Israel seems adamant about prodding Americans into a cul-de-sac, despite the vivid picture Iran has painted of the chaos that would follow military action against its nuclear infrastructure.
On September 25, The Guardian claimed that Tel Aviv had long been dead serious about obliterating Iranian nuclear facilities but received the cold shoulder by President George W. Bush in May.
According to the report, Bush told Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert in a one-on-one meeting on May 14 that he would not agree with plans to launch air strikes against Iran as long as he is in the White House.
The British daily cited senior European diplomats - working for a European head of government - who were let in on the highly-sensitive conversations between Bush and Olmert.
The sources claimed that President Bush was concerned that an Iranian retaliation would include a wave of attacks on US forces stationed in the Middle East.
Although the report does not seem to be a harbinger of doom for the oil-rich Persian Gulf, various developments suggest that a nasty surprise may have been planned all along.
Olmert was supposedly turned down in early May. And yet Israel conducted a 'dress rehearsal' for an attack on Iran in the first week of June. The issue of the maneuvers was not leaked until mid June.
The prodigious aerial maneuver was held 900 miles west of Israel off the southern Mediterranean island of Crete, roughly covering the distance from Israeli airfields to an Iranian uranium enrichment facility in Natanz.
According to Pentagon sources, the Israeli Air Force employed over a hundred F-15 and F-16 fighter jets, tactical bombers, refueling planes, and rescue helicopters to enact an attack on Iranian nuclear installations.
A major dilemma for Israeli hawks has been the 'game changer' - the sophisticated anti-aircraft S-300 defense system capable of simultaneously tracking 100 targets and targeting planes 75 miles (120 km) away.
Speculation that Iran may soon be equipped with the surface-to-air system has provoked deep-seated fear among Israeli warmongers.
"This is a system that scares every Western air force," says long-time Pentagon advisor Dan Goure.
"If Tehran obtained the S-300, it would be a game-changer in military thinking for tackling Iran. That could be a catalyst for Israeli air attacks before it is operational," he adds.
Should the S-300 system become operational in Iran, it would effectively rule out Israeli air raids and seriously complicate any US aerial bombings, says George Friedman - the director of leading US private intelligence agency Stratfor.
It seems, however, that Israel sought a remedy in the June exercise as it was carried out in cooperation with Greece, a country that has already deployed the S-300 system.
The Greek media reported that the system was 'turned off' during the operation. While it would not be a waste of money to bet against claims made by the various media outlets that failed to lift the lid on the maneuver for days, it is also possible to say that Israel may have used the expertise of the Greeks to prepare against the powerful system.
In mid-July, an unnamed senior Israeli military official cranked up the volume of Tel Aviv war drums, confirming that Israel had begun preparations for an S-300 'counter-measure'.
"The sooner the Iranians get the new system, the more time we will have to inspect the deployments and tactical doctrines. There's a learning curve," the source told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
Another development that steals the limelight from the recent report by The Guardian and raises questions about its authenticity is the US sale of 1,000 highly advanced bunker-buster bombs to Israel.
The US agreed to the sale after an early August visit to Washington by Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who demanded that the Israeli Air Force be equipped with a large number of Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) smart bombs.
During his visit, he also sought permission to use Iraqi air space and requested that the US allow Boeing 767 refueling planes to join the Israeli air fleet.
According to Israeli media, the White House refused to comply with the request over fears that such a measure would be seen as a green light for an aerial strike on Iran.
Nevertheless it took only a month for the Bush administration to capitulate to the Israeli demands.
The US confirmation of the sale came just days before The Guardian revealed that President Bush was anxious about Israel's ability to destroy the Iranian uranium enrichment program.
The Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), responsible for managing the transfer of military equipments at the US Defense Department, said on September 16 that the Pentagon would provide Israel with 1,000 of its much smaller GBU-39s.
Considering the nearly 900-mile distance between Israeli airfields and Natanz in central Iran, Israel has one shot at retarding Tehran's nuclear capabilities.
With only 50lb (23kg) of high explosives, the satellite-guided GBU-39s have been developed to penetrate fortified facilities located deep underground - such as Iran's nuclear complex in Natanz.
The smart bombs immensely relieve the anxiety of the Bush administration as they enable jet fighters to carry a higher number of bombs instead of a single one-ton bomb.
Unconfirmed reports suggest that the Natanz enrichment facility has been built 8 meters-deep into the ground and is protected by a concrete wall 2.5 meters thick.
GBU-39s are capable of penetrating 6 feet (at least 1.8 meters) of reinforced concrete. The maximum range penetration for simple concrete is far greater.
In addition to the GBU-39s, Israel has at least 100 GBU-28s in its possession, capable of penetrating over 100 feet (30 meters) of dirt or 20 feet (6 meters) of solid concrete.
A September 4 warning by longtime Israel-ally and outspoken French president Nicolas Sarkozy has also come as a shock. He said that Iran's refusal to suspend its uranium enrichment would eventually lead to an Israel-waged war on the country.
"We could find one morning that Israel has struck (Iran)," Sarkozy said, adding that no one would question the legitimacy of such an act of aggression.
Neo-conservatives and far-right think tanks in Washington are the most unlikely people to be surprised by such an attack. They have long persuaded the White House to employ the Bush Doctrine to launch airstrikes against Tehran.
In a recent op-ed piece for the Wall Street Journal, four prominent neoconservative heavyweights - Richard Holbrooke, R. James Woolsey, Dennis B. Ross and Mark D. Wallace - disregarded the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran to highlight their own reasons why "Everyone needs to worry about Iran".
"Iran is now edging closer to being armed with nuclear weapons, and it continues to develop a ballistic-missile capability," claims the article.
"We believe that Iran's desire for nuclear weapons is one of the most urgent issues facing America today, because even the most conservative estimates tell us that they could have nuclear weapons soon," it continues.
"A nuclear-armed Iran would likely destabilize an already dangerous region that includes Israel, Turkey, Iraq, Afghanistan, India and Pakistan, and pose a direct threat to America's national security."
The article comes as a mockery considering that the US has justified the worst atrocities known to man by the mere claim that its national security has been threatened.
For a Washington divorced from reality, talk of national security means one thing - interests. Iraq was not an existential threat to America or the Middle East; however, a obsessed Washington thought otherwise.
Iran poses no threat to America and has made no effort to develop nuclear weaponry. And yet Washington supports terrorist groups such as the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) to destabilize the country, claiming that Tehran is the one threatening world stability.
One must ask why countries like America have been able to bend the truth in their favor.
It is no secret that when nuke-owner Israel suffers retaliatory attacks after it starts a war with a larger power, the US will jump ship to rescue the smaller force - a noble gesture considering that there is no military alliance whatsoever between Washington and Tel Aviv.
But one thing is clear! Iran is not Afghanistan, a country torn by decades of civil war, or Iraq, an isolated country under the reign of a dictator.
The Iranian military has been abundantly clear about how it would respond if it were attacked by either Israel or the US.
In early July, Iran test-fired its upgraded Shahab-3 missile equipped with a one-ton conventional warhead and capable of hitting targets within a 2,000-kilometer range - which easily puts Israel in its missile reach.
In preparation for Iranian retaliatory attacks against Israel, the White House has further complicated the situation by setting up a powerful missile defense radar in the southern Israeli Negev desert to 'enhance and extend' Tel Aviv's missile deterrence capabilities.
The radar is designed to track ballistic missile warheads through space and provide ground-based missiles with the targeting data needed to intercept them.
Lieutenant Colonel Patrick Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, confirmed that the radar 'is one of the most powerful systems available to track medium to long-range missiles'.
A war-obsessed Pentagon has also developed a scheme that would automatically send Americans into battle; it has deployed nearly 120 US military personnel to an air force base to operate the AN/TPY2 radar.
Any retaliation against Israel would thus mean an attack on US soldiers, forcing reluctant Americans into another war.
Over the last two years, several high-ranking Israeli officials have publicly claimed that they would be left with no choice but to take action against Iran the way they know best if the so-called diplomatic efforts fail.
Although Iran continues to cooperate with the International Atomic Energy Agency to prove that its nuclear program is of a peaceful nature, the latest Washington defeat in its confrontation with Moscow over Georgia may encourage independent action on the part of Israel.
Tel Aviv may currently be in a deep political crisis, but the departure of lame-duck Olmert from power and Kadima, Israel's ruling part, may pave the way for incoming Prime Minister Tzipi Livni to unite the Zionists and pull the trigger on Iran.
A war on Tehran could also benefit the unpopular US president; Bush could drive the country into turmoil before leaving office for his Democratic successor, Senator Barack Obama.
Or, he could simply create an exigent situation that only his Republican Party is known to be able to handle, thus leaving the Oval Office to his bellicose and maverick friend, Senator John McCain.
... Payvand News - 10/04/08 ... --