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Bush 'plans Iran air strike by August'

 
 
Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 03:43 pm
Bush 'plans Iran air strike by August'
By Muhammad Cohen

NEW YORK - The George W Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months, an informed source tells Asia Times Online, echoing other reports that have surfaced in the media in the United States recently.

Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.

The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that that the US plans an
air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC's elite Quds force. With an estimated strength of up to 90,000 fighters, the Quds' stated mission is to spread Iran's revolution of 1979 throughout the region.

Targets could include IRGC garrisons in southern and southwestern Iran, near the border with Iraq. US officials have repeatedly claimed Iran is aiding Iraqi insurgents. In January 2007, US forces raided the Iranian consulate general in Erbil, Iraq, arresting five staff members, including two Iranian diplomats it held until November. Last September, the US Senate approved a resolution by a vote of 76-22 urging President George W Bush to declare the IRGC a terrorist organization. Following this non-binding "sense of the senate" resolution, the White House declared sanctions against the Quds Force as a terrorist group in October. The Bush administration has also accused Iran of pursuing a nuclear weapons program, though most intelligence analysts say the program has been abandoned.

An attack on Iraq would fit the Bush administration's declared policy on Iraq. Administration officials questioned directly about military action against Iran routinely assert that "all options remain on the table".

Rockin' and a-reelin'
Senators and the Bush administration denied the resolution and terrorist declaration were preludes to an attack on Iran. However, attacking Iran rarely seems far from some American leaders' minds. Arizona senator and presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain recast the classic Beach Boys tune Barbara Ann as "Bomb Iran". Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton promised "total obliteration" for Iran if it attacked Israel.

The US and Iran have a long and troubled history, even without the proposed air strike. US and British intelligence were behind attempts to unseat prime minister Mohammed Mossadeq, who nationalized Britain's Anglo-Iranian Petroleum Company, and returned Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi to power in 1953. President Jimmy Carter's pressure on the Shah to improve his dismal human-rights record and loosen political control helped the 1979 Islamic revolution unseat the Shah.

But the new government under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini condemned the US as "the Great Satan" for its decades of support for the Shah and its reluctant admission into the US of the fallen monarch for cancer treatment. Students occupied the US Embassy in Teheran, holding 52 diplomats hostage for 444 days. Eight American commandos died in a failed rescue mission in 1980. The US broke diplomatic relations with Iran during the hostage holding and has yet to restore them. Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's rhetoric often sounds lifted from the Khomeini era.

The source said the White House views the proposed air strike as a limited action to punish Iran for its involvement in Iraq. The source, an ambassador during the administration of president H W Bush, did not provide details on the types of weapons to be used in the attack, nor on the precise stage of planning at this time. It is not known whether the White House has already consulted with allies about the air strike, or if it plans to do so.

Sense in the senate
Details provided by the administration raised alarm bells on Capitol Hill, the source said. After receiving secret briefings on the planned air strike, Senator Diane Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, said they would write a New York Times op-ed piece "within days", the source said last week, to express their opposition. Feinstein is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and Lugar is the ranking Republican on the Foreign Relations Committee.

Senate offices were closed for the US Memorial Day holiday, so Feinstein and Lugar were not available for comment.

Given their obligations to uphold the secrecy of classified information, it is unlikely the senators would reveal the Bush administration's plan or their knowledge of it. However, going public on the issue, even without specifics, would likely create a public groundswell of criticism that could induce the Bush administration reconsider its plan.

The proposed air strike on Iran would have huge implications for geopolitics and for the ongoing US presidential campaign. The biggest question, of course, is how would Iran respond?

Iran's options
Iran could flex its muscles in any number of ways. It could step up support for insurgents in Iraq and for its allies throughout the Middle East. Iran aids both Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Israel's Occupied Territories. It is also widely suspected of assisting Taliban rebels in Afghanistan.

Iran could also choose direct confrontation with the US in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, with which Iran shares a long, porous border. Iran has a fighting force of more than 500,000. Iran is also believed to have missiles capable of reaching US allies in the Gulf region.

Iran could also declare a complete or selective oil embargo on US allies. Iran is the second-largest oil exporter in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries and fourth-largest overall. About 70% of its oil exports go to Asia. The US has barred oil imports from Iran since 1995 and restricts US companies from investing there.

China is Iran's biggest customer for oil, and Iran buys weapons from China. Trade between the two countries hit US$20 billion last year and continues to expand. China's reaction to an attack on Iran is also a troubling unknown for the US.

Three for the money
The Islamic world could also react strongly against a US attack against a third predominantly Muslim nation. Pakistan, which also shares a border with Iran, could face additional pressure from Islamic parties to end its cooperation with the US to fight al-Qaeda and hunt for Osama bin Laden. Turkey, another key ally, could be pushed further off its secular base. American companies, diplomatic installations and other US interests could face retaliation from governments or mobs in Muslim-majority states from Indonesia to Morocco.

A US air strike on Iran would have seismic impact on the presidential race at home, but it's difficult to determine where the pieces would fall.

At first glance, a military attack against Iran would seem to favor McCain. The Arizona senator says the US is locked in battle across the globe with radical Islamic extremists, and he believes Iran is one of biggest instigators and supporters of the extremist tide. A strike on Iran could rally American voters to back the war effort and vote for McCain.

On the other hand, an air strike on Iran could heighten public disenchantment with Bush administration policy in the Middle East, leading to support for the Democratic candidate, whoever it is.

But an air strike will provoke reactions far beyond US voting booths. That would explain why two veteran senators, one Republican and one Democrat, were reportedly so horrified at the prospect. link
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 2,295 • Replies: 33
No top replies

 
blueflame1
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 03:45 pm
Wars and rumors of wars.
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 08:54 pm
Stay home, watch TV, save gas and celebrate
The bombing begins at 11:00 pm EST on July 4th.


CNN will televise the fireworks live as part of our nations birthday party.
For added fun, the visuals will be timed to match the music of Pink Floyd's "Dark Side of the Moon".
The whole event will be broadcast in HD surround sound !!


Viewers will be able to vote for their favorite weapons system via text message during the hour long after show special.
Wolf Blitzer and two of the Fox News hotties will be hosting.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 09:19 pm
If it doesn't happen, will you admit that you were wrong or simply come up with another conspiracy theory?
0 Replies
 
Kayyam
 
  1  
Reply Tue 27 May, 2008 11:25 pm
Assistant secretaries of state are a dime a dozen. I say bogus.

/Kayyam
0 Replies
 
blueflame1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 06:55 am
Brandon, if it dont happen I'll say we stopped it from happening.
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 07:15 am
Can somone stick a hot poker in my eye to make me stop laughing?
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 07:26 am
bush and cheney are mad men... I have no doubt that they are creaming to air strike iran...
0 Replies
 
cjhsa
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 07:30 am
Should have been done long ago.....
0 Replies
 
squinney
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 07:36 am
No way this is accurate.

We all know August is NOT a good time for product roll out.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 07:38 am
cjhsa wrote:
Should have been done long ago.....


perhaps... but instead we attacked Iraq....and now we're militarily bankrupt...
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:04 am
Bi-Polar Bear wrote:
... now we're militarily bankrupt...


No, we are just fine and fully capable.
0 Replies
 
Bi-Polar Bear
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 08:05 am
tell that to all the stop loss guys...
0 Replies
 
blueflame1
 
  1  
Reply Wed 28 May, 2008 04:29 pm
Senators say report of planned US strikes on Iran untrue by Nick Juliano
Published: Wednesday May 28, 2008

An anonymously sourced report that emerged Wednesday claims President Bush plans to launch an attack against Iran before summer's end, but aides to two Senators who were supposedly told of the plan tell RAW STORY that the report is absolutely untrue.

Asia Times correspondent Muhammad Cohen, reporting from New York, writes that an "informed source" has clued him in to plans from the Bush administration "to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months."

Cohen's source told him that Sens. Diane Feinstein (D-CA), who is on the Senate Intelligence Committee, and Richard Lugar (R-IN), the ranking member of the Foreign Relations Committee, were secretly briefed on the administration's plans and were prepared to write a New York Times op-ed condemning Bush. Aides to the two senators were quick to deny the report.

"That story was inaccurate. Senator Feinstein has not received any briefing - classified or unclassified - from the Administration involving any plans to strike Iran," Philip J. Lavelle, the California Democrat's press secretary, wrote in an e-mail to RAW STORY Wednesday. "In addition, she has not submitted an op-ed to the NYT, or any other paper, on this subject in recent days. She has been a strong advocate for diplomacy with Iran, and will continue to be one."

Lugar spokesman Andy Fisher was more succinct: "No briefing. No oped. No conversations. No story."

Speculation that the US might launch an attack on Iran has fluctuated over the last year or so, as the Bush administration and its allies on Capitol Hill have accused the regime of seeking to build a nuclear weapons arsenal and aiding insurgents in Iraq. Back in September, onetime Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman asked US Gen. David Petraeus whether Iran should be invaded as part of an extension of the Iraq war.

Cohen said his source for the latest report was a "retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community" who was an ambassador under President Bush's father, George H.W. Bush. Few precise details about the supposed strike were offered in the Asia Times report.

Lawmakers, including Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), have said that an unauthorized strike on Iran would be grounds for impeachment.

The Bush administration has not said explicitly that an Iran attack is completely out of the question, but White House officials have emphasized that they prefer to work through diplomatic channels to counteract Iran's nuclear ambitions.

The White House flatly denied a similar report last week that an Iran attack was imminent before he leaves office in January.
link
0 Replies
 
mysteryman
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2008 04:49 pm
blueflame1 wrote:
Brandon, if it dont happen I'll say we stopped it from happening.


Thats because the POTUS and the Joint Chiefs listen to you, right?

Your deluding yourself with your own self-importance.
0 Replies
 
blueflame1
 
  1  
Reply Sun 1 Jun, 2008 06:09 pm
mysteryman, I like to give credit where credit is due is all. A tip of the hat to the anti-bomb bomb bomb Iran crowd should Bushie be stopped from doing what his insane PNAC administration is lusting to do.
0 Replies
 
Ramafuchs
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Jun, 2008 05:55 pm
The world is fed up with Bush's American barbarism.
0 Replies
 
H2O MAN
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Jun, 2008 06:06 pm
Ramafuchs wrote:
Bush's American barbarism.


These things do not exist.
0 Replies
 
Brandon9000
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2008 12:41 pm
Just checking, blueflame1, do you still think that we will invade Iran by August, or are you ready yet to admit that your post was nonsense?
0 Replies
 
edgarblythe
 
  1  
Reply Mon 30 Jun, 2008 01:00 pm
(CBS) Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen leaves Tuesday night on an overseas trip that will take him to Israel, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin. The trip has been scheduled for some time but U.S. officials say it comes just as the Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran's nuclear complex.

CBS consultant Michael Oren says Israel doesn't want to wait for a new administration.

"The Israelis have been assured by the Bush administration that the Bush administration will not allow Iran to nuclearize," Oren said. "Israelis are uncertain about what would be the policies of the next administration vis-à-vis Iran."

Israel's message is simple: If you don't, we will. Israel held a dress rehearsal for a strike earlier this month, but military analysts say Israel can not do it alone.

"Keep in mind that Israel does not have strategic bombers," Oren said. "The Israeli Air Force is not the American Air Force. Israel can not eliminate Iran's nuclear program."

The U.S. with its stealth bombers and cruise missiles has a much greater capability. Vice President Cheney is said to favor a strike, but both Mullen and Defense Secretary Gates are opposed to an attack which could touch off a third war in the region.

U.S. intelligence estimates Iran won't be able to build a weapon until sometime early in the next decade. But Israel is operating on a much shorter timetable.

"The Iranians, according to Israeli security sources, will have an operable nuclear weapon by 2009. That's not a very long time," Oren said.

For now, the Bush administration is counting on new economic sanctions which took effect Tuesday to persuade Iran to give up its nuclear program. But nobody's counting on it.
0 Replies
 
 

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