dinsdag, juni 21, 2005

Ritter: 'War on Iran already begun'

Former U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter had an opinion piece on al-Jazeera yesterday, suggesting that, just as we now know that the war against Iraq actually began with bombing as early as Autumn 2002, so the U.S. is already effectively in Iran via its clients, the Mujahadeen el-Khalq, or MEK, who are, as Ritter says, 'an Iranian opposition group, once run by Saddam Hussein's dreaded intelligence services, but now working exclusively for the CIA's Directorate of Operations.' Some Iran commentators have suggested the MEK might be responsible for the recent pre-election bombings in the country. The MEK itself has denied any role in the bombings, however.

'[T]he CIA is using a group still labelled as a terrorist organisation, a group trained in the art of explosive assassination by the same intelligence units of the former regime of Saddam Hussein, who are slaughtering American soldiers in Iraq today, to carry out remote bombings in Iran of the sort that the Bush administration condemns on a daily basis inside Iraq.'
He also highlights developments in Azerbaijan, Iran's northern neighbour, where the U.S. 'is preparing a base of operations for a massive military presence that will foretell a major land-based campaign designed to capture Tehran.'

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

'But this is only one use the US has planned for Azerbaijan. American military aircraft, operating from forward bases in Azerbaijan, will have a much shorter distance to fly when striking targets in and around Tehran. 'In fact, US air power should be able to maintain a nearly 24-hour a day presence over Tehran airspace once military hostilities commence.'

Worryingly, comments made by Seymour Hersh, the New Yorker hack who broke the Abu Ghraib story (and My Lai, a generation ago) and who has extensive contacts in the U.S. government, at a recent speaking engagement seem to corroborate Ritter's allegations. Paraphrasing Hersh's talk, someone who spoke to someone who attended his talk [admittedly this is not the most impressive of sources] recounted his words, later posted on the Marxmail listserve:

'[T]hey're [the U.S. gov] going to bomb the shit out of Iran, but there aren't enough free ground troops to mount an invasion.'