Sunday, December 19, 2004

Will Bush attack Syria and Iran?: "The CIA under Porter Goss has been through a Soviet-style purge and is being turned into an ersatz Office of Special Plans (OSP), which everyone remembers was a Rumsfeld-sponsored operation that specialized in fabricating false pretexts for the invasion of Iraq. The OSP was directed by neo-conservative Douglas Feith (who now wants the US to attack Iran). The new CIA is Feith's OSP on steroids. Goss' job is to make sure the CIA agrees with everything Bush and the neo-conservatives say."

"Bush and the neo-cons must implicate Syria by all means available. This week Bush warned both Syria and Iran against "meddling in the internal affairs of Iraq" - as if Baghdad was the capital of Ohio. On a more serious note, Pentagon military intelligence officials suddenly discovered a few days ago that the Iraqi resistance "is being directed to a greater degree than previously recognized from Syria" and funded by "private sources in Saudi Arabia and Europe"."

"It doesn't matter that Iran has agreed - at least temporarily - to stop enriching uranium, in exchange for security arrangements, trade, investment and support for World Trade Organization admission offered by the European "Big 3" of Germany, France and Britain. In the neo-con master plan, Iran is doomed to be "shocked and awed" by 2006. The chatter at the AEI, the PNAC and other think-tanks has been thunderous for quite some time: Iran could be bombed from American bases in Iraq, in Pakistan, or from warships in the Persian Gulf. There are no illusions about it at the European Union headquarters. According to a EU diplomat in Brussels, "This bitter controversy over the Iranian nuclear program works as a smokescreen. The neo-conservatives are obsessed with Iran as a fundamentalist Islamic regime bound on exterminating Israel." Another diplomat adds that the question is not Iran's virtual nukes, per se, but how to cripple Iran as a military power: "It's the same agenda for Israel, the Pentagon and the White House National Security Council." "

"European diplomats confirm that when they got together with their American counterparts in Washington last October to discuss Iran, there was simply nothing to discuss. Under Secretary of State John Bolton - a man who, on the record, wants the US to invade Iran - simply read aloud a text where the US refused to back any European Big 3 negotiations, and wanted Iran immediately dragged to the UN Security Council. European diplomats remain wary: "The Americans may be paralyzed at the moment - by the lack of international support and because they are trapped in Iraq. But we cannot underestimate the neo-conservatives, and especially Dick Cheney. He might end up convincing Bush of the need of a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear sites." Another diplomat adds that "the Americans complain all the time about our dialogue with the Iranians, but they are incapable of formulating an American strategy". "

"Both Iran and the EU have a tremendous stake in the success of the new round of negotiations, which started this week and will, according to European diplomats, last for many months. For Iran, a deal with the EU is a major twofold strategic victory: it amplifies the political abyss between Washington and Brussels, and from the point of view of Iranian consumers, it's good for business. For the EU, it's above all good for big business in the oil and gas industry. A who's who of European majors - Royal Dutch-Shell, Total-Fina-Elf, Agip, British Gas, Enterprise, Lasmo, Monument - already has and looks forward to expanding Iranian contracts. Not to mention the Chinese, who last month assured the Iranians in Beijing, after signing a major oil-and-gas deal, that they would block any move by the International Atomic Energy Agency to take the nuclear impasse to the UN Security Council."

"The joint negotiation with Iran has been one more indication of what these diplomats see as the EU's gradual emergence as a global political player - a historical inevitability. The EU will eventually have a collective military force - and then NATO's existence will be pointless. The EU has already questioned the neo-con equivalence of "pre-emptive war" with "just war". The EU - unlike Bush and the neo-cons - heavily supports the UN, as well as the World Court and the International Criminal Court. The EU is multilateral - a concept that is anathema for the neo-cons. Nonetheless, this all leads a diplomat to be overtly pessimistic: "Iran must prepare for an air attack from Israel and the US. This time, no one - the United Nations, the European Union, not even Britain - will be consulted." "

"Afghanistan's new democracy rests on the shoulder of the world's most expensive mayor (US$1.6 billion a month and counting), Hamid Karzai, who barely controls downtown Kabul protected by 200 American bodyguards, 17,000 American troops and a North Atlantic Treaty Organization contingent. Without all this heavy metal, Karzai would never last. The country is essentially ruled by the Tajiks and Uzbeks of the former Northern Alliance - who now control most of the world's supply of heroin - powerful regional warlords and the Taliban (in the south and southeast). So much for Afghan "democracy". "

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