Intelligence and military sources in the United States and abroad are reporting on various factors that indicate a U.S. military hit on Iranian nuclear and military installations, that may involve tactical nuclear weapons, is in the final stages of preparation. Likely targets for saturation bombing are the Bushehr nuclear power plant (where Russian and other foreign national technicians are present), a uranium mining site in Saghand near the city of Yazd, the uranium enrichment facility in Natanz, a heavy water plant and radioisotope facility in Arak, the Ardekan Nuclear Fuel Unit, the Uranium Conversion Facility and Nuclear Technology Center in Isfahan, the Tehran Nuclear Research Center, the Tehran Molybdenum, Iodine and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility, the Tehran Jabr Ibn Hayan Multipurpose Laboratories, the Kalaye Electric Company in the Tehran suburbs, a reportedly dismantled uranium enrichment plant in Lashkar Abad, and the Radioactive Waste Storage Units in Karaj and Anarak.
Other first targets would be Shahab-I, II, and III missile launch sites, air bases (including the large Mehrabad air base/international airport near Tehran), naval installations on the Persian Gulf and Caspian Sea, command, control, communications and intelligence facilities. Secondary targets would include civilian airports, radio and TV installations, telecommunications centers, government buildings, conventional power plants, highways and bridges, and rail lines. Oil installations and commercial port facilities would likely be relatively untouched by U.S. forces in order to preserve them for U.S. oil and business interests.
There has been a rapid increase in training and readiness at a number of U.S. military installations involved with the planned primarily aerial attack. These include a Pentagon order to Fort Rucker, Alabama, to be prepared to handle an estimated 50,000 to 60,000 trainees, including civilian contractors, who will be deployed for Iranian combat operations. Rucker is home to the US Army’s aviation training command, including the helicopter training school.
In addition, there has been an increase in readiness at nearby Hurlburt Field in Florida, the home of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Command. The U.S. attack on Iran will primarily involve aviation (Navy, Air Force, Navy-Marine Corps) and special operations assets.
There has also been a noticeable increase in activity at Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center at Twentynine Palms, California, a primary live fire training activity located in a desert and mountainous environment similar to target areas in Iran.
From European intelligence agencies comes word that the United States has told its NATO allies to be prepared for a military strike on Iranian nuclear development and military installations.
On November 17, 2005, Russian President Vladimir Putin spent seven hours in secret discussions with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the the opening ceremonies in Samsun, Turkey for the Russian-Turkish underwater Blue Stream natural gas pipeline, festivities also attended by Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
According to sources knowledgeable about the meeting, Erdogan promised Putin, who has become a close friend, that Turkey would not support the use of its bases by the United States in a military attack on Iran. That brought a series of high level visits to Turkey by Bush administration officials, including CIA chief Porter Goss, FBI Director Robert Mueller, and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.
Although Erdogan listened to Goss’s and Rice’s pleas for Turkish logistical, political, and intelligence help for an attack on Iran and Turkish Army Chief Yasar Buyukanit heard much the same from Pentagon officials during his recent trip to Washington, the word is that Putin now has enough clout in Ankara to scuttle any use of Turkey by the U.S. for an attack on Iran. [Mueller delivered Ankara intelligence “proof” of Iranian backing for Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) guerrillas in Turkey. Intelligence agencies and business intelligence units around the world are now discounting any intelligence coming from the Bush administration as neocon propaganda invented by think tanks and discredited intelligence agencies in Washington, Tel Aviv-Herzliya, and Jerusalem].
U.S. political and military officials have also approached Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Jordan, Oman, and Azerbaijan seeking their support for a U.S. attack on Iran. Ina replay of the phony pre-war intelligence on Iraq, Washington is trying to convince various countries that a link exists between Iran and “Al Qaeda.”
Polish intelligence sources report that Poland’s Defense Minister Radek Sikorski assured Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of Poland’s support for any U.S. strike against Iran. Sikorski is a former American Enterprise Institute colleague of such neo-cons as Richard Perle, Michael Ledeen, and Lynne Cheney, the so-called “Second Lady” of the United States. Sikorski and Polish Foreign Minister Stefan Meller assured Rumsfeld and Rice, respectively, that Poland would stand by the United States during the split in NATO that will occur as a result of the American strike. Polish intelligence sources, who are unhappy with the arrangement of the new right-wing government in Warsaw with the Bush administration, leaked the information about the recent U.S. demarche to NATO in Brussels about preparation for the attack.
Similar intelligence “leaks” about the U.S. attack plans were also leaked to the German magazine Der Spiegel.
European intelligence sources also report that the recent decision by Putin and Russia’s state-owned Gazprom natural gas company to cut supplied of natural gas to Ukraine was a clear warning by Putin to nations like Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Croatia, Moldova, France, Austria, Italy, Hungary, Bosnia, Serbia, and Germany that it would do the same if they support the U.S. attack on Iran. Gazprom natural gas is supplied, via pipelines in Ukraine, from Russia and Turkmenistan to countries in Eastern and Western Europe. The Bush administration charged Russia with using gas supplies as a “political tool.”
Putin has additional leverage on Western Europe since former German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder accepted an appointment to the board of a joint Russian-German North European Gas Pipeline Consortium that is controlled by Gazprom. The pipeline will bring Russian gas to Scandinavia, Germany, Netherlands, and Britain, giving Putin additional leverage over Washington in Europe.
Southeast Asian intelligence sources report that Burma’s (Myanmar’s) recent abrupt decision to move its capital from Rangoon (Yangon) to remote Pyinmana, 200 miles to the north, is a result of Chinese intelligence warnings to its Burmese allies about the effects of radiation resulting from a U.S. conventional or tactical nuclear attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. There is concern that a series of attacks on Iranian nuclear installations will create a Chernobyl-like radioactive cloud that would be caught up in monsoon weather in the Indian Ocean.
Low-lying Rangoon lies in the path of monsoon rains that would continue to carry radioactive fallout from Iran over South and Southeast Asia between May and October. Coastal Indian Ocean cities like Rangoon, Dhaka, Calcutta, Mumbai, Chennai, and Colombo would be affected by the radioactive fallout more than higher elevation cities since humidity intensifies the effects of the fallout. Thousands of government workers were given only two days’ notice to pack up and leave Rangoon for the higher (and dryer) mountainous Pyinmana.
In neighboring West Bengal, the leftist government and its national leftist allies around the country are planning massive demonstrations during Bush’s upcoming trip to India. They are protesting the war in Iraq as well as the threats against Iran.
Reports from Yemen indicate that western oil companies are concerned about U.S. intentions in Iran since the southern Arabian country catches the edge of the monsoon rains that could contain radioactive fallout from an attack, endangering their workers in the country.
The Bush administration aborted last minute plans to attack Iranian nuclear and political installations prior to the 2004 presidential election. On October 9, Rumsfeld met with defense minister colleagues on the now decommissioned USS John F. Kennedy in the Persian Gulf to seek support for the attack. That meeting has been confirmed by the Danish Defense Minister who was in attendance, however, the topic of the meeting was not discussed. According to U.S. naval personnel on board the Kennedy, a special “war room” was set up to coordinate the attack. Britain, Australia, Italy, Netherlands, and Japan did not attend the meeting because of their opposition to the attack plans.
Intelligence and military officials around the world are also bracing for the results of a U.S. attack on Iran. This includes the distinct possibility of a major Shia retaliatory attack in Iraq, the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon, and Afghanistan against U.S. military, diplomatic, and economic targets in the region. Radioactive fallout from a conventional or tactical nuclear attack on Iran will result in major problems with Pakistan, India, China, Russia, Japan, and other downwind countries in Asia and the Pacific Rim, possibly including the fall of the Pervez Musharraf government in Pakistan and replacement by a radical Islamist regime having possession of nuclear weapons. That would provoke a military response from nuclear power India.
In a counter-attack, Iran would immediately launch its Shahab I and II missiles at the U.S. Green Zone in Baghdad, the Al Udeid airbase in Qatar, the US Navy base in Bahrain, Camp Doha base in Kuwait, Al Seeb airbase in Oman, Baghdad International Airport, the U.S. base in Kandahar, Afghanistan. Iran would also launch its long-range Shahab III missiles on the Israeli cities of Tel Aviv, Haifa, Beersheba, Eilat, and the Israeli nuclear complex at Dimona. Iranian missiles would also be launched at US naval ships in the Persian Gulf and oil installations in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
The virtual end of NATO as a viable defense organization may also result from an attack that will drive a final wedge between Washington and Europe. And China may elect to respond financially and militarily against the United States since Iran is China’s second largest source of imported Middle East oil after Saudi Arabia and plans to use an Iranian terminal for the export of natural gas from Turkmenistan. [China now imports 60 percent of its oil needs, and Iran represents 17 percent of those imports].
Russia recently participated in, through the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a three-way military exercise (code named “Indira 2005”) between Russia, China, and India to prepare for any new U.S. power projections in Asia, including an attack on Iran, a prospective SCO member. Last August, Russia and China held their first-ever joint land-sea-air military exercises.
Iran also held a large military exercise in early December in Bandar Abbas on the Gulf. An Iranian C-130 carrying Iranian journalists from Mehrabad airport to Bandar to cover the exercise crashed into a Tehran apartment building on December 6, killing at least 116 people, including 68 journalists.
Within the U.S. military and across the globe, there is heightened tension about the intentions of the neocon Bush administration and its allies in Israel.