1 + 1 + 1= War? – An attempt at analysis

The election season and the primaries, along with all the polling and speculation have taken some of the spotlight from a development which may lead to another military engagement. For the first time in his Presidency George W. Bush has visited Israel and some things he said there are worth listening to.

In Ramallah on Thursday Bush has promised support for the Palestinians and announced a peace treaty within a year from now, a Palestinian state would indeed be possible. He bolstered this with his assertion that the US are increasingly critical of the Israeli settlements politics and see the settlements as a crucial obstacle to said peace treaty.

Israel is historically security-conscious to say the least. Being peppered by rockets from neighboring countries on an almost daily basis and the rethoric of extremist politicians like the Iranian president Ahmadinejad don’t help to allay their fears. The Israeli settlements as well as the fence are part of a national security policy, or are at least called such.

So, in order to change the US position on the settlements, the United States will have to offer something in exchange, to up the security issue for Israel. The Israelis deal with Syria by themselves as proven by the still somewhat mysterious air strikes last fall. Israel, will not or cannot, deal with Iran by itself, to get Israel’s concessions on the settlements, the US will have to give them – Iran? Continue reading

They don’t give up easily

The NIE says the nuclear program is suspended for almost four years now. So let’s go for another scenario?

The commander of U.S. naval forces in the Gulf region called Iranian threats over the Strait “coercive” and said any attempt to close the Strait by placing mines in international waters could be considered an act of war.

“It’s intended to intimidate not only the regional nations – ‘look at us we can damage your prosperity’ – but it’s intended to intimidate the global market,” Vice Adm. Kevin Cosgriff said on Friday of threats from Iranian military officials to close the strait.

“We intend to keep it open,” he said.

So blow up a tanker and off we go?

Opinion: No Wriggling Out Of This!

There is not a single newspaper in Europe, I’ve read, or a main paper in the US, which doesn’t cover the Iran assessment, mostly on their front pages.

All 16 US intelligence agencies, a mind-boggling number by the way, agree: Iran has stopped it’s nuclear weapons program as early as 2003.

Although Israel doubts these assessments and relies on the US to keep up efforts to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions this result will severely hamper neo-con plans to attack Iran. Shy of a self staged major terror attack there will not be a chance to fulfil the neocon dreams of yet another war. Given the mistrust, the Bush Administration has earned itself, among Americans and worldwide, with doctoring evidence for the Iraq invasion any military action on Iran will amount to a coup under the circumstances.

There is indeed hope now, that a war with Iran will not take place in the near future. This in turn will give the faint hope that some kind of peace in the Middle East will be possible.

Moreover, the assessment of the intelligence community should shame all those who were again prepared to pick up neo-con talking points to paint themselves experienced and realistic in foreign policy matters, mature politicians and stateswomen indeed, Senator Clinton!

The following newspapers, among many others, cover the intelligence report:

“The Times” “The Independent”  “The Guardian”  “Der Spiegel” “Sueddeutsche Zeitung” “Tagesanzeiger” “NZZ” “Washington Post” “New York Times” “Le Monde” “La Repubblica”

Kabul likely lost in 2008 – 425 Days to Go

The War on Terror was started in Afghanistan and seemingly  it is already lost. To 54% of the country the Taliban have already returned and Kabul is expected to fall back to them in 2008. This is before the Bush Presidency ends, so the Administration will likely not have to  leave the defeat to the successor.

 ( Note: “Europeanview” has the flu, so please excuse the lack of posting)

Good Morning from Europe – Remembrance Day and 435 Days to Go

Remembrance Day

 “If any question why we died,
Tell them, because our fathers lied.”

(Rudyard Kipling)

It’s  Remembrance Day today. Time to look at how the young men and women who are fighting the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and getting maimed in the process are doing. Not too good, as it turns out not quite unexpectedly. Injured soldiers’ families are accusing the British government of hiding away the unpleasant realities. The forces fighting in Afghanistan are streched to the limit.  The British troops, still serving in Iraq are feeling the lack of interest in their plight. And, maybe worst of all, the ones sending them in harms way are incompetent or uncaring.  And, while we are remembering the fallen, the next war is in the making. Continue reading

Good Morning from Europe – The Sunday Papers Edition

(San Benedetto del Tronto, Art on the Seaside)

The California wildfires have finally subsided and the newspapers turn back to politics, where they find another red hot issue: Iran.

While many tabloids were busy to mourn the danger to beachfront celebrity homes, the Washington Ultras have not rested their feet. The sanctions on Iran have been stepped up, but there are doubts about their effectivity, given that the sanctions are unilateral and won’t make much of a dent in the Iranian economy. So are the sanctions a diplomatic fig leaf ? Probably, says “The Times”. There are more than enough indicators which are pointing towards military action will be taken before the Bush presidency is over. Will Bush really bomb Iran? No doubt he will, or rather Dick Cheney has decided that Bush will, says Maureen Dowd.

Is Afghanistan going downhill in a hurry? Despite claims that another 80 insurgents have been killed today, the prospects are not good at all. Things are much more complicated than people are led to believe, so who are the insurgents? 

Are we allowed to know and decide on what we eat in the future? On what will be introduced into nature without any idea of the consequences? Certainly not, it’s the corporations’ planet, not ours! It’s big business and the politicians are extremely helpful, as usual! 

Turkey has put the military option back on the table again. While the US military is celebrating it’s success in Anbar province, there is a new battlefield on the horizon. A crisis that was predictable and predicted and is, of course, a direct result of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Back to the California wildfires on a more serious note. The environmental impact of the fires is far from over. There are huge amounts of noxious particles in the air and the consequences of heavy rainfall, if it should come, on the barren landscape remains to be seen.

The battlefields at home: Is a schoolteacher entitled “to pack” in school ? Shirley Katz says yes, and goes to court for her right to carry a weapon in class. 

Trendy clothing comes for a price, a price other people’s children have to pay.

And finally: This is the kind of story fit to glue me to the news channels – Which member of the Royal Family are they talking about ?? – Bets are on, it’s our ‘Arry.

…Europeanview

Here’s why it will happen!

 
(picture via factsofisrael.com)

Two stories in the Washington Post today highlight the lull in public outrage against the war in Iraq and the prospects of war with Iran.

The Administration in cooperation with the media are claiming successes in Iraq. The number of US and coalition casualties have gone down in September, so did the number of civilian deaths from sectarian violence, the Washington Post reports. While there is no disputing the numbers, the perspective is totally awry.

In September 64 American troops died in Iraq. This was the lowest monthly toll since July 2006, but on the whole it was one of the bloodier months for the US military.

Civilian casualties and sectarian violence are down, too. 844 civilians and 78 Iraqi police and military lost their lives in September. Sadly still a high number but a significant decrease to levels seen in 2005.

Currently there are some 168’000 US troops deployed in Iraq, a country that is every bit as volatile as it used to be with the 2005 level of 161’000 troops.

In 2005 the kind of stability was reached, that made it possible to reduce the number of soldiers deployed to about 130’000, which led to more violence, so there was the surge to pre-post-surge-levels.

Success anyone?

The only decrease measurable and undisputed is, the decrease in numbers at protest rallies.

Are there any incentives for the Bush Administration to show restraint towards Iran? 

Protests ? Not so many.

Impeachment ? Off the table.

Re-election ? Not possible.

Restraint ?

‘Combat Outpost Shocker’

via: The Raw Story

‘Combat Outpost Shocker:’ The base that could spark Iran conflict
by David Edwards and Muriel Kane

The US military is building a base in Iraq just five miles from the border with Iran to prevent cross-border arms smuggling. The base, called “Combat Outpost Shocker,” will be manned by 200 soldiers, along with agents from the US Border Patrol, and will monitor truck traffic and cellphone conversations among Shi’ite pilgrims.

“Obviously, [the Iranians] probably won’t be very happy about it,” Col. Mark Mueller, the commander of the border transition team, told ABC News.

Read the article here.

This video is of a broadcast September 25th on ABC News.
Vodpod videos no longer available.

Let’s face it – Iran is next

 (picture via wikimedia.org)

While Seymour Hersh has a very interesting point about the marketing of an attack on Iran, there are some more signs, that there are massive attempts to get an attack going soon. Neo con guru Podhoretz freely admits he is pushing action in his talks with President Bush about Iran and John Bolton is working the British Tories. Meanwhile Iran has been given a new deadline, which ends by end of November.

Good Morning from Europe – The Myanmar Horror

 (Via Mala, Switzerland)

Today the news is dominated by the situation in Myanmar, more and more countries protest against the brutal crack down on the protests there, but to little avail.

Myanmar: 

There is only very little information obtainable from Burma, as the military junta has closed down all internet traffic, land and mobile phone lines are down as well. There seem to be demonstrations still. However, the monks, who were leading the uprising up to now, are mostly missing from the scene. They are allegedly held in internment camps, it may well be they simply aren’t around any more. Please do not forget to visit “The Guardian’s” blog on this and the latest developments. Showing we’re interested and that there is a large international audience, are probably the only means we have, to offer our support to the Burmese people.

Japan is reeling from the pictures of the willful shooting of Mr Nagai a video journalist. The scene was captured by another camera. (The event is very upsetting, so feel free to skip this.)

Blackwater is at least partly responsible for the surge in violence in the Fallujah region 2004, says the US House of Representatives.

After the murder of Blackwater employees in Fallujah, US troops launched an offensive, which ultimately cost the lives of 36 US soldiers, 200 Iraqi insurgents and 600 Iraqi civilians. It turns out, that Blackwater disregarded warnings about the dire security situation in Fallujah, before sending in their men. While Blackwater is rightly blamed for a variety of their actions, the blame for the disastrous planning of the war, which led to the reliance on private mercenary armies, lies elsewhere.

More details as to the shooting that triggered the Blackwater Affair have come to light as well, read more here.

Have a good day and take care everybody!

Seymour Hersh – Interview with “Der Spiegel”

Seymour Hersh is a habitual teller of the truth as he sees it, which happens, habitually too, to hit the nail on the head accurately.

SPIEGEL ONLINE: Where does this feeling of urgency that the US has with Iran come from?

Hersh: Pressure from the White House. That’s just their game.

Read the complete interview, here.

Out goes the Poodle, in comes the French Bulldog!

President Bush’s pose as statesman this morning in his speech at the UN general assembly was, what could be called a nice try. He stressed liberties as the main focus and showed concern for the oppressed in Myanmar and elsewhere. No mention of Iran, or God forbid, war with Iran.

Shortly thereafter, French President Nicolas Sarkozy said what the Bush Administration really had in mind. He lambasted Iran and categorically made clear that Iran faces war, if they continued to push for nuclear weapons.

Add today’s Lieberman/Kyl amendment to the equation.

Drums beating.

Renewable Energy

The first wave farm is going to be built off the Cornish coast. Look what they do in Australia, and all over the world.

There are scores of succesful projects, that are bringing forward research and development of new energy saving and CO -neutral energy producing technologies. And it’s accomplished with only meagre funds as compared to the US “War for Oil Initiative”. (And the costs for step 2 – Iran – have not even been budgeted yet!)

The Falklands – A War Revisited

Remember the Falklands War and the Iron Lady who so courageously grabbed British soil from the grasp of Argentine dictatorship? Did you wonder what, good gracious, was so important about a few rocks 7’500 miles from the homeland to wage a war and shed the blood of 900+ young men and women for ? Well, that one’s easy: Protecting some 3’000 of her Majesty’s subjects and countless more sheep from oppression by a brutal regime!

Wrong! – It’s the oil – Stupid! 

Largely unnoticed, except by the formidable “Guardian” Great Britain is moving to secure large parts of the Atlantic for exploitation. The Falklands, as well as Ascension Island near Africa and Rockall in the North Atlantic form the centers of an area of tens of thousands of square miles to be annexed in the hope of getting control of huge oil fields. Read more here.

As resources dwindle and “peak oil” looms, more and more areas are going to be exploited, even if protected now. Russia has claimed most of the Arctic. Only Antarctica is not yet up for grabs – yet.

The Antarctic Treaty of 1959 reserves the area for research and demilitarizes all of Antarctica south of the 60° South Latitude. However, the signatory states have stated in Article IV:

1. Nothing contained in the present Treaty shall be interpreted as:

a. a renunciation by any Contracting Party of previously asserted rights of or claims to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica;
b. a renunciation or diminution by any Contracting Party of any basis of claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica which it may have whether as a result of its activities or those of its nationals in Antarctica, or otherwise;
c. prejudicing the position of any Contracting Party as regards its recognition or non-recognition of any other State’s rights of or claim or basis of claim to territorial sovereignty in Antarctica.

How long until the claims for territorial sovereignty start to come in?

And back to Great Britain! One latitude is 60 nautical miles.  The British claims are now surrounding the Falklands for 350 miles. The Falkland islands are situated on 52° South Latitude. Start calculating – pretty close innit?

That’s why the Falklands War was fought!

Sunday Morning in Europe – News

 (Swiss Steam Engine) 

Good Morning on a slow news morning in Europe. Slow? Depends on how we view it. Actual lack of breaking news of the “Britney-faces-jail” variety makes one concentrate on the real important stories.

And, as on most Sundays, “The Sunday Times” is a bonanza of information. Israel claims it has seized nuclear material from a Syrian site before the site was attacked in an air-raid. When reading this article, don’t omit reading the comments that come with it. And, surprisingly, there is no mention of Iran. The Israeli military mission was met with determined support from Washington, whereas an Israeli invitation to Syria to talk and lower tensions  met with a “studied lack of interest” from the US. (Honi soit qui mal y pense!)

At least no lack of interest here: The planning for airstrikes and a war with Iran, get their own article in “The Times” today. “Project Checkmate” has been resurrected. And intense planning is under way for military action against Iran. However, can the following be counted as a small flicker of hope?

The US president faces strong opposition to military action, however, within his own joint chiefs of staff. “None of them think it is a good idea, but they will do it if they are told to,” said a senior defence source.

Hardly. So the drumbeats keep accelerating.

“The Guardian” is doing well, too. Why is the UN trying to bring an effectual newcomer into the position of top prosecutor for the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia?

The mercenary armies in Iraq have been warned in May (!) about a deteriorating security situation, due to growing tensions between American security contractors and Iraqis. Blackwater didn’t heed the warning and fulfilled the prophecy.

In Myanmar, the Buddhist monks, and now the nuns, too, are busily trying to bring the military junta to their knees. All it takes is taking to the streets.

Italians are anxious to learn about the fate of two of their soldiers who disappeared in Herat province. They are feared to  have been abducted along with two Afghan interpreters.

In France M. Sarkozy and M.Fillon are losing voter confidence. Maybe war drums are not so popular in France, the social reforms planned by the duo will most certainly cause hackles to rise.

While German Chancellor Angela Merkel is meeting the Dalai Lama in Berlin, the Chinese are showing their discontent. They are giving their blogging community enough slack, so they can voice their fury. But honestly, being called a “witch” by Chinese bloggers won’t impress her that much.

And last:

Sadly, the French mime artist Marcel Marceau passed away yesterday. You can find more on this unusual man here.