China Warns United States Not To Mess With Its Interests In Iran
Some of these stories are a few weeks old now, but they should be a part of this blog, and the 'narrative' of the Fourth World War, as they clearly signal the American president's interests in escalating the 'War On Iraq' and broadening the 'War On Terror' across the Middle East.
Syria and Iran are now clearly in his sights.
From The Washington Note :
Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.
The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.
Bush's words follow, when he announced the "troop surge" that has already become widely known in the American mind and the mainstream media as the 'Iraq Escalation', despite the attempts of Secretary Of State, Condoleezza Rice, Vice President Dick Cheney and Bush himself to ingrain the word "surge".
US President George W. Bush : "Succeeding in Iraq also requires defending its territorial integrity and stabilizing the region in the face of extremist challenges. This begins with addressing Iran and Syria. These two regimes are allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq. Iran is providing material support for attacks on American troops.
"We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We'll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.
"We're also taking other steps to bolster the security of Iraq and protect American interests in the Middle East.
"I recently ordered the deployment of an additional carrier strike group to the region. We will expand intelligence-sharing and deploy Patriot air defense systems to reassure our friends and allies. We will work with the governments of Turkey and Iraq to help them resolve problems along their border. And we will work with others to prevent Iran from gaining nuclear weapons and dominating the region."
From the Australian :
George W. Bush has defied popular opinion, top generals and Congress with a plan to escalate US military involvement in the Middle East by sending more troops into Iraq and threatening attacks against terror cells in Iran and Syria.
The US President yesterday admitted mistakes in the war in Iraq but warned that withdrawal would cause mass killing "on an unimaginable scale".
Instead, he committed to boosting American troops involved in the long-running war by another 21,500 to more than 150,000, with most to be sent to tackle the heart of sectarian violence in the capital, Baghdad.
Delivering a much-anticipated address in Washington yesterday, Mr Bush accused Iran and Syria of aiding the insurgent attacks on US troops in Baghdad.
And he vowed to "seek out and destroy" any terror networks supporting the insurgency, saying the move was an essential step towards securing victory in the war, which has claimed more than 3000 US lives and cost more than $US400 billion ($511 billion).
The US appears to have already moved to carry out its threat, with American troops yesterday raiding the Iranian consulate in northern Iraq, detaining five staff.
John Howard yesterday backed Mr Bush's strategy and refused to rule out boosting Australia's Iraqi force of 800 troops. The Prime Minister said defeat in Iraq would be an "unbelievable boost to terrorism", carrying "enormous consequences for the stability of the Middle East".
"The alternatives the President faced were either to announce what he announced or effectively indicate that the West could not win in Iraq and start making arrangements, however it might be camouflaged, for a withdrawal," Mr Howard said.
Many in the foreign policy elite in Washington - including the bipartisan panel known as the Iraq Study Group - had recommended Mr Bush step up a diplomatic push to try to engage Iran and Syria for assistance in helping secure Iraq's future.
Yesterday he said succeeding in Iraq required defending its territorial integrity and stabilising the region in the face of extremists.
This, he said, began with addressing Iran and Syria, which were allowing terrorists and insurgents to use their territory to move in and out of Iraq.
U.S. troops raided an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq late Wednesday night and detained several people, Iran's main news agency reported today, prompting protests from Tehran just hours after President Bush pledged to crack down on the Islamic Republic's role in Iraqi violence.
Iran released news of the raid through its Islamic Republic News Agency in a dispatch that was broadly critical of Bush's plan to deploy about 21,500 additional troops to Iraq.
The IRNA report said that U.S. forces entered the Iranian consulate in Irbil, in Iraq's Kurdish-dominated north, and seized computers, documents and other items. The report said five staff members were taken into custody.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry appealed to the Iraqi government to obtain the release of its personnel.Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said that the United States is systematically trying to identify networks of people who bring weapons and explosives into the country -- a central allegation against Iran -- and will move to shut them down.
Improvised explosives have been a key source of U.S. casualties and deaths since the war began.
"We will do what is necessary for force protection," Rice said at a press conference. "Networks are identified. They are identified from intelligence and they are acted upon . . . whatever the nationality."
Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff , Gen. Peter Pace, referring to the earlier arrest of Iranians, said that Tehran's involvement in Iraq "is destructive. . . . They are complicit . . . and we will do what is necessary."
CONDI RICE THREATENS IRAN
From the Khaleej Times :
US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice warned Iran on Thursday that the United States won’t ”stand idly by” while Teheran operates against US interests in neighbouring Iraq.
Speaking hours after US troops raided Iran’s consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Arbil and arrested five employees, Rice said Washington was determined to “pursue” Iranians trying to disrupt US efforts to stabilize Iraq.
“You will see that the United States is not going to simply stand idly by and let these activities continue,” she said on Fox News television.
BUSH RAMPS UP UNOFFICIAL WAR ON IRAN, AIMS TO CUT OFF ITS INTERNATIONAL BANKING POWER
From the UK Independent :
Until now, the Bush administration had been content to deal with the perceived Iranian threat diplomatically. The United Nations adopted sanctions against Tehran on 23 December.
However, the economic measures adopted by the UN have failed to convince Iran to halt its uranium-enrichment programme which could lead to production of a nuclear weapon. The US is calling on allied states to adopt tougher unilateral sanctions.
President Bush appointed Admiral William Fallon to replace General John Abizaid as head of Central Command for Iraq and Afghanistan last week in a sign that change could be afoot. This week, Mr Bush ordered a second aircraft carrier to the Gulf, along with its support ships, which could be used to contain Iran.
The US Treasury named Iran's Bank Sepah as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction on Tuesday, banned US companies or citizens from doing business with it and blocked any of its assets that come under American jurisdiction.
But if the US is preparing to confront Iran militarily - which some top military officials in Israel are reportedly recommending - the Bush administration will find itself involved in conflicts on four fronts.
In Somalia, US special forces have been pounding suspected al-Qa'ida suspects since early on Monday, in a continuing operation that risks pulling the Americans back into a conflict in a failed state. US forces are also active in southern Afghanistan in the hunt for the al-Qa'ida leader, Osama bin Laden, and his top associates. Al-Qa'ida has reactivated its Taliban allies who have become bolder in their attacks on coalition forces.
In Iraq, US troops are losing soldiers on an almost daily basis to the bombs of Sunni and Shia insurgents. The Shia-led government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki was warned by Ms Rice yesterday that his days were numbered unless he was able to take on Shia militias who are his allies in government.Ironically, Iran had been contained by Saddam Hussein, until his overthrow by the Americans in 2003.
Obsessed by a threat from "Persian hordes", Saddam maintained ambiguity about his weapons of mass destruction so Iran would believe that it had reason to fear its western neighbour.
CHINA TELLS UNITED STATES NOT TO "MEDDLE" IN ITS TIES WITH IRAN
From the Associated Press
China warned the United States on Thursday not to meddle in its trade relations with Iran after Washington expressed concern about a planned investment by a Chinese oil company in an Iranian gas field.
“We think this kind of cooperation and relationship is legitimate. Normal cooperation should not be interfered (with),” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao.
Asked whether that meant Beijing believed the United States was interfering in its dealings with Iran, Liu said: “This is our position.”
The US government expressed concern last month to Beijing about a planned investment by state-owned Chinese oil company CNOOC Ltd. in Iran’s Northern Pars gas field. Washington said major business dealings with Teheran were inappropriate at a time when Iran was defying UN resolutions over its nuclear program