By DION NISSENBAUM
JERUSALEM — Six months ago, after American intelligence agencies declared that Iran had shelved its nuclear-weapons program, the chances of a U.S. or Israeli military strike on the Islamic Republic before President Bush left office seemed remote.
(The report actually stated that there was no evidence of a program. The single contrary claim, sensationalized by the same media that disseminated Bush/PNAC's lies about Iraq, came from a single, dubious source, a laptop computer from a "defector', reminiscent of the phony information obtained from criminal Ahed Chalabi about Iraq.)
Now, thanks to persistent pressure from Israeli hawks and newly stated concerns by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the idea of a targeted strike meant to cripple Iran's nuclear program is getting a new hearing.
(Likewise, the IAEA report actually states that there is no evidence of a program. The 'outstanding' areas of IAEA interest are minor, and its chief inspector has said that this is not of major concern, as arrangements have already been made to satisfy Israel's demands.)
As Bush travels across Europe to gain support for possible new sanctions against Iran, Israeli leaders have been working to lay the psychological foundation for a possible military strike if diplomacy falters.
In public threats and private briefings with American decision-makers, Israeli officials have been making the case that a military strike may be the only way to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions.
(Even though these 'ambitions' appear to be a work of fiction.)
"Temperatures are rising," said Emily Landau, an Iran specialist at the Institute for National Security Studies, an independent Israeli research center.
(No doubt. I'm sure every time one of the lies from these warmongering Extremists is refuted by the evidence, they get a bit hot under the collar ...)
Bush and Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert have met twice in recent weeks for extended talks on Iran. America's intelligence chief, Mike McConnell, has traveled to Israel for private briefings, and Israeli Transportation Minister Shaul Mofaz publicly declared that a military strike on Iran may be "unavoidable."
In Germany on Wednesday, Bush said that "all options are on the table" if Iran doesn't abandon its uranium enrichment programs.
(But this isn't a justification for war, but it does expose Bush/PNAC's use of the UN SC as a way to feign such a justification, in order to skirt the law prohibiting aggression.)
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad greeted Bush's initiative by mocking the latest international efforts.
Intelligence analysts disagree over the likelihood of a military strike on Iran before Bush leaves office. But there's little disagreement about the possible repercussions, which could include missile strikes on Israel, an attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, renewed attacks on Israel from Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon, a resurgence of Shiite Muslim resistance to U.S. forces in Iraq or an attack on oil shipping in the Persian Gulf, which could send crude oil prices well above $200 a barrel.
Some analysts view the latest Israeli threats as an attempt to put pressure on Iran to capitulate to Western demands. Other analysts see the Israeli campaign as intended to press the Bush administration to take the lead if the two nations decide to launch a military strike on Iran.
"The most likely scenario is that the Israelis will train and prepare as if they are very serious — and that's part of the bluff to get the U.S. engaged," said John McCreary, a retired intelligence analyst for the U.S. Department of Defense.
The key factor in any decision to launch a military strike is likely to be solid intelligence that Iran is rapidly advancing on its nuclear ambitions.
(But a 'rapid advancement' is impossible, since this would require a massive expansion of its existing program, which would take considerable time, and be readily-apparent to the many eyes intently watching Iran's every move.)
"I don't think there is that smoking gun that we can hold up and say that everyone should stand behind this," said Landau, who recently wrote an analysis titled "The Elusive Smoking Gun" for her think tank.
But Landau said the international debate had shifted in the weeks since the IAEA expressed "serious concerns" about Iran's nuclear ambitions and demanded more answers.
(A gross misrepresentation of their actual statements.)
(EDITORS: BEGIN OPTIONAL TRIM)
Israel already has demonstrated an ability to persuade reluctant Bush administration officials of the need to stage a pre-emptive strike. Before launching an airstrike on Syria last September, Israel provided the United States with intelligence suggesting that its Middle East neighbor was building a nuclear plant.
(However, this 'evidence' has since been refuted, and Israel's illegal Act of War was not directed at such a site. It is unclear what the point of the attack was; to send a message to Syria, to attempt a provocation of Iran, or to test the world's reaction to such an unprovoked act of aggression.)
In April, the CIA publicly unveiled detailed images of the Syrian target and said that it was a nuclear reactor built with help from North Korea. Syria has denied the allegation. International inspectors are expected to visit the site for the first time later this month.
(This was put to rest long ago. It's been interesting to watch these Extremists try and resurrect this incident so long after the fact ...)
Considering Ahmadinejad's refusal so far to accept the international incentives, some analysts see support growing in Israel and the United States for a military strike.
(It should be noted that Iran has done nothing wrong, and is well within its rights under the NNPT, and UN auspices. The same cannot be said of Israel's 150-plus nuclear weapons ...)
"I think more and more people are looking to the military option as possibly the only thing that will work, and people are more and more feeling that negotiations won't work," said Meir Javendanfar, a co-author of "The Nuclear Sphinx of Tehran."
(But these people feel this way because the intention of this entire episode is only to start a war, nothing else.)
Hard-liners in the U.S. and Israel also dismiss the notion that U.S. or Israeli nuclear weapons would deter Iran from using such weapons itself if it succeeded in obtaining them.
(Or tried to create a program which would allow them to ...)
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The very fact that a military strike is percolating back into mainstream debate is a significant shift in the political discourse.
(Not really. The world community hasn't fallen for Bush/Israel's LIES, but they are intent upon a war, so here we go again. Note that the mainstream media is dutifully ignoring vital context in order to dutifully follow the line of these Neo-Fascists.)
Most analysts dismissed the military option last December after U.S. intelligence agencies agreed that Iran had shelved its nuclear weapons work in 2003 and was unlikely to produce enough enriched uranium for a bomb until 2010 or 2015.
(Not exactly what the report said ...)
Though Bush and Olmert challenged the assessment at the time, the analysis made it more difficult to make a case for swift military action.
(Especially since they couldn't demonstrate any contrary evidence, because their entire line is another pack of LIES.)
Since then, Israel has shared more of its intelligence with the Bush administration.
(Which, likewise, fails to support these LIES.)
Last week, Olmert traveled to Washington for extended talks with Bush that focused primarily on Iran.
(On starting a war with Iran. And here is the beginning of the renewed Propaganda campaign I predicted at the time ...)
"Every passing day the world acts, under the leadership of the United States, to achieve that goal that will prevent Iran's armament," Olmert said after meeting Bush.
(This is NOT about the nuclear program, which came about AFTER these Fascists had plotted their war against Iran, in the name of regional power, OIL, defence contracts, etc ...)
(EDITORS: STORY CAN END HERE)
On Wednesday, Olmert spokesman Mark Regev said that Iran must understand that it must give up its nuclear ambitions in order to receive international incentives.
(But ... Iran doesn't HAVE these. Interesting that statement, coming from a state which counts on not having its 'aid' and weapons dependent on its living up to many outstanding legal and moral obligations ...)
"Only if they understand that there is a clear and stark choice, that there isn't wiggle room, only then can diplomacy succeed," Regev said. "I think in dealing with the Iranians it's important to have both carrots and sticks."
(No, you're ONLY interested in 'the stick', meaning another unjustified illegal war. We know who the real threat is)
(c) 2008, McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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