The Next Phase of
the Middle East War
By Michel Chossudovsky
-- Israel's war on Lebanon is an integral part of a US
sponsored "military roadmap".
The war on
Lebanon, which has resulted in countless atrocities including
the destruction of the nation's economy and civilian
infrastructure, is "a stage" in a sequence of carefully planned
a strategic corridor between Israel and North-western Syria.
The underlying objective of this war was the militarization of
Lebanon, including the stationing of foreign troops, as a
precondition for carrying out the next phase of a broader
Formally under a
UN mandate, the foreign troops to be stationed on Lebanese soil
on the immediate border with Syria, will be largely although not
exclusively from NATO countries. This military force mandated by
the UN Security Council is by no means neutral. It responds
directly to US and Israeli interests.
timely withdrawal of Syrian troops, following the February 2005
assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri has
contributed to opening up a "new space". The withdrawal of
Syrian troops served Israeli interests. The timely pullout was
of strategic significance: it was a major factor in the timing
and planning of the July 2006 IDF attacks on Lebanon.
In the aftermath
of the Israeli bombings and the "ceasefire", UN
Security Council Resolution 1701, drafted by France and the US
in close consultation with the Israeli government, has paved the
way for the militarization of Lebanon, under a bogus UN
Phase of the Middle East War
official statements and military documents, the US in close
coordination with Britain (and in consultation with its NATO
partners), is planning to launch a war directed against Iran
and Syria. US Ambassador to the UN John Bolton has already
initiated the draft of a UN Security Council resolution with a
view to imposing sanctions on Tehran for its alleged
(nonexistent) nuclear weapons program. Whether this resolution
is adopted is not the main issue. The US may decide to proceed
in defiance of the Security Council, following a veto by Russia
and/or China. The vote of France and Britain, among the
permanent members has already been secured.
sources have confirmed that an aerial attack, pursuant to a
sanctions regime on Iran, with or without UN approval, would
involve a large scale deployment comparable to the US "shock and
awe" bombing raids on Iraq in March 2003:
strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981
Israeli attack on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq, and
would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air
campaign against Iraq. Using the full force of operational
B-2 stealth bombers, staging from Diego Garcia or flying
direct from the United States, possibly supplemented by
F-117 stealth fighters staging from al Udeid in Qatar or
some other location in theater, the two-dozen suspect
nuclear sites would be targeted.
planners could tailor their target list to reflect the
preferences of the Administration by having limited air
strikes that would target only the most crucial facilities
... or the United States could opt for a far more
comprehensive set of strikes against a comprehensive range
of WMD related targets, as well as conventional and
unconventional forces that might be used to counterattack
against US forces in Iraq
(See Globalsecurity.org at
bombing plans have been fully operational ("in an advanced state
of readiness") since June 2005. The various components of the
military operation are firmly under US Command, coordinated by
the Pentagon and US Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM)
Offutt Air Force base in Nebraska.
2004, US Strategic Command conducted a major exercise of a
"global strike plan" entitled "Global Lightening". The latter
involved a simulated attack using both conventional and nuclear
weapons against a "fictitious enemy" [Iran]. Following the
"Global Lightening" exercise, US Strategic Command declared "an
advanced state of readiness".
implementation of the Global Strike is called CONCEPT PLAN (CONPLAN)
8022. The latter is described as "an actual plan that the Navy
and the Air Force translate into strike package for their
submarines and bombers,'
structure of the operation is centralized and ultimately The
Pentagon will decide on the sequence; " if and when" to launch
military operations against Iran and Syria. Israeli military
actions and those of other coalition partners including Turkey,
would be carried out in close coordination with the Pentagon.
While the threat
of punitive aerial bombardments of Iran's nuclear facilities
have been announced repeatedly by the Bush administration,
recent developments suggest that an all out ground war is also
constitutes only one component of the Middle East military
agenda. CONPLAN 8022 does not contemplate a ground war. It
posits "no boots on the ground", which was the initial
assumption envisaged in relation to the proposed aerial attacks
US and Israeli
military planners are fully aware that the aerial "punitive
bombings" will almost inevitably lead coalition forces into a
ground war scenario in which they will have to confront Iranian
and Syrian forces in the battlefield.
confirmed that it will retaliate if attacked, in the form of
ballistic missile strikes directed against Israel as well as
against US military facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and the
Persian Gulf, which would immediately lead us into a scenario of
military escalation and all out war.
could cross the Iran-Iraq border and confront coalition forces
inside Iraq. Israeli troops and/or Special Forces could enter
troops stationed in Lebanon under UN mandate would respond to
the diktats of the US led coalition and the prior commitments
reached with Washington and Tel Aviv in the context of the
various military alliances (NATO-Israel, Turkey-Israel, GUUAM,
preparations have also been marked, quite recently, by the
conduct of war games.
In late August,
Iran was involved in the conduct of war games in major
regions of the country, including border areas with Turkey,
Iraq, Azerbaijan, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Iran's Defense
Minister General Mostafa Mohammad Najjar has confirmed the
deployment of enhanced military capabilities including weapons
systems and troops on the Iranian border: "[Iranian] forces are
supervising all movements by trans-regional troops and their
agents around the Iranian borders" (FARS
news, 2 September 2006)
Games August 2006.
acknowledged by the Western media, military exercises organized
by Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan under the
Collective Security Treaty Organization, (CSTO) were also
launched in late August. These war games, officially tagged as
part of a counter terrorism program, were conducted in response
to US-Israeli military threats in the region including the
planned attacks against Iran. (See
Michel Chossudovsky, August 2006). In turn, China an
Kazakhstan held concurrent war games under the auspices of the
Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
neighboring Georgia have close military ties to Washington. Both
countries are part of GUUAM, a military alliance with the US and
Turkey is a close ally of Israel. Since 2005, Israel has
deployed Special Forces in the mountainous areas of Turkey
bordering Iran and Syria with the collaboration of the Ankara
government: Pakistan is also a close ally of the US and
Britain. Georgia also has a military cooperation agreement with
Meanwhile, the USS
Enterprise, America's largest aircraft carrier is en route
to the Persian Gulf.
US troops in
Iraq have been increased to 140,000 as confirmed by recent
Pentagon statements (Reuters, 2 September 2006) These plans have
been coupled with a the compulsory recall of "inactive
servicemen" as well as the expansion of mercenary forces. (Mahdi
Darius Namzaroaya, August 2006)
justifies the troop build-up as part of a "routine" process of
replacement and rotation, required in its ongoing war against
"terrorists" in Iraq. The speeding up of military recruitment is
also occurring in the core countries of the Anglo-American
coalition including Great
Canada (see also
Recruiting Canada). Canada and Australia are aligned with
the US. Australian Prime Minister John Howard as well as
Canada's Steven Harper have confirmed their commitment to the
US-Israeli war and have promised an expansion of the armed
forces in their respective countries.
British troops stationed in Iraq have been redeployed to the
Iranian border in southern Iraq. This redeployment has been
casually presented by Britain's Ambassador to Iraq as part of a
"crack down on smuggling and the entrance of weapons into Iraq
British officials are maintaining no desire or preparations
for a conflict with Iran, more British troops are being
mobilized and deployed to Iraq at the same time. The Light
Infantry of the 2nd Battalion, another unit with rapid
deployment capabilities, is deploying to the southern Iraqi
border with Iran. The 2nd Battalion is being sent to Iraq
under the pretext of working in the Rear Operations Battle
Group which will provide escorts for military convoys and
security for British forces and bases in Basra. (See
Mahdi Darius Namzaroaya, August 2006)
The Role of
In the wake of
the war on Lebanon. Israel's military plans and pronouncements
are increasingly explicit. Tel Aviv has announced plans to wage
a pre-emptive "full-scale war" against Iran and Syria, implying
the deployment of both air and ground force. These war plans are
now said to at the top of the defense agenda:
preparing for a possible war with both Iran and Syria,
according to Israeli political and military sources."
challenge from Iran and Syria is now top of the Israeli
defense agenda, higher than the Palestinian one,” said an
Israeli defense source. Shortly before the war in Lebanon
Major-General Eliezer Shkedi, the commander of the air
force, was placed in charge of the “Iranian front”, a new
position in the Israeli Defense Forces. His job will be to
command any future strikes on Iran and Syria."
In the past
we prepared for a possible military strike against Iran’s
nuclear facilities,” said one insider, “but Iran’s growing
confidence after the war in Lebanon means we have to prepare
for a full-scale war, in which Syria will be an important
As a result
of the change in the defense priorities, the budget for the
Israeli forces in the West Bank and Gaza is to be reduced."
(Sunday Times, 3 September 2006)
media is beating the drums of war.
The Sunday Times
views Israel's war plans as legitimate acts of self defense, to
prevent Tehran from launching an all out nuclear attack on
Israel: "Iran and Syria have ballistic missiles that can cover
most of Israel, including Tel Aviv. An emergency budget has now
been assigned to building modern shelters."
The fact that
Iran does not possess nuclear weapons capabilities as confirmed
by the IAEA report does not seem to be an issue for debate.
disinformation has contributed to creating an atmosphere of fear
and intimidation. The announcement on August 10 by the British
Home Office of a foiled large scale terror attack to
simultaneously blow up as many as ten airplanes, conveys the
impression that it is the Western World rather than the Middle
East which is under attack.
Realities are twisted upside down. The disinformation campaign
has gone into full gear. The British and US media are
increasingly pointing towards "preemptive war" as an act of
"self defense" against Al Qaeda and the State sponsors of
terrorism, who are allegedly preparing a Second 911.
objective, through fear and intimidation, is ultimately to build
public acceptance for the next stage of the Middle East "war on
terrorism" which is directed against Syria and Iran.
movement has also been weakened.
While China and
Russia will oppose the US led war at the diplomatic level as
well as at the UN Security Council, Washington has secured the
support of France and Germany. While Russia and China have
military cooperation agreements with Iran, they would most
probably not would intervene militarily in favor of Iran.
NATO is broadly
supportive of the US led military agenda. In February 2005, NATO
signed a military cooperation agreement with Israel.
Nuclear Weapons against Iran
The use of
tactical nuclear weapons by the US and Israel against Iran, is
contemplated, ironically in retaliation for Iran's nonexistent
nuclear weapons program.
administration's new nuclear doctrine contains specific
"guidelines" which allow for "preemptive" nuclear strikes
against "rogue enemies" which "possess" or are "developing"
weapons of mass destruction (WMD). (2001 Nuclear Posture Review
Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations (DJNO)).
referred to above, is 'the overall umbrella plan for sort of the
pre-planned strategic scenarios involving nuclear weapons.'
specifically focused on these new types of threats -- Iran,
North Korea -- proliferation and potentially terrorists
too,' he said. 'There's nothing that says that they can't
use CONPLAN 8022 in limited scenarios against Russian and
Chinese targets.'(According to Hans Kristensen, of the
Nuclear Information Project, quoted in Japanese economic
News Wire, op cit)
The mission of
JFCCSGS is to implement CONPLAN 8022, in other words to trigger
a nuclear war with Iran.
The Commander in
Chief, namely George W. Bush would instruct the Secretary of
Defense, who would then instruct the Joint Chiefs of staff to
activate CONPLAN 8022.
The use of
nuclear weapons against Iran would be coordinated with Israel,
which possesses a sophisticated nuclear arsenal.
The use of
nuclear weapons by Israel or the US cannot be excluded,
particularly in view of the fact that tactical nuclear weapons
have now been reclassified as a variant of the conventional
bunker buster bombs and are authorized for use in conventional
war theaters. ("they are harmless to civilians because the
explosion is underground").
In this regard,
Israel and the US rather than Iran constitute a nuclear threat.
The World is
at a Critical Crossroads
Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which
threatens the future of humanity. This is not an overstatement.
If aerial bombardments were to be launched against Iran, they
would trigger a ground war and the escalation of the conflict to
a much broader region. Even in the case of aerial and missile
using conventional warheads, the bombings would unleash a
nuclear nightmare resulting from the spread of nuclear radiation
following the destruction of Iran's nuclear energy facilities.
history, the structure of military alliances has played a
crucial role in triggering major military conflicts. In contrast
to the situation prevailing prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq,
America's ongoing military adventure is now firmly supported by
the Franco-German alliance. Moreover, Israel is slated to play a
direct role in this military operation.
NATO is firmly
aligned with the Anglo-American-Israeli military axis, which
also includes Australia and Canada. In 2005, NATO signed a
military cooperation agreement with Israel, and Israel has a
longstanding bilateral military agreement with Turkey.
observer status in The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO)
and is slated to become a full member of SCO. China and Russia
have far-reaching military cooperation agreements with
China and Russia
are firmly opposed to a US-led military operation in the
diplomatic arena. While the US sponsored military plan threatens
Russian and Chinese interests in Central Asia and the Caspian
sea basin, it is unlikely that they would intervene militarily
on the side of Iran or Syria.
attack on Iran must be understood in relation to the existing
active war theaters in the Middle East, namely Afghanistan, Iraq
could easily spread from the Middle East to the Caspian sea
basin. It could also involve the participation of Azerbaijan and
Georgia, where US troops are stationed.
against Iran and Syria would directly involve Israel's
participation, which in turn would trigger a broader war
throughout the Middle East, not to mention the further implosion
in the Palestinian occupied territories. Turkey is closely
associated with the proposed aerial attacks.
US-UK-Israeli war plans were to proceed, the broader Middle
East- Central Asian region would flare up, from the Eastern
Mediterranean to the Afghan-Chinese border. At present, there
are three distinct war theaters: Afghanistan, Iraq and
Palestine-Lebanon. An attack directed against Iran would serve
to integrate these war theaters transforming the broader Middle
East Central Asian region into an integrated war zone. (see map
In turn the US
sponsored aerial bombardments directed against Iran could
contribute to triggering a ground war characterized by Iranian
attacks directed against coalition troops in Iraq. In turn,
Israeli forces would enter into Syria.
An attack on
Iran would have a direct impact on the resistance movement
inside Iraq. It would also put pressure on America's
overstretched military capabilities and resources in both the
Iraqi and Afghan war theaters.
In other words,
the shaky geopolitics of the Central Asia- Middle East region,
the three existing war theaters in which America is currently,
involved, the direct participation of Israel and Turkey, the
structure of US sponsored military alliances, etc. raises the
specter of a broader conflict.
The war against
Iran is part of a longer term US military agenda which seeks to
militarize the entire Caspian sea basin, eventually leading to
the destabilization and conquest of the Russian Federation.
The Pentagon's Second 911
The economic and
political dislocations resulting from this military agenda are
If the attacks
directed against Iran and Syria were to proceed, martial law
and/or a state of emergency could be declared in the US and
possibly Britain on the pretext that the homeland is under
attack by Iran sponsored terrorists. The purpose of these
measures would essentially be to curb the antiwar movement and
provide legitimacy to an illegal war.
The Pentagon has
intimated in this regard, in an official statement, that
"another [9/11] attack could create both a
justification and an opportunity to retaliate against some known
targets [Iran and Syria]". In a timely
statement, barely a few days following the onslaught of the
bombing of Lebanon, Vice President Cheney reiterated his
warning: "The enemy that struck on 9/11 is fractured and
weakened, yet still lethal, still determined to hit us again"
(Waterloo Courier, Iowa, 19 July 2006, italics added).
Tide of War
raised in this article do not necessarily imply that the war
will take place. What the analysis of official statments and
military documents onfirms is that:
a) the war is part of a political agenda;
b) military plans to launch an attack on Iran and Syria are "in
an advanced stage of readiness".
The issue is not whether the war will inevitably take place but
what are the instruments at our disposal which will enable us to
shunt and ultimately disarm this global military agenda.
War criminals occupy positions of authority. The citizenry is
galvanized into supporting the rulers, who are "committed to
their safety and well-being". Through media disinformation, war
is given a humanitarian mandate.
of the war must be addressed. Antiwar sentiment alone does not
disarm a military agenda. High ranking officials of the Bush
administration, members of the military and the US Congress have
been granted the authority to uphold an illegal war.
The corporate backers and sponsors of war and war crimes must
also be targeted including the oil companies, the defense
contractors, the financial institutions and the corporate media,
which has become an integral part of the war propaganda machine.
There is a sense
of urgency. In the weeks and months ahead, the antiwar movement
must act, consistently, and address a number of key issues:
role of media disinformation in sustaining the military agenda
We will not succeed in our endeavours unless the propaganda
apparatus is weakened and eventually dismantled. It is essential
to inform our fellow citizens on the causes and consequences of
the US-led war, not to mention the extensive war crimes and
atrocities which are routinely obfuscated by the media. This is
no easy task. It requires an effective counter-propaganda
program which refutes mainstream media assertions.
It is essential that the relevant information and analysis
reaches the broader public. The Western media is controlled by
a handful of powerful business syndicates. The media
conglomerates which control network TV and the printed press
must be challenged through cohesive actions which reveal the
lies and falsehoods.
2. There is opposition within the political
establishment in the US as well as within the ranks of the Armed
While this opposition does not necessarily question to overall
direction of US foreign policy, it is firmly opposed to military
adventurism, including the use of nuclear weapons. These voices
within the institutions of the State, the Military and the
business establishment are important because they can be
usefully channeled to discredit and ultimately dismantle the
"war on terrorism" consensus. The broadest possible alliance of
political and social forces is, therefore, required to prevent a
military adventure which in a very real sense threatens the
future of humanity.
structure of military alliances must be addressed. A timely
shift in military alliances could potentially reverse the course
Whereas France and Germany are broadly supportive of the US led
war, there are strong voices in both countries as well as within
the European Union, which firmly oppose the US led military
agenda, both at the grassroots level as well within the
political system itself.
It is essential that the commitments made by European heads of
government and heads of State to Washington be cancelled or
nullified, through pressure exerted at the appropriate political
levels. This applies, in particular, to the unbending support of
the Bush adminstration, expressed by President Jacques Chirac
and Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The weakening of the system of alliances which commits Western
Europe to supporting the Anglo-American military axis, could
indeed contribute to reversing the tide. Washington would
hesitate to wage a war on Iran without the support of France and
4. The holding
of large antiwar rallies is important and essential. But in will
not in itself reverse the tide of war unless it is accompanied
by the development of a cohesive antiwar network.
What is required is a grass roots antiwar network, a mass
movement at national and international levels, which challenges
the legitimacy of the main military and political actors, as
well as their corporate sponsors, and which would ultimately be
instrumental in unseating those who rule in our name. The
construction of this type of network will take time to develop.
Initially, it should focus on developing an antiwar stance
within existing citizens' organizations (e.g. trade unions,
community organizations, professional regroupings, student
federations, municipal councils, etc.).
5. 9/11 plays
a crucial and central role in the propaganda campaign.
The threat of an Al Qaeda "Attack on America" is being used
profusely by the Bush administration and its indefectible
British ally to galvanize public opinion in support of a global
military agenda. Revealing the lies behind 911 would
serve to undermine the legitimacy of the "war on terrorism".
Without 911, the war criminals in high office do not have a leg
to stand on. The entire national security construct collapses
like a deck of cards. Known and documented, the "Islamic
terror network" is a creation of the US intelligence apparatus.
Several of the terror alerts were based on fake intelligence as
revealed in the recent
foiled "liquid bomb attack". There is evidence that the
several of the terrorist "mass casualty events" which have
resulted in civilian casualties were triggered by the military
and/or intelligence services. (e.g
The "war on terrorism" is bogus. The 911 narrative as conveyed
by the 911 Commission report is fabricated. The Bush
administration is involved in acts of cover-up and complicity at
the highest levels of government.
is the author of the
international best seller
"The Globalization of Poverty "
published in eleven languages. He is Professor of Economics at
the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research
on Globalization. His most recent book is
America’s "War on Terrorism",
Global Research, 2005.
America's "War on Terrorism", click
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