At least one person is reported killed as Israeli police use tear gas and water cannons against Palestinian protesters, marking Land Day. They are remembering the death of six Arabs killed by police in demonstrations against a land grab by Israel in 1976. RT’s Paula Slier reports from the scene.
Unsuccessful war simulation has given Israelis cold feet
Paul Joseph Watson
Israel’s plan to attack Iran has been postponed until spring 2013 following a war simulation that showed Iran could kill 200 Americans with a single missile strike, according to a report by senior Haaretz correspondent Amir Oren.
“At 8:58 P.M. on Tuesday, Israel’s 2012 war against Iran came to a quiet end. The capricious plans for a huge aerial attack were returned to the deep recesses of safes and hearts. The war may not have been canceled but it has certainly been postponed. For a while, at least, we can sound the all clear: It won’t happen this year. Until further notice, Israel Air Force Flight 007 will not be taking off,” writes Oren.
According to the report, a war simulation conducted by the U.S. Central Command found that an Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities would immediately be followed by an Iranian missile launch that would kill 200 Americans, a price deemed not worth paying by U.S. generals.
During the same meeting, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak also acknowledged that Israel would not act alone in striking Iran before the U.S. presidential elections in November, according to Oren, meaning that, “For all intents and purposes, it was an announcement that this war was being postponed until at least the spring of 2013.”
The U.S. Senate will soon consider yet another package of harsh economic sanctions on Iran as punishment for a nuclear weapons program they don’t have, Democratic Majority Leader Harry Reid said on Tuesday.
Iran is already facing an unprecedented set of U.S.-led economic sanctions, focused on but not exclusive to its oil and banking sectors. After repeated updating of the sanctions by Washington in recent months (the latest was in December), unemployment has risen considerably, inflation is rampant, and ordinary Iranians are suffering.
Incidentally, the sanctions have not resulted in a change in policy by Tehran, which the Obama administration and Congress say is the aim. Part of the reason is because sanctions don’t work, but another part is because Iran already conforms to Washington’s demands regarding its nuclear program.
There is a consensus in the U.S. military and intelligence community that Iran is not developing nuclear weapons and has demonstrated no intention of doing so. Still, aggressive foreign policy postures and harsh economic sanctions which severely harm the Iranian people continue, primarily for domestic political reasons and to pacify Israel.
“American and Israeli intelligence evaluations of the state of Iran’s program are in accord – contrary to the impression gained from Obama administration officials,” DEBKA-Net-Weekly reported on March 22. “Both are of one mind on the imperative to paralyze that program even by force if Iran refuses to give up its pursuit of a nuclear weapon.”
On Friday, it was reported that the United States, European allies and Israel agree that Iran does not have a nuclear weapons program. “Tehran does not have a bomb, has not decided to build one, and is probably years away from having a deliverable nuclear warhead,” the National Post reported. Despite this evidence, the Israeli government has decided to attack Iran.
According to DEBKAfile, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said in a radio interview on Thursday that if Israel is resolved to attack Iran, it will have to do so within three months. In February, it was reported that Israel would carry out an attack in June and would use Saudi Arabia as its base.
DEBKAfile claims Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu has convinced a majority of his Security and Diplomatic Cabinet of the urgency of an attack. “He is now backed by the two deputy prime ministers, the defense, foreign affairs, interior and finance ministers, while Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor and Minister without Portfolio Benny Begin are unconvinced. Netanyahu can therefore go ahead and safely put the military option to the vote in the cabinet for the first time,” DEBKAfile reports.
In an article posted on the Bloomberg website, the neocon propagandist, Jeffrey Goldberg, tells us an attack on Iran is “historically inevitable” and will not result in World War Three.
“Some Israeli security officials also believe that Iran won’t target American ships or installations in the Middle East in retaliation for a strike, as many American officials fear, because the leadership in Tehran understands that American retaliation for an Iranian attack could be so severe as to threaten the regime itself,” Goldberg writes.
Goldberg faithfully follows the Israeli propaganda narrative: the attack on Iran will be limited to striking nuclear targets that supposedly represent an “existential threat” to not only the Jewish state, but the entire world.
In an earlier article, Goldberg created hypothetical diplomatic conversations between Israel and the United States and wrote that “the Israelis will tell their American counterparts that they are taking this drastic step because a nuclear Iran poses the gravest threat since Hitler to the physical survival of the Jewish people. The Israelis will also state that they believe they have a reasonable chance of delaying the Iranian nuclear program for at least three to five years. They will tell their American colleagues that Israel was left with no choice. They will not be asking for permission, because it will be too late to ask for permission.”
As Bibi Netanyahu heads to Washington for yet another in an endless series of consultations of dubious utility with Barack Obama, followed by yet another appeal to the worshipful multitudes at Aipac’s national conference, it’s important to note that opinion polls both in the U.S. and Israel confirm there is no consensus within either country supporting war against Iran.
In the NY Times report on Bibi’s coming visit, Zalman Shoval falsely claims:
“Public opinion polls in America are about 50-50 on whether America should take a role in an eventual military operation against Iran. This is not the main element in a decision, but it will have some influence on the candidate, who happens to be president.”
Here are some recent U.S. poll findings on the subject. A February 2012 CNN poll finds that only 17% of Americans favor a U.S. attack now, while 60% favor sanctions with no military attack now. 22% favor taking no action at all. In a February Pew survey, 64% of Americans said that sanctions will not work. 58% said they would favor military action if it was the only way to prevent Iran from getting a bomb. 30% said they opposed a strike even if meant Iran got a nuclear weapon.
A 2010 CNN survey found only 36% favored a military attack if sanctions did not work, while 39% favored no military action. 71% of those polled believe (falsely) that Iran already has nuclear weapons.
A Pew poll in January 2011 said that 50% of Americans favored taking a “firm stand” against Iran, while 40% favored avoiding a military conflict. A November CBS survey found that only 15% of Americans favored military action against Iran now, while 55% believed that Iran could be contained by diplomacy, rather than force.
Now for Israeli public opinion: Shibley Telhami’s latest University of Maryland poll of Israeli public opinion finds that only 19% favor an attack that is against the will of the U.S. 42% would favor an attack with U.S. support. 34% oppose a strike regardless of whether there is U.S. support.
22% believe that if Israel did attack it would delay the Iranian nuclear program by more than five years. Even the most hawkish Israeli generals and politicians claim it will delay the program by a year or possibly two. 11% believe it would accelerate the Iranian WMD program, which is what a number of analysts suspect will happen.
27% of Israelis believe that if Israel did attack against the U.S.’ wishes, the latter would join the war against Iran nonetheless, while 39% believe the U.S. would support Israel diplomatically but not militarily.
29% of Israelis believe, against the explicit guarantee of hawks like Ehud Barak and Moshe Yaalon, that a war would take “months.” 22% believe it would last “years,” a particularly grim finding.
44% of Israelis believe an attack by their country would strengthen the Iranian regime.
While Israelis are evenly split in their preference between Obama and Romney as future president, they favor Obama by 33% to 18% over Rick Santorum. They even favor Obama over Newt Gingrich (32% to 25%), which is surprising considering that Sheldon Adelson’s Yisrael HaYom, Israel’s most popular daily, is shilling for Gingrich virtually every day in its pages.
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is one of the most powerful lobby organizations in the country. On March 4-6, AIPAC will hold its annual policy conference in Washington, D.C. The speakers include Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, U.S. President Barack Obama, Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, Republican candidate Newt Gingrich, and a host of other powerful politicians.
AIPAC has tremendous clout, but its influence has been disastrous for U.S. foreign policy and U.S. democracy. Here are 10 reasons why AIPAC is so dangerous.
1. AIPAC is lobbying Congress to promote a military confrontation with Iran. AIPAC — like the Israeli government — is demanding that the United States attack Iran militarily to prevent Iran from having the technological capacity to produce nuclear weapons, even though U.S. officials say Iran isn’t trying to build a weapon (and even though Israel has hundreds of undeclared nuclear weapons). AIPAC has successfully lobbied the U.S. government to adopt crippling economic sanctions on Iran, including trying to cut off Iran’s oil exports, despite the fact that these sanctions raise the price of gas and threaten the U.S. economy.
2. AIPAC promotes Israeli policies that are in direct opposition to international law. These include the establishment of colonies (settlements) in the Occupied West Bank and the confiscation of Palestinian land in its construction of the 26-foot-high concrete “separation barrier” running through the West Bank. The support of these illegal practices makes it impossible to achieve a solution to the Israel/Palestine conflict.
3. AIPAC’s call for unconditional support for the Israeli government threatens our national security. The United States’ one-sided support of Israel, demanded by AIPAC, has significantly increased anti-American sentiment throughout the Middle East, thus endangering our troops and sowing the seeds of more possible terrorist attacks against us. Gen. David Petraeus on March 16, 2010, admitted that the Israel-Palestine conflict “foments anti-American sentiment, due to a perception of U.S. favoritism for Israel.” He also said that “Arab anger over the Palestinian question limits the strength and depth of U.S. partnerships with governments and peoples in the [region] and weakens the legitimacy of moderate regimes in the Arab world. Meanwhile, al-Qaeda and other militant groups exploit that anger to mobilize support.”
You are looking at the map of the routes followed by the nuclear trucks—plain-looking, high-tech trailers that travel America’s busiest highways carrying nuclear bombs, material for atomic weapons, radioactive metals and nuclear fuel for the US Navy.
All this nuclear material is transported “from a variety of labs, reactors and military bases, to the nation’s Pantex bomb-assembly plant in Amarillo, Texas, to the Savannah River facility” by trucks that look like any other from the outside.
Called Armored Tractors (ATs), these 18-wheelers are heavily shielded, continuously tracked, and loaded with security measures. Nothing differentiates them from other commercial trucks save for a few antennas and their special architecture. That and a “US GOVERNMENT” license plate. And the fact that they’re loaded with stuff capable of destroying a few cities, for course.
But don’t worry. The DoE’s Office of Secure Transportation is taking good care that nothing happens to all these nuclear trucks constantly on the move. The fleet is operated by 600 special agents from the Department of Energy with a $250 million a year budget.
Check out the original article at Mother Jones. It’s fascinating—and somehow terrifying—that this happens every single day without anybody noticing. [Mother Jones and Sandia National Labs via Public Intelligence]
Given recent US-Israeli aggression, Iran apparently won’t even retaliate
Iran is very unlikely to intentionally provoke a conflict with the West and almost certainly would not initiate a first strike on the U.S. or its allies, including Israel, according to the top U.S. military intelligence official.
Lieutenant General Ronald Burgess, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, said Thursday that while Iran probably has the ability to “temporarily close the Strait of Hormuz with its naval forces,” as some Iranian officials have threatened to do if attacked or in response to sanctions on its oil exports by the U.S. and European Union, it is not likely they would make such a move.
“Iran has also threatened to launch missiles against the United States and our allies in the region in response to an attack,” Burgess said in testimony at a hearing today of the Senate Armed Services Committee, as if retaliatory military strikes aren’t a given. “However,” he said, “it is unlikely to initiate or intentionally provoke a conflict or launch a preemptive attack.”
It’s true, Iran would never preemptively attack the U.S. or Israel and thereby welcome a destructive and possibly fatal war on their own country from militaries far more superior than theirs. But the truth is, it appears Iran won’t even strike the U.S. or Israel even in retaliation.
While receiving exorbitant economic and military support from the U.S., Israel has financed, trained, and armed Iranian dissident groups to carry out terrorist attacks against Iranian nuclear scientists on Iranian soil. While the U.S. or Israel would consider that a declaration of war, Iran has merely complained about it, still declining to retaliate.
Additionally, Congress has heaped crippling economic sanctions on Iran’s oil and banking sectors, the Obama administration pressured European and Asian allies to embargo Iranian oil imports. Columbia University Professor Gary Sick has called this effort “the equivalent of a blockade. It’s an act of war.” And again, while the U.S. or Israel would consider this an act of war, the only Iranian response has been with rhetoric and not action.
The pretext for this U.S.-Israeli aggression has been the Iranian nuclear program, despite a near-consensus that it has no military dimension to it. Iran is very weak militarily and is on the defensive, while the U.S. and Israel are on the offensive. The fact that U.S. officials have to come out and articulate that Iran won’t attack us is a testament to the effectiveness of the war propaganda against Iran in the U.S. media.
“Long embargoes kill more people than brief wars”
The way in which the growing confrontation with Iran is being sold by the US, Israel and West European leaders is deeply dishonest. The manipulation of the media and public opinion through systematic threat exaggeration is similar to the drum beat of propaganda and disinformation about Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction that preceded the invasion in 2003.
The supposed aim of imposing sanctions on Iran’s oil exports and central bank, measures officially joined by the EU, is to force Iran to abandon its nuclear program before it reaches the point where it could theoretically build a nuclear bomb. Even Israel now agrees that Iran has not yet decided to do so, but the Iranian nuclear program is still being presented as a danger to Israel and the rest of the world.
There are two other menacing parallels between the run-up to the Iraq war and what is happening now. The purported issue is the future of the Iranian nuclear program, but, for part of the coalition mustering against Iran, the real purpose is the overthrow of the Iranian government.
(Traducido por Arielev)
Es una verdad universalmente reconocida que el embargo de petróleo de Occidente contra Irán pondrá a ese país a sus rodillas. Entre otras, las verdades se relacionan con: la economía de Irán se deriva en gran parte de sus ingresos de las ventas de petróleo, las sanciones de petróleo paralizarán a Irán; todos los clientes anteriores de Irán van a abandonarlo al ver la justicia de nuestra causa, Irán no será capaz de reemplazar a sus clientes con otros, con el inventario sin vender, las masas clamarán por alimentos, y no dinero para financiar a la milicia y programas de investigación nuclear; Irán no tendrá más remedio que llorarle al “Tío”.
En caso de detectarse una nota de ironía en mi referencia de arriba a Jane Austen, vamos a examinar algunas de las premisas. ¿Los clientes de petróleo de Irán lo abandonarán? Hasta ahora, Rusia y China no lo hacen.
Si, hemos visto artículos en el New York Times que confirman que los compradores estatales chinos están buscando fuentes de combustibles alternativos en el caso de que el grifo de petróleo de Irán se cierre. Pero esto es simplemente hacer la debida diligencia a fin de anticipar la posible pérdida de China del petróleo iraní. No veo ningún cambio fundamental en el apoyo de China a Irán.
Ahora, el Times añade un nuevo ingrediente al plato. En este se informa que la India no sólo compra petróleo iraní, sino que se ha convertido en el mayor cliente de Irán y planea seguir siéndolo. No hace ninguna promesa de que va a cumplir el embargo de petróleo:
La determinación de la India a seguir comprando petróleo de Irán, a pesar de las sanciones y la presión política creciente de Estados Unidos y Europa, ha frustrado a funcionarios en Washington en un momento en que este impulso hacia delante entre Estados Unidos y la India ha reducido la relación …
La situación se agravó la semana pasada por las noticias de que la India se había convertido en cliente de petróleo de Irán, mientras que un funcionario de la India anunció planes para enviar una delegación comercial a Teherán. En Nueva Delhi, diplomáticos y analistas dicen que para la India la compra de petróleo iraní es una cuestión de necesidad económica, dada su dependencia del petróleo importado.