Friday, May 09, 2008

Is The US Tooling Up For War With Iran?

There is a whole lot to cover on this subject so I'm going to give mostly links and let you make up your own mind. Be sure to read the comments at the links provided as they tend to add information or present countervailing views.

Fleet Positions for War.

We believe the only successful exit strategy from Iraq travels a road through Iran. In general we subscribe to a theory put forth by Stratfor that events will build up towards the brink of war before a peaceful resolution is possible. We don't necessarily believe that is how it has to be, rather we believe that is how our current leadership believes it has to be. Part of that strategy includes the buildup of rhetoric, the shuffling of resources, and the preparation in Iraq for a military action against Iran. We observe these events taking place. Much thanks to Yankee Sailor for his collections regarding the developing time line.

Think Long and Hard as You Contemplate What This Means
There has been a political split in the Pentagon since 2005, when those who wanted to move forward under the cooperative model as opposed to the unilateral model for military action were able to shift the Pentagon position through the release of official strategic papers. Under Gates, the Pentagon has tried to shift to a cooperative phase from what has been a unilateral phase of military action. The cooperative approach is championed by Rice, Gates, and people like Adm. Fallon. Many neo-conservatives, which unfortunately includes a bunch of big blue Navy folks I won't name specifically, form up the unilateral military action side.
Money quote from the piece:
Admiral William Fallon shakes his head slowly, and his eyes say, These guys [Iran] have no idea how much worse it could get for them. I am the reasonable one.

Building a Case for War in Iran - Part 2
News continues to roll in that the United States may be nearing a decision to strike Iran. In my previous installment, I discussed the storm of tough talk currently unleashed from Washington. In this installment I’ll lay out some of the other events in the region in recent weeks.

First, an intriguing report was published alleging that Washington authorized the execution and funding of a covert offensive against Iran in recent weeks.
Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, “unprecedented in its scope.”
Key graph:
All this costs money, which in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees. That has not proved a problem. An initial outlay of $300 million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current war and the perilous condition of the U.S. economy.

Lee Smith at Michael Totten's writes: Hezbollah's Endgame? Pt. 2
David Wurmser, formerly Vice President Cheney's Middle East adviser, writes in to comment on Iran's role in the Beirut crisis.

“Iran has suffered some pretty serious defeats in Iraq, foremost is that the Shiites there kind of turned on Iran. May they not need to pull back and focus on their role as the champion of the Shiites right now, even at the cost of compromising their efforts to jump the Sunni-Shiite divide? They may actually be in no better a shape among Lebanon's Shiites as they are among Iraq's. Second, there were these really odd nasty exchanges between Zawahiri and Iran, which may have been born of Iran's desire right now to solidify its own role as Shiite champion."

Omar Fadhil of Iraq the Model comments at Pajamas Media. Iranian-Made Rocket Discovered Near Basra Alarms Iraqis
The Iraqi minister of defense pushed the debate with the Iranians over their provision of weapons to Shia militias one more step on Monday. Minister Abdul Qadir Obeidi indirectly confronted the Iranians, without naming them, with new findings that prove their involvement in the arming of Shia militias.

On Monday, state-owned al-Sabah published a statement by the minister in which he spoke of the capture of a certain type of rocket that was never found in militia-held caches until now:
Defense minister Abdul Qadir Mohammed Obeidi revealed that army troops found a 200-mm ground-to-ground rocket manufactured in 2007 during a search operation by the troops north of Basra. Obeidi told al-Sabah in an exclusive interview that, under international laws and norms, this kind of rocket can be traded only with the approval of parliaments and is used only at times of extreme necessity during wars … and wondered how this rocket entered the country. Obeidi added that this rocket can be launched only from a special platform and by specialized crews.
From what I read in Iraq’s two biggest newspapers, it seems that the government is trying to step up the rhetoric against Iranian interference in Iraq and to induce uproar among the Iraqi public.

Noah Pollak.
Hezbollah’s thug-in-chief, Hassan Nasrallah, addressed Lebanon today. What he said is not promising. You can read the entire transcript here, but it’s not necessary. The following snippet tells you everything you need to know:
I said . . . that any hand that reaches for the resistance [i.e., Hezbollah] and its arms will be cut off. Israel tried that in the July War, and we cut its hand off. We do not advise you to try us. Whoever is going to target us will be targeted by us. Whoever is going to shoot at us will be shot by us.

Captain Ed.
Iraqi soldiers have begun evacuating families from portions of Sadr City, a sign that a large offensive will start shortly against the Mahdi Army militia that have long controlled the sector of Baghdad. Two stadiums have been secured for sheltering the evacuees as the government of Nouri al-Maliki attempts to break Moqtada al-Sadr’s last stronghold and end mortar attacks on the Green Zone. Maliki also wants to end Iran’s influence in Iraq, which caused Iran to cut off security talks with Maliki and the US:

Gateway Pundit has: A Gift From Tehran-- ARMED HEZBOLLAH THUGS Roam Beirut ...Update: 1 Dead- Saudis Warn Hezbollah
Beirut Spring posted this photo of a bridge banner in Beirut that reads: "A gift from the municipality of Tehran to the righteous, resisting Lebanese people."
Yup. That sums it up.

All in all I'd say something was up. Namely a show down with Iran. I'd take the movement of the fleet as a sign of readiness for contingencies as opposed to the US initiating an attack. The question is: what will the Iranian response be to the dismantling of their proxies?

Update 09 May 008 1217z

Hezbollah's Subtle Takeover
Hezbollah has taken control of the media in Lebanon, and their propaganda campaign has already begun. They are currently presenting themselves as liberators of Lebanon, and allies of the Lebanese Army against a corrupt government supported by pro-government snipers and brigrands.

Hezbollah's militant takeover of Beirut and its systematic destruction of the authority of the state and freedom of the press suggests a sophisticated and planned campaign to take power. There is no hiding the violence Hezbollah used to seize Beirut and cut it off from the rest of the country. But as their media campaign is already showing, Hezbollah is employing subtle and sophisticated mechanisms to take over the rest of Lebanon. All news which could be construed as negative behaviors, such as the blatant destruction and corruption of Lebanese institutions, is hidden beneath a Hezbollah-dominated media blackout.

No one knows if Hezbollah is currently occupying government building, re-routing the telecommunications networks, placing weapons in areas they could not gain access to before, and more. If Hezbollah wins this battle, this information will never be made public.

Instapundit says:
I GET AN EMAIL NEWSLETTER from an oil trader and today it includes this tidbit: "In an interesting twist of OPEC news – in the folder titled 'Adequate Supply' – Iran has chartered an armada of supertankers to act as floating storage for as many as 28 million barrels of crude oil that is backing up on them. Analysts are blaming worldwide refineries yet to recover from maintenance programs. It’s not the first time that Iran has had trouble finding buyers; they temporarily floated 20 million barrels in 2006. No, I can’t explain this in light of record oil prices and continual cries for more release of OPEC crude oil. "

U.S. crude stocks are up, too. This is unlikely to be the case, but here's a thought: If I were, say, the United States government, and I anticipated military action in the mideast that might interrupt oil supplies, I wouldn't want to stockpile directly because that would be a tipoff. But if I manipulated markets into running up stocks, I wouldn't have to. . . . Nah. They're not that smart.
Note that 28 million barrels of oil is $3 bn dollars worth at current prices give or take. I wonder if Iran is expecting a strike on their refineries or oil fields?

Many links from Instapundit

Cross Posted at Classical Values


LarryD said...

"Note that 28 million barrels of oil is $3 bn dollars worth at current prices give or take. I wonder if Iran is expecting a strike on their refineries or oil fields?"

Iran ships oil out through the Strait and imports gasoline, etc in through the Strait (they don't have enough refinery capacity for their own needs). During any kind of shooting war with us, the oil in a floating tanker fleet's only use would be as payment to someone like China. And it would be easy to interdict.

A serious shooting war with us is the last thing the mullahocracy of Iran should want. Of course, they don't inhabit the same universe as the rest of us.

MyAmerica said...

Iranian government had reported that the group that planted the bomb last month's explosion in a mosque that killed 14 people and injured more than 200 in Shiraz had been in contact with some western countries, particularly Britain and the United States. Is this true? We are spending a lot of our national money to unstable Iran. Would we accept if Iran would use their national money to bomb one of our churches and create social unrest in US?

For every action there is a reaction. Where are we going to stop? How many Iranian should we kill first? Please ask for peace!

M. Simon said...


Iran has been, through proxies, been killing American military people for nearly thirty years.

I think they should ask for peace.

As far as I can tell they started the war under Jimmy Carter with the taking of hostages.

If they want peace they should act like it.

If they want war we should give them a belly full.

M. Simon said...

Wasn't it Trotsky who said:

"You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in you."

al fin said...

Iran is the main instigator of violence in the middle east now. Unless Iran reverses its current course, it has to be confronted. It should be like a chess game, with every step calculated, irreversible, and an unmistakable loss for the Iranians.

The US will have to begin picking away at Iranian interests one by one. Ahmedinajad the monkey and the mad mullahs need to begin feeling the blowback from all the mischief they have been sending out.

Not an invasion. Not a carpet bombing or massive destruction of infrastructure. Rather a systematic dismantling that inflicts increasing levels of pain to Iran's leaders.