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26 September 2006
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Dit artikel is deel van de serie The coming war against Iran.
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De komende oorlog tegen Iran - Deel 13
Diverse eenheden van de Amerikaanse Marine is te verstaan gegeven paraat te staan op 1 oktober. De planning van het Pentagon met betrekking tot Iran is doorgestuurd naar het Witte Huis. Sam Gardiner concludeert: 'I think the plan's been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran'. De Amerikaanse president Bush zei recentelijk: 'It's very important for the American people to see the president try to solve problems diplomatically before resorting to military force.' Charles Krauthammer noteert in een column in The Washington Post: '"Before" implies that the one follows the other. The signal is unmistakable. An aerial attack on Iran's nuclear facilities lies just beyond the horizon of diplomacy. With the crisis advancing and the moment of truth approaching, it is important to begin looking now with unflinching honesty at the military option. The costs will be terrible'. Dit artikel is een direct vervolg op deel 12 in deze serie.

De Israelische premier Olmert in een recent interview: '"Israel can't accept the possibility of Iranians having nuclear weapons and we will act together with the international forces, starting with America, in order to prevent it. And as I also said, I believe that President Bush is absolutely determined to prevent it, and America has the capabilities to actually prevent it."' Bush heeft al eerder aangegeven een Iran met een nucleair wapen 'niet te tolereren'. 'Reagan conservative' Paul Craig Roberts schrijft: 'The neoconservative Bush administration will attack Iran with tactical nuclear weapons, because it is the only way the neocons believe they can rescue their goal of US (and Israeli) hegemony in the Middle East. [...] Plans have long been made to attack Iran. The problem is that Iran can respond in effective ways to a conventional attack. Moreover, an American attack on another Muslim country could result in turmoil and rebellion throughout the Middle East. This is why the neocons have changed US war doctrine to permit a nuclear strike on Iran.' 'Eighteen hundred of our fellow physicists have joined in a petition [PDF] opposing new U.S. nuclear- weapons policies that open the door to the use of nuclear weapons for situations like Iran. As members of the profession that brought nuclear weapons into existence, we urge the administration to abandon such policies, which would have grave consequences for America and for the world', aldus een ingezonden brief in de Herald.

Luchtoorlog met Iran kan verworden tot landoorlog
Time Magazine concludeert wat ook valt te concluderen uit deze DeepJournal-serie over Iran: 'No one is talking about a ground invasion of Iran. Too many U.S. troops are tied down elsewhere to make it possible, and besides, it isn't necessary. If the U.S. goal is simply to stunt Iran's nuclear program, it can be done better and more safely by air. An attack limited to Iran's nuclear facilities would nonetheless require a massive campaign. Experts say that Iran has between 18 and 30 nuclear-related facilities. The sites are dispersed around the country - some in the open, some cloaked in the guise of conventional factories, some buried deep underground. [...] It's possible that U.S. warplanes could destroy every known nuclear site - while Tehran's nuclear wizards, operating at other, undiscovered sites even deeper underground, continued their work. "We don't know where it all is," said a White House official, "so we can't get it all." [...]
[Retired Marine General Anthony] Zinni, for one, believes an attack on Iran could eventually lead to U.S. troops on the ground. "You've got to be careful with your assumptions," he says. "In Iraq, the assumption was that it would be a liberation, not an occupation. You've got to be prepared for the worst case, and the worst case involving Iran takes you down to boots on the ground." All that, he says, makes an attack on Iran a "dumb idea." [General John] Abizaid, the current Centcom boss, chose his words carefully last May. "Look, any war with a country that is as big as Iran, that has a terrorist capability along its borders, that has a missile capability that is external to its own borders and that has the ability to affect the world's oil markets is something that everyone needs to contemplate with a great degree of clarity."
Over een lucht- en/of grondoorlog met Iran schrijft journalist Seymour Hersh: 'The Israeli plan [to attack Hezbollah in Lebanon], according to the former senior intelligence official, was “the mirror image of what the United States has been planning for Iran.” (The initial U.S. Air Force proposals for an air attack to destroy Iran's nuclear capacity, which included the option of intense bombing of civilian infrastructure targets inside Iran, have been resisted by the top leadership of the Army, the Navy, and the Marine Corps, according to current and former officials. They argue that the Air Force plan will not work and will inevitably lead, as in the Israeli war with Hezbollah, to the insertion of troops on the ground.)'.
De verloren Israëlische oorlog tegen Hezbollah kan mogelijk dienen als waarschuwing voor de VS niet aan een oorlog te beginnen tegen Iran: 'Cheney's point, the former senior intelligence official said, was “What if the Israelis execute their part of this first, and it's really successful? It'd be great. We can learn what to do in Iran by watching what the Israelis do in Lebanon.” [...] The surprising strength of Hezbollah's resistance, and its continuing ability to fire rockets into northern Israel in the face of the constant Israeli bombing, the Middle East expert told me, “is a massive setback for those in the White House who want to use force in Iran. And those who argue that the bombing will create internal dissent and revolt in Iran are also set back.” Nonetheless, some officers serving with the Joint Chiefs of Staff remain deeply concerned that the Administration will have a far more positive assessment of the air campaign than they should, the former senior intelligence official said. “There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this,” he said. “When the smoke clears, they'll say it was a success, and they'll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran.”'

VS slaan aanbiedingen af voor vredesonderhandelingen
Time Magazine schrijft in What Would War Look Like?: '[...] from the State Department to the White House to the highest reaches of the military command, there is a growing sense that a showdown with Iran [...] may be impossible to avoid. [...] The fact that all sides would risk losing so much in armed conflict doesn't mean they won't stumble into one anyway. And for all the good arguments against any war now, much less this one, there are just as many indications that a genuine, eyeball-to-eyeball crisis between the U.S. and Iran may be looming, and sooner than many realize. "At the moment," says Ali Ansari, a top Iran authority at London's Chatham House, a foreign-policy think tank, "we are headed for conflict."'
Toch had het mogelijk heel anders kunnen lopen, schrijft The Washington Post: 'Just after the lightning takeover of Baghdad by U.S. forces three years ago, an unusual two-page document spewed out of a fax machine at the Near East bureau of the State Department. It was a proposal from Iran for a broad dialogue with the United States, and the fax suggested everything was on the table -- including full cooperation on nuclear programs, acceptance of Israel and the termination of Iranian support for Palestinian militant groups.' De Amerikaanse regering ging niet in op het aanbod; 'the Iranian approach was swiftly rejected because in the administration "the bias was toward a policy of regime change"', aldus 'Richard N. Haass, head of policy planning at the State Department at the time and now president of the Council on Foreign Relations. [...] The incident "strengthened the hands of those in Iran who believe the only way to compel the United States to talk or deal with Iran is not by sending peace offers but by being a nuisance," [Trita] Parsi ['a Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace'] said.'
Voorafgaand aan de Irakoorlog is de VS een gelijksoortig aanbod gedaan, schrijft onderzoeksjournalist James Risen in The New York Times: 'As American soldiers massed on the Iraqi border in March [2003] and diplomats argued about war, an influential adviser to the Pentagon received a secret message from a Lebanese-American businessman: Saddam Hussein wanted to make a deal. [...] Iraq would make deals to avoid war, including helping in the Mideast peace process. "He said, if this is about oil, we will talk about U.S. oil concessions," Mr. Hage recalled. "If it is about the peace process, then we can talk. If this is about weapons of mass destruction, let the Americans send over their people. There are no weapons of mass destruction."'
Niet alleen werden de handreikingen van Iran geboycot, er werd zelfs in het geheim en illegaal geijverd voor een aanval op Iran. Onderzoeksauteur James Bamford schrijft in een artikel van zijn hand voor Rolling Stone, juli 2006: 'At the very moment that American forces were massing for an invasion of Iraq, there were indications that a rogue group of senior Pentagon officials were already conspiring to push the United States into another war—this time with Iran. [...] War with Iran has been in the works for the past five years, shaped in almost complete secrecy by a small group of senior Pentagon officials attached to the Office of Special Plans.' Lees meer over het OSP in dit artikel van DeepJournal. Een voorbeeld uit het artikel van Bamford: 'Unable to win the internal battle over Iran being waged within the administration, a member [of the OSP] was effectively resorting to treason, recruiting AIPAC [the American Israel Public Affairs Committee] to use its enormous influence to pressure the president into adopting the draft directive and wage war against Iran [...]; the document called, in essence, for regime change in Iran.'
In het verleden waren de VS niet zo verlegen als het aankwam op onderhandelen met Iran. In verband met de komende Amerikaanse verkiezingen zijn sommigen bang voor een October Surprise. De eerste October Surprise vond plaats in oktober 1980, gebaseerd op onderhandelingen tussen het Iraanse regime en het verkiezingsteam van Ronald Reagan, meer specifiek George Bush, de vader van de huidige president. Lees er alles over in dit artikel dat ik schreef voor Esquire.

Grote gevolgen bij aanval op Iran
Time vraagt zich af: 'So what would it look like? Interviews with dozens of experts and government officials in Washington, Tehran and elsewhere in the Middle East paint a sobering picture: military action against Iran's nuclear facilities would have a decent chance of succeeding, but at a staggering cost.' '[...] "the Iranians have many more options than we do: They can activate Hezbollah; they can organize riots all over the Islamic world, including Pakistan, which could bring down the Musharraf government, putting nuclear weapons into terrorist hands; they can encourage the Shia militias in Iraq to attack US troops; they can blow up oil pipelines and shut the Persian Gulf", aldus Sam Gardiner. Zie over dit onderwerp ook andere delen uit deze DeepJournal-serie, waaronder deel 10 met de koppen Aanval op Iran leidt tot ramp in Midden-Oosten en Iran kan terugslaan middels asymetrische oorlogsvoering.
Ook 'Richard Armitage, who served as Deputy Secretary of State in Bush's first term' laat waarschuwende woorden horen, in een artikel van Seymour Hersh, naar aanleiding van de recente oorlog tegen Hezbollah: '“If the most dominant military force in the region—the Israel Defense Forces—can't pacify a country like Lebanon, with a population of four million, you should think carefully about taking that template to Iran, with strategic depth and a population of seventy million,” Armitage said. “The only thing that the bombing has achieved so far is to unite the population against the Israelis.”'
Aan de nauwe samenwerking bij de recente aanvallen op Hezbollah tussen Israël en de VS -die ondermeer resulteerde in de levering door de VS van intelligence van de NSA en clusterbommen- lag mede ten grondslag dat de VS Hezbollah enigszins wilden uitputten ten faveure van een komende aanval door de VS op Iran: '“The White House was more focussed on stripping Hezbollah of its missiles, because, if there was to be a military option against Iran's nuclear facilities, it had to get rid of the weapons that Hezbollah could use in a potential retaliation at Israel. Bush wanted both. [...]”, zegt 'a Middle East expert with knowledge of the current thinking of both the Israeli and the U.S. governments' tegen journalist Seymour Hersh.

Media-offensief deel van militair offensief
Een onderdeel van de voorbereidingen op een eventuele aanval op Iran, is het media-offensief: 'The administration also has launched a $75 million program to advance democracy in Iran by expanding broadcasting into the country, funding nongovernmental organizations and promoting cultural exchanges. Voice of America broadcasts one hour a day into Iran; by April, that will grow to four hours a day, and the administration plans to go to 24 hours a day. But the administration suffered a setback last week when lawmakers slashed $19 million, mainly from broadcast operations', schrijft The Washington Post. Die tegenslag kan worden opgevangen door de 15 miljoen euro die Nederland uittrekt voor 'het bevorderen van pluriformiteit van de media in Iran'.'Het Nederlandse ministerie van Buitenlandse Zaken heeft subsidie gegeven aan een Amerikaanse neo-conservatieve organisatie voor een programma dat een vreedzame machtswisseling in Iran moet bewerkstelligen. De organisatie Freedom House, die in 2003 de Amerikaanse inval in Irak steunde, ontving dit jaar ongeveer 630.000 euro van de Nederlandse overheid, zo bevestigt de directrice van de organisatie', schrijft NRC Handelsblad op 16 september, eraan toevoegend: 'Nederland en de Verenigde Staten zijn de enige landen ter wereld die openlijk budgetten hebben om politieke veranderingen in Iran te bevorderen. [...] Op het moment dat de Amerikaanse organisatie de Nederlandse subsidie aanvroeg, werd Freedom House geleid door ex-CIA directeur James Woolsey die zich heeft geschaard achter oproepen tot wisseling van regime in Iran.'
Journalist Jim Lobe onthult dat 'A story authored by a prominent U.S. neo-conservative regarding new legislation in Iran allegedly requiring Jews and other religious minorities to wear distinctive colour badges circulated around the world this weekend before it was exposed as false. [...] Juan Cole, president of the U.S. Middle East Studies Association (MESA), described the Taheri article and its appearance first in Canada's Post as "typical of black psychological operations campaigns", particularly in its origin in an "out of the way newspaper that is then picked up by the mainstream press" - in this case, the Jerusalem Post and the New York Post. A former U.S. intelligence official described the article's relatively obscure provenance as a "real sign of (a) disinformation operation".' Een objectief gezien legitieme, maar in deze tijden opmerkelijke programmering, was zondagavond het uitzenden op de Belgische televisie van de documentaire Execution of a Teenage Girl, over een 16-jarig meisje dat in 2004 in Iran werd opgehangen op de beschuldiging van onkuisheid.

Onzekerheid over lot Iran
In een recent artikel schrijft onderzoeksjournalist Jim Lobe over de verwarring die hij waarneemt met betrekking tot het lot van Iran: 'If you're feeling increasingly confused about whether the administration of President George W. Bush is determined to go to war with Iran or whether it is instead truly committed to a diplomatic process with its European allies to reach some kind of modus vivendi, you're not alone.' Zich baserend op meerdere relevante bronnen maakt hij duidelijk dat het voor hem geen uitgemaakte zaak is of Iran zal worden aangevallen of niet. Hij citeert 'Fred Kaplan, the national-security correspondent for Slate', die schrijft: '"It's possible, in other words, that the administration is playing both approaches -- mobilising as a tool of diplomatic pressure and mobilising as an act of impending warfare -- not as a coordinated strategy but as parallel actions, each of which will follow its inexorable course."'
Zowel Michael Hirsh (How to Avoid War - Nixon went to China. Now Bush must break out of the box on Iran) als Fareed Zakaria (What Iranians Least Expect - What if Bush publicly offered to open an embassy in Tehran?) zijn van mening dat het verstandig zou zijn als Bush inspiratie zou putten uit de Amerikaanse benadering van de gespannen verhoudingen tussen China en de VS, medio jaren zestig. Zakaria: 'Iran's hard-liners don't want good relations with the United States. Iranians have been taught for a generation now that Washington hates them, doesn't want relations with their country and tries to isolate them in the world. What if President Bush publicly offered to open an embassy in Tehran and begin student exchanges with young Iranians? In a country that is yearning for contact with the outside world, it might put the mullahs on the defensive.'

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