Arab Times claims direct evidence of intention to attack Iran
Aircraft carrier groups USS Eisenhower is in place in the Persian
Gulf and USS Stennis will be soon. Arab Times says that Bush/Cheney/
Rice/Gates recently discussed the plan to attack Iran in minute detail.
Patriot missiles sent to US-friendly Gulf countries for no obvious Iraq-related
reason. Negroponte (opposed to attack) dismissed, replaced by Fallon.
link to www.arabtimesonline.com
US military strike on Iran seen by April '07; Sea-launched attack to hit oil, N-sites
KUWAIT CITY: Washington will launch a military strike on Iran before April 2007, say sources. The attack will be launched from the sea and Patriot missiles will guard all oil-producing countries in the region, they add. Recent statements emanating from the United States indicate the Bush administration's new strategy for Iraq doesn't include any proposal to make a compromise or negotiate with Syria or Iran. A reliable source said President Bush recently held a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice and other assistants in the White House where they discussed the plan to attack Iran in minute detail.
According to the source, Vice President Dick Cheney highlighted the threat posed by Iran to not only Saudi Arabia but the whole region. "Tehran is not playing politics. Iranian leaders are using their country's religious influence to support the aggressive regime's ambition to expand," the source quoted Dick Cheney as saying. Indicating participants of the meeting agreed to impose restrictions on the ambitions of Iranian regime before April 2007 without exposing other countries in the region to any danger, the source said "they have chosen April as British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said it will be the last month in office for him. The United States has to take action against Iran and Syria before April 2007."
Claiming the attack will be launched from the sea and not from any country in the region, he said "the US and its allies will target the oil installations and nuclear facilities of Iran ensuring there is no environmental catastrophe or after effects." "Already the US has started sending its warships to the Gulf and the build-up will continue until Washington has the required number by the end of this month," the source said. "US forces in Iraq and other countries in the region will be protected against any Iranian missile attack by an advanced Patriot missile system."
He went on to say "although US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice suggested postponing the attack, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney insisted on attacking Tehran without any negotiations based on the lesson they learnt in Iraq recently." The Bush administration believes attacking Iran will create a new power balance in the region, calm down the situation in Iraq and pave the way for their democratic project, which had to be suspended due to the interference of Tehran and Damascus in Iraq, he continued. The attack on Iran will weaken the Syrian regime, which will eventually fade away, the source said.
By Ahmed Al-Jarallah - Editor-in-Chief, the Arab Times
link to www.rawstory.com
Major investment bank issues warning on strike against Iran
Published: Monday January 15, 2007
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Bank sees February or March timeline if Israel strikes
Warning that investors might be "in for a shock," a major investment bank has told the financial community that a preemptive strike by Israel with American backing could hit Iran's nuclear program, RAW STORY has learned.
The banking division of ING Group released a memo on Jan. 9 entitled "Attacking Iran: The market impact of a surprise Israeli strike on its nuclear facilities."
ING is a global financial services company of Dutch origin that includes banking, insurance, and other divisions. The report was authored by Charles Robertson, the Chief Economist for Emerging Europe, Middle East, and Africa. He also authored an update in ING's daily update, Prophet, that further underscored the bank's perception of the risks of an attack.
ING's Robertson admitted that an attack on Iran was "high impact, if low probability," but explained some of the reasons why a strike might go forward. The Jan. 9 dispatch, describes Israel as "not prepared to accept the same doctrine of 'mutually assured destruction' that kept the peace during the Cold War. Israel is adamant that this is not an option for such a geographically small country....So if Israel is convinced Iran is aiming to develop a nuclear weapon, it must presumably act at some point."
Sketching out the time line for an attack, Robertson says that "we can be fairly sure that if Israel is going to act, it will be keen to do so while Bush and Cheney are in the White House."
Robertson suggests a February-March 2007 timeframe for several reasons. First, there is a comparable situation to Israel's strike on Iraq's nuclear program in 1981, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's political troubles within Israel. Second, late February will see Iran's deadline to comply with UN Security Council Resolution 1737, and Israel could use a failure of Iran and the UN to follow through as justification for a strike. Finally, greater US military presence in the region at that time could be seen by Israel as the protection from retaliation that it needs.
In his Jan. 15 update, Robertson points to a political reason that could make the assault more likely - personnel changes in the Bush administration may have sidelined opponents of attacking Iran.
Preisdent Bush recently removed General John Abizaid as commander of US forces in the Middle East and John Negroponte as Director of National Intelligence, both of whom have said attacking Iran is not a priority or the right move at this time. The deployment of Patriot missile batteries, highlighted in President Bush's recent White House speech on America's Iraq policy, also pointed to a need to defend against Iranian missiles.
The ING memo was first sent to RAW STORY as an anonymous tip and confirmed Monday by staff in the bank's emerging markets office, who passed along the Jan. 15 update. The full PDF documents can be downloaded at this link for the Jan. 9 report, and this link for the Jan. 15 update.
On Monday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told Al-Arabiya that while his country would hold talks with the United States "under appropriate conditions," the Jerusalem Post reported, but that it "would never conduct similar discussions with Israel, since it didn't recognize the Jewish state's existence."
Next target Tehran
All the signs are that Bush is planning for a neocon-inspired military assault on Iran
Monday January 15, 2007
...Bush has sent forces to the Gulf that are irrelevant to fighting the Iraqi insurgents. These include Patriot anti-missile missiles, an aircraft carrier, and cruise-missile-firing ships.
Many military analysts see these deployments as signals of impending war with Iran. The Patriot missiles are intended to shoot down Iranian missiles. The naval forces, including British ships, train to pre-empt Iranian interference with oil shipments through the straits of Hormuz.
Russian Admiral Says U.S. Navy Prepares Missile Strike on Iran
Created: 15.01.2007 11:45 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 15:43 MSK
U.S. Navy nuclear submarines maintaining vigil off the coast of Iran indicate that the Pentagon's military plans include not only control over navigation in the Persian Gulf but also strikes against Iranian targets, a former commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet, Admiral Eduard Baltin has told the Interfax news agency.
"The presence of U.S. nuclear submarines in the Persian Gulf region means that the Pentagon has not abandoned plans for surprise strikes against nuclear targets in Iran. With this aim a group of multi-purpose submarines ready to accomplish the task is located in the area," Admiral Baltin said.
He made the comments after reports that a U.S. submarine collided with a Japanese tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
"American patience is not unlimited," he said. "The submarine commanders go up to the periscope depth and forget about navigation rules and safety measures," the admiral said.
Currently there is a group of up to four submarines in the Persian Gulf area, he said. So far they only control navigation in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and in the Arabian Sea, he said. They might receive different orders in future: to block off the Gulf of Oman, that is the Iranian coast, and, if need be, launch missile strikes against
ground targets in Iran, he said.
Iran: Thinking the Unthinkable
Conn Hallinan | January 15, 2007
Editor: John Feffer, IRC
Foreign Policy In Focus
The neoconservatives may well have engineered the ouster of John Negroponte, National Security Director, because he said that Iran could not produce a nuclear weapon until sometime in the next decade. The statement outraged neoconservatives and directly contradicted alarmist Israeli intelligence assessments that Tehran could have a warhead in less than two years.
If the United States does intend to hit Iran, or to support such an attack by Israel, then it just appointed the right man for the job. The new head of Central Command (CENTCOM) that oversees the Middle East, Admiral William Fallon, is the former head of U.S. Pacific Command and an expert on air war. Fallon commanded an A-6 tactical bomber wing in Vietnam, a carrier wing, and an aircraft carrier. As retired U.S. navy commander Jeff Huber writes in Pen and Sword, "If anybody knows how to run a maritime and air operation against Iran, it's 'Fox' Fallon."
Fallon is also close with the neoconservatives and attended the 2001 awards ceremony of the Jewish Institute for National Security (JINSA), a think tank that strongly pushed for the war in Iraq and currently lobbies for attacking Iran. Vice President Dick Cheney and ex-UN Ambassador John Bolton are both former members of JINSA. The organization sponsored a 2003 conference entitled: "Time to Focus on Iran -- The Mother of Modern Terrorism."
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