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IAEA Head: Iran Attack 'Act of Madness'

AP/Various | 16.06.2007 15:07 | Anti-militarism | World

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IAEA Head: Iran Attack 'Act of Madness'

By GEORGE JAHN Associated Press Writer
© 2007 The Associated Press

VIENNA, Austria — The head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency said Thursday an attack on Iran over its refusal to freeze programs that could make nuclear weapons would be "an act of madness," an indirect warning to the United States and Israel.

International Atomic Energy Agency chief Mohamed ElBaradei also said Iran could be running close to 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges by the end of next month — a number that IAEA officials have described as the point of no return in the start of a large-scale program.

ElBaradei spoke at the end of a meeting of his agency's 35-nation board, a gathering that focused on Iran's refusal to heed U.N. Security Council demands that it freeze activities that could serve to make nuclear arms and provide answers on suspicious aspects of its program.

He also urged Iran to offer a "self-imposed moratorium" on enrichment, describing it as a "good confidence-building measure" that could launch negotiations on the standoff

But the chief Iranian envoy to the meeting asserted his country would never suspend enrichment — the key issue of Security Council concern. Iran has said its nuclear program is peaceful and aims to generate energy, not bombs.

Although they've called for a negotiated solution, both the U.S. and Israel have refused to outright dismiss the possibility that they might target Iran militarily if it refuses to back down.

ElBaradei described use of force as "an act of madness ... (that) would not resolve the issue."

"The next few months will be crucial," he said: "Iran is building a capacity, a knowledge" of enrichment that is irreversible, while not providing evidence sought by his agency "that this is a peaceful program."

"Even if Iran wants to have a weapon they are three to eight years away," ElBaradei said, citing unidentified intelligence sources for his estimate. But "the longer we delay, the less option we have to reach a peaceful solution."

Iran's defiance of U.N. Security Council demands it stop enrichment and construction of a plutonium-producing reactor as well as increase cooperation with IAEA inspectors has led to two sets of sanctions.

A recent IAEA report confirmed that Iran was expanding its activities and continuing to stonewall the IAEA in its attempts to gain more information on past activities of concern. That has set the stage for a new round of Security Council-imposed penalties.

Declaring that Tehran had become the "master of uranium enrichment" Ali Ashgar Soltanieh, Iran's chief IAEA envoy, said his country will never suspend its program.

Like enriched uranium, plutonium can be used for the fissile core of nuclear warheads. Iran, however, says it wants to develop enrichment to generate nuclear power and asserts it is building the plutonium-producing reactor for research and medical purposes.

Soltanieh evaded a question on whether his country had solved all technical problems in the intensely complicated enrichment process of spinning uranium gas through centrifuges at high speed.

U.S. officials have told The Associated Press their information indicates Iran has not yet achieved the technical perfection. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were discussing confidential matters.

Gregory L. Schulte, the U.S. envoy to the IAEA, scoffed at Soltanieh's claim of enrichment mastery, telling AP Television News: "The Iranian ambassador spins faster than any centrifuge."

ElBaradei, however, cautioned that Iran was "speeding up its enrichment capacity" to the point where it could have just under 3,000 uranium-enriching centrifuges running in series by the end of July and "was steadily moving toward perfecting the technology."

"Whether some of the centrifuges are running with the speed desired, whether some of the centrifuges have been crashed, that is a part we have yet not seen and we still have to do some analysis," ElBaradei said.

"But it is clear ... that they are meeting their expectations at least in terms of the level of enrichment," he said, alluding to his agency's recent confirmation that centrifuges at Tehran's underground Natanz facility have churned out small amounts of fuel-grade enriched uranium.

IAEA officials have informally identified an Iranian enrichment operation running 3,000 centrifuges as the start of a large-scale program, while experts say that number could produce enough material for several warheads a year. Tehran says it wants to operate 54,000 centrifuges — enough for a full-scale weapons program should it want to go that route.


Associated Press writer Palma Benczenleitner contributed to this report.

Well, I'll tell you what Mr. 'Senior member of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government', if Israel has such a problem with Iran's power station, why doesn't Israel go ahead and do something about it.

After all, it is no secret that Israel's fear that Iran's power station might hide a nuclear weapons factory is based on the fact that Israel's reactor at Dimona does indeed conceal a nuclear weapons factory. Israel simply assumes that all other nations are equally duplicitous.

But Israel doesn't want to have to do their own dirty work. They never have. History is clear on that. Israel used fake radio traffic to trick the US into attacking Libya. The Israeli attack on the USS Liberty appears to have been a similar attempt to trick the US into attacking Egypt. Israel had some still-classified role in 9-11, whose apparent goal was to trick the US into attacking Iraq and Iran.

So, the reason Mr. 'Senior member of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government' is moaning and pissing about impatience is that the real goal is for the US to go and attack Iran .

I mean, think about it. If Israel was willing to do their own dirty work, they would not constantly be demanding the US do it, or bribing the US Congress to get it.

So, settle back, get ready for yet another war on Israel's enemies, and figure out how much the life of your child is really worth, and hope that the US Congress that SOLD your child into bondage for Israel made a decent profit.

Israeli Losing Patience for Iran Talks

By ANNE GEARAN, AP Diplomatic Writer

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

A senior member of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert's government suggested Wednesday that his country is running out of patience with a U.S.-backed diplomatic overture to head off Iran's nuclear ambitions.

(There is no such "overture", since this phony crisis is only the excuse, and not the reason, behind the US/Israeli plot to attack Iran.)

Top U.S. and Israeli officials also briefly discussed a possible Israeli peace initiative to adversary Syria during security talks Wednesday, a U.S. spokesman said.

The talks with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and others were focused largely on Iran. Israel accuses Iran of arming Hezbollah militants attacking Israel now, but is more concerned over the possibility that Iran might acquire nuclear weapons in the future.

(Of course, Israel has provided no evidence of these inflammatory allegations.)

"Iran continues a military nuclear program," said Shaul Mofaz, Israel's deputy prime minister and transportation minister, following a meeting with Rice.

"I believe diplomatic efforts should bear results until the end of 2007," Mofaz added without elaboration.

Although cryptic, his remark was apparently a sign of declining Israeli confidence that carrot-and-stick diplomacy will persuade Iran to give up parts of its nuclear program that Israel and the West fear could lead to a bomb.

("The West" doesn't share this paranoia, because they're not looking for excuses to attack the sovereign state, in the name of Regime Change and resource theft.)

Neither Israel nor the U.S. has ruled out a military strike to stop or slow Iran's progress, but President Bush says he is committed to diplomacy.

(Just as he did before illegally bombing Iraq.)

State Department spokesman Sean McCormack said he was not aware of any discussion of a deadline for diplomacy during Rice's meeting with Mofaz.

"I'm not sure about the timeline but yeah, he did talk about Iran, he did talk about their level of concern about the progress that they are making," McCormack said in an interview.

Separately, Israel's ambassador in Washington warned that Iran may be only two years away from producing nuclear weapons. Sallai Meridor said Iran is having trouble with the process of installing centrifuges, and was trying to decide between "quantity and quality" in its program.

(But the IAEA, the UN's nuclear watchdog, refutes that unsubstantiated claim, and warns of "crazies" seeking war with Iran.)

He called 2009 "the worst-case scenario" for Iran to have the bomb, and renewed Israel's vow to try to derail any nuclear weapons program.

(However, both the IAEA and international intelligence agencies have reported that, even if Iran started work on atomic weapons - and they have not - it would take them at least ten years to achieve this. And, don't forget, an attack against Iran would only be "legitimate" if it was known that they were going to use these hypothetical weapons, kinda like Israel and the US are plotting ...)

The diplomatic effort with Iran is not on a timeline like the one Mofaz appeared to propose, but some European and United Nations officials have also suggested that it may be time to look at different approaches.

Talks over a package of incentives for Iran have been stalled for nearly two years, and a historic U.S offer of direct dialogue with Iran last year has gone nowhere.

Iran claims its nuclear development program is intended only to produce civilian nuclear power. Tehran has refused to give up its ability to enrich uranium — an ingredient for both power plants and weapons — and has accelerated the program.

(This is, of course, their right under the NPT. Iran lacks the refining capability to satisfy its growing energy demands without the use of reactors.)

The United States refuses to participate in any talks, and opposes others doing so, unless Iran drops enrichment.

(Israel must have taught them this trick. Impose an untenable demand BEFORE talks can take place, and make them a condition for negotiations. That way, you appear to be willing to talk, even as you directly block negotiations.)

The Bush administration has led efforts to win two rounds of mild U.N. sanctions against Iran and is working on a third round. Iran so far has brushed off the sanctions as insignificant, but U.S. officials say they are having an effect.

(The International Community and the UN are currently investigating clear indications that states who did not agree to sanctions were bribed and coerced into voting with the US/Israel at the UN.)

"Look, we believe that the diplomatic pathway is the right pathway to try to resolve this," McCormack said at a State Department briefing. "There are existing options, in the absence of doing nothing, that are out there. Nobody wants to see those come about."

(Except the people who use mass-murder to achieve their geo-pokitical goals, and always have, and the people who profit from warmongering. Existing Covert Operations, detailed plans for an attack, leaked in both the US and Israel, and the steady build-up off the coast of Iran, not to mention that this is exactly what Bush/PNAC said as it prepared to strike Iraq, contradict these LIES.)

Rice's discussions with Mofaz touched on the possibility that Israel would restart peace efforts with Syria, McCormack said. The U.S. has frowned on that approach in the past, preferring to focus on peace prospects between Israel and the Palestinians and worried that Syria would use the contact as diplomatic leverage with the U.S.

"Look, we're not going to manage Israeli foreign policy," McCormack said later, adding that Israel will make its own decisions.

"But let's take a look at Syria's behavior over the recent past, and I don't think you're going to find many indications of Syria showing the rest of the world that they are interested in playing a constructive, positive role in trying to bring about a more peaceful, secure region."

(I assume he's referring to the Mossad operations in Lebanon that have been falsely attributed to Syria. What does this, then, say about Israel?)

Mofaz said Israel is also focused on the Palestinian track, which he called "our first priority."

(Unfortunately, their focus is on escalating their aggression towards the Palestinians, the destruction of more homes, and the theft of further Palestinian land. And why not? US officials, behind clsoed doors, have assured the Zionists that any overtures to peace by the US are "just process".)

In Israel, Defense Minister Amir Peretz said Israel must probe any possibility of diplomacy with Syria.

(Then he went back to making preparations for war, and preparing the Israeli public for open warfare.)

"A diplomatic process with Syria could immediately and dramatically change the balance on three fronts," he told Israel Radio, "so picking up the gauntlet, or exploring any chance for sincere negotiations with Syria is, in my opinion, an option that absolutely must not be neglected."

The three fronts he referred to were Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian front.

Poddy's Crazy Prayer
Bomb Iran: For Israel and America!


Norman Podhoretz, editor-at-large of Commentary magazine and (with Irving Kristol) one of the grandfathers of the neoconservative movement, recently published an op-ed column in the Wall Street Journal that literally constitutes a prayer for President Bush to attack Iraq. Unsubtly titled "The Case for Bombing Iran: I hope and pray that President Bush will do it," it is a work of eloquently simplistic and hysterical propaganda, truly a model of the genre. I recommend it as a seminal document of the Bush era, prior to what may well be its crowning disaster. It's lengthy but worth reading closely as a concentrated statement of the argument we will probably hear in ever shriller pitch in the coming months.

Iran, Podhoretz declares, betraying no trace of self-doubt, wants to acquire nuclear weapons in order to destroy Israel. Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has "repeatedly and unequivocally" announced Iran's intention to "wipe Israel off the map." Not only that, Podhoretz avers (perhaps to deflect any suggestion that he's narrowly concerned with Israel): Ahmadinejad cherishes "a larger dream of extending the power and influence of Islam throughout Europe, and this too he hopes to accomplish by playing on the fear that resistance to Iran would lead to a nuclear war." "Islamization," analogous to Finlandization, is already well-advanced in Europe. This will only get worse, Podhoretz charges (citing fellow neocon John Bolton) with "Iranian nuclear blackmail." Moreover, Ahmadinejad wants a "world without America." Thus the Iranian president and regime and nuclear program must be eliminated through the deployment of U.S. power.

Podhoretz has faith that this will happen, predicting that Bush will "within the next 21 months. . . order air strikes against the Iranian nuclear facilities from the three U.S. aircraft carriers already sitting nearby. . ." Since Podhoretz has the ear of very powerful people, this prophesy should set off alarm bells. (Notice how the day after Podhoretz's piece appeared, International Atomic Energy Agency director IAEA chief and Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mohamed ElBaradei referred to "new crazies who say 'let's go and bomb Iran,'" adding that he did not want to see another war like the one in Iraq.) But the attack supplicant confesses some uncertainty on the point, expressing concern that "the respectable tool of diplomacy" (which he equates with craven appeasement) might win out over the bombing option he urges. Sanctions alone, he emphasizes, will not bring down the Iranian regime, and in any case, "there is simply no chance of getting Russia and China, or the Europeans for that matter, to agree to the kind of sanctions that are the necessary precondition" for regime change

He suggests hopefully however (quoting yet another fellow neocon, Robert Kagan) that in his less bellicose approaches to Iran Bush is merely "giving futility its chance." (Several recent reports suggest that Cheney is contemptuous of the limited diplomatic process favored by Condi Rice and strongly backs a plan now in effect to disseminate propaganda and disinformation about Iran, and sabotage some of its currency and international financial transactions, preparatory to the bombing plan the neocons have long favored and which remains on track.)

In the background of Podhoretz's discussion is an elegantly misleading periodization of recent history, borrowed from Eliot Cohen, a Johns Hopkins professor of Strategic Studies, who has been called "the most influential neoconservative in academe." (Ominously, Cohen was recently appointed by Condoleezza Rice as the new Counselor of the State Department.) Over the last century there have been four world wars. In World War II the U.S. fought against fascism. In World War III (the term some neocons use for the Cold War) the U.S. fought against communism. We are now in World War IV, fighting against "Islamofascism." (Podhoretz does not define the "ism" at issue during World War I, which might affect the model. I'd say it was imperialism on both sides, neither of them worth supporting, and that imperialism's been at the root of all these wars. )

Islamofascism, Podheretz proclaims, is "yet another mutation of the totalitarian disease we defeated first in the shape of Nazism and fascism and then in the shape of communism." Podhoretz does not identify the historical norm that became diseased and generated these pathologies, but presumably it is the bourgeois democracy that some see as the "end of History" to which all humankind, cured of these diseases, will ultimately gravitate.

The term "Islamofascism" has been around for a few decades, and no doubt has some degree of analytical utility in some contexts. But the neocons, and occasionally President Bush, have used it to refer to Muslim targets as varied as the Syrian and Iraqi secular Baathist states, the Iranian Shiite mullocracy, al-Qaeda cells, Palestinian militias---few of which offer a good match for any mainstream academic definition of fascism. The term is merely applied as an epithet, to conflate disparate phenomena, and to validate the "war on terrorism" as something analogous to World War II.

This historical model seems to me a parody of the worst sort of crudely stage-ist "Marxist" historiography. It abandons attention to historical detail and suspends any requirement of logical analysis in favor of a triumphantalist vision of the world as it will and must be: in this case, a world led by America, arm-in-arm with an Israel finally freed of its foes through a "final conflict." Organically linked evil "isms" follow one after another, and drawing upon historical experience, "we" gloriously defeat them. Podhoretz (born in 1930) wants to link the war on "Islamofascism" to the Good War of his childhood (in its anti-fascist moral purity) and to the Cold War (in its expected multigenerational duration).

But one must really torture the facts to fit them into this paradigm and requisite system of historical analogies. The neocon project requires "regime change" throughout Southwest Asia, hence the vilification of leaders of Muslim nations as contemporary avatars of the twentieth century figure most universally regarded as both frightening and evil. While Podhoretz's son John worked as a speechwriter for the first President Bush, the latter depicted Saddam Hussein as "a new Hitler." It was a preposterous analogy. Adolf Hitler had ruled one of the world's most powerful nations, which had been a world leader in science and industry from the 1880s and won and lost a colonial empire from Tanganyika to Samoa. Saddam ruled a Third World country dependent on foreign capital. Bushes I and II elevated this puny historical footnote to unwarranted epic status.

There was no comparison, but the first Bush administration insisted on conflating the two, deploying the emotions of the past (or at least the confused historical memories of the masses) to build the case for the first war on Iraq. This is a hallmark of the neocons, who boast that they are "more interested in history than economics or sociology"! What actually most interests them about the historical record is the possibility of raiding it to procure these false analogies that serve their objectives in the present. "Deception is the norm in political life," Abram Shulsky (former Office of Special Plans operative, now heading the "Iran Directorate" at the Pentagon) wrote in 1999 in an essay entitled, "Leo Strauss and the World of Intelligence," "and the hope, to say nothing of the expectation, of establishing a politics that can dispense with it is the exception."

Today's biggest deceptive analogy is between Hitler and Ahmadinejad, and between the Munich Pact (signed between British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain and Hitler in 1938 following the German annexation of the Sudetenland) and the possibility of western acceptance of Iran's nuclear power program. Ahmadinejad, declares Podhoretz, "like Hitler"

". . .is a revolutionary whose objective is to overturn the going international system and to replace it in the fullness of time with a new order dominated by Iran and ruled by the religio-political culture of Islamofascism. Like Hitler, too, he is entirely open about his intentions, although--again like Hitler--he sometimes pretends that he wants nothing more than his country's just due. In the case of Hitler in 1938, this pretense took the form of claiming that no further demands would be made if sovereignty over the Sudetenland were transferred from Czechoslovakia to Germany. In the case of Ahmadinejad, the pretense takes the form of claiming that Iran is building nuclear facilities only for peaceful purposes and not for the production of bombs."

One needs to repeat over and over again in the face of the latter assertion that the International Atomic Energy Agency has found no evidence for an Iranian nuclear weapons program. The September 2005 vote of the IAEA representatives labeling Iran in "non-compliance" with the Nonproliferation Treaty itself found no evidence of a military program but rather accused Iran of having concealed some nuclear activities. Of the 35 nations then serving on the IAEA board, 13 voted against the September report or abstained from voting The latter included highly significant countries like China, Russia, Mexico, Nigeria, South Africa, Venezuela, Brazil, Pakistan, Vietnam. The resolution promoted by the bullying neocon U.S. UN Ambassador John Bolton passed because the NATO nations voted as a bloc.

Since that vote, the U.S.---Vice President Cheney and the neocons in particular---have relentlessly sought UN validation for an attack on Iran. They have now obtained UNSC resolutions demanding that Iran stop enriching uranium---something that the Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which Iran (unlike nuclear Israel) is a signatory, guarantees as a right to all signatory states. Iran's refusal to suspend enrichment operations gives the attack advocates their rationale for answering Podhoretz's prayer by the end of Bush's term in office.

To demonstrate that Ahmadinejad has "repeatedly and unequivocally" announced Iran's intention to "wipe Israel off the map," and is "entirely open about his intentions," Podhoretz can do no better than to recite the old tired canard about a speech the newly-elected Iranian president gave on October 25th, 2005 in a conference hall in Tehran. He quoted the Ayatollah Khomeini (who died in 1989): "The Imam said this regime occupying Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time. . .[Just as] the Soviet Union disappeared, the Zionist regime will also vanish and humanity will be liberated." There was never any mention of a "map." The statement was mistranslated and although it has been correctly translated many times, by Juan Cole and others, people who want to believe that it called for the destruction of Israel continue to misconstrue it. Recall how this story was preceded by false reports in June and July 2005 about Ahmadinejad being among the students who seized the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979. It was followed in May 2006 by the story planted in Canada's National Post about a plan by the Iranian Parliament to badge all Iranian Jews---an obvious effort to depict the Iranian regime as a collection of latter-day Nazis. It was entirely false---but this is the sort of deception that Shulsky might regard as normative in political life.

What of the argument that even if Iran had the bomb, and wanted to wipe out the Jewish state, it would be constrained from doing so by "mutually assured destruction"? Podhoretz scornfully rejects this, citing at length a statement by Bernard Lewis, whom he calls "the greatest authority of our time on the Islamic world," and whom others consider "perhaps the most significant intellectual influence behind the invasion of Iraq."

The late great Edward Said described Lewis's writings on Muslim history as "ppropaganda against his subject material," adding that his work is "aggressively ideological" and constitutes a "project to debunk, to whittle down, and to discredit the Arabs and Islam. . ." especially before "conservative segments of the Jewish reading public, and anyone else who cares to listen. . ."

MAD, writes Lewis as cited by Podheretz

". . . will not work with a religious fanatic [like Ahmadinejad]. For him, mutual assured destruction is not a deterrent, it is an inducement. We know already that [Iran's leaders] do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers. We have seen it again and again. In the final scenario, and this applies all the more strongly if they kill large numbers of their own people, they are doing them a favor. They are giving them a quick free pass to heaven and all its delights."

I expect that choice little quote will circulate widely in the coming months, along with the broader argument that Muslims are indifferent to human life, including their own. (Recall Gen. Westmoreland's comment at the height of Vietnam War savagery: "Orientals don't place the same value on human life as we do," and former Attorney General Ashcroft's remark, "Christianity is a faith in which God sends his son to die for you, [while Islam is] a religion in which God requires you to send your son to die for him.")

What is the evidence for this judgment on the Iranian mentality? The following statement by former Iranian President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani: "If a day comes when the world of Islam is duly equipped with the arms Israel has in [its] possession . . . application of an atomic bomb would not leave anything in Israel, but the same thing would just produce damages in the Muslim world." "In other words," Podhoretz comments, "Israel would be destroyed in a nuclear exchange, but Iran would survive." (Podhoretz by the way mentions nothing of the nuclear arsenal with which Muslim Pakistan is already duly equipped.)

It seems to me however that Rafsanjani's matter-of-fact observation is of the sort any of us could make, perhaps in the context of arguing that Israel would not likely use its nukes against a Muslim target if it feared its own destruction. (Of course, someone might in response want to talk about the "Masada complex," impute it to Jewish or Israeli leaders generally and argue that such people "do not give a damn about killing their own people in great numbers." But in our society such talk would meet with immediate, appropriate condemnation. In expressing their assessment of the Iranian leaders, Lewis and Podhoretz don't seem to fear or expect censure.)

It's no secret that the Iranian regime considers the Jewish state illegitimate, created by settlers at the expense of the indigenous Palestinian people. Ahmadinejad apparently believes that it will not exist forever. (Benjamin Netanyahu for his part has warned out the "demographic threat" to the Jewish state posed by the high Arab birthrate. Many people think it likely that some sort of secular multi-cultural state will emerge within Israel's borders sometime in the future; it's called "the single-state solution.") Ahmadinejad in the same speech noted how the Soviet Union, the Shah's regime, and Saddam Hussein's regime had all vanished and predicted that Israel would too. He did not remotely suggest that Iran planned to attack Israel to make that happen.

Iran does of course support anti-Israeli Lebanese and Palestinian militias produced by occupation, and so Podhoretz can depict it as both terrorist and a threat to Israel. But he might have mentioned that in April or May 2003 Iran sent a diplomatic message to Washington indicating its willingness to accept the March 2002 "Arab League Beirut declaration," which it also referred to as the "Saudi initiative, two-states approach" in exchange for improved relations with the United States. (Cheney and the neocons treated that overture with contempt! As Cheney has said, "We don't negotiate with evil. We defeat it.")

Podhoretz makes it clear that not just Israel but the entire world should fear nefarious Iran. Not skipping a beat, he declares, "Ahmadinejad's ambitions are not confined to the destruction of Israel. He also wishes to dominate the greater Middle East Nor are Ahmadinejad's ambitions merely regional in scope. He has a larger dream of extending the power and influence of Islam throughout Europe, and this too he hopes to accomplish by playing on the fear that resistance to Iran would lead to a nuclear war." (This is a repetition of the alarmist charge that some Muslims seek to reconstitute a Caliphate, extending from Spain to Indonesia, and in these times enjoy the remotest possibility for doing so.)

Actually Ahmadinejad's foreign "ambitions" are not well-known. He talks about a global Islamic revolution, rather like Bush talks grandly about bringing "democracy" to the world. In any case, within the Iranian political system, he's not the key player in determining a foreign policy that strikes me as in fact rather pragmatic and cautious. He's the elected president of a country that has not attacked another in modern times. Does he wish for greater influence of Islam throughout Europe? That's safe to say; he's a devout Muslim after all. Don't American Christian fundamentalists, whom the secularist neocons carefully cultivate, want to evangelize Europe (and Israel for that matter)? Wouldn't Bush like to extend the power and influence of his brand of fundamentalism everywhere?

The power of Islam (mostly Sunni Islam) is extending in Europe, to be sure, for reasons that have little to do with Iran but lots to do with the legacy of European colonialism, especially in North Africa and South Asia, and the high birthrate among European Muslims. It has to do with resurgent religiosity among Muslims in the Balkans, and perhaps financial support for mosques from Saudi Arabia, the center of global Sunni Islam (and no great friend of Shiite Iran). Surely it has to do with the intrinsic attraction some people (unfortunately) feel towards a severely monotheistic patriarchal faith based on what believers regard as the Word of God, imposing numerous rules on the faithful and promising Paradise or Hell in the afterlife. In any case, the spread of Islam in general scares some people, and plainly Podhoretz would like to exploit their fears.

Ahmadinejad wants "a world without America," writes Podhoretz. That was the theme of a conference in Iran in 2004, where the deputy chief of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Baqer Zol Qadr, explained, "When we talk about the 'World Without America,' we mean a world governed by peace and justice.... Unfortunately, today America is the symbol of these deficiencies and distortions." No Iranian official to my knowledge has suggested that Iran wants to blow America off the map. This is more fear-mongering on Podhoretz's part, a subtler version of the alarmist "mushroom cloud over New York" imagery that preceded the criminal attack on Iraq.

Podhoretz in accordance with his fascism-communism---Islamofascism framework compares those who do not share his alarm and bellicosity not only with the appeasers of Hitler's Germany but with the Cold War-era U.S. "foreign policy establishment" which was soft on the Soviet Union. He states that during the Cold War, "some of us feared that the Soviets might seize control of the oil fields of the Middle East, and that the West, faced with a choice between surrendering to their dominance or trying to stop them at the risk of a nuclear exchange, would choose surrender. In that case, we thought, the result would be what in those days went by the name of Finlandization."

This is perhaps the most bizarre portion of the op-ed, and makes it clear why the neocons parted company with the rational "establishment." Of course in a warfare situation the Soviets might have made a grab for the Middle Eastern oil fields then controlled by the west, and the west would probably have put up a fight. But who do these fields belong to anyway, and why should one have assumed that the petroleum-rich and generally cautious Soviet Union was just waiting for its opportunity to provoke (real) world war by an effort to seize them?

"Finlandization" refers to the subservience of a small country to a powerful neighboring one. One could talk about the Finlandization of Latin American countries vis-à-vis the U.S., but the Finlandization of the U.S. superpower due to actions by the USSR? It was very possible, thinks Podhoretz. "In Europe, where there were large Communist parties, Finlandization would take the form of bringing these parties to power so that they could establish 'red Vichy' regimes like the one already in place in Finland--regimes whose subservience to the Soviet will in all things, domestic and foreign alike, would make military occupation unnecessary and would therefore preserve a minimal degree of national independence." (Actually I don't think that fairly describes Finland between 1945 and 1991.)

Podhoretz continues: as for "the United States, where there was no Communist Party to speak of, we [neoconservatives] speculated that Finlandization would take a subtler form," that politicians frightened by the Soviets "would arise to celebrate the arrival of a new era of peace and friendship in which the Cold War policy of containment would be scrapped, [and]. . . the only candidates running for office with a prayer of being elected would be those who promised to work toward a sociopolitical system more in harmony with the Soviet model than the unjust capitalist plutocracy under which we had been living." But thank God, writes Podhoretz, this nightmare scenario never materialized: "Of course, by the grace of God, the dissidents behind the Iron Curtain and Ronald Reagan, we won World War III and were therefore spared the depredations that Finlandization would have brought."

This "speculation" segues interestingly into an attack on contemporary British virility (perhaps an implicit message to Bush to really act like a man). The United Kingdom, Podhoretz claims (citing fellow neocon and former U.S. UN ambassador John Bolton), shows signs of Finlandization in its handling of the arrest last month of 15 British sailors and marines in disputed waters. Blair's failure to attack Iran was a humiliating "show of impotence," Podhoretz claims. The Iranians "held [British sailors] hostage" (something London itself did not claim), and now Ahmadinejad can "reap the additional benefit of, as the British commentator Daniel Johnson puts it, 'posing as a benefactor' by releasing the hostages, even while ordering more attacks in Iraq and even while continuing to arm terrorist organizations, whether Shiite (Hezbollah) or Sunni (Hamas)." Podhoretz states that Iran is "obviously" doing this although many commentators have noted the lack of hard evidence for such support.

Then out of the blue, Podhoretz refers to the cancellation of some classes on the Holocaust in Britain given the supposed opposition to them by Muslims in the UK ". . . whose beliefs include Holocaust denial." The only internet support for this assertion I can find is a Daily Mail report that a study of the Department for Education and Skills released in April "found some teachers are dropping courses covering the Holocaust at the earliest opportunity over fears Muslim pupils might express anti-Semitic and anti-Israel reactions in class." This for Podhoretz constitutes evidence of "Islamization" that will only worsen if Iran is not bombed. The logical connection is absolutely unclear.

The conclusion? In this long World War against the Islamofascists, who are abetted by Finlandizing proponents of "Islamization," President Bush (whom John Podhoretz calls "the first great leader of the twenty-first century") must bomb Iran---to protect Israel, America and the world. Given Chinese and Russian complacency, and European wimpiness, Bush alone can save the world from Iran, and soon.

"It now remains to be seen whether this president, battered more mercilessly and with less justification than any other in living memory, and weakened politically by the enemies of his policy in the Middle East in general and Iraq in particular, will find it possible to take the only action that can stop Iran from following through on its evil intentions both toward us and toward Israel. As an American and as a Jew, I pray with all my heart that he will."

I can only hope with all my heart that this kind of thinking receives the refutation, rejection and marginalization it deserves---from all kinds of Americans.

* * * * *

I personally see no World War here--Three or Four or otherwise---but a Wild Wager. The world's most reckless gambler sits at the table, playing Texas Hold 'Em. At his elbow are his recent winnings: Afghanistan and Iraq. But he can't take them home yet and may very well yet lose them. In his sights lie Iran, Syria, Lebanon, Somalia, Sudan. Since 9-11 he's cherished the desire to reshuffle the cards. His greed is boundless. Behind him sit supporters eager to share his winnings, biting their nails nervously, praying he'll win the whole pot and maybe inclined if he doesn't to tip over the table. Crazy people.

Gary Leupp is Professor of History at Tufts University, and Adjunct Professor of Comparative Religion. He is the author of Servants, Shophands and Laborers in in the Cities of Tokugawa Japan; Male Colors: The Construction of Homosexuality in Tokugawa Japan; and Interracial Intimacy in Japan: Western Men and Japanese Women, 1543-1900. He is also a contributor to CounterPunch's merciless chronicle of the wars on Iraq, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, Imperial Crusades.

He can be reached at: gleupp (at)

Could an al-Qaeda Attack Trigger War With Iran?
by Gareth Porter

Following revelations of a George W. Bush administration policy to hold Iran responsible for any al-Qaeda attack on the U.S. that could be portrayed as planned on Iranian soil, former national security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski warned last week that Washington might use such an incident as a pretext to bomb Iran.

Of course, recent revelations suggest that "al Qaeda", the modern incarnation of Emmanuel Goldsetin, is little more than a CIA/Mossad Front.

Olmert Extremists To Prepare Public For 'All-Out War'

So, this campaign is going to start "within a few weeks".

You have to wonder what the Vegas odds are for precisely when Israel will be launching its next pre-emptive war, and against whom, to start with.

Only one thing is rock-solid certain, though: Bush has pledged the the US will support Israel militarily, no matter whether or not it starts a confrontation.

The sooner Israelis deal with their own Extremism problem, the sooner they can stop fighting its Perpetual War.

Israel's Next War
by Uri Avnery

Israel Seeking New Deadline on Iran Bomb
Wants Tehran To Change Behavior by Year's End or Risk 'Next Level'

(Of course, this "crisis" is only intended as the excuse, not the reason, for the Neo-Fascists' long-planned Aggression.)

Staff Reporter of the Sun
June 8, 2007

WASHINGTON — A senior Israeli delegation, here for strategic talks with top American government officials, is calling for an expiration date on the diplomatic approach to Iran of the end of the year.

(In other words, the Axis is finalizing its plot against the sovereign country, which is well within its rights under the law.)

Speaking to the Israeli press on Wednesday evening after meeting Secretary of State Rice, Israel's deputy prime minister, Shaul Mofaz, said, "Sanctions must be strong enough to bring about change in the Iranians by the end of 2007." According to a source familiar with discussions yesterday with the undersecretary of state, Nicholas Burns, Mr. Mofaz said, "Technical developments for the Iranian nuclear program will not follow a linear progression," a clear warning that America's official estimate that Iran will not attain an atomic bomb for at least five years could be dangerously optimistic.

(In other words, "Booga! Booga!!", since there is no evidence to support these fearmongering tactics, and what the intelligence community and IAEA actually said is that if Iran were to TRY to make a bomb - which they are not - it would take them between eight and ten years. But in order to justify an attack, there would have to be proof that they intended to attack someone - the way the US and Israel are plotting right now ...)

The delegation headed by Mr. Mofaz also pressed in side talks for America to halt a proposed sale to Saudi Arabia of precision Joint Direct Attack Munitions. Already the proposed sale, which was announced in April by Secretary of Defense Gates, has caught the attention of a handful of lawmakers in the House, who on May 24 threatened to block any such sale once Congress was formally notified.

The combination of Israeli jitters on Iran's continued effort to pack its Natanz facility with more centrifuge reactors with its jitters about providing precision munitions to the Saudis presents America with a dilemma. Since last fall, Ms. Rice has tried to forge a new alliance among Israel, Turkey, and Sunni monarchies in the Gulf to oppose what she sees as rising Iranian influence throughout the Middle East.

(Translation: To support the planned illegal assault against Iran, and more importantly, keep the oil flowing.)

The prospect, however, of all these parties cooperating diplomatically was tested in March, when the Saudis brokered a unity government deal between the Palestinian Arab president, Mahmoud Abbas, and the Iranian-backed (???) Hamas Party in the Palestinian territories, which controls the legislature and Palestinian Authority.

Channel 2 News in Israel reported that Mr. Mofaz said Israel would take military action if Iran did not cease its uranium enrichment by year's end. However, a source familiar with yesterday's discussions disputed the Channel 2 report. Mr. Mofaz only alluded to such action in the meeting, the source said, saying, "All options are on the table" if the diplomacy with Iran does not work.

(If you look bak right before the illegal attack on Iraq, the exact same words were used.)

"The Israelis are talking about taking it to the next level with a targeted and focused security coalition," he said. "The other measures include working with Europeans and getting more action on the European side with specific sanctions. There has been some of this, but there has not been enough."

(And that which does exist had to be coerced. An international investigation is currently underway into the coercion used to get states to vote with Israel and the US.)

The issue of Iranian nuclear enrichment was also broached yesterday in icy talks between President Bush and the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. The Russians have supported the two U.N. Security Council resolutions sanctioning Iranian banks and entities, but also have helped rebuild an Iranian nuclear facility in Bushehr.

The source familiar with the American-Israeli talks also said the Israelis raised the prospect of focusing sanctions on Iran's energy sector, noting that the Iranians import more than half of their refined gasoline despite having the world's third largest known reserves of oil and natural gas.

(... the reason they are pursuing nuclear power in order to satisfy the growing thirst for energy.)

Publicly at least, Prime Minister Olmert has not said he would unilaterally bomb Iran. Last year he appointed one of Israel's most hawkish (and Racist, Extremist) politicians, Avigdor Lieberman, as a deputy prime minister and announced that Mr. Lieberman would oversee Iran policy. Other Israeli politicians such as a former premier (and Racist, Extremist, War Criminal), Benjamin Netanyahu, have openly called for Israel to take out the known Iranian nuclear facilities.

(Meanwhile, the IAEA Chief just warned of these "crazies" seeking war with Iran.)

Within the American intelligence community, there is some debate about Israel's capabilities in this regard.

(Not to mention the sanity of pursuing such a course, while losing two other wars in the region. But the US has signed agreements with Israel's Extremists stating that even if they initiate hostilities with Iran, American boys and girls will be sent to fight for Israel.)

Some argue that the Israelis still lack the midair refueling capacity they would need to conduct a bombing mission over Iran as a unilateral move.

Other analysts, however, point out that Israel's fleet of American made F-15s has such refueling capacity, not to mention the capability of Israeli nuclear submarines. On background, Israeli former military officials have told The New York Sun that the option of a unilateral strike is there for Israel should Israel choose to take it.

In addition to discussing Iran, Mr. Mofaz shared new intelligence he said proved that missiles being shipped by land and air through Syria to Hezbollah positions in Lebanon could strike even at Tel Aviv and points south. One transshipment point for Syria, Mr. Mofaz said, was Turkey — an American ally and ally of Israel.

In last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon, the terror group's leader, Hassan Nasrallah, threatened to send rockets to Tel Aviv but never fulfilled his promise.



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