— Signs of War —
Excerpts from the following articles, all are articles from this past week…
– Speaking at Columbia University, Admiral Mullen said last night of the Iranian nuclear programme: “Military options would go a long way to delaying it. That’s not my call. That’s going to be the President’s call. But from my perspective . . . the last option is to strike right now.” –Admiral Mike Mullen Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff
-According to one attendee in the session, “the King’s message was sobering.” King Abdullah seemed significantly concerned that conflict was about to break out again between Israel and Hezbollah in Lebanon. One congressional source told me that the word the King used was ‘imminent’ with regard to the potential outbreak of war.
– In a warning to anyone planning a strike on Iranian nuclear targets, Mr Ahmadinejad told Iranians in a televised speech that their country was so strong “that no enemy will harbour evil thoughts about laying its hands on Iranian territory”. He said of US forces in Iraq, Afghanistan and the Gulf: “They have to leave our region. This is not a request. It is an order from the nations of the region.”
– Defense Secretary Gates wrote a memo described by those who have seen it as a “wake-up call” to General James Jones, Mr Obama’s National Security Adviser. It warned that the Administration had no effective plans to deal with Iran should it assemble the components of a nuclear weapon but stop short of building one. Mr Gates also noted that detecting a shift from such a “virtual” nuclear capability to fully armed status would be almost impossible and that no coherent strategy was in place to face down Tehran once such a shift was made.
– The campaign, officially launched on Tuesday, is being carried out to ensure that every Israeli will be protected in case of chemical, biological or other attack that could temporarily threaten one’s ability to breathe… The largest war simulation in the history of the State of Israel is set to take place across the country next week, beginning with a “battle in Gaza” on Sunday… The Israel Air Force also conducted a three-day exercise last week that included multi-level challenges faced by the IAF. Pilots were put through their paces on various combat maneuvers, and the force was briefed on Iran’s launch of its newest missile, the 2,000 km range Seji-2.
– The Jordanian leader warned, however, that a nuclear Iran could set off an atomic rat race in the region. “As volatile as our region is, the last thing you want is a whole bunch of countries in my part of the world developing nuclear weapons,” he said. He stressed that a preemptive strike would not stop Teheran. “If Iran is hit, Iran will retaliate and create what I consider Pandora’s box,” he cautioned. “Conflicts would ignite throughout our region. A military strike would be disastrous for all of us.”
– The Hezbollah owned and controlled Lebanese TV station al Manar reported the first visit by Nasrallah to Damascus for many years. Since the conflict with Israel in 2006 he has been a virtual recluse for fear of Israel assassination attempts. He normally appears only via a large video screen from a secret studio and rarely in public at all. Iran and Syria have both supported his organization with money and arms despite U.N. Security Council resolution 1701 imposed to prevent Hezbollah rearming. But there has been a steady flow of arms shipments including thousands of Iranian-made rockets to replenish those fired in 2006 at the towns and cities of northern Israel. Lebanese defense sources estimate Hezbollah now boasts between 40,000 and 50,000 rockets including long range missiles capable of striking much deeper into Israeli territory. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also met Thursday with leaders of several different Palestinian factions based in the Syrian capital and yet again made threats against Israel. “This criminal regime is doomed and the grand victory is imminent,” he said.
– Syrian President Bashar al Assad warned Israel against starting a new conflict. “We believe we are facing an entity that is capable of aggression at any point and we are preparing ourselves for any Israeli aggression,” Assad said.
– The Revolutionary Guards’ exercises in the Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz this week take place at a time of rising tension between Iran and the West, which fears Tehran’s nuclear program is aimed at developing bombs… Iran’s supreme leader denounced on Wednesday U.S. “nuclear threats” against the Islamic Republic, and its elite military force said it would stage war games in a waterway crucial for global oil supplies…Brigadier General Hossein Salami, also quoted by Fars, said three days of maneuvers would start on Thursday and would show the Guards’ naval strength…”Maintaining security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, as the world’s key economic and energy routes, is the main goal of the war games,” he said. “This war game is not a threat for any friendly countries.”… “The Revolutionary Guard is sending a message that we are ready and able to counter the threat,” Stracke said in an e-mail to Reuters… Iran, a predominantly Shi’ite Muslim state, has said it would respond to any attack by targeting U.S. interests in the region and Israel, as well as closing the Strait of Hormuz. About 40 percent of the world’s traded oil leaves the Gulf region through the strategic narrows…
-Russia has supplied 15 batteries of S-300 long range surface-to-air-missile systems to China, ITAR-TASS reported Friday. According to an official with the national defense sector this is an unprecedented contract both in terms of sales volume and in numbers of serial production.
– “Our delegation has just returned from Venezuela, while the aggregate volume of contracts could exceed $5 billion,” Putin said at a meeting with Russian defense industry officials.