Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Iran: Is A Strike Imminent?

Has the wind changed? Is a military strike on Iran in the works?

According to several sources, Israel has requested and received connection to the US Ballistic Early Warning Systems (BMEWS) through its three main stations,located in Alaska, Thule Air Force Base in Greenland, and the British RAF long range radar station in Yorkshire, England.

This would be designed to give Israel a time edge in preparing its Arrow and Patriot missile defense systems, as well as an edge for the US Patriot missile facilities that are based in Israel in the Negev and near Ben Gurian airport an dprotect American facilities in Iraq and the Gulf as well as Israel.

This is by no means SOP, but has happened before,during the Gulf War and during the US invasion of Iraq when Israel was expected to be a target for missile strikes by Saddam Hussein. And the only reason for this would be either a renewed threat from Iran or the threat of retaliation for a US or Israeli strike. Even if Israel itself is not involved,there's little doubt that Iran would attack in reprisal for an American attack on Iran.

This is one in a series of very connectible dots:

*General Petraeus and US Ambassador Ryan Crocker made a huge point of testifying before Congress on Iran's malignant influence in Iraq last week. They provided irrefutable evidence that it was Iranian-supplied rockets that hit the Green Zone in Baghdad, and that it was Iranian proxies like Moqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army that have been killing US and Iraqi troops all along, and were the primary antagonists in the Basra offensive. General Petraeus called Iran “the greatest long-term threat to the viability of a democratic Iraq” and referred to the Iranian 'special groups' as “funded, trained, armed and directed by” Iran. He also testified that the U.S. has uncovered weapons caches from Iran and detained “senior leaders” of Iranian-supported groups who described how they “move to and from Iran, where they are trained, indoctrinated, how they’re funded, [and] how they bring weapons and so forth into the country.”

None of this will be any news to members of Joshua's Army.As I've written on this site before, the munitions, IEDs and the training to use them are coming from Tehran via the Iranian Qods force, a number of whose members have been captured in Iraq.

What this amounts to, for those of you paying attention,is a repeat of the tactics that have worked successfully for Iran in Lebanon with Hezbollah, and in Gaza with Hamas. It's now been brought before Congress in a manner that will be difficult for all but the most partisan and clueless legislators to ignore, and amounts to an attempt at making the public case for a strike against Iran.

*The removal of Admiral William Fallon from the command of CentCom, after various articles that characterized him as opposing any military action against Iran. (In fairness to the Admiral,it should be noted that he publicly stated that this was a misrepresentation.)

*The recent Iranian announcement that it has begun installing another 6,000 high yield centrifuges at its Natanz nuclear plant uranium enrichment complex,combined with the total failure of sanctions and the dead end in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program.

*Recent threats issued against Israel not from Ahamadinejad, which would have been more normal, but from Iran’s deputy Commander in Chief of the Military Mohammad Reza Ashtiani, who threatened to eliminate Israel from “the scene of the universe” if Iran is attacked.

*Regime changes and consolidation of Iran-friendly regimes in Turkey and in Pakistan, which could place constraints on any future US or Israeli strikes on Iran.

*Vice president Cheney's recent trip to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf,which could very easily have been designed to shore up support for an imminent action and give those Arab states the Bush Administration regards as allies a heads up warning of what might be in the works.

We could be looking at either the scenario of a US strike on Iran or an Israeli strike on Iran. And rather than a ground invasion ala Iraq, it might very well be an air and sea operation, aimed at crippling the mullahs economically as well as taking out their dangerous toys, as revealed in "Operation Mullah Stomp" in these pages over a year ago

THe Bush Administration has been aware for some time that Iran has been in de facto state of war with us. Yet its reaction, as with so many other things has been to make a lot of bellicose noise about Iran while doing very little about it. After all, if you're going to make a speech calling a country you're not officially at war with part of the 'axis of evil', you had better be prepared to follow through an ddo something concrete.

I still have major doubts that President Bush will follow through with a strike on Iran, although he might be planning to push the Israelis into doing it for us, to eliminate any domestic backlash for himself.

The political fallout for the Bush Administration would be horrendous, and I can hear the hysterical braying of certain presidential candidates and congressmen even as I write this.

That fallout would likely be a lot less deadly than the fallout that could eventually result if the sort of crazed lunatics who control Iran get their hands on nuclear weapons.

Will George W. Bush slink away from this challenge and leave it to his successor? The answer to that question will define the historical legacy of the Bush presidency.

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