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Wednesday, November 02, 2011

US, Britain to attack Iran?

In two earlier posts, I discussed the possibility that Israel would strike Iran's nuclear program. It turns out that if Israel attacks Iran, it may not be alone. Al-Guardian is reporting that Britain is gearing up to play a supporting role in a US attack on Iran.
The Ministry of Defence believes the US may decide to fast-forward plans for targeted missile strikes at some key Iranian facilities. British officials say that if Washington presses ahead it will seek, and receive, UK military help for any mission, despite some deep reservations within the coalition government.

In anticipation of a potential attack, British military planners are examining where best to deploy Royal Navy ships and submarines equipped with Tomahawk cruise missiles over the coming months as part of what would be an air- and sea-launched campaign.

The Guardian has spoken to a number of Whitehall and defence officials over recent weeks who said Iran was once again becoming the focus of diplomatic concern after the revolution in Libya.

They made clear the US president, Barack Obama, has no wish to embark on a new and provocative military venture before next November's US election. But they warned the calculus could change because of mounting anxiety over intelligence gathered by western agencies, and the more belligerent posture that Iran appears to have been taking.

One senior Whitehall official said the regime had proved "surprisingly resilient" in the face of sanctions, and sophisticated attempts by the west to cripple its nuclear enrichment programme had been less successful than first thought.

He said Iran appeared to be "newly aggressive – and we are not quite sure why", citing three recent assassination plots on foreign soil that the intelligence agencies say were co-ordinated by elements in Tehran.

On top of that, the agencies now believe Iran has restored all the capability it lost in a sophisticated cyber-attack last year.
Why the sudden urgency? It's not just the IAEA report due out this month. It's that the window to do something about Iran may be closing.
Another Whitehall official, with knowledge of Britain's military planning, said that within the next 12 months Iran may have hidden all the material it needs to continue a covert weapons programme inside fortified bunkers. He said this had necessitated the UK's planning being taken to a new level.

"Beyond [12 months], we couldn't be sure our missiles could reach them," the source said. "So the window is closing, and the UK needs to do some sensible forward planning. The US could do this on their own but they won't. So we need to anticipate being asked to contribute. We had thought this would wait until after the US election next year, but now we are not so sure. President Obama has a big decision to make in the coming months because he won't want to do anything just before an election."

Another source added there was "no acceleration towards military action by the US, but that could change". Next spring could be a key decision-making period, the source said.


Washington has been warned by Israel against leaving any military action until it is too late. Western intelligence agencies say Israel will demand that the US act if Jerusalem believes its own military cannot launch successful attacks to stall Iran's nuclear programme. A source said the "Israelis want to believe that they can take this stuff out", and will continue to agitate for military action if Iran continues to play hide and seek.
Read the whole thing.

Obama has a huge incentive to undertake an attack: A successful attack on Iran may be his only chance at reelection.

What could go wrong?

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At 8:14 PM, Blogger Sunlight said...

One senior Whitehall official said the regime had proved "surprisingly resilient" in the face of sanctions,

Unexpectedly! Surprisingly! OMG

At 12:45 AM, Blogger Droid said...

Er, that is a story in The Guardian. Anything in that rag is meaningless - but if it is published elsewhere I am interested.

At 1:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah, I would file this under Zionist-warmongers-scaremongering. "Western intelligence agencies say Israel will demand blah blah" "will continue to agitate blah blah" only tells you that left-wingers in the press and/or (maybe) among press sources are compelled to frighten themselves with tall tales of Zionist conspiracies to push the West into war with Iran.

Whether or not Israeli media stories about Bibi working on cabinet approval of Iranian operations are true or not, the anonymously sourced speculation of the Guardian is part of a by now years old tradition of left-wingers calling "wolf".


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