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Thread: Israel works on Iran N-strike

  1. #1
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    Israel works on Iran N-strike

    Israel works on Iran N-strike

    The Natanz nuclear power plant in Iran. (File picture)

    London, Jan. 7 (Reuters): Israel has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons, Britain’s Sunday Times newspaper said.

    Citing what it said were several Israeli military sources, the paper said two Israeli air force squadrons had been training to blow up an enrichment plant in Natanz using low-yield nuclear “bunker busters”.

    Two other sites, a heavy water plant at Arak and a uranium conversion plant at Isfahan, would be targeted with conventional bombs, the Sunday Times said.

    The UN Security Council voted unanimously last month to slap sanctions on Iran to try to stop uranium enrichment that western powers fear could lead to making bombs. Tehran insists its plans are peaceful and says it will continue enrichment.

    Israel has refused to rule out pre-emptive military action against Iran along the lines of its 1981 air strike against an atomic reactor in Iraq, although many analysts believe Iran’s nuclear facilities are too much for Israel to take on alone.

    An Israeli government spokeswoman declined comment on the report. Israel does not discuss its assumed atomic arsenal, under an “ambiguity strategy” billed as warding off regional foes while avoiding arms races.

    “We don’t comment on stories like this in the Sunday Times,” she said.

    Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini said the report “will make clear to the world public opinion that the Zionist regime (Israel) is the main menace to global peace and the region”.

    He said “any measure against Iran will not be left without a response and the invader will regret its act”.

    Iran’s President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and Israel has said it will not allow Iran to acquire a bomb.

    Israeli pilots have flown to Gibraltar in recent weeks to train for the 3,200-km round-trip to the Iranian targets, the report said, and three possible routes to Iran have been mapped out, including one over Turkey.



    http://www.telegraphindia.com/107010...ry_7233190.asp
    A very ominous development.

    Drastic but it will end this guessing game that has plagued the world for quite some time.

    Perchance if the Israelis do bomb Iran's facilities, will Iran react? If so, how? Through the aegis of the Hezbollah in Lebanon?

    Will it start a flaming war?

    If so, how will the forces be aligned?


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

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    Military Professional wabpilot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ray View Post
    Perchance if the Israelis do bomb Iran's facilities, will Iran react? If so, how? Through the aegis of the Hezbollah in Lebanon?
    That is their favored method. Hezbollah gives the Iranians a favorable mis-match with Israel. And, the casualties don't need burial in Iran.

  3. #3
    Banned Defense Professional Bluesman's Avatar
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    It's coming whether we want it or not, and the Israelis are the only ones committed enough to their national survival to actually plan for it. Bully for them; I wish our politicians and leaders were as canny and determined to prevail. Instead, like so many of our people, they are absolutely convinced it could never happen to us, and that we can't lose.

    We CAN lose; we MAY lose.

    The article below is long, but it's a fast read, and we had all better read it thoroughly.

    William, I'm looking right at you.

    January 08, 2007
    The War Against Global Jihadism
    By Peter Wehner

    President Bush has said that the war against global jihadism is more than a military conflict; it is the decisive ideological struggle of the 21st century. We are still in the early years of the struggle. The civilized world will either rise to the challenge and prevail against this latest form of barbarism, or grief and death will visit us and other innocents on a massive scale.

    Given the stakes involved in this war and how little is known, even now, about what is at the core of this conflict, it is worth reviewing in some detail the nature of our enemy - including disaggregating who they are (Shia and Sunni extremists), what they believe and why they believe it, and the implications of that for America and the West.

    Islam in the World Today

    The enemy we face is not Islam per se; rather, we face a global network of extremists who are driven by a twisted vision of Islam. These jihadists are certainly a minority within Islam -- but they exist, they are dangerous and resolute, in some places they are ascendant, and they need to be confronted and defeated.

    It's worth looking at Islam more broadly.[1] It is the second-largest religion in the world, with around 1.3 billion adherents. Islam is the dominant religion throughout the Middle East, North Africa, Central Asia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Indonesia, which alone claims more than 170 million adherents. There are also more than 100 million Muslims living in India.

    Less than a quarter of the world's Muslims are Arabs.

    The Muslim world is "vast and varied and runs the gamut from the Iran of the ayatollahs to secular and largely westernized Turkey."[2]

    The overwhelming majority of Muslims are Sunnites, or "traditionalists"; they comprise 83 percent of the Muslim world, or 934 million people. It is the dominant faith in countries like Afghanistan, Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan.

    Sunni Islam recognizes several major schools of thought, including Wahhabism, which is based on the teachings of the 18th century Islamic scholar Mohammed ibn Abd Wahhab. His movement was a reaction to European modernism and what he believed was the corruption of Muslim theology and an insufficient fidelity to Islamic law. He gave jihad, or "holy war," a prominent place in his teachings.

    Wahhabism -- a xenophobic, puritanical version of Sunni Islam -- became the reigning theology in modern Saudi Arabia and is the strand of Sunni faith in which Osama bin Laden was raised and with which he associates himself.

    Shiites, or "partisans" of Ali, represent around 16 percent of the Muslim world, or 180 million people. The Shiite faith is dominant in Iraq and Iran and is the single largest community in Lebanon. The largest sect within the Shia faith is known as "twelvers," referring to those who believe that the twelfth imam, who is now hidden, will appear to establish peace, justice, and Islamic rule on earth.

    "Across the Middle East Shias and Sunnis have often rallied around the same political causes and even fought together in the same trenches," Professor Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival, has written. But he also points out that "followers of each sect are divided by language, ethnicity, geography, and class. There are also disagreements within each group over politics, theology, and religious law..."[3] Professor Nasr points out that "[a]nti-Shiism is embedded in the ideology of Sunni militancy that has risen to prominence across the region in the last decade."[4]

    It is worth noting as well that for most of its history, the Shia have been largely powerless, marginalized, and oppressed -- often by Sunnis. "Shia history," the Middle East scholar Fouad Ajami has written, "is about lamentations."[5]

    Shia and Sunni: Different Histories

    The split between the Sunni and Shiite branches of Islam is rooted in the question of rightful succession after the death of Muhammad in 632.[6]

    The Shia believe that Muhammad designated Ali, his son-in-law and cousin, as his successor. To the Shia, it was impossible that God could have left open the question of leadership of the community. Only those who knew the prophet intimately would have the thorough knowledge of the true meaning of the Koran and the prophetic tradition. Further, for the new community to choose its own leader held the possibility that the wrong person would be chosen.

    The majority view prevailing at an assembly following Muhammad's death, however, was that Muhammad had deliberately left succession an open question. These became the Sunnis, followers of the Sunnah, or Tradition of the Prophet. This is the root of the Sunni tradition. Sunnis have a belief in "the sanctity of the consensus of the community... 'My community will never agree in error': the Prophet is thus claimed by the Sunnis to have conferred on his community the very infallibility that the Shi`is ascribe to their Imams."[7]

    The assembly elected as Muhammad's successor Abu Baker, a close companion of Muhammad, and gave Abu Baker the title Caliph, or successor, of God's messenger. Ali was the third successor to Abu Baker and, for the Shia, the first divinely sanctioned "imam," or male descendant of the Prophet Muhammad.

    The seminal event in Shia history is the martyrdom in 680 of Ali's son Hussein, who led an uprising against the "illegitimate" caliph (72 of Hussein's followers were killed as well). "For the Shia, Hussein came to symbolize resistance to tyranny," according to Masood Farivar. "His martyrdom is commemorated to this day as the central act of Shia piety."[8]

    The end of Muhammad's line came with Muhammad al-Mahdi, the "Twelfth Imam" -- or Mahdi ("the one who guides") -- who disappeared as a child at the funeral of his father Hassan al-Askari, the eleventh imam.[9]

    Shia and Sunni: Different Eschatologies

    Shiites believe that the Twelfth Imam, al-Mahdi, is merely hidden from view and will one day return from his "occultation" to rid the world of evil. Legitimate Islamic rule can only be re-established with the Mahdi's return because, in the Shiite view, the imams possessed secret knowledge, passed by each to his successor, vital to guiding the community.

    History is moving toward the inevitable return of the Twelfth Imam, according to Shia. Professor Hamid Enayat has written:

    "The Shi`is agree with the Sunnis that Muslim history since the era of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs ... has been for the most part a tale of woe. But whereas for the Sunnis the course of history since then has been a movement away from the ideal state, for the Shi`is it is a movement towards it."[10]

    It's worth noting that Shia have historically been politically quiescent, with "[the return of the Mahdi] remaining in practice merely a sanctifying tenet for the submissive acceptance of the status quo."[11]

    In more recent times, however -- and in particular in Iran under Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini -- the martyrdom of Hussein at Karbala in 680 has been used to catalyze political action. Ayatollah Khomeini embraced a view that Hussein was compelled to resist an unpopular, unjust and impious government and that his martyrdom serves as a call to rebellion for all Muslims in building an Islamic state.

    The end-time views of Ayatollah Khomeini have been explained this way:

    "[Khomeini] vested the myth [of the return of the Twelfth Imam] with an entirely new sense: The Twelfth Imam will only emerge when the believers have vanquished evil. To speed up the Mahdi's return, Muslims had to shake off their torpor and fight."[12]

    As Professor Matthias Kuntzel points out, Khomeini's activism is a break with Shia tradition and, in fact, tracks more closely with the militancy of the Sunni Muslim Brotherhood, which seeks to reunite religion and politics, implement sharia (the body of Islamic laws derived from the Koran), and views the struggle for an Islamic state as a Muslim duty.

    Professor Noah Feldman of New York University points out, "Recently, Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, contributed to renewed focus on the mahdi, by saying publicly that the mission of the Islamic revolution in Iran is to pave the way for the mahdi's return..."[13]

    Sunni radicals hold a very different eschatological view. "For all his talk of the war between civilizations," Professor Noah Feldman has written:

    "bin Laden has never spoken of the end of days. For him, the battle between the Muslims and the infidels is part of earthly human life, and has indeed been with us since the days of the Prophet himself. The war intensifies and lessens with time, but it is not something that occurs out of time or with the expectation that time itself will stop. Bin Laden and his sympathizers want to re-establish the caliphate and rule the Muslim world, but unlike some earlier revivalist movements within Sunni Islam, they do not declare their leader as the mahdi, or guided one, whose appearance will usher in a golden age of justice and peace to be followed by the Day of Judgment. From this perspective, the utter destruction of civilization would be a mistake, not the fulfillment of a divine plan."[14]

    Many Sunnis, then, look toward the rise of a new caliphate; Shia, on the other hand, are looking for the rule of the returned imam -- with the extremist strain within Shia believing they can hasten the return of the twelfth imam by cleansing the world of what they believe to be evil in their midst.

    Other prominent Shia, like Iraq's Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, "take a more fatalist stance, and prefer to believe that the mahdi's coming cannot be hastened by human activity...."[15] Indeed, Ayatollah Sistani was a disciple of Ayatollah Abul-Qassim Khoei in Najaf, who was from the "quietist school" in Shiite Islam and attempted to keep Khomeini from claiming the mantle of Shiite leadership.[16]

    Contemporary Sunni Radicalism

    Since the attacks of September 11, we have learned important things about al Qaeda and its allies. Their movement is fueled by hatred and deep resentments against the West, America, and the course of history.

    In Islam's first few centuries of existence, it was a dominant and expanding force in the world, sweeping across lands in the modern-day Middle East, North Africa, Spain, and elsewhere. During its Golden Age -- which spanned from the eighth to the 13th century -- Islam was the philosophical, educational, and scientific center of the world. The Ottoman Empire[17] reached the peak of its power in the 16th century. Islam then began to recede as a political force. In the 17th century, for example, advancing Muslims were defeated at the gates of Vienna, the last time an Islamic army threatened the heart of Europe. And for radicals like bin Laden, a milestone event and historic humiliation came when the Ottoman Empire crumbled at the end of World War I.

    This is significant because for many Muslims, the proper order of life in this world is for them to rule and for the "infidels" to be ruled over. The end of the Ottoman Empire was deeply disorienting. Then, in 1923-24 came the establishment of modern, secular Turkey under Kemal Ataturk -- and the abolishment of the caliphate.[18]

    Osama bin Laden and his militant Sunni followers seek to reverse all that. Bin Laden sees himself as the new caliph; he has referred to himself as the "commander of the faithful." He is seeking to unify all of Islam -- and resume a jihad against the unbelievers.

    According to Mary Habeck of the School of Advanced International Studies at Johns Hopkins University:

    "Jihadis thus neither recognize national boundaries within the Islamic lands nor do they believe that the coming Islamic state, when it is created, should have permanent borders with the unbelievers. The recognition of such boundaries would end the expansion of Islam and stop offensive jihad, both of which are transgressions against the laws of God that command jihad to last until Judgment Day or until the entire earth is under the rule of Islamic law."[19]

    Al Qaeda and its terrorist allies are waging their war on several continents. They have killed innocent people in Europe, Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia, the Far East, and the United States. They will try to overthrow governments and seize power where they can -- and where they cannot, they will attempt to inflict fear and destruction by disrupting settled ways of life. They will employ every weapon they can: assassinations, car bombs, airplanes, and, if they can secure them, biological, chemical, and nuclear weapons.

    The theocratic and totalitarian ideology that characterizes al Qaeda makes typical negotiations impossible. "Anyone who stands in the way of our struggle is our enemy and target of the swords," said Abu Musab al Zarqawi, the late leader of al Qaeda in Iraq. Osama bin Laden put it this way: "Death is better than living on this Earth with the unbelievers among us."

    This struggle has an enormous ideological dimension. For example, both Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahiri, the number two leader of al Qaeda and its ideological leader, were deeply influenced by Sayyid Qutb, whose writings (especially his manifesto Milestones) gave rise and profoundly shaped the radical Islamist movement. Qutb, an Egyptian who was killed by Egyptian President Gamal Nasser in 1966, had a fierce hatred for America, the West, modernity, and Muslims who did not share his extremist views.

    According to the author Lawrence Wright:

    "Qutb divides the world into two camps, Islam and jahiliyya, the period of ignorance and barbarity that existed before the divine message of the Prophet Mohammed. Qutb uses the term to encompass all of modern life: manners, morals, art, literature, law, even much of what passed as Islamic culture. He was opposed not to modern technology but to the worship of science, which he believed had alienated humanity from natural harmony with creation. Only a complete rejection of rationalism and Western values offered the slim hope of the redemption of Islam. This was the choice: pure, primitive Islam or the doom of mankind."[20]

    Sunni jihadists, then, are committed to establishing a radical Islamic empire that spans from Spain to Indonesia. Ayman al-Zawahiri, for example, has spoken about a "jihad for the liberation of Palestine, all Palestine, as well as every land that was a home for Islam, from Andalusia to Iraq. The whole world is an open field for us."

    Their version of political utopia is Afghanistan under the Taliban, a land of almost unfathomable cruelty. The Taliban sought to control every sphere of human life and crush individuality and human creativity. And Afghanistan became a safe haven and launching pad for terrorists.

    The Islamic radicals we are fighting know they are far less wealthy and far less advanced in technology and weaponry than the United States. But they believe they will prevail in this war, as they did against the Soviet Union in Afghanistan, by wearing us down and breaking our will. They believe America and the West are "the weak horse" -- soft, irresolute, and decadent. "[Americans are] the most cowardly of God's creatures," al-Zarqawi once said.

    Contemporary Shia Radicalism

    President Bush has said the Shia strain of Islamic radicalism is "just as dangerous, and just as hostile to America, and just as determined to establish its brand of hegemony across the broader Middle East." And Shia extremists have achieved something al Qaeda has not: in 1979, they took control of a major power, Iran.

    The importance of the Iranian revolution is hard to overstate. In the words of the Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis:

    "Political Islam first became a major international factor with the Iranian Revolution of 1979. The word 'revolution' has been much misused in the Middle East and has served to designate and justify almost any violent transfer of power at the top. But what happened in Iran was a genuine revolution, a major change with a very significant ideological challenge, a shift in the basis of society that had an immense impact on the whole Islamic world, intellectually, morally, and politically. The process that began in Iran in 1979 was a revolution in the same sense as the French and the Russian revolutions were."[21] (emphasis added)

    The taking of American hostages in 1979 made it clear that "Islamism represented for the West an opponent of an entirely different nature than the Soviet Union: an opponent that not only did not accept the system of international relations founded after 1945 but combated it as a 'Christian-Jewish conspiracy.'"[22]

    Ayatollah Khomeini said in a radio address in November 1979 that the storming of the American embassy represented a "war between Muslims and pagans." He went on to say this:

    "The Muslims must rise up in this struggle, which is more a struggle between unbelievers and Islam than one between Iran and America: between all unbelievers and Muslims. The Muslims must rise up and triumph in this struggle."

    A year later, in a speech in Qom, Khomeini indicated the type of mindset we are facing:

    "We do not worship Iran, we worship Allah. For patriotism is another name for paganism. I say let this land [Iran] burn. I say let this land go up in smoke, provided Islam emerges triumphant in the rest of the world."[23]

    "Whether or not they share Teheran's Shiite orientation," Joshua Muravchik and Jeffrey Gedmin wrote in 1997, "the various Islamist movements take inspiration (and in many cases material assistance) from the Islamic Republic of Iran."[24]

    Indeed. As Lawrence Wright points out:

    "The fact that Khomeini came from the Shiite branch of Islam, rather than the Sunni, which predominates in the Muslim world outside of Iraq and Iran, made him a complicated figure among Sunni radicals. Nonetheless, Zawahiri's organization, al-Jihad, supported the Iranian revolution with leaflets and cassette tapes urging all Islamic groups in Egypt to follow the Iranian example."[25]

    Today Iran is the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world. For example, it funds and arms Hezbollah, a Shia terrorist organization which has killed more Americans than any terrorist organization except al Qaeda. Hezbollah was behind the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine barracks in Beirut that killed 241 Americans and marked the advent of suicide bombing as a weapon of choice among Islamic radicals.

    The leader of Hezbollah, Hassan Nasrallah, has said this: "Let the entire world hear me. Our hostility to the Great Satan [America] is absolute... Regardless of how the world has changed after 11 September, Death to America will remain our reverberating and powerful slogan: Death to America."

    Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has also declared his absolute hostility to America.[26] Last October, he said, "whether a world without the United States and Zionism can be achieved... I say that this... goal is achievable." In 2006 he declared to America and other Western powers: "open your eyes and see the fate of pharaoh... if you do not abandon the path of falsehood... your doomed destiny will be annihilation." Later he warned, "The anger of Muslims may reach an explosion point soon. If such a day comes [America and the West] should know that the waves of the blast will not remain within the boundaries of our region."

    He also said this: "If you would like to have good relations with the Iranian nation in the future... bow down before the greatness of the Iranian nation and surrender. If you don't accept [to do this], the Iranian nation will... force you to surrender and bow down."

    In Tehran in December, President Ahmadinejad hosted a conference of Holocaust deniers, and he has repeatedly threatened to wipe Israel off the map. "More than any leading Iranian figure since Ayatollah Khomeini himself," Vali Nasr has written, "Ahmadinejad appears to take seriously the old revolutionary goal of positioning Iran as the leading country of the entire Muslim world -- an ambition that requires focusing on themes (such as hostility to Israel and the West) that tend to bring together Arabs and Iranians, Sunni and Shia, rather than divide them..."[27]

    Concluding Thoughts

    It is the fate of the West, and in particular the United States, to have to deal with the combined threat of Shia and Sunni extremists. And for all the differences that exist between them -- and they are significant -- they share some common features.

    Their brand of radicalism is theocratic, totalitarian, illiberal, expansionist, violent, and deeply anti-Semitic and anti-American. As President Bush has said, both Shia and Sunni militants want to impose their dark vision on the Middle East. And as we have seen with Shia-dominated Iran's support of the Sunni terrorist group Hamas, they can find common ground when they confront what they believe is a common enemy.

    The war against global jihadism will be long, and we will experience success and setbacks along the way. The temptation of the West will be to grow impatient and, in the face of this long struggle, to grow weary. Some will demand a quick victory and, absent that, they will want to withdraw from the battle. But this is a war from which we cannot withdraw. As we saw on September 11th, there are no safe harbors in which to hide. Our enemies have declared war on us, and their hatreds cannot be sated. We will either defeat them, or they will come after us with the unsheathed sword.

    All of us would prefer years of repose to years of conflict. But history will not allow it. And so it once again rests with this remarkable republic to do what we have done in the past: our duty.


    **********

    [1] Sources for this section include The New York Times Almanac: 2007 and "Islam is faith with many faces," by David R. Sands, The Washington Times, October 21, 2001.

    [2] Why We Fight, by William J. Bennett (2002).

    [3] The Shia Revival: How Conflicts within Islam Will Shape the Future (2006).

    [4] "Iraq's Real Holy War," The New York Times, March 6, 2004.

    [5] The Foreigner's Gift (2006).

    [6] The precepts of Islam were revealed through Muhammad, who Muslims believe was the last of a line of prophets including Abraham, Moses, and Jesus. Muhammad was born around 570 at Mecca, in western Saudi Arabia, and died in 632 in Medina. Muslims believe the Koran, which means "recitation" and consists of 114 chapters (or surahs), is the infallible word of God as revealed to Muhammad.

    [7] Hamid Enayat, Modern Islamic Political Thought (Second edition, 2005).

    [8] "A Faith Divided," The Wall Street Journal, August 22, 2006.

    [9] The February 22, 2006 attack in Iraq on Samarra's Askariya shrine, also known as the Golden Mosque, was significant because, as the Washington Post reported at the time, "the mosque holds the tombs of two revered 9th-century imams of the Shiite branch of Islam, including Hassan al-Askari, father of the 'hidden imam,' al-Mahdi. Many Shiites believe that Mahdi is still alive and that his reemergence one day will signal the beginning of the end of the world. Shiites consider the mosque in Samarra to be a tangible link with the hidden imam." It should also be noted that the name of the militia led by Moqtada al-Sadr, the radical Shiite cleric in Iraq, is the Mahdi Army. "Moqtada is absolutely hooked on the concept of the reappearance of the Mahdi," according to Amatzia Baram, the director of the Ezri Center at Haifa University.

    [10] Modern Islamic Political Thought (Second edition, 2005).

    [11] Ibid.

    [12] Matthias Kuntzel, "A Child of the Revolution Takes Over," The New Republic, April 24, 2006

    [13] "Islam, Terror and the Second Nuclear Age," The New York Times Magazine, October 29, 2006. It should be noted that Professor Feldman also argues, "Shiite Islam, even in its messianic incarnation, still falls short of inviting nuclear retaliation and engendering collective suicide."

    [14] Ibid.

    [15] Ibid.

    [16] Anthony Shadid, "Call of History Draws Iraqi Cleric to the Political Fore," The Washington Post, February 1, 2004.

    [17] The Ottoman Empire was established in the 13th century by the Osmanli (Ottoman) Turks. At the height of its power, this Turkish empire spanned three continents.

    [18] The establishment of a secular Islamic state in Turkey was unprecedented for an Islamic nation. The reason is rooted in the history of Islam. According to Efraim Karsh, author of Islamic Imperialism: A History, "Islam has never distinguished between temporal and religious powers, which were combined in the person of Muhammad." The Islamic scholar Bernard Lewis puts it this way: "The notion of church and state as distinct institutions, each with its own laws, hierarchy, and jurisdiction, is characteristically Christian, with its origins in Christian scripture and history. It is alien to Islam... From the lifetime of its founder, Islam was the state, and the identity of religion and government is indelibly stamped on the memories and awareness of the faithful from their own sacred writings, history, and experience. For Muslims, Muhammad's career as a soldier and statesman was not additional to his mission as a prophet. It was an essential part of it."

    [19] Knowing the Enemy: Jihadist Ideology and the War on Terror (2006).

    [20] The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (2006).

    [21] "Freedom and Justice in the Modern Middle East," Foreign Affairs, May/June 2005.

    [22] Matthias Kuntzel, "From Khomeini to Ahmadinejad," Policy Review, December 2006 & January 2007.

    [23] The quotes by Ayatollah Khomeini appear in Matthias Kuntzel's "From Khomeini to Ahmadinejad," Policy Review, December 2006 & January 2007.

    [24] "Why Iran Is (Still) a Menace," Commentary, July 1997.

    [25] The Looming Tower: Al-Qaeda and the Road to 9/11 (2006).

    [26] President Ahmadinejad is certainly a key figure in Iran and the world. It is worth noting, however, that the Iranian government has several different power centers, including the presidency, the parliament, the Revolutionary Guard, and the office of the Supreme Leader - currently filled by Ayatollah Khamenei, who ultimately oversees the armed forces and exerts great influence.

    [27] "The New Hegemon," The New Republic, December 18, 2006. It should be noted that in his book The Shia Revival, Professor Nasr argues that the Islamic revolution is "today a spent force in Iran, and the Islamic Republic is a tired dictatorship facing pressures to change." He adds, "If the Shias are emerging from their dark years of ideological posturing, revolution, and extremism, the Sunnis seem to be entering theirs, or at least passing into a darker phase."

    Peter Wehner is deputy assistant to the President and director of the White House's Office of Strategic Initiatives.
    Page Printed from: http://www.realclearpolitics.com/art...our_enemy.html at January 09, 2007 - 08:25:38 AM CST

  4. #4
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    bluesman,

    We CAN lose; we MAY lose.
    wouldn't it be possible to say that this is a war where things MAY and probably WILL happen to us, but that we will never lose?

    this is much like when the japanese struck pearl harbor- the greater the tactical victory, the worse their strategic defeat as you enrage the american people and ensure that it is a fight to the finish.

    look at it this way: the fall of the towers and the pentagon was exchanged for the elimination of most of al-qaeda, the invasion and occupations of both afghanistan and iraq.

    now if any goddam' terrorist, and let us say he is iranian, strikes the US with a nuke, for some reason i highly doubt the US public would call for anything but turning the whole of iran into radioactive dust. as you see, the harder the terrorists strike, the stronger the national will of the US, which you correctly point out to be a major problem in our implementation of the WoT. so either way...this is a war we're going to win.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  5. #5
    Military Professional Ray's Avatar
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    A very delicate affair.

    However, some positive action is required lest it becomes a pain!


    "Some have learnt many Tricks of sly Evasion, Instead of Truth they use Equivocation, And eke it out with mental Reservation, Which is to good Men an Abomination."

    I don't have to attend every argument I'm invited to.

    HAKUNA MATATA

  6. #6
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    bluesman,



    wouldn't it be possible to say that this is a war where things MAY and probably WILL happen to us, but that we will never lose?

    this is much like when the japanese struck pearl harbor- the greater the tactical victory, the worse their strategic defeat as you enrage the american people and ensure that it is a fight to the finish.

    look at it this way: the fall of the towers and the pentagon was exchanged for the elimination of most of al-qaeda, the invasion and occupations of both afghanistan and iraq.

    now if any goddam' terrorist, and let us say he is iranian, strikes the US with a nuke, for some reason i highly doubt the US public would call for anything but turning the whole of iran into radioactive dust. as you see, the harder the terrorists strike, the stronger the national will of the US, which you correctly point out to be a major problem in our implementation of the WoT. so either way...this is a war we're going to win.
    And one of the best parts is that WE Americans come from all walks of life and countries about.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

  7. #7
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    This is a pretty good article on the Russian angle:
    Russia’s Position on Iran: Motives and Constraints



    Ivan Safranchuk

    Economic aspects of Russia’s position

    It is widely held that Russia is interested in economic cooperation with Iran, on projects ranging from the civilian nuclear industry to a future “gas OPEC.” One could imagine a breath-taking future for the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in which Russia and China are co-leaders and Iran, currently an associate member, is seeking full membership. The SCO dominates in Central Asia, and Iran as full member could provide access to Persian Gulf. This would make the SCO unique in its influence on oil and gas markets since its members would have dominant or important positions on three reserves of conventional oil: the Persian Gulf, Russia and Central Asia. Such geographical scope would also make the SCO unique in its transit capabilities and access to world markets. Still, such considerations are for the long term, and there is no ground to believe that Russia’s position on Iran is formed by such long-term considerations, in particular, because the future development of the SCO could turn out entirely differently. China could take dominant positions in economic projects within the SCO. Russia would have to counterbalance Chinese influence in Central Asia, and would not be in a position to interfere in the growing Chinese-Iranian cooperation. So Iran would provide Gulf access to China rather than to Russia. On the one hand, this would raise US-Chinese tensions and competition over the oil market considerably. Russia could benefit from this, since as China enters the American oil backyard, the US will be more interested in Russia. On the other hand, Chinese influence in Central Asia could easily go beyond a level acceptable to Russia, undermining Russia’s own interest in contracting and transiting Central Asian reserves. In short, the long-term considerations are complicated and have multiple probabilities. They provide no firm basis for determining the current Russian position on Iran.



    Regional considerations of Russia’s position on Iran

    The global context on Iran is obvious. If Iran goes nuclear, the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty becomes meaningless.

    The regional context is usually discussed in connection with the Persian Gulf. But Iran has access and interests not only in the Gulf, but also in the Caspian basin. It is commonly overlooked that for Russia, this regional perspective is very important and has direct consequences for shaping its position on Iran. Russia is struggling for influence and economic benefits in Central Asia. The Caucasus is the key region for the transit of Central Asian resources. Russia is losing the influence game in the Caucasus as the US develops relations with Georgia and Azerbaijan, and with both countries thinking about NATO membership. Georgia, or more precisely, its current leadership, is already seen as a hopeless case. This leaves regime change in Georgia the only option for Russia.

    Azerbaijan, on the other hand, is not rushing to spoil its relations with Russia. But growing cooperation between Baku and Washington has Russia worried. Russia may not realistically expect to reverse Azerbaijani interest in further cooperation with the West. Still, Russia is interested in Azerbaijan not inviting US/NATO military presence in Caucasus and Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan has an incentive to invite an outside military presence in the region. This has a direct connection to Iran.

    Azerbaijan and Iran portray their relations as normal. There is some economic cooperation and dialogue on the political level. But in reality, both countries look at each other with a lot of suspicion.

    In Iran, the Azerbaijani population is regarded as potentially non-loyal. Turkish secular influence has the potential to develop amid Azerbaijani nationals. Iranian authorities have every reason to worry about this, since Azerbaijanis constitute a 20 mln strong minority among Iran’s population of 70 mln.

    Through Azerbaijani eyes the Shia Iranian leadership, with control over a 20 mln Azerbaijani population, constitutes a challenge and even a direct threat to Azerbaijan, with its relatively small population of 8 mln. Who can guarantee that Iran will not attempt to take Azerbaijan under control?

    Azerbaijan is not interested in escalating problems in its relations with Iran. This allows the two countries to portray relations as normal while huge tensions exist. But this apparent normality does not prevent Azerbaijan from looking for a security provider. The US/NATO are natural choices.

    Russia does not want to see an outside military presence in the Caspian region, and will attempt to dissuade Azerbaijan from inviting such a presence into the region. Azerbaijan had every reason to be worried by improving Russian-Iranian relations. But since 2002, Russia has come to share Azerbaijani concerns regarding Iran. In the regional context, Russia has shown an interest in counterbalancing Iran. This signals to Azerbaijan that Russia is not Iran’s friend, that Russia is interested in keeping Iran constrained. Russia tries to send the signal that it counterbalances Iran and that Azerbaijan does not have to worry. For the sake of dissuading Azerbaijan from inviting outside military presence in the Caspian Sea, Russia is willing to be tough on Iran in the regional context.

    Will a nuclear Iran be an incentive for US/NATO military presence in the Caspian Sea? Growing Iranian nuclear power would probably reinforce the Azerbaijani perception of the Iranian threat. Under a nuclear umbrella, Iran may feel free to extend pressure on Azerbaijan and threaten its oil reserves and Baku-Ceyhan transit. Consequently, Azerbaijani interest in an outside military presence would be reinforced. All this stimulates Russian interest in preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.



    The limits of US-Russian understanding on Iran

    The US got Russia’s agreement to exert more pressure on Iran. However, US diplomacy would like to see far more resolution from Moscow to press Iran for concessions. But this is problematic.

    To raise international support for more pressure on Iran, the US must first tackle the Iranian crisis in a global non-proliferation context. But within the global context, Russia is very unlikely to take a tough position on Iran.

    Russia does not want Iran to go nuclear. At the same time, Russia is concerned about international law. Russia hesitates to accept the logic that the Iranian nuclear crisis should be solved by any means. At a minimum, Russia will struggle to make this solution conform to international law. This seriously limits the level of toughness that Russia can afford to show in its position on Iran. The history of diplomacy in 2002 before the Iraq crisis is having a big impact on the Iranian crisis. The US diplomacy of 2002 is seen not as diplomacy meant to solve the Iraq crisis by peaceful means, but as the building of a case to justify military action against Iraq. Now, when Russia is being asked to take a tough position on Iran, the explanation goes that Iran will make concessions only if it faces a united international community with a common tough position. The problem for Russia in this is the following: what if even in these circumstances Iran does not become cooperative? The answer should be obvious: Iran will be punished with sanctions and the military option is likely to get more attention. But Russia does not want to sign up to this. So Russia is ready to join the expression of a threat to Iran, but does not want automatically to sign on to the realization of this threat. This is so because Russia cannot be sure that tough diplomacy on Iran is not actually pursued with the idea of building a case of Iranian non-cooperation simply in order to hasten to the realization of the threat against Iran. These considerations make Russia extremely careful in taking a tough stance on Iran.

    The only framework in which Russia is tough on Iran is Caspian region. Theoretically, Russia might consider the following: Russia joins hard pressure on Iran in exchange for US commitment not to have a military presence in Azerbaijan. But such a deal does not fit into the global context, within which Iran is described as challenger to the non-proliferation regime, international peace and security.



    Tactical dynamics of Russia’s position on Iran

    Tactically, through the entire Iranian crisis, Russia has been avoiding making a choice – the ultimate choice between the West and Iran. Russia does not want to sacrifice relations with the West for the sake of Iran. And Russia is not interested in paying the price of abandoning ties with Iran for the sake of relations with the West.

    US diplomacy demonstrated some respect for this Russian dilemma. On the contrary, it was Iran that raised the stakes, destroying any ground for compromise with the international community. Iran demonstrated an interest in the Russian proposal for a joint venture on uranium enrichment, but forgot about it as soon as it served the purpose of delaying the referal of the Iranian dossier to the UN Security Council. It is hard to avoid the impression that Iran was chewing on Russian proposal just to win time, which is very close to cynical manipulation. At the same time Iranian authorities and experts, off the record, express confidence that Russia would not vote for a UN resolution with sanctions. Iran demonstrated high levels of confidence that, if forced to make the ultimate choice, Russia would not betray Iran. Russia does not like this.

    The overall impression is that in recent months Iran was pushing Russia to make the ultimate choice between Iran and the West. It is hard to judge whether Iran did not understand Russia’s wish to avoid such a choice or whether it was just playing a trick to influence the Russian position. In any case, this push for the ultimate choice was beginning to irritate Russia. Russia wanted to downplay the crisis, to de-escalate tensions and find compromise at the lowest possible level. But Iran was doing absolutely the opposite, probably with the assumption (incidentally not groundless) that the higher the level of tension on which compromise is found, the smaller the scope of the compromise to be made.

    If forced to make the ultimate choice, Russia is likely to make its choice against the one who pushed for this choice. Irritated by Iran’s escalation of this crisis, Russia may well surprise Iran.

    http://mdb.cast.ru/mdb/2-2006/item1/item1/
    "We will go through our federal budget – page by page, line by line – eliminating those programs we don’t need, and insisting that those we do operate in a sensible cost-effective way." -President Barack Obama 11/25/2008

  8. #8
    Defense Professional Dreadnought's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by highsea View Post
    This is a pretty good article on the Russian angle:
    A signal far in the distance is slowly turing to a green light.
    Fortitude.....The strength to persist...The courage to endure.

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    Good read Highsea. Thanks for sharing.

    Once again the major powers sit and do nothing and wait for US has to go in and clean up what's in their own backyard. Meanwhile hoping that the US becomes weakened and exhausted so that they (SCO) can strengthen their own position.

    You think the US would stand by and watch one of our neighbors like Mexico or some South American country proliferate Nuclear Weapons? Hell no we wouldn't. But Russia and China don't do squat!

    There is a greater evil in standing by and doing nothing which is what the SCO is doing. Nuclear proliferation is something the N5 should have put a stop to jointly at whatever the cost but the other states are much too concerned with their strategic strength and postioning. Thereby turning a blind eye. Now we're up to N8 going on N9 perhaps more. Nuclear power is not an inalienable right.

    The SCO needs to wake up and understand that there's a freight train comming and it's headed for disaster. If Iran goes unchecked we're gonna have a world nightmare on our hands. And the SCO is gonna be made to suffer along with everyone else. And it's not going to be business as usual.

  10. #10
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    You think the US would stand by and watch one of our neighbors like Mexico or some South American country proliferate Nuclear Weapons? Hell no we wouldn't. But Russia and China don't do squat! There is a greater evil in standing by and doing nothing which is what the SCO is doing.
    Let's wipe Pakistan off the map then; or regime change. Terrorism and nukes.

    Nuclear power is not an inalienable right.
    Article IV

    1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.


    http://www.un.org/events/npt2005/npttreaty.html

    Today Iran is the most active state sponsor of terrorism in the world.
    And Pakistan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are just sucking their thumbs?
    Last edited by troung; 10 Jan 07, at 02:35.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    bluesman,



    wouldn't it be possible to say that this is a war where things MAY and probably WILL happen to us, but that we will never lose?

    this is much like when the japanese struck pearl harbor- the greater the tactical victory, the worse their strategic defeat as you enrage the american people and ensure that it is a fight to the finish.

    look at it this way: the fall of the towers and the pentagon was exchanged for the elimination of most of al-qaeda, the invasion and occupations of both afghanistan and iraq.

    now if any goddam' terrorist, and let us say he is iranian, strikes the US with a nuke, for some reason i highly doubt the US public would call for anything but turning the whole of iran into radioactive dust. as you see, the harder the terrorists strike, the stronger the national will of the US, which you correctly point out to be a major problem in our implementation of the WoT. so either way...this is a war we're going to win.
    Astralis,

    Your view is one that I have considered. However, I have realized that the Iranians could destroy a target more precious to us than their entire country. That is, if Hezbollah destroyed New York with a nuclear weapon, then it is true that we could destroy Iran (or Hezbollah Lebanon for that matter). However, that doesn't change the fact that the greatest city on earth would be gone. The satisfaction I would get from seeing Iran and Hezbollah destroyed pales compared to the sorrow I would feel at the loss of one of our major cities.

    Therein lies the danger of nuclear or biochemical terrorism. A small group of people properly armed can cause inordinate damage. We have seen that with 9/11 already. Even if we caught Osama bin Laden and tortured him and were assured of the death of all Al Qaeda members, that would never replace the Twin Towers. I considered those buildings wonders of the modern world, and they may never be replaced.

    For these reasons, I find it hard to rationally predict the effects of terrorism on a large scale. Having never lived through the destruction of one of our cities, we should be hesitant to say that such as loss could be assuaged through the death of the enemy.

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    Bluesman,

    Your article was poignant, and frightening. All I can say is that I fear Islam, and dread a world in which it has achieved victory. I need to think about this, my thoughts are angry, fearful, and confused.

    I must also hold myself. My thoughts about Islam are angry and hateful, and should not be expressed here.

    What can we do?

    To highsea,

    A very good piece. It is late in the night for me, but tommorrow I will try to find some documentation for the weapons trade between Iran and Russia (which is big bucks so I'm told) and the petroleum trade between China and Iran (also big bucks). It seems to me that China and Russia are very much on the side of Iran, and that there public criticism of Ahmadinejad is a facade.

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    Quote Originally Posted by troung View Post
    Let's wipe Pakistan off the map then; or regime change. Terrorism and nukes.
    I don't have answers and I'm also confused and not sure what logic dictates. Sit and watch and do nothing doesn't sit well with me in hopes someone else foots the bill?

    Yes the list is getting longer and the original N5 could have worked together better to reduce proliferation. Part of me thinks "If you start building nukes you should get nuked". That'll send a quick message other states that have an agenda.

    Article IV

    1. Nothing in this Treaty shall be interpreted as affecting the inalienable right of all the Parties to the Treaty to develop research, production and use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes without discrimination and in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty.
    http://www.un.org/events/npt2005/npttreaty.html
    Peaceful being the key phrase. Hell I have no problem with people having electricity regardless of race or religion. I myself am a Huge fan I'm okay with states having nuclear power but I'm not okay with them being a nuclear power. Poor choice of words.


    And Pakistan, the UAE and Saudi Arabia are just sucking their thumbs?
    Well what's your take? I'm all ears...

    I would think or hope that at some point you need to make an example of those proliferating so that others might heed the warning to stop eff'ing around with nuclear proliferation and WMD.

    That's what Iraq is all about. So far no one is getting the drift. And it's very frustrating that the burden once again seems to fall on the shoulders of the US. I hate to think what the world would be like right now without America... despite our shortcommings.

  14. #14
    Liberté, Unité, Egalité Senior Contributor Tronic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by InfiniteDreams View Post
    You think the US would stand by and watch one of our neighbors like Mexico or some South American country proliferate Nuclear Weapons? Hell no we wouldn't. But Russia and China don't do squat!
    actually... if they were your good allies, like the gud old Pakistan for example, then, yes, you probably would stand by and watch.... heck, US has already stood by and watched and even defended a dictator carrying out a genocide (hundreds of thousands of civillians killed, makes Saddam look like an angel) and secondly, what happened to the Pak proliferator, AQ Khan??? oh, thats rite... hes sitting in his mansion as we speak...

    Nuclear proliferation is something the N5 should have put a stop to jointly at whatever the cost but the other states are much too concerned with their strategic strength and postioning. Thereby turning a blind eye. Now we're up to N8 going on N9 perhaps more. Nuclear power is not an inalienable right.
    inalienable right(for bombs)? Don't know, but it surely is an arms race; the N5 only had a case to stop spread of nukes had they agreed to themselves disarm; they were not willing to do that and hence more nations felt the need to build their own nuclear deterents...
    Last edited by Tronic; 10 Jan 07, at 07:29.
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  15. #15
    A Self Important Senior Contributor troung's Avatar
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    Peaceful being the key phrase. Hell I have no problem with people having electricity regardless of race or religion. I myself am a Huge fan I'm okay with states having nuclear power but I'm not okay with them being a nuclear power. Poor choice of words.
    No one has proved they are after a bomb. Iran does have energy needs which makes a case for nuclear power. Nuke programs for energy needs began under the Shah; they need energy and need to export oil to bring in foreign currency and further don't wish to rely on oil forever as one day it will be gone.

    I would think or hope that at some point you need to make an example of those proliferating so that others might heed the warning to stop eff'ing around with nuclear proliferation and WMD. That's what Iraq is all about. So far no one is getting the drift. And it's very frustrating that the burden once again seems to fall on the shoulders of the US. I hate to think what the world would be like right now without America... despite our shortcommings.
    Pakistan sold nuke tech and exports terrorism/supports the people killing NATO soldiers today and is getting new F-16s/P-3s/TOWs/aid/etc and NoKo has the bomb and nothing has happened to them. What makes them not good canidates for carrying the burden on our shoulders?

    And no comment about shooting our wad in Iraq.
    To sit down with these men and deal with them as the representatives of an enlightened and civilized people is to deride ones own dignity and to invite the disaster of their treachery - General Matthew Ridgway

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