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Old 06-02-06, 04:50 AM   #1
multi
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Question Iran: A Bridge too Far?

Iran: A Bridge too Far?

by Mark Gaffney

10/26/04 "ICH" -- Last July, they dubbed it operation Summer Pulse: a simultaneous mustering of US Naval forces, world wide, that was unprecedented. According to the Navy, it was the first exercise of its new Fleet Response Plan (FRP), the purpose of which was to enable the Navy to respond quickly to an international crisis. The Navy wanted to show its increased force readiness, that is, its capacity to rapidly move combat power to any global hot spot. Never in the history of the US Navy had so many carrier battle groups been involved in a single operation. Even the US fleet massed in the Gulf and eastern Mediterranean during operation Desert Storm in 1991, and in the recent invasion of Iraq, never exceeded six battle groups. But last July and August there were seven of them on the move, each battle group consisting of a Nimitz-class aircraft carrier with its full complement of 7-8 supporting ships, and 70 or more assorted aircraft. Most of the activity, according to various reports, was in the Pacific, where the fleet participated in joint exercises with the Taiwanese navy.

But why so much naval power underway at the same time? What potential world crisis could possibly require more battle groups than were deployed during the recent invasion of Iraq? In past years, when the US has seen fit to “show the flag” or flex its naval muscle, one or two carrier groups have sufficed. Why this global show of power?

The news headlines about the joint-maneuvers in the South China Sea read: “Saber Rattling Unnerves China”, and: “Huge Show of Force Worries Chinese.” But the reality was quite different, and, as we shall see, has grave ramifications for the continuing US military presence in the Persian Gulf; because operation Summer Pulse reflected a high-level Pentagon decision that an unprecedented show of strength was needed to counter what is viewed as a growing threat –– in the particular case of China, because of Peking’s newest Sovremenny-class destroyers recently acquired from Russia.

“Nonsense!” you are probably thinking. That’s impossible. How could a few picayune destroyers threaten the US Pacific fleet?”

Here is where the story thickens: Summer Pulse amounted to a tacit acknowledgement, obvious to anyone paying attention, that the United States has been eclipsed in an important area of military technology, and that this qualitative edge is now being wielded by others, including the Chinese; because those otherwise very ordinary destroyers were, in fact, launching platforms for Russian-made 3M-82 Moskit anti-ship cruise missiles (NATO designation: SS-N-22 Sunburn), a weapon for which the US Navy currently has no defense. Here I am not suggesting that the US status of lone world Superpower has been surpassed. I am simply saying that a new global balance of power is emerging, in which other individual states may, on occasion, achieve “an asymmetric advantage” over the US. And this, in my view, explains the immense scale of Summer Pulse. The US show last summer of overwhelming strength was calculated to send a message.

The Sunburn Missile

I was shocked when I learned the facts about these Russian-made cruise missiles. The problem is that so many of us suffer from two common misperceptions. The first follows from our assumption that Russia is militarily weak, as a result of the breakup of the old Soviet system. Actually, this is accurate, but it does not reflect the complexities. Although the Russian navy continues to rust in port, and the Russian army is in disarray, in certain key areas Russian technology is actually superior to our own. And nowhere is this truer than in the vital area of anti-ship cruise missile technology, where the Russians hold at least a ten-year lead over the US. The second misperception has to do with our complacency in general about missiles-as-weapons –– probably attributable to the pathetic performance of Saddam Hussein’s Scuds during the first Gulf war: a dangerous illusion that I will now attempt to rectify.

Many years ago, Soviet planners gave up trying to match the US Navy ship for ship, gun for gun, and dollar for dollar. The Soviets simply could not compete with the high levels of US spending required to build up and maintain a huge naval armada. They shrewdly adopted an alternative approach based on strategic defense. They searched for weaknesses, and sought relatively inexpensive ways to exploit those weaknesses. The Soviets succeeded: by developing several supersonic anti-ship missiles, one of which, the SS-N-22 Sunburn, has been called “the most lethal missile in the world today.”

After the collapse of the Soviet Union the old military establishment fell upon hard times. But in the late1990s Moscow awakened to the under-utilized potential of its missile technology to generate desperately needed foreign exchange. A decision was made to resuscitate selected programs, and, very soon, Russian missile technology became a hot export commodity. Today, Russian missiles are a growth industry generating much-needed cash for Russia, with many billions in combined sales to India, China, Viet Nam, Cuba, and also Iran. In the near future this dissemination of advanced technology is likely to present serious challenges to the US. Some have even warned that the US Navy’s largest ships, the massive carriers, have now become floating death traps, and should for this reason be mothballed.

The Sunburn missile has never seen use in combat, to my knowledge, which probably explains why its fearsome capabilities are not more widely recognized. Other cruise missiles have been used, of course, on several occasions, and with devastating results. During the Falklands War, French-made Exocet missiles, fired from Argentine fighters, sunk the HMS Sheffield and another ship. And, in 1987, during the Iran-Iraq war, the USS Stark was nearly cut in half by a pair of Exocets while on patrol in the Persian Gulf. On that occasion US Aegis radar picked up the incoming Iraqi fighter (a French-made Mirage), and tracked its approach to within 50 miles. The radar also “saw” the Iraqi plane turn about and return to its base. But radar never detected the pilot launch his weapons. The sea-skimming Exocets came smoking in under radar and were only sighted by human eyes moments before they ripped into the Stark, crippling the ship and killing 37 US sailors.

The 1987 surprise attack on the Stark exemplifies the dangers posed by anti-ship cruise missiles. And the dangers are much more serious in the case of the Sunburn, whose specs leave the sub-sonic Exocet in the dust. Not only is the Sunburn much larger and faster, it has far greater range and a superior guidance system. Those who have witnessed its performance trials invariably come away stunned. According to one report, when the Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani visited Moscow in October 2001 he requested a test firing of the Sunburn, which the Russians were only too happy to arrange. So impressed was Ali Shamkhani that he placed an order for an undisclosed number of the missiles.

The Sunburn can deliver a 200-kiloton nuclear payload, or: a 750-pound conventional warhead, within a range of 100 miles, more than twice the range of the Exocet. The Sunburn combines a Mach 2.1 speed (two times the speed of sound) with a flight pattern that hugs the deck and includes “violent end maneuvers” to elude enemy defenses. The missile was specifically designed to defeat the US Aegis radar defense system. Should a US Navy Phalanx point defense somehow manage to detect an incoming Sunburn missile, the system has only seconds to calculate a fire solution –– not enough time to take out the intruding missile. The US Phalanx defense employs a six-barreled gun that fires 3,000 depleted-uranium rounds a minute, but the gun must have precise coordinates to destroy an intruder “just in time.”

The Sunburn’s combined supersonic speed and payload size produce tremendous kinetic energy on impact, with devastating consequences for ship and crew. A single one of these missiles can sink a large warship, yet costs considerably less than a fighter jet. Although the Navy has been phasing out the older Phalanx defense system, its replacement, known as the Rolling Action Missile (RAM) has never been tested against the weapon it seems destined to one day face in combat.

Implications For US Forces in the Gulf

The US Navy’s only plausible defense against a robust weapon like the Sunburn missile is to detect the enemy’s approach well ahead of time, whether destroyers, subs, or fighter-bombers, and defeat them before they can get in range and launch their deadly cargo. For this purpose US AWACs radar planes assigned to each naval battle group are kept aloft on a rotating schedule. The planes “see” everything within two hundred miles of the fleet, and are complemented with intelligence from orbiting satellites.

But US naval commanders operating in the Persian Gulf face serious challenges that are unique to the littoral, i.e., coastal, environment. A glance at a map shows why: The Gulf is nothing but a large lake, with one narrow outlet, and most of its northern shore, i.e., Iran, consists of mountainous terrain that affords a commanding tactical advantage over ships operating in Gulf waters. The rugged northern shore makes for easy concealment of coastal defenses, such as mobile missile launchers, and also makes their detection problematic. Although it was not widely reported, the US actually lost the battle of the Scuds in the first Gulf War –– termed “the great Scud hunt” –– and for similar reasons. Saddam Hussein’s mobile Scud launchers proved so difficult to detect and destroy –– over and over again the Iraqis fooled allied reconnaissance with decoys –– that during the course of Desert Storm the US was unable to confirm even a single kill. This proved such an embarrassment to the Pentagon, afterwards, that the unpleasant stats were buried in official reports. But the blunt fact is that the US failed to stop the Scud attacks. The launches continued until the last few days of the conflict. Luckily, the Scud’s inaccuracy made it an almost useless weapon. At one point General Norman Schwarzkopf quipped dismissively to the press that his soldiers had a greater chance of being struck by lightning in Georgia than by a Scud in Kuwait.

But that was then, and it would be a grave error to allow the Scud’s ineffectiveness to blur the facts concerning this other missile. The Sunburn’s amazing accuracy was demonstrated not long ago in a live test staged at sea by the Chinese –– and observed by US spy planes. Not only did the Sunburn missile destroy the dummy target ship, it scored a perfect bull’s eye, hitting the crosshairs of a large “X” mounted on the ship’s bridge. The only word that does it justice, awesome, has become a cliché, hackneyed from hyperbolic excess.

The US Navy has never faced anything in combat as formidable as the Sunburn missile. But this will surely change if the US and Israel decide to wage a so-called preventive war against Iran to destroy its nuclear infrastructure. Storm clouds have been darkening over the Gulf for many months. In recent years Israel upgraded its air force with a new fleet of long-range F-15 fighter-bombers, and even more recently took delivery of 5,000 bunker-buster bombs from the US –– weapons that many observers think are intended for use against Iran.

The arming for war has been matched by threats. Israeli officials have declared repeatedly that they will not allow the Mullahs to develop nuclear power, not even reactors to generate electricity for peaceful use. Their threats are particularly worrisome, because Israel has a long history of pre-emptive war. (See my 1989 book Dimona: the Third Temple? and also my 2003 article Will Iran Be Next? posted at < http://www.InformationClearingHouse....rticle3288.htm >)

Never mind that such a determination is not Israel’s to make, and belongs instead to the international community, as codified in the Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT). With regard to Iran, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA’s) recent report (September 2004) is well worth a look, as it repudiates facile claims by the US and Israel that Iran is building bombs. While the report is highly critical of Tehran for its ambiguities and its grudging release of documents, it affirms that IAEA inspectors have been admitted to every nuclear site in the country to which they have sought access, without exception. Last year Iran signed the strengthened IAEA inspection protocol, which until then had been voluntary. And the IAEA has found no hard evidence, to date, either that bombs exist or that Iran has made a decision to build them. (The latest IAEA report can be downloaded at: www.GlobalSecurity.org)

In a talk on October 3, 2004, IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei made the clearest statement yet: "Iran has no nuclear weapons program", he said, and then repeated himself for emphasis: “Iran has no nuclear weapons program, but I personally don’t rush to conclusions before all the realities are clarified. So far I see nothing that could be called an imminent danger. I have seen no nuclear weapons program in Iran. What I have seen is that Iran is trying to gain access to nuclear enrichment technology, and so far there is no danger from Iran. Therefore, we should make use of political and diplomatic means before thinking of resorting to other alternatives.”

( http://www.aljazeera.com/cgi-bin/new...ervice_id=5051 )

No one disputes that Tehran is pursuing a dangerous path, but with 200 or more Israeli nukes targeted upon them the Iranians’ insistence on keeping their options open is understandable. Clearly, the nuclear nonproliferation regime today hangs by the slenderest of threads. The world has arrived at a fateful crossroads.

A Fearful Symmetry?

If a showdown over Iran develops in the coming months, the man who could hold the outcome in his hands will be thrust upon the world stage. That man, like him or hate him, is Russian President Vladimir Putin. He has been castigated severely in recent months for gathering too much political power to himself. But according to former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who was interviewed on US television recently by David Brokaw, Putin has not imposed a tyranny upon Russia –– yet. Gorbachev thinks the jury is still out on Putin.

Perhaps, with this in mind, we should be asking whether Vladimir Putin is a serious student of history. If he is, then he surely recognizes that the deepening crisis in the Persian Gulf presents not only manifold dangers, but also opportunities. Be assured that the Russian leader has not forgotten the humiliating defeat Ronald Reagan inflicted upon the old Soviet state. (Have we Americans forgotten?) By the mid-1980s the Soviets were in Kabul, and had all but defeated the Mujahedeen. The Soviet Union appeared secure in its military occupation of Afghanistan. But then, in 1986, the first US Stinger missiles reached the hands of the Afghani resistance; and, quite suddenly, Soviet helicopter gunships and MiGs began dropping out of the skies like flaming stones. The tide swiftly turned, and by 1989 it was all over but the hand wringing and gnashing of teeth in the Kremlin. Defeated, the Soviets slunk back across the frontier. The whole world cheered the American Stingers, which had carried the day.

This very night, as he sips his cognac, what is Vladimir Putin thinking? Is he perhaps thinking about the perverse symmetries of history? If so, he may also be wondering (and discussing with his closest aides) how a truly great nation like the United States could be so blind and so stupid as to allow another state, i.e., Israel, to control its foreign policy, especially in a region as vital (and volatile) as the Mid-East. One can almost hear the Russians’ animated conversation:

“The Americans! What is the matter with them?”
“They simply cannot help themselves.”
“What idiots!”
“A nation as foolish as this deserves to be taught a lesson…”
“Yes! For their own good.”
“It must be a painful lesson, one they will never forget…”
“Are we agreed, then, comrades?”
“Let us teach our American friends a lesson about the limits of military power!”

Does anyone really believe that Vladimir Putin will hesitate to seize a most rare opportunity to change the course of history and, in the bargain, take his sweet revenge? Surely Putin understands the terrible dimensions of the trap into which the US has blundered, thanks to the Israelis and their neo-con supporters in Washington who lobbied so vociferously for the 2003 invasion of Iraq, against all friendly and expert advice, and who even now beat the drums of war against Iran. Would Putin be wrong to conclude that the US will never leave the region unless it is first defeated militarily? Should we blame him for deciding that Iran is “one bridge too far”?

If the US and Israel overreach, and the Iranians close the net with Russian anti-ship missiles, it will be a fearful symmetry, indeed…

Springing the Trap

At the battle of Cannae in 216 BC the great Carthaginian general, Hannibal, tempted a much larger Roman army into a fateful advance, and then enveloped and annihilated it with a smaller force. Out of a Roman army of 70,000 men, no more than a few thousand escaped. It was said that after many hours of dispatching the Romans Hannibal’s soldiers grew so tired that the fight went out of them. In their weariness they granted the last broken and bedraggled Romans their lives…

Let us pray that the US sailors who are unlucky enough to be on duty in the Persian Gulf when the shooting starts can escape the fate of the Roman army at Cannae. The odds will be heavily against them, however, because they will face the same type of danger, tantamount to envelopment. The US ships in the Gulf will already have come within range of the Sunburn missiles and the even more-advanced SS-NX-26 Yakhonts missiles, also Russian-made (speed: Mach 2.9; range: 180 miles) deployed by the Iranians along the Gulf’s northern shore. Every US ship will be exposed and vulnerable. When the Iranians spring the trap, the entire lake will become a killing field.

Anti-ship cruise missiles are not new, as I’ve mentioned. Nor have they yet determined the outcome in a conflict. But this is probably only because these horrible weapons have never been deployed in sufficient numbers. At the time of the Falklands war the Argentine air force possessed only five Exocets, yet managed to sink two ships. With enough of them, the Argentineans might have sunk the entire British fleet, and won the war. Although we’ve never seen a massed attack of cruise missiles, this is exactly what the US Navy could face in the next war in the Gulf. Try and imagine it if you can: barrage after barrage of Exocet-class missiles, which the Iranians are known to possess in the hundreds, as well as the unstoppable Sunburn and Yakhonts missiles. The questions that our purblind government leaders should be asking themselves, today, if they value what historians will one day write about them, are two: how many of the Russian anti-ship missiles has Putin already supplied to Iran? And: How many more are currently in the pipeline? In 2001 Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that Iran was attempting to acquire anti-ship missiles from Russia. Ominously, the same report also mentioned that the more advanced Yakhonts missile was “optimized for attacks against carrier task forces.” Apparently its guidance system is “able to distinguish an aircraft carrier from its escorts.” The numbers were not disclosed…

The US Navy will come under fire even if the US does not participate in the first so-called surgical raids on Iran’s nuclear sites, that is, even if Israel goes it alone. Israel’s brand-new fleet of 25 F-15s (paid for by American taxpayers) has sufficient range to target Iran, but the Israelis cannot mount an attack without crossing US-occupied Iraqi air space. It will hardly matter if Washington gives the green light, or is dragged into the conflict by a recalcitrant Israel. Either way, the result will be the same. The Iranians will interpret US acquiescence as complicity, and, in any event, they will understand that the real fight is with the Americans. The Iranians will be entirely within their rights to counter-attack in self-defense. Most of the world will see it this way, and will support them, not America. The US and Israel will be viewed as the aggressors, even as the unfortunate US sailors in harm’s way become cannon fodder. In the Gulf’s shallow and confined waters evasive maneuvers will be difficult, at best, and escape impossible. Even if US planes control of the skies over the battlefield, the sailors caught in the net below will be hard-pressed to survive. The Gulf will run red with American blood…

From here, it only gets worse. Armed with their Russian-supplied cruise missiles, the Iranians will close the lake’s only outlet, the strategic Strait of Hormuz, cutting off the trapped and dying Americans from help and rescue. The US fleet massing in the Indian Ocean will stand by helplessly, unable to enter the Gulf to assist the survivors or bring logistical support to the other US forces on duty in Iraq. Couple this with a major new ground offensive by the Iraqi insurgents, and, quite suddenly, the tables could turn against the Americans in Baghdad. As supplies and ammunition begin to run out, the status of US forces in the region will become precarious. The occupiers will become the besieged…

With enough anti-ship missiles, the Iranians can halt tanker traffic through Hormuz for weeks, even months. With the flow of oil from the Gulf curtailed, the price of a barrel of crude will skyrocket on the world market. Within days the global economy will begin to grind to a halt. Tempers at an emergency round-the-clock session of the UN Security Council will flare and likely explode into shouting and recriminations as French, German, Chinese and even British ambassadors angrily accuse the US of allowing Israel to threaten world order. But, as always, because of the US veto the world body will be powerless to act...

America will stand alone, completely isolated. Yet, despite the increasingly hostile international mood, elements of the US media will spin the crisis very differently here at home, in a way that is sympathetic to Israel. Members of Congress will rise to speak in the House and Senate, and rally to Israel’s defense, while blaming the victim of the attack, Iran. Fundamentalist Christian talk show hosts will proclaim the historic fulfillment of biblical prophecy in our time, and will call upon the Jews of Israel to accept Jesus into their hearts; meanwhile, urging the president to nuke the evil empire of Islam. From across America will be heard histrionic cries for fresh reinforcements, even a military draft. Patriots will demand victory at any cost. Pundits will scream for an escalation of the conflict.

A war that ostensibly began as an attempt to prevent the spread of nuclear weapons will teeter on the brink of their use…

http://www.informationclearinghouse....rticle7147.htm
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Old 07-02-06, 03:14 AM   #2
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Lightbulb Why Russia caved-in on Iran

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Does the administration really need a war with Iran so desperately?

Yes.

The truth is, that even the control of oil is not nearly as critical to the US as maintaining it’s continued dominance in the exchange of oil in greenbacks. If Iran is allowed to open its oil bourse (exchange) in March and openly compete with the US’s monopoly on trading oil in petrodollars, the central banks across the globe will dump hundreds of billions of dollars overnight, and the American economy will disappear beneath the waves.

This is not fiction.

The reason the United States is the unchallenged leader of the global economic system is because it has a stranglehold on the oil trade. Even the oil itself, or the price at which it is sold, is of less importance than the means by which it is traded. The nation that controls the currency, determines the rules of the game. It forces other nations to stockpile mountains of its debt-ridden script, while Congress breezily produces oceans of red ink. America’s fat-cat bankers and corporatists are now living off the generosity of the developing world that must hold on to worthless dollars so they can purchase oil. Iran’s plan to sell its oil in petro-euros threatens to break up this massive extortion-ring and put the greenback nose-to-nose with its global competitor; the euro.

The Lukoil transaction should prove to skeptics that Washington is prepared to give up anything to prevent the opening of Iran’s oil exchange. The UN Security Council is just the last step before military operations begin.

The Bush administration is dead-set on attacking Iran and removing this existential threat to the American economy and the ongoing supremacy of the reserve currency.

Now that the case is in the Security Council, things should move ahead fairly quickly.
http://www.opednews.com/articles/ope..._caved_in_.htm
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Old 07-02-06, 07:22 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by floydian slip

Interesting article.
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Old 07-02-06, 08:04 AM   #4
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This is not fiction.
LMAO. If you brain damaged half-wits understood even the basics of international currency markets, or even possessed some simple reasoning ability, you could understand that 'this' is clearly fiction.
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Old 07-02-06, 01:39 PM   #5
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get some self esteem dude.

i dare you to explain why the article is fiction, ill bet you cant.
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Old 07-02-06, 02:15 PM   #6
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Not to you of course, you're an imbecile.

If the dollar was worthless than the U.S. would essentially be getting it's oil for free and it's price wouldn't bother anyone.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foreign_exchange_market

Any free floating currency can be exchanged for any other at market valuations.
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Old 07-02-06, 03:08 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by albed
Not to you of course, you're an imbecile.

If the dollar was worthless than the U.S. would essentially be getting it's oil for free and it's price wouldn't bother anyone.
just as i thought

you dont know

thanks for the confirmation

get help albed
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Old 08-02-06, 05:56 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by albed
Not to you of course, you're an imbecile
Now there's a surprise.
Name calling again.
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Old 08-02-06, 06:26 AM   #9
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Njah Njah

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Originally Posted by malvachat
Now there's a surprise.
Name calling again.
Yakhonts
Yabloodykhonts
Yabunchakhonts
um...?
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Old 08-02-06, 09:23 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by albed
LMAO. If you brain damaged half-wits understood even the basics of international currency markets, or even possessed some simple reasoning ability, you could understand that 'this' is clearly fiction.
My experience is, those that don't actually understand use words and phrases like "you're an imbecile" and you brain damaged half-wits to hide their stupidity and ignorance.

Then they counter by debating the challenge of their intelligence rather than the issues.
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Old 08-02-06, 01:18 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by multi
Yakhonts
Yabloodykhonts
Yabunchakhonts
um...?
Are they direct quotes?
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Old 08-02-06, 02:59 PM   #12
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come within range of the Sunburn missiles and the even more-advanced SS-NX-26 Yakhonts missiles, also Russian-made (speed: Mach 2.9; range: 180 miles)
hell..no

cant wait to hear the news guys trying to pronounce this one...
(if it ever becomes news)

my guess is they have 'willy' from the simpsons naming their missiles for them
crazy russians...
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Old 09-02-06, 01:49 PM   #13
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http://www.upi.com/InternationalInte...8-052333-1392r

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Such a move would not be welcomed in Washington, which swiftly moved after the fall of Baghdad in 2003 to reverse Saddam Hussein's impudent decision to start selling Iraqi oil for euros, rather than dollars. After all, the great benefit of running the world's reserve currency means that if all else fails, the United States Treasury can just print more and more of the stuff and pay for its oil imports that way.

There are, naturally, limits to the degree to which the United States can debase its currency, as the world found with the first great OPEC price rise of 1973, when the price per barrel tripled. This is usually attributed to the political decision by Saudi Arabia and other Arab oil producers to punish the United States for its decisive support of Israel in the Yom Kippur War. That is partly true, but the crucial OPEC decision was as a direct result of President Richard Nixon's Aug. 15 decision to end the dollar's link to the gold standard.

The dollar declined in value, which meant the OPEC producers received less value for their oil. So at their Beirut meeting on Sept. 22, OPEC adopted resolution XXV:140, which resolved to take "any necessary action ... to offset any adverse effects on the per barrel real income of member countries resulting from the international monetary developments as of Aug. 15."

That was also the time when Sheikh Zaki Yamani, the Saudi oil minister, first mentioned the possibility of deploying the ultimate weapon of an oil embargo.
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Old 09-02-06, 08:02 PM   #14
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War with Iran
Of Nukes and Oil




Secretary of State Condi Rice doesn't think the United States and European Union should continue talking to Iran about their potential nuke development. Diplomacy should end and the UN Security Council must now take action, she says. Rice admitted to reporters on January 23, that dialogue between Iran and the international community had come to a "dead end".

"I don't see much room for further discussion in any format," Rice huffed.

Of course, the US's true intentions for going after Tehran may have more to do with what's hidden beneath Iran's arid soil than their nuclear ambitions.

Currently the second largest untapped oil reserve in the world is in Iran. Iran has five times more oil than the US. The industry's reputable Oil and Gas Journal in 2005 estimated 125.8 billion barrels were in the country just waiting to be pumped. Iran is also the number 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).

The majority of Iran's crude oil is located in Khuzestan, which borders Iraq and the Persian Gulf is the home to two of Iran's largest untapped oil fields -- Yadavaran and Azadegan. So it really shouldn't be a surprise that the oil boys in Washington want dibs on Iran's oil-rich land.

But there's a problem, and it could be a substantial glitch in the neo-con's agenda if Iran's nuclear dabbling is taken before the Security Council where it may well be vetoed by China and Russia. The only other alternative if the Council were to veto Iran sanctions would be to invade.

The Chinese government already has its eye on Yadavaran. The Chinese state oil company China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation has a 50 percent stake in the vast Yadavaran oil field.

Russia too has a stake in Iran's oil-rich economy. In 2003 Russia sought to diversify its oil procurement and distribution methods by shipping Russian crude to Iran, where it is was refined for domestic consumption. In return, Iran now delivers an equivalent amount of oil to Russia. As the Asia Times explained in February 2003, "This arrangement will make Russian oil available to non-European buyers at a competitive price by sharply decreasing the cost of exports currently done by oil tankers loaded at Russia's Black Sea ports..."

The threat of UN sanctions has the oil speculators and markets worried sick. Prices have been in flux over the past few weeks as Iran has threatened to pull its huge foreign exchange reserves from European banks. If the Iranian government is anything, it isn't stupid. Tehran knows the threat of yanking the country's cash from Western banks will upset the US stock exchange, which in turn will damage the Bush administration. Iran is flexing what little muscle it has left in hopes that its nuclear agenda doesn't go before the Security Council. The mullahs are just playing politics. But what's worrying Washington more than Iranian nukes may be a much different WMD.

In March 2006, Iran is slated to open the long awaited Iranian Oil Bourse (oil exchange program). Currently the petrodollar is dominated by US currency, but Iran and other OPEC countries want that to end. When the bourse opens, Iran will be trading on a euro-oil-trading system, the first step toward an alternative petrodollar. That could be bad news for the US.

"In economic terms, this represents [a great threat] because it will allow anyone willing either to buy or to sell oil for Euro to transact on the exchange, thus circumventing the U.S. dollar altogether," writes Krassimir Petrov, an economics professor at the American University in Bulgaria in a January edition of the Energy Bulletin.

"Europeans will not have to buy and hold dollars in order to secure their payment for oil, but would instead pay with their own currencies. The adoption of the euro for oil transactions will provide the European currency with a reserve status that will benefit the European at the expense of the Americans ... The Chinese and the Japanese will be especially eager to adopt the new exchange, because it will allow them to drastically lower their enormous dollar reserves and diversify with Euros, thus protecting themselves against the depreciation of the dollar."

The Bush boys don't want that to happen. Oil is likely not the only reasons why the US wants to destroy Tehran's military capabilities, but it does look like one of the big motivations. The United States wants the global oil trade, and in particular OPEC, to primarily benefit America.

What we are seeing may be a new form of economic globalization in the making -- one that involves the forced eradication and trading of natural resources.

http://www.counterpunch.org/frank01262006.html
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Old 10-02-06, 10:08 AM   #15
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Money and Markets
Friday, February 10, 2006

Dear Subscriber,

News reports pouring in from Europe and the Middle East indicate that the seeds of the revolt now erupting throughout the Muslim world did not come from the streets.

They were originally planted by clerics and government officials at the highest levels.

These officials may not have anticipated the widespread upheavals that are now careening beyond their control. But their actions underscore the depth of the conflict ... and the validity of the scenario we have been so persistently warning you about:

New revolts against the established order in the Arab world. A diplomatic, economic or even military conflict with Iran. Disruptions to oil supplies, driving the price to $100 per barrel and beyond. Plus ...

Parallel surges in precious metals and other natural resources. But anyone who thinks this crisis just popped out of nowhere should take a good, hard look at recent history:

Last May, anti-American demonstrations spread throughout the Muslim world like wildfire. In Afghanistan alone, 15 people died. Everywhere, from the Western Sahara to Eastern Indonesia, the anger was evident.

Six months later, a new wave of violence erupted — this time in France, and this time raising far broader questions about the East-West conflict.

And now, just four months have gone by, and, already, a new, even more frightening tsunami of uprisings has swept across the Muslim world.

Thousands of European and American flags have been burned. Several embassies and consulates have been torched. Hundreds of people have been killed or injured.

With each of these episodes, observers identified a single event that triggered the unrest — an offensive article in Newsweek about the Koran ... the accidental deaths of two young teenagers fleeing the police in Paris ... twelve unfortunate cartoons published in a small Danish newspaper.

But by now, it is widely recognized that the true cause of the revolts lies far deeper: A cultural, political, and, most important, economic schism between:

Most of the world’s largest consumers of oil (the U.S. and Europe)

and ...

Most of the world’s largest producers of oil (the Middle East and Persian Gulf).

This is serious. It’s so serious, in fact, that earlier this year, we began writing to you about a topic that we’ve never written about before: War.

Our reasoning: Oil markets are already a pressure cooker, ready to burst. With the added heat from these worldwide tensions, the surge in oil prices — and oil conflicts — could be explosive. Indeed ...

The Bitter Battle with the Muslim World Is Not
Mostly about Religion. It’s Primarily about Oil.


Many people think that religion plays the dominant role in this conflict. Not true.

The current chain of events in the East-West conflict can be traced back to 1990, when Iraq invaded Kuwait.

That invasion had nothing to do with religion. It was almost entirely motivated by economics — for hegemony over oil reserves, control over Kuwait’s ports to the Persian Gulf, and better access to vital transportation routes to major world markets.

America’s long-term response to Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait — to establish a permanent military presence on the Arabian Peninsula — was also mostly for economic reasons: To help guarantee access to the peninsula’s vast oil reserves.

What about the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, Madrid and London? Weren’t they driven primarily by religious zeal? Not necessarily.

The original raison d’être of al Qaeda was to eject the U.S. military from the Arabian Peninsula ... gain control over the region’s oil reserves ... and place them under the auspices of a broad Islamic empire.

Yes, al Qaeda is a rogue, terrorist organization with a pseudo-religious mission. But its primary goal is to bring about revolutionary economic change. Whether they succeed or not, the mere threat of this revolution spreading throughout the Muslim world is creating a new, hotter cold war.

A New, Old Battleground
In the War for Oil: Iran


The control over oil and energy is also what’s behind the looming confrontation with Iran over its nuclear facilities. This is a new battleground. But it’s also an old one, with many lessons from recent history that we must not forget:

The Iranian revolution which drove oil prices up to the equivalent of $96 per barrel in today’s dollars...The Iran-Iraq war...the longest major war of the 20th century...lasting eight full years...taking an estimated one million lives... costing as much as two trillion dollars...and demonstrating the stubbornly bellicose tendencies of both countries’ leaders ..The latest Iraqi elections, in which the outstanding winner was precisely the party most directly allied to Iran, and now...Iran’s nuclear program.

Why is Iran so steadfastly committed to nuclear energy, despite all the carrots and sticks waved at Iran by the U.S. and Europe?

Simple: Iran wants to develop nuclear energy to reduce its own dependence on its decaying oil infrastructure. Iran wants a nuclear bomb to defend its oil reserves against perceived threats by oil-hungry world powers — China, the United States, Russia and others. And Iran is especially intimidated by the presence of large American and European armies in neighboring Iraq.

In recent days, Iran has ended all international inspections of its nuclear facilities. It has begun full-scale production of enriched uranium that can be used for nuclear bombs. And it has set off a chain reaction of events that could easily escalate into a new war over oil. The reasons for this impasse are both clear and fundamental:

The United States and Europe will not allow the world’s premier supporter of terrorist organizations — including Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad — to develop the world’s supreme weapon of mass destruction.

Yes, there may have been a relatively lax attitude toward nuclear proliferation in the past. But no more!

No one needs to tell the United States and Europe how to connect the dots — from Iran to terror ... from terror to al Qaeda ... and from al Qaeda to nuclear attacks on major cities of the Western world.

Nor do our leaders need any help asking the obvious questions: If terrorists had primitive nuclear devices, what would have happened in the World Trade Center bombing of February 26, 1993? What would have happened on 9/11? What about Madrid on March 11, 2004? Or London on July 7, 2005?

This is the last straw. Clearly, with Iran, the West must draw — and already has drawn — an immutable line in the sand. There will be no compromise that results in a nuclear Iran.

The probable result: The United Nations will stop Iran from building a bomb. Iran will retaliate by stopping its oil exports to the West. And we will see a repeat of the oil-price explosion we saw during the Iranian revolution a quarter-century ago.


The rest of the article is about Gold - Which is still a great buy.
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Old 10-02-06, 05:29 PM   #16
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good read

Quote:
The rest of the article is about Gold -
got a link ?


so its not about oil ?
then its all about the oil...

Israel will always have something to do with it..
and will be a main reason behind why nuclear arms will get used
in the middle east..the creation of it was instumental in the last two world wars
why not the next ?


Behind the Balfour Declaration: Britain's Great War Pledge To Lord Rothschild
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Old 06-06-06, 01:08 AM   #17
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Default Nuclear Standoff: If U.S. Attacks, Iran Warns It Will Cut Oil Supplies

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday that Western accusations Iran seeks nuclear weapons are a "sheer lie," and he declared that attempts to punish Tehran would jeopardize the world's oil supply.

The implied threat was dismissed by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who said Iran was too dependent on oil revenues to disrupt the flow of crude. She also put Iran on notice that the incentives offered by the West to suspend its nuclear program are not open-ended, although she declined to say Tehran had a firm deadline to respond.

Khamenei, who has the final say on all state matters, made his comments in a speech broadcast live on state radio.

"If you make any mistake (punish or attack Iran), definitely shipment of energy from this region will be seriously jeopardized," Khamenei said, addressing Western nations.

Khamenei said the United States and its allies would be unable to secure oil shipments passing out of the Gulf through the strategic Strait of Hormuz to the Indian Ocean. At its narrowest point, the strait separating Iran from the Arabian peninsula is 44 miles wide.

"You will never be able to protect the energy supply in this region. You will not be able to do it," he said.

Khamenei, however, did not specify how oil supplies would be disrupted, and he insisted to the assembled throng that Iran would not be "the initiator of war."

In a television interview later Sunday, Rice sought to play down Khamenei's remarks.

"I think that we shouldn't place too much emphasis on a threat of this kind," she said on "Fox News Sunday." "Obviously it would be a very serious problem for Iran if oil were to be disrupted on the market."

Last week, Rice said the United States was prepared to join the European Union and Germany in negotiations with Iran only if Tehran agreed to stop enriching uranium. The Western nations fear Iran is using what it calls a peaceful civilian nuclear program as a cover to build atomic weapons.

Khamenei said Iran was not a threat to any country.
next
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Old 06-01-07, 02:39 PM   #18
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IRAN WAR 'IN 2YRS
By Bob Roberts

A WAR against Iran could be launched within the next two years, a senior adviser to George Bush warned last night.

CIA specialist on Iran Reuel Marc Gerecht said there had been a "tidal shift" of opinion towards military action, especially in Israel.

He added: "I think it has now become highly likely the Israelis will launch a strike before the end of George Bush's presidency."

An Israeli attack before the US election in November 2008 risks sparking a military explosion in the Middle East.

It is likely to be backed up by American and possibly British air support from Iraq.

Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could retaliate by sending the Republican Guard across the border with Iraq to attack British forces.

Experts warned there would be a massive surge in Iranianbacked suicide attacks.

The UN has voted unanimously to impose sanctions against Iran over its failure to halt its nuclear programme.

http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/tm_head...name_page.html
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Old 07-01-07, 04:05 AM   #19
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Eek! or maybe sooner

Revealed: Israel plans nuclear strike on Iran
Uzi Mahnaimi, New York and Sarah Baxter, Washington
Timesonline

ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons.

Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources.

The attack would be the first with nuclear weapons since 1945, when the United States dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Israeli weapons would each have a force equivalent to one-fifteenth of the Hiroshima bomb.

Under the plans, conventional laser-guided bombs would open “tunnels” into the targets. “Mini-nukes” would then immediately be fired into a plant at Natanz, exploding deep underground to reduce the risk of radioactive fallout.

“As soon as the green light is given, it will be one mission, one strike and the Iranian nuclear project will be demolished,” said one of the sources.

The plans, disclosed to The Sunday Times last week, have been prompted in part by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad’s assessment that Iran is on the verge of producing enough enriched uranium to make nuclear weapons within two years.

Israeli military commanders believe conventional strikes may no longer be enough to annihilate increasingly well-defended enrichment facilities. Several have been built beneath at least 70ft of concrete and rock. However, the nuclear-tipped bunker-busters would be used only if a conventional attack was ruled out and if the United States declined to intervene, senior sources said.

Israeli and American officials have met several times to consider military action. Military analysts said the disclosure of the plans could be intended to put pressure on Tehran to halt enrichment, cajole America into action or soften up world opinion in advance of an Israeli attack.

Some analysts warned that Iranian retaliation for such a strike could range from disruption of oil supplies to the West to terrorist attacks against Jewish targets around the world.

Israel has identified three prime targets south of Tehran which are believed to be involved in Iran’s nuclear programme:
  • Natanz, where thousands of centrifuges are being installed for uranium enrichment
  • A uranium conversion facility near Isfahan where, according to a statement by an Iranian vice-president last week, 250 tons of gas for the enrichment process have been stored in tunnels
  • A heavy water reactor at Arak, which may in future produce enough plutonium for a bomb
Israeli officials believe that destroying all three sites would delay Iran’s nuclear programme indefinitely and prevent them from having to live in fear of a “second Holocaust”.

The Israeli government has warned repeatedly that it will never allow nuclear weapons to be made in Iran, whose president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has declared that “Israel must be wiped off the map”.
Continued..


Israeli General Says Lobby Needs to Work on Democrats and Newspaper Editors So that Bush Can Attack Iran
In a stark statement published on Saturday Brigadier General Oded Tira observed, "President Bush lacks the political power to attack Iran. As an American strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help him pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors. We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure."

Because of the dramatic loss of political power of the Bush-Cheney administration, General Tira urges the Israel Lobby to, "turn to Hillary Clinton and other potential presidential candidates in the Democratic Party so that they support immediate action by Bush against Iran."

In another move designed to strengthen Bush politically, General Tira urges the Israel Lobby to exert its influence on European countries so that, "Bush will not be isolated in the international arena again."

As if all of that Israel-lobbying in America and Europe were not enough, General Tira proposes an even more aggressive political tactic, "We must clandestinely cooperate with Saudi Arabia so that it also persuades the US to strike Iran. For our part, we must prepare an independent military strike by coordinating flights in Iraqi airspace with the US. We should also coordinate with Azerbaijan the use of airbases in its territory and also enlist the support of the Azeri minority in Iran. In addition, we must immediately start preparing for an Iranian response to an attack."

Based on the urgency of General Tira's extraordinary pleas, it is immediately apparent that he has been shocked by the turn of political events inside America. By this time, he has learned from official US sources that the long-anticipated attack against Iran has been shelved because of tectonic shifts in American politics.

Apparently, General Tira did not realize that President Bush has become the most deeply unpopular president in American history and that it was his subservience to the dictates of the Israel Lobby and its demands for wars against Iraq and Iran that led him into the political prison where he now finds himself isolated and impotent.

http://today.az/news/politics/34565.html
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Old 12-01-07, 05:11 AM   #20
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Did the US Just Start a War with Iran?
By rumpole

Last night, Bush threatened action against Iran and Syria. According to this story by the AP, american forces have already arrested individuals and confiscated computers and documents in what Iran is calling a diplomatic mission. The US Army says otherwise.

If the Army is lying, then it's disturbing news. Diplomatic missions (and even sometimes consulates) are sovereign territory--in this case, the sovereign territory of Iran. That is an act of aggression, and it's the kind of thing that can escalate in a big hurry, unless Congress does something fairly quickly.

(Disclaimer: only permanent diplomatic missions (embassies) are foreign territory. Consulates, "temporary" diplomatic missions, may be subject to differing domestic laws, and consular employees do not have the same level of immunity as diplomats. If they're involved in funding insurgent attacks, the Iranian government is in a pickle, because the immunity only extends to those acts taken in the course of official duties. Put more simply, if Iran wants deniability, they'll have to disown the consular folks that were arrested. There's a lot more that needs to come out about this story, but in light of the constantly beating war drums in the speech last night, it's scary as hell.)

http://warrenreports.tpmcafe.com/blo..._war_with_iran
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