November 4, 2007

The Drumbeat for a War against Iran - July-August 2007

Updated January 23, 2008
15. Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner’s Allegations that Iran killed Five Americans in Karbala - July 02, 2007.
"Iran is using the Lebanese Shiite militia Hezbollah as a "proxy" to arm Shiite militants in Iraq and Tehran's elite Quds force helped militants carry out a January attack in Karbala in which five Americans were killed, a U.S. general said Monday. A senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative, Ali Mussa Dakdouk, was captured March 20 in southern Iraq, U.S. military spokesman Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner said. Dakdouk served for 24 years in Hezbollah and was "working in Iraq as a surrogate for the Iranian Quds Force," Bergner said." (Lee Keath ‘U.S.: Iran using Hezbollah in Iraq fight’;_ylt=A0WTcVZ7wYhGDhUB4BqbOrgF July 02, 2007); "Forces opposed to the United States' engagement of Iran are slowly gaining the upper hand, thanks mainly to the US military suddenly upping the ante. In the military's first salvo of its kind, US military spokesman Brigadier-General Kevin J Bergner accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards and their special unit, the Quds Force, of complicity, together with Lebanon's Hezbollah, in training and arming militant Shi'ites in Iraq. The allegations include one against a former associate of Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, who is accused of murdering US soldiers in Karbala." (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘US blame game puts more pressure on Iran’ July 04, 2007).

Bergner is a politician dressed up as a general to exploit the american military’s authority to promote bush’s likudnik policies. "And who is Gen. Bergner? He arrived in Iraq just a few weeks ago from his previous job, as special assistant to President Bush in the White House. You may recall that this past February, Gordon had trumpeted the charge that Iran was now supplying a new form of IED, or as the Times put it, the "deadliest weapon aimed at American troops" in Iraq. This charge, promoted by the U.S. military and given prominent play by the Times, also came at a time of rising calls for taking action against Iran. Experts subsequently disputed key parts of evidence cited by Gordon and the charge largely subsided – until now." (Greg Mitchell ‘Consider the Source: 'NYT' Reporter Targets Iran’ July 03, 2007); "Mark Perry, a military analyst who has been in regular contact with Hezbollah, is skeptical of Bergner’s claims. The general became the head spokesman for the American military in Iraq in June, having served previously as a special assistant to President Bush. "I don’t believe this report, because it’s not in the interest of Hezbollah," said Perry, a co-director of Conflicts Forum, which has organized meetings in recent years between leaders of the militant group and former American and British intelligence officials. "I am bothered that a general in Baghdad makes these claims instead of the civilian leadership in the Pentagon."" (Marc Perelman ‘Allegations of Hezbollah’s Terrorist Activity in Iraq Are Met With Skepticism’ July 11, 2007).

16. Michael Gordon hypes up Bergner’s Allegations that Iran killed Americans in Karbala - July 02, 2007.
Michael gordon is a journalist who worked closely with judith miller in fabricating the lies that drove america into its disastrous invasion of iraq. What is important here is not that there are journalists willing to do politicians’ bidding but that the media employs them to spew out such loquacious lies. "The Bush administration's most reliable pro-surge "reporter," Michael Gordon of The New York Times, this morning filed an article, headlined: "U.S. Ties Iranians to Iraq Attack That Killed G.I.'s", that might be the most war-fueling article yet with regard to Iran. Gordon's article is 23 paragraphs long, and makes some of the most inflammatory accusations against Iran imaginable (see Update II below). These are quite extraordinary claims the NYT is publishing, as they amount to an accusation that the Iranian Government, at its highest levels, is directing fatal attacks on American troops in Iraq, which constitutes, of course, an act of war. As Gordon himself points out: "In effect, American officials are charging that Iran has been engaged in a proxy war against American forces for years."" (Greenwald concludes). "Whatever else is true, and for whatever reasons, it is transparently clear that the U.S. military has made it a top priority to link the Iranian Government to attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq." (Glenn Greenwald ‘Michael Gordon trains his stenographer weapons on Iran’ July 2, 2007).

17. Lieberman issues Press Release reinforcing Bergner’s Allegations - July 02, 2007.
"To translate the media impact of the Bergner briefing into political support for the Cheney proposal, Senator Lieberman was ready with a press release issued the same day as the briefing which cited it as evidence that Iran was training Shiites in Iran who were killing Americans." (Gareth Porter ‘Cheney, Lieberman and Iran War Conspiracy’ August 16, 2007).

18. Senate passes Lieberman’s Scandalous Amendment claiming Iranians are Killing Americans - July 11, 2007.
Commentators’ Views on Amendment.
David Bromwich.
"And in a sense, the Senate had given the president his cue when it approved, by a vote of 97-0, the July 11 Lieberman Amendment to Confront Iran. It is hardly an accident that the president and his favorite tame senator concurred in their choice of the word "confront." The pretext for the Lieberman amendment, as for the president's order, was the discovery of caches of weapons alleged to belong to Iran, the capture of Iranian advisers said to be operating against American troops, and the assertion that the most deadly IEDs used against Americans are often traceable to Iranian sources, claims that have been widely treated in the press as possible, but suspect and unverified. Still, the vote was 97-0. If few Americans took notice, the government of Iran surely did." (David Bromwich ‘Iraq, Israel, Iran’ September 4, 2007).

Pepe Escobar.
"Moreover, the US Senate has already approved - by a Stalinist 97 votes to 0 - an amendment accusing Iran of committing acts of war against the US." (Pepe Escobar ‘From al-Qaeda to al-Quds’ September 07, 2007).

Glenn Greenwald.
"Last month, the Senate unanimously passed a Lieberman-sponsored resolution gratuitously accusing Iran of acts of war against the U.S., a resolution with no purpose other than to strengthen the case for war against Iran. Clearly, Congress can (or at least will) do nothing to restrain the White House." (Glenn Greenwald ‘The president's escalating war rhetoric on Iran’ August 29, 2007).

Justin Raimondo.
"The bipartisan band is striking up a war tune, as "antiwar" Senator Carl Levin co-sponsors with Joe Lieberman the Iran Amendment to the defense appropriations bill, joining with Republican Senators McCain, Kyl, and Graham in a rousing chorus of rattling sabers. The amendment accuses Iran of murdering American soldiers, and of committing other acts of war: it is, in effect, a declaration of war, and Senator Lieberman was quite clear about this on the Senate floor the other day." (Justin Raimondo ‘Is War With Iran Inevitable? Yes.’ July 13, 2007).

19. ‘Discovery’ of Iranian Rocket Launchers - July 14, 2007.
"US soldiers discovered a field of rocket launchers near a US army base south of Baghdad armed with 34 Iranian-made missiles, the military said Saturday. "After several rockets hit FOB (Forward Operating Base) Hammer on July 11, the 3rd Heavy Brigade Combat Team manoeuvred to find the source of the attack," a statement said. The next morning an "unmanned aerial vehicle located 46 rocket launchers in the northern section of Besmaya Range Complex aimed at FOB Hammer. Thirty-four of the launchers were armed with Iranian 107mm rockets," it added." (‘US finds Iranian rockets aimed at Iraq base’ July 14, 2007).

20. Journalists suspect Cheney has regained dominance over Presidency - July 16, 2007.
"The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned. The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo." "Cheney has limited capital left, but if he wanted to use all his capital on this one issue, he could still have an impact," said Patrick Cronin, the director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies. The Washington source said Mr Bush and Mr Cheney did not trust any potential successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with Iran decisively. They are also reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway." (Ewen MacAskill and Julian Borger ‘Cheney pushes Bush to act on Iran’,,2127343,00.html July 16, 2007). Notice here that cheney (and bush) are supposedly reluctant to get the jos to attack iran even as a provocation to bring america into a war with iran.

21. William Wood, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul, claims Iran supplying arms to the Taliban - July 17, 2007.
"Iranian arms are entering Afghanistan and reaching Taliban insurgents in such quality and quantity that the Tehran government must know about it, the U.S. ambassador to Kabul said on Tuesday. "There are clearly some munitions coming out of Iran going into the hands of the Taliban," said Ambassador William Wood. "We believe that the quantity and quality of those munitions are such that the Iranian government must know about it," he told reporters. "Beyond that we really can't go."" (Jon Hemming ‘U.S. says Iran knows its weapons reaching Taliban’ July 17, 2007).

Ironically, whilst one part of the bush regime condemns iran for supplying weapons to the taliban, another part is encouraging negotiations with the taliban. "Thus, all things taken into account, Washington is gearing up for the endgame - politically engaging the Taliban. Quite obviously, the processes set in motion at the Afghan jirga (council) last month in the direction of accommodating the Taliban in political terms are now being speeded up. It was clear from the outset that the jirga took place with the full blessings of the US. (See Afghanistan's ball back in Pakistan's court, Asia Times Online, August 18.)" (M K Bhadrakumar ‘Deep flaws in Afghan peace drive’ September 15, 2007).

22. Iran Training, Arming, and Financing, Extreme Shiite Group - July 24, 2007.
"The main US charge is that the Iranians are providing weapons, explosives, training, and payments of up to $3 million dollars per cell to a rogue offshoot of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia known as "Special Groups." The US military says those militants target mainly US forces and Sunni Arabs. The US asserts that these groups have been supplied with what the Army calls Explosively Formed Projectiles (EFPs), which are sophisticated roadside bombs that are capable of piercing armored vehicles." (Sam Dagher ‘Amid Tensions with US, Iran's Presence in Iraq Grows’ July 24, 2007).

23. Reiteration of Iran’s involvement in Green Zone Attacks - July 26, 2007.
"The U.S. military has noted a "significant improvement" in the aim of attackers firing rockets and mortars into the heavily fortified Green Zone in the past three months that it has linked to training in Iran, a top commander said Thursday." (‘U.S. says Iran training Green Zone bombers’ July 26, 2007).

24. Bush accuses Iran of wanting Nuclear Weapons - August 06, 2007.
"US President George W. Bush charged Monday that Iran has openly declared that it seeks nuclear weapons - an inaccurate accusation at a time of sharp tensions between Washington and Tehran. "It's up to Iran to prove to the world that they're a stabilizing force as opposed to a destabilizing force. After all, this is a government that has proclaimed its desire to build a nuclear weapon," he said during a joint press conference with Afghan President Hamid Karzai." (‘Bush levels dubious Iran nuclear arms charge’ August 06, 2007); "But Bush himself has raised the ante in recent days, warning of vague punishments for alleged Iranian misdeeds, and unleashing an outright lie that Iran has openly "proclaimed its desire for nuclear weapons," when of course the very opposite is true." (Chris Floyd ‘The Looming Strike on Iran’ August 10, 2007).

25. Gordon publicizes Gen. Raymond T. Odierno’s Allegations against Iran - August 8, 2007.
"Attacks on American-led forces using a lethal type of roadside bomb said to be supplied by Iran reached a new high in July, according to the American military. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno, the No. 2 American commander in Iraq, says attacks by Shiite militias remain a long-term concern. The devices, known as explosively formed penetrators, were used to carry out 99 attacks last month and accounted for a third of the combat deaths suffered by the American-led forces, according to American military officials. Such bombs, which fire a semi-molten copper slug that can penetrate the armor on a Humvee and are among the deadliest weapons used against American forces, are used almost exclusively by Shiite militants. American intelligence officials have presented evidence that the weapons come from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Iran, although Tehran has repeatedly denied providing lethal assistance to Iraqi groups. Of the 69 members of the American-led forces killed in action in July, the lowest toll in months, 23 died as a result of attacks with the devices, according to data supplied by General Odierno’s command. Of the 614 allied troops who were wounded that month, 89 were hit in penetrator attacks." (Michael R. Gordon ‘Iran-Supplied Bomb Is Killing More Troops in Iraq, U.S. Says’ August 8, 2007).

William beeman denounces gordon’s propaganda efforts to bring about a war with iran. "It is increasingly suspicious that every time the United States has begun a diplomatic initiative with Iran, the latest on August 6, some United States military official in Iraq comes forward to accuse Iran of supplying weapons to attack U.S. troops. Perhaps it is coincidence, but the reporter rendering these accusations for the public seems always to be Michael R. Gordon. These military reports and the Times reportage seem timed to undermine these diplomatic talks. Following the historic May 28 talks between Iran and the United States in Baghdad, the Iranian government called for a second round of talks. As negotiations for this second round were underway General Kevin Bergner provided a briefing on precisely the issue of the IED's covered in the August 8 article by Mr. Gordon. Mr. Gordon's last reportage of General Kevin J. Bergner's account of these Iranian attacks ("U.S. Ties Iran to Deadly Iraq Attack" July 2, 2007) was a textbook case in hype. Mr. Gordon significantly enhanced General Bergner's already specious and exaggerated statements to make the Iranian government appear even more culpable than the evidence in the press conference would warrant. Although Mr. Gordon's August 8 reporting on Lt. Gen. Raymond T. Odierno's account of essentially the same phenomenon does acknowledge that critics of the Bush administration assert that there is no proof of Iranian state involvement in supplying the IED devices, the article is riddled with innuendo accusatory of Iran, such as identifying "Iranian-backed cells" as if they existed as verified definable entities, and they had been proved to have ties to Iran. Mr. Gordon's piece appears on page 1 of the Times above the fold (as did his July 2 piece) thus increasing the hype factor. The Times should save its partisanship for the editorial pages, and not conscience it in its reporting." (William O. Beeman quoted in Juan Cole ‘Beeman to NYT: Hyping Iran Threat’ August 09, 2007).

26. Cheney alleges Iran is training Iraqi fighters in Camps in Iraq - August 9, 2007.
Steven clemons’.story about cheney’s end run strategy around the president and gareth porter’s analysis of cheney’s conspiracy to implement this strategy are picked up by america’s mainstream media. "Vice President Dick Cheney several weeks ago proposed launching airstrikes at suspected training camps in Iraq run by the Quds force, a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, according to two U.S. officials who are involved in Iran policy. The Bush administration has launched what appears to be a coordinated campaign to pin more of Iraq's security troubles on Iran. Last week, Lt. Gen. Raymond Odierno, the No. 2 U.S. military commander in Iraq, said Shiite militiamen had launched 73 percent of the attacks that had killed or wounded American troops in July. U.S. officials think that majority Shiite Iran is providing militiamen with EFPs, which pierce armored vehicles and explode once inside. Last month, Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, a multinational force spokesman, said members of the Quds force had helped plan a January attack in the holy Shiite city of Karbala, which lead to the deaths of five American soldiers. Bergner said the military had evidence that some of the attackers had trained at Quds camps near Tehran." (Warren P. Strobel, John Walcott and Nancy A. Youssef ‘Cheney urging military strikes on Iran’ August 9, 2007). Notice in this quotation that the allegation is that cheney was recommending air attacks against iranian training camps in IRAQ not IRAN. "In addition to advancing the demonization required for the larger strategy of violent regime change in Iran, it also aids what is now emerging as an important tactical move: a smaller-scale strike "at suspected training camps in Iraq run by the Quds force, a special unit of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps," McClatchy reports. This is what Cheney is now calling for, putting red, bloody meat on the bones of Bush's vaguely menacing statements." (Chris Floyd ‘The Looming Strike on Iran’ August 10, 2007).

27. Cheney alleges Iran is training Iraqi fighters in Camps in Iran - August 9, 2007.
Cheney’s demand for an attack on iranian training camps is intended to provoke iran into retaliating which would force bush to order an attack on iran’s nuclear facilities. The advantage of this tactic over a pre-emptive attack on iran’s nuclear facilities is that it is much more likely to be supported by the american public.

Commentators’ Views.
Chris Floyd.
"A smaller-scale "punitive" raid on Quds bases in Iran would almost certainly be acceptable to the American public. Thus a small-scale raid would actually be a masterstroke in the Administration's psy-ops scheme to build support for a larger action to destroy the Iranian regime." (Chris Floyd ‘The Looming Strike on Iran’ August 10, 2007).

Dan Froomkin.
"While bombing training camps inside Iraq would not be nearly as provocative as launching an attack within Iran's borders, there are two things to keep in mind: 1) The only camps where the U.S. military thus far has alleged Iranians are training Iraqi insurgents are inside Iran; and 2) Cheney has long been said to be looking for some way to maneuver Bush into having no choice but to launch a full-scale attack against Iran. Joshua Partlow wrote in The Washington Post last month that Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, the new U.S. military spokesman who is fresh from a stint at the White House, asserted that Iran's elite al-Quds Force was training Iraqi militiamen inside Iran, at three camps near Tehran." (Dan Froomkin ‘Cheney's Secret Escalation Plan?’ August 10, 2007).

Porter Alleges Cheney orchestrated Lieberman, Bergner, and Gordon. But does the Dimwit know what’s going on around him?
It is gareth porter’s thesis that cheney conspired with joe lieberman to push bush into a war against iran. "But it is now clear that at least Vice President Dick Cheney is conspiring to push through a specific plan for war with Iran. And Senator Joe Lieberman is an active part of that conspiracy." (Gareth Porter ‘Cheney, Lieberman and Iran War Conspiracy’ August 16, 2007). But porter goes even further by suggesting cheney choreographed public statements issued by liebermann, bergner, and gordon, about iranians killing americans - thereby implying that iran is fighting a proxy war against america and thus that america is at war with iran.

Firstly, porter argues that lieberman would never have made his june 15 statement without assent from cheney. "The revelation of the Cheney attack proposal throws a new light on a series of developments relating to Iraq since early June. The first event that takes on new meaning is Joe Lieberman's public call on June 11 for exactly the same kind of attack on the alleged training bases in Iran as Cheney was advocating inside the administration. Lieberman, appearing on CBS's Face the Nation, said, "I think we've got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq. And to me that would include a strike over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers." Was that just a coincidence? Not a chance, says one Washington insider who is very familiar with Lieberman and the inner workings of the whole neoconservative demi-monde. "Lieberman is not the kind of guy who goes off on his own to make a proposal like this," says the observer. "He's very disciplined. He's a foot soldier, an integral part of the neoconservative movement. In other words, Lieberman was acting as a stalking horse for Cheney's proposal, softening up public opinion for later war propaganda." (Gareth Porter ‘Cheney, Lieberman and Iran War Conspiracy’ August 16, 2007).

Secondly, porter believes cheney co-ordinated statements made by bergner and gordon which were later reinforced by lieberman. "Then on July 2, the new spokesman for the U.S. command in Baghdad, Brig. Gen. Kevin Bergner, presented a briefing for the press that dovetailed perfectly with Cheney's strategy. One of his main themes was the suggestion of an Iranian role in planning a January Shiite militia attack in Karbala in which five Americans were killed. The other major point that Bergner pushed was that Iran was using what he called "Special Groups" of "rogue" Shiite militiamen to destabilize Iraq, in part by training them in camps in Iran. But the Bergner briefing appears to have been a key move in the war conspiracy, aimed at providing just the kind of "evidence" that could be used to push Cheney's proposal both within the administration and outside." (Gareth Porter ‘Cheney, Lieberman and Iran War Conspiracy’ August 16, 2007).

Thirdly, porter suggests that conveniently lieberman then arrives to reinforce the bergner-gordon lies. "To translate the media impact of the Bergner briefing into political support for the Cheney proposal, Senator Lieberman was ready with a press release issued the same day as the briefing which cited it as evidence that Iran was training Shiites in Iran who were killing Americans. Lieberman used the occasion to repeat his call for a U.S. attack on the camps in Iran. Lieberman then introduced an amendment which stated, "The murder of members of the United States Armed Forces by a foreign government or its agents is an intolerable act of hostility against the United States."" (Gareth Porter ‘Cheney, Lieberman and Iran War Conspiracy’ August 16, 2007).

Porter concludes by asking whether bush knows that cheney is conspiring with others to implement his end run strategy around the president? "It is not clear whether Bush has explicitly authorized Cheney to prepare the ground for Cheney's new strategy of provocation. In the spring, Rice succeeded in getting Bush to go along with direct diplomatic contacts with Iran. Cheney then let it be known in Washington right-wing circles that he was concerned that Bush would fail to support the military option against Iran and that he, Cheney, was planning an "end-run strategy" to ensure that it would not prevail. But at a White House meeting of key policymakers on Iran in June, according to an article last month in the Guardian, Bush sided with Cheney in an argument over whether these diplomatic talks should be allowed to continue to January 2009. Whether Cheney's conspiring with Lieberman and the U.S. command is part of an "end-run strategy" or are sanctioned by Bush, Cheney's ability to manipulate Bush poses the chilling possibility that a hapless president will commit the ultimate blunder of war with Iran." (Gareth Porter ‘Cheney, Lieberman and Iran War Conspiracy’ August 16, 2007).

28. Likudniks want to label IRGC as Terrorists - August 15, 2007.
The Announcement.
"The United States has decided to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country's 125,000-strong elite military branch, as a "specially designated global terrorist," according to U.S. officials, a move that allows Washington to target the group's business operations and finances. The main goal of the new designation is to clamp down on the Revolutionary Guard's vast business network, as well as on foreign companies conducting business linked to the military unit and its personnel. The administration plans to list many of the Revolutionary Guard's financial operations." (Robin Wright ‘Iranian Unit to Be Labeled 'Terrorist'. U.S. Moving Against Revolutionary Guard’ August 15, 2007); "On August 15, front-page stories in the New York Times, the Washington Post and other leading newspapers described how the Bush administration planned to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a "global terrorist" organization for supporting anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli forces in the Middle East." (Barbara Koeppel ‘Saudi Arabia's Myth of Moderation’ August 17, 2007).

Trita Parsi.
"It is unclear how Washington expects success in those talks if it at the same time designates the very same people it seeks help from as global terrorists. Ironically, some of the Iranian diplomats the US is dealing with in Iraq are still part of the IRGC, including Mohammad Jafari, who sat across the table from US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice at the Iraq summit in Sharm al-Sheikh earlier this year." (Trita Parsi ‘Terror Label for Guard Corp Entrenches US-Iran Enmity’ August 16, 2007);

Kaveh L Afrasiabi – A Leap towards War.
"The Bush administration has leaped toward war with Iran by, in essence, declaring war with the main branch of Iran's military, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which it plans to brand as a terrorist organization. The political analysts who argue that the main impact of this initiative is "political" are plain wrong. It is a giant step toward war with Iran, irrespective of how well, or poorly, it is thought of, particularly in terms of its immediate and long-term implications, let alone the timing of it." (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘US steps closer to war with Iran’ August 18, 2007).

Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board – A Leap towards War.
"In yet another transparent step in building the case for taking military action against Iran, the Bush administration has said that it intends to place Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps on its list of terror groups. The cool heads at the European Union disagree, but never mind them. Bush knows better, right? We're told that the army, which is charged with Iran's national security, gets the unsavory label in part because the Iranian government supplies weapons to Iraqi insurgents. This argument doesn't hold water. No more than it would if Russia called any branch of the U.S. military a terrorist group because we supplied weapons to Afghan mujahedeen during its war with the Soviet army. All this reckless labeling will accomplish, however, is to crank the drumbeat of war up to 11, making Iran seem as though it's a major, immediate threat without providing any substantial evidence." (Seattle Post-Intelligencer Editorial Board ‘Drumbeat Of War: Unsavory logic’ August 17, 2007).

James Rosen – A Leap towards War.
"If the Bush administration moves forward with such a designation, sources said, it would be an indication that Rice agrees that Burns' approach has failed. Designation of such a large Iranian military institution as a terrorist entity would also be seen, sources said, as laying the groundwork for a public justification of American military action." (James Rosen ‘U.S. Officials Begin Crafting Iran Bombing Plan’,2933,296450,00.html September 12, 2007).

Scott Ritter – A Leap towards War.
" Scott ritter makes the following statement about the close links between the american supported maliki government and iran’s revolutionary guards. "Likewise, the accusation of direct Iranian involvement in anti-American violence is questionable. Iranian political support of Iraqi Shiite groups who violently oppose the American occupation of Iraq is real, but then again we know this: We invited the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq to join us in toppling Saddam. Based out of Iran, functioning as a de facto arm of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Command, SCIRI did as we asked. Why, then, are we shocked when SCIRI maintains ties with the very entity that created and nurtured it? It is Iraqi Shiites who are killing Americans, not Iranians. And they would kill us with or without the support of Iran." (Scott Ritter ‘Reporting From Baghdad’ September 06, 2007). He is saying, in effect, that if the bush regime labels the irgc as terrorists then it too is supporting terrorism in the shape of the maliki government which is supported by iran.

Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann – Significance of such a Designation.
"The most ominous new development is the Bush administration's push to name the Iranian Revolutionary Guards a terrorist organization." (Interview with Flynt Leverett and Hillary Mann ‘The Secret History of the Impending War with Iran That the White House Doesn't Want You to Know’ October 22, 2007).

For the next step in the designation process please see entry:
80. New American Sanctions on Iran: Designation of Quds as Terrorist Organization - October 26, 2007.

29. Croker argues Iran will take advantage of an American Withdrawal - August 16, 2007.
The bush regime is arguing that iran is the reason america has to stay in iraq. "Washington's envoy to Iraq warned Americans on Thursday that pulling U.S. troops out of the country could open the door to a "major Iranian advance" that would threaten U.S. interests in the region. "One area of clear concern is Iran. The Iranians aren't going anywhere. I have significant concerns that a coalition withdrawal would lead to a major Iranian advance. And we need to consider what the consequences of that would be. Based on what I see on the ground, I think they are seeking a state that they can, by one means or another, control, weakened to the point that Tehran can set its agenda," he said." (Ross Colvin ‘U.S. envoy says Iraq report will sound warning on Iran’ August 16, 2007).

30. Rick Lynch sees 50 IRGC training Iraqis to fire Mortars - August 19, 2007.
"U.S. intelligence reports indicate there are about 50 members of Iran's Revolutionary Guards training Shi'ite militias in how to use mortars and rockets in southern Iraq, a U.S. general said on Sunday. U.S. Major-General Rick Lynch, whose forces south of Baghdad are battling a mixture of Sunni Islamist and Shi'ite militants, said many of the 25 soldiers killed in his area in the past 60 days were hit by what the U.S. military calls "indirect fire." "The enemy is ramping up indirect fire attacks. The enemy is more aggressive. The great concern is about the Iranian munitions he is using," Lynch told reporters in Baghdad. "We have some members of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps. They are facilitating training of Shi'ite extremists. In my battle space ... we think there are about 50 members." U.S. officials and military commanders have stepped up their accusations against Iran in recent weeks, charging Iraq's neighbor of playing a spoiling role to influence a September progress report on the war due to be presented next month." (Ross Colvin ‘Iranian agents training militias in Iraq: U.S. general’ August 19, 2007); "On August 19, Lynch charged that some 50 members of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards were inside Iraq training Shiite extremists to launch attacks on US and Iraqi security forces. The US military has regularly accused Iranian forces of training Iraqi militants to use rockets and explosively formed penetrators (EFPs), fist-sized bombs capable of slicing through heavy armour, but Lynch's comments marked the first claims that they were operating inside Iraq." (‘US to build military base on Iraq-Iran border’ September 10, 2007).

Gareth Porter – The Misinterpretions.
"The premise that the Quds Force agents in Iraq were involved in training Shi'ites to carry out operations against U.S. troops was shattered when Lynch told reporters Aug. 19 that the Iranians were "facilitating the training of Shi'ite extremists" militiamen in Iraq. That clearly implied that the training was being done by Hezbollah. The Washington Post and other news outlets quoted Lynch's statement but nevertheless reported that Lynch had charged that Iranians were doing the training. A spokesperson for Lynch confirmed to IPS that Lynch had not made any allegation about Iranians training Shi'ites in Iraq. Petraeus dealt the final blow to the notion of a Quds Force training role when he noted that the Hezbollah trainers had also been withdrawn from the country." (Gareth Porter ‘Petraeus Helps Destroy Bush's 'Proxy War' Claim’ September 18, 2007).

31. Bush’s Vietnam Speech - August 22, 2007.
"On August 22nd, breaking into his Crawford vacation, the president addressed the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, giving what is already known as his "Vietnam speech." That day, George W. Bush, who, as early as 2003, had sworn that his war on Iraq would "decidedly not be Vietnam," took the full-frontal plunge into the still-flowing current of the Big Muddy, fervently embracing Vietnam analogy-land. You could almost feel his relief (and that of his neocon speechwriters)." (Tom Engelhardt ‘Seven Years in Hell’ September 5, 2007).

32. Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno yet again blames Iran for Killing Americans - August 26, 2007
"The No. 2 U.S. commander in Iraq accused Iran on Sunday of stepping up support for anti-American Shi'ite militants in Iraq as U.S. policymakers await a crucial assessment of the violence-torn country. Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno said Iraqi Shi'ite groups have received more weapons, ammunition, funding and training from Iran in the past two months, while President George W. Bush's "surge" strategy to quell violence in Baghdad has taken effect. "It's clear to me that over the past 30 to 60 days they have increased their support," Odierno said on CNN's "Late Edition." "They do it from providing weapons, ammunition, specifically mortars and explosively formed projectiles," he said in a video link from Iraq. "They are providing monetary support to some groups and they are conducting training within Iran of Iraqi extremists to come back here and fight the United States," he added." (‘Iran increasing Iraq militant support: U.S. commander’ August 26, 2007).

33. Plesch’s Warnings about US attack Iran- August 28, 2007
"The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as well as government buildings and infrastructure, using long-range bombers and missiles, according to a new analysis. The paper, "Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East", written by well-respected British scholar and arms expert Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and Martin Butcher, a former Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament, was exclusively provided to RAW STORY late Friday under embargo. Plesch and Butcher examine "what the military option might involve if it were picked up off the table and put into action" and conclude that based on open source analysis and their own assessments, the US has prepared its military for a "massive" attack against Iran, requiring little contingency planning and without a ground invasion. US bombers and long range missiles are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours." (Larisa Alexandrovna and Muriel Kane ‘Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran’ August 28, 2007).

34. Bush’s Nuclear Holocaust speech on Iran - August 28, 2007.
Press Reports.
This was bush’s second speech to a military audience over the last week – this time the american legion’s convention in reno, nevada. "Bush painted a stark picture of what might happen if U.S. troops withdraw from Iraq, saying that would embolden Iran, al Qaida and other extremists to spread instability throughout the Middle East and spur a regional nuclear-arms race that would endanger the world. "Iran could conclude that we are weak, and not stop them from gaining nuclear weapons," he told the American Legion convention here. "And once Iran had nuclear weapons, it could set off an arms race in the region." On Iran, Bush was unusually hawkish. He said Iran's regime embodied and sustained one of two strains of radicalism, Shiite Muslim extremism, that threatened the Middle East. The other is Sunni Muslim extremism, led by al Qaida. "Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere," he said. "We will confront this danger before it is too late."" (William Douglas and Warren P. Strobel ‘Bush sells Iraq troop-surge policy, slams Iran’ August 28, 2007); "Bush pointedly accused Iran's leadership of trying to destabilize Iraq, calling Tehran a destructive influence that puts American lives at risk. "Iran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan to be used to attack American and NATO troops," Bush said. "Iran has arrested visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes and impose no threat to their regime. And Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust. Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere."" (Jennifer Loven ‘Bush: Fight Against Extremism Is Crucial’ August 28, 2007); "This year, on August 28, President Bush spoke to another veterans' group, the American Legion. He called Iran "the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," whose "active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust." He concluded: "Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. And that is why the United States is rallying friends and allies around the world to isolate the regime, to impose economic sanctions. We will confront this danger before it is too late."" (Barnett R. Rubin ‘Post Labor Day Product Rollout: War with Iran (Cross-posted at DailyKos)!’ August 29, 2007).

Justin Raimondo.
"In a speech delivered Tuesday, he reiterated recent charges by Washington that Iran is arming and training Iraqi Shi'ite groups who are launching attacks on American forces in Iraq, and he announced: "I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities." Translation: The bombing begins shortly." (Justin Raimondo ‘War With Iran: It's already started’ August 29, 2007).

Paul Craig Roberts.
"The Bush administration and its politicized military are already blaming the failure of "the surge" on Iran. Iran is alleged to be training and arming Iraqis who resist the US occupation. Bush has said he will hold Iran responsible. There is abundant evidence that the Bush administration is preparing yet another illegal attack on a Muslim country without assessing the consequences." (Paul Craig Roberts ‘Will Bush Take Everything Down With Him? More Shame, More Sorrow’ August 29, 2007).

Glenn Greenwald.
"George Bush, speaking before yet another military audience, yesterday delivered what might actually be the most disturbing speech of his presidency, in which he issued more overt war threats than ever before towards Iran: "The other strain of radicalism in the Middle East is Shia extremism, supported and embodied by the regime that sits in Tehran. Iran has long been a source of trouble in the region. It is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism. Iran backs Hezbollah who are trying to undermine the democratic government of Lebanon. Iran funds terrorist groups like Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad, which murder the innocent, and target Israel, and destabilize the Palestinian territories. Iran is sending arms to the Taliban in Afghanistan, which could be used to attack American and NATO troops. Iran has arrested visiting American scholars who have committed no crimes and pose no threat to their regime. And Iran's active pursuit of technology that could lead to nuclear weapons threatens to put a region already known for instability and violence under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust. Iran's actions threaten the security of nations everywhere. And that is why the United States is rallying friends and allies around the world to isolate the regime, to impose economic sanctions. We will confront this danger before it is too late (Applause.) Viewed through the prism of presidential jargon, Bush's vow, "We will confront this danger before it is too late" - is synonymous with a pledge to attack Iran unless our array of demands are met. He is unmistakably proclaiming that unless Iran gives up its nuclear program and fundamentally changes its posture in the Middle East, "we will confront this danger." What possible scenario could avert this outcome? Bush also added: "I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities." To underscore the fact that this is not mere rhetoric, the U.S. military in Iraq, following Bush's speech, arrested and detained eight Iranian energy experts meeting in Baghdad with the Iraqi government, handcuffing, blindfolding, and interrogating them, only to then release them when the Iraqi government protested. The path we are on, with 160,000 of our troops in Iran's neighbor, escalating war-threatening rhetoric, and increasingly provocative acts, is obviously the path to war." (Glenn Greenwald ‘The president's escalating war rhetoric on Iran’ August 29, 2007).

Arnaud de Borchgrave
"Both the Bush administration and Israel are painstakingly fashioning a casus belli with Iran. For Israel, the training and weapons support Iran furnishes Hezbollah in Lebanon (now with more rockets of all kinds than it had before the 2006 war when it fired 4,000 into Israel) and Hamas in Gaza (now equipped with Katyusha rockets and a range of 10.6 miles), coupled with Ahmadinejad's existential threats against the Jewish state, are sufficient evidence to justify airstrikes against Iran's nuclear facilities. And for the White House, there is daily evidence of Iran's Revolutionary Guards meddling in Iraq, from improvised explosive devices made in Iran to behind-the-scenes dominance in the affairs of the oil-rich south." (Arnaud de Borchgrave ‘The next war?’ August 29, 2007).

Kaveh L Afrasiabi.
"Not to be outdone, US President George W Bush gave his strongest warning ever on Iran when he said on Tuesday that "Iran's pursuit of the atomic bomb could lead to a nuclear holocaust in the Middle East". He then promised to confront Tehran "before it is too late"." (Kaveh L Afrasiabi ‘New steps in the war dance over Iran’ August 30, 2007).

Ray McGovern.
"Not another warning about war with Iran! Well, suck it up. President George W. Bush's speech Tuesday makes clear his plan to attack Iran, and how the intelligence, as was the case before the attack on Iraq, is being "fixed around the policy." In my view, air strikes on Iran are inevitable, unless grassroots America can arrange a backbone transplant for Congress.s" (Ray McGovern ‘Bush Puts Iran in Crosshairs’ August 31, 2007).

Patrick J. Buchanan
"This is a case for war. Indeed, it's an assertion by President Bush that Iran is colluding in acts of war against the soldiers and Marines and allies of the United States. What does he intend to do? "I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran's murderous activities. ... We've conducted operations against Iranian agents supplying lethal munitions to extremist groups."" (Patrick J. Buchanan ‘Phase III of Bush's War’ September 1, 2007); "Speaking to the American Legion, Bush used rhetoric against Iran equal in bellicosity to anything he used on Iraq before invading. Iran "is the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism." Iran "funds terrorist groups like Hamas. ... Iran is sending arms to the Taliban." Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology threatens to put the Middle East and Gulf "under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust."" (Patrick J. Buchanan ‘Stopping the Next War’ September 14, 2007).

Tim Shipman – It’s a War for the Jews.
"He went on to condemn Iranian meddling in Iraq, where America increasingly blames the deaths of its soldiers on Iranian bombs and missiles. Mr Bush made clear that he had authorised military commanders to confront "Iran's murderous activities". This was widely taken to mean that he is set on a confrontation with Iran that will culminate in a bombing campaign to destroy Iranian nuclear facilities, just as Israel bombed Saddam Hussein's Osirak reactor in 1981. Mr Bush's escalation of the rhetoric was deliberate. A former White House aide said that the reference to a "nuclear holocaust" was a precise attempt to bracket Mr Ahmadinejad's quest for nuclear weapons and stated desire to wipe Israel off the map with Hitler's destruction of the Jews. "By using that word 'holocaust', Mr Bush has provided a moral reason to allow the Jewish state to do what it needs to do," said the former aide. "He is reinvoking the notion of 'never again'. If you believe that there could be another Holocaust, it becomes morally indefensible to stand back. It is a powerful and loaded term. Those people in Europe who believed that the neo-cons have gone away and shrunk under a rock had better wise up fast."" (Tim Shipman ‘Will President Bush bomb Iran?’ September 02, 2007).

Marjorie Cohn.
"Bush's WMD-hyping against Iran is déja vu in the run-up to Operation Iraqi Disaster, where he played loose and fast with the truth about Iraq's alleged WMDs. His statement that a nuclear Iran could put the region "under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust" conjures up his images of a "mushroom cloud" in the hype-up to Iraq." (Marjorie Cohn ‘1,200 Targets in 3 Days? A Look at Bush's Iran War Plans’ September 3, 2007).

35. Barnett R. Rubin alleges Bush Rollout for the War on Iran - August 29, 2007.
Rubin’s Rollout.
"My friend had spoken to someone in one of the leading neo-conservative institutions. He summarized what he was told this way: "They [the source's institution] have "instructions" (yes, that was the word used) from the Office of the Vice-President to roll out a campaign for war with Iran in the week after Labor Day; it will be coordinated with the American Enterprise Institute, the Wall Street Journal, the Weekly Standard, Commentary, Fox, and the usual suspects. It will be heavy sustained assault on the airwaves, designed to knock public sentiment into a position from which a war can be maintained. Evidently they don't think they'll ever get majority support for this, they want something like 35-40 percent support, which in their book is ‘plenty.’"" (Barnett R. Rubin ‘Post Labor Day Product Rollout: War with Iran (Cross-posted at DailyKos)!’ August 29, 2007).

Bush suspected of withdrawing troops into Military Camps in Iraq?
"I posted the first blog on Wednesday, August 29. On the morning of Thursday, August 30, someone who is a professional in handling information called me to recount a conversation from the previous Thursday or Friday (August 23 or 24). In this conversation, someone whose proximity to knowledge of such things is so great that I cannot identify him in any other way, told my interlocutor that President Bush would be inclined to accept suggestions for withdrawing some troops from Iraq and moving as many as possible into more secure bases, as a safeguard against reprisals in the event of a U.S. attack on Iran. The British withdrawal from Basra is also said have been accelerated to avoid reprisals on their highly exposed position there." (Barnett R. Rubin ‘Iran War Rollout Starts: Link to Iraq Troop Reductions?’ September 4, 2007).

Bush siding with Iraqi Sunnis against Iran.
"In today's reports from Iraq (see for example the New York Times and the Washington Post) President Bush is quoted as saying, "If the kind of success we are now seeing here continues it will be possible to maintain the same level of security with fewer American forces." The president made a point of visiting and lauding the progress in predominantly Sunni Anbar province, where the U.S. would be more secure from reprisals by Shi'a militias sympathetic to Iran. Anyone who follows political thinking in the Middle East will realize that throughout the region this will be interpreted as confirming a shift in U.S. strategy toward allying with Sunnis to encircle Iran." (Barnett R. Rubin ‘Iran War Rollout Starts: Link to Iraq Troop Reductions?’ September 4, 2007); "While previous US military action has been primarily directed against Sunni insurgents, it is Shia fighters, which the US accuses Iran of backing, who now account for 80 per cent of US casualties." (Kim Sengupta ‘The 'proxy war': UK troops are sent to Iranian border’ September 12, 2007).

The Views of M K Bhadrakumar.
"The Bush administration has launched a concerted campaign for mobilizing domestic opinion in the US for an attack on Iran." (M K Bhadrakumar ‘Russia bolsters ties with Iran’ September 22, 2007).

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