Tuesday, January 23, 2007

An Act Of War

It was reported on Janurary 12th that the US attacked an Iranian Embassy in Iraq and detained five "diplomats".

BAGHDAD: U.S. troops in Iraq raided an Iranian consulate in the Kurdish city of Arbil in northern Iraq and captured six staff members early Thursday, according to Iraqi state television reports.

Later Iran's official news agency IRNA confirmed the development and explained that the troops disarmed the guards manning the gates of the consulate and entered the office building and took the six staff members into custody.
Well a question came up. Are the "diplomats" diplomats?

The answer. Some are not.
BAGHDAD, Jan. 18 — Iraq is carrying out an extensive review of its diplomatic protocols with Iran and may place new restrictions on them, the Iraqi foreign minister said in an interview on Thursday, after Iranian military officials and diplomats were picked up in three separate American actions here.

The raids have deeply embarrassed Iraqi officials, who say that the United States did not consult with them before it detained the Iranians, who were properly accredited visitors to this country. At the same time, Iraqi officials have been put in an awkward position by their neighbor, as the Iraqis concede that at least some of the Iranians appear to have been working with Shiite militias, just as the Americans claimed.

As a result, Iraq has decided to tighten diplomatic controls on Iranian officials, insisting on detailed itineraries for their missions here, closer coordination with Baghdad and pledges that the officials will not work with armed groups outside the government, said Hoshyar Zebari, the foreign minister.
The Iraqis seem strained over this. Which is good. We are operating on American time now.

The US Command has a few things to say on the subject.
The U.S. military insists the Iranians in its custody are not diplomats. Earlier in the week Gen. George Casey, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq, told a news conference there was no doubt about that.

"We have statements made by people in detention and we have records that give us great confidence that these are in fact intelligence operatives," Casey said.
Here is a another report of what the "diplomats" were up to.
One of the six was released and U.S. officials said the five still in custody were linked to an Iranian Revolutionary Guard faction that funds and arms insurgents and militias in Iraq.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari was not available for comment, his office said.

Tehran denied the five detained Iranians had been involved in financing and arming insurgents in Iraq.

"The capture of Iranian diplomats is an insult to the Iraqi government and people," ambassador Hassan Kazimi Qomi said in a news conference at the Iranian embassy in Baghdad. Iraqi "Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told me that they will be released within days."

Asked why he believed the Americans carried the raid, Qomi said through a translator from Farsi to Arabic that "they want to destabilize relations between Iraq and Iran."
An insult to Iran? Actually under the Geneva Conventions it is an Act of War.

However, it looks like America has been getting ready to go after Iran for some time. First off there was a report of an aircraft carrier battle group heading for the area around 8 Jan.

The following other capital ships are in the area or near by as of 23 Jan. '07 - 0629z.

Boxer Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):
USS Boxer (LHD 4) - Persian Gulf
USS Dubuque (LPD 8) - Persian Gulf
USS Comstock (LSD 45) - Gulf of Oman

Bataan Expeditionary Strike Group (ESG):
USS Bataan (LHD 5) - Mediterranean Sea
USS Shreveport (LPD 12) - Mediterranean Sea
USS Oak Hill (LSD 51) - Mediterranean Sea

Amphibious Warfare Ships:
USS Nassau (LHA 4) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Carter Hall (LSD 50) - Atlantic Ocean
USS Ashland (LSD 48) - Indian Ocean

In addition A Brigade of the 82nd Airborne heads to Iraq.

It looks like a squadron of F-117 Stealth Fighters are headed to North Korea to keep them from making trouble while we are busy with Iran.
The Pieces Are Being Put in Place

Col. Sam Gardiner

[Sam Gardiner is a retired colonel of the US Air Force. He has taught strategy and military operations at the National War College, Air War College and Naval War College.]

The pieces are moving. They'll be in place by the end of February. The United States will be able to escalate military operations against Iran.

The second carrier strike group leaves the U.S. West Coast on January 16. It will be joined by naval mine clearing assets from both the United States and the UK. Patriot missile defense systems have also been ordered to deploy to the Gulf.

Maybe as a guard against North Korea seeing operations focused on Iran as a chance to be aggressive, a squadron of F-117 stealth fighters has just been deployed to Korea.

This has to be called escalation. We have to remind ourselves, just as Iran is supporting groups inside Iraq, the United States is supporting groups inside Iran. Just as Iran has special operations troops operating inside Iraq, we've read the United States has special operations troops operating inside Iran.

Just as Iran is supporting Hamas, two weeks ago we found out the United States is supporting arms for Abbas. Just as Iran and Syria are supporting Hezbollah in Lebanon were now learning the White House has approved a finding to allow the CIA to support opposition groups inside Lebanon. Just as Iran is supporting Syria, we've learned recently that the United States is going to fund Syrian opposition groups.

We learned this week the President authorized an attack on the Iranian liaison office in Irbil.

The White House keeps saying there are no plans to attack Iran. Obviously, the facts suggest otherwise. Equally as clear, the Iranians will read what the Administrations is doing not what it is saying.
Another carrier is headed for the Pacific.
SAN DIEGO – Barely six months after returning from its maiden deployment, the aircraft carrier Ronald Reagan will leave its Coronado pier within weeks for a cruise in the western Pacific Ocean.

Two Navy spokesmen said the Reagan probably will spend several months filling in for the Kitty Hawk, the Japan-based carrier that is unavailable because it's undergoing routine maintenance. The sources requested anonymity because Pentagon policy forbids them from providing such information before an official announcement.

The Reagan's unexpected deployment is an indirect result of President Bush's new decision to station a second carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf, the spokesmen said.

The Reagan will fulfill patrol duties in the western Pacific in place of the John C. Stennis Carrier Strike Group, which Bush sent to the Persian Gulf as added muscle to supplement the strike group of the Virginia-based carrier Dwight D. Eisenhower.

The Stennis strike group – which includes three aviation squadrons from San Diego as well as the San Diego-based cruiser Antietam, destroyer Preble and frigate Rentz – was scheduled for a routine cruise in the western Pacific.

The date of the Reagan's departure hasn't been set, but its crew is expected to receive deployment orders within a week, the spokesmen said. The tour is expected to last a few months.

The ship likely will deploy without its carrier air wing or escort ships, relying for support instead on vessels and aircraft already stationed in Japan.

The Reagan, commissioned in 2003, arrived in San Diego the following year and completed its maiden deployment in July.
It is really unusual for a carrier to travel without its task group and air wing. Very unusual.

However it does allow for the ships and air group to be a reserve to make up for losses in any attack on Iran. It also allows the carrier to deploy at flank speed. Something difficult to do when oil burners have to keep up with a nuke carrier.

There appears to be Naval support for operations off Somalia. Which is not too far from Iran. As the carrier cruises.
2007/1/9 DUBAI, United Arab Emirates

(AP)In a further escalation of American involvement in Somalia, the U.S. aircraft carrier USS Dwight D. Eisenhower arrived off the war-ravaged country's coast and its aircraft have begun flying intelligence-gathering missions over Somalia, the U.S. military said Tuesday.

The U.S. Central Command re-tasked the USS Eisenhower to Somalia last week from its mission supporting NATO-led forces in Afghanistan, said U.S. Navy spokesman Lt. Cmdr. Charlie Brown in Bahrain, where the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet is based.

The announcement comes a day after at least one U.S. Special Forces AC-130 gunship launched a deadly strike against several suspected members of al-Qaida in Somalia. Brown said the Navy had no supporting role in U.S. attacks in Somalia.

The U.S. launched at least two more airstrikes against terror targets in Somalia on Tuesday, a Somali official and witnesses said.

The carrier joins three other U.S. warships _ two guided-missile cruisers and an amphibious landing ship _ already conducting anti-terror operations off the Somali coast, the Navy said.

Brown said he did not know how long the Eisenhower's redeployment would last. "We'll be there as long as required," he told The Associated Press.
On top of all that it appears that NATO is taking an interest.
NATO has begun taking a major interest in intelligence information about Iran's nuclear program, according to Israeli defense officials who recently held talks with senior officers in the Western military alliance.

NATO's interest stems from growing concern that diplomacy will ultimately fail, the Israeli officials told The Jerusalem Post this week, and that military action will be necessary to stop Iran's race to obtain nuclear weapons.
There is growing criticism of Ahmadinejad in Iran.
TEHRAN, Jan 16, 2007 (UPI via COMTEX) -- There is growing criticism of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in Iran, including a parliamentary drive to summon him to answer questions, a report says.

Even previously friendly hard-line newspapers have taken him to task for being too hostile towards the West since the passage of a U.N. sanctions resolution, the BBC said.
Carrier battle groups start showing up unexpectedly in the neighborhood and people get nerveous.

Despite all that Iran is keeping out 38 IAEA nuclear inspectors because they are upset at UN resolutions pertaining to their nuclear program. Makes sense.

Say. Didn't Saddam go down that road? Those boys better be careful.
Nasser Karimi, The Associated Press
Published: Monday, January 22, 2007

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran has barred 38 nuclear inspectors on a United Nations list from entering the country, the foreign minister said Monday in what appeared to be retaliation for the UN sanctions imposed last month.

The rejected officials are on a list of potential inspectors drawn up by the International Atomic Energy Agency to visit and monitor Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“The act of rejecting some inspectors is legal and in accordance with the agency’s regulations,” Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki told the official Islamic Republic News Agency. He said others on the UN nuclear watchdog’s list remain eligible, but did not explain how Iran decided which inspectors to bar.

The IAEA “submits a long list of inspectors to member countries and the countries have the right to oppose the visit by some inspectors,” Mottaki said.

Last month, the UN Security Council imposed limited trade sanctions on Iran over its refusal to cease uranium enrichment, a process that can produce the material for nuclear energy or bombs.
It looks like Iran is preparing for war. I expect with all this going on one side or the other will instigate some provocation the other can't resist. My guess would be US Special Forces in Iran doing some kind of mischief that Iran would have to respond to. After all we have already tried the diplomatic route.
The drum-beating suggested Iran does not intend to back down in its standoff with the West. It could also aim to rally the public behind the government and silence increasingly bold criticism at home of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's antagonism toward the United States.

Iran's leaders have touted the possibility of a U.S. attack since President Bush announced on Jan. 9 the deployment of a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf region, a move U.S. officials have said is a show of strength directed at Iran.

Last month, the Security Council imposed limited trade sanctions on Iran over its refusal to cease uranium enrichment, a process that can produce fuel for nuclear energy or bombs.

The Iranian military on Monday began five days of maneuvers near the northern city of Garmsar, about 60 miles southeast of Tehran, state television reported. The military tested its Zalzal-1 and Fajr-5 missiles, the report said.

The Zalzal-1, able to carry a 1,200-pound payload, has a range of 200 miles. That would put Iraq, U.S. bases in the Gulf, and eastern Saudi Arabia in its range. The Fajr-5, with a 1,800-pound payload, has a range of 35 miles.

Neither could reach Israel, but Iran has other missiles that can. It was not known whether the missiles tested are capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

The Iranian show of strength came as the American aircraft carrier USS Stennis was heading toward the Gulf, joining the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower in a beefed-up American military presence. The Stennis is expected to arrive in late February.

The U.S. is also deploying Patriot missiles and nuclear submarines to the Persian Gulf and F-16 fighter planes to the Incirlik base in neighboring Turkey.
With all the cross confimation you have to know that something is afoot.

With the American logistics on the move the opening shots could come at any time. As always the key to any war is logistics. It does no good to have forces if they are not sufficiently close to the scene of action.

Update: 23 Jan '07 0333z

A strong explosion jolted Mashhad.
...a strong explosion at the high-voltage sub-station of Mashhad rocked a large part of the city and frightened residents in this provincial capital.

Israel urgently needed in NATO?
In an effort to establish more effective deterrence in the face of Iran's race to obtain nuclear weapons, government ministries are, for the first time, working on drafting a position paper that will include guidelines and a strategy for turning Israel into a full-fledged member of NATO, The Jerusalem Post has learned.

The paper is being drafted by an interministerial committee made up of representatives from the Defense Ministry and the Foreign Ministry and headed by the National Security Council. The committee plans to complete the paper by the end of February and present it to Prime Minister Ehud Olmert for approval.

Meanwhile Monday, in an exclusive interview, former Spanish prime minister Jos Mar a Aznar told the Post that "Israel needs to join NATO as soon as possible."

According to Aznar, the Iranian threat serves as "an excellent occasion to enforce [Israeli] deterrence by making Israel a member of NATO."

The former Spanish leader and current president of the FAES Spanish think tank said that if Israel became a member of NATO, "the perception in Iran would change, knowing that it's not only Israel [they are dealing with], but all of NATO."

Aznar said that NATO needed to change its focus to counter the growing threat of global terrorism.
Interesting. Things are moving right along.

Cross Posted at Classical Values


Karridine said...

When Ahmadinejad considers his choices, does he ever wonder that "the whole world's equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order"?

There he is, Ahmadinejad, temporarily steering Iran, the nation through which came The Lord of Hosts, Whose coming from 1853 to 1892 changed the vibratory quality of our human world, FROM one of control by kingly-castes and ecclesiastics, at the speed of horse, TO one controlled by We, the People...

Does Ahmadinejad even CONSIDER the possibility of Baha'u'llah being Who He says He is? Didn't Ahmadinejad learn from 2,000 years of Jewish denial? Doesn't Ahmadinejad ever think that maybe Muhammad was RIGHT when He promised the coming of the Qaim in 1260AH (1844CE) and the Mahdi shortly thereafter?

Well, Ahmadinejad is going to learn that "The American nation, Bahá’ís believe, will evolve through tests and trials to become a land of spiritual distinction and leadership, a champion of justice and unity among all peoples and nations, and a powerful servant of the cause of everlasting peace."

It might NOT be to his liking...
(quote above from website
http://www.bahaisofdallas.org/ )

Jason Pappas said...

Thanks M for pulling all of that together. The pieces do look like they are falling into place.

Anonymous said...

and have you heard about the UFO stories that the Regime's newspapers are feeding the people. Major cover-up for something...
Also, Iran's hard-liners have been feeling the "HEAT", that's why 40 of so called "parliamentary" members has signed to impeach Ahamdinejad.
Things surly are changing in the right direction, it's just too slow for American taste. Americans think that foreign policy should be conducted like 2 hour hollywood movie...

Anonymous said...

Only neocon fellow travellers can post complaints about America's decadent subculture (re the rape
post) then go on to sanction its attack on a much more conservative and unthreatening country.

M. Simon said...

Yep. That is me neocon all the way.

Jewish former Democrat who supports the advance of democracy in the world. And, Iraq is a good place to start.

In any case you must not be familiar with the Iran scene. "Temporary marriages" (prostitution) are rampant. The mullah gets a cut for making it all legal like. Hardly a moral exemplar.

And unthreatening? I seem to recall they have weekly "Death to America" rallies. Seems kind of threatening to me.