Monday, July 06, 2009
Biden Comments Signal Possible Iran Attack
Monday, July 6, 2009
Vice President Joe Biden, appearing on ABC’s “This Week,” said that the Obama administration would not stand in the way if Israel chose to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. “Look, Israel can determine for itself — it’s a sovereign nation — what’s in their interest and what they decide to do relative to Iran and anyone else,” Biden said. He added that the Obama administration “cannot dictate to another sovereign nation what they can and cannot do.”
More than 17 million barrels of oil pass through the Strait of Hormuz every day. Iran has promised to shut down all shipping in the Gulf if attacked by Israel or the United States.
Reminded that the U.S. could impede an Israeli strike on Iran by prohibiting it from using Iraqi air space, Biden said he was “not going to speculate” beyond saying that Israel, like the U.S., has a right to “determine what is in its interests.”
On Monday, Iran’s Press TV reported that Israel has denied reports that suggest Israeli bombers have been allowed to use Saudi airspace for an attack on Iran’s nuclear sites, thus bypassing Iraq airspace. The denial came after unnamed Israeli diplomatic sources told The Sunday Times that Saudi officials have secretly agreed to allow Israeli fighter jets to fly over the kingdom to strike Iran’s nuclear sites.
“The Saudis have tacitly agreed to the Israeli air force flying through their airspace on a mission which is supposed to be in the common interests of both Israel and Saudi Arabia,” the The Sunday Times quoted an Israeli diplomatic source as saying.
An Israeli defense source recently confirmed that the Mossad spy agency maintained “working relations” with Saudi Arabia.
Former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, said it was “entirely logical” for the Israelis to use Saudi airspace to attack Iran.
Bolton said he had discussed the possibility with Saudi officials in closed-door meetings. “None of them would say anything about it publicly but they would certainly acquiesce in an overflight if the Israelis didn’t trumpet it as a big success.”
“Israel’s decision of whether to use military force against Tehran’s nuclear weapons program is more urgent than ever,” Bolton told the Washington Post last week.
Israel held a major long-range military air exercise – involving more than 100 F15 and F16 fighters – as a rehearsal for a potential strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, The Independent revealed in June, 2008. The fighters, along with refuelling tankers and helicopters able to rescue downed pilots, were mobilized during the first week of June over the eastern Mediterranean and Greece in an exercise monitored by foreign intelligence agencies.
Late last month, as the CIA and NGO spawned “color revolution” unfolded in Iran, former Secretary of State and Rockefeller minion Henry Kissinger said if the western orchestrated coup against Ahmadinejad and the mullahs failed, an outside alternative would have to be used in the name of “regime change.”
Iran’s leadership dispatched hundreds of riot police and Basij militiamen to put down demonstrations. Iran has detained over 1,000 demonstrators and the initially large protests have been scaled down due to the repressive measures of the government. Analysts say many Iranians who believe that fraud swayed the presidential election in favor of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will have to find new means to challenge the hard-liners in power, The Christian Science Monitor reported over the weekend.
In February of 2007, it was revealed that the U.S. has a “fallback plan” in place for an attack. “US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure,” the BBC reported. “It is understood that any such attack — if ordered — would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centers.”
Obama ordered Secretary of Defense Robert Gates to update the plans for the use of military force against Iran in May, according to Israel News.
Iran deployed missile batteries in the Persian Gulf after the Islamic Republic received secret information that the United States and Israel were planning to attack it, the Saudi newspaper al-Watan reported in May. The deployment of the missiles indicates that Iran believes an attack against its nuclear facilities will be conducted from the air or the sea.
The commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guard said last June that the government would shut down vital oil lanes through the Persian Gulf if the country were attacked by the United States or Israel. “Naturally every country under attack by an enemy uses all its capacity and opportunities to confront the enemy,” said Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari. “Iran will definitely act to impose control on the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz.” More than 17 million barrels of oil pass through the Strait of Hormuz every day.
Jafari also warned of possible reprisals against countries that allow the U.S. or Israel to use their territory or airspace to launch attacks against Iran, a reference to Iraq and Saudi Arabia.
In addition to the obvious global economic implications of shutting down the oil lanes in the Persian Gulf, an attack by Israel or the United States would inflame tensions in the Middle East, especially among Shi’ite populations. An attack would incite Shi’ites in Lebanon — namely Hezbollah — and in Iraq and elsewhere in the region, including Saudi Arabia. Hezbollah is positioned to attack Israel if it attacks Iran.
“The most horrific impact of a US assault on Iran, of course, would be the potentially catastrophic number of casualties. The Oxford Research Group predicted that up to 10,000 people would die if the US bombed Iran’s nuclear sites, and that an attack on the Bushehr nuclear reactor could send a radioactive cloud over the Gulf. If the US uses nuclear weapons, such as earth-penetrating ‘bunker buster’ bombs, radioactive fallout would become even more disastrous,” Heather Wokusch wrote for Common Dreams in 2006.