Iran

“First Strike” Attack against Iran? Washington’s “Missile Defense” Deal with the Gulf Monarchies – Bruce Gagnon

May 19, 2015

This is what it has all come down to…. the US and the corrupt, dictatorial Gulf monarchies meeting at Camp David Thursday and agreeing on a plan to flood the Middle East with ‘missile defense’ (MD) systems. These Gulf monarchies are the essential allies of the US in the world now (in addition to a few other fascist-leaning nations). Together they are destabilizing and creating chaos in Syria, Yemen, Ukraine and beyond. This meeting is evidence of the desperation and the moral decay of the USA. Obama announced that that he would streamline weapon sales and increase joint military exercises with Bahrain (home to US Navy Central Command and the Fifth Fleet), Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as part of an “iron-clad commitment” that the United States will help protect them against their neighbor and rival Iran. The Gulf states claim they fear Iran’s nuclear weapons even after recent successful negotiations to ensure they don’t build any. In fact Iran stopped its nuclear weapons program several years ago – the CIA has even reported as much as has the IAEA. But truth and reality don’t matter much anymore. What this new deal with the Gulf states

U.S. Hosts Arms Bazaar at White House Arab Summit – Thalif Deen

May 18, 2015

When the United States sells billions of dollars in sophisticated arms to Arab nations, they are conditioned on two key factors: no weapons with a qualitative military edge over Israel will ever be sold to the Arabs, nor will they receive any weapons that are not an integral part of the U.S. arsenal. But against the backdrop of a White House summit meeting of Arab leaders at Camp David this week, the administration of President Barack Obama confessed it has dispensed with rule number two. According to Colin Kahl, national security advisor to Vice-President Joe Biden, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) flies the most advanced U.S.-made F-16 fighter planes in the world. “They’re more advanced than the ones our Air Force flies,” he told reporters at a U.S. State Department briefing early this week, without going into specifics. The six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait, Qatar, UAE and Saudi Arabia – which participated in the summit were, not surprisingly, promised more weapons, increased military training and a pledge to defend them against missile strikes, maritime threats and cyberattacks from Iran. Read

CONFIRMED: US “Operation Rooms” Backing Al Qaeda in Syria – Tony Cartalucci

May 12, 2015

US policy think-tank Brookings Institution confirms that contrary to propaganda, US-Saudi “moderates” and Turkey-Qatar “Islamists” have been coordinating all along.  The war in Syria continues to drag on, with a recent and renewed vigor demonstrated behind an opposition long portrayed as fractured and reflecting a myriad of competing foreign interests. Chief among these competing interests, the public has been told, were the US and Saudis on one side, backing so-called “moderate rebels,” and Turkey and Qatar on the other openly backing Al Qaeda and its various franchises including the Islamic State (ISIS). However, for those following the conflict closely, it was clear from the beginning and by the West’s own admissions that success hinged on covertly providing arms, cash, equipment, and both political and military support to Al Qaeda and other sectarian extremists, not opposed by Saudi Arabia, but rather by using Saudi Arabia as the primary medium through which Western material support could be laundered. And this fact is now confirmed in a recent article published on the Brookings Institution’s website titled, “Why Assad is losing.” It states unequivocally that (emphasis added): The involvement of FSA groups, in fact, reveals how the factions’ backers have changed their tune regarding

Trinity: 70 Years Later – JOSEPH MANGANO and Dr. JANETTE SHERMAN

May 12, 2015

It was 70 years ago, on July 16, 1945, that the first atomic bomb, named Trinity, was exploded at the White Sands Proving Ground, the nuclear test site near Alamagordo, NM. It was an event that changed world history forever, and created new health and security threats that still plague all life on this planet. Details of Trinity have been documented before, but merit a recap, since memories may fade with the passage of so many years. The collision of two forces – the discovery of atomic fission and the rise of Nazi Germany – resulted in the creation of the Manhattan Project in late 1942. Fearful that the Germans would develop and use a nuclear weapon, President Franklin D. Roosevelt directed the U.S. army to develop such a weapon first. Working furiously, scientists had developed enough nuclear material for a bomb in less than three years. Some were worried that Germany would develop a bomb, but historians have discounted that, and the country was defeated, but American forces were still engaged against Japan. Before a bomb could be used, a test was needed. A 100-foot tower for the bomb and two trenches for observers were constructed. The trenches were

Is Saudi Arabia Now the Israel of the Gulf? – Robert Naiman

May 12, 2015

I came to Iran this week to participate in a peace boat sailing from Iran to protest the Saudi bombing and blockade of Yemen. Unfortunately, I had to withdraw from the boat trip for logistical reasons; my frequent collaborator Tighe Barry of CodePink still plans to be on the boat, which as of this writing was expected to leave Monday morning local time. So instead of writing about being on the boat, I figured I would write about how Saudi Arabia is apparently becoming the Israel of the Gulf countries: a habitual aggressor in its neighborhood, enabled in its aggression by the United States. Indeed, it could be argued that Saudi Arabia has become a more dangerous regional aggressor than Israel, because so far, at least, Saudi Arabia’s aggression in Yemen, like its aggression in Bahrain, has provoked a less vigorous international reaction, including in the United States, than Israel’s recent war in Gaza. Like Israel’s recent wars in Gaza and Lebanon, Saudi Arabia’s campaign is being widely judged a failure in a military sense, which means that, like Israel in Gaza and Lebanon, they have killed many human beings, including many civilians, for no clear military purpose: Airstrikes on [former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah] Saleh’s residence

‘Guilty of Embarrassing Government': CIA Whistleblower Gets 42-Month Sentence – Lauren McCauley

May 12, 2015

A federal court in Alexandria, Virginia sentenced former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling to three and a half years in prison on Monday in a case that has received widespread condemnation for revealing the “rank hypocrisy” of the U.S. government’s war on whistleblowers. In January, a jury convicted Sterling of violating the Espionage Act and leaking classified information toNew York Times journalist James Risen about a botched CIA mission to provide flawed nuclear plans to Iran, known as “Operation Merlin.” He was found guilty of nine charges against him and faced as many as 24 years behind bars. Risen refused to testify against Sterling and many say that the former intelligence official was convicted merely on circumstantial evidence. Ahead of the sentencing, Sterling’s attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Leonie Brinkema to reconsider the proposed terms, arguing that former CIA director and retired general David Petraeus was given a plea deal and shown great leniency despite comparable charges. In March, Petraeus was handed a $40,000 fine and two years probation for leaking troves of classified material to his mistress and biographer Paula Broadwell. “[Sterling] should be treated similarly to others convicted for the same crimes and not singled out for a long prison sentence because he elected to exercise his right

The United States Considers Itself a Human Rights Champion. The World Begs to Differ. – Jamil Dakwar

May 11, 2015

Starting Monday, the United States’ human rights record will be subject to international scrutiny by the U.N. Human Rights Council. It may just be the perfect catalyst for the Obama administration to make good on past and present wrongs that should never be associated with a liberal democracy predicated on respect for human rights. The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) is part of a regular examination of the human rights records of all 193 U.N. member countries and will be the second review of its kind for the U.S. since 2010.  The review comes at a critical time when the U.S. human rights record has been criticized for falling short of meeting international human rights standards. From racially biased policing and excessive use of force by law enforcement to the expansion of migrant family detention and from thelack of accountability for the CIA torture program to the use of armed drones abroad, the U.S. has a lot to answer for. Read

The U.S. Encouragement of Fanatic Islamism in the Arab World – GARY LEUPP

May 7, 2015

A beautiful essay posted on Medium.com, entitled “A Marine in Syria: Silhouettes of Beauty and Coexistence before the Devastation” by Brad Hoff, draws our attention to what for the warmongers in Washington is a highly inconvenient truth: the secular dictatorships in the Middle East the U.S. has sought to destroy since 9/11 (including most recently that of Libya) have been far more tolerant towards religious and cultural diversity than the regimes that have replaced them. In particular, the much-vilified Baath Party, which governed Iraq during the Saddam years and continues to govern Syria, was and is based upon the principle of secularism (non-religious, relatively religiously tolerant) rule. Hoff, who “served” (as they say) as a Marine in Iraq between 2000 and 2004, first visited Syria in 2004 in order to study Arabic. He describes his surprise at how the experience challenged the “false assumptions” about the Arab world acquired during his “Texas Baptist childhood.” Describing Damascus in 2004 under Bashar Assad’s Baathist rule he writes: “What I actually encountered were mostly unveiled women wearing European fashions and sporting bright makeup — many of them wearing blue jeans and tight fitting clothes that would be commonplace in American shopping malls on a summer day. I saw groups

Russian Missile Sale to Iran Involves Unseen Deals With Israel – Calev Ben-DavidIlya Arkhipov

May 5, 2015

Last month, when President Vladimir Putin of Russia announced plans to sell a powerful anti-missile system to Iran before the lifting of international sanctions, Israel was quick to join the U.S. in expressing shock and anger. But behind the public announcements is a little-known web of arms negotiations and secret diplomacy. In recent years, Israel and Russia have engaged in a complex dance, with Israel selling drones to Russia while remaining conspicuously neutral toward Ukraine and hoping to stave off Iranian military development. The dance may not be over. Critics of the Russian move say it undermines efforts to apply pressure to Iran by removing one building block of a sanctions regime that will be hard to put back together. It would also enhance Iran’s defenses against a potential U.S. or Israeli attack, as both countries have said they’d consider using force if diplomacy fails. Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, warned that the missiles, known as S-300s, would provide the Islamic Republic with a military shield that would encourage further adventurism, and expressed concern they could end up in the hands of Iranian allies like Lebanon’s Hezbollah. Read

Why Iran Must Remain a US Enemy – GARETH PORTER

May 5, 2015

Since the start of the US nuclear negotiations with Iran, both Israeli and Saudi officials have indulged in highly publicised handwringing over their belief that such a nuclear deal would represent a fundamental strategic shift in US policy towards the region at the expense of its traditional alliances with Israel and Saudi Arabia. But the Obama administration is no more likely to lurch into a new relationship with Iran than were previous US administrations. The reason is very simple: The US national security state, which has the power to block any such initiative, has fundamental long-term interests in the continuation of the policy of treating Iran as an enemy. Some in the Israeli camp have spun elaborate theories about how the Obama administration’s negotiations with Iran represent a strategic vision of partnership with the Iranian regime. Typical of the genre is former Bush administration official Michael Doran’sspeculation in February that US President Barack Obama based his policy of outreach to Tehran on the assumption that Tehran and Washington are “natural allies”. Saudi response The Saudi response to the negotiations has been, if anything, even more extreme. Prince Turki al-Faisal, the former head of Saudi intelligence, who speaks more candidly in public than any other Saudi
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