Israel And US Prepare To Attack Iran
Goal is forcing capitulation or risking regional war.
"There could be very, very serious ramifications in the wake of what's happened with this air
strike by the Israelis in Syrian territory." Brent Sadler, CNN
“It could be a race who presses the button first (to strike Iran) – us or the Americans”. Israeli Mossad Official
MID-EAST REALITIES - www.MiddleEast.Org - Washington - 6 October 2003:
Before the Israelis bombed Syria for the first time in decades, MER warned over the past weekend that General Sharon - and what is essentially another military-Mossad government in Israel - was trying hard to provoke an "excuse" for a new regional war; much as has been done before, most recently in 1982 when Sharon, then Defense Minister, cleverly orchestrated the invasion of Lebanon in an attempt to install a 'new regime' in that country.
Indeed, it was that war which then led to the Hezbollah, the Intifada, Hamas, and the now-escalating phenomena of 'suicide bombers'...not to mention the effects Sharon's militarist and expansionist policies have had on events taking place in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran and throughout the region.+
Now Sharon and his warrior Generals are attempting to twist world affairs in a way that will allow them, always of course in intimate coordination with the US, to force Syria into fuller capitulation and to bomb Iranian nuclear facilities if the Iranians refuse compliance.
At this historical moment the Arabs are exceedingly weak, confused, co-opted and impotent. This is the result not only of decades of Israeli and U.S. policies to create just such a state of affairs, but of the gross incompetence and corruption of the key Arab regimes in Cairo, Riyadh, Damascus and Amman. All combined 'Arab world' military and economic power is but a small fraction of that of today's Israel backed by its superpower patron. As for pollitical power, overall the Arabs are treated with contempt and scorn by their enemies, and with pity and jokes by their friends.
It is Iran which Israel now has in the cross-hairs. Taking out Iran's growing military capabilities, especially its nuclear and missiles facilities, is at the top of the Israeli agenda and that of its many top-level fellow travelers in the American Pentagon and White House National Security Council. Indeed, a number of times in the past year, even in public, Ariel Sharon has telegraphed his blatant warnings - far more so in secret no doubt. Just before the American invasion/occupation of Iraq - and after holding numerous private meetings in Washington with President Bush and senior US officials - Sharon himself said quite clearly: "Right after Iraq must come Iran".
Now, with American forces occupying the heart of the Arab world, with most Arab regimes either infiltrated, co-opted, or cowering, the final stage is being set. Sharon will continue to do all he can to provoke more attacks against Israel's increasingly brutal occupation and then, when the political and 'public opionion' moment is right, Israel will strike - of course with considerable US help no matter what is said in public.
The first article that follows, dateline Washington, is not fully on target. After all this is hardly the 'first time', though it may very well prove to be the most significant time.
Israel had hoped the US could either topple the current Iranian regime, or somehow force an end to its nuclear programs. Having failed, including no doubt numerous CIA and Mossad operations, the option of military force is now more on the table than ever before. This is especially the case as the betting is the 'world community' will protest but not take any significant anti-Israel steps, and even if the UN tried the US would block with its veto, proven last month when the US used the 'veto' one more time to protect Israel with hardly anyone noticing.
ISRAEL WEIGHS STRIKE TO STOP IRAN'S NUCLEAR WEAPONS PROGRAM
TEL AVIV — For the first time, Israel's military has raised the prospect of an operation to destroy Iran's suspected nuclear weapons program.
Israel's chief of staff, alarmed by the failure of the international community to move against Iran, has warned that Israel would consider unilateral action to stop the "nightmare scenario" of Teheran's development of nuclear weapons.
Earlier, Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom demanded that the international community stop the program.
"Iran is fast approaching the point of no return in its efforts to acquire nuclear weapons capability," Shalom said. "It's urgent that the international community act to ensure that this nightmare scenario is prevented."
Israel's Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Moshe Ya'alon took the rhetoric up a notch.
"At the moment there is continuing international diplomatic activity to deal with this threat, and it would be good if it succeeds," Ya'alon said. "But if that is not the case we would consider our options."
Israel has never specified what action it might take to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program. But Israeli officials assert that the nation's deep-strike air capability has been vastly upgraded since Israeli F-16 multi-role fighters destroyed the Iraqi reactor at Osirak in 1981.
Officials said Israel has been dismayed by what they term the refusal by both the European Union and the United States to share the sense of urgency regarding Iran's nuclear program. Last week, Washington rejected an Israeli assessment that Iran could complete its first nuclear weapons by the end of 2004.
"The fact that a country like Iran, an enemy [of Israel] and which is particularly irresponsible, has equipped itself with nonconventional weapons is worrisome," Ya'alon said.
"The combination in this case of a nonconventional regime with nonconventional weapons is a concern."
The clearest warnings yet came on the eve of another effort by the International Atomic Energy Agency to investigate suspected Iranian violations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The suspected violations include the unauthorized enrichment of uranium.
Three leading EU states have offered to share nuclear technology with Iran if Teheran agrees to sign a protocol for tougher nuclear inspections. Britain, Germany and France sent a letter to Iran that offered nuclear technology in a bid to defuse the confrontation with the IAEA.
In early September, the IAEA voted to give Teheran until Oct. 31 to respond to all agency inquiries over Iran's nuclear program. An IAEA delegation was expected to arrive in Iran on Sunday to conduct additional environmental sampling of nuclear facilities to test for uranium enrichment Special To World Tribune - 25 Sept 2003.
PENTAGON MISSILE TARGETEERS LINE UP IRAN’S NUCLEAR FACILITIES
by Gordon Thomas*
The Pentagon’s forward planners have targeted two Iranian nuclear facilities after weapons-grade enriched uranium has been found in one by UN inspectors. A UN report published this week says the country could acquire a nuclear bomb within two years.
Particles of weapons-grade enriched uranium were discovered at Natanz. Iran claims the particles were from “contaminated components” it bought on the black market in the 1980s when it was trying to set up its “peaceful nuclear programme” – and could not find a supplier in the West ready to help.
But both the CIA and MI6, who have now each made intelligence gathering on Iran a priority, discount Iran’s claim of how it came to have sufficient enriched uranium to make an effective “dirty bomb”.
Neo-conservatives around Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld have not discounted a pre-emptive strike against the plants at Natanz and Arak. They are sited south of Tehran, in the remote fastness of central Iran.
Unlike the rift that developed over the war with Iraq between the United States and the European Union, there is a consensus that it is “essential and urgent” for Iran to stop arming itself with nuclear weapons.
Washington is supporting a UN resolution – sponsored by Britain, France and Germany – that Iran must stop its nuclear programme by the end of October. Implicit in the resolution is a warning the plants could be hit by missiles fired from US warships in the Gulf.
The plant at Natanz is far bigger than anything Iraq ever had. Natanz is guarded by a heavily patrolled thirty-mile deep perimeter within the featureless landscape.
The Tehran regime claims the Natanz plant is only working to develop the country’s peaceful nuclear energy programme to bring power, heat and electricity to its hundreds of small towns and villages.
But British and German intelligence agents have pinpointed an underground complex capable of holding 1,000 personnel.
UN inspectors, diverted from searching for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, have confirmed the existence of the complex.
Buried thirty-feet below ground, it has eight-feet thick walls to protect two large halls.
In a report last week to the 35-member board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency, IAEA, the inspectors told their closed meeting in Vienna they are certain the underground complex is designed to carry out the process of turning enriched uranium into weapons-grade material.
The report states: “there are 1,000 gas centrifuges and components for the manufacture of 50,000 further centrifuges”.
Highly enriched uranium is an essential element in producing a nuclear weapon.
Iran has two plants – one at Arkadan, east of Natanz, the other near the historic town of Isfahan – to convert uranium ore into yellowcake, a processed form of uranium. The yellowcake can be converted into enriched uranium as well as producing hexaflouride gas, essential to drive the centrifuges.
Russian engineers are helping Iran to build a heavy water plant at Arak. Iran again claims the plant will be used only for peaceful purposes. But the UN report states: “heavy water can also produce more plutonium than light water reactors, and therefore can produce significant quantities to be used in weapons”.
Kenneth Brill, the US ambassador to the United Nations in Vienna said last week that the evidence against Iran “already justifies an immediate non-compliance verdict”.
Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the UN Security Council could introduce crippling sanctions against Iran. That would most certainly place the United States on a collision course with one of the nations President Bush has named as being part of the “axis of evil”.
There is also a clear danger that Israel could act unilaterally and launch its own air strikes against Iran’s nuclear plants. It has done so before – when it destroyed Iraq’s nuclear reactor outside Baghdad in March, 1981.
“We will not stand by and allow the Iranians to use the same cat-and-mouse games over their nuclear plants that Saddam used over many years”, said a senior Israeli intelligence officer in Tel Aviv. “There is a need to take a touch line now. In two years time, it could be too late”.
The prospect of military action came that much closer after Hashemi-Rafsanjani, one of Iran’s most influential clerics and the country’s former president, called on Muslim states last December to use nuclear weapons against Israel.
Mossad analysts told Israel’s prime minister, Ariel Sharon, that the appeal was directed not only at Pakistan, the one Muslim nation known to have nuclear weapons, but also to Iran’s partner in the “axis of evil” – North Korea.
That possibility has led to the Pentagon forward planners continuing to prepare their own missile strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities.
As the Israeli intelligence officer said: “it could be a race who presses the button first – us or the Americans”. -30 Sept 2003.
* Gordon Thomas is a veteran Irish journalist known for his long-time connections with senior Israeli and British intelligence officials. He is the author of numerous books including Voyage of the Damned and a book about the history and exploits of the Israeli Mossad.
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