Centre for Research on Globalisation
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Global Research Feature Article
Planned US-Israeli Attack on Iran
1 May 2005
At the outset of Bush's second term, Vice President Dick Cheney dropped a bombshell. He hinted, in no uncertain terms,
that Iran was "right at the top of the list" of the rogue enemies of America, and that Israel would, so to speak, "be
doing the bombing for us", without US military involvement and without us putting pressure on them "to do it":
"One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked... Given the fact that Iran has a stated
policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest
of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards," (quoted from an MSNBC Interview Jan 2005)
Israel is a Rottweiler on a leash: The US wants to "set Israel loose" to attack Iran
. Commenting the Vice President's assertion, former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski in an interview on
PBS, confirmed with some apprehension, yes: Cheney wants Prime Ariel Sharon to act on America's behalf and "do it" for
"Iran I think is more ambiguous. And there the issue is certainly not tyranny; it's nuclear weapons. And the vice
president today in a kind of a strange parallel statement to this declaration of freedom hinted that the Israelis may do
it and in fact used language which sounds like a justification or even an encouragement for the Israelis to do it."
The foregoing statements are misleading. The US is not "encouraging Israel". What we are dealing with is a joint
US-Israeli military operation to bomb Iran, which has been in the active planning stage for more than a year. The
Neocons in the Defense Department, under Douglas Feith, have been working assiduously with their Israeli military and
intelligence counterparts, carefully identifying targets inside Iran ( Seymour Hersh, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/HER501A.html
Under this working arrangement, Israel will not act unilaterally, without a green light from Washington. In other words,
Israel will not implement an attack without the participation of the US.
Covert Intelligence Operations: Stirring Ethnic Tensions in Iran
Meanwhile, for the last two years, Washington has been involved in covert intelligence operations inside Iran. American
and British intelligence and special forces (working with their Israeli counterparts) are involved in this operation.
"A British intelligence official said that any campaign against Iran would not be a ground war like the one in Iraq. The
Americans will use different tactics, said the intelligence officer. 'It is getting quite scary.'" (Evening Standard, 17 June 2003, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/FOX306A.html
The expectation is that a US-Israeli bombing raid of Iran's nuclear facilities will stir up ethnic tensions and trigger
"regime change" in favor of the US. ( See Arab Monitor, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/ARA502A.html
Bush advisers believe that the "Iranian opposition movement" will unseat the Mullahs. This assessment constitutes a
gross misjudgment of social forces inside Iran. What is more likely to occur is that Iranians will consistently rally
behind a wartime government against foreign aggression. In fact, the entire Middle East and beyond would rise up against
Retaliation in the Case of a US-Israeli Aerial Attack
Tehran has confirmed that it will retaliate if attacked, in the form of ballistic missile strikes directed against
Israel (CNN, 8 Feb 2005). These attacks, could also target US military facilities in the Persian Gulf, which would
immediately lead us into a scenario of military escalation and all out war.
In other words, the air strikes against Iran could contribute to unleashing a war in the broader Middle East Central
Moreover, the planned attack on Iran should also be understood in relation to the timely withdrawal of Syrian troops
from Lebanon, which has opened up a new space, for the deployment of Israeli forces. The participation of Turkey in the
US-Israeli military operation is also a factor, following an agreement reached between Ankara and Tel Aviv.
In other words, US and Israeli military planners must carefully weigh the far-reaching implications of their actions.
Israel Builds up its Stockpile of Deadly Military Hardware
A massive buildup in military hardware has occurred in preparation for a possible attack on Iran.
Israel has recently taken delivery from the US of some 5,000 "smart air launched weapons" including some 500 BLU 109 'bunker-buster bombs
. The (uranium coated) munitions are said to be more than "adequate to address the full range of Iranian targets, with
the possible exception of the buried facility at Natanz, which may require the [more powerful] BLU-113 bunker buster
"Given Israel's already substantial holdings of such weapons, this increase in its inventory would allow a sustained
assault with or without further US involvement." ( See Richard Bennett, http://globalresearch.ca/articles/BEN501A.html
The Israeli Air Force would attack Iran's nuclear facility at Bushehr
using US as well Israeli produced bunker buster bombs. The attack would be carried out in three separate waves "with
the radar and communications jamming protection being provided by U.S. Air Force AWACS and other U.S. aircraft in the
area". ( See W Madsen, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/MAD410A.html
Bear in mind that the bunker buster bombs can also be used to deliver tactical nuclear bombs. The B61-11
is the "nuclear version" of the "conventional" BLU 113
. It can be delivered in much same way as the conventional bunker buster bomb. ( See Michel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO112C.html
, see also http://www.thebulletin.org/article_nn.php?art_ofn=jf03norris
According to the Pentagon, tactical nuclear weapons are "safe for civilians". Their use has been authorized by the US
Senate. ( See Miochel Chossudovsky, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/CHO405A.html
Moreover, reported in late 2003, Israeli Dolphin-class submarines
equipped with US Harpoon missiles
armed with nuclear warheads are now aimed at Iran. ( See Gordon Thomas, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/THO311A.html
Even if tactical nuclear weapons are not used by Israel, an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities not only raises the
specter of a broader war, but also of nuclear radiation over a wide area:
"To attack Iran's nuclear facilities will not only provoke war, but it could also unleash clouds of radiation far beyond
the targets and the borders of Iran." ( Statement of Prof Elias Tuma, Arab Internet Network, Federal News Service, 1 March 2005)
Moreover, while most reports have centered on the issue of punitive air strikes on Iran's nuclear facilities, the
strikes would most probably extend to other targets.
While a ground war is contemplated as a possible "scenario" at the level of military planning, the US military would not
be able to wage a an effective ground war, given the situation in Iraq. In the words of former National Security Adviser
"We are not going to get in a ground war in Iran, I hope. If we get into that, we are in serious trouble. I don't think
anyone in Washington is seriously considering that.." ( quoted inNational Journal, 4 December 2004).
Iran's Military Capabilities
Despite its overall weaknesses in relation to Israel and the US, Iran has an advanced air defense system, deployed to
protect its nuclear sites; "they are dispersed and underground making potential air strikes difficult and without any
guarantees of success." (Jerusalem Post, 20 April 2005). It has upgraded its Shahab-3 missile, which can reach targets
in Israel. Iran's armed forces have recently conducted high-profile military exercises in anticipation of a US led
attack. Iran also possesses some 12 X-55 strategic cruise missiles, produced by the Ukraine. Iran's air defense systems
is said to feature Russian SA-2, SA-5, SA-6 as well as shoulder-launched SA-7 missiles ( Jaffa Center for Strategic Studies).
The US "Military Road Map"
The Bush administration has officially identified Iran and Syria as the next stage of “the road map to war”.
Targeting Iran is a bipartisan project, which broadly serves the interests of the Anglo-American oil conglomerates, the
Wall Street financial establishment and the military-industrial complex.
The broader Middle East-Central Asian region encompasses more than 70% of the World's reserves of oil and natural gas.
Iran possesses 10% of the world's oil and ranks third after Saudi Arabia (25 %) and Iraq (11 %) in the size of its
reserves. In comparison, the US possesses less than 2.8 % of global oil reserves. ( See Eric Waddell, The Battle for Oil, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/WAD412A.html
The announcement to target Iran should come as no surprise. It is part of the battle for oil. Already during the Clinton
administration, US Central Command (USCENTCOM) had formulated "in war theater plans" to invade both Iraq and Iran:
"The broad national security interests and objectives expressed in the President's National Security Strategy (NSS) and
the Chairman's National Military Strategy (NMS) form the foundation of the United States Central Command's theater
strategy. The NSS directs implementation of a strategy of dual containment of the rogue states of Iraq and Iran as long
as those states pose a threat to U.S. interests, to other states in the region, and to their own citizens. Dual
containment is designed to maintain the balance of power in the region without depending on either Iraq or Iran.
USCENTCOM's theater strategy is interest-based and threat-focused. The purpose of U.S. engagement, as espoused in the
NSS, is to protect the United States' vital interest in the region - uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Gulf
oil. ( USCENTCOM, http://www.milnet.com/milnet/pentagon/centcom/chap1/stratgic.htm#USPolicy
Main Military Actors
While the US, Israel, as well as Turkey (with borders with both Iran and Syria) are the main actors in this process, a
number of other countries, in the region, allies of the US, including several Central Asian former Soviet republics have
been enlisted. Britain is closely involved despite its official denials at the diplomatic level. Turkey occupies a
central role in the Iran operation. It has an extensive military cooperation agreement with Israel. There are
indications that NATO is also formally involved in the context of an Israel-NATO agreement reached in November 2004.
Planning The Aerial Attack on Iran
According to former weapons inspector Scott Ritter, George W. Bush has already signed off on orders for an aerial attack
on Iran, scheduled for June.( See http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/JEN502A.html
The June cut-off date should be understood. It does not signify that the attack will occur in June. What it suggests is
that the US and Israel are "in a state of readiness" and are prepared to launch an attack by June or at a later date. In
other words, the decision to launch the attack has not been made.
Ritter's observation concerning an impending military operation should nonetheless be taken seriously. In recent months,
there is ample evidence that a major military operation is in preparation:
1) several high profile military exercises have been conducted in recent months, involving military deployment and the
testing of weapons systems.
2) military planning meetings have been held between the various parties involved. There has been a shuttle of military
and government officials between Washington, Tel Aviv and Ankara.
3) A significant change in the military command structure in Israel has occurred, with the appointment of a new Chief of
4) Intense diplomatic exchanges have been carried out at the international level with a view to securing areas of
military cooperation and/or support for a US-Israeli led military operation directed against Iran.
5) Ongoing intelligence operations inside Iran have been stepped up.
6) Consensus Building: Media propaganda on the need to intervene in Iran has been stepped up, with daily reports on how
Iran constitutes a threat to peace and global security.
Timeline of Key Initiatives
In the last few months, various key initiatives have been taken, which are broadly indicative that an aerial bombing of
Iran is in the military pipeline:
November 2004 in Brussels: NATO-Israel protocol: Israel's IDF delegation to the NATO conference to met with military brass of six members of the Mediterranean basin
nations, including Egypt, Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, Algeria and Mauritania. "NATO seeks to revive the
framework, known as the Mediterranean Dialogue program, which would include Israel. The Israeli delegation accepted to
participate in military exercises and "anti-terror maneuvers" together with several Arab countries.
January 2005: the US, Israel and Turkey held military exercises in the Eastern Mediterranean
, off the coast of Syria. These exercises, which have been held in previous years were described as routine.
February 2005: Following the decision reached in Brussels in November 2004, Israel was involved for the first time in military
exercises with NATO, which also included several Arab countries.
February 2005: Assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. The assassination, which was blamed on Syria, serves
Israeli and US interests and was used as a pretext to demand the withdrawal of Syrian troops from Lebanon.
February 2005: Sharon fires his Chief-of-Staff, Moshe Ya’alon and appoints Air Force General Dan Halutz. This is the first time in
Israeli history that an Air Force General is appointed Chief of Staff ( See Uri Avnery, http://www.globalresearch.ca/articles/AVN502A.html
The appointment of Major General Dan Halutz as IDF Chief of Staff is considered in Israeli political circles as "the
appointment of the right man at the right time." The central issue is that a major aerial operation against Iran is in
the planning stage, and Maj General Halutz is slated to coordinate the aerial bombing raids on Iran. Halutz's
appointment was specifically linked to Israel's Iran agenda: "As chief of staff, he will in the best position to prepare
the military for such a scenario."
March 2005: NATO's Secretary General was in Jerusalem for follow-up talks with Ariel Sharon and Israel's military brass, following
the joint NATO-Israel military exercise in February. These military cooperation ties are viewed by the Israeli military
as a means to "enhance Israel's deterrence capability regarding potential enemies threatening it, mainly Iran and
Syria." The premise underlying NATO-Israel military cooperation is that Israel is under attack:
"The more Israel's image is strengthened as a country facing enemies who attempt to attack it for no justified reason,
the greater will be the possibility that aid will be extended to Israel by NATO. Furthermore, Iran and Syria will have
to take into account the possibility that the increasing cooperation between Israel and NATO will strengthen Israel's
links with Turkey, also a member of NATO. Given Turkey's impressive military potential and its geographic proximity to
both Iran and Syria, Israel's operational options against them, if and when it sees the need, could gain considerable
strength. " ( Jaffa Center for Strategic Studies, http://www.tau.ac.il/jcss/sa/v7n4p4Shalom.html
The Israel-NATO protocol is all the more important because it obligates NATO to align itself with the US-Israeli plan to
bomb Iran, as an act of self defense on the part of Israel. It also means that NATO is also involved in the process of
military consultations relating to the planned aerial bombing of Iran. It is of course related to the bilateral military
cooperation agreement between Israel and Turkey and the likelihood that part of the military operation will be launched
from Turkey, which is a member of NATO.
Late March 2005: News leaks in Israel indicated an "initial authorization" by Prime Minster Ariel Sharon of an Israeli attack on Iran's
Natanz uranium enrichment plant "if diplomacy failed to stop Iran's nuclear program". (The Hindu, 28 March 2005)
March-April 2005: The Holding in Israel of Joint US-Israeli military exercises specifically pertaining to the launching of Patriot
US Patriot missile crews stationed in Germany were sent to Israel to participate in the joint Juniper Cobra exercise
with the Israeli military. The exercise was described as routine and "unconnected to events in the Middle East": "As
always, we are interested in implementing lessons learned from training exercises." (UPI, 9 March 2005).
April 2005: Donald Rumsfeld was on an official visits to Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Kyrgyzstan and Azerbaijan. His diplomatic
endeavors were described by the Russian media as "literally circling Iran in an attempt to find the best bridgehead for
a possible military operation against that country."
In Baku, Azerbaijan Rumsfeld was busy discussing the date for deployment of US troops in Azerbaijan on Iran's
North-Western border. US military bases described as "mobile groups" in Azerbaijan are slated to play a role in a
military operation directed against Iran.
Azerbaijan is a member of GUUAM, a military cooperation agreement with the US and NATO, which allows for the stationing
of US troops in several of the member countries, including Georgia, Uzbekistan and Azerbaijan. The stated short term
objective is to "neutralize Iran". The longer term objective under the Pentagon's "Caspian Plan" is to exert military
and economic control over the entire Caspian sea basin, with a view to ensuring US authority over oil reserves and
During his visit in April, Rumsfeld was pushing the US initiative of establishing "American special task forces and
military bases to secure US influence in the Caspian region:
"Called Caspian Watch, the project stipulates a network of special task forces and police units in the countries of the
regions to be used in emergencies including threats to objects of the oil complex and pipelines. Project Caspian Watch
will be financed by the United States ($100 million). It will become an advance guard of the US European Command whose
zone of responsibility includes the Caspian region. Command center of the project with a powerful radar is to be located
in Baku." ( Defense and Security Russia, April 27, 2005)
Rumsfeld's visit followed shortly after that of Iranian President Mohammad Khatami's to Baku.
April 2005: Iran signs a military cooperation with Tajikistan, which occupies a strategic position bordering Afghanistan's Northern
frontier. Tajikistan is a member of "The Shanghai Five" military cooperation group, which also includes Kazakhstan,
China, Kyrgyzstan, and Russia. Iran also has economic cooperation agreements with Turkmenistan.
Mid April 2005: Israel Prime Minister Ariel Sharon meets George W Bush at his Texas Ranch. Iran is on the agenda of bilateral talks.
More significantly, the visit of Ariel Sharon was used to carry out high level talks between US and Israeli military
planners pertaining to Iran.
Late April 2005: President Vladmir Putin is in Israel on an official visit. He announces Russia's decision to sell short-range
anti-aircraft missiles to Syria and to continue supporting Iran's nuclear industry. Beneath the gilded surface of
international diplomacy, Putin's timely visit to Israel must be interpreted as "a signal to Israel" regarding its
planned aerial attack on Iran.
Late April 2005: US pressure in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been exerted with a view to blocking the
re-appointment of Mohammed Al Baradei, who according to US officials "is not being tough enough on Iran..." Following US
pressures, the vote on the appointment of a new IAEA chief was put off until June. These developments suggest that
Washington wants to put forth their own hand-picked nominee prior to launching US-Israeli aerial attacks on Iran's
nuclear facilities. ( See VOA, http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-04-27-voa51.cfm
). (In February 2003, Al Baradei along with UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix challenged the (phony) intelligence on
WMD presented by the US to the UN Security Council, with a view to justifying the war on Iraq.)
Late April 2005: Sale of deadly military hardware to Israel. GBU-28 Buster Bunker Bombs: Coinciding with Putin's visit to Israel, the US
Defence Security Cooperation Agency (Department of Defense) announced the sale of an additional 100 bunker-buster bombs
produced by Lockheed Martin to Israel. This decision was viewed by the US media as "a warning to Iran about its nuclear
The sale pertains to the larger and more sophisticated "Guided Bomb Unit-28 (GBU-28) BLU-113 Penetrator
" (including the WGU-36A/B guidance control unit and support equipment). The GBU-28 is described as "a special weapon
for penetrating hardened command centers located deep underground. The fact of the matter is that the GBU-28 is among
the World's most deadly "conventional" weapons used in the 2003 invasion of Iraq, capable of causing thousands of
civilian deaths through massive explosions.
The Israeli Air Force are slated to use the GBU-28s on their F-15 aircraft. ( See text of DSCA news release at http://www.dsca.osd.mil/PressReleases/36-b/2005/Israel_05-10_corrected.pdf
Late April 2005- early May: Turkey's Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Israel for follow-up talks with Ariel Sharon. He was accompanied by his
Defense Minister Vecdi Gonul, who met with senior Israeli military officials. On the official agenda of these talks:
joint defense projects, including the joint production of Arrow II Theater Missile Defense and Popeye II missiles. The
latter also known as the Have Lite, are advanced small missiles, designed for deployment on fighter planes. Tel Aviv and
Ankara decide to establish a hotline to share intelligence.
May 2005: Syrian troops scheduled to withdraw from Lebanon, leading to a major shift in the Middle East security situation, in
favor of Israel and the US.
The US has troops and military bases in Turkey, Pakistan, Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, and of course Iraq.
In other words, Iran is virtually surrounded by US military bases. (see Map below). These countries as well as
Turkmenistan, are members of NATO`s partnership for Peace Program
. and have military cooperation agreements with NATO.
Copyright Eric Waddell, Global Research, 2003 (Click Map to enlarge)
In other words, we are dealing with a potentially explosive scenario in which a number of countries, including several
former Soviet republics, could be brought into a US led war with Iran. IranAtom.ru
, a Russian based news and military analysis group has suggested, in this regard:
"since Iranian nuclear objects are scattered all over the country, Israel will need a mass strike with different fly-in
and fly-out approaches - Jordan, Iraq, Turkey, Azerbaijan, and other countries... Azerbaijan seriously fears Tehran's
reaction should Baku issue a permit to Israeli aircraft to overfly its territory." ( Defense and Security Russia, 12 April 2005).
The World is at an important crossroads.
The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity.
Iran is the next military target. The planned military operation, which is by no means limited to punitive strikes
against Iran's nuclear facilities, is part of a project of World domination, a military roadmap, launched at the end of
the Cold War.
Military action against Iran would directly involve Israel's participation, which in turn is likely to trigger a broader
war throughout the Middle East, not to mention an implosion in the Palestinian occupied territories. Turkey is closely
associated with the proposed aerial attacks.
Israel is a nuclear power with a sophisticated nuclear arsenal. (See text box below). The use of nuclear weapons by
Israel or the US cannot be excluded, particularly in view of the fact that tactical nuclear weapons have now been
reclassified as a variant of the conventional bunker buster bombs and are authorized by the US Senate for use in
conventional war theaters. ("they are harmless to civilians because the explosion is underground")
In this regard, Israel and the US rather than Iran constitute a nuclear threat.
The planned attack on Iran must be understood in relation to the existing active war theaters in the Middle East, namely
Afghanistan, Iraq and Palestine.
The conflict could easily spread from the Middle East to the Caspian sea basin. It could also involve the participation
of Azerbaijan and Georgia, where US troops are stationed.
An attack on Iran would have a direct impact on the resistance movement inside Iraq. It would also put pressure on
America's overstretched military capabilities and resources in both the Iraqi and Afghan war theaters. (The 150,000 US
troops in Iraq are already fully engaged and could not be redeployed in the case of a war with Iran.)
In other words, the shaky geopolitics of the Central Asia- Middle East region, the three existing war theaters in which
America is currently, involved, the direct participation of Israel and Turkey, the structure of US sponsored military
alliances, etc. raises the specter of a broader conflict.
Moreover, US military action on Iran not only threatens Russian and Chinese interests, which have geopolitical interests
in the Caspian sea basin and which have bilateral agreements with Iran. It also backlashes on European oil interests in
Iran and is likely to produce major divisions between Western allies, between the US and its European partners as well
as within the European Union.
Through its participation in NATO, Europe, despite its reluctance, would be brought into the Iran operation. The
participation of NATO largely hinges on a military cooperation agreement reached between NATO and Israel. This agreement
would bind NATO to defend Israel against Syria and Iran. NATO would therefore support a preemptive attack on Iran's
nuclear facilities, and could take on a more active role if Iran were to retaliate following US-Israeli air strikes.
Needless to say, the war against Iran is part of a longer term US military agenda which seeks to militarize the entire
Caspian sea basin, eventually leading to the destabilization and conquest of the Russian Federation.
The Antiwar Movement
The antiwar movement must act, consistently, to prevent the next phase of this war from happening.
This is no easy matter. The holding of large antiwar rallies will not in itself reverse the tide of war.
High ranking officials of the Bush administration, members of the military and the US Congress have been granted the
authority to uphold an illegal war agenda.
What is required is a grass roots network, a mass movement at national and international levels, which challenges the
legitimacy of the military and political actors, and which is ultimately instrumental in unseating those who rule in our
War criminals occupy positions of authority. The citizenry is galvanized into supporting the rulers, who are "committed
to their safety and well-being". Through media disinformation, war is given a humanitarian mandate.
To reverse the tide of war, military bases must be closed down, the war machine (namely the production of advanced
weapons systems) must be stopped and the burgeoning police state must be dismantled.
The corporate backers and sponsors of war and war crimes must also be targeted including the oil companies, the defense
contractors, the financial institutions and the corporate media, which has become an integral part of the war propaganda
Antiwar sentiment does not dismantle a war agenda. The war criminals in the US, Israel and Britain must be removed from
What is needed is to reveal the true face of the American Empire and the underlying criminalization of US foreign
policy, which uses the "war on terrorism" and the threat of Al Qaeda to galvanize public opinion in support of a global
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Centre for Research on Globalisation
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