Chossudovsky: Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran


Richard Moore


Planned US-Israeli 
Attack on Iran 
By Michel Chossudovsky 

At the outset of Bush's second term, Vice President Dick
Cheney dropped a bombshell. He hinted, in no uncertain terms,
that Iran was "right at the top of the list" of the rogue
enemies of America, and that Israel would, so to speak, "be
doing the bombing for us", without US military involvement and
without us putting pressure on them "to do it":

"One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it
without being asked... Given the fact that Iran has a stated
policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the
Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of
the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess
afterwards," (quoted from an MSNBC Interview Jan 2005)

A.html Israel is a Rottweiler on a leash: The US wants to "set
Israel loose" to attack Iran.

Commenting the Vice President's assertion, former National
Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in an interview on PBS,
confirmed with some apprehension, yes: Cheney wants Prime
Ariel Sharon to act on America's behalf and "do it" for us:

"Iran I think is more ambiguous. And there the issue is
certainly not tyranny; it's nuclear weapons. And the vice
president today in a kind of a strange parallel statement to
this declaration of freedom hinted that the Israelis may do it
and in fact used language which sounds like a justification or
even an encouragement for the Israelis to do it."

The foregoing statements are misleading. The US is not
"encouraging Israel". What we are dealing with is a joint
US-Israeli military operation to bomb Iran, which has been in
the active planning stage for more than a year. The Neocons in
the Defense Department, under Douglas Feith, have been working
assiduously with their Israeli military and intelligence
counterparts, carefully identifying targets inside Iran

Seymour Hersh,

Under this working arrangement, Israel will not act
unilaterally, without a green light from Washington. In other
words, Israel will not implement an attack without the
participation of the US.

Covert Intelligence Operations: Stirring Ethnic Tensions in

Meanwhile, for the last two years, Washington has been
involved in covert intelligence operations inside Iran.
American and British intelligence and special forces (working
with their Israeli counterparts) are involved in this

"A British intelligence official said that any campaign
against Iran would not be a ground war like the one in Iraq.
The Americans will use different tactics, said the
intelligence officer. 'It is getting quite scary.'"

Evening Standard, 17 June 2003,

  The expectation is that a US-Israeli bombing raid of Iran's
nuclear facilities will stir up ethnic tensions and trigger
"regime change" in favor of the US.

See Arab Monitor,

  Bush advisers believe that the "Iranian opposition movement"
will unseat the Mullahs. This assessment constitutes a gross
misjudgment of social forces inside Iran. What is more likely
to occur is that Iranians will consistently rally behind a
wartime government against foreign aggression. In fact, the
entire Middle East and beyond would rise up against US

Retaliation in the Case of a US-Israeli Aerial Attack

Tehran has confirmed that it will retaliate if attacked, in
the form of ballistic missile strikes directed against Israel
(CNN, 8 Feb 2005). These attacks, could also target US
military facilities in the Persian Gulf, which would
immediately lead us into a scenario of military escalation and
all out war.

In other words, the air strikes against Iran could contribute
to unleashing a war in the broader Middle East Central Asian

Moreover, the planned attack on Iran should also be understood
in relation to the timely withdrawal of Syrian troops from
Lebanon, which has opened up a new space, for the deployment
of Israeli forces. The participation of Turkey in the
US-Israeli military operation is also a factor, following an
agreement reached between Ankara and Tel Aviv.

In other words, US and Israeli military planners must
carefully weigh the far-reaching implications of their

Israel Builds up its Stockpile of Deadly Military Hardware

A massive buildup in military hardware has occurred in
preparation for a possible attack on Iran.

Israel has recently taken delivery from the US of some 5,000
"smart air launched weapons" including some 500 rticle1198.html BLU 109
'bunker-buster bombs.  The (uranium coated) munitions are said
to be more than "adequate to address the full range of Iranian
targets, with the possible exception of the buried facility at
Natanz, which may require the [more powerful] http:
BLU-113 bunker buster ":

"Given Israel's already substantial holdings of such weapons,
this increase in its inventory would allow a sustained assault
with or without further US involvement."

See Richard Bennett,

  The Israeli Air Force would attack http://www.globa Iran's nuclear
facility at Bushehr using US as well Israeli produced bunker
buster bombs. The attack would be carried out in three
separate waves "with the radar and communications jamming
protection being provided by U.S. Air Force AWACS and other
U.S. aircraft in the area".

See W Madsen,

Bear in mind that the bunker buster bombs can also be used to
deliver tactical nuclear bombs. The B61-11 is
the "nuclear version" of the "conventional"
28.htm BLU 113. It can be delivered in much same way as the
conventional bunker buster bomb.

(See Michel Chossudovsky,

see also <

According to the Pentagon, tactical nuclear weapons are "safe
for civilians". Their use has been authorized by the US

See Michel Chossudovsky,

Moreover, reported in late 2003, Israeli
html Dolphin-class submarines equipped with US Harpoon
missiles armed with nuclear warheads are now aimed at Iran.

See Gordon Thomas,

Even if tactical nuclear weapons are not used by Israel, an
attack on Iran's nuclear facilities not only raises the
specter of a broader war, but also of nuclear radiation over a
wide area:

"To attack Iran's nuclear facilities will not only provoke
war, but it could also unleash clouds of radiation far beyond
the targets and the borders of Iran." (Statement of Prof Elias
Tuma, Arab Internet Network, Federal News Service, 1 March

Moreover, while most reports have centered on the issue
punitive air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, there are
indications that the possibility of a ground war is also being

Iran's Military Capabilities

Despite its overall weaknesses in relation to Israel and the
US, Iran has an advanced air defense system, deployed to
protect its nuclear sites; "they are dispersed and underground
making potential air strikes difficult and without any
guarantees of success." (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 2005). It
has upgraded its Shahab-3 missile, which can reach targets in
Israel. Iran's armed forces have recently conducted
high-profile military exercises in anticipation of a US led
attack. Iran also possesses some 12 X-55 strategic cruise
missiles, produced by the Ukraine. Iran's air defense systems
is said to feature Russian SA-2, SA-5, SA-6 as well as
shoulder-launched SA-7 missiles (Jaffa Center for Strategic

The US "Military Road Map"

The Bush administration has officially identified Iran and
Syria as the next stage of the road map to war.

Targeting Iran is a bipartisan project, which broadly serves
the interests of the Anglo-American oil conglomerates, the
Wall Street financial establishment and the
military-industrial complex.

The broader Middle East-Central Asian region encompasses more
than 70% of the World's reserves of oil and natural gas. Iran
possesses 10% of the world's oil and ranks third after Saudi
Arabia (25 %) and Iraq (11 %) in the size of its reserves. In
comparison, the US possesses less than 2.8 % of global oil

See Eric Waddell, The Battle for Oil,

  The announcement to target Iran should come as no surprise.
It is part of the battle for oil. Already during the Clinton
administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated
"in war theater plans" to invade both Iraq and Iran:

"The broad national security interests and objectives
expressed in the President's National Security Strategy (NSS)
and the Chairman's National Military Strategy (NMS) form the
foundation of the United States Central Command's theater
strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual
containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long as
those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states
in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual containment is
designed to maintain the balance of power in the region
without depending on either Iraq or Iran. USCENTCOM's theater
strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of
U.S. engagement, as espoused in the NSS, is to protect the
United States' vital interest in the region - uninterrupted,
secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf oil.


Main Military Actors

While the US, Israel, as well as Turkey are the main actors in
this process, a number of other countries, in the region,
allies of the US, including several Central Asian former
Soviet republics have been enlisted. Britain is closely
involved despite its official denials at the diplomatic level.
Turkey occupies a central role in the Iran operation. It has
an extensive military cooperation agreement with Israel. There
are indications that NATO is also formally involved in the
context of an Israel-NATO agreement reached in November 2004.

Planning The Aerial Attack on Iran

According to former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, George W.
Bush has already signed off on orders for an aerial attack on
Iran, scheduled for June.

See http://www.globalresea

The June cut-off date should be understood. It does not
signify that the attack will occur in June. What it suggests
is that the US and Israel are "in a state of readiness" and
are prepared to launch an attack by June or at a later date.
In other words, the decision to launch the attack has not been

Ritter's observation concerning an impending military
operation should nonetheless be taken seriously. In recent
months, there is ample evidence that a major military
operation is in preparation:

1) several high profile military exercises have been conducted
in recent months, involving military deployment and the
testing of weapons systems.

2) military planning meetings have been held between the
various parties involved. There has been a shuttle of military
and government officials between Washington, Tel Aviv and

3) A significant change in the military command structure in
Israel has occurred, with the appointment of a new Chief of

4) Intense diplomatic exchanges have been carried out at the
international level with a view to securing areas of military
cooperation and/or support for a US-Israeli led military
operation directed against Iran.

5) Ongoing intelligence operations inside Iran have been
stepped up.

6) Consensus Building: Media propaganda on the need to
intervene in Iran has been stepped up, with daily reports on
how Iran constitutes a threat to peace and global security.

Timeline of Key Initiatives

In the last few months, various key initiatives have been
taken, which are broadly indicative that an aerial bombing of
Iran is in the military pipeline:

November 2004 in Brussels: NATO-Israel protocol: Israel's IDF
delegation to the NATO conference to met with military brass
of six members of the Mediterranean basin nations, including
Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and
Mauritania. "NATO seeks to revive the framework, known as the
Mediterranean Dialogue program, which would include Israel.
The Israeli delegation accepted to participate in military
exercises and "anti-terror maneuvers" together with several
Arab countries.

January 2005: the US, Israel and Turkey held
http://forum.keypublishing.c military exercises in the
Eastern Mediterranean , off the coast of Syria. These
exercises, which have been held in previous years were
described as routine.

February 2005. Following the decision reached in Brussels in
November 2004, Israel was involved for the first time in
military exercises with NATO, which also included several Arab

February 2005: Assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister
Rafik Hariri. The assassination, which was blamed on Syria,
serves Israeli and US interests and was used as a pretext to
demand the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.

February 2005: Sharon fires his Chief-of-Staff, Moshe Yaalon
and appoints Air Force General Dan Halutz. This is the first
time in Israeli history that an Air Force General is appointed
Chief of Staff

See Uri Avnery, http://www.globalresea

  The appointment of Major General Dan Halutz to IDF chief of
Staff is considered in Israeli political circles as "the
appointment of the right man at the right time." The central
issue is that a major aerial operation against Iran is in the
planning stage, and Maj General Halutz is slated to coordinate
the aerial bombing raids on Iran. Halutz's appointment was
specifically linked to the Iran agenda. "As chief of staff, he
will in the best position to prepare the military for such a

March 2005 NATO's Secretary General was in Jerusalem for
follow-up talks with Ariel Sharon and Israel's military brass,
following the joint NATO-Israel military exercise. These
military cooperation ties are viewed by the Israeli military
as a means to "enhance Israel's deterrence capability
regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and
Syria." The premise underlying NATO-Israel military
cooperation is that Israel is under attack:

"The more Israel's image is strengthened as a country facing
enemies who attempt to attack it for no justified reason, the
greater will be the possibility that aid will be extended to
Israel by NATO. Furthermore, Iran and Syria will have to take
into account the possibility that the increasing cooperation
between Israel and NATO will strengthen Israel's links with
Turkey, also a member of NATO. Given Turkey's impressive
military potential and its geographic proximity to both Iran
and Syria, Israel's operational options against them, if and
when it sees the need, could gain considerable strength. "

Jaffa Center for Strategic Studies,

  The Israel-NATO protocol is all the more important because
it obligates NATO to align itself with the US-Israeli plan to
bomb Iran, as an act of self defense on the part of Israel. It
also means that NATO is also involved in the process of
military consultations relating to the planned aerial bombing
of Iran.

Late March 2005: News leaks in Israel indicated an "initial
authorization" by Prime Minster Ariel Sharon of an Israeli
attack on Iran's Natanz uranium enrichment plant "if diplomacy
failed to stop Iran's nuclear program". (The Hindu, 28 March

March-April 2005: The Holding in Israel of Joint US-Israeli
military exercises specifically pertaining to the launching of
Patriot missiles.

US Patriot missile crews stationed in Germany were sent to
Israel to participate in http:/
the joint Juniper Cobra exercise with the Israeli military.
The exercise was described as routine and "unconnected to
events in the Middle East": "As always, we are interested in
implementing lessons learned from training exercises." (UPI, 9
March 2005).

April 2005: Donald Rumsfeld was on an official visits to Iraq,
Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. His
diplomatic endeavors were described by the Russian media as
"literally circling Iran in an attempt to find the best
bridgehead for a possible military operation against that

In Baku, Azerbaijan Rumsfeld was busy discussing the date for
deployment of US troops in Azerbaijan on Iran's North-Western
border. US military bases described as "mobile groups" in
Azerbaijan are slated to play a role in a military operation
directed against Iran.

Azerbaijan is a member of GUUAM, a
military cooperation agreement with the US and NATO, which
allows for the stationing of US troops in several of the
member countries, including Georgia, Uzbekistan and
Azerbaijan. The stated short term objective is to "neutralize
Iran". The longer term objective under the Pentagon's "Caspian
Plan" is to exert military and economic control over the
entire Caspian sea basin, with a view to ensuring US authority
over oil reserves and pipeline corridors.

During his visit in April, Rumsfeld was pushing the US
initiative of establishing "American special task forces and
military bases to secure US influence in the Caspian region:

  "Called Caspian Watch, the project stipulates a network of
special task forces and police units in the countries of the
regions to be used in emergencies including threats to objects
of the oil complex and pipelines. Project Caspian Watch will
be financed by the United States ($100 million). It will
become an advance guard of the US European Command whose zone
of responsibility includes the Caspian region. Command center
of the project with a powerful radar is to be located in
Baku." ( Defense and Security Russia, April 27, 2005)

Rumsfeld's visit followed shortly after that of Iranian
President Mohammad Khatami's to Baku.

April 2005: Iran signs a military cooperation with Tajikistan,
which occupies a strategic position bordering Afghanistan's
Northern frontier. Tajikistan is a member of "The Shanghai
Five" military cooperation group, which also includes
Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. Iran also has
economic cooperation with Turkmenistan.

Mid April 2005: Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets
George W Bush at his Texas Ranch. Iran is on the agenda of
bilateral talks. More significantly, the visit of Ariel Sharon
was used to carry out high level talks between US and Israeli
military planners pertaining to Iran.

Late April 2005. President Vladmir Putin is in Israel on an
official visit. He announces Russia decision's to sell
short-range anti-aircraft missiles to Syria and to continue
supporting Iran's nuclear industry. Beneath the gilded surface
of international diplomacy, Putin's timely visit to Israel
must be interpreted as "a signal to Israel" regarding its
planned aerial attack on Iran.

Late April 2005: US pressure in the International Atomic
Energy Agency (IAEA) has been exerted with a view to blocking
the re-appointment of Mohammed Al Baradei, who according to US
officials "is not being tough enough on Iran..." Following US
pressures, the vote on the appointment of a new IAEA chief was
put off until June. These developments suggest that Washington
wants to put forth their own hand-picked nominee prior to
launching US-Israeli aerial attacks on Iran's nuclear

See VOA m/english/2005-04-27-voa51.cfm

  (In February 2003, Al Baradei along with UN chief weapons
inspector Hans Blix challenged the (phony) intelligence on WMD
presented by the US to the UN Security Council, with a view to
justifying the war on Iraq.)

Late April 2005, Sale of deadly military hardware to Israel.
GBU-28 Buster Bunker Bombs: Coinciding with Putin's visit to
Israel, the US Defence Security Cooperation Agency (Department
of Defense) announced the sale of an
additional 100 bunker-buster bombs produced by Lockheed Martin
to Israel. This decision was viewed by the US media as "a
warning to Iran about its nuclear ambitions."

The sale pertains to the larger and more sophisticated "Guided
Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) BLU-113 Penetrator" http:
(including the WGU-36A/B guidance control unit and support
equipment). The GBU-28 is described as "a special weapon for
penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground.
The fact of the matter is that the GBU-28 is among the World's
most deadly "conventional" weapons used in the 2003 invasion
of Iraq, capable of causing thousands of civilian deaths
through massive explosions.

The Israeli Air Force are slated to use the GBU-28s on their
F-15 aircraft.

See text of DSCA news release at

Late April 2005- early May: Turkey's Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan in Israel for follow-up talks with Ariel
Sharon. He was accompanied by his Defense Minister Vecdi
Gonul, who met with senior Israeli military officials. On the
official agenda of these talks: joint defense projects,
including the joint production of Arrow II Theater Missile
Defense starwars/program/arrow.htm and
Popeye II missiles. The latter also known as the Have Lite,
are advanced small missiles, designed for deployment on
fighter planes. Tel Aviv and Ankara decide to establish a
hotline to share intelligence.

May 2005: Syrian troops scheduled to withdraw from Lebanon,
leading to a major shift in the Middle East security
situation, in favor of Israel and the US.

Iran Surrounded

The US has troops and military bases in Turkey, Pakistan,
Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and of course Iraq.

In other words, Iran is virtually surrounded by US military
bases. These countries including Turkmenistan are members of
part of NATO`s
partnership for Peace Program. and have military cooperation
agreement with NATO.

In other words, we are dealing with a potentially explosive
scenario in which a number of countries, including several
former Soviet republics, could be brought into a US led war
with Iran., a
Russian based news and military analysis group has suggested,
in this regard:

"since Iranian nuclear objects are scattered all over the
country, Israel will need a mass strike with different fly-in
and fly-out approaches - Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and
other countries... Azerbaijan seriously fears Tehran's
reaction should Baku issue a permit to Israeli aircraft to
overfly its territory." (Defense and Security Russia, 12 April

Concluding remarks:

The World is at an important crossroads.

The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure
which threatens the future of humanity.

Iran is the next military target. The planned military
operation, which is by no means limited to punitive strikes
against Iran's nuclear facilities, is part of a project of
World domination, a military roadmap, launched at the end of
the Cold War.

Military action against Iran would directly involve Israel's
participation, which in turn is likely to trigger a broader
war throughout the Middle East, not to mention an implosion in
the Palestinian occupied territories. Turkey is closely
associated with the proposed aerial attacks.

Israel is a nuclear power with a sophisticated nuclear
arsenal. (See text box below). The use of nuclear weapons by
Israel or the US cannot be excluded, particularly in view of
the fact that tactical nuclear weapons have now been
reclassified as a variant of the conventional bunker buster
bombs and are authorized by the US Senate for use in
conventional war theaters. ("they are harmless to civilians
because ther explosion is underground")

In this regard, Israel and the US rather than Iran constitute
a nuclear threat.

The planned attack on Iran must be understood in relation to
the existing active war theaters in the Middle East, namely
Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.

The conflict could easily spread from the Middle East to the
Caspian sea basin. It could also involve the participation of
Azerbaijan and Georgia, where US troops are stationed.

An attack on Iran would have a direct impact on the resistance
movement inside Iraq. It would also put pressure on America's
overstretched military capabilities and resources in both the
Iraqi and Afghan war theaters. (The 150,000 US troops in Iraq
are already fully engaged and could not be deployed in the
case of a war with Iran.)

In other words, the shaky geopolitics of the Central Asia-
Middle East region, the three existing war theaters in which
America is currently, involved, the direct participation of
Israel and Turkey, the structure of US sponsored military
alliances, etc. raises the specter of a broader conflict.

Moreover, US military action on Iran not only threatens
Russian and Chinese interests, which have geopolitical
interests in the Caspian sea basin and which have bilateral
agreements with Iran. It also backlashes on European oil
interests in Iran and is likely to produce major divisions
between Western allies, between the US and its European
partners as well as within the European Union.

Through its participation in NATO, Europe, despite its
reluctance, would be brought into the Iran operation. The
participation of NATO largely hinges on a military cooperation
agreement reached between NATO and Israel. This agreement
would bind NATO to defend Israel against Syria and Iran. NATO
would therefore support a preemptive attack on Iran's nuclear
facilities, and could take on a more active role if Iran were
to retaliate following US-Israeli air strikes.

Needless to say, the war against Iran is part of a longer term
US military agenda which seeks to militarize the entire
Caspian sea basin, eventually leading to the destabilization
and conquest of the Russian Federation.

The Antiwar Movement

The antiwar movement must act, consistently, to prevent the
next phase of this war from happening.

This is no easy matter. The holding of large antiwar rallies
will not in itself reverse the tide of war.

High ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of
the military and the US Congress have been granted the
authority to uphold an illegal war agenda.

What is required is a grass roots network, a mass movement at
national and international levels, which challenges the
legitimacy of the military and political actors, and which is
ultimately instrumental in unseating those who rule in our

War criminals occupy positions of authority. The citizenry is
galvanized into supporting the rulers, who are "committed to
their safety and well-being". Through media disinformation,
war is given a humanitarian mandate.

To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed
down, the war machine (namely the production of advanced
weapons systems) must be stopped and the burgeoning police
state must be dismantled.

The corporate backers and sponsors of war and war crimes must
also be targeted including the oil companies, the defense
contractors, the financial institutions and the corporate
media, which has become an integral part of the war propaganda

Antiwar sentiment does not dismantle a war agenda. The war
criminals in the US, Israel and Britain must be removed from
high office.

What is needed is to reveal the true face of the American
Empire and the underlying criminalization of US foreign
policy, which uses the "war on terrorism" and the threat of Al
Qaeda to galvanize public opinion in support of a global war

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© Copyright MICHEL CHOSSUDOVSKY 2005. 



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