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January 31, 2007

Parry: US-Israeli Attack On Iran May Be Imminent Iran  Iraq

Robert Parry is part of a dying breed in the US: a true investigative reporter. Among other things, Parry broke many of the Iran-Contra revelations while working for AP and Newsweek in the 1980s. He's continued writing about covert ops and national security matters to this day. In other words, he's a responsible guy with sources. Here's what he wrote today.

First, an attack on Iran may be imminent:

While congressional Democrats test how far they should go in challenging George W. Bush’s war powers, the time may be running out to stop Bush from ordering a major escalation of the Middle East conflict by attacking Iran.

Military and intelligence sources continue to tell me that preparations are advancing for a war with Iran starting possibly as early as mid-to-late February. The sources offer some differences of opinion over whether Bush might cite a provocation from Iran or whether Israel will take the lead in launching air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

But there is growing alarm among military and intelligence experts that Bush already has decided to attack and simply is waiting for a second aircraft carrier strike force to arrive in the region — and for a propaganda blitz to stir up some pro-war sentiment at home.

One well-informed U.S. military source called me in a fury after consulting with Pentagon associates and discovering how far along the war preparations are. He said the plans call for extensive aerial attacks on Iran, including use of powerful bunker-busting ordnance.

Another source with a pipeline into Israeli thinking said the Iran war plan has expanded over the past several weeks. Earlier thinking had been that Israeli warplanes would hit Iranian nuclear targets with U.S. forces in reserve in case of Iranian retaliation, but now the strategy anticipates a major U.S. military follow-up to an Israeli attack, the source said.

Both sources used the same word "crazy" in describing the plan to expand the war to Iran. The two sources, like others I have interviewed, said that attacking Iran could touch off a regional — and possibly global — conflagration.

"It will be like the TV show '24'," the American military source said, citing the likelihood of Islamic retaliation reaching directly into the United States.

Though Bush insists that no decision has been made on attacking Iran, he offered similar assurances of his commitment to peace in the months before invading Iraq in 2003. Yet leaked documents from London made clear that he had set a course for war nine months to a year before the Iraq invasion.

In other words, Bush's statements that he has no plans to "invade" Iran and that he's still committed to settle differences with Iran over its nuclear program diplomatically should be taken with a grain of salt. [Emphasis added]

As if that weren't bad enough, Parry writes that the situation in Iraq is worse than we know:

The rapidly deteriorating situation in Iraq is seen as another factor pressing on Bush to act quickly against Iran.

Other sources with first-hand knowledge of conditions in Iraq have told me that the U.S. position is even more precarious than generally understood. Westerners can't even move around Baghdad and many other Iraqi cities except in armed convoys.

"In some countries, if you want to get out of the car and go to the market, they'll tell you that it might be dangerous," one experienced American cameraman told me. "In Iraq, you will be killed. Not that you might be killed, but you will be killed. The first Iraqi with a gun will shoot you, and if no one has a gun, they'll stone you."

While U.S. war correspondents in most countries travel around in taxis with "TV" taped to their windows, Western journalists in Iraq move only in armed convoys to and from specific destinations. They operate from heavily guarded Baghdad hotels sometimes with single families responsible for security since outsiders can't be trusted.

The American cameraman said one European journalist rebelled at the confinement, took off on her own in a cab — and was never seen again.

Depression also is spreading among U.S. intelligence officials who monitor covert operations in Iraq from listening stations sometimes thousands of miles away. The results of these Special Forces operations have been so horrendous that morale in the intelligence community has suffered. [Emphasis added]

Meanwhile, the LA Times reports today the US Air Force and Navy warplanes are stepping up aggressive patrols along the Iraq-Iran border. It's hard not to suspect that the purpose is to create a provocation that can lead to an incident that will be used to justify an attack. Excerpt:

The Air Force is preparing for an expanded role in Iraq that could include aggressive new tactics designed to deter Iranian assistance to Iraqi militants, senior Pentagon officials said.

The efforts could include more forceful patrols by Air Force and Navy fighter planes along the Iran-Iraq border to counter the smuggling of bomb supplies from Iran, a senior Pentagon official said. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing future military plans.

Such missions also could position the Air Force to strike suspected bomb suppliers inside Iraq to deter Iranian agents that U.S. officials say are assisting Iraqi militias, outside military experts said. [Emphasis added]

Maybe this is all a big game of chicken with the Iranians. But given all the White House lies about Iraq, who is going to believe anything they say about Iran? What is not clear is what can be done to stop them — even though the country is overwhelmingly against widening the war. A crazy spot to be in in a democracy.

[Thanks, Miles]

Posted by Jonathan at January 31, 2007 02:27 PM  del.icio.us digg NewsVine Reddit YahooMyWeb

Comments

If Iran in on the brink of developing nuclear weapons, why *shouldn't* we stop them? Such a development will have enormous implications for the balance of power in the world, and especially in the Middle East. It would seriously threaten the very existence of Israel. It would be dangerous in all kinds of ways, and good in none. Do you really want another WW2, or should we nip this problem while it is still in the bud?

Posted by: Kevin at January 31, 2007 03:08 PM

Very interesting site, read it all :)

Posted by: Gabrielle at January 31, 2007 10:32 PM

To Kevin - Israel is a client state of the United States and one of the largest arms dealers in the world. They have terrorized the Palestinian people and most recently carried out genocidal bombings of southern Lebanon. The fact is that they also possess nuclear capability and the U.S. shows no opposition to this, just as the U.S. shows no opposition to most of its supporters having nuclear weapons throughout the world. The United States is the prime leader of state terrorism in the world today, and just as Hitler did during 30's and 40's, Bush and his remaining military leaders who haven't been replaced yet, along with the compliant media in this country, are promoting fear and lies to shape people's opinion. Despite this Orwellian scene, 80% of the American people understand the war is wrong, and have expressed the strong opinion that we should not be expanding the war in the Middle East, and I still hold the belief that our leaders should listen to the wishes of its people. For Bush to take this expression of opinion and flaunt it with talk of bombing yet another country, without any kind of exit strategy, without any kind of reasoning that is based on logic, without any respect for human life, without any modicum of diplomacy (an antiquated notion during these barbaric times), without any regard for what the American people want to do, - this is criminal. Bush should be tried for political crimes. For the newly-elected Democratic congress to focus on symbolic acts is discouraging, to say the least. The Bush administration has eroded basic civil liberties in this country, condoned torture, carried out repeated military aggression, stolen elections, needlessly killed hundreds of thousands of people, brought about despair among his people and the people of Iraq, consciously used the Machiavellian practice of lying, and fundamentally blown apart the building blocks of what civil society we have had.

Does Iran have the same history of military aggression that Israel and the U.S. have? No. I believe that a U.S. or Israeli attack on Iran is the "WW2" you fear.

Four years ago, when Bush invaded Iraq, he did this after the largest anti-war demonstrations in the history of the world - 36 million people.

I am grief stricken to live in a country that carries out the military de-stabilization of an entire country as if we have the right to do that - a recent U.K. report estimated that 650,000 civilians have died in Iraq - certainly our "shock and awe" opening act and the rest of the U.S. tragic aggression there has destroyed any semblance of civilized daily life there. I am appalled that anyone in this country would accept the kinds of "bunker bomb" nuclear threats our administration talks about, or can support in any way the war games that Bush and certain elements of his military are currently carrying out. Kevin, how can you talk about "balance of power"? as if there were any balance left? I agree with another blogger that Bush's legacy currently puts him somewhere between Pol Pot and Alfred E. Newman. I blame his administration for pushing the entire moslem world into a staging area for anti-American sentiment. I am one of the people who believes that our continuation of this military aggression in the Middle East will bring upon further attacks in this country. His presidency is the greatest tragedy that has happened in U.S. politics in my lifetime.

Thanks, Jon, for your blog. If you get any news of new or developing demonstrations or actions, I would be very interested. This inevitability thinking about our attacking Iran is beyond Orwell.

Posted by: Mary at February 1, 2007 12:08 AM

Kevin, there's no evidence that Iran is "on the brink" of developing nuclear weapons. Best estimates put thier program at least 3 years, likely more like 8-10 years away from having a weapon.

If they're really developing nuclear weapons at all. I too am ticked off at president Imadinnerjacket's blather about developing nuclear weapons and "wiping Israel off the map," but he's less popular in Iran than Bush is here and doesn't hold the true reigns of power anyway.

Attacking Iran now would not "nip this problem while it is still in the bud," but create a much wider war paid for not only by the nations in the region but also by an economic and energy crisis here. Mark my words: it's an extraordinarily bad idea.

Posted by: Michael at February 1, 2007 11:21 AM

Michael wrote:
> ...there's no evidence that Iran
> is "on the brink" of developing
> nuclear weapons. Best estimates
> put thier program at least 3 years,
> likely more like 8-10 years away
> from having a weapon.

As little as 3 years is "on the brink" as far as I am concerned.

> Attacking Iran now would not "nip
> this problem while it is still in
> the bud," but create a much wider
> war paid for not only by the nations
> in the region but also by an economic
> and energy crisis here. Mark my
> words: it's an extraordinarily bad idea.

Maybe. But what would you do about the development of nuclear weapons in Iran? That, too, is an extraordinarily bad idea.

Posted by: Kevin at February 1, 2007 11:31 AM

Maybe. But what would you do about the development of nuclear weapons in Iran? That, too, is an extraordinarily bad idea.

Is it a 'bad' idea just cuz you say so Kevin?

I bet there are many people who think that China having fission mutitions is 'bad'. Wanna place money on the existance of people who think that Russia having fission bombs is 'bad'?

And I've got $100 right here that I can find people in America who think that America having 'the bomb' is a 'bad idea' too.


All the loose talk about 'stopping the bad guys' seems to ignore the 'who's gonna pay for it' part. Where is the payment side of a 'stopping the bad people' plan Kevin?

Well?

Posted by: at February 1, 2007 11:39 PM

While I'm not in favour of nuclear proliferation (and think that everyone else should honour their treaty obligations and reduce their nuclear stockpiles like they agreed to - US, Russia, China and everyone else), it seems that Israel will get along just fine if Iran gets the bomb.

MAD worked for the US and the Soviet Union, it works for the US, China and Russia now, it works for Pakistan and India now - why wouldn't it work with Israel and Iran ?

The Iranians may have more than their fair share of fundamentalist nutters running around in politics (like another large nuclear power), but that is unlikely to make them suicidal as a nation - I imagine the mullahs (who are really in charge, not Ahmadinewhatsit) like holding onto power as much as any other entrenched ruling group and they know the Israelis can wipe them off the map if they have to...

Posted by: Big Gav at February 2, 2007 03:05 AM

Kevin, I agree that it would be extraordinarily bad for Iran to have the bomb, but the fact is that it is not yet a reality. In spite of your insistence, there remains ample time to find some sort of diplomatic solution. Of course, the current US administration continues to refuse to engage Iran in any meaningful diplomacy.

It's an extraordinarily bad reality that Israel, Pakistan, North Korea, India, China, Russia have nuclear weapons. At the moment, initiating a war with Iran would seem to be the shortest route to a conflict in which those weapons may actually be used.

Posted by: Michael at February 2, 2007 12:11 PM

Oh, and by the way, Kev, did you happen to think we were justified in invading Iraq? Smoking gun in the form of a mushroom cloud?

I'd be interested to hear how you think that's working out?

Posted by: Michael at February 2, 2007 01:04 PM

Just for an update, an article in the New York Times today says that US intelligence believes Iran is at least 4 years away from having a weapon.

Posted by: Michael at February 3, 2007 03:52 PM