By Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, September 16, 2007
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The diplomatic mode has been switched off: The Pentagon is said to be "taking steps to ensure military confrontation with Iran" because diplomatic initiatives have allegedly failed to reach a solution.
At the same token, the IAEA report is a slap in the face for Washington. It confirms the lack of legitimacy and criminal nature of US foreign policy as well as Washington's resolve to violate international law:
No Public Outcry
Despite the overtly aggressive nature of US statements, these war plans directed against Iran, which in a real sense threaten the future of humanity, are not the object of public concern or debate. A US sponsored pre-emptive war, using thermonuclear weapons, which according to "authoritative" scientific opinion (on contract to the Pentagon), are "harmless to the surrounding civilian population" is simply not front page news in relation to any other trivial topic.
Background of War Planning
In Summer 2006 as well as earlier this year, extensive war games were conducted in the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.
US-NATO naval deployments are taking place in two distinct theaters: the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.
In recent developments, it is reported that two aircraft carrier strike groups (USS Nimitz and USS Truman) are en route to the Persian Gulf to join up with the USS Enterprise, which means that there will be, by late September, three carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf.
The attacks on Iran are now officially supported by America's European allies including France and Germany. France's Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has called upon France to support the US war on Iran:
Britain is closely involved, despite denials at the diplomatic level. Turkey occupies a central role in the Iran operation. It has an extensive military cooperation agreement with Israel. NATO is formally involved in liaison with Israel, with which it signed a military framework agreement in November 2004.
While the US, Israel, as well as Turkey (with borders with both Iran and Syria) are the main military actors, a number of other countries in the region, allies of the US, including Georgia and Azerbaijan have been enlisted.
There are indications from several media sources that Israel is also in an advanced stage of military preparedness and would be involved in carrying out part of the aerial bombardments. Syria and most probably Lebanon would also be targeted.
Already in 2005, the Israeli Air Force had reached a state of preparedness. Israeli air attacks of Iran's nuclear facility at Bushehr had been contemplated using US as well Israeli produced bunker buster bombs. The attack was planned to be carried out in three separate waves "with the radar and communications jamming protection being provided by U.S. Air Force AWACS and other U.S. aircraft in the area".
(See W Madsen, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MAD410A.html
General Petraeus is fully aware of the underlying implications for the Iraq war theater. A war on Iran would immediately spill over into Iraq:
Iran tested three new types of land-to-sea and sea-to-sea missiles in the context of its "Great Prophet II" military exercises last November. These tests were marked by precise planning in a carefully staged operation. According to a senior American missile expert, "the Iranians demonstrated up-to-date missile-launching technology which the West had not known them to possess."
Tehran has the ability to retaliate and wage ballistic missile attacks against US and coalition facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf states. Israel could also be a potential target, if Israel were to be an active partner in the bombing campaign.
Several key military appointments were made in recent months which tend to reinforce Bush-Cheney control over the Military. Specifically, these appointments pertain to the positions of Chairman and Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and the commanders respectively of USCENTCOM, USSTRATCOM and US Pacific Command. All three commanders recently relinquished their respective positions.
These new appointments are crucial because USSTRATCOM, USCENTCOM and US Pacific Command are slated to play key roles in the coordination and implementation of the Iran military operation, in liaison with Israel and NATO.
In May, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (CJCS) General Peter Pace was fired ("non-renewal"). General Pace, in recent months, had indicated his disagreement with the Administration regarding both Iraq and the proposed attacks on Iran. General Pace stated (February 2007) that he saw no firm evidence of Tehran supplying weapons to Shiite militias inside Iraq, which was being heralded by the Bush administration as a justification for waging war on Iran:
General Peter Pace's term as Chairman of the JCS ends at the end of September. Defense Secretary Gates' chosen successor Admiral Michael Mullen, formerly U.S. Chief of Naval Operations, is slated to replace General Peter Pace as Chairman of the Joint chiefs of Staff.
Mullen's discourse is in marked contrast to that of General Peter Pace. Mullen, who was in charge of coordinating 2006-2007 naval war games off the Iranian coastline, has expressed an unbending commitment to "waging" and "winning asymmetric wars", while also "protecting the United States":
Admiral Mullen's stance is in line with that of the Bush Administration's key Neo-conservative ideologues. With regard to Iran, echoing almost verbatim the stance of the White House, Admiral Mullen considers that it is "unacceptable that Iran is providing U.S. enemies in Iraq and Afghanistan with capabilities that are hurting and killing U.S. troops." (Inside the Pentagon, June 21, 2007). But on the issue of Iran, the Democrats are on board. There is a bipartisan consensus, expressed by Senator Jo Lieberman:
In June, Secretary of Defense Gates appoints the Commander of USSTRATCOM, General Cartwright to the position of Vice-Chairman of the JCS. Together with the appointment of Admiral Mullen, who is slated to take on his position of Chairman of JCS in October, these two new appointments imply a significant overhaul in the power structure of the JCS
In the meantime, USSTRATCOM is headed, pending Senate confirmation of a new commander, on an interim basis, by Air Force Lt. Gen. C. Robert Kehler
Admiral. William J. Fallon, was appointed Commander of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) in March by Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates.
Admiral Fallon is fully compliant with the Bush administration's war plans in relation to Iran. He replaces Gen. John P. Abizaid, who was pushed into retirement, following apparent disagreements with Rumsfeld's successor, Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates. While Abizaid recognized both the failures and the weaknesses of the US military in Iraq, Admiral Fallon is closely aligned with Vice President Dick Cheney. He is also firmly committed to the "Global War on Terrorism" (GWOT). CENTCOM would coordinate an attack on Iran from the Middle East war theater.
Moreover, the appointment of an Admiral is indicative of a shift in emphasis of USCENTCOM's functions in the war theater. The "near term" emphasis is Iran rather than Iraq, requiring the coordination of naval and air force operations in the Persian Gulf.
Another major military appointment was implemented, which has a direct bearing on war preparations in relation to Iran. Admiral Timothy J. Keating Commander of US NORTHCOM was appointed in March, to head US Pacific Command, which includes both the 5th and the 7th fleets. The 7th Fleet Pacific Command is the largest U.S. combatant command. Keating, who takes over from Admiral Fallon is also an unbending supporter of the "war on terrorism". Pacific Command would be playing a key role in the context of a military operation directed against Iran.(http://www.pacom.mil/about/pacom.shtml)
Of significance, Admiral Keating was also involved in the 2003 attack on Iraq as commander of US Naval Forces Central Command and the Fifth Fleet.
It should be understood that these new military appointments tend to consolidate the power of Bush-Cheney in the military, overriding potential dissent or opposition to the Iran war agenda from within the upper echelons of the US military.
It is, however, unlikely that a major military operation would be launched immediately following Mullen's instatement as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and prior to the confirmation of a new USSTRATCOM Commander by the US Senate.
USSTRATCOM's Central Role in Coordinating the Attacks
USSTRATCOM would have the responsibility for overseeing and coordinating this military deployment as well as launching the military operation directed against Iran. (For details, Michel Chossudovsky, Nuclear War against Iran, Jan 2006 ).
In January 2005 a significant shift in USSTRATCOM's mandate was implemented. USSTRATCOM was identified as "the lead Combatant Command for integration and synchronization of DoD-wide efforts in combating weapons of mass destruction." To implement this mandate, a brand new command unit entitled Joint Functional Component Command Space and Global Strike , or JFCCSGS was created.
Overseen by USSTRATCOM, JFCCSGS would be responsible for the launching of military operations "using nuclear or conventional weapons" in compliance with the Bush administration's new nuclear doctrine. Both categories of weapons would be integrated into a "joint strike operation" under unified Command and Control.
The operational implementation of the Global Strike would be under CONCEPT PLAN (CONPLAN) 8022, which now consists of "an actual plan that the Navy and the Air Force translate into strike package for their submarines and bombers,' (Japanese Economic Newswire, 30 December 2005, For further details see Michel Chossudovsky, Nuclear War against Iran, op. cit.).
USSTRATCOM would play a central decision making and coordinating role in the eventuality of a war on Iran. The administration has demanded USSTRATCOM to elaborate centralized war plans directed against Iran. CENTCOM would largely be involved in carrying out these war plans in the Middle East war theater.
USSTRATCOM's is described "a global integrator charged with the missions of full-spectrum global strike".
USSTRATCOM is in charge of the coordination of command structures under global C4ISR (Command, Control, Communications, Computers, Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance). "Day-to-day planning and execution [by STRATCOM] for the primary mission areas is done by five Joint Functional Component Commands or JFCCs and three other functional components:"
Tehran has confirmed that it will retaliate if attacked, in the form of ballistic missile strikes directed against Israel as well as against US military facilities in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Persian Gulf, which would immediately lead us into a scenario of military escalation and all out war.
Iranian troops could cross the Iran-Iraq border and confront coalition forces inside Iraq. Israeli troops and/or Special Forces could enter into Syria.
If Iran were to retaliate in a forceful way, which is contemplated by US military planners, the US could then retaliate with tactical nuclear weapons.
In relation to current war plans, Cheney has confirmed his intention to strike Iran with nuclear weapons.
Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization
In May 2004, National Security Presidential Directive NSPD 35 entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization was issued.
The contents of this highly sensitive document remains a carefully guarded State secret. There has been no mention of NSPD 35 by the media nor even in Congressional debates. While its contents remains classified, the presumption is that NSPD 35 pertains to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater in compliance with CONPLAN 8022.
Tactical nuclear weapons directed against Iran have also been deployed at military bases in several NATO non-nuclear states including Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium and Turkey.
It should be understood that even without the use of nukes, the proposed US aerial bombardments of Iran's nuclear facilities could result in a nuclear Chernobyl type disaster on a significnatly larger scale.
Through media disinformation, the seriousness of a US-led war on Iran allegedly in retaliation for Iran's defiance of the "international community" is downplayed . The objective is to galvanize Western public opinion in support of a US-led military operation, which would inevitably lead to escalation.
War propaganda consists in "fabricating an enemy" while conveying the illusion that the Western World is under attack by Islamic terrorists, who are directly supported by the Tehran government.
Supported by the Western media, a generalized atmosphere of racism and xenophobia directed against Muslims has unfolded, particularly in Western Europe, which provides a fake legitimacy to the US war agenda. The latter is upheld as a "Just War". The "Just war" theory serves to camouflage the nature of US war plans, while providing a human face to the invaders.
What can be done?
The antiwar movement is in many regards divided and misinformed on the nature of the US military agenda. In the US, United for Peace and Justice tacitly supports US foreign policy. It fails to recognize the existence of an Iraqi resistance movement. Moreover, these same antiwar organizations, which are committed to World Peace tend to downplay the implications of the proposed US bombing of Iran. More generally the antiwar movement fails to address the existence of a broader Middle East military agenda, a long-war. Its actions are piecemeal, focusing on Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine without addressing the relationship between these various war theaters.
To reverse the tide requires a massive campaign of networking and outreach to inform people across the land, nationally and internationally, in neighborhoods, workplaces, parishes, schools, universities, municipalities, on the dangers of a US sponsored war, which contemplates quite explicitly the use of thermonuclear weapons. The message should be loud and clear: As confirmed by the IAEA report, Iran is not the threat.
The corporate media also bears a heavy responsibility for the cover-up of US sponsored war crimes. It must also be forcefully challenged for its biased coverage of the Middle East war.
For the past two years, Washington has been waging a "diplomatic arm twisting" exercise with a view to enlisting countries into supporting its military agenda. It is essential that at the diplomatic level, countries in the Middle East, Asia, Africa and Latin America take a firm stance against the US military agenda.
What is needed is to break the conspiracy of silence, expose the media lies and distortions, confront the criminal nature of the US Administration and of those governments which support it, its war agenda as well as its so-called "Homeland Security agenda" which has already defined the contours of a police State.
The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, "a long war", which threatens the future of humanity.
It is essential to bring the US war project to the forefront of political debate, particularly in North America and Western Europe. Political and military leaders who are opposed to the war must take a firm stance, from within their respective institutions. Citizens must take a stance individually and collectively against war.
This article includes a few selected excerpts from my previous writings on US war plans in relation to Iran. For a review of US war plans in relation to Iran, see Global Research's Iran dossier.
Michel Chossudovsky is the author of the international best America’s "War on Terrorism" Global Research, 2005. He is Professor of Economics at the University of Ottawa and Director of the Center for Research on Globalization.
To order Chossudovsky's book America's "War on Terrorism", click here
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