VIDEO Israel prepares to attack Iran (USA Command)
Reports are circulating that the U.S is amassing a greater military presence in the Middle East. The alleged build up is also rumoured to involve the Israeli use of Saudi Arabian air space. It's thought by some to be in preparation for an attack on Iran.
Eleven American battleships and an Israeli one crossed the Suez Canal Friday en route to the Red Sea, the London-based al-Quds al-Arabi newspaper reported.
According to the report, traffic in the canal was halted for several hours in order to allow US Navy vessels, which included an aircraft carrier and carried infantry troops, armored vehicles and ammunition, to pass from the Mediterranean Sea to the Red Sea.
It was further reported that eyewitnesses detected an Israeli warship among the vessels. No confirmation has been received from Egyptian authorities.
The report also noted that fishing activities in the area were stopped during the ships' passage as well as traffic on the bridges above the canal.
Retired Egyptian General Amin Radi, chairman of the national security affairs committee, told the paper that "the decision to declare war on Iran is not easy, and Israel, due to its wild nature, may start a war just to remain the sole nuclear power in the region.
London Times reports Saudis carry out defense missile tests aimed at allowing Israeli warplanes to pass through airspace on way to bomb nuclear facilities in Iran. 'We will let them through and see nothing,' says source
Saudi Arabia has carried out tests of its missile defense systems aimed at allowing Israeli warplanes to pass over its territory on their way to strike nuclear facilities in Iran, defense sources in the Persian Gulf told the London Times Saturday.
Passing over Saudi Arabia would shorten the flight to the Islamic Republic. According to the report, the missile tests were carried out in order to ensure that Israeli planes will not be shot down while flying over the kingdom's territory.
In 2009 the London Times reported that Mossad chief Meir Dagan held talks with Saudi Arabia on the subject, and even updated Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on their outcome.
In the report, a diplomatic source was quoted by the paper as saying that "the Saudis hinted that they would agree to allow Israeli jets to pass through their airspace in order to carry out a mission with common Israeli and Saudi interests".
In Saturday's report a US defense source in the region was quoted as saying, "The Saudis have given their permission for the Israelis to pass over and they will look the other way."
He added, "They have already done tests to make sure their own jets aren.t scrambled and no one gets shot down. This has all been done with the agreement of the State Department."
Sources in Saudi Arabia also told the paper that senior officials in the kingdom had agreed among themselves to allow the planes' passage. Despite the bad blood between the two states, fears Tehran will develop a nuclear weapon are shared.
"We all know this. We will let them through and see nothing," one source told the paper.
Tehran declares State of Alert on its Western Border: Iran-US-Israel Drama goes into Act II
by Dr. Bhaskar .Balakrishnan
Two weeks ago, the UN Security Council, in a divided vote adopted Resolution 1929 imposing fresh sanctions on Iran.
Turkey and Brazil voted against while Lebanon abstained in the 15 member Council. The US and its allies lobbied hard for the sanctions, making concessions in order to bring Russia and China on board.
The move followed months of futile efforts to reach a negotiated settlement between Iran and the P5 plus Germany over the nuclear issue. The last minute agreement brokered by Turkey and Brazil for Iran to hand over 1200 kg of low enriched uranium failed to satisfy the US.
As expected, Iran has dismissed the Security Council resolution as illegal, and declared its intention to continue with its nuclear programme. Meanwhile, the US Congress has drafted a tougher sanctions package, which would affect third country companies supplying petrol or engaging in financial transactions with Iran. President Obama seems to have little choice but to approve it. The EU has adopted its own version of tighter sanctions against Iran. On the military front, Israel on June 22 launched a sixth spy satellite Ofek-9 specifically to focus of Iran. It has a more advanced camera with a resolution of 0.5 metres.
A major military exercise took place off the Mediterranean coast on June 6-10, involving US aircraft carrier Truman and associated strike group and German and Israeli ships. The exercise Juniper Stallion 10 involved practice bombing runs by US and Israeli aircraft, as well as Israeli anti missile defences is significant in relation to speculation about a possible military strike against Iran.
The USS Truman battle group has since transited Suez on 18 June, headed for the Arabian Gulf to join the USS Eisenhower battle group already there.
Iran has declared a state of alert on June 22, on its northwestern borders alleging that US and Israeli forces have concentrated in Azerbaijan ready to strike at Iran.s nuclear facilities. Iranian sources claim that Israel has secretly transferred a large number of bomber jets to bases in Azerbaijan, via Georgia, and that American Special Forces are also concentrated in Azerbaijan in preparation for a strike.
Dr. Uri Arad, a top adviser to Prime Minister Netanyahu said on June 22 that a pre-emptive military strike against Iran may .eventually. be necessary. On June 17, US Defence Secretary Robert gates told US Senators that Iran could fire salvoes of hundreds of missiles against targets in Europe, and argued in favour of stronger missile defence systems in Europe, despite Russian objections. Israeli commentators have pointed out that this could mean a far larger threat to Israel, taking into account the presence of large numbers of shorter range missiles with Syria and the Hezbollah in Lebanon.
US sources indicated that senior Al Qaeda operatives such as Saif al-Adel, living in Iran had been allowed to leave the country through Syria to orchestrate terrorist attacks on American targets. These reports seem aimed at further tarnishing the Iranian regime and portraying it as a supporter of international terrorism.
All these developments point to a situation of increasing tension in the region. A small incident could trigger off a larger conflagration. It is likely that Iran may resort to buying its needs of petrol through companies in third countries having no business operation involving the US.
It would be legally difficult to for third countries to apply restrictions on companies that wish to supply petrol to Iran, in the absence of any UNSC ban on such trade. However, the US government is likely to put pressure on countries to try and stop such indirect trade. As the Iran-US-Israel drama moves into its second Act, countries in the region should be ready to face unpleasant consequences of heightened tensions and conflict.
Dr Bhaskar Balakrishnan is a former Indian ambassador to Cuba and also served as representative at the ILO in Geneva
A week ago, Israel leaked to the press that they had permission from Saudi Arabia to use their air space to attack Iran. The Saudi.s quickly denied this. The effort on Israel.s part was a ruse to cover their real plans, to attack from the Republic of Georgia, close to Iran.s northern border. However, the breakdown in relations with Turkey after miscalculating the response to their Flotilla raid on a Turkish ship in international waters may have ended this operation.
Israel, whose arms agreements with Turkey mounted to nearly $5 billion dollars over a period of years, had been training pilots in Turkey for bombing attacks on Iran. During these training missions, Israel was smuggling aircraft through Turkish airspace.
Sources indicate that Georgia has become a major transhipment point for narcotics from Afghanistan and other countries in the region. Both a land route through Turkey and into Northern Cyprus and air and sea routes directly into Europe and North America have been cited.
Turkey had allowed Israel to use their air space for training because their terrain closely resembled areas of Iran that Israel planned to attack. However, Turkey was unaware that planes involved in this effort were being relocated to forward staging areas in the Republic of Georgia, making Turkey, technically, fully complicit in this planned illegal attack.
Helping coordinate the attack are intelligence units forward stationed in Azerbaijan, under the guise of technicians, trainers and advisors under the broad armaments agreements with that small nation.
Supply operations, moving necessary ordnance, much of it supplied by the United States under ammunition storage agreements, is being moved through the Black Sea to the Georgian Port of Poti, a major site for exporting coal and manganese ore.
Cover for the supply operations is being performed by the Georgian Coast Guard, set up by Israel and manned with Israeli observers. Their job is to keep Russian surveillance craft away from supply operations under the guise of a .Gaza type. naval blockade of Abkhazia, a separatist province supported by Russia.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia have both separated from the Republic of Georgia and are seeking independence with Russian backing. Georgia attempted to .reattach. South Ossetia with Israeli help in 2008 until Russian forces moved in after the killing of peacekeeping troops by Israeli .commandos..
US Naval forces began operating in the Black Sea in late May, with the USS Graple (T-ars 53), a service and salvage ship, visiting the George port of Poti for joint military exercises which ended June 8th. Prior to that, the last US Navy ship in the region was the USS John L. Hall (FFG-32), a Perry class guided missile frigate. A Russian spokesman said, .The US is trying to turn the Black Sea into an American lake..
The US is also maintaining a training and observation command in Tiblisi, a unit from Ramstein AFB in Germany, that is coordinating air traffic and radar functions.
With regular visits by the US Navy scheduled and ramping up at the same convenient time Israel is building up its arms cache in Georgia for the upcoming attack on Iran, the current debacle with Turkey may have set things back or ended this gambit completely. Turkish air controllers had to know something was afoot when the attack bombers failed to return to the agreed upon flight plans and return to Israel.
A critical issue, of course, is the S300 air defense system that Russia has agreed to withhold from Iran as part of the program of sanctions. The current Tor 1 system, though robust, can be defeated by a well planned low level attack. As the use of Georgia may be seen as a provocation by Russia, even if the attacks never manifest as anything other than more .firing blanks. like Israel.s tussle with Hezbollah in Lebanon, Russia may reconsider the delivery of this vital defense technology.
Without the ability to use forward bases in either Georgia, Azerbaijan or Kazakhstan, Israel would be unable to attack Iran at all except by flying a circuitous 4500 mile .each way. route or using the limited capabilities of its nuclear armed submarine off the coast of Iran. It is uncertain how Turkey will deal with the illegal use of their airspace by Israel as relations are already at a low ebb.
With a number of former Soviet airfields spread across Georgia and 4 of 5 fields in Azerbaijan available for operations and support, the region makes a perfect area for broad operations, not only against Iran but for movement of contraband of every variety.