Another Oil War Within Weeks
By Richard Salbato
Yesterday, January 12, 2006, Germany, France, England and the United States agreed to present sanctions to the United Nations over Iran's refusal to comply with Nuclear Inspections. Coinciding with these increased tensions with Iran over the resumption of illicit uranium enrichment, the U.S. Air Force dispatched additional warplanes to the region in a not-so-subtle sign, military sources say.
An entire wing of F-16s, the Air National Guard's 122nd Fighter Wing based in Fort Wayne, Ind., left for a base in southwest Asia on Tuesday. A wing is usually about 72 aircraft and several hundred support personnel. F-16s and support personnel from the 4th Fighter Squadron of the 388th Fighter Wing based at Hill Air Force Base, Utah, were also deployed recently to Iraq. The squadron has 12 F-16s. Both units' F-16s could be used in any military operation to take out Iranian nuclear facilities.
Somehow, I feel this has nothing to do with Nuclear weapons; however, just like everyone else I am going to say that we have no choice except to take Iran out and get rid of their president. But since Iran has 20% of the world's known oil depostites and is not being freindly about it, I cannot help but think of this like I do about the bombing of the Twin Towers on 9-11. The new president of Iran has done everything but ask for a war with the west, just as though he was put in power by the west to create a war. I know - I am being a conspiracy nut, but every war since oil was discovered was for the oil or to keep open the transportation lanes that ship oil. World War I, to stop Germany from building an oil railroad from Itan to Germany and then to create Europian controled countries in the oil rich Persian Gulf. Or World War II designed to create the Jewish state in the middle of the oil rich Persian Gulf. Or the Jewish 6 day war to open up the oil line through the Suez Canal (complete newsletter coming on that one), or the war against Norriega for control of the oil routes through the Panama Cannel. The wars and slaughters in Africa again for oil control by the big powers, Europe, China, Russia and the USA.
Follow the money and you will see the truth. In years past, labor was power, and wars were fought for slaves. Today oil is power, and without it you cannot even fight a war. Hitler was defeated by cutting off his oil supply and no country today wants to risk that possibility. Sometimes they go to great extremes to make sure they are not dependent on others for their present and future supplies of oil or the method to get it here. Afghanistan war, an oil pipe line. Yugoslavia war, an oil pipe line. Yemen, oil outlet from the Persian Gulf. Iraq, 20% of the world's oil deposits.
Yes! I will agree with everyone else that a war with Iran has to be fought, but I cannot help but think this was set up over the years to take control of the entire Middle East. Like Radical Islam, we created them, so that we could fight them.
The Great Oil Game
The Great Oil Game. That is how journalists and oilmen inevitably describe every promising new province or heated rivalry in oil and gas. Over the years, the jostling by Big Oil for access to the black gold in Persia, Saudi Arabia and the Caspian have all been described in such breathless terms. Within a decade, the scramble to develop oil reserves under the Arctic Ocean will no doubt inspire such gush. Today’s Great Game involves Russia and China - and according to the conspiracy theorists, this could prove bad news indeed for the West.
A glance at recent developments suggests that there may be cause for concern. Vladimir Putin’s bizarre and brutal crackdown on Yukos, the country’s largest private-sector oil firm, is now nearly over. In its own bumbling way, Russia is creating a state-run oil giant to be controlled by (or as a companion to) Gazprom, its inept state-run gas monopoly. Most alarming, to those so inclined, are the noises Mr. Putin has made suggesting that he might give a stake in the new oil monopoly to China . This would come on the heels of Chinese oil deals in Venezuela, where high oil prices are financing the petro-follies of another elected autocrat.
That points to the other half of this conspiracy theory. Much has been written about China’s soaring consumption of oil, and its impact on world oil prices. Now, attention is turning to the increasingly aggressive forays overseas by its state-controlled energy companies in places as far-flung as Sudan, Ecuador and Saudi Arabia. They have tried to buy the right to drill for Caspian oil and to mine Canada’s “tar sands” (mucky hydrocarbons that can be made into gasoline with much effort). A Chinese government firm even tried to buy Unocal, a mid-sized American oil firm.
And if Russia really parts with a stake in “Gosneft,” as the putative state oil firm has been dubbed, then the acquisitive Chinese will have won a lucrative concession that any Big Oil boss would give his right arm for. Could this emerging alliance of erstwhile enemies disrupt the stability of oil markets, or lead to sharply higher prices? Might this eventually lead to a realignment of geopolitics that threatens the West’s essential energy supplies?
From the time that the slave trade was replaced by oil as the world's greatest money maker, you can look behind every war and see oil as the cause. As you will see below, every conflict in the world has oil as its primary reason. Every dictator or king had oil money backing him into power. And as you will see the future war, maybe the biggest of them all, will be for oil rites or oil shipments. That is why China (and India, for that matter) wastes billions on equity oil in pursuit of “energy security”
The Axis of Oil
A look at where the world’s proven oil reserves lie reveals that Russia holds 20% of the world’s total, while Saudi Arabia sits atop 25%. Iran has about 20% and Iraq about 15%. Russia’s oil production today, about 10 million barrels per day, is on par with that of the Saudis. If Russia curbed its output in cahoots with the cartel in order to squeeze prices, then consumers would surely suffer. Russia’s self-interest lies in doing what it has done for years: not cutting output, but pumping freely and therefore “free-riding” on OPEC’s discipline. That could change.
China's old demand is climbing at a 16% rate per year and is clearly a force propping up oil prices. However, China is stockpiling so as to become self sustaining in a crisis, so this is higher than consumption. Chinese demand will not surpass America’s for decades. But China wants what everyone else wants, energy security and that means supply without worry.
The most important energy relationship to watch is the one between Saudi Arabia and America. Indeed, as non-OPEC sources of oil dwindle in coming years, every official forecaster expects Saudi output to soar sharply. With that can only come increased risk of terrorist attack, embargo and economic shock. These age-old troubles, not any sinister new Axis of Oil, are the real reason to worry about oil — and the best reason to start kicking the habit today.
China-Africa Ties Finance Wars
imports oil, metals and agricultural products to Africa. It makes funds
available and exports merchandise, manpower and technical expertise to Africa.
Political ties are intense, even in the face of opposition from Europe and the
US. More than 700 Chinese companies are at work in 49 African countries.
Links between China and African countries are growing fast and making an impact on global equilibrium. China, as hungry for raw materials as ever, is keen on Africa, not least because other industrialized states pose only minor competition. Africa is desperate for overseas investments and technical expertise.
Western firms consider investing in Africa to be a risky business, because of the weakness and corruption of governments and frequent wars. China, however, wants raw materials (oil, diamonds, gold, platinum, iron and also cotton and tobacco.) Besides, it is looking for markets for its products and even exports manpower and technical expertise, all contributing to increasing political impact. In 2003, trade between Beijing and the continent amounted to 18.5 billion US dollars, an increase of more than 50% over 2002. In 2004, China imported African merchandise worth 15.7 billion US dollars and exported products for 13.8 billion.
In 2004, 25% of oil imported by Beijing came from Africa - Sudan, Chad, Libya, Algeria, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon and Angola. China imports a quarter of Angola's oil, and 60% of that in Sudan. In these countries, oil is a major chunk of their gross domestic product and its trade has important consequences on internal policy and social development. In the agricultural sector, China acquires merchandise and exports technical expertise and capital. In Zambia, for example, the fruit and vegetable market is practically covered by products of agricultural firms run by Chinese.
countries appreciate Beijing because of the seriousness and rapidity with which
it follows through trade agreements, and because they need everything. China
supplies the money to set up infrastructures: trains, roads, buildings,
electrical and telephone lines, and also mining prospects and oil refineries.
In exchange, they often ask that works are undertaken by
Political influence is considered necessary to safeguard one's economic interests. In international organizations, Beijing often supports lesser developed countries rather than industrialized states. In Sudan, where more than 10,000 Chinese work, it is said that Beijing, to "protect" its oil wells, gave economic and military aid to the government during the civil war and genocide in Darfur.
China opposed sanctions called for by the United Nations (UN), threatening to use its power of veto. In Angola, Chinese aid allowed the government to refuse a proposal of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which asked for international verification of oil contracts and political reform in exchange for loans. Angola's corrupt system of power benefits the restricted elite leaving 13 million people in poverty.
Experts say that between 1998 and 2000, Beijing sold arms worth one billion dollars to both Eritrea and Ethiopia: the war between the two countries killed tens of thousands of people. Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe turned to China when he was isolated by western countries: in 2004, Beijing invested 600 million dollars in the country and supplied military radio equipment used to block transmissions by opposition parties.
China does not concern itself with the use made by States of money it gives them, allowing corrupt governments to siphon off sums received. Beijing sent peace contingents to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Liberia, and supplied Mali and Angola with helicopters, Namibia and Sierra Leone with arms and Mozambique with army uniforms.
China is active in setting up bodies to implement trade links with African states. At the first China-African Cooperation Forum, held in Beijing in October 2000, 80 ministers from 46 out of 53 African states participated. At the end, China announced that it wanted to reduce the debt of African countries by 10 billion yuan (around 1.2 billion dollars). The sum was
negligible (0.3% of the total African debt) but the gesture had a great impact. China also removed import taxes on merchandise from 25 poor African countries.
Wars For The Movement Of Oil
Given the fact that oil consumption occurs mainly in the industrialized West, while oil production takes place largely in the Middle East, Russia, West Africa and South America, a significant volume of oil is traded internationally. Pipelines are the mode of choice for transcontinental oil movements. Pipelines are critical for landlocked crude and also complement tankers at certain key locations by relieving bottlenecks or providing shortcuts. Pipelines come into their own in intra-regional trade. They are the primary option for transcontinental transportation, because they are at least an order of magnitude cheaper than any alternative such as rail, barge, or road, and because political vulnerability is a small or non-existent issue within a nation's border or between neighbors such as the United States and Canada. (Pipelines are also an important oil transport mode in mainland Europe, although the system is much smaller, matching the shorter distances.)
Oil Tankers and Chokepoints
Oil transported by sea generally follows a fixed set of maritime routes. Along the way, tankers encounter several geographic "chokepoints," or narrow channels, such as the Strait of Hormuz leading out of the Persian Gulf and the strait of Malacca linking the Indian Ocean and oil coming from the Middle East with the Pacific Ocean and major consuming markets in Asia. Other important maritime "chokepoints" include the Panama Canal connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, the Suez Canal connecting the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and Bab el-Maddab passage from the Arabian Sea to the Red Sea.
"Chokepoints" are critically important to world oil trade because so much oil passes through them, yet they are narrow and theoretically could be blocked -- at least temporarily. In addition, "chokepoints" are susceptible to pirate attacks and shipping accidents in their narrow channels.
The world tanker fleet includes approximately 4,500 ships. These range greatly in size and include: "Ultra Large Crude Carriers" , "Very Large Crude Carriers", "Suezmax" tankers, "Aframax" tankers, "Panamax" tankers, "Handymax" tankers, and "Handy Size" tankers.
Not all tanker trade routes use the same size ship. Each route usually has one size that is the clear economic winner, based on voyage length, port and canal constraints and volume. Thus, crude exports from the Middle East -- high volumes that travel long distances -- are moved mainly by VLCC’s typically carrying over 2 million barrels of oil on every voyage. The VLCC's economies of scale outweigh the constraints imposed: they are too large for all the ports in the United States except the Louisiana Offshore Oil Port (LOOP). Thus, they must have some or all of their cargo transferred to smaller vessels, either at sea (lightering) or at an offshore port (transshipment). In contrast, ships out of the Caribbean and South America are routinely smaller and enter ports in the United States directly. Because of such ship size differences, a long voyage can sometimes be cheaper on a per barrel basis than a short one.
The recent growth in United States dependence on its Western Hemisphere neighbors is an illustration of a "nearer-is-better" phenomenon. Western Hemisphere sources now supply around half of U.S. oil import volume, much of it on voyages of less than a week. Another quarter comes from elsewhere in the area called the Atlantic Basin -- those countries on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. This oil, from West Africa and the North Sea mainly, takes just 2-3 weeks to reach the United States, and boosts the so-called short-haul share of U.S. imports to over three-quarters. Most North Sea and North and West African crude oils stay in the Atlantic Basin, moving to Europe or North America on routes that rarely take over 20 days. In contrast, voyage times to Asia for just the nearest of these, the West African crude oils, would be over 30 days to Singapore, rising to nearly 40 for Japan. Not surprisingly, therefore, most of Asia’s oil comes instead from the Middle East, only 20-30 days away.
Russian Oil and Export Methods
Russian oil and gas exports move via pipelines that pass through Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Hungary, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland. Major Oil Export Ports: Novorossiisk (Russian Black Sea); Primorsk (Russian Baltic Sea/Gulf of Finland); Tuapse; Vetspils (Latvia); Odessa (Ukraine).
Major Oil Pipelines (capacity, 2002E): Druzhba (1.2 million bbl/d); Baltic Pipeline System (240,000 bbl/d); CPC Tengiz-Novorossiisk Pipeline (564,000 bbl/d, most of which is Kazakh crude).
Major Natural Gas Pipelines (capacity, 2002E); Brotherhood, Progress, and Union (1 trillion cubic feet -- tcf -- capacity each); Notheren lights (0.8 tcf); Volga/Urals-Vyborg, Finland (0.1 tcf). Yamal (to Europe, via Belarus; 1.0 TCF, partly operational; Blue Stream (to Turkey via Black Sea; 0.56 TCF, construction completed in October 2002) Destination of Oil And Gas Exports: Eastern Europe, Netherlands, Italy, Germany, France, other Western Europe counties.
Russia is a major supplier of crude oil and natural gas to Europe. All of the ports and pipelines are operating at or near capacity, leaving limited alternatives if problems arose at Russian export terminals. In addition, many of the country's oil pipelines are in a state of disrepair, and Russian Energy Ministry figures indicate that almost 5% of crude oil produced in Russia is lost through illegal tapping of Russia's pipelines. With a windfall in oil export tariffs over the past several years, Transneft, the state oil transport monopoly, has taken steps to upgrade the country's pipeline system, with emphasis on bulding new export pipelines to increase and diversify export routes for oil exporters. In addition to increasing capacity at Novoroosiisk, the country's main oil terminal on the Black Sea, Transneft is constructing the Baltic Pipeline System, working to integrate the Duzhba and Adria pipelines to allow Russian oil to be exported via the Adriatic Sea, and looking to construct a pipeline to China. Russia also is seeking to lure additional transit oil from Azerbaijan, Kazakhastan, and Turkmenistan.
Nearly 90% of Russia's natural gas exports to Europe are routed through Ukraine. In an effort to diversify its export routes, as well as reach new markets, Russia is planning to build several new natural gas export pipelines. The Blue Stream pipeline to Turkey is the centerpiece of Russia's export diversification strategy. Construction on the 565-Bcf-capacity pipeline, which consists of twin pipelines laid on the bottom of the Black Sea, was completed in October 2002.
Panama Canal and Panama Pipeline
The Panama Canal extends approximately 50 miles from Panama City on the Pacific Ocean to Colon on the Caribbean Sea. In fiscal year (FY) 2001, petroleum and petroleum products was the largest commodity (by tonnage) shipped through the Canal, accounting for 16% of total canal shipments. Around 64% of total oil shipments went south from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with oil products dominating southbound traffic. Chemicals (including petrochemicals) and coal are shipped through the canal as well, accounting for 5% and 3%, respectively, of total Canal traffic. The largest vessel that can transit the Panama Canal is known as a PANAMAX-size vessel. A long-term program is underway to widen the narrow, eight-mile stretch of Gaillard Cut to allow unrestricted two-way traffic of PANAMAX-size vessels.
If transit were halted through the Canal, the Trans-Panama pipeline (Petroterminal de Panama, S.A.) could be re-opened to carry oil in either direction. This pipeline is located outside the former Canal Zone near the Costa Rican border, and runs from the port of Charco Azul on the Pacific Coast (near Puerto Armuelles, southwest of David) to the port of Chiriqui Grande, Bocas del Toro on the Caribbean. It was opened in October 1982 as an economical alternative to the Panama Canal for transporting Alaskan oil across Panama en route to Gulf Coast ports. Transit time from Alaska to the U.S. Gulf Coast via Panama is about 16 days, whereas a tanker would take 40 days to reach the Gulf Coast from Alaska if rerouted around Cape Horn (the southern tip of South America). To date, more than 2.2 billion barrels of Alaskan crude oil has been transported through the 81-mile pipeline. However, the 860,000-bbl/d pipeline was closed in April 1996 after Alaskan oil shipments to the Gulf Coast declined with falling Alaskan oil production (Alaska now produces about 1 million bbl/d) and increased oil consumption on the west coast of the United States, especially in California. In addition, the decision to allow Alaskan oil to be exported outside the United States reduced the incentives to ship Alaskan oil to the Gulf Coast. There has been some discussion of reversing the direction of the pipeline to allow Caribbean oil producers a less expensive outlet to Pacific destinations.
The United States is not heavily reliant on the Panama Canal for its petroleum imports. In 2001, only 1.7% of total U.S. petroleum imports (crude oil plus petroleum products) transited the Canal en route to American ports (see table). On the whole, much more crude oil destined for U.S. shores passes through the Canal than do petroleum products. However, as a share of U.S. imports, the Canal is far more important for imported petroleum products. In 2001 only 0.8% of imported crude oil came to the United States through the Panama Canal, compared to approximately 8% of imported petroleum products. The United States imports slightly less oil through the Canal than 20 years ago, and no longer relies heavily on the Canal to move oil from one coast to the other.
Bosporus - Turkish Straits
his 17-mile long waterway divides Asia from Europe and connects the Black Sea with the Mediterranean Sea, Oil Flows (2001E): 2.0 million bbl/d (nearly all southbound; mostly crude oil with several hundred thousand barrels per day of products as well) Destination of Oil Exports: Western and Southern Europe
Only half a mile wide at its narrowest point, the Turkish Straits are one of the world's busiest (50,000 vessels annually, including 5,500 oil tankers), and most difficult-to-navigate waterways. Many of the proposed export routes for forthcoming production from the Caspian Sea region pass westwards through the Black Sea and the Turkish Straits en route to the Mediterranean Sea and world markets. The ports of the Black Sea, along with those in the Baltic Sea, were the primary oil export routes of the former Soviet Union, and the Black Sea remains the largest outlet for Russian oil exports
Under the Montreux Convention of 1936, commercial shipping has the right of free passage through the Bosporus and Turkish Straits in peacetime, although Turkey claims the right to impose regulations for safety and environmental purposes. In October 2002, for instance, Turkey placed new restrictions on oil tanker transit through the Bosporus, including: a ban on nighttime transit for ships longer than 200 meters; a requirement that ships carrying dangerous cargo (including oil) request permission to transit 48 hours in advance; and a one-way traffic regulation on ships more than 250-300 meters long or carrying liquefied natural gas (LNG) or liquefied petroleum gas (LPG). The regulations reportedly have slowed tanker transit by as much as 3 1/2 days.
Exports through the Turkish Straits have grown since the breakup of the Soviet Union in 1991, and there is growing concern that projected Caspian Sea export volumes exceed the ability of the Turkish Straits to accommodate the tanker traffic. Turkey is concerned that the projected increase in large oil tankers would pose a serious navigational safety and environmental threats to the Turkish Straits. In July 2000, the International Energy Agency estimated that exports through through the Black Sea could reach 2.3 million bbl/d, but that the Turkish Straits could handle only 1.8 million bbl/d maximum.
Bab el-Mandab, Yemen
Bab el-Mandab connects the Red Sea with the Gulf of Aden and the Arabian Sea. Oil Flows (2000E): 3.2-3.3 million bbl/d Destination of Oil Exports to Europe, United States and Asia. Closure of the Bab el-Mandab could keep tankers from the Persian Gulf from reaching the Suez Canal and Sumed Pipeline complex, diverting them around the southern tip of Africa (the Cape of Good Hope). This would add greatly to transit time and cost, and effectively tie up spare tanker capacity. In December 1995, Yemen fought a brief battle with Eritrea over Greater Hanish Island, located just north of the Bab el-Mandab. The Bab el-Mandab could be bypassed (for northbound oil traffic by utilizing the East-West oil pipeline, which traverses Saudi Arabia and has a capacity of about 4.8 million bbl/d. However, southbound oil traffic would still be blocked. In addition, closure of the Bab el-Mandab would effectively block non-oil shipping from using the Suez Canal except for limited trade within the Red Sea region.
In 2002, A French VLCC (Very Large Crude Carrier) chartered by Malaysian state oil company Petronas was attacked by terrorist suicide bombers off the coast of Yemen, seriously damaging the ship and killing one crew member. The VLCC, known as the Limburg, had about 400,000 barrels of oil aboard, and was on its way to load additional oil in Yemen when attacked. The attack on the Limburg prompted a warning by the U.S. Navy's Maritime Liaison Office in Bahrain, stating that "Shipmasters should exercise extreme caution when transiting...strategic chokepoints such as the Strait of Hormuz, or Bab el-Mandeb, or...[other] traditional high-threat areas such as along the Horn of Africa." Following the attack, al-Qaeda issued a statement which warned that the attack on the Limburg "was not an incidental strike at a passing tanker but...on the international oil-carrying line in the full sense of the word."
In the aftermath of the Limburg attack, as well as threats by al-Qaeda against oil infrastructure in the Persian Gulf region, Lloyd's List reported that several area states were heightening security measures around crude facilities along their coastlines and elsewhere.
The Next War - When?
Maybe we will be at war within weeks. As I write this deals are being made with Turkey, Israel and Saudi Arabia for landing of aircraft. Meetings are being held with Germany, France, England and Russia. War is being planned against Iran. Yes! It is justified just like that war with Iraq was justified and the war with Hitler was justified but could it be that the justification was secretly engineered over the years to come to this point for one and only one thing - control of Black Gold.
The following news source, Global Research has a very grim outlook for the coming war but everything I see so far points to the truth of this article. Judge for yourself, but as the boy scouts say, "Be Prepared". It may be in days, weeks or at least before March.
From Global Research California,
Nuclear War Against Iran
The launching of an outright war using nuclear warheads against Iran is now in the final planning stages.
Coalition partners, which include the US, Israel and Turkey are in "an advanced stage of readiness".
Various military exercises have been conducted, starting in early 2005. In turn, the Iranian Armed Forces have also conducted large scale military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf in December in anticipation of a US sponsored attack.
Since early 2005, there has been intense shuttle diplomacy between Washington, Tel Aviv, Ankara and NATO headquarters in Brussels.
In recent developments, CIA Director Porter Goss on a mission to Ankara, requested Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan "to provide political and logistic support for air strikes against Iranian nuclear and military targets." Goss reportedly asked " for special cooperation from Turkish intelligence to help prepare and monitor the operation." (DDP, 30 December 2005).
In turn, Prime Minister Ariel Sharon has given the green light to the Israeli Armed Forces to launch the attacks by the end of March:
All top Israeli officials have pronounced the end of March, 2006, as the deadline for launching a military assault on Iran.... The end of March date also coincides with the IAEA report to the UN on Iran's nuclear energy program. Israeli policymakers believe that their threats may influence the report, or at least force the kind of ambiguities, which can be exploited by its overseas supporters to promote Security Council sanctions or justify Israeli military action.
(James Petras, Israel's War Deadline: Iran in the Crosshairs, Global Research, December 2005)
The US sponsored military plan has been endorsed by NATO, although it is unclear, at this stage, as to the nature of NATO's involvement in the planned aerial attacks.
"Shock and Awe"
The various components of the military operation are firmly under US Command, coordinated by the Pentagon and US Strategic Command Headquarters (USSTRATCOM) at the Offutt Air Force base in Nebraska.
The actions announced by Israel would be carried out in close coordination with the Pentagon. The command structure of the operation is centralized and ultimately Washington will decide when to launch the military operation.
US military sources have confirmed that an aerial attack on Iran would involve a large scale deployment comparable to the US "shock and awe" bombing raids on Iraq in March 2003:
American air strikes on Iran would vastly exceed the scope of the 1981 Israeli attack on the Osiraq nuclear center in Iraq, and would more resemble the opening days of the 2003 air campaign against Iraq. Using the full force of operational B-2 stealth bombers, staging from Diego Garcia or flying direct from the United States, possibly supplemented by F-117 stealth fighters staging from al Udeid in Qatar or some other location in theater, the two-dozen suspect nuclear sites would be targeted.
Military planners could tailor their target list to
reflect the preferences of the Administration by having limited air strikes
that would target only the most crucial facilities ... or the United States
could opt for a far more comprehensive set of strikes against a comprehensive
range of WMD related targets, as well as conventional and unconventional forces
that might be used to counterattack against US forces in Iraq
(See Globalsecurity.org at http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ops/iran-strikes.htm
In November, US Strategic Command conducted a major exercise of a "global strike plan" entitled "Global Lightening". The latter involved a simulated attack using both conventional and nuclear weapons against a "fictitious enemy".
Following the "Global Lightening" exercise, US Strategic Command declared an advanced state of readiness (See our analysis below)
While Asian press reports stated that the "fictitious enemy" in the Global Lightening exercise was North Korea, the timing of the exercises, suggests that they were conducted in anticipation of a planned attack on Iran.
Consensus for Nuclear War
No dissenting political voices have emerged from within the European Union.
There are ongoing consultations between Washington, Paris and Berlin. Contrary to the invasion of Iraq, which was opposed at the diplomatic level by France and Germany, Washington has been building "a consensus" both within the Atlantic Alliance and the UN Security Council. This consensus pertains to the conduct of a nuclear war, which could potentially affect a large part of the Middle East Central Asian region.
Moreover, a number of frontline Arab states are now tacit partners in the US/ Israeli military project. A year ago in November 2004, Israel's top military brass met at NATO headquarters in Brussels with their counterparts from six members of the Mediterranean basin nations, including Egypt, Jordan, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. A NATO-Israel protocol was signed. Following these meetings, joint military exercises were held off the coast of Syria involving the US, Israel and Turkey. and in February 2005, Israel participated in military exercises and "anti-terror maneuvers" together with several Arab countries.
The media in chorus has unequivocally pointed to Iran as a "threat to World Peace".
The antiwar movement has swallowed the media lies. The fact that the US and Israel are planning a Middle East nuclear holocaust is not part of the antiwar/ anti- globalization agenda.
The "surgical strikes" are presented to world public opinion as a means to preventing Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
We are told that this is not a war but a military peace-keeping operation, in the form of aerial attacks directed against Iran's nuclear facilities.
Mini-nukes: "Safe for Civilians"
The press reports, while revealing certain features of the military agenda, largely serve to distort the broader nature of the military operation, which contemplates the preemptive use of tactical nuclear weapons.
The war agenda is based on the Bush administration's doctrine of "preemptive" nuclear war under the 2002 Nuclear Posture Review.
Media disinformation has been used extensively to conceal the devastating consequences of military action involving nuclear warheads against Iran. The fact that these surgical strikes would be carried out using both conventional and nuclear weapons is not an object of debate.
According to a 2003 Senate decision, the new generation of tactical nuclear weapons or "low yield" "mini-nukes", with an explosive capacity of up to 6 times a Hiroshima bomb, are now considered "safe for civilians" because the explosion is underground.
Through a propaganda campaign which has enlisted the support of "authoritative" nuclear scientists, the mini-nukes are being presented as an instrument of peace rather than war. The low-yield nukes have now been cleared for "battlefield use", they are slated to be used in the next stage of America's "war on Terrorism" alongside conventional weapons:
Administration officials argue that low-yield nuclear weapons are needed as a credible deterrent against rogue states.[Iran, North Korea] Their logic is that existing nuclear weapons are too destructive to be used except in a full-scale nuclear war. Potential enemies realize this, thus they do not consider the threat of nuclear retaliation to be credible. However, low-yield nuclear weapons are less destructive, thus might conceivably be used. That would make them more effective as a deterrent. ( Opponents Surprised By Elimination of Nuke Research Funds Defense News November 29, 2004)
In an utterly twisted logic, nuclear weapons are presented as a means to building peace and preventing "collateral damage". The Pentagon has intimated, in this regard, that the ‘mini-nukes’ (with a yield of less than 5000 tons) are harmless to civilians because the explosions ‘take place under ground’. Each of these ‘mini-nukes’, nonetheless, constitutes – in terms of explosion and potential radioactive fallout – a significant fraction of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945. Estimates of yield for Nagasaki and Hiroshima indicate that they were respectively of 21000 and 15000 tons ( http://www.warbirdforum.com/hiroshim.htm