Sunday, January 22, 2006

Can The USA Avoid Attacking Iran? Can We Attack Successfully?

PROLOGUE A touch of humor best describes the West's dilemma:
A gorgeous young redhead informs her doctor that her body hurts wherever she touches it. "Impossible" says the doctor. "Show me". The redhead takes her finger, touches her left breast, and screams. She then pushes at her elbow and screams even louder in agony. She pushes her knee and screams, likewise her ankle and screams. The doctor says, "You're not really a redhead are you? "Well, no" she mumbles, "I'm actually a blonde". "I thought so" the doctor comments "your finger's broken".
Like somnambulists emerging from a stupor, the West has finally realized they have allowed Iran to place them "between a rock and a hard place" through indecision, inactivity and essentially commercial greed. Fruitless negotiations cannot count as "activity" except as deception by the Europeans. They furthered their own interests, contrary to those of the USA and most of the world, to obtain lucrative contracts from Iran while putting off badly needed action. Even now, the proposed uranium enrichment in Russia instead of inside Iran gives the latter the excuse to spend months and months "negotiating" about it with the Russians while hurriedly continuing nuclear activity inside Iran. Russia with $30 billion in construction of nuclear sites and China with $70 billion in natural gas and oil contracts with Iran have helped stall efforts to deal with Iran's neo-Islamic, militarist leadership. France's criticized saber rattling by Jacques Chirac appears to be more window dressing. Oft repeated warnings by this writer, initially well over a year ago, that Iran's major threat was less from nuclear weapons than their ability to destabilize world economy to where it could crash cataclysmically were ridiculed by experts. The very experts now repeat the same warnings in almost a panic. Far too late for peaceful counter-measures to be an option. Those experts also scoffed at warnings to think outside the box and stop applying historically used givens to reach their assessments. They felt they had dealt with Iran's Mullahs for 25-years and knew all about them. Knew all about their fortunes stashed in foreign accounts and their inherent, matching greed to that of the West. Supreme Ruler Ali Khamenei has just transferred his next egg of $1.2 billion to banks in Singapore and Malaysia. Former President Hashemi-Rafsanjani, a seasoned international businessman, has his billions well protected in offshore accounts and holding companies. Those in charge of President Mahmoud AhmadiNejad's chosen government, mostly Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) colleagues and commanders have lived off their meager salaries and have no incentive to protect wealth. Neither personal nor that of the West. Even today with the entire facts full screen at their noses, some analysts cling to a misconception of Ahmadi-Nejad not running the country and placing the power in Supreme Ruler Khamenei's control as a counter-point to Ahmadi-Nejad not being permitted to carry out his plans and policies. Apart from going into hiding for the last few days, reportedly as part of a secret military operation, look for both Rafsanjani and Supreme Leader Khamenei to face arrest on charges of corruption and dereliction of their Islamic duties, if they oppose AhmadiNejad – or his mentor, Hojatieh founder Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, who has begun vying to replace Khamenei as the Supreme Ruler. Previous logical time parameters, abruptly seemingly condensed into a 60-day or so deadline, give insufficient time to achieve positive results except by the use of force. A nuclear weapons test by Iran, their Oil Bourse coming on stream and possibly seeing Khamenei and Rafsanjani arrested by the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) placed in every part of the executive power structure by Ahmadi-Nejad, for corruption and dereliction of Islamic duty, negates the old guard Mullahs ability to rein in Ahmadi-Nejad. Major world banks now scramble to reject doing business with Iran. All the while, Iran has begun moving some $50 billion (roughly the amount of their last year's oil revenues) in liquid assets from Western banks to Asian ones. In a semi-related move, the USA has belatedly frozen the assets of the Syrian Chief of Intelligence after Iran's President Mahmoud AhmadiNejad met with the heads of 10 Palestinian terrorist groups in Damascus on his recent visit. Among them were Khaled Mashaal, whose Hamas is running for election in a few days, Abdullah Ramadan Shalah, head of Islamic Jihad, whose suicide bomber injured 30 Israelis in Tel Aviv a few days ago, Ahmed Jibril, head of the radical PFLP-General Command, and Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah. Interestingly, Syria's Bashar Al-Assad was unable to find these very same people when requested to do so by the West. The defection of his former Vice-President Abdul Khalim Haddam to France and setting up a government in exile to overthrow Bashar Al-Assad, may well have triggered Chirac's sudden declaration to use nuclear weapons against anyone who attacked France with WMDs. Note the WMD precision of this warning. News leaks indicate another source has stated Saddam Hussein moved his WMDs into Syria just prior to being attacked by the Coalition Forces. Khalim Haddam, who virtually ran Syria on his own, knows where all the skeletons are buried, including exact details of WMDs hidden in the Beka'a Valley in Lebanon and in sites within Syria. If the French share the information he brings to the table, he can provide exact information about WMDs moved out of Iraq, to Syria and elsewhere and probably exonerate President Bush and the CIA. Iran has already used the oil weapon, on a small scale, to send Turkey a warning not to allow over-flights or air strike launches by reducing the natural gas sent to them from Iran by almost 60%, pleading a temporary inability due to inclement winter weather conditions. Exactly the reason Turkey requires the gas for heating needs of its populace. And in a "positive" application, offering to help out with Georgia's energy troubles. Timing and orchestration play a significant role in what will take place if Iran uses the oil weapon against Europe and the Western world. The USA and Europe appear to have no way to replace Iran's more than two million barrels a day, which heads to the West. At the same time, China and India, two of Iran's biggest clients, still do not have sufficient petroleum storage capability to accept the diversion of Iranian fossil fuel production from Europe toward them. While China hurries to build some thirty refineries and expand storage, March 2006 will be far too early a deadline. And March 2006 appears to be the Ides of March scenario of Shakespeare's Julius Caesar. Articles about the Oil Bourse and the negative effects on our world economy, which in times of yore, I posited could leave two thirds of Americans without work and on the streets without food, increasingly appear in today's Media. Not because of oil itself but as part of a supply and demand slippery slope market situation about Dollars and an unavoidable drop in Dollar value leading to a domino effect with other currencies. One of the major uses for the Dollar is to pay for oil, which is still bought and sold in Dollars and all other currencies are converted at the ongoing rate of exchange into dollars to finalize payments of transactions. For instance German Deutschmarks have to "become Dollars" to pay for oil, which gives the Dollar a reason to exist as the primary currency of the world. For example, suddenly, because of Iran's Oil Bourse (and as previously intended by Iraq and some OPEC countries plus Russia), sale of oil is no longer in Dollars but in "pesos", even tiddlywinks, or anything but dollars, then the dollar has less and less reason to be an important currency. Pesos or tiddlywinks rapidly become the prime "form of payment". The world will need tiddlywinks more than dollars and will start buying and using those and sell off the now less useful or even useless dollar. The drop of the Dollar as a value pulls down all other currencies - far beyond the ability of any country or group of countries or central banks to intervene and prop it up. All the "useless" dollars crammed inside the banks plummet in value and one country, bank, business after another will discard them ASAP, putting them up for sale and creating a glut of dollars being sold with the consequent drop in value -- simply to try to salvage anything before the value goes so low as to be almost nothing. Again SUPPLY AND DEMAND considerations - not oil, not Euros. The start of the slide down the slippery slope is the Iranian oil and natural gas being sold in Euros or via the Oil Bourse as a trading center for regional oil, not just Iranian and also as simple BARTER to China, India, Georgia, Azerbaijan, the Palestinians, Afghanistan and other Islamic nations etc., etc., exchanged for goods and services Iran needs and those countries can provide. Very quickly as the exchange rate of the dollar plummets, there is not enough "other money or currency" in the world to prop it up. At that stage, the sky does virtually drop for the USA. Run on the bank scenarios, 1930 bankruptcies scenarios but "in spades" and worldwide domino consequences. The US economy barely twitched with Katrina etc., because the safety net in place today to prop up the dollar is still there and the US economy, which would falter and grind to a halt in above circumstances, still spins on and provides a cash flow. Though with borrowing by the USA far exceeding revenue, any glitch in the smoothness and reputation of the Dollar has quick downward consequences into a vicious, unstoppable spiral. The "weight" of the dollar is so huge that if it dropped on the world, not even a combination of all countries could carry the weight on their collective shoulders and economies, nor prop up its value. Not all of them would want to. Many would revel in the collapse of the USA in whatever fashion it occurs. Financially, spiritually, emotionally etc. and even possibly cut off their nose to spite their face to ensure the appearance of the worst version possible. The apocalyptic Hojatieh attitude of Iran, the Islamo-fascists who would globally seize an opportunity to impose Islam on a crushed world if that were to be or could be achieved, would aggravate matters far beyond the normal, "inside the box" considerations and parameters that were in place prior to AhmadiNejad taking power. This places many savants into knee jerk denial - since they have never had to face or consider this cataclysmic scenario, nor have they experienced anything like it. The closest in real life so far is the deadly, mindless gangs that have been operating on a more and more vicious basis and carelessness for life - theirs or others let loose in huge numbers on society and overwhelming law enforcement. The effects would also be detrimental to Iranians but as one of them said recently, we are going without already. We have sanitation issues, people lack drinking water and unemployment here is very high. Our employed workers cannot feed their families on what they are paid. Sometimes they wait months to receive their pay. They rummage in garbage dumps to find something to eat. He remarked that watching international news, it is all about Iran and nuclear threats, while the everyday Iranian does not go around the streets talking about any of this, about nuclear plans nor threat of war. Just thinks and struggles how to survive the daily effort to live with less than three different jobs to make ends meet. Reports indicate the State Department spending $4 million last year and allocating $10 million for 2006 to encourage internal groups to seek reform in Iran. With our batting average, the funds may well have gone to Mullah loving groups pretending to be anti-regime. Notable here is the $60 million made available for the Orange movement to achieve a peaceful regime change in Ukraine and the $40 million or more thrown in by George Soros to that movement. Compare $100 million in a peaceful country with normal democratic processes to $10 million "earmarked" in a totally hostile and absolutely weird and unusual country like the neo-Iran. Do we really expect any result from this tiny drop in the ocean? When facing global catastrophe? Or a nuclear capability by a neo-regime which adheres to the 12th Imamist Hojatieh principles of inviting misery, death and destruction in an apocalyptic manner to invite their Imam to return after 1300 years to redeem mankind. And, opposes any efforts to prevent Armageddon as contrary to their religious philosophy? You may wish to revisit my Hojatieh article for a refresher: In the meantime, nobody has been able to confirm the March 19th or so nuclear test date, though CENTCOM HQ appears to be a source for some of this assumption, possibly as a heads up in case we have to move in. The silver lining of a nuclear weapon test by Iran might be our ability to read the signature of the origin of it, unless they manage to disguise and modify it, which can be done. Damned if we do and damned if we do not. In the meantime, horrifying as it may be, within the seemingly available time parameters, an obliterating bombing attack by an armada of aircraft, not just the presently fairly immobilized Israelis, seems the only way to go. We do not have to destroy every single underground facility we attack. Using an E-Bomb, which puts electronic circuits of all kinds out of action, might prove a useful alternative to paralyze the country but less effective on the IRGC or military installations, which reports say, have been shielded against this kind of attack. Lost in the turmoil of strategic and tactical planning under sudden pressure is the fact that making those facilities inaccessible by destroying and burying access to them serves almost as well as full destruction. Trying to dig their way back into them – scattered as they are - to use equipment or retrieve materials will take Ahmadi-Nejad quite a long time and puts his nuclear weapon capability, which he plans to test but "never had and still does not have" into limbo. Iran has buried many sites under civilian cities to protect them. The answer requires a public warning to the Islamic government and directly to the residents of targets that unless they remove themselves, they will be killed and if there were more time, this could be the start a PsyOps campaign, which should have begun years ago to weaken the Mullahs. While Iran has "two of everything" in a regular military and then IRGC duplicate, the latter being the most powerful and better equipped, a harsh military decision has to be taken to destroy every single military location, barrack, storage etc., in what appears to be a 5,000 target scenario. Some 345,000 IRGC troops should die. Would you prefer some 10 million dying in the Middle East as some analysts compute if Iran remains untouched? Would you prefer for the populations of Europe and the USA to have to adapt to hunger and stress and begin living the kind of life of deprivation and scarcity Iranian citizens now face in their own country by allowing Iran to crash currencies and the world economy? At their leisure? As we did with Hitler? Moreover, forget the cost of tens, no scores of millions of lives lost because we hesitated and prevaricated and assuaged and mollified an implacable, slightly weird man? By comparison, Ahmadi-Nejad puts Pol Pot into the realms of a "sane" leader, who killed a couple of million of his own people, not caused carnage across the globe. Were time available to us, the best "normal" strategy would have been to select someone, temporary figurehead if need be, form a government in exile around him, have as many Western and other countries as possible recognize it, thus invalidating the legitimacy of the Mullahs or the neo-clerical Iran of Ahmadi-Nejad, unleash an insurrection inside Iran (learn from Iraq), assassinate Mullah leaders and put the rest in fear of their lives (using a page from the Al Qaeda and Palestinians) and then allow the "insurgents" to form a provisional government inside Iran. The provisional government, likely formed by the MEK or similar virulently anti-Mullah groups, could not be allowed to stand for too long and their having shed Mullah blood can be used to remove them in fairly short order (a year or two) as "murderers". The latest reports state the MEK/MKO (Mojaheddin Group) has renounced "armed conflict" against the Mullahs as a first step to "rehabilitation" in public eyes and eventual removal of the terrorist label former President Clinton slapped on them in a failed effort to obtain concessions from the Mullahs. Once the Mullahs have been eradicated, individually and collectively by the "insurgents" helped out by Special Ops forces of all Coalition countries (as were the Mojaheddin and Fedayeen by the Soviets) then someone like the young Shah or other figurehead, who cannot afford to be linked to the bloodshed without it coming back to haunt him politically, would return to Iran and form a democratically acceptable Constitution (somewhat along Iraq's lines except it could be a catalytic Monarchy as an umbrella). A less violent approach might be to ban global sales (as a sanction) of gas (British "petrol") for vehicles since Iran imports two thirds of their national needs. Ahmadi-Nejad originally wanted to raise the cost of gas and ran into such a protest that he backed off. Without cheap, currently subsidized fuel for their vehicles, the average Iranian would stop functioning. They neither have the money to pay more to operate their cars nor would be able to reach work places, since public transportation is rudimentary. The national bus company, Sherkat Vaahed had begun striking in protest to their working conditions and has called for another strike and demonstrations for Saturday January 28th, 2006. A vast, furious national protest by almost every Iranian, regardless of political philosophy can be triggered with a national gas shortage, including by sabotaging all storage capacity for this type of fuel. Iran has a 45-day reserve of vehicle fuel – for the man in the street. The IRGC and other military have other reserves. The only downside would be that demonstrators pouring into the streets against the regime would have to walk and not gather easily. On a lighter note, should any Ayatollah in the Islamic regime be goaded into a repeat of an ignored directive that all women must wear the tent-like "chador" over their other clothing, would also spark a venomous reaction when equally prodded enforcement is carried out. The combination of the gas for their cars and female dress code could potentially be so huge – simplistic though it may seem – as to overthrow by itself Ahmadi-Nejad's ruling Junta, if not the whole current Islamic establishment. Other than the bombing armada, if that were to be the case, wiping out all opposition, it would additionally be hard for Ahmadi-Nejad to counter the type of violent insurgency being faced in Iraq and stay in power with so little of the population approving of the Mullahs. Lives would be lost on both sides but the USA has to throw more than $10 million at this and set up an Information Warfare capability without anyone tying our hands for internal political reasons.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Iran's "Let's Roll" Beginning?

Analysts watching Iran on a daily basis were not taken by surprise by the Islamic Regime not showing up at the International Atomic Energy Agency on January 05, 2006, since reports out of Tehran have for the past weeks been mentioning President Mahmoud Ahmadi-Nejad's office privately leaking to the Tehran newspapers that Iran already has four nuclear weapons obtained from the Ukraine. Back in 1991/1992 three nuclear weapon devices the Mullahs had obtained from Kazakhstan were verified on ground in Iran and intelligence further estimates that Iran has totally between eight to 12 nuclear devices from the Soviet era. The press leaks pointed to Iran possibly not proceeding with negotiations, reassuring internal supporters and preparing to confront the West. The final decision to disdain the European meeting was apparently made with the sudden incapacitation of Israel's Ariel Sharon. Concurrently, Iran has suddenly moved a significant number of tanks toward its southern border near Basra, Iraq; has started repositioning naval assets and intercepts show military communications have become very atypical. Is Iran expecting an attack now that the more pragmatic Sharon is out of the picture or has U.S and Coalition information leaked to them of an impending strike to put an end to nuclear weapons falling into the hands of someone like Ahmadi-Nejad. The new regime in Iran has certainly tried to provoke the USA and Israel beyond the point of endurance. Brigadier-General Mohammad Kossari, head of the Security Bureau of the IRGC has long stated, "Iran intends to become a superpower and will drive all foreign forces out of our region". What was previously sheer hyperbole now has a basis in serious executive policy and planning. Alternatively, is Iran planning to set up a reactive retaliation in the Middle East by the USA from an attack through surrogates like the Hezbollah? The huge one-day increase in fatalities in Iraq appears to be an effort to distract the Coalition Forces, while the Islamic Regime sets up its pieces on the war map. Part of this involves backing up an increasingly under pressure Syria and trying to take advantage of the power vacuum in Israel. Palestinian confrontation at the Gaza border with Egyptian forces on January 4th, 2006, which drove the Egyptians back a good mile, allowed Iran supported and financed Hezbollah to bring in substantial quantities of high-end weaponry through the gap they had bulldozed in the concrete slab border. Iran, Syria and the Hezbollah can now create havoc in Israel. Either as a starter for a regional conflict or in retaliation for an Israeli strike on the Mullah's nuclear facilities. In addition, perhaps help ward off pressures by Saudi Arabia and Egypt on Syria that would not favor Iranian interests. Working in Iran's favor is the disagreement between the Saudi desire for a Sunni take over in Syria and Egypt's decades of fighting the Moslem Brotherhood, who would enter the picture if the ruling Alawites of President Bashar al-Assad were overthrown. Cairo has been trying to lobby the French government to give al-Assad another chance despite the latter recently offering asylum to al-Assad's defecting deputy, Khaddam, who can lay bare all Syria's secrets. Potentially including the location of WMDs that Syria accepted from Iraq both just prior and during U.S. and Coalition Forces invading. Plus, about stockpiles moved to the Beqa'a Valley in Lebanon in anticipation of the invasion and currently guarded by the Hezbollah. Meanwhile, back home, Ahmadi-Nejad and his spiritual mentor Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi – both fanatical adherents of the apocalyptic Hojatieh - which promotes Armageddon, pain, suffering, oppression and misery to entice their religious icon, the 12th Imam to return sooner - based on a sufficient quantity of all these for him to bother, now move into the next phase of their power grab. From the day after he was sworn in as President in mid-August, Ahmadi-Nejad has replaced every key position – down to mid and lower levels, with his military Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) colleagues and their supporters. Despite a few hiccups with his crony choices of amazingly useless candidates for the position of Oil Minister and a couple of other posts, which the Majliss (parliament) refused to ratify, he now has his people deep inside all parts of the power structure. Interestingly enough, the rejection of one person as Oil Minister was because the former deputy minister of Defense was independently rich and therefore unacceptable. The story behind that story was that he had confiscated enormous tracts of property and goods, ostensibly for the benefit of the country, then kept it all himself. The internecine struggle and fissure between the old guard Mullahs and the fundamental, neo-Islamic government of Ahmadi-Nejad has also reached boiling point with him and his mentor Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi fanning the flames. Realizing that the new President controls most strings of government, on paper at least - and also the IRGC – as opposed to the less effective standing army, Mesbah Yazdi has approached the Council of Experts to elect him as Supreme Ruler to replace Ali Khamenei. Ironically, Mesbah Yazdi and the Iraqi born Minister of Justice, Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroodi, were the only two who supported designating Khamenei as a Grand Ayatollah, nobody else would, which was a prerequisite to his being elected Supreme Ruler to replace Khomeini. Incidentally, sabotaging the original Ayatollah whom Khomeini had previously selected as his religious heir. Now Mesbah Yazdi has apparently recanted and asks the Council to elect him instead. (Khomeini found Mesbah Yazdi's lunatic fringe Hojatieh version of Islam so appalling he eventually drove it underground by refusing to acknowledge or support it). Should this power putsch succeed, Iran will not only have an incredibly strange President but also an even weirder new Supreme Ruler. As if all this were not enough, Western financial analysts have reluctantly come to accept and write about Iran's neo-Islamic leadership, with its propensity for death and destruction built into its philosophy, to potentially cause a melt down of the world economy. Iran has already threatened to stop oil shipments if Europe goes along with any referral to the UN Security Council and deals its oil in Euros rather than dollars. (For more on the Hojatieh, Ahmadi-Nejad and the oil crisis he can bring about, read my articles posted at: )