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George Eller
09-25-2007, 11:58 PM
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Top Ten Warning Signs That Would Indicate the United States is About to Bomb Iran

Signs That the United States is About to Bomb Iran
http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/topten/articles/20060222.aspx
Strategy Page

Before any major military operation, there are always tell tale signs. With all the talk about Israel or the United States bombing Iran's nuclear weapons program, it would be wise to check for the signs before taking the pundit prattle too seriously.

1. – The U.S. Navy stages a "surge exercise" and moves six carrier battle groups into the Indian Ocean.

2. – A "regularly scheduled exercise" moves Patriot Missile Batteies to Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. These exercises happen from time to time, but if they happen when other things are happening…

3. -- Movement of B-52 and B1B bombers to the island of Diego Garcia (in the Indian Ocean).

4. -- Deployment of F117 stealth bombers and F-22 fighters to anywhere in the Persian Gulf.

5. -- Deployment of B-2 Stealth Bombers to Guam, where there are special facilities for maintaining these aircraft.

6. -- Lockdown of Whitman Air Force Base (where most B-2 bombers are stationed) in Missouri.

7. -- Increased delivery of Pizza to Pentagon

8. –Sudden loss of cell service near some air force bases (from which heavy bombers would depart). At the same time, there would be sightings of Middle Eastern looking guys around these bases, trying to get their cell phones to work, while being observed by what appears to be FBI agents.

9. Deployment of KC-135/KC-10 aerial tankers to Diego Garcia, Guam and the Persian Gulf.

10. America asks nations neighboring Iran for basing and over flight rights.

These warning signs are no secret, and intelligence officers regularly run down their check lists. As a result, nations will sometimes stage a false alert by deliberately performing many of the items on someone's check list, with no intention of following through.

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George Eller
09-25-2007, 11:58 PM
Israelis ‘blew apart Syrian nuclear cache’
Secret raid on Korean shipment
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2461421.ece
The Sunday Times
Sunday, September 16, 2007

Uzi Mahnaimi in Tel Aviv, Sarah Baxter in Washington and Michael Sheridan

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.

At a rendezvous point on the ground, a Shaldag air force commando team was waiting to direct their laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Soon the bunkers were in flames.

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.

The Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF [Israeli Defence Forces] soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”

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.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.

But why would nuclear material be in Syria? Known to have chemical weapons, was it seeking to bolster its arsenal with something even more deadly?

Alternatively, could it be hiding equipment for North Korea, enabling Kim Jong-il to pretend to be giving up his nuclear programme in exchange for economic aid? Or was the material bound for Iran, as some authorities in America suggest?

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.

The Israeli spy chief apparently feared such a device could eventually be installed on North-Korean-made Scud-C missiles.

“This was supposed to be a devastating Syrian surprise for Israel,” said an Israeli source. “We’ve known for a long time that Syria has deadly chemical warheads on its Scuds, but Israel can’t live with a nuclear warhead.”

An expert on the Middle East, who has spoken to Israeli participants in the raid, told yesterday’s Washington Post that the timing of the raid on September 6 appeared to be linked to the arrival three days earlier of a ship carrying North Korean material labelled as cement but suspected of concealing nuclear equipment.

The target was identified as a northern Syrian facility that purported to be an agricultural research centre on the Euphrates river. Israel had been monitoring it for some time, concerned that it was being used to extract uranium from phosphates.

According to an Israeli air force source, the Israeli satellite Ofek 7, launched in June, was diverted from Iran to Syria. It sent out high-quality images of a northeastern area every 90 minutes, making it easy for air force specialists to spot the facility.

Early in the summer Ehud Barak, the defence minister, had given the order to double Israeli forces on its Golan Heights border with Syria in anticipation of possible retaliation by Damascus in the event of air strikes.

Sergei Kirpichenko, the Russian ambassador to Syria, warned President Bashar al-Assad last month that Israel was planning an attack, but suggested the target was the Golan Heights.

Israeli military intelligence sources claim Syrian special forces moved towards the Israeli outpost of Mount Hermon on the Golan Heights. Tension rose, but nobody knew why.

At this point, Barak feared events could spiral out of control. The decision was taken to reduce the number of Israeli troops on the Golan Heights and tell Damascus the tension was over. Syria relaxed its guard shortly before the Israeli Defence Forces struck.

Only three Israeli cabinet ministers are said to have been in the know � Olmert, Barak and Tzipi Livni, the foreign minister. America was also consulted. According to Israeli sources, American air force codes were given to the Israeli air force attaché in Washington to ensure Israel’s F15Is would not mistakenly attack their US counterparts.

Once the mission was under way, Israel imposed draconian military censorship and no news of the operation emerged until Syria complained that Israeli aircraft had violated its airspace. Syria claimed its air defences had engaged the planes, forcing them to drop fuel tanks to lighten their loads as they fled.

But intelligence sources suggested it was a highly successful Israeli raid on nuclear material supplied by North Korea.

Washington was rife with speculation last week about the precise nature of the operation. One source said the air strikes were a diversion for a daring Israeli commando raid, in which nuclear materials were intercepted en route to Iran and hauled to Israel. Others claimed they were destroyed in the attack.

There is no doubt, however, that North Korea is accused of nuclear cooperation with Syria, helped by AQ Khan’s network. John Bolton, who was undersecretary for arms control at the State Department, told the United Nations in 2004 the Pakistani nuclear scientist had “several other” customers besides Iran, Libya and North Korea.

Some of his evidence came from the CIA, which had reported to Congress that it viewed “Syrian nuclear intentions with growing concern”.

“I’ve been worried for some time about North Korea and Iran outsourcing their nuclear programmes,” Bolton said last week. Syria, he added, was a member of a “junior axis of evil”, with a well-established ambition to develop weapons of mass destruction.

The links between Syria and North Korea date back to the rule of Kim Il-sung and President Hafez al-Assad in the last century. In recent months, their sons have quietly ordered an increase in military and technical cooperation.

Foreign diplomats who follow North Korean affairs are taking note. There were reports of Syrian passengers on flights from Beijing to Pyongyang and sightings of Middle Eastern businessmen from sources who watch the trains from North Korea to China.

On August 14, Rim Kyong Man, the North Korean foreign trade minister, was in Syria to sign a protocol on “cooperation in trade and science and technology”. No details were released, but it caught Israel’s attention.

Syria possesses between 60 and 120 Scud-C missiles, which it has bought from North Korea over the past 15 years. Diplomats believe North Korean engineers have been working on extending their 300-mile range. It means they can be used in the deserts of northeastern Syria � the area of the Israeli strike.

The triangular relationship between North Korea, Syria and Iran continues to perplex intelligence analysts. Syria served as a conduit for the transport to Iran of an estimated £50m of missile components and technology sent by sea from North Korea. The same route may be in use for nuclear equipment.

But North Korea is at a sensitive stage of negotiations to end its nuclear programme in exchange for security guarantees and aid, leading some diplomats to cast doubt on the likelihood that Kim would cross America’s “red line” forbidding the proliferation of nuclear materials.

Christopher Hill, the State Department official representing America in the talks, said on Friday he could not confirm “intelligence-type things”, but the reports underscored the need “to make sure the North Koreans get out of the nuclear business”.

By its actions, Israel showed it is not interested in waiting for diplomacy to work where nuclear weapons are at stake.

As a bonus, the Israelis proved they could penetrate the Syrian air defence system, which is stronger than the one protecting Iranian nuclear sites.

This weekend President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran sent Ali Akbar Mehrabian, his nephew, to Syria to assess the damage. The new “axis of evil” may have lost one of its spokes.

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George Eller
09-26-2007, 12:00 AM
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A tale of two dictatorships: The links between North Korea and Syria
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/asia/article2452356.ece
The Sunday Times
Sunday, September 16, 2007

Michael Sheridan, Far East correspondent

Deep in a tunnel under Mount Myohang, in North Korea, its regime has preserved as a museum piece the Kalashnikov assault rifle and pistols sent as gifts from President Hafez al-Assad of Syria to Kim Il Sung in the early years of their friendship.

Today North Korea and Syria are ruled by the sons of their late 20th century dictators, men who share more than just a common fear of the United States and a fondness for authoritarian family rule.

In recent months, Kim Jong Il and Bashar Assad have quietly ordered an increase in military and technical co-operation which has caught the attention of western and Israeli intelligence.

Syria possesses the biggest missile arsenal and the largest stockpile of chemical weapons in the Middle East, built up over the last two decades with arms bought from North Korea.

North Korea, which exploded a nuclear device in October last year, has become critical to Syria’s plans to enhance and upgrade its weapons.

Syria’s liquid fuelled Scud-C missiles depend on “essential foreign aid and assistance, primarily from North Korean entities,” said the CIA in a report to the US Congress in 2004.

“We are looking at Syrian nuclear intentions with growing concern,” the CIA director also confirmed to Congress.

Both North Korea and Syria are secret police states and among the hardest intelligence targets to crack.

But earlier this year, foreign diplomats who follow North Korean affairs took note of an increase in diplomatic and military visits between the two.

They received reports of Syrian passengers on flights from Beijing to Pyongyang, almost the only air route into the country. They also picked up observations of Middle Eastern businessmen from sources who watch the trains from North Korea to the industrial cities of northeast China.

Then there were clues in the official media.

On August 14, the North Korean minister of foreign trade, Rim Kyong Man, was in Syria to sign a protocol on “co-operation in trade and science and technology.” His delegation held the fifth meeting of a “joint economic committee” with its Syrian counterparts. No details were disclosed.

The conclusion among diplomats was that the deal involved North Korean ballistic missiles, maintenance for the existing Syrian arsenal and engineering expertise for building silos and bunkers against air attack.

Syria possesses between 60 and 120 Scud-C missiles which it bought from North Korea over the last 15 years.

In the 1990s it added cluster warheads for the Scud-Cs that experts believe are intended for chemical weapons.

Like North Korea, Syria has an extensive chemical weapons programme including Sarin, VX and mustard gas, according to researchers at the Centre for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute in the US.

The Scud-C is strategically worrying to Israel because Syria has deployed it with one launcher for every two missiles. The normal ratio is one to 10. The conclusion: Syria’s missiles are set up for one devastating first strike.

The second cause for concern is that the Scud-C is a notoriously inaccurate weapon. It is better for scattering chemical weapons than hitting one target.

Diplomats believe North Korean engineers have worked on modifying the Scud-Cs to extend their 300 mile range. That means they can be based in the deserts of eastern Syria – the area of the September 6 Israeli strike.

More worrying for Israel were reports from diplomats in Pyongyang that Syrian and Iranian observers were present at missile test firings by the North Korean military last summer and were given valuable telemetry data.

North Korean scientists are working on a new-generation Scud-D which would extend the range of an accurate missile strike and is of intense interest to Syria.

For years, the US and Israel believed Syria was committed to a calculated strategic balance. They saw North Korean weapons sales to the Middle East as purely a source of revenue - apart from seafood, minerals and timber, North Korea is impoverished and has little else to sell.

But the political risk assessment has changed. Both dictators see their regimes under threat from the United States. Both are capable of unpredictable action and little is known about the internal pressures upon their regimes.

In 2003, the US Defence Secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said Syria had tested chemical weapons.

In the same year the North Koreans twice privately threatened American negotiators with “transfer” of their nuclear weapons technology to other states.

The nuclear threat in Syria was long believed dormant, as Damascus appeared to rely on a chemical first-strike as an unconventional deterrent.

But in a period of détente the US and its allies concurred when China sold a 30kw nuclear reactor to Syria in 1998 under IAEA controls.

American intelligence officials believe Syria then recruited Iraqi scientists who fled after the fall of Saddam Hussein. Like other countries in the region, it is believed to have renewed its pursuit of nuclear research.

(The Iraq Survey group, however, concluded that there was no evidence that any of Saddam’s actual weapons were hidden in Syria).

With such warnings, the Israelis and Americans intensified their scrutiny of dealings between the two – and their joint missile technology ventures with Iran, another North Korean customer.

The triangular relationship between North Korea, Syria and Iran continues to perplex diplomats and intelligence analysts.

One fact is that Syria has served as a conduit for the transport to Iran of an estimated 50 mln pounds worth of missile components and technology sent by sea from North Korea to the Syrian port of Tartous, diplomats said.

Another fact is that Damascus and Tehran have set up a 125 mln pounds joint venture to build missiles in Syria with North Korean and Chinese technical help, they said.

North Korean military engineers have worked on hardened silos and tunnels for the project near the cities of Hama and Aleppo, the diplomats added.

Since the Israeli strike in eastern Syria on September 6, all sides have kept silent about the nature of the target.

North Korea is at a sensitive stage of negotiations to end its nuclear weapons programmes in exchange for security guarantees and economic aid. So diplomats think it unlikely that Kim has authorized a radical step such as selling nuclear components to Syria.

But nothing in the negotiations inhibits North Korea from aggressively pursuing its non-nuclear weapons sales abroad and from building alliances with other foes of the United States.

And two intriguing messages from the North Koreans in the aftermath of the Israeli strike were tell-tale clues to their intense interest in the action.

On September 10, four days after the raid, Kim sent a personal message of congratulations to Assad on the Syrian dictator’s 42nd birthday.

“The excellent friendly and co-operative relations between the two countries are steadily growing stronger even under the complicated international situation,” Kim said.

The next day, in a message that went largely un-noticed as the United States commemorated September 11, 2001, the North Koreans condemned the Israeli action as “illegal” and “a very dangerous provocation.”

A foreign ministry spokesman said North Korea “extends full support and solidarity to the Syrian people.”

The statement was judged important enough to become the top item issued by North Korea’s state-run news agency that day.

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George Eller
09-26-2007, 12:01 AM
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Robert Gates Mostly Mum on North Korea-Syria Nuclear Cooperation
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296960,00.html
Fox News / Associated Press
Sunday, September 16, 2007

WASHINGTON — The U.S. is keeping close watch on Syria and North Korea, the Pentagon chief said Sunday, amid suspicions the Koreans are possibly cooperating with Syria on a nuclear facility.

"I think it would be a real problem," Defense Secretary Robert Gates said when asked how the Bush administration would view such an effort.

A senior U.S. nuclear official said Friday that North Koreans were in Syria and that Syria may have had contacts with "secret suppliers" to obtain nuclear equipment.

Andrew Semmel, acting deputy assistant secretary of state for nuclear nonproliferation policy, did not identify the suppliers, but said North Koreans were in Syria and that he could not exclude that the network run by the disgraced Pakistan nuclear scientist A.Q. Khan may have been involved.

Gates was asked in a broadcast interview whether Syria was involved in a covert nuclear program with North Korea's assistance.

"I'm not going to get into things that may involve intelligence matters, but all I will say is we are watching the North Koreans very carefully. We watch the Syrians very carefully," Gates said.

He added, "If such an activity were taking place, it would be a matter of great concern because the president has put down a very strong marker with the North Koreans about further proliferation efforts. And obviously, any effort by the Syrians to pursue weapons of mass destruction would be a concern for us."

A state-run newspaper in Syria said in an editorial Sunday that "the magnitude of these false accusations might be a prelude to a new aggression against Syria." Al-Thawra said suggestion of such nuclear cooperation was "a flagrant lie."

North Korea's minister to the country's U.N. mission in New York, Kim Myong Gil, has dismissed the Syria allegation as "groundless," South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted Kim as saying.

This week, negotiators from six nations plan to meet in Beijing to discuss ways to disable North Korea's nuclear reactor.

North Korea agreed in a February accord to scrap its nuclear programs in return for political concessions and aid. The North has shut down its Yongbyon nuclear facility and negotiators are now discussing the next phase of the agreement: disclosing and disabling all nuclear facilities, which the North recently agreed to do by the end of the year.

Gates spoke on "FOX News Sunday."
Transcript: Robert Gates on 'FOX News Sunday'
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296954,00.html

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George Eller
09-26-2007, 12:03 AM
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Report: Israeli Jets Destroyed Syrian Nuke Cache
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,296939,00.html
Fox News / The Sunday Times
Monday, September 17, 2007

It was just after midnight when the 69th Squadron of Israeli F-15Is 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.

At a rendezvous point on the ground, a Shaldag air force commando team was waiting to direct their laser beams at the target for the approaching jets. The team had arrived a day earlier, taking up position near a large underground depot. Soon the bunkers were in flames.

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.

The Israeli government was not saying. “The security sources and IDF soldiers are demonstrating unusual courage,” said Ehud Olmert, the prime minister. “We naturally cannot always show the public our cards.”

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 Shiite 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.” He said a network run by AQ Khan, the disgraced creator of Pakistan’s nuclear weapons, could be involved.

Click here to read the full story in the Sunday Times.
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2461421.ece

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Israel's Military Intelligence Chief Silenced Over Syria Strike
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,297034,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/mideast
[i]Fox News / Associated Press
Monday, September 17, 2007

JERUSALEM — Israel's chief of military intelligence was ordered not to discuss an alleged air raid on Syria before a powerful parliamentary panel, tightening the veil of secrecy the government has thrown around the issue.

Tzachi Hanegbi, chairman of parliament's foreign affairs and defense committee, said he instructed Israel's military intelligence chief Amos Yadlin to avoid any mention of Syria at a committee meeting Sunday. Panel members regularly report to journalists during and after committee meetings.

In a statement some participants saw as an oblique reference to the alleged Syria raid, Yadlin told the meeting, "Israel's deterrence has been rehabilitated since the Lebanon war, and it affects the entire regional system, including Iran and Syria," according to a lawmaker who was present.

The lawmaker spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to disclose the meeting's contents to the media.

Foreign news reports have suggested that Israel struck a Syrian site designed to make non-conventional weapons, possibly a nuclear installation built with North Korean help.

John Bolton, the former U.S. ambassador to the U.N., told Israeli Channel 10 TV he thought Israel might have been attacking a nuclear installation, "a message not only to Syria, but to Iran."

"I think it would be unusual for Israel to conduct a military operation inside Syria other than for a very high value target, and certainly a Syrian effort in the nuclear weapons area would qualify," Bolton said in an interview broadcast Sunday.

Bolton, who has long called for a hard line against the Syrian and Iranian regimes, did not indicate he had firsthand information about the incident.

Meanwhile, South Korea's Foreign Minister Song Min-soon dismissed allegations Monday that North Korea was cooperating with Syria on a nuclear weapons program.

"Now, no one is talking about the suspicions regarding North Korea and Syria with a clear basis," Yonhap news agency quoted Song as telling reporters. The Foreign Ministry said it could not immediately confirm the report.

Song went on to say that Syria does not have a nuclear facility as far as he knows, according to Yonhap.

A state-run newspaper in Syria said in an editorial Sunday referring to the nuclear allegations that "the magnitude of these false accusations might be a prelude to a new aggression against Syria." Al-Thawra said suggestion of such nuclear cooperation was "a flagrant lie."

In the past, Israel often has been swift to announce such operations. This time, Syria cryptically announced the incident, saying its air space had been entered and that Israel had "dropped munitions." Syria has offered no evidence of any Israeli attack.

One possible explanation is that Israel was on an intelligence-gathering mission, testing Syria's air defenses, scouting an air corridor for a future strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, or hitting a shipment of arms destined for Hezbollah, a close ally of Syria and Iran.

Syria and Israel fought each other in the 1967 and 1973 Mideast wars. Their last direct military confrontation was in neighboring Lebanon in 1982, when Israel's air force shot down dozens of Syrian warplanes and Israel destroyed Syrian tanks.

Israel has dismissed recent calls by Syria to restart peace talks, citing the Damascus regime's continued support for Palestinian militant groups and Hezbollah.

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Report: U.S. and Israel Shared Intelligence Leading up to Air Strike on Syria
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,297577,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/mideast
Fox News / Washington Post
Friday, September 21, 2007

WASHINGTON — The United States likely shared intelligence with Israel leading up to an Israeli air strike in Syria as questions simmer over possible North Korean-Syrian cooperation on a nuclear weapons program, according to a new report.

The Washington Post reported Friday, citing anonymous sources, that the intelligence provided to Israel appears to have corroborated evidence that Israel developed on its own that North Korea was providing some sort of assistance to Syria in developing a nuclear weapons program.

• Click here to read the full report in The Washington Post. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/09/20/AR2007092002701.html?hpid=topnews

Questions remain, however, over what exactly the evidence was that the United States provided; what evidence the Israelis had to support their claim; what type of collaboration between Syria and North Korea, if any, was taking place; and what exactly Israelis intended to destroy in their Sept. 6 fighter jet attack.

The newspaper reported that U.S. officials were concerned over the allegations, but did not want to play a leading role in the matter because they believed it could seriously endanger its ongoing negotiations on denuclearizing North Korea.

President Bush declined to discuss the issue at his news conference Thursday, but warned North Korea against any efforts at spreading nuclear devices.

"To the extent that they are proliferating, we expect them to stop that proliferation if they want the six-party talks to be successful," Bush said, referring to the ongoing negotiations among the United States, North Korea, South Korea, China, Russia and Japan.

Syria and North Korea have denied any nuclear cooperation.

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George Eller
09-26-2007, 12:04 AM
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Olmert Says Israel Not Interested in War With Syria
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,297813,00.html?sPage=fnc.world/mideast
Fox News / Associated Press
Monday, September 24, 2007

JERUSALEM — Prime Minister Ehud Olmert on Monday said Israel is not interested in violent conflict with Syria, adding that he is confident that recent tensions with Israel's archenemy will subside, Israeli media reported.

Olmert's comments, made before a closed meeting at the Israeli parliament, were his latest attempt to ease worries about a possible conflict with Syria after a reported Israeli airstrike in Syria on Sept 6. Israel has never publicly acknowledged an incursion.

Olmert told parliament's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that Israel has been monitoring Syrian troop movements in recent weeks, Army Radio reported.

"We're not interested in friction, and I think the Syrians aren't either," the report quoted him as saying, citing unidentified meeting participants. "I think the tensions in the area will gradually subside."

At the time of the alleged air raid, Syria accused Israel of invading its airspace and dropping unspecified munitions. Israel has refused to comment on the incident and imposed a news blackout on the matter.

But Mideast defense officials have told The Associated Press an Israeli airstrike targeted a Syrian "technology installation" in tandem with commando forces on the ground.

Foreign news reports have cited officials and experts as saying the attack targeted either arms meant for Hezbollah guerrillas in Lebanon or some sort of nonconventional weapon, perhaps a joint Syrian-North Korean nuclear project. Syria has denied both, and North Korea has denied a nuclear link with Damascus.

"Israeli warplanes' intrusion into the territorial airspace of Syria and bomb-dropping are an outright violation of Syria's sovereignty and a grave crime that destroys regional peace and security," South Korea's Yonhap news agency quoted the North's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper as saying on Monday.

The North also claimed that the United States defended the Israelis' "brazen behavior" in allegedly launching the airstrike, Yonhap said.

Israel considers Syria one of its greatest enemies and accuses Damascus of backing the militant organizations Hamas and Hezbollah, which have bases there. Despite the recent tensions, Olmert last week called for the reopening of peace talks, without conditions, between the two adversaries.

Past negotiations broke down seven years ago over Syria's demand for the return of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

Israel offered to go back to the international border, but Syria insisted on also controlling another small strip of territory — the east bank of the Sea of Galilee, which Israel captured during the 1948-49 war that accompanied its creation. Talks also faltered over the extent of peaceful relations Syria would offer.

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Strange Days In Syria
http://www.strategypage.com/qnd/israel/articles/20070925.aspx
Strategy Page
September 25, 2007:

Strange days in Syria. Everyone is talking about the September 6 Israeli raid into Syria, but no one is admitting anything. Syria has complained about Israeli aggression, as has North Korea. Syria has been a customer for North Korean weapons, including ballistic missiles, for decades. The rumors and leaks indicate that someone, perhaps the CIA or NSA, discovered North Korean nuclear weapons technology in Syria. Israeli commandoes raided the compound where the nuclear weapons work was being done, took radioactive material, and analysis (all nuclear material has a unique chemical "fingerprint") determined it was North Korea. Israeli jets them bombed the compound. Why all the reluctance to release details? No one is saying, and the speculation, as one would expect, is all over the lot. Interestingly, the Arab press was largely silent on this one. This was understandable, as Syrian is seen as a puppet of Iran, and thus a traitor to the Arab world.

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Nickdfresh
09-27-2007, 11:49 AM
I think attacking Iran is a really, really bad idea. Especially with this administrations war-planning track record...

Nickdfresh
09-27-2007, 11:55 AM
Here's a couple related articles. I know they're a bit dated though they're not really specific anyways...

LAST STAND
The military’s problem with the President’s Iran policy.
by SEYMOUR M. HERSH

The New Yorker: Issue of 2006-07-10 (http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/articles/060710fa_fact)

On May 31st, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice announced what appeared to be a major change in U.S. foreign policy. The Bush Administration, she said, would be willing to join Russia, China, and its European allies in direct talks with Iran about its nuclear program. There was a condition, however: the negotiations would not begin until, as the President put it in a June 19th speech at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy, “the Iranian regime fully and verifiably suspends its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities.” Iran, which has insisted on its right to enrich uranium, was being asked to concede the main point of the negotiations before they started. The question was whether the Administration expected the Iranians to agree, or was laying the diplomatic groundwork for future military action. In his speech, Bush also talked about “freedom for the Iranian people,” and he added, “Iran’s leaders have a clear choice.” There was an unspoken threat: the U.S. Strategic Command, supported by the Air Force, has been drawing up plans, at the President’s direction, for a major bombing campaign in Iran.

Inside the Pentagon, senior commanders have increasingly challenged the President’s plans, according to active-duty and retired officers and officials. The generals and admirals have told the Administration that the bombing campaign will probably not succeed in destroying Iran’s nuclear program. They have also warned that an attack could lead to serious economic, political, and military consequences for the United States.

A crucial issue in the military’s dissent, the officers said, is the fact that American and European intelligence agencies have not found specific evidence of clandestine activities or hidden facilities; the war planners are not sure what to hit. “The target array in Iran is huge, but it’s amorphous,” a high-ranking general told me. “The question we face is, When does innocent infrastructure evolve into something nefarious?” The high-ranking general added that the military’s experience in Iraq, where intelligence on weapons of mass destruction was deeply flawed, has affected its approach to Iran. “We built this big monster with Iraq, and there was nothing there. This is son of Iraq,” he said.

“There is a war about the war going on inside the building,” a Pentagon consultant said. “If we go, we have to find something.”

In President Bush’s June speech, he accused Iran of pursuing a secret weapons program along with its civilian nuclear-research program (which it is allowed, with limits, under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty). The senior officers in the Pentagon do not dispute the President’s contention that Iran intends to eventually build a bomb, but they are frustrated by the intelligence gaps. A former senior intelligence official told me that people in the Pentagon were asking, “What’s the evidence? We’ve got a million tentacles out there, overt and covert, and these guys”—the Iranians—“have been working on this for eighteen years, and we have nothing? We’re coming up with jack shit.”

A senior military official told me, “Even if we knew where the Iranian enriched uranium was—and we don’t—we don’t know where world opinion would stand. The issue is whether it’s a clear and present danger. If you’re a military planner, you try to weigh options. What is the capability of the Iranian response, and the likelihood of a punitive response—like cutting off oil shipments? What would that cost us?” Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld and his senior aides “really think they can do this on the cheap, and they underestimate the capability of the adversary,” he said.

Cont'd 1/5 (it's a long one!)

Nickdfresh
09-27-2007, 11:56 AM
In 1986, Congress authorized the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to act as the “principal military adviser” to the President. In this case, I was told, the current chairman, Marine General Peter Pace, has gone further in his advice to the White House by addressing the consequences of an attack on Iran. “Here’s the military telling the President what he can’t do politically”—raising concerns about rising oil prices, for example—the former senior intelligence official said. “The J.C.S. chairman going to the President with an economic argument—what’s going on here?” (General Pace and the White House declined to comment. The Defense Department responded to a detailed request for comment by saying that the Administration was “working diligently” on a diplomatic solution and that it could not comment on classified matters.)

A retired four-star general, who ran a major command, said, “The system is starting to sense the end of the road, and they don’t want to be condemned by history. They want to be able to say, ‘We stood up.’ ”

The military leadership is also raising tactical arguments against the proposal for bombing Iran, many of which are related to the consequences for Iraq. According to retired Army Major General William Nash, who was commanding general of the First Armored Division, served in Iraq and Bosnia, and worked for the United Nations in Kosovo, attacking Iran would heighten the risks to American and coalition forces inside Iraq. “What if one hundred thousand Iranian volunteers came across the border?” Nash asked. “If we bomb Iran, they cannot retaliate militarily by air—only on the ground or by sea, and only in Iraq or the Gulf. A military planner cannot discount that possibility, and he cannot make an ideological assumption that the Iranians wouldn’t do it. We’re not talking about victory or defeat—only about what damage Iran could do to our interests.” Nash, now a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said, “Their first possible response would be to send forces into Iraq. And, since the Iraqi Army has limited capacity, it means that the coalition forces would have to engage them.”

The Americans serving as advisers to the Iraqi police and military may be at special risk, Nash added, since an American bombing “would be seen not only as an attack on Shiites but as an attack on all Muslims. Throughout the Middle East, it would likely be seen as another example of American imperialism. It would probably cause the war to spread.”

In contrast, some conservatives are arguing that America’s position in Iraq would improve if Iran chose to retaliate there, according to a government consultant with close ties to the Pentagon’s civilian leaders, because Iranian interference would divide the Shiites into pro- and anti-Iranian camps, and unify the Kurds and the Sunnis. The Iran hawks in the White House and the State Department, including Elliott Abrams and Michael Doran, both of whom are National Security Council advisers on the Middle East, also have an answer for those who believe that the bombing of Iran would put American soldiers in Iraq at risk, the consultant said. He described the counterargument this way: “Yes, there will be Americans under attack, but they are under attack now.”

Iran’s geography would also complicate an air war. The senior military official said that, when it came to air strikes, “this is not Iraq,” which is fairly flat, except in the northeast. “Much of Iran is akin to Afghanistan in terms of topography and flight mapping—a pretty tough target,” the military official said. Over rugged terrain, planes have to come in closer, and “Iran has a lot of mature air-defense systems and networks,” he said. “Global operations are always risky, and if we go down that road we have to be prepared to follow up with ground troops.”

The U.S. Navy has a separate set of concerns. Iran has more than seven hundred undeclared dock and port facilities along its Persian Gulf coast. The small ports, known as “invisible piers,” were constructed two decades ago by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards to accommodate small private boats used for smuggling. (The Guards relied on smuggling to finance their activities and enrich themselves.) The ports, an Iran expert who advises the U.S. government told me, provide “the infrastructure to enable the Guards to go after American aircraft carriers with suicide water bombers”—small vessels loaded with high explosives. He said that the Iranians have conducted exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow channel linking the Persian Gulf to the Arabian Sea and then on to the Indian Ocean. The strait is regularly traversed by oil tankers, in which a thousand small Iranian boats simulated attacks on American ships. “That would be the hardest problem we’d face in the water: a thousand small targets weaving in and out among our ships.”

America’s allies in the Gulf also believe that an attack on Iran would endanger them, and many American military planners agree. “Iran can do a lot of things—all asymmetrical,” a Pentagon adviser on counter-insurgency told me. “They have agents all over the Gulf, and the ability to strike at will.” In May, according to a well-informed oil-industry expert, the Emir of Qatar made a private visit to Tehran to discuss security in the Gulf after the Iraq war. He sought some words of non-aggression from the Iranian leadership. Instead, the Iranians suggested that Qatar, which is the site of the regional headquarters of the U.S. Central Command, would be its first target in the event of an American attack. Qatar is a leading exporter of gas and currently operates several major offshore oil platforms, all of which would be extremely vulnerable. (Nasser bin Hamad M. al-Khalifa, Qatar’s ambassador to Washington, denied that any threats were issued during the Emir’s meetings in Tehran. He told me that it was “a very nice visit.”)

A retired American diplomat, who has experience in the Gulf, confirmed that the Qatari government is “very scared of what America will do” in Iran, and “scared to death” about what Iran would do in response. Iran’s message to the oil-producing Gulf states, the retired diplomat said, has been that it will respond, and “you are on the wrong side of history.”

Nickdfresh
09-27-2007, 11:57 AM
In late April, the military leadership, headed by General Pace, achieved a major victory when the White House dropped its insistence that the plan for a bombing campaign include the possible use of a nuclear device to destroy Iran’s uranium-enrichment plant at Natanz, nearly two hundred miles south of Tehran. The huge complex includes large underground facilities built into seventy-five-foot-deep holes in the ground and designed to hold as many as fifty thousand centrifuges. “Bush and Cheney were dead serious about the nuclear planning,” the former senior intelligence official told me. “And Pace stood up to them. Then the world came back: ‘O.K., the nuclear option is politically unacceptable.’ ” At the time, a number of retired officers, including two Army major generals who served in Iraq, Paul Eaton and Charles Swannack, Jr., had begun speaking out against the Administration’s handling of the Iraq war. This period is known to many in the Pentagon as “the April Revolution.”

“An event like this doesn’t get papered over very quickly,” the former official added. “The bad feelings over the nuclear option are still felt. The civilian hierarchy feels extraordinarily betrayed by the brass, and the brass feel they were tricked into it”—the nuclear planning—“by being asked to provide all options in the planning papers.”

Sam Gardiner, a military analyst who taught at the National War College before retiring from the Air Force as a colonel, said that Rumsfeld’s second-guessing and micromanagement were a fundamental problem. “Plans are more and more being directed and run by civilians from the Office of the Secretary of Defense,” Gardiner said. “It causes a lot of tensions. I’m hearing that the military is increasingly upset about not being taken seriously by Rumsfeld and his staff.”

Gardiner went on, “The consequence is that, for Iran and other missions, Rumsfeld will be pushed more and more in the direction of special operations, where he has direct authority and does not have to put up with the objections of the Chiefs.” Since taking office in 2001, Rumsfeld has been engaged in a running dispute with many senior commanders over his plans to transform the military, and his belief that future wars will be fought, and won, with airpower and Special Forces. That combination worked, at first, in Afghanistan, but the growing stalemate there, and in Iraq, has created a rift, especially inside the Army. The senior military official said, “The policymakers are in love with Special Ops—the guys on camels.”

The discord over Iran can, in part, be ascribed to Rumsfeld’s testy relationship with the generals. They see him as high-handed and unwilling to accept responsibility for what has gone wrong in Iraq. A former Bush Administration official described a recent meeting between Rumsfeld and four-star generals and admirals at a military commanders’ conference, on a base outside Washington, that, he was told, went badly. The commanders later told General Pace that “they didn’t come here to be lectured by the Defense Secretary. They wanted to tell Rumsfeld what their concerns were.” A few of the officers attended a subsequent meeting between Pace and Rumsfeld, and were unhappy, the former official said, when “Pace did not repeat any of their complaints. There was disappointment about Pace.” The retired four-star general also described the commanders’ conference as “very fractious.” He added, “We’ve got twenty-five hundred dead, people running all over the world doing stupid things, and officers outside the Beltway asking, ‘What the hell is going on?’ ”

Pace’s supporters say that he is in a difficult position, given Rumsfeld’s penchant for viewing generals who disagree with him as disloyal. “It’s a very narrow line between being responsive and effective and being outspoken and ineffective,” the former senior intelligence official said.

But Rumsfeld is not alone in the Administration where Iran is concerned; he is closely allied with **** Cheney, and, the Pentagon consultant said, “the President generally defers to the Vice-President on all these issues,” such as dealing with the specifics of a bombing campaign if diplomacy fails. “He feels that Cheney has an informational advantage. Cheney is not a renegade. He represents the conventional wisdom in all of this. He appeals to the strategic-bombing lobby in the Air Force—who think that carpet bombing is the solution to all problems.”

Bombing may not work against Natanz, let alone against the rest of Iran’s nuclear program. The possibility of using tactical nuclear weapons gained support in the Administration because of the belief that it was the only way to insure the destruction of Natanz’s buried laboratories. When that option proved to be politically untenable (a nuclear warhead would, among other things, vent fatal radiation for miles), the Air Force came up with a new bombing plan, using advanced guidance systems to deliver a series of large bunker-busters—conventional bombs filled with high explosives—on the same target, in swift succession. The Air Force argued that the impact would generate sufficient concussive force to accomplish what a tactical nuclear warhead would achieve, but without provoking an outcry over what would be the first use of a nuclear weapon in a conflict since Nagasaki.

Nickdfresh
09-27-2007, 11:57 AM
The new bombing concept has provoked controversy among Pentagon planners and outside experts. Robert Pape, a professor at the University of Chicago who has taught at the Air Force’s School of Advanced Air and Space Studies, told me, “We always have a few new toys, new gimmicks, and rarely do these new tricks lead to a phenomenal breakthrough. The dilemma is that Natanz is a very large underground area, and even if the roof came down we won’t be able to get a good estimate of the bomb damage without people on the ground. We don’t even know where it goes underground, and we won’t have much confidence in assessing what we’ve actually done. Absent capturing an Iranian nuclear scientist and documents, it’s impossible to set back the program for sure.”

One complicating aspect of the multiple-hit tactic, the Pentagon consultant told me, is “the liquefaction problem”—the fact that the soil would lose its consistency owing to the enormous heat generated by the impact of the first bomb. “It will be like bombing water, with its currents and eddies. The bombs would likely be diverted.” Intelligence has also shown that for the past two years the Iranians have been shifting their most sensitive nuclear-related materials and production facilities, moving some into urban areas, in anticipation of a bombing raid.

“The Air Force is hawking it to the other services,” the former senior intelligence official said. “They’re all excited by it, but they’re being terribly criticized for it.” The main problem, he said, is that the other services do not believe the tactic will work. “The Navy says, ‘It’s not our plan.’ The Marines are against it—they know they’re going to be the guys on the ground if things go south.”

“It’s the bomber mentality,” the Pentagon consultant said. “The Air Force is saying, ‘We’ve got it covered, we can hit all the distributed targets.’ ” The Air Force arsenal includes a cluster bomb that can deploy scores of small bomblets with individual guidance systems to home in on specific targets. The weapons were deployed in Kosovo and during the early stages of the 2003 invasion of Iraq, and the Air Force is claiming that the same techniques can be used with larger bombs, allowing them to be targeted from twenty-five thousand feet against a multitude of widely dispersed targets. “The Chiefs all know that ‘shock and awe’ is dead on arrival,” the Pentagon consultant said. “All except the Air Force.”

“Rumsfeld and Cheney are the pushers on this—they don’t want to repeat the mistake of doing too little,” the government consultant with ties to Pentagon civilians told me. “The lesson they took from Iraq is that there should have been more troops on the ground”—an impossibility in Iran, because of the overextension of American forces in Iraq—“so the air war in Iran will be one of overwhelming force.”

Many of the Bush Administration’s supporters view the abrupt change in negotiating policy as a deft move that won public plaudits and obscured the fact that Washington had no other good options. “The United States has done what its international partners have asked it to do,” said Patrick Clawson, who is an expert on Iran and the deputy director for research at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a conservative think tank. “The ball is now in their court—for both the Iranians and the Europeans.” Bush’s goal, Clawson said, was to assuage his allies, as well as Russia and China, whose votes, or abstentions, in the United Nations would be needed if the talks broke down and the U.S. decided to seek Security Council sanctions or a U.N. resolution that allowed for the use of force against Iran.

“If Iran refuses to re-start negotiations, it will also be difficult for Russia and China to reject a U.N. call for International Atomic Energy Agency inspections,” Clawson said. “And the longer we go without accelerated I.A.E.A. access, the more important the issue of Iran’s hidden facilities will become.” The drawback to the new American position, Clawson added, was that “the Iranians might take Bush’s agreeing to join the talks as a sign that their hard line has worked.”

Clawson acknowledged that intelligence on Iran’s nuclear-weapons progress was limited. “There was a time when we had reasonable confidence in what we knew,” he said. “We could say, ‘There’s less time than we think,’ or, ‘It’s going more slowly.’ Take your choice. Lack of information is a problem, but we know they’ve made rapid progress with their centrifuges.” (The most recent American intelligence estimate is that Iran could build a warhead sometime between 2010 and 2015.)

Flynt Leverett, a former National Security Council aide for the Bush Administration, told me, “The only reason Bush and Cheney relented about talking to Iran was because they were within weeks of a diplomatic meltdown in the United Nations. Russia and China were going to stiff us”—that is, prevent the passage of a U.N. resolution. Leverett, a project director at the New America Foundation, added that the White House’s proposal, despite offering trade and economic incentives for Iran, has not “resolved any of the fundamental contradictions of U.S. policy.” The precondition for the talks, he said—an open-ended halt to all Iranian enrichment activity—“amounts to the President wanting a guarantee that they’ll surrender before he talks to them. Iran cannot accept long-term constraints on its fuel-cycle activity as part of a settlement without a security guarantee”—for example, some form of mutual non-aggression pact with the United States.

Leverett told me that, without a change in U.S. policy, the balance of power in the negotiations will shift to Russia. “Russia sees Iran as a beachhead against American interests in the Middle East, and they’re playing a very sophisticated game,” he said. “Russia is quite comfortable with Iran having nuclear fuel cycles that would be monitored, and they’ll support the Iranian position”—in part, because it gives them the opportunity to sell billions of dollars’ worth of nuclear fuel and materials to Tehran. “They believe they can manage their long- and short-term interests with Iran, and still manage the security interests,” Leverett said. China, which, like Russia, has veto power on the Security Council, was motivated in part by its growing need for oil, he said. “They don’t want punitive measures, such as sanctions, on energy producers, and they don’t want to see the U.S. take a unilateral stance on a state that matters to them.” But, he said, “they’re happy to let Russia take the lead in this.” (China, a major purchaser of Iranian oil, is negotiating a multibillion-dollar deal with Iran for the purchase of liquefied natural gas over a period of twenty-five years.) As for the Bush Administration, he added, “unless there’s a shift, it’s only a question of when its policy falls apart.”

It’s not clear whether the Administration will be able to keep the Europeans in accord with American policy if the talks break down. Morton Abramowitz, a former head of State Department intelligence, who was one of the founders of the International Crisis Group, said, “The world is different than it was three years ago, and while the Europeans want good relations with us, they will not go to war with Iran unless they know that an exhaustive negotiating effort was made by Bush. There’s just too much involved, like the price of oil. There will be great pressure put on the Europeans, but I don’t think they’ll roll over and support a war.”

The Europeans, like the generals at the Pentagon, are concerned about the quality of intelligence. A senior European intelligence official said that while “there was every reason to assume” that the Iranians were working on a bomb, there wasn’t enough evidence to exclude the possibility that they were bluffing, and hadn’t moved beyond a civilian research program. The intelligence official was not optimistic about the current negotiations. “It’s a mess, and I don’t see any possibility, at the moment, of solving the problem,” he said. “The only thing to do is contain it. The question is, What is the redline? Is it when you master the nuclear fuel cycle? Or is it just about building a bomb?” Every country had a different criterion, he said. One worry he had was that, in addition to its security concerns, the Bush Administration was driven by its interest in “democratizing” the region. “The United States is on a mission,” he said.

A European diplomat told me that his government would be willing to discuss Iran’s security concerns—a dialogue he said Iran offered Washington three years ago. The diplomat added that “no one wants to be faced with the alternative if the negotiations don’t succeed: either accept the bomb or bomb them. That’s why our goal is to keep the pressure on, and see what Iran’s answer will be.”

Nickdfresh
09-27-2007, 11:58 AM
A second European diplomat, speaking of the Iranians, said, “Their tactic is going to be to stall and appear reasonable—to say, ‘Yes, but . . .’ We know what’s going on, and the timeline we’re under. The Iranians have repeatedly been in violation of I.A.E.A. safeguards and have given us years of coverup and deception. The international community does not want them to have a bomb, and if we let them continue to enrich that’s throwing in the towel—giving up before we talk.” The diplomat went on, “It would be a mistake to predict an inevitable failure of our strategy. Iran is a regime that is primarily concerned with its own survival, and if its existence is threatened it would do whatever it needed to do—including backing down.”

The Iranian regime’s calculations about its survival also depend on internal political factors. The nuclear program is popular with the Iranian people, including those—the young and the secular—who are most hostile to the religious leadership. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the President of Iran, has effectively used the program to rally the nation behind him, and against Washington. Ahmadinejad and the ruling clerics have said that they believe Bush’s goal is not to prevent them from building a bomb but to drive them out of office.

Several current and former officials I spoke to expressed doubt that President Bush would settle for a negotiated resolution of the nuclear crisis. A former high-level Pentagon civilian official, who still deals with sensitive issues for the government, said that Bush remains confident in his military decisions. The President and others in the Administration often invoke Winston Churchill, both privately and in public, as an example of a politician who, in his own time, was punished in the polls but was rewarded by history for rejecting appeasement. In one speech, Bush said, Churchill “seemed like a Texan to me. He wasn’t afraid of public-opinion polls. . . . He charged ahead, and the world is better for it.”

The Israelis have insisted for years that Iran has a clandestine program to build a bomb, and will do so as soon as it can. Israeli officials have emphasized that their “redline” is the moment Iran masters the nuclear fuel cycle, acquiring the technical ability to produce weapons-grade uranium. “Iran managed to surprise everyone in terms of the enrichment capability,” one diplomat familiar with the Israeli position told me, referring to Iran’s announcement, this spring, that it had successfully enriched uranium to the 3.6-per-cent level needed to fuel a nuclear-power reactor. The Israelis believe that Iran must be stopped as soon as possible, because, once it is able to enrich uranium for fuel, the next step—enriching it to the ninety-per-cent level needed for a nuclear bomb—is merely a mechanical process.

Israeli intelligence, however, has also failed to provide specific evidence about secret sites in Iran, according to current and former military and intelligence officials. In May, Prime Minister Ehud Olmert visited Washington and, addressing a joint session of Congress, said that Iran “stands on the verge of acquiring nuclear weapons” that would pose “an existential threat” to Israel. Olmert noted that Ahmadinejad had questioned the reality of the Holocaust, and he added, “It is not Israel’s threat alone. It is a threat to all those committed to stability in the Middle East and to the well-being of the world at large.” But at a secret intelligence exchange that took place at the Pentagon during the visit, the Pentagon consultant said, “what the Israelis provided fell way short” of what would be needed to publicly justify preventive action.

The issue of what to do, and when, seems far from resolved inside the Israeli government. Martin Indyk, a former U.S. Ambassador to Israel, who is now the director of the Brookings Institution’s Saban Center for Middle East Policy, told me, “Israel would like to see diplomacy succeed, but they’re worried that in the meantime Iran will cross a threshold of nuclear know-how—and they’re worried about an American military attack not working. They assume they’ll be struck first in retaliation by Iran.” Indyk added, “At the end of the day, the United States can live with Iranian, Pakistani, and Indian nuclear bombs—but for Israel there’s no Mutual Assured Destruction. If they have to live with an Iranian bomb, there will be a great deal of anxiety in Israel, and a lot of tension between Israel and Iran, and between Israel and the U.S.”

Iran has not, so far, officially answered President Bush’s proposal. But its initial response has been dismissive. In a June 22nd interview with the Guardian, Ali Larijani, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator, rejected Washington’s demand that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment before talks could begin. “If they want to put this prerequisite, why are we negotiating at all?” Larijani said. “We should put aside the sanctions and give up all this talk about regime change.” He characterized the American offer as a “sermon,” and insisted that Iran was not building a bomb. “We don’t want the bomb,” he said. Ahmadinejad has said that Iran would make a formal counterproposal by August 22nd, but last week Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme religious leader, declared, on state radio, “Negotiation with the United States has no benefits for us.”

Despite the tough rhetoric, Iran would be reluctant to reject a dialogue with the United States, according to Giandomenico Picco, who, as a representative of the United Nations, helped to negotiate the ceasefire that ended the Iran-Iraq War, in 1988. “If you engage a superpower, you feel you are a superpower,” Picco told me. “And now the haggling in the Persian bazaar begins. We are negotiating over a carpet”—the suspected weapons program—“that we’re not sure exists, and that we don’t want to exist. And if at the end there never was a carpet it’ll be the negotiation of the century.”

If the talks do break down, and the Administration decides on military action, the generals will, of course, follow their orders; the American military remains loyal to the concept of civilian control. But some officers have been pushing for what they call the “middle way,” which the Pentagon consultant described as “a mix of options that require a number of Special Forces teams and air cover to protect them to send into Iran to grab the evidence so the world will know what Iran is doing.” He added that, unlike Rumsfeld, he and others who support this approach were under no illusion that it could bring about regime change. The goal, he said, was to resolve the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Mohamed ElBaradei, the director general of the I.A.E.A., said in a speech this spring that his agency believed there was still time for diplomacy to achieve that goal. “We should have learned some lessons from Iraq,” ElBaradei, who won the Nobel Peace Prize last year, said. “We should have learned that we should be very careful about assessing our intelligence. . . . We should have learned that we should try to exhaust every possible diplomatic means to solve the problem before thinking of any other enforcement measures.”

He went on, “When you push a country into a corner, you are always giving the driver’s seat to the hard-liners. . . . If Iran were to move out of the nonproliferation regime altogether, if Iran were to develop a nuclear weapon program, we clearly will have a much, much more serious problem.”

Nickdfresh
09-27-2007, 12:35 PM
Another related Hersh article that I haven't read yet:

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/03/05/070305fa_fact_hersh

Firefly
09-27-2007, 01:15 PM
Some mad stuff in those warning signs indeed!

Nickdfresh
09-27-2007, 02:09 PM
Yes, including "PIZINT" or pizza intelligence. :p

I believe this was picked up on on the eve of the Invasion of Grenada when a spike in the take out orders of restaurants around the Pentagon was first noticed...

Chevan
09-28-2007, 12:25 AM
-

Top Ten Warning Signs That Would Indicate the United States is About to Bomb Iran

Signs That the United States is About to Bomb Iran
7. -- Increased delivery of Pizza to Pentagon


Damn.... so i was right and USA will soon attack the Iran George.
Nick its seems you don't know what's going on in the own state;)
If the US will use the nuclear charges i think russia and china should join to stop the crazy heads in Pantagon.Perhaps through the delivery wearpon to the Iran;) We both do not need the "new Iraq" near our borders.

Nickdfresh
09-28-2007, 05:30 PM
Damn.... so i was right and USA will soon attack the Iran George.

Doubtful. It's months away, and hopefully never...


Nick its seems you don't know what's going on in the own state;)

What? You mean the new Dominos on the Pentagon front lawn means something?

Actually, I believe the first article is just hypothetical. And if you read the articles I've posted by Seymour Hersh of "The New Yorker," there's been talk of this for a couple of years, and supposedly high levels of resistance by officers and civilians at the Pentagon to actually launching strikes.


If the US will use the nuclear charges i think russia and china should join to stop the crazy heads in Pantagon.Perhaps through the delivery wearpon to the Iran;) We both do not need the "new Iraq" near our borders.

I doubt it. They'd make too much selling weapons' systems...

Firefly
09-28-2007, 06:15 PM
Yes, including "PIZINT" or pizza intelligence. :p

I believe this was picked up on on the eve of the Invasion of Grenada when a spike in the take out orders of restaurants around the Pentagon was first noticed...

LOL, yes but I was thinking more of the Middle Eastern men hanging around trying to get a phone signal. Come on, honestly, even Iran isnt stupid enough to use agents that run around looking like that. There are plenty of iranians that look like westerners better suited to being agents etc.

Chevan
10-01-2007, 03:08 AM
Actually, I believe the first article is just hypothetical. And if you read the articles I've posted by Seymour Hersh of "The New Yorker," there's been talk of this for a couple of years, and supposedly high levels of resistance by officers and civilians at the Pentagon to actually launching strikes.

So i was right- you do not understans what going on Nick.
If this all just the blackmail - as you pronmis.
Why do needs to move the 6 american strike group to the Indian ocean?


1. – The U.S. Navy stages a "surge exercise" and moves six carrier battle groups into the Indian Ocean.

2. – A "regularly scheduled exercise" moves Patriot Missile Batteies to Iraq, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. These exercises happen from time to time, but if they happen when other things are happening…

3. -- Movement of B-52 and B1B bombers to the island of Diego Garcia (in the Indian Ocean).

4. -- Deployment of F117 stealth bombers and F-22 fighters to anywhere in the Persian Gulf.

5. -- Deployment of B-2 Stealth Bombers to Guam, where there are special facilities for maintaining these aircraft.

6. -- Lockdown of Whitman Air Force Base (where most B-2 bombers are stationed) in Missouri.

What is for this military show Nick?
Simply to impress the Iran?Hardly.
This is too expensive even for USA;)


I doubt it. They'd make too much selling weapons' systems...
Is this a problem for the Russia?
It is the second world wearpon system seller Nick.
Chinas has a great military production too.
Another matter - would we do it against USA.;)
I/m sure this is not right, however today the russia already has the treaty for the selling the AA-defence rocket systems to the Iran.
But if the USA will openly use the nuclear wearpons agains the neighbourd state- who know what could happend?

Nickdfresh
10-01-2007, 07:16 PM
Chevan, I think something's being lost in translation. These things are not happening. The article is a series of "what if" scenarios...

Nickdfresh
10-01-2007, 07:17 PM
Annals of National Security
Shifting Targets
The Administration’s plan for Iran.
by Seymour M. Hersh October 8, 2007

In a series of public statements in recent months, President Bush and members of his Administration have redefined the war in Iraq, to an increasing degree, as a strategic battle between the United States and Iran. “Shia extremists, backed by Iran, are training Iraqis to carry out attacks on our forces and the Iraqi people,” Bush told the national convention of the American Legion in August. “The attacks on our bases and our troops by Iranian-supplied munitions have increased. . . . The Iranian regime must halt these actions. And, until it does, I will take actions necessary to protect our troops.” He then concluded, to applause, “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

The President’s position, and its corollary—that, if many of America’s problems in Iraq are the responsibility of Tehran, then the solution to them is to confront the Iranians—have taken firm hold in the Administration. This summer, the White House, pushed by the office of Vice-President **** Cheney, requested that the Joint Chiefs of Staff redraw long-standing plans for a possible attack on Iran, according to former officials and government consultants. 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.

The shift in targeting reflects three developments. First, the President and his senior advisers have concluded that their campaign to convince the American public that Iran poses an imminent nuclear threat has failed (unlike a similar campaign before the Iraq war), and that as a result there is not enough popular support for a major bombing campaign. The second development is that the White House has come to terms, in private, with the general consensus of the American intelligence community that Iran is at least five years away from obtaining a bomb. And, finally, there has been a growing recognition in Washington and throughout the Middle East that Iran is emerging as the geopolitical winner of the war in Iraq.

During a secure videoconference that took place early this summer, the President told Ryan Crocker, the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq, that he was thinking of hitting Iranian targets across the border and that the British “were on board.” At that point, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice interjected that there was a need to proceed carefully, because of the ongoing diplomatic track. Bush ended by instructing Crocker to tell Iran to stop interfering in Iraq or it would face American retribution.

At a White House meeting with Cheney this summer, according to a former senior intelligence official, it was agreed that, if limited strikes on Iran were carried out, the Administration could fend off criticism by arguing that they were a defensive action to save soldiers in Iraq. If Democrats objected, the Administration could say, “Bill Clinton did the same thing; he conducted limited strikes in Afghanistan, the Sudan, and in Baghdad to protect American lives.” 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 *** about the Republican worries, and neither does the President.”

Bryan Whitman, a Pentagon spokesman, said, “The President has made it clear that the United States government remains committed to a diplomatic solution with respect to Iran. The State Department is working diligently along with the international community to address our broad range of concerns.” (The White House declined to comment.)

I was repeatedly cautioned, in interviews, that the President has yet to issue the “execute order” that would be required for a military operation inside Iran, and such an order may never be issued. But there has been a significant increase in the tempo of attack planning. In mid-August, senior officials told reporters that the Administration intended to declare Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terrorist organization. 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. (A spokesman for the agency said, “The C.I.A. does not, as a rule, publicly discuss the relative size of its operational components.”)

“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. He added, “The guys now running the Iranian program have limited direct experience with Iran. In the event of an attack, how will the Iranians react? They will react, and the Administration has not thought it all the way through.”

That theme was echoed by Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national-security adviser, who said that he had heard discussions of the White House’s more limited bombing plans for Iran. Brzezinski said that Iran would likely react to an American attack “by intensifying the conflict in Iraq and also in Afghanistan, their neighbors, and that could draw in Pakistan. We will be stuck in a regional war for twenty years.”

In a speech at the United Nations last week, Iran’s President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, was defiant. He referred to America as an “aggressor” state, and said, “How can the incompetents who cannot even manage and control themselves rule humanity and arrange its affairs? Unfortunately, they have put themselves in the position of God.” (The day before, at Columbia, he suggested that the facts of the Holocaust still needed to be determined.)

“A lot depends on how stupid the Iranians will be,” Brzezinski told me. “Will they cool off Ahmadinejad and tone down their language?” 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.”

General David Petraeus, the commander of the multinational forces in Iraq, in his report to Congress in September, buttressed the Administration’s case against Iran. “None of us, earlier this year, appreciated the extent of Iranian involvement in Iraq, something about which we and Iraq’s leaders all now have greater concern,” he said. Iran, Petraeus said, was fighting “a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq.”

Iran has had a presence in Iraq for decades; the extent and the purpose of its current activities there are in dispute, however. During Saddam Hussein’s rule, when the Sunni-dominated Baath Party brutally oppressed the majority Shiites, Iran supported them. Many in the present Iraqi Shiite leadership, including prominent members of the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, spent years in exile in Iran; last week, at the Council on Foreign Relations, Maliki said, according to the Washington Post, that Iraq’s relations with the Iranians had “improved to the point that they are not interfering in our internal affairs.” Iran is so entrenched in Iraqi Shiite circles that any “proxy war” could be as much through the Iraqi state as against it. The crux of the Bush Administration’s strategic dilemma is that its decision to back a Shiite-led government after the fall of Saddam has empowered Iran, and made it impossible to exclude Iran from the Iraqi political scene.

Vali Nasr, a professor of international politics at Tufts University, who is an expert on Iran and Shiism, told me, “Between 2003 and 2006, the Iranians thought they were closest to the United States on the issue of Iraq.” The Iraqi Shia religious leadership encouraged Shiites to avoid confrontation with American soldiers and to participate in elections—believing that a one-man, one-vote election process could only result in a Shia-dominated government. Initially, the insurgency was mainly Sunni, especially Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. Nasr told me that Iran’s policy since 2003 has been to provide funding, arms, and aid to several Shiite factions—including some in Maliki’s coalition. The problem, Nasr said, is that “once you put the arms on the ground you cannot control how they’re used later.”

In the Shiite view, the White House “only looks at Iran’s ties to Iraq in terms of security,” Nasr said. “Last year, over one million Iranians travelled to Iraq on pilgrimages, and there is more than a billion dollars a year in trading between the two countries. But the Americans act as if every Iranian inside Iraq were there to import weapons.”
...

The rest is at:

The New Yorker (http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/10/08/071008fa_fact_hersh)

George Eller
10-02-2007, 12:52 AM
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Thanks Nick for this very interesting article from The New Yorker :)

Interesting that the French believe that the Iranians are only two years from producing a nuclear warhead
(p 5):


http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2007/10/08/071008fa_fact_hersh?currentPage=5
The French government shares the Administration’s sense of urgency about Iran’s nuclear program, and believes that Iran will be able to produce a warhead within two years.

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George Eller
10-11-2007, 09:31 AM
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Pope attacks Iran at Jewish Congress
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article2623793.ece
Times Online
October 9, 2007

Ruth Gledhill, Religion Correspondent for the Times

The Pope hit out at Iran as he pledged to help world Jewish leaders in their fight against anti-Semitism.

Pope Benedict XVI told leaders of the World Jewish Congress that Iran was “an issue of big concern” to him.

At a meeting at the Vatican, the Pope spoke of his concern about rising anti-Semitism and described how he wanted to use educational tools to counter the hatred of the Iranian leadership towards the Jewish people and Israel.

Maram Stern, secretary general of the World Jewish Congress, said after the audience: “We thanked the Holy Father for everything he did for the Jewish people, and more importantly what he will do.”

Speaking to journalists in Rome, he said the Pope had “recognised the question of Iran as an issue of big concern for him.”

Members of the congress discussed the critical problem of “resurgent anti-Semitism” in Europe. Britain itself has seen a marked rise in anti-Semitism, linked to increasing anti-Zionism and to events in the Middle East.

In a statement after the audience, the congress said members of the delegation “called on the Pontiff to take action against those in the Church who wanted to do damage to the close and positive relationship between Christians and Jews”.

Ronald Lauder, new president of the congress, who headed the delegation, said that the Pope had agreed to host a joint event with his organisation when Benedict XVI visits New York next year.

Mr Lauder, who is the son of cosmetics queen Estee Lauder and a former US ambassador to Austria, raised the question of the Polish priest, Father Tadeusz Rydzyk, who heads a Catholic media empire including Radio Maryja and television Trwam. Jewish groups have repeatedly accused the priest of using his media outlets to peddle a creed of anti-Semitism.

Only a few days ago Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz, secretary to the late Pope John Paul II, accused Father Rydzyk of trying to split the Church and smear the legacy of the late Pope, who radically improved relations with the Jewish community during his pontificate and was the first Pope to visit a Synagogue.

The delegation also discussed with the Pope the importance of dialogue with moderate Muslims.

The congress’s visit to Rome was an important step in re-establishing it as a player in the ongoing fight against anti-Semitism on the world stage after it was itself riven by controversy over funds and other matters over recent months.

Iran’s government, which has the largest Jewish community living in the Middle East outside Israel, numbering 20,000, repeatedly denies that it is anti-Semitic.

Nevertheless, shortly after his election in 2005, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called for Israel to be “wiped from the map” and described the Holocaust as a “myth”.

Only last week he questioned again the scale of the mass slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust. He also suggested once more that Israel could be moved to arctic North America.

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Rising Sun*
10-11-2007, 09:46 AM
-Only last week he questioned again the scale of the mass slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust. He also suggested once more that Israel could be moved to arctic North America.

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What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Why not move Iran there?

Could be of biblical significance that the ice melt is opening up the North West Passage.

Bound to be a passage or ten in the Bible, or Q'ran, or Torah, that can be interpreted to mean that it's time for Ahmadinejad to be used as the chisel on an icebreaker up there. :)

George Eller
10-11-2007, 10:09 AM
-
Only last week he questioned again the scale of the mass slaughter of Jews in the Holocaust. He also suggested once more that Israel could be moved to arctic North America.
-


What's sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.

Why not move Iran there?

Could be of biblical significance that the ice melt is opening up the North West Passage.

Bound to be a passage or ten in the Bible, or Q'ran, or Torah, that can be interpreted to mean that it's time for Ahmadinejad to be used as the chisel on an icebreaker up there. :)

-

Or possibly in one of the quatrains of Nostradamus ;) :D

Nostradamus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostradamus

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Rising Sun*
10-11-2007, 10:53 AM
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Or possibly in one of the quatrains of Nostradamus ;) :D

Nostradamus
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nostradamus

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Well, if it's not there, it won't be anywhere. :D

George Eller
10-14-2007, 02:22 AM
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Analysts Find Israel Struck a Nuclear Project Inside Syria
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/14/washington/14weapons.html?_r=1&hp&oref=slogin
The New York Times
By DAVID E. SANGER and MARK MAZZETTI
Published: October 14, 2007

WASHINGTON, Oct. 13 — Israel’s air attack on Syria last month was directed against a site that Israeli and American intelligence analysts judged was a partly constructed nuclear reactor, apparently modeled on one North Korea has used to create its stockpile of nuclear weapons fuel, according to American and foreign officials with access to the intelligence reports.

The description of the target addresses one of the central mysteries surrounding the Sept. 6 attack, and suggests that Israel carried out the raid to demonstrate its determination to snuff out even a nascent nuclear project in a neighboring state. The Bush administration was divided at the time about the wisdom of Israel’s strike, American officials said, and some senior policy makers still regard the attack as premature.

The attack on the reactor project has echoes of an Israeli raid more than a quarter century ago, in 1981, when Israel destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq shortly before it was to have begun operating. That attack was officially condemned by the Reagan administration, though Israelis consider it among their military’s finest moments. In the weeks before the Iraq war, Bush administration officials said they believed that the attack set back Iraq’s nuclear ambitions by many years.

By contrast, the facility that the Israelis struck in Syria appears to have been much further from completion, the American and foreign officials said. They said it would have been years before the Syrians could have used the reactor to produce the spent nuclear fuel that could, through a series of additional steps, be reprocessed into bomb-grade plutonium.

Many details remain unclear, most notably how much progress the Syrians had made in construction before the Israelis struck, the role of any assistance provided by North Korea, and whether the Syrians could make a plausible case that the reactor was intended to produce electricity. In Washington and Israel, information about the raid has been wrapped in extraordinary secrecy and restricted to just a handful of officials, while the Israeli press has been prohibited from publishing information about the attack.

The New York Times reported this week that a debate had begun within the Bush administration about whether the information secretly cited by Israel to justify its attack should be interpreted by the United States as reason to toughen its approach to Syria and North Korea. In later interviews, officials made clear that the disagreements within the administration began this summer, as a debate about whether an Israeli attack on the incomplete reactor was warranted then.

The officials did not say that the administration had ultimately opposed the Israeli strike, but that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates were particularly concerned about the ramifications of a pre-emptive strike in the absence of an urgent threat.

“There wasn’t a lot of debate about the evidence,” said one American official familiar with the intense discussions over the summer between Washington and the government of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert of Israel. “There was a lot of debate about how to respond to it.”

Even though it has signed the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, Syria would not have been obligated to declare the existence of a reactor during the early phases of construction. It would have also had the legal right to complete construction of the reactor, as long as its purpose was to generate electricity.

In his only public comment on the raid, Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, acknowledged this month that Israeli jets dropped bombs on a building that he said was “related to the military” but which he insisted was “not used.”

A senior Israeli official, while declining to speak about the specific nature of the target, said the strike was intended to “re-establish the credibility of our deterrent power,” signaling that Israel meant to send a message to the Syrians that even the potential for a nuclear weapons program would not be permitted. But several American officials said the strike may also have been intended by Israel as a signal to Iran and its nuclear aspirations. Neither Iran nor any Arab government except for Syria has criticized the Israeli raid, suggesting that Israel is not the only country that would be disturbed by a nuclear Syria. North Korea did issue a protest.

The target of the Israeli raid and the American debate about the Syrian project were described by government officials and nongovernment experts interviewed in recent weeks in the United States and the Middle East. All insisted on anonymity because of rules that prohibit discussing classified information. The officials who described the target of the attack included some on each side of the debate about whether a partly constructed Syrian nuclear reactor should be seen as an urgent concern, as well as some who described themselves as neutral on the question.

The White House press secretary, Dana Perino, said Saturday that the administration would have no comment on the intelligence issues surrounding the Israeli strike. Israel has also refused to comment.

(CONTINUED BELOW)

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George Eller
10-14-2007, 02:23 AM
-

(CONTINUED FROM ABOVE)

Nuclear reactors can be used for both peaceful and non-peaceful purposes. A reactor’s spent fuel can be reprocessed to extract plutonium, one of two paths to building a nuclear weapon. The other path — enriching uranium in centrifuges — is the method that Iran is accused of pursuing with an intent to build a weapon of its own.

Syria is known to have only one nuclear reactor, a small one built for research purposes. But in the past decade, Syria has several times sought unsuccessfully to buy one, first from Argentina, then from Russia. On those occasions, Israel reacted strongly but did not threaten military action. Earlier this year, Mr. Assad spoke publicly in general terms about Syria’s desire to develop nuclear power, but his government did not announce a plan to build a new reactor.

The Gulf Cooperation Council, a group of Persian Gulf states, has also called for an expansion of nuclear power in the Middle East for energy purposes, but many experts have interpreted that statement as a response to Iran’s nuclear program. They have warned that the region may be poised for a wave of proliferation. Israel is believed to be the only nuclear-armed nation in the region.

The partly constructed Syrian reactor was detected earlier this year by satellite photographs, according to American officials. They suggested that the facility had been brought to American attention by the Israelis, but would not discuss why American spy agencies seemed to have missed the early phases of construction.

North Korea has long provided assistance to Syria on a ballistic missile program, but any assistance toward the construction of the reactor would have been the first clear evidence of ties between the two countries on a nuclear program. North Korea has successfully used its five-megawatt reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex to reprocess nuclear fuel into bomb-grade material, a model that some American and Israeli officials believe Syria may have been trying to replicate.

The North conducted a partly successful test of a nuclear device a year ago, prompting renewed fears that the desperately poor country might seek to sell its nuclear technology. President Bush issued a specific warning to the North on Oct. 9, 2006, just hours after the test, noting that it was “leading proliferator of missile technology, including transfers to Iran and Syria.” He went on to warn that “the transfer of nuclear weapons or material by North Korea to states or non-state entities would be considered a grave threat to the United States, and we would hold North Korea fully accountable.”

While Bush administration officials have made clear in recent weeks that the target of the Israeli raid was linked to North Korea in some way, Mr. Bush has not repeated his warning since the attack. In fact, the administration has said very little about the country’s suspected role in the Syria case, apparently for fear of upending negotiations now under way in which North Korea has pledged to begin disabling its nuclear facilities.

While the partly constructed Syrian reactor appears to be based on North Korea’s design, the American and foreign officials would not say whether they believed the North Koreans sold or gave the plans to the Syrians, or whether the North’s own experts were there at the time of the attack. It is possible, some officials said, that the transfer of the technology occurred several years ago.

According to two senior administration officials, the subject was raised when the United States, North Korea and four other nations met in Beijing earlier this month.

Behind closed doors, however, Vice President **** Cheney and other hawkish members of the administration have made the case that the same intelligence that prompted Israel to attack should lead the United States to reconsider delicate negotiations with North Korea over ending its nuclear program, as well as America’s diplomatic strategy toward Syria, which has been invited to join Middle East peace talks in Annapolis, Md., next month.

Mr. Cheney in particular, officials say, has also cited the indications that North Korea aided Syria to question the Bush administration’s agreement to supply the North with large amounts of fuel oil. During Mr. Bush’s first term, Mr. Cheney was among the advocates of a strategy to squeeze the North Korean government in hopes that it would collapse, and the administration cut off oil shipments set up under an agreement between North Korea and the Clinton administration, saying the North had cheated on that accord.

The new shipments, agreed to last February, are linked to North Korea’s carrying through on its pledge to disable its nuclear facilities by the end of the year. Nonetheless, Mr. Bush has approved going ahead with that agreement, even after he was aware of the Syrian program.

Nuclear experts say that North Korea’s main reactor, while small by international standards, is big enough to produce roughly one bomb’s worth of plutonium a year.

In an interview, Dr. Siegfried S. Hecker of Stanford University, a former director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory, said building a reactor based on North Korea’s design might take from three to six years.

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George Eller
10-17-2007, 02:46 PM
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In Iran, Putin Warns Against Military Action
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/17/world/middleeast/17iran.html?ref=world
The New York Times
By NAZILA FATHI and C. J. CHIVERS
Published: October 17, 2007

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/10/17/world/17iran.600.jpg
Presidents Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran in Tehran on Tuesday. They and leaders of other Caspian Sea nations condemned any use of force in the area.

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/10/17/world/17iran_2.650.jpg
Presidents Vladimir V. Putin of Russia and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran followed in the footsteps of Persian soldiers Tuesday.

TEHRAN, Oct. 16 — President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia said at a summit meeting of five Caspian Sea nations in Iran on Tuesday that any use of military force in the region was unacceptable. In a declaration, the countries agreed that none would allow their territories to be used as a base for military strikes against any of the others.

“We should not even think of making use of force in this region,” Mr. Putin said.

Mr. Putin’s comments and the declaration come at a time when the United States has refused to rule out military action to halt Iran’s nuclear energy program, which it believes masks a desire to develop nuclear weapons. Iran says its program, including the enrichment of uranium, is solely for peaceful purposes.

Asked this morning about Mr. Putin’s remarks, Tony Fratto, the deputy White House press secretary, played them down, saying simply, “That sounds like a good policy.”

And later, Tom Casey, the deputy State Department spokesman, said, “I think the president’s made clear, and U.S. policy’s been consistent, that we’re pursuing a diplomatic path with respect to Iran.” He noted that Russia had joined in several unanimous votes at the United Nations Security Council demanding that Tehran end any uranium-enriching activities.

Mr. Putin arrived in Tehran on Tuesday for meetings with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran and leaders from three other Caspian Sea nations that have rich oil and gas resources, promising to use diplomacy to try to resolve the international debate over Iran’s nuclear program.

Later he had a meeting with Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in which he said he had expressed a desire for “deeper” relations between the countries, Reuters reported.

Mr. Putin was the first Kremlin leader to travel to Iran since 1943, when Stalin attended a wartime summit meeting with Churchill and Roosevelt. His statements, which were consistent with his past positions cautioning against military action against Iran, were nonetheless stark in their setting and firmly emphasized his differences with the United States over the extent of Iran’s threat and the means to counter it.

“Not only should we reject the use of force, but also the mention of force as a possibility,” Mr. Putin said.

Russia has blocked a third set of sanctions against Iran at the United Nations that were intended to persuade Tehran to stop enrichment activities, which Western nations fear could lead to the development of nuclear weapons. Mr. Putin has emphasized the need for further dialogue and working through the International Atomic Energy Agency to ensure that Iran’s nuclear programs were for peaceful purposes.

He has further called into question the concerns of the United States, France and other European countries about Iran, saying that while he sought transparency in its nuclear program he had not seen clear evidence of any Iranian intention to make nuclear weapons.

In spite of Mr. Putin’s strong statements and the evident show of solidarity among the five countries bordering the Caspian Sea — Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, as well as Russia and Iran — significant regional tensions remain, particularly about the division of the sea’s main resource, oil.

Iran and the Soviet Union once had agreements for sharing its resources, including a water boundary. Before 1991, each country took 50 percent of the oil and gas from the sea.

But since the Soviet Union collapsed, the successor governments in the newly independent Caspian nations have quarreled over where their sea borders should be drawn.

Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan have expressed interest in building pipelines under the sea, which would allow Central Asian governments to bypass Russian pipelines as they ship their resources to the West. Russia opposes the idea, which would break its monopoly, citing environmental concerns.

In the absence of a multilateral agreement and mutually accepted borders, the Caspian nations are developing the oil resources as they see fit, although analysts have said that the absence of clear borders has limited the sector’s development.

“The division of the sea is not less important than the nuclear program,” said Ahmad Nateq Nouri, a former speaker of the Iranian Parliament, in a report carried by the Fars news agency.

But the issue of Iran’s nuclear program overshadowed the others. Mr. Putin’s remarks also underscored a longstanding unease in the Kremlin with what it has regarded as a creeping American military presence in Central Asia, a region once solely under Moscow’s control.

Since the terrorist attacks in the United States in 2001, the Pentagon has built a military base in Kyrgyzstan to support operations in Afghanistan, and has expanded its collaboration with Azerbaijan, including underwriting improvements to a former Soviet airfield there. It also has an agreement allowing military transport planes en route to Afghanistan to refuel in Turkmenistan, a country that has made neutrality a cornerstone of its foreign policy.

The American presence and collaboration in the region have alarmed Moscow, while Washington’s potential access to improved airfields in two countries bordering Iran — Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan — has fueled speculation that the airfields could support actions against Tehran.

Mr. Ahmadinejad intimated as much in his statements on Tuesday. “On many issues we have reached final agreement, but we also need collective cooperation,” he said. “The goal is to keep the sea clear of military competitions and keep foreigners out of the region.”

Although Mr. Putin and Mr. Ahmadinejad were resolute, their statements appeared to have more political than military significance, and were not a departure from the status quo. The United States does not have existing agreements with any Caspian nation to launch attacks on another. Rather, the Pentagon has negotiated limited bilateral agreements in the region that allow for flights to Afghanistan through local airspace, refueling, emergency landings and the like.

Moreover, with American military assets assembled in Iraq and other Persian Gulf nations, and aircraft carriers and submarines in the region as well, it was not clear that any of the Caspian countries would be essential for a raid on Iran.

The Caspian meeting also concluded without a clear agreement on territorial demarcation. The leaders said in the declaration that the sea would be used for peaceful purposes and its issues would be resolved by the coastal nations.

Mr. Putin and Mr. Ahmadinejad discussed the completion of a nuclear power plant that Russia has been building in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr. Russia has given various reasons for delays in completing the plant and delivering fuel for the start-up. Brushing that aside, Mr. Ahmadinejad told Mr. Putin that Iran was willing to have Moscow build two more plants in Bushehr, the ISNA news agency reported.

Mr. Putin was received by the Iranian foreign minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, at the Tehran airport, according to state-run television. Mr. Putin, who had flown from Germany, where he met Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday, went ahead with the trip despite a report of a possible assassination plot against him in Iran.

Iran is counting on Russia and China, which have important trade ties with Iran, to use their veto power to oppose another round of sanctions in the Security Council. Russia has voted for two sets of sanctions, but has said that it will not support a third set without convincing evidence that Iran had a program to build nuclear weapons.

In addition to the nuclear power plants and business ties, Moscow has a long record of military collaboration with Iran, which relies on Soviet-era and Russian weapons and supplies for its armed forces. The Russian president’s visit appeared to underscore the many levels of bilateral ties.

Mr. Putin said the two countries planned to cooperate on space, aviation and energy issues, and suggested that the tensions with the West over Iran’s nuclear program had provided Russia a unique role. “Russia is the only country that is helping Iran to realize its nuclear program in a peaceful way,” he said.

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George Eller
10-17-2007, 02:47 PM
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(SEE ALSO RELATED ARTICLE ABOVE)

Vladimir Putin pledges to complete Iranian nuclear reactor
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/middle_east/article2673546.ece
The Times
Tony Halpin in Moscow
October 17, 2007

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/multimedia/archive/00220/L-nuclear385_220650a.jpg

President Putin forged an alliance with Iran yesterday against any military action by the West and pledged to complete the controversial Iranian nuclear power plant at Bushehr.

A summit of Caspian Sea nations in Tehran agreed to bar foreign states from using their territory for military strikes against a member country. Mr Putin, the first Kremlin leader to visit Iran since the Second World War, insisted that the use of force was unacceptable.

“It is important . . . that we not only not use any kind of force but also do not even think about the possibility of using force,” he told the leaders of Iran, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.

The declaration of the five states did not specify a particular threat. Rumours have long circulated, however, that the US is seeking Azerbaijan’s permission to use airfields for possible military action to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

Mr Putin arrived in Tehran for the summit amid tight security after warnings of a plot by suicide bombers to assassinate him. His visit is a propaganda coup for President Ahmadinejad as he faces American and European pressure for tougher United Nations sanctions to halt Iran’s nuclear programme.

Mr Putin and Mr Ahmadinejad met after the summit for private talks. State television in Tehran quoted Mr Putin as saying that Russia would continue to “assist Iran’s peaceful nuclear programme”.

Russia is building Iran’s first atomic power plant in the port city of Bushehr. A row over Iranian payments has slowed down the work, and Mr Putin emerged from yesterday’s meeting without setting a date for the $1 billion (£500 million) project.

However, Russian media later reported that Moscow had promised to complete the work on schedule. “The construction and the commission of Bushehr will be implemented in accordance with the agreed timetable,” the Russian news agency Ria reported, citing the two leaders’ joint statement. Mr Putin also invited Mr Ahmadinejad to Moscow.

Mr Putin said that the Bushehr contract would have to be reviewed to clarify legal matters and the financial obligations of each party. Moscow has delayed delivery of nuclear fuel for the station as part of the dispute.

The Tehran declaration strengthened Moscow’s hostility to any attempt at a military solution. It also offered support for Iran by asserting the right of any country that had signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to develop peaceful nuclear energy “without discrimination”. Tehran insists that its nuclear programme is purely for civil purposes to generate electricity.

The summit was called to try to settle the status of the Caspian among the five states that border the sea. Iran and the former Soviet Union shared it equally but there has been a 16-year dispute over mineral rights since the emergence the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991.

The leaders failed to reach agreement on dividing the seabed, which is believed to hold the world’s third-largest reserves of oil and gas. They agreed to meet again in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, next year.

Ties that bind

— Gazprom, Russia’s state-controlled energy company, has invested $750 million (£370 million) in projects in Iran

— Russia exports $2 billion of metal and machinery to Iran a year

— Russia has supplied nuclear technology to Iran, including the $1 billion Bushehr reactor

— Russia is a key supplier of arms to Iran, including a $700 million air-defence system, MiG29 combat aircraft and T72 tanks

— Iran’s goodwill is useful for Russia’s attempts to control fractious Muslim minorities in Central Asia and the Caucasus

— Both countries oppose the eastward expansion of Nato

Sources: Council on Foreign Relations; Institute for Defence Studies

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George Eller
10-17-2007, 03:00 PM
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(SEE ALSO TODAY'S RELATED ARTICLES - PREVIOUS PAGE)

Bush Says Iran Nuclear Project Risks a War
http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/17/washington/17cnd-prexy.html?hp
The New York Times
By BRIAN KNOWLTON
Published: October 17, 2007

http://graphics8.nytimes.com/images/2007/10/17/us/bush_650.1.jpg

WASHINGTON, Oct. 17 — President Bush said today that he believed Russia still wanted to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But ratcheting up his own rhetoric, the president warned that for Tehran to possess such a weapon raised the risk of a “World War III.”

That comment, made during a far-ranging 45-minute news conference, came as reporters probed for the president’s reaction to a warning on Tuesday by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia against any military strikes on Iran to halt the nuclear work that it has continued in defiance of much of the world. Iran contends that its nuclear program is purely peaceful.

“If Iran had a nuclear weapon, it’d be a dangerous threat to world peace,” Mr. Bush said. “So I told people that if you’re interested in avoiding World War III, it seems like you ought to be interested in preventing them from having the knowledge necessary to make a nuclear weapon.”

“I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously,” he said.

The United States has said it is pursuing a diplomatic approach to Iran, including the threat of a new round of United Nations sanctions, but it has refused to rule out military action to halt Iran’s nuclear program.

But in Tehran on Tuesday, Mr. Putin said, “Not only should we reject the use of force, but also the mention of force as a possibility.”

Mr. Bush, asked by a reporter today about photos that showed a seemingly cordial meeting in Tehran of Mr. Putin and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of Iran, said he was reluctant to read too much into photographs and wanted to hear Mr. Putin’s own “readout” of the meeting.

Proposed new United Nation sanctions, pressed in particular by the United States and France, have so far been blocked by Russia, which holds a veto on the Security Council and favors continued dialogue with Tehran.

But Mr. Putin has gone further, questioning what evidence the Americans and French have for asserting that Iran intends to make nuclear weapons.

When President Nicholas Sarkozy of France visited Moscow early this month, Mr. Putin said: “We don’t have information showing that Iran is striving to produce nuclear weapons. That’s why we’re proceeding on the basis that Iran does not have such plans.”

Mr. Sarkozy said the two countries might “not have quite the same analysis of the situation.”

France has argued that aggressive moves toward multilateral sanctions against Iran are the best way to avoid military against Iran.

And while Mr. Putin says Russia is taking Iran’s descriptions of its program at their face value, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently asserted that Iran was lying to United Nations inspectors.

Mr. Bush, seeking to explain his relationship with a man he once said he viewed as a trusted ally against terrorism — but who since then has led his country in steadily more authoritarian directions — said he and Mr. Putin “don’t agree on a lot of issues.” Still, he said, it was vital to maintain an open and candid relationship that allowed each man to speak his mind.

The president nonetheless acknowledged American frustrations at trying to influence Russia. “In terms of whether or not it’s possible to reprogram the kind of basic Russian DNA, which is a centralized authority,” Mr. Bush said, “that’s hard to do.”

The best he could do, Mr. Bush said, was to try to make it clear that it is in Moscow’s interests to have good relations with the West, and an open and democratic government.

Mr. Bush also said that when he met with Mr. Putin in Sydney early last month, he had delicately questioned the Russian leader on his own future ambitions. This was before Mr. Putin made clear that he might seek to become prime minister of Russia when he steps down as president — an approach that Mr. Bush wryly said he might want to emulate.

“He was wily,” Bush said, “he wouldn’t tip his hand.”

-

George Eller
10-17-2007, 03:29 PM
-

(SEE ALSO TODAY'S RELATED ARTICLES ABOVE & PREVIOUS PAGE)

Syrian Official Says Israeli Airstrike Hit Nuke Facility
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,302656,00.html
Fox News / Associated Press
By James Rosen
Wednesday, October 17, 2007

DAMASCUS, Syria — A high-ranking Syrian official confirmed that Israel's airstrike last month in northern Syria hit a nuclear facility, according to a document obtained Wednesday by FOX News.

"Israel was the fourth-largest exporter of weapons of mass destruction and a violator of other nations' airspace, and it had taken action against nuclear facilities, including the 6 July attack in Syria," Syrian representative Bassam Darwish is quoted in the document as saying.

Diplomats familiar with the document cannot explain why July 6 was invoked, instead of Sept. 6, the date both countries say an incident occurred. A State Department source tells FOX News the best explanation is that Darwish misspoke.

The document, released by the General Assembly's Department of Public Information, recounted Tuesday's proceedings at the annual gathering of the U.N.'s Disarmament and International Security Committee.

What is clear is that this is the first time Syria has acknowledged its nuclear efforts.

document posted on U.N. Web Site:
http://www.un.org/News/Press/docs/2007/gadis3345.doc.htm

One U.S. delegate told colleagues he could not believe his ears when the Syrian diplomat made his statement and that the resulting document was close to verbatim, and another source told FOX News the document reinforces what people heard [the Syrian representative] say in the actual debate.

Syria already has disowned the remarks, adding "such facilities do not exist in Syria."

The state-run Syrian Arab News Agency, SANA, quoting an unnamed Foreign Ministry source, said the U.N. press release misquoted the diplomat and that Syria had made it clear that there are no such facilities in Syria.

Syrian President Bashar Assad said earlier this month that the target is an "unused military building."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

-

U.N. Nuclear Agency Seeks Details on Syria
(Monday, October 15, 2007)
http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,301761,00.html

-

Nickdfresh
10-17-2007, 07:25 PM
“I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously,” (Bush) said.

Yeah, one weapon against thousands of ours and hundreds of Israeli ones?

George Eller
10-17-2007, 08:37 PM
-




“I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously,” (Bush) said.

Yeah, one weapon against thousands of ours and hundreds of Israeli ones?
-

Ah, but the potential damage that even one well placed nuke could do (eventually). (And don't forget Iran's long-range missile program).

"Despise not your enemy." History is full of examples of opponents or threats being underestimated.

A few examples: the Zulu at Isandlwana, the Sioux and Cheyenne at the Little Bighorn, the dervish mahdists at Kashgil in the Sudan, Hitler in the decade prior to the Second World War, the Japanese ability to attack Pearl Harbor and to capture the fortress of Singapore, Bin Laden and Al-Qaeda before the devastating 9-11 attack on the Twin Towers...

-

Chevan
10-18-2007, 01:28 AM
Oh dear George thank you for the Hot news line:)

President Bush said today that he believed Russia still wanted to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But ratcheting up his own rhetoric, the president warned that for Tehran to possess such a weapon raised the risk of a “World War III.”
Russia still wanted to stop the REAL threats but not the resault of the ill imagination of the mst. Bush and its oil-military Co.
If he seriously want to begin the World War III with Iran ( that possibly will produse the primitive one-two nuclear charges) FOR Israel ( that already has about 150-200 nuclear charges) - he need the medical service;) . Nobody could not help the men who believe the "God directed him for the acting";)

But Mr. Putin has gone further, questioning what evidence the Americans and French have for asserting that Iran intends to make nuclear weapons.

When President Nicholas Sarkozy of France visited Moscow early this month, Mr. Putin said: “We don’t have information showing that Iran is striving to produce nuclear weapons. That’s why we’re proceeding on the basis that Iran does not have such plans.”

Mr. Sarkozy said the two countries might “not have quite the same analysis of the situation.”

France has argued that aggressive moves toward multilateral sanctions against Iran are the best way to avoid military against Iran.

And while Mr. Putin says Russia is taking Iran’s descriptions of its program at their face value, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice recently asserted that Iran was lying to United Nations inspectors.

Well if the Condy say that evidences a ARE really exists - sure we could trust her;)
But something remind me that in 2003 she with mst Bush HAD the "absolute evidences" about MDW in Iraq.
As we know today - it was just a nice joike coz the MDW was existed only in her imagination.


Mr. Bush, seeking to explain his relationship with a man he once said he viewed as a trusted ally against terrorism — but who since then has led his country in steadily more authoritarian directions — said he and Mr. Putin “don’t agree on a lot of issues.” Still, he said, it was vital to maintain an open and candid relationship that allowed each man to speak his mind.

Oh it so sadly - the mst Bush hoped the Putin would send the russian soldiers to die for Israel together with Americans.But damn.....the Putin said that the Checnij is enough for Russia, and refuse to join the "coalition" .What's a bastard - he don't want to spend the live in fight with "terrorism".

“I take the threat of Iran with a nuclear weapon very seriously,” (Bush) said.
Yeah, one weapon against thousands of ours and hundreds of Israeli ones?


This is most amazing....
Initially mst Bush send the American troops for the 12 000 km to die for ......nothing , getting the political damage for america and its ally britain, lost 3000 of lives,bring the bloody civil and religion war into Iraq that tears it on pieces, involving USA into the hostility with 1.5 bln arab world population. Then he absolutely calm declare that the Iran is the evil ( coz it don't like the Western values and "certainly plan to attack" the USA) and prepeare the New unpopular compain that would much more bloody and fierce.
He is definatelly ill.

“He was wily,” Bush said, “he wouldn’t tip his hand.”
True..
But at least Putin is not so fool like you mst Bush.

Cheers.

P.S. Well i suppose Nick will in fury...

Firefly
10-18-2007, 05:00 AM
Imagine is Pakistan gave Iran Nuclear weapons? Or maybe the rumours that it has already happened are true?

Rising Sun*
10-18-2007, 06:13 AM
Imagine is Pakistan gave Iran Nuclear weapons? Or maybe the rumours that it has already happened are true?

I'm more worried about what happens when, not if, the radical Islamists in Pakistan get control of that arsenal. Hindu India is high on the target list, along with the West.

Chevan
10-18-2007, 07:06 AM
I'm more worried about what happens when, not if, the radical Islamists in Pakistan get control of that arsenal. Hindu India is high on the target list, along with the West.
Hindu India ,mate, has own a-bomb.
So if the Pakistans islamic radicals are not finished idiots - they would not use the limited few pakistan charges agains somebody.
But anyway if the Islamic radical will take the power in Pakistan- this could be very fun;)

Rising Sun*
10-18-2007, 08:43 AM
Hindu India ,mate, has own a-bomb.


Exactly.

It should resolve the Kashmir issue between India and what remains of Pakistan, after a nuclear version of the Muslim - Hindu savagery of Partition.

Maybe it'll even resolve what the Islamo-fascists have already done in Kashmir. http://www.kashmir-information.com/

Nickdfresh
10-18-2007, 10:32 AM
Oh dear George thank you for the Hot news line:)

Russia still wanted to stop the REAL threats but not the resault of the ill imagination of the mst. Bush and its oil-military Co.
If he seriously want to begin the World War III with Iran ( that possibly will produse the primitive one-two nuclear charges) FOR Israel ( that already has about 150-200 nuclear charges) - he need the medical service;) . Nobody could not help the men who believe the "God directed him for the acting";)

Well if the Condy say that evidences a ARE really exists - sure we could trust her;)
But something remind me that in 2003 she with mst Bush HAD the "absolute evidences" about MDW in Iraq.
As we know today - it was just a nice joike coz the MDW was existed only in her imagination.


Oh it so sadly - the mst Bush hoped the Putin would send the russian soldiers to die for Israel together with Americans.But damn.....the Putin said that the Checnij is enough for Russia, and refuse to join the "coalition" .What's a bastard - he don't want to spend the live in fight with "terrorism".

This is most amazing....
Initially mst Bush send the American troops for the 12 000 km to die for ......nothing , getting the political damage for america and its ally britain, lost 3000 of lives,bring the bloody civil and religion war into Iraq that tears it on pieces, involving USA into the hostility with 1.5 bln arab world population. Then he absolutely calm declare that the Iran is the evil ( coz it don't like the Western values and "certainly plan to attack" the USA) and prepeare the New unpopular compain that would much more bloody and fierce.
He is definatelly ill.

True..
But at least Putin is not so fool like you mst Bush.

Cheers.

P.S. Well i suppose Nick will in fury...

Well, nothing says "don't attack the US" more than the ruthless destruction of a country 12,000 miles away. Now imgaine what we could do when focusing on the correct target?:)

And I didn't say Putin was "a fool." I just said he's a fascist. And he's too busy killing off large segments of the population of Chechnya to bother in Iraq. So easy to win insurgencies when you can just conduct secret massacres and kill off any annoying journalists that report them...

It's easy not to look like "a fool" when you take ****rol of the media...

http://www.sfgate.com/blogs/images/sfgate/worldviews/2007/10/02/REUTCHESTONE.jpg
Or, well, never mind...:D

And I don't believe in the "well-placed nuke" idea either. Not with the thousands of nuclear weapons arrayed against in deterrence. Iran has a burgeoning class that, unlike Chevan, is questioning their gov't and even now openly heckling Ahmadinejad. And he's just temporary and will probably be thrown out in the next election. The only reason he's in there is because of fear mongering of the US to begin with.

Iran is years away from the Nukes, no matter what the French say. And they've had chemical weapons for decades now. So, if they're such crazy irrational Jew-haters, why have they not fired chemical weapons at Israel already?

George Eller
10-18-2007, 10:57 AM
Well, nothing says "don't attack the US" more than the ruthless destruction of a country 12,000 miles away. Now imgaine what we could do when focusing on the correct target?:)

And I didn't say Putin was "a fool." I just said he's a fascist. And he's too busy killing off large segments of the population of Chechnya to bother in Iraq. So easy to win insurgencies when you can just conduct secret massacres and kill off any annoying journalists that report them...

It's easy not to look like "a fool" when you take ****rol of the media...

http://www.sfgate.com/blogs/images/sfgate/worldviews/2007/10/02/REUTCHESTONE.jpg
Or, well, never mind...:D

And I don't believe in the "well-placed nuke" idea either. Not with the thousands of nuclear weapons arrayed against in deterrence. Iran has a burgeoning class that, unlike Chevan, is questioning their gov't and even now openly heckling Ahmadinejad. And he's just temporary and will probably be thrown out in the next election. The only reason he's in there is because of fear mongering of the US to begin with.

Iran is years away from the Nukes, no matter what the French say. And they've had chemical weapons for decades now. So, if they're such crazy irrational Jew-haters, why have they not fired chemical weapons at Israel already?
-

Good points Nick,

But on you're last comment don't forget Iran's proxy Hezbollah.

I would like to get into this more (including Chevan's comments), but will wait until this evening after work.

-

Chevan
10-19-2007, 01:49 AM
Oh Nick has began;)

Well, nothing says "don't attack the US" more than the ruthless destruction of a country 12,000 miles away. Now imgaine what we could do when focusing on the correct target?:)

And who did say you the American focused on the "correct target" Nick?Mst. Bush and his Oil Company?
Is the porest and disasters Iraq was a correct target that today there perished more peoples thst diring the Saddam.
And oild price is already $90 for barrel;)Enought good for Bush's bisness.
The "correct target" for whom?


And I didn't say Putin was "a fool." I just said he's a fascist.

Although i dislike Putin coz he let the Jewish oligarhs rob the Russia and coz his social policy, but he at least not as much fascist as mst. Bush&Friends, who destroyed the whole foreign state coz its "leader did not support its ideals".And to demonstrate "nothing says "don't attack the US" more than the ruthless destruction of a any country".:D


And he's too busy killing off large segments of the population of Chechnya to bother in Iraq. So easy to win insurgencies when you can just conduct secret massacres and kill off any annoying journalists that report them...

Yea - its so easy to fight with "terrorism" dropping the Phosporic bombs on the cities and treating the local civils as a "uber-low-race" in Abu-Ghraib, right?
And what is look for your lovely "freedom TV"?


It's easy not to look like "a fool" when you take ****rol of the media...

He is not fool coz on what he is doing - not coz somebody say about him.He do not act like a fool.
Endeed could controlls only the TV, but not newspaper and internet my friend;)
BTW do you really think that in USA the TV is out of control and political censorship?


http://www.sfgate.com/blogs/images/sfgate/worldviews/2007/10/02/REUTCHESTONE.jpg
Or, well, never mind...:D

Well Putin is on the fishing - what is fanny?
At least he did not shot his attorney like the **** Chainy on a hunting last year;)



Iran is years away from the Nukes, no matter what the French say. And they've had chemical weapons for decades now. So, if they're such crazy irrational Jew-haters, why have they not fired chemical weapons at Israel already?
COz they are not so crazy to attack the Israel ( that has a Nukes) with a chemical wearpon;)
BTW even if they will produse the few a-charges - they will not attack the Israel too.
Coz this is pure suicide for Iran.
So Nick indeed the washington-israel anti-iran's paranoia in nothing exept pure political demagogy that directed rather to domestic public.
The Iran is no more danger that the Pakistan and India that neitralize and selfcontrole each other.

Cheers.

Nickdfresh
12-03-2007, 07:30 PM
US Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work

By Mark Mazzetti
The New York Times

Monday 03 December 2007

Washington - A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold, contradicting an assessment two years ago that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb.

The conclusions of the new assessment are likely to be a major factor in the tense international negotiations aimed at getting Iran to halt its nuclear energy program. Concerns about Iran were raised sharply after President Bush had suggested in October that a nuclear-armed Iran could lead to "World War III," and Vice President **** Cheney promised "serious consequences" if the government in Tehran did not abandon its nuclear program.

The finding also come in the middle of a presidential campaign during which a possible military strike against Iran's nuclear program has been discussed. The assessment, a National Intelligence Estimate that represents the consensus view of all 16 American spy agencies, states that Tehran's ultimate intentions about gaining a nuclear weapon remain unclear, but that Iran's "decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic and military costs."

"Some combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressures, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways might - if perceived by Iran's leaders as credible - prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear weapons program," the estimate states.

The new report comes out just over five years after a deeply flawed N.I.E. concluded that Iraq possessed chemical and biological weapons programs and was determined to restart its nuclear program. The report led to congressional authorization for a military invasion of Iraq, although most of the N.I.E.'s conclusions turned out to be wrong. The estimate does say that Iran's ultimate goal is still to develop the capability to produce a nuclear weapon.

The national security adviser, Stephen J. Hadley, quickly issued a statement describing the N.I.E. as containing positive news rather than reflecting intelligence mistakes. "It confirms that we were right to be worried about Iran seeking to develop nuclear weapons," Mr. Hadley said. "It tells us that we have made progress in trying to ensure that this does not happen. But the intelligence also tells us that the risk of Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon remains a very serious problem."

"The estimate offers grounds for hope that the problem can be solved diplomatically - without the use of force - as the administration has been trying to do," Mr. Hadley said.

Last month, Mohamed ElBaradei, director general of the international Atomic Energy Agency, had reported that Iran was operating 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges, capable of producing fissile material for nuclear weapons.

But his report said that I.A.E.A. inspectors in Iran had been unable to determine whether the Iranian program sought only to generate electricity or also to build weapons.

The N.I.E. concludes that if Iran were to end the freeze of its weapons program, it would still be at least two years before Tehran would have enough highly enriched uranium to produce a nuclear bomb. But it says it is still "very unlikely" Iran could produce enough of the material by then.

Instead, today's report concludes it is more likely Iran could have a bomb by the early part to the middle of the next decade. The report states that the State Department's Bureau of Intelligence and Research judges Iran is unlikely to achieve this goal before 2013, "because of foreseeable technical and programmatic problems."

The new assessment upends a judgment made about Iran's nuclear capabilities in 2005. At the time, intelligence agencies assessed with "high confidence" that Iran is determined to have nuclear weapons and concluded that Iran had a secret nuclear weapons program.

Since then, officials said they have obtained new information leading them to conclude that international pressure, including tough economic sanctions, had been successful in bringing about a halt to Iran's secret program.

"We felt that we needed to scrub all the assessments and sources to make sure we weren't misleading ourselves," said one senior intelligence official during a telephone interview, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In a separate statement accompanying the N.I.E., Deputy Director of National Intelligence Donald M. Kerr said that given the new conclusions, it was important to release the report publicly "to ensure that an accurate presentation is available."

link (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/world/middleeast/03cnd-iran.html)

tranquill
06-26-2008, 09:38 AM
Israeli analyst*suggests turning nuclear Iran against Egypt.
He argues that Shia dominance is prefereable to the Sunni's.
See this: http://samsonblinded.org/blog/use-iran-against-egypt.htm

Nickdfresh
06-26-2008, 09:49 AM
Israeli analyst*suggests turning nuclear Iran against Egypt.
He argues that Shia dominance is prefereable to the Sunni's.
See this: http://samsonblinded.org/blog/use-iran-against-egypt.htm


Then he's f**king insane. Sunni's are by far the more westernized, modernist grouping...

I think most Israelis actually believe in turning the Arab and Farsi worlds against the US...

Chevan
07-03-2008, 08:06 AM
Washington - A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold, contradicting an assessment two years ago that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb.


That's simply ...fine:)
Now we saw as Washington can "wash the braines" with their anti-arabs propogand.The MAss media can make the scapegoat any one they wish form.
Since the 2003 they continiously inspired that "Tehrain dreams ONLY to destory Israel" , and now...suddenly , they has concluded ... that thay even didn't plan to get the a-bomb:)

Rising Sun*
07-04-2008, 07:49 AM
US Says Iran Ended Atomic Arms Work

By Mark Mazzetti
The New York Times

Monday 03 December 2007

Washington - A new assessment by American intelligence agencies concludes that Iran halted its nuclear weapons program in 2003 and that the program remains on hold, contradicting an assessment two years ago that Tehran was working inexorably toward building a bomb.

link (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/12/03/world/middleeast/03cnd-iran.html)


Would these be the same intelligence agencies that said Iraq had weapons of mass distraction?

If so, stand by to be nuked by Iran.

Nickdfresh
07-04-2008, 09:30 AM
Would these be the same intelligence agencies that said Iraq had weapons of mass distraction?

If so, stand by to be nuked by Iran.

:lol:

Actually, it wasn't so much the intelligence agencies, it was the pressure for the politicians...

A lot of people in US intell resigned or later reported pressure to spin...

Nickdfresh
07-04-2008, 09:30 AM
On Iran, top military officer sounds like Obama
Joint Chiefs Chairman Mullen urges diplomacy, not use of force
By Tom Curry
National affairs writer
updated 5:05 p.m. ET, Thurs., July. 3, 2008

WASHINGTON - It could turn out to be one of the most significant comments of the 2008 campaign — but coming just ahead of a holiday weekend, it isn’t getting much notice.

Upon his return from a visit to Israel and Europe, the nation’s highest ranking military officer warned Wednesday that a military strike on Iran would be a very bad idea.

“This is a very unstable part of the world, and I don't need it to be more unstable,” said the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen.

He added pointedly, “we haven't had much of a dialogue with the Iranians for a long time,” seeming to imply that the Bush administration should be talking to the Iranian government.

Democratic presidential nominee Sen. Barack Obama has said that if elected, he would begin talks with Iran, without any precondition.

The Bush administration has insisted that before talks can begin, Iran must cease its nuclear enrichment — a step toward building nuclear weapons.

Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain has said that his rival's willingness to hold direct talks, without preconditions, reveals "the depth of Sen. Obama's inexperience and reckless judgment.”

Adm. Mullen, much like Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke, is one of those powerful unelected officials whose words could, at times, have as much effect on the campaign as Obama and McCain themselves.

It’s unusual for a military officer, especially the nation’s highest ranking one, to warn in such explicit terms of potential military action and to so emphatically call for diplomacy.

“What struck me about the comments was that he called for dialogue with Iran in his preliminary statement, even before he was responding to (reporters’) questions,” said Jon Alterman, the director of the Middle East Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington.

Alterman pointed to Mullen’s opening statement in which he said, “I'm convinced a solution still lies in using other elements of national power to change Iranian behavior, including diplomatic, financial and international pressure. There is a need for better clarity, even dialogue at some level.”

Not ruling out use of military force
President Bush, McCain, and Obama, all say they would not rule out the use of military force to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons.

But Mullen appeared to be edging toward saying that military action, either by Israel or the United States, or both, would be catastrophic.

He also warned that the United States would be hard pressed to conduct operations against Iran, given the commitment of tens of thousands of U.S. troops in Iraq and Afghanistan.

“From the United States' perspective, the United States' military perspective, in particular, opening up a third front right now would be extremely stressful on us,” Mullen told reporters. “That doesn't mean we don't have capacity or reserve, but that would really be very challenging.”

And, he added, “The consequences of that (military action) sometimes are very difficult to predict.”

Mullen explained, “Just about every move in that part of the world is a high-risk move. And that's why I think it's so important that the international piece, the financial piece, the diplomatic piece, the economic piece be brought to bear with a level of intensity that resolves this.”

The Israeli air force staged a large-scale drill last month that some observers saw as a warning of a possible Israeli attack on Iran.

But Mullen assured reporters Wednesday that “the Israeli press reported fairly widely that…those exercises were planned and routine.”

In 1981, the Israeli air force destroyed the Osirak nuclear reactor in Iraq. The Israeli government believed Saddam Hussein's regime was planning to use the plant to make nuclear weapons in order to destroy Israel.

An attack on Iranian nuclear sites could cause the Iranian regime to attack shipping in the Strait of Hormuz, through which one-fifth of the world’s total daily oil demand is carried.

Oil prices hit a record high of nearly $146 a barrel on Thursday. As Americans drive during this July 4 vacation, one reason they're paying more than $4.50 a gallon in some parts of the country is the growing tension over Iran.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in an interview with The Associated Press Wednesday that the United States and Israel would not risk such an attack.

“The Israeli government is facing a political breakdown within itself and within the region, so we do not foresee such a possibility for that regime to resort to such craziness," Mottaki said. “The United States, too, is not in a position where it can engage in, take another risk in the region.”

In Congress, some members have expressed their fear that the Bush administration might launch a unilateral attack on Iran.

But last year the House rejected, by a vote of 288 to 136, an amendment offered by Rep. Peter DeFazio, D- Ore., that would have prohibited funds being used to take military action against Iran without specific authorization from Congress — unless Iran had first attacked the United States.
© 2008 MSNBC Interactive

MSNBC (http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25515357/)

Interesting. It seems that US military officers are subtly rebelling...