Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Iran ups the anti, Condi hawks missiles for Raytheon and Boeing.

It looks like the war is on again . . .


"One day after threatening to strike Tel Aviv and United States interests if attacked, Iran's Revolutionary Guards were reported on Wednesday to have test-fired nine missiles, including one which the government in Tehran says has the range to reach Israel."

TIME online reported yesterday:

"The website of the elite Iranian force . . . quoted guard official Ali Shirazi as saying that Israel's coastal metropolis of Tel Aviv and U.S. warships in the Gulf would be among the first targets if Iran comes under attack. 'The Zionist regime is pushing the White House to prepare for a military strike on Iran,' Shirazi was quoted as saying. 'If such a stupidity is done by them, Tel Aviv and the U.S. naval fleet in the Persian Gulf will be the first targets which will be set on fire in Iran's crushing response.'"

So much for all that reasonableness of the past week.

Through the looking glass. The tale of two regimes:

It's like peering through the looking glass viewing the actions of the regime in Tehran and the Oil Junta in the White House. Apparently, both antagonists have their war wings and their peaceniks. In Washington, there are the neocon hawks, working out of the vice-president's office, who are being countered by the Condi Rice "peace" faction, which includes Sec Def Robert Gates and a sizable group of general officers who've done the math and figured out they'll be without a military to fight with if they get into another war.

In Tehran, meanwhile, there's the Quds wing represented by Ahmadinejad who are waiting for the messiah being countered by the relatively sane faction (compared to Ahmadinejad, anyway)led by the Mottakis, Larijanis and the Rafsanjanis, who've done their own math, apparently, and come up with the conclusion that they'll wind up with an irradiated country if they go to war.

In both cases, the competing sides are being mediated by one leader who hasn't made up his mind yet whether to go to war or not. In Tehran it's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and in Washington it's W.

[Wow, I just read that back to myself; this is a pretty scary scenario. We're basically doomed, aren't we?]

All quiet on the oil front:

Naturally, all of this saber rattling is good news for the oil industry. Things were getting a little scary last week with all this talk of peace breaking out, but oil prices are heading back in the right direction now. Nothing like a few Shahab 3's to buy daddy a brand new pair of shoes.

The NYT:

"Energy traders reacted to the news by bidding up oil prices, which had been falling in recent days. Light, low-sulfur crude for delivery next month, the most-watched oil price benchmark, rose more than $2 a barrel in early-morning electronic trading, though by late morning in New York the gain had been pared somewhat."

Condi's pie in the sky:

As if on que, the Iranian missle launches played right into the hands of Condi's push to load Europe up with US missiles. State Department spokesman Sean McCormick explained: "Iran has an active missile program as is evidenced by these launches today and it underscores the importance of pursuing a number of different tracks to deal with various threats emanating from Iran."

Condi, meanwhile, was in Prague getting the Czechs to sign on the dotted line for a radar system that will be the eyes and ears of W.'s pie in the sky missile defense system to be based in Poland, which supposedly will shoot down any incoming Iranian Shahabs (but more likely our own fighters, based on Raytheon's vaunted missile defense systems to date.]

Rice said, "We face with the Iranians, and so do our allies and friends, a growing missile threat that is growing ever longer and ever deeper and where the Iranian appetite for nuclear technology to this point is still unchecked."

Unchecked, perhaps, but her own Undersecretary of State, William Burns, told Congress yesterday Iran's nuclear appetites weren't all they were cracked up to be. He said Iran was talking a good game about how far ahead they are with their nukes, but "real progress has been more modest."

So a threat which is somewhat less deep and long than Condi is letting on, in other words. [What makes Rice think anyone is going to buy any of this Iranian nuclear threat jazz after her fevered warnings of mushroom clouds over Manhattan, before the Iraqi invasion?]

According to Rice this multi zillion dollar Star Wars boondoggle [Funding for the system would total $4.5 billion through 2013, according to documents provided to Bloomberg] is intended to "defend our territory (and) the territory of our allies." [AP] She didn't exactly explain, though, how a defense system based in Eastern Europe would defend our territory from missiles that couldn't possibly reach us.

It seems, our good friends the Poles might be thinking along the same lines. They're the fly in the ointment here, the ants at the picnic. The thing that could blow W.'s grand plans out of the water -- and also lose Raytheon some big bucks in multi-year pentagon contracts, with all the resulting cost over-runs -- is the damn Poles.

They're holding out on becoming our missile launching pad until we come up with some serious dinaro to defend them against the Russians who have threatened to turn them into a gigantic hole in the ground. The Russian reaction to Rice's visit was characteristically bellicose; their Foreign Ministry issued a statement saying: "We will be forced to react not with diplomatic, but with military-technical methods,." if the Czech parliament signs off on the plan.

The Poles have dealt with the business end of Russian "military-technical methods" a few times before so they're understandably soiling their collective undies at the prospect.

They probably also remember the Brits and the French promising to help them out against Hitler, so they're going to need some serious convincing, in the form of billions of dollars worth of US weaponry which, presumably, a new Democratic Congress might balk to pay for.

Something tells me W.'s word isn't going to do the trick. By the time they break ground for these missile launchers W. will be comfortably pulling weeds in Crawford, so good luck with this particular piece of W.'s legacy.

Bomb, bomb, bomb Iran:

One technical guestion I have, by the way, about the threat of Iranian rockets raining down on Prague is; aren't we all buddy, buddy with the very countries that gave the Iranians the stuff to build their bombs and rockets in the first place?

The web site says:

"There have been reports from Iran since 1986, of the development of a new intermediate-range ballistic missile and the programme has been given various names including Shahab 3, Shihab 3, Shehob 3 or Zelzal 3. In 1993, it is believed that Iran and North Korea agreed on the joint development of the North Korean No-dong 1 and No-dong 2 single-stage liquid-propellant missiles and that Pakistan probably joined the programme (for the Ghauri 1/2 missiles)."

Ah yes, our good friends the Pakistanis, the ones who sold the Iranians the centrifuges they're using to enrich their uranium. In fact, A. Q. Khan, Pakistan's father of the Islamic Bomb sold nuclear technology to anyone who could pay for it.

The North Koreans, our new good buddies, and the Pakistanis are serial proliferators, the Iranians, on the other hand, are not. So, naturally, we make peace deal with the North Koreans, send Pakistan billions of dollars and we attack Iran. It all makes perfect sense.

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