US, EU at odds on Iran military option; Caspian oil route in background

President Bush refuses to rule out military action in response to Iran’s renewed nuclear operations. “As I say, all options are on the table. The use of force is the last option for any president and you know, we’ve used force in the recent past to secure our country,” he told Israel’s Channel One TV from his ranch in Crawford, TX, Aug. 13. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder immediately responded at an election rally in Hanover that same day that the threat of force was not acceptable. “Let’s take the military option off the table,” Schroeder said. “We have seen it doesn’t work.” (Reuters, Aug. 13, via TruthOut)

This difference may reflect a deeper Euro-American split on Iran. Last week, an Iranian official reportedly claimed the European Union had offered to support Iran as the main transit route for oil and gas from the Caspian Basin as part of a package of incentives for Tehran to halt its nuclear program. “In the proposal, they have supported the idea of Iran being the main energy transit route to Europe from Central Asia,” a senior Iranian close to the EU negotiations said, according to Reuters.

The main route for crude from Kazakh oilfields to world markets is now via the Caspian Pipeline Consortium (CPC) to a Russian terminal near the Black Sea port of Novorossiisk. A rival pipeline through Turkey, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan route, is to start carrying Azeri crude later this year. A pipe across the Caspian Sea linking this route to the Kazakh fields has yet to be built. (Reuters, Aug. 6)

This development, taken with Tehran’s gowing influence in Iraq, points to a nearly inexorable imperative for Bush to take military action against Iran. If we assume that Bush’s Afghanistan and Iraq adventures were aimed, in large part, at securing the Caspian and Persian Gulf oil reserves for US interests, both victories may now prove Phyrric—with the laurels going, ironically, to Axis of Evil member Iran. Recent Shi’ite demands for a southern autonomous region in the new Iraqi constitution could put a Tehran-loyal client state astraddle the Gulf reserves, while Iran itself could be strategically positioned to control the Caspian reserves. Yet the US military is already stretched dangerously thin, bogged down in the Iraq quagmire. Bush’s post-9-11 gamble for US global supremacy is starting to look more and more reckless.

See our last post on the Iran crisis.

  1. Nuclear attack planned?
    It is, of course, just such strategic dilemmas that could prompt Bush to go nuclear. Now various conspiracy-oriented websites like (not to be confused, website of the far more legitimate Qatar-based cable network) and GlobalResearch are citing recent claims in the American Conservative by Philip Giraldi, “a former CIA Officer” and partner in Cannistraro Associates, that the Pentagon is preparing to use tactical nuclear weapons against Iran. He also claims that the assault will come in reponse to a new terrorist atttack in the US. Writes Giraldi in his “Deep Background” column in the American Conservative:

    In Washington it is hardly a secret that the same people in and around the administration who brought you Iraq are preparing to do the same for Iran. The Pentagon, acting under instructions from Vice President Dick Cheney’s office, has tasked the United States Strategic Command (STRATCOM) with drawing up a contingency plan to be employed in response to another 9/11-type terrorist attack on the United States. The plan includes a large-scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional and tactical nuclear weapons. Within Iran there are more than 450 major strategic targets, including numerous suspected nuclear-weapons-program development sites. Many of the targets are hardened or are deep underground and could not be taken out by conventional weapons, hence the nuclear option. As in the case of Iraq, the response is not conditional on Iran actually being involved in the act of terrorism directed against the United States. Several senior Air Force officers involved in the planning are reportedly appalled at the implications of what they are doing—that Iran is being set up for an unprovoked nuclear attack—but no one is prepared to damage his career by posing any objections.

    One glimmer of hope here is that refers to Iran’s new president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as “former Taliban mayor”. Um, we think you mean “former Tehran mayor,” guys. Ever hear of proof-reading? Let’s hope the rest of this content is no more accurate…

    1. Jews get fooled again
      Just as a pressing imperative for US aggression against Iran becomes clear, so does an Israeli military design against Iran emerge as a key issue behind the ongoing AIPAC scandal. Longtime political journalist Doug Ireland writes on his website Aug. 7 in a piece entitled “The Real AIPAC Spy Ring Story—It was All About Iran“:

      Here’s what the stories in today’s Washington Post and New York Times on the new indictments of the two AIPAC spies aren’t telling you: their espionage was principally about helping to prepare an attack by Israel on Iran. And one of the Israeli embassy officials who knows all about AIPAC’s role in helping plan the attack on Iran has been whisked out of the country and out of the reach of U.S. prosecutors, the Israeli daily Ha’aretz reports this morning…

      When, for purely electoral reasons, with the Iraq occupation going so disastrously, the White House decided against a direct attack by the U.S. on Iran, the neo-cons went to Plan B — an attack on Iran by proxy, from Israel. The principal classified documents leaked to Israel through AIPAC — the leaks that that began the investigation of the AIPAC spy ring, which has been going on now for over a year — concerned Iran. They were leaked by [Pentagon advisor Doug] Feith’s deputy, Larry Franklin, also now under a five-count indictment for spying…

      Bush let the cat out of the bag in an off-the-cuff remark captured by London’s Daily Telegraph, in a February 18 article headlined, “AMERICA WOULD BACK ISRAEL ATTACK ON IRAN.” The Telegraph reported that Bush said: “Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I’d listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I’d be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we’ve made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened.”…

      At the time Feith’s deputy Franklin (and, today’s indictments say, two other as yet unidentified Pentagon officials) were passing the classified documents on Iran to AIPAC for transmission to Israel, the White House had not yet given the green light to Sharon — indeed, the Iran attack was in a holding pattern pending the outcome of negotiations over Teheran’s nuke capacity being led by the European powers which, unlike the U.S., have diplomatic relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran…

      The indictment of the two senior AIPAC staffers follows the indictment in may of Feith’s footpad Larry Franklin. Franklin worked in the Office of Special Plans, run by then-Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith, who reported to then-Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz. The OSP functioned as a “shadow” intelligence service on Iraq, and provided much of the information to the White House that was used to justify the American invasion of Iraq. Some wags have called it “Feith-based intelligence”, since much of that intelligence and information has now been proven to be utterly false. At the beginning of May, Franklin was arrested by the FBI for the passing of classified documents to two AIPAC staffers, who were then to pass them to Israel. The documents in question concerned Iran…

      One of the two newly-indicted AIPACers isn’t just anybody. Steve Rosen, 63, is the man who built AIPAC into the $40 million dollar Capitol Hill powerhouse it is today…

      One of the Israeli diplomats the feds want to question about the activities of the AIPAC spy ring has been quietly spirited out of the country, Ha’aretz reports this morning. “The Israeli diplomat in Washington who met several times with Franklin has been identified as Naor Gilon, head of the political department at the Israeli Embassy in Washington and a specialist on proliferation issues. Gilon returned to Israel a few days ago as ‘part of a long-scheduled rotation’ according to an Israeli official in Washington. U.S. investigators want to question Gilon and other Israeli diplomats about their contacts with Franklin, officials said,” according to the Israeli daily…

      Very cute. The White House goads Israel to initiate hostilities with Iran, to serve as Washington’s “attack dog,” as Israel commentator Uri Avnery put it. Then the US will be obliged to “support our ally” by jumping into the fray with overwhelming air-power. Meanwhile, as DC and Tel Aviv alike wait for the propitious moment to strike, a few AIPAC biggies and spooks are thrown to the Justice Department for show, to appease America-first nationalists and confuse the anti-war crowd about who is really playing who in this sinister game.

      If there is any organization on planet Earth which is inimical to real Jewish interests, it is AIPAC.

    2. why the “what me worry?” Pres won’t attack

      As we all know, the GW Bush ship of state that was so hermetically sealed through 2001-2002,has come to suffer so many leaks that it is sinking and the rats are deserting it, as the saying goes. I try to keep what comes my way to myself until at least one open source intimates the same thing. With NSA trying to make-up for the security specifics which it is not competent to do with the broad sweeps it need not do, it is only Las Vegas odds that my “leakes” will therwise be caught. Besides, context to give meanings to scoops will have to come from far more “in” people than me.

      Please allow me to put before you information coming to my ear regularly from Wash DC little birds, hitting me in both the front and back of my head: Mr. Bush was never in FULL control of his government. All through his years of formation, his caring father sought to keep his son confident by literally hiring others to do his worrying for him. Thus, as a young man with a scandalous record and no other accomplishments to compensate for it, Mr. Bush turned himself over to some others, leaving it to them to worry about his political career. As for his existing/missing past, Mr. Bush totally obliterated it with the blinding glare of his Christian Salvation. It’s not that he chose this task for himself but rather that his professional “worriers” did. What this has produced is a most amiable and unassuming mediocrity who is not in the slightest ashamed, worried or in need to compensate for who and what he is. I cannot tell you how much thousands of influential Republicans were
      totally charmed by that in him. It was his “I am what I am and I’m not worried about it” type of even keel “compassionate conservative” image that is so unassuming that made so many of us see him as the
      President who will end stress in America.

      A group of foreign policy experts calling themselves the “Vulcans” gathered around him and found him so soothing that they often had to remember that they were dealing with the future President of the United States. Because of the relationship with his dad, he chose to go with some of the people among the Republican luminaries who least got along with his father. To that end Cheney was key and Scowcroft
      something of an anti-Christ. As Cheney and Rumsfeld filled their offices with neocons, they liberated Mr. Bush more and more from worries. Karl Rove took care of politics and by the end of 2002 had achieved great electoral successes.

      At that time, the Vulcans pushed two issues: (1) leapfrog West Europe and build a new NATO around East Europe; then, tie the old Europe to this vital new Europe NATO. (2) Encircle China so as to force it to behave properly in trade. The neocons wanted a Mideast focus, as did their representatives in power, the worriers, Cheney and Rumsfeld but the Vulcans ruled then and this was not to be. 9/11 ended the Vulcans’
      agenda. The rest is history. But since that date, so exclusively theirs did Rumsfeld, Cheney and the neocons consider the Bush presidency– that Bush ended still ended up with this “What me worry?” way about him that it made you think that no matter what you did he would never take it as stepping on his toes; one never felt ill-at-ease bulldozing policies (unless, as in the case of Sec. Treasury O’Neill, Cheney deemed you un-kindred-spirit). As the US stumbled into a seeming success in Afghanistan, the neocons never
      could accept Bush’s reluctance to go to war in Iraq as an obstacle. The Pentagon proceeded to present the President with a fait accompli and he just went with it, following his worriers instead of worrying that they were taking over his foreign policy. From this bunch for example, I kept hearing that Powell was there to make a couple of speeches as Sec. of State and then it is good-by. In fact, when in his last meeting with Mr. Bush Powell warned him to worry about a Cheney-Rumsfeld takeover of his foreign policy, Powell failed to appreciate how NOT worrying was the important operative term for the President.

      Bush wanted to take over the White House in his second term but was faced with: “O.K., we’ll leave and take the Christian Right with us, then you can worry about what to do next.” And so, to avoid worry, Bush continued as prisoner of his first term. I am reminded of Brezhnev asking his Pravda editors-speech writers: what is this “Brezhnev Doctrine”? They urged him not worry about it and just deliver the speech. He did. And so, the next time the Presidium met it had to make policies in accord with the Brezhnev policy he himself
      has enunciated. That’s how you get policy by speechwriters. Ditto Bush!

      But now worry has infected Bush, what with the polls, the Plame case, Iraq, Katrina, oil prices etc, etc. And so, Bush can no longer escape worrying. His only option for avoiding worry is to return to the able men of his dad. Swallowing pride is easier than worrying for him because Bush is not conceited.

      I tell all this because, if I am right, and I wouldn’t type all this if I were not confident, Bush will decrease the Iraq conflict and will not attack Iran because that’s the only way he can avoid worrying. Israel has read him very well and realizes that it better work out something with HAMAS and the other Arabs if it doesn’t want to be a source of worry to him. Sometimes big decisions are made for very small reasons, that’s what makes history so much more exciting than science or study of the cosmos.

      Daniel E. Teodoru

      1. You must be right
        After all, you put that entire comment in bold type, which, as is well-known, always indicates a high level of scholarship.