Israel likely killed Iranian scientist to kill US/global diplomatic effort to resolve nuclear issue — Lobe

netanyahu 2
Escalation of Iran tensions serves
only Netanyahu gov’t and Iranian hardliners

A brilliant post by Jim Lobe. Read the whole thing at the link. Some excerpts:

I haven’t read all the commentary — or nearly all the commentary — on the assassination of the Iranian chemist today, but I have the distinct impression that whoever targeted him had a much broader agenda than simply killing yet another scientist working on Iran’s nuclear program. I think the prospect of renewed negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran was the bigger target.

My sense of the last week or so was that the mostly verbal confrontation between Iran and the U.S., particularly regarding the Strait of Hormuz, was spinning out of control much more rapidly than anyone had expected and that the possibility of a conflict had suddenly become very real in ways the Obama administration certainly never intended. (See Anne-Marie Slaughter’s CNN column, “Saving Face and Peace in the Gulf,” as an example of “this is getting really dangerous all of a sudden”. Until last fall, of course, she was Clinton’s director of policy planning and a very influential figure in the administration.) So there seemed to be a real effort to dial things back, expressed not only in repeated statements by senior administration officials, including Clinton, emphasizing Washington’s readiness to negotiate, but also, if the always well-informed Laura Rozen is to be believed, a lot of diplomatic — some of it, I’m sure, behind the scenes — manoeuvring to get the P5+1 process back into gear, with Turkey serving as the convenor/mediator.

Under these circumstances, the timing of today’s assassination was particularly remarkable. Among other things, it makes me believe that the U.S., which condemned the attack and categorically denied any role in it (See Clinton’s statement in her press conference with the Qatari Prime Minister here), was not in fact involved….

If there was indeed an Israeli hand behind it, the assassination was not just an effort to set back the Iran’s nuclear program and induce fear among other scientists working on it. I think it was also a provocation designed to 1) blow up prospects for progress in any p5+1 negotiations that might convene over the next month or so; 2) strengthen hard-line factions in Tehran that oppose negotiations; and 3) possibly provoke retaliation that will further escalate tensions, if not armed conflict. Of course, all three of these overlap and reinforce each other…

If it was Israel, I imagine that the administration, as well as key EU countries (although probably not Sarkozy), would be very angry about the timing of this attack precisely because it will strengthen hard-liners in Tehran and thus make it more difficult for Iran’s leadership to enter into serious negotiations with the P5+1. Indeed, given the extreme sensitivity of the moment and what I think is a strong desire on the part of virtually all parties to avoid war, at least at this time, the only actors who could possibly see this as serving their strategic interests are the hawkish political leadership in Israel and hard-line factions in Tehran. Assuming for the sake of argument that Israel was behind it, it will be very interesting to see if signs of renewed tensions between the administration and Netanyahu over Iran surface in the coming days.

UPDATE: I see Thursday’s New York Times appears to agree with the thrust of my last paragraph:

The statements by the United States appeared to reflect serious concern about the growing number of lethal attacks, which some experts believe could backfire by undercutting future negotiations and prompting Iran to redouble what the West suspects is a quest for a nuclear capacity.

P.S. Here is Washington Post publishing the view that the killing has endangered an American life:

TEHRAN — The assassination Wednesday of an Iranian nuclear scientist in northern Tehran increases the peril for an Iranian American who was sentenced to death Monday, analysts said. Iranian officials quickly blamed the scientist’s killing on the United States, ratcheting up tensions between the two countries and making it less likely that Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, a 28-year-old former U.S. Marine arrested in August and accused of spying for the CIA, will be released anytime soon. “Unfortunately, the greater the escalation is, the greater the likelihood that the perceived costs of executing him decline,” said Trita Parsi, president of the National Iranian American Council and author of a new book about the Obama administration’s dealings with Iran.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Iran, US Policy in the Middle East, US Politics

{ 42 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Avi_G. says:

    Well, this being an election year, and given recent claptrap from presidential candidates like Santorum, don’t expect the fallout from this to present itself in the public domain. In other words, US officials may feel betrayed by Israel’s actions, but they won’t openly voice their displeasure. That’s a given.

    • lysias says:

      A war would probably ensure Obama’s re-election. Re-election looks likely enough anyway, but politicians like insurance. (When Watergate happened, Nixon’s re-election already looked likely too.)

      • yourstruly says:

        gulf I gave president george h. w. bush an initial popularity boost but by the time of the ’92 election the economy had taken a dive, such that his popularity plummeted, facilitating bill clinton’s win.

  2. Dan Crowther says:

    So, CNN and the NY Times say the Obama administration is worried or whatever, and Jim Lobe plays along.

    So, after three years of talking about “no options off the table” – increasing the severity of sanctions, support for anti-regime groups and forces, involvement in previous assasinations, lying about alleged Iranian terror plots in the US, and continuing the policy of provocation and encirclement of Iran- its now 2012 and the Obama Administration is running for re-election, its got to clean up its image with liberals who think Obama is just another neocon stooge.

    How is this any different at all from the “obama wanted the public option, but just ran into a brick wall of obstruction” – seriously, I’m supposed to believe that those damn Israeli’s unilaterally fucked up Obama’s diplomatic outreach to Iran? If I am going to believe that, Im going to need sources other than CNN and the NY Times…..

    V

    • Dan Crowther says:

      Greenwald makes a good point today – one that I agree with, if the US was not involved in this and really had nothing to do with it, then why are the official organs of US propaganda refusing to call this terrorism?

      “Whatever else might be true, Israel and the U.S. are certainly the leading suspects behind these killings. And that is what explains the vehement resistance against calling this Terrorism.”

      link to salon.com

      • American says:

        “why are the official organs of US propaganda refusing to call this terrorism?”…..Dan

        Because they know Israel did it or had it done by the MEK.
        I am a little unsure the US had anything to do with this one. Mostly because it ‘appears on the surface” that Obama is trying to avoid any Iran confrontation with Iran before the elections. And this assassination isn’t something that would contribute to any kind of regime change in Iran.
        I say “on the surface” because then there are other moves like sending US troops to Israel and moving US ships into the area that do look like we are trying to encourage some incident.
        The Obama adm to me is the screwiest or lyingist one we have ever had in terms of trying to figure out what the real purpose of their moves is because most times their policies vr their actions are so contradictory it makes it looks like the right hand doesn’t know what the left hand is doing. …and that could be it…..Obama is a lazy and not demanding leader, empty suit type. I can see him leaving decisions to others because it’s too taxing for him to take on himself.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          but if the MEK did do it, however likely or unlikely that is, isnt this the same MEK that Howard Dean shills for? Isnt this the same MEK that democrats have been trying to get off the official “terrorist organization” list?

          And how does this not follow the same steps the US has taken elsewhere in the world at different times, in southeast asia, central and south america etc?

        • American says:

          “but if the MEK did do it, however likely or unlikely that is, isnt this the same MEK that Howard Dean shills for”…Dan

          Yeah it is. But I am saying there was no actual pay off in US intentions toward Iran in assassinating the Iranian. It didn’t accomplish anything…it was only two things…a message to Iran about nukes and plain old shit stirring. Shit stirring with auxiliary figures isn’t the usual US way, it’s the Iraeli way. Israelis do very “peevish” mafia type stuff, the US usually goes for something way less obvious and that will trigger bigger results.
          Iran also had already said it was going to excute the American Iranian before this happened.
          But it’s not impossible I guess, it just doesn’t look like the usual US mo.
          Israel’s done a dozen assassinations all over the place the past 2 years that had nothing to do with the US.
          Just saying that is what this looks like to me…could be wrong..doubt there is way to know for certain.

        • Dan Crowther says:

          American,

          Right, Im definitely not arguing that the Israeli’s killed the dude, they more than likely did – but unilaterally? As a way to deep-six potential talks? I dunno, I just don’t see it.

          Also, when Oscar Romero, archbishop was murdered in El Salvador ( by US sponsored death squad members) the US was apologetic and the Vatican quickly moved to canonize the guy……

          either way, like you say my brother, who knows for certain – any way you slice, this sht is F’d up

    • American says:

      “seriously, I’m supposed to believe that those damn Israeli’s unilaterally fucked up Obama’s diplomatic outreach to Iran.”

      Just reminding here that Iran has made a dozen official overtures to the US in the early years of Obama’s term and all of them have been ignored. I think is was because of the zio advisors he installed in his adm.
      But the best run down on all the things Israel has done to prevent, throw a monkey wrench in, US relationships with other ME states is in W&M’s “Israel Lobby”.
      In fact the book is more valuable for those who already know about the Lobby for what it tells about how Israel itself has worked against US interest, than it is for learning about the Lobby.

      The US inclusion of Israel has been like having a evil spirit living in your house screwing with everything you do.

      • yourstruly says:

        before the afghanistan war same rejection of the taliban’s offer to deliver obl to the u.s. put forth evidence that he was responsible for 9/11. also prior to the iraq war same thing happened (ie nothing) to saddam hussein’s efforts to negotiate. history repeating itself? come on ron paul, speak out even more against war! also, occupy movement, where are y’all on this issue, when america needs you?

        • Kris says:

          Here’s a new Ron Paul ad, “War Propaganda,” juxtaposing the lies presented in the run-up to the U.S. war on Iraq, with the lies now being advanced against Iran:

        • Dan Crowther says:

          Exactly. Rejectionism was also our strategy in Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador and elsewhere…. this idea that barry and the o’s are out there looking for someone to talk, and the israeli’s are F’ing it up is absurd

  3. Les says:

    You pay for what you get. All that money shelled out to Israel seems not to have bought any kind of leash normally worn by US lackeys.

  4. lysias says:

    I wonder if the people who actually carried out the hit were members of the MKE organization that the neocons so love.

  5. Citizen says:

    Whatever. Imagine if an Israeli scientist was murdered. Where would Obama or indeed any US POTUS be on the issue? In fact, imagine if Israel was standing in Iran’s shoes right now. US would be absolutely vicious, scrambling to protect Israel from economic sanctions, let alone threats of war. Meanwhile, since here in the US celebrity culture those people are idolized and followed, here’s Angela Jolie & her hubby on the I-P situation–not to be confused with John Voight, Angela’s father–he’s an arch righteous Zionist behind his fading jowled nordic face, while Angela seeks to have the whole world treat each other as part of one family. link to sizedoesntmatter.com
    Imagine if Angela-Brad adopted a Palestinian orphan?

  6. this is a great article by lobe. the first (earliest) article i read about the assassination had this choice quote at the end of it (check out this outrageous framing):

    “The Iranians are exposing this in order, ultimately, to provide a large degree of rationale and justification, both domestically and abroad, for what they will eventually consider as a reprisal,” said Uzi Rabi, a Middle East expert at Tel Aviv University.

    He predicted an “unavoidable showdown,” most likely in the Gulf, where Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz, with a possible spillover in the form of Israeli and Western air strikes on Iran.

    The Iranians are exposing this ???? gee , ya think? israel is pushing iran to initiate a war so we can ‘react’. what bs.

  7. American says:

    Some day we must have the horse discussion about Israel not the cart discussion.

    Which means we must examine the three sole claims made by Israel supporters for US support of Israel.

    Their number one claim always is:…..
    The US has a “moral obligation” to the Jews and Israel.

    The two others are:
    US-Isr shared values.
    Israel as a strategic asset.

    A debate on these claims won’t change the real fact that US-Isr is actually based on political money. But I would like to see a debate on this with those like Slater, Beinart, Wasserman and Christian zios and any others. In fact Phil should ask some to submit articles on this.

  8. chet says:

    Why can’t the Brazil-Turkey-Iran agreement be revived?

    link to news.bbc.co.uk

    • lysias says:

      Trita Parsi’s new book, A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama’s Diplomacy with Iran, which I am now reading, goes into great detail about that Brazil-Turkey-Iran agreement. His account makes the Obama administration look very bad. Basically, they couldn’t take a yes from Iran (to terms that they had already offered to Iran and had just told Brazil and Turkey were still acceptable) as an answer.

      Since I’m currently also reading Herbert Hoover’s new book about FDR’s diplomacy, I couldn’t help but be reminded of Hitler’s duplicitous diplomacy.

  9. dbroncos says:

    “…the only actors who could possibly see this as serving their strategic interests are the hawkish political leadership in Israel and hard-line factions in Tehran.”

    It also serves The Lobby’s interests and since they dictate Iran policy to our reps we won’t be hearing more than some whiny kvetching from the Peace Prize Winner or Israel’s servants on Capitiol Hill.

  10. James North says:

    Richard Witty said, ‘You won’t see me within a country mile of this thread. If I had an ounce of the integrity of someone like Professor Jerry Slater, I would be over here denouncing the murder of this scientist, and the likely involvement of Israel. Instead, I’m elsewhere, continuing my usual quibbling about how the illegal Israeli settlers in the West Bank deserve a hearing in a “color-blind court of law.”
    ‘This Iranian scientist never had the privilege of a trial; he was simply murdered.
    ‘The truth is: his death doesn’t upset me. I’ve already endorsed “attacking Iran lightly,” and I go along with everything Israel wants — while I lecture Phil Weiss and the legions of Mondoweiss readers that they have to “make the better argument.”‘

  11. Kris says:

    “Iran and the Terrorism Game,” another excellent article by Glenn Greenwald, is here: link to salon.com

    Greenwald does his usual outstanding job of writing, but the picture that accompanies his article says it all: It is a snapshot of the young Iranian scientist who was just assassinated, with his little boy. That photo of the proud young father and his baby represents so much. The young father’s parents, his extended family, his wife, his children.

    • lysias says:

      That Glenn Greenwald piece I also found interesting for another reason: Greenwald says the Saudi government was involved in 9/11:

      Indeed, the targeted Ambassador is an official in a government that has engaged in all sorts of acts of war and is even linked to an actual Terrorist plot: the 9/11 attacks.

      That Saudi government involvement — for which there is lots of evidence — was totally ignored in the 9/11 Commission Report.

  12. kma says:

    Phil, etc,
    you CAN’T be serious that you think Obama is an innocent bystander in all this. he doesn’t even break a sweat when he does exactly what he’s told to. what a con! and Hillary is so turned on by the prospect of war with Iran that she stumbles when she speaks. shipments of weapons and arms deals are UP! yeehaw!
    oh, and a “tipster” from Tel Aviv spelled things out really well on a BBC show yesterday: Israel (& the US) CANNOT talk/negotiate with Iran because they lie and arm Hamas and Hezbollah. so, they MUST use terrorist attacks against Iran to “slow” their nuclear energy program. Israel CANNOT initiate war with Iran, because that would be REALLY bad, and then Israel would have to go and massacre Palestinians and Lebanese to do its part in the war effort against Iran – which is the “world’s” responsibility and MUST happen because it is the only way to stop Iran. he said it has to be a conventional war to “prevent a nuclear war”. he did not say who or how we intend to deal with Syria first. and, in spite of the notion that NOBODY can negotiate with Iran, Israel INSISTS that sanctions be pushed to levels of severe pain FIRST.

    these guys are DROOLING for it to start, and probably expected some reaction from Iran by now, and had to add that “neener-neener” comment about “unnatural events in the future” because they haven’t got a reaction yet. the US is totally on board with this. it’s not even about nuclear weapons. there are none. it’s about a big f-ing war, just like last time. the US gets deficit spending, big weapons contracts, martial law, and Israel gets to speed up its ethnic cleansing.

    even Amy Goodman hosted Trita Parsi this morning saying it’s just a communication failure, oh well. nobody’s fault. probably inevitable. Obama did the best he could. (that was Colin Powell’s excuse!)

    think about this: we can’t NEGOTIATE with them, period. but we’re imposing severe sanctions anyway? to what end, if we CANNOT talk to liars and terrorists? and we’ve already skipped sanctions and gone straight to direct attacks, but we’re still imposing sanctions. and how would we even lift sanctions – they could stop the centrifuges yesterday, and we’d still ratchet up the rhetoric. Iraq was in the same position. Americans will buy anything. twice, even.

  13. ritzl says:

    Didn’t Israel assassinate Ahmed Yassin (Hamas) as he was moving that organization toward moderation (a truce?).

    link to pbs.org

    This is what they do. It’s pretty obvious that Israel opposes a resolution of any of the regional conflict. It’s wrong. It works to their benefit. You have to wonder if they’re not neck deep in Syria as well.

    OT, but does anyone know if Jacob Lew’s son went to yeshiva in occupied Jerusalem or a settlement. (His bio says his son attended yeshiva in Jerusalem.)

    • lysias says:

      I don’t know what part of Jerusalem, but this is disturbing:

      Over the past three years, Lew, whose son studied in a yeshiva in Israel, has developed a close working relationship with Israeli Ambassador to the United States Michael Oren, and has met several times with Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz.

      What reason would there be for the Director of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget to meet so much with these particular Israelis?

      • American says:

        Well It’s worse.
        Jacob Lew was the guy who had the hedge fund at Citigroup that bet on the housing collapse, just like Paulson’s hedge fund did. Reportedly he took a $900000 bonus from the company after it took $45 billion in taxpayer bailout. Then in his congressional testimony he said he ‘didn’t know” ..gawd!….if deregulation had anything to do with it or not and he wasn’t exactly sure what caused it.

        Then, Lew is a little too active in his Jewish causes to suit me, if we have to have ethnic nationalist in the WH I’d rather they at least be American nationalist. LOL
        Anyway Obama’s appointments were the reason I didn’t vote for him the first time and will be reason I don’t vote for him this time either.

        Sharansky: Obama’s new chief of staff ‘staunch Israel supporter’

        Jewish Agency chief says Jacob Lew was key figure in Soviet Jewry campaign, has ‘warm place in his heart for Israel and Judaism’

        Aviel Magnezi Published: 01.11.12, 00:40 / Israel News

        “Jacob Lew is an Orthodox Jew who treats his religion very seriously. It is important for him that his children are raised as Jews,” Jewish Agency Chairman Natan Sharansky said of the new White House chief of staff.

        Sharansky was still a Prisoner of Zion in the former Soviet Union when he first heard of Lew, who had just received his bachelor’s degree from Harvard. “He worked as a senior policy adviser to House Speaker Tip O’Neill and was one of the most influential people in Washington, and every negotiation between the White House and Congress passed through him,” Sharansky recalled.

        “My wife would travel to Washington to promote the struggle for my release, and he and the current director of the Rothschild Foundation in Jerusalem were the ones who fought for us in Congress,” he said.
        The Jewish Agency chief said that following his release he would organize the activities in support of Soviet Jews from Lew’s home. “The largest demonstration in the history of the struggle, which brought some 250,000 Jews to Washington, was organized from his home,” Sharansky said. “His office was in charge of all the logistics ahead of the rally.”

        Sharansky said Lew was one of the founders of a Jewish school in Washington and is also “very active in his synagogue.”
        Judaism is one of the key components in Lew’s life,” he said.
        Sharansky said that while Lew is a “pure democrat,” he has a “warm place in his heart that is reserved for Israel and Judaism.”
        Sharansky opined that Lew would not remain indifferent to Israel. “For him, it’s not just another country. His faith and bond with Israel and the Jewish people is an important part of his life,” he said.

        The head of the Jewish Agency noted that Lew is extremely professional and “will remain loyal to the US government, but is also a man of negotiation and dialogue – between the Congress and the White House and between Republicans and Democrats.

        “With tensions running high – he’s the ideal man to calm the spirits in the White House,” Sharansky argued.
        While he refrained from predicting an improvement in Israel-US relations following the appointment of Lew, Sharansky said he is convinced that Lew’s presence will have a positive effect in the media sphere.

        “He is a man who’s open to Israel and the Middle East and has extensive knowledge on the subject. He has worked in this field for many years, and it’s always good to have someone who cares and is in the know,” Sharansky noted.
        “Lew is a great Israel supporter and has always taken upon himself to help us. The question is not whether he’ll be loyal to his boss – he will be. The question is whether Israel is only an abstract thing for him – another one of the players on the field that must be organized according to the boss’ wishes – or whether it’s more than that,” he added”.

        Not to be crude but this Appointment looks like the standard appoint a Jew and get the Jews money on Obama’s part.

      • ritzl says:

        What reason indeed. You mean right-wing and/or radical, Likudnik, Israelis? Hmm…

        Pretty clear where his sentiments lie on Israel.

        Shoring up political (i.e. funding) support for Obama?

        Two birds, imho, with the Citi revolving door connex (and that does NOT mean “Jewish Bankers.” It just means Lew addresses two separate fundraising constituencies.)

        Lew does seem to have some genuine domestic liberal tendencies, given the media account of his record at OMB. But as CoS, it’s different. Emanuel was a generation removed from terrorist/activist/overt support of Israel in a policy making position. Lew may, and I emphasize may, be a current and knowing supporter of the illegal Occupation. That may have some play in the discussion at the national level in the US.

        If his son did go to yeshiva in Occupied areas, I hope this gets discussed here. It isn’t going to be discussed anywhere else. “nanny-gate” like?

  14. ToivoS says:

    I remain reasonable sure that Obama does not want war with Iran and that he has the backing of the military on this score (maybe the AF still wants war, but right now they are out voted). That is why it is very unlikely that the program to assassinate Iranian scientists is not authorized by Obama.

    Having said this Obama is playing a very dangerous game with Iran. It might only take one small push by Israel or some rogue elements in the US government to set off a chain of events that result in war. We should not forget that there is a war party inside Iran as well as here. (I see the seizure of the British embassy last month as evidence for that). The simplest explanation for these assassinations are that this is Israel’s effort to raise the temperature. Even their coy public disavowals hinting at how delighted they are in the outcome is provocative.

    I worry that some faction inside the Revolutionary Guards will take the initiative and create a situation that forces Obama to order military retaliation. No matter how minor the provocation, Obama has raised the temperature to a point where he will honor bound to respond with military violence less his opponents call him a wimp.

    • We should not forget that there is a war party inside Iran as well as here. (I see the seizure of the British embassy last month as evidence for that)

      don’t fall for everything you read. i was talking to someone recently about iran and they brought up that embassy thing..funny thing tho is that they had heard zilch about the fox, weritty, gould triage in cahoots w/mossad. don’t forget gould was working at the UK’s embassy in tehran prior to his jaunt to israel. all that news had just burst a bubble

      link to mondoweiss.net

      this news simmered and simmered and then was published by the independent nov 27th:

      link to independent.co.uk

      2 days later the embassy was stormed.

      • ToivoS says:

        Sorry Anni it doesn’t matter what plots were going on in TelAviv, London, wherever, the seizure of the embassy was an extremely destabilizing act — whoever authorized that action did not particularly care if it provoked war.

        We all know that Iran is being continuously provoked. The Iranians also know that they might be able to cause some serious international problems in case of war, but they will suffer the most.

        • toivo, i know it was a destabilizing act and i know there are people inside iran willing to destabilize it. i’m just saying everything is not always how it appears to be from the outside. directly after that happened the UK ousted the iranian embassy in london..immediately. now what if, just what if given all that was going down in london at that time with the revelations of the gould fox werritty thing or the neoncons wanting to separate the UK from iran, the intention of the UK was to oust the iranian embassy from the UK or end create and end to their embassy in tehran? what if? what better way to do it than to make it appear as a reaction? that is all i am saying. we have plenty of people inside iran working to instigate actions (as was revealed in the wikileaks, and spoken as an intention by some israeli hotshot, dagan perhaps).

          i am just saying when things like this happen, and remember the police were there in full force, maybe it isn’t the iranian regime doing it.

          Reuters

          Iran’s Foreign Ministry said it regretted the attacks and was committed to ensuring the safety of diplomats, and parliament speaker Ali Larijani criticized the U.N. Security Council for condemning the attacks.

          “The hasty move in the Security Council in condemning the students’ actions was done to cover up previous crimes of America and Britain while the police did all they could to keep the peace,” Larijani told parliament in an address broadcast live on state radio.

          “This devious action will lead to instability in global security,” he said.

          Kar Va Kargar daily quoted what it said was a statement issued by the students involved.

          “The seizure of the British embassy was done by the revolutionary students and this action was not done on the order of any organization,” the statement said. “Each free Iranian … should know that the seizure of this old embassy is in the interest of Iran.”

          ‘the revolutionary students’ is code for the greens, the ones IS/US was rooting for at the last election. and i would also recommend:

          Robert Fisk: Sanctions are only a small part of the history that makes Iranians hate the UK

          link to independent.co.uk

  15. Keith says:

    I think that all of the indications are that US/Israel are trying to provoke a war with Iran. This is classic Israeli strategy. You keep assassinating folks until the other guy retaliates, then you claim that the retaliation was the initial provocation causing you to retaliate against terrorism or whatever. Even an Israeli air strike is conceivable. Should Iran retaliate by sinking US ships, what better excuse to “retaliate” with nuclear weapons? I’m not joking. How many times do I have to post that Wesley Clark quote showing the seven regimes targeted for regime change, all of which are now under attack? And before anyone says that this is nuts, that it would tank the world economy, I say so what? Wall Street is tanking the world economy right now anyway. Besides, who would suffer more, the US or China? Any analysis which doesn’t acknowledge obvious US efforts to militarily contain China, to control it’s access to oil, are deficient. Rather than continue, I will copy and paste extended quotes from a Paul Craig Roberts article over at CounterPunch.

    “Only the blind do not see that the US government is preparing to attack Iran. Washington has deployed missiles directed at Iran in its oil emirate puppet states, Oman and the UAE, and little doubt in the other US puppet states in the Middle East. Washington has beefed up Saudi Arabia’s jet fighter force. Most recently, Washington has deployed 9,000 US troops to Israel to participate in “war games” designed to test the US/Israeli air defense system. As Iran represents no threat unless attacked, Washington’s war preparations signal Washington’s intention to attack Iran.

    In my judgment, the US government’s war preparations are driven by three factors.

    One is the neoconservative ideology, adopted by the US government, that calls for the US to use its superior military and economic position to achieve world hegemony. This goal appeals to American hubris and to the power and profit that it serves.

    A second factor is Israel’s desire to eliminate all support for the Palestinians and for Hezbollah in southern Lebanon. Israel’s goal is to seize all of Palestine and the water resources of southern Lebanon. Eliminating Iran removes all obstacles to Israel’s expansion.

    A third factor is to deter or slow China’s rise as a military and economic power by controlling China’s access to energy. It was China’s oil investments in eastern Libya that led to the sudden move against Libya by the US and its NATO puppets, and it is China’s oil investments elsewhere in Africa that resulted in the Bush regime’s creation of the United States Africa Command, designed to counter China’s economic influence with US military influence. China has significant energy investments in Iran, and a substantial percentage of China’s oil imports are from Iran. Depriving China of independent access to oil is Washington’s way of restraining and boxing in China.

    What we are witnessing is a replay of Washington’s policy toward Japan in the 1930s that provoked the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor. Japan’s bank balances in the West were seized, and Japan’s access to oil and raw materials was restricted. The purpose was to prevent or to slow Japan’s rise. The result was war.

    Despite the hubris in which it wallows, Washington understands the vulnerability of its Fifth Fleet in the Persian Gulf and would not risk losing a fleet and 20,000 US naval personnel unless it was to gain an excuse for a nuclear attack on Iran. A nuclear attack on Iran would alert both China and Russia that they could suffer the same fate. The consequence would be that the world would face a higher risk of nuclear armageddon than existed in the mutually assured destruction of the US-Soviet standoff.”
    link to counterpunch.org

    “…in the Pentagon in November 2001, one of the senior military staff officers had time for a chat. Yes, we were still on track for going against Iraq, he said. But there was more. This was being discussed as part of a five-year campaign plan, he said, and there were a total of seven countries, beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Iran, Somalia and Sudan…. (Wesley Clark, Winning Modern Wars, p. 130).
    link to globalresearch.ca

    “If we just let our vision of the world go forth, and we embrace it entirely and we don’t try to piece together clever diplomacy, but just wage a total war… our children will sing great songs about us years from now.” (Michael Ledeen, following 9/11/01 attacks)

    • lysias says:

      The purpose was to prevent or to slow Japan’s rise. The result was war.

      No, the purpose was to provoke Japan into striking the first blow. The ultimate purpose was war with Germany (which was also the result.)

    • ToivoS says:

      Keith I routinely read Roberts at Counterpunch. He does have some pretty goods reads on things and I respect his analytic skills. But he has a horrible track record in his predictions. He has been hysterically predicting war with Iran since 2006. He was wrong then, wrong in 2007, and wrong now.

      • Keith says:

        TOVIOS- Alexander Cockburn has an article over at CounterPunch that is worth a couple of quotes.

        “As with sanctions and covert military onslaughts on Iraq in the run up to 2003, the first point to underline is that the US is waging war on Iran. But well aware of the US public’s aversion to yet another war in the Middle East, the onslaught is an undeclared one.”

        His point is well taken. It is a mistake to think of “war” solely as an invasion or a bombing, a clash of armies. Obama is transitioning to a new style covert warfare utilizing drones, special operations forces and assassinations, etc. He includes a nice graph showing the effects on the Iranian currency. Make no mistake, we are currently engaging in low level warfare against Iran right now. Another quote:

        “As for the embargoes of Iranian oil, Obama is most certainly doing the oil industry a big favor. There have been industry-wide fears of recession-fueled falling demand and collapse of oil prices. That has led to industry-wide enthusiasm (aided by heavy pressure from the majors) for strongly cutting total world oil production (and enjoying the bonuses flowing from the subsequent world price rise), with all the cuts to be taken out of the hide of the Iranians. The Financial Times made clear the need to shrink world production in the following key paragraph in a report last week: “Oil prices have risen above $110 a barrel since Iran threatened to shut down the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important oil chokepoint, accounting for about a third of all seaborne traded oil. Oil fell to a low of $99 in October amid global economic growth worries.”

        As Pierre Sprey remarked to me, “Note also that this is one of those rare but dangerous moments in history when Big Oil and the Israelis are pushing the White House in the same direction. The last such moment was quickly followed by Dubya’s invasion of Iraq.”
        link to counterpunch.org

        My whole point being that the empire has already crossed so many red lines that we are technically at war with Iran now. It is presently low level. Uncle Sam wants regime change and will keep upping the ante until Iran breaks or retaliates. Retaliation would provide a pretext for a massive attack to destroy Iran. Iran is extremely important in containing China by controlling its access to energy. This is an extremely risky gambit being pushed by crazed neocon risk takers.

  16. jimmy says:

    Both India and China have stated they will continue to buy Iran’a oil

    pretty much takes the bite out of the sanctions …

    India to buy Iran oil despite US sanctions -minister

    http://www.trust.org/alertnet/news/india-to-buy-iran-oil-despite-us-sanctions–minister/

    US will be hard pressed to deprive India and China of thier oil needs…

    of course that is part of the neo-cons plan to block China,,,