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Tue

09

Oct

2007

Attack on Iran: the question is only when and in what form
Tuesday, 09 October 2007 11:46
by Daan de Wit
This article has been translated into English by Ben Kearney

A military confrontation with Iran is being prepared on several fronts. This is a continuing and dynamic process on which DeepJournal has been reporting since September of 2005. Important recent developments in this primarily American process concern military planning, the manipulation of information and the adjustment of strategy.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh writes on the progress of these developments: '[...] there has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. [...] And two former senior officials of the C.I.A. told me that, by late summer, the agency had increased the size and the authority of the Iranian Operations Group. [...] "They're moving everybody to the Iran desk," one recently retired C.I.A. official said. "They're dragging in a lot of analysts and ramping up everything. It's just like the fall of 2002"-the months before the invasion of Iraq, when the Iraqi Operations Group became the most important in the agency.'

New strategy for makers of propaganda and military plans

Now that the goal of the march towards Iran is becoming clearer all the time, the parallels with the lead-up to the Iraq war are also becoming clearer, in spite of the differences. I demonstrated this in my video on Iran in May of last year, but in his article investigative journalist Seymour Hersh also writes that the main difference is the rhetoric. '"They've changed their rhetoric, really. The name of the game used to be nuclear threat," Hersh said on CNN's Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, adding a moment later, "They've come to the realization that it's not selling, it isn't working. The American people aren't worried about Iran as a nuclear threat certainly as they were about Iraq. So they've switched, really"', writes The Raw Story.

The role that former Secretary of State Colin Powell had in the lead-up to the Iraq war to convince the public at large of the Iraqi danger is now being filled by an organization called Freedom's Watch: 'Next month, Freedom's Watch will sponsor a private forum of 20 experts on radical Islam that is expected to make the case that Iran poses a direct threat to the security of the United States, according to several benefactors of the group', reports The New York Times. 'Next week, the group is moving into a 10,000-square-foot office in the Chinatown section of Washington, with plans to employ as many as 50 people by early next year. One benefactor, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said the group was hoping to raise as much as $200 million by November 2008. Raising big money "will be easy," the benefactor said [...]'.

Non-military portion of American attack already begun

It looks like the campaign of Freedom's Watch is directed at preparing Western populations for what is coming: a military confrontation with Iran. Just as it was with the run-up to the Iraq war, this preparatory propanganda is the non-military beginning of the war. Then the physical war ignites, after which whitewash operations, such as was the case with Iraq, will attempt to cover up the spin. Because the original plan for an attack on Iran couldn't be 'sold', the strategy of the White House has changed, according to Hersh. He talks about this with Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former National Security Advisor for President Carter: 'The Bush Administration, by charging that Iran was interfering in Iraq, was aiming "to paint it as 'We're responding to what is an intolerable situation,' " Brzezinski said. "This time, unlike the attack in Iraq, we're going to play the victim. The name of our game seems to be to get the Iranians to overplay their hand."'

Hersh, in his own words: 'The focus of the plans had been a broad bombing attack, with targets including Iran's known and suspected nuclear facilities and other military and infrastructure sites. Now the emphasis is on "surgical" strikes on Revolutionary Guard Corps facilities in Tehran and elsewhere, which, the Administration claims, have been the source of attacks on Americans in Iraq. What had been presented primarily as a counter-proliferation mission has been reconceived as counterterrorism.'

In the meantime The Telegraph writes: 'The American air force is working with military leaders from the Gulf to train and prepare Arab air forces for a possible war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal. [...] While it is unlikely that America's Gulf allies would join any US air strike against suspected nuclear targets in Iran, their co-operation might be required to allow passage of warplanes though their airspace. American defence officials are also keen that Iran's Arab neighbours prepare to deal with any Iranian attempt to target them in return.' 'The revised bombing plan for a possible attack, with its tightened focus on counterterrorism, is gathering support among generals and admirals in the Pentagon.

The strategy calls for the use of sea-launched cruise missiles and more precisely targeted ground attacks and bombing strikes, including plans to destroy the most important Revolutionary Guard training camps, supply depots, and command and control facilities. "Cheney's option is now for a fast in and out - for surgical strikes," the former senior American intelligence official told me. [...] A Pentagon consultant on counterterrorism told me that, if the bombing campaign took place, it would be accompanied by a series of what he called "short, sharp incursions" by American Special Forces units into suspected Iranian training sites. He said, "Cheney is devoted to this, no question"', writes Seymour Hersh. 'The bombing plan has had its most positive reception from the newly elected government of Britain's Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.' But the question is entirely one of whether the difference between the two strategies will soon become clear in practice.

Bush Administration going ahead with attack plans despite opposition

In a period of increasing criticism, the Bush Administration has to operate in an atmosphere of tension, above all because of Iraq. Seymour Hersh writes that 'The former intelligence official added, "There is a desperate effort by Cheney et al. to bring military action to Iran as soon as possible. Meanwhile, the politicians are saying, 'You can't do it, because every Republican is going to be defeated, and we're only one fact from going over the cliff in Iraq.' But Cheney doesn't give a rat's ass about the Republican worries, and neither does the President."' 'The US president faces strong opposition to military action, however, within his own joint chiefs of staff. "None of them think it is a good idea, but they will do it if they are told to," said a senior defence source', reports The Sunday Times. The former commander of Centcom, the American command center that carries out attack plans, said recently: 'There are ways to live with a nuclear Iran [...] Let's face it, we lived with a nuclear Soviet Union, we've lived with a nuclear China, and we're living with (other) nuclear powers as well.' In his opinion war should be avoided: 'War, in the state-to-state sense, in that part of the region would be devastating for everybody, and we should avoid it - in my mind - to every extent that we can," he said.' He's not alone in this view.

Richard Clarke, former anti-terrorism boss, said last year: 'We've thought about military options against Iran off and on for the last 20 years and they're just not good because you don't know what the end game is. You know what the first move is but not the last move'. In April of last year, Joseph Cirincione, at that time the director of the Nonproliferation Project at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace said: 'A military strike would be disastrous for the United States. It would rally the Iranian public around an otherwise unpopular regime, inflame anti-American anger in the Muslim world, and jeopardise the already fragile US position in Iraq. [...] It would accelerate, not delay, the Iranian nuclear programme'.

Newsweek writing in 2004: 'the CIA and DIA have war-gamed the likely consequences of a U.S. pre-emptive strike on Iran's nuclear facilities. No one liked the outcome. As an Air Force source tells it, "The war games were unsuccessful at preventing the conflict from escalating."' 'I don't believe there is a consensus that a surgical strike could be used effectively to disable Iran's nuclear program, or that it would be wise to attempt such a strike', said Intelligence expert Steven Aftergood, Research Director for The Project on Government Secrecy of the Federation of American Scientists, last month.

Other sources close to the Bush Administration are also being critical of military conflict with Iran, as is apparent from a recent article in Newsweek: 'The Pentagon worries that another war will break America's already overstretched military, while the intelligence community believes Iran is not yet on the verge of a nuclear breakthrough. The latter assessment is expected to appear in a secret National Intelligence Estimate currently nearing completion, according to three intelligence officials who asked for anonymity when discussing nonpublic material. The report is expected to say Iran will not be able to build a nuclear bomb until at least 2010 and possibly 2015.

One explanation for the lag: Iran is having trouble with its centrifuge-enrichment technology, according to U.S. and European officials.' '[...] Air Chief Marshal Sir Glen Torpy, the head of the RAF, voiced the fear of many British officials that America is too devoted to military solutions. He said: "In an environment like this, we always focus on the part that the military can play in solving security and foreign policy problems, but the military will rarely, if ever, be the solution"', writes The Telegraph. '"The Brits don't trust the Iranians," the retired general said, "but they also don't trust Bush and Cheney." [...] Vincent Cannistraro, a retired C.I.A. officer who has worked closely with his counterparts in Britain [...]: "The Brits told me that they were afraid at first to tell us about the incident-in fear that Cheney would use it as a reason to attack Iran." The intelligence subsequently was forwarded, he said', writes Seymour Hersh.

A critical view of the Iran issue could for that matter be the reason that Bush's top advisor Karl Rove left the Bush Administration, writes former CIA analyst Ray McGovern on the basis of a part of the column Deep Background by ex-CIA agent Phil Giraldi: 'In short, it seems possible that Rove, who is no one's dummy and would not want to be required to "spin" an unnecessary war on Iran, may have lost the battle with Cheney over the merits of a military strike on Iran, and only then decided — or was urged — to spend more time with his family. As for administration spokesperson Tony Snow, it seems equally possible that, before deciding he had to leave the White House to make more money, he concluded that his stomach could not withstand the challenge of conjuring up yet another Snow job to explain why Bush/Cheney needed to attack Iran.'

Daan de Wit is a Dutch journalist. He graduated from the School of Journalism in 1995 after which he started a career as a television journalist, focussing on the making of the documentary Skull & Bones for Dutch television. That documentary was censored upon release in 1999; a re-edit had to be made and was broadcast in 2001. After seven years he quit his job in the mainstream media in order to devote himself to writing.


In september 2006 he was interviewed by the Dutch current affairs program TweeVandaag on why the media ignored the disturbing questions of 9/11. Watch the video, read the article. I was also interviewed on the subject of 9/11 in the talkshow Pauw & Witteman. Watch the video (not subtitled).


To subscribe directly to his email digest click here.

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a guest said:

0
NuclearInsanity
This is absolute insanity! Who is really in control in the US? The media doesn't question this insane talk about attacking Iran - it's actively cultivating US citizen's hatred toward Iran with the recent parading of A. Nuclear bombing runs have already taken place. What the hell is going on?!!!

 
October 09, 2007
Votes: +0

Rosy Baldwin said:

0
If this happens, it will probably be the end...of all of us!!!
Bush gets tired of his wars quickly, like a child playing with toy soldiers; first Afghanistan, then Iraq, now Iran?? It IS absolute insanity and I not only fear for our country but for the whole world. The neocons are truly mad and power-hungry beyond words.
 
October 10, 2007
Votes: +0

Attorney Harold Burbank said:

0
2008 Candidate for US House of Representatives, Connecticut
American constitutionalists like me have been for impeachment of the Bush administration since the illegal, unconstitutional US attack and occupation of Iraq, and illegal occupation of Afghanistan. I have declared my candidacy for the US Congress based on these conclusions, but it may be too late. My experts and I agree that any attack on Iran will precipitate World War 3. We do not know why our people do not understand this. I ask that all American, European and other citizens contact their governments immediately to express outrage over any possible US attack of Iran.
 
October 10, 2007
Votes: +0

Ruth said:

0
Not just unwise, but immoral, to bomb Iran
How can people talk about bombing cities? Targeting civilians is against international law. Step by step, war by war, things have gotten really bad in our world. I'm an American living in Tehran--and not the only one, by the way--and after reading this article I started wondering where these supposed Revolutionary Guard facilities in Tehran are located. And would anyone in America even know the difference if some of those so-called smart bombs actually landed on schools or hospitals or telephone facilities or even on my house? American shock and awe in Iraq killed thousands of civilians. Whoops, they missed the "military" targets. Oh well. That's war for you.
 
October 10, 2007
Votes: +0

Hamid Yousefi said:

0
any opption is better than Iran with A bomb
on one can be happy to see people die and suffer during a war, yet some times a war is needed to stop a bigger disaster.
Can any one think of Iran with A bomb? the consequences are unimaginable.

It is better to bobm Iran, change regime and rescue 70 million Iranians that have been suffering for dacades.
 
October 10, 2007
Votes: +0

Davood Irani said:

0
Lets avoid the bigger war
some times I wonder if all these so called "anti war" humanists think of sufferings by Iranians in the hands of Iranian dictators. This regime has excuted morde than 45,000 of its citizens, commited war crimes, bombed US embassies, killed hundreds of American, supports terror organizations world wide and doing all of it without nuclear bomb. Imagin these thugs having access to nuclear technology? Al-Qaida will atack US and the west immediately.
Furtheremore, Iranian regim is killing Iranians everyday and destablizing Iraq, killing our soldiers.

Was it not worth it to get rid of Hitler? lets get rid of Iranian Hitlers. that is humanism. Supporting Iranian regim is against all human values.
 
October 10, 2007
Votes: +0

Guest said:

0
...
No one likes war, however sometime it is unavoidable for the greater good of the world. Iran with a BOMB I don't think so....
 
October 11, 2007
Votes: +0

MikeB said:

0
Sell off of the US dollar
People, countries, and companies that oppose the war should do something like divest themselves of US dollar holdings in favour of the Euro and bring the the US dollar crashing down. The Bush admin may listen to that. Then again, this will likely happen anyway after the bombs drop and the world economies start to respond.
 
October 12, 2007
Votes: +0

Aghrab said:

0
Iran's Mullahs
The Islamic rulers of Iran are opportunists. At the moment they see, they are still getting some benefits from the Islam (but their benefits are getting thinner each day).
However, should they realise that their existence is entirely tied-up with “giving up their Islamic thoughts”, then in a drop of a hat they all will ditch the Islam for good. In reality Mullah are like Mafias but in a much bigger scale i.e. a government (and for now they do cover their faces with the religion).
Mullahs desperately want business with the West, even with the USA. Mullahs have already looted what they could from the internal Iranian resources and now they want to expand their corruption into the other parts of the glob. That is why they are begging to have a dialogue with the USA for several years.
The only problem is that at the moment the West doesn’t know very well the actual system of corruption in Iran. The West sees too many heads/organs making decisions over there in Iran and no single philosophy of looting among them what-so-ever!. More to the point the West also is a bit arrogant and thinking that …” How dare these smelly third-world peasants even think of trying to share the global economy with US?”.
Hence the West is a bit more cautious about allowing Iran to enter the global club of looters. That is were exactly the West and Mullahs are clashing. They don’t understand each other’s signals.
Iran knows very well, by supporting the Palestine, Hamas and so forth, she is not getting anywhere in this race. But Mullahs are wondering why the West doesn’t give them any other alternatives in here!?
Mullahs are desperately signalling to the West /USA that ….” hey big fellows; acknowledge us as players too we know how to loot as well…give us assurance that you don’t topples us…give us a bit of International-fat to chew i.e. share just a little bit of your overall international looting system/intake …and sometimes let us have a bit of Verbal-Diarrhoea about expressing our superficial thoughts on the World affairs as well …then we all will be friends!”.
The Mullahs are like empty drums when it comes to threatening the West. In fact they know that they have nothing to threaten the West with. Mullahs without any doubts know that if they ever dare to really threaten the West, then there will be nothing left from Iran apart from a completely flattened piece of land that glows in the dark for centuries.
Yes, the West has already shown how they will deal with the “Real Threats”… did we forget the Hiroshima and Nagasaki so soon?.
Now, all these Mumbo-Jumbo political dances are just the results of having the West and Mullahs not understanding each other and also a bit of bad blood between the Mullahs and Israel.
Mullahs didn’t really mean that Areil!!!!
 
October 15, 2007
Votes: +0

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