"It is absolutely parallel," said Philip Giraldi, a former CIA counterterrorism specialist. "They're using the same dance steps - demonize the bad guys, the pretext of diplomacy, keep out of negotiations, use proxies. It is Iraq redux." ...from Craig Unger's article "From the Wonderful Folks Who Brought You Iraq" in Vanity Fair's March 2007 issue
Last week the US Congress took the unusual step of warning the American president that he does not have the authority to attack Iran. Last night (Feb. 19) the BBC reported US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country's military infrastructure. Security correspondent Frank Gardner said it is understood that any such attack - if ordered - would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.
The Bush administration denies it is planning to attack and insists it is trying to persuade Tehran to stop uranium enrichment. The United Nations has urged Iran to stop its program or face economic sanctions. But diplomatic sources have told the BBC that as a fallback plan, senior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran. That list includes Iran's uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, sources say.
Meanwhile, the Guardian reports today that Iran could be as little as six months away from being able to enrich uranium on an industrial scale, having mastered the technology since last August, the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog warned in an interview published today in London's Financial Times. However, Mohamed El Baradei, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) director general, stressed that Iran was still years away from developing a nuclear weapon.
By the end of February, the US will have enough forces in the Gulf to mount an assault on Iran, according to the Vanity Fair article. Sam Gardiner said the most telling sign that a decision to bomb has already been made was the October deployment order of minesweepers to the Persian Gulf, presumably to counter any attempt by Iran to blockae the Strait of Hormuz, through which 40 percent of the world's oil passes.
In his January 10 speech - during which he mentioned Iran six times - President George Bush announced he was sending Patriot missles to the Middle East to defend US allies - presumably from Iran. And he asserted Iran was "providing material support for attacks on American troops."
In an email Monday from Move On:
"The president is out of control and Congress has to rein him in. President Bush's plan to deal with the mess in Iraq is to escalate the military conflict. He's not just escalating war in Iraq, he's provoking an escalation with Iran—a confrontation that could inflame the entire Middle East. This is a situation of the most serious proportions and we have to make sure Congress stops him."
From the Paris Parfait April 6, 2006 article Iran on Bush's radar?:
"What is wrong with the Bush administration??!! Haven't they learned a single lesson from the complete catastrophe disguised as Iraq? How could the United States even begin to fund another military campaign, either in terms of finance, manpower or world opinion? It seems the Bush administration's penchant for foisting their ideas on other nations------and punishing them if they don't accept them-----is veering dangerously out of control.
"Granted, the idea of Iran developing nuclear weapons is worrying. Still, the international community managed to avoid a standoff with North Korea over its nuclear ambitions. So why the rush to judgement against Iran? Why even consider abandoning all efforts of reasoned dialogue and diplomacy and start another war in the Middle East, while further inflaming hatred throughout the region? That's just reckless and foolhardy and irresponsible and inexcusable, no matter what your politics, religion or personal beliefs.
"These critical issues involving Iran's nuclear capabilities are best safeguarded by the professionals: the Nobel Peace Prize winners Mohammed el Baradei and the International Atomic Energy Agency, as well as the United Nations------NOT a bunch of hotheads in the Bush administration who appear determined to force confrontation. If ever restraint was needed, now is the time!"
From the Paris Parfait article April 21 Let's not go there:
"Joe Conason predicts dire consequences in Iraq, if the Bush administration attacks Iran for pursuing a uranium enrichment program. Following are excerpts of his article "Attacking Iran: Are they nuts?" in today's Salon.
"Should Bush ignore their advice and order air strikes, it is possible to imagine a disaster ensuing. At present, the coalition forces in Iraq depend heavily on supply lines that extend for 300 miles along highways from Kuwait and the southern Iraqi port at Basra. Mechanized units of the Iranian military, which currently boasts 800,000 men under arms, would not have far to go to cut those lines as soon as the United States started bombing. And their way into southern Iraq, cutting off the Al-Faw peninsula, would be paved by an uprising of the Shiite militia."
From the Paris Parfait article September 14 US report misleading, watchdog says:
"The UN nuclear watchdog has protested to the US government over a report on Iran's nuclear program, calling it "erroneous" and "misleading." In a letter leaked to reporters the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said a congressional report contained "serious distortions" of the agency's own findings on Iran's nuclear activity.
"The BBC reported that the IAEA also took "strong exception" to claims made over removal of a senior safeguards inspector. The IAEA said the letter was sent to the American government to "set the record straight on the facts." "This is a matter of the integrity of the IAEA and its inspectors," spokeswoman Melissa Fleming said in a statement.
"The letter, signed by Vilmos Cserveny, a senior IAEA director was sent to Peter Hoekstra, head of the House of Representatives' Select Committee on Intelligence. The letter said an August 23 report by the committee was wrong to say that Iran had enriched uranium to weapons-grade level, when the IAEA had found only small quantities of enrichment at far lower levels.
From the Paris Parfait article December 31 It was never about Saddam Hussein:
"...Unwittingly, Bush and his stubborn cohorts handed Iran disproportionate influence among Muslims in Iraq. Of course Iran has no business in Iraq - it's a non-Arab country that has despised Hussein and Iraq, following a bloody ten-year war. But Iran sees its chance amidst the chaos of Iraq to influence certain Muslim groups to act in a manner that might ultimately benefit Iran.
"Further, the Bush administration will be forced to make concessions to the Iranian regime to find any solution to the quagmire that has become Iraq; concessions despite Iran's deliberate defiance of international law vis a vis halting its nuclear production activities."
From the Independent, London Feb. 15:
"President Bush has again accused Iran of supplying lethal weaponry to Shia fighters in Iraq but stepped back from claims made by US military officials that the shipments had been approved "at the highest levels" in Tehran.
"His remarks came after General Peter Pace, chairman of the joint chiefs and Bush's top uniformed military adviser, appeared to contradict a briefing by senior US officers in Baghdad last weekend, at which they displayed sophisticated explosive devices said to have been manufactured in Iran and responsible for the death of 170 coalition troops. The arms had been sent on the instructions of government leaders, they said.
"Speaking at his first set- piece White House press conference of the year, Mr Bush said he was "certain" the weapons were provided by the al-Quds force, a branch of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards. But - like General Pace - he admitted he did not know if the order had come from the "top echelons" of the Islamic regime. However, he said: "My point is, what's worse, them ordering it and it happening, or them not ordering it and it happening?"
Stay tuned, folks. Let's hope Congress can rise to the occasion and stop Bush & Co. from attacking Iran. Otherwise, looks like we're in for another bumpy ride driven by hawks, hell-bent on having things their way - at the world's expense.
Poster from Micah Wright's Propaganda Remix Project