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The Emerging “Dolphin Gap” Amidst False Flags Waving in the Real Fog of War

11:53 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Dolphin Attack!

I. Don’t tell the GOP presidential primary candidates, but they’re missing an issue far more substantive than 99% of what they argue about in their debates and campaign ads:  The emerging Dolphin Gap in the Straits of Hormuz (hat tip to Harry Law):

The US:

“We’ve got dolphins,” said retired Adm. Tim Keating in a Wednesday interview with NPR. Keating commanded the U.S. 5th Fleet in Bahrain during the run-up to the Iraq war. He sounded uncomfortable with elaborating on the Navy’s use of the lovable mammals but said in a situation like the standoff in Hormuz, Navy-trained dolphins would come in handy:

KEATING: They are astounding in their ability to detect underwater objects.

NPR’s TOM BOWMAN: Dolphins were sent to the Persian Gulf as part of the American invasion force in Iraq.

KEATING: I’d rather not talk about whether we used them or not. They were present in theater.

BOWMAN: But you can’t say whether you used them or not.

KEATING: I’d rather not.

The Russians:

It sounds like the plot from a stupid B-movie, but it’s true: A marine mammal trainer and former Soviet militiaman just sold four “killer” dolphins and a white beluga whale to Iran.

According to a BBC report, the dolphins and whale were trained by the Soviet navy to attack “enemy frogmen with harpoons attached to their backs” and carry out “kamikaze strikes” against enemy ships. The animals learned to distinguish between Soviet and foreign submarines by the sounds of their propellers and were taught to carry mines to the hulls of enemy vessels to blow them (and themselves) up.

If the Iranians have four dolphins and Belugas, they might have plans for 400.  They may be less than two months from this, let alone two years, as has been said of their ability to create a nuclear weapon for at least the past 20 years.

When the GOP candidates get wind of this, they might challenge Obama about letting the “Dolphin Gap” get out of hand, as John F. Kennedy used the fictitious “Missile Gap” to close in on Richard M. Nixon in the 1960 White House contest.

To quickly close the gap before the election, the GOP could try to force Obama to immediately draft all the Cook Inlet Belugas in Alaska.  This would eliminate a thorn in the side of hyper developers who hope to soon extract very large amounts of coal, mined from pristine upper Inlet lands, out of the Inlet, and to the Orient.  Currently, Cook Inlet Belugas are listed by NOAA as endangered.  By drafting all of them for the cause, they would no longer be endangered.  At least in Cook Inlet, that is.

II. On a more serious note, this past week has seen many signs that a real shooting war between Iran and the United States Navy could start at any minute, perhaps by intent, perhaps by mistake.  I wrote a diary at MyFiredoglake on aspects of how dangerous this is on Friday. Since then, all indications are that both the Israelis and Americans are almost in free fall, as they appear to be frantically reassessing ramifications of what could only be best termed as a shaky alliance.

No statements issued by Israeli or American government officials regarding last week’s Tehran scientist assassination should be given any more credence than should have been given to Eisenhower’s May 5, 1960 statement, regarding a U-2 shot down over the USSR, that “there was absolutely no deliberate attempt to violate Soviet airspace and never has been.”

Today’s back-and-forth on who has cancelled or rescheduled the upcoming anti-missile defense exercises that would have allowed Israelis unprecedented access inside of US and NATO command structures is just one of many examples so far this year that there are perhaps major rebellions going on within both the American and Israeli military and defense establishments about how to chart these crazy waters.

Not just the Straits of Hormuz.

Sometimes I feel we’d be better off if the Dolphins and Belugas ran world affairs, rather than humans.

Mossad Caught Posing as CIA to Recruit Iranian Terrorists

6:14 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Anyone wondering what the Israelis will do next, after this week’s assassination of an Iranian scientist, to possibly provoke the Iranians into blindly swatting at an American naval vessel or American-flagged tanker, need look no further than Mark Perry’s post today at Foreign Policy:

Buried deep in the archives of America’s intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush’s administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives — what is commonly referred to as a “false flag” operation.

The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah — a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization. Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children. [emphases added]

According to Perry’s article, when told of this, President Bush was troubled, even downright pissed:

It’s easy to understand why Bush was so angry,” a former intelligence officer said. “After all, it’s hard to engage with a foreign government if they’re convinced you’re killing their people. Once you start doing that, they feel they can do the same.”

Not only was Bush pissed, so were some of our intelligence operatives and State Department employees:

Israel’s relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the day it left office, this same intelligence officer noted. Israel’s activities jeopardized the administration’s fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under intense pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S. claims that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks in kind on U.S. personnel…

What has become crystal clear, however, is the level of anger among senior intelligence officials about Israel’s actions. “This was stupid and dangerous,” the intelligence official who first told me about the operation said. “Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us. If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they’re supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don’t think that’s true.”

One commenter at the web post of Perry’s article noted:

Given the murder of an Iranian scientist on his way to work, which stalled the EU-Iran talks that were just starting in Turkey, we should not be surprised that this report is leaking out now. It is an attempt to embarrass Israel, and show despite all its claims, it’s more of a headache to America than an asset.

But, what our American media will focus on is that Obama curtailed some cooperation in the early part of his administration. They will give little or no context to his actions, and use that as more evidence that Obama is hostile to Israel.

Indeed, Perry’s timing may have something to do with his State Department and anti-terrorism connections.

Others are questioning whether or not the Israelis are not only capable or mounting some sort or another false flag operation that implicates the U.S. in violence against Iranians, but purposefully pushing the Iranians to attack and kill Americans.  The most recent Israeli assassination of an Iranian scientist this week prompted MSNBC‘s Chris Matthews to engage in a few mildly probing speculations:

Baer: It’s undoubtedly the Israelis, it couldn’t be anyone else. The Israelis as far as I can see are trying to provoke the Iranians into doing something.

Matthews: We are vulnerable over there. We have an American who has just been condemned to death for espionage.

Baer: What we’re seeing is an escalation, Chris, and it’s almost as if the intention is to get the Iranians to fire a missile at an oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz, which would cause a wider war.

Matthews: Why would that help us?

Baer: It wouldn’t help us, it would help them… because the Israelis would force us into hitting the Iranians, hit them back, and that’s exactly what they want.

Matthews (with virginal voice): Oh so it’s the Israelis forcing us into this….

Engel: Incredibly hard sanctions on Iran [have the country] backed into a corner. If you want to hit Iran and you need a pretext to do that…the way to do that is by forcing your adversary into making some kind of aggressive move and everyone will think you’re correct when you respond by force….

Matthews: This is moving toward creating a pretext for an eventual attack on nuclear facilities?

Matthews continues later:

Matthews: How can the U.S. not see this as adversarial by Israel to try and hook us into a war? If that’s seen to manipulate that into a war we don’t want to get into, how can we not see that as from an ally, hostile? … Bob, you’re saying that Israel is trying to provoke the Iranians into attacking.

I contend that not only may the Israelis be trying to provoke the Iranians into attacking us, they may be doing it in such a way as to get the Iranian population believe that an Israeli-connected attack was actually one done by the U.S.  I also contend that Israeli decision makers are nuts enough to – if the above fails to work – actually attack our forces in the Persian Gulf with their own missiles, perhaps taken ashore off of a submarine, to make us think the Iranians have attacked us.  Or – combine the two operations to happen within minutes of each other.

Israel is not our friend.  They are, instead, the most insidious enemy the United States has had in a long time.  I write this reluctantly, but feel it has to be said.

With Allies Like Israel, Who Needs Enemies?

6:57 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

What a headline.  From the UK Telegraph:

 

Israel refuses to tell US its Iran intentions

 

Israel has refused to reassure President Barack Obama that it would warn him in advance of any pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear capabilities, raising fears that it may be planning a go-it-alone attack as early as next summer. The US leader was rebuffed last month when he demanded private guarantees that no strike would go ahead without White House notification, suggesting Israel no longer plans to “seek Washington’s permission”, sources said. The disclosure, made by insiders briefed on a top-secret meeting between America’s most senior defence chief and Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel’s hawkish prime minister, comes amid concerns that Iran’s continuing progress towards nuclear weapons capability means the Jewish state has all but lost hope for a diplomatic solution.

Let me see if I can get this right.  It was a group of people inspired by a White Paper some of them created in the late 1990s for Netanyahu, then in his first term as Israeli Prime Minister, who then regrouped to form the Project for the New American Century, that kept on pushing for a war against Iraq, largely to help protect Israel.  They got what they wanted, much to our country’s detriment.

Now they’re pushing for war against Iran, even though such a conflict would not only seriously over-stretch our defense establishment, it would endanger our  military forces in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and throughout the Persian Gulf area.

Tens of thousands of Americans.

A lone Israeli attack on Iran would probably result in attacks upon all our naval vessels within reach of Iranian missiles.  It  would result in Shia attacks on US forces in Iraq.  It would seriously endanger US forces in central and western Afghanistan.  It would certainly result in attacks on shipping in the Persian Gulf, Straits of Hormuz and approaches to those areas.

Don’t get me started on the ramifications for several country’s economies, including our own.

We give these assholes billions a year for weapons.  Our president serially abases himself on their behalf.  If Israeli agents gave our congress and senate a bill to pass, saying “Benjamin Netanyahu is the kindest, bravest, warmest, most wonderful human being I’ve ever known in my life,” it would be passed by overwhelming majorities in both chambers, even if the line’s provenance was discovered during the rushes to co-sponsor and to be the first to vote.

If Alaskans look down upon some more than we do mooches, it is ingrates.  One Israeli government after another seems to want to outdo its predecessors in being both.

Allies?  My ass!

Immediately After Successful Test of Nuclear-Capable IRBM, Netanyahu Asks His Cabinet for Permission to Attack Iran – Updated

1:35 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Israeli Jericho III Nuclear-warhead capable IRBM

From ABC News:

An Israeli official said Wednesday that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is trying to persuade his Cabinet to authorize a military strike against Iran’s suspected nuclear weapons program — a discussion that comes as Israel successfully tests a missile believed capable of carrying a nuclear warhead to Iran.

From NPR:

[Netanyahu's] hawkish foreign minister, Avigdor Lieberman, was dismissive of the reports but added: “We are keeping all the options on the table.”

The government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was discussing sensitive internal deliberations, told The Associated Press that the option is now being debated at the highest levels.

The official confirmed a report Wednesday in the Haaretz daily that Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak both favor an attack, but do not yet have the support of a majority of Cabinet ministers. The official also said Israel’s top security chiefs, including the heads of the military and Mossad spy agency, oppose military action.

It is generally understood that such a momentous decision would require a Cabinet decision. Israel’s 1981 destruction of Iraq’s nuclear reactor was preceded by a Cabinet vote.

Netanyahu spokesman Mark Regev refused to comment on the issue but did say there is a “decision-making process which has stood the test of time. … There have been precedents, and the process works.”

With most of its population concentrated in a narrow corridor of land along the Mediterranean, Israel’s homefront could be vulnerable to a counterattack.

Iran’s military chief, Gen. Hasan Firouzabadi, said his country takes Israeli threats seriously and vowed fierce retaliation.

“We are fully prepared to use our proper equipment to punish any mistake so that it will cause a shock,” he said in comments posted on the website of the Guard, Iran’s most powerful military force.

Reflecting the mood in Israel, military expert Reuven Pedatzur wrote in Haaretz that “if anyone can save Israel from catastrophe, it is the Israeli air force commander,” who might simply tell Netanyahu that an attack on Iran “cannot achieve its goals.”

A compilation of reports on attacking Iran, at Arutz Shiva, claims that the UK and USA are preparing to participate:

A report in the British Guardiannewspaper Wednesday said that the U.S. and the UK were gearing up for a possible attack on Iran. According to the report, the U.S. has become increasingly frustrated – and concerned – over Iran’s refusal to end its enrichment of uranium. Britain has agreed to help, despite some members of the British government being opposed to providing such assistance.

“In anticipation of a potential attack, British military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air- and sea-launched campaign,” the article says.  Officials said that the U.S. would launch some missile attacks from British ships, if action was taken against Iran, as well as from the British protectorate of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean,

According to the Guardian, the decision to strike Iran came about as the result of the successful campaign that resulted in the dethroning of Muammar Qaddafi as dictator of Libya.

Discussion of the possibility of an upcoming Israeli attack on Iran, or of US/UK participation in this has so far mostly been confined to the foreign press.  Democracy Now reported on the meeting, and successful missile test together, in the same brief paragraph, this morning:

The Israeli newspaper Ha’aretz is reporting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak are trying to muster a majority in the cabinet in favor of military action against Iran. Netanyahu and Barak have reportedly persuaded Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman to support such an attack. Earlier today, Israel reportedly test-fired a ballistic missile.

I’ve been scared into thinking that an attack on Iran was imminent in the past.  Is this different? We may know for sure by the end of the week.  This comes a day after it was announced that a poll commissioned by the European Commission shows deep concern about Israel’s path amongst Europeans:

Results of a new poll commissioned by the European Commission show that Israel is believed by Europeans in 15 countries to be the greatest threat to world peace, greater than North Korea, Iran or Afghanistan.

While the European Commission will release the full results of the poll on Monday, the International Herald Tribune reported that the 7,500 people polled living in the European Union (500 in each of the 15 E.U. member states) were presented with a list of 15 countries and asked if these countries present a threat to world peace.

Shockingly, Israel was rated first.

This might be shocking to the people at the Simon Wiesenthal Center, who wrote the above report on the poll, but given today’s intentional leak from Netanyahu’s cabinet,  I’m not shocked.  Are you?

Here are the stats on the Jericho III, the missile tested yesterday:

The Jericho III is believed to have a three-stage solid propellant and a payload of 1,000 to 1,300 kg. It is possible for the missile to be equipped with a single 750 kg nuclear warhead or two or three low yield MIRV warheads. It has an estimated launch weight of 30,000 kg and a length of 15.5 m with a width of 1.56 m. It may be similar to an upgraded and re-designed Shavit space launch vehicle, produced by Israel Aerospace Industries. It probably has longer first and second-stage motors. It is estimated that it has a range of 4,800 to 11,500 km  (2,982 to 7,180 miles), and probably significantly greater with a smaller payload of 350 kg (the size of one smaller Israeli nuclear warhead). It is believed that the Jericho 3 is inertial guided with a radar guided warhead and silo-based with mobile vehicle and railcar capabilities.

According to an official report which was submitted to the American congress in 2004, it may be that with a payload of 1,000 kg the Jericho III gives Israel nuclear strike capabilities within the entire Middle East, Africa, Europe, Asia and almost all parts of North America, as well as within large parts of South America and North Oceania. MissileThreat.com reports: “The range of the Jericho 3 also provides an extremely high impact speed for nearby targets, enabling it to avoid any Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) defenses that may develop in the immediate region.”  On 17 January 2008 Israel test fired a multi-stage ballistic missile believed to be of the Jericho III type reportedly capable of carrying “conventional or non conventional warheads.”

Update: C Tuttle linked in the comments to Richard Silverstein’s prescient and very troubling article on this in Tikun Olam.  Well worth the read, this is the part that concerns me:

This is the first Israeli media confirmation that not only have Bibi and Barak have determined to attack Iran, but that they have attempted to dragoon the cabinet into supporting it as well.  This takes the plan one step closer to realization.  As soon as there is a cabinet majority, the attack could happen at any moment.  Don’t be terribly surprised if you wake up one morning and find pictures of Israeli missiles falling on Iran on CNN and the front page of your local paper.  It no longer seems much of a question of “if,” but rather “when.”

It’s very important that bloggers, journalists and others prepare for such an eventuality.  We should try to create open channels of communication among us and Israeli and Iranian bloggers who can tell us in real time what is happening, who’s saying what, and where the bombs are falling.  This will be a chilling, savage attack which I imagine will impact not just Iran, but Israel as well.  [emphasis added]

 

Rep. Berman Pushing Secret Resolution to Stifle Palestinian Statehood Moves Here and Abroad – UPDATED

12:04 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

Rep. Howard Berman (CA-28) is secretly circulating a House Resolution that seeks to force Palestinian leaders to:

cease all efforts at circumventing the negotiation process, including efforts to gain recognition of a Palestinian state from other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, and calls upon foreign governments not to extend such recognition.

It also seeks to force the Obama administration to:

lead a diplomatic effort to persuade other nations to oppose a unilateral declaration of a Palestinian state and to oppose recognition of a Palestinian state by other nations, within the United Nations, and in other international forums prior to achievement of a final agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

The organization U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation created a petition addressed to Berman late yesterday, to be hand-delivered to Berman should it obtain 5,000 signatures.  This morning and early afternoon it has easily gotten that many signers.

Their petition simply reads:

Dear Rep. Berman,

I oppose your resolution condemning Palestinian efforts to achieve statehood. As Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. wrote in his famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the worst stumbling block to freedom’s advance is the person who “paternalistically believes he can set the timetable for another man’s [or woman’s] freedom.” It is a shame that you have decided to push through Congress a resolution setting a timeline on Palestinian freedom.

Here’s a link to the petition.

As some here may know, last month three Latin American countries, Argentina, Uruguay and Brazil, recognized a Palestinian State with borders marked by the pre-1967 War line, the so-called Green Line. This caused consternation in the U.S. and Israeli governments:

In rapid succession, Brazil, Argentina, and Uruguay have officially recognized a free and independent Palestinian state, adding an unexpected twist to the U.S.-backed push for Middle East peace. The South American neighbors said that the Palestinian state should be based on the borders of the West Bank and Gaza before Israel took control of the territories in the 1967 Six-Day War. Palestinians welcomed the news, Israel called it “regrettable,” and the U.S. said it could be a “counterproductive” distraction from peace negotiations.

Berman, who stated at the time of his appointment to the chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee that “[e]ven before I was a Democrat, I was a Zionist,”  has been one of the strongest backers of going to war against Iran.  He has made a number of false statements regarding Iranian nuclear capabilities and intentions.

The House Foreign Affairs Committee (soon to be renamed the House Committee on Sanctions and Accountability /s) has a history of being led by hawks who are willing to lie us into wars.  Berman was preceded by the late Tom Lantos, co-creator of the fictitious “Nurse Nariya” during the first Gulf War.  Berman will be succeeded by GOP Representative Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, who last week had a hand in Rep. Ron Klein’s HR 1751, which, while “list[ing] by name 22 countries that offered/sent help to fight the fire  ….. omits any mention of the fact that the Palestinian Authority” sent key equipment and trained firefighters to the devastating wildfires in Israel.

Berman’s Resolution, like many Israeli-designed House and Senate resolutions, is designed to limit both the power of the president, and to send a message to the European Union, where there is growing momentum for that body to follow the leads of Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay.

Please go here and sign the U.S. Campaign to End the Occupation’s petition.

UPDATE:
No longer a “secret” resolution.  From M. J.Rosenberg at TPM Cafe (emphases added):

At last the United States is responding to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s refusal to freeze settlements and re-start negotiations with the Palestinians.

Congressman Howard Berman (D-CA), chair of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, is today rushing to the House floor with an AIPAC-drafted resolution condemning the Palestinians for publicly suggesting that, in the wake of Netanyahu’s refusal to freeze settlements and negotiate, they will consider a unilateral declaration of statehood. (As is usual with Berman, his resolution exclusively blames Palestinians for the collapse of peace talks; not a word of criticism of Israel appears.)

The Berman bill, drafted only yesterday, will be voted on today because when it comes to pleasing AIPAC there are simply no limits. (This remains true even though AIPAC is embroiled in an espionage/sex scandal that has it scrambling to find $20 million to pay off a former top employee who is threatening to produce documents exposing the lobby.)

The Berman bill will pass overwhelmingly because that is how things work in a city where policy is driven by campaign contributions – and not just on this issue.

The only difference between how AIPAC lobbyists dictate U.S. Middle East policy and pretty much every other major lobby is that AIPAC works to advance the interests of a foreign country. In other words, comparisons to the National Rifle Association would only be applicable if the gun owners that the NRA claims to represent lived in, say, Greece. Oh, and NRA-backed bills usually take longer than a day to get to the House floor.

New Max Blumenthal Video on Potential Israeli Loyalty Oath

12:49 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

American Author, journalist, blogger and videographer, Max Blumenthal, partnering with Joseph Dana, has posted a new video, Feeling the loyalty to the Jewish State. Like many of Max’s earlier interviews with young North American kids in Tel Aviv or Jerusalem, the responses he gets tend to be surprising, even shocking.

In the six-minute piece, he interviews a succession of American and Canadian kids in Israel. Most appear to be concluding their all expense paid Taglit-Birthright tours, designed to help young Jewish kids resonate with the Jewish state. As described recently by Canadian activist Rachel Marcuse, the highly programmed tours wear the kids down with a relentless schedule of right-wing Zionist Hasbara sessions from early in the morning until late at night. At the conclusion of the tour, the kids unwind:

Imagine the reaction in the USA if Iranian-American kids were going over to Tehran, and being filmed reciting:

I swear by Allah that I want to offer unconditional loyalty to the Islamic state of Iran, to its leaders and the commanders of its Islamic army. I am prepared as a loyal supporter of the Islamic state to risk my life for this oath at any time.

There would be an uproar. The kids might be rolled up, locked up and forced into stress positions immediately upon return to the USA. They would be incarcerated for lengthy periods with no charges against them. If tortured, their torturers would be left alone by the Obama administration. Some might commit suicide. All would be ruined for life.

Instead, these Canadian and American kids, upon their return to the countries some state they hold second in loyalty to Israel, will be sought out to fill positions in government, the military, intelligence and the corporate world, where they will begin to exert influence on the future affairs of the countries they inhabit.

For some reason, to me, this is perhaps the most troubling video yet by the Dana-Blumenthal team.

FOX News Leads the Charge to Rid the World of “Crazy People” by Supporting a Crazy War Against Iran – THIS WEEK

5:14 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

After hosting former UN Ambassador John Bolton in an exchange devoted to the crazy notion Bolton is now touting that Israel must strike Iranian nuclear facilities within the next eight days, FOX’s Neil Cavuto asks Israeli Ambassador to the US, Michael Oren, "Do you think that some people are just too crazy to respond to sanctions? By that, I mean, if you’re a nut, what the civilized world does to rein you in simply doesn’t register because you’re a nut, so what if, from Ahmenidejad on down, we’re dealing with nuts who don’t respond as you would think to what would be in their economic interests?"

Prof. Juan Cole, at Informed Comment, has published a number of essays on how crazy or nuts war with Iran would undoubtedly turn out to be. Here’s from the most blunt, published back on July 24th. I’ve slightly reformatted it:

The likely outcome of an Israeli military strike on Iran is as follows:

1). Iran will use Shiite operatives and militiamen to kill the increasingly vulnerable remaining US troops in Iraq (once there are less than 50,000 non-combat troops in that country, they are not troops, they are hostages).

2). Iran will stir up its substantial number of clients in Afghanistan to hit the United States, widening the insurgency from mainly Pashtun Taliban to include fundamentalist Tajiks and Hazaras. The US will remain mired in that war, perhaps for decades, as a result.

3). Iran will probably bide its time and act in covert and hard to trace ways against US interests in the region. There could be more operations like the Khobar Towers bombing of US troops in Saudi Arabia or the 1983 attack on a Marine barracks in Beirut. All US commercial and government offices in the region would become targets.

4). A fair likelihood exists that Hizbullah would do something to Israel in revenge, possibly provoking another Israel-Lebanon War. The last war did not go well for Israel, despite its massive military superiority. A fourth of Israelis were forced to move house, chemical gas facilities in Haifa were threatened (and the Dimona Nuclear plant that makes all those Israeli nuclear warheads could be), and Hizbullah had broken Israeli radio encryption and knew all the Israeli army plans beforehand.

5). Not only would the democratically inclined opposition movement in Iran evaporate, but Muslim fundamentalists in Egypt, Jordan and other US allies would mobilize and perhaps gain in popularity out of anti-imperial solidarity. (Only 6% of ordinary Arabs is worried about an Iranian nuclear bomb, whereas almost all are disturbed by Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians).

6). The price of oil would spike, likely to 2008 highs of $140 a barrel, throwing the world back into Depression.

7). Once such hostilities began, and given these likely responses, the US could well get sucked into a third major Middle East war, against a country geographically much bigger than either Iraq or Afghanistan, and more than twice as populous as each of them. At another $1 trillion, that cost would push the US into $14 trillion in indebtedness all by itself, and since that is American annual gross domestic product, it could trigger a downgrading of American credit, making the interest servicing on existing and future loans far more expensive and, along with crippling high oil prices, beginning America’s final spiral down into poverty and weakness.

What’s crazier – having John Bolton and Neil Cavuto help determine our foreign policy, or Prof. Juan Cole?

Unfortunately, the White House is more likely to listen to Bolton and Cavuto.

Israeli Troops Violate U.N. Resolution 1701 in Provocation that Kills at Least Five – War, or Communications Probe?

9:34 am in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

In clear violation of U.N. Resolution 1701, which Israel signed at the conclusion of their ignominious defeat in July-August 2006, Israeli troops violated Lebanese sovereignty this morning, cutting down a tree on the Lebanese side of the border. An MSNBC video and still clearly show the Israelis, attempting to cut down the first tree on the Lebanese side of the border.

The Lebanese Army (not Hizbollah) responded with warning shots, then with live fire. The Israeli counter-reasponse apparently killed three Lebanese soldiers and a reporter. A sniper from the Lebanese side of the border then killed "a high-ranking Israeli officer.

Although Israel routinely violates Resolution 1701 (overflights, shelling of Lebanese fishing boats, etc.), Hizbollah has also done so, though less blatantly.

The Israelis are now responding with heavy artillery and rocket fire, as well as white phosphorus. Numerous Lebanese soldiers and civilians have been injured in the exchange, which is probably escalating to include Hizbollah rockets, as I write.

Here’s the longest report on this I have found yet, from Iran’s Press TV, not always the best source, to say the least:

UPDATE: I’m beginning to think that this was an IDF probe intended to draw out Hizbollah fire and – more importantly – to listen in on the Hizbollah radio nets as they reacted in real time. There have been Israeli accusations that Lebanese military communications and surveillance equipment, provided in recent months by the U.S, is being shared by the Lebanese with Hizbollah.

Will the Late June Gaza Flotilla Result in Another Israeli Invasion of Lebanon?

1:18 pm in Uncategorized by EdwardTeller

A lot is happening in the eastern Mediterranean Sea this week and weekend. Boats, ships and fleets are coming and going. Friday, the biggest U.S. Naval task force in decades passed out of the Med through the Suez Canal, on its way to the Persian Gulf:

More than twelve United States Naval warships and at least one Israeli ship crossed the Suez Canal towards the Red Sea on Friday, British Arabic Language newspaper Al-Quds Al-Arabi reported Saturday.

According to the report, thousands of Egyptian soldiers were deployed along the Suez Canal guarding the ships’ passage, which included a U.S. aircraft carrier.

The Suez Canal is a strategic Egyptian waterway which connects between the Mediterranean Sea and the Red Sea.

According to eyewitnesses, the U.S. battleships [sic] were the largest to have crossed the Canal in many years, Al-Quds reported.

And in the Eastern Mediterranean itself, the Lebanese contingent of the next flotilla is leaving port today and tomorrow, headed first to Cyprus, and then on to Gaza, or to its likely confrontation with the Israeli Navy:

Some 50 Christian and Muslim Lebanese women as well as foreigners are preparing to leave Lebanon on Sunday on board of the Miriam.

The group of women, who announced that they do not belong to any political group, will sail from the northern Lebanese port city of Tripoli to Cyprus and then to Gaza, between June 23 and 25.

The ship, which will be loaded with medical supplies for cancer patients, would be the latest bid to break Israel’s four-year blockade of the Hamas-ruled territory.

On Thursday, Defense Minister Ehud Barak warned the Lebanese government that it would be held responsible for ships sailing from Lebanon to the Gaza Strip, Israel Radio reported.

Samar al-Hajj, who is organizing the Miriam voyage to Gaza, thanked Israel "for its threats which only strengthened these women’s willpower to make the trip. I tell the Israelis we are not afraid and we are going on with our plans."

When the IDF boarded the MV Mavi Marmara in late May, the Turkish government registered protests, but took no military action. Since then, although the Turks have voiced interest in issuing naval protection to any new forays by Turkish-flagged vessels, there doesn’t appear to be any gathering of warships from their navy.

The Mossad-connected news source, Debka File, reports today that it may be likely, should the IDF intercept and board the Lebanese flotilla, Hizbollah will react with rocket attacks upon Israel, from across the southern Lebanese border:

Officers of Hizballah’s Iranian-trained marine arm and surface rocket units were sighted Saturday, June 19, going in an out of the small Lebanese Navy’s bases in Beirut and Juniya. DEBKAfile’s intelligence sources report the Lebanese army and Hizballah are pooling their military resources to be ready for any Israeli action against Lebanese ships heading for Gaza.

The tiny Lebanese Navy, no more than a handful of fast coastal guard boats, has been placed on alert, as have Hizballah’s coastal rocket positions. The Shiite terrorist group has also deployed marines in Beirut harbour against a possible Israeli naval commando raid.
Lebanese ship or ships bound for Gaza are potentially a more dangerous spark for a regional conflagration than even the convoys Ankara and Tehran – although all of them are pledged to the same mission of busting the Israeli blockade of Gaza and may mount a concerted assault.

All three are clearly coordinated: The two-ship Lebanese convoy planning to sail 70 women from different countries to Gaza is funded by Yasser Qaslaq, a Palestinian who in the guise of a Lebanese businessman acts as money courier between Tehran, Hizballah and extremist Palestinian organizations.

Israel’s UN ambassador Gabriela Shalev warned Secretary General Ban Ki-moon that Israel reserves the right to use "all necessary means" to stop the Lebanese boats. Attempts to sail from Lebanon, which maintains a state of war with Israel, she said, would raise regional tensions.

But instead of dealing with the mounting crisis, Ban again demanded that Israel accept an international investigation of its raid of a Turkish ship on May 31 and the nine deaths aboard.

Anxious to keep its head down, Hizballah claimed Saturday that it was not involved in the Lebanese flotilla, thereby trying to pass the buck to Beirut and Jerusalem. But its spokesmen pointedly avoided a guarantee to stay out of it if the Israel navy boarded Lebanese ships. The Iranian-backed terrorists, who in the name of "resistance" maintain a separate armed force armed with advanced weapons in violation of several UN Security Council resolutions, could not stand aside if Beirut accused Israel of an act of war.
The first Lebanese boat heading out for Gaza waters therefore holds the potential of scuppering the Lebanese-Israel truce under the UN Security Council Resolution which cut short the 2006 war, required the Hizballah militia to disarm, and posted UN-flagged German, Spanish and Italian naval units opposite Lebanon’s Mediterranean coast.

Their mission was – and is – to prevent Hizballah receiving weapons smuggled by sea or taking up an active presence in Lebanese ports and anchorages. However, the peacekeepers have never proved able to stop Hizballah building up one of the biggest rocket and missile arsenal in the Middle East – by sea and by land.

Today, the Lebanese army is reverting to its 2006 collaboration with Lebanon that permitted Hizballah missile teams to use its coastal radar stations to fire the Silkworm C-802 missiles which crippled the Israeli Hanit missile boat.

That’s the Debka File, which is often used by the Mossad or IDF to plant the seeds of paranoia. However, the situation, especially should the Iranians, Lebanese, Turks and Europeans unite before making a run to the Gaza coast, is fraught with potential danger. The reality in the eastern Mediterranean, come mid-week, might be rather different from that of the MV Mavi Marmara-MV Rachel Corrie episodes of late May and early June.

Although it is difficult to see other changes in the political climate concerning the international community’s regard for the Israeli government from the vantage point of reading or watching U.S. media these past three weeks, the climate in Europe has changed markedly. Yesterday, the Israelis refused to grant permission to a German cabinet member to visit Gaza to see what needs to be done to restore sewage treatment facilities to the besieged enclave:

German Development Aid Minister Dirk Niebel was denied entry into the Gaza Strip during his current visit to Israel, German officials said Saturday evening.

A ministry spokesman said talks had continued to the last moment with Israeli officials over Niebel’s aim to visit the Palestinian areas.

Niebel, who arrived in Israel earlier Saturday, had hoped to visit a sewage treatment plant being financed with German development aid.

Speaking on the second German TV network ZDF program"heute" (today) Saturday evening, Niebel expressed his anger about being denied entry.

"I would have wished for a clear political signal would be sent for an opening and for transparency," said Niebel, of Germany’s liberal Free Democratic Party (FDP).

"Sometimes the Israeli government does not make it easy for its friends to explain why it behaves the way it does," he added.

Niebel said that Israel’s latest announcement on easing the Gaza blockade was "not sufficient" and that Israel must "now deliver" on its pledge.

Beyond that, the government in Jerusalem should be "clear about how Israel, within an international context, wants to cooperate with
its friends in the future as well," the German minister said.

Earlier Saturday, the daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung reported that the German parliament is to issue a cross-party demand that Israel allow humanitarian aid to reach the Gaza Strip by sea.

As if to underline Niebel’s statements about Israeli "transparency," in another development between the Israeli and German governments, the Germans have refused to acquiesce to an Israeli demand that they not extradite Mossad operative Uri Brodsky from Poland to Germany, for Brodsky’s role in illegally acquiring German passports for use by the Mossad Dubai hit team last January. So much for the Israelis being able to keep their fingerprints off of that keystone cops episode, eh?

The German government has said it will not intervene to stop an investigation into a suspected Mossad spy linked to the assassination of a Hamas official in Dubai, despite pressure from Israel, a German newspaper reported on Saturday.

A German official told Der Spiegel his ministry was united in the belief that any investigation into Uri Brodsky should be "dealt with according to purely judicial considerations".

Brodsky, who was wanted by German authorities, was arrested on June 4 at an airport in the Polish capital Warsaw, provoking strong protests from Israeli diplomats. He is suspected of helping to procure a German passport for the killers of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh, assassinated in a Dubai hotel room on January 19.

But despite Israel’s demands, Germany will not invoke a law citing "overwhelming public interest" to halt the investigation into Brodsky’s role in the killing.

The German government has asked Poland to extradite Brodsky for trial in Germany, something Israel had sought to prevent.

This is going to be a terrible summer for Israeli diplomacy, perhaps the worst since the Sinai invasion of 1956. Perhaps, even more than the 1973 Yom Kippur War, the 1956 Anglo-French-Israeli invasion of the Sinai and seizure of the Suez Canal from Egypt had the potential to end in an out-of-control scenario:

The operation, aimed at taking the Suez Canal, was highly successful from a military point of view but was a political disaster as a result of external forces. Along with the Suez crisis, the United States was also dealing with the near-simultaneous Hungarian revolution, and decided it could not criticise Hungary’s suppression of the revolutionaries and simultaneously avoid opposing its two principal European allies’ actions. The United States also feared a wider war after the Soviet Union threatened to intervene on the Egyptian side and make rocket attacks on Britain, France and Israel. Despite having no commercial or military interest in the area, many countries were concerned with what might be a growing rift between Western allied nations.

Nasser requested help from the USA on November 1, without requesting Russian assistance, and was at first skeptical of the efficacy of US diplomatic efforts at the UN, but later gave full credit to Eisenhower’s role in stopping the war.

With reports of more groups preparing for more future flotillas, one might ask, "How many of these will occur before something really bad happens, or the Israelis, somehow, do the right thing for a change – whatever that might be?"

The late Abba Eban is often misquoted as having said "The Palestinians never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity." He actually used the term "Arabs," not "Palestinians." One can’t help wondering, though, as we watch Israel begin to come more and more unhinged and unglued, how many more opportunities the Israelis will have to miss to act humanely, before they truly do become a full-fledged pariah state.

The Lebanese should be very careful. They are Israel’s favorite target.