Ritter: War With Iran Has Already Begun

2005-06-24

Richard Moore

Friends,

A very good article from a very reputable source (former UN
weapons inspector in Iraq).

Ritter does not mention the likelihood of escalation, nor does
he explore the possible responses of China and Russia. In
general, he is not dealing with the material in our recent posting,
"The Ties That Bind China, Russia and Iran".  China has not
only entered into major oil deals with Iran, but it has also
supplied Iran with advanced missiles, and for all we know
those might have nuclear warheads. Only nukes would provide
Iran with a credible deterrent to U.S. aggression, and both
Russia and China have reason to see that aggression slowed
down. They will clearly need to stop playing the appeasement
game at some point, and either country could have provided
nuclear warheads to Iran.

We might extend Ritter's claim, and say that war with China
has already begun.

yours,
rkm

--------------------------------------------------------
From: "Westaway" <•••@••.•••>
To: "Westaway" <•••@••.•••>
Subject: US War with Iran has Already Begun - Scott Ritter
Date: Mon, 20 Jun 2005 11:12:42 -0700

http://rense.com/general66/begun.htm
http://www.uruknet.info/?p=m12776&l=i&size=1&hd=0

US War With Iran Has
Already Begun - Ritter
By Scott Ritter
Aljazeera.net
6-20-5

Sunday 19 June 2005 - Americans, along with the rest of the
world, are starting to wake up to the uncomfortable fact that
President George Bush not only lied to them about the weapons
of mass destruction in Iraq (the ostensible excuse for the
March 2003 invasion and occupation of that country by US
forces), but also about the very process that led to war.

On 16 October 2002, President Bush told the American people
that "I have not ordered the use of force. I hope that the use
of force will not become necessary."

We know now that this statement was itself a lie, that the
president, by late August 2002, had, in fact, signed off on
the 'execute' orders authorising the US military to begin
active military operations inside Iraq, and that these orders
were being implemented as early as September 2002, when the US
Air Force, assisted by the British Royal Air Force, began
expanding its bombardment of targets inside and outside the
so-called no-fly zone in Iraq.

These operations were designed to degrade Iraqi air defence
and command and control capabilities. They also paved the way
for the insertion of US Special Operations units, who were
conducting strategic reconnaissance, and later direct action,
operations against specific targets inside Iraq, prior to the
19 March 2003 commencement of hostilities.

President Bush had signed a covert finding in late spring
2002, which authorised the CIA and US Special Operations
forces to dispatch clandestine units into Iraq for the purpose
of removing Saddam Hussein from power.

The fact is that the Iraq war had begun by the beginning of
summer 2002, if not earlier.

This timeline of events has ramifications that go beyond
historical trivia or political investigation into the events
of the past.

It represents a record of precedent on the part of the Bush
administration which must be acknowledged when considering the
ongoing events regarding US-Iran relations. As was the case
with Iraq pre-March 2003, the Bush administration today speaks
of "diplomacy" and a desire for a "peaceful" resolution to the
Iranian question.

But the facts speak of another agenda, that of war and the
forceful removal of the theocratic regime, currently wielding
the reigns of power in Tehran.

As with Iraq, the president has paved the way for the
conditioning of the American public and an all-too-compliant
media to accept at face value the merits of a regime change
policy regarding Iran, linking the regime of the Mullah's to
an "axis of evil" (together with the newly "liberated" Iraq
and North Korea), and speaking of the absolute requirement for
the spread of "democracy" to the Iranian people.

"Liberation" and the spread of "democracy" have become
none-too-subtle code words within the neo-conservative cabal
that formulates and executes American foreign policy today for
militarism and war.

By the intensity of the "liberation/democracy" rhetoric alone,
Americans should be put on notice that Iran is well-fixed in
the cross-hairs as the next target for the illegal policy of
regime change being implemented by the Bush administration.

But Americans, and indeed much of the rest of the world,
continue to be lulled into a false sense of complacency by the
fact that overt conventional military operations have not yet
commenced between the United States and Iran.

As such, many hold out the false hope that an extension of the
current insanity in Iraq can be postponed or prevented in the
case of Iran. But this is a fool's dream.

The reality is that the US war with Iran has already begun. As
we speak, American over flights of Iranian soil are taking
place, using pilotless drones and other, more sophisticated,
capabilities.

The violation of a sovereign nation's airspace is an act of
war in and of itself. But the war with Iran has gone far
beyond the intelligence-gathering phase.

President Bush has taken advantage of the sweeping powers
granted to him in the aftermath of 11 September 2001, to wage
a global war against terror and to initiate several covert
offensive operations inside Iran.

The most visible of these is the CIA-backed actions recently
undertaken by the Mujahadeen el-Khalq, or MEK, an Iranian
opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein's dreaded
intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the
CIA's Directorate of Operations.

It is bitter irony that the CIA is using a group still
labelled as a terrorist organisation, a group trained in the
art of explosive assassination by the same intelligence units
of the former regime of Saddam Hussein, who are slaughtering
American soldiers in Iraq today, to carry out remote bombings
in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a
daily basis inside Iraq.

Perhaps the adage of "one man's freedom fighter is another
man's terrorist" has finally been embraced by the White House,
exposing as utter hypocrisy the entire underlying notions
governing the ongoing global war on terror.

But the CIA-backed campaign of MEK terror bombings in Iran are
not the only action ongoing against Iran.

To the north, in neighbouring Azerbaijan, the US military is
preparing a base of operations for a massive military presence
that will foretell a major land-based campaign designed to
capture Tehran.

Secretary of Defence Donald Rumsfeld's interest in Azerbaijan
may have escaped the blinkered Western media, but Russia and
the Caucasus nations understand only too well that the die has
been cast regarding Azerbaijan's role in the upcoming war with
Iran.

The ethnic links between the Azeri of northern Iran and
Azerbaijan were long exploited by the Soviet Union during the
Cold War, and this vehicle for internal manipulation has been
seized upon by CIA paramilitary operatives and US Special
Operations units who are training with Azerbaijan forces to
form special units capable of operating inside Iran for the
purpose of intelligence gathering, direct action, and
mobilising indigenous opposition to the Mullahs in Tehran.

But this is only one use the US has planned for Azerbaijan.
American military aircraft, operating from forward bases in
Azerbaijan, will have a much shorter distance to fly when
striking targets in and around Tehran.

In fact, US air power should be able to maintain a nearly
24-hour a day presence over Tehran airspace once military
hostilities commence.

No longer will the United States need to consider employment
of Cold War-dated plans which called for moving on Tehran from
the Persian Gulf cities of Chah Bahar and Bandar Abbas. US
Marine Corps units will be able to secure these towns in order
to protect the vital Straits of Hormuz, but the need to
advance inland has been eliminated.

A much shorter route to Tehran now exists - the coastal
highway running along the Caspian Sea from Azerbaijan to
Tehran.

US military planners have already begun war games calling for
the deployment of multi-divisional forces into Azerbaijan.

Logistical planning is well advanced concerning the basing of
US air and ground power in Azerbaijan.

Given the fact that the bulk of the logistical support and
command and control capability required to wage a war with
Iran is already forward deployed in the region thanks to the
massive US presence in Iraq, the build-up time for a war with
Iran will be significantly reduced compared to even the
accelerated time tables witnessed with Iraq in 2002-2003.

America and the Western nations continue to be fixated on the
ongoing tragedy and debacle that is Iraq. Much needed debate
on the reasoning behind the war with Iraq and the failed
post-war occupation of Iraq is finally starting to spring up
in the United States and elsewhere.

Normally, this would represent a good turn of events. But with
everyone's heads rooted in the events of the past, many are
missing out on the crime that is about to be repeated by the
Bush administration in Iran - an illegal war of aggression,
based on false premise, carried out with little regard to
either the people of Iran or the United States.

Most Americans, together with the mainstream American media,
are blind to the tell-tale signs of war, waiting, instead, for
some formal declaration of hostility, a made-for-TV moment
such as was witnessed on 19 March 2003.

We now know that the war had started much earlier. Likewise,
history will show that the US-led war with Iran will not have
begun once a similar formal statement is offered by the Bush
administration, but, rather, had already been under way since
June 2005, when the CIA began its programme of MEK-executed
terror bombings in Iran.

Scott Ritter is a former UN weapons inspector in Iraq,
1991-1998, and author of Iraq Confidential: The Untold Story
of America's Intelligence Conspiracy, to be published by I B
Tauris in October 2005.

The opinions expressed here are the author's and do not
necessarily reflect the editorial position or have the
endorsement of Aljazeera.


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