NAVAL BUILD-UP IN THE PERSIAN GULF AND THE EASTERN MEDITERRANEAN
By Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Alarab online, UK
Oct 2 2006
The probability of another war in the Middle East is high. Only time
will tell if the horrors of further warfare is to fully materialize.
Even then, the shape of a war is still undecided in terms of its
If war is to be waged or not against Iran and Syria, there is still
the undeniable build-up and development of measures that confirm a
process of military deployment and preparation for war.
The diplomatic forum also seems to be pointing to the possibility of
war. The decisions being made, the preparations being taken, and the
military maneuvers that are unfolding on the geo-strategic chessboard
are projecting a prognosis and forecast towards the direction of
mobilization for some form of conflict in the Middle East.
In this context, people do not always realize that a war is never
planned, executed or even anticipated in a matter of weeks. Military
operations take months and even years to prepare. A classical example
is Operation Overlord (popularly identified as "D-Day"), which resulted
in the Battle of Normandy and the invasion of France.
Operation Overlord took place on June 6, 1944, but the preparations
for the military operation took eighteen months, "officially," to
set the stage for the invasion of the French coast. It was during a
meeting in Casablanca, Morocco in January, 1943 that the U.S.
President, F.D. Roosevelt, and the British Prime Minister, Winston
Churchill, outlined a strategy to invade Normandy.1
The "Downing Street memo2" even confirms that the decision to go to war
with Iraq in 2003 was decided in 2002 by the United States and Britain,
and thus the preparations for war with Iraq were in reality started in
2002, a year before the invasion of Iraq took place. The preparations
for the invasion of Iraq took at least a full year to arrange.
The period from 1991 to 2003 has seen continuous military operations
against Iraq by the Anglo-American alliance. This period that has
lasted for over a decade saw stages of heavy bombardment and major
air strikes on a crippled Iraqi republic and its citizens. In reality,
the conditions for the groundwork and preparations of the invasion and
eventual occupation of Iraq took over ten years to materialize. Iraq
was weakened and its strength diluted within these ten years.
Even prior to this decade of Anglo-American bombardment and U.N.
sanctions, Iraq was caught in an eight years with Iran in the 1980s.
The war between Iran and Iraq was also fuelled and organized by the
United States to weaken both. In retrospect, the manipulation of a
war between Iran and Iraq to weaken both states seems to be strategic
planning in preparation for future military operations against them.
In this time preparations were also being made by securing the Balkans
for future Anglo-American operations. The Balkans is adjacent to the
Middle East and is also a geographic extension of the region.
Preparations were made by expanding NATO, shifting military bases
eastward, and securing energy routes. Dismantling the state of
Yugoslavia was also a part of this objective. Yugoslavia was the
regional power of the Balkans and Southeast Europe. This was done
through close coordination between the Anglo-American alliance and
NATO. Now all eyes are on Iran and Syria. Will there be another
Anglo-American initiated war in the Middle East?
Overview of Naval Confrontation against Iran
The Pentagon has already drawn up plans for U.S. sponsored attacks
on Iran and Syria..3 Despite the public posturing of diplomacy by the
United States and Britain, just like the Iraq Invasion, Iran and Syria
sense another Anglo-American war in the horizon. Both countries have
been strengthening their defenses for the eventuality of war with
the Anglo-American alliance.
A conflict against Iran and Syria, if it were to materialize, would be
unlike previous Anglo-American sponsored conflicts. It would be wider
in scope, deadlier, and have active aerial and water (naval) fronts.
Sea power would be of greater significance than in Yugoslavia,
Afghanistan, Iraq, and Lebanon. The United States would covet a quick
victory. The chances of this happening are unknown. If there were to
be a conflict with Iran, the United States and it partners would want
to keep the Straits of Hormuz open for the flow of international oil.
The Straits of Hormuz are the "energy lifeline of the world."
The United States would without doubt quickly aim for the collapse
of the Iranian and Syrian commands and military structures.
It must be noted that the Iranian Armed Forces are characterized
by well structured military organization, with advanced military
capabilities, when compared to Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and
Lebanon. Moreover, Iran has been preparing for a scenario of war with
the Anglo-American alliance for almost a decade. These preparations
were stepped up following the NATO-U.S. led attack on Yugoslavia
The types of military units and weapons systems being deployed in the
Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea by the United States are considered to
be best suited for combat against Iran, also with a view to keeping
the Straits of Hormuz open for oil tankers. This also includes forces
that would be able to secure bridgeheads on the Iranian coastline.
These U.S. forces consist of early warning units, recognizance,
amphibious elements, maritime search and rescue units, minesweepers,
and rapid deployment units.
U.S. Strike Groups: Cargo intended for War?
The U.S.S. Enterprise, a U.S. Navy flagship is under deployment to
the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. This includes all the warships
and vessels that compose Carrier Strike Group 12 (CSG 12) Destroyer
Squadron 2 (DESRON 2), and Carrier Air Wing 1 (CVW 1). The stated
objective for the deployment of the U.S.S. Enterprise, a nuclear
powered aircraft carrier, and other U.S. Navy vessels is to conduct
naval security operations and aerial missions in the region. The
deployment does not mention Iran, it is said to be part of the U.S.-led
"War on Terror" under "Operation Enduring Freedom."
Originally the name for Operation Enduring Freedom was "Operation
Infinite Justice," which highlights the unlimited scope and intentions
of the War on Terror. "Operation Iraqi Freedom" which envelops the
Anglo-American invasion and the continued occupation of Iraq is also
a component of these operations. A large number of U.S.
warships are deployed in the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, and the
While this deployment is said to be related to ongoing military
operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, the warships are carrying with
them equipment which is not intended for these two war theaters.
Minesweepers and mine-hunters have absolutely no use in landlocked
Afghanistan and are not needed in Iraq which has a maritime corridor
and ports totally controlled by the Anglo-American alliance.
Other warships in the Enterprise Strike Group include the destroyer
U.S.S. McFaul, the war frigate U.S.S. Nicholas, the battle cruiser
U.S.S. Leyte Gulf, the attack submarine U.S.S. Alexandria, and the
"fast combat support ship" U.S.N.S. Supply. The U.S.N.S. Supply will
be a useful vessel in confronting the Iranian forces in the Persian
Gulf in close-quarter combat. Speed will be an important factor
in responding to potentially lethal Iranian missile and anti-ship
The U.S.S. Enterprise carries with it a host of infiltration, aerial
attack, and rapid deployment units. This includes Marine Strike
Fighter Squadron 251, Electronic Attack Squadron 137, and Airborne
Early Warning Squadron 123. Squadron 123 will be vital in the event
of a war with Iran in detecting Iranian missiles and sending warnings
of danger to the U.S. fleet. Special mention should be made of the
helicopter squadron specialized for combating submarines travelling
with the strike group. "Helicopter Anti-Submarine Squadron 11" will be
on board the U.S.S. Enterprise. The Persian Gulf is known to be the
home of the Iranian submarine fleet, the only indigenous submarine
fleet in the region.
The Eisenhower Strike Group, based in Norfolk, Virginia, has also
received orders to deploy to the Middle East. The strike group is led
by the U.S.S. Eisenhower, another nuclear battleship. It includes a
cruiser, a destroyer, a war frigate, a submarine escort, and U.S.
Navy supply ships. One of these two naval strike groups will position
itself in the Gulf of Oman and the Arabian Sea while the other naval
strike group will position itself in the Persian Gulf, both off the
Another Strike Group Performs Anti-submarine Drills and sets sail
for the Persian Gulf
Another assault or strike group of U.S. warships, "Expeditionary Strike
Group 5," are setting off to sea too. This strike group is setting
sail from Naval Station San Diego with the Persian Gulf in the Middle
East as their final destination. Over 6,000 U.S. Marines and Navy
personnel will be deployed to the Persian Gulf and Anglo-American
occupied Iraq from San Diego.4 Approximately 4,000 U.S. sailors and
2,200 U.S. Marines from the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit at Camp
Pendleton will make the bulk of the force.
The warships and the servicemen they carry will reportedly have a tour
of duty in the Persian Gulf and "possibly" Anglo-American occupied Iraq
for half a year. They will also be joined by other ships including
a Coast Guard vessel. A Marine air wing of 38 helicopters also is on
board and travelling to the Persian Gulf.
The Marine contingent of the force is not destined for deployment
in Iraq. It must be noted that the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit
is, however, able to "rapidly deploy" on "order" using large landing
craft stowed aboard the strike group’s warships. If ordered this rapid
deployment unit has the strong potential of being used as part of an
invasion force against Iran from the Persian Gulf. The Marine unit
would be ideal in being part of an operation with the objective(s)
of securing Iranian ports to create beachheads for an invasion.
Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG 5) is being led by the assault ship
the U.S.S. Boxer as the flagship. Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG
5) will also consist of the U.S.S. Dubuque, a "dock landing vessel,"
the naval transport ship the U.S.S. Comstock, the battle cruiser the
U.S.S. Bunker Hill, the guided-missile hauling destroyer the U.S.S.
Benfold, and the guided-missile hauling destroyer the U.S.S. Howard.
Once again, these vessels will all be deployed in the Persian Gulf,
in nearby proximity to the Iranian coast.
It is noteworthy to mention that the command and control structure of
the group will be separated from the vessels for maximum flexibility.
Also before the U.S. Naval strike group reaches the Persian Gulf
it will be performing "anti-submarine drills and operations." The
anti-submarine exercises will take place off the coast of Hawaii, in
the Pacific Ocean. This can be training and preparation intended for
combating the Iranian submarine fleet in the Persian Gulf and Arabian
Sea. The warships will also be joined in Hawaii by Seattle-based U.S.
Coast Guard and by a Canadian navy frigate, the H.M.C.S. Ottawa.
Canada contributes to the American-led naval build-up in the Persian
The conservative government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper is
actively collaborating in this military endeavor.
Canadian foreign policy has been steadily and successively militarized
by two successive governments.
The government of Prime Minister Paul Martin (Liberal) implemented the
"three-dimensional policy" of the "3-Ds" ("Diplomacy", "Development,"
and "Defense".) adding a military component to Canadian foreign aid
and development assistance.
The 3-Ds brought Canada into performing as more active role in U.S.-led
operations in NATO garrisoned Afghanistan. Despite the public protest,
Canada has become an integral member of the Anglo-American military
Canada’s involvement is not limited to Afghanistan as suggested by
the press reports and official statements.
The H.M.C.S. Ottawa has been dispatched to the Persian Gulf, leaving
in September, from British Columbia. Officially the H.M.C.S. Ottawa
is being deployed as part of Canada’s contribution to fighting the
"War on Terrorism." The Canadian vessel is the first publicly known
ship to be deployed to the waters of the Middle East in about a
year.5 The Canadian vessel is slated to be fully integrated into
"Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (ESG 5), which will be seafaring in
the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, off the Iranian coast.
The Canadian Pacific Fleet vessel, the H.M.C.S. Ottawa, will be the
twentieth official Canadian naval deployment in support of the United
States and Britain in the War on Terrorism. About 225 personnel will
be on board the Canadian Navy ship, including a Sea King helicopter
While the H.M.C.S. Ottawa is supporting the American-led war on
terrorism, it is also to participate in anti-submarine exercises off
the coast of Hawaii
For what purpose are these exercises being conducted? How many
countries in the Middle East or Persian Gulf have submarines? Iran
is the only country in the Persian Gulf, which is not an ally of the
U.S., which possesses an indigenous submarine fleet.
U.S. Coast Guard implicated in the Conflict with Iran
The U.S. Coast Guard is the fifth and smallest branch of the U.S.
Armed Forces. The other four branches of the U.S. military are the
U.S. Marines, Navy, Air Force, and the Army. The U.S. Coast Guard is
unique in that it is a force that is one-third military, one-third
law enforcement, and one-third a maritime search and rescue entity.
In peacetime, the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the jurisdiction
and mandate of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, but at
the Defense Department’s request, the Coast Guard can operate under
military missions at sea. In a time of war when the need is urgent,
the U.S. Coast Guard falls under the direct jurisdiction of the
Pentagon as a military force.
The U.S. Coast Guard is beginning to see more use and deployment with
the U.S. Navy. Coast Guards are being prepared for operations in the
Persian Gulf and Arabian Sea. Although this is not an unusual event
by itself, it can be significant in relationship to other events and
military movements unfolding and taking place. The U.S. Coast Guard
will be of great value in the event of a conflict with Iran. U.S.
Coast Guard can "enter ports that other warships can not."7 This would
be useful in securing bridgeheads of entry for an invasion force into
Iran. The U.S. Coast Guard is also specialized in maritime search
and rescue operations, unlike the U.S. Navy or the Marines.
This is significant since it is predicted by military analysts that
there will definitely be U.S. vessels that will be destroyed and
heavily damaged in the Persian Gulf by the Iranian Armed Forces in
the event of a conflict between the United States and Iran. U.S.
Coast Guard will be crucial in rescue operations, besides speedy
operations, protecting U.S. Navy ships, and the entry of ports or
shores which other warships can not enter.
"What we bring to the strike group is the ability to conduct intercepts
and maritime security operations," and, "The tools used to fight crime
and save lives at home [in the United States] are valuable in the war
zone [the Persian Gulf]," elucidates Lee Alexander the commander of
the U.S.S. Midgett8
Media Reports of Planned Attacks on Iran and Syria
There have been several reports in the international media, which
have provided details regarding the military plans to attack Iran
and Syria. These include reports from Israeli sources on attacks
intended for Syria, Iran, and Lebanon. Some of these media reports even
quote Members of the Israeli Knesset (MKs).9 The German and European
media have published various articles on possible NATO and Turkish
involvement in the planned U.S. air strikes on Iran. The Times (U.K.)
reported in March, 2006 that:
"When Major-General Axel Tuttelmann, the head of NATO’s Airborne
Early Warning and Control Force, showed off an AWACs early warning
surveillance plane in Israel a fortnight ago, he caused a flurry
of concern back at [NATO] headquarters in Brussels. It was not his
demonstration that raised eyebrows, but what he said about NATO’s
possible involvement in any future [Anglo-American] military strike
against Iran. ‘We would be the first to be called up if the NATO
council decided we should be,’ he said. NATO would prefer the emphasis
to remain on the ‘if’, but Tuttelmann’s comments revealed that the
military alliance [NATO] could play a supporting role if America
launches air strikes against Iranian nuclear targets [including
military facilities, industrial locations, and infrastructure]."10
United Press International (UPI) on December, 2005 reported that:
The Bush administration is preparing its NATO allies for a possible
military strike against suspected nuclear sites in Iran in the New
Year , according to German media reports, reinforcing similar
earlier suggestions in the Turkish media.
The Berlin daily Der Tagesspiegel this week quoted "NATO intelligence
sources" who claimed that the NATO allies had been informed that the
United States is currently investigating all possibilities of bringing
the mullah-led regime [Iranian government] into line, including
military options. This "all options are open" line has been President
George W. Bush’s publicly stated policy throughout the past 18 months.
But the respected German weekly Der Spiegel notes "What is new here
is that Washington appears to be dispatching high-level officials to
prepare its allies for a possible attack rather than merely implying
the possibility as it has repeatedly done during the past year ."
The German news agency DDP cited "Western security sources" to claim
that CIA Director Porter Goss asked Turkey’s premier Recep Tayyip
Erdogan to provide political and logistic support for air strikes
against Iranian nuclear and military targets. Goss, who visited
Ankara and met Erdogan on Dec. 12 , was also reported to have
to have asked for special cooperation from Turkish intelligence to
help prepare and monitor the operation.
DDP cited German security sources who added that the Turks had been
assured of a warning in advance if and when the military strikes took
place, and had also been given "a green light" to mount their own
attacks on the bases in Iran of the PKK, (Kurdish Workers party),
which Turkey sees as a separatist group responsible for terrorist
attacks inside Turkey.11
The "green light" given by the United States for Turkish military
incursions would in all likelihood also include Kurdistan, including
at some point Iraqi Kurdistan and Kurdish inhabited areas in Syria.
Time Magazine and the "Prepare to Deploy Order" of the Eisenhower
The latest U.S. reports provide details of preparations to go to war
with Iran and Syria. Time magazine confirms that orders have been
given for deployment of a submarine, a battleship, two minesweepers,
and two mine-hunters in the Persian Gulf by October 2006. There
are very few places in the world where minesweepers would be needed
or used besides the Persian Gulf. There also very few places where
anti-submarine drills are required , besides the Persian Gulf.
Anti-submarine drills are what Expeditionary Strike Group 5 (EST 5) is
performing in the Pacific before it heads to the Persian Gulf, together
with Canada’s H.M.C.S. Ottawa and units of the U.S. Coast Guard.
The Time Magazine article intimates that the operation could result
in heavy American casualties.
"The first message was routine enough: a ‘Prepare to Deploy Order’ sent
through naval communications channels to a submarine, an Aegis-class
cruiser, two minesweepers and two mine-hunters. The orders didn’t
actually command the ships out of port; they just said be ready to
move by October 1 . A deployment of minesweepers to the east
coast of Iran would seem to suggest that a much discussed, but until
now largely theoretical, prospect has become real: that the U.S. may
be preparing for war with Iran."12
Award-winning investigative reporter and journalist Dave Lindorff
[Retired] Colonel Gardiner, who has taught military strategy at the
National War College [of the United States], says that the [U.S.
Navy] carrier deployment and a scheduled Persian Gulf arrival date of
October 21  is "very important evidence" of war planning. He
says, "I know that some naval forces have already received ‘prepare
to deploy orders’ [PTDOs], which have set the date for being ready to
go as October 1 . Given that it would take about from October 2
to October 21 to get those forces to the [Persian] Gulf region, that
looks about like the date" of any possible military action against
Iran. (A PTDO means that all crews should be at their stations, and
ships and planes should be ready to go, by a certain date-in this case,
reportedly, October 1.) Gardiner notes, "You cannot issue a PTDO
and then stay ready for very long. It’s a very significant order,
and it’s not done as a training exercise." This point was also made
in the Time article.
"I think the plan’s been picked: bomb the nuclear sites in Iran," says
[Colonel] Gardiner. "It’s a terrible idea, it’s against U.S. law and
it’s against international law, but I think they’ve decided to do
it." Gardiner says that while the United States has the capability
to hit those sites with its cruise missiles, "the Iranians have many
more options than we [the United States] do.
Of course, Gardiner agrees, recent ship movements and other signs
of military preparedness could be simply a bluff designed to show
toughness in the bargaining with Iran over its nuclear program. But
with the Iranian coast reportedly armed to the teeth with Chinese
Silkworm anti-ship missiles, and possibly even more sophisticated
Russian anti-ship weapons, against which the [U.S.] Navy has little
reliable defenses, it seems unlikely the Navy would risk high-value
assets like aircraft carriers or cruisers with such a tactic. Nor
has bluffing been a Bush [Administration] MO [tactic] to date.13
The Pentagon responding quickly to the Time magazine report by saying
that the Chief of Naval Operations had merely asked the U.S. Navy to
"put ‘fresh eyes’ on old U.S. plans to blockade two Iranian oil ports
on the [Persian] Gulf."14 This response in itself is questionable to
analysts. Why would the United States want to stop the flow of oil
from Iran, a major petroleum exporting nation, which would harm U.S.
allies and the world economy?
Iranian Naval Force and Anti-ship Missiles
Iranian naval strength is divided into two main forces. One is the
Navy within the Iranian Regular Armed Forces and the other is the
naval branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. Both forces have
been updating and improving their equipment over the years. The aim of
both naval forces is to act as a deterrent to the threat of invasion
or attack from the United States.
Iran has a submarine fleet of Iranian and Russian manufactured
submarines, a hovercraft fleet that was once the largest in the world,
ROVs (remotely operated vehicles), various surface vessels of different
sizes and operations, naval airborne units which include several
helicopter squadrons, minesweepers, and a large arsenal of anti-ship
missiles. The Iranian submarine fleet also includes mini-submarines
manufactured domestically in Iran.15
Iran has been going through a naval build-up in the last decade. For
example, in connection with the August 2006 Iranian war games and
exercises, the Iranian military displayed its latest "Patrol Torpedo
(PT) boats." PT boats are small naval vessels that have been used
effectively to attack larger warships. These types of ships could be
a threat to the U.S. strike groups deploying in the Persian Gulf and
Arabian Sea. Naval Commander Kouchaki told Fars News Agency (FNA) that:
"Joshan [a new Iranian PT boat] enjoys the world’s latest technology,
specially with regard to its military, electrical and electronic
systems, frame and chassis, and it has the capabilities required
for launching powerful missiles." "Similar to Iran’s first PT boat
‘Peykan’, ‘Joshan’ also has a speed of over 45 sea knots which makes
it even faster than the same generation of PT boats manufactured by
other countries. The vessel is capable of using various missiles and
rockets with a range beyond 100 km [62.14 miles], high maneuverability
power that helps it to escape torpedoes, and enjoys the most advanced
sea shell of the world called ‘Fajr’."
The 76mm-caliber shell, which only Iran, the United States, and Italy
can manufacture, of the new Iranian PT boat also enjoys a wide variety
of military capabilities and can hit sea and air targets within the
range of 19 km or 23 thousand feet in distance, respectively.16
Iran has also tested a series of "submarine-to-surface" anti-ship
missiles during its August 2006 war games17. The latter seem to have
raised some concern that Iran could disrupt the flow of oil through
the Persian Gulf in the event of an Anglo-American assault.18
In its April 2006 war games, Iran tested an anti-ship missile,
reported as "the world’s fastest," with a top speed of approximately
362 kilometres per hour (km/h) or 225 miles per hour (m/h). The
anti-ship missile is designed to destroy large submarines and is said
to be "too fast for most vessels to escape" even if it is caught on
their radar.19 Early warning systems will be essential for the U.S.
in combating the Iranian military.
If storm clouds should gather above the Persian Gulf, the United States
will have to keep the Straits of Hormuz open, international oil traffic
running, and simultaneously face a large barrage of Iranian missiles
from land, air, and sea. This includes deadly Iranian anti-ship
missiles that Iran has developed with the help of Russia and China.
There have been warnings by analysts that the Persian Gulf could be
closed off and turned into a shooting gallery by the Iranian Armed
Forces. Iranian weaponry is also reported to be invisible to radar
and can travel at high speeds. Amongst names mentioned in regards
to Iranian ant-ship missiles are the modified Russian and Chinese
"Silkworms" and "Sunburns," which are based on earlier Soviet models.
The Iranian arsenal includes anti-ship missiles like the C-802 and
Kowsar. The C-802 anti-ship missiles are missiles that originate from
China. Kowsar anti-ship missiles are basically land-based anti-ship
missiles (land-to-sea missiles) which can dodge electronic jamming
At this stage, it is impossible to say how the U.S. Navy and U.S.
Coast Guard will perform against Iranian anti-ship missiles, in the
context of a "real combat situation."
Navy and Troop Movements in the Eastern Mediterranean
There is also considerable military movement and build-up of allied
forces in the eastern Mediterranean, formally under the disguise
of a peace-keeping operation pursuant to U.N. Security Council
Italy has redeployed Italian troops from Iraq, including commando units
and armored reconnaissance units, to Lebanon. Two marine units, one
belonging to the Italian Army and the other belonging to the Italian
Navy, have been sent to Lebanon. Both are veteran units of separate
tours of service in Anglo-American occupied Iraq. The Italian Army
has sent the "Lagunari" of the Venice-based marine infantry unit the
"Serenissima Regiment," while the Italian Navy has sent the "San
Spanish units and troops have been deployed near Tyre and the Israeli
border in South Lebanon. Spain, with two warships off the coast
of Lebanon is projected to have the third largest force from the
E.U., after Italy and France.21 Large contingents of Spanish troops
are additionally based away from the Mediterranean coast, around
Jdeidet-Marjayoun (Marjayoun), near the Syrian border and both the
Sheba Farms and Golan Heights occupied by Israel.
German warships will also join the vessels of other fellow NATO
members in patrolling the coasts of the Eastern Mediterranean. German
will eventually take over command of the naval forces from Italy. The
German government has launched battle frigates and fast patrol boats
to post-siege Lebanon.22
"The naval mission, the first German deployment to the Middle East
since the end of the Second World War, was backed by 442 lawmakers,
with 152 against and five abstentions. As many as 2,400 German [naval]
personnel will now be deployed to the region, backed by a one- year
mandate expiring August 31, 2007. The mission brings the number of
German soldiers [meaning servicemen] serving overseas to above 10,000
for the first time in postwar [meaning post-World War II] history."23
The coalition government of Denmark, formed by the Danish
Conservative People’s Party and the Liberal Party of Denmark, has
been a steadfast supporter of Anglo-American military objectives. The
Danish government led by Prime Minister Anders Fogh Ramussen has
sent Danish troops to both Anglo-American occupied Iraq and NATO
garrisoned Afghanistan. Three Danish warships have also set sail for
the Eastern Mediterranean to join the NATO armada of warships gathering
off the Lebanese and Syrian coastlines. The Peter Tordenskiold, a
naval corvette, and two Danish missile cruisers, the Raven and the
Hawk, have been on stand-by for military operations in the Eastern
Mediterranean since the end of the Anglo-American sponsored siege of
Lebanon. The Danish naval attachment has been waiting in Wilhelmshaven,
a German naval base, for a "go-ahead order" for nearly two weeks in
early September, 2006.24 The Danish government is also talking about
sending more troops to Afghanistan, which would join the 2,000 troops
to be dispatched by Romania and Poland in early October, 2006.25
In Lebanon, France is involved in military operations on the ground,
whereas Italian and German warships head the naval mission in the
Eastern Mediterranean. Some 2,000 French troops are slated to be
deployed in Lebanon. French tanks and armored units have helped
comprise "the most powerful Armor ever deployed by a United Nations
peacekeeping force" in history.26
Greek warships are also part of the naval armada in the Eastern
Mediterranean. Ten Greek warships, which include diving units and
navy helicopters, have added their strength to the NATO naval force
off Lebanon with orders to "use force if needed." The Greek naval
commitment is coming at a reported cost of approximately 150,000
Euros for every week of operation to the Greek government. The Greek
warships will dock in the southern port of Larnaca. Larnaca is on
the southern side of the island of Cyprus and faces Lebanon. This
is until the naval facilities of the Lebanese capital, Beirut, are
deemed ready and safe by the commanders of the naval armada.27
The Netherlands is deploying alternating warships, with a reported 150
Dutch sailors. The Dutch warships will be comprised of one frigate
and a supply ship offering logistics support to the naval fleet
gathering in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Dutch deployment should
start sometime in October 2006 and will continue sailing the Eastern
Mediterranean until August, 2007. The Dutch Defense Minister has also
said that the Dutch commitment could be extended by an additional
extra 12 months.28
Belgium is also dispatching 400 troops to Southern Lebanon. The Belgian
Defense Minister has been one of several defense officials visiting
Lebanon to make preparations for military operations in Lebanon.29
Other defense officials in liaison with Lebanon have been dispatched
by Italy and France.
Turkish troops have not yet positioned themselves in Lebanon and face
strong domestic opposition. Turkey, an Israeli ally and NATO member,
is to send troops to Lebanon by the end of October 2006.30 This is
happening despite of the mass public outcry and opposition in Turkey
to the deployment of Turkish soldiers to Lebanon.
A former Turkish high ranking civilian representative of NATO
in Afghanistan, Hikmet Cetin in a televised address attempted to
reassure Turkish public opinion, emphasizing that Turkish troops
would be going to Afghanistan, rather than to Lebanon:
"…the number of Turkish soldiers [in Afghanistan] has more than
doubled from 300 to 700 over the last month [September, 2006]. Ankara
can increase the number of soldiers in the upcoming period for the
security of Kabul [Afghanistan], but it won’t send soldiers to clashes
[in South Lebanon]."31
Bulgaria, another NATO member with troops in Afghanistan and
(until 2005/2006) in Iraq, will be sending naval and ground forces
In turn, Britain will be dispatching a small contingent of troops
to South Lebanon.33 The U.A.E., an Arab sheikdom, has been given a
mandate to clear the Israeli landmines and booby-traps left south of
the Litani River,34 an important source of water in the Levant that
Israel has always had its eyes on. The U.A.E. has contracted its
de-mining operations in South Lebanon to a British private security
firm. The British security firm, "ArmorGroup International," has
received a 5.6 million U.S. dollar (2.9 million pound sterling)
contract for a year of work in South Lebanon.35 ArmorGroup has also
been providing security for the United States military in Iraq,
the Persian Gulf, and Afghanistan, including protecting U.S. Navy
facilities in Bahrain. The British security firm has additionally been
providing security for oil and gas consortiums in Saudi Arabia, Jordan,
Kuwait, Nigeria, and the former Soviet Union, including Kazakhstan
and the Republic of Azarbaijan.36 As in the cases of Afghanistan and
Anglo-American occupied Iraq, private security firms are also starting
to move into Lebanon, along with NATO.
NATO has "unofficially" moved in to fill the vacuum left by war in
Lebanon as it "officially" did in the case of Afghanistan. NATO signed
a military cooperation agreement with Israel in 2005. These NATO troops
could become an occupation force, as is the case in Afghanistan..37
Israeli ground forces have not fully withdrawn from South Lebanon
pursuant to the U.N. Security Council resolution and ceasefire.
Meanwhile Israeli vessels have turned over the responsibility for
the enforcement of the illegal naval embargo on Lebanon to NATO naval
vessels and warships.
This naval embargo recalls the internationally illegal "No-fly Zones"
established over Iraq by the United States, Britain, and France,
which contributed to weakening Iraq in the years prior to the 2003
The crucial question is whether this naval embargo and militarization
of the Eastern Mediterranean is part of the preparations for future
military operation(s) directed against Syria. The illegal embargo
has U.N. approval. It is upheld as part of the "monitoring" of the
Lebanese coastline to enforce the entry of military supplies and
weapons into Lebanon.
Russia and China Send Troops to Lebanon, A Symmetrical Strategic Move
The Russian Federation and the People’s Republic of China have also
deployed troops in Lebanon. Is this for "peacekeeping" or are there
other objectives of strategic nature?
A Russian sapper (military field/combat engineer) battalion is also
being airlifted to Lebanon by the Russian Air Force.38 The Russian
Defense Minister has said that the Russian sappers and their battalion
will start work in Lebanon at the start of October 2006.
All that is formally needed is "an agreement on the status of the
combat engineer battalion with the Lebanese government."39
Russian troops will be deployed near the city of Sidon (Saida) in
South Lebanon, off the shores of the Mediterranean. While Russian
troops are freshly entering Lebanon, there is also a Russian naval
presence on the Syrian seashore.40 (See Russian Base in Syria,
a Symmetrical Strategic Move, July, 2006)
Unlike their Russian allies, Chinese troops were present in Lebanon
before the Anglo-American sponsored Israeli attacks. The Chinese
presence in Lebanon was under the authority of a small U.N.
peacekeeping force. Around 200 Chinese military engineers already
work for the U.N. in South Lebanon clearing mines and unexploded
ordnance. The small U.N. force saw the death of one of its Chinese
member at the hands of Israeli attacks during the Anglo-American
sponsored siege of Lebanon. Approximately another 1,000 Chinese troops
will be added to the Chinese military presence in Lebanon. 41
Chinese and Russian forces will also be in close proximity to the
Port of Ceyhan and the energy route being opened in the Eastern
Mediterranean. This is a symmetrical action if one considers the U.S.
military presence and support for Taiwan as a means to control the
strategic oil route to China and Japan from the Middle East.42
Russia and China are the two largest members of the Shanghai
Cooperation Organization (SCO). they are permanent members of the
U.N. Security Council, decisively opposed to the Anglo-American
initiatives in the Middle East, the Korean Peninsula, and Sudan.
Additionally, Russia and China together with Iran are challenging
Anglo-American oil interests in Central Asia and the Caspian Sea Basin.
Israel is an extension of the Anglo-American alliance and also NATO
through a military pact with Turkey and the "NATO-Mediterranean
Dialogue," including the June 29, 2004 Istanbul Cooperation
Initiative.43 With the build-up and marshalling of troops from
member states of NATO, Russia and China could be sending troops in
a deliberate symmetrical move to Lebanon to establish a military
equilibrium in the important balance-of-power of the Levant and
The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil: the Baku-Tbilisi -Cehyan
There is undeniable international competition for energy resources
in the world. The Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal (also called
the Caspian-Mediterranean Oil Terminal) has an outlet on the Turkish
coast of the Eastern Mediterranean in close proximity to Syria and
Lebanon. The opening of this pipeline is geo-strategically an important
victory. This is a geo-strategic victory for the Anglo-American
alliance, Israel, the large oil corporations, and their partners,
but it is a geo-strategic set back for Russia, China, and Iran on
the other hand. It seems that the sovereignty of Lebanon has been
put into further danger with the opening of the strategic oil terminal.
The occupation of Afghanistan (2001) and Iraq (2003) has been followed
by the militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean, 44 The July
2006 Israeli siege of Lebanon is intimately related to the opening
of the Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal, the marshalling of
naval vessels in the Persian Gulf-Arabian Sea, and an anticipated
war against Iran and Syria.
Syria is also taking steps to strengthen its military. Russia is
helping Syria build and upgrade its air defense systems. The Syrian
military has additionally made numerous orders for Russian and Iranian
manufactured warplanes and missiles. Belarus and China are also aiding
the Syrian military.
Professor Michel Chossudovsky has given details on the Israeli war
on Lebanon, the militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean, and the
internationally rivalry for energy resources;
Is there a relationship between the bombing of Lebanon and the
inauguration of the world’s largest strategic pipeline, which will
channel more than a million barrels of oil a day to Western markets?
Virtually unnoticed, the inauguration of the Ceyhan-Tbilisi-Baku (BTC)
oil pipeline, which links the Caspian Sea to the Eastern Mediterranean,
took place on the 13th of July , at the very outset of the
Israeli sponsored bombings of Lebanon.
The bombing of Lebanon is part of a carefully planned and coordinated
military road map. The extension of the war into Syria and Iran has
already been contemplated by U.S. and Israeli military planners. This
broader military agenda is intimately related to strategic oil and oil
pipelines. It is supported by the Western oil giants, which control
the pipeline corridors. In the context of the war on Lebanon, it seeks
Israeli territorial control over the East Mediterranean coastline.
(The War on Lebanon and the Battle for Oil, July 26, 2006)
Syria and Lebanon must be subjugated if the United States and its
partners are to secure the Eastern Mediterranean coastline to expand
the oil terminal from Ceyhan, Turkey to Israel, lock out Russia and
China from securing international energy resources, and ultimately
creating a monopoly over world energy resources.
The Eastern Mediterranean, a "Second Front" guarded by NATO?
There has been a significant build-up of military force, including
naval power, in Lebanon and the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean.
This force is composed of troops and naval vessels from several
NATO countries including Italy, Spain, France, Turkey, Germany,
and the Netherlands.
NATO’s "Operation Active Endeavor," implemented in the wake of 9/11
is fully integrated into the U.S. sponsored "War on Terrorism". The
Operation is overseen by the Commander of "NATO Allied Naval Forces,
Southern Europe" based in Naples.
In this context, a NATO naval task force of warships has been
monitoring the Eastern Mediterranean since late 2001, years before
the Israeli aerial siege of Lebanon (2006). This task force of NATO
warships has been "trained and prepared for a prolonged operation in
the Eastern Mediterranean since 2001."45
According to one Israeli source, the NATO military presence in the
Eastern Mediterranean is part of the war plans pertaining to Syria
"This expectation [of a war launched against Iran and Syria] has
brought together the greatest sea and air armada Europe [NATO] has
ever assembled at any point on earth since World War II: two carriers
with 75 fighter-bombers, spy planes and helicopters on their decks;
15 warships of various types – 7 French, 5 Italian, 2-3 Greek.,
3-5 German, and 5 American; thousands of Marines – French, Italian
and German, as well as 1,800 U.S. Marines. It is improbably billed as
support for a mere [expected] 7,000 European soldiers who are deployed
in Lebanon to prevent the dwindling Israeli force of 4-5,000 soldiers
and some 15-16,000 Hezbollah militiamen from coming to blows as well
as for humanitarian odd jobs. (…) So, if not for Lebanon, what is
this fine array of naval power really there for? First, according
to our military sources [in Israel], the European participants feel
the need of a strong naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean
to prevent a possible Iranian-U.S.-Israeli war igniting an Iranian
long-range Shahab missile attack on [American-NATO bases used against
Iran from eastern] Europe; second, as a deterrent to dissuade Syria
and Hezbollah from opening a second front against America and Israel
from their Eastern Mediterranean coasts." 46
In the case of a war with Syria and Iran, NATO forces in the Eastern
Mediterranean would no doubt play a decisive role. The Eastern
Mediterranean would become one of several fronts, which could include
Iraq, Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Persian Gulf.
NATO "Enlargement" and the Caucasus
Just as it did in Afghanistan, NATO has moved into Lebanon. Under a
formal peacekeeping mandate, NATO has become a de facto occupation
force that is party to the Anglo-American agenda.
There are two other factors that fall into the NATO equation. The
first is the militarization of Georgia and the Republic of Azerbaijan,
two former republics of the Soviet Union which are firmly aligned
with NATO. Georgia occupies a strategic position with regard to
the control and protection of the oil pipeline corridors out of
the Caspian Sea Basin. It also constitutes a wedge between Russia,
Armenia, and Iran. Azerbaijan is primarily an oil in the Caspian Sea
basin at the outset of the Baku-Tbilisi- Ceyhan pipeline.
It is Georgia which is being propped up militarily to counter Russia,
Iran, and their ally Armenia.
A strategic triangle is formed by Afghanistan in the east, the Caucasus
in the north, and the Levant in the west, with Iraq and Iran somewhat
in its center.
Georgia is essential to gaining control of this area from the north.
The Caucasus region is also an interlinked front with the Middle East
and Central Asia that will become more active as the Anglo-American
military roadmap proceeds.
It seems that rising tensions between Russia and Georgia are part
of this process. The civil unrest and conflicts in the Caucasus
are intimately related to the struggle to secure Middle Eastern and
Central Asian energy resources.
The Balkans, the heart of Central Asia, and Sudan are another strategic
triangle of the Anglo-American military roadmap. The reconfiguration
of Yugoslavia and the entrance of states such as Bulgaria, Albania,
Montenegro, and Macedonia into the NATO sphere are also essential
steps in the Anglo-American roadmap.
Russia has been outraged at the harboring of Chechen rebels in Georgia
and the Georgian government’s collaboration with the United States
in undermining Russian influence in the Caucasus. Russia has fought
back and tried to counter Georgian and Anglo-American influence in the
Caucasus by supporting the Abkhazian and South Ossetian independence
movements. Additionally, border delimitation has become an issue
between Georgia and Russia. This has resulted in an uneasy stalemate,
but the situation seems to be changing. Russian troops have also
been leaving their bases in Georgia47 and tensions have been rising
between the Russians on the one hand and Georgia and NATO on the other.
September 2006 has seen relations on the brink of collapse. The
Georgian government has charged the Russian military with spying in
Georgia and the Russian Federation of trying to oust the Georgian
government and install a pro-Russian, anti-NATO government in its
place. In addition, South Ossetian forces have shot down a helicopter
with the Georgian Defense Minister on board and, days later, Georgian
authorities foiled what they claim was an attempt at a "coup d’etat"
supported by Russia, which is something that the Russian government
There is also a striking parallel between "peacekeeping operations" in
Georgia and Lebanon. Both are bogus operations with a hidden agenda. In
Georgia it is Russian troops that are deployed as peacekeepers and in
Lebanon peacekeeping is "unofficially" dominated by NATO. The Georgian
Foreign Minister has said: "If we continue to drive the situation
[in Georgia] … with existing actors and with the dominant power
of Russia …we will end up in violence [war]," He has demanded that
Russian troops stationed in Georgia withdraw and has accused Moscow
of seeking to undermine the Georgian government.49
The second factor is the rapid expansionist policy of NATO.
NATO has been expanding eastward. It is now seeking entry for Georgia,
the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ukraine, and several other countries.50
The Russian Foreign Minister has told the Secretary-General of NATO
that the "Reconfiguration of NATO military forces in Europe, as well as
the desire of the United States to deploy certain elements of missile
launching sites in Eastern Europe are the issues of concern for us
[the Russian Federation]."51
In this regard, the Associated Press points to rising tensions between
the Russian Federation and NATO, pertaining to Georgia’s membership
Moscow [the Russian government] denounced the move [to embrace Georgia
further into NATO] as a Cold War throwback that hurt Russian interests
and could further destabilize the Caucasus region. Russian Defense
Minister Sergei Ivanov threatened to send two divisions of Russian
troops to the border with Georgia to ensure that "Russia’s security
won’t be hurt if Georgia enters NATO."
The strained relations between Russia and Georgia worsened Thursday
when Moscow recalled its ambassador, announced the recall of diplomats
and complained to the United Nations about Georgia’s detention of
five Russian officers on spying charges. Mr. Ivanov called Georgia a
Georgia charged four of the officers on Friday with spying and was
to put them on trial later in the day, said Shota Khizanishvili,
spokesman for the Interior Minister. A fifth officer was released
Friday (September, 2006).52
Formation of a Eurasian Military Alliance?
Since August 2006, Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan,
and Kyrgyztan have holding joint military exercises and anti-terrorism
drills. These operations were conducted under the SCO and/or the
Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) (with the involvement
of the Commonwealth of Independent States, CIS). These military
exercises were conducted at a time when Iran was also involved in
major war games.
-Russia and Belarus held joint military exercises in 2006 (June
-U.S. military operations and war games were held with Bulgaria and
Romania, in the Balkans (July-August, 2006)54
-Iranian War Games started on August 19, 200655
-Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Anti-terrorism
exercises including Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan
were held in late August 200656
-China and Kazakhstan held joint anti-terrorism drills also in late
August (start August 23/24, 2006)57
-Russia, Uzbekistan, and Kazakhstan held joint anti-terrorism drills
(September 19-23, 2006)58
-China and Tajikistan hold their first joint military exercise
(September 22-23, 2006)59
-CIS and Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) Anti-Terrorism
Drills in Armenia (September 26-28, 2006)60
The initiation of a "Eurasian Energy Club" was the practical outcome on
September 15, 2006 for the SCO during a conference held in Dushanbe,
Tajikistan.61 This is a goal that cannot be achieved unless Iran is
a full member of the SCO.
IRNA quoted the Uzbek Deputy Prime Minister, Rustam Azimov, as
saying that "the economic projects, on which [SCO] agreements were
reached during the International Shanghai Conference [SCO], cannot
be implemented without the cooperation of Iran, as a significant
Mongolia is also set to become a full member of the SCO. Mongolia,
Iran, India, and Pakistan are all observer members of the SCO.
Armenia, a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization,
(CSTO) and the CIS, and Serbia, a historical ally of Russia, are
potential candidates for the SCO. Armenia has also made it clear that
it has no intention of joining the E.U. or NATO.63 Belarus has also
expressed interest in joining the SCO as a full member state.64
The expansion of the SCO and the complete inclusion of Iran as a full
member has been challenged by the Helsinki Commission (the Commission
on Security and Cooperation in Europe) during an inquiry (September
26, 2006) into the impact of the SCO on Anglo-American objectives
and U.S. influence in Central Asia.
The expansion of the SCO was said to be unlikely because the "economic
mission of the SCO seems ill-defined" and that the organization is
not likely to add new members who may end up competing with Russia
and China for control of Central Asia. It was also pointed out during
the Helsinki Commission hearing that, "They [the members of the SCO]
are bound together by a shared set of security interests and a shared
set of perceived risk[s]."
"Security interests and perceived risks" being connotations for the
growing threat of Anglo-American intrusion into the former Soviet
republics of Central Asia
The war games held in the former Soviet Union and Central Asia65 were
dominated by Russia and China. They were conducted under the disguise
of fighting "terrorism, extremism, and separatism." Terrorism,
extremism, and separatism are critical arenas of cooperation for
all member states.66 What is the hidden agenda? Are these war games
related in any way to U.S. war preparations?
Terrorism, extremism, and separatism are nurtured by Anglo-American
covert intelligence operations including sabotage and terrorist
attacks by Special Forces. Inciting ethnic, ideological, and sectarian
tension and separatist movements have been a traditional hallmark
of Anglo-American strategy in the Middle East, the Balkans, India,
Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union and Africa.
As for the manipulation and creation of extremism, Afghanistan
is testimony of this strategy. Afghanistan is where the Pakistani
ISI and the United States helped create the Taliban to fight the
Soviet Union. The United States, Pakistan, and Saudi Arabia have
also worked in supporting extremist movements in the former Soviet
Union. This is one of the reasons that the Iranian government has
remained silent in aiding or acknowledging religious based ideologues
or separatist movements in the Caucasus and the former Soviet Union,
Kurdistan: The Seeds of Balkanization and "Finlandization?"
Both the United States and Israel have been covertly training a number
of Kurdish groups in Northern Iraq. Iran and Syria have accused Israel
of establishing a military presence in Iraqi Kurdistan. Israel has
also trained Anglo-American special forces in assassination missions
and the formation of "hunter-killer teams"in Iraq.67
Magdi Abdelhadi, an Arab and Middle Eastern affairs analyst has
"Ever since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq began over three years ago
[in 2003], Arab journalists have been speaking of Israelis operating
inside the autonomous region of Kurdistan [in Northern Iraq].
They said this was evidence that toppling that Saddam Hussein was
only the first chapter in a wider American-Israeli conspiracy to
eliminate threats to their strategic interests and re-draw the map
of the Middle East [vis-a-vis a military roadmap].
Syria and Iran, which have common borders with Kurdish areas, are
believed to be the primary targets."68
There are deliberate attempts to manufacture or create civil strife
and division within the countries of the Middle East. The underlying
objectives are balkanization (division) and "finlandization"
Kurd istan is the geographic heart of the contemporary Middle East
and the Gordian knot holding all its mosaic of states and people
together. Kurdistan is also strategically the land-bridge connecting
Syria and the Eastern Mediterranean with Iran. The Kurdish people
have been continuously manipulated and deceived by the United States.
The deliberate manipulation of the Kurdish people by the United States
and Israel could deal a severe and chaotic blow to the stability
of Kurdistan and the national unity of Syria, Turkey, Iran, Iraq,
and by extension the neighbors of these countries.
Moreover, the balkanization of Iraq could set in motion a
domino-effect, which could have an impact in the entire Middle East
and beyond. The United States has created the conditions for social
division within Iraq. Dividing Iraqi society weakens the resistance
movement to the Anglo-American military occupation. Creating sectarian
and ethnic divisions in Iraqi society has a direct bearing on U.S. war
plans pertaining to Iran and Syria. The premise is that Iraqis would
be too busy fighting each other to offer significant support to Syria
The balkanization of Iraq is also consistent with Anglo-American
objectives for the "Eurasian Corridor" and the "Yinon Plan70" for
the Greater Middle East.
Both objectives overlap and depend on a partnership between the
United States, Britain, and Israel. These objectives rely on initial
regime change(s) from within a targeted state through the triggering
of ethnic and sectarian conflicts. This strategy is also being used
against Russia, China, and Central Asia. The ultimate objective is the
creation of a new set of Kuwait-like or Bahrain-like mini-states or
Anglo-American protectorates in the Middle East and the former Soviet
Union that can easily be controlled by the U.S., Britain, and Israel.
In an interview with Der Spiegel, the Syrian President said that the
Middle East was teetering on the brink of chaos and conflict. When
asked about the partition or balkanization of Anglo-American occupied
Iraq, the Syrian President said:
"It would be harmful, not just for Iraq, but for the entire region,
extending from Syria to the [Persian] Gulf and into Central Asia.
Imagine snapping a necklace and all the pearls fall to the ground.
Almost all these countries have natural dividing lines, and when
ethnic and religious partition occurs in one country, it’ll soon
happen elsewhere. It would be like the end of the Soviet Union-only
far worse. Major wars, minor wars, no one will be capable of keeping
the consequences under control."71
The problem can further be compounded. A war with Syria could spill
over and ignite further conflicts in Palestine, Jordan, and Lebanon,
while also affecting Turkey, Cyprus, and the entire Arab World.
A war with Iran or any balkanization affecting Iran would also
contribute to destabilizing the Caucasus, Turkey, and Central Asia
which all have ethnic and cultural ties with Iran. This includes
North Ossetia-Alania, Chechnya, Dagestan, Ingushetia, which are part
of the South Federal District of the Russian Federation.
A war with Iran could spill over into the ethnically diverse Caucasus
with serious and unpredictable ramifications for Russia.
The Caucasus is intimately interlinked with Iran. The conflicts between
Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan over the Nagorno-Karabakh
region, the internal conflicts in Georgia over South Ossetia and
Abkhazia, and the fighting in Chechnya and Dagestan could all light
up again. These conflicts would not only threaten Russia’s national
security, they would also affect the SCO, which is integrated with
China, Russia and several former Soviet republics as well as the CSTO..
Connect-the-Dots: All the Pieces Coming Together?
There is an evident military build-up of conventional, ground,
air, naval, and nuclear forces in and around the Middle East and
Central Asia. It includes the mobilization of British troops on the
Iranian border72, and the extension of military tours of service
in Anglo-American occupied Iraq and NATO garrisoned Afghanistan.73
The 1st Brigade of 1st Armored Division, a 4,000 man unit which is
operating in the Al-Anbar province of Iraq, bordering Syria, has had
their tour of duty extended. They are not the first group of American
or British soldiers to have their tours of duty extended in Iraq or
Afghanistan. The brigade has about 4,000 soldiers in Iraq.74 They were
scheduled to be in Iraq for a maximum of 12 months, but their tours
have been extended repeatedly like other military units. The U.S. Army
has also extended the tour of the Alaska-based 172nd Striker Brigade,
an army unit with over 3,500 troops, several times.75
Many of the Arab dictatorships will also secretly support the
Anglo-American alliance. They will watch as Syria and Iran are
attacked and Lebanon, Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan are further
devastated by conflict. The pro-U.S. governments – are supportive
of the U.S. "military roadmap", despite the fact that the people in
these countries are firmly opposed to the U.S. led war. The hopes of
a Palestinian state have also been abandoned by their leaders.
They have demonstrated this in their involvement against Iraq
before and after the 2003 Anglo-American invasion. They have tacitly
accepted the oppression of the Palestinian people, as well as the
Israeli invasion and bombing of Lebanon (phrased in Lebanon as the
"Arab conspiracy against Lebanon"). There have been media reports
that Saudi Arabia and Israel have also been conducting secret talks
in regards to Iran and the broader Middle East.76
Romania and Bulgaria are already important hubs for Anglo-American
military operations in Eurasia extending from the Balkans to the
Middle East and Central Asia. Both states are also important partners
of the Anglo-American alliance. According to Lawrence Korb in a 2003
article in The New York Times:
The Pentagon is smitten with Romania. And Poland. And Bulgaria too.
The Defense Department is considering closing many, if not all, of
its bases in Western Europe-which are primarily in Germany-and to
shift its troops to Spartan new sites in the former Soviet bloc.
Already we [the public] are told that the First Armored Division, now
on the ground in Iraq, will not return to the bases in Germany it left
in April . And Gen. James Jones, the head of the European Command
[of the United States], said this month that all 26 Army and Air Force
installation in Germany, except for the Air Force base at Ramstein,
might be closed. In effect this could mean transferring five army
brigades, some 25, 000 troops, to the East [meaning Eastern Europe;
Bulgaria and Romania].
(The Pentagon’s Eastern Obsession, NYT, July 30, 2003)
In retrospect the Pentagon’s decision to move eastward was
strategically correct and based on the premise of the eastward shift
of Anglo-American military operations. The situation in the former
Yugoslavia and the Balkans was placated in the second half of the
1990s. With the start of 2001 the time had come to advance operations
NATO has also been in liaison with Washington, London and Tel Aviv.
Anglo-American and Israeli interests have been served by NATO. NATO
either formally or informally has been sending troops to assist in
the "occupational phase" of all Anglo-American operations after the
"blitzkriegs" or "initial military phases." NATO and member states
have been acting as occupation forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and are
also moving into Lebanon. The Secretary-General of NATO has promised
that the NATO mission in Afghanistan will expand and intensify.77
NATO spokesmen in Afghanistan have reported that by February 2007
General McNeil of the U.S. Army will take over command of NATO
forces in Afghanistan, called the International Security Assistance
Force (ISAF), and American troops in Afghanistan. This means that
American troops and NATO troops, which have been under separate
command structures, will now be joined under one command structure
in Afghanistan.78 The media has pointed to the fact that U.S. troops
would be under NATO command. But what is really at stake is that a
U.S. General is now overseeing NATO forces.
Roughly 12,000 mostly American troops in Afghanistan will begin to
integrate with NATO in October 2006.79 The top NATO commander in
Afghanistan is currently headed by Lieutenant -General David Richards
of Britain. In the case of a conflict with Iran, NATO troops in
Afghanistan would attack Iran. Similalry, NATO troops stationed in
Lebanon would attack Syria.
The Pakistani Connection
There are also signs that NATO and the United States are expecting the
collapse of General Musharraf and the Pakistani government because
of the chaos that would be triggered in Pakistan from attacks on
Iran and Syria.80 This could explain the request that India send
troops into Afghanistan.81 NATO and Indian interests would converge
in ensuring that Pakistan and its nuclear arsenal not fall into the
hands of radicals or extremists that could threaten Anglo-American
interests and the security of India.
There is no arms ban on Syria for importing defensive systems, but a
merchant ship coming from Asia and Egypt has been detained in Limassol,
Cyprus carrying air defense systems headed for Syria. The ship is free
to leave, but the fate of its cargo is still undecided.82 Syria’s
president and government have also said they expect to be attacked
by Israel in the context of a broader Middle East war.83
In an NBC interview with Brian Williams, the Iranian President said
that the White House and U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East are
"moving the world toward war." This is a significant assertion coming
from a leader of a Middle Eastern state and such a statement must be
taken very seriously. The Iranian President, made a similar statement
in his September address to the U.N. General Assembly, pointing to the
fact that the United States was dragging the world towards a major war.
Iranian leaders have announced that British and American diplomacy
efforts are merely bravado for the general public. They point to the
"illusion of trying to solve crisis through diplomacy". In the cases
of both Iraq and Afghanistan. the United States and Britain decided to
go to long before they informed the public of their intentions. In the
case of Iraq there exist de-classified documentation that prove this to
be true and in the case of Afghanistan there was no possible logistical
way of preparing for an invasion without months of planning prior to
the declaration of war, which took place on the 12th of September 2001
Iran is fully aware of the U.S. threat to bomb and invade. Its
population is fully aware of the possibility of Anglo-American air
raids. Iran has cautioned the United States and Britain. In August
2006, Iranian war games in coordination with Russian, Chinese,
and CSTO war games took place throughout Iran, including all of
Iran’s geo-strategically important border provinces with Pakistan,
Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, Turkey, and Iraq. Clear signals were
being sent to the Anglo-American alliance.
Venezuela, an Iranian ally, has warned the United States repeatedly
that it will not watch Iran and Syria being invaded or attacked. The
President of Venezuela, Hugo Chavez, has alluded to U.S. military
preparations for the invasion of Iran in his speech to the 61st U.N.
"And now [the United States is] threatening Venezuela-new threats
against Venezuela, against Iran [too]?"84
The Venezuelan President also stated: "Meantime, the incumbent U.S.
administration is also dreaming [incorrectly planning] of invading
Iran and Venezuela to take control of the oil resources of these two
countries as well [as those of Iraq]."85
How Venezuela plans to aid Iran and Syria in a war against the United
States is a topic of debate, but it is very likely that, in the case
of war, Venezuelan diplomatic relations with the U.S. government and
oil supplies to the United States will be cut off.
Link between the Persian Gulf and Eastern Mediterranean?
There is as process of ongoing militarization in the Levant and the
Eastern Mediterranean, essentially led by NATO forces, under the
pretext of U.N. peacekeeping.
If the U.S. led war were to proceed, the Baku-Tbilisi-Ceyhan (BTC)
Oil Terminal, as well as the pipeline route leading to Ceyhan, would
be an obvious military target of Syrian-Iranian forces. Meanwhile,
the Iranian Navy would attempt to block the Straits of Hormuz. This
could deliver a halting grind to the flow of world oil supplies as
Iran has repeatedly promised. Venezuela could also stop the flow of
its oil as its government has repeatedly warned.
Ýncirlik Air Base is a major NATO base in Turkey, next to the Syrian
border and coastline. It must be noted that American nuclear weapons
have also been positioned in Turkey’s Ýncirlik Air Base. The latter
was one of the main hubs for the United States and NATO during the
2001 Afghanistan military campaign. This Turkish base is still of
vital importance to the United States, Britain, and NATO. Thousands of
American and British airmen are stationed there. It is also adjacent
to the Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal.
The Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal will become even more
significant and important if Iran should successfully close off the
Straits of Hormuz.
This is one of the reasons why the Ýncirlik Air Base is strategically
important. The Ýncirlik Air Base would be used to protect the Port of
Ceyhan, the outlet of the Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC) Oil Terminal. The
NATO armada in the eastern Mediterranean as well as Israel would also
play an important role in protecting the Baku-Tbilisi-Cehyan (BTC)
Oil Terminal if Syria or Iran attempted to disrupt the flow of energy
to the Eastern Mediterranean.
There are two distinct naval armadas: in the Persian Gulf-Arabian
Sea and in the Eastern Mediterranean off the coastlines of Syria
These armadas are being built-up concurrently. The Eastern
Mediterranean build-up is essentially characterized by Israeli and
NATO naval and ground forces. In the Persian Gulf, the naval armada is
largely American with the participation of the British, Australia, and
Canada. In this extensive land mass between the Eastern Mediterranean
and the Persian Gulf, various military movements on the ground are
occurring, including Northern Iraq and Georgia.
The broader war theater would extend far beyond, northwards to
the Caspian Sea Basin and eastwards to Pakistan and China’s Western
frontier. What we are dealing with is a chessboard for another Middle
Eastern war, which could potentially engulf a much broader region.
* Global Research Contributing Editor Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya is an
independent writer and analyst of the Middle East, based in Ottawa.
Note: Readers are welcome to cross-post this article with a view to
spreading the word and warning people of the dangers of a broader
Middle East war. Please indicate the source and copyright note.
1 Trevor Nevitt Dupuy (Col.); The Military History of World War II, The
Air War in the West: June 1941-April 1945 (Vol.7 ), Air Power and the
Normandy Invasion, pages 36-4, New York City, Franklin Watts Inc., 1963
2 Copy of the "Downing Street Memo (DSM)"
published by The Times (U.K.) in May, 2005
,,2087- 1593607,00.html 3
Philip Sherwell , US prepares for military blitz against Iran’s
nuclear sites, Telegraph (U.K.), February 12, 2006 4 Fuentes,
Gidget; ESG 5 charts a new course: Command element to leave
flagship for a more flexible role, Navy Times, September 12,
5 Robert Shaw, Island New Democrats back party on Afghanistan
pullout: Canada following U.S. too closely, says Afghan
politician, Times Colonist, September 10, 2006 Atkinson,
Melissa; HMCS Ottawa leaves for Gulf, Lookout September 11, 2006
"Lookout" is a paper serving CFB (Canadian Forces Base) Esquimalt
where the Canadian Pacific fleet, including the H.M.C.S.
Ottawa, is based.
6 National Defence: HMCS Ottawa to Depart for Arabian Gulf Region,
CCNMattews, September 1, 2006 Note: Arabian Gulf is an alternative
term used in reference to Persian Gulf, but is originally the name
of the Red Sea.
7 Mike Barber, Midgett Crew ready to ship out: Cutter to leave
for Persian Gulf today, Settle Post-Intelligencer, September 16,
8 Ibid 9 Roee Nahmias, MK Bishara warns Syria of
Israeli attack, Yedioth (Ynet) News, September 9, 2006
Note: MK means Member of Knesset (Member of Israeli
Parliament) 10 Sarah Baxter and Uzi Mahnaimi; NATO may
help US strikes on Iran, Sunday Times (U.K.), March 5, 2006
11 Martin Walker, German media: U.S. prepares Iran
strike, United Press International, December 31, 2005
Also featured by the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)
12 What war with Iran would look like (summary of Time
magazine article), Cable News Network (CNN), September 17, 2006
13 David Lindorff, War Signals? What is the White House Planning
in Relations to Iran?, The Nation (U.S.A.), September 28, 2006
14 Xuequan, Hu; Pentagon denies report on planning
war against Iran, Xinhua News Agency, September 20, 2006
15 Iran launches its first submarine, British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), August 29, 2000
.stm 16 Iran-Made
PT Boat Launches Mission, Fars News Agency, September 20, 2006
17 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Iranian War Games: Exercises,
Tests, and Drills or Preparation and Mobilization for
War?, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), August 21, 2006
18 Ali Akbar Dareini; Iran Tests Submarine-to-Surface Missile,
Associated Press, August 27, 2006 19 Robert Tait, Iran fires nuclear
missile into nuclear debate, Guardian Unlimited, April 6, 2006
20 IRGC test-fires super-modern flying boat, Mehr News Agency, April
4, 2006 307756
21 Spanish soldiers land in south Lebanon for expanded UN
peacekeeping mission, People’s Daily, September 16, 2006
22 Germany to send up to 2,400 troops
to Lebanon, Expatica, September 13, 2006
23 Claudia Rach, German Parliament Approves UN Naval Force
for Lebanon (Update2), Bloomberg L.P., September 20, 2006
24 Danish naval ships ready to sail as part of
Lebanon force, People’s Daily, September 22, 2006
25 AndrewGray, NATO says more needed
for Afghan force, Reuters, September 22, 2006
26 Keaten, James; French tanks bolster UN force in Lebanon:
Powerful armor said to be "deterrent," Associated Press,
September 13, 2006, Published in the Toronto Star, Canada
27 Greece begins its peacekeeping drive in Lebanon: Frigate
has orders to fire if need be, Kathimerini, September 9, 2006
28 Netherlands to send ship to UN naval mission
in Lebanon, People’s Daily, September 23, 2006
Belgian defense minister visiting Lebanon, IRNA, September 24, 2006
245521151745.htm 30 Turkey
to send troops to UNIFIL next month, People’s Daily, September 19, 2006
31 Cetin: Neither NATO nor another force can send Turkish
troops to the area of clashes, Dunya, September 11, 2006
asp?upsale_id=277990 32 UN
accepts Bulgaria’s Lebanon Peacekeeping participation on One Condition,
Sofia Echo, September 4, 2006 Details on Bulgaria’s participation in UN
Lebanon Peacekeeping Mission to Become Known in Ten Days, Focus News
Agency, August 28, 2006
33 Bruce, Ian; Scottish officers set to support
Lebanon peace force, The Herald (U.K.), September 26, 2006
34 UAE, Lebanese Army ink
pact to de-mine South, The Daily Star (Lebanon), September 26, 2006
35 ArmorGroup wins Lebanon bomb clearing contract,
Reuters, September 25, 2006 36ArmorGroup homepage
37 Shadid, Anthony; Lebanon Peacekeepers
Met With Skepticism: True Role of U.N. Force is Subject to
Debate Among Wary Residents, Washington Post, September 20, 2006
38 Equipment for Russian battalion to be sent to
Lebanon late Sept – Ivanov; Interfax, September 20, 2006
Russian combat engineers to start work in Lebanon in October,
Russian News and Information Agency (RIA Novosti), September 20,
2006 40 Mahdi
Darius Nazemroaya, Russian Base in Syria, a Symmetrical Strategic
Move; Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), July 28, 2006
41 Chris Buckley , China plans to send peacekeepers to Lebanon,
Reuter, September 11, 2006, China consults with UN on increasing
peacekeepers in Lebanon, People’s Daily, September 20, 2006
42 Greg Peel, Alignment to War: Asian Commodity Demand
Versus the US Printing Press, FN Arena News, September 19, 2006
4 3 NATO elevates Mediterranean Dialogue to a genuine partnership,
launches Istanbul Cooperation Initiative, NATO Headquarters (Brussels),
July 29, 2004 d.htm
44 Operation Active Endeavor, Global Security.org
45 Ibid 46 "Lebanese Security" Is the Pretext for the Naval
Babel around Lebanon’s Shores, DEBKAfile, September 4, 2006
47 Russian Military
Hardware and Ammunition Left Georgia, The Georgian Times, September
19, 2006 ;newsid =1743
48 Nicola, Stefan; Analysis: Georgia-Russia conflict
heats up, United Press International, September 22, 2006
49 Ibid 50 Russia slams move to speed Georgia’s
NATO entry, Interfax, September 22, 2006
51 Russia concerned about NATO reconfiguration
in Europe-Lavov, Information Telegraph Agency of
Russia (ITAR-TASS News Agency), September 20, 2006
52 Paul Ames, NATO set for uneasy meeting with Russia,
Associated Press, September 29, 2006 53 Russia, Belarus
hold joint military exercise, People’s Daily, June 17, 2006
54 Romanian, US pilots hold exercise at Black
Sea coastal base, People’s Daily, August 12, 2006
U.S., Romania, Bulgaria team up for Immediate Response 06,
Army Public Affairs (ArNews, U.S. Army News Service), August
3, 2006 80
55 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Iranian War Games: Exercises,
Tests, and Drills or Preparation and Mobilization for
War?, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), August 21, 2006
56 Chossudovsky, Michel; Russia and Central Asian
allies Conduct War Games in Response to US Threats,
Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), August 24, 2006
57 Ibid 58 Russia, Kazakhstan special forces hold
antiterrorist exercises, Information Telegraph Agency
of Russia (ITAR-TASS News Agency), September 19, 2006
59 China, Tajikistan to hold military
exercises, Xinhua News Agency, September 19, 2006
content_5111376.htm 60 CIS
security services to hold anti-terror exercises in Armenia, Information
Telegraph Agency of Russia (ITAR-TASS News Agency), September 25,
61 Energy outcome of SCO meeting in Dushanbe, Russian News
and Information Agency (RIA Novosti), September 20, 2006
62 Uzbek official: SCO projects cannot be
implemented without Iran, IRNA, September 15, 2006
Armenia not to join NATO, EU: president, People’s Daily, April 24,
64 The Shanghai Cooperation Organization acquires military
character: Iran eager to join SCO, Kommersant, April 27, 2006
p;id=670100 65 Heather
Maher, Central Asia: U.S. Helsinki Commission Concerned About
SCO’s influence, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, September 27, 2006
66 The Shanghai Cooperation Organization acquires military
character: Iran eager to join SCO, Kommersant, April 27, 2006
p;id=670100 67 Ju.lian Borger,
Israel trains US assassination squads in Iraq, Guardian, December 9,
2003 ,2763,110294 0,00.html
68 Magdi Abdelhadi, Israelis ‘train Kurdish forces,’
British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), September 20,
Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, Beating the Drums of War. US Troop
Build-up: Army and Marines authorize "Involuntary Conscription,"
Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), August 23, 2006
70 The "Yinon Plan" is a strategically fashioned set of objectives
for Israel that advocates the fracturing of all potential enemies
or rivals. It is synchronized partnership with the Anglo-American
alliance. Its aim is to produce tiny and passive mini-states in the
Greater Middle East. The "Yinon Plan" emphasizes that Israel must
focus on imperial power in the Middle East with regional hegemony. It
involves expansionist dogma and the control of natural resources such
as oil, water, and gas.
71 "America Must Listen," Der Spiegel, September 24, 2006
72 Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya, British Troops Mobilizing on the Iranian
Border, Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG), August 30, 2006
73 Nazemroaya, Beating the Drums of War, op cit.
74 Homecoming delayed for 4,000 U.S. troops in
Iraq, Cable News Network (CNN), September 25, 2006
Nazemroaya, Beating the Drums of War, op cit .
76 Joshua Brilliant, Analysis: Israeli, Saudi
officials met, United Press International, September 25, 2006
77 Helene Cooper, NATO Chief Says More Troops Are Needed
in Afghanistan, The New York Times, September 22, 2006
78 Washington to send 4-star general to assume Afghanistan
command, International Herald Tribune, September 26, 2006
79 NATO ready for early for early takeover of
Afghan peacekeeping, Reuters, September 28, 2006
38685.htm Note: The
Reuters title is exceptionally misleading. NATO is not set to do
anything new and the operations in Afghanistan are not peacekeeping,
they are the waging of war against insurgency that is "wrongly"
called the "Taliban" in Western media. On the ground in Afghanistan,
NATO troops term the Afghan insurgents as Anti-Coalition Militias
(ACMs). This title reflects the fact that NATO is fighting a diverse
multi-ethnic insurgency movement in Afghanistan that sees NATO and
the Anglo-American alliance as occupation forces.
80 Khalid Hasan, US now viewing Pakistan without Musharraf,
Daily Times, April 21, 2006 Pennington, Matthew; Pakistani
President Denies Coup Rumours, Forbes.com, September 25, 2006
81 NATO wants Indian troops to operate in Afghanistan, India Defence,
September 23, 2006
82 Cyprus holds ‘Syria arms cargo,’ British
Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), September 12, 2006
83 Assad says Israel
likely to attack Syria, United Press International, September 21, 2006
84 Rise Up Against the Empire, Speech at the UN General Assembly
(President Hugo Chavez), Centre for Research on Globalization
(CRG), September 21, 2006 85 Chavez: US Invasion of Iran
Spikes Oil Prices to $200, Fars News Agency, September 24, 2006
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