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Netanyahu asked Panetta to approve sale of bunker-busting bombs, U.S. official says
Top administration source says Obama instructed Defense Secretary to work with Defense Minister Barak, to give all due consideration to the request for purchasing GBU-28 bombs, advanced refueling aircraft.
By Barak Ravid
WASHINGTON - Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu requested the United States approve the sale of advanced refueling aircraft as well as GBU-28 bunker-piercing bombs to Israel during a recent meeting with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, a top U.S. official said on Tuesday.
The American official said that U.S. President Barack Obama instructed Panetta to work directly with Defense Minister Ehud Barak on the matter, indicating that the U.S. administration was inclined to look favorably upon the request as soon as possible.
During the administration of former U.S. President George Bush, the U.S. refused to sell bunker-penetrating bombs and refueling aircrafts to Israel, as a result of American estimates that Israel would then use them to strike Iran's nuclear facilities.
Following Obama's entrance into the White House, however, the United States approves a string of Israeli requests to purchase advance armament.
Diplomatic cables exposed by the WikiLeaks website exposed discussion concerning advanced weapons shipments. In one cable which surveyed defense discussions between Israel and the United states that took place on November 2009 it was written that "both sides then discussed the upcoming delivery of GBU-28 bunker busting bombs to Israel, noting that the transfer should be handled quietly to avoid any allegations that the USG is helping Israel prepare for a strike against Iran."
Another issue raised during Obama's Monday meeting with Netanyahu was the Syrian crisis. Netanyahu pointed out that Israel feared that chemical and biological weapons from Syrian army stockpiles could end up in the hands of Hezbollah or other terror groups.
A top U.S. official indicated that the United States recently discussed the issue with Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Saudi Arabia, in an attempt to prepare for the possibility that a collapse of the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad would endanger the country's WMD stockpiles.
At this point the American administration does not possess information that indicates that chemical or biological weapons were passed from Syria to Hezbollah.
Netanyahu and Obama also discussed the ongoing diplomatic crisis between Israel and Turkey. The United States feels that, amid ongoing unrest, that there existent a supreme interest to rehabilitate Jerusalem-Ankara ties. Obama told Netanyahu at the meeting that an effort should be exerted to reconcile between the two states.
By Dave Lindorff
The sorry state of American journalism is on full display in the coverage by the corporate media of the ongoing crisis surrounding Iran’s nuclear fuel program.
The leaders of both Israel and the U.S. have publicly threatened to attack Iran -- Israel saying it could do so within weeks, President Obama warning that he would consider attacking Iran militarily if he were convinced that that nation was building an atomic bomb.
By Gareth Porter, Al Jazeera
Washington, DC - The magnet bomb that exploded on an Israeli Embassy diplomat's car in Delhi on February 13 seemed on the surface to be consistent with an Iranian-sponsored action.
It was carried out with same method by which Israel's Iranian proxy, the Mujahedin-e Khalq, had assassinated an Iranian scientist in mid-January. It occurred on the anniversary of the 2008 assassination of Hezbollah operations chief Imad Mugniyeh, which Hezbollah had vowed to avenge. And it happened at the same time as what appeared to be attempted bombings in Bangkok and Tbilisi.
By John Grant
The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (or AIPAC) is having its three-day annual meeting in Washington DC beginning Sunday March 4th. AIPAC is arriving in an atmosphere of beating war drums and rattling sabers against Iran.
Israel preemptively starting a war with Iran would be bad enough, but the assumption that the United States will be part of that war should be very disturbing to Americans -- who are just getting over one misguided, costly war in Iraq and are still involved in another in Afghanistan.
New York Times Promoting War on Iran
by Stephen Lendman
Longstanding Times policy supports imperial US wars against nonbelligerent countries posing no threats.
It backed American-led NATO aggression against Afghanistan, Iraq, and Libya. Using scandalous language like "Assad's butchery," it wants killer gangs armed and greater Western intervention.
Aggressive war, against a country that has not attacked the aggressor country, is the supreme war crime. We said it on February 4 across the nation. I talked about it outside the US Mission to the UN (see video).
We won't stop saying it. Here's another chance:
Sunday March 4 in Washington, D.C., when President Obama speaks at the 2012 Convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, we'll be there, with a visible anti-war protest, along with Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and the Occupy movement.
From A Tiny Revolution
This is from p. 84-5 in Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran, a June, 2009 book edited and co-authored by Kenneth Pollack of the Brookings Institution:
...absent a clear Iranian act of aggression, American airstrikes against Iran would be unpopular in the region and throughout the world...it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.) ... [T]he use of airstrikes could not be the primary U.S. policy toward Iran...until Iran provided the necessary pretext.
You may remember Pollack from The Threatening Storm: The Case for Invading Iraq, the 2002 book cited by all the nice liberals who sadly and reluctantly supported war. What you don't remember—because none of the nice liberals mentioned it—is that on p. 364-5 of The Threatening Storm Pollack presented exactly the same option regarding Iraq:
Assembling a  coalition would be infinitely easier if the United States could point to a smoking gun with Iraqi fingerprints on it—some new Iraqi outrage that would serve to galvanize international opinion and create the pretext for an invasion...
There are probably  courses the United States could take that might prompt Saddam to make a foolish, aggressive move, that would then become the "smoking gun" justifying an invasion. An aggressive U.S. covert action campaign might provoke Saddam to retaliate overtly, providing a casus belli...
What matters about this is that Pollack is right at the heart of the Democratic Party's foreign policy establishment, and he's completely comfortable proposing that he and his friends lie the world into war after war in the mideast. (The other authors of Which Path to Persia? are Daniel L. Byman, Martin Indyk, Suzanne Maloney, Michael E. O’Hanlon and Bruce Riedel.) No one he hangs around with will find anything jarring about this. And he knows he can count on the media to never mention this option is being openly kicked around before the war starts. (Pollack is Ted Koppel's son-in-law.)
By Dave Lindorff
If a bunch of street toughs decided to gang up and beat the crap out of some guy in the neighborhood because they feared he might be planning to buy a gun to protect his family, I think we’d all agree that the police would be right to bust that crew and charge them with conspiracy to commit the crime of assault and battery. If they went forward with their plan and actually did attack the guy, injuring or killing him in the process, we’d also all agree they should all be charged with assault and battery, attempted murder, or even first-degree murder if he died.
Neocons in Israel and the United States are escalating their rhetoric to prepare us for war with Iran. Even the infamous John Yoo, architect of George W. Bush’s illegal torture and spying programs, is calling on the Republican presidential candidates to “begin preparing the case for a military strike to destroy Iran’s nuclear program.”
Under the 1968 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), Iran has the legal right to produce nuclear power for peaceful purposes. The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has found no evidence that Iran is developing a nuclear weapons program. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently said on CBS that Iran is not currently trying to build a nuclear weapon.
Nevertheless, the United States and Israel are mounting a campaign of aggression against Iran. The United States has imposed punishing sanctions against Iran that are crippling Iran’s economy, and pressuring other countries and strong-arming financial institutions to stop buying oil from Iran, the world’s third largest exporter. The Obama administration is also preparing new punitive measures that target the Central Bank of Iran. And the House of Representatives voted overwhelmingly to pass the Iran Threat Reduction Act of 2011 which would outlaw any contact between U.S. government employees and some Iranian officials.
Debunking the Spurious Iranian Nuclear Threat
by Stephen Lendman
Previous articles debunked claims of Iran's alleged nuclear threat. For months, major media scoundrels regurgitated official lies.
Yet at least since 2007, America's annual intelligence assessment found none. Media reports ignored it. Suddenly old news is new news.
Pentagon Thinks The End of the Year May Be the Time for War With Iran - Why? - Will Something Be Over in November?
From the Telegraph:
Reflecting Pentagon fears that the US could be sucked into a war by the end of the year, the Central Command told Congress that it wanted the new systems in place by the autumn.
Fox News: Iran Should Be Annihilated, and the United States Is the Only Country NOT Seeking Global Hegemony
HT Carl Herman
By John Grant
The United States is finding the occupation of other nations more and more challenging. Consider the burning of Korans in Bagram Air Force Base in Afghanistan, the bombing deaths of 24 Pakistani soldiers and a host of other recent disasters. Economic challenges at home only add to the difficulty.
In such a frustrating quandary, Washington and Pentagon leaders are falling back on what they feel the US does best: Secret killing.
Irresponsible Anti-Iranian Fear-Mongering
by Stephen Lendman
Irresponsible anti-Iranian political and pack journalism rhetoric sound ominously like spurious Iraqi WMD threats in the run-up to the 2003 war.
In his January State of the Union address, Obama said:
Mutual Preemptive Strikes: What Could Go Wrong? (But It Is Not Clear This Is the Right Interpretation of the General's Statement)
Iran Vows to Launch Preemptive Strike If Attack on Them Imminent
A top Iranian military commander said today that Iran would take pre-emptive action against its enemies if it felt it were about to be attacked.
Mohammad Hejazi, Deputy Head of the Iranian Armed Forces, made his comments to the Iranian FARS news agency.
Iran is facing mounting international pressure over its controversial nuclear program. Iran insists that its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only.
"Our strategy now is that if we feel our enemies want to endanger Iran's national interests, and want to decide to do that, we will act without waiting for their actions," Mr Hejazi told FARS.
* * *
Heightening Anti-Iranian Tensions
by Stephen Lendman
For months, Iran faced baseless accusations. They include:
- the spurious US Saudi ambassador assassination plot;
1. Iran has threatened to fight back if attacked, and that's a war crime. War crimes must be punished.
2. My television says Iran has nukes. I'm sure it's true this time. Just like with North Korea. I'm sure they're next. We only bomb places that really truly have nukes and are in the Axis of Evil. Except Iraq, which was different.
3. Iraq didn't go so badly. Considering how lousy its government is, the place is better off with so many people having left or died. Really, that one couldn't have worked out better if we'd planned it.
4. When we threaten to cut off Iran's oil, Iran threatens to cut off Iran's oil, which is absolutely intolerable. What would we do without that oil? And what good is buying it if they want to sell it?
5. Iran was secretly behind 9-11. I read it online. And if it wasn't, that's worse. Iran hasn't attacked another nation in centuries, which means its next attack is guaranteed to be coming very soon.
6. Iranians are religious nuts, unlike Israelis and Americans. Most Israelis don't want to attack Iran, but the Holy Israeli government does. To oppose that decision would be to sin against God.
7. Iranians are so stupid that when we murder their scientists they try to hire a car dealer in Texas to hire a drug gang in Mexico to murder a Saudi ambassador in Washington, and then they don't do it -- just to make us look bad for catching them.
7. b. Oh, and stupid people should be bombed. They're not civilized.
8. War is good for the U.S. economy, and the Iranian economy too. Troops stationed in Iran would buy stuff. And women who survived the war would have more rights. Like in Virginia. We owe Iranians this after that little mishap in 1953.
9. This is the only way to unite the region. Either we bomb Iran and it swears its eternal love to us. Or, if necessary, we occupy Iran to liberate it like its neighbors. Which shouldn't take long. Look how well Afghanistan is going already.
10. They won't give our drone back. Enough said.
For all it has done to promote confrontation between the United States and Iran, the American Israel Public Affairs Committee has worked to avoid the public perception that AIPAC is openly promoting war. In AIPAC's public documents, the emphasis has always been on tougher sanctions. (If you make sanctions "tough" enough - an effective embargo - that is an act of war, but it is still at one remove from saying that the U.S. should start bombing.)
But a new Senate effort to move the goalposts of U.S. policy to declare it "unacceptable" for Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability - not a nuclear weapon, but the technical capacity to create one - gives AIPAC the opportunity to make a choice which all can observe. If the Lieberman resolution becomes an ask for AIPAC lobbyists at the March AIPAC policy conference, then the world will know: AIPAC is lobbying Congress for war with Iran.
Dear Americans for Peace and Dialogue with Iran - Emergency Call
Date: Thurs., March 1, 2012
Time: Gather at 5:00 PM
Place: Council on Foreign Relations
58 East 68th Street, NY, NY 10065
(Building just off Park Ave.)
Iranian communities across the U.S. and in Iran are outraged by learning that Jonathan Tepperman, Managing Editor of Foreign Affairs magazine, the bi-monthly publication of the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR), has allowed Matthew Kroenig's toxically anti-Iran article: "Time to Attack Iran" to appear in the Jan/Feb. 2012 issue of the magazine. As if this egregious act was not enough to bring discredit to the magazine and the Council on Foreign Relations, CFR is sponsoring a public "live debate" on March 1st, to convince Americans that war on Iran, just as the ones in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and Syria, in its early stages, is the rational, humane and civilized method of dealing with the differences between the two countries of U.S. and Iran.
It is a well-known fact that is verified numerous times by even some top U.S. officials in the U.S. Administration and intelligence services, including by the Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta and President Barack Obama among many others in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran has no nuclear weapons or even programs.
American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC), consistent with our 8 year Mission Statement, call on all Iranians and Americans who do not wish to witness another war – this time on Iran – to join us in a protest picket line in front of the Council on Foreign Relations to voice your opposition to this meeting that intends to promote war, death and destruction of yet another country in the Middle East.
Negotiate with Iran! Remove your Warships!
Lift the Sanctions! Sign a Non-Aggression Treaty!
Iran has no NUKES! U.S. and Israel have 1000's!
Called by American Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) www.iranaifc.com 914-589-0744