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Iran in NeoCon crosshairs

Richard Walker | February 22 2006

What would happen if Israeli warhawks launched an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities? This week, American Free Press takes a look at a new study by an international terrorism expert, which warns that bombing the Persian country would likely drag the United States into a drawnout and bloody clash of civilizations. AFP predicted it almost a year ago, but are neo-cons that crazy?

A new study by an international terrorism expert warns that a military attack launched by the Israelis on Iran’s nuclear facilities would certainly escalate to involve the United States, Iraq and Lebanon, as well as Persian Gulf states.

In its early stages, it would result in many thousands of civilian and military casualties.

In an in-depth report for the Oxford Research Group, titled “Iran: Consequences of a War,” Prof. Paul Rodgers writes that Israel has bought [or has been given—Ed.] all the necessary weapons from the United States for such an attack, including long-range fighters and a large supply of so-called “bunker-buster bombs,” capable of penetrating hardened underground bunkers.

The targets of such an attack would initially be the Tehran nuclear reactor, as well as a radioisotope facility and a range of laboratories and other facilities, all of them in heavily populated areas.

If the newest reactor at Bushehr were to be targeted after it comes on line later this year, such an attack could lead to a Chernobyl-type disaster with radioactive clouds rising over most gulf countries.

According to Rodgers, if the United States is drawn into such an attack with the aim of setting back Iran’s nuclear program, the British could also find themselves dragged into the affair by being asked to provide bases for the refueling of U.S. aircraft as happened when F-111s were used to bomb the Libyan capital of Tripoli in 1986.

If bombings were launched this year against Iran they would, claims the Oxford report, be launched simultaneously in order to kill as many of the technical staff as possible at the various nuclear sites. Iran would be unable to prevent such an air assault because of its lack of a functioning anti-missile and anti-aircraft arsenal.

Some experts dispute this aspect of the report, however, due to recent high-tech weapons purchases Iran has made from North Korea, China and Russia.

In the past decade, it is known that Iran has acquired hundreds of medium-range missiles from China and North Korea and an unknown number of long-range Sunburst cruise missiles from Ukraine, which, it is believed, could be used to sink U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf.

Israeli hawks in Tel Aviv and their allies in Washington want Americans to believe that Iran is a major threat to U.S. and Israeli interests in the Middle East.

The Israelis and their neo-con backers had hoped a successful invasion of Iraq and the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would undermine the clerical leadership in Iran and lead to its overthrow by an emerging democratic movement led by the youth of the country. To the dismay of Washington and Tel Aviv, however, the war in Iraq has failed to achieve that goal, and the power of the religious leadership in Iran has grown significantly.

The prospect of a nuclear-armed Iran stands in the way of Israeli hegemony in the Middle East. Israeli hardliners have convinced many Americans that they should be the only Middle East country with nuclear weapons. It is estimated that the Israeli nuclear arsenal contains as many as
400 nukes.

In order to plan for an attack on Iran, recent reports indicate Israel has been buying long-range versions of American-made F-15 and F-16 aircraft. Beginning in 2003, the Israeli air force purchased 102 F-16s and 500 bunkerbuster bombs.

Efforts are also under way to equip Israeli submarines, including ones given to Israel by Germany, and naval surface vessels with cruise missiles that could reach Iran.

The Oxford Report points to an alarming trend: in the past two years, there has been the appearance of a strengthening of the relationship between the Israeli defense forces and the U.S. Army’s Training and Doctrine Command.

The report warns: “Although not commonly covered in the western
media, this relationship is well known in the Middle East and would contribute to an assumption that any Israeli attack on Iran would be undertaken with the knowledge, approval and assistance of the United States. It is certainly the case that an Israeli air attack on Iran would involve flights through airspace currently dominated by the United States.”

Rodgers also makes the point in his report that close links between Israel and the United States are far more widely recognized in the Middle East than in the United States and in Europe. Therefore, any Israeli action would
be seen as a joint operation with “Israel acting as surrogate and doing so with direct U.S. support.”

He speculates that this would mean that Iranian retaliation would be directed at U.S. interests in the gulf and at U.S. forces in Iraq. Hezbollah, regarded as the most formidable terrorist organization on the planet, would be encouraged by Tehran to launch attacks on Israel from Lebanon and to coordinate strikes against U.S. targets across the Persian Gulf, in Iraq and in the continental U.S. While Israel would enjoy a short-term advantage over Hezbollah forces in Lebanon, there would be long-term consequences for both Israeli and U.S. interests.

It would be costly in terms of lives, money and influence. Perhaps the most troubling outcome, says Rodgers, would be the likelihood of a prolonged military confrontation, which would probably spread to other gulf nations.

Any attack on Iran by Israel, he says, no matter how small, would surely escalate to involve the United States and its bogged-down forces in Iraq.

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