World Nuclear Panel Refers Iran to the Security Council

NYT has the scoop:

In a move that could change the course of international diplomacy towards Iran, the 35-nation board of the International Atomic Energy Agency approved a resolution on Saturday to report the country's nuclear case to the United Nations Security Council.

The resolution, which passed 27-3 with five abstentions, opens the door for the first time to possible punitive action against Iran in the New York body over fears that it is developing a nuclear weapon.

Just when the oil price had managed to skulk back down below $65...
Cuba, Syria and Venezuela voted against the resolution. Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya and South Africa abstained.

The vote is the climax of a two-and-a-half year campaign by the Bush administration to convince the world that suspicions about Iran's nuclear program are so serious that the issue must come before the Security Council for judgment.

It also signals the failure -- at least for now -- of the two-and-a-half year strategy of France, Britain and Germany that was based on the premise that Iran could be coaxed into freezing, perhaps indefinitely, key nuclear activities if the political, technological, economic and security rewards from the West were enticing enough.

Wow, the UN still has a backbone! For your youngin's I suggest you ask Google about Italy in 1935 and a little issue in Ethiopia or Abyssinia.
There was no UN in 1935. ?
Assumably he's referring to the League of Nations.
I would not be surprised if the US attacks Iran before the UN votes sanctions, because the Bush doctrine is pre-emption in the face of threat and Iran has now threatened the West's oil lifeline case of Iran's sanction [they] must know that under those conditions there would be no oil tanker leaving the Persian Gulf intact
The US Navy and Marines would have to occupy the Iranian islands that guard the strait of Hormuz
Near the north coast are a few Iranian (Persian) islands, which include, Kish, Qeshm, Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunbs. These islands have great strategic positions functioning as platforms for monitoring the marine traffic.
Iran didn't threaten us, we threatened them. They have only said they will fire back if we shoot at them first.
I still think we should invade Iran, but there is no need to for us to lie about it.
Sorry. Not applicable. I know what happened in Ethiopia in 1935. Please explain relevant connections to modern day. Sadly, I miss them.
The League of Nations is correct! It is an example of utter failure of the international restraint system.
Didn't Italy invade Ethipoia ?

Which country is Iran threatening to invade ?

Iran is occupying parts of the Shia Arab nation (as is Saudi Arabia), part of Baluchistan, part of Azerbaijan, part of Armenia, part of Kurdistan, and part of the Pushtan region, whatever they call it these days.
Iran's 'occupation' is similar to the US 'occupation' of Puerto Rico, France's 'occupation' of Alcase, Italy's occupation of "South Tyrol', Poland's 'occupation' of Prussia, etc...

These are artifacts of history, events, conflicts,etc... What wkwillis refers to as Iranian occupation are the remains of the old Persian Empire -- which started long before there was ever a modern Iran.

From my Iranian friends, I know very few that are true pure blooded Persians, but my friends all consider themselves Iranians --whether ethnically Azeri, Armenian or Kurdi. 'Iran' is essentially is non-ethnicly linked name for the country.

Considering the timeframe of the Iran "occupation", I'd rather compare it to the US occupation of California, Texas and New Mexico.
First, Italy invaded Ethiopia in 1935 and the League of Nations put sanctions on it, but they did not include oil. Italy had esentially no oil. It had not been discovered in her Libyan colony. By excluding oil they could not stop Italy from conquering Ethiopia. Oil sanctions might have worked and the actions not taken helped propel us towards World War II.

Doesn't this all sound eerily current?

There is an active Kurdish resistance movement active in Iran. Kurds are concentrated in the north-west side of Iran and are about 7-8% of the population. The Azeri people (24-25% of Iran) have been resisting an "Iranization" of their provinces for decades. There is also a Baloch movement in the south-east corner, but right now it is mostly directed towards Pakistan. They are a very small minority.  

People of Persian decent number about 50% of the population in Iran.

As far as I understand USA should encourage and support the Balkanisation of Iran like they did with Serbia and Iraq.

If this is your position I'd like to hear the arguments, especially what are those long-term contributions to the peace and prosperity this would bring.

Support them how?  Like they supported Afganistan in the 1980s?  Like they supported Saddam in the 80's?  Like they supported Viet Nam in the 60's?  Like Iran and Korea in the 50's (still at war, now with nukes)?  What's your definition of support?  What would be the final goal?  Set up separate countries for all of them, like Palestine?  Viet Nam only stabilized after the US retired.  Or do you think Viet Nam was an unusual case?  Sorry, I don't get it.
Reading just the first sentence of one's post is a very bad habbit that I'm also trying to kick out :)
I really did read all your post, and didn't intend to direct my questions toward you personally.  I meant it for anybody attempting to answer your propositions to take a deep dip into the think tank before they did, but I do now see that it does look like I had you in my starscope.  <sorry>
No problem, happens all the time

The idea that nations are not divided on ethnic lines is a fault line that has impacted the modern world heavily. That is why it was so cool when Czechoslovakia simply became two separate states with no real problems. Unlike Yugoslavia. The Balkans is made even worse with little pockets of this or that person scattered haphazardly across the mountainous terrain.

Nigeria is another one. Not only does it include, because of colonial decisions made in the 19th century, different tribes, but you can throw in different religions too.

Personally, a Kurd nation state makes sense to me though Iran and Turkey would not be happy campers. That there are more Azeri's in Iran than in their home country is simply a problem waiting to happen.

We see it in the so-called progressive EU with the Basques, Catalonians, Corsica, Irish, etc. Heck, 10,000 Germans living in Denmark caused problems in 1933 and again in 1940.

Actually things got worse both for Chech Republic and Slovakia after they split. After several years of high growth the Chechs experienced a financial crisis after which thinggs pretty much slowed down.

In the meantime Slovakia's development basicly stalled and the country started lagging behind. Slovakia has much less of an industrial base and resources than the Chechs and goes by with agriculture, tourism and services.

Both countries have high unemployment though lower than Poland. High unemployment seem to be a marking sign for countries that have been separated one way or another and could not attract foreign investments (mostly due to the instability, crime and corruption following the split). For example in Bosnia and Kosovo, unemployment is close to 40% and the most profitable (and wide-spread) business is drug and weapons traffic.

Considering the level of development of ME countries, splitting Iraq/Iran in pieces would be the mostly disastrous scenario for the people of these countries (well for Iraq it might be already too late). First they'll be shooting themselves over oil for X number of years. After they get tired of that (being quite below their starting point) they will probably have installed some much more despotic governments (remote-controlled by Washington or not) than their current ones. In other words the only thing worse than a despotic and corrupted government are 3 or 4 despotic and corrupted governments.


People make decisions that are not economically based. The two people, Czechs and Slovaks, wanted a country apart and they had a "history" going back to World War I. Certainly they were on opposite sides in World War II when one was occupied and the other a supportive puppet. I agree that they have had problems since, but for the most part they are doing O.K. and now belong to the EU.

I agree splitting Iran (and others) would cause chaos and impact the oil price/supply. But I wonder if we are simply puitting it off? It is not like there has not been strife there in the region that has little to do with the USA. The best time to do it would be at the end of some successful major watershed on the world stage. Maybe the end of a big war, or the day the USA declares it is not importing any oil except from North America?

Gee, and on the same logic the balkanisation of the USA would be good too, North and South, or East and West. Just think what this might do to improve world peace! Yeh, sure...

If balkanisation is promotion of homogeneous societies, it is great way to create intolerant societies.  I can't agree it is a good thing.  I know too many people from the former Yugoslavia, and too many ruined lives.

I see balkanisation as cultural ignorance and intolerance.  


Balkanisation is, as you say, "cultural ignorance and intolerance". Your right.
But the older I get, the harder it is for me say that this person or that person should do this or that. The operative word there is should.

I think they should do what they want to, and nationalism is still a strong drive, mixed with that region's tribalism. It is hard for me to see how anyone (living in California) could object to blacks or latinos or whites together as friends and relatives, but they have a hard time in much of the Middle East to get along with the family in the next valley over who spells their name differently. I agree they are not smart thinking this way but "live and let live".

Also, what we are looking at are really small nations, and what is the practical result? The Basques and the Spanish have been fighting for going on 3 decades and with roots going much further back. And the Basques are not even Spanish by decent, but belong to the oldest race in Europe.

I guess when in doubt I come down on the side of freedom of choice.

muhandis, Perhaps you know otherwise, but it is my understanding that the word Iran is the Farsi variant of what we westerners call Aryan, which was the ethnicity of the ancient people who came to be known as Persians.
Thanks for the challenge, I looked into it a bit further, and 'Iran' appears to be less neutral than I thought as the word indeed appears to derived from the old Persian for Persian, i.e. Aryan.  

So, much for being ethnically more neutral--thanks for clarifying the origin of the name.

I thought Russians took Ajerbaizan away from Iran and made it a part of the Soviet Union.

Iran doesn't have a common border with Saudi Arabia; how can they occupy a piece of it?

Baluchis live in Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

Also Saddam tried to snatch Kuzestan away from Iran but the Iranian Arabs fought against Saddam.


Baloch's resistance is primarily in Pakistan where they have been blowing up fuel lines. But 2% of the population of Iran is Baloch.

From their web-site:

This is a Baloch site we are trying to tell the world about the inequality  and oppression of the Baloch people by Pakistan and its tyrant Punjabi institutions.

To the dominant Punjabis in Pakistan, who make up  58 percent of the population, it is unthinkable that the Baloch  Nation should have special claims to Balochistan, which  represents 48 percent of the land area of the country.

Both Islamabad  and Teheran view the sparsely settled expanses of Balochistan as a safety valve for surplus population, a source of badly needed materials, and an area of vital strategic importance over which the central government should rightfully hold undisputed sway.

Baloch and  other less Populace Nations will not be permitted to stand in the way of  Punjabis so-called modernization programs, though it means the plunder of the  Baloch National wealth.


More Azeri's of Ajerbaizan live in Iran than in the country with Baku as its capital.

Iran does not have any Saudi territory, but they do support the Shias who live predominately in the oil well areas of Saudi Arabia. One of the Gulf States is still upset over some minor islands in the Gulf that the Shah seized in the 1970's or so.

Kuzestan has had a series of bombings, the two latest being blamed by the Iranians on Britain (!). It is indeed Shia Arab.

Iran hasn't allowed the Arabs, the Kurds, the Armenians,the Azeris, the Baluchis, and whatever that other group next to Afghanistan is to vote for independence. We let Puerto Rico vote every year, and they always go for the tax free condominium deal we give them. Don't know why. They can be a state or independent, but they go with the condominium thing.
Now Hawaii would be interesting.
Or California. I'd vote for independence.
According to my Puerto Rican friends, they prefer to remain separate in an effort to (try to) preserve their Hispanic heritage.  They have no intention of ever being #51 and would prefer outright independence if given the choice.  But if you ask me, I think they also recognize a considerable (financial) risk in actually cutting the ultimate umbilical cord.
I think he means Iran is like Ethiopia, a sovereign non-European monarchy that was bullied by a strong European military power.
In the 70's, when the US puppet Shah put forth the proposal that Iran needed to develop nuclear power the US thought the idea perfectly resonable. Now, of course it's a grave threat to humanity. So, when you hear Rumsfeld ask, "Why does a country sitting on all that oil need a nuclear program?" you know he's full of shit.

The oil capacity has nothing to do with it. It's the fact that the Mullahs of Iran are not under US control and they are threatening a real problem for the US ruling class: the oil exchange based on the euro. All of this hysteria about the threat of an Iranian nuclear program is propoganda aimed at convincing the American people (Yet again) that there is some crazy brown people that want to destroy their happy driving utopia because they "hate our freedom."

The biggest threat posed by an Iranian nuclear program is an effective deterrant against US aggression.

The question for Rummy is why would a country sitting on so much coal need nuclear power?
Every country either wants the bomb or wants to be a close ally of someone with the bomb.
So, when you hear Rumsfeld ask, "Why does a country sitting on all that oil need a nuclear program?" you know he's full of shit.
There's something about this that I've wanted to know, and maybe you can tell us all:  What does Iran need with a nuclear fuel cycle?  They don't need one just to generate power; lots of countries will sell them PWR fuel, and Russia has offered to do it in a dedicated facility.
The biggest threat posed by an Iranian nuclear program is an effective deterrant against US aggression.
If the mullahs hadn't already sworn to use nukes against Israel, you might have a point.
What does Iran need with a nuclear fuel cycle?

Easy.  Independence.  Iran has gobs of uranium ore.  They want to have a 'closed cycle' so they are not dependent on another country for their energy.  Being 'in the energy supply business', like they are, they understand the control that is lost when you do not own all parts of the process.

I said need.  You said want.  Iran could not be cut off from nuclear power so long as anyone would sell it fuel - which would take something like a move to develop nuclear weapons capability, which is exactly what they would be giving up in good faith with such a move.

Iran's problems in this area are caused by its own belligerence and intransigence.  Oh, and murderous mullahs who hang teenage girls for having sharp tongues.

Except that they do have local uranium to develope. They need it to remain energy independant in the future.
They could farm out the enrichment (and maybe fabrication too).  They could probably use their current position to get it for free, and save themselves the cost of running their own system.  They could get fuel with a warranty.

If they wanted to prove to the world that they had no intention of building nuclear weapons, Iran could do it in a minute.  They have done the opposite.  This speaks volumes.

Exactly. Well said.
A meaningless distinction.  By that definition, we don't NEED the nuclear fuel cycle either.  The problem is that while the NPT allows a nation to enrich fuel to be used in power generation, apparently all that is required to make weapons grade material is to just do the same thing a bit longer.  So it's a poorly designed treaty.  But nonetheless, Iran IS entitled to enrich uranium - it is not a requirement that they be nice guys.  And the fact is that WE are not abiding by requirements under the NPT.

And as for the mullahs being murderous bastards, I'm sure they are.  I defy you to look at what we're doing in Iraq with open eyes, especially in places like Fallujah, and reach any other conclusion about the US.  And the same goes for Israel's treatment of the Palestinians.  And Russia and China are no better.  I can think of several counties whose problems are caused by thier own belligerence and intransigence.

There is no high ground here, we have no moral superiority anymore - it's just us vs. them.

By that definition, we don't NEED the nuclear fuel cycle either.
Someone has to have one, or you can't run PWR's.  It was different when the world was a few half-lives of U235 younger, but an Oklo isn't possible any more.
So it's a poorly designed treaty.
Doesn't excuse Iran for using the loopholes to make weapons they've sworn to use.
There is no high ground here, we have no moral superiority anymore - it's just us vs. them.
If that's so then we should just do what we have to do to stop Iran from carrying out its threats, because it would be even worse if we let it happen.  If it's not so and we do have moral superiority, we should do the same.

Either way, Iran would instantly be off the intervention list if it farmed out its enrichment to a nation which is not a proliferation threat.  Like France, or China, or Russia.

Russia volunteered.  Iran said no.  That says it all.

"sworn to use" - please provide a link to a statement the Iran has sworn to use nuclear weapons.

Iran has not threatened the US.  They have threatened Israel, which has nuclear weapons and can defend itself if attacked, but in the context of reacting to news reports that Israel was planning a preemptive strike on Iran.  That's providing you believe the recent statements were meant for more than whipping up the locals.  

The fact is that Iran has the right to develop the complete nuclear fuel cycle under the NPT.  If we say that they can't, then the NPT means nothing - in which case there are no rules, and they have as much right to nuclear weapons as does anyone else, including the US and Israel.  Because there is no evidence that they have a weapons program, only speculation. Tell me - what would be required for you to accept that Iran be allowed to do the things that the NPT says it can? What nations have gone as far as Iran has in allowing the IAEA to monitor their activities?

For me, when one has no moral right to do something, especially a military action that will cost many lives, then one should not do it.  Apparently others feel that one should do whatever one feels like, as long as one is strong enough to get away with it.  Might makes right I guess.  

You'll find reactions to the Iranian president's call to "wipe Israel off the map" here and here.

If there's anything we should know about the fanatics in that part of the world, it's this:  when they say they intend to kill you, BELIEVE THEM!  Their intent is given; the only way to prevent it is to deny them the means.

FWIW, Osama bin Laden is believed to be hiding in Iran.

and he brought his WMDs with him.
That's funny.  His Caller ID keeps telling me he's calling from the Pashtun lands in western Pakistan.
Actually getting weapons grade material is more than a BIT longer. Power plant fuel is around 4% U235.  For a bomb you need to be in the range of 20% to
90%+, a considerable effort.
Power plant enrichment depends on the power plant. We supergraded fuels for PWR when the cost of enrichment collapsed with the development of centrifuges, and when the price of uranium collapsed. The old reactors were retrofitted to use borates in solution to poison the reactor a bit to overcome the excess reactivity of the new supergrade fuel. It is less neutronically efficient, but we don't have to reload the core so often so it is economically more efficient. Unless the excess borates corrode the reactor and cause us to almost lose Ohio and Texas, as may have been the case in Davis-Besse and South Texas Project. Or may not. The corrosion there may have had other causes. Can't find out.
But we could also upgrade fuel to ten percent and build fast neutron gas cooled reactors. They would be neutronically and thermodynamically efficient. And less likely to take out a state.
What happened at South Texas?  I designed some pipe whip restraints for STP when I worked at B&R back in the 70's.  From what I saw there I  learned NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER let a combined engineering-construction contract go out MY door.  Always issue two separate contracts.  Otherwise its like putting a cat and a mouse in a box.  You just get this deep down feeling that you know which one is going to come out alive.
They have burnable neutron poisons (borates) in the water because the fissile percentage in the fuel is too high, to increase burnup time and the time the reactor will operate till you need to pull the core.
At Davis-Besse and STP the borates leaked and formed a concentrated solution at a point on the reactor pressure vessal. The concentrated solution corroded a "pinapple sized" hole in the pressure vessal all the way through, leaving only a thin sheet of corrosion resistant stainless steel between the pressurised water and the outside of the pressure vessal. If the stainless steel had ruptured, it would have been like shooting a hole in a steam boiler. Very, very, messy.
They are replacing all the reactor heads with stainless steel to make sure that it doesn't happen again. They shut the reactors till the pressure vessal heads were finished, and it took some time, like years. Expensive.
I believe they are prosecuting someone for falsifying inspection reports. The investigation turned up someone not doing his job. It's not his fault that the reactors almost blew but they were talking prison terms. Not sure what happened to him.
Similar to rebar placement and honeycombed concrete problems I recall was discovered while it was still under construction.  Seems like a bit of the containment structure had to be replaced at great expense.  That was also another falsified inspection report.  That is exactly my point about why the engineer-constructor relationship never works and the precise reason I left BP's BTC project.  We inspected,  whenever we could get a vehicle to take us to the construction sites, which wasn't often.  I had 8 vehicles assigned to my department, but couldn't find any of them.  Usually I would have gotten a  helicopter on a project that size.    
Ok, Iran may want nuclear weapons.

Or they may want us to think they have them, just like Israel.

What is the consequence? Are they going to start using them? Hmmmm don't think so, unless they are lunatics, which they obviously are not (observing how they play their cards). Iran and Israel  exchanging nukes is thousand times more unlikely scenario than Israel or USA nuking Tehran unilaterally.

What is the logical conclusion from that? All the fuss is about us keeping the nuclear option for ourselves. So that we could nuke them if we want, to not fearing a retaliation. Gosh if I was an iranian, how I'd want nukes. And the more we're pressing the more they'd want them. Cause and effect.

The USA has had nuclear weapons for a bit over 60 years now.  The USA has never used them since forcing the surrender of Japan in 1945.  The USA did not even use them on North Korea when they siezed one of our ships in international waters, nor when Iran violated the US embassy (an act of war) and held the personnel hostage (also an act of war).

They've been doing various shenanigans against the USA and haven't been nuked.   They've also been financing Hezbollah to commit terrorist acts against Israel (numerous acts of war), and haven't been nuked.  They have no reason to want a nuclear deterrent except to get even more out of hand than they are.

I suggest you stop with this good guys-bad guys staff. It ain't working; by this logic USSR are much better guys than us, since they didn't use their nukes for 40 years while we did in fact use them and as a nice little extra - against civilian targets.

My experience and common sense tell me to be afraid of those [who think] that are sronger.

I'm no fan of the Iranian regime which does seem to be deplorable, but in fairness they did just see us invade Iraq in a manner that was, at best, of very questionable legality, and the same neoconservative political faction that inspired that has frequently expressed a desire to invade Iran also. I have no doubt that from the Middle Eastern perspective, it all looks of a piece with a long history of Anglo-American colonial interference in their affairs. I think if I was doing grand strategy for Iran, I would badly want a nuclear deterrent too.
Exactly!  If Americans looked across Niagra Falls and saw 100,000 Iranian troops and 5 permanent Iranian military bases, I don't think you be breaking out the M-16s.  If Iran looks north, Russia... northeast, China... east,southeast,Pakistan, India, ... South, Diego Garica.. I won't even mention northwest and west.  You don't think China wants oil?  Don't think Pakistan will not ever want oil?  India?  Anybody else, (no names please)?  Want to count the nuclear powers in Dorathy's neighboorhood?  Hey, this aint Kansas.. 7950 miles from nowhere.  What good's it gonna'do bringing AK-47s to the rumble?  Nonproliferation is a joke.  (Pakistan sold nuclear secrets..remember? Rummy slapped their hand for it.) Hell, nukes are proliferated quite well already now.  The whole world's a bit unstable.  Get used to it.  Its not gettin' any better.  Once the genie is out, he don't fit no more too good back into the bottle.
Which "mullahs" swore to use nukes against Israel?  did they state that they would attack Israel with nuclear weapons, unprovoked?  Did they state that they would retaliate against an Israeli attack?

Is there a good source for this claim?

This is an important point.  We should be clear on exactly who said what and when, and to evaluate such statements in terms of how likely they are to be applied.

My guess is that if an extremist wants to attack Israel with nuclear weapons they would be able to obtain them or the materials to make them without necessarily runnin their own nuclear power plant.

Pakistan's nuclear program was a key source of info and supplies for Korea, was it not?  The FSU has lost a variety of materials un-accounted for.  Somehow, this "nuclear threat" seems to convenient to me.

Has Iran been complying with the same agreements other nations are subject to with regard to development of "peaceful" nuclear power?  My understanding is that Iran is being asked to go further than other nations.

Any info out there that others have run across on this?

I see it as; it is because they are a soverign nation and have their own right to determine what kind of future they will have.  Besides, they have signed the NPT as a member of the world community, which India has not, and India has nuclear capability and nobody seems TGAS, so why not?  They as a nation have a right to use nuclear power just as the USA has and will in the future.  Russia processing fuel for them?  Would you like depending on Russia for your power sources?    What I don't get is why you're not asking this about North Korea?  If anybody in Iran has sworn to use them against Israel, do you know that the conditions of use would not be similar to the same conditions as when the US used nukes on Japan?  I believe that seeing this from any other perspective can only be from the perspective one gets when viewing from a pinicle of world domination.  
This comparison is nonsensical.   Iran isn't on the march to take over the world and wouldn't have a chance anyway.  On the other hand it is clear that the crusaders in the white house and their allies are on the march to impose a new world order.  The new order consists of turning independent states like Iraq into vassals.  Iraq is supposed to host a few US military bases indefinitely even though the vast majority of its population want the occupants out.  I suppose that Iraq is also supposed to ship its oil to the US for a token price, as a favor for being "liberated", of course.
This is sickening.  I feel like I'm strapped to a chair watching a bad straight to video movie.

So the security council kicks this around for a month.  Russia and China play their normal parts and threaten to veto whatever is decided.

Then Iran starts cutting off oil supplies.  We hit $85/barrel.  Gas hits $3.50/gallon.

IAEA inspectors are kicked out.  The huge amount of US navy in the area starts running their patrols and someone in the Iranian army decides to take a shot.  Or maybe the bombing of nuclear sites goes ahead.  Or a US ship or tanker runs aground at the wrong place and time.

Then what?  We start the huge air campaign, systematically taking Iran's capabilities out?  Will they just sit by and watch it happen?

Do we start lobbing nuclear weapons at them when they march into Iraq en masse?

barf  I'd like to say a big F**K you to all involved.  The Iranians, the US, the Israelies, the EU, big oil etc etc.

Thanks for nothing, guys.

Hear, hear. F***.
It's the U.S. Navy which is rather notorious in the area for having twitchy trigger fingers.  Anybody remember the shooting down of an Iranian Airbus killing all 290 aboard on 3 July 1988?  Here's a revealing quote from Vice President George H. W. Bush (later President of United States of America) regarding this tragedy:
"I will never apologize for the United States of America, ever. I don't care what the facts are."
The fruit doesn't fall far from the tree.
I don't know if this will turn into a shooting (or bombing) war, but I think it will get a lot closer to that than it is now.

Neocons have made no secret about their visions of serial regime change in that part of the world.  One would think that with the incredible cluster f**k they've made of the Iraq situation that they would have the sense not to continue that policy.  I don't give them credit for that much intelligence or even the enlightened self-interest needed to assess the situation properly.

Let's not forget those 14 permanent bases the US is building in Iraq--on top of oil/NG and very close to lots of oil/NG in the Gulf and Caspian Sea areas.  I bet Bush and his minions are just itchin' to use Iraq as a base of operations to prove the value of their grand strategy.

No one, and I repeat NO FRICKIN' ONE, has any idea what oil prices could do if the US starts shooting and Iran turns off the oil spigot and retaliates militarily.  This is not Iraq, a much smaller country (in terms of population and military strength) that's been strangled by a dozen years of sanctions.  Attacks on US bases in Iraq, oil fields in Saudi Arabia (if the Saudis cooperate with the US), or the Strait of Hormuz shouldn't be ruled out.

Our best hope for a stand-down on both sides is intervention by Russia and/or China.  I never thought I'd see the day when those two countries were the sane adults trying to keep the armed and psychotic kids in the room from fighting.

I'd say the chances of this turning into a military and economic confrontation are about one in three.  But maybe I'm just being optimistic again...

This is definitely an escalation, and a big step along the path to military confrontation.  It's the neocon's published wet dream, and possibly it's what Iran wants too - hard to tell about that last bit.

I've believed more strongly recently that an attack on Iran is going to happen, and these events are exactly the kind of thing you'd expect to see on that road.  While I don't expect Russia or China to go along with any actual sanctions or action, this is enough of a provocation to get things moving.  Iran tosses the IAEA out, and starts work in earnest towards production.  Do they cut back oil production yet, or wait for our next move - and what will that be?  Do we send in more drones to tempt them, special forces for mischief?  Once the IAEA is out, I could well see us using the excuse that we need to keep an eye on them to do more intrusions.  But it almost doesn't matter what the particular action is, as long as the tit-for-tat escalation continues.  

I'm very depressed about it.  I too feel helpless - like events have been set in motion, and there's nothing that can be done to stop it.  Too bad it's raining, I've got a bunch of old red oak that needs splitting, and I could use to work off some anger.

This would also be the time that Venezuela decides to do some much-needed repairs on its oil infrastructure and cuts off its oil to the U.S. for the duration of the war.

"Big Darkness come soon."  -- Hunter S. Thomspon.

I suppose the usual argument: Iran has been bluffing, and calling IAEA's bluffs, so successfully that the IAEA just HAD to stiffen up just once.  Now we'll see if Iran's move is as interesting...  Gee, I wonder if they had planned for this eventuality?

Months ago an acquaintance I consider knowledgeable commented that Iran was "playing a very dangerous game, but playing it very well" but more recently said he was very concerned about Iran - don't know whether this was about the course of real democracy there or about this little spat.

I heard a government official last year wonder out loud (in a panel discussion) why, with all its oil and gas, Iran would want nuclear energy.  Well maybe to use to keep warm and make electricity when said oil and gas are gone.  Or maybe they even need a weapon or two, to keep Russia, China, India, Pakistan, Israel, and/or the US in several countries and in the Persian Gulf from shall we say pressuring Iran to allow "the market" to determine how much oil and gas they'd give away at what price...

dizzysaurus said more succinctly just exactly how I feel.  

I heard a government official last year wonder out loud (in a panel discussion) why, with all its oil and gas, Iran would want nuclear energy.

Why not? I don't have figures but I expect that, in terms of current and projects oil/NG pricing, the cost per unit of engergy for nuclear is less than that from fossile fuels. Am I wrong on that?

If this is the case, then why not provide for your own energy with other means, thusly keeping all your high profit margin fossil fuel products aviable for sale?

Of course, there are the added benefits that: 1) you still have an energy supply after the FF's run out; 2) you aquire a nuclear deterent capability.

Just a thought...

Good point. Fundamentally, you are correct. However, as is the case in the U.S., the high cost of safety systems and initial construction adds so much to the cost of nuclear that it is not worth investing in. (That's why no new nuclear plants have been built in awhile) In Iran's case though, initial cost could be covered or at least mitigated by the government. As for safety... well the Russians were never too worried about it.
the high cost of safety systems and initial construction adds so much to the cost of nuclear that it is not worth investing in. (That's why no new nuclear plants have been built in awhile)

Not sure I completely agree with this in total. I think NIMBY has a lot to do with it as well...however...

I would offer that, more to the point, the reason no new nuclear ower had been developed in the US in the last, oh, 20 odd years was because of cheap oil. That's over, IMO, and I would seriously think, at this point, that the return on investment of nuclear--given modern reators-- is at least close to that of FF generated energy.

Granted, we're talking electricity here primarily. And by that we're really talking mostly about natural gas rather than oil. But we've all seen where NG is headed as well.

I wonder if NIMBY hasn't become a shorthand for "Even though we nominally live in a capitalist society, we don't feel like compensating those who live near our planned nuclear plant/potential radiological disaster/eyesore/terrorist target/etc for their perceived loss of home value/etc.
Strange thing is capitalism.

A nuclear plant 20 miles outside of your city will cause your house value to plummet.

A coal-fired plant 10 miles from it will leave it the same.

A location on the statistical crosshair of all hurricanes that Mother Nature is able to produce per year will most likely cause it to rise.

Nothing personal against capitalism. It's human perceptions that are so easily moderated (and manipulated)... place some meaningless statement in the mouth of Leonardo DiCaprio/Jenifer Aningston/whoever is the today's hero out there, and you'll see that becoming the the God spoken truth of tomorrow.

I wish you were right. Problem is that cheap oil is gone, but now we have wait for the end of cheap coal. Oh yes, cheap and clean coal... see those pies in the sky?
NO NO NO NNOOOOO. JESUS CHRIST on a broken crutch.

Nuclear is FAR FAR FAR more expensive than oil. It is one of the typical boneheaded misunderstandings that keeps nuclear power from being dropped like the hot radioactive grenade that it is.

Just think about it. What is the half life of the waste produced in a nuke plant? Thousands upon thousands of years. That means we have to protect ourselves from that poison for thousands upon thousands of years. We cannot outsource it like we do so much of our industry, no we will have to build facilities that will last thousands upon thousands of years. Imagine how expensive that will be. And we have to man them. Not at minimum wage, I presume. And, don't forget all the ancillary costs of cleanups for accidents and leaks and terrorist strikes.

That is just storage of the material. Don't forget the decommisioning of the plant. Don't forget to remove the billions upon billions that the government throws at nuke plants in the form of subsidies.

Any cursory examination of the nuke books will reveal that these theives only count the cost of building the plant, the cost of fuel and the addition of government subsidies. So much like our refusal to count all the costs of the fossil economy.


Breeder reactors solve most of the waste problem.  Radioactive waste points to a poor utilization of nuclear energy by the obsolete reactor designs that are still being foisted on the world.  There isn't enough Uranium available to make standard reactors a replacement for depleting fossil fuels.  Breeder reactors increase the available fuel dramatically, by a factor of around 50.
What is the half life of the waste produced in a nuke plant?
What's the half-life of the stuff that does into it in the first place?

What's the half-life of the potassium-40 in your body?

s/does into/goes into/

(The one time I neglect to preview...)

Just launch the crap into outer space. Please, dude. If it burns, light it up. How am I supposed to stay warm after I burn all of these goddamn sweaters. I have so many sweaters I don't wear. All made by machines run by slave-labor in China from fine Egytian cotton, I'm sure. Did I spell cotton right? I can only wear one sweater at a time. They only keep you so warm. After that you need to burn something. What do you suggest we burn if not Uranium? Books? Witches?
Monty "Oil Ceo" Python, at the risk of egging you on, that was your funniest post yet. Havent even had my dopamine inducing coffee yet and it made me laugh out loud.

p.s. might hit 60 degrees today in Vermont. April/May has come early - no sweaters needed. I actually found 2 live wood ticks on my dog yesterday. Gonna look at some cheap real estate online today in Barrow, AK.

Books and witches will only be the beginning. If not uranium, look at all the other things we can burn, things that are at the root of all our problems:
  1. Black people
  2. Pointy-headed intellectuals
  3. Nattering Nabobs of Negativism, including journalists and academics
  4. Mosques
  5. Illegal immigrants
  6. Hollywood
  7. Jews
  8. Universities that are hotbeds of sex, drugs, and treason
  9. Catholics
10.Cars, trucks, planes, car dealerships, real-estate developers, banks, . . .

Well, I was trying to hold the list down to 10 but failed.
But clearly, even before we go after our two million lawyers, there are plenty of candidates for burning. . . . and plenty of matches.

I think this comment is fairly offensive. I don't know if you were trying to be humorous (there was no smiley). If not, the comment is extremely racist: black people and Jews being "at the root of all our problems". If so, the joke is in very poor taste. Please exercise better judgement in your comments in future.
I apologize. I thought in the context of the remark that I was responding too (burning books and witches) the satire was obvious. Next time I'll put in a smiley.

A smiley? Do you really think that would have been appropriate?

Apology much appreciated. I'm not sure what the best way to have crafted your comment would have been. Part of it may be that I don't know you well enough to know how to take what you wrote, but that would be true of a random passing member of the public too.
Speaking as a (what some might call) witch, yes, I do ;)

And so to bed, perchance...

I did not find the list offensive and I don't think those included on the list were surprised. What is bothersome is your political correctness. Drop it, it's boring.
Unfortunately for you, I'm an editor of the site, this is my post, and I consider it my job to keep a high quality of discussion, including not having comments that could be misinterpreted as racist - and that one certainly raised my hackles. You're welcome to judge me negatively for being "politically correct", but it will be part of the rules of the road around here - if you don't like it, there are plenty of fora with different rules. Mostly the editors of this site have been able to use a very light and informal hand - which is wonderful - with only an occasional plea for self-control necessary.
Though I wouldn't call DS's post humourous, Stuart, I don't think it gratuitously offensive. To my mind he makes a very valid point: humans seem generally too prone to demonise scapegoats and attack them destructively, rather than confront and attack the real problems constructively.

Sadly we have seen this increasing in recent years and political leaders seem too inclined to foster it. Ignorance and bigotry are the wellspring of irrational prejudice and violence. Honesty and knowledge its antithesis, I would that our leaders fostered and displayed more of those but perhaps they claim a greater 'wisdom'?

More frivolously, perhaps, burning is a sore point. Be assured that, if the mass of humanity descends to this kind of silliness, fire will find fire. Those who worship Gods that allow or foster such evil will meet the same end.

You who build these altars now
to sacrifice these children,
you must not do it anymore.
A scheme is not a vision
and you never have been tempted
by a demon or a god.
You who stand above them now,
your hatchets blunt and bloody,
you were not there before,
when I lay upon a mountain
and my father's hand was trembling
with the beauty of the word.

And if you call me brother now,
forgive me if I inquire,
"Just according to whose plan?"
When it all comes down to dust
I will kill you if I must,
I will help you if I can.
When it all comes down to dust
I will help you if I must,
I will kill you if I can.
And mercy on our uniform,
man of peace or man of war,
the peacock spreads his deadly fan.

If he wants to make that point, he needs to do it in a way less prone to misinterpretation by one of the affected groups.
To my probably warped mind and sense of humour the implied meaning seemed obvious, though an accompanying wink would have helped ;)

I do hope they don't burn the (useful) books ;)

Hey, DS, have some sympathy for your audience(s) in future, OK?

No argument with your basis, but its expensive compared to what?  Having a little oil left?  Having No oil left?  I think the NP argument is that another power source is needed, regardless of the type or the expense, or the type of expense.  I don't think we're going to make it on hydro, wind, tidal and solar, alone or together.  Tides arn't everywhere, winds calm, clouds come, winter efficiencies, droughts, no water in a lot of the world.  No universal solutions.  Nuclear is less expensive than capturing hydrocarbons from Uranus and dragging them back.    
"hydrocarbons from Uranus" - Now there's a new power source idea!  And portable too!  Have you done the EROEI calculations yet?

Sorry, feeling a bit juvenile tonight! ;-)

Cool!  Gas quantity highly variable.  Sometimes produces extremely high condensates.
You gotta watch out for the high Sulphur content, though!  ;-)
I flare that.  Its the slugs that'r the most difficult to handle.
Did the IAEA "refer" or "report" Iran to the UN Security Council? There's a difference and I'm reading conflicting reports.
Been trying to figure that out too.  Can't expect journalist to bother getting the terminaology correct.  I THINK it's report, which I THINK is the less severe.

"A referral implies action," said a European official. "It implies a request for action by the Security Council. It also implies handing the matter over to the Council for action. A report does not imply those things."

source NYT - registration with the NWO required

OK, thanks, that's what my understanding was too.
More importantly does Iran know the difference, or care?
They were "reported" not "refered".  The final draft has 2 changes negotiated by the non-aligned nations.  The first was to point out that many of the Iranian positions at issue (exta inspections, suspension of enrichment) were voluntary and not required by the non-proliferation treaty.  The second was that they called for the Mid-East to be a nuclear weapons free zone.

Iran has now achieved the status quo they want, which is to resume their research and enrichment work while emphasizing that they are in compliance with the non-proliferation treaty.  The injection of Israel's weapons into the political equation is a small coup that may pay dividends in the next phase of this diplomatic dance.

I feel that the real prize at stake here is nothing less than control of the Persian Gulf region.  Iran believes that if they are attacked militarily, that they have the means to end US occupation of the region.  And that would be the precursor to them getting full value for their oil on the open market.  

Iran's large population has suffered through 30 years of artificially low prices due to Saudi Arabia acting in the US's interest, and they are aggresively working to put those days behind them.

With the US hemorhaging money and blood in Iraq, many of us can not fathom why the Bush regime would be so reckless as to want to attack Iran at this time.

Well, I think the answer is that such an attack is part and parcel of the REAL energy policy of the Bush regime, i.e., to militarily dominate the Middle East so as to have control over most of its oil.  By control over their oil, I do not mean that the US plans on stealing the oil outright, but rather wants to be able to dictate who gets how much, when, and at what price, particularly when the big squeeze comes.

Most rational people would agree that such a policy is recipe for disaster, but I am now convinced that the Bush regime has concluded that it is too late for alternative energy schemes to have anything but a marginal impact on improving our energy situation and that the only way the US is guaranteed a seat when the music stops in this game of global petroleum musical chairs is to take over the game itself. Should Iran eventually acquire a nuclear weapons capability, that strategy flies right out the window. Plus, the Bush regime will be out of office in less than three years.  I think those are some of the reasons for the sense of urgency regarding Iran.

Looks like a whole lot of bad things are starting to converge on March: a new Israeli government threatening Iran, the opening of the Iranian Oil Bourse, and possible UN sanctions against Iran surely to be followed by Iran's use of the oil weapon in response.  Don't be surprised to see a bogus Tonkin Gulf type incident to serve as the match that will light this whole mess up.

I don't think the Bush regime really cares if chaos ensues, because they feel that the pain (ours, not theirs) will be worth it in the long run as part of The  Grand Strategy. So, I personally give it a 50/50 chance that there will be armed conflict over Iran sometime this year.

The United States will no longer be buying oil from
the Middle East by 2025 alright... they'll be selling it.
or at the very least controlling it)
They probably figure they can take the Khuzestan region - that's where the oil is, and it's not all that big.  IIRC, it is also the area bordering Iraq.  This is what Iraq tried to do, but could not hold it.  If Iran were to lose the oil areas, they would would lose the "oil weapon".


Firstly, as has been pointed out in this thread, the IAEA reported Iran to the UN, which has little substantive impact. The next step will be El Baradei's report on March 6th, and until we hear what he has to say, there's not a lot of clarity regarding the possibility of referral to the UNSC. Judging by the voting analysis, the US-EU position is actually quite weak as far as getting a referral at present. At any rate, I suspect that it would take months to even get a sanctions proposal to the table at the UNSC and there are no guarantees that they would be adopted. Frankly, the US is one bad GoMex hurricane away from a serious energy dilemma; the trump card is really in Iranian hands, and I cannot see the US pulling any rabbits in IRAQ.

The Israeli elections are at the end of March and are likely to result in a weak government with one hell of a local problem on its hands. Given that Iran is objectively not even remotely close to being able to produce HEU, let alone credibly weaponise it, there is little advantage for the Israelis in attempting military action in the short term - even if it could ( and I have serious doubts on that score as they have no airspace corridor, as Israeli policy with regards to Iran has been to threaten and then get the US to do the military bit ).

Well, Israel DOES have an airpace corridor for an attack on Iran: it's called US-controlled Iraq.

Do you think for a single moment that if Israel does launch an air attack on Iraq, the US will try to physically prevent their plans from flying across Iraq?  Can you just picture the Bush regime ordering an American fighter to shoot down an Israeli attack plane on its way to Iran?  Come to think of it, given the enormous power of the pro-Israel lobby in the US, doing so would probably be the only way Bush would ever be impeached.

No, an Israeli air attack on Iraq would have at least the tacit approval of the US, if not outright  complicity.

Israel would not even try. I suspect.  Iran has an air defense.  It may be outdated, but it wouldn't take much to shoot down bomb-laden planes operating at the limit of their endurance.  You cannot take the risk of losing 30-40% of your air force.

If on the other hand you do what the U.S. does and spend a week taking out the air defenses first you have no losses, but you wouldn't exactly take the nuclear sites by surprise then.

Iran is in the process of installing the latest russian air defense missiles, probably operable by end march, the same date as the Israeli elections. Repeating what they did to Iraq 20 years ago would be wildly popular in Israel. Hard to see how they will be able to resist. I agree the US is not likely to shoot down made in US Israeli planes...
Most comments on this site are against a strike. They would have a different opinion if they lived in Israel.
But I don't live in Israel, and I see no compelling reason that I should care much about their opinions, other than that they can drag my nation into a war - a situation that I quite resent.  Israel is another country, whose actions are morally offensive to me, and I think their situation is very much a consequence of their own actions.  I believe a war with Iran will be disastrous for the world, for my country, and for my family.  I think it would be disastrous for Israel too, but that's not very high on my list of concerns.

I'll admit that from one moment to the next, it's hard to tell which country is manipulating the other.

BBC story from a couple of years ago:

Israel has signed a contract to receive 52 F-16I fighter-bombers from the US firm Lockheed Martin having bought 50 of the aircraft last year.
The deal comes as an amendment to the original January 2000 deal, which gave Israel the option to purchase more of the planes.

Israel's sixth acquisition of F-16s demonstrates their continued confidence in the F-16I to satisfy their future defence needs

The funding for the $2 billion contract will come from the US military aid budget, which awards that amount to Israel on an annual basis.

Correspondents say the F-16I is considered one of the most advanced fighter-bombers in the world and has been equipped with advanced fuel tanks that extend its range.

(So I guess the U.S. actually "gave" Israel its long-range bombers.)

Israel will only send its bombers after a green light from the U.S., as it did against Iraq to wipe out its nuclear program many years ago. Because Israel's air force depends on U.S. sources for spare parts, it is limited in its missions to those the U.S. (tacitly, maybe with wink and nod combined with public denial) approves.

To take out Iran's nuclear program would now require more than two hundred missions, which would take the Israeli's a few days to carry out. Their countermeasures to Iranian defenses are such that it is unlikely that a single Israeli pilot would be lost.

Iran, of course, has no air force worthy of the name.

Sorry, got to disagree.  This has been wargamed and there's no way for the U.S., let alone Israel, to easily take out their facilities without using nukes.  Here's an ex-military guy's take:

Pat Lang

I have to agree.  Airstrikes would at most delay them.  One thing we've found after Gulf War I & II: airstrikes aren't nearly as effective as we used to think.  

However, I don't expect that will stop Israel.  Even if they know the attack won't work, they may do it anyway.  If the U.S. is mulling an Iran attack, it's to prevent Israel from doing it instead.  

I don't think Bush wants to open up another front, though.  Iraq is a mess now.  If we (or Israel) bomb Iran, it will be much, much worse.

Compare with the situation near the end of World War II where British and American bombing strategy pretty well shut down 80% plus of German industry by strategically taking out only a few sectors such as oil, rubber and ball bearings. All the Israelis have to do is to take out comparable bottlenecks in Iran. They have the capability to do so, with minimal or no losses. The Iranian antiaircraft defenses are comparable to what Saddam had. And how many U.S. planes were shot down by all those SAMs Saddam fired off????
The Iranian air defense system is a TAD bit better than what the USAF encountered during the Gulf War, Vol II.

The Iranians have not been under 12 years of sanctions and purchased some very sophisticated technology.  They recently bought the SA-10, a very nasty system (if you are a pilot)

They also bought some SA-15, very good against low flying aircraft ter=1

Plus, stealth is not necessarly a silver bullet defense.  One just has to be smart.  Remember, the Serbians shot down a F-117.

Yeah, Serbs are quite handy with a their World War II vintange weapons. Vietnamese shot down a number of U.S. helicopters using crossbows--very clever. But:
Technology is only as good as the training of those who use it. Russians know how to use their missle systems, but they also know how to export second quality stuff and how to "inadvertantly" leave out certain elements in the training package they sell to those who buy their weapons. The Russians are no fools and have no incentive to strengthen a potentially troublesome neighbor.
It's true the Russians were famous for exporting the 'Seconds' of their design bureaus.  Probably more importantly, they exported their operational doctrine, which relied heavily on Mass attack.

Some things to ponder though:

  1. The Free Market has a way of encouraging one to put the better stuff forward.  The Iranians just spent a cool 1.5 Billion (with a 'B' folks) on 29 SA-15 systems.  

  2. During the Yom Kippur war, the Egyptian forces crossed the canal and seized the Bar Lev line and waited for the Israeli counter-attack with a WHOLE bunch of brand new Soviet AT-3 Saggar anti-tank missiles.  Ruined a lot of Israeli tanker's day.

3) Finally, something to always remember: The attacking aircraft has to succeed against every SAM, the defender only has get lucky once.

If Russians are manning the SAMs, then they are a serious threat. If Iranians are manning them, well, let me put it this way: Saddam's General in charge of air defense had all the billions of dollars he wanted to buy the best weapons his heart desired from the tens of billions Saddam stole from the Oil for Food program, and also from other sources. (The arms embargo was a joke.) Knowing his life was on the line, he assured Saddam that any U.S. air attack would suffer massive and unacceptable losses. The late general found that it is not easy to shoot down top-of-the-line U.S. planes. And note that the Iraqis have had far more real-world experience in trying to shoot down airplanes than have the Iranians.
Don, the war is still on.
Only works if the general local population happens to agree that they were defeated and capitulates with the central government.  If you have to occupy a territory while the inhabitants subject you to ceasless and continuous guerilla actions for the next 10, 20 ,30 years, you gotta' bit of a problem on your hands, wouldn't you say?  Or are you gonna' put 5 MM Rambo guys in there?  On the average USA:X conventional weapon kill ratio, I figure that's about how many you'll be needin'.  I know from personal experience its pretty damned hard to export any more than about 100K BBLS/WEEK on a 500 mile long 500,000 BBL/DAY pipeline when its subject to continuous guerilla actions, even if you have gunships and a Rambo base every 50 miles.  I won't be workin' that meter station. Good luck.
No, that was the Russian army taking Ploesti. We did not shut down oil, electricity, or railroads in Germany during World War II. We should have, but didn't. We wanted to do area bombing of urban housing. We did.
The funny thing was, it was the rural areas that voted Nazi. The cities voted socialist.
That isn't quite right. The RAF night bombed with the avowed intention (by "Bomber Harris") of "dehousing" the Germans so as to break their morale. The U.S. "precision" bombed by daylight but usually missed their targets by plenty. The bombers that were most effective were planes such as P-47s and British Hurricanes armed for ground attack: They took out a helluva lot of locomotives and other infrastructure.

Note also the great success of the fire bombing of Dresden. It was a major rail center, and though some tens of thousands of civilians were incinerated, it became useless for both industry and transportation after the fire storm. Goebbels propaganda about no war industry there was, of course, pure Goebbels.

Sorry to report that the Israelis produce many (if not all) of their own spare parts for their US-designed aircraft. They have their own manufacturing drawings, their own tooling, and their own local parts production subcontractors, as well.
In my line of work I have personally seen Israeli-made F-15, C-130, and H-53 parts, and they are identical to US manufacture.  I feel confident that the F-16 is not an exception to this practice.
You are entirely correct with regard to mechanical aircraft parts. My sources claim that for electronics (exceedingly complicated) Israel is still dependent on the U.S. Ironically, I've heard that the Israelis are way better than the U.S personnel at maintaining these electronics, and that we have sent some chief petty officers over there to figure out how it is they can keep a much higher percentage of their planes in the air than the U.S. does.

Little known fact: At times as much as two thirds of the U.S.'s most sophistcated aircraft have been on the ground because we lacked the personnel to maintain them. The situation is not that bad now, but so long as Air Force mechanics are underpaid, the best ones are going to leave as soon as they can and sell motorcycles to yuppies or do something else as a civilian, even if they cannot work a grease monkeys for the Air Force.

Maintaining the mechanical aspects of modern aircraft is hard, but the electronics are a real bitch.

Probably the US would let them pass, if they were known to be armed with conventional weapons, as they would have had prior permission.  Maybe the US would knock them down, if they were  found to be armed with tacticle nukes.  I will venture to say that, if an Israeli F/B  crashes anytime soon in Israel, or "strays" into Iraqi airspace and returns to Israel, or "collides" with a drone over Iraq, or "crashes" in Iraq "in a sudden sandstorm" ... I'd take it as a sign to fill the tanks, pull up my shorts and start heading out to the bunker.
I think you underestimate the actual complications inherent in the Israeli bombing scenario. I think we can take it for granted that neither Turkey nor Saudi Arabia will permit the use of their airspace for what would be a war crime under all standard international legal definitions, and for an action that is, on balance, contrary to their own sovereign interests. For the Saudis, who have relations with Iran, but not Israel, they would suffer a crisis of internal legitimacy if they did not use their copious military resources to counter hostile penetration of their airspace ( and how would they know that they weren't the targets anyway? ). Whilst Turkey has diplomatic relations with both countries, there is a balance of interests in play that makes Israeli use of airspace impossible ( there is also the issue of whether Turkey would invoke mutual self-defence clauses in the Nato treaty over this.)

The same would go for Iraq - and it needs to be borne in mind that whilst Iraq has formal, normalised diplomatic and bilateral relations with Iran, it does not recognise Israel - and is unlikely to do so at any point in the medium term.

Now, if the US were to tacitly allow Israel the use of "sovereign" Iraqi airspace then it would be complicit in this. It would also be in breach of its existing UN mandate in Iraq - which makes it responsible for border security; and there is no way in hell that permitting a third party to transit Iraqi airspace, in express defiance of sovereign Iraqi wishes, is going to happen.

Now, I don't know what the exact ramifications of this would be, but I suspect that US permission/complicity would make it party to the act and consequently all US military targets in Iraq and the Gulf region would be fair game for Iranian retaliation. US casualties would be in the thousands within a week, and the position of 130,000 US military personnel in Iraq would be rapidly imperilled. Not good politics in an election year.

Nothing saying that the US couldn't lose a few intercepters at a critical time in the "engagement".  Heck, somebody could push a button on one of those Patriot IIs at just the wrong moment.  Ask the Brits about returning Tornados back to Kuwait.  Accidents do seem to have a special affinity for war zones.
You may be right, joule. Additionally, March is a peculiar witching month: Israel puts March as its Iran deadline, in March the Fed is removing M3 from its reports, and in March the Iranian bourse starts.  Not sure it these three things connect or not.

Such an idiotic dance.  And coming into play, if people will wait a bit, is the technology to detect plutonium.

the opening of the Iranian Oil Bourse

Ding! Ding! Ding! We have a winnah!

Now. Finally. Someone mentions the real reason for the BushCo shennaigans with Iran.

You'll note that Iraq followed the PetroEuro route as well...

Will Iran's 'petroeuro' threat lead to war?

If the Iranians persist in creating a market mechanism to settle world oil transactions in the euro, the United States will attack just to preserve the oil market for the dollar.

Today, about 70 percent of the world's international foreign currency reserves are held in dollars. If the petroeuro begins to challenge the petrodollar, this percentage could diminish drastically.

The United States depends on the dollar foreign-currency reserves in order to sell the Treasury debt that sustains budget deficits. What if foreign-exchange portfolios from oil sales fell to 60 percent being held in dollars - would that cause a crisis in the U.S. economy? Or would it take 55 percent? Most Americans are completely unaware of this threat Iran represents to the U.S. economy.

The Iranians, however, are fully aware of what they are threatening, and so are top economic experts within the administration.

How close is Iran to opening the Iranian Oil Bourse? The Iranian Oil Bourse is scheduled to be opened in March. Curiously, that is the same month Israel has quietly set as a deadline for a diplomatic resolution of the Iranian nuclear crisis.

Last year, President Bush was ready to concede to his liberal Democratic Party critics, allowing the EU-3 and the IAEA to lead the negotiations with Iran. Our guess is that if Iran does open an oil bourse as planned in March, Bush will take the gloves off.

The Bush administration might play with a nuclear Iran, comfortable with intelligence estimates that Iran needs much more time to produce a bomb. Maybe Iran should look more closely at the lesson of Saddam Hussein. We didn't find the WMDs our faulty intelligence claimed were in Iraq, but Hussein was trading in pertoeuros, with the full blessing of the U.N.

If Iran does open an oil bourse next month, we should expect the warplanes will soon thereafter begin to fly.

Well. Here is a new twist on the Iranian Oil Bore: Jerome Corsi. Very entertaining.
In reply to all the above posts since this one's parent...

Joule is probably close to right.

On mechanics: I doubt Jordan would dare or be able to prevent Israeli jets using their airspace; yes, it would have to be with US complicity so Iraqi airspace is not a material problem. They could also risk overflying Syria (rather than Jordan) as a deliberately provocative act - after all, once this cat's outta the bag the game is changed big time so maybe a conflict with Syria is seen as 'constructive'.

Personally I don't think an attack on Iran will come in March before the Israeli election (on 28th). Ehud Olmert doesn't feel, to me, to be the person who would take this route. However, it is possible that he may be pressurised sufficiently by the US and placed in an impossible position.

Ultimately the result of the Israeli election may be determined by fear: do Israelis fear the arab world more than Bibi (Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of Likud) and what he might do? Fortunately it seems that Bibi is the greater fear of most Israelis so far, but with 50 days to go that could change. Olmert has a delicate dance to perform with Hamas over the next 50 days and Hamas is not making that easy:

If Bibi wins I say the odds strongly favour an attack on Iran and / or Syria within a year. If Olmert wins (and forms a coalition with Labour or minority govt with Labour support) such attacks are only likely due to US blackmail.

What I say next may be unpalatable for some. USA has not gone to war with a foe of strength comparable with Iran since WWII. Casualties may be on a scale similar to the peaks of the Vietnam war. I find it almost incomprehensible that such a war would be accepted supinely by the US populace, media manipulation notwithstanding, for such flimsy purpose. If it happens, civil unrest, possibly civil war, probably the end of most personal freedoms, perhaps a neofascist regime, may be close for the USA.

That's an interesting idea. Time traveller John Titor said there would be a civil war in the US in 2008...  :-)


LOL, I'd forgotten that. I did research JT about 2 years back and decided he had a 98%-ish probability of being fraud. But his (very probably fictional) observations on how things might develop were interesting. I would say that the US is a more fragile entity than most realise.

What the US fears the most is not that a nuclear armed Iran might hand a nuclear weapon to a terrorist organization but that a potentially nuclear armed Iran would be secure from American influence.  This is a not a pressing problem for the Americans, since everyone admits that Iran is a decade at least away from the bomb but it would be so much easier to handle it militarily now than in a years time when all the Iran facilities are in deep bunkers.  

In a decade if everyone has to presume that Iran has the bomb, whether they do are not, the geopolitics of the Persian gulf will be much harder for the Americans to handle.

Bingo.  I call the situation you describe the North Korea Syndrome.
Looks like one of those late Friday afternoon/early Saturday deals to prevent wide-spread frenzy in the markets. And we were down to $65/barrel. Could be this year's low.

I don't share some of the opinions expressed above that it's time to panic yet. If this is a report and not a referral, this brouhaha could go on for months without anything happening at all. The UN is not exactly known for the speed of their deliberations and taking quick decisive action. Iran will not carry out its threat to cut off exports knowing that it can play the "China (or Russia) card".

As far as the US invasion of Iraq goes, intelligent observers already know who the winner of that fight is--in a unanimous decision by all three judges, the winner is Iran.

NB:  Cuba, Syria and Venezuela voted against the resolution.  Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya and South Africa abstained.
And at the recent OPEC meeting, only Hugo and Iran voted to reduce production. Strange bedfellows? ... or maybe not.
They share their view of the US. Meanwhile, they didn't vote to reduce their own output, something they can do at any time (and which Hugo is already heroically doing.)
And Venezuela's heavy doesn't count towards the OPEC quota anyway, right?
Thank you Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro,... (Carajo! Que cajones!) and Bashar al-Assad for voicing some badly needed sanity.  Don't let them get you down.
Thank you Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Bashar al-Assad.

Carajo! Que cajones!

Yeah, let's talk about the Danish embassy in Damascus. Surely, you jest. You are coming as dangerously close to a pro-Arab stance as you can get.
I am pro-Arab, pro-Latino, pro-African, pro-Swiss, pro-Canadian and pro-anyone else who can manage to MY(Their)OB.
New writes of nations minding their own business.

If I remember correctly that was the stance of most of Europe while Hitler expanded his "living space."

Nations that mind their own business aren't meeting the needs of their citizens.


Sorry, it was GetsIt, not New.
Then those that do are?

And what a long and varied needs list it is.

   US Citizens Needs List
1847    Mexico New Mexico Arizona Calif.  War with Mexico
1898    Cuba Puerto Rico  War with Spain
1949    Syria     Elected government against USA political interests and pro-Palestinian.
1949    Greece     Elected government against USA political and economic interests.
1950    Korea   War against communism (still not over)
1952    Cuba     Elected government against USA business interests.
1953    Iran     Elected government against USA oil interests.
1953    British Guyana     Access to sugar and bauxite.
1954    Guatemala     Elected government against USA business interests.
1955    South Vietnam     French backed leader replaced by USA backed leader.
1957    Haiti     Previous government against USA business interests.
1958    Laos     Pro-USA government wanted.
1959    Laos     Pro-USA government wanted.
1960    South Korea     Previous leader not strong enough for USA.
1960    Laos     Pro-USA government wanted.
1960    Ecuador     Previous government too independent in foreign policy.
1961    Viet Nam
1961    Cuba    Bay of Pigs
1963    Dominican Republic     Elected government against USA business interests.
1963    South Vietnam     Previous leader's policies led to televised suicides.
1963    Honduras     Pro-USA government and access to resources.
1963    Guatemala     Military government was about to allow elections.
1963    Ecuador     Elected government too independent.
1964    Brazil     Access to resources and cheap labour.
1964    Bolivia     Previous government too independent in foreign policy.
1965    Zaire     Access to cobalt, copper and diamonds.
1966    Ghana     Previous government too independent in foreign policy.
1967    Greece     Military bases.
1970    Cambodia     Previous king against USA political interests.
1970    Bolivia     Country took ownership of its oil and tin.
1972    El Salvador     Elected leader against USA business interests.
1973    Chile     Elected government against USA business interests.
1975    Australia     Elected government had unsuitable foreign policy.
1979    South Korea     Pro-USA government wanted.
1980    Liberia     Pro-USA government wanted.
1980    Iraq            support of Saddam Hussin
1982    Chad     Pro-USA government wanted.
1983    Grenada     Pro-USA government wanted.
1987    Afganistan      bin Ladin support
1987    Fiji     Previous elected government supported nuclear-free Pacific.
2002    Venezuela     Disagreed with foreign policy of elected government.
2003    Second Iraq War
2004    Haiti     Disagreed with economic policy of elected government.

Guess you think all of these are OK then?

USA's installation of the Shaw of Iran is the direct precedent of the problems with Iran today.

Nothing wrong with being pro-Arab, as long as they are not the wrong Arabs. I avoided comment on Hugo Chavez, and (somehow) Fidel Castro. But Assad?

Once again Gets IT, you astound. Who else is on your list of idols? Osama Bin Laden? Hitler? No really. If it isn't apparent already, you are blinded by your hatred of the United States and everything it does.

Did you somehow miss Syria's(Assad's) car-bomb murder of Hariri in Lebanon last year? Or did you not mention it because you support it? I suppose Syria has been minding its own business in the Mideast for the last 50 years.
What was its justification for the 1973 Yom Kippur invasion of Israel. I'm sure you have some simple explanation.

Goals of the Yom Kippur War: Syrian recapture of water resources -- West Bank (Trans-Jordan), and Jebel Jolan (Golan).  For Egypt, negotiated return of the Sinai.
Israeli victory was a result of its more effective decentralized military command structure vs Egyptian-Syrian Soviet modelled centralized commands.  However Egypy did get the Sinai back.
I was trying to keep this from getting personal, but.. its getting difficult.  

I did feel some remorse at being forced to congradulate Assad, but I did so only on his one vote on that particular issue, and I did so without regard to anything else.  Neither am I a particular fan of Castro or Chavez, but I do respect them for staying in the fight and believing in whatever it is they believe in and fighting at all costs and odds to succeed.  I in no way justified any of Assad's actions in any situation other than in reference to that one particular vote and I certainly don't idolize OBL or Hitler and can't understand why you feel justified in trying to associate me those two.  Is this some kind of a Neocon trick?  Who do you think you are trying to tell me what I think from things I didn't even say?

As I said many times, I do not hate the US.  I am greatly disappointed in the US, because they easily forget every last one of their own principles of liberty and freedom whenever it suits their purposes, but I don't hate them for it, but I definately do not respect them for it.  My father taught me that when I believe in something, I should stand up for it.  Besides, that would be like hating a lion for killing a zebra?  They do what they do.  

I have no problems if the USA wants to do anything they want to inside its line in the sand, including disregarding their own constitution if it suits their purpose in the name of fighting terrorism, but I don't see why the USA should be the one deciding who needs democracy and who doesn't, unless of course the puppet democracy has oil.  That I understand a lot better then fake WMDs lies, even after Scott Ridder told everbody years in advance WMDs didn't exist in Iraq.  He was there, Pipsqueek wasn't.  I simply believe that USA "democracy" <I use that term loosly of late> should not be imposed on anybody any more than slavery should.  Want me to mention the UK?  OK. Consider it mentioned.  Feel better?  Now, do I hate the UK?  You tell me.  

I agree Cuba is a mess, but I see they're still only 90 miles away from the US and you still can't fight them or be friends with them.  You got no idea on how to "handle" them.  Boycotts and embargos only work on countries that buy things.  If you <collectively> don't understand that, how in hell can you expect to understand what's going on Iraq 8,000 miles away?  Why don't you give Cuba democracy?

To return to my actual comment, I merely congradulated those mentioned for their vote, irregardless of their motives, which I also understand could be highly questionable and suspect if viewed from certain perspectives.  I also believe that if personal or organizational principles require OBL or Hamaas, or Hezbollah, or me to resist what they/we see as US agression and imperialism with an ultimate goal of world oil domination or whatever, they/we/I need to do something about it, just as George Washington did against George III.  And as it just so happens MY great-great-great grandfather was a general in the <revolutionary> "Continental Army", so maybe it is in my genes.  Really you need to get out more and learn that a lot of the world sees these "terrorist" organizations and their various figureheads as ligit freedom fighters, whether you, me or Pipsqueek sees it otherwise doesn't matter except to you, me and the Pipsqueek.  Its simply a matter of perspective.  

Now by me not mentioning anything, how can you possibly draw the conclusion that I support whatever it is that I don't mention?  I find that absolutely and totally baffeling, even coming from you, but recognize it is a trait of the self-rightous.  I would advise you to just stick to connecting the dots that I and others put there for you and  you'll likely draw much better pictures of what's going on around you.  Whether you'll understand the pictures or not, I can't say, but maybe you'll be able to see things from a more unbiased perspective for a change.  At least things might not be so black and white to you.  I learn most things  when I keep my eyes and my mind open.  

You said:

Now by me not mentioning anything, how can you possibly draw the conclusion that I support whatever it is that I don't mention?

I don't. I only respond to what you say, nothing more or less. I don't make stuff up.

In your previous paragraph you said this:

I also believe that if personal or organizational principles require OBL or Hamaas, or Hezbollah, or me to resist what they/we see as US agression and imperialism with an ultimate goal of world oil domination or whatever, they/we/I need to do something about it,..

I gave you the chance to defend yourself and you replied by supporting three known terrorist organizations.

In the past you have claimed that Israel has in the past attacked Iran, and then when several people including myself pointed out that distortion, you claimed that Israel attacking Iraq was the same thing.

For you everything is black and white. You are anti-anything American and pro-everything anti-American.

Your constant listing of all of America's mistakes while completely omitting any successes highlights this. Match this with your positive comments about some of the most vile characters and actions on the world stage.

I was unsure of where your sympathies lay before I made my first comment. Now I feel more justified.

You have every right to express your opinions here. I just want to try to provide some balance. I want to make sure people know where you are coming from and that your views are based on a shaky understanding of all the "facts." You cherry-pick, I don't.

I will debate any country, any issue, anytime with you. But please, one at a time. I'm not going to succumb to your fire-hose approach. You want to talk about embargos, you want to talk about freedom, war, oil, Arabs, Hugo Chavez, Scott Ritter? - Fine just make up your mind.

From where I come from, WMD's have very little to do with America's Cuba policy. You can't just throw all this crap together and say, "See, America sucks." Especially when you can't for the life of you find one positive thing to say about the United States.

What is wrong with pro-Arab?  Some might call a pro-Arab stance moral.  
Not all Arabs are muslim, not all muslims are Arab.  Arab/Arabic is a language and not a nationality, not a religion.
Excellent point. Relatively few Arabs cause almost all of the negative stereotypes of Arab culture, and relatively few Muslims incite or commit the actions that contribute to the negative stereotypes so many westerners have of Islam. I wish more people would seriously study history and comparative religion. Mahomet was a moderate, a rug merchant for heaven's sake, a pragmatist with his head screwed on right who had a great many good ideas. Islam and the Arabs had their centuries of greatest glory and power when they were most tolerant, and there was a spirit of friendship and cooperation among people of different faiths seldom seen in history during the glorious days of Arab domination of Spain, for example. There is ABSOLUTELY NOTHING in Islam that mandates or even suggests extremism or terrorism. Mahomet was not a bloody minded man at all. I love the (apparently true) story of how he came to change Islamic law on adultery. He forbade adultery and then people began stoning adulterers (almost all women, BTW). Mahomet then had a divinely inspired dream (and I challenge anyone to prove it was not divinely inspired) in which of course adultery still had to be punished by stoning to death--but four independent eyewitnesses had to testify in court to the fact of the adultery.

Any religious faith can be perverted, and the atrocities committed in the name of Christianity during the Crusades and the Thirty Years War and in Ireland (to mention only three instances) are at least as big and as bad as any atrocities committed in the name of Islam. If memory serves, Vlad the Impaler was a great defender of Christian Wallachia.

"Any religious faith can be perverted" - true, but the monotheist ones seem more prone to it than the others. Perhaps that needs investigation?

Concisely: the concept of a purpose to this universe is innate to nearly all human religions. Monotheists personalise this onto a 'God', then they construct that God in their desired image, then construct a whole mythology around it, then use it to indoctrinate, abuse and control the fools that will listen, then (in extremis) sacridify (apologies to GW, I do know the correct word, it's sanct...) various objects and personages like prophets, sons of, bones of, but not graven images of - I hope ;)

If you have been offended by my words above then I am sorry for you, you need help. I may be able to assist, usual fees apply. But, seriously, if you are a monotheist (Muslims and Christians are examples of this) who feels an urge to bomb or hurt someone because your religion has been slighted then you are ill. You need to talk with someone who can help you, and fast. I will waive all fees for an initial 30 minute consultation, what are you waiting for?

Back to the subject, sorry. I agree that much of Islam is peaceful but there are bits of the Qu'ran that may be interpreted otherwise by those who choose so, besides I saw nothing in the Bible that mandated the crusades or the inquisition, perhaps it was different before good king James (sixth of Scotland, first of England), LOL.

The ultimate truth of all known human monotheist religions is to control, manipulate and sustain themselves from the fools they can delude.

There, I have said it now, and feel better for it. Hear it, for it is the real truth.

On second thoughts, perhaps we should burn all the damned monotheists ;)

I think you have committed the fallacy of questionable cause. Yes, there is a correlation between monotheistic societies and mass attrocities, but there is a plausible explanation for theis fact that has nothing to do with the propensity of a certain set of religious beliefs to bring out the worst in people.

If you look at primitive hunting and gathering societies, none of them are monotheistic. All of them (and there is huge variety) have some variation on the theme of animism. For a hunting and gathering society, such religious beliefs perform the essential functions of giving meaning and purpose to life, and they help with answering life's great questions and dealing with life's uncertainty and tragedy.

Monotheism develops in agricultural societies, such as Egypt's Iknahton's one god, or herding societies such as the Hebrews in the time of Abraham and Moses. These societies are bigger and more powerful and have more economic surplus than do hunting and gathering societies. With economic surplus you can have large-scale slavery, social stratification, a warrior class and standing armies. Thus the power to do evil (or good, for that matter) is far, far greater in more advanced societies than it is in primitive pre-monotheistic societies. Note that in hunting and gathering societies--in which all humans lived until quite recently in terms of human evolution--many nasty things never can develop. For example, women have a great deal of freedom in hunting and gathering societies because they generally contribute more to the economy (by gathering food) than do men with their hunting. (Also, spouse abuse is practically unknown in primitive societies, in large part because an abused woman can always go back to her kinfolk if the marriage does not work out.)

Thus the evils societies do have much to do with their power and complexity and technology, but I question the causal linkage between monotheism and what you suggest monothesim causes or tends to cause.

Yes and no. I think you, to some extent, defeat your own argument by comparing with more primitive societies. My thesis was that monotheist dominated societies do evil due to their monotheist streak and its usurption for control purposes by the ruling elite / class.

What purpose has religion except to try to give meaning to life? The successful monotheisms have gone far beyond that to encourage their followers to out-breed, convert, dominate and conquer other religions.

I think there is sound argument for a causal link, and that the monotheists have a difficult task to refute it. Your argument merely states that developed societies have more power and are monotheist.

To make a plausible case for causation, you will have to use the methods developed by the economist and logician John Stuart Mill. They are generally known in the field of logic as Mill's Methods or by a similar label. Until you have shown me using these or similarly recognized logical techniques, I will have to take your case for causation as mere assertion and unsupported.

It is exceedingly difficult to escape the "correlation equals causation" fallacy, and in my opinion you have not even begun to do so.

Good luck.

You may be right, but show me.

Thank you.  I never thought I would have to say thank you for having that opinion.  The deck must be stacked.
I have news: The deck is stacked. There is an enormous amount of concealed antisemitism in the world, and BTW, Arabs are semites. Disraeli said it best: "What is an Arab but a Jew on horseback?"

Eventually their Arab neighbors and the Israelis will realize that either they prosper and flourish together in friendship and piece--or they will all go down the tubes. Progressive elements in all the relevant societies figured this out decades ago, but the extremists on all sides have great wrecking power.

Don, thanks for that quotation.  I wholely agree.  I lived in Saudi Arabia and the mideast area for a total of 13 years.  For me the difference is pretty close to the difference between Swedes and Norwegians; One has oil, the other not. (No offense to either, please. I'm well aware of the differences.   I worked for a Swedish company for 9 years and I have traveled extensively in Norway from Stavanger to Kirkenes.)
The term "pro-Arab" seems so broad as to be meaningless. As you noted Arabs come from a wide range of countries and can have different religions, goals and identities. Some Arabs are against other Arabs. I suppose I am pro-Arab as well, but then again, I suppose I'm pro-everybody.

Does pro-Arab mean anything? Is it a proxy term for anti-US? If so, it is misused.

Pro-arab does not mean anti-USA.  However, we tend to see it in the Western press as the antithesis of Pro-Israeli (meaning pro-Jewish Israeli incontrast to pro-Arab Israeli).
I agree that it is for the most part a meaningless term.
We're helping India develop nuclear energy, even though they have nuclear weapons and have not signed the Non-Proliferation Treaty.  Iran has signed the NPT, but not only are we not helping them, we're threatening war to stop them.
This is more good evidence that the Iran nuclear threat is only pretense. Nice catch.
Matters are just a bit different between the two.  Iran isn't stuck between two nuclear-armed enemies which are both trying to pry territory away from it, and no leader of India has sworn to destroy another sovereign nation.
I beleive you only consider yesterday and today's date.  Hit "Fast forward >>" please.
North Korea admits to having nuclear weapons, has threatened to use them against others, and is led by a madman. Yet I see no great crusade against them ongoing.

Must be the lack of oil.

The critical difference is that nk already has them, too bad, but Iran doesn't (yet).
While we have debated whether the Iran Oil Bourse is a real threat to the US economy, some US senators seem to think that trading West Texas crude in London is a threat to the US:

A plan by Atlanta-based IntercontinentalExchange (ICE) to list West Texas crude futures in London could give foreign traders too much sway over U.S. energy prices and leave U.S. regulators powerless to intervene, a U.S. senator and rival exchange warned. 2Z_01_N30589530_RTRIDST_0_FINANCIAL-ICE-ENERGY.XML

Meanwhile, Rummy says he wants diplomacy:  (remember when they said the same re: Iraq)

Rumsfeld told an international security conference that the United States stands "with the Iranian people, the women, the young people, who want a peaceful, democratic future," and he accused Tehran of sponsoring terrorism.

"The Iranian regime is today the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism," he said. "The world does not want, and must work together to avoid, a nuclear Iran."

Despite Rumsfeld's call for diplomacy, McCain said military action could not be ruled out if diplomatic efforts fail to stop Iran from developing a nuclear bomb.

"Every option must remain on the table," McCain told the security conference after Rumsfeld spoke. "There's only one thing worse than military action, that is a nuclear-armed Iran.";_ylt=Am8UPyuHsYWVPoN.EHmZs3Gs 0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3b3JuZGZhBHNlYwM3MjE-

- and I thought that McCain was the sane senate-critter?

Hmmm, in another delicious irony, Cuba is drilling for oil, and the US will have to abstain from using this oil (if found), "less than 60 miles off the coast of Florida".  All the US can do is pressure a Sheraton in Mexico to not host a Cuban energy delegation...;_ylt=AhORgpvJg6Jym__guitujAqs 0NUE;_ylu=X3oDMTA3bGI2aDNqBHNlYwM3NDk-

Welcome to the New World Disorder.

Question to the oil experts here: what's the chance the Cubans will actually find significant oil?

There is no more significant oil.

Except in direct relationship to our desperation to keep a wack economic paradigm rolling no matter how completely STUPID and counterproductive it may be.

Twenty years ago Israel bombed the Russian built-Iraqi reactor. Do you consider this to have been a sane, or insane action? What do you think the collective view of the US senate would be, if polled today?  Of the US voting population?  What do you think the average Israeli' view is today, when they reminesce about the event?

If you were an Israeli politician, would you campaign on the platform of no action against the Iranian nuclear facilities? If you were an Israeli voter, would you vote for such a politician?

In the event an action is taken, Iran will withhold some oil for a time. The price will spike, oil companies will make more money, the average person will conserve more than otherwise. Of course oil companies will be (quietly) happy, but why would TOD readers be unhappy? Don't we all welcome high prices, and the resulting reduced consumption?

The caretaker Israeli government would be reelected with a large majority, so they would be happy. (Unalected) rulers of surrounding arab countries don't want the Persians to get the bomb, so they would be (quietly) happy.  Putin would be happy because Iran will want more and better air defense systems - and, it seems, he doesn't really want Iran to have the bomb.  Even the (unelected) Iranian mullahs would be happy - finally a policy that brings support and strengthens their hold on power. The US population would be (mostly, and, on the talk shows, loudly, but by the bushies, quitly) happy. It is hard to imagine a single action that would make more people happy than this one. Very hard to imagine it not happening.

Buy some oil stocks.  Be happy.

Osirak was French built:

The western media is having success in its program to produce a conditioned anti-Russian reflex in the trusting western public.

Are you being ironic or maybe even sarcastic? Its hard to tell.
I'm reading a bit of both in there, but I think there's truth in the kind of calculations going through the heads of those running the show on all sides.  This is why I think it will happen.  But I would also add a desire to separate Iran from their oil, though I think this would fail, and it's hard to see how it could happen while maintianing the infrastructure in working order.

To the first point, I do think the earlier attack on Osirak was insane.

Its stampeed mentality herd response to Peaksqueek's consistant paranoid rettoric.  Apparently nobody's immune at this point.  How ccould he possibly resist and expect to get reelected.
This is unquestionably a significant event.  Things could go in one of several directions.  Personally, I hope that Ahmadinejad is too radical even for the Mullahs who have ultimate say over there.  Will Russia and/or China veto any UNSC resolution which the U.S. and its allies might push?  Stay tuned.  We certainly are living in interesting times, wouldn't you say?  By the way, this is my initial posting, and I want to say to the editors that I very much enjoy and appreciate the intelligent discourse on what is the paramount issue of our time - peak oil.
Ahmy is the mullah's mouthpiece. They see themselves in a can't lose position - if not bombed, they get the bomb, and if bombed, they strengthen their grip on power.

Israel does not feel bound by either the UN's timetable or veto. They follow their own clock, their end-march elction, and the coming installation of the Russian supplied high-tech air defense system, apparently operable around end-march. The US will not stand in Israel's way, having already adequately supplied them with bunker busting bombs. The main question is whether the US will, or will not, soften up the air defenses with cruise missiles. It would of course be prudent to remove any missiles near Hormuz...

I don't agree that the US will not stand in Israel's way.  Despite a strong Israeli lobby in Washington, they are just not going to conduct bombing raids on a whim without very specific US permission and direction.

They may get that permission, but since the US will be blamed by Moslem countries for supporting Israel anyway, it would seem to be more practical for the US to conduct its own military operations if decided upon.  

An actual military invasion of Iran this point, beyond being totally unjustified would be totally impractical.  There just isn't enough military force available to subvert three ME countries at once.  

The wild card in all this is OBL.  Another terrorist strike in the US, and most Americans will probably be willing to lash out at any country that might support terrorism - and also accept a military draft.

Predictions of $100 oil will look optimistically low should any military action come to pass.

Which US are you talking about, the one run by Hilary or the one run by George II? You're forgetting which countries are in the axis of evil, and who put them there.  NK is too tough, they already have nukes and meanwhile they are too close to Soeul. Saddam was apparently not about to have nukes, but there is no doubt about Iran intending to enrich uranium.

Many talk about the problem of occupying Iran - in this case, action will be limited to an air strike, probably all over in a single night. It'll be over before you know it.

It's too bad some nukes can't be transferred to Iran to make the imperial western pests stay away.
Yes. Let's hold a bake sale and get nukes for everyone.

Please invisible sky-being of your choice, start the cull.

Are we all QUITE POSITIVE that Iran doesn't already have some kind of nukes?
No and I dont know why we should be given the stories of missing russian nukes at the time of the USSR disintegration.

Also, even if Iran doesnt have their own nukes already, China/Russia might see it strategically important to have them positioned within Iran's territory to help secure iranian oil.

All pure speculation of course.

I'm thinking about it Chernikov, indeed I am.

Best hope you humans aren't quite as stupid as you have offtimes been in the past...

"And the bowels of his city have been locked into a safe
Where the spew stains on the sidewalks are defenders of the faith
While back inside his kitchen the bowler hatted long haired saint
Cleans with soap and water but it's really just white paint
While his gorgon-headed scandalsheet presents its daily bite
To give the righteous news believers drugs to keep them white
And outside in the whitewash where the guns are always always right
The shooting star has summoned death's dark angel from his night
And I hate the white man in his evergreen excuse
O I hate the white man and the man who turned him loose
... and the man who turned me loose"


One night?  Hmmmm.  The only way I can see that happening is with US stalth aircraft armed with tacticle nukes.  Anything else has gotta take at least 2.

New Moon now, but too soon. March 2-6th maybe.  March 30th is after both the Israeli elections and the opening of the bourse.  

I'll give 1:100 for 03:30-04:30 March 4th

As for the US/Israel relationship: We should remember that during the 1991 war Saddam lobbed some missiles into Israel, and they didn't retaliate.  I remember watching the CNN coverage of those attacks and talking to my wife on the phone, who was out of town at the time.  We (and I'm sure just about everyone else) thought for sure those missiles would bring Israel into the fight, guns blazing, but it didn't.

Sometimes actors on the international stage can show considerable restraint and maturity.  I know that for many here in the US this is hard to believe, especially in light of our current Commander in Chief, but it's (thankfully) true.

The more I think about this brewing situation with Iran, the more convinced I am that a peaceful solution will be found (although possibly not until they scare us all spitless and drive oil up another $15/barrel with a fear premium).  It seems to me that there's so much for so many concerned entities to lose that China or Russia or the EU or someone will find a way to calm everyone down.

As I pointed out above, invading the whole country is not required - the region that has oil is small relative to the size of the country, and very close to the southern Iraq border.  I'm sure the temptation would be to take and hold that, while securing the Straits of Hormuz - then Iran would be neutralized as a rival in the region, because they do not have nuclear weapons yet.  And this is really about oil, not nuclear weapons.

It's not an issue of if it can be done or not, the issue is if the madmen think it can.  To my way of thinking, this line of reasoning makes it much more likely.

With what army?  Seriously?  We don't have an army left.  They are exhausted with worn out equipment.  This is not to slander the USA, but an occupation "t'aint easy".  The Grunts are tired (justifiably).

Next, Iran is a Shia country.  Southern Iraq (where most of the oil is located) is Shia country.  The tentitive Iraqi government is dominated by Shia politicians.  We have about 150,000 hostages in Iraq.

This Madman does not think attacking Iran is a wise idea.  (For crying out loud, I have a Ford Explorer with a V8 and a 22 mile commute!)

Actually, I quite agree with you, but then I like to think of myself as part of the "reality based" community (others may disagree).  My concern is that the humility and reality-challenged hot heads that run our country may believe they can pull it off.   Just because we can't finish it does not mean we won't start it.  After all, the situation in Iraq was not exactly unpredictable.
I was just trying to point out how over stretched the US Army is.  You are right.  Reality may have nothing to do with events.
I don't think people are understanding the significance of how much "not losing face" means in the mid east.  It is the one thing they will NOT do unless forced.  If they feel they must do something, anything that guarantees they save some small amount of face, they will do exactly that.  The latest demonstrations, no .. riots, over the bomb cartoon (which is extremely insulting to Muslims. Same as full page photo of #1 Lady shagging on the front page of the NYT.), is a simple case.    Here, we're talking nuclear power.  I'm afraid that Iran has too much showing now and will not deviate from their stated objective to have nuclear power at any cost.  That much will happen, unless they are physically stopped.  I think I do "get it" on this call, unless somebody somewhere manages to pull a heck of a big bunny out of their hat.
For the sake of discussion, let us suppose that those who control Iran's oil policy are 100% rational, in the strict economic sense of perfect rationality. They perceive that by cutting Iran's exports by 50% the world oil price can be driven into the $100 to $150 range, due to the extremely inelastic demand for oil and the nonexistence of excess capacity.

Now what does the 100% rational decision maker do?

Should I draw a graph? ;-)

There are nowhere near 64 comments on this thread, including a couple of my own. So where the hell do they go?
I've made about 4.  So far I see one.
I think the database is screwed up.  The front page shows a bunch of new comments for this thread, but I don't see them.
Looks like there's no nesting.  Comments posted in direct reply to the article are showing, but not replies to comments.
Thank you Hugo Chavez, Fidel Castro, Bashar al-Assad.

Carajo! Que cajones!

Not to worry, Super G has been notified and is on the case.  He's probably playing around with it.
OT and FYI, all of Blogspot seems to be down.  There are no information links on the blogger home page or in the help section.
The Blogger server was down today.  Still is down for me, but some people say they can get in, so I guess they're working on it.
well, I can't say that I miss the blogspot days (I hate those bastards), but that sucks for you EP...
Danger Will Robinson, Danger, Danger!

[ ]

I stumbled across this blog

Quite interesting. discussing Tehran vowing full scale enrichment.
how the US deals with this will be interesting, threats by Iran to shut down oil tanker shipping through the straits of Hormuz would send oil prices throught the roof.

I am not sure if Iran would tackle Saudi, (though they have nothing to lose, since they use most of their own oil) it would bring the american public to it's knee's crying uncle, with oil and gasoline prices.  
Though our military could crush Iran, the fallout for decades to come would be ugly.
Iran may be calling our bluff, but note, Iran is not blinking!
Troubled times ahead! Danger!

FYI and OT:  Blogger is back up.

PG, thanks for the condolences, but temporary outages (even unannounced) are a minor handicap at worst.  I do my composition off-line and there's little that gets in my way unless my information sources are also on Blogger, which few are.

Well the response wasn't long in coming:

Iran's president Saturday ordered his country's nuclear agency to resume uranium enrichment and end short-notice United Nations inspections of its nuclear facilities.

"As of Sunday, the voluntary implementation of the additional protocol and other cooperation beyond the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty has to be suspended under the law," President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in a letter addressed to Vice President Gholamreza Aghazadeh.

Without such snap inspections, the watchdog's ability to monitor Iranian nuclear activities will be impaired.

Ahmadinejad said the move came in response to the decision by the UN nuclear watchdog to report the nation's nuclear activities to the Security Council.

Yup - now it's our turn.  Any bets on what it will be?
Of course this is the expected response. Iran is at least three years away from having a nuclear weapons capability. This is hysteria based on the present political estrangement due almost entirely to the politically based needs of the the US to scapegoat Iran over a period of 25 years now after the 1979 revolution to overthrow the US/CIA imposition of the Shah in the early 1950's. Is it such a surprise that they don't like us? What this really amounts to is the usual policy of the US to create external scapegoats to further their own foreign policy ends which, compared with the exaggerated & percieved dangerous ends of Iran's nascent nuclear program--which is some years off--just amounts to a power play against Iran which no doubt has something to do with our views about our
  1. Exaggerated view of Iran as a sponser of international terrorism including Al-Qaeda. Iran doesn't give a shit about Al-Qaeda.
  2. Resentment that Iran, as partly as a result of misperception #1, is selling their hydrocarbon resources to all the wrong people (like China and India)
  3. Delusional views in the US that we have not fucked them over so much historically in the 20th century, especially our installation of the much beloved and esteemed Shah who the CIA installed in the 1950's.
Now, I do take (sort of) seriously their statements about wiping Israel off the map but on the the other hand, I don't. With a nuclear capability--either for bombs or generation of electricity--they have much less to worry about in garnering the considerable ecomomic prosperity their remaining oil and considerable natural gas reserves can bring them. They are already making those arrangements with China, India, etc.

Having nuclear capabilites, beyond their own needs to provide themselves with electricity from power plants, protects them in two ways--protection against external attack (from the US or Israel) and security to meet their own energy needs.

And to any of you that say that they want "the bomb" to destroy Israel or hand it off to Al-Qaeda to destroy Los Angeles, then you would also have to defend the position that these guys are just crazy and suicide is their goal. Doesn't it seem a bit more reasonable that 1) they are trying to protect themselves geopolitically and 2) insure their own energy future?

There can be no doubt about the march to war. Why go through this exercise otherwise? And from the point of view of the Junta, there's no choice really. Deals are being cut between Iran and other powers, between Saudi Arabia and other powers, Latin America has slipped its leash, and so on and so forth. And of course China continues to strengthen. Any projection forward based on current trends leaves the strategic position of the Junta ever weaker. But they cannot survive retreat any more than could the guy with the mustache and tanks.

From any ordinary person's perspective, it's insanity that's unfolding before our eyes---insanity because even though none of us knows exactly how it will play out, I don't think any of us can see anything but various kinds of disaster. Events have their own logic, and it can only end in war. It's a replay of the events leading up to WW2---total gutlessness all around except for the smallest powers: Venezuela, Cuba, and Iran. And in their cases, it's a question of survival---each is in the crosshairs.

It would take only a modest amount of courage for the lesser powers to stop this, but they don't have it. I can't figure out why. How do they think they'll win if this plays out? What threats, what deals? I can't figure it out.

The worst thing is that this cannot be simply a replay of Iraq---can it? Nor can it be less, can it? It can only be much, much worse because conventional war has failed. This is the tragedy that is unfolding, that we are all watching unfold.

My optimism lies in this: once we're done butchering each other over control of the oil, once the oil is mostly gone, war will really become impossible and then we'll give our full attention to our survival as a species. And maybe rationality and science will come into their own under our new and reduced circumstances.  

My optimism lies in this: once we're done butchering each other over control of the oil, once the oil is mostly gone, war will really become impossible and then we'll give our full attention to our survival as a species. And maybe rationality and science will come into their own under our new and reduced circumstances.
Like Easter Island?
Well, I did include a maybe in there.
War does not require oil. Check your history, and for example, look what the troops of Ghengis Khan in six days did to the city of Bokahra with swords and arrows. (In case you do not have time to Google, multiply Hiroshima deaths by five to ten.)
Military action over Iran has about a 40-50% possibility this year according to the Futures oddmakers.

It will be probably be three days of bombing by the USA (Brits?). It is interesting that France of all countries has put nuclear bombs on the table and said that they might use nukes if it is traced back to county X. Does that also mean France is saying O.K. to the USA or was it just for home political consumption?

I pulled this off from another site. What you have to remember here that even if Iran had developed nuclear weapons (very unlikely), or even bought one or two from North Korea they would be too bulky to fit on one of these missiles. So this will likely be conventional warheads lobbed into Israel:

Iran, concerned over an Israeli or U.S. attack, has ordered the redeployment of its Shihab-3 intermediate-range missile force. Western intelligence sources said the Islamic Revolutionary Guard has received orders to move Shihab-3 launchers in an attempt to prevent their destruction in an Israeli or U.S. air strike. The sources said the launchers were relocated to positions near the Iraqi border closer to U.S. military positions around Baghdad.

"The IRGC has been placed on war-footing," an intelligence source said. "The Shihab-3 units have been alerted to the prospect of an immediate strike."

The sources said the IRGC issued an order to the Shihab-3 missile units on Jan. 19. They said the units were ordered to move the Shihab launchers every 24 hours.

If you want to see some thoughts on Israeli warplanning go to:

(From that) Any Israeli raid will be carried out using long-range F-15E bombers and cruise missiles against a dozen key Iranian sites, the reports said.

Pilots in the Israeli Air Force's elite 69 Squadron have been briefed on the plan and have conducted rehearsals in the Negev desert against a scale model of Iran's Bushehr nuclear reactor on the Persian Gulf coast.

In the meantime, Israeli newspapers are holding heated discussions on what could be involved in a military strike.

Unlike Israel's successful air raid against Iraq's nuclear reactor at Osirak in 1981, a pre-emptive strike against Iran would be a highly complex operation.

Iran learned its lesson from Iraq's experience and over the last two decades has dispersed its own nuclear production facilities all over the country.

A list of potential Iranian targets includes the nuclear reactor complex at Bushehr, nuclear enrichment and conversion plants at Natanz and Isfahan, a heavy water plant at Arak and uranium mines at Saghand.

There are also a host of secondary targets, including missile-assembly plants, air and naval bases, power plants, arms factories and military headquarters.

Some of those sites are buried deep beneath the ground, while others are ringed with missile batteries and radar-controlled anti-aircraft batteries.

In September, 2004, Israel bought 500 BLU-109 bunker busting bombs from the United States, just in case they ever had to attack Iran. The bombs can penetrate more than two metres of reinforced concrete.

OK, let's play the "What if..." game for a second.

What if this conflict escalates to US/Israeli military action?  Can the US do what they want to do without calling up the draft?  Can BushCo do what it intends to do in Iran with a mere bombing campaign?

This has been the missing piece of "real" war in our Iraqi escapade.  It's been a volunteer army involvement affair up to this point.  Although it has had a HUGE impact for the friends and family of these "deployed" individuals, the majority of Americans have felt very little "direct" impact from the current Iraqi War (most individuals do not associate higher energy prices with the war).

If BushCo thinks it can accomplish anything long term with merely bombing a new foe into submission, they have quickly forgotten the lesson from Iraq.  If they know that they can't (and I suspect they do), they will have to rely on some form of a draft to hold any ground they win from the air.  This may not be a popular move amongst the general US population.  The reaction of teenagers and parents faced with this reality is a HUGE unknown.  Although, since most have become acclimated frogs to the increasingly hot water of the world, I suspect they will just follow directions and do what they are told.

Any thoughts on all this?

The US public has not had much need for sacrifice in a generation - if it comes down to a choice of gradual $3 gallon gas tax or massive military draft, people will choose the gas tax. They are just not aware that the addiction to oil and what it provides is painting this country into a corner. The longer it remains a fantasy the harder it will be to deal with when we reach the 'corner'
The public will not follow this administration into another discretionary war again. It won't be about pacificism, the voters will resist because managerial competence is questioned. The Iraqi adventure has not inspired the requisite confidence.

Fooling with Iran requires a military draft. No matter how "surgical" our strike might be, we will need to reinforce our outposts everywhere in the Muslim world. That draft requires  a substantial political concensus, the rich will have to fight too.

Won't happen.

Can't imagine a less competent occupation than the US one in Iraq. All police and army personnel fired! Presumably we wanted a trained, armed insurgency...
In that case ...imagine the Oval Office.
What if another 9/11 kind of event happens? After all OBL recently threatened with new attacks...
If no draft occurs, I guess Rumsfeld's surgical strike teams will just have to pick up all the slack then.  Well, and of course, we can just keep all the National Guard folks in the army for life.  Boy that was a bum wrap...signing up just to pay for college.
All this makes me think that the only ones who can stop all this are you Americans. And I don't have much hope for that.
What? We were counting on you, meaning the rest of the world. Seriously though, I see comment here about 50pct chance. How can that be? Why did they bring it to this point? Just to back off? Can't be.
Re. Looking to U.S.

According to the World's most eminent earth scientists (those not under censorship restraint) we have likely passed the point of no return re. climate change. It also appears that we have passed the peak of conventional oil extraction. So this is our response? Moron, Imbecile, idiot; what comes after idiot? Anyway, we're there.

US plans 20-year war on terror
February 06, 2006
WASHINGTON: The Pentagon has laid out a new 20-year military strategy for US troops to be deployed, often clandestinely, in dozens of countries at once to fight terrorism and other non-traditional threats.

The Washington Post reported yesterday that the initiative includes a 15 per cent boost in the number of Special Operations Forces, a near-doubling of the capacity of unmanned aerial drones to gather intelligence, a $US1.5 billion ($2 billion) investment in counter-biological warfare, and the creation of special teams to find, track and defuse nuclear bombs and other catastrophic weapons.

China was singled out as having "the greatest potential to compete militarily" with the US, and the strategy calls for a new US air force long-range strike force and the building of undersea warfare capabilities.

The plan came as US Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld told US allies to increase their military spending in the fight against terrorism, saying: "War has been declared on all of our nations and on our people."

At a conference of senior security officials in Munich, Mr Rumsfeld suggested a lengthy war against terrorism lay ahead, and pushed US allies to increase military spending to defeat the threat of a "global extremist empire" that he said terrorists hoped to create.

The Cold War wasn't won through fate or good luck -- freedom prevailed because our free nations showed resolve when retreat would have been easier, showed courage when concession seemed simpler and more attractive," Mr Rumsfeld told the meeting.

Violent extremism was a danger faced as much by Europe as by the US, he said, and Islamic militants were on the move and had to be checked.

"They seek to take over governments from North Africa to Southeast Asia and to re-establish a caliphate they hope one day will include every continent," he said.

"They have designed and distributed a map where national borders are erased and replaced by a global extremist empire."

Mr Rumsfeld pointed out that the US spent 3.7 per cent of its gross domestic product on its military budget, while 19 of the 25 other NATO nations spent less than 2 per cent of their GDP on defence.

He did not name countries, but Germany -- which spends 1.4 per cent of its GDP on defence -- and other nations have been under pressure to step up their funding.

"Unless we invest in our defence and security, our homelands will be at risk," Mr Rumsfeld said.

French Defence Minister Michele Alliot-Marie and British Defence Secretary John Reid said more trans-Atlantic co-operation was needed to tackle threats beyond the traditional defence issues such as epidemics, illegal immigration, the environment, and water and energy resources.

And will the world just let the US set the agenda for them?  That is the question.  How many countries are just going along with the US for the moment?  When will we see if the BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India, China) Alliance is for real or not?  Inquiring minds want to know.

These are truly exciting times in the world.  Feel lucky that you are alive to see it in the front row.  Watershed moments do not come around every day.

Like I've said before, can't wait for the book/movie.

Thanks, but the only thing I'm really grateful for is that I've gotten to live as long as I have before having to endure my "front row seat" on the final destruction of the only thing that really matters to me anymore: the tattered remnants of the natural world.
Christ, Rummy's a bit early starting his run for presidency, ain't he?

Man, he can really talk up a storm!

I can only read one thing from this article - we're all doomed!

(P.S. Reed, do you have a URL for this article?)

March oil futures open night session up 70 cents ot $66.10, so (at least for now) this weekend news re: Iran seems to have been largely priced in.
Mobs in Syria have burned the Danish and Norwegian embassies, and mobs in Lebanon have burned the Danish embassy. BBC has the story.

I have a little difficulty imagining a mob in Syria burning an embassy without tacit government permission, and so one wonders about Syrian influence in the Lebanese riots also.

What's next? Viking longships in the Mediterranean? The world goes more nuts by the day.

I have a simple answer to this which would solve this problem (and others) quickly and probably semi-permanently.

All nuclear enrichment, worldwide, to be monitored and controlled by the UN IAEA, likewise all nuclear weapons. With the intent of reducing nuclear weapons to a level justifiable for self defence.

I think Iran would agree to this, India and Pakistan too, UK possibly, France, China and Russia maybe. But USA and Israel would not.

I don't think anyone would agree to this with integrity. If Iran, China, Russia, or France did, it would be because they know that any real action could never get past the security council vetos. They might see a PR value in being able to scold the US while ignoring the rules themselves.

Fundamentally, I don't see how a body subject to veto by the US, Russia, China, UK and France could monitor and/or control nuclear enrichment.

It's easy. The responsible body must be transparent, open, report publically and be safe from manipulation. It would not be subject to veto since its purpose would be to monitor and report. The 'control' aspect would be the monitoring and documentation of all movements of enriched material, seems the world has a need of that anyway.

But, like I said, The US would not accept it. However, I am pretty sure that Iran would on condition that US and Israel would. So, I contest that the US and Israel are the 'baddies' by this hypothetical measure.

I can't agree that this would be easy or effective. None of the Permanent Security Council members would agree to a veto proof oversight of their nuclear development. No way.

Maybe the US and Israel would be the baddies in your hypothetical measure, but it seems it is constructed solely to make the US and Israel appear to be baddies. Or at least that would be the only reason that others would enlist.

First post after reading here for many months... a few comments:
  I believe it was Putin, but may be wrong, who put it on record that there are Russian personnel at Bushehr.  Wonder if FSU caualties will just possibly make a difference in the decision to strike?
  Also, don't see much movement in oil at this hour, but gold sure has jumped.  Someone's nervous somewhere...
I can confirm this, from Russian sources.  Hundreds of Russian personnel are working at Bushehr.
russians are smart. I wonder how long they are going to stick around.
Good question....
Brazil has an enrichment facility and a history of nuclear ambitions, but NO ONE is worried about Brazil, not even
Bolivia. It's not about the nukes, it's about the Iranians with nukes.
My final comment before this thread runs it course.

It has been speculated in some circles that for the US to gain control over Iran's oil it need not defeat and occupy the entire country, but rather only cut off and grab one of the relatively small oil-producing regions near the coast. This may look fine in theory, but I can't see it working.

Why?  I'm sure the Iranians have war-gamed this possibility and have developed various contingency plans in response. The obvious one would be a scorched earth policy, in which the oil terminals, production wells, and associated infrastructure would be systematically destroyed  in the face of advancing US forces. While that would hurt Iran tremendously, never underestimate the power of pure spite ('If we can't have our own oil, nobody will').   It would take many years and many billions of dollars to get Iranian production back up to pre-war levels.

Perhaps the US thinks it's worth it in the long run. But even if that were done, what is to prevent Iranian insurgent groups from mounting almost continuous attacks to shut down US-controlled production, as is what has been happening in Iraq?  Recent history has shown that it is almost impossible over the long run to maintain a large armed garrison within a country that is overtly hostile to such a presence.  Trying to operate a major military presence in a perpetual 'Fort Apache' mode results in a grinding slow attrition of both men and materiel, not to mention extreme political problems back home.

So, I don't think it's realistic to think the US is going to be able to bite off a nice juicy chunk of Iran and merrily pump out its oil without being in a perpetual state of low-intensity war.

The US military is nowhere close to having the resources required to occupy any part of Iran.  Remember that in Iraq they are unable to defeat an insurgency that stems from the Sunni population which is only 9 million people (35% of 25m).  If there is a military confrontation, the US would be battling an insurgency supported by 20 million Shiite Iraqis and 70 million Iranians.

Occupation is unrealistic.  The Iranians know this, and this is why they are not shy of confrontation.  They hold the high cards in this game.  They have the oil and they can stop all exports through the Gulf if they are bombed.

Rumsfeld has a saying, that if a problem is unsolvable, make it bigger.  He means that the US can escalate any confrontation until they have a winnable scenario.  And he says it because he believes that US, with the world's dominant military, will always prevail militarily.

The problem with this approach is that the Iranians, in this case, can escalate the conflict beyond the US's ability to deal with it.  If bombed, the Iranians will cut off all Gulf oil and launch an aggresssive insurgency in Shiite Iraq and along the Gulf coast that the US would need to occupy to enable oil exports.  The US simply does not have enough troops to prevail.

The Iranians aren't just willing to do this, they are itching to do this.  It means the end of the US occupation of the Gulf region.  And they smell victory.

A final (and somewhat frighteningly ambiguous) personnal note.  

I work at a major US airforce base. Here, we repair aircraft, and do program depot maintenance (complete teardown and rebuilding on a routine basis).

We have just been told to prepare to step up repair and maintenance work for a possible increase ("Surge" is the term used) combat damage workload.
The last time we were told this was early 2003.....

Wow, fallout!  You could have warned me to wear my brown under-pants this morning!  :-

Seriously, this is huge news.  Ties in with [Alan's comment a couple of weeks ago about the 122nd Fighter Wing leaving for Asia in the wee hours

Time to stock up on some supplies.

Oops!  Used a square bracket for my smiley and totally forgot about the Auto-format thing!
Yes, they could be that stupid, but I am currently sufficiently optimistic to think they are not. I have been wrong before and the regime has been torpid for a worrying while now, could be they will get silly soon. You probably know better than us the real possible implictions. What is the logical time horizon and how long would they keep you in this level of preparedness before probable action would be stood down?
I originally put this in the "And things quietly appear to be getting incrementally worse" thread, but seemed appropriate for this thread as well.  Sorry for the redundancy.

Beware The Ides Of March
By Mathew Maavak
07 February, 2006

Excellent article about all the events converging in March this year.

Hey wait!!  My birthday is in March and I don't want the whole world as my birthday cake.