A U.S. decision to dispatch three warships, including the USS Cole, to the coast of Lebanon to “show support for regional stability” is causing jitters within the country that such an overt show of foreign military strength is likely to exacerbate its political crisis.
Pentagon officials announced that the guided-missile destroyer USS Cole left Malta for Lebanon on Tuesday, because of “concern about the situation in Lebanon,” which is suffering the worst political crisis since the end of its 1975-1990 civil war.
The politically-divided Lebanese see the move as a show of force intended to threaten Syria and Iran, the backers of the Hezbollah-led opposition that Washington accuses of obstructing the election of a president, a post that has been vacant since pro-Syrian Emile Lahoud’s term expired in November.
While Hezbollah slammed the U.S. deployment as “military intervention” to support the anti-Syrian ruling majority and the government, Prime Minister Fouad Siniora on Friday indicated he had not sought American help, and particularly not through a show of military force.
Speaking to Arab ambassadors in Beirut, Siniora said in televised remarks that no warships were currently in Lebanese territorial waters, and that his government did “not ask anyone to send warships.”
Earlier, Siniora summoned U.S. charge d’affaires Michele Sison to clarify the presence of the USS Cole, a government source told AFP news agency. “Mrs. Sison assured him that the warship was in international waters and had been dispatched to guarantee regional stability,” the unidentified source said.
I always like Mikes analysis, but I think this is one of his most important ones. Will the exercises planned from 23 February until the 5th of March turn live after a False flag attack. France is leading exercises in the straight of Hormuz. Is Sarkozy is leading France and thus Europe into war By exposing the french Navy to and Iranian attack or another Tonkin incident. Sure looks like it.
By Mike Whitney
04/02/08 “ICH” — – Two weeks ago George Bush was sent on a mission to the Middle East to deliver a horse’s head. We all remember the disturbing scene in Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather” where Lucca Brassi goes to Hollywood to convince a recalcitrant movie producer to use Don Corleone’s nephew in his next film. The “Big shot” producer is finally persuaded to hire the young actor after he wakes up in bed next to the severed head of his prize thoroughbred. I expect that Bush made a similar “offer they could not refuse” to the various leaders of the Gulf States when he met with them earlier this month.
The media tried to portray Bush’s trip to the Middle East as a “peace mission”, but that just a smokescreen. In fact, three days after Bush left Jerusalem, Israel stepped-up its military operations in the occupied territories and resumed its merciless blockade of food, water, medicine and energy to the 1.5 million people of Gaza. Clearly, Bush had green-lighted the operations or Israel’s aggression would have been seen as a slap in the face of the President of the United States.
So, what was the real purpose of Bush’s trip? After all, he has no interest in peace or in honoring his commitment to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian crisis. So, why would he choose to visit the Middle East just as his second term as president is winding down and there is no chance of success?
Sometimes personal visits are important. They leave a lasting impression; especially when the nature of the information is so sensitive that the message has to be made face to face. In this case, Bush went to the trouble of traveling half-way around the world to tell the Saudis and their friends in the Gulf States that they were going to continue linking their oil to the dollar or they were going to “sleep with the fishes”. For the last two months, various sheiks and finance ministers have been groaning about the falling dollar—threatening to break from the so-called “dollar-peg” and covert to a basket of currencies. Bush’s trip appears to have rekindled the spirit of brotherly cooperation. The grumbling has ceased and everyone is back “on board”. The regional leaders now seem considerably less bothered by the fact that inflation is gobbling up their economies and driving labor, food, energy and housing through the roof. Reuters summed it up like this:
MOSCOW, January 30 (RIA Novosti) – Russia’s Defense Ministry plans to change the configuration of troops in Kaliningrad in response to U.S. missile shield plans in Central Europe, a high-ranking army official said on Wednesday.
“The General Staff and the main combat training department of the Russian Armed Forces are deciding how we will configure the troops,” said Lt. Gen. Vladimir Shamanov, who heads the Armed Forces combat training directorate.
British troops have been put on high alert to intervene in a possible war in Kosovo, Nato has announced.
Harry de Quetteville: Kosovo is not on the cusp of a new war
Military leaders fear renewed fighting in the breakaway Serbian province, where final negotiations for a peace deal have broken down.
|Serbia uses an adapted Churchill quote: ‘We will never surrender!’ in its campaign to keep Kosovo, while Kosovans prepare to fight
“This is in Europe’s backyard and European nations need to show real leadership,” said David Miliband, the Foreign Secretary.
He warned of a repeat of the wars that cost hundreds of thousands of lives. “We know from the mid-1990s the cost of Europe wringing its hands and failing to provide leadership.”
Nato holds three battalions, each of some 800 soldiers, in reserve to its main peacekeeping force of about 16,000 troops in Kosovo. Of those, a German battalion has already been sent to the province.
Neo-con surger Kagan is at it again.(Travellerev)
· Architect of Iraq surge draws up takeover options
· US fears army’s Islamists might grab weapons
Adrian Levy and Cathy Scott-Clark
Saturday December 1, 2007
The man who devised the Bush administration’s Iraq troop surge has urged the US to consider sending elite troops to Pakistan to seize its nuclear weapons if the country descends into chaos.
In a series of scenarios drawn up for Pakistan, Frederick Kagan, a former West Point military historian, has called for the White House to consider various options for an unstable Pakistan.
The barely reported highlight of Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Tehran for the Caspian Sea summit last week was a key face-to-face meeting with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.A high-level diplomatic source in Tehran tells Asia Times Online that essentially Putin and the Supreme Leader have agreed on a plan to nullify the George W Bush administration’s relentless drive towards launching a preemptive attack, perhaps a tactical nuclear strike, against Iran. An American attack on Iran will be viewed by Moscow as an attack on Russia.
The US military is building a base in Iraq just five miles from the border with Iran to prevent cross-border arms smuggling. The base, called “Combat Outpost Shocker,” will be manned by 200 soldiers, along with agents from the US Border Patrol, and will monitor truck traffic and cellphone conversations among Shi’ite pilgrims.”Obviously, [the Iranians] probably won’t be very happy about it,” Col. Mark Mueller, the commander of the border transition team, told ABC News.
Friday, September 28, 2007
Russia seeks to delay Tehran sanctions: France
Is France helping prepare for war with Iran?
PARIS: An Iranian resistance group claimed on Thursday that Iran is constructing a secret, new underground military nuclear facility near its Natanz uranium enrichment plant.
The claim, made by the National Council of Resistance of Iran at a Paris news conference, could not be independently verified. The group said it has passed its information, which it said came from sources inside Iran, to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna, Austria, but has so far not received a response. Officials at the IAEA said they would have no comment on the claims.
The opposition group claimed that the site is 5 kilometres south of the Natanz plant, under a mountain called Siah Kooh, which it said would help protect it from any air strike. It said the site includes two tunnels with entrances 6 meters in diameter and that a third tunnel links the alleged facility to Natanz.
The group said the site has been under construction since late 2006 and that it believed it would be completed within six months. The group offered few details about what activities might be planned for the site, saying it did not know exactly. Nor did it offer concrete evidence to back up its claims. The group is the political arm of the People’s Mujahadeen Organisation of Iran, a group that Washington and the European Union list as a terrorist organisation. It has a mixed record of accuracy.
By a vote 76-22, the Senate passed the Lieberman-Kyl amendment, which threatens to “combat, contain and [stop]” Iran via “military instruments.” Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) called the amendment “Cheney’s fondest pipe dream” and said it could “read as a backdoor method of gaining Congressional validation for military action.”
UPDATE Before the vote today, changes were made to the original amendment, with paragraphs three and four taken out completely. This paragraph was also added at the end:
KUWAIT, Sept 25 (Reuters) – Kuwait said on Tuesday it would not allow its territory to be used for any attack on Iran.”Iran is a friendly, neighbouring country and it is not possible that we would agree to see it in a difficult position,” Sheikh Jaber al-Hamad al-Sabah, Kuwait’s defence and interior minister, said at a Ramadan meal.
U.S. Soldiers Create Military Base on Iraq-Iran Border to Halt Weapons Smuggling From Iran
The U.S. military is adding a base just 5 miles from the Iran-Iraq border. (ABC News)
From World News with Charles Gibson
It will be called Combat Outpost Shocker, and it will hardly come as a pleasant surprise to Iran that the United States will have a new base just 5 miles from their border. Col. Mark Mueller, of the 3rd Infantry Division, said it is the first time the U.S. military will be that close to Iran.
And here is another convenient bit of news.
By BRIAN MURPHY, Associated Press Writer
Fri Sep 21, 12:51 PM ET
KABUL, Afghanistan – A top American commander on Friday accused Iran of supplying powerful roadside bombs to militants in Afghanistan and said the U.S. would “act decisively” if the cross-border flow continues.
Heavy battles in the violence-plagued south, meanwhile, killed 75 Taliban and at least six civilians, and a suicide car bomb in the capital killed a French soldier and an Afghan bystander.
Adm. William Fallon, the head of U.S. Central Command, said Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is supplying roadside bomb parts for the type of sophisticated and deadly bombs found in Iraq known as explosively formed penetrators.
“The Iranians are clearly supplying some amount of lethal aid,” Fallon told The Associated Press during a trip to Afghanistan. “There is no doubt … that agents from Iran are involved in aiding the insurgency.”
And Voila, now we have the argument. No worries about an accidental war, they started it and now they’ve got it coming.
Especially now that witness after witness confirms what we already know: Blackwater fired first.
And what with Greenspan finally saying what we also knew way back when that it is all about the oil.
BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Coalition forces on Thursday arrested a suspected member of an elite Iranian unit that has been accused of training and equipping insurgents in Iraq, the U.S. military said.
An Iraqi soldier guards the scene of a car bomb Thursday in eastern Baghdad.
The U.S. military calls the force “a covert action arm of the Iranian government responsible for aiding lethal attacks against the Iraqi government and coalition forces.”
The military said the Quds Force suspect was involved in bringing roadside bombs from Iran into Iraq and in training foreign terrorists in Iraq.
The man, captured in the Iraqi Kurdish city of Sulaimaniya, is one of several Iranians in U.S. custody in Iraq.
Also on Thursday, an Iraqi National Police intelligence officer was taken into custody for “suspected involvement in illegal militia activities,” the U.S. military said.
I think we can safely say Bush hopes for an accidental war.
Published: Wednesday September 19, 2007
Tells RAW he doesn’t believe Bush is in the ‘Cheney gang’ yet
President Bush is not going to bomb Iran — unless an “accidental” incident forces his hand, according to well-respected foreign policy moderate Steve Clemons, who laid out his case in Wednesday’s Salon article, “Why Bush Won’t Attack Iran.”
Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at New America Foundation and publisher of The Washington Note, says Bush has deviated from a Cheney-laid track to launch a first-strike on Iran, citing, as examples, frustrations that the vice president’s aides are airing, a conversation with a journalist who sat in on a December 2006 strategy meeting, and private conversations with high-level foreign policy players.