September 17, 2012

EDITOR:The show must go on…

While the ghost war between Netanyahu and Obama continues to entertain some, the real preparations for the bombing of iran continue. Not only the US, but also its partner in crime in the Arab East, the UK, is preparing for the coming war. It seems they have learnt nothing from Iraq and Afghanistan. Now they are going to urge Israel into an attack, then move in to secure its back. Even the recent reshuffle in the UK of cabinet ministers is part of the Israeli plans, it seems. Read and become worried… In the meantime, the US diplomats are preparing to leave Beirut ina hurry.

Be afraid. Be very afraid.

<>UK: Defence Minister: Clegg Axed Me Because I Won’t Support Attack on Iran: ICH

By Mark Nicol and Brendan Carlin

September 16, 2012 “Daily Mail” — A Liberal Democrat Defence Minister has claimed he was sacked to avoid a damaging Coalition split over a pre-emptive strike on Iran.

Former Armed Forces Minister Sir Nick Harvey told friends that he was fired in the reshuffle to allow Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg to sign Britain up to an Israeli-US preventive strike to take out Iran’s nuclear installations.

Friends of Sir Nick – who was handed a knighthood just days later – say that he could have embarrassed the Lib Dem leader by being too critical of Israel’s actions if he had still been in the key Ministry of Defence post.

The row broke as sources confirmed that British intelligence agents are already deeply involved in attempts to discover Iran’s nuclear secrets.

It is also understood that the US has asked Britain to provide frigates to patrol the Straits of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil passes.

The sacking of the respected Minister took MPs and Army top brass by surprise.

Party sources have insisted the move – which has left the Ministry of Defence staffed entirely by Tories – was due to Mr Clegg’s decision to accept Lib Dem ministerial jobs in other, more ‘voter-friendly’ Government departments.

But when approached by The Mail on Sunday, Sir Nick confirmed he had considered his sacking was linked to mounting speculation of a pre-emptive strike on Iran and the expectation that UK forces would be drawn in afterwards. However, the MP went on to say he had since discounted that theory.

‘I have cast my mind over the issues that might have led the party leader to this decision,’ he added.

‘But having toyed with that one, I have decided it could not have played any part in it.’

However, one party insider said the idea made sense, adding: ‘With our record over opposing the Iraq War, no one in our party is going to congratulate Israel on launching a strike.

‘But Nick may have been particularly outspoken, especially in the immediate aftermath and when we’re bound to get caught in cleaning up the mess alongside the Americans.

‘He probably takes the view that we’d need to give a particularly strong condemnation of Israel to show the Arab world that we didn’t approve. However, that could have caused a problem for some of Clegg’s Tory Coalition colleagues.’

The reshuffle earlier this month came amid renewed speculation that Israel is planning to launch a unilateral attack to prevent Iran developing nuclear weapons.

Only last weekend, Israel’s defence minister Ehud Barak appeared to hint that he believed the US would join his country in the pre-emptive attack.

There were also reports that US President Barack Obama was poised to set out the ‘red lines’ that would trigger an American attack if Iran continued to press ahead with its nuclear programme.

MoD sources yesterday confirmed that contingency talks over the dispatch of Royal Navy minesweepers to the Gulf had already been held.

Last night, Professor Malcolm Chalmers, of the Royal United Services Institute, suggested that the Lib Dem reshuffle arrangements would not release the party from difficult defence decisions as part of the Coalition.

He said: ‘The United Kingdom is doing everything it can to keep a handle on what the Iranians are doing and we have got a lot of well-developed sources in the region – signals and human intelligence.

‘The Liberal Democrats cannot simply wash their hands of national security issues by removing their Ministers from the Ministry of Defence and the Foreign Office.

‘As a member of the National Security Council, Nick Clegg is briefed on the latest intelligence on Iran and will continue to be so.

‘Clegg could adopt a position of agreeing to disagree, raising his objections to the Prime Minister but saying go ahead.’

Dr Anthony Cordesman, an expert on Iran at the Centre for Strategic and International Studies in Washington DC, said the US and Britain were sharing ‘a great deal of intelligence at this time’.

Sources close to Mr Clegg last night denied the Iran situation had played a part in the decision to remove Sir Nick.

Engineering Consent For An Attack Iran: ICH

Netayahu: Iran six to seven months from nuclear bomb capacity

The Israeli premier called the U.S. to spell out limits that Tehran must not cross or else face military action – something Obama has refused to do.

By The Associated Press and Reuters

September 16, 2012 “Haaretz<>” — Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran would be on the brink of nuclear weapons capability in six to seven months, adding new urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a clear “red line” for Tehran in what could deepen the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades.

Taking his case to the American public, Netanyahu said in U.S. television interviews that by mid-2013, Iran would be 90 percent of the way toward enough enriched uranium for a bomb. He urged the United States to spell out limits that Tehran must not cross or else face military action – something Obama has refused to do.

“You have to place that red line before them now, before it’s too late,” Netanyahu told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, saying that such a U.S. move could reduce the chances of having to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.

The unusually public dispute – coupled with Obama’s decision not to meet with Netanyahu later this month – has exposed a deep U.S.-Israeli divide and stepped up pressure on the U.S. leader in the final stretch of a tight presidential election campaign.

America’s ambassador to the United Nations says there’s “no daylight” between the United States and Israel when it comes to stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. But Susan Rice also says U.S.-Israeli intelligence indicates that the two nations have “considerable time” before that happens.

Rice tells CNN’s “State of the Union” that economic sanctions are working.

Tehran insists its program is peaceful.

Rice says President Barack Obama has been clear that it stands with Israel and “will do what it takes” to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. But, she adds, “we are not at that stage yet.”

 

Rice says President Barack Obama has been clear that it stands with Israel and “will do what it takes” to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. But, she adds, “we are not at that stage yet.”

Netanyahu to demand red lines for Iran on ‘Meet the Press’

WATCH: Interview part of PM’s campaign to garner American public support for his position on Iran.

By Jonathan Lis

September 16, 2012 “Haaretz<>” — Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will begin a campaign to win American public support to draw “red lines” for Iran, regarding to the Islamic Republic’s nuclear aspirations. As part of his campaign, Netanyahu recorded interviews for American media programs on CNN and NBC.

During his interviews, Netanyahu will attempt to convince the American public that drawing red lines for Iran will not only discourage the nation from obtaining nuclear weapons, but also reduce the chances of a broader armed conflict.

Netanyahu is expected to mention recent attacks against American embassies in the Middle East. In a preview clip of the interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press”, Netanyahu said, speaking on what he called Iranian fanaticism, “it’s the same fanaticism that you see storming your embassies today. Do you want these fanatics to have nuclear weapons?”

Aides close to Netanyahu said on Saturday that the prime minister intends to stress that the is convinced that discussions of red lines will forge clear boundaries for Iran, and make it that much more difficult for the Islamic Republic to obtain nuclear weapons.

Also on Saturday, Foreign Policy published an interview with United States Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, who also discussed the ongoing debate between the U.S. and Israel regarding the setting of “red lines” for Iran.

He said that “Leaders of these countries don’t have, you know, a bunch of little red lines that determine their decisions,” he said. “Red lines are kind of political arguments that are used to try to put people in a corner.

Armada of British naval power massing in the Gulf as Israel prepares an Iran strike: ICH

An armada of US and British naval power is massing in the Persian Gulf in the belief that Israel is considering a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s covert nuclear weapons programme. 

By Sean Rayment, Defence Correspondent

September 16, 2012 “The Telegraph<>” — Battleships, aircraft carriers, minesweepers and submarines from 25 nations are converging on the strategically important Strait of Hormuz in an unprecedented show of force as Israel and Iran move towards the brink of war.

Western leaders are convinced that Iran will retaliate to any attack by attempting to mine or blockade the shipping lane through which passes around 18 million barrels of oil every day, approximately 35 per cent of the world’s petroleum traded by sea.

A blockade would have a catastrophic effect on the fragile economies of Britain, Europe the United States and Japan, all of which rely heavily on oil and gas supplies from the Gulf.

The Strait of Hormuz is one of the world’s most congested international waterways. It is only 21 miles wide at its narrowest point and is bordered by the Iranian coast to the north and the United Arab Emirates to the south.

In preparation for any pre-emptive or retaliatory action by Iran, warships from more than 25 countries, including the United States, Britain, France, Saudi Arabia and the UAE, will today begin an annual 12-day exercise

The war games are the largest ever undertaken in the region.

They will practise tactics in how to breach an Iranian blockade of the strait and the force will also undertake counter-mining drills.

The multi-national naval force in the Gulf includes three US Nimitz class carrier groups, each of which has more aircraft than the entire complement of the Iranian air force.

The carriers are supported by at least 12 battleships, including ballistic missile cruisers, frigates, destroyers and assault ships carrying thousand of US Marines and special forces.

The British component consists of four British minesweepers and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary Cardigan Bay, a logistics vessel. HMS Diamond, a brand-new £1billion Type 45 destroyer, one of the most powerful ships in the British fleet, will also be operating in the region.

In addition, commanders will also simulate destroying Iranian combat jets, ships and coastal missile batteries.

In the event of war, the main threat to the multi-national force will come from the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps navy, which is expected to adopt an “access-denial” strategy in the wake of an attack, by directly targeting US warships, attacking merchant shipping and mining vital maritime chokepoints in the Persian Gulf.

Defence sources say that although Iran’s capability may not be technologically sophisticated, it could deliver a series of lethal blows against British and US ships using mini-subs, fast attack boats, mines and shore-based anti-ship missile batteries.

Next month, Iran will stage massive military manoeuvres of its own, to show that it is prepared to defend its nuclear installations against the threat of aerial bombardment.

The exercise is being showcased as the biggest air defence war game in the Islamic Republic’s history, and will be its most visible response yet to the prospect of an Israeli military strike.

Using surface-to-air missiles, unmanned drones and state-of-the-art radar, Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and air force will combine to test the defences of 3,600 sensitive locations throughout the country, including oil refineries and uranium enrichment facilities.

Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili, commander of the Khatam al-Anbiya air defence base, told a conference this month that the manoeuvres would “identify vulnerabilities, try out new tactics and practise old ones”.

At the same time as the Western manoeuvres in the Gulf, the British Response Task Forces Group — which includes the carrier HMS Illustrious, equipped with Apache attack helicopters, along with the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle – will be conducting a naval exercise in the eastern Mediterranean. The task force could easily be diverted to the Gulf region via the Suez Canal within a week of being ordered to do so.

The main naval exercise comes as President Barack Obama is scheduled to meet Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli prime minister, today to discuss the Iranian crisis.

Many within the Obama administration believe that Israel will launch a pre-emptive strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities before the US presidential elections, an act which would signal the failure of one of Washington’s key foreign policy objectives.

Both Downing Street and Washington hope that the show of force will demonstrate to Iran that Nato and the West will not allow President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian leader, to develop a nuclear armoury or close Hormuz.

Sir John Sawers, the head of MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, reportedly met the Israeli prime minister and Ehud Barak, his defence secretary, two weeks ago in an attempt to avert military action against Iran.

But just last week Mr Netanyahu signalled that time for a negotiated settlement was running out when he said: “The world tells Israel ‘Wait, there’s still time.’ And I say, ‘Wait for what? Wait until when?’

“Those in the international community who refuse to put red lines before Iran don’t have a moral right to place a red light before Israel.”

The crisis hinges on Iran’s nuclear enrichment programme, which Israel believes is designed to build an atomic weapon. Tehran has long argued that the programme is for civil use only and says it has no plans to an build a nuclear bomb, but that claim has been disputed by the West, with even the head of MI6 stating that the Islamic Republic is on course to develop atomic weapons by 2014.

The Strait of Hormuz has long been disputed territory, with the Iranians claiming control of the region and the entire Persian Gulf.

Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps recently boasted that “any plots of enemies” would be foiled and a heavy price exacted, adding: “We determine the rules of military conflict in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz.”

But Leon Panetta, the US defence secretary, warned that Iranian attempts to exercise control over the Strait of Hormuz could be met with force.

He said: “The Iranians need to understand that the United States and the international community are going to hold them directly responsible for any disruption of shipping in that region — by Iran or, for that matter, by its surrogates.”

Mr Panetta said that the United States was “fully prepared for all contingencies” and added: “We’ve invested in capabilities to ensure that the Iranian attempt to close down shipping in the Gulf is something that we are going to be able to defeat if they make that decision.”

That announcement was supported by Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, who added: “We are determined to work as part of the international community effort to ensure freedom of passage in the international waters of the Strait of Hormuz.”

One defence source told The Sunday Telegraph last night: “If it came to war, there would be carnage. The Iranian casualties would be huge but they would be able to inflict severe blows against the US and British.

“The Iranian Republican Guard are well versed in asymmetrical warfare and would use swarm attacks to sink or seriously damage ships. This is a conflict nobody wants, but the rhetoric from Israel is unrelenting.”

© Copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited 2012

U.S. will go to war with Iran in 2013, says ex-U.S. ambassador to Israel: Haaretz

Martin Indyk tells CBS there is not much time left until Iran has a nuclear weapon, but says Netanyahu’s demands for ‘red lines’ on Iran are ‘unreasonable.’
By Haaretz      Sep.17, 2012

Martin Indyk on the CBS program Face the Nation.

Former U.S. ambassador to Israel Martin Indyk said on Sunday that he thinks the U.S. will go to war with Iran over its nuclear program in 2013.

Speaking during a panel on the CBS program Face the Nation, Indyk said, “I’m afraid that 2013 is going to be a year in which we’re going to have a military confrontation with Iran.”

The former ambassador stated that “Iran doesn’t have a nuclear weapon,” but added that there’s not a lot of time left until it does.

“There is still time, perhaps six months, even by Prime Minister [Benjamin] Netanyahu’s own time table to try to see if a negotiated solution can be worked out,” Indyk said.

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Regarding the recent friction between U.S. President Barack Obama and Netanyahu over “red lines” on Iran, Indyk said that he doesn’t think “the difference between Netanyahu and Obama on this is that great, in terms of the president’s commitment not to allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons.”

He added, however, that Netanyahu’s insistence on public “red lines” was unreasonable.

“That is an unreasonable requirement. The idea of putting out a public red line – in effect issuing an ultimatum – is something that no president would do. If you noticed, Governor Romney is not putting out a red line; Senator McCain didn’t, either. And neither is Bibi Netanyahu for that matter, in terms of Israel’s own actions.”

Indyk went on to speak about instability across the Mideast region, saying that is making Israel “very nervous.”

“The turmoil we see from here, they see from a much closer perspective, and that combines with the, as the prime minster puts it, the race of Iran towards weapons capability,” he said.

“The fear that the Egypt-Israel peace treaty will start to come apart,  the concern that in Syria what is happening there could lead to an Islamist government taking over eventually there as well, but before that a descent into chaos on the northern border – all that makes them very nervous and that’s why I think the prime minister is coming out much more vocally than one might have expected in the midst of an election campaign here saying, you know, we need reassurances, we need red lines aginst the Iranians because from his point of view, that’s the greatest threat they face.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned on Sunday that Iran would be on the brink of nuclear weapons capability in six to seven months, adding new urgency to his demand that President Barack Obama set a clear “red line” for Tehran in what could deepen the worst U.S.-Israeli rift in decades.

Taking his case to the American public, Netanyahu said in U.S. television interviews that by mid-2013, Iran would be 90 percent of the way toward enough enriched uranium for a bomb. He urged the United States to spell out limits that Tehran must not cross or else face military action – something Obama has refused to do.

“You have to place that red line before them now, before it’s too late,” Netanyahu told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program, saying that such a move could reduce the chances of having to attack Iran’s nuclear sites.

Amid spreading protests, U.S. diplomats in Beirut burn classified documents: Haaretz

U.S. State Department confirms decision to destroy classified materials, despite no imminent threat to embassy; Libya sacks Benghazi security chiefs in wake of attack on U.S. consulate that killed 4 Americans last week.
By Reuters and The Associated Press      Sep.17, 2012

Hezbollah leader Nasrallah, escorted by his bodyguards, addresses his supporters during a public appearance at an anti-U.S. protest in Beirut, Sept. 17, 2012. Photo by Reuters

Diplomats at the U.S.­ Embassy in Beirut have begun destroying classified material as a security precaution, amid anti-American protests in Lebanon and elsewhere in the Middle East and North Africa.

A State Department status report obtained Monday by The Associated Press said the Beirut embassy had “reviewed its emergency procedures and is beginning to destroy classified holdings.”

It also said that local Lebanese employees were sent home early due to protests by the militant Shiite group Hezbollah over an anti-Muslim film produced in the U.S.

In Washington, a State Department official said there was no imminent threat to the heavily fortified Beirut embassy, which is about an hour away from where the nearest demonstration is planned.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss security procedures, said the decision was routine and made by embassy staff.

Protesters have breached the walls or compounds of several U.S.­ diplomatic missions, including the consulate in Benghazi, Libya where the ambassador and three other Americans were killed, Cairo and Tunis since last Tuesday.

After Tuesday’s incidents, the State Department ordered all U.S. ­embassies and consulates around the world to review their security postures. As a result, a number of missions decided to destroy classified material, the official said.

It was not immediately clear which other missions besides the one in Beirut had taken that step.

Earlier Monday, the State Department renewed its warning to U.S.­ citizens to “avoid all travel to Lebanon because of current safety and security concerns.” It said U.S. ­citizens “living and working in Lebanon should understand that they accept risks in remaining and should carefully consider those risks.”

In Beirut on Monday, Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah made a rare public appearance, which he used to warn the United States that it faced further anger and repercussions across the Muslim world unless it suppressed a video that mocks the Prophet Mohammad.

“The world should know our anger will not be a passing outburst but the start of a serious movement that will continue on the level of the Muslim nation to defend the Prophet of God,” Nasrallah told tens of thousands of marchers in Beirut’s southern suburbs.

Nasrallah has lived in hiding to avoid assassination since Hezbollah fought a month-long war with Israel in 2006.

In Libya, Interior Minister Fawzi Abdel A’al said on Monday that the government of that country had decided to sack its security chiefs for Benghazi following the deadly attacks on the U.S. consulate in the eastern city last week.

The U.S. ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans died when gunmen attacked the consulate and a “safe house” in the eastern city last Tuesday night. The attackers were part of a crowd that blamed the United States for a video posted online that mocks the Prophet Mohammad.

Meanwhile, a Tunisian Salafist leader on Monday escaped from a mosque that had been surrounded by security forces seeking to arrest him over clashes at the U.S. embassy in Tunis last week, a Reuters witness said.

Saif-Allah Benahssine, leader of the Tunisian branch of the hardline Islamist Ansar al-Sharia, slipped away after hundreds of his followers stormed out of al-Fatah mosque in Tunis, some of them wielding sticks and creating panic among pedestrians.

A few minutes earlier, around 1,000 riot and anti-terror police forces had retreated by some 200 meters (660 feet) from the mosque for unexplained reasons, witnesses said.

Interior Ministry officials could not be reached for comment.

 

 

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