Saturday :: Feb 11, 2006

"I'm not sure we won't miss Saddam."


by pessimist

The title comment was uttered by Yuval Diskin, chief of the Shin Bet security service when he was telling a group of young Jewish settlers in the West Bank that Israel might come to regret its past support for the U.S. invasion of Iraq. "When you dismantle a system in which there is a despot who controls his people by force, you have chaos," Diskin said.

So just what is this chaos that Diskin fears?

A nuclear attack on Iran just might be the answer.

One of those commie pinkos over at the ultra-progressive Cato Institute was expressing himself about this over at that tree-hugging Fox News Channel website the other day:

Dubious Assumptions about Iran
by Ted Galen Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign policy studies at the Cato Institute
This article appeared on Foxnews.com on February 8, 2006.

A consensus is gradually emerging in the United States that Washington and its allies must take whatever action is necessary to prevent Iran from becoming a nuclear power. Various options are advocated, from U.N.-mandated economic sanctions to airstrikes on suspected nuclear installations to active subversion of the mullah-controlled regime in Tehran. All of these options are based on key assumptions about both the probable conduct of the Iranian government and the underlying political situation in Iran.
Unfortunately, many of those assumptions are dubious at best.
The Iranian nuclear issue is a hellishly difficult problem, and the United States has no good policy options. But whatever course U.S. leaders ultimately adopt must at the very least be based on sound assumptions. Unfortunately, some of the most crucial assumptions appear to be anything but well founded.

Despite all of the rhetoric about Iran's nuclear program, however, that isn't why the US is planning an attack with a nuclear option.

Iran's euro-denominated oil bourse to open in March: US Dollar Crisis on the Horizon

It is now obvious the invasion of Iraq had less to do with any threat from Saddam's long-gone WMD program and certainly less to do to do with fighting International terrorism than it has to do with gaining strategic control over Iraq's hydrocarbon reserves and in doing so maintain the US$ as the monopoly currency for the critical international oil market.

Saddam Hussein in 2000 insisted Iraq's oil be sold for euros, a political move, but one that improved Iraq's recent earnings thanks to the rise in the value of the euro against the dollar.
[Carol Hoyos and Kevin Morrison, "Iraq returns to the international oil market," Financial Times, June 5, 2003]

In 2003, the global community witnessed a combination of petrodollar warfare and oil depletion warfare. The majority of the world's governments -- especially the EU, Russia and China -- were not amused -- and neither are the U.S. soldiers who are currently stationed inside a hostile Iraq.

Throughout 2004, information provided by former administration insiders revealed the Bush/Cheney administration entered into office with the intention of toppling Saddam.
[Richard A. Clarke, Against All Enemies: Inside America's War on Terror, Free Press (2004)]
[Ron Suskind, The Price of Loyalty: George W. Bush, the White House, and the Education of Paul O' Neill, Simon & Schuster publishers (2004)]

Candidly stated, 'Operation Iraqi Freedom' was a war designed to install a pro-US government in Iraq, establish multiple US military bases before the onset of global 'Peak Oil,' and to reconvert Iraq back to petrodollars while hoping to thwart further OPEC momentum towards the euro as an alternative oil transaction currency ( i.e. "petroeuro").
[William Clark, "Revisited - The Real Reasons for the Upcoming War with Iraq: A Macroeconomic and Geostrategic Analysis of the Unspoken Truth," January 2003 (updated January 2004)]

However, subsequent geopolitical events have exposed neoconservative strategy as fundamentally flawed, with Iran moving towards a petroeuro system for international oil trades, while Russia evaluates this option with the European Union.

Beginning in March 2006, the Tehran government has plans to begin competing with New York's NYMEX and London's IPE with respect to international oil trades – using a euro-based international oil-trading mechanism.
["Oil bourse closer to reality," IranMania.com, December 28, 2004. Also see: "Iran oil bourse wins authorization," Tehran Times, July 26, 2005]

The proposed Iranian oil bourse signifies that without some sort of US intervention, the euro is going to establish a firm foothold in the international oil trade. Given US debt levels and the stated neoconservative project of US global domination, Tehran's objective constitutes an obvious encroachment on dollar supremacy in the crucial international oil market.

Iran is about to commit a far greater "offense" than Saddam Hussein's conversion to the euro for Iraq's oil exports in the fall of 2000.
Petrodollar hegemony is eroding, which will ultimately force the US to significantly change its current tax, debt, trade, and energy policies, all of which are severely unbalanced. World oil production is reportedly "flat out," and yet the neoconservatives are apparently willing to undertake huge strategic and tactical risks in the Persian Gulf. Why? Quite simply ... their stated goal is US global domination ... at any cost.

In the December 2004 issue of the Atlantic Monthly, James Fallows reported that numerous high-level war-gaming sessions had recently been completed by Sam Gardiner, a retired Air Force colonel who has run war games at the National War College for the past two decades.
[James Fallows, 'Will Iran be Next?,' Atlantic Monthly, December 2004, pgs. 97 – 110]

Col. Gardiner summarized the outcome of these war games with this statement, "After all this effort, I am left with two simple sentences for policymakers: You have no military solution for the issues of Iran. And you have to make diplomacy work."
Despite Col. Gardiner's warnings, yet another story appeared in early 2005 that reiterated this administration's intentions towards Iran. Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh's article in The New Yorker included interviews with various high-level US intelligence sources.

Hersh wrote: In my interviews [with former high-level intelligence officials], I was repeatedly told that the next strategic target was Iran. Everyone is saying, 'You can't be serious about targeting Iran. Look at Iraq,' the former [CIA] intelligence official told me. But the [Bush administration officials] say, 'We've got some lessons learned -- not militarily, but how we did it politically. We're not going to rely on agency pissants.' No loose ends, and that's why the CIA is out of there.
[Seymour Hersh, "The Coming Wars," The New Yorker, January 24th – 31st issue, 2005, pgs. 40-47]

Could this be why the Cato Institute feels that all of the Bu$hCo assumptions about Iran "are anything but well-founded"? Maybe. But even if not, other commie pinko progressives like Cato's Ted Galen Carpenter seem to share his reservations:

The most recent, and by far the most troubling, was an article in The American Conservative by intelligence analyst Philip Giraldi. His article, "In Case of Emergency, Nuke Iran," suggested the resurrection of active US military planning against Iran -- but with the shocking disclosure that in the event of another 9/11-type terrorist attack on US soil, Vice President Dick Cheney's office wants the Pentagon to be prepared to launch a potential tactical nuclear attack on Iran -- even if the Iranian government was not involved with any such terrorist attack against the US. [Philip Giraldi, "In Case of Emergency, Nuke Iran," American Conservative, August 1, 2005]
An attack on Iranian nuclear facilities … could have various adverse effects on US interests in the Middle East and the world.
Most important, in the absence of evidence of an Iranian illegal nuclear program, an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities by the US or Israel would be likely to strengthen Iran's international stature and reduce the threat of international sanctions against Iran. [Sammy Salama and Karen Ruster, "A Preemptive Attack on Iran's Nuclear Facilities: Possible Consequences," Monterry Institute of International Studies, August 12, 2004 (updated September 9, 2004)]

I've been saying for over a year now that the method by which the world would bring Bu$hco to its knees would involve collapsing the US economy. According to this report, that plan is under consideration:

A unilateral US military strike on Iran would isolate the US government in the eyes of the world community, and it is conceivable that such an overt action could provoke other industrialized nations to strategically abandon the dollar en masse.
Indeed, such an event would create pressure for OPEC or Russia to move towards a petroeuro system in an effort to cripple the US economy and its global military presence.
While central bankers throughout the world community would be extremely reluctant to 'dump the dollar,' the reasons for any such drastic reaction are likely straightforward from their perspective -- the global community is dependent on the oil and gas energy supplies found in the Persian Gulf.

Hence, industrialized nations would likely move in tandem on the currency exchange markets in an effort to thwart the neoconservatives from pursuing their desperate strategy of dominating the world's largest hydrocarbon energy supply.

Any such efforts that resulted in a dollar currency crisis would be undertaken -- not to cripple the US$ and economy as punishment towards the American people per se -- but rather to thwart further unilateral warfare and its potentially destructive effects on the critical oil production and shipping infrastructure in the Persian Gulf.

So what is the mood of the major nations of the world? George seems not to have many friends:


Where the world stands

Some are ready for war:

Germany took the initiative for the decision to report Iran to the UN. Berlin's tough line is partly due to statements by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad that the Holocaust never happened. France has said it wants a diplomatic solution but has never excluded a military option.

Some are not:

India voted in favour of the International Atomic Energy Agency resolution reporting Iran to the United Nations Security Council but said its stance would not "hamper the friendship between the two countries". China has opposed the use of force against Iran and urged the international community to show "patience and flexibility" in finding a diplomatic compromise.

Others are a bit more belligerent on Iran's behalf:

Russia has warned the international community against threatening Iran.

China throws weight behind Russia on Iran

Turkish Foreign Minister Abdullah Gul stated that Turkey will not let the U.S. use its territory in a military attack against Iran since the established borders between Turkey and Iran -- based on an agreement in 1639 -- are older than the history of the U.S.

Bu$hCo has already broken the American piggy bank with his ill-considered Iraqi Oil Rustle. How much would have to come out of the American Horde Hog to continue the Crusade for Crude by attacking Iran?


The Next War -- Crossing The Rubicon

At present the dollar is, on paper, a worthless currency bearing the burden of a national debt exceeding $8 trillion and a trade deficit of more than $600 billion.
The cost of the Iraq adventure alone, according to the Nobel Prizewinning economist Joseph Stiglitz, could be $2 trillion.

And where is all of this money to come from?

America's military empire, with its wars and 700-plus bases and limitless intrigues, is funded by creditors in Asia, principally China.

Considering the evidence I present above, that doesn't sound like a promising prospect to me!

There is only one way Bu$hCo can keep some kind of a hold over China - successfully pacify Iraq and take over Iran's oil fields:

While the Pentagon has no plans to occupy all of Iran, it has in its sights a strip of land that runs along the border with Iraq. This is Khuzestan, home to 90 per cent of Iran's oil. "The first step taken by an invading force," reported Beirut's Daily Star, "would be to occupy Iran's oil-rich Khuzestan Province, securing the sensitive Straits of Hormuz and cutting off the Iranian military's oil supply."

That way, China would have no option to play things George's way. The stakes are quite high:

That oil is traded in dollars is critical in maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency. What the Bush regime fears is not Iran's nuclear ambitions but the effect of the world's fourth-biggest oil producer and trader breaking the dollar monopoly. Will the world's central banks then begin to shift their reserve holdings and, in effect, dump the dollar?

George better hope that the Chinese aren't better bluffers than he has proven to be. But, based on these reports, George isn't worried about that. He and Unka Dickie can't seem to wait until they get to light off the first nuke fired in anger since Nagasaki:

Bush's 2002 Nuclear Posture Review cites "pre-emptive" attack with so-called low-yield nuclear weapons as an option. Will the militarists in Washington use them, if only to demonstrate to the rest of us that, regardless of their problems with Iraq, they are able to "fight and win multiple, simultaneous major-theatre wars", as they have boasted?

They may not have to do this alone. They seem to have drafted the Israelis to do the dirty work while they hold Joseph's Atomic Technicolor Coat:

Last year, the Pentagon delivered 500 "bunker-busting" bombs to Israel. Will the Israelis use them against a desperate Iran?

They might!

Israel's policy on Iran is much more straightforward: If the Israelis become convinced that Iran is on http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml?xml=/news/2006/02/12/wiran112.xml&sSheet=/news/2006/02/12/ixnewstop.htmlthe verge of producing a weaponized nuclear device, (and we emphasize the word "weaponized") the order will be given to launch a nuclear strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Iran has been trying to determine how much room it has between prolonging negotiations and provoking a pre-emptive strike. It will continue to test the boundaries of this gray area.

Even those who oppose such a move by Israel seem resigned to seeing it happening:

Dr. Reuven Pedatzur, a senior lecturer at the Strategic Studies Program at Tel Aviv University, believes Israel would be making a "disastrous strategic error" if it embarked on a full-scale attack on Iran's nuclear facilities. "The military option is not relevant, we simply don't have the right amount of intelligence and information; many of the targets are buried deep under ground.

"Only if the Americans decide to do it, then that option is possible," Pedatzur said last week. Pedatzur added that the day Iran gets a nuclear weapon, Israel will have no choice but to abandon its policy of nuclear ambiguity.

Saner heads are still at work attempting to calm the roiling waters:


Pushing Iran to the brink

The more the US government threatens, the more the Iranians build their defences. Either the Bush administration simply doesn't understand the character of its self-generated enemies, or it is guilty of breathtaking cynicism in preparing for another war.

I'm inclined to believe the latter, for just the other day it was announced that a peaceful Russian proposal to provide additional oversight of Iran's use of atomic fuel and ease international suspicions that Tehran aims to produce nuclear weapons was backed by the US and EU.

But I digress.

Oour observer notes that there isn't much to hope for when one looks at Bu$hCo:

If the Bush administration conceives that Iran is going to be frightened by threats into abandoning whatever nuclear capacity it is engaged in, then its members are alarmingly naive.

Unfortunately, our author demonstrates a certain naivete himself:

As the US continues to show signs of this incipient insanity, it is up to Europe to prevent the slide into disaster. European countries, with their deep historical perspective and their experience of war on their own territory, need to take the opposite path and to build peaceful contacts with the Iranian government and to develop positive links with the Iranian people.

But he realizes quickly that isn't going to happen that way:

This will require political strength to stand up to Bush, and, alas, Tony Blair is not going to do it. In this sense, the American border is the English Channel.

There is still a very slim hope from an unexpected quarter:


A U.S.-Israeli Policy Rift?

Israel does not exactly approve of the way Washington has been handling Iran.

It was particularly peeved by the inclusion of a clause, in the Feb. 4 International Atomic Energy Agency resolution on Iran, that calls for a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East, "including their weapons of delivery." The clause -- which is directed implicitly at Israel -- was inserted by the Europeans as an attempt to win Russian and Chinese support for the resolution. Israel is well aware that it will not face any real pressure to give up its nuclear program, but the inclusion of the clause, nevertheless, did not sit well.

But Bu$hCo isn't going to disappoint those of us who are expecting the worst, I'm sure. Too many Americans have already forgotten the lessons of the bungled Iraq invasion and most support Iran attack.

How much time do we have before this attack happens? Not long:


Russian MP gives date of U.S. Iran attack

Russian Duma member Vladimir Zhirinovsky, vice-chairman of Russia's Duma and founder and leader of the Liberal Democratic Party of Russia, said that a U.S. attack on Iraq is "inevitable" and will occur on March 28.
"The date for the strike is already known -- it is Israel's election day (March 28.) It is also known how much that war will cost."
During an interview with Ekho Moskvy radio station, Zhirinovsky said, "The war is inevitable because the Americans want this war. Any country claiming a leading position in the world will need to wage wars. Otherwise it will simply not be able to retain its leading position.

During my earlier posts today, I proposed that the Muslim unrest over the Mohammad cartoons was a deliberate slight intended to enflame Mualims around the world and distract from Bu$hCo and other's plans. Zhirinovsky must have worked this out also, as it would force the EU to back Bu$hCo no matter what they thought:

Zhirinovsky also told his listeners that the Danish publication of cartoons offensive to Muslims was a deliberate psychological operation by the Bush administration intended to "provoke a row between Europe and the Islamic world.
"It will all end with European countries thanking the United States and paying, and giving soldiers."

"... and paying, and giving soldiers ... and paying, and giving soldiers ... and paying, and giving soldiers ..."

We will always have been at war with Southwest Asia.


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