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Thread: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

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    Default Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    World Howard LinettApril 23, 2008
    http://www.newmediajournal.us/guest/h_linett/2008/04232008.htm



    A point of “No Return” is approaching, faster than ever. Two weeks ago Iran’s martyrdom seeking leadership announced that an additional 6,000 uranium refining centrifuges were being added to the push to take their country nuclear. Iran’s leaders’ intentions are not peaceful. Iran is building nuclear weapons and will use them as soon as they have them.

    There is no meaningful or effective effort to prevent Iran from achieving its goal. Any overthrow of Iran’s radical rulers is a figment of Secretary of State Rice’s imagination. Based upon a review of multiple, public “status reports” and a feeling for historical significance, I believe that mid-September, 2010 is the drop-dead date. By then I expect that Israel, back-to-the-wall, out-of-options and out-of-time, will attack Iran in an attempt to seriously setback that country’s atomic bomb building project. With equal conviction I believe that Iran shares my view. Anticipating an Israeli attack, Iran may launch a pre-emptive strike. Every time Iran’s leaders’ speeches mock Israel’s belligerence, they are building their case justifying such an attack.

    It does not matter who throws the first punch. This is going to be a regional war unlike any previous Middle Eastern conflict. Iran will launch everything it has against Israel and it has massive means to do so. Syria will do the same, perhaps using munitions containing chemical and biological agents. Hezbollah, bigger, stronger, better armed and combat proven, its storehouses bulging with tens of thousands of newly re-supplied Syrian, Iranian and Russian missiles, will attack from hundreds of positions all across Lebanon. Hamas, armed to the teeth not only with small arms and short-range rockets, but also with missiles capable of reaching Israel’s heavily populated costal area, will launch a widespread, sustained attack from within the Gaza Strip’s most densely populated civilian areas.

    More than 15,000 rockets and missiles will strike Israel within the first 36 hours of the war. The death and destruction will be massive. Israel will counter with everything in its arsenal. Other Middle Eastern countries may join in the attack on Israel directly or indirectly by allowing “volunteer fighters” from across the world to use their countries as staging areas for military operations against Israel. Israel will respond against these countries with whatever resources it has left. Many Arab countries will cease to exist as functioning societies.

    As the initial massive missile attack subsides, sooner in areas not targeted, the terrorists on Israel’s southern and northern borders will begin to infiltrate. Terrorists in the areas belonging to the Palestinian Authority and elsewhere across the West Bank will join in. And the tens of thousands of Fatah (terrorist) Palestinian security services personnel, (paramilitary) many trained (advanced “counter-terrorist” tactics), armed and equipped by the EU, the British and the United States also will attack. Much of Israel is literally within walking distance of the Fatah. There will be a blood bath, up close and personal, as the terrorists sweep into undefended Israeli neighborhoods. Fighting will continue for months. Israel will survive, but the number of dead could easily number in the hundred of thousands.

    For the United States there will be two direct and immediate consequences resulting from this Middle Eastern regional war. First, foreign oil deliveries will be interrupted for an extended period of time. The price of oil will skyrocket to levels that make driving your car prohibitively expensive. Heating oil will become similarly expensive. Transportation of goods to market will be uneven, perhaps sporadic. Shortages of basics will result. For a while you may need to be self-reliant. Now is the time to begin putting away a few food staples each week, purchase a bicycle, a book on gardening, some packs of vegetables seeds and some comfortable, warm clothing.

    Second, if ever there was a time when both the terrorist cells and the “lone wolf” terrorists thought to be present in our country crawl out from under the rocks where they are hiding, the war will be the catalyst. Within 36 hours of the start of the war in the Middle East, isolated acts of terrorism will begin across the United States. The initial “incidents” will act like several ping-pong balls thrown into a large room jam-packed with mousetraps set with ping-pong balls. Suddenly traps are going-off everywhere and ping-pong balls fill the air. A virtual wave of terror will ensue. It could take months to quell the attacks by homicide/suicide bombers and shooters and by thousands of other, not so enthusiastically seeking immediate martyrdom, terrorists making up the hundreds of terror cells across the United States.

    America’s homeland is basically undefended. It is what the terrorists smugly call a “target rich environment” - and you, the members of your family, your neighbors and your friends are the targets.

    My vision of the future disturbs me. Does it disturb you? I hope so. I hope it disturbs you so much that you actually do prepare your family. You have a year to do so, to learn new skills, practice and perfect them. Make use of it. Do not allow the legacy of jimmy carter’s presidency to bite you on the butt.
    Howard Linett is an attorney, an independent journalist, a lecturer, sniper instructor in the Israeli Police Civil Guard and the author of "Living With Terrorism: Survival Lessons from the Streets of Jerusalem." The author's blog is www.howardlinett.com.
    Libertatem Prius!


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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Gen Petraeus picked to lead Iraq and Afghan wars ...

    (the SURGE going Global)

    Reuters ^ | Wed Apr 23, 2008 | Kristin Roberts and Andrew Gray

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates named his top commander in Iraq, Gen. David Petraeus, on Wednesday to lead U.S. Central Command, responsible for all Middle East operations, including the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    Gates said Petraeus, who has overseen a military strategy widely credited with a dramatic reduction in violence in Iraq, was the most qualified U.S. officer to manage counterinsurgency operations in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    "I recommended him to the president because I am absolutely confident he is the best man for the job," Gates said.

    Gates said many security challenges in the Central Command area of responsibility are characterized by the type of nontraditional threat Petraeus is skilled at tackling.

    "I don't know anybody in the United States military better qualified to led that effort," Gates said.

    The Pentagon chief said President George W. Bush had approved his recommendation and would send the nomination to the U.S. Senate.

    Gates also named Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, recently the No. 2 commander in Iraq, to replace Petraeus as top commander in that war.

    (Excerpt) Read more at reuters.com ...
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Israel Can Stand Up for Itself
    New York Times ^ | April 13, 2008 | ZEV CHAFETS

    THE failure of diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear program became obvious this week, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad revealed the installation of 6,000 new centrifuges at the country’s main uranium enrichment complex. His announcement was accompanied by the now customary assertion that outsiders can do nothing to stop Iran from fulfilling its nuclear destiny.

    Once, not so long ago, this kind of boast would elicit clear American declarations that Iran would never be allowed to develop nuclear weapons. Everything, President Bush would say ominously, is on the table. This time he has been quiet. I wish I believed that it is the quiet before a storm of laser-guided action. It seems more likely that it is the abashed silence of an American president whose bluff has been called in front of the entire world.

    Washington’s performance should concern anyone who cares about long-term American influence in the Islamic world. But for Israel (and Israel’s supporters), this is an urgent problem. It is Israel, after all, that has been set by the Iranian leadership as the target for annihilation. In response to the news from Iran, some supporters of Israel have started to suggest that the failed efforts at prevention be replaced by assured American deterrence: any Iranian nuclear attack on Israel would be treated as an attack on the United States. Charles Krauthammer, a Washington Post columnist, recently referred to this as “the Holocaust doctrine.”

    From Israel’s perspective, the thought is tempting — but it’s not realistic. In 1981, Israeli planes destroyed the Iraqi nuclear reactor at Osirak. The world’s reaction was harshly critical. Even the Reagan administration, usually a close ally, denounced the operation.

    (Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    IAF Attacks Lebanese Targets
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Ne...sh.aspx/145372 ^

    (IsraelNN.com) Arab media have reported that IDF jets attacked several targets in southern Lebanon Wednesday, including the cities of Nebatiyeh, Tyre and the western Bekaa Valley. Lebanese anti-aircraft positions fired Israeli aircraft, but all IDF servicemen are believed to have returned safely to Israel.

    The IDF will not comment on the incident.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    The above story is now a dead link...

    so...
    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Ne...sh.aspx/145372

    and

    http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/objects...wTickers.jhtml

    And this:

    [link to www.jpost.com]

    IAF jets circling in low altitude over Lebanese airspace, were attacked with anti aircraft fire from the Lebanese Armed Forces (LAF), Israeli Radio quoted the Saudi-owned Al-Arabiya TV network as having reported on Wednesday.

    The Israeli airplanes were not damaged according to the report.

    The IAF routinely flies over Lebanese airspace in order to collect intelligence, but clashes with the LAF anti-aircraft do usually not occur.

    The IDF has not confirmed the incident.

    -this is a tacit admission that something happened. mentioning the fact the LAF hardly ever fires on the IAF to me speaks volumes. Ordanance was definetly expended, it may have only been from the ground - up, but something induced the LAF to fire

    And

    http://www.israelnationalnews.com/Ne...sh.aspx/145372
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    And talk about WEIRD TIMING....

    84 years old... spied 23 years ago...

    NOW they are going to prosecute....????

    American Arrested as Nuclear Spy for Israel
    Reuters ^ | 4/22/08 | Randall Mikkelsen

    U.S. authorities arrested an American engineer on Tuesday on suspicion of giving secrets on nuclear weapons, fighter jets and air defense missiles to Israel during the 1980s, the Justice Department said.

    Ben-Ami Kadish, 84, acknowledged his spying in FBI interviews and said he acted out of a belief that he was helping Israel, court papers said.

    He was accused of reporting to an Israeli government handler who also dealt with Jonathan Jay Pollard, an American citizen serving a life term on a 1985 charge of spying for Israel.

    Kadish's arrest is a sign the Pollard scandal, which remains an irritant in the close U.S. alliance with Israel, may have spread wider than was previously acknowledged. Kadish was arrested in New Jersey and was scheduled to be arraigned on Tuesday afternoon at U.S. District Court in New York City, authorities said.

    "We will be informing the Israelis of this action," State Department spokesman Tom Casey said. "Twenty-plus years ago during the Pollard case we noted that this was not the kind of behavior we would expect from friends and allies and that would remain the case today."

    Kadish's lawyer, Bruce Goldstein, did not immediately return a call for comment.

    Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Arye Mekel, asked about the arrest, said: "We know nothing about it. We heard it from the media."

    Pollard pleaded guilty in 1986. Israel granted him citizenship in 1996 and acknowledged in 1998 that the former U.S. Navy intelligence analyst was one of its spies. Israel has unsuccessfully sought Pollard's release.

    Kadish is a Connecticut-born U.S. citizen who worked as a mechanical engineer at the U.S. Army's Armament Research, Development and Engineering Center at the Picatinny Arsenal in Dover, New Jersey.

    His spying lasted roughly from 1979 to 1985, and his contact with the unnamed Israeli handler continued until March of this year, the federal complaint against him said.

    The complaint said Kadish did not appear to receive any money in exchange for his suspected spying, just small gifts and restaurant meals.

    Kadish, who had a security clearance, took 50 to 100 classified documents from the arsenal's library, working from a list provided by the handler identified in a federal complaint as "CC-1." The handler would then photograph the documents in Kadish's basement and Kadish would return them to the library, the complaint said.

    It said one of the classified documents passed on by Kadish "contained information concerning nuclear weaponry." Israel is widely believed to have nuclear weapons but has never acknowledged it.

    Another document obtained by Kadish related to "a major weapons system ... a modified version of an F-15 fighter jet that the United States had sold to another foreign country," the complaint said. It did not identify the country.

    A third document contained information regarding the U.S. Patriot missile air defense system.

    The complaint said Kadish maintained contact with CC-1, met him in Israel in 2004, and spoke with him by telephone on March 20 of this year, after his first FBI interview. It said the handler told him to lie to U.S. authorities: "Don't say anything ... What happened 25 years ago? You don't remember anything," the handler was quoted as saying.

    The complaint said the handler worked for the Israeli government as consul for science affairs at the Israeli Consulate General in New York, from 1980 to November 1985.

    During the late 1970s the handler worked for what was known at the time as Israeli Aircraft Industries, an Israeli government contractor, the complaint said. It said the handler left the United States when Pollard was arrested and has not returned.

    The history appears to fit with that of Yosef Yagur, who has been publicly linked to the Pollard case. A woman who identified herself as Yagur's wife, when reached by telephone, said, "We're not speaking to journalists. Goodbye."

    (Additional reporting by Arshad Mohammed, Christine Kearney in New York and Dan Williams in Jerusalem
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Hey!!

    I wanna know why Congress can not pass a bill that says we must deport Hanoi Jane Fonda, Mikhail Moore, Nancy Peloser, Scarry Reid, Kohn Kerry, Hack Murtha, Coward Dean, Puss Feingold, Chriscrossed Mathews, Awec Bawin, Barbara Boxer, Ted 'hicup' Kennedy, Jimmy 'the worst PResident ever' Carter, Wart Churchhill, Jeanine Gustopolo, James Carvall, Hussein, Hillaryious, the entire staff at the ACLU, George Loney, Diane Einstein, Susan Surrender, Fartin Sheehan and his son Chucky too, Robert 'KKK' Byrd, Whoopi Goldberg, Lincoln Chaffe, Robert Redford, Bruce Springstein, Tokyo Rosie O'Donnel, Chucky Schumer, and Al Franken to Tehran, Iran and then we shoot them with an ICBM?

    Where am I going wrong here? Did I miss somebody? Our biggest problems would be solved in the blink of an eye.
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    Hey liberal!

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    You can't handle the truth!

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Dang, amend the post and add Al Gore and Sean Penn. My bad.
    Beetle - Give me liberty or give me something to aim at.


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    Hey liberal!

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    You can't handle the truth!

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Better add Dennis Kucinich too

    I hope I don't end up doing this the rest of the night.


    allow me to apologize to the ones I missed.
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    Hey liberal!

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    You can't handle the truth!

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    You forgot that smarmy prick Bill Maher. He is definitely on my "People to Punch in the Face" list.

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    I'd like to add the Dixie Chicks to that list.

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    I knew I forgot some. Bill Maher and the Ditsy Twits are great additions. And Susan Estridge. Her voice kills me.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Quote Originally Posted by Rick Donaldson View Post
    Israel Can Stand Up for Itself
    New York Times ^ | April 13, 2008 | ZEV CHAFETS

    THE failure of diplomacy to stop Iran’s nuclear program...

    SNIP
    Yep, words won't do it.

    Sure are interesting times.

    Glad you posted this Rick - kinda brought me back down to earth.

    I gave the world situation a rest for a month or so, and have been (reading) on Mars.

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Hey, Luke, you reading the Risk game above?

    It's exactly what you mentioned in another thread. Exactly.
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    It would seem the old addage about history repeating itself is indeed true. Add the Somali tribe of terrorist to the coming African/Mid-Eastern axis. In the future the part of Japan will be playedy the loonies in North Korea.

    The military-industrial complex has had a decade of growth and experience. Rather then fuel the US economy, it has become a seperate entity unto itself. Why would it take so long to place heavier armor on humvies?

    The fan is spinning and the rectum is getting closer.....
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    I just noticed this thread was started in April of 2008!
    "Still waitin on the Judgement Day"

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    We are a timeless group, Luke. Welcome to the Dark Side... use the force....

    /chuckles
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Bush and Stennis Pass Through the Strait of Hormuz


    Posted 11/18/2011

    STRAIT OF HORMUZ (Nov. 12, 2011) The Nimitz-class aircraft carriers USS John C. Stennis (CVN 74) and USS George H. W. Bush (CVN 77) steam alongside one another in the Strait of Hormuz. John C. Stennis is deployed to the U.S. 5th Fleet area of responsibility conducting maritime security operations and support missions as part of Operation Enduring Freedom and New Dawn. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Kenneth Abbate)

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Syria, Iran, and the Balance of Power in the Middle East

    November 22, 2011 | 0953 GMT
    By George Friedman



    U.S. troops are in the process of completing their withdrawal from Iraq by the end-of-2011 deadline. We are now moving toward a reckoning with the consequences. The reckoning concerns the potential for a massive shift in the balance of power in the region, with Iran moving from a fairly marginal power to potentially a dominant power. As the process unfolds, the United States and Israel are making countermoves. We have discussed all of this extensively. Questions remain whether these countermoves will stabilize the region and whether or how far Iran will go in its response.

    Iran has been preparing for the U.S. withdrawal. While it is unreasonable simply to say that Iran will dominate Iraq, it is fair to say Tehran will have tremendous influence in Baghdad to the point of being able to block Iraqi initiatives Iran opposes. This influence will increase as the U.S. withdrawal concludes and it becomes clear there will be no sudden reversal in the withdrawal policy. Iraqi politicians’ calculus must account for the nearness of Iranian power and the increasing distance and irrelevance of American power.

    Resisting Iran under these conditions likely would prove ineffective and dangerous. Some, like the Kurds, believe they have guarantees from the Americans and that substantial investment in Kurdish oil by American companies means those commitments will be honored. A look at the map, however, shows how difficult it would be for the United States to do so. The Baghdad regime has arrested Sunni leaders while the Shia, not all of whom are pro-Iranian by any means, know the price of overenthusiastic resistance.

    Syria and Iran

    The situation in Syria complicates all of this. The minority Alawite sect has dominated the Syrian government since 1970, when the current president’s father — who headed the Syrian air force — staged a coup. The Alawites are a heterodox Muslim sect related to a Shiite offshoot and make up about 7 percent of the country’s population, which is mostly Sunni. The new Alawite government was Nasserite in nature, meaning it was secular, socialist and built around the military. When Islam rose as a political force in the Arab world, the Syrians — alienated from the Sadat regime in Egypt — saw Iran as a bulwark. The Iranian Islamist regime gave the Syrian secular regime immunity against Shiite fundamentalists in Lebanon. The Iranians also gave Syria support in its external adventures in Lebanon, and more important, in its suppression of Syria’s Sunni majority.

    Syria and Iran were particularly aligned in Lebanon. In the early 1980s, after the Khomeini revolution, the Iranians sought to increase their influence in the Islamic world by supporting radical Shiite forces. Hezbollah was one of these. Syria had invaded Lebanon in 1975 on behalf of the Christians and opposed the Palestine Liberation Organization, to give you a sense of the complexity. Syria regarded Lebanon as historically part of Syria, and sought to assert its influence over it. Via Iran, Hezbollah became an instrument of Syrian power in Lebanon.

    Iran and Syria, therefore, entered a long-term if not altogether stable alliance that has lasted to this day. In the current unrest in Syria, the Saudis and Turks in addition to the Americans all have been hostile to the regime of President Bashar al Assad. Iran is the one country that on the whole has remained supportive of the current Syrian government.

    There is good reason for this. Prior to the uprising, the precise relationship between Syria and Iran was variable. Syria was able to act autonomously in its dealings with Iran and Iran’s proxies in Lebanon. While an important backer of groups like Hezbollah, the al Assad regime in many ways checked Hezbollah’s power in Lebanon, with the Syrians playing the dominant role there. The Syrian uprising has put the al Assad regime on the defensive, however, making it more interested in a firm, stable relationship with Iran. Damascus finds itself isolated in the Sunni world, with Turkey and the Arab League against it. Iran — and intriguingly, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki — have constituted al Assad’s exterior support.

    Thus far al Assad has resisted his enemies. Though some mid- to low-ranking Sunnis have defected, his military remains largely intact; this is because the Alawites control key units. Events in Libya drove home to an embattled Syrian leadership — and even to some of its adversaries within the military — the consequences of losing. The military has held together, and an unarmed or poorly armed populace, no matter how large, cannot defeat an intact military force. The key for those who would see al Assad fall is to divide the military.

    If al Assad survives — and at the moment, wishful thinking by outsiders aside, he is surviving — Iran will be the big winner. If Iraq falls under substantial Iranian influence, and the al Assad regime — isolated from most countries but supported by Tehran — survives in Syria, then Iran could emerge with a sphere of influence stretching from western Afghanistan to the Mediterranean (the latter via Hezbollah). Achieving this would not require deploying Iranian conventional forces — al Assad’s survival alone would suffice. However, the prospect of a Syrian regime beholden to Iran would open up the possibility of the westward deployment of Iranian forces, and that possibility alone would have significant repercussions.


    (click here to enlarge image)

    Consider the map were this sphere of influence to exist. The northern borders of Saudi Arabia and Jordan would abut this sphere, as would Turkey’s southern border. It remains unclear, of course, just how well Iran could manage this sphere, e.g., what type of force it could project into it. Maps alone will not provide an understanding of the problem. But they do point to the problem. And the problem is the potential — not certain — creation of a block under Iranian influence that would cut through a huge swath of strategic territory.

    It should be remembered that in addition to Iran’s covert network of militant proxies, Iran’s conventional forces are substantial. While they could not confront U.S. armored divisions and survive, there are no U.S. armored divisions on the ground between Iran and Lebanon. Iran’s ability to bring sufficient force to bear in such a sphere increases the risks to the Saudis in particular. Iran’s goal is to increase the risk such that Saudi Arabia would calculate that accommodation is more prudent than resistance. Changing the map can help achieve this.

    It follows that those frightened by this prospect — the United States, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey — would seek to stymie it. At present, the place to block it no longer is Iraq, where Iran already has the upper hand. Instead, it is Syria. And the key move in Syria is to do everything possible to bring about al Assad’s overthrow.

    In the last week, the Syrian unrest appeared to take on a new dimension. Until recently, the most significant opposition activity appeared to be outside of Syria, with much of the resistance reported in the media coming from externally based opposition groups. The degree of effective opposition was never clear. Certainly, the Sunni majority opposes and hates the al Assad regime. But opposition and emotion do not bring down a regime consisting of men fighting for their lives. And it wasn’t clear that the resistance was as strong as the outside propaganda claimed.

    Last week, however, the Free Syrian Army — a group of Sunni defectors operating out of Turkey and Lebanon — claimed defectors carried out organized attacks on government facilities, ranging from an air force intelligence facility (a particularly sensitive point given the history of the regime) to Baath Party buildings in the greater Damascus area. These were not the first attacks claimed by the FSA, but they were heavily propagandized in the past week. Most significant about the attacks is that, while small-scale and likely exaggerated, they revealed that at least some defectors were willing to fight instead of defecting and staying in Turkey or Lebanon.

    It is interesting that an apparent increase in activity from armed activists — or the introduction of new forces — occurred at the same time relations between Iran on one side and the United States and Israel on the other were deteriorating. The deterioration began with charges that an Iranian covert operation to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States had been uncovered, followed by allegations by the Bahraini government of Iranian operatives organizing attacks in Bahrain. It proceeded to an International Atomic Energy Agency report on Iran’s progress toward a nuclear device, followed by the Nov. 19 explosion at an Iranian missile facility that the Israelis have not-so-quietly hinted was their work. Whether any of these are true, the psychological pressure on Iran is building and appears to be orchestrated.

    Of all the players in this game, Israel’s position is the most complex. Israel has had a decent, albeit covert, working relationship with the Syrians going back to their mutual hostility toward Yasser Arafat. For Israel, Syria has been the devil they know. The idea of a Sunni government controlled by the Muslim Brotherhood on their northeastern frontier was frightening; they preferred al Assad. But given the shift in the regional balance of power, the Israeli view is also changing. The Sunni Islamist threat has weakened in the past decade relative to the Iranian Shiite threat. Playing things forward, the threat of a hostile Sunni force in Syria is less worrisome than an emboldened Iranian presence on Israel’s northern frontier. This explains why the architects of Israel’s foreign policy, such as Defense Minister Ehud Barak, have been saying that we are seeing an “acceleration toward the end of the regime.” Regardless of its preferred outcome, Israel cannot influence events inside Syria. Instead, Israel is adjusting to a reality where the threat of Iran reshaping the politics of the region has become paramount.

    Iran is, of course, used to psychological campaigns. We continue to believe that while Iran might be close to a nuclear device that could explode underground under carefully controlled conditions, its ability to create a stable, robust nuclear weapon that could function outside a laboratory setting (which is what an underground test is) is a ways off. This includes being able to load a fragile experimental system on a delivery vehicle and expecting it to explode. It might. It might not. It might even be intercepted and create a casus belli for a counterstrike.

    The main Iranian threat is not nuclear. It might become so, but even without nuclear weapons, Iran remains a threat. The current escalation originated in the American decision to withdraw from Iraq and was intensified by events in Syria. If Iran abandoned its nuclear program tomorrow, the situation would remain as complex. Iran has the upper hand, and the United States, Israel, Turkey and Saudi Arabia all are looking at how to turn the tables.

    At this point, they appear to be following a two-pronged strategy: Increase pressure on Iran to make it recalculate its vulnerability, and bring down the Syrian government to limit the consequences of Iranian influence in Iraq.

    Whether the Syrian regime can be brought down is problematic. Libya’s Moammar Gadhafi would have survived if NATO hadn’t intervened. NATO could intervene in Syria, but Syria is more complex than Libya. Moreover, a second NATO attack on an Arab state designed to change its government would have unintended consequences, no matter how much the Arabs fear the Iranians at the moment. Wars are unpredictable; they are not the first option.

    Therefore the likely solution is covert support for the Sunni opposition funneled through Lebanon and possibly Turkey and Jordan. It will be interesting to see if the Turks participate. Far more interesting will be seeing whether this works. Syrian intelligence has penetrated its Sunni opposition effectively for decades. Mounting a secret campaign against the regime would be difficult, and its success by no means assured. Still, that is the next move.

    But it is not the last move. To put Iran back into its box, something must be done about the Iraqi political situation. Given the U.S. withdrawal, Washington has little influence there. All of the relationships the United States built were predicated on American power protecting the relationships. With the Americans gone, the foundation of those relationships dissolves. And even with Syria, the balance of power is shifting.

    The United States has three choices. Accept the evolution and try to live with what emerges. Attempt to make a deal with Iran — a very painful and costly one. Or go to war. The first assumes Washington can live with what emerges. The second depends on whether Iran is interested in dealing with the United States. The third depends on having enough power to wage a war and to absorb Iran’s retaliatory strikes, particularly in the Strait of Hormuz. All are dubious, so toppling al Assad is critical. It changes the game and the momentum. But even that is enormously difficult and laden with risks.

    We are now in the final act of Iraq, and it is even more painful than imagined. Laying this alongside the European crisis makes the idea of a systemic crisis in the global system very real.

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    Default Re: Prepare Now for the Coming Middle East War

    Russian warships off Syria, US carriers near Iran

    DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 21, 2011, 6:20 PM (GMT+02:00) Tags: Russia US Canada Syrian uprising Iran nuclear


    US carriers Stennis and Bush

    Big power gunboat diplomacy is in full spate in the Mediterranean and Persian Gulf. Washington is underscoring its military option against Iran's nuclear program, while Russia is demonstrating its resolve to prevent NATO attacking Syria after Libya and defending Bashar Assad's regime. Monday, Nov. 21,

    Russia's foreign minister Sergey Lavrov accused Western nations of "political provocation" by urging the Syrian opposition to refuse to negotiate a settlement with Assad.

    Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, for his part, advised Assad: "You can only continue with tanks and guns to a certain point, the day will come when you will go."

    debkafile's military sources note that Russia and America adopted aggressive postures on Nov. 12, when two American carriers, the USS Bush and USS Stennis sailed through the Strait of Hormuz side by side and took up position opposite the Iranian coast.

    That was also the day when a mysterious explosion at the Revolutionary Guards base near Tehran wiped out the entire leadership of Iran's ballistic missile program.

    Five days later, on Nov. 17, the Syrian news agency reported three Russian naval vessels on the Mediterranean were heading toward Syria.

    Monday, Nov. 21, presidential sources in Damascus announced three warships had entered Syrian territorial waters outside Tartus port.

    Those sources stressed the Russian ships would not anchor in the Syrian port, indicating that their mission was not just to show the flag for the Assad regime but was on operational duty along its coasts to resist any foreign intervention in Syria unrest.

    Our military sources are watching to see whether the Russian flotilla targets the small craft transporting arms from Lebanon and Turkey to Syrian rebels fighting the regime. If so, Moscow would be able to present these strikes as actions against piracy which would fall under a UN Security Council resolution.

    While Moscow and Damascus kept the identity of the Russian warships dark, Arab sources said at least two of them are equipped for gathering intelligence and electronic warfare.

    As the Russian warships entered Syrian territorial waters, Canadian Defense Minister Peter McKay announced that in the light of the Syrian crisis, the Royal Canadian Navy would keep back in the Mediterranean until the end of 2012 certain vessels which took part in the Libyan campaign.

    debkafile's military sources report he was referring to two frigates:
    HMCS Vancouver will stay in the Mediterranean Sea until early next year," he said, taking part in "locating, tracking, reporting (and) boarding vessels of interest suspected of international terrorism." It would be relieved by HMCS Charlottetown until the end of 2012.

    Defense Minister Mckay explained: "…a lot of dictators are on notice that this type of behavior isn't going to be tolerated. How we go about it and what comes next is done on… an escalating scale before making any final decisions about intervention."

    The Canadian defense minister was the first prominent Western official to admit the possibility of Western military intervention in Syria.

    Three more events affecting the fate of the Assad regime, Tehran's closest ally, followed in quick succession Monday:

    British Foreign Secretary William Hague received a delegation of the opposition Syrian National Council in London. Shortly before the interview the SNC published its plan for the transition of power from the Assad regime in Damascus, calling also for "international protection for Syrian civilians."

    In Syria itself, three buses carrying Turkish pilgrims home from Mecca were accosted by a Syrian checkpoint at Cizre near Homs. The passengers were ordered to disembark for their papers to be inspected. The Syrian soldiers then started shooting at them, injuring a passenger and one of the drivers.

    This incident will not be treated lightly by the Erdogan government.

    Until now, despite vocal threats, Ankara has not intervened directly in the nine-month Syrian uprising aside from arming and training rebels.

    Also Monday, Jordan's King Abdullah II paid a surprise visit to Ramallah for talks with the Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmoud Abbas. One of the items on his agenda was an attempt to find out where the Palestinian leader stands vis-à-vis the Arab Revolt, especially on the conflict in Syria.

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    Nikita Khrushchev: "We will bury you"
    "Your grandchildren will live under communism."
    “You Americans are so gullible.
    No, you won’t accept
    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    outright, but we’ll keep feeding you small doses of
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    To view links or images in signatures your post count must be 15 or greater. You currently have 0 posts.
    ."
    We’ll so weaken your
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    until you’ll
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    like overripe fruit into our hands."



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