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Wednesday, September 12, 2007

All eyes on Iran for a moment

[Update] Tuesdays attack on Camp Victory linked to Iran by fragments of the 240mm rocket -- complete with Iranian markings --.

Officials say Maj. Gen. Kevin Bergner, the spokesman for U.S. forces in Iraq, will display fragments of the 240mm rocket -- complete with Iranian markings -- at a press conference in Baghdad Thursday.

"We want to show the link between the Iranian weapons and the damage they are doing," said a senior U.S. military official in Baghdad.

Taking a quick break from the testimony given by General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker regarding Iraq for a moment, there is much news about Iran and Syria coming out today.
[End Update]

Dealing with Iran in this post, then Syria in the next one.

Last night we saw an exclusive from Fox News but I did not post on it because I like to have a couple sources to quote from when posting, different people trust different sources, so I try not to use just Fox, or just AP, or just CNN, unless it is time sensitive.


A recent decision by German officials to withhold support for any new sanctions against Iran has pushed a broad spectrum of officials in Washington to develop potential scenarios for a military attack on the Islamic regime, FOX News confirmed Tuesday.

Germany — a pivotal player among three European nations to rein in Iran's nuclear program over the last two-and-a-half years through a mixture of diplomacy and sanctions supported by the United States — notified its allies last week that the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel refuses to support the imposition of any further sanctions against Iran that could be imposed by the U.N. Security Council.

The announcement was made at a meeting in Berlin that brought German officials together with Iran desk officers from the five member states of the Security Council. It stunned the room, according to one of several Bush administration and foreign government sources who spoke to FOX News, and left most Bush administration principals concluding that sanctions are dead.

The Germans voiced concern about the damaging effects any further sanctions on Iran would have on the German economy — and also, according to diplomats from other countries, gave the distinct impression that they would privately welcome, while publicly protesting, an American bombing campaign against Iran's nuclear facilities.

First off, we have often maintained that something needs to be done about Iran before they acquire nuclear weapons because they have publicly stated their desire to wipe Israel off the face of the earth and have made it clear they wish to see death to America and recently have also threatened the UK-- with that said, we have also stated quite clearly that diplomatic measures, UN sanctions which have been watered down to the point of ineffectiveness by China and Russia, needed to be stronger and used rather than any attack.

That makes this statement by Merkel all the more troubling.

Knowing the tensions between the U.S. and Iran, knowing that diplomatic measures and UN sanctions are the only recourse other than massive air strikes, that could possibly back Iran up in their quest for nuclear weapons, the timing of this statement by Merkel as well as the implication that they would protest publicly but privately welcome a bombing campaign against Iran, is politics at its worse and a very dangerous game in the minds of those of us that believe harsh sanctions could accomplish the international communities goals and prevent any bombs from falling on Iran.

This has been said for a couple of reasons, best estimates by those "in the know" say that Iran is at least one year away from having enough nuclear materials to build nuclear bombs, although Iran claims publicly that it could be sooner.

It seems that Germany is trying to take a diplomatic solution off the table.

We see from the statement made by General Petraeus that Iranian involvement in Iraq has reached dangerous levels.

We have also disrupted Shia militia extremists, capturing the head and numerous other leaders of the Iranian-supported Special Groups, along with a senior Lebanese Hezbollah operative supporting Iran's activities in Iraq.


Malign actions by Syria and, especially, by Iran fuel that violence. Lack of adequate governmental capacity, lingering sectarian mistrust, and various forms of corruption add to Iraq's challenges.


In the ensuing months, our forces and our Iraqi counterparts have focused on improving security, especially in Baghdad and the areas around it, wresting sanctuaries from Al Qaeda control, and disrupting the efforts of the Iranian-supported militia extremists.


In the past six months we have also targeted Shia militia extremists, capturing a number of senior leaders and fighters, as well as the deputy commander of Lebanese Hezbollah Department 2800, the organization created to support the training, arming, funding, and, in some cases, direction of the militia extremists by the Iranian Republican Guard Corps' Qods Force. These elements have assassinated and kidnapped Iraqi governmental leaders, killed and wounded our soldiers with advanced explosive devices provided by Iran, and indiscriminately rocketed civilians in the International Zone and elsewhere. It is increasingly apparent to both Coalition and Iraqi leaders that Iran, through the use of the Qods Force, seeks to turn the Iraqi Special Groups into a Hezbollah-like force to serve its interests and fight a proxy war against the Iraqi state and coalition forces in Iraq.


Beyond that, on a less encouraging note, none of us earlier this year appreciated the extent of Iranian involvement in Iraq, something about which we and Iraq's leaders all now have greater concern.

In late August Iran made it clear they would step into any vacuum left in Iraq if we were to withdraw. A couple of days ago we saw reports that we would be building a military base a few miles from the border of Iran and Iraq to stem the flow of weapons coming into Iraq from Iran.

The Pentagon is going to build a military base on the border between Iraq and Iran to stem the flow of weapons being sent from Iran into Iraq.

"We've got a major problem with Iranian munitions streaming into Iraq," Major General Rick Lynch, the commander of US army forces in central Iraq, told the Journal.

"This Iranian interference is troubling and we have to stop it."

The base, with living quarters for some 200 soldiers, will be built six kilometers (four miles) from the Iranian border and will likely be completed by November, Major Toby Logsdon, the US officer overseeing the project, told the Journal, without giving a location.

The US military also plans to install X-ray machines and explosives-detecting sensors at the Zurbatiya border crossing, the main crossing between Iran and Iraq.(Source)

We see today that the UK Troops are being sent to the Iraq and Iranian border, via The Independent.

In signs of a fast-developing confrontation, the Iranians have threatened military action in response to attacks launched from Iraqi territory while the Pentagon has announced the building of a US base and fortified checkpoints at the frontier.

The UK operation, in which up to 350 troops are involved, has come at the request of the Americans, who say that elements close to the Iranian regime have stepped up supplies of weapons to Shia militias in recent weeks in preparation for attacks inside Iraq.

The deployment came within a week of British forces leaving Basra Palace, their last remaining base inside Basra city, and withdrawing to the airport for a widely expected final departure from Iraq. Brigadier James Bashall, commander of 1 Mechanised Brigade, based at Basra said: "We have been asked to help at the Iranian border to stop the flow of weapons and I am willing to do so. We know the points of entry and I am sure we can do what needs to be done. The US forces are, as we know, engaged in the 'surge' and the border is of particular concern to them."

The mission will include the King's Royal Hussars battle group, 250 of whom were told at the weekend that they would be returning to the UK as part of a drawdown of forces in Iraq.

The operation is regarded as a high-risk strategy which could lead to clashes with Iranian-backed Shia militias or even Iranian forces and also leaves open the possibility of Iranian retaliation in the form of attacks against British forces at the Basra air base or inciting violence to draw them back into Basra city. Relations between the two countries are already fraught after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized a British naval party in the Gulf earlier this year.

The move came as General David Petraeus, the US commander in Iraq, and Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq, made some of the strongest accusations yet by US officials about Iranian activity. General Petraeus spoke on Monday of a "proxy war" in Iraq, while Mr Crocker accused the Iranian government of "providing lethal capabilities to the enemies of the Iraqi state".

Statements from world leaders regarding Iran:

French President Nicolas Sarkozy:

In his first major foreign policy speech, President Nicolas Sarkozy tells Iran that if they do not curb their Nuclear program according to their international obligations that Iran may face an attack.

This two-pronged approach, Sarkozy said, "is the only one that can enable us to avoid being faced with a disastrous alternative: an Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran."

Calling the Iranian nuclear crisis "the most serious weighing on the international order today," Sarkozy also reiterated his position that a nuclear-armed Iran would be "unacceptable" to France.

In 2006, Australian Prime Minister John Howard compared Iran to Nazi Germany, a comparison we here at Wake up America have made ourselves, but more recently, February of 2007, John Howard joined with Canada and the U.S. to make further statements regarding Iran.

Mr Howard, under pressure from Labor Leader Kevin Rudd's resurgent opposition to pull out of Iraq, drew a direct link between the unpopular war and the emergence of Iran.

"I don't think there would be a country whose influence and potential clout would be more enhanced in that part of the world than Iran's would be if the coalition was defeated in Iraq,'' Mr Howard said.

"I don't think you can separate the two.

"Iran would be emboldened if the coalition was defeated in Iraq.

"And that would be seen to have occurred if there was a significant coalition withdrawal.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2006:

Most enthusiastically approved the motion, urging the international community to act hastily to prevent the nuclear armament of Teheran.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel advised on Saturday to act without delay to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons, saying that Iran had "blatantly crossed the line."

The chancellor compared Iran's nuclear policy to the Nazi party's rise to power in Germany, warning that in the past the nations of the world refused to take a stance against concrete threats, enabling some of history's greatest catastrophes.

This is just a small sample of what World Leaders, excluding the U.S., has had to say previously regarding Iran.

More can be found just using a search engine.

Democratic statements on Iran.

In 2004, Barack Obama was already calling for missile strikes against Iran if Iran did not comply.

In an interview with the editorial board of the Chicago Tribune published September 26, Democratic Senate candidate Barack Obama said he would favor the use of “surgical” missile strikes against Iran if it failed to bow to Washington’s demand that it eliminate its nuclear energy program. Obama also said that, in the event of a coup that removed the Musharraf regime in Pakistan, the US should attack that nation’s nuclear arsenal.

Hillary Clinton, February 2007:

Such comments add greater urgency to the necessity to doing everything we can to deny nuclear weapons to Iran. The regime's pro-terrorist, anti-American, anti-Israeli rhetoric only underscores the urgency of our response to the threat we face.

U.S. policy must be clear and unequivocal. We cannot, we should not, we must not, permit Iran to build or acquire nuclear weapons. And in dealing with this threat as I have said for a very long time, no option can be taken off the table.

But Iran is a threat not only because of the hateful rhetoric spewed by its president, not only because of its nuclear ambitions, but because it uses its influence and its revenues in the region to support terrorist elements that are attacking innocent Israelis; and now we believe attacking American soldiers. Hezbollah's attacks on Israel this summer using Iranian weapons clearly demonstrate Iran's malevolent influence even beyond its borders.

Steny Hoyer, January 2007:

Hoyer said the Democrats' position, like that of the Bush administration, was that preventing a nuclear-armed Iran had to be done through "discussions, negotiations, sanctions." Hoyer added that the US needed to work with the international community to block Teheran's nuclear ambitions.

At the same time, Hoyer said the use of force hadn't been taken off the table.

"I've not ruled that out," he said, but added, "It's not an option we want to consider until we know there is no other option."•

Again, a search will bring more comments regarding iran and nuclear weapons from Democratic politicians.

Notice, I did not use Republican statements on Iran and their nuclear quest, nor did I use Israel or our own administrations comments.

World leaders and Democratic statements were shown.

Also keep in mind the continuing threats being made publicly by Iran, today, regarding further sanctions:

VIENNA, Austria -- Iran warned Wednesday that U.N. sanctions could "destroy" its willingness to cooperate with an investigation of past nuclear activities. Undeterred, the U.S. said it still would push for new penalties unless Tehran scraps technology that could make the bomb.

So, if Germany is serious about not supporting any further sanctions against Iran then that leaves us with a few questions for our readers.

#1. What type of sanctions can the U.S. with allies that do support further sanctions, take and to use as leverage against Iran?

#2. Excluding, for the sake of argument, any military air strikes against Iran, what options are still available to assuring the international community that Iran will not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons?

#3. Is there any other options available once military strikes and UN sanctions are taken off the table, to stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon?

Now, a quick note to read before commenting here on this thread.

I am monitoring the comments section carefully today and I will not hesitate to delete and ban anyone that even suggests idiotic things like "wiping Iran off the face of the earth" or "leveling Iran".

I say this because I have had to ban a few people for those type of irresponsible comments before.

Keeping that in mind, have at it in the comment section.

More from The Van Der Galiƫn Gazette:

It seems to me that the situation is likely to escalate, possibly resulting in full scale war or at least airstrikes. That is, unless all parties involved have a sudden change of heart and decide to do everything in their power to prevent war.

He has promised to follow up on that post where I asked him, excluding UN sanctions and military strikes...what does he sees as further options.

I will link to his future post here when he writes it.

(Correction, the five permanent members are the United States, Russia, France, China and England)

Western Union