POSTED: 27 MARCH 2008 - 2:30pm HST

American attack on Iran nears

It's The 'Oh Shit!' Moment On Iran
by Dave Lindorff on 15 march 2008 in

(This Can't Be Happening) -- Every horror movie has that 'Oh Shit!' moment, when the hero or heroes are huddled in some creepy hideout, and suddenly something happens that tells you that the monster is just around the corner, or just about to attack. In 'Jurassic Park' it was the pulsing ripples in a cup of water, heralding the arrival of a T-Rex. In 'Jaws' it was the deep base music, letting you know that a monstrous shark was about to attack.

Well, we just got our 'Oh Shit!' moment with the just-announced resignation of Admiral William J. Fallon, the military commander of US Middle East operations.

Adm. Fallon, 63, famously said that an attack on Iran would not happen 'on my watch,' and is widely believed to have already threatened, along with a number of other top generals and admirals, to quit the service if the Bush administration were to launch an air attack on Iran.

Put the pieces together. We know that the vice president is obsessed with a desire to attack Iran, and has been since before he even took office. Bush has repeatedly stressed that Iran cannot be permitted to continue with its nuclear processing (he calls it their 'nukular' bomb program, though there is no evidence that the country has a nuclear bomb development program, and in fact the last National Intelligence Estimate on Iran said there was not and hadn't been since 2003). And Fallon has now quit.

The Eisenhower nuclear aircraft carrier strike force has departed for stationing off Iran, joining forces already in place there, and loaded to the brim with strike aircraft, Tomahawk missiles, and even nuclear weapons. It was long ago reported that stealth bombers had been put in place in come of the countries of the old Soviet Union north of Iran, as well as on the island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

All the elements, that is to say, are in place for a massive air assault on Iranian targets, designed to destroy its nuclear program, cripple its military command and control, and--at least this is a stated Cheney goal--to lead to the overthrow of the Iranian government by its own people.

It is, of course, the strategy of madmen.

The US has no forces to send into Iran. All they can do is bomb it. And bombing a country doesn't lead its people to rise up. It leads them to rally 'round the flag. Especially when the civilian casualties of our not-so-'smart' bombs start to soar.

If such an attack were to happen, we can kiss goodbye to six years of domestic peace, such as we've had. The Iranians have considerable capability to inflict damage on US targets of interest, both overseas and here in the domestic US using assymetrical warfare techniques. The worse part is, they'd be completely justified in doing so, since any attack on them would be a crime against peace--the gravest of all international crimes.

American troops already mired and pinned down in a war in Iraq, would find themselves suddenly under attack by Shia forces there, who for several years now have been largely leaving them alone.

And oil, which just bumped up against $110 a barrel, an all-time record, will double in price overnight, as the whole Persian Gulf becomes a war zone.

We can expect massive launches of small boats armed with missiles and torpedoes, as well as sophisticated anti-ship missiles from shore batteries, all fired at US ships in the Gulf, and it would be astounding if some or even many vessels of the US fleet weren't sunk.

Meanwhile, tanker traffic in the Gulf, which accounts for 20% or more of the world's oil, will cease as insurance rates for those vessels goes through the roof.

The monster of war will be unleashed, and will not easily be defeated. That's why Adm. Fallon was so opposed to the whole idea. He knows that it will be a disaster for the US militarily, economically and politically.

The worst part is that Cheney knows this, too. He just doesn't care. This is the man's parting shot as he leaves office--to put the country into the throes of a war so vicious that no one will think of pursuing him for his long list of crimes against the nation and the Constitution.

He is guessing--and he may be right--that the American public will, sheep-like as always, rally to the cause, with a new round of yellow magnet 'ribbons' on their cars. He is hoping--and he may be right-- that war will be a boon for the candidacy of Republican John McCain and for embattled Republicans running for Congress.

It's a kind of political Hail Mary.

Oh Shit! Here it comes...

Operation Cassandra
by William S. Lind on 26 March 2008 in

Admiral Fallon's (forced?) resignation was the last warning we are likely to get of an attack on Iran. It does not mean an attack is certain, but the U.S. could not attack Iran so long as he was the CENTCOM commander. That obstacle is now gone.
Vice President Cheney's Middle East tour is another indicator. According to a report in The American Conservative, on his previous trip Cheney told our allies, including the Saudis, that Bush would attack Iran before the end of his term. If that report was correct, then his current tour might have the purpose of telling them when it is coming.

Why not just do that through the State Department? State may not be in the loop, nor all of DOD for that matter. The State Department, OSD, the intelligence agencies, the Army and the Marine Corps are all opposed to war with Iran. Of the armed services, only the Air Force reportedly is in favor, seeking an opportunity to show what air power can do. As always, it neglects to inform the decision-makers what it cannot do.

The purpose of this column is not to warn of an imminent assault on Iran, though personally I think it is coming, and soon. Rather, it is to warn of a possible consequence of such an attack. Let me state it here, again, as plainly as I can: an American attack on Iran could cost us the whole army we now have in Iraq.
Lots of people in Washington are pondering possible consequences of an air and missile assault on Iran, but few if any have thought about this one. The American military's endless 'we’re the greatest' propaganda has convinced most people that the U.S. armed forces cannot be beaten in the field. They are the last in a long line of armies that could not be beaten, until they were.

Here's roughly how it might play out. In response to American air and missile strikes on military targets inside Iran, Iran moves to cut the supply lines coming up from the south through the Persian Gulf (can anyone in the Pentagon guess why it's called that?) and Kuwait on which most U.S. Army units in Iraq depend (the Marines get most of their stuff through Jordan). It does so by hitting shipping in the Gulf, mining key choke points, and destroying the port facilities we depend on, mostly through sabotage. It also hits oil production and export facilities in the Gulf region, as a decoy: we focus most of our response on protecting the oil, not guarding our army’s supply lines.

Simultaneously, Iran activates the Shiite militias to cut the roads that lead from Kuwait to Baghdad. Both the Mahdi Army and the Badr Brigades – the latter now supposedly our allies – enter the war against us with their full strength. Ayatollah Sistani, an Iranian, calls on all Iraqi Shiites to fight the Americans wherever they find them. Instead of fighting the 20% of Iraq's population that is Sunni, we find ourselves battling the 60% that is Shiite. Worse, the Shiites logistics lie directly across those logistics lines coming up from Kuwait.

U.S. Army forces in Iraq begin to run out of supplies, especially POL, of which they consume a vast amount. Once they are largely immobilized by lack of fuel, and the region gets some bad weather that keeps our aircraft grounded or at least blind, Iran sends two to four regular army armor and mech divisions across the border. Their objective is to pocket American forces in and around Baghdad.

The U.S. military in Iraq is all spread out in penny packets fighting insurgents. We have no field army there anymore. We cannot reconcentrate because we're out of gas and Shiite guerrillas control the roads. What units don't get overrun by Iranian armor or Shiite militia end up in the Baghdad Kessel. General Petraeus calls President Bush and repeals the famous words of Marshal I MacMahon at Sedan:

'Nous sommes dans un pot de chambre, et nous y serons emmerdés.'

Bush thinks he's overheard Petraeus ordering dinner – as, for Bush, he has.

U.S. Marines in Iraq, who are mostly in Anbar province, are the only force we have left. Their lines of supply and retreat through Jordan are intact. The local Sunnis want to join them in fighting the hated Persians. What do they do at that point? Good question.

How probable is all this? I can't answer that. Unfortunately, the people in Washington who should be able to answer it are not asking it. They need to start doing so, now.

It is imperative that we have an up-to-date plan for dealing with this contingency. That plan must not depend on air power to rescue our army. Air power always promises more than it can deliver.

As I have warned before, every American ground unit in Iraq needs its own plan to get itself out of the country using only its own resources and whatever it can scrounge locally. Retreat to the north, through Kurdistan into Turkey, will be the only alternative open to most U.S. Army units, other than ending up in an Iranian POW camp.

Even if the probability of the above scenario is low, we still need to take it with the utmost seriousness because the consequences would be so vast. If the United States lost the army it has in Iraq, we would never recover from the defeat. It would be another Adrianople, another Manzikert, another Rocroi. Given the many other ways we now resemble Imperial Spain, the last analogy may be the most telling.
I have said all this before, in previous columns and elsewhere. If I sound like Cassandra on this point, remember that events ended up proving her right.
March 26, 2008

Worried Yet? Saudis Prepare
for 'Sudden Nuclear Hazards'
24 March 2008

I. One Tick Closer to Midnight
Last Friday, Dick Cheney was in Saudi Arabia for high-level meetings with the Saudi king and his ministers. On Saturday, it was revealed that the Saudi Shura Council -- the elite group that implements the decisions of the autocratic inner circle -- is preparing 'national plans to deal with any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom following experts' warnings of possible attacks on Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactors,' one of the kingdom's leading newspapers, Okaz, reports. The German-based dpa news service relayed the paper's story.

Simple prudence -- or ominous timing? We noted here last week that an American attack on Iran was far more likely -- and more imminent -- than most people suspect. We pointed to the mountain of evidence for this case gathered by scholar William R. Polk, one of the top aides to John Kennedy during the Cuban Missile Crisis, and to other indicators of impending war. The story by Okaz -- which would not have appeared in the tightly controlled dictatorship without approval from the top -- is yet another, very weighty piece of evidence laid in the scales toward a new, horrendous conflict.

We don't know what the Saudis told Cheney in private -- or even more to the point, what he told them. But the release of this story now, just after his departure, would seem to be a clear indication that the Saudis have good reason to fear a looming attack on Iran's nuclear sites and are actively preparing for it.

II. A Nuclear Epiphany in Iran?

And they certainly should be bracing themselves. A U.S. attack on Iran will come suddenly, and if it is indeed aimed at destroying Iran's nuclear capabilities -- a 'threat' being talked up again with new urgency by both Cheney and Bush lately -- it has the potential for unimaginable consequences. As we noted here in a previous piece:

Twelve hours. One circuit of the sun from horizon to horizon, one course of the moon from dusk to dawn. What was once a natural measurement for the daily round of human life is now a doom-laden interval between the voicing of an autocrat's brutal whim and the infliction of mass annihilation halfway around the world. Twelve hours is the maximum time necessary for American bombers to gear up and launch an unprovoked sneak attack – a Pearl Harbor in reverse – against Iran, the Washington Post reports….And when this attack comes – either as a stand-alone 'knock-out blow' or else as the precursor to a full-scale, regime-changing invasion, like the earlier aggression in Iraq – there will be no warning, no declaration of war, no hearings, no public debate. The already issued orders governing the operation put the decision solely in the hands of the president: he picks up the phone, he says, 'Go' – and in twelve hours' time, up to a million Iranians could be dead.

This potential death toll is not pacifist hyperbole; it comes from a National Academy of Sciences study sponsored by the Pentagon itself, as The Progressive reports. (Although Bush's military brass like to peddle the public lie that 'we don't do body counts' of the enemy, in reality, like all good businessmen they keep precise accounts of their production outputs: i.e., corpses.) The Pentagon's NAS study calibrated the kill-rate from 'bunker-busting' tactical nukes used to take out underground facilities – such as those which house much of Iran's nuclear power program.

Another simulation by scientists, using Pentagon-devised software, was even more specific, measuring the aftermath of a 'limited' nuclear attack on the main Iranian underground site in Esfahan, the magazine reports. This small expansion of the Pentagon franchise would result in stellar production figures: three million people killed by radiation in just two weeks, and 35 million people exposed to dangerous levels of cancer-causing radiation in Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Bush has about 50 nuclear 'earth-penetrating weapons' at his disposal, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.

Nor is the idea of a nuclear strike on Iran mere 'liberal paranoia.' Bush himself pointedly refused to take the nuclear option 'off the table' this week. But what's more, Bush has made the use of nuclear weapons a centerpiece of his 'National Security Strategy of the United States,' issued last month, The Progressive notes. While reaffirming the criminal principle of 'pre-emptive' attacks on perceived enemies which may or may not be threatening America with weapons they may or may not possess, Bush declared that 'safe, credible and reliable nuclear forces continue to play a critical role' in the 'offensive strike systems' that are now a key part of America's 'deterrence.'

In the depraved jargon of atomic warmongering, a 'credible' nuclear force is one that can and will be used in the course of ordinary military operations. It is no longer to be regarded as a sacred taboo. This has long been the dream of the Pentagon's 'nuclear priesthood' and its acolytes, going back to the days of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For decades, a strong faction within the American power structure has been afflicted with a perverted craving to unleash these weapons once more. An almost sexual frustration can be discerned in their laments as time and again, in crisis after crisis, their counsels for 'going nuclear' were rejected – often at the very last moment. To justify their aberrant desire, they have relentlessly demonized an ever-changing array of 'enemies,' painting each one as an imminent, overwhelming threat, led by 'madmen' in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, fit only for destruction. Evidence for the 'threat' is invariably exaggerated, manipulated, even manufactured; this ritual cycle has been enacted over and over, leading to many wars – but never to that ultimate, orgasmic release.

Now this paranoid sect has at last seized the commanding heights of American power....

And they have found a most eager disciple in the peevish dullard strutting in the Oval Office. Under their sinister tutelage, Bush has eviscerated 40 years' worth of arms control treaties; officially 'normalized' the use of nuclear weapons, even against non-nuclear states; rewarded outlaw proliferators like India, Israel and Pakistan; and is now destroying the last and most effective restraint on the spread of nuclear weapons: the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).

The treaty guarantees its signatories – such as Iran – the right to establish nuclear power programs in exchange for rigorous international inspections. But Bush has arbitrarily decided that Iran – whose nuclear program undergone perhaps the most extensive inspection process in history – must end its lawful activities. Why? Because the country is led by 'madmen' in thrall to pure evil, impervious to reason, who one day may or may not threaten America with weapons they may or may not have.

So the NPT is dead. As with the Geneva Conventions and the U.S. Constitution, it now means only what Bush says it means. Force of arms, not rule of law, is the new world order. The attack on Iran is coming….

The nuclear sectarians have waited decades for this moment. Such a chance may never come again. Will they let it pass, when with just a word, in just twelve hours, they can see their god rising in a pillar of fire over Persia?

US deploys nuclear sub to Persian Gulf
Monday, 24 March 2008 in

An American nuclear submarine has crossed the Suez Canal to join the US fleet stationed in the Persian Gulf, Egyptian sources say.

Egyptian officials reported that the nuclear submarine crossed the canal along with a destroyer on Friday and Egyptian forces were put on high alert when the navy convoy was passing through the canal.

An American destroyer recently left the Persian Gulf, heading towards the Mediterranean Sea; earlier on Thursday, a US Navy rescue ship crossed the canal to enter the Red Sea. "

The deployment comes as recent reports allege that US Vice President Dick Cheney is seeking to rally the support of Middle Eastern states for launching an attack on Iran.

This is while US officials deny that Cheney’s Mideast tour is linked to a possible military attack on Iran.

According to the latest reports, in recent months a major part of the US Navy has been deployed in and around the Persian Gulf.

Meanwhile, Iran on Sunday rejected French President Nicolas Sarkozy’s comments on the necessity to build a strong deterrent against new security threats posed by nuclear-armed Islamic states, a news agency reported.

Speaking on Friday at the launch of the fourth of France’s latest generation of nuclear-armed submarines, Sarkozy said Iran was “increasing the range of its missiles while serious suspicions weigh on its nuclear programme”.

But Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini insisted Iran was a source of peace and stability in the Middle East.

“Iran has upgraded its capabilities (and) drawing a parallel between these achievements and possible threats against other countries is inappropriate and invalid,” the students’ news agency ISNA quoted Hosseini as saying.

Iran, locked in a standoff with the West over its nuclear plans, had previously boasted it had missiles that could sink” big warships” in the Gulf, a region where US aircraft carriers and warships operate. Iran’s Shahab-3 missile, with a range of 2,000 km is capable of hitting Israel and US bases in the Gulf, Iranian officials say. Iran has refused to recognise Israel since the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the US-backed Shah.

Tehran said in November it had built a new missile with a range of 2,000 km, a step analysts said could add more power to its conventional arsenal when tensions over its atomic plans are rising.

The West accuses Iran of trying to acquire nuclear weapons under cover of a civilian programme. Iran denies the charges, saying it only wants to generate electricity to meet the country’s booming demand.

The U.N. Security Council has imposed three sanctions resolutions against Iran following Tehran’s failure to suspend its nuclear activities, as demanded by the council.

Hosseini said Iran posed no threat to any country. “Iran’s foreign policy is in line with international regulations and laws,” he said.

see also a sample of one article a year:
Island Breath: Drumbeat for War with Iran
Island Breath: Iran War Countdown 3/1/07
Island Breath: Put End to Iraq and Iran War 1/20/07
Island Breath: War with Iran already begun 4/14/06