Alt 29-08-2006, 18:13   #46
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The logic of war
By Stephen Zunes
Aug 23, 2006

There is increasing evidence that Israel instigated a disastrous war on Lebanon largely at the behest of the United States. The administration of President George W Bush was set on crippling Hezbollah, the radical Shi'ite political movement that maintains a sizable block of seats in the Lebanese parliament.

Taking advantage of the country's democratic opening after the forced departure of Syrian troops last year, Hezbollah defied US efforts to democratize the region on Washington's terms. The populist party's unwillingness to disarm its militia as required by United Nations resolution - and the inability of the pro-Western Lebanese government to force it to do so - apparently led the Bush administration to push Israel to take military action.

In his May 23 summit with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, Bush offered full US support for Israel to attack Lebanon as soon as possible. Seymour Hersh, in the August 21 New Yorker, quotes a Pentagon consultant on the Bush administration's long-standing desire to strike "a preemptive blow against Hezbollah". The consultant said, "It was our intent to have Hezbollah diminished, and now we have someone else doing it."

Israel was a willing partner. Although numerous Israeli press reports indicate that some Israeli officials, including top military officials, are furious at Bush for pushing Olmert into war, the Israeli government had been planning the attack since 2004. According to a July 21 article in the San Francisco Chronicle, Israel had briefed US officials with details of the plans, including PowerPoint presentations, in what the newspaper described as "revealing detail". Political-science professor Gerald Steinberg of Bar-Ilan University told the Chronicle, "Of all of Israel's wars since 1948, this was the one for which Israel was most prepared. In a sense, the preparation began in May 2000, immediately after the Israeli withdrawal."

Despite these preparations, the Bush administration and congressional leaders of both main US parties tried to present the devastating attacks, which took as many as 800 civilian lives, as a spontaneous reaction to Hezbollah's provocative July 12 attack on an Israeli border post and its seizure of two soldiers.

Some reports have indicated that Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was less sanguine than Vice President Dick Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice or Bush about the proposed Israeli military offensive. Rumsfeld apparently believed that Israel should focus less on bombing and more on ground operations, despite the dramatically higher Israeli casualties that would result. Still, Hersh quotes a former senior intelligence official as saying that Rumsfeld was "delighted that Israel is our stalking horse".

The recent announcement of a shaky ceasefire may represent only a minor speed bump in US plans. After all, the attack on Hezbollah was only the first stage of what the Bush administration apparently hopes will be a joint redrawing of the Middle East map.

On to Iran and Syria?
On July 30, the Jerusalem Post reported that Bush pushed Israel to expand the war beyond Lebanon and attack Syria. Israeli officials apparently found the idea "nuts".

This idea was not exactly secret. In support of the Israeli offensive, the office of the White House press secretary released a list of talking points that included reference to a Los Angeles Times op-ed by Max Boot, senior fellow for national-security studies at the Council on Foreign Relations. The article, "It's time to let the Israelis take off the gloves", urges an Israeli attack against Syria. "Israel needs to hit the Assad regime. Hard," argued Boot, referring to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "If it does, it will be doing Washington's dirty work."

Iran, too, was in the administration's sights. The Israeli attack on Lebanon, according to Hersh, was to "serve as a prelude to a potential American preemptive attack to destroy Iran's nuclear installations". But first, the Bush administration needed to get rid of Hezbollah's capacity to retaliate against Israel in the event of a US strike on Iran, which apparently prompted Hezbollah's buildup of Iranian-supplied missiles in the first place.

Starting this spring, according to Hersh, the White House ordered top planners from the US Air Force to consult with their Israeli counterparts on a war plan against Iran that incorporated an Israeli preemptive strike against Hezbollah. Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz, the chief of staff of the Israeli military and principal architect of the war on Lebanon, worked with US officials on contingency planning for an air war with Iran.

The Bush administration's larger goal apparently has been to form an alliance of pro-Western Sunni Arab dictatorships - primarily Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Jordan - against a growing Shi'ite militancy exemplified by Hezbollah and Iran and, to a lesser extent, post-Saddam Hussein Iraq. Though these Sunni regimes initially spoke out against Hezbollah's provocative capture of the two Israeli soldiers that prompted the Israeli attacks, popular opposition within these countries to the ferocity of the Israeli assault led them to rally solidly against the US-backed war on Lebanon.

In Israel's interest?
In the years prior to Israel's July 12 bombing of Lebanese cities, Hezbollah had become less and less of a threat. It had not killed any Israeli civilians for more than a decade (with the exception of one accidental fatality in 2003 caused by an anti-aircraft missile fired at an Israeli plane that had violated Lebanese airspace). Investigations by the US Congressional Research Service, the State Department and independent think-tanks failed to identify any major act of terrorism by Hezbollah for more than a dozen years.

Prior to the attack, Hezbollah's militia had dwindled to about 1,000 men under arms - this number tripled after July 12 when reserves were called up - and a national dialogue was going on between Hezbollah and the government of pro-Western Prime Minister Fuad Siniora regarding disarmament. The majority of Lebanese opposed Hezbollah, both its reactionary fundamentalist social agenda as well as its insistence on maintaining an armed presence independent of the country's elected government.

Thanks to the US-backed Israeli attacks on Lebanon's civilian infrastructure, however, support for Hezbollah, according to polls, has grown to more than 80%, even within the Sunni Muslim and Christian communities.

Even Richard Armitage, a leading hawk and deputy secretary of state under Bush during his first term, noted, "The only thing that the bombing has achieved so far is to unite the population against the Israelis."

Despite US encouragement that Israel continue the war, Israel's right-wing prime minister has come under increasing criticism at home, with polls from the newspaper Ha'aretz indicating that only 39% of Israelis would support the planned expansion of the ground offensive.

Meretz Party knesset (parliament) member Ran Cohen, writing in the Jerusalem Post, called earlier moves to expand the ground offensive "a wretched decision". Yariv Oppenheimer, general director of Peace Now, which had earlier muted its criticism of the attacks on Lebanon, noted, "The war has spiraled out of control and the government is ignoring the political options available."

Not only have a growing number of Israelis acknowledged that the war has been a disaster for Israel, there is growing recognition of US responsibility for getting them into that mess. A July 23 article in Ha'aretz about an anti-war demonstration in Tel Aviv noted that "this was a distinctly anti-American protest" that included "chants of 'We will not die and kill in the service of the United States,' and slogans condemning President George W Bush."

Members of the US Congress who have unconditionally backed Israel's attacks on Lebanon have responded to constituent outrage by claiming they were simply defending Israel's legitimate interests. In supporting the Bush administration, however, they have defended policies that cynically use Israel to advance the administration's militarist agenda.

Who's anti-Semitic?
One of the more unsettling aspects of the broad support in Washington for the use of Israel as a US proxy in the Middle East is how closely it corresponds to historic anti-Semitism. In past centuries, the ruling elite of European countries would, in return for granting limited religious and cultural autonomy, establish certain individuals in the Jewish community as the visible agents of the oppressive social order, such as tax collectors and moneylenders.
When the population threatened to rise up against the ruling elite, the rulers could then blame the Jews, channeling the wrath of an exploited people against convenient scapegoats. The resulting pogroms and waves of repression took place throughout the Jewish diaspora.

Zionists hoped to break this cycle by creating a Jewish nation-state where Jews would no longer be dependent on the ruling elite of a given country. The tragic irony is that, through the use of Israel to wage proxy war to promote US hegemony in the region, this cycle is being perpetuated on a global scale.

This latest round of US-inspired Israeli violence has led to a dangerous upsurge in anti-Semitism in the Middle East and throughout the world. In the United States, many critics are blaming "the Zionist lobby" for US support for Israel's attacks on Lebanon rather than the Bush administration and its bipartisan congressional allies who encouraged Israel to wage war on Lebanon in the first place.

Unfortunately, most anti-war protests in major US cities have targeted the Israeli consulates rather than US government buildings. By contrast, during the 1980s, protests against the US-backed violence in El Salvador rarely targeted Salvadoran consulates, but instead more appropriately took place outside US federal offices and arms depots, recognizing that the violence would not be taking place without US weapons and support.

Israel is no banana republic. Even those like Hersh who recognize the key role of the Bush administration in goading Israel to attack Lebanon emphasize that rightist elements within Israel had their own reasons, independent of Washington, to pursue the conflict.

Still, given Israel's enormous military, economic and political dependence on the US, this latest war on Lebanon could not have taken place without a green light from Washington. Then-US president Jimmy Carter, for example, was able to put a halt to Israel's 1978 invasion of Lebanon within days and force the Israeli army to withdraw from the south bank of the Litani River to a narrow strip just north of the Israeli border.

By contrast, the Bush administration and an overwhelming bipartisan majority of Congress clearly believed it was in the United States' interest for Israel to pursue Washington's "dirty work" for an indefinite period, regardless of its negative implications for Israel's legitimate security interests.

Domestic political implications
Given the lack of success of the Israeli military campaign, US planners are likely having second thoughts about the ease with which a US-led bombing campaign could achieve victory over Iran.
However, the propensity of the Bush administration to ignore historical lessons should not be underestimated. A former senior intelligence official told Hersh, "There is no way that Rumsfeld and Cheney will draw the right conclusion about this. When the smoke clears, they'll say it was a success, and they'll draw reinforcement for their plan to attack Iran." Indeed, on August 14, Bush declared that Israel had achieved "victory" in its fight against Hezbollah.

The outspoken support of congressional Democrats for Bush's policies and Israel's war on Lebanon portends similar support should the US ignore history and common sense and attack Iran anyway. Both the Senate and House, in backing administration policy, claimed that, contrary to the broad consensus of international opinion, Israel's military actions were consistent with international law and the UN Charter.

By this logic, if Israel's wanton destruction of a small democratic country's civilian infrastructure because of a minor border incident instigated by members of a 3,000-man militia of a minority party is a legitimate act of self-defense, surely a similar US attack against Iran - a much larger country with a sizable armed force whose hardline government might be developing nuclear weapons - could also be seen as a legitimate act of self-defense.

Ironically, political action committees sponsored by liberal groups such as, Peace Action and Act for Change continue to support the election or re-election of US congressional candidates who have voiced support for Washington's proxy war against Lebanon, despite massive Israeli violations of international humanitarian law. They see it as serving as a trial run for a US war against Iran. And, unfortunately, on the other extreme, some of the more outspoken elements that have opposed America's proxy war against Lebanon frankly do not have Israel's best interest in mind.

As a result, without a dramatic increase in protests by those who see Washington's cynical use of Israel as bad for virtually everyone, there is little chance this dangerous and immoral policy can be reversed.

Stephen Zunes is Middle East editor for the Foreign Policy In Focus Project. He is a professor of politics and the author of Tinderbox: US Middle East Policy and Roots of Terrorism (Common Courage Press, 2003).
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Alt 29-08-2006, 18:21   #47
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The new axis of intervention
By John Feffer
Aug 25, 2006

There is a new force in foreign policy: the "axis of intervention". Two allies are official members: the United States and Israel . With its recent invasion of Somalia, Ethiopia has joined the grouping. A fourth nation, Japan, is petitioning for membership.

The administration of US President George W Bush has not attacked any countries recently. But in Bush's first five years in office, the United States has established a dangerous precedent in international affairs:

* The attack on Afghanistan launched a war against not only a state (the Taliban-led government) but also a paramilitary organization (al-Qaeda) .

* The intervention into Iraq was the first example of a "preventive" war - a campaign not just to preempt an imminent attack but also to prevent any potential conflict in the future.

* And finally, the United States has introduced the concept of a "war without end" . The US is fighting an unknown number of terrorists. If one organization surrenders or is destroyed, another will inevitably take its place.

Israel has matched these US policies. The interventions in Lebanon and Gaza target paramilitary organizations (Hezbollah, Hamas) and sovereign entities (the Lebanese government, the Palestinian National Authority). The attacks were a direct response to the kidnapping of Israeli soldiers, but formed part of a broader effort to prevent any future offensives from their hostile neighbors.

Both conflicts are but the latest in a half-century war. And just as the US invasion of Iraq has produced more terrorists than it has suppressed, Israel's bombing of its enemies only generates more ill-will toward the country. If Israel doesn't begin to take negotiations seriously, its very own war without end will spiral further out of control.

Ethiopia sent its troops into Somalia on July 20 to prop up a weak government. Ethiopia is desperate to prevent the growing power of the Islamic Courts, a militant Islamic movement that has its own militias. But the intervention is also part of the long-standing conflict with Eritrea, which Ethiopia accuses of supporting the Islamic Courts. The intervention, however, only further radicalizes the Islamic Courts and boosts Somali public opinion in their favor.

Japan signaled its interest in joining this axis of intervention by putting the military option on the table in its dealings with North Korea. After Pyongyang's launch of seven missiles on July 5, leading Japanese government spokesman Shinzo Abe said, "If we accept that there is no other option to prevent a missile attack, there is an argument that attacking the missile bases would be within the legal right of self-defense."

Unlike the United States, Israel or Ethiopia, Japan was until recently the furthest thing from an aggressive power. It enjoyed five decades of a "peace constitution". Its military was restricted to defense. It had very little capacity to attack another country.

Now Japan wants to have a "normal" military. In today's world, "normal" unfortunately translates into a capacity to launch ill-advised military interventions. Japan is acquiring an in-air-refueling capacity that will allow long-range bombing missions. It is changing its constitution to permit a wide range of military operations. Some Japanese officials have even broken the taboo and discussed Japan's potential need for nuclear weapons. And Japan has been one of the closest supporters of recent US military campaigns, including the endless "war on terrorism".

It's bad enough that the world's most prominent proponent of state pacifism has renounced its tradition. What will happen to global security when the world's second-richest country joins the arms race and begins to contemplate long-range bombing campaigns? China and South Korea have raised the alarm about Japan's new militarism. But the Bush administration has a very short historical memory.

The new axis of intervention targets not only sovereign states such as North Korea and non-state actors such as Hezbollah. With the news of Israeli attacks against Red Cross vehicles and a clearly marked United Nations observation post in Lebanon, the real target of the axis of intervention becomes clear: the institutions of international law . By resorting to military force and scorning diplomacy, both Israel and the United States have undermined the UN and key global agreements such as the Geneva Conventions. It remains to be seen whether Japan and Ethiopia will sign on to this larger agenda.

The possibilities of global cooperation opened up by the end of the Cold War have come to a dead end. The axis of intervention promises a future that resembles the distant past, what the English theorist Thomas Hobbes called the "war of all against all". It is a world, ironically, where both aggressive countries like the US and Israel and aggressive non-state actors like al-Qaeda and the Islamic courts will feel right at home.

While the events of recent weeks have been indeed disturbing, the world hasn't slid entirely down the slippery slope. Interventions have taken place, but internationalism is not dead. As the stunning front page of The Independent graphically represented, the world community united in favor of an immediate ceasefire in Lebanon - the only dissent came from the United States, Britain and Israel.

Japan's threat to launch a preemptive attack on North Korea has generated nothing but criticism in the region and has not found much favor with the Bush administration either. Indeed, all the key countries continue to scramble to find a multilateral solution to North Korea's nuclear problem. And if the current transitional government in Somalia can persuade Ethiopia to leave - with some pressure exerted from the outside by a superpower or two - Islamic militias will be much more disposed to participate in UN-brokered talks.

The US government, with John Bolton still in place as its envoy to the United Nations, is no fan of multilateralism. The Bush administration remains strongly on the side of intervention. But with an international reputation that sags ever more precipitously and a military capability stretched well beyond sustainability, the US might have no other choice than to accept multilateral solutions on an ad hoc basis.

Such ad hoc multilateralism is not ideal. But it's better than an ever growing axis of intervention.

John Feffer is the co-director of Foreign Policy In Focus for the International Relations Center.

Geändert von Benjamin (29-08-2006 um 18:30 Uhr)
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Alt 02-09-2006, 15:34   #48
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Iranische Zeitung in englischer Sprache: The Teheran Times:
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Alt 05-09-2006, 15:17   #49
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Es ist nicht schwer, sich den wahrscheinlich eintretenden Fahrplan der künftigen Geschehnisse hinsichtlich Iran zu überlegen. Man muss nur zurückrechnen, so wie hier beschrieben:

Zurückgerechnet wird mittels einer kleinen Zeitreise, beginnend von einem weiter in der Zukunft liegenden wichtigen Ereignis zurück bis heute:

7. Ausgangspunkt: US-Präsidentschaftswahl November 2008 Die wollen die Republikaner wieder gewinnen. Sie werden alles tun, um ihre Chancen für einen Sieg zu mehren. Ziel: Es soll ein neo-konservativer Mann im Weißen Haus sitzen.

6. Kandidatenaufbau, Vorwahlkampf, Präsidentschaftswahlkampf : 1 Jahr Dauer, macht November 2007 als Zieldatum für das gewünschte Ende eines "Kriegsstresses" für die US-Bürger an ihren Fernsehgeräten. Ab dann muss klar sein, dass der Krieg ein Erfolg für die amtierende republikanische Regierungspartei ist.

5. Unmittelbare Abklingphase nach dem Ende des massivsten Luftbombardement, dass die Weltgeschichte je gesehen hat. Diese Abklingphase benötigt grob geschätz 5-6 Monate (inkl. Anlaufen von direkten Rettungsaktionen für die Zivilbevölkerung + der Erkenntnisgewinnung, dass keine sonstige Macht den Krieg fortsetzt oder den USA ernste Probleme macht). Das bringt deren Beginn auf etwa Juni/Juli 2007; deren Ende etwa auf November 2007.

4. Ende des Krieges: Angriff der USA + Israel (evtl. noch 1-3 weitere Staaten) auf den Iran mittels massivsten Luftangriffen auf die gesamte Infrastruktur des Landes (Straßen, Kraftwerke, Fabriken, Verwaltungsgebäude, etc.); Dauer: 2 Monate, von Anfang Mai bis Ende Juni 2007 .

3. Zu Beginn dieses Krieges, also Ende April/Anfang Mai 2007 , sollten die westlichen Börsen inkl. des Nikkei 225 ein signifikantes Low bilden und anschließend mit einem Kursfeuerwerk sich erheben, getrieben von der Hoffnung auf billiges Öl. Gerade beim Nikkei-Index stimmt dieser Zeitpunkt mit einem sehr langfristigen Zyklus in diesem Index überein, der "ganz unabhängig von allem" hier ein Low erwarten läßt.

2. Anfang November 2006 : US-Kongresswahl + diverser anderer Posten in den USA. Vorher wird offiziell von USA nichts wirklich konkretes kommen hinsichtlich "militärischer Sanktionen" (=Überfall auf den Iran). Die US-Wähler sollen nichts über das o. g. Szenario erfahren, weil das den Republikanern schaden würde. Bush wird sich bis dahin zum Thema Iran nur in markigen Allgemeinplätzen üben. Bis dahin darf die Börsenwelt noch von der normalen, bekannten Welt träumen, in der alles wie gewohnt läuft - auch wenn bereits erste Risse erkennbar werden.

1. Passend als Wahlgeschenk für die Republikaner zur US-Kongresswahl dürfte die US-Notenbank den US-Bürgern noch einmal einen tüchtigen Einkaufsbummel auf etwas billigeren Kredit (Leitzinssenkung ) spendieren, also im Oktober 2006. Das kleistert die ersten Risse vorübergehend etwas zu - es muss ja nur bis zur US-Wahl Anfang November reichen.

Das Ergebnis: Billiges Öl + Neo-Konservative an der Macht. Und zwar sowohl in den USA (ein neo-konservativer neuer Präsident) als auch in Deutschland (CDU/CSU + FDP). Da wird innerhalb der o. g. Zeitreise in 2007 die große Koalition zerbrechen, weil es SPD und CDU kaum gelingen dürfte, ihre unterschiedlichen Positionen dort mit Blick auf die anstehenden Landtagswahlen und eine spätere Bundestagswahl so zu verhandeln, das am Ende etwas herauskommt, mit dem das jeweilige Klientel leben kann.

Tja, alles furchtbar - oder?

Das Ergebnis beschert uns für eine gewisse Zeit (Monate - wenige Jahre) noch einmal eine wirtschaftliche Erholung und Blüte. Dieser materielle Gewinn kostet allerdings im Vorfeld viele hunderttausend Menschenleben im Nahen Osten.

Ein weiteres Ergebnis: Das Prinzip des Individualismus hat über das Prinzip des Kollektivs gesiegt:
- Individualismus siehe USA: Das Individuum steht über dem Kollektiv (z. B. das Land). Jeder hat weite individuelle Rechte und Freiheiten, allerdings um den Preis einer praktisch fehlenden belastbaren Sicherung durch Familie, Verwandschaft und Staat. Wenn 2 von 3 Ehen in den USA geschieden werden und Seitensprünge oder Flirts schon zum guten Ton gehören, dann ist dies das Ende jeder belastbaren Kollektiv-Struktur für den einzelnen Bürger.
- Kollektiv siehe das Schiitentum im Iran und Libanon: Das Kollektiv steht über dem Individuum; Kollektive sind z. B. einzelne Familienclans, der Stamm der Schiiten im Iran und Libanon, jeweils mit ihren strengen traditionellen Regeln, die auf das Überleben des Kollektivs als Einheit ausgerichtet sind. Verwandschaftsbande als Kernstruktur des Kollektivs werden arrangiert und stützen es so; "Irgendwelche" Partnerschaften auf Basis - möglicherweise instabiler - emotionaler Bande sind da ein Risiko und können das Kollektiv schwächen.

Dieser Sieg über ein wichtiges Territorium mit ausgeprägtem Kollektivismus + wichtigen Rohstoffen (Iran),
die Vernichtung des eher dogmatischen Schiitentums (durch die militärische Vernichtung dessen Hauptgebiete Südlibanon und Iran)
die Parteinahme für die pragmatischeren Sunniten (vertreten vor allem durch Saudi-Arabien)
dürfte den Weg zu billigem Öl und Gas frei machen und eine letzte Blütezeit des Westens ermöglichen.

Hinsichtlich Kollektivismus gibt es dann für die USA kaum noch ernsthafte Gegner bzw. lohnende Beuteobjekte. China hat selbst kaum Rohstoffe und ist mitlerweile teilweise kapitalistischer als die USA selbst.

Aber gleichzeitig werden viele Einzelmechanismen am Ende dazu führen, dass aus "dem kranken Mann USA" ein "hoffnungsloser Fall" wird. Bereits vor Erreichen des Höhepunktes der Macht (nach dem "Sieg" über Irak und Iran mit ihren riesigen Vorkommen an Öl und Gas und nach dem Plündern und Verprassen dieser Bodenschätze) ist der Niedergang der USA als Weltmacht unausweichlich. Sie werden ihre Verschwendungssucht auf Kosten anderer Nationen und der eigenen Kinder irgendwann bezahlen müssen, und zwar mit einer langen und schweren Deflation. Sie werden in jeder Hinsicht kleiner werden: Moralisch, politisch, wirtschaftlich, mental.

Und was Wunder: Nachdem der Kollektivismus in besonders reiner Form beim Iran "zu Staub zerbombt" wurde und man sich im Westen denkt, jetzt ist der für alle Zeiten eleminiert, da dürfte man bald genau das Gegenteil sehen: Am Höhebunkt jener letzten Blütezeit des billigen Öls greift die Angst des einzelnen Individuums allmählich um sich. Nachdem die großen Kollektive zerstört wurden und im Privatbereich die 'Eigenverantwortung' über alles steht, da steht das Individuum nun da - und empfindet sich als nackt, ohne Schutz, allein gegen alle möglichen Gefahren der Welt, die da lauern können. Besitzstandswahrung, Absicherung greifen um sich, weil die Risse im Mauerwerk immer deutlicher zu sehen sind und schlicht Angst machen. Die Leute haben weder Orientierung (einen Glauben, eine Vision) noch mentale wie materielle Absicherung bei einer persönlichen Krise. Folge: Kollektive schießen wieder wie Pilze aus dem Boden. Was man da gerade an Kollektivismus mit so viel Aufwand (u. a. Angriff und Zerstörung des Iran, Individualisierung des ganzen Nahen Ostens mittels der 'pragmatischeren' Kultur der Sunniten in Saudi Arabien) zerstört hatte, das sprießt neu überall hervor, ganz einfach, weil in schwierigen Zeiten der Einzelne das Bedürfnis nach Sicherheit höher schätzt als das Bedürfnis nach völligem Austoben von Eigenarten. Also werden sich Kollektive neuer Art bilden, die ihren Mitgliedern jeweils für ihr ganzes Leben klare Regeln auferlegen, deren Beachtung mit disziplinarischen Mitteln überwachen und dafür eine gewisse materielle Existenzsicherung + mentale Orientierung bieten. Das nenne ich eine Ironie des Schicksals!

Das habe ich übrigens nirgends abgeschrieben oder gelesen, sondern mir tatsächlich selber überlegt. Ich bin ziemlich sicher, dass ich mit dieser Abschätzung nahe an der Wirklichkeit liegen werde, weil sich die Bausteine so gut zusammenfügen lassen und ich keine andere Abschätzung gehört oder gelesen habe, die das von mir beobachtete Geschehen plausibler erklären könnte.
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Alt 06-09-2006, 08:36   #50
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Ist der Iran Krieg noch zu vermeiden? Sanktionen sind wahrscheinlich nutzlos
17:01 05.09.06

Endlich wird in den U.S.A. wieder gehandelt, nachdem gestern aufgrund des
„Labour Days“ (Tag der Arbeit) die Börsen geschlossen waren.
Der Dezember Rohölfuture startete die verkürzte Handelswoche auch gleich mit
Abschlägen, nachdem es an positiven Impulsen fehlte. Obwohl in Nigeria am
13. September ein dreitägiger Ölarbeiterstreik vor der Tür steht und ein
Produktionsausfall in Höhe von 50.000 Barrel seitens der italienischen ENI
gemeldet wurden, reagieren die Notierungen hierauf nicht. Verwunderlich ist
dieses Verhalten eigentlich auch nicht, da die Lagerbestände auf einem
Mehrjahreshoch notieren.
Belastend wirkt sich zusätzlich eine Meldung der Colorado State University
aus, wonach in der diesjährigen Hurricane Saison nur noch 13 Tropenstürme
auftreten sollen von denen lediglich fünf den Status eines Hurricanes
erreichen dürften. Der Markt baut somit einen Großteil seins Wetterpremiums
der letzten Wochen ab, auch wenn die Verringerung auf „nur“ fünf Hurricanes
eigentlich keine Rolle spielt. Schon allein eines dieser Wetterphänomene
würde ausreichen um die Produktion im Golf von Mexiko komplett lahm zu
legen. Aus diesem Grund würde ich diese Erkenntnis nicht allzu überbewerten.
Das Hauptaugenmerk der Trader liegt allerdings weiterhin auf dem Iran sowie
den Spannungen zwischen Israel und dem Libanon. Laut den neuesten
Nachrichten will Israel die Luft- und Seeblockade in den kommenden 48
Stunden aufheben und würde dadurch die geopolitischen Spannungen
Der Iran bleibt weiterhin bei seiner Einstellung das
Urananreicherungsprogramm fortzusetzen und offenbar scheinen keine
Konsequenzen mit dieser Haltung verbunden zu sein. Obwohl die U.S.A. gerne
Sanktionen verhängen würden, versucht Europa weiterhin dies zu verhindern.
Die schlimmste Sanktion die derzeit gegen den Iran verhängt werden könnte,
wäre ein Stop der Benzineinfuhren. Das Land ist neben den U.S.A. der
weltweit zweitgrößte Importeur von Benzin. Der tägliche Verbrauch liegt bei
400.000 Barrel von denen etwa 150.000 importiert werden müssen. Allerdings
hat der Iran laut dem hiesigen Ölminister bereits einen Notfallplan. Ein
Stop der Ölimporte wäre nämlich nicht das erste Mal. Eine ähnliche Situation
gab es bereits in den 80-ern als der Iran/Irak Krieg herrschte. Sollten die
Benzinimporte in den Iran gestoppt werden, gibt es bereits Pläne die
Bestände zu rationieren. Außerdem wird derzeit ein Chip entwickelt der jedem
Fahrzeug nur eine bestimmte Menge an Sprit zu teilen soll, genaueres zu
dieser Technologie wurde jedoch nicht bekannt.
Somit wäre es durchaus möglich, dass der Iran unbeeindruckt jedweder
Konsequenzen sein Atomprogramm fortsetzen wird. Mit vier Millionen Barrel
Ölförderung am Tag kann sich Ahmadinedschad ein solches Vorgehen auch
leisten, da er genau weiß, dass die Welt von seinem Öl abhängig ist. Einige
Beobachter stellen sich inzwischen nicht mehr die Frage ob es einen
Irankrieg geben wird sondern nur noch wann?

Quelle: Sebastian Hell, EMFIS
Schöne Grüße
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Alt 06-09-2006, 22:21   #51
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05. September 2006
Die HSH Nordbank hält kurzfristig aus charttechnischer Sicht einen weiteren Rückgang bis zur 200 Tage-Linie, die aktuell bei knapp 67 Dollar für Brent verlaufe, für möglich, erwartet aber aufgrund der latenten Risiken, die jederzeit wieder in den Fokus rücken könnten, zunächst keinen darüber hinausgehenden Kursverfall.
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Alt 20-09-2006, 18:03   #52
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SPIEGEL ONLINE - 15. August 2006

Bushs Blaupause für Angriff auf Iran

Von Yassin Musharbash

US-Starjournalist Seymour Hersh hat Indizien dafür zusammengetragen, dass Israel den Bombenkrieg gegen die Hisbollah von langer Hand plante - und die US-Regierung Bescheid wusste. Die Offensive gelte in Washington als Testlauf für einen Iran-Krieg.

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Alt 20-09-2006, 18:15   #53
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Warum Iran die Bombe bekommt

Weder die USA noch Israel können den Mullahs glaubhaft militärisch drohen / Von Alan Dershowitz


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Alt 27-09-2006, 18:07   #54
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Sep 27, 2006
The diminished dividends of war

By Jim Lobe

WASHINGTON - With the US intelligence community agreed that the invasion and occupation of Iraq have made the United States less safe from terrorist threats, President George W Bush appears to be facing a growing revolt among top military commanders who say their ground forces are stretched close to breaking point.

According to Monday's Los Angeles Times, the US Army's top officer, General Peter Schoomaker, has called for a nearly 50% increase in spending, to nearly US$140 billion, in 2008 to cope with the situation in Iraq and maintain minimal readiness for emergencies.

To convey his seriousness, Schoomaker reportedly withheld the army's scheduled budget request last month in what the Times called an "unprecedented ... protest" against previous rejections by the White House of funding increases.

And this week, several retired senior military leaders told Senate Democrats that Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld should go, arguing that he had mishandled the war in Iraq. The former soldiers claimed that Rumsfeld had ignored advice for more troops, failed to make a post-invasion plan or equip troops properly, and hid information from the public .

The news of Schoomaker's action, which is almost certain to intensify the debate over what to do in Iraq just seven weeks before the November 7 mid-term congressional elections, comes just days after the New York Times reported that the army was considering activating substantially more National Guard troops or reservists.

Such a decision, which would run counter to previous Bush administration pledges to limit overseas deployments for the Guard, would pose serious political risks for the Republicans if it were made before the elections .

Unlike career soldiers, the National Guard consists mainly of "citizen-soldiers" with families and jobs and deep roots in local communities. When the Pentagon last called up substantial numbers of Guard units for service in Iraq and Afghanistan in late 2003 and 2004, the move elicited a strong backlash in communities across the country.

With the Iraq war even less popular now than it was then, any major new call-up is likely to trigger renewed protests, particularly in light of the growing sense both among the national-security elites and the general population that the Bush administration's decision to invade Iraq was a major mistake and that the war is unwinnable.

Recent opinion polls have shown that the US public has become increasingly pessimistic about the war's outcome and its impact on the larger "global war on terror".

This month, for example, a New York Times/CBS (Columbia Broadcasting System) poll found that nearly two-thirds of respondents believed the war in Iraq was going either "somewhat" (28%) or "very" badly (33%).

For most of the past year, a majority of respondents in various polls have said they believed the decision to go to war in Iraq was a mistake and that it had made the US less, rather than more, safe from terrorism.

The fact that a similar conclusion was reportedly reached by the 16 agencies, including the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), that make up the US intelligence community in April in a rare National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is likely to add to the public's pessimism.

The NIE, some of the contents of which were leaked to the New York Times and the Washington Post over the weekend, found that the Iraq war had invigorated Islamic radicalism worldwide and aggravated the terrorist threat faced by the US and other countries.

While the director of national intelligence, John Negroponte, insisted on Sunday that the newspaper accounts of the report's conclusions were partial and selective, they nonetheless backed up what a number of former senior intelligence analysts - most recently, the retired head of the CIA's Political Islam Strategic Analysis Program, Emile Nakhleh - have been saying individually for much of the past year.

While Democratic lawmakers called on Monday for the Bush administration immediately to declassify the NIE, "Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States", so that the public could decide for itself, it is certain to intensify the debate about whether to begin withdrawing from Iraq or whether to "stay the course" there despite the growing sectarian violence and the wear and tear on US ground forces.

For most of the past year, the administration and senior military commanders have expressed hope that they could reduce US forces in Iraq from the approximately 140,000 troops who were there last December to help protect the parliamentary elections by as many as 30,000 by the end of this year.

But with the rise in sectarian violence, particularly in Baghdad, that followed the bombing of a major Shi'ite shrine in Samarra, Washington has been forced to abandon those hopes. Last week, the senior US Middle East commander, General John Abizaid, made it official when he told reporters in Washington that he needed at least 140,000 troops in Iraq through next spring .

Even this number of troops, however, has not proved sufficient to curb the violence in Baghdad, while a recent report from the senior Marine Corps intelligence officer in al-Anbar province, which comprises about one-third of Iraq's total territory, warned that the 30,000 US troops deployed there could not defeat the Sunni insurgency without the addition of at least 13,000 personnel and substantially more economic assistance.

Adding to the burden on the army and the marines, the resurgence of the Taliban has forced Washington to cancel plans to reduce forces in Afghanistan from 19,000 earlier this year to about 16,000 by autumn.

Instead, Washington currently has more than 20,000 troops deployed there amid signs that more may be needed if the North Atlantic Treaty Organization fails to provide more troops of its own or if, in light of the retreat of Pakistani forces from neighboring Waziristan, the Taliban mount an even bigger offensive from across the border next spring after the snows melt.

These commitments have taken a huge, unanticipated toll on US land forces, not just in manpower, but in equipment and money as well.

Before the war in Iraq , the Pentagon's political appointees confidently predicted that the Middle Eastern country's oil production would very quickly pay for the invasion's financial costs and that Washington could draw down US forces to as few as 30,000 by the end of 2003.

In fact, about $400 billion - almost all of it for military operations - has been appropriated for both the Iraq and Afghanistan wars since September 2001, and current operations there are running at about $9 billion a month . {Das sind rund 108 Mrd. $ im Jahr, 300 Mio. $ je Tag, 12,3 Mio. $ je Stunde, 200000 $ je Minute, 3400 $ je Sekunde }

The US Army, which has some 500,000 active-duty soldiers, has been allocated $98 billion this year, and the White House has cleared it to receive $114 billion for 2008. But Schoomaker has reportedly asked for $139 billion, including at least $13 billion to repair equipment. "There's no sense in us submitting a budget that we can't execute, a broken budget," he warned recently in a speech in Washington.

In addition to strains on both the land forces and their equipment, senior military leaders are also worried about attrition among mid-ranking officers, in particular, and the quality and cost of new recruits.

The military has greatly intensified its recruitment efforts, relaxed its age and education requirements for enlistment, and offered unprecedented bonuses and benefits packages - worth thousands of dollars - to enlistees and active-duty soldiers who re-enlist.

It has also increased enlistments by individuals with "serious criminal misconduct" in their records and eased requirements of non-citizens - of which there are currently about 40,000 in the US armed services - and made them eligible to citizenship after only one day of active-duty service.
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Alt 25-10-2006, 20:57   #55
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Beware empires in decline
By Michael T Klare
Oct 19, 2006

The common wisdom circulating in Washington these days is that the United States is too bogged down in Iraq to consider risky military action against Iran or - God forbid - North Korea. Policy analysts describe the US military as "over-burdened" or "stretched to the limit". The presumption is that the Pentagon is telling President George W Bush that it can't really undertake another major military contingency.

Added to these pessimistic assessments of US military capacity is the widespread claim that a "new realism" has taken over in the
administration's upper reaches, that cautious "realists" like Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice have gained the upper hand over fire-breathing neo-conservatives. Ergo: no military strike against Iran or North Korea.

But I'm not buying any of this.

Just as an empire on the rise, like the United States on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, is often inclined to take rash and ill-considered actions, so an empire on the decline, like the British and French empires after World War II, will engage in senseless, self-destructive acts. And I fear the same can happen to the United States today, as it too slips into decline.

The decline of an empire can be a hard and painful thing for the affected imperial elites. Those who are used to commanding subservience and respect from their subjects and from lesser powers are often ill-prepared to deal with their indifference and contempt. Even harder is overcoming the long-inbred assumption that one's vassals are inferior - mentally, morally and otherwise.

The first malady makes the declining elites extraordinarily sensitive to perceived slights or insults from their former subjects; the second often leads elites to overestimate their own capabilities and to underestimate those of their former subjects - an often fatal error. The two misjudgments often combine to produce an extreme readiness to strike back when a perceived insult coincides with a (possibly deceptive) military superiority.

The Suez blunder
One of the most spectacular examples of such miscalculation in modern times - and an especially illuminating one - was the Suez Canal crisis of 1956. The crisis began in July 1956 when Egyptian president Gamal Abdel Nasser, angry at the West's failure to support construction of the Aswan High Dam on the Nile, nationalized the Suez Canal, then owned principally by a British-French company and long regarded as a pre-eminent symbol of the British Empire.

A reasonable Anglo-French response to Nasser's move might have been to negotiate a dignified turnover of the canal (as president Jimmy Carter did in 1977 with the Panama Canal, thereby removing a major irritant in US-Latin America relations). But no: it was beneath their dignity to negotiate with rabble like Nasser. Instead, with images of imperial grandeur still fresh in their minds, the British and French embarked on October 29, 1956 on an invasion of Egypt (wisely bringing in the Israelis for a little backup).

Then the second malady kicked in. From what can be reconstructed today, it never occurred to British and French leaders that their former subjects would even consider putting up any resistance to modern European armies, and so victory would occur swiftly. Instead, it was pure debacle. The British and French were far too few on the ground to win any military victories, and the Egyptians didn't cry "uncle" at the first sight of the Union Jack.

Desperately, the British and French - who had first dismissed any need for American help - pleaded with then-president Dwight D Eisenhower for American assistance. But Ike wasn't in a mood to help. Having seen which way the wind was blowing in the Middle East, he decided it was better to abandon his North Atlantic Treaty Organization allies than support the old imperialists in a battle with pan-Arab nationalism (which might then choose to align with Moscow). And so the British and French were forced to withdraw in utter humiliation.

Much in this extraordinary episode bears on the situation in Washington today. Once again, a former subject state - in this case, Iran - is thumbing its nose at its former imperial overlords - Britain and the United States (which together put the megalomaniacal Shah in power there in 1953). Once again, extreme discomfort and distress has been the result. Yes, I recognize that Iran's pursuit of nuclear technology poses a different sort of danger than Egypt's seizure of the Suez Canal (though to hear the British tell it, that was no less of a strategic peril).

But there nevertheless remains a symbolic aspect to this whole crisis that cannot be entirely ignored. A once subservient Third World nation confronts the Greatest Power the World Has Ever Known on something approaching equal terms. It is precisely these sorts of circumstances that are likely to trigger rash, ill-considered action on the part of the declining power.

"How dare they stand up to us in that way?" British and French officials must have been muttering to themselves in 1956. And: "We'll teach them a thing or two! - Just you watch!"

"How dare they stand up to us in that way?" White House officials must be saying to one another in private today. And: "We'll teach them a thing or two! - Just you watch!"

Overcoming objections to war
But what about the problem of the overstretched US military and all those American soldiers now bogged down in Iraq? This is where the second post-imperial malady comes in. Yes, American ground troops are bogged down in Iraq, but American air and sea power, currently under-utilized in the Iraq conflict, can be used to cripple Iranian military capabilities with minimum demand on US ground forces.

Despite the Israeli inability to emasculate Hezbollah with airpower during the Lebanon fighting this summer, American air and naval officers, I suspect, believe that they can inflict punishing damage on the Iranians with airpower alone, and do so without suffering significant casualties in return. I also suspect that well-connected neo-conservatives and, no doubt, Vice President Dick Cheney and Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld, are whispering this message into the ear of Bush.

And what about all the forms of retaliation one might expect from the Iranians, like an upsurge in Shi'ite disorder in Iraq and chaos in the oil markets? These and other likely Iranian responses are also said to be deterring a US military strike. But the Iranians will be incapable of such coordinated action after the US Air Force subjects them to "shock and awe", and, anyway, there are contingency plans in place to deal with the fallout. Or so say the neo-cons, I would imagine.

So I believe that the common wisdom in Washington regarding military action against Iran is wrong. Just because American forces are bogged down in Iraq, and Rice appears to enjoy a bit more authority these days, does not mean that "realism" will prevail at the White House. I suspect that the response of declining British and French imperial elites when faced with provocative acts by a former subject power in 1956 is a far more accurate gauge of what to expect from the Bush administration today.

The impulse to strike back must be formidable. Soon, I fear, it will prove irresistible.

Michael T Klare is a professor of peace and world-security studies at Hampshire College, a Foreign Policy In Focus columnist, and the author of Blood and Oil: The Dangers and Consequences of America's Growing Dependence on Imported Petroleum (Metropolitan Books, 2004).
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Alt 25-10-2006, 21:17   #56
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Reconciling ego and reality
By Harlan Ullman, a defense expert who coined the idea of "shock and awe" in military strategy
October 18, 2006

North Korea's firecracker-sized nuclear test was puny in magnitude -- the equivalent of 500 or 1000 tons of TNT or about fifty of America's largest conventional bombs. Yet the shock waves sent the political Richter scale into the red zone. If we panic or lose our strategic composure over this incident, we will unnecessarily magnify the consequences and miss the larger issue.

Yes, conceivably, North Korea's ambitions could trigger a nuclear arms race in East Asia. Conceivably, North Korea, desperate for cash, could sell weapons to terrorists. And, yes, a nut with a nuke, if Kim Jong-il is indeed one, is worrisome. However, succumbing to these instant reactions conceals a more consequential reality.

The world indeed has changed. But not as we think. American power and perceived omnipotence have been greatly neutralized or displaced. As military force cannot democratize Iraq , force alone will not convince North Korea to reverse its nuclear ambitions. Nor will America's persistent and flawed perception that the status of the world's sole remaining and indispensable superpower conveys any real benefit or sets us above lesser parties in imposing our will. Here is a new reality of the 21st century.

America's security cannot be guaranteed without a great deal more help from other states. Help must be rooted in shared interests that recognize this dependency and appreciate that America does not automatically always have to assume the lead. But can America make such a psychological leap and learn that mutual dependency as opposed to American dominance is the key organizing principle of this new world? And can we appreciate that we are not the exclusive target or the bull's-eye for all terrorists. Surely in Moscow, Tokyo and many other capitals, a potential nut with a nuke is no less a danger than to Washington.

Consider some limits to American power. In Iraq, internecine war between Sunni and Shi'ite cannot be stopped by the greatest military in history unless someone like Saddam Hussein were put in charge. Furthermore, insurgents have taken to the cities where villains merge invisibly with innocents and thus checkmate overwhelming U.S. superiority that cannot be brought to bear because of resulting collateral damage. Mr. Kim has now said, "I dare you." If we are to succeed in either denuclearizing or containing the north we must recognize the new rules of the game.

After Mr. Kim's Fourth of July fireworks display and the launch of a handful of missiles, the Bush administration acted in a level headed and measured manner. The test of the long range Taepodong II missile failed. And it appears that North Korea set off at best a fizzled nuclear device, not a weapon. Most experts believe that it will be years before the north will be able to miniaturize a warhead to fit in one of its rockets. Hence, if we are clever, we have time to develop a strategy based on full understanding of the limits to our power.

The critical issue is whether the Bush administration can be persuaded, as Tom Friedman puts it, to change its behavior and the role of lonesome sheriff. The Iraqi Study Group, co-chaired by James Baker and Lee Hamilton, was created for that purpose. And it was rumored that Bush 41 took a run at suggesting some Iraqi policy changes last month and was politely rebuffed by 43.

Since Mr. Bush is so adamant in his views, perhaps a "council of elders" could persuade him to reconsider. Distinguished individuals such as Sen. John Warner, whose crisp remarks following his latest trip to Iraq were made sharper by their understatement, former Secretaries of State George Schultz and Henry Kissinger and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski come to mind as individuals whose views cannot be ignored. The agenda for these elders goes beyond Iraq, North Korea and Iran. The goal is to convince the president to appreciate the possibility that many of our policies are failing or foundering and, unless we take new directions, events in East Asia could follow the disastrous trajectory of what is happening in the greater Middle East.

From this understanding of the limits to our power, particularly growing dependencies, and why fuller partnerships with others including Russia, China, Japan and South Korea are crucial to future security, an effective strategy for dealing with Mr. Kim can be devised. If bold diplomacy that emphasizes real initiatives and shared interests of all parties fails, then a containment and deterrent framework, perhaps not too dissimilar from NATO, surely can be constructed. This full and frank discussion with the president should occur before the election so that no matter who wins control of Congress, the subsequent political dynamics do not impede a reassessment.
This means aligning our ego with reality. Mr. Bush once called for a more humble foreign policy. The times never demanded one more.
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Alt 25-10-2006, 22:09   #57
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Endgame coming, ready or not
By Jim Lobe
Oct 21, 2006

WASHINGTON - If Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki were inclined to bet his life on President George W Bush's latest assurances that there will be no timetable for withdrawing US troops from Iraq, he should probably give it a second thought.

While Bush, true to his self-image as an uncommonly firm leader in the mold of British prime minister Winston Churchill, is undoubtedly sincere in his determination to press ahead, political circumstances - not to mention the accelerating slide into an appalling civil war in Iraq - are clearly conspiring against him.

The signs of eroding support for Bush's "stay-the-course" strategy are virtually everywhere in Washington , where senior Republicans, such as the chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, John Warner, are moving into open revolt against what they see as a rapidly deteriorating situation and Bush's bullheadedness in still believing that Iraq will somehow become a model for democratic transformation in the Middle East.

The increasingly likely prospect of the Democrats recapturing the House of Representatives, and possibly even the Senate, too, after the November 7 mid-term elections should also spur second thoughts on Maliki's part.

While ever-fearful of being tagged as "weak" on terrorism, it appears a strong majority of Democrats currently favor a year-long timetable for withdrawal from Iraq. That position, if anything, is winning them increased popular support and is one they may well be able to effectively impose on Bush when Congress, which controls the government's purse-strings, reconvenes in January.

Similar auguries are visible in London, Washington's closest ally in the " war on terror" and the biggest contributor of troops by far to the US-led coalition in Iraq. In a lengthy newspaper interview last week, Britain's new army chief, General Sir Richard Dannatt, echoed the arguments made over the past year by the Democratic Party's most prominent advocate of a swift withdrawal, John Murtha.

Britain should "get ourselves out some time soon because our presence exacerbates the security problems [in Iraq]," he told the Daily Mail, adding that the best that could be hoped for now was something less than the kind of liberal democracy envisaged by both Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair.

Dannatt's views, according to a column by a former senior instructor at the Royal Military Academy and director of the Center for Foreign Policy Analysis, Paul Moorcraft, reflect the thinking of the "British military establishment".

The fact that Moorcraft's column was published on Monday in the staunchly pro-Bush Washington Times adds to the impression in Washington that even right-wing Republicans, despite their continued attacks on "Defeatocrats" for wanting to "cut and run", have reached a "tipping point" on the war.

Indeed, the Times' front page featured an article contrasting the optimistic assessments given by Washington's top commander in Iraq, General George Casey, earlier this year to his most recent briefings this month, particularly about the ability of the Iraqi security forces to take the place of US troops in any reasonable amount of time - Bush's central condition for a gradual US withdrawal.

The article noted that Casey had predicted early this year that he might be able to reduce US troops levels from 130,000 by as much as 30,000 by the end of this year. But Washington has actually increased troops to over 140,000 in recent months, a level that US Army chief Peter Schoomaker said last week may have to be sustained through 2010, an estimate that provoked real panic among Republican lawmakers who are ever more aware that the war is the single biggest negative they have to overcome to win re-election.

The recent increase in US troops was due above all to the increased violence in Baghdad, where the monthly death toll, as recorded by Iraq's Health Ministry, has risen steadily from over about 1,400 earlier this summer to more than 2,600 in September. By increasing the US and Iraqi troop presence in the capital, US planners had hoped that the violence could be quickly contained, but that assumption has not been borne out.

"The US military had a two-stage program for security in Baghdad," Juan Cole, an Iraq specialist at the University of Michigan, told an interviewer on US public television Monday. "They were going to go in and make sweeps of the Sunni Arab districts and cut down on the guerrilla violence against the Shi'ites, and then they were going to use that as an argument to the Shi'ites that 'OK, now you have to give up your militias'."

"But this battle for Baghdad has already been going on since August, and there has been not only no reduction in attacks ... [but] the attacks have gone up! We've got 50, 60, 70 bodies showing up every day in Baghdad, bullets behind the ears," said Cole, who is calling for a "phased withdrawal of US troops".

Nor is the violence limited to Baghdad or the Sunni insurgent stronghold of al-Anbar province. Last weekend, a series of reprisal killings by Shi'ites and Sunnis left over 100 dead in and around Balad, about 80 kilometers north of Baghdad, in an area where US troops turned over security to their Iraqi counterparts just last month.

While most of the violence is now sectarian, US casualties have also been spiking , particularly since August when more troops were sent to help pacify Baghdad. Sixty-three US troops were killed in August; that rose to 74 in September. Nearly 70 have been killed in the first half of October, putting the month on track to be the deadliest in almost two years and adding to the pressure to bring the troops home.

All of these developments have created panic among the war's supporters, particularly neo-conservatives who were most enthusiastic about invading Iraq. In a cover article in this week's Weekly Standard, in which he warned, contrary to some critics, that "exiting Iraq ... would fan the flames of jihadism", Reuel Marc Gerecht of the American Enterprise Institute conceded that a "consensus is growing in Washington" on both the right and the left in favor of a "rapid departure" .

At the same time, the neo-conservative New York Sun reported that the Iraq Study Group (ISG), a blue-ribbon task force created last spring by Congress to develop a bipartisan strategy on Iraq, was considering four basic options, two of which, including a "stay-the-course" strategy and an immediate withdrawal, had been ruled out by its members.

Of the two left, according to the Sun account, one, "Stability First", calls for continuing efforts to stabilize Baghdad, major new initiatives to coax Sunni insurgents into the political process, and a regional effort, including Iran and Syria - with which the administration has refused so far to deal directly - to cut off arms supplies to militias and help reduce the violence.

The second option, called "Redeploy and Contain", appears similar to a plan floated last year by the Center for American Progress and subsequently endorsed by most Democratic lawmakers. It calls for a gradual withdrawal of US troops to bases outside Iraq from which they could strike against terrorist targets in Iraq or elsewhere in the region.

The fact that the ISG's co-chair is former secretary of state and Bush family consiglieri James Baker, with whom Bush reportedly talks on a regular basis, is likely to give the final report, due out early next year, serious heft, particularly for a Congress, a military and top Republican strategists that are already desperate for a face-saving exit strategy, timetable included .
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Alt 03-11-2006, 17:24   #58
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Russia plays a double game over Iran
By Kaveh L Afrasiabi
Nov 4, 2006

A draft United Nations resolution calling for sanctions on Iran has been dealt a severe blow by China and Russia and, given the absence of any evidence of nuclear-weapons proliferation by Iran, the momentum for UN action against Iran has begun to fizzle. This raises the possibility that Iran's nuclear dossier may return to its proper venue - the UN's nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Moscow-Beijing duet against sanctions follows the argument
that as long as Iran's nuclear activities, sanctioned by the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), are under the IAEA's inspection regime
and lack any evidence of military diversion, the justification for punitive measures by the United Nations is lacking.

Of the two, China has now taken the lead in pointing out the stark contrasts between Iran and North Korea, with various Chinese officials, including its envoys to Washington, Moscow and the UN, hammering the key point that unlike North Korea, Iran is a member of the NPT community, has renounced nuclear weapons and has been cooperating with the IAEA.

The same point has been articulated in Iran by, among others, its former chief nuclear negotiator, Hassan Rowhani, stating in a recent interview that "Iran simply wants to produce fuel for its nuclear reactors and is presently at the research and development phase. So what is all this noise about?"

Rowhani said a draft UN resolution now in circulation that proposes to ban the sale of nuclear and missile technology to Iran stems from the "anger of US and Western countries toward Iran's status and influence in the region and the world".

The draft is in response to an earlier Security Council resolution demanding that Tehran suspend uranium-enrichment activities by August 31. The council was to meet on Friday in New York to finalize a resolution.

According to Rowhani, the purpose of an "Iran sanction committee" envisaged in the draft is to "apply pressure on Iran" and to reverse the country's growing influence: "Iran's influence in Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and among the Arab people of Persian Gulf enjoys a privileged status."

Interestingly, the joint announcements by China and Russia on the proposed sanctions coincide with a major international conference in Tehran of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which has accepted Iran as an observer. The SCO comprises China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan.

In his opening speech at the conference, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki drew attention to the underlying reasons for his country's expressed interest in joining the SCO as a member, citing its shared security interests and outlooks with SCO members, such as the need for a "multipolar" world order.

Such overtures by Iran are bound to ingratiate it further to the veto-wielding powers of China and Russia, both of which have referred to their "strategic relations" with Iran playing an increasingly prominent role in the global calculus against US "hegemony".

Consequently, instead of opting for even milder, symbolic sanctions, the net effect of which may turn out to be purely negative in light of Iran's promise to curtail its cooperation with the IAEA in response to any sanctions, a more prudent course of action by the US and its European allies would be to agree to bring the Iran nuclear issue back to the IAEA. This is the appropriate forum to deal with what the IAEA's chief, Mohammad ElBaradei, has referred to as "issues of concern".

Yet such a logical and necessary move, which might prompt Iran to readopt the intrusive Additional Protocol of the NPT, is for the moment held back not only by the adamant US push for sanctions but also by lingering Russian doublespeak . This hints at a built-in ambivalence on Moscow's part, giving rise to speculation in Iran that Russia might be contemplating a bargain with the US over Iran, as it has done on a number of occasions.

Russia's doublespeak
This is a clear sign of Russian doublespeak: on Tuesday, Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told the press, "We do not have information that would suggest that Iran is carrying out a non-peaceful [nuclear] program." This is consistent with what Russian President Vladimir Putin has repeatedly stated, such as when he said that based on information he had received, he was convinced "Iran does not have the intention to build a nuclear bomb".

Yet on Wednesday, Ivanov told Russian television: "We don't want to have another nuclear state on our southern borders. It's obvious." Ivanov then echoed the same sentiment of some Russian parliamentarians who have openly hinted that Russia might back the draft UN resolution.

Ivanov's sudden accent on the potential nuclear threat from Iran puts him in sharp contrast with, among others, his country's foreign minister. Sergei Lavrov has repeatedly gone on record indicating the information corroborating the peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, much like Putin quoted above. Clearly, there is a policy quarrel over Iran in Kremlin's halls , and Moscow may switch to the United States' side. In that case, the pertinent issue is what will happen to Moscow's cherished "strategic partnership" with Tehran.

Strategic partnership revisited
Both Putin and his top foreign-policy advisers have repeatedly gone on record regarding the importance of Iran as Russia's "stable partner for a long time", to paraphrase Putin. As Russia's neighbor in the geo-economically important Caspian basin, Iran has been a stable market for Russia's goods, nuclear technology and conventional armament.

This is not to mention Iran's recurrent stability role in Central Asia and the Caucasus, reflected in Tehran's mediation in the recent civil war in Tajikistan and its steadfast refrain from criticizing Russia's harsh measures in Chechnya. Indeed, it was precisely in recognition of Iran's constructive role that Putin consented to Iran's observer status at the SCO.

But the whole edifice of Russia's Iran policy, ramifying the larger issues of Moscow's Middle East and Central Asia policies, is now potentially jeopardized by its doublespeak. This sends the signal that Russia might move toward the US policy of isolating Iran and ultimately dispossessing Tehran of essential nuclear know-how and technology.

Iranian President Mahmud Ahamdinejad reiterated his country's peaceful nuclear intentions in a telephone conference with Putin on Monday. And yet despite Iran's reassurances, nuclear transparency and burgeoning trade and security cooperation with Russia affecting its troubled Muslim republics, Russia is still wavering. It could commit a major strategic error by bandwagoning with the US and endorsing a revised version of the draft UN resolution that refers to the "proliferation threat" caused by Iran's nuclear program.

Is Russia bluffing, given Ivanov's admission that talk of sanctions was helpful to bring Iran back to the negotiation table? According to certain Russia experts, Moscow is merely applying a pressure tactic, and doing so partly as a result of Putin's misgivings toward the radical drift of Iranian politics. After all, Putin's Russia has declared itself in congruence with the West and despite talks of a "multipolar" world by certain Moscow strategists, there are limits to Russia's anti-Americanism, which puts Putin somewhat at odds with Tehran.

Perhaps a more substantive foreign-policy restructuring on Iran's part is required before the realistic hopes for a more meaningful Russia-Iran alliance. particularly via the SCO, can be fathomed. A careful scrutiny of Russian experts' view of Iran leaves no doubt that Moscow is averse toward Tehran's language of threats against Europe and its dismissal of the Security Council. It prefers a more soft-power Iranian approach with signs of genuine conciliation on the nuclear issue. Otherwise, there will be significant new limits on Russia's cooperation with Iran, including on the much-delayed Bushehr power plant, irrespective of their shared "containment" policies toward US power.

Bushehr: Russia's trump, or losing card?
A focus of attention now is the 1,000-megawatt light-water reactor in Bushehr, where construction of a Russian-supervised nuclear plant has been under way for 11 years. It was initially scheduled to go operational several years ago.

Moscow has lobbied hard for the exemption of this reactor from any UN sanctions barring the transfer of technology to Iran. The draft resolution, while permitting continued Iran-Russia nuclear cooperation on Bushehr, nonetheless bans the export of nuclear fuel, thus potentially rendering the reactor incapacitated when and if it is completed.

Unsurprisingly, there is a systematic attempt in the US to raise the specter of Iran "going nuclear" via the spent fuel from the Bushehr power plant, this despite the fact that in February 2005 Iran and Russia signed an agreement on the return of spent fuel to Russia. Thus, to cite an example, a recent commentary in the Wall Street Journal completely glosses over this agreement and claims that letting Iran have its sole nuclear reactor was tantamount to "giving Iran the bomb".

The Bushehr reactor may be experiencing insurmountable technical difficulties, since it began as a German enterprise before being taken over by Russia. But some voices in Iran have begun to wonder if the real reason for the constant delay is something of a tacit cooperation between Moscow and Washington.

Iran would naturally be entitled to a full refund of the US$1 billion-plus that it has expended on the project already, should the Russian contractors ultimately throw in the towel once their lame excuses are exhausted.

Already, the lengthy delay has marred the prospect of additional Russian power plants for Iran, as envisaged in a memorandum of understanding signed in Moscow in July 2002. Indeed, Russia has much to lose and little to gain from the Iranian nuclear row.

For the moment, however, with the Bushehr reactor officially some "95%" completed and slated for operation in late 2007, Moscow is tacitly using it as a trump card to bring Iran into line with the IAEA's and the UN Security Council's demands. This is evidenced by US officials such as Nicholas Burns, the under secretary of state, who explicitly asked Russia to link Bushehr's fate to Iran's response to the UN's demands.

However, this is a risky proposition that endangers Russia's relations with Iran on a long-term basis. What Moscow policymakers should concentrate on as a viable alternative is how to bring the IAEA back into the picture and save the Security Council from yet another paralyzing crisis.

This requires, in turn, that Moscow jettison its doublespeak once and for all and speak with one voice on Iran, instead of showing more and more signs of an unhealthy bipolar disorder when it comes to Iran.

Kaveh L Afrasiabi, PhD, is the author of After Khomeini: New Directions in Iran's Foreign Policy (Westview Press) and co-author of "Negotiating Iran's Nuclear Populism", Brown Journal of World Affairs, Volume XII, Issue 2, Summer 2005, with Mustafa Kibaroglu. He also wrote "Keeping Iran's nuclear potential latent", Harvard International Review, and is author of Iran's Nuclear Program: Debating Facts Versus Fiction.
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Alt 12-11-2006, 23:40   #59
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In den USA zeichnet sich immer deutlicher eine Abkehr von der bisherigen Irak-Politik ab. Mehrere Demokraten fordern den raschen Abzug der US-Truppen. Das Weiße Haus schließt sogar direkte Gespräche mit Syrien und Iran über die Lage im Irak nicht mehr aus.

"Mittagessen? Nur Flaschen essen zu Mittag!"
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Alt 19-11-2006, 19:27   #60
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Bomb Iran
Diplomacy is doing nothing to stop the Iranian nuclear threat; a show of force is the only answer.
By Joshua Muravchik, JOSHUA MURAVCHIK is a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute.
November 19, 2006

WE MUST bomb Iran.

It has been four years since that country's secret nuclear program was brought to light, and the path of diplomacy and sanctions has led nowhere.

First, we agreed to our allies' requests that we offer Tehran a string of concessions, which it spurned. Then, Britain, France and Germany wanted to impose a batch of extremely weak sanctions. For instance, Iranians known to be involved in nuclear activities would have been barred from foreign travel — except for humanitarian or religious reasons — and outside countries would have been required to refrain from aiding some, but not all, Iranian nuclear projects.

But even this was too much for the U.N. Security Council. Russia promptly announced that these sanctions were much too strong. "We cannot support measures … aimed at isolating Iran," declared Foreign Minister Sergei V. Lavrov.

It is now clear that neither Moscow nor Beijing will ever agree to tough sanctions. What's more, even if they were to do so, it would not stop Iran, which is a country on a mission. As President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad put it: "Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, a new Islamic revolution has arisen…. The era of oppression, hegemonic regimes and tyranny and injustice has reached its end…. The wave of the Islamic revolution will soon reach the entire world." There is simply no possibility that Iran's clerical rulers will trade this ecstatic vision for a mess of Western pottage in the form of economic bribes or penalties.

So if sanctions won't work, what's left? The overthrow of the current Iranian regime might offer a silver bullet, but with hard-liners firmly in the saddle in Tehran, any such prospect seems even more remote today than it did a decade ago, when students were demonstrating and reformers were ascendant. Meanwhile, the completion of Iran's bomb grows nearer every day.

Our options therefore are narrowed to two: We can prepare to live with a nuclear-armed Iran, or we can use force to prevent it. Former ABC newsman Ted Koppel argues for the former, saying that "if Iran is bound and determined to have nuclear weapons, let it." We should rely, he says, on the threat of retaliation to keep Iran from using its bomb. Similarly, Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria points out that we have succeeded in deterring other hostile nuclear states, such as the Soviet Union and China.

And in these pages, William Langewiesche summed up the what-me-worry attitude when he wrote that "the spread of nuclear weapons is, and always has been, inevitable," and that the important thing is "learning how to live with it after it occurs."

But that's whistling past the graveyard. The reality is that we cannot live safely with a nuclear-armed Iran. One reason is terrorism , of which Iran has long been the world's premier state sponsor, through groups such as Hamas and Hezbollah. Now, according to a report last week in London's Daily Telegraph, Iran is trying to take over Al Qaeda by positioning its own man, Saif Adel, to become the successor to the ailing Osama bin Laden. How could we possibly trust Iran not to slip nuclear material to terrorists?

Koppel says that we could prevent this by issuing a blanket warning that if a nuclear device is detonated anywhere in the United States, we will assume Iran is responsible. But would any U.S. president really order a retaliatory nuclear strike based on an assumption?

Another reason is that an Iranian bomb would constitute a dire threat to Israel's 6 million-plus citizens. Sure, Israel could strike back, but Hashemi Rafsanjani, the former president who was Ahmadinejad's "moderate" electoral opponent, once pointed out smugly that "the use of an atomic bomb against Israel would totally destroy Israel, while [the same] against the Islamic world would only cause damage. Such a scenario is not inconceivable." If that is the voice of pragmatism in Iran, would you trust deterrence against the messianic Ahmadinejad?

Even if Iran did not drop a bomb on Israel or hand one to terrorists, its mere possession of such a device would have devastating consequences. Coming on top of North Korea's nuclear test, it would spell finis to the entire nonproliferation system.

And then there is a consequence that seems to have been thought about much less but could be the most harmful of all: Tehran could achieve its goal of regional supremacy. Jordan's King Abdullah II, for instance, has warned of an emerging Shiite "crescent." But Abdullah's comment understates the danger. If Iran's reach were limited to Shiites, it would be constrained by their minority status in the Muslim world as well as by the divisions between Persians and Arabs.

But such ethnic-based analysis fails to take into account Iran's charisma as the archenemy of the United States and Israel and the leverage it achieves as the patron of radicals and rejectionists. Given that, the old assumptions about Shiites and Sunnis may not hold any longer. Iran's closest ally today is Syria, which is mostly Sunni. The link between Tehran and Damascus is ideological, not theological. Similarly, Iran supports the Palestinian groups Islamic Jihad and Hamas, which are overwhelmingly Sunni (and as a result, Iran has grown popular in the eyes of Palestinians).

During the Lebanon war this summer, we saw how readily Muslims closed ranks across the Sunni-Shiite divide against a common foe (even as the two groups continued killing each other in Iraq). In Sunni Egypt, newborns were named "Hezbollah" after the Lebanese Shiite organization and "Nasrallah" after its leader. As Muslim scholar Vali Nasr put it: "A flurry of anti-Hezbollah [i.e., anti-Shiite] fatwas by radical Sunni clerics have not diverted the admiring gaze of Arabs everywhere toward Hezbollah."

In short, Tehran can build influence on a mix of ethnicity and ideology, underwritten by the region's largest economy. Nuclear weapons would bring regional hegemony within its reach by intimidating neighbors and rivals and stirring the admiration of many other Muslims.

This would thrust us into a new global struggle akin to the one we waged so painfully with the Soviet Union for 40-odd years. It would be the "clash of civilizations" that has been so much talked about but so little defined.

Iran might seem little match for the United States, but that is not how Ahmadinejad sees it. He and his fellow jihadists believe that the Muslim world has already defeated one infidel superpower (the Soviet Union) and will in time defeat the other.

Russia was poor and weak in 1917 when Lenin took power, as was Germany in 1933 when Hitler came in. Neither, in the end, was able to defeat the United States, but each of them unleashed unimaginable suffering before they succumbed. And despite its weakness, Iran commands an asset that neither of them had: a natural advantage in appealing to the world's billion-plus Muslims.

If Tehran establishes dominance in the region, then the battlefield might move to Southeast Asia or Africa or even parts of Europe, as the mullahs would try to extend their sway over other Muslim peoples. In the end, we would no doubt win, but how long this contest might last and what toll it might take are anyone's guess.

The only way to forestall these frightening developments is by the use of force. Not by invading Iran as we did Iraq, but by an air campaign against Tehran's nuclear facilities. We have considerable information about these facilities; by some estimates they comprise about 1,500 targets. If we hit a large fraction of them in a bombing campaign that might last from a few days to a couple of weeks, we would inflict severe damage. This would not end Iran's weapons program, but it would certainly delay it.

What should be the timing of such an attack? If we did it next year, that would give time for U.N. diplomacy to further reveal its bankruptcy yet would come before Iran will have a bomb in hand (and also before our own presidential campaign). In time, if Tehran persisted, we might have to do it again.

Can President Bush take such action after being humiliated in the congressional elections and with the Iraq war having grown so unpopular? Bush has said that history's judgment on his conduct of the war against terror is more important than the polls. If Ahmadinejad gets his finger on a nuclear trigger, everything Bush has done will be rendered hollow. We will be a lot less safe than we were when Bush took office.

Finally, wouldn't such a U.S. air attack on Iran inflame global anti-Americanism? Wouldn't Iran retaliate in Iraq or by terrorism? Yes, probably. That is the price we would pay. But the alternative is worse.

After the Bolshevik takeover of Russia in 1917, a single member of Britain's Cabinet, Winston Churchill, appealed for robust military intervention to crush the new regime. His colleagues weighed the costs — the loss of soldiers, international derision, revenge by Lenin — and rejected the idea.

The costs were avoided, and instead the world was subjected to the greatest man-made calamities ever. Communism itself was to claim perhaps 100 million lives, and it also gave rise to fascism and Nazism, leading to World War II. Ahmadinejad wants to be the new Lenin. Force is the only thing that can stop him.

Welche Angst muss dieser Autor (US-Konservative?) haben, wenn er meint, Iran könne der USA als Hegemonialmacht tatsächlich gefährlich werden? Wer so denkt, ist nicht souverän, nicht selbstsicher, sondern - hat einfach nur Angst, und ist dabei noch skrupellos. Wie häßlich!

Geändert von Benjamin (19-11-2006 um 20:22 Uhr)
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