Saturday, March 26, 2005

U.S., Israel preparing for Iran war?

Dr. Jerome Corsi reports that on March 10, units of the U.S. Army's European Command stationed in Germany have been in Israel to conduct joint exercises with the Israeli Defense Forces designed to test their combined ability to down an attack of Shahab-3 missiles launched from Iran against Israel. READ MORE

Code-named "Juniper Cobra," these exercises test the linking of U.S. Patriot missile systems with Israel's Arrow-2 missile-defense systems. The Arrow-2 system is designed to intercept incoming missiles at high altitudes to reduce the fallout damage from nuclear warheads. The Patriot systems are a second line of defense, designed to intercept missiles at lower altitudes. Also involved in the exercises is a U.S. missile ship carrying Aegis anti-missile systems.

U.S. military authorities deny that the exercises have anything to do with the current tensions over Iran's apparently determined drive to develop nuclear weapons secretly. Still, the scenario being tested involves missiles launched against Israel from a "red" whose identity is supposed "unknown," even though the aggressors just happen to speak Farsi. The last Juniper Cobra operation was reportedly conducted in 2001, just before the start of the war in Iraq against Saddam Hussein.

The point of this combined exercise has not gone unnoticed in Tehran. Iran retaliated by announcing this week that tests of the Shahab-3 missile conducted in September of last year proved they had made breakthroughs in the development of the intermediate-range missile. The mullahs stressed that the September test fulfilled all technical expectations, proving fast and accurate at a range of 1,700 kilometers, more than enough to reach Tel Aviv.

In other words, the mullahs want to be sure we all know they have an improved version, a weapon maybe more sophisticated than Operation Juniper Cobra is testing against.

This Operation Juniper Cobra is not expected to end until mid-April. Put this together with what appears to be a convergence of U.S. carrier battle groups in the region, and the preparations for war are hard to miss.

No wonder we have had a barrage of war denials in recent days from President Bush, as well as Prime Ministers Ariel Sharon of Israel and Tony Blair of the UK. With U.S. military bases now surrounding Iran and approximately 150,000 seasoned U.S. Marines and Army forces in the region, speaking softly hardly conceals the reality of the big stick.

How credible could the mullahs pledge not to develop weapons be when almost every day another lie comes to light? This week there are new charges that Iran is still enriching uranium at a secret underground facility in the Parchin military complex outside Tehran.

Maybe President Bush has just decided to play the mullahs' own game. The president sounds very reasonable when he insists he prefers a diplomatic solution – a little too reasonable to be completely consistent with his second inaugural address or his State of the Union speech.

Terrorists like to talk to buy time, but this president is cagey, too. As the dance drags on, the internal dissent within Iran has a chance to grow, especially if senators like Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and Sam Brownback, R-Kan., and Representatives like Steve King, R-Iowa, succeed in building a congressional consensus that reaches in solidarity across to the opposition groups within Iran. Is it possible that we could see a protest in the streets of Tehran like the ones we just witnessed in Beirut?

Stalled talks can't last forever. What happens if the mullahs refuse to take active steps to destroy their centrifuge farms and dismantle their heavy-water facilities? Well, there is always the military option. That option is very obviously left on the table, even if the president doesn't talk about it very much.