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A million martyrs await the call

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    A million martyrs await the call Kevin Toolis The Times November 19, 2005 http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-1878612,00.html THEY WERE not hard to
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      A million martyrs await the call
      Kevin Toolis
      The Times November 19, 2005
      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,1072-1878612,00.html


      THEY WERE not hard to spot — the dead tanks — as they littered the
      sides of the main Baghdad-Tehran highway deep inside Iran. Heavy
      twisted monsters, blasted by artillery, mounted on stone plinths like
      trophies as a warning to any other army that came to fight and die
      here, as Saddam's divisions had done. After 40 I stopped counting.
      On the Iranian border itself the little town of Mehran had become a
      shrine to martyrdom and death. Like a mini-Stalingrad, it had been
      razed three times during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, its streets
      filled with the corpses of Iranian child soldiers sacrificed in
      human-wave assaults; but in the end the Iranians expelled the invader
      at an awesome human cost.



      Saddam has gone, but Mehran is once more in the front line of
      potential war. The Iran-Iraq border is just a few miles to the west of
      the town on a flat plain — ideal tank country. The border itself is
      marked by a meandering stream but on either side now are the opposing
      armies of the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, all
      waiting for orders from above. If the Americans do ever invade then it
      will be here, as the shortest distance to Tehran from Baghdad; and
      that little stream the Rubicon for a war of unimaginable consequences.

      In No10 the tom-toms of war of war are drumming again as Tony Blair
      warns that he will not tolerate the meddling hand of Iran in the
      affairs of Iraq. In Washington the neoconservative tom-toms are even
      louder, warning that the West must "surgically strike" at Iran's
      hidden nuclear facilities and robustly challenge Iranian
      state-sponsored terrorism. Nor it seems can the EU countenance Iran's
      rise as a nuclear power either. A new nuclear crisis now looms later
      this month with the threat of UN Security Council sanctions over
      Iran's controversial nuclear programme.

      In Tehran the hardline President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has done little
      for foreign relations with his chilling call for Israel to be wiped
      off the map. We are, it seems, close to the on-ramp for another
      spectacular confrontation in the Middle East.

      But before we succumb again to the hysterical warnings of our leaders
      it is worth seeking a cold-eyed measure of this new enemy they would
      have us fight. Iraq and Iran are very different. Iran is nearly four
      times the size of its neighbour and six times the size of Britain. How
      could an already undermanned American army expect to control such a
      huge territory?

      Nor will those already fabled "surgical strikes" by the US Air Force
      deliver a decisive blow to Iran's growing nuclear capability. Iran's
      nuclear plants are already well hidden across its huge land mass. And
      all that a partial strike will do is unleash an unstoppable war
      without significantly damaging the enemy's capability.

      Iran's population at 70 million is three times that of Iraq's and it
      has one of the youngest populations in the world. Iran's standing army
      is estimated by the CIA to be 520,000-strong, but each year 817,000
      17-year-old Iranian boys are potentially available for military
      service. That is an awful lot of martyrs or suicide bombers.

      The Iranians are Persians, not Arabs, a consideration entirely absent
      from most neoconservative analyses of Iran's supposed weakness.
      Persian imperial dynasties date back to Cyrus the Great, around 530BC,
      and Xerxes, 486-465BC, who plagued the Greeks.Unlike the chaotic Arab
      shambles of Saddam's Iraq, Iran remains a hierarchical society where
      the vast majority live in rigid terror of the authorities above them,
      religious or imperial, and will utterly obey their commands.

      In many ways Ayatollah Khomeini, who came to power in 1979, was the
      greatest Persian Emperor, fusing his own version of Shia Islam into a
      state ideology. And during the Iran-Iraq war he revived the ancient
      Shia tradition of martyrdom: hundreds of thousands of soldiers, many
      of them children, died in futile suicidal assaults over minefields.
      "The Tree of Islam has to be watered with the blood of martyrs," said
      Khomeini without regret.

      Martyrdom is still the state religion. Huge posters of the war dead
      and Palestinian and Lebanese suicide bombers dominate every surface in
      Tehran and every speech of the political leadership. Any attempt to
      threaten or invade Iran will be a huge asset to a regime longing to
      re-energise its faded legitimacy among its own downtrodden population.
      Invasion by the Great Satan would be a godsend.

      Nor should we underestimate Iran's capacity to punish its enemies at
      long range. In 1982 Iran sent a thousand revolutionary guards to
      Lebanon to spread the Islamic revolution. The plan failed but Iran was
      behind three of the greatest acts of postwar terrorism: the American
      Embassy bombing in Beirut and the blowing up of the US Marine and
      French paratrooper barracks by suicide bombers in 1983. The French and
      the Americans left Lebanon in defeat soon afterwards.

      Iraq is a mess but widening the conflict by attacking Iran would be an
      act of madness. That little stream on the western edge of Mehran is a
      Rubicon we must never cross.

      Kevin Toolis is a terrorism expert and a documentary film-maker

      ===

      Defiant Iran plans second nuclear plant
      By Simon Freeman and agencies
      The Times, UK
      http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,251-1905197,00.html


      Iran courted further condemnation over its nuclear ambitions today by
      unveiling plans for a second power-generating plant.

      The announcement of a planned new reactor in the south-west of the
      country, bordering Iraq, is Tehran's latest push in an unpredictable
      game of international brinkmanship.

      Tehran says it intends to use the technology for solely peaceful
      purposes. Almost everyone else suspects it of wanting to make bombs.

      The announcement was greeted with condemnation in Israel, where party
      leaders jockeying for position before elections in March spoke of
      pre-emptive missile strikes against any nuclear installations.

      In a broadcast on state-owned television, it was reported that Mahmoud
      Ahmadinejad, the hardline Iranian President, and his Cabinet ministers
      want to build the plant - the second in a planned fleet of 20 new
      reactors - in oil-rich Khuzistan.

      The first, Russian-built plant at Bushehr, is due to become
      operational next year.

      Negotiations between Iran and the EU broke down in August when Tehran
      restarted uranium conversion - the first step in the fuel production
      cycle - at a plant in Isfahan. As far as is known, it is not carrying
      out uranium enrichment, the critical second stage which can also
      produce weapons grade fuel.

      The main hope of any resumption of dialogue lies in compromise
      proposals from Russia, which is offering to enrich uranium for Iran.

      Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the Internaional Atomic Energy
      Authority (IAEA), warned today that there would be no victors from any
      escalation in the ill-feeling between the two sides.

      "Everybody would hurt," he told The Independent. "You would then open
      a Pandora's box. There would be efforts to isolate Iran; Iran would
      retaliate; and at the end of the day you have to go back to the
      negotiating table to find the solution."

      Today, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli Prime Minister and
      likely future Likud leader, hinted that he would consider a
      pre-emptive air strike against Iran's nuclear installations if he were
      to be re-elected.

      Netanyahu said Israel should follow the example of the late Prime
      Minister Menachem Begin, who ordered an airstrike on an unfinished
      Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.

      "I view the development of the Iranian nuclear programme as a
      paramount threat and as a real danger to the future of the state of
      Israel," he told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.

      "Israel needs to do everything to prevent Iran from developing a
      nuclear threat against it."

      Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Netanyahu's rival and leader of the new
      Kadima party, said last week that Israel would never allow Iran to
      come into possession of nuclear weapons.

      President Ahmadinejad prompted outrage in October when he called for
      the Jewish state to be"wiped off the map", before recalling Iran's
      ambassadors from more than a dozen capitals, including London.

      ===

      Iran Attack: It's All Part of the New Zionist Century
      By Kurt Nimmo
      http://kurtnimmo.com/

      12/23/05 "ICH" -- -- If the Zionist state has its way, Iran will
      remain in the technological dark ages, or possibly share the stone age
      fate—as in "bomb them back to the stone age"—of Iraq in the wake of
      the Straussian neocon invasion. It's not simply Iran's alleged and as
      of yet unverified nukes, but also its incipient space program. "In
      October, a Russian rocket carried Iran's first spy satellite, the
      Sinah-1, into orbit," reports al-Jazeera. "While Iran's nuclear
      program is Israel's main concern, its space capabilities are also
      considered a `point of no return', which determined the actual timing
      of the Israeli strike. `The Iranians' space program is a matter of
      deep concern to us,' said an Israeli defense official. `If and when we
      launch an attack on several Iranian targets, the last thing we need is
      Iranian early warning received by satellite.'"

      In other words, Israel demands the right to attack Iran and Syria and
      the Zionists are outraged the Iranians or anybody else in the
      neighborhood would think about protecting themselves. It should also
      be noted that Iran's spy satellite—or rather early warning
      satellite—is far less sophisticated than Israeli satellites. "Israel's
      Ofek-5 spy satellite have been monitoring the activities in Arab
      countries and Iran since 2002," explains al-Jazeera.

      Naturally, only the Zionists will be allowed to have nukes and
      advanced satellite technology—and if the Iranians or anybody else in
      the neighborhood attempts to build nukes or satellites, the Israelis
      will attack, as they did against Saddam's Osirak nuclear facility near
      Baghdad in 1981. But then Saddam didn't have an early warning
      satellite system, as the Iranians now do.

      Of course, living so close to Iraq, the Iranians understand well what
      an attack on their country will mean—a destroyed civilian
      infrastructure and massive misery for the Iranian people because, as
      the Zionists have said for decades (although it is relatively unknown
      in America) the idea is to balkanize the region, break up Muslim
      states into ineffectual and powerless statelets ruled along ethnic and
      tribal lines, and—as the Palestinian example demonstrates—make sure
      pan-Arab nationalism is a dead letter, or rather that the nationalists
      are dead, due mostly to targeted assassination and intelligence
      penetration of popular organizations (it can be argued Hamas is at
      least partially a Zionist contrivance).

      Bombing Muslim countries and inflicting misery on their people is a
      popular idea in Israel. "A strike against Iran would be popular in
      Israel, where everyone agrees that Iran cannot be allowed to have the
      kind of nuclear weapons that Israel itself possesses in such bristling
      abundance," al-Jazeera continues. "By the late 1990s, the U.S.
      intelligence community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130
      nuclear weapons, including missiles and bombs, according to the
      Federation of American Scientists." In short, only Zionists possess
      the sort of morality (or the Ashkenazi Zionists do) required to have
      nuclear weapons and, as we know (thanks to a racist, xenophobic, and
      Zionist biased corporate media), the Arabs and Iranians will launch a
      nuclear attack against Israel the moment they have functioning nukes
      and an able delivery system. Never mind that this would be certain
      suicide for Iran or anybody else in lobbing distance of Israel's nukes.

      At least al-Jazeera is partially correct in its estimation:

      Only a fool would believe that the Bush administration gave up its
      ambitions for "full-spectrum dominance" in the Middle East just
      because Iraq turned into a disaster. To Washington, Iraq has always
      been a step towards Iran; which was never punished for removing the
      U.S.'s puppet, the shah, and seizing the American Embassy in Tehran.
      In fact, Iran is the first step to Washington's ultimate goal;
      planting U.S.-controlled hands on Middle Eastern and Central Asian
      oil, thus halting the political rise of China and India, and ensuring
      a "new American century" of unchallenged profit and privilege. For the
      elite, of course; as always, those back home have to deal with the
      bills and the body bags from these war games.

      Or rather a "new Zionist century" supported by the usual
      suspects—multinational corporations (including but hardly limited to
      Halliburton, Bechtel and the "defense" industry) and also the
      scurrilous "free trade" neolibs lurking in the "financial community"
      shadows, ready as always to "invest" in mass murder and unchecked
      thievery and ferret out gain from misery.

      As it now stands, the attack Iran plan is part and parcel of Israeli
      politics—an increasingly dangerous game of threats and histrionic
      siren calls between the inheritor of Jabotinsky Likudism, Bibi
      Netanyahu, and the newly minted "centrist" Ariel Sharon—and there is
      no certainty Israel will attack Iran's illusory nuke program (code for
      a larger and more comprehensive attack against Iranian society).

      Syria is more "doable" (as the neocons and Likudite Zionists prefer to
      attack weak adversaries, as they attacked Iran after more than a
      decade of debilitating sanctions) and taking out the Ba'athists in
      Syria may occur before the Straussian-Machiavellian neocons move
      against Iran. However, as their own "white papers" and public
      pronouncements indicate, attacking Iran is most certainly part of the
      diabolical plan and a cornerstone of the New Zionist Century.

      *********************************************************************

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