixture of self-righteousness and deep-seated fears – intensified by the bitter experience of the recent Lebanon war -- just imagine what the strategic consequences could be in case of a false alarm about a "Sheehab" missile launched in the direction of Tel Aviv.

___________________

Now see Rosner's Blog in Haaretz, where the author complains bitterly about remarks by General Wesley Clark:

Clark is talking about the possibility of military action against Iran:

"How can you talk about bombing a country when you won't even talk to them?" said Clark. "It's outrageous. We're the United States of America; we don't do that. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the military option is off the table - but diplomacy is not what Jim Baker says it is. It's not, 'what will it take for you boys to support us on Iraq?' It's sitting down for a couple of days and talking about our families and our hopes, and building relationships."

When we asked him what made him so sure the Bush administration was headed in this direction, he replied: "You just have to read what's in the Israeli press. The Jewish community is divided, but there is so much pressure being channeled from the New York money people to the office seekers."

Gee, what can he possibly mean by "pressure being channeled from the New York money people"?

Two aspects of these ramblings I find worthy of comment. First: how and why has it become so easy to speak in this way about the Jews? Second: What does it mean politically?

Rosner doesn't ask what for me is a rather more urgent question: How can we all ensure that the Israel Lobby STOPS instigating and inciting wars that increasingly threaten the very continuity of global civilization?

Perhaps we should also ask whether the Zionist State even exist without generating endless conflict and warfare?

For many decades anti-Zionists, both Jewish and non-Jewish, feared that might not be the case.

It's beginning to look like they were right.

Edited by Sid Walker
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Paul Craig Roberts gives voice to the suspicions of many.

Great, military analysis from an economist with no known experience or expertise in military matters, how compelling! He is from what I gather a brilliant economist but don’t know how seriously his writing on other subjects should be taken he believes for example that Brown v. Board of Education (the May 17, 1954 US Supreme Court decision that forbade segregation in public schools) was:

An Infamous Ruling

…the power the Court seized in its Brown ruling can be used to mandate homosexual marriage…May 17, 1954, is a day of infamy, because it is the day Marxism triumphed over liberalism in America…Columbia Law professor Herbert Wechsler, a consultant to the NAACP in the case, said that Brown would have to be "accepted on faith" as there was no constitutional principle that justifies the ruling….Brown’s true legacy is rule by judges, the destruction of equality before the law, the replacement of persuasion with coercion, the end of freedom of conscience, and the rise of insatiable racial grievances. Osama bin Laden, no doubt, is celebrating.

http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts46.html

I assume he is misquoting Wechsler he seems to be quoting himself for the "accepted on faith" part (1). The only other person who claims he made such a comment is a right wing blogger who like Roberts failed to cite a source. I doubt a law professor esp. one favorable to Brown would have said such a thing since the 14 th Amendment stipulates that: “No state shall…deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws” (2) The court found that sending children to seperate schools on the basis or race was unequal treatment.

He also wrote that “the international left has scant evidence in behalf of its demonization of Pinochet” (3) and coauthored a pro Pinochet book (4).

Mr. Roberts it seems should stick to his area of expertise and we should stick to military analysis from people qualified in the subject. Is Bush planning on attacking Iran? I hope not but fear he is. The opinion of people who know what they are talking about is most welcome.

How can we all ensure that the Israel Lobby STOPS instigating and inciting wars that increasingly threaten the very continuity of global civilization?

Which wars are you referring to? What evidence do you have that they were (or will have been) ‘instigated and incited’ by “the Israel lobby”?

1) http://www.findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_...307/ai_n9290494

2) “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

http://www.law.cornell.edu/constitution/co...endmentxiv.html

3) http://www.lewrockwell.com/roberts/roberts189.html

4) http://www.policyofliberty.net/HPdA/RobertsAraujo.html

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Thanks for posting that Doug. I agree that Bush will increase troop numbers in Iraq and that he will give Israel the go-ahead to bomb Iran. The timing of this is going to be very important. Bush will want to do it before Blair leaves office. It is also significant that Blair moved Jack Straw from the post of minister of defence. Straw had already made it clear that he was opposed to taking military action against Iran. When Blair made this decision in May, 2006, I posted on the forum that this was a sign that he was willing to go along with Bush over his military plans concerning Iran.

Interestingly, the reason why Clinton refused to sanction a US invasion of Iraq was his belief, that if he did so, the US would eventually become involved in a war with Iran. Ironically, this judgment was based on intelligence provided by the CIA.

Military analyst believes recent US actions could signal Iran conflict soon

01/12/2007 @ 2:35 pm

Filed by David Edwards

www.rawstory.com

http://www.rawstory.com/news/2007/Video_Re...ignal_0112.html

US forces raided a facility that Iran claimed was being used for diplomatic purposes, alleging that Iranians were funneling weapons to the enemy. Six Iranians were captured in the raid at the consulate, with one being released earlier today.

Several analysts consider parts of President Bush's latest speech as an obvious threat to Iran. One, John Pike of GlobalSecurity, notes that U.S. actions could signal a conflict in the near future.

"It's really unclear what the President was saying," Pike said. "It's a little more clear what the United States is actually doing, [President Bush] was basically calling on Iran not to interfere with Iraq, not to further interfere with Iraq."

Pike added, "But, also, look at what he said the United States is going to do. As previously reported, several weeks ago, the aircraft carrier, John Stennis, is being dispatched to the Persian Gulf. That gives the United States two aircraft carriers in the Gulf. Round the clock operations. He also, surprisingly, announced that the United States was going to be deploying Patriot anti-missile interceptors to the region. It's difficult to imagine whose missiles those would be shooting down other than Iran. It's looks to me like the United States is, at least, raising its capabilities in preparation for possible military confrontation with Iran."

Pike provides a time frame in which the U.S. or Israel might first strike Iran, explaining, "I think the month of February is certainly a time of heightened probability. It's very difficult to understand exactly what the thinking is at the White House and in the Israeli government but for sometime now we've been saying that 2007 is probably the time, if there's going to be military action, it's probably going to come this year. Possible as soon as next month. Probably no later that August of this year."

Nearly a year ago, Pike warned about a "cycle of escalation."

"When the Americans or Israelis are thinking about [military force], I hope they will sit down and think about everything the ayatollahs could do to make our lives miserable and what we will do to discourage them," John Pike said in Feb. 2006.

"There could be a cycle of escalation," Pike added.

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Do you remember the Iraqi Osirak Reactor?

The French built Osirak Reactor was, in 1981, destroyed by an Israeli surgical airstrike, which was then, and now, celebrated as an acme of tactical precision. This was termed Operation Opera, and was authorized by Israeli leadership subsequent to Mossad's conclusion that the reactor would be used to accelerate the production of weapons grade nuclear material to use on Israel. A key piece of (purported) evidence was a letter intercepted from Saddam Hussein to Iran's President Bani Sadr stating, in effect, that 'the weapons produced would never be used on you (Iran), our Islamic brothers, and is intended for the Zionists' (I have been looking for documentation of this information, without success, so I'm relying upon memory, sorry).

The attcak was mounted prior to initial fuel loading to preclude the release of contamination and used conventional weapons. As I recollect one or more strikes effectively created a 'window' in the copntainment which the Israelis successfully penetrated and were able to effectively demolish the reactor and its auxiliaries.

Prior to this, in September of 1980, Iran had launched an attack on the Osirak Reactor. This occurred shortly after the outbreak of the Iran-Iraq war, and was likely due to fears of the Iraqis creating and using a nuclear weapon(s) on Iran (this information is available on many news archives), but the Iranian attack was unsuccessful.

Subsequent to the June 1981 Israeli attack Bani-Sadr was deposed (purportedly over differences between he and clerical leadership over Iranian modernization and consideration of contemporary western cultural mores).

It is noteworthy that one primary reason both Iran and Israel conlcuded that the Osirak Reactor was developed for nuclear weapons, was the fact that Iraq had no need for nuclear power, given their available oil reserves.

The US and the UN Security Council formally condemned the Israeli attack.

What parallels do you think exist between Operation Opera (Osirak Reactor attack) and possible destruction of Iranian plans for nuclear capability Do you think the Iranians learned anything from the Osirak Reactor (like protection from airstrikes)? Would there be UN and/or worldwide condemnation of an attack on Iranian facilities?

Peter

Not sure who your post addressed... but here are a few of my thoughts in response, for what they're worth.

First, if you find the documentation to which you refer, please post it. I don't recall seeing that before.

Do folk learn from history? Mostly they do, I suspect, after a fashion.

I certainly can't imagine the Iranian Government has forgotten the 1981 Israeli attack on Iraq's (perfectly legal and internationally inspected) nuclear reactor.

Why do some nations want to develop nuclear power? I suspect a range of reasons. Preparation for making bombs is an obvious possibility - but by no means the only reason. Industrialising nations need energy. Oil-rich third world countries understandably feel that - unless they develop alternative energy resources and diversify their economies - they are simply going to be used as a mine for as long as their oil reserves last and will be left in the end with no oil and no sound economy.

Personally, I think nuclear power is the wrong answer for every country. I believe what Amory Lovins has called 'soft energy paths' should be taken, worldwide.

However, while I oppose nuclear power and WMDs in general, I don't advocate bombing Three Mile Island or Aldermaston, for that matter. I disagree with even threatening to bomb such places, as a tactic. That sounds like (real) terrorism to me.

To my knowledge, not one of the Arab and Moslem countries that Israel purportly believes are an 'existential threat' has ever threatened to bomb Dimona or Nes Ziona. Unfortunately, Israel and the US ARE holding that threat over the head of the Iranians.

I imagine that if an attack on Iran proceeds, it will be condemned by most countries in the world.

The US, clearly captive to the Zionist lobby to a much greater extent than in 1981, will probably not protest this time (indeed, the US may itself bomb Iran, and would certainly be somewhere in the decision-making loop).

Poodle nations like Australia and Britain under Nu Labour will probably cheer from the sidelines.

Very soon afterwards, I expect, the price of oil would go through the roof.

Despite constant mood-minding and fear-monguering by the mass media, most middle class Americans will eventually figure out they've been had (again) - but that this time, unlike before, their pleasant, consumer-oriented existence within the trappings of a 'free society' is headed for terminal decline.

That's when thjings may really heat up - and when the machinary of a police state, installed by stealth over the last decade or so in all the major Anglo-Saxon democracies, may be widely used, not against (largely) fake terrorists, but against political dissidents.

If there is to be real regime change in Washington DC, it would probably occur around that time - in revolutionary turmoil that would make 1917 seem like a picnic.

I recall an friend of mine, many years ago, telling me his theory of how things might pan out. This guy was a well-read trot - not a Zionist posing as a trot - but the real thing. He truly believed that world revolution would eventually occur to overthrow the exploitation of the great majority by an exploitative ultra-rich elite. Either that - or reversion to barbarism.

He opined that when the USA finally undergoes revolution, it would be very violent indeed, because of high levels of gun owenership and the very high stakes.

Sid,

The following is in response to your request to provide some references. I took the opportunity to elaborate...

As it takes considerably more time to look up references, and I must draw upon memory to a large degree, for information which I recall. but read and reasearched years ago, I do sometimes get into the habit of omitting references....

If the following doesn't include references for a statement I made, lust point it out and I'll try and find it. Most information is readily verifiable...

Iran attacked the Iraqi nuclear power complex in September, 1980:

http://www.cns.miis.edu/research/wmdme/chrono.htm

“30 September 1980 (Iran, Iraq)

During an Iranian attack on Iraqi electrical power plants, two US-supplied F-4 fighter aircraft bomb Iraq's Osirak nuclear research center. According to French embassy officials in Baghdad, the attack damages some auxiliary buildings at the site but does not damage the French-built Tammuz-1 power reactor.” (Reference above, there are other references):

http://www.angelfire.com/art2/narod/opera/

“Iran’s leaders were kept constantly informed about any related development, so much so that Franco-Iranian relations have suffered from this development until recently. Iran didn’t trust Iraq, despite protestations from Baghdad that any such weapons would only be used against Israel.

Needless to say, the Israelis did not want the two French supplied reactors to be completed either. Israeli intelligence had been working on the case since its inception, and shared the information with the Iranian intelligence….”

Stewart Steven, “The Spymasters of Israel”, Ballantine Books:

Also, in the Ballantine Book series “Espionage/Intelligence Library”, a book in that series, “The Spymasters of Israel” by Stewart Steven, includes in the prologue information on the unsuccessful attack on the electrical generation/Reactor complex (which included the Osirak Reactor) by Iran. The book identifies that subsequent to the Iranian attack, a Baghdad newspaper published a statement to the effect that the subsequent Nuclear weapons produced would not be used on Iran, but on the Zionists.

Note that I clearly remember a report of an intercepted message to Bani Sadr stating that Nuclear weapons produced by Iraq would never be used on our “Islamic Brothers, but on our mutual enemy, the Zionists.” Unfortunately I cannot find a current reference to this specific message, although I do remember the message clearly. However, there are sufficient references to communications between Baghdad and Tehran, to this effect.

Information on the history of Iranian President elect Bani Sadr:

http://www.photius.com/countries/iran/gove...all_of~278.html

“Bani Sadr was the first popularly elected president of the Islamic Republic. He assumed office with a decisive electoral vote--75 percent-- and with the blessing of Khomeini. Within seventeen months, however, he had been impeached by the Majlis, and dismissed from office. Bani Sadr was destroyed, at least in part, by the same issue that had brought down Bazargan, that is, the efforts of the government to reestablish its political authority. Ironically, prior to his election as president, Bani Sadr had advocated decentralization of political power and had even helped to undermine the Bazargan government. As president, Bani Sadr became a convert to the principle that centralization of power was necessary; soon, he was embroiled in a bitter political dispute with his former allies. The downfall of Bani Sadr, however, also involved a more fundamental issue, namely, the distribution of power among the new political institutions of the Republic. The fate of Bani Sadr demonstrated that the legislature was independent from and at least equal to the executive, the reverse situation of the Majlis under the Pahlavi shahs.

The conflict between Bani Sadr and the Majlis, which was dominated by the IRP, began when the assembly convened in June 1980. The first issue of controversy concerned the designation of a prime minister. Although the Constitution provides for the president to select the prime minister, it also stipulates that the prime minister must have the approval of the Majlis. After a protracted political struggle, the Majlis forced Bani Sadr to accept its own nominee, Rajai, as prime minister. The president, who had aspired to serve as a strong figure similar to de Gaulle when he was president of France, was unable to reconcile his differences with the prime minister, who preferred to formulate government policies in consultation with the Majlis. As Bani Sadr continued to lose influence over political developments to the Majlis, his own credibility as an effective leader was undermined. The Majlis also frustrated Bani Sadr's attempts to establish the authority of the presidency in both domestic and foreign affairs. For example, the leaders of the IRP in the Majlis manipulated Bani Sadr's efforts to deal with Iran's international crises, the dispute with the United States over the hostages, and the war with Iraq that began in September 1980 in order to discredit him. When Bani Sadr tried to ally himself with the interests of the disaffected, secularized middle class, the IRP mobilized thousands of supporters, who were incited to assault persons and property derisively identified as "liberal," the euphemism used for any Iranian whose values were perceived to be Western. Bani Sadr attempted to defend his actions by writing editorials in his newspaper, Enqelab-e Islami, that criticized IRP policies and denounced the Majlis and other IRP-dominated institutions as being unconstitutional. Eventually, the leaders of the IRP convinced Khomeini that Bani Sadr was a danger to the Revolution. Accordingly, in June 1981 the Majlis initiated impeachment proceedings against the president and found him guilty of incompetence. Bani Sadr went into hiding even before Khomeini issued the decree dismissing him from office. At the end of July, he managed to flee the country in an airplane piloted by sympathetic air force personnel.”

http://www.mises.org/journals/lf/1980/1980_01-02.pdf

“Very quickly, however, it turned out that Bani-Sadr was a "moderate", that he wanted to make a face-saving deal to release the hostages, and in a couple of weeks he was out, consigned to media oblivion. a victim of his own sober moderation.”

There were also reports of Bani Sadr advocating civil rights (although tempered by fundamentalist Islamic standards; attempting to meld human rights and doctrine) later even such things as women’s rights and modernization of certain institutions.

http://www.iran-bulletin.org/interview/BANI_S1.html

For a comparison of the Osirak Reactor attack and a pending attack on the Iranian Nuclear facilities I suggest the following site:

http://web.mit.edu/ssp/Publications/workin...ers/wp_06-1.pdf

The following is an interesting parallel between the Iranian Arak and Natanz Nuclear facility and the Iraqi Osirak Reactor;

It is noteworthy that the Natanz facility consists many thousand (>50,000)

centrifuges which Iran purported was for nuclear fuel for use in nuclear power/electricity generation. The IAEA reported the possible presence of HEU (highly enriched uranium) at the uranium pilot fuel enrichment plant (PFEP) facility later that year, apparently contradicting Iran's claim that it had not yet carried out enrichment procedures. Iran has suggested that the HEU particles that were found must have been on imported centrifuge equipment (i.e. hitchhikers; that would be quite a stretch).

A nuclear used for electrical generation would typically use an approximate 2-6% uranium enrichment for light water (nuclear power) reactors, mid-level enrichment (15-30%, nominally, although these enrichment levels can vary greatly) for heavy water (possibly for test, research, commercial byproduct, or medical applications) whereas HEU (HEU could be as high as 95 - 98% enrichment) would be utilized in either military power plants (for driving ships or subs), research facility (possible but not probable; it would be a fairly esoteric pursuit based on Iran’s contemporary medical capability), or dedicated to production of plutonium for spent fuel separation and recovery of plutonium. HEU would be ideal for this application, as the production and separation is very time consuming, the use of HEU in spent fuel production would provide a direct proportion in plutonium yield in fuel reprocessing (Note that I have limited knowledge of fission byproduct production, but for other than fissionable Uranium, which is indigenous to Iran, it would be far less expensive and more cost effective for Iran to purchase commercial fission byproducts/radioisotopes from say, Russia, rather than build a reactor for this sole purpose).

Anyway, the purported finding of HEU particles by the IAEA strongly suggests preparation for the production of nuclear weapons.

http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/week/040812.htm

Also form the above CNS site: “Arak is the site of two planned heavy water facilities. The first is a heavy water production facility, the existence of which was disclosed by an Iranian opposition group in August 2002. When IAEA inspectors visited the site in February 2003, Iran claimed that it planned to produce heavy water for export to other countries. Three months later, Iran clarified that it intends to use the heavy water to moderate a prospective heavy water research reactor in Arak. The second facility is a 40 MW heavy water reactor, which Iran announced its plans to start building in 2004. This plant may present a serious nonproliferation challenge when completed. The Arak heavy water reactor will use uranium dioxide and enable Iran to produce plutonium suitable for nuclear weapons assembly. Some estimate that this plant will be able to produce 8 to10 kilograms of weapons-grade plutonium every year, a sufficient amount to build one to two nuclear weapons annually.

Iran claims the plant is for peaceful purposes only and is intended for medical research and development.”

The construction of the 40 megawatt reactor, at Arak, for electrical generation or commercial fission byproduct production is just not viably cost effective and Iran’s stated intention for the Arak reactor to be used as a research reactor also doesn’t seem plausible, since the technologically disadvantaged Iran could obtain research results or byproducts easier and cheaper from Russia, who has been supporting Iran’s “peaceful” nuclear ambitions.

The 1000 MW facility at Bushehr, however would be a cost effective generation facility for producing electricity.

The mining and fabrication of nuclear fuel in Iran does make sense: “Uranium extracted from mines in the Iranian Yazd Province would allow Iran to be self-sufficient in producing fuel needed to run its nuclear power stations”, a logical pursuit, saving the huge cost of purchasing nuclear fuel from Russia.

For a comparison between a preemptive military attack on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities and the Osirak reactor strike see “Preemptive Attack on Iran Compared to the Osirak Example” at:

http://cns.miis.edu/pubs/week/040812.htm

As far as the Iranian attack on the Osirak reactor:

http://www.iranvision.com/iraniraqwar.html

(These are just a couple of sites found browsing the Web. There were quite a few other sites. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to fully vet these sites for credibility/reliability, and cross checking to corroborate the information. I suggest checking them, if you have the time).

“Iran launched an unsuccessful attack on the Iraqi Osirak nuclear reactor on 30 September 1980. On 07 June 1981 Israel initiated an air attack on the same Iraqi Osirak reactor, destroying it. Iraq launched seven air attacks on the Iranian nuclear reactor at Bushehr between 1984 and 1988 during the Iran-Iraq War, ultimately destroying the facility”.

A Iraqi scientist involved with the design and construction of the Osirak facility, Hussein al-Shahristani, was arrested and imprisoned by Saddam after refusing to work on the construction of a nuclear weapon: “Shahristani was removed from his position as Chief Scientific Advisor at the IAEC and transferred to an Iraqi prison for eleven years on December 3, 1979. The reason for his arrest was his refusal to halt his work on the peaceful uses of nuclear energy and begin efforts to build a nuclear bomb.”

The intention of halting Saddam Hussein’s quest for a nuclear weapon had back-lashed.

http://www.ccc.nps.navy.mil/si/oct03/wmd.asp

“The destruction of the Osirak reactor greatly affected Iraq's nuclear program. Although the attack took Iraq off the fast track to nuclear weapons, Baghdad responded furiously by doubling its efforts to obtain the bomb. It assigned 20,000 people to work on the nuclear program and accelerated development of gas centrifuges to produce bomb-grade material. Iraq spent over $10 billion on prohibited components and its denial and deception methods to conceal related facilities and technologies

Similarly a preemptive strike on the Iranian facilities could backfire”.

The other major narrative derives from Imad Khadduri, a former Iraqi nuclear scientist who joined the program in 1975. He gave an extended interview to Peter Jensen, published in the Irish Times on Jan. 6. He said that Iraq had no serious nuclear weapons program until *after* the Israeli bombing of Osirak in 1981. It should also be noted that the main impetus to nuclear proliferation in the Middle East was Israel's nuclear weapons program, the first and still the only successful such program in the area, which has produced several hundred nuclear warheads.

Attack on Iranian facilities would also backfire:

http://www.hoover.org/publications/digest/3001426.html

“ … But a preemptive military strike would instead do just what the hard-liners in Tehran hope for: It would unite their people behind them. Even a precise bombing campaign would kill hundreds if not thousands of innocent Iranians; destroy ancient buildings of historical and religious importance; trigger an Iranian counterstrike, however feeble, against American targets and friends in the region; and spur the mullahs to increase direct support of American enemies in the Shiite part of Iraq. Even more important, an attack would only encourage Tehran to redouble its efforts to build a bomb, just as Saddam Hussein sped up his efforts after the 1981 strike. It would also hurt the democratic opposition movement inside Iran, which is already in retreat and cannot afford another setback. After an attack, Iranians, not unlike Americans, are sure to rally around the flag and their government.”

Further commentary from the Hoover Digest:

“Allowing the Iranians to enrich even some uranium, which they say will be used merely to feed their nuclear power plant, makes it too easy to cheat. To make the deal work, the United States would need to join with Europe, Russia, and China in pledging to guarantee Iran a permanent and continuous supply of enriched uranium. To make the deal even more attractive, the fuel could be offered at reduced prices.

Even under the strictest inspection regime, Iran’s leaders will cheat, as they have often done in the past, and will eventually divert enriched uranium from peaceful to military purposes. But the harder and more transparent the allies can make the process, the longer it will take Iran to begin building bombs.”

- In the light that Iran possesses Uranium, “Uranium extracted from mines in the Iranian Yazd Province would allow Iran to be self-sufficient in producing fuel needed to run its nuclear power stations.”

Provided Iran retains (hidden) enrichment facilities, an attack may only delay nuclear weapon production, if there is a parallel with the Iraqi Osirak reactor.

Peter McKenna

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A nuclear used for electrical generation would typically use an approximate 2-6% uranium enrichment for light water (nuclear power) reactors, mid-level enrichment (15-30%, nominally, although these enrichment levels can vary greatly) for heavy water (possibly for test, research, commercial byproduct, or medical applications) whereas HEU (HEU could be as high as 95 - 98% enrichment) would be utilized in either military power plants (for driving ships or subs), research facility (possible but not probable; it would be a fairly esoteric pursuit based on Iran’s contemporary medical capability), or dedicated to production of plutonium for spent fuel separation and recovery of plutonium. HEU would be ideal for this application, as the production and separation is very time consuming, the use of HEU in spent fuel production would provide a direct proportion in plutonium yield in fuel reprocessing (Note that I have limited knowledge of fission byproduct production, but for other than fissionable Uranium, which is indigenous to Iran, it would be far less expensive and more cost effective for Iran to purchase commercial fission byproducts/radioisotopes from say, Russia, rather than build a reactor for this sole purpose).

Anyway, the purported finding of HEU particles by the IAEA strongly suggests preparation for the production of nuclear weapons.

Peter McKenna

Correction:

Low to mid level enrichment of Uranium 235 consists of 20% or < U235, not < 30%.

HEU is 30% to 99% enrichment, although weapons grade is approx. 95 - 99% enriched.

Peter McKenna

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Thanks for posting that Doug. I agree that Bush will increase troop numbers in Iraq and that he will give Israel the go-ahead to bomb Iran. The timing of this is going to be very important. Bush will want to do it before Blair leaves office. It is also significant that Blair moved Jack Straw from the post of minister of defence. Straw had already made it clear that he was opposed to taking military action against Iran. When Blair made this decision in May, 2006, I posted on the forum that this was a sign that he was willing to go along with Bush over his military plans concerning Iran.

Interestingly, the reason why Clinton refused to sanction a US invasion of Iraq was his belief, that if he did so, the US would eventually become involved in a war with Iran. Ironically, this judgment was based on intelligence provided by the CIA.

Less Than Zero

by William S. Lind

1/13/2007

www.lewrockwell.com

On the surface, President Bush's Wednesday night speech adds up to precisely nothing. The President said, "It is clear that we need to change our strategy in Iraq," but the heart of his proposal, adding more than 20,000 U.S. troops, represents no change in strategy. It is merely another "big push," of the sort we have seen too often in the past from mindless national and military leadership. Instead of Dave Petraeus, why didn't Bush ask Sir Douglas Haig to take command?

Relying on more promises from Iraq's nominal government and requiring more performance from the Iraqi army and police are equally empty policies. Both that government and its armed forces are mere fronts for Shiite networks and their militias. If the new troops we send to Baghdad work with Iraqi forces against the Sunni insurgents, we will be helping the Shiites ethnically cleanse Baghdad of Sunnis. If, as Bush suggested, our troops go after the Shiite militias in Baghdad and elsewhere, we will find ourselves in a two-front war, fighting Sunnis and Shiites both. We faced that situation briefly in 2004, and we did not enjoy it.

All this, again, adds up to nothing. But if we look at the President's proposal more carefully, we find it actually amounts to less than zero. It hints at actions that may turn a mere debacle into disaster on a truly historic scale.

First, Mr. Bush said that previous efforts to secure Baghdad failed for two reasons, the second of which is that "there were too many restrictions on the troops we did have." This suggests the new "big push" will be even more kinetic that what we have done in the past, calling in more firepower – airstrikes, tanks, artillery, etc. – in Baghdad itself. Chuck Spinney has already warned that we may soon begin to reduce Baghdad to rubble. If we do, and the President's words suggest we will, we will hasten our defeat. In this kind of war, unless you are going to take the "Hama model" and kill everyone, success comes from de-escalation, not from escalation.

Second, the President not only upped the ante with Syria and Iran, he announced two actions that only make sense if we plan to attack Iran, Syria or both. He said he has ordered Patriot missile batteries and another U.S. Navy aircraft carrier be sent to the region. Neither has any conceivable role in the fighting in Iraq. However, a carrier would provide additional aircraft for airstrikes on Iran, and Patriot batteries would in theory provide some defense against Iranian air and missile attacks launched at Gulf State oil facilities in retaliation.

To top it off, in questioning yesterday on Capitol Hill, the Tea Lady, aka Secretary of State Rice, refused to promise the administration would consult with Congress before attacking Iran or Syria.

As I have said before and will say again, the price of an attack on Iran could easily be the loss of the army we have in Iraq. No conceivable action would be more foolish than adding war with Iran to the war we have already lost in Iraq. Regrettably, it is impossible to read Mr. Bush's dispatch of a carrier and Patriot batteries any other way than as harbingers of just such an action.

The final hidden message in Mr. Bush's speech confirms that the American ship of state remains headed for the rocks. His peroration, devoted once more to promises of "freedom" and democracy in the Middle East and throughout the world, could have been written by the most rabid of the neo-cons. For that matter, perhaps it was. So long as our grand strategy remains that which the neo-cons represent and demand, namely remaking the whole world in our own image, by force where necessary, we will continue to fail. Not even the greatest military in all of history, which ours claims to be but isn't, could bring success to a strategy so divorced from reality. Meanwhile, Mr. Bush's words give the lie to those who have hoped the neo-cons' influence over the White House had ebbed. From Hell, or the World Bank which is much the same place, Wolfi had to be smiling.

No, Incurious George has offered no new strategy, nor new course, nor even a plateau on the downward course of our two lost wars and failed grand strategy. He has chosen instead to escalate failure, speed our decline and expand the scope of our defeat. Headed toward the cliff, his course correction is to stomp on the gas.

January 13, 2007

William Lind [send him mail] is an analyst based in Washington, DC.

Find this article at:

http://www.lewrockwell.com/lind/lind118.html

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It's now become clear that the US, urged on by Israel, is spoiling for a fight with Iran and is attempting to provoke Iran into a war.

The storming of Iranian offices in Iraq and subsequent detention of Iranian diplomats has been labelled 'extreme provocation' by UK based Iran specialist Ali Ansari. There also appears to be an attempt by apologists for the Iraq war, both inside and outside the media, to place the blame for the failure in Iraq on Iran and its allies. "They're sabotaging our best efforts" is an emerging theme, and is being used to justify increased bellicosity towards Iran.

Bush is now stumbling from one disaster to the next. His recent public statement and decision to bolster troop numbers by 20,000 has attracted harsh criticism within political circles. Publicly, Bush expresses great sorrow at the loss of American lives but he still insists on sending more troops to their death. This is probably not surprising. In all his years as Governor of Texas, Bush never pardoned a single death row inmate. 155 to zero was his record as Governor, I think.

It looks like America has heeded Israel's threat: "If you don't do something about Iran then we will".

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It's now become clear that the US, urged on by Israel, is spoiling for a fight with Iran and is attempting to provoke Iran into a war...

It looks like America has heeded Israel's threat: "If you don't do something about Iran then we will".

Israel's 'threat' to go ahead and bomb another country - unless the US acts first - is really an absurdity.

I remember bullies in the playground, many years ago, putting propositions like that. "Beat up X, Y or Z - because if you don't, I will!"

The appropriate reaction was to tell them to get stuffed.

That Israel dare even float such a 'threat' into the political ether illustrates just how pathetically captive to the Zionist lobby the USA has become.

Would Eisenhower or JFK have reacted favourably to such a 'threat' from Ben Gurion, had BG taken a similar tack in the 50s or early 60s?

In view of their known reactions to the Suez fiasco and Dimona, I suspect White House memos to Tel Aviv would have been along these lines: "Mr Prime Minister, do NOT start an unprovoked bombing war with your neighbours. If you do, the US Government will condemn Israel in the UN Security Council and call for international sanctions."

These days, of course, the USA has even more (potential) leverage - because Israel now receives many billions of dollars each year in grants, gifts, loans and 'loan guarantees, technology transfers and all the rest of it. Israel's reliance on US military technology is far greater now than at that time.

If the US had the will to do so, it could curb Israel's ambitions and put an end to the aggressions of this serial offender.

Unfortunately, that will was largely blown away in the coup d'etat of November 1963.

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What evidence is there that Israel made such a threat? One wonders how any country would react if the president of another was developing nuclear weapons and threatened to "wipe it away" and attended military parades where banners calling for its "death" and for it to be "wiped away" were hung from missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to any point in its territory and other government officials called for its annihilation.

Edited by Len Colby
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What evidence is there that Israel made such a threat? One wonders how any country would react if the president of another was developing nuclear weapons and threatened to "wipe it away" and attended military parades where banners calling for its "death" and for it to be "wiped away" were hung from missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to any point in its territory and other government officials called for its annihilation.

Len - no matter how many times I post detailed, documented material from Juan Cole indicating that the 'wipe off the map' comment was a blatant mistranslation of the Iranian President's words - and despite your apparent inability to rebut Cole on this - you continue repeating the same old scare story.

Oh well, I guess if I too held a 'my country right or wrong' approach to life - and 'my country' was menacing it's neighbours with, among other things, REAL nuclear weapons, I might also be desperate to hang onto this particular lie.

Without it, Israel's threats to Iran are more clearly seen for precisely what they are: outrageous, dangerous, aggressive bullying that attempts to enforce egregious double standards in Israel's favour.

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What evidence is there that Israel made such a threat? One wonders how any country would react if the president of another was developing nuclear weapons and threatened to "wipe it away" and attended military parades where banners calling for its "death" and for it to be "wiped away" were hung from missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to any point in its territory and other government officials called for its annihilation.

Len - no matter how many times I post detailed, documented material from Juan Cole indicating that the 'wipe off the map' comment was a blatant mistranslation of the Iranian President's words - and despite your apparent inability to rebut Cole on this - you continue repeating the same old scare story.

Oh well, I guess if I too held a 'my country right or wrong' approach to life - and 'my country' was menacing it's neighbours with, among other things, REAL nuclear weapons, I might also be desperate to hang onto this particular lie.

Without it, Israel's threats to Iran are more clearly seen for precisely what they are: outrageous, dangerous, aggressive bullying that attempts to enforce egregious double standards in Israel's favour.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is and always has been a secular spokesman for the true power in Iran, the Clerical leadership, who has spoken for the obliteration of Israel so pervasively that it has become the stuff of slogans and banners.

Juan Cole’s credentials as an expert in Iranian policy are not impeccable.

For example:

http://www.slate.com/id/2140947/

“Cole is a minor nuisance on the fringes of the academic Muslim apologist community.”

It would be better put to say that in the light of international scrutiny over what is obviously Iran’s goal of uranium high enrichment, President Ahmadinejad has been told to lower the tenor of his anti-Israeli rhetoric by his handlers.

The evidence that Iran is in pursuit of nuclear weapons is convincing. Unless Iran is in pursuit of advanced nuclear research (that they are only developing peaceful nuclear power capability for electricity generation is laughable) on their current course (unless the recent stall in enrichment work indicates a more permanent diplomatic shift) they should have a nuclear weapon(s) within two or three years.

Would military action against Iran prevent a limited nuclear war in the Mid-east or could it cause one? The effect of a military strike against Iran could have the effect of polarizing Arabic speaking nations against Israel and possibly the US, resulting in a much more dangerous situation than would otherwise exist, even with Iran having nuclear weapons capability.

The effect of any overt military action against Iran could easily backlash. The war in Iraq and the bombing of the Iraqi Osirak reactor should have taught us that.

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What evidence is there that Israel made such a threat? One wonders how any country would react if the president of another was developing nuclear weapons and threatened to "wipe it away" and attended military parades where banners calling for its "death" and for it to be "wiped away" were hung from missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to any point in its territory and other government officials called for its annihilation.

Len - no matter how many times I post detailed, documented material from Juan Cole indicating that the 'wipe off the map' comment was a blatant mistranslation of the Iranian President's words - and despite your apparent inability to rebut Cole on this - you continue repeating the same old scare story.

Oh well, I guess if I too held a 'my country right or wrong' approach to life - and 'my country' was menacing it's neighbours with, among other things, REAL nuclear weapons, I might also be desperate to hang onto this particular lie.

Without it, Israel's threats to Iran are more clearly seen for precisely what they are: outrageous, dangerous, aggressive bullying that attempts to enforce egregious double standards in Israel's favour.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is and always has been a secular spokesman for the true power in Iran, the Clerical leadership, who has spoken for the obliteration of Israel so pervasively that it has become the stuff of slogans and banners.

Juan Cole’s credentials as an expert in Iranian policy are not impeccable.

For example:

http://www.slate.com/id/2140947/

“Cole is a minor nuisance on the fringes of the academic Muslim apologist community.”

It would be better put to say that in the light of international scrutiny over what is obviously Iran’s goal of uranium high enrichment, President Ahmadinejad has been told to lower the tenor of his anti-Israeli rhetoric by his handlers.

The evidence that Iran is in pursuit of nuclear weapons is convincing. Unless Iran is in pursuit of advanced nuclear research (that they are only developing peaceful nuclear power capability for electricity generation is laughable) on their current course (unless the recent stall in enrichment work indicates a more permanent diplomatic shift) they should have a nuclear weapon(s) within two or three years.

Would military action against Iran prevent a limited nuclear war in the Mid-east or could it cause one? The effect of a military strike against Iran could have the effect of polarizing Arabic speaking nations against Israel and possibly the US, resulting in a much more dangerous situation than would otherwise exist, even with Iran having nuclear weapons capability.

The effect of any overt military action against Iran could easily backlash. The war in Iraq and the bombing of the Iraqi Osirak reactor should have taught us that.

Peter

You write:

It would be better put to say that in the light of international scrutiny over what is obviously Iran’s goal of uranium high enrichment, President Ahmadinejad has been told to lower the tenor of his anti-Israeli rhetoric by his handlers.
Why?

That statement grossly misrepresents the facts.

Ahmadinejad made a statement that was mistranslated. The mistranslation was probably deliberate; certainly, incessant repetition of the mistranslation has been a deliberate act of deception.

As he NEVER threatened to "wipe Israel off the map" in the first place - he can't tone down a statement that he never made.

Is that too hard to grasp?

I checked to see what sage wrote "Cole is a minor nuisance on the fringes of the academic Muslim apologist community.” which you quoted to bolster your case."

Imagine my astonishment when I discovered it was none other than the 'formidable' Zionist shill Chris Hitchens, whom, I suppose, has had it in for the Mullahs ever since they closed down his favourite bars in Tehran.

Hitchens... now I really must look up what Hitchens wrote in the lead up to the Iraq invasion of 2003...

I presume he was urging caution and querying the "intelligence" reports of Iraqi WMDs, LOL.

Anyhow, at least Slate, in this instance, has the decency to publish Cole's response to Hitchens, so here it is for the record:

Mr. Hitchens has quoted my unpublished email without permission, which is bad enough. But worst of all, he has done so incompletely and so given an inaccurate impression of the discussions in which I was engaged. Since he wishes to make that discussion public before I was ready to do so, I am helpfully sending along the final message in the exchange.

Mr. Hitchens asks why I did not cite other parts of the Ahmadinejad speech. The answer is that I was only talking about the one phrase in this discussion, and was unfortunately not taking direction from Mr. Hitchens on how to read Persian texts. Perhaps he would do us the honor of subscribing to the private discussion list so that he could make these helpful suggestions in context rather than taking snippets of them and publishing them against the author's will.

The email he leaves out is as follows:

Date: Sun, 23 Apr 2006 15:34:18 -0400 From: "Cole, Juan"

The speech in Persian is here:

Sorry that I misremembered the exact phrase Ahmadinejad had used. He made an analogy to Khomeini's determination and success in getting rid of the Shah's government, which Khomeini had said "must go" (az bain bayad berad). Then Ahmadinejad defined Zionism not as an Arabi-Israeli national struggle but as a Western plot to divide the world of Islam with Israel as the pivot of this plan.

The phrase he then used as I read it is "The Imam said that this regime occupying Jerusalem (een rezhim-e ishghalgar-e qods) must [vanish from] from the page of time (bayad az safheh-ye ruzgar mahv shavad)."

Ahmadinejad was not making a threat, he was quoting a saying of Khomeini and urging that pro-Palestinian activists in Iran not give up hope-- that the occupation of Jerusalem was no more a continued inevitability than had been the hegemony of the Shah's government.

Whatever this quotation from a decades-old speech of Khomeini may have meant, Ahmadinejad did not say that "Israel must be wiped off the map" with the implication that phrase has of Nazi-style extermination of a people. He said that the occupation regime over Jerusalem must be erased from the page of time.

Again, Ariel Sharon erased the occupation regime over Gaza from the page of time.

I should again underline that I personally despise everything Ahmadinejad stands for, not to mention the odious Khomeini, who had personal friends of mine killed so thoroughly that we have never recovered their bodies. Nor do I agree that the Israelis have no legitimate claim on any part of Jerusalem. And, I am not exactly a pacifist but have a strong preference for peaceful social activism over violence, so needless to say I condemn the sort of terror attacks against innocent civilians (including Arab Israelis) that we saw last week. I have not seen any credible evidence, however, that such attacks are the doing of Ahmadinejad, and in my view they are mainly the result of the expropriation and displacement of the long-suffering Palestinian people.

It is not realistic for Americans to call for Iran to talk directly to the Israeli government (though in the 1980s the Khomeinists did a lot of business with Israel) when the US government won't talk directly to the Iranians about most bilateral issues. In fact, an American willingness to engage in direct talks might well pave the way to an eventual settlement of these outstanding issues.

cheers

Juan Cole

Regarding the question whether Iran is following Israel's lead and is developing nuclear weapons in secret, opinions differ on that. It seems eeriely like a replay of the debate within the US "intelligence" community over Saddam's alleged WMDs.

In late November, the BBC told us: The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has not found conclusive evidence that Iran is developing nuclear weapons, a US magazine has reported.

But I suggest we keep this simple.

You write: "Would military action against Iran prevent a limited nuclear war in the Mid-east or could it cause one?"

Whether or not Iran is developing nuclear weapons, military action against Iran that involved the use of Israeli or US nuclear weapons would, in fact, start a nuclear war - because nuclear war is war in which nuclear weapons are used.

To claim that by attacking Iran (possibly with nuclear weapons) the Israeli-US war machine would be acting to prevent nuclear war is to succumb to - or deliberately perpetrate - uni-directional Zionist spin.

It's the kind of logic that allows Israeli politicians to openly threaten and incite attacks on Iran while claiming to be the victim.

It's 'logic' that rest on foundations of lies.

You seem remarkably determined to uphold those lies.

Edited by Sid Walker
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What evidence is there that Israel made such a threat? One wonders how any country would react if the president of another was developing nuclear weapons and threatened to "wipe it away" and attended military parades where banners calling for its "death" and for it to be "wiped away" were hung from missiles capable of delivering nuclear warheads to any point in its territory and other government officials called for its annihilation.

Len - no matter how many times I post detailed, documented material from Juan Cole indicating that the 'wipe off the map' comment was a blatant mistranslation of the Iranian President's words - and despite your apparent inability to rebut Cole on this - you continue repeating the same old scare story.

Oh well, I guess if I too held a 'my country right or wrong' approach to life - and 'my country' was menacing it's neighbours with, among other things, REAL nuclear weapons, I might also be desperate to hang onto this particular lie.

Without it, Israel's threats to Iran are more clearly seen for precisely what they are: outrageous, dangerous, aggressive bullying that attempts to enforce egregious double standards in Israel's favour.

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is and always has been a secular spokesman for the true power in Iran, the Clerical leadership, who has spoken for the obliteration of Israel so pervasively that it has become the stuff of slogans and banners.

Juan Cole’s credentials as an expert in Iranian policy are not impeccable.

For example:

http://www.slate.com/id/2140947/

“Cole is a minor nuisance on the fringes of the academic Muslim apologist community.”

It would be better put to say that in the light of international scrutiny over what is obviously Iran’s goal of uranium high enrichment, President Ahmadinejad has been told to lower the tenor of his anti-Israeli rhetoric by his handlers.

The evidence that Iran is in pursuit of nuclear weapons is convincing. Unless Iran is in pursuit of advanced nuclear research (that they are only developing peaceful nuclear power capability for electricity generation is laughable) on their current course (unless the recent stall in enrichment work indicates a more permanent diplomatic shift) they should have a nuclear weapon(s) within two or three years.

Would military action against Iran prevent a limited nuclear war in the Mid-east or could it cause one? The effect of a military strike against Iran could have the effect of polarizing Arabic speaking nations against Israel and possibly the US, resulting in a much more dangerous situation than would otherwise exist, even with Iran having nuclear weapons capability.

The effect of any overt military action against Iran could easily backlash. The war in Iraq and the bombing of the Iraqi Osirak reactor should have taught us that.

I find that reading Prof. Juan Cole's commentary in his daily blog, www.juancole.com, is extraordinary worthwhile. Below is an insightful article by him of today from a California newspaper:

MISREADING THE ENEMY

By Juan Cole

San Jose Mercury News

1/14/2007

http://www.mercurynews.com/mld/mercurynews...al/16459277.htm

President Bush's escalation of the Iraq War is premised on a profound misunderstanding of who the enemies are, how to deal with them and what the limits are of U.S. power.

The president cannot seem to let go of his fixation on Al-Qaida, a minor actor in Iraq, and his determination to confront Iran and Syria. He still assumes that the insurgents are outsiders to their neighborhoods and that U.S. troops can chase away the miscreants and keep them out, acting as a sort of neighborhood watch in khaki. In fact, Iraq's Sunni Arab elite is playing the spoiler, and until a deal is negotiated with its members, no one will be allowed to enjoy the new Iraq.

Scholars at the American Enterprise Institute, who from the beginning spearheaded the U.S. invasion and occupation of Iraq, express confidence that the United States, which has a $12 trillion economy, an army over a million strong, and a population of 300 million, can overwhelm Iraq. They point out that Iraq only has an economy of $100 billion, a population of 27 million, and a guerrilla movement of just tens of thousands. This comparison is deeply misleading, and it will get thousands of Americans killed.

Guerrilla movements can succeed against much wealthier, more populous and better-armed enemies, as happened in Algeria in the late 1950s through 1962 when the National Liberation Front expelled the French. The real question is not America's supposed superiority (which so far has not brought it victory) but what exactly the resources and tactics of the enemy are and whether they can be defeated. The answer to the second question is ``No.''

Who is the enemy in Iraq, exactly? In the first instance, it is some 50 major Sunni Arab guerrilla groups. These have names such as the 1920 Revolution Brigades, the Army of Muhammad, and the Holy Warrior Council. Some are rooted in the Baath party, an Arab nationalist and socialist party that had ruled Iraq since 1968. Others have a base in city quarters or in rural clans. Some are made up of fundamentalist Muslims. One calls itself ``Al-Qaida'' but has no real links to Osama bin Laden and his organization, and has simply adopted the name. The Baathists and neo-Baathists, led by Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri (once a right-hand man of Saddam Hussein), are probably the most important and deadliest of these guerrilla groups.

These guerrilla cells are rooted in the Sunni Arab sector, some 20 percent of Iraq's population, which had enjoyed centuries of dominance in Iraq. From it came the high bureaucrats, the managers of companies, the officer corps, the people who know how to get things done. They know where some 200,000 remaining tons of hidden explosives are, secreted around the country by the former regime. They are for the most part unable to accept being ruled by what they see as a new government of Shiite ayatollahs and Kurdish warlords, or being occupied by the U.S. Army and Marines. These Iraqi Sunnis enjoy the support of millions of committed and sometimes wealthy co-religionists in Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and the oil kingdoms of the Persian Gulf.

The Sunni Arab guerrilla cells have successfully pursued a spoiler strategy in Iraq. By engaging in assassinations, firefights and bombings, they have made it clear that if they are not happy in the new Iraq, no one is going to be. Did U.S. engineers repair electricity stations? The Sunni guerrillas sabotaged them. Did the new regime attempt to export petroleum from the northern city of Kirkuk through Turkey? The guerrillas hit the pipelines. Did the U.S. military attempt to plant 50 bases around the country? The cells targeted them for mortar attacks and roadside bombs, inflicting a steady and horrible attrition, leaving more than 25,000 GIs killed or wounded.

Focus on towns and cities

The Sunni guerrillas took over territory where they could, mainly concentrating on villages, towns and city quarters in the center, north and west of the country. At some points, cities like Al-Fallujah and much of Ar-Ramadi, Al-Hadithah, Samarra and Tikrit have been at least in part under their control. They have entire districts of Mosul and Baghdad. They have attempted to cut the capital off from fuel, and they steal and smuggle petroleum to support their war. In areas they only partly control, or in enemy areas, they set off bombs or send in death squads to make object lessons of opponents.

The guerrillas know they cannot fight the U.S. military head-on. But they do not need to. They know something that the Americans could not entirely understand. Iraq is a country of clans and tribes, of Hatfields and McCoys, of grudges and feuds. The clans are more important than religious identities such as Sunni or Shiite. They are more important than ethnicities such as Kurdish or Arab or Turkmen. All members of the clan are honor-bound to defend or avenge all the other members. They are bands not of brothers but of cousins.

The guerrillas mobilized these clans against the U.S. troops and against one another. Is a U.S. platoon traveling through a neighborhood of the Dulaim clan, where people are out shopping? They hit the convoy, and the panicked troops lay down fire around them. They kill members of the Dulaim clan. They are now defined as the American tribe, and they now have a feud with the Dulaim. Members of the Dulaim cannot hold their heads up high until they avenge the deaths of their cousins by killing Americans.

Unbelievable cruelty

The guerrillas also provoke clan feuds between adherents of the two major sects of Islam, the Sunni and the Shiite. They pursue this goal with unbelievable cruelty. They will blow up a big marriage party held by a Shiite clan, killing bride, groom and revelers. They know that Muslims try to bury the dead the same day, so there will be a funeral. They blow up the funeral, too. The Shiite clan knows who the Sunni clans are that support the insurgency.

The Shiites who have been attacked then join the radical Mahdi Army out of anger and fear, and send death squads at night to take revenge on the Sunni clan. If American troops step in to stop the Shiites from taking revenge, that produces a feud between the U.S. and the Shiite clans. The ordinary Sunnis under attack from the vengeful Shiite death squads turn for protection to the Sunni guerrillas. The deliberately provoked feuds have the effect of mobilizing the Sunni Arabs and garnering their support for the guerrillas.

The guerrillas have opened fronts against the Americans, against the police and army of the new government and against the Shiites. There is a third front, in Mosul and Kirkuk, against the Kurds. The guerrillas hit Kirkuk's oil pipelines, police, political party headquarters and ordinary Kurds in hopes of keeping the Kurdistan Regional Government from annexing oil-rich Kirkuk to itself.

U.S. soldiers cannot stop the Sunni Arab guerrilla cells from setting bombs or assassinating people. That is clear after nearly four years. And since they cannot stop them, they also are powerless to halt the growing number of intense clan and religious feuds. The United States cannot stop the sabotage that hurts petroleum exports in the north and stops electricity from being delivered for more than a few hours a day.

President Bush in his speech Wednesday imagined that guerrillas were coming into neighborhoods in Baghdad and in the cities of Al-Anbar province from the outside. He suggested that, as the solution to this problem, U.S. and Iraqi troops should clear them out and then hold the city quarters for some time, to stop them from coming back. But the guerrillas are not outsiders. They are the people of those city quarters, who keep guns in their closets and come out masked at night to engage in killing and sabotage.

Security comes first

Bush believes that $1 billion invested in a jobs program will generate employment that would make young men less likely to succumb to the blandishments of the guerrilla recruiters. But without security you cannot have a thriving economy of the sort that produces jobs, and any money you put into such a situation will just be frittered away. The guerrillas often make $300 a month, a very good salary in today's Iraq. There is little likelihood that Bush's jobs program will generate many jobs that will draw Iraqis away from their guerrilla groups and militias. For a lot of them, serving is a matter of neighborhood protection or ideological commitment. Not everything is about money.

Another reason that Bush's $1 billion for jobs is not that impressive is that Iran is offering Iraq $1 billion in aid as well. And guerrillas in the southern port of Basra are estimated to be stealing and smuggling $2 billion a year from the city's oil facilities. Add all that sort of thing up, and the United States is being outspent by a wide margin.

Since the Sunni Arab guerrillas cannot be defeated or stopped from provoking massive clan feuds that destabilize the country, there is only one way out of the quagmire. The United States and the Shiite government of Iraq must negotiate a mutually satisfactory settlement with the Sunni Arab guerrilla leaders. Those talks would be easier if the guerrillas would form a civil political party to act as their spokesman. They should be encouraged to do so. Their first and most urgent demand is that the United States set a timetable for withdrawal of its troops. The United States should take them up on their offer to talk once a timetable is announced.

Bush's commitment of more than 20,000 troops is intended to address only one of the guerrillas' tactics, taking and holding neighborhoods. At that, he is concentrating on only a small part of the Sunni Arab territories. The guerrillas do not need to hold such neighborhoods to continue to engage in sabotage and the provocation of artificial feuds.

As long as the Sunni Arabs of Iraq are so deeply unhappy, they will simply generate more guerrillas over time. Bush is depending on military tactics to win a war that can only be won by negotiation.

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