Claim : Cheney Pushing For Strikes Before 2009
Iran Follows World Trend And Tells Japan To Dump US Dollar For Oil Import Payments
The stories, and rumours, that the senior ranks of the White House are split over whether or not to go to war on Iran, to stop it developing nuclear weapons, have circulated for at least two years.
The usual scenario goes that President Bush, along with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her team, oppose any moves to attack nuclear facilities in Iran, with Vice President Dick Cheney, former Defence Secretary Donald Rusmfeld, and their various teams of spin doctors and allies in the American and Israeli media, firmly for such attacks, even if Iran isn't actually building nuclear weapons.
A succession of Israeli government senior ministers, and American NeoCon agents-of-influence, are agitating for military action on Iran, claiming "time is running out."
The Cheney-Israel scenario always went that Iran's nuclear facilities would be attacked before President Bush leaves the White House in January, 2009, if they get their way.
Rumsfeld is no longer the Defence Secretary, but he is rumoured to still be working inside the Pentagon, on plans for 'pre-emptive' strikes on Iran.
The new Defence Secretary, Robert Gates, goes the tale, was bundled into the Pentagon by the allies of former president, George HW Bush, primarily to help stop the Cheney plan from reaching fruition, and to keep the War On Iraq from expanding into neighbouring states.
A widely reported story from the UK Guardian now claims that President Bush is on side with the Cheney faction to take out Iran's nuclear facilities, against the advice of Rice, and Gates, and everybody else who doesn't want a total fourth world war breaking out, knowing full well that both China and Russia have made it abundantly clear they will not tolerate any such attacks by the US, or Israel, on Iran :
The balance in the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favour of military action before President George Bush leaves office in 18 months, the Guardian has learned.
The shift follows an internal review involving the White House, the Pentagon and the state department over the last month. Although the Bush administration is in deep trouble over Iraq, it remains focused on Iran. A well-placed source in Washington said: "Bush is not going to leave office with Iran still in limbo."
...at a meeting of the White House, Pentagon and state department last month, Mr Cheney expressed frustration at the lack of progress and Mr Bush sided with him.
"The balance has tilted. There is cause for concern," the source said this week.Nick Burns, the undersecretary of state responsible for Iran and a career diplomat who is one of the main advocates of negotiation, told the meeting it was likely that diplomatic manoeuvring would still be continuing in January 2009. That assessment went down badly with Mr Cheney and Mr Bush.
"Cheney has limited capital left, but if he wanted to use all his capital on this one issue, he could still have an impact," said Patrick Cronin, the director of studies at the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
The Washington source said Mr Bush and Mr Cheney did not trust any potential successors in the White House, Republican or Democratic, to deal with Iran decisively. They are also reluctant for Israel to carry out any strikes because the US would get the blame in the region anyway.
Almost half of the US's 277 warships are stationed close to Iran, including two aircraft carrier groups. The aircraft carrier USS Enterprise left Virginia last week for the Gulf. A Pentagon spokesman said it was to replace the USS Nimitz and there would be no overlap that would mean three carriers in Gulf at the same time.
The US, France and Britain, are pushing hard in the UN for greater sanctions against Iran, supposedly to cut off its access to military equipment and nuclear-weapons friendly imports. Two Iranian institutions said to be included as targets for the new sanctions are a major bank and a "mega-engineering firm".
Russia and China don't want new sanctions, and have stated that they don't view Iran, or its nuclear energy program, as a threat to international peace, or world order.
While the US, and Israel, and allies like Australia, have legitimate concerns about Iran becoming a nuclear-armed nation, it is becoming increasingly hard to ignore the fact that the ramping up of anti-Iran rhetoric from US propaganda arms, primarily via think tanks and media, tends to come on the strongest every time announcements are made in the financial press about Iran's expanding gas and oil deals with countries like Turkey, Russia and China, and its efforts to help shift the global oil trade away from being pegged to the US dollar.
The latest such news, only a few days ago, was that Iran has asked Japan to pay for its oil imports in Yen, and not the US dollar. While such moves are portrayed in the media as being Iran agitating against Bush Co. and trying to stir up trouble, financial commentators often note that Iran is probably making a smart move by getting out of the US dollar-pegged oil business. :
Iran wants yen-based transactions ``for any/all of your forthcoming Iranian crude oil liftings,'' according to a letter sent to Japanese refiners that was signed by Ali A. Arshi, general manager of crude oil marketing and exports in Tehran at the National Iranian Oil Co. The request is for all shipments ``effective immediately,'' according to the letter, dated July 10 and obtained by Bloomberg News.
The yen rose on speculation for an increase in demand for the currency, the result of Japan's annual 1.24 trillion yen ($10.1 billion) of oil imports from Iran.
Central bankers in Venezuela, Indonesia and the United Arab Emirates have said they will invest less of their reserves in dollar assets because of the weakening currency.
Most major economists see the US dollar hitting the ground hard in the next six to twelve months, and Iran is certainly not alone amongst the oil-exporting nations, many of whom are now planning, or actively embracing, the idea of oil trading with the Euro, or Yen, or Ruble, instead of the US dollar.
As Saddam Hussein learned, breaking away from the US Dollar when it comes to the pricing your oil exports can be extremely dangerous. The US began agitating for War On Iraq less than a year after Hussein began pricing Iraqi oil in Euros instead of US Dollars in late 2000.
By the end of June, 2003, less than three months after Hussein was deposed, the US announced on behalf of Iraq that all Iraqi oil would go back to being priced in US Dollars.
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