Sunday, January 22, 2006

War in Iran

A good article at OpEdNews.com that I read recently, began with an excellent quote by William O. Douglas.
"As nightfall does not come at once, neither does oppression. In both instances, there's a twilight where everything remains seemingly unchanged, and it is in such twilight that we must be aware of change in the air, however slight, lest we become unwitting victims of the darkness."
I feel that we are in such a twilight right now. The beat of war drums in the Middle East, a daily thunder for those living in Iraq, yet an almost subliminal pulse for the citizens of rich first-world nations on the other side of the globe, has begun to build to a new crescendo.

US and Israeli irritation with Iran is nothing new. Since the US went into Iraq in 2003, there has been a regular stream of propaganda coming from the global mainstream media hinting at . Syria has been copping it in no uncertain terms either. I had to wonder at some point whether it was simply a case of the US and Israel not being able to decide which nation they disliked more, and simply waiting for whichever one gave them the most plausible excuse for invasion in the eyes of the international community.

But since December last year, there has been a noticeable increase in coverage of the "Iranian nuclear threat" - a ramping up of propaganda designed to shape public opinion and manufacture the necessary level of consent for war. Of course, this process has been lubricated to an amazing degree by none other than Iran's own President! Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been aiming his own barrage of rhetoric at the media - for both national and international consumption.

This has lead many "conservative" commentators to pronounce that an attack on Iran is inevitable - in the name of "freedom and democracy" of course:
A military confrontation with Iran is inevitable. Israel will need to destroy as much of Iran’s nuclear weapons capability as possible. If it does not, Iran’s ayatollahs will launch nuclear-armed ballistic missiles at Israel.

If the Israelis attack, it will be with the assistance and blessing of the U.S. because a nuclear attack on America using innocent-looking merchant ships as launch platforms is a significant fear among counterterrorism experts. Or the U.S. will undertake its own preemptive military operation.

This isn’t conjecture or speculation. The president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has made it clear to the world that Israel is to be “wiped off the map” of the world and, in the first days of its Islamic Revolution, it was American diplomats who were held hostage for 444 days by the Iranians.

For the ayatollahs, America is the “Big Satan” and Israel is the “Little Satan.” No ambiguity here. No slippery rhetoric to disguise their intentions.

Ahmedinijad recently told an Islamic summit in Mecca that an alternative to killing all the Israelis would be to have them all move to Europe! He is not merely certifiably insane, but he is virtually begging for a war with Israel. [...]

In the end, the experts conclude that military power may be the only option. I believe this will prove to be the only way to avoid a nuclear Armageddon.

We are dealing with religious fanatics who want to bring about the return of the twelfth Imam al-Mahdi. Born 800 years ago, the lunatics running Iran believe that, before he returns, “one third of the world population will die by being killed and one-third will die as a result of epidemics.” The ayatollahs of Iran have decided to kill one-third of the “unbelievers” with nuclear weapons. This is Islam’s gift to the world, murder on a scale no one can conceive.

If they succeed, the world will plunge backward to a time comparable to the Dark Ages. The destruction of Iran’s nuclear and other military facilities is a small price to pay to avoid this. Let’s do it sooner than later.
On a very superficial, juvenile level, such commentary makes a lot of sense - after all, any world leader declaring that other nations should be wiped out is a definite cause for concern. But let's now look at an excellent analysis by Michel Chossudovsky entitled, "Nuclear War against Iran":
The new definition of a nuclear warhead has blurred the distinction between conventional and nuclear weapons:

'It's a package (of nuclear and conventional weapons). The implication of this obviously is that nuclear weapons are being brought down from a special category of being a last resort, or sort of the ultimate weapon, to being just another tool in the toolbox,' said Kristensen. (Japan Economic News Wire, op cit)

We are a dangerous crossroads: military planners believe their own propaganda.

The military manuals state that this new generation of nuclear weapons are "safe" for use in the battlefield. They are no longer a weapon of last resort. There are no impediments or political obstacles to their use. In this context, Senator Edward Kennedy has accused the Bush Administration for having developed "a generation of more useable nuclear weapons."

The international community has endorsed nuclear war in the name of World Peace.

"Making the World safer" is the justification for launching a military operation which could potentially result in a nuclear holocaust.

But nuclear holocausts are not front page news! In the words of Mordechai Vanunu,

The Israeli government is preparing to use nuclear weapons in its next war with the Islamic world. Here where I live, people often talk of the Holocaust. But each and every nuclear bomb is a Holocaust in itself. It can kill, devastate cities, destroy entire peoples. (See interview with Mordechai Vanunu, December 2005).
Putting the earlier article in the context of the above, it would appear that Chossudovsky may be ominously close to the truth. For those with the mental faculties necessary to add two and two, it's pretty obvious that the Bush Administration does not intend to avoid a nuclear armageddon by pre-emptive nuclear armageddon. Armageddon can only be the intended outcome.

Reports from the web indicate that subtle and not-so-subtle troop movements are taking place:
Coinciding with increased tensions with Iran over the resumption of illicit uranium enrichment, the U.S. Air Force has dispatched additional warplanes to the region in a not-so-subtle sign, military sources say.

An entire wing of F-16s, the Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing based in Fort Wayne, Ind., left for a base in southwest Asia on Tuesday. A wing is usually about 72 aircraft and several hundred support personnel.

F-16s and support personnel from the 4th Fighter Squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, also deployed recently to Iraq. The squadron has 12 F-16s.

Both units' F-16s could be used in any military operation to take out Iranian nuclear facilities.

A spokesman for the U.S. Central Command Air Forces, which runs air operations in the region, said the F-16 deployment of about 80 jets is part of a rotation and is not related to Iran's uranium reprocessing.
With stuff like this making it to the web, you can be sure that the various intelligence apparati of the international community are aware of it too. So let's ask the same question Chossudovsky does - why aren't they doing anything about it, especially if most of the "evidence" for a pre-emptive strike is questionable at best?

Iran is a nation surrounded by nuclear-capable states. It is repeatedly adamant that it is developing nuclear technology for energy reasons. India and Pakistan (and let's not forget Israel) all have nuclear weapons, so citing regional proliferation concerns is tending towards sophistry.

Yet even France and Germany, who adopted a solid "no war" policy over Iraq, called an IAEA meeting over Iran's restarting of uranium enrichment and are recommending referral to the Security Council - although they claim talk of sanctions is premature. Premature or not, Iran is taking the threats very seriously, moving its assets out of Europe:
TEHRAN - Embroiled in a nuclear standoff with the West, Iran said on Friday it was moving its foreign assets to shield them from possible U.N. sanctions and flexed its oil muscles with a proposal to cut OPEC output.

"Yes, Iran has started withdrawing money from European banks and transferring it to other banks abroad," said a senior Iranian official, who asked not to be named.

Central Bank Governor Ebrahim Sheibani was quoted earlier as saying Tehran had started shifting funds, but he sidestepped a question on whether the assets would go to accounts in Asia.

It is far from clear how placing assets in Asia or anywhere abroad would protect them from being frozen as few governments or major banks would be willing to flout U.N. sanctions openly.

The United States and the European Union want the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to refer Iran to the Security Council at an emergency meeting on February 2.

The council has the power to impose trade or diplomatic sanctions, though no swift action to punish Iran is likely.

Russia and China, which both have major commercial interests at stake in the Islamic Republic, have urged caution.
George Ure at Urban Survival claims economic factors as the real reason behind the tensions over Iran:
The Melt Down Ahead

To see what's coming, you only need to read a few stories, in the right order, and think through the picture being painted. Because it's a weekend, bear with me for a few minutes, and let me walk you through the highlights, ok?
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More than a few of us who have been buying gold since the Manufacturers Resource War broke out (with 9/11/2001) have been expecting gold to begin making its "big move". With prices surging past 24-year highs on Friday, this very well could be it. If it is, our inclination is to wait until the Dow and the Price of Gold (POG) are even, then we'll figure out where to deploy both of our dollars next.

I have to agree with one poster over at LeMetropole Cafe who noted that the surge in prices was not directly attributable to Iran tensions. He noted if that was the case, we would have seen oil spike up in a similar meaningful way. It hasn't, so he figures, something else is at work.

What's really going on, as best I can judge, is that the Fed has partially lost control of the money supply (which is why they will stop their weekly confessionals of M-3 in March of this year - it will be too scary for "regular people" to stomach by then. This week's report shows that M-3 has increased by 7.84% compared with year ago levels. It's really worse: The November to December change in M-3 pencils out to an 11.5% annual rate. In simplest terms, the money supply is going nonlinear now. That's why gold is up.

You might be asking what is so frightening about that - we've had bouts of inflation before, so no big deal. Well, not quite. You see in the same period, the amount of M-1 (basically cash in the system) has actually decreased by about 2-10th's of one percent in the same period!.

In other words we have deflation and inflation simultaneously in the money figures. The divergences are staggering. You've got less paper money in hand, yet easy credit - so the purchasing power of cash goes up and the consumers are forced more and more into debt to make ends meet.

It doesn't take a rocket surgeon to figure out that this condition in the economy can't go on forever. Thus, later this weekend, when the new web bot run (future forecasting techniques of www.halfpasthuman.com based on linguistic shifts on the internet which seem to precede major social/psychological turnings points, such as 9/11, the anthrax attack, and others) we expect that a very large unexpected event will seen happening between now and April 1st.

Why? Because its clear to the international banksters that their game is falling apart and they need an "event" of some kind in order to maintain their cover and remain in functional control of the country through their shadow government proxies. Care to take a guess what that will be?
The question is, if the USA and Israel have the most to lose in an economic sense (let's not forget that the US pours billions of dollars into Israel on an annual basis), will Russia and China (who have substantial economic ties to Iran themselves) agree to sanctions as a means of avoiding a potential nuclear strike scenario? An article on Reuters suggests that 'expert predictions' say no:
The United States and three European Union nations are pressing the 15-member U.N. Security Council to take up the Iranian nuclear issue, which could open the door to potential oil sanctions.

But two key U.N. Security Council members that carry veto powers -- China and Russia -- have multibillion-dollar oil and natural gas projects hanging in the balance, and China depends on Iran's imports to quench its oil thirst.

"I have a hard time seeing how oil investments could be targeted given the interests of Russia and China," said Julia Nanay, a senior director at PFC Energy in Washington.

Iran wants to sign a major oilfield deal to give China's Sinopec a stake in the giant Yadavaran oilfield in southern Iran, which could require investment of at least $2 billion.

And Russia's LUKOIL holds a minority stake in the Anaran field in western Iran near the Iraqi border.

Iran raised the stakes in its row with the West this month by removing U.N. seals on equipment that purifies uranium, which can be used for power, or if highly enriched, in bombs.

The United States and the European Union's three biggest powers said talks with Iran on the issue were at a dead end, and moved to refer the matter to the Security Council. [...]

If Iran halted exports of around 2.4 million bpd, the rest of the world's spare capacity would not be able to make up the shortfall, making $100 per barrel crude oil prices highly likely in the short term, experts said.

Iran has warned that oil prices would rise "beyond levels the West expects" if its opponents pursued punitive sanctions, and says it could repatriate an unknown amount of oil earnings it holds in foreign accounts. [...]

Some warn that Iran could retaliate against international pressure and unilaterally rein back its crude oil exports.

"Oil is now going to be their weapon of choice," said Fadel Gheit, an oil analyst at Oppenheimer & Co.

"If the Security Council ultimately passes a sanctions resolution that has some teeth in it, the Iranians will respond in some way," Placke said. "You can count on it."
Perhaps anticipating the reluctance of the Russians to back sanctions in the UN Security Council, Israel dispatched a team of diplomats which will no doubt attempt to influence Russia's vote should the referral occur (probably a sure thing at this point IMO). Analysis by The Guardian newspaper points to China as the key obstacle to any Security Council resolutions against Iran.

But I am getting ahead of myself here. The emergency meeting of the IAEA takes place on February 2. There is a slim chance that the IAEA will not recommend referral to the Security Council. The chairman of the IAEA has rejected a request by the EU to condemn Iran in advance of the emergency meeting. And given the questionable threat level of Iran, there may not be enough hard evidence to support referral. But, as anyone who hasn't spent the last few years drooling in front of "reality TV" will know, lack of evidence didn't stop a US invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Although the future is open, I am not optimistic about this. There seems to be a "vector of war" converging with a "vector of economic troubles". This intersection is unlikely to yield good news for humanity, especially with the likes of Bush and Ahmadinejad at the helm.

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