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Speculations over US attack against Iran

JŘrgen Gottschlich, Der Spiegel

iran-target200[1].jpeg

December 23, 2005

Are the USA planing a rocket attack against targets in Iran? In secret discussions Washington was preparing the Allies for appropriate air strikes in 2006, agencies disclosed to day. Especially in the NATO country Turkey, speculations about an attack against Iranian nuclear facilities are taking place.

Istanbul/Berlin - The News exploded like a Bomb in the tranquil prechristmas mood.:Washington was preparing close allies for air strikes against Iran. This was disseminated today by the German Depeschenservice in a text by the former "FAZ" editor - Head and Secret Service Expert Udo Ulfkotte - however substantial doubts on this matter are certainly justified.

As source given by the not undoubted journalist Ulfkotte "Western security circles" without naming specifics. According to his statements, CIA-Chief Porter Goss in the Turkish Capital Ankara asked M.P. Recep Tayyip Erdogan to support the air strikes against Iranian Nuclear and Military Installations especially with uninhibited exchange of secret information. At the present plan the attacks were planned for 2006.

In recent weeks The governments of Saudi-Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Pakistan have been informed about the implementations of military plans. The air strikes were described as "possible option" a specific point in time was however, not mentioned.

CIA Chief Gloss was now to have provided the Turkish Security Administration in Ankara with three information packages, one of which supposedly includes that Teheran cooperate with the terror organization Al-Qaida. A further transferred info pertains to the progress of the Iranian nuclear Armament, it was said. According to statements from German security agencies, in Ankara Goss assured the Turkish Government they would be informed a few hours before the possible Air Strike and to give Turkey already the green light for this particular day to attack depots of the separatist PKK on Iranian territory - a curious "Green Light" however, because the PKK does not maintain any military bases, but operates primarily in North Iraq.

The possible critical move in that situation - DDP reports - dependent mainly on the latest antisemitic outbursts of the Iranian president Mahmud Ahmadinedschad, whose scathing verbal attacks against Israel, prompted the American governments stronger impression, that Teheran would not yield in the nuclear - disagreement and were stalling for time. The News Agency cited a high ranking German Military official, anonymously: " I would not surprise me, if the Americans in short would not capitalize on the opportunity delivered by Teheran. The Americans would have to Attack Iran, before they have developed nuclear weapons. Afterwards it would be too late.

If US plans for attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities exist, or how detailed they are is hard to estimate. Last the American discovery annalist Seymour Hersh, reported about this in January 2005 in the "New Yorker" that secret US Commando Groups were active in marking military targets.

The Bush Government did not deny Hersh's report at that time. They only played it down: The article was full of "false statements" it was said in Washington. That the central issue in the report were false, was not disputed. Bush himself added explicitly, he didn't want to exclude the "War" option.

Air attack after New year?

Is a military action, possibly a war in the region about to happen? In Berlin the subject is moderated down. During the visit of defense minister Franz Josef Jung with Donald Rumsfeld this week in Washington, the possible Air Attack by the US on Iran did not come up as "a subject", a speaker for SPIEGEL ONLINE said.

However, the speculation on US attacks against Iran refers primarily to happenings in Turkey. Last week there was actually a mighty assembly of high ranking Security Personnel from the USA and from NATO in Ankara. Within a couple of days there was first the Chief of the FBI, then the Chief of the CIA and last the Secretary General Scheffer in Turkey. After her visit in Germany Coondoleezza Rize travelled to Turkey, too.

In fact Turkey's newspapers in connection with these visits have speculated too, that an attack on Iran was being prepared. But the assumptions in Turkey were not based on hard facts. Following the meeting of Porter Goss with Tayyip Erdogan the leftist Cumhuriyet headlined: "Now its Iran's turn". Substantiations: None.

The Paper noted, however, that the meeting between the CIA-Chief and Erdogan lasted unusually over an hour, even though Goss met beforehand with the Chief of the Turkish Secret Service. Because of that the Turkish public deducted that it had to be something very important - detailed facts: Wrong conclusion. Just about all media speculates over the possibility that Erdogan and Goss could have discussed a mutual action against the PKK in North Iraq. Possibly that Goss requested in exchange requested Turkish secret service photographs. A possible Air Attack on Iran would certainly not be staged from the Turkish base Incirlik, it is of course plausible that the USA informed Turkey, to test their reaction.

Ankara is skeptical. In the past the government in Ankara was skeptical concerning military actions by the USA to the point of directly opposed. An offensive by US ground troops in Northern Iraq against Saddam's Regime was even prevented by Ankara in 2003 - the lack of this second front was blamed by Donald Rumsfield over and over for military problems in Iraq.

Now the Turkish commander in chief and the probable future chief of staff Yasar Buyukanit both spent two weeks in Washington. Afterwards he commented that the relationship between the Turkish Army and the US Army were again excellent. This is therefore remarkable, because Buyukanit is one of the Hawks in the fight against the PKK and in the past had already considered, to himself march into North Iraq - in case the USA and the North Iraqi Kurds would not prevent the PKK from staging attacks against Turkey.

The Turkish - Iranian relations have been chilled for a long time. Teheran criticizes for years, that Turkey has good relations with Israel and is even cooperating with the Israeli Military. About the anti Israeli transgressions by Ahmadinedschad, Turkey was still not bombarded by the news media as it was the case in Germany - they just shook their head (shrugged their shoulder).

MP Erdogan has, however, just recently called his Israeli college Aril Sharon and congratulated him to his recovery - The long rather withheld contact by Erdogan with Sharon has in recently become much closer. Sharon had recently declared, if in doubt, he would go combat those in-love-with-nuclear Mullahs alone.

In spite of that The Turkish government spoke repeatedly against military action against Iran and Syria. Because at least with respect to the Kurdish question Turkey Syria and Iran are united, that there may not be an independent Kurdistan in northern Iraq. An alliance concerning these interests does not seem to exist between Washington and Ankara. However, if the USA plans a missile attack against Iran, Turkey must come aboard - active or passive.


But Erdogan and his military harbor the worst fear for the whole region, in case the USA would actually go against Iran. Western experts, too, consider the success of a military action against nuclear installations in Iran in no way guaranteed. Just the opposite: An attack would probably miss its aim to stop the nuclear program and provide Ahmadinedschad with even more supporters.


:: Article nr. 18970 sent on 25-dec-2005 01:02 ECT

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