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The Neocons’ Crazy Dream of World War III by Rodrigue Tremblay

Dandelion Salad

by Rodrigue Tremblay
Friday, November 2, 2007

“There are roads one does not follow.

There are armies one does not strike.

There are cities one does not attack.

There are grounds one does not contest.

There are commands of the sovereign one does not accept.”

Sun Tzu (c. 544 BC – 496 BC), “The Art of War”

“I believe that it [events on the United Airlines plane that crashed on 9/11] was the first counter-attack to World War III.”

George W. Bush, May 5, 2006

“I’ve told people that, if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them [Iranians] from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

George W. Bush, October 17, 2007

U.S. President George W. Bush “threatens humanity with World War III, this time using atomic weapons.”

Fidel Castro, Cuban dictator

“World War III will be a guerrilla information war with no division between military and civilian participation.”

Marshall McLuhan (1911-1980), Canadian thinker

“The unleashed power of the atom has changed everything save our modes of thinking and we thus drift toward unparalleled catastrophe.”

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

“I know not with what weapons World War III will be fought, but World War IV will be fought with sticks and stones.”

Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

The two greatest human catastrophes of the 20th century were World War I (10 million deaths) and World War II (62 million deaths).

In February 2002, neocon journalist Norman Podhoretz (a leading warmonger who is currently senior adviser to Republican presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani) wrote an article calling for a new World War. He did it again in an article titled “World War IV: How It Started, What It Means, and Why We Have to Win” (Commentary magazine, September 2004), calling for what he called “World War IV”, i.e. a war against the country of Iran that he demonized by calling its leaders “Islamofascists”, who cannot be trusted with having nuclear weapons as can some other countries in the region that already have them (Israel, Russia, Pakistan, India).

Podhoretz and other fellow neocons label their pet world war “World War IV” because they have decided that the Cold War was really “World War III“.

As a matter of fact, there never was a Third World War between the nuclear-armed USA and the USSR. Indeed, because of the policy of containment and deterrence, such a nuclear holocaust was avoided and the world lived through the last half of the 20th century in relative peace.

Unless one is a madman, nobody in his right mind would contemplate a nuclear world war that would likely kill hundreds of millions of human beings, and which could bring forth the collapse of civilization, and lead to the extermination of human life on earth. Indeed, nuclear armaments have made total war a crime against humanity and civilization. It is of paramount importance to avoid such a calamity.

But when someone is so deeply wrong and confused in his reading and presentation of history, as Norman Podhoretz seems to be, why would anyone want to listen to such a flawed analyst, irresponsibly calling for a new world war? Well, crazy as it seems, the current sitting American president does invite Podhoretz to the White House to get advice on how he should frame American foreign policy in the Middle East. President George W. Bush went so far as to bestow the Presidential Medal of Freedom to Podhoretz in 2004. Does he really agree with crackpot Podhoretz’ ideas about preventive nuclear wars?

What’s going on? Is the world getting crazy or what?

Let us remind ourselves that 25 years ago, neocon Podhoretz and other dimwits wanted President Ronald Reagan to launch a (preventive) nuclear war against the Soviet Union. Indeed, in the early ’80s, some neocon advisers around Reagan were deluding themselves and were arguing that the Soviet Union was preparing for a pre-emptive attack on the United States. They opposed President Reagan’s efforts at rapprochement. They were pushing for the U.S. to achieve ”nuclear dominance” and argued that only a ”strategy of strength” matters. —Mr. Reagan ridiculed them with their hairy plan and he was wise enough to dismiss these exceptionally naive and warmongering “advisers”.

What is frightening today is that many of the same insane Neocons (Podhoretz, Pipes, Perle, …etc.) are now advising the current Bush-Cheney administration. With the operative help of Vice president Dick Cheney, they have already succeeded in persuading George W. Bush to invade Iraq, telling him that it would be a “cakewalk” and that the “war will finance itself” out of Iraq’s oil revenues. Amazingly, Bush’s ears are still open to such wrong-headed advice. Will he be persuaded to launch a campaign of nuclear bombing against Iran, and fall into the neocon trap that President Ronald Reagan avoided?

If we read into Bush’s public pronouncements, he may be well advanced in fostering that very idea. Indeed, on October 17th, Bush II speculated aloud, in apocalyptic terms, about getting engaged in “World War III” if Iran does not bend to his wishes about its perfectly legal uranium enrichment program! What is odd is that President George W. Bush seems to be obsessed about getting involved in a World War III, while he is probably the only person on earth who could possibly start one. —This is most eerie.

Last October 25, the Bush-Cheney administration pursued its unilateral approach to international affairs and announced new sanctions against Iran, designating Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps as a “proliferator of weapons of mass destruction” and its elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism. Previously, the Bush-Cheney tandem had labeled Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a “terrorist” organization. This is reminiscent of the fall of 2002 when Bush Jr. was cynically swearing on his mother’s head that he was doing anything he could to “prevent” a war against Iraq, when it is now known that he had already given the go-ahead to attack Iraq.

Incredibly, the same cynical neocon scenario seems to be at play during the fall of 2007. The Bush-Cheney administration is inching up its gratuitous threats against Iran, while it has stationed three military naval armadas, more than 150 war ships, in or around the Persian Gulf. This represents an act of war in itself. It seems to me that Bush and his real putative father, Dick Cheney, are trying very hard to start a fight, and will seize any opportunity or pretext to launch a hot war against Iran, possibly using nuclear bombs. As experienced senator Robert C. Byrd (D-W.Va.) has said, the Bush-Cheney’s aggressive war action “not only echoes the chest-pounding rhetoric which preceded the invasion of Iraq in 2002, but also raises the specter of an intensified effort to make the case for an invasion of Iran.”

The Bush-Cheney team is now attempting to push aside Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), who says that there is no proof that Iran seeks atomic weapons, just as it pushed aside chief U.N. inspector Hans Blix who said, in early 2003, that Iraq had no weapons of mass destruction. The same charade goes on.

No responsible leader starts wars of aggression (this is against international law and the U.N. Charter) and no responsible leader should talk lightly about an immoral World War that could kill millions of people and that could threaten the survival of the planet. Above all, he should not be itching to start one. —Instead, President George W. Bush should be actively working to prevent a nuclear war and to make such a disaster illegal, and not muse aloud how he could personally be involved in one.

Rodrigue Tremblay lives in Montreal and can be reached at rodrigue.tremblay@yahoo.com Visit his blog site at: www.thenewamericanempire.com/blog. Author’s Website: www.thenewamericanempire.com/ Check Dr. Tremblay’s coming book “The Code for Global Ethics” at: www.TheCodeForGlobalEthics.com

 

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Al-Baradei says No deviation in Iran’s nuclears (video)

The New York Times and Bush’s threat of World War III by Bill Van Auken

Bush Regime Targets Iran After 9/11 by Larry Everest

New Cold War: Great Game for Supremacy in the New World Order? by Andrew G. Marshall

Attacking Iran for Israel? By Ray McGovern

Al-Baradei says No deviation in Iran’s nuclears (video)

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, October 31, 2007

Press TV

Video: Al-Baradei says No deviation in Iran’s nuclears

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright , Press TV, 2007

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7230

U.S. to build military base in Lebanon (video)

Dandelion Salad

Global Research, October 31, 2007

Press TV

 

Video: U.S. to build military base in Lebanon

 

 

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright , Press TV, 2007

The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7229

The New York Times and Bush’s threat of World War III by Bill Van Auken

Dandelion Salad

by Bill Van Auken
Global Research, October 31, 2007
wsws.org

When President Bush used an October 17 White House press conference to threaten that the escalating US confrontation with Iran posed a danger of “World War III” his remark was passed over in silence by most of the media. Those that did report it seemed, for the most part, to accept the White House claim that the president was engaging in hyperbole and merely making a “rhetorical point.”

In the nearly two weeks since, Bush’s remark has been followed up by a menacing speech by Vice President Dick Cheney, whose vow that the US would not “stand by” as Iran allegedly pursued a nuclear weapons program constituted an implicit threat of war. The heated war rhetoric has also been accompanied by the imposition of another round of sweeping economic sanctions backed by the unprecedented US designation of sections of Iran’s security forces as “proliferators” of weapons of mass destruction and as a “foreign terrorist organization.”

Given the Bush administration’s claim to be engaged in a permanent “global war on terrorism,” this designation is tailor-made for justifying a US military assault on Iran.

These events, undoubtedly accompanied by behind-the-scenes preparations for military action, have led to a somewhat belated reaction to Bush’s invocation of a third world war. Over the weekend, several Democratic legislators took issue with the president’s ominous statement. Senator Barbara Boxer of California, for example, called Bush’s World War III statement “irresponsible.”

“I’ve been briefed by the Pentagon who say if there were to be a conflagration with Iran, which we all hope to avoid, it would be generations of jihad right here on our shores,” she said. “We don’t want to go that way, so let’s calm down the rhetoric.”

Senator Carl Levin of Michigan, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, also warned of the implications of a war against Iran, including the potential closing of the strategic Strait of Hormuz. He made clear that he believed that the military option should be kept “on the table,” but urged the White House to stop talking about it.

“Don’t give them the weapon that they use against us that we’re trying to bully them, that we’re trying to do dominate them,” he said. “And that’s what this hot rhetoric does when it’s just constantly repeated, about World War III or that we’re going to use a military option.”

Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), also warned against the confrontational approach taken by Washington.

“My fear is that if we continue to escalate from both sides that we will end up into a precipice, we will end up into an abyss,” he said. “The Middle East is in a total mess, to say the least. And we cannot add fuel to the fire.”

Perhaps the most extraordinary response from within the political establishment came on Monday in the form of a lead editorial in the New York Times entitled “Trash Talking World War III.”

The Times writes: “America’s allies and increasingly the American public are playing a ghoulish guessing game: Will President Bush manage to leave office without starting a war with Iran? Mr. Bush is eagerly feeding those anxieties. This month he raised the threat of ‘World War III’ if Iran even figures out how to make a nuclear weapon.

“With a different White House, we might dismiss this as posturing—or bank on sanity to carry the day, or the warnings of exhausted generals or a defense secretary more rational than his predecessor. Not this crowd.”

The implications of this assessment, coming as it does from the America’s newspaper of record, the voice of erstwhile establishment liberalism, deserve the most serious consideration.

Not this crowd. In other words, a remark about World War III from another administration might have been written off, in the words of Senator Boxer, as “irresponsible,” but in the mouths of Bush, Cheney & Co. it becomes a palpable threat.

With the US military already mired in two colonial-style wars with no end in sight, the Times indicates that there exist no grounds for believing that the White House will not pursue the seemingly insane course of launching yet a third war, which—far more than those already underway—carries with it the danger of spreading into a global conflagration.

Reflected in the tone of this editorial is a profound political crisis within American ruling circles. Its unstated implication is that US policy is presently determined by a militarist camarilla which is out of control and subject neither to constitutional restraints nor international law.

Such a statement would not appear in the leading US daily paper unless there were deep concerns within the political establishment that America is on the brink of a war that poses catastrophic consequences.

But what the Times editorial cannot explain and does not even attempt to elucidate is how this crowd has remained in control of the US government going on eight years now, and how the seemingly insane escalation of American militarism has become Washington’s predominant policy on a world scale, supported and funded by both major parties. This cannot be rationalized as the outcome of Bush’s or Cheney’s supposed dementia.

Instead, the editorial makes the following toothless criticism of Bush: “Four years after his pointless invasion of Iraq, President Bush still confuses bullying with grand strategy. He refuses to do the hard work of diplomacy—or even acknowledge the disastrous costs of his actions.”

Since when was the invasion of Iraq “pointless?” The point to attempting to subjugate Iraq was clear from the outset. As former US Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan wrote in his recently published book—describing it as “what everyone knows”—the war against Iraq “is largely about oil.”

That is, behind all of the propaganda lies about weapons of mass destruction and terrorism, the war was launched in pursuit of definite imperialist aims. Washington consciously decided to utilize its military might as a means of offsetting US capitalism’s economic decline relative to its major rivals in Europe and Asia. Placing an American hand on the oil spigots of the Persian Gulf was seen as a means exerting decisive pressure on these rivals and preserving US hegemony in the affairs of world capitalism.

This war was not pointless, it was criminal. To pursue its aims, US imperialism was prepared to unleash destruction on a scale that has now claimed the lives of over a million Iraqis and laid waste to an entire society.

The same “point” lies behind the present escalation of US aggression against Iran, pursued once again in the name of curtailing weapons of mass destruction and combating terrorism. The results of such a new war will prove far bloodier.

The Times—as in the run-up to the Iraq war—is once again advocating the use of diplomacy to secure legitimization for the predatory imperialist interests that Washington is pursuing against Iran. Its differences with the Bush administration, like those of the Democrats, are merely of a tactical character.

The supposed insanity of the Bush and Cheney crowd is in the end shared, at least in its essential symptoms, by all sections of the American ruling elite. The fundamental source of this malady lies not in the psychology of those presently in the White House—however unstable it may be—but rather in the underlying contradictions of world capitalism, above all the subordination of the powerful forces of globally integrated capitalist production to the private profit interests of the ruling elites of competing national states.

It is these contradictions, which are objectively driving the eruption of American militarism, that threaten a new war against Iran and a broader conflagration, as other major powers are inevitably compelled to defend their own access to strategic energy supplies and markets. Mounting economic instability will only accelerate this process.

The Times editorial constitutes a serious warning. A far wider war is now seen within the US ruling elite as a real and imminent danger to which no section of the present political establishment has a viable alternative. Such a war poses the real threat of a nuclear conflagration and the extermination of hundreds of millions.

The decisive question is that class-conscious workers and youth grasp both the immense dangers and the emerging revolutionary possibilities in the present situation. Mankind is threatened with wars that will reproduce and eclipse the catastrophes inflicted by the two world wars of the last century. But this threat is itself a manifestation of the profound crisis of the capitalist system.

Nothing could make clearer the hopelessness and bankruptcy of a perspective of ending the war in Iraq or halting an even bloodier catastrophe in Iran by means of pressuring Congress or supporting the Democratic Party against the Republicans.

A genuine struggle against war must waged by politically uniting working people worldwide based on a common socialist and internationalist program aimed at putting an end to economic and political domination of a financial oligarchy that pursues its profit interests by means of military slaughter.

Bill Van Auken is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Global Research Articles by Bill Van Auken
The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Bill Van Auken, wsws.org, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7228

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Kucinich: Administration Needs To Heed Advice Of IAEA Director + Questions Bush’s Mental Health

It’s the End of the World as We know it and I feel fine #22 (video)

Dandelion Salad

stimulator

http://submedia.tv

This Week

1. WWIII
2. Famin and Fire
3. Sydnot
4. Hot-Lanta
5. Cheney’s heart of Oil
6. The APC Strikes back
7. Brother Ali
8. Gore’s Genocide
9. Buggin out

Added: October 31, 2007

Bush Regime Targets Iran After 9/11 by Larry Everest

Dandelion Salad

by Larry Everest
Global Research, October 31, 2007
RCP Publications

For over 100 years, the domination of Iran has been deeply woven into the fabric of global imperialism, enforced through covert intrigues, economic bullying, military assaults, and invasions. This history provides the backdrop for U.S. hostility toward Iran today–including the real threat of war. Part 8 of this series examines why the Bush administration targeted Iran after 9/11, how the invasion of Iraq has backfired on them in many ways, and why this has increased their felt need to confront the Islamic Republic.

Iran, 9/11 and the “War on Terror”

George W. Bush’s capture of the U.S. presidency in 2000, followed by the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, led to a radical shift in U.S. global strategy and the launching of Bush’s “war on terror.” Iran was a key target from the start.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, the U.S. was suddenly the only global imperialist superpower. America’s rulers saw an opportunity to vastly extend their power, as well as the necessity to do so given the many contradictions–and potential contradictions–they faced worldwide. For a decade the “neo-cons” had been arguing for aggressively using U.S. military might to create an unchallenged and unchallengeable U.S. empire. They assumed key positions in Bush’s new administration.

After the 9/11 attacks, the Bush team felt compelled to forcefully lash back to preserve the U.S. empire’s global credibility. They also saw the opportunity–and the necessity–to push forward their broader agenda, which required crushing anti-U.S. Islamic fundamentalism and forcefully dealing with a host of impediments to their global power and ambitions–including states like Iran and Iraq.

During a secret November 2001 meeting, as reported by Bob Woodward in State of Denial: Bush at War, Part III, leading strategists close to the Bush administration argued that the 9/11 attacks did not represent “an isolated action that called for policing and crime fighting.” Their solution: a “two-generation battle with radical Islam” to defeat this movement–as well as take down regimes in Iraq, Iran, and Syria that were contributing in one way or another to the spread of anti-U.S. sentiments and fundamentalism or that posed obstacles to U.S. plans. They thought this would open the door to transforming the entire region–”draining the swamp,” as Defense Secretary Rumsfeld and his assistant Paul Wolfowitz put it shortly after Sept. 11–to eliminate the conditions giving rise to forces which, while reactionary, posed a growing obstacle to U.S. imperialist interests.

The first phase of this global war was launched on October 7, 2001 with the bombing of Afghanistan and the overthrow of the Islamist Taliban government. The Bush regime then decided that Iraq would be phase two. Saddam wasn’t an Islamist, nor was he allied with al Qaeda, but his continued rule was creating a variety of problems for the U.S. in the Middle East.

Even as they invaded Iraq, the Bush regime had Iran’s Islamic Republic squarely in their sights.

The Islamic Republic of Iran was not involved in the Sept. 11 attacks, and it aided the U.S. during the 2001 invasion of Afghanistan by backing the anti-Taliban Northern Alliance, allowing U.S. search-and-rescue missions to operate from Iranian territory, and passing on intelligence from Afghanistan. But the imperialists still had a big problem with the Islamic Republic–not because it is a reactionary theocracy that brutally represses its people. The problem, from the imperialists’ standpoint, was that Iran has been a key font of anti-U.S. Islamic fundamentalism. It was the first place where current-day Islamists seized state power–and they have used that power to promote Islamic fundamentalism and support Islamist movements in the region. Tehran’s rulers have also sought to redefine Iran’s place in the regional order, including by negotiating economic and political deals with U.S. rivals like Russia and China. All this has made Iran a big obstacle to U.S. plans in the region, and so the Bush regime placed Iran high on its target list.

On January 30, 2002, Bush charged that Iran “aggressively pursues these [nuclear] weapons and exports terror, while an unelected few repress the Iranian people’s hope for freedom,” and he included Iran (along with Iraq and North Korea) in the so-called “axis-of-evil,” which he said posed “a grave and growing danger.”

After Iraq, Debating Iran

After the March 2003 invasion of Iraq, some within the Bush administration argued that the U.S. should continue to pressure Iran’s Islamic Republic to end its support for Islamist movements in the region and give up its nuclear program, while also keeping the diplomatic channel to Tehran open, if only to use Iran’s influence to first stabilize post-invasion Iraq before moving on to other targets in the “war on terror.”

But the neocons, and those around Vice President Cheney in particular, argued that such rapprochement with Iran would derail the U.S.’s momentum and mission. “Our fight against Iraq was only one battle in a long war,” Meyrav Wurmser, a fellow at the right-wing American Enterprise Institute and wife of leading neocon David Wurmser, stated. “It would be ill-conceived to think that we can deal with Iraq alone… We must move on, and faster.” (Jim Lobe, Asia Times, 5/28/03)

As further justification for their call for more aggressive action, Cheney and others pointed to new revelations about Iran’s nuclear program. In February 2003, Iran admitted that it was building two uranium enrichment plants, although it had not yet enriched uranium. By November 2003 Iran was in discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) over verifying its compliance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), and stated it had suspended its enrichment program.

But the U.S. imperialists were determined to prevent Iran from having the bomb–not because they feared a preemptive Iranian strike on the U.S. or Israel, but because of the concern about “the constraining effect” a nuclear-armed Iran threatened “to impose upon U.S. strategy for the Greater Middle East,” as neocon Tom Donnelly put it. (Gareth Porter, Huffingtonpost.com, 9/8/07)

Iran’s rulers may want to acquire nuclear weapons, and they may have taken steps to do so. IAEA head Mohammed El Baradei, however, has stated that he’s found no evidence of any undeclared “source or special nuclear materials” or that such materials had ever been “used in furtherance of a military purpose.” (Farhang Jahanpour, oxfordresearchgroup.org.uk, June 2006)

In May 2003 the U.S. government secretly received a wide-ranging proposal from Iran’s leadership, perhaps motivated partly by fear that the U.S. was going to quickly turn its guns on Tehran. In exchange for an end to U.S. hostility, lifting of U.S. sanctions, and removal of Iran from the State Department’s list of countries supporting “terrorism,” the Iranian regime said it would meet the main U.S. demands and basically accommodate itself to a U.S.-dominated Middle East. Iran would also freeze its nuclear program and open it up to inspections that would guarantee it wasn’t making nuclear weapons. Iran also offered to support a democratic, non-religious government in Iraq, to cooperate fully in fighting al Qaeda and other groups, and to end its support for Hamas in Palestine. (Peter Galbraith, The NY Review of Books, 10/11/07)

The Bush regime summarily rejected Iran’s offer. The high-level dialogue between the U.S. and Iran over Iraq, Afghanistan, and other regional issues was abruptly shut down, and the neocons continued to push for regime change in Tehran.

The Fateful Decisions of May 2003

Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, fervent advocates of the war had predicted that Hussein’s overthrow would trigger upheaval, even the fall of the regime in Iran. But, in fact, U.S. actions ended up strengthening Iranian influence in Iraq and across the region–intensifying some of the very contradictions the U.S. was trying to solve by invading Iraq in the first place.

The Bush regime attempted to quickly and radically reshape Iraqi politics, economics, and society in the interests of U.S. imperialism. In mid-May 2003, less than a month after Bush declared “victory” in Iraq from the deck of an aircraft carrier, occupation chief Paul Bremer issued decrees banning Iraq’s Baath Party, disbanding Iraq’s army and police force, closing unprofitable state-run industries, and beginning the privatization of Iraq’s economy. Bremer also scuttled the proposed interim government in favor of a “Coalition Provisional Authority” (CPA) which would gradually unfold the political process and form a new Iraqi government under Bremer’s tight control.

Bush officials also calculated that Iraq’s Shi’ites (some 60 percent of the population) would be hostile to Iran. Some even predicted that backing the Iraqi Shi’a religious factions would serve U.S. aims. Neocon war architect David Wurmser wrote that “liberating the Shi’ite centers in Najaf and Karbala, with their clerics who reject the wilayat al-faqih [clerical rule], could allow Iraqi Shi’ites to challenge and perhaps fatally derail the Iranian revolution.” (Larry Everest, Oil, Power, and Empire, Chapter 9)

These were profound miscalculations. The Bush regime underestimated how the shock of the invasion and the dismantling of the Iraqi state would lift the lid on the deep contradictions roiling Iraq, including hatred of the U.S. and its ally Israel, and the growing strength of Islamic fundamentalism among both Sunnis and Shi’as. And it underestimated how the CPA’s handling of the political process and elections would raise tensions with Shi’as and strengthen Iran’s hand.

While the full scope of Iranian actions in U.S.-occupied Iraq is unclear, it appears that Iran has sought to prevent the re-emergence of a hostile Iraq on its western border, as well as extend its regional influence and strengthen the Islamist project. (And expanding its influence in Iraq as a means of increasing Tehran’s bargaining leverage with the U.S.) From 2003 to 2005, U.S. and Iranian actions in Iraq ran more or less parallel–even as the U.S. imperialists and Iran’s Islamic rulers had sharply antagonistic strategic objectives. During the invasion, Iraq’s Shi’a leadership (who have close ties to the Iranian regime) encouraged their followers to avoid confrontations with U.S. forces. Both the U.S. and the Iranians ended up supporting the same reactionary Kurdish and Shi’ite parties, neither wanted Sunni forces to return to power, and both wanted the establishment of a stable new Iraqi government.

But U.S.-Iranian tensions continued to develop. In June 2003, less than a month after coming to Iraq, Bremer complained that Iran was “meddling” in Iraq (this came from the mouth of an official representing a power that had just invaded this country!). Bremer singled out the Supreme Council of the Islamic Revolution of Iraq (SCIRI, which was formed in Iran in the early 1980s) for threatening to boycott a Bremer-chosen interim Iraqi administration. (Financial Times, 6/10/03)

Tufts University Professor Vali Nasr, an expert on Iran, recently told investigative journalist Seymour Hersh, “Iran’s policy since 2003 has been to provide funding, arms, and aid to several Shi’ite factions–including some in [current Prime Minister] Maliki’s coalition.” In the fall of 2004, during the run-up to the January 2005 Iraqi elections for a Transitional National Assembly engineered by the U.S., the CIA reported that Iran was spending $11 million a week to help the United Shi’a Platform, which ended up winning a majority of seats in the election. So while Iran wasn’t directly challenging the U.S. in Iraq, it was definitely increasing its leverage.

Larry Everest is a frequent contributor to Global Research.
Global Research Articles by Larry Everest
The CRG grants permission to cross-post original Global Research articles on community internet sites as long as the text & title are not modified. The source and the author’s copyright must be displayed. For publication of Global Research articles in print or other forms including commercial internet sites, contact: crgeditor@yahoo.com

www.globalresearch.ca contains copyrighted material the use of which has not always been specifically authorized by the copyright owner. We are making such material available to our readers under the provisions of “fair use” in an effort to advance a better understanding of political, economic and social issues. The material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving it for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material for purposes other than “fair use” you must request permission from the copyright owner.

For media inquiries: crgeditor@yahoo.com
© Copyright Larry Everest, RCP Publications, 2007
The url address of this article is: www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7227

Hezbollah, PKK and American Hypocrisy By Gwynne Dyer

Dandelion Salad

By Gwynne Dyer
ICH
10/31/07 “Arab News

Fifteen months ago, the armed wing of Lebanon’s Hezbollah party, listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and most other Western countries, attacked Israel’s northern border, capturing two Israeli soldiers and killing eight more. Israel replied with a month of massive air attacks all across Lebanon that destroyed much of the country’s infrastructure, leveled a good deal of south Beirut, and killed around a thousand Lebanese civilians.

Washington, London, Ottawa and some other Western capitals insisted that this was a reasonable and proportionate response, and shielded Israel from intense diplomatic pressure to stop the attacks even when Israel launched a land invasion of southern Lebanon in early August, 2006. The operation only ended when Israeli casualties on the ground mounted rapidly and the Israeli government pulled its troops back.

So what would be a reasonable and proportionate Turkish response to the recent attacks by the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), listed as a terrorist organization by the United States and most other Western countries, from northern Iraq into southeastern Turkey? More than forty Turkish civilians and soldiers have been killed in these attacks over the past two weeks, and a further eight Turkish soldiers were captured.

Well, it would be unreasonable for Turkey to bomb Iraq, where the PKK’s bases are, for any more than one month. It would be quite disproportionate for the Turkish Air Force to level more than a small part of Baghdad — say, 15,000 homes. Ideally, it should leave Baghdad alone and restrict itself to destroying some Kurdish-populated city in northern Iraq near Turkey’s own border. Moreover, when the Turks do invade Iraq on the ground, they should restrict themselves to the northern border strip where the PKK’s bases are.

What’s that? Washington is asking Turkey to show restraint and not attack Iraq at all? Even after the Kurdish terrorists killed or kidnapped all those Turkish people? Could it be that Turkish lives are worth less than Israeli lives?

Never mind. At least the United States officially classes the PKK as a terrorist organization and refuses to let its officials have any contact with it. But what’s this? There is a parallel terrorist organization called the Party for Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK), essentially a branch office of the PKK, also based in northern Iraq, which carries out attacks into the adjacent Kurdish-populated region of Iran, and the United States does not condemn the PJAK? It even sends its officials to have friendly chats with the PJAK terrorists? How odd!

The PJAK’s leader, Rahman Haj-Ahmadi, paid an unofficial visit to Washington last summer. One of his close associates, Biryar Gabar, claims to have “normal dialogue” with US officials, according to a report last Tuesday in the New York Times — and the American military spokesman in Baghdad, Cmdr. Scott Rye, issued a carefully structured nondenial saying that “The consensus is that US forces are not working with or advising the PJAK.”

Biryar Gabar also said that PJAK fighters have killed at least 150 Iranian soldiers and officials in the past three months. That’s a lot more people than the PKK have killed in Turkey in the same time, and yet neither Washington nor any other Western country has expressed sympathy for Iran. Could it be that Iranian lives are worth even less than Turkish lives?

And here’s something even more peculiar. Iran, like Turkey, is already shelling Kurdish villages on the Iraqi side of the frontier that it suspects of sheltering or supplying the PKK/PJAK. How come President George W. Bush and Vice President Richard Cheney simply ignore these actions, when they have been working hard for the past year to build a case for attacking Iran? As Pat Buchanan noted on MSNBC’s “Hardball” last week: “Cheney and Bush are laying down markers for themselves which they’re going to have to meet. I don’t see how.”

The US military “assets” for an attack on Iran are all in place, so it can’t be that. Maybe the delay means that Bush and Cheney are having difficulty in persuading the military professionals to go along with this hare-brained scheme. Most senior American military officers see an attack on Iran as leading to inevitable failure and humiliation for the United States, and the last thing the White House wants is a rash of US generals resigning in protest when it orders the attack.

On the other hand, Bush is still the commander-in-chief, and how many American generals resigned when he committed the somewhat lesser folly of invading Iraq? Only one, and he did it very quietly.
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Fresh protest by monks in Myanmar

Dandelion Salad

Al Jazeera
Wed., Oct 31, 2007

More than 100 Buddhist monks have marched and chanted in northern Myanmar for nearly an hour, in the first public demonstration since the government’s deadly crackdown last month on pro-democracy protesters, several monks say.

The monks in Pakokku on Wednesday shouted no slogans, but one monk told the Democratic Voice of Burma, a Norway-based short-wave radio station and website run by dissident journalists, that it was a continuation of the protests last month.

The monk, who was not identified by name, told the radio station: “We walked around the town and chanted. … We are continuing our protest from last month as we have not yet achieved any of the demands we asked for.”

Continued…

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Organized Money Vs. Organized People by Cindy Sheehan

The Real Cindy Sheehan


by Cindy Sheehan
Dandelion Salad
featured writer
October 31, 2007

At a time like this, scorching iron, not convincing argument, is needed.Frederick Douglass

Cindy’s campaign will prove that organized people can beat organized money.Reverend Lennox Yearwood; founder of the Hip Hop Caucus

We are a nation that was created by “the rich, white, male property owners” and specifically for “the rich, white, male property owners.” Women and blacks, (who were counted as 3/5ths a person for representation purposes), were excluded from this self-proclaimed elitist establishment.

All throughout our history, however, our experience is imbued with the examples of courageous people who refused to be excluded and sacrificed everything for the human right to be heard.

From anti-slavery activism to the anti-Vietnam War movement, we have been blessed with individuals and groups who were willing to put their bodies on the line to support their rhetoric and oftentimes were murdered by the established order, which only seemed to always inflame the movements, not suppress them. The government always resisted the good that these movements tried to do and ultimately did do with dedicated sacrifices.

The establishment has forever tried to protect its status quo and personal wealth to the detriment of “we the people” who are the ones who suffer and sacrifice so the pigs of war can oink their way to the bank. With a fascist corporate media that supports the fascist corporate government, the voices of “we the people” are being silenced at an astonishing and frightening clip. In one very glaring and horribly tragic example, many people voted for George Bush in 2000, because they thought he was a “regular guy” and someone whom they would like to have a beer with. What a very unfunny irony as we have been constantly learning. The Bush family have been pro-fascist and anti-democratic all the way back to Grand-pappy Prescott. The media portrayed George as an “everyman” who “cutely” mangled our language with a “gee-whiz” smile that quickly became an “f’ y’all” smirk. This man who was foisted on us by the Corporatocracy has turned out to be worst disaster of our collective history.

Now, the Corporatocracy has anointed the presumptive nominees for the 2008 Presidential race—and it all comes down to a matter of money. Who has how much? Hillary has an obscene and immoral amount of mammon in her campaign chest and a staff of 500 who are running a very careful and well-modulated (except for her cackle) race that is designed to support the “by and for” privileged entitlement syndrome while claiming to be “groundbreaking.”

One of the hurdles that people believe that I have to overcome to beat Nancy Pelosi in California’s race is the fact that she has a bottomless well of cash and I do not. I challenge these people to look beyond the “green-colored” glasses of greed and help me dream of an innovative campaign that is fought with the truth and waged with old-fashioned shoe leather and hard work.

I would love my fellow Americans to dream, with me, of a country where basic human rights are valued over even a Constitution that has a compromised beginning but has been thoroughly trampled and desecrated by BushCo with the consent and help of Congress, Inc, led by Speaker Pelosi.

I have received support and encouragement from every corner of this country and, indeed, from all over the world. Our human family is watching the race in California’s 8th District very carefully. With the “fix” already being in presidential politics, our hope for peace, democracy and accountability rests in this important race. But I do not consider that it is only I running against Nancy Pelosi, it is “we the people” running against the established, murderous status quo. It is true grass-roots democracy running against the corporate fascists. It is peace and justice loving people running against the Bushes and Pelosis of the world who work fist in glove to suppress and enslave us.

It is essential that “we the people” prove that “organized people” can be victorious over “organized money.” It may be our last chance to do so.

The world is watching and cheering us on.

Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Spc. Casey Austin Sheehan who was KIA in Iraq on 04/04/04. She is a co-founder and President of Gold Star Families for Peace and the author of two books: Not One More Mother’s Child and Dear President Bush. http://www.cindyforcongress.org/

h/t: ICH

New Cold War: Great Game for Supremacy in the New World Order? by Andrew G. Marshall

by Andrew G. Marshall
featured writer
Dandelion Salad
Global Research, October 31, 2007

Imperial Playground:

The Story of Iran in Recent History

PART 4:

There has been much talk in recent months of a return to the Cold War, as increasingly there is growing disparities and tensing relations between the West, namely the Anglo-Americans, and the Russian Federation, the former Soviet Union, as well as China. ‘Is the Cold War Back?’ as the headline of a Reuters article asked, stating, “Russia has revived its Soviet-era practice of continuous long-range bomber patrols, sending 14 aircraft on such missions in the latest in a series of moves apparently designed to show off Russia’s new-found assertiveness,” and that “Russia’s military is now receiving a major injection of cash to modernise ageing equipment — including new planes — after years of under-funding and neglect since the Soviet Union ceased to exist.”1 Recent plans made public that the United States is building missile shields in Eastern European countries has sparked equal controversy over a revival of a Cold War. As the Austrian Defense Minister Norbert Darabos stated in late August of 2007, “That the United States are installing a defense shield in eastern Europe is a provocation in my view,” and that, “The U.S. has chosen the wrong path in my opinion. There is no point in building up a missile defense shield in Europe. That only unnecessarily rekindles old Cold War debates.”2 The article continued in saying, “The United States plans to deploy elements of its shield — designed to intercept and destroy missiles from ‘rogue states’ like Iran and North Korea — in Poland and the Czech Republic. Russia sees the initiative near its borders as a threat to its own security. On Tuesday Russia’s military chief told the Czech Republic that hosting the shield would be a ‘big mistake’. Darabos said he saw no danger from Iranian long range missiles and the United States should try for a different solution.”

NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which is largely controlled by the Anglo-American establishment, has also been stepping up Cold War actions. NATO was created as a treaty during the early years of the Cold War as a method of forming an alliance against the Communist powers of the world, which had a parallel treaty organization, known as the Warsaw Pact. So if the near entire life span of this organization was in containing communist countries, namely the Soviet Union, it does not seem unlikely that it would return to what it does best. As the Sunday Telegraph reported in late August of 2007, “NATO vessels are closely monitoring the sea trials of Russia’s latest submarine, following Moscow’s increasingly provocative tests of Western airspace. In the latest twist to worsening East-West relations, Nato submarines and surface ships, which may include Royal Navy vessels, are trying to gather information on the new Amur class boat being tested in the Baltic,” and that, “The greater-than-normal scrutiny is, in part, a response to Russia’s decision to resume long-range bomber flights close to Nato airspace which has revived memories of Cold War confrontation between the two blocs,” and it further mentioned that, “Twice this summer, Russian Tu-95 nuclear bombers have been spotted heading towards British airspace off Scotland, prompting the RAF [Royal Air Force] to send intercepting aircraft to warn them off. On another occasion, Russian planes came within striking distance of the US Pacific airbase of Guam.”3

The article continues in explaining, “Apart from the threat it [the Russian submarine] poses as part of the Russian navy, Moscow is believed to have won contracts to export it to other states such as Venezuela, which is challenging the United States’ influence in Latin America. Russia also exports weapons to Iran and Sudan, although there is no sign yet that either country plans to buy an Amur class submarine. The fact that President Vladimir Putin’s regime is testing a powerful new addition to the Russian navy – after its fleet went through years of decline – shows a new military build-up is underway.” The article further stated, “Russia’s neighbour Georgia claimed yesterday that it, too, was being intimidated by Moscow. Russian jets, the government said, had twice entered its airspace this week. Earlier this month, a Russian warplane had fired a missile at a village on its territory. But Russia protested its innocence yesterday, accusing Georgia of inventing the charge to stir up tensions. Vitaly Churkin, Russia’s ambassador to the United Nations said that the bomb fragments produced as evidence were of foreign origin.”

On this growing issue between Russia and Georgia, Press TV reported that, “Georgia’s aim to accelerate its joining the NATO by playing risky power games with Russia can stretch Moscow’s patience too far, observers say. ‘There is a threat’ that rising tensions between the two former Soviet republics could provoke a confrontation, said Pavel Felgenhauer, an independent Russian defense analyst,” and that, “During the 2006 winter, Russian gas supplies to Georgia were cut off for prolonged repairs on a pipeline. A few months later, Russia banned the import of wine and mineral water from Georgia. Then, in September 2006, Georgia arrested four Russian officers charged for spying. This prompted Russia to suspend all direct transport and postal links, as well as to deport hundreds of Georgian immigrants from Russia. Russia has also given political and economic backing to two Georgian separatist regions.”4

It was also reported that, “The Russian ambassador to the Court of St James’s rejects US statements over the controversial Missile Defense project to be exclusively against Iran. ‘There is no convincing explanation for the installation of the US Missile Defense in eastern Asia,’ said Yuri Viktorovich Fedotov in an interview with BBC Radio. ‘Despite what US calls a missile defense shield against Iran, the project is a threat for Russia and other countries,’ Fedotov added,” and that “The statements are made as recent diplomatic conflict between Britain and Russia over the missile defense project and the verbal war for the extradition of a Russian agent accused of being involved in the murder of Alexander [Litvinenko] in London has escalated.”5

In early September of 2007, it was reported by the BBC that, “The UK’s Royal Air Force has launched fighter jets to intercept eight Russian military planes flying in airspace patrolled by Nato, UK officials say. Four RAF F3 Tornado aircraft were scrambled in response to the Russian action, the UK’s defence ministry said. The Russian planes – long-range bombers – had earlier been followed by Norwegian F16 jets.”6 Also in early September it was reported by the Financial Times that, “The Chinese military hacked into a Pentagon computer network in June in the most successful cyber attack on the US defence department, say American –officials. The Pentagon acknowledged shutting down part of a computer system serving the office of Robert Gates, defence secretary, but declined to say who it believed was behind the attack. Current and former officials have told the Financial Times an internal investigation has revealed that the incursion came from the People’s Liberation Army [of China].”7

As well as this, it was reported that, “Taiwan’s cabinet agreed Wednesday to hike military spending by nearly 15 percent in next year’s budget in an apparent signal of its resolve against rival China. Under a draft budget, which has to be confirmed by parliament, the defence ministry is setting aside 345.9 billion Taiwan dollars (10.5 billion US), up 44.6 billion Taiwan dollars, the cabinet said in a statement,” and that, “The rise in spending is mainly aimed at financing procurement of military equipment, including US-made P-3C submarine-hunting aircraft. Washington, the island’s leading arms supplier despite not having formal diplomatic ties, has repeatedly asked Taipei to display its determination to defend itself by boosting military spending. The Chinese government had in May announced the biggest increase in its military budget in recent years, saying its spending in 2007 would rise 17.8 percent from last year to 350.9 billion yuan (about 45 billion dollars),” and the article continued in stating, “Reunification with Taiwan is one of China’s long-term strategic objectives, and analysts have said Beijing is beefing up its military partly to enable it to take the island back by force if necessary. China and Taiwan have been separated since the end of a civil war in 1949, but Beijing still considers the island part of its territory. Taiwan has been led since the turn of the century by independence-leaning President Chen Shui-bian, exacerbating fears in Beijing that the island could break away for good.”8

The above mentioned issue is extremely important, as it was reported back in 2005 by the Financial Times that, “China is prepared to use nuclear weapons against the US if it is attacked by Washington during a confrontation over Taiwan, a Chinese general said on Thursday. ‘If the Americans draw their missiles and position-guided ammunition on to the target zone on China’s territory, I think we will have to respond with nuclear weapons,’ said General Zhu Chenghu. Gen Zhu was speaking at a function for foreign journalists organised, in part, by the Chinese government. He added that China’s definition of its territory included warships and aircraft,” and the General continued in saying, “If the Americans are determined to interfere [then] we will be determined to respond,” as well as stating, “We . . . will prepare ourselves for the destrucion of all of the cities east of Xian. Of course the Americans will have to be prepared that hundreds . . . of cities will be destroyed by the Chinese.”9 The article further mentioned, “Gen Zhu is a self-acknowledged ‘hawk’ who has warned that China could strike the US with long-range missiles. But his threat to use nuclear weapons in a conflict over Taiwan is the most specific by a senior Chinese official in nearly a decade.” So, essentially what this is suggesting is that in the case that China attempts to take back Taiwan, which it consistently threatens to do, even if it requires military force, and the US responds militarily in any way, which they have said they would in such an event, even if the act is firing on a Chinese ship, then the response of China would be to engage in nuclear war with the United States.

In early September of 2007, it was reported by the BBC that, “Britain has privately complained to Beijing that Chinese-made weapons are being used by the Taleban to attack British troops in Afghanistan. The BBC has been told that on several occasions Chinese arms have been recovered after attacks on British and American troops by Afghan insurgents.”10

Russia has extremely close ties with Iran, as it was reported back in 2005 that, “Russia has agreed to sell more than $1 billion worth of missiles and other defense systems to Iran,” and that, “The Interfax and ITAR-Tass news agencies cited unidentified sources in the Russian military-industrial complex as saying that Russian and Iranian officials had signed contracts in November that would send up to 30 Tor-M1 missile systems to Iran over the next two years.”11 In January of 2007, the Jerusalem Post reported that, “Voicing extreme concern over Russia’s recent sale of advanced anti-aircraft missiles to Iran, senior diplomatic and defense officials warned Moscow Tuesday that the deal could have serious security implications that would even ‘get back to Russia.’ Senior officials in Jerusalem said they ‘were not pleased’ with the sale of the anti-aircraft missiles, but that Russia was a sovereign country and they could not intervene. They did, however, issue a warning: ‘We hope they understand that this is a threat that could come back to them as well.’ Earlier Tuesday, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Moscow had sent air defense missiles to Teheran, the first high-level confirmation that their delivery took place despite US complaints. Ivanov did not specify how many missile systems had been delivered.”12

On top of military agreements, Russia and Iran also have close ties economically and politically, and Russia is even helping Iran build a nuclear power plant. It was reported in September of 2007 that, “The Bushehr nuclear power plant that Russia is building in Iran will be commissioned no earlier than the fall of 2008, a source in the Russian nuclear sector said. The date for commissioning the $1 billion project in the south of the country, the Islamic Republic’s first NPP built by Russia, was postponed due to delays in Iranian payments to the contractor.”13 So, clearly, Russia has vested interests inside Iran, and has even gone so far as to help in building a nuclear power plant inside Iran, in a sign of a growing relationship between the two countries, and a very apparent signal that Russia is supporting Iran’s efforts to nuclear power, thusly, taking a position in opposition to the Anglo-American Alliance, and even the Franco-German Entente.

This is evident in as much as Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, back in 2006 had advised “to act without delay to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, saying that Iran had ‘blatantly crossed the line’,” and that “The chancellor compared Iran’s nuclear policy to the Nazi party’s rise to power in Germany, warning that in the past the nations of the world refused to take a stance against concrete threats, enabling some of history’s greatest catastrophes.”14 The newly elected French President Nicolas Sarkozy stated in August of 2007, that, “a diplomatic push by the world’s powers to rein in Tehran’s nuclear program was the only alternative to ‘an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran’,” and that, “In his first major foreign policy speech, Sarkozy emphasized his existing foreign policy priorities, such as opposing Turkish membership of the European Union and pushing for a new Mediterranean Union that he hopes will include Ankara,” and the article went on to report that, “Sarkozy said a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and that major powers should continue their policy of incrementally increasing sanctions against Tehran while being open to talks if Iran suspended nuclear activities.” The article then quoted Sarkozy as saying, “This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran,” and he continued, “Russia is imposing its return on the world scene by using its assets, notably oil and gas, with a certain brutality,” of which the article continued, “Energy disputes between Russia and neighbors such as Belarus and Ukraine have raised doubts in Europe about Moscow’s reliability as a gas exporter. It supplies Europe, via its neighbors, with around a quarter of its gas demands. Sarkozy had warm words for the United States, saying friendship between the two countries was important. But he said he felt free to disagree with American policies, highlighting what he called a lack of leadership on the environment.”15 I find it comical that Sarkozy talks of Russia saying that, “When one is a great power, one should not be brutal,” yet he had ‘warm words’ for the US, of which I know no other country that is so brutal as a great power.

The Washington Post reported in early September of 2007, that, “U.S. plans to site parts of a missile defense shield in Poland and the Czech Republic are ‘politically dangerous,’ former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder said on Saturday. ‘From my point of view the missile defense system is politically dangerous. It is perceived as an attempt to isolate Russia, which is not in Europe’s political interests,’ said Schroeder, who is a personal friend of President Vladimir Putin,” and that, “The United States wants to base interceptor missiles and a radar system in Poland and the Czech Republic, saying it needs protection against missile attacks from what it terms ‘rogue states’ like Iran and North Korea. Russia has reacted furiously, saying the plan will upset a delicate strategic balance between major powers and poses a threat to its own security. Schroeder said the plan was not in the European Union’s interests either.” The article continued, “Although trade and investment are booming, diplomatic relations between Russia and the European Union have deteriorated sharply over the past year. This is partly because of Russia’s squabbles with the Union’s new members such as Poland, which were once part of the Soviet bloc and are now wary of Moscow’s rising influence.”16

Remember Zbigniew Brzezinski? The Trilateral Commission founder, architect of the Afghan-Soviet War and ‘Arc of Crisis’ Strategy, who wrote the geo-strategic blueprint for American global hegemony, The Grand Chessboard, in which he stated, “Potentially, the most dangerous scenario would be a grand coalition of China, Russia, and perhaps Iran, an ‘antihegemonic’ coalition united not by ideology but by complementary grievances. It would be reminiscent in scale and scope of the challenge once posed by the Sino-Soviet bloc.”17 Well, within ten years of writing his book, Brzezinski’s predictions became quite true, as an alternative strategic bloc to the NATO countries has been set up, called the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]. It was officially founded in 2001 [after initial agreements in 1996] by Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. In 2006, it was reported that, “Six member countries of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Wednesday agreed to stage a joint anti-terror military exercise in 2007 in Russia, according to a joint communiqué,” and that, “Except Uzbekistan, other five countries of the SCO held their first-ever joint anti-terror exercise within the framework of the SCO in August 2003, with the first phase in Kazakhstan and the second in China. As new threats and challenges, such as terrorism, separatism, extremism and cross-border crimes, are becoming increasingly prominent, the regional and international cooperation are required.”18

In 2003, it was reported that the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), “signed a multilateral economic cooperation Framework Agreement in Beijing on 23 September to ‘deepen’ their mutual economic connections and ‘improve the investment environment’. At the meeting, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao made three proposals. He wanted members to set as a long-term objective the establishment of a free trade area within the SCO; elaborate a series of more immediate measures such as improving the flow of goods across the member-states and reducing non-tariff barriers such as customs, quarantine, standards and transport services; and create large projects on economic and technological cooperation, giving priority to those in transportation, energy, telecommunication, agriculture, home appliances, light industry and textiles.”19

Apart from the main members of the SCO, there are also countries which are permitted Observer Status, meaning they won’t take part in the war games, but will be official observers of them and still develop closer ties with the SCO. As the Guardian reported in 2006, “At the one day annual summit of the six-nation Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) on June 15, more limelight fell on the leader of an observer country than on any of the main participants. That figure happened to be the controversial president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Despite the lowly observer status accorded to his country, Ahmadinejad went on to publicly invite the SCO members to a meeting in Tehran to discuss energy exploration and development in the region. And the Russian president, Vladimir Putin, proposed that the SCO should form an ‘energy club’. While making a plea that his country should be accorded full membership of the SCO, the Pakistani president, Parvez Musharraf, highlighted the geo-strategic position of his country as an energy and trade corridor for SCO members. ‘Pakistan provides a natural link between the SCO states to connect the Eurasian heartland with the Arabian Sea and South Asia,’ he said,” and the article continued, “Founded in 1996 primarily to settle frontier problems between China and its post-Soviet neighbors – Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Tajikistan – the SCO expanded three years later to include Uzbekistan, which does not share common borders with China or Russia, the two countries at the core of the SCO. Since then SCO has developed as an organization concerned with regional security, thus focusing on counter-terrorism, defense, and energy cooperation. Energy-hungry China has its eyes fixed on the large oil and gas reserves that Russia and Kazakhstan possess, and even the modest gas reserves of Uzbekistan.” The article further mentioned that, “Iran applied for full membership; as did India,” as well as the fact that, “Last year [2005] when the SCO accorded observer status to four countries, it rejected a similar request from the United States,” and it continued, “The rising importance and coherence of the SCO worries Washington – as well as its closest Asian ally, Japan. ‘The SCO is becoming a rival block to the US alliance,’ said a senior Japanese official recently. ‘It does not share our values. We are watching it very closely’.”20

Further, it was reported in April of 2006 by the Asia Times that, “The Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which maintained it had no plans for expansion, is now changing course. Mongolia, Iran, India and Pakistan, which previously had observer status, will become full members. SCO’s decision to welcome Iran into its fold constitutes a political statement. Conceivably, SCO would now proceed to adopt a common position on the Iran nuclear issue at its summit meeting June 15,” and that, “Visiting Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mohammadi told Itar-TASS in Moscow that the membership expansion ‘could make the world more fair’. And he spoke of building an Iran-Russia ‘gas-and-oil arc’ by coordinating their activities as energy producing countries. Mohammadi also touched on Iran’s intention to raise the issue of his country’s nuclear program and its expectations of securing SCO support.”21 Although, to this day, Iran’s membership has not been made official, making it a de-facto member of the SCO, much in the same sense that Israel is a de-facto member of NATO.22

In August of 2007, it was reported that, “Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the proposed US missile defense shield in central Europe would pose a threat to Asia. At a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan, Ahmadinejad said such a plan goes beyond threatening one country and it is a source of concern for most of the continent. Washington is planning to station a radar station in the Czech Republic and interceptor missiles in Poland. Ahmadinejad added the six SCO member states, including China, are among those countries who are threatened by the US plan. He also criticized the US military attack on Iraq, which has destabilized the entire region. Iran has observer status in the SCO, which groups China, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.”23

As for the relationship between China and Iran, it was reported in 2006 that, “Chinese President Hu Jintao called Friday for closer ties with Iran as he met his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for the first time, while the United States followed events in Shanghai warily,” and that, “China and Iran have long had close economic ties, especially in the oil and gas fields, and are in negotiations over an energy deal that was tentatively inked in 2004 and could be worth more than 100 billion dollars. As part of the initial memorandum of understanding, Sinopec, China’s largest refiner, would buy 250 million tons of liquefied natural gas over 25 years, which alone could be worth more than 100 billion dollars. However, despite a series of Chinese delegations going to Tehran, the deal has yet to be finalized. Ahmadinejad arrived in China on Wednesday to participate in the leaders’ summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a regional forum that is increasingly being seen as a counterweight to US influence in Central Asia.”24

As we can see, this is not simply a strategy of Anglo-American interests at play in the region, as it is always necessary to take a look at the broader geopolitical implications of this region, especially in relation to the European Union, dominated by the Franco-German Entente, and most notably Russia and China. A competition for control of the region is very much underway, as whomever, or whichever powers control Central Eurasia (the Middle East and Central Asia); those same powers will then have control over the world’s primary oil and gas reserves and transportation, and thusly, will exert hegemonic influence over the entire world. With Russia, increasingly gaining strength and influence like never before since the fall of the Soviet Union, China, a rising world power whose thirst and demand for oil is the fastest growing in the world and whose future as a great power depends upon getting its hands on such resources, and with the European Union, a close ally of the Anglo-American Alliance, yet still has its own interests at heart so it, too, is increasingly attempting a relationship with Russia, which has massive natural gas reserves itself. The EU hopes to balance its relationships, so as to always remain on the winning end, however, as time goes forward, it may have to choose sides. Relations between the West, especially the Anglo-Americans, and the former Soviet Union grow tense, the EU may be caught in the middle and China forced to make strategic alliances.

It is clear that future military operations in Central Asia and the Middle East will not be like the previous occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq, whereas Afghanistan remains under NATO control (the Anglo-American Alliance in collaboration with the Franco-German entente), and Iraq under Anglo-American occupation, but with little more than rhetorical opposition from observing countries around the world. The world accepted the occupation of Afghanistan under the guise of retribution for the 9/11 attacks, and the world stood by as Iraq was put under imperial control. But now the pieces have been set, the world sees the strategy, even though the general public may not, and other great powers have their fates vested in the region, such as Russia, China, the EU and most of the world at large, so to stand idly by now and do nothing as Anglo-American imperial expansion envelopes the entire region would be suicidal. It is in the interest of survival for Russia, China and the EU to maintain influence and control in the region. To do this, each will have to make strategic alliances, as is currently being done.

These activities have caused recent exclamations of a return to the Cold War era, however, I see it as something much more sinister and dangerous. Remember, the Cold War was referred to as “Cold” because it involved no actual fighting between the two main enemies, the United States and the USSR, or the NATO countries against the Warsaw Pact countries. In actuality, I would argue that what we are seeing take place is in fact a return not to the Cold War, but to the Great Game, which was the competition between the British Empire and the Russian Empire for supremacy in Central Asia from the early 1800s arguably up until the end of World War 2, when the Cold War began. One of the major theaters of war between Britain and Russia during the Great Game was Afghanistan, where the first Anglo-Afghan War began in 1838, the Second Anglo-Afghan War in 1878, a brief alliance occurred between Russia and Britain in the early 20th Century, then the Third Anglo-Afghan War occurred in 1919, otherwise known as the second phase of the Great Game. During the Cold War, or the third phase of the Great Game, Afghanistan was the major theater of operations between the United States (Anglo-Americans) and Russia (Soviet Union) from the late 1970s to the late 1980s, ultimately leading to a collapse of the Soviet Union and an end to the ‘Cold War’. Now, after another brief alliance between the Anglo-American Alliance and Russia, just as occurred in the early years of the previous century starting in 1907, leading up to World War 1, it seems that now, in 2007, the fourth phase of this 200-year long Great Game for dominance over Central Asia has begun. Now made all the more dangerous with other great power interests such as the European Union and rising China, not to mention the existence and discussion of the use of nuclear weapons.

Rising Tensions and Quiet Mentions of War

Lately, there has been a significant increase in tensions between the West, predominantly the Anglo-Americans and Iran, and its respective allies, namely, Syria. These escalations in tension and conflict suggest a rapid strategy of progression to an all out war on the Islamic Republic of Iran, and possibly a wider array of countries in the region, leading to a full region-wide war.

In late August of 2007, the Sunday Telegraph reported that, “The White House’s plans to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps as a terrorist organisation are intended to give the Bush administration cover if it launches military strikes on the Islamic republic, according to a prominent former CIA officer. Robert Baer, who was a high-ranking operative in the Middle East, said last week that senior government officials had told him the administration was preparing for air strikes on the guards’ bases and probably also on Iran’s nuclear facilities within the next six months,” and the article continues, “But among President George W Bush’s closest advisers, there is a fierce debate about whether to take unilateral military action independently of any UN security council moves. While Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is set on diplomacy, Vice-President Dick Cheney is understood to favour air strikes. The justification for any attack, according to Mr Baer, would be claims – denied by Iran – that the guards are responsible for the sophisticated armour-penetrating improvised explosive devices that are exacting a heavy toll on US forces in Iraq.”25

On September 2, 2007, the Sunday Times reported that, “The Pentagon has drawn up plans for massive airstrikes against 1,200 targets in Iran, designed to annihilate the Iranians’ military capability in three days, according to a national security expert. Alexis Debat, director of terrorism and national security at the Nixon Center, said last week that US military planners were not preparing for ‘pinprick strikes’ against Iran’s nuclear facilities. ‘They’re about taking out the entire Iranian military’,” and it continued, “President George Bush intensified the rhetoric against Iran last week, accusing Tehran of putting the Middle East ‘under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust’. He warned that the US and its allies would confront Iran ‘before it is too late’.”26

A September 3 article in the Sunday Telegraph stated, “In a nondescript room, two blocks from the American Capitol building, a group of Bush administration staffers is gathered to consider the gravest threat their government has faced this century: the testing of a nuclear weapon by Iran. The United States, no longer prepared to tolerate the risk that Iranian nuclear weapons will be used against Israel, or passed to terrorists, has already launched a bombing campaign to destroy known Iranian nuclear sites, air bases and air defence sites. Iran has retaliated by cutting off oil to America and its allies, blockading the Straits of Hormuz, the Persian Gulf bottleneck, and sanctioned an uprising by Shia militias in southern Iraq that has shut down 60 per cent of Iraq’s oil exports. The job of the officials from the Pentagon, the State Department, and the Departments of Homeland Security and Energy, who have gathered in an office just off Massachusetts Avenue, behind the rail terminus, Union Station, is to prevent a spike in oil prices that will pitch the world’s economy into a catastrophic spin.” The article then said, “The good news is that this was a war game; for those who fear war with Iran, the less happy news is that the officials were real. The simulation, which took four months, was run by the Heritage Foundation, a conservative think tank with close links to the White House. Its conclusions, drawn up last month and seen by The Sunday Telegraph, have been passed on to military and civilian planners charged with drawing up plans for confronting Iran. News that elements of the American government are working in earnest on how to deal with the fallout of an attack on Iran come at a tense moment.”27

A report in the Sunday Telegraph stated that, “Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt. Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail. Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran,” and that, “Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action. In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq – arming and training militants – would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories. A prime target would be the Fajr base run by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds Force in southern Iran, where Western intelligence agencies say armour-piercing projectiles used against British and US troops are manufactured.” The article continued, “US action would provoke a major Iranian response, perhaps in the form of moves to cut off Gulf oil supplies, providing a trigger for air strikes against Iran’s nuclear facilities and even its armed forces. Senior officials believe Mr Bush’s inner circle has decided he does not want to leave office without first ensuring that Iran is not capable of developing a nuclear weapon.”28

The New Yorker Magazine reported in late August of 2007 that, “If there were a threat level on the possibility of war with Iran, it might have just gone up to orange. Barnett Rubin, the highly respected Afghanistan expert at New York University, has written an account of a conversation with a friend who has connections to someone at a neoconservative institution in Washington,” which revealed that, “They [the source’s institution] have ‘instructions’ (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President [Dick Cheney] to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don’t think they’ll ever get majority support for this—they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is ‘plenty’,” and it continued stating, “It follows the pattern of the P.R. campaign that started around this time in 2002 and led to the Iraq war. The President’s rhetoric on Iran has been nothing short of bellicose lately, warning of ‘the shadow of a nuclear holocaust’.”29

On September 10, Reuters reported that, “The Pentagon is preparing to build a military base near the Iraq-Iran border to try to curtail the flow of advanced Iranian weaponry to Shiite militants across Iraq, the Wall Street Journal reported on Monday in its online edition. Quoting Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, the commander of the Army’s 3rd Infantry Division, the Journal said the Pentagon also plans to build fortified checkpoints on major highways leading from the Iranian border to Baghdad, and install X-ray machines and explosives-detecting sensors at the only formal border crossing between the two countries.”30 On the same day, the Sunday Telegraph reported that, “Iran has established a sophisticated spying operation at the head of the Arabian Gulf in a move which has significantly heightened tensions in its standoff with the United States. The operation, masterminded by the country’s elite Revolutionary Guard, includes the construction of a high-tech spying post close to the point where Iranian forces kidnapped 15 British naval personnel in March. The move has forced British and American commanders to divert resources away from protecting oil platforms in the Gulf from terrorist attack and into countering the new Iranian threat,” and it continued, “The US military says that the spying post, built on the foundations of a crane platform sunk during the Iran-Iraq war, is equipped with radar, cameras and forward facing infra-red devices to track the movement of coalition naval forces and commercial shipping in the northern Arabian Gulf. Commanders fear that one of the main purposes of the Iranian operation is to enable the Revolutionary Guard to intercept more coalition vessels moving through the disputed waters near the mouth of the Shatt al Arab waterway south of the Iraqi city of Basra.”31

Incidentally, two days later, Raw Story ran an article stating, “As tensions between the United States and Iran increases, military action along the Iran-Iraq border intensifies. The latest moves come from America’s primary ally in its invasion of Iraq: Britain. Ostensibly to guard against importation of Iranian weapons and fighters targeting Western troops in Iraq, the UK is sending up to 350 troops to the Iranian border instead of bringing them home, The Independent of London reports Wednesday.” This follows much discussion recently that the UK, under the new unelected Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, was preparing to withdraw from Iraq, leaving the US alone. In fact, the announcement had been made that British troops were to be returning home from Basra, the British-controlled Iraqi city, and as Raw Story pointed out, “The troop move was requested by US commanders, the paper says, and it will delay — perhaps indefinitely — the homecoming of 250 British troops who were told just days ago that they would be returning to the UK as part of a drawdown of forces in Iraq,” and that “Prime Minister Gordon Brown initiated the drawdown, and about 500 British troops completed their withdrawal from Basra Palace, their last remaining base in the city, to an airport on the city’s outskirts. The move was expected to be the final stage in Britain’s complete extraction from Iraq. Wednesday’s report follows on the heels of news that US troops would be establishing a base on the border to guard against Iranian-imported weapons.

Tensions between the US and Iran have gone from bad to dismal in recent years, with some fearing all-out war will erupt between the two countries, and the top US commander in Iraq has refused to rule out that possibility. US Army Gen. David Petraeus demurred Tuesday when he was asked by Sen. Joseph Lieberman whether the war should be expanded ‘in Iranian territory.’ And Petraeus ‘strongly implied’ that action against Iran would be necessary soon, The Independent reported.” On top of this, it was further pointed out that, “Along with British and US troops, Georgia recently sent about 1,200 extra troops to Iraq to patrol the border with Iran.”32

Further, Press TV reported that, “Britain is planning to increase its naval presence in the Persian Gulf by next year, a top British naval commander in the area has revealed. Deputy Combined Force Commander Royal Navy Commodore Keith Winstanley said Monday that Britain has a range of capabilities deployed at various times in the region ranging between submarines, frigates, and destroyers, and that it plans to increase its naval presence by 2008,” and that, “Winstanley, speaking onboard the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard, added that strategic and economic interests had brought about a policy of engagement by Britain in the region,” and the article said at the end, “The last time there were active mine counter-measures in the region was in March of 2003,”33 which, coincidentally, was the same month that the war in Iraq began.

Not only are the Anglo-Americans fully on board and preparing for a possible attack on Iran, but even the Franco-German Entente seems to be steadily leaning that direction. French President Nicholas Sarkozy made headlines recently when he “called Iran’s nuclear ambition the world’s most dangerous problem,” and further, “raised the possibility that the country could be bombed if it persisted in building an atomic weapon,” as reported by the Sunday Times. The article continued, “The biggest challenge to the world was the avoidance of conflict between Islam and the West, President Sarkozy told the annual gathering of French ambassadors. Iran was the crossroads of the Middle East’s troubles and its nuclear aims ‘are without doubt the most serious crisis that weighs today on the international scene,” and that, “A nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable and the world must continue to tighten sanctions while offering incentives to Tehran to halt weapons development, he said. ‘This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran,’ he said. He did not say who would carry out such an attack, which has been suggested by policy experts in Israel and the US.”34 Further, it was reported that, “French Defence Minister Herve Morin warned on Sunday that Iran’s nuclear programme posed a ‘major risk’ to the stability of the Gulf region. ‘It is necessary to make Iran understand that the nuclear risk creates a major risk of destabilising the region,’ Morin told journalists as he wrapped up a visit to the Gulf state of Qatar.”35

On September 14, it was reported that, “Germany denied on Friday that it wanted to hold off on sanctions against Iran over its nuclear programme. The government dismissed a report on the US TV channel Fox that it had broken ranks with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and wanted to delay any sanctions to allow a deal struck between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency on August 21 to take effect,” and it continued, quoting the German foreign ministry spokesman, “Germany is prepared to take the necessary steps against Iran, if necessary,” and that, “The five permanent Security Council members — Britain, China, France, Russia and the United States — plus Germany are due to meet to discuss a new draft UN resolution on sanctions against Iran on September 21 in Washington. Iran maintains that its nuclear programme is aimed at generating electricity but the United States accuses Tehran of covertly developing atomic weapons.”36

Another conflict, which is directly related to the growing Iranian conflict, has been accumulating significance in the region, as it was reported that, “Syria accused Israel of bombing its territory on Thursday [September 6] and said it could respond to the Jewish state’s ‘aggression and treachery’,” and further, “Israel declined to comment on the charge by Syria, which said no casualties or damage were caused. The Syrian accusation was partly responsible for triggering a rise in world oil prices of more than $1.40 a barrel.”37 Another report stated that, “Syria is mulling a ‘series of responses’ after Israeli warplanes violated its airspace this week, Vice President Faruq al-Shara said in an interview with an Italian newspaper published Saturday. ‘I can say now that in Damascus a series of responses is being examined at the highest political and military levels. The results will not take long in coming’.”38

Press TV reported that, “Syria says Israel is planning to wage another war in the region after the Israeli army staged military exercises on the Golan Heights. The state-run Syrian daily al-Thawra said on Sunday that a recent war game by the Israeli military on the occupied Golan Heights has sent a clear message reflecting Israel’s intention for waging a new war in the region.”39 Another report states that, “Tehran has announced its readiness to assist Damascus by all means to counter the violation of Syrian airspace by Israeli warplanes. Iran’s ambassador to Syria, Mohammad-Hassan Akhtari said the Zionist Regime’s provocative moves had prompted Tehran to offer help to the Syrian government. Earlier Thursday, Syria’s official News Agency reported that several Israeli fighter jets had bombed Syrian territories. However, the Syrian army successfully forced the Israeli warplanes out of the Syrian airspace.”40

A September 12 report stated that, “Israel recently carried out reconnaissance flights over Syria, taking pictures of possible nuclear installations that Israeli officials believed might have been supplied with material from North Korea, The New York Times reported Thursday. A US administration official said Israeli officials believed that North Korea might be unloading some of its nuclear material on Syria, the Times reported,” and it quoted an unnamed official, stating, “The Israelis think North Korea is selling to Iran and Syria what little they have left,” and the article further said, “A US defense official confirmed Tuesday that Israel carried out an air strike well inside Syria last week, apparently to send Damascus a message not to rearm Hezbollah in Lebanon. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, did not know the target of the strike, which was conducted Thursday, but said the US military believed it was to send a message to the Syrians.”41

The Sunday Times later reported that, “It was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F15Is crossed the Syrian coast-line. On the ground, Syria’s formidable air defences went dead. An audacious raid on a Syrian target 50 miles from the Iraqi border was under way,” and that, “Ten days after the jets reached home, their mission was the focus of intense speculation this weekend amid claims that Israel believed it had destroyed a cache of nuclear materials from North Korea,” and it continued, “The Syrians were also keeping mum. ‘I cannot reveal the details,’ said Farouk al-Sharaa, the vice-president. ‘All I can say is the military and political echelon is looking into a series of responses as we speak. Results are forthcoming.’ The official story that the target comprised weapons destined for Hezbollah, the Iranian-backed Lebanese Shi’ite group, appeared to be crumbling in the face of widespread scepticism.

Andrew Semmel, a senior US State Department official, said Syria might have obtained nuclear equipment from ‘secret suppliers’, and added that there were a ‘number of foreign technicians’ in the country. Asked if they could be North Korean, he replied: ‘There are North Korean people there. There’s no question about that’,” and further, “According to Israeli sources, preparations for the attack had been going on since late spring, when Meir Dagan, the head of Mossad, presented Olmert with evidence that Syria was seeking to buy a nuclear device from North Korea.”42
It was then reported that, “An official Syrian daily warned on Sunday that US ‘lies’ over nuclear cooperation with North Korea could serve as a pretext for an attack on Syria following an Israeli violation of its airspace,” and that, “Syria has said its air defences fired on Israeli warplanes which dropped munitions deep inside its territory in the early hours of September 6, triggering intense media speculation about the action. Israel has not confirmed the incident and kept up a policy of official silence, with the only details on the mysterious attack coming from foreign media reports citing anonymous officials.”43

Call It What You Want, It’s All Just a Game

As the prospect of a US-led war on Iran increases by the day, it is vital to understand the history of such actions. This was my intent in writing this essay, as to understand current crises and conflicts evolving in the region, it is important to examine the historical context of such crises over the past 200 years. Dating from the Great Game between the British and Russian empires for control of Central Eurasia, namely fighting for control in Afghanistan and Iran, the reasons behind the Great Game were simply stated as for maintaining hegemonic control. With brief alliances generating between Britain and Russia, formed for strategic conveniences, namely to counter rising German influence in the region in the lead up to World War 1 and during World War 2, the Great Game continued after the Second World War under a different name, the Cold War. For a new century, it was necessary to give a hundred year old strategy a new name, as especially after World War 2, the concepts of hegemony and expansion of control, imperialism in general, were not well received, considering the world just came out of Hitler’s attempt at such a strategy. In 1947, India gained independence from the British Empire, instigating the collapse of its imperial hegemony across the globe.

It was at this time, however, that the United States was now in the most pivotal position to exert its hegemony across the globe. With its extensive ties to Great Britain, the British latched onto the Americans in the Anglo-American Alliance, allowing not only for the US to protect US hegemony and interests abroad, but also British. To do this, however, there needed to be an excuse, as the world would not accept another global hegemon for the sake of hegemony. Thus, the Cold War came into being. Under the guise of deterring the spread of Communism under the auspices of the ‘Domino Theory’, the US managed to expand and protect Anglo-American hegemony around the globe. The Cold War was simply the third phase of the Great Game, as it applied the same strategies used for the previous hundred years, just under a new name and justified under a new threat.

After the fall of the Soviet Union, bringing an end to the Cold War, a New World Order began to form, the birth pangs of which were felt in the Middle East. This New World Order of creating a new global structure, of a more integrated global society, still has many conflicts arising out of it. After World War 1, the League of Nations was created in the hopes of securing a more integrated global community, which ultimately failed with the start of World War 2, after which the United Nations was created to serve the same purpose. Out of each world war, we see the move to create a more global society. Now, after the Cold War ended, we have a new conflict arising between the West and the East. This new conflict is about gaining supremacy in the New World Order, as many great powers seek to sway the balance away from a US-dominated New World Order, and towards a Russian or Chinese New World Order.

In the year 2000, then Chinese President, “Jiang Zemin called for joint efforts of the people of all countries to establish a fair and equitable new international political and economic order,” and he further stated, “With the collapse of the centuries-long colonialist system and the end of half-a-century Cold War, it has become increasingly difficult for hegemonism and power politics to go on and for the very few big powers or blocs of big powers to monopolize international affairs and control the fate of other countries.”44 In 2005, both China and Russia “issued a joint statement on a new world order in the 21st century, setting forth their common stand on major international issues, such as UN reforms, globalization, North-South cooperation, and world economy and trade. The statement was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin and visiting Chinese President Hu Jintao after their talks. During their talks, the two leaders discussed ways to further enhance the strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Russia, and exchanged views on major regional and international issues,” and that “The joint statement said the two countries are determined to strengthen their strategic coordination in international affairs.”45 More recently, in 2007, Russian President Vladimir Putin called “for a radical overhaul of the world’s financial and trade institutions to reflect the growing economic power of emerging market countries – including Russia. Mr Putin said the world needed to create a new international financial architecture to replace an existing model,” and as the Financial Times further reported, Putin’s “apparent challenge to western dominance of the world economic order came at a forum in St Petersburg designed to showcase the country’s economic recovery. Among 6,000 delegates at the biggest business forum ever held in post-Soviet Russia were scores of international chief executives including heads of Deutsche Bank, BP, Royal Dutch Shell, Nestlé, Chevron, Siemens and Coca-Cola. Business deals worth more than $4bn were signed at the conference – including an order by Aeroflot for Boeing jets – as executives said they were continuing to invest in Russia despite deteriorating relations with the west. Mr Putin’s hosting of the forum capped a week in which he dominated the international stage. He warned last Monday that Russia might target nuclear missiles at Europe if the US built a missile shield in Poland and the Czech Republic,” and Putin’s “speech on financial institutions suggested that, along with an aggressive recent campaign against US ‘unilateralism’ in foreign policy, he was also seeking to challenge western dominance of the world economic order.”46

So clearly, from this last statement especially, we can see that both China and Russia are not opposed to forming a New World Order, which would be largely based on international institutions and integration, both economically and politically, but they are opposed to the West’s dominance of such a world order, and instead, seek to challenge that dominance with their own. Ultimately, the goals are similar, but the methods of getting there is where the West and the East differ. As the above Financial Times article mentioned, large global corporations are still investing in Russia, despite recent setbacks in certain areas, which shows the support for the process of globalization, which has thusly shaped the current world order. International corporations have no allegiance to people or national identities, but rather seek to exert their control across the entire globe, and will support any nations with great influence, so that with the battle for control in shaping the New World Order, the corporations will always be on the winning side. As the multinational corporations seek a more integrated global society, they must first gain control of the world markets, integrating the economies first. With economic integration, political and cultural will follow. The challenge for the great powers of the world is which ones will be dominant in this process, and thusly, which ones will have dominant control over the New World Order.

Out of conflict, comes societal reorganization. We seem to rapidly be heading toward another World War, which would have its starting point with an attack on Iran. Talk of a ‘new Cold War’ is misleading, as if any conflict occurs with Iran, if the US attacks the Islamic Republic, there will be nothing Cold about it. This new conflict, the fourth phase of the Great Game, will give rise to competition between the great powers for control over the Middle East and Central Eurasia in order to achieve hegemony in the New World Order. It is likely that a New Great Game will lead to a New World War, out of which will rise the New World Order. Whichever great powers come out of the next war as the victors, if indeed there are any, it is likely that it will be that power which will lead the New World Order.

As I have mentioned Zbigniew Brzezinski much in this essay, as his relevance to American hegemonic strategy is almost unparalleled, apart from other figures like Henry Kissinger, I feel it is relevant to end with a discussion on testimony that Brzezinski recently gave to the US Senate. In February of 2007, Brzezinski, “the national security adviser in the Carter administration, delivered a scathing critique of the war in Iraq and warned that the Bush administration’s policy was leading inevitably to a war with Iran, with incalculable consequences for US imperialism in the Middle East and internationally,” and Brzezinski was quoted as saying about the Iraq war, “Undertaken under false assumptions, it is undermining America’s global legitimacy. Its collateral civilian casualties as well as some abuses are tarnishing America’s moral credentials. Driven by Manichean principles and imperial hubris, it is intensifying regional instability,” and he continued, describing what he termed a “plausible scenario for a military collision with Iran”, of which he said would involve, “Iraqi failure to meet the benchmarks, followed by accusations of Iranian responsibility for the failure, then by some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the US blamed on Iran, culminating in a ‘defensive’ US military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.” [Emphasis added].47

Brzezinski’s startling warning should not be taken for granted. Even though many factions of the ruling class are divided, for example someone like Brzezinski, who is very much opposed to the neo-conservatives, they are all still playing the same game. The game is hegemony and empire, the only difference is that some people and some countries have different methods of playing. In previous centuries, the battle for control of Central Eurasia was called what it was, the Great Game, a game for control, a game for power. The difference between two hundred years ago and today, is that we are in a much more globalized, integrated society, which has turned this Great game into, as Brzezinski aptly named his blueprint for American hegemony, the Grand Chessboard. It’s no longer simply just a great game, but is now simply a board game for the global ruling class. Sacrificing pawns, a simple act for them, can be seen in the eyes of the moral society as the destruction of entire nations and peoples.

There’s only so many players in this game, and they all have the same aim, just different methods of getting there. The unfortunate aspect of this, is that the people of the world are being tossed around like pawns in a chess game. The world is meant for all people, not just a select few, to inhabit and have a say in. So, if these people want to play games, let’s put them back in the playground, because their mentality has yet to surpass that of children during recess.

Mahatma Gandhi, the man who led India to independence from the British Empire, once said, “Remember that all through history the way of truth and love has always won. There have been tyrants and murderers and for a time they seem invincible but in the end, they always fall — think of it, ALWAYS.”

Notes

Andrew G. Marshall is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Andrew G. Marshall

see
Imperial Playground: Marching East of Iraq by Andrew G. Marshall

Imperial Playground: The Story of Iran in Recent History by Andrew G. Marshall

The New World Order, Forged in the Gulf by Andrew G. Marshall

Attacking Iran for Israel? By Ray McGovern

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Civilization Ends with a Shutdown of Human Concern. Are We There Already? By George Monbiot

Dandelion Salad

By George Monbiot
ICH
10/30/07 “The Guardian

A powerful novel’s vision of a dystopian future shines a cold light on the dreadful consequences of our universal apathy

A few weeks ago I read what I believe is the most important environmental book ever written. It is not Silent Spring, Small Is Beautiful or even Walden. It contains no graphs, no tables, no facts, figures, warnings, predictions or even arguments. Nor does it carry a single dreary sentence, which, sadly, distinguishes it from most environmental literature. It is a novel, first published a year ago, and it will change the way you see the world.

Cormac McCarthy’s book The Road considers what would happen if the world lost its biosphere, and the only living creatures were humans, hunting for food among the dead wood and soot. Some years before the action begins, the protagonist hears the last birds passing over, “their half-muted crankings miles above where they circled the earth as senselessly as insects trooping the rim of a bowl”. McCarthy makes no claim that this is likely to occur, but merely speculates about the consequences.

All pre-existing social codes soon collapse and are replaced with organized butchery, then chaotic, blundering horror. What else are the survivors to do? The only remaining resource is human. It is hard to see how this could happen during humanity’s time on earth, even by means of the nuclear winter McCarthy proposes. But his thought experiment exposes the one terrible fact to which our technological hubris blinds us: our dependence on biological production remains absolute. Civilization is just a russeting on the skin of the biosphere, never immune from being rubbed against the sleeve of environmental change. Six weeks after finishing The Road, I remain haunted by it.

So when I read the UN’s new report on the state of the planet over the weekend, my mind kept snagging on a handful of figures. There were some bright spots – lead has been removed from petrol almost everywhere and sulphur emissions have been reduced in most rich nations – and plenty of gloom. But the issue that stopped me was production.

Crop production has improved over the past 20 years (from 1.8 tons per hectare in the 1980s to 2.5 tons today), but it has not kept up with population. “World cereal production per person peaked in the 1980s, and has since slowly decreased”. There will be roughly 9 billion people by 2050: feeding them and meeting the millennium development goal on hunger [halving the proportion of hungry people] would require a doubling of world food production. Unless we cut waste, overeating, biofuels and the consumption of meat, total demand for cereal crops could rise to three times the current level.

There are two limiting factors. One, mentioned only in passing in the report, is phosphate: it is not clear where future reserves might lie. The more immediate problem is water. “Meeting the millennium development goal on hunger will require doubling of water use by crops by 2050.” Where will it come from? “Water scarcity is already acute in many regions, and farming already takes the lion’s share of water withdrawn from streams and groundwater.” Ten per cent of the world’s major rivers no longer reach the sea all year round.

Buried on page 148, I found this statement. “If present trends continue, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity by 2025, and two-thirds of the world population could be subject to water stress.” Wastage and deforestation are partly to blame, but the biggest cause of the coming droughts is climate change. Rainfall will decline most in the places in greatest need of water. So how, unless we engineer a sudden decline in carbon emissions, are we going to feed the world? How, in many countries, will we prevent the social collapse that failure will cause?

The stone drops into the pond and a second later it is smooth again. You will turn the page and carry on with your life. Last week we learned that climate change could eliminate half the world’s species; that 25 primate species are already slipping into extinction; that biological repositories of carbon are beginning to release it, decades ahead of schedule. But everyone is watching and waiting for everyone else to move. The unspoken universal thought is this: “If it were really so serious, surely someone would do something?”

On Saturday, for some light relief from the UN report (who says that environmentalists don’t know how to make whoopee?), I went to a meeting of roads protesters in Birmingham. They had come from all over the country, and between them they were contesting 18 new schemes: a fraction of the road projects the British government is now planning. The improvements to the climate change bill that Hilary Benn, the environment secretary, announced yesterday were welcome. But in every major energy sector – aviation, transport, power generation, house building, coal mining, oil exploration – the government is promoting policies that will increase emissions. How will it make the 60% cut that the bill enforces?

No one knows, but the probable answer is contained in the bill’s great get-out clause: carbon trading. If the government can’t achieve a 60% cut in the UK, it will pay other countries to do it on our behalf. But trading works only if the total global reduction we are trying to achieve is a small one. To prevent runaway climate change, we must cut the greater part — possibly almost all — of the world’s current emissions. Most of the nations with which the UK will trade will have to make major cuts of their own, on top of those they sell to us. Before long we will have to buy our credits from Mars and Jupiter. The only certain means of preventing runaway climate change is to cut emissions here and now.

Who will persuade us to act? However strong the opposition parties’ policies appear to be, they cannot be sustained unless the voters move behind them. We won’t be prompted by the media. The BBC drops Planet Relief for fear of breaching its impartiality guidelines: heaven forbid that it should come out against mass death. But it broadcasts a program – Top Gear – that puts a match to its guidelines every week, and now looks about as pertinent as the Black and White Minstrel Show.

The schedules are crammed with shows urging us to travel further, drive faster, build bigger, buy more, yet none of them are deemed to offend the rules, which really means that they don’t offend the interests of business or the pampered sensibilities of the Aga class. The media, driven by fear and advertising, are hopelessly biased towards the consumer economy and against the biosphere.

It seems to me that we are already pushing other people ahead of us down The Road. As the biosphere shrinks, McCarthy describes the collapse of the protagonist’s core beliefs. I sense that this might be happening already: that a hardening of interests, a shutting down of concern, is taking place among the people of the rich world. If this is true, we do not need to wait for the forests to burn or food supplies to shrivel before we decide that civilization is in trouble.

George Monbiot is the author of the best selling books The Age of Consent: a manifesto for a new world order and Captive State: the corporate takeover of Britain. He writes a weekly column for the Guardian newspaper. www.Monbiot.com 

© 2007 The Guardian

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Attacking Iran for Israel? By Ray McGovern

Dandelion Salad

By Ray McGovern
Consortium News
October 30, 2007

Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice is at her mushroom-cloud hyperbolic best, and this time Iran is the target.

Her claim last week that “the policies of Iran constitute perhaps the single greatest challenge to American security interests in the Middle East and around the world” is simply too much of a stretch.

To gauge someone’s reliability, one depends largely on prior experience. Sadly, Rice’s credibility suffers in comparison with that of the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Mohammed ElBaradei, who insists there is no evidence of an active nuclear weapons program in Iran.

If this sounds familiar, ElBaradei said the same thing about Iraq before it was attacked. But three days before the invasion, American nuclear expert Dick Cheney told NBC’s Tim Russert, “I think Mr. ElBaradei is, frankly, wrong.”

Here we go again. As in the case of Iraq, U.S. intelligence has been assiduously looking for evidence of a nuclear weapons program in Iran; but, alas, in vain.

Burned by the bogus “proof” adduced for Iraq—the uranium from Africa, the aluminum tubes—the administration has shied away from fabricating nuclear-related “evidence.”

Are Bush and Cheney again relying on the Rumsfeld dictum, that “the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence?” There is a simpler answer.

Cat Out of the Bag

The Israeli ambassador to the U.S., Sallai Meridor, let the cat out of the bag while speaking at the American Jewish Committee luncheon on Oct. 22. In remarks paralleling those of Rice, Meridor said Iran is the chief threat to Israel.

Heavy on the chutzpah, he served gratuitous notice on Washington that effectively countering Iran’s nuclear ambitions will take a “united United States in this matter,” lest the Iranians conclude, “come January ’09, they have it their own way.”

Meridor stressed that “very little time” remained to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons. How so?

Even were there to be a nuclear program hidden from the IAEA, no serious observer expects Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon much sooner than five years from now.

Truth be told, every other year since 1995 U.S. intelligence has been predicting that Iran could have a nuclear weapon in about five years.

It has become downright embarrassing — like a broken record, punctuated only by so-called “neo-conservatives” like James Woolsey, who last summer publicly warned that the U.S. may have no choice but to bomb Iran in order to halt its nuclear weapons program.

Woolsey, self-described “anchor of the Presbyterian wing of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs,” put it this way: “I’m afraid that within, well, at worst, a few months; at best, a few years; they [the Iranians] could have the bomb.”

The day before Meridor’s unintentionally revealing remark, Vice President Dick Cheney reiterated, “We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”

That remark followed closely on President George W. Bush’s apocalyptic warning of World War III, should Tehran acquire the knowledge to produce a nuclear weapon.

The Israelis appear convinced they have extracted a promise from Bush and Cheney that they will help Israel nip Iran’s nuclear program in the bud before they leave office.

Never mind that there is no evidence that the Iranian nuclear program is any more weapons-related than the one Cheney and Donald Rumsfeld persuaded President Gerald Ford to approve in 1976 for Westinghouse and General Electric to install for the Shah (price tag $6.4 billion).

With 200-300 nuclear weapons in its arsenal, the Israelis enjoy a nuclear monopoly in the Middle East. They mean to keep that monopoly and are pressing for the U.S. to obliterate Iran’s fledgling nuclear program.

Anyone aware of Iran’s ability to retaliate realizes this would bring disaster to the whole region and beyond. But this has not stopped Cheney and Bush before.

The rationale is similar to that revealed by Philip Zelikow, confidant of Condoleezza Rice, former member of the President’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, and later executive director of the 9/11 Commission. On Oct. 10, 2002, Zelikow told a crowd at the University of Virginia:

“Why would Iraq attack America or use nuclear weapons against us? I’ll tell you what I think the real threat is—it’s the threat to Israel. And this is the threat that dare not speak its name…the American government doesn’t want to lean too hard on it rhetorically, because it is not a popular sell.”

Harbinger?

The political offensive against Iran coalesced as George W. Bush began his second term, with Cheney out in front pressing for an attack on its nuclear-related facilities.

During a Jan. 20, 2005, interview with MSNBC, just hours before Bush’s second inauguration, Cheney put Iran “right at the top of the list of trouble spots,” and noted that negotiations and UN sanctions might fail to stop Iran’s nuclear program.

Cheney then added with remarkable nonchalance:

“Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards.”

Does this not sound like the so-called “Cheney plan” being widely discussed in the media today? An Israeli air attack; Iranian retaliation; Washington springing to the defense of its “ally” Israel?

A big fan of preemption, Cheney has done little to disguise his attraction to Israel’s penchant to preempt, such as Israel’s air strike against the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981.

Ten years after the Osirak attack, then-Defense Secretary Cheney reportedly gave Israeli Maj. Gen. David Ivri, commander of the Israeli Air Force, a satellite photo of the Iraqi nuclear reactor destroyed by U.S.-built Israeli aircraft. On the photo Cheney penned, “Thanks for the outstanding job on the Iraqi nuclear program in 1981.”

Nothing is known of Ivri’s response, but it is a safe bet it was along the lines of “we could not have done it without U.S. help.”

Indeed, though the U.S. officially condemned the attack (the Reagan administration was supporting Saddam Hussein’s Iraq at that point), the intelligence shared by the Pentagon with the Israelis made a major contribution to the success of the Israeli raid.

With Vice President Cheney calling the shots now, similar help may be forthcoming prior to any Israeli air attack on Iran.

It is no secret that former Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon began to press for an early preemptive strike on Iran in 2003, claiming that Iran was likely to obtain a nuclear weapon much earlier than what U.S. intelligence estimated.

Sharon made a habit of bringing his own military adviser to brief Bush with aerial photos of Iranian nuclear-related installations.

More troubling still, in the fall of 2004, retired Gen. Brent Scowcroft, who served as national security adviser to President George H.W. Bush and as Chair of the younger Bush’s Foreign Intelligence Advisory Board, made some startling comments to the Financial Times.

A master of discretion with the media, Scowcroft nonetheless saw fit to make public his conclusion that Sharon had Bush “mesmerized;” that he had our president “wrapped around his little finger.”

Needless to say, Scowcroft was immediately removed from the advisory board.

An Unstable Infatuation

George W. Bush first met Sharon in 1998, when the Texas governor was taken on a tour of the Middle East by Matthew Brooks, then executive director of the Republican Jewish Coalition. Sharon was foreign minister and took Bush on a helicopter tour over the Israeli occupied territories.

An Aug. 3, 2006, McClatchy wire story by Ron Hutcheson quotes Matthew Brooks:

“If there’s a starting point for George W. Bush’s attachment to Israel, it’s the day in late 1998, when he stood on a hilltop where Jesus delivered the Sermon on the Mount, and, with eyes brimming with tears, read aloud from his favorite hymn, ‘Amazing Grace.’ He was very emotional. It was a tear-filled experience. He brought Israel back home with him in his heart. I think he came away profoundly moved.”

Bush made gratuitous but revealing reference to that trip at the first meeting of his National Security Council on Jan. 30, 2001.

After announcing he would abandon the decades-long role of “honest broker” between Israelis and Palestinians and would tilt pronouncedly toward Israel, Bush said he would let Sharon resolve the dispute however he saw fit.

At that point he brought up his trip to Israel with the Republican Jewish Coalition and the flight over Palestinian camps, but there was no sense of concern for the lot of the Palestinians.

In Ron Suskind’s Price of Loyalty, then-Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill, who was at the NSC meeting, quotes Bush: “Looked real bad down there,” the president said with a frown. Then Bush said it was time to end America’s efforts in the region. “I don’t see much we can do over there at this point,” he said.

O’Neill also reported that Colin Powell, the newly minted but nominal secretary of state, was taken completely by surprise at this nonchalant jettisoning of longstanding policy.

Powell demurred, warning that this would unleash Sharon and “the consequences could be dire, especially for the Palestinians.” But according to O’Neill, Bush just shrugged, saying, “Sometimes a show of strength by one side can really clarify things.” O’Neill says that Powell seemed “startled.”

It is a safe bet that the vice president was in no way startled.

What Now?

The only thing that seems to be standing in the way of a preemptive attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities is foot-dragging by the U.S. military.

It seems likely that the senior military have told the president and Cheney: This time let us brief you on what to expect on Day 2, on Week 4, on Month 6—and on the many serious things Iran can do to Israel, and to us in Iraq and elsewhere.

CENTCOM commander Admiral William Fallon is reliably reported to have said, “We are not going to do Iran on my watch.” And in an online Q-and-A, award-winning Washington Post reporter Dana Priest recently spoke of a possible “revolt” if pilots were ordered to fly missions against Iran. She added:

“This is a little bit of hyperbole, but not much. Just look at what Gen. [George] Casey, the Army chief, has said…that the tempo of operations in Iraq would make it very hard for the military to respond to a major crisis elsewhere. Beside, it’s not the ‘war’ or ‘bombing’ part that’s difficult; it’s the morning after and all the days after that. Haven’t we learned that (again) from Iraq?”

How about Congress? Could it act as a brake on Bush and Cheney? Forget it.

If the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) with its overflowing coffers supports an attack on Iran, so will most of our spineless lawmakers. Already, AIPAC has succeeded in preventing legislation that would have required the president to obtain advance authorization for an attack on Iran.

And for every Admiral Fallon, there is someone like the inimitable, retired Air Force Lt. Gen. Thomas McInerney, a close associate of James Woolsey and other “neo-cons.”

The air campaign “will be easy,” says McInerney, a Fox News pundit who was a rabid advocate of shock and awe over Iraq. “Ahmadinejad has nothing in Iran that we can’t penetrate,” he adds, and several hundred bombers, including stealth bombers, will be enough to do the trick:

“Forty-eight hours duration, hitting 2,500 aim points to take out their nuclear facilities, their air defense facilities, their air force, their navy, their Shahab-3 retaliatory missiles, and finally their command and control. And then let the Iranian people take their country back.”

And the rationale? Since it will be a hard sell to promote the idea, against all evidence, of an imminent threat that Iran is about to have a nuclear weapon, the White House PR machine is likely to focus on other evidence showing that Iran is supporting those “killing our troops in Iraq.”

The scary thing is that Cheney is more likely to use the McInerneys and Woolseys than the Fallons and Caseys in showing the president how easily it can be done.

Madness

It is not as though we have not had statesmen wise enough to warn us against foreign entanglements, and about those who have difficulty distinguishing between the strategic interests of the United States and those of other nations, even allies:

“A passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation facilitates the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, infuses into one the enmities of the other, and betrays the former into participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification.”
(George Washington, Farewell Address, 1796)

Ray McGovern works with Tell the Word, the publishing arm of the ecumenical Church of the Saviour in Washington, D.C. He was a CIA analyst for 27 years and is now on the Steering Group of Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity (VIPS).

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

see

Turning truth on its head By Abbas Edalat and Mehrnaz Shahabi

Kucinich: Administration Needs To Heed Advice Of IAEA Director + Questions Bush’s Mental Health

What will World War IV cost? By Paul B. Farrell

Secret move to upgrade air base for Iran attack plans by Ian Bruce

US imposes unilateral sanctions on Iran: One step closer to war by Bill Van Auken

Waterboarding is Torture… Period + US accused of torture by Ian Munro

Dandelion Salad

SWJ Blog
http://www.smallwarsjournal.com
Oct. 29, 2007

I’d like to digress from my usual analysis of insurgent strategy and tactics to speak out on an issue of grave importance to Small Wars Journal readers. We, as a nation, are having a crisis of honor.

Last week the Attorney General nominee Judge Michael Mukasey refused to define waterboarding terror suspects as torture. On the same day MSNBC television pundit and former Republican Congressman Joe Scarborough quickly spoke out in its favor. On his morning television broadcast, he asserted, without any basis in fact, that the efficacy of the waterboard a viable tool to be used on Al Qaeda suspects.

Scarborough said, “For those who don’t know, waterboarding is what we did to Khalid Sheikh Mohammed, who is the Al Qaeda number two guy that planned 9/11. And he talked …” He then speculated that “If you ask Americans whether they think it’s okay for us to waterboard in a controlled environment … 90% of Americans will say ‘yes.’” Sensing that what he was saying sounded extreme, he then claimed he did not support torture but that waterboarding was debatable as a technique: “You know, that’s the debate. Is waterboarding torture? … I don’t want the United States to engage in the type of torture that [Senator] John McCain had to endure.”

In fact, waterboarding is just the type of torture then Lt. Commander John McCain had to endure at the hands of the North Vietnamese. As a former Master Instructor and Chief of Training at the US Navy Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape School (SERE) in San Diego, California I know the waterboard personally and intimately. SERE staff were required undergo the waterboard at its fullest. I was no exception. I have personally led, witnessed and supervised waterboarding of hundreds of people. It has been reported that both the Army and Navy SERE school’s interrogation manuals were used to form the interrogation techniques used by the US army and the CIA for its terror suspects. What was not mentioned in most articles was that SERE was designed to show how an evil totalitarian, enemy would use torture at the slightest whim. If this is the case, then waterboarding is unquestionably being used as torture technique.

Continued…

h/t: Walter

***

US accused of torture

Ian Munro
Herald Correspondent in New York
October 31, 2007

THE United States’s willingness to resort to harsh interrogation techniques in its so-called war on terror undermined human rights and the international ban on torture, a United Nations spokesman says.

Manfred Nowak, UN Special Rapporteur on torture, said the US’s standing and importance meant it was a model to other countries which queried why they were subject to scrutiny when the US resorted to measures witnessed at Guantanamo Bay and Abu Ghraib prison.

Mr Nowak was speaking after releasing his finding that the use of torture was routine and widespread in Sri Lanka, despite laws against it.

“I am very concerned about the undermining of the absolute prohibition of torture by interrogation methods themselves in Abu Grahib, in Guantanamo Bay and others, but also by rendition and the whole CIA secret places of detention. All that is really undermining the international rule of law in general and human rights but also the prohibition of torture,” said Mr Nowak.

Continued…

h/t: ICH

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included information for research and educational purposes. If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

Dems Philly Debate (videos; links)

Dandelion SaladCSPANJUNKIEdotORG

OCTOBER 30, 2007 MSNBC
DEMOCRATIC DEBATE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d0DuX11AqsY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Hf5fE_u5Aw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QliWPAwFgsE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WcexS3BtlKE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YzbsGouZl0

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ITcLTaVo0ec

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2wx-SKiRq7Y

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K4bsi09ibvE

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l3iuA7vrudA

***

Please vote before and after tonights MSNBC debate for Dennis Kucinich at:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21454088/

h/t: Corporations_Ate_My_BABY!, Dennis Kucinich for President (Official)

and these folks, too:

Serina/ Seb*Strength through Peace Nature boy Kucinich For Prez Vegemini (Lauren) d.j.101,, a.k.a. The White Rabbit Irishlass Wants Strength Through Peace!

see

Dennis Kucinich Calls For Impeachment During The Debate + UFOs (videos)

Dennis Kucinich Calls For Impeachment During The Debate + UFOs (videos) + Russert Uses the “Giggle Factor” to Dismiss Dennis by Manila Ryce

Dandelion Salad

Sorry the videos are no longer available.

CSPANJUNKIEdotORG

OCTOBER 30, 2007 MSNBC
DEMOCRATIC DEBATE
Added: October 30, 2007

Dennis Kucinich Admits Seeing U.F.O. Durring The Debate

14% of Amerikans have seen UFOs, that’s 42,000,000 people! ~ Lo

Gov. Richardson: Government Covering Up Evidence Of U.F.O.S

Richardson says he doesn’t believe in UFOs, though. ~ Lo

***

Please vote before and after tonights MSNBC debate for Dennis Kucinich at:

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/21454088/

***

Russert Uses the “Giggle Factor” to Dismiss Dennis

By Manila Ryce
Published Wednesday, October 31st, 2007, 12:09 am

I am by no means a fan of Hillary, but Tim Russert focused so much of his time during the debate aggressively attacking Clinton that I thought he himself had secretly won the Republican nomination. However, Russert saved his most damning attack for Kucinich, who already has the unfair reputation of being a tin-foil hat candidate.

First off, what the hell do UFOs have to do with anything? The Onion put out a video titled: “Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters”. This issue is indeed bullshit. It’s a clear hit job which had nothing to do with American politics, and served the sole purpose of belittling a politician the corporate media does not want elected into office.

Secondly, ridiculing someone for seeing a UFO, then cutting them short when they try to answer the question honestly is outright shameful. Russert asked this question during a 30 second lightning round so he could get his laugh and move on. Dennis may have been able to properly clear up McClain’s colorful interpretation of the event, but was not allowed to elaborate. Russert’s intention to destroy Kucinich’s presidential aspirations was quite clear. There is a profound disdain towards underdogs amongst the network pundits. Is there any doubt that this bit of blood in the water will continue to feed that frenzy whenever Kucinich is mentioned on any network?

Third, UFOs are not spaceships. They would be categorized as identified flying objects if they were. Claiming you saw a UFO means by definition that you’re not completely sure what you saw. Therefor, UFOs undoubtedly do exist. They have been reported by pilots, astronauts, and cosmonauts for decades. Dennis tried to explain that distinction, but was talked-over by Russert.

Fourth, I haven’t read Shirley McClain’s book, but for the sake of argument I’ll just assume that Dennis believed the UFO to be a flying saucer. Is this as ridiculous as it sounds? The answer is quite simply, no. The conventional wisdom prevalent in our society simply persists due to ignorance. The most rational minds in the world believe in extraterrestrial life, and I’ll explain why.

The Drake Equation, developed in the 60’s and notably supported by Carl Sagan, mathematically estimated that millions of alien civilizations exist in the universe (around 10,000 in the Milky Way alone) and that thousands of those civilizations are probably capable of contacting Earth. More skeptical scientists put the number much lower, but no serious astronomer completely dismisses the possibility that life has developed elsewhere. Now that extrasolar planetary systems are known to be quite common, the odds of life existing elsewhere are simply too great to deny any longer. In fact, you’d be ridiculed in the scientific community to claim that aliens don’t exist. Scientists who do insist that we are alone are also in the same minority as those who defend creationism or say global warming is a myth.

Peter Sturrock, emeritus professor of physics and applied physics at Stanford, has personally stated that people should overcome the “giggle factor” that normally accompanies a study of UFOs. To a mature and educated crowd, Kucinich’s sighting would not be dismissed as something outside the realm of possibility. What does Tim Russert or any of the other candidates know about astrophysics or astrobiology? Evidently nothing, yet that didn’t stop them from laughing at what they didn’t understand. After all, the debate itself was a hoax, meant for entertainment purposes only.

We laughed at President Carter for also seeing a UFO. He was derided as a kook, not just because of the UFO sighting, but because of his equally insane views on alternative energy, civil rights, foreign relations, the Arab-Israeli Conflict, and human rights in general. Corporate conservative arrogance was prevalent in society then and it allowed for the ignorant to taunt the enlightened. A reversal of Carter’s progressive policies took place with Reagan and have continued to this very day. We now know that Carter wasn’t crazy. It was America and his political opposition who were irrational.

None of the Democrats on that stage last night, with the exception of Dennis, are worthy of being called progressives. By the time the Democratic Party realizes that Kucinich was also right, despite his uncommon idiosyncrasies, our country won’t exist anymore. Democrats have regressed into conservatives in their ignorance, arrogance, and greed. Another “loony” UFO watcher is exactly what we need in the White House. Hell, Kucinich could be an alien himself for all I care. Perhaps we should outsource our political positions to extraterrestrials. Intelligent life on Earth seems to be in short supply.

It should also be noted that rather than dodge the question, or deny the incident completely, Kucinich told the truth. He could have just as easily turned it around on McClain and said he had no idea what she was talking about. Well, that concludes my rant on that one question. Impeachment was actually the overall message Dennis was trying to get across. The reason being that he will invoke a privilege of the House to force a vote on the issue of impeachment. Contact your members of congress and tell them to vote against the motion to table the resolution, which would kill the bill.

see

Dems Philly Debate (videos; links)

Are They Out There? By David H. Levy