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Iran War Weekly - April 1, 2012


By Frank Brodhead - Posted on 03 April 2012

IranWar Weekly

April 1, 2012

The just-concluded meeting of “Friends of Syria” appears to have ended without agreeing to any interventionist measures, whether arming the resistance fighters, creating a “buffer zone” or “humanitarian corridor,” or recognizing the Syria National Council as the sole representative of the nonviolent Opposition. Instead, the Conference reaffirmed Kofi Annan’s peace plan, which is given lip service by the Syrian government and rejected by the SNC as failing to call for regime change.  We can assume that unpublicized negotiations on the sidelines of the conference addressed military and economic (sanctions) issues re: Iran (not at the Conference), in preparation for a new round of negotiations with Iran scheduled for two weeks from now.  The Conference will undoubtedly be analyzed in depth on Aljazeera News [www.aljazeera.com].

Prior to the Conference, US Secretary of State Clinton met with leaders of Saudi Arabia to discuss, among other things, the Saudis’ willingness to increase their production of oil, seen as necessary to stabilize oil/gasoline prices as President Obama announced a tightening of sanctions against Iranian-produced oil.  As noted below, the increased price of gasoline makes this an election-year risk for Obama.

Also below are links to interesting articles by the New York Times’ James Risen about the effects of the CIA etc. intelligence disasters re: Iraq’s WMDs on the intelligence agencies’ evaluations of Iran; by Gareth Porter on the unacknowledged vulnerability of Israel to weapons that Iran might use in retaliation to an Israeli attack; and the (disputed) news that Israel has gained access to military facilities in Azerbaijan that would be useful/necessary if it were to attack Iran.  The short video talk by Flynt Leverett (Race for Iran) about the uselessness of economic sanctions is also very good; though NB the myth that sanctions might force Iran to comply with US and UN orders re: its nuclear program is a major deterrent (along with direct US orders) to an Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear sites.

Best wishes,

Frank Brodhead

Concerned Families of Westchester (NY)

 

ANTIWAR NEWS/VIEWS

(Video)Left Forum Panel on Peace and War

From David Swanson [March 22, 2012] – 90 minutes

---- Panelists include David Swanson, Medea Benjamin, and Glen Ford

http://warisacrime.org/content/video-left-forum-panel-peace-and-war

 

US POLICY & POLITICS

Hard Line on Iran Places White House in a Bind

By Mark Landler, et al., New YorkTimes [March 30, 2012]

---- As American and European diplomats prepare for crucial negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program, the White House finds itself caught in a bind: for the diplomatic effort to work, American officials say, the Iranian government must believe that President Obama is ready and willing to take military action. Yet tough talk, necessary as it might be for successful diplomacy, contributes to a sense that war may be unavoidable. And it masks the fact that Mr. Obama, and his military commanders, remain deeply worried about the consequence of an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, either by Israel alone or a strike that could draw in the United States. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/30/world/middleeast/hard-line-on-iran-places-white-house-in-a-bind.html?_r=1&ref=world

 

Obama Finds Oil in Markets Is Sufficient to Sideline Iran

By Annie Lowrey, New YorkTimes [March 30, 2012]

---- After careful analysis of oil prices and months of negotiations, President Obama on Friday determined that there was sufficient oil in world markets to allow countries to significantly reduce their Iranian imports, clearing the way for Washington to impose severe new sanctions intended to slash Iran’s oil revenue and press Tehran to abandon its nuclear ambitions. The sanctions pose a serious challenge for the United States. Already, concerns over a confrontation with Iran and the loss of its oil — Iran was the third-biggest exporter of crude in 2010 — have driven oil prices up about 20 percent this year… By certifying that there is enough supply available, the administration is also trying to gain some leverage over Iran before a resumption of negotiations, expected on April 14.  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/business/global/obama-to-clear-way-to-expand-iranian-oil-sanctions.html?pagewanted=1&hpw

 

US seeks coordinated Gulf strategy on Iran, Syria

By Bradley Klapper, Associated Press [March 29, 2012]

---- The Obama administration is seeking to advance talks among Saudi Arabia and its neighbors on a missile defense system against Iran, while slowing any plans among ArabGulf states to intervene militarily in Syria. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton met for almost two hours with Saudi King Abdullah on Friday, conferring on regional military strategy and how to increase oil sanctions against Iran while ensuring ample global petroleum supplies. Governments are under pressure to reduce purchases of Iranian crude, and the U.S. hopes Saudi supplies can ease the transition. http://news.yahoo.com/us-seeks-coordinated-gulf-strategy-iran-syria-235840866.html;_ylt=Al6veh8IJL1vTj9.5BvWXmtvaA8F;_ylu=X3oDMTNmZ2x0cW80BG1pdAMEcGtnAzdiYWFlOWJmLTRkMDItMzM5My04MjZkLTUwNjg1YjQxYzE0YwRwb3MDMQRzZWMDbG5fTWlkRWFzdF9nYWwEdmVyA2MyM2Y0MmQwLTdhYzQtMTFlMS1iZWRiLWViNDVhOWI5ODMyYw--;_ylv=3

 

IraqCasts a Pall Over U.S. Effort to Fathom Iran

By James Risen, New YorkTimes [March 31, 2012]

---- Analysts and others at the C.I.A. who are struggling to understand the nuclear ambitions of Iran are keenly aware that the agency’s credibility is again on the line, amid threats of new military interventions. The intelligence debacle on Iraq has deeply influenced the way they do their work, with new safeguards intended to force analysts to be more skeptical in evaluating evidence and more cautious in drawing conclusions. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/01/world/middleeast/assessing-iran-but-thinking-about-iraq.html?_r=1&hp

 

ISRAELI POLICY & POLITICS

Israel’s Plan to Attack Iran On Hold for 2012

By John Glaser, Antiwar.com [March 29, 2012]

---- After viewing the results of a Pentagon war simulation and securing more military funding from the U.S., Israel has decided to put off any plans for a unilateral strike on Iran until at least next year, according to reports. The so-called war game was classified but details have been reported about its revealing implications after a preventive Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities. It forecasted that a “strike would lead to a wider regional war, which could draw in the United States” and would immediately get at least 200 Americans killed in Iran’s retaliation. Amir Oren, writing for Ha’aretz, reported that “the meaning of this U.S. scenario is that the blood of these 200 would be on Israel’s hands,” and therefore any Israeli attack in 2012 has been called off. http://news.antiwar.com/2012/03/29/israels-plan-to-attack-iran-on-hold-for-2012/

 

IsraelShields Public from Risks of War with Iran

By Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service [March 30, 2012]

---- The government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been telling Israelis that Israel can attack Iran with minimal civilian Israeli casualties as a result of retaliation, and that reassuring message appears to have headed off any widespread Israeli fear of war with Iran and other adversaries. But the message that Iran is too weak to threaten an effective counterattack is contradicted by one of Israel’s leading experts on Iranian missiles and the head of its missile defense program for nearly a decade, who says Iranian missiles are capable of doing significant damage to Israeli targets. http://original.antiwar.com/porter/2012/03/29/israel-shields-public-from-risks-of-war-with-iran/

 

Israel's Secret Staging Ground

By Mark Perry, Foreign Policy [March 28, 2012]

---- Senior diplomats and military intelligence officers say that the United States has concluded that Israel has recently been granted access to airbases on Iran's northern border. To do what, exactly, is not clear. "The Israelis have bought an airfield," a senior administration official told me in early February, "and the airfield is called Azerbaijan." Senior U.S. intelligence officials are increasingly concerned that Israel's military expansion into Azerbaijan complicates U.S. efforts to dampen Israeli-Iranian tensions, according to the sources. … Israel's deepening relationship with the Baku government was cemented in February by a $1.6 billion arms agreement that provides Azerbaijan with sophisticated drones and missile-defense systems. At the same time, Baku's ties with Tehran have frayed.  http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2012/03/28/israel_s_secret_staging_ground

 

Also: From Haaretz [Israel] [March 29, 2012] “Azerbaijan denies granting Israel access to air bases on Iran border,” http://www.haaretz.com/misc/article-print-page/azerbaijan-denies-granting-israel-access-to-air-bases-on-iran-border-1.421562?trailingPath=2.169%2C2.216%2C2.217%2C; and Philip Giraldi, “Israel Encircles Iran,” American Conservative [March 27, 2012]http://www.theamericanconservative.com/blog/israel-encircles-iran/

 

INTERNATIONAL

Turkeyvoices support for Iran nuclear programme

From Agence France Presse [March 29, 2012]

---- Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Thursday voiced his country's unwavering support for Tehran's nuclear ambitions in a meeting with Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, according to an official statement. ,,, Turkey relies on Iran for 30 percent of its oil imports, and has refused to go along with sanctions imposed by the United States and Europe, saying it will observe only UN-mandated restrictions on Iran. However, Turkey is also a NATO member, and it has agreed to deploy parts of an anti-missile shield that could be used against Iran, a point that has generated friction in the past with its neighbour. http://www.google.com/hostednews/afp/article/ALeqM5jn2SasjxH4BFhQmtmdcHUw_ijDFA?docId=CNG.5bba548bbefdc22a21bbb7b6c36d505a.a01

 

SANCTIONS

(Video)Flynt Leverett (Race for Iran) on Effects of Sanctions- 5 minutes

http://www.raceforiran.com/sanctions-the-islamic-republic-of-iran%E2%80%99s-legitimacy-and-america%E2%80%99s-middle-east-policy

 

WAR-RELATED

What if Israel bombs Iran?

By GarySick, CNN [March 30, 2012]

---- If sustained over more than a few weeks, the scramble to replace large volumes of Persian Gulf and Caspian oil would drive up the price of oil, and gasoline, to unprecedented heights. That would constitute a huge tax on the world's economies, just at the moment when they were showing signs of recovery from the Great Recession. Extremely vulnerable economies, such as the southern European states, could be tipped into bankruptcy, but all states would face significant challenges as a surge in transportation and manufacturing costs rippled through all aspects of their industries. This is Iran's true weapon of mass destruction. http://edition.cnn.com/2012/03/30/opinion/sick-israel-iran/index.html?hpt=hp_bn7

 

Iran’s Centrifuge ‘Workshops’ Complicate Raid Planning

By Viola Gienger and Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg News [March 28, 2012]

---- Iran’s “workshops” for making nuclear centrifuges and components for the devices are widely dispersed and hidden, adding to the difficulties of a potential military strike by Israel, according to a new report by U.S. congressional researchers. Neither Israel nor the U.S. is certain of the locations of all such facilities, analysts at the Congressional Research Service wrote in the report obtained today. The analysts cited interviews with current and former U.S. government officials familiar with the issue who weren’t identified. Israel’s capability to halt or set back Iran’s nuclear program through a military strike has been central to the debate over whether Israel should undertake such a mission alone. http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/30854?type=bloomberg

 

SYRIAAND THE REGION

Top 5 Dangers that the Syria Conflict could Destabilize its Neighbors

By Juan Cole, Informed Comment [March 2012] http://www.juancole.com/2012/03/top-5-dangers-that-the-syria-conflict-could-destabilize-its-neighbors.html

 

Military Intervention in Syria is a Bad Idea

By Stephen Zunes, Antiwar.com [March 30, 2012]

---- Although the impulse to try to end the ongoing repression by the Syrian regime against its own people through foreign military intervention is understandable, it would be a very bad idea.  Empirical studies have repeatedly demonstrated that international military interventions in cases of severe repression actually exacerbate violence in the short term and can only reduce violence in the longer term if the intervention is impartial or neutral.  Even putting aside the recent historical record, however, virtually anyone familiar with Syrian politics and history can recognize the fallacy of such foreign support for the armed struggle. Many nonviolent protesters have tragically been killed as will many more. However, proportionately a far greater number of armed resisters have been killed and will continue to be killed. The question is not whether thousands will continue to die but what is the best way for the Syrian people to overthrow the hated regime, end the violence, and bring democracy and social justice. http://original.antiwar.com/zunes/2012/03/30/military-intervention-in-syria-is-a-bad-idea/

 

Why Syria’s Peace Process is a Continuation of War By Other Means

By Tony Karon, Time [March 29, 2012]

---- Annan’s plan does not claim to be a program to reconcile the regime and its opponents or to resolve their differences. Instead, it’s a plan to demilitarize Syria’s power struggle and restrict it to political means. The regime’s goals, and those of its opponents, remain fundamentally irreconcilable: Assad is determined to remain in power, while the opposition finds a consensus that eludes it on so many other issues when it comes to demanding his immediate ouster. http://globalspin.blogs.time.com/2012/03/29/why-syrias-peace-process-is-a-continuation-of-war-by-other-means/

 

Resources on Syria

Aljazeera – “Syria: The War Within” http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/spotlight/syria/

The Guardian [UK] on Syria - http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/syria?INTCMP=SRCH

SyriaComment – Joshua Landis - http://www.joshualandis.com/blog/

War in Context – Paul Woodward – www.warincontext.org

War is a Crime – Steve Lendman & David Swanson - http://warisacrime.org/

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