Archive for the ‘nuclear weapons’ Category

SkyNews online
8 November 2011

A general view of the Bushehr nuclear power plant, some 1,200 km (746 miles) south of Tehran October 26, 2010. Iran has begun loading fuel into the core of its first nuclear power plant on Tuesday, one of the last steps to realising its stated goal of becoming a peaceful nuclear power, state-run Press TV reported on Tuesday.

An attack by Israel on Iran’s nuclear programme has lurched from doomsday scenario closer to reality. The change has been prompted by the publication of a report by the International Atomic Energy Authority which shows that Iran has been working on a nuclear weapon and the means to deliver it.

Although the Israeli cabinet has been split over whether it would authorise a unilateral attack on Iran, the IAEA report will immediately strengthen the case of the hawks.

Its publication has come after weeks of intelligence ‘chatter’ which has raised the spectre of an attack on Iran by Israel – and even the possibility that both the US and United Kingdom would be involved.

While some of the activities identified in the Annex have civilian as well as military applications, others are specific to nuclear weapons. Read the full IAEA report here: www1.sky.com/news/irangov2011-6.pdf

Whitehall sources have denied there are plans to get Britain involved in an attack on Iran – even ruling out the use of special forces commandos. But they admit the West and Israel had been “spooked” by recent intelligence that indicated Iran was “considerably further advanced in developing a nuclear weapon than we had realised”.

“The window of opportunity to attack it and kill off a nuke programme is rapidly closing,” said one western intelligence source.

According to the IAEA, Iran had modelled the delivery of a nuclear warhead using a Shabab 3 ballistic missile, which is easily capable of reaching Israel from Iranian territory. The report says Iranian scientists had been working on computer simulations of a nuclear weapon being exploded in the air and on impact with the ground.

It stated: “As part of the studies carried out by the engineering groups under Project 111 to integrate the new payload into the re-entry vehicle of the Shahab 3 missile, additional work was conducted on the development of a prototype firing system that would enable the payload to explode both in the air above a target, or upon impact of the re-entry vehicle with the ground.”

Iran, the report says, was shown this information, and dismissed it as “an animation game”.

Annex 1 of the IAEA report draws heavily on evidence from member states, which indicates that Iran has been building the facilities to test nuclear weapons, researching how to turn highly enriched uranium (HEU) into metal form which would firm the core of a warhead, and how to cause a chain reaction using an advanced multipoint detonator.

“As the conversion of HEU compounds into metal and the fabrication of HEU metal components suitable in size and quality are steps in the development of an HEU nuclear explosive device, clarification by Iran is needed in connection with the above,” the report says.

Israel attacked a suspected Syrian nuclear facility at al Kibar in 2006.

And assassins have been working their way through Iran’s nuclear scientists, killing one and wounding his wife last November. Another scientist was attacked in the same way 20 minutes later, when a motorcyclist attached a magnetic mine to his car. The mystery attacks have prompted Iran to put a special security detail on its nuclear workers.

But if Benyamin Netanyahu – Israel’s prime minister and leading hawk – prevails over his cabinet, then Tehran will be looking to the skies to defend itself.

http://news.sky.com/home/world-news/article/16106334

Why should the current turmoil in Syria matter to U.S. interests? (Other than strictly moral issues.) Lots of oil and natural gas sources? Not much there. Those would help explain American business and political interests in many Middle East conflicts, but Syria hardly produces enough for its own use.

So why then, should we care if the Syrian government is violently cracking down with mass murderous attacks on its own citizens?

The answer in one word: Iran. This recent article helps us understand that Syria Matters

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Syria-Iran Foreign Relations
By Will Fulton, Robert Frasco, Ariel Farrar-Wellman
IranTracker.org online
August 15, 2011

[Further analysis on Iran-Syria relations: Iranian support for Syrian repression during the Arab Spring]

Iran and Syria have maintained close ties since the early years of the Islamic Republic and Syria now serves as Iran’s key Arab ally and partner in the region. The advent of the Iran-Iraq War provided Syria with an opportunity to gain another regional ally against Saddam Hussein. In contrast with nearly all other Arab countries, Syria supported Iran during the Iran-Iraq War.

In 1982 the two states brokered a deal allowing Syria to receive shipments of subsidized Iranian oil, and in return, Syria shut down Iraq’s oil pipeline through its territory.

Syrian support for Iran wavered in 1986 when President Hafez Assad suggested that Syria would not accept Iran as an occupying force in Iraq. Soon after, Minister of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Mohsen Rafiq-Dust and President Assad met in Damascus to restore relations. Syrian officials, however, would not affirm Iran’s goal of “liberation of Iraq.”

With the absence of an Iraqi threat since 2003, relations between Syria and Iran have deepened, sustained by their shared support of terrorist organizations Lebanese Hezbollah and Hamas, and their enmity toward Israel. Both Tehran and Damascus have continuously provided Hezbollah with funding, training, materiel, and political support since its creation in the 1980s.

According to a 2008 Congressional Research Service report, “Syria is an important interlocutor between Iran and its Hezbollah protégés; Iranian weapons transit through Syria on their way to Hezbollah caches in Lebanon.” Joint assistance for and advocacy on the behalf of Palestinians in the region is also an integral component of bilateral relations between Iran and Syria, with officials from both countries often stridently criticizing Israel on a host of Palestinian issues.

The two states also cooperate militarily beyond their support for proxy militias, with the Islamic Republic supplying arms, ammunition and military technology to Syrian security services.

In the wake of the Arab Spring, which has led to widespread unrest in Syria and posed a formidable challenge to Assad’s regime, Iranian officials have dispatched IRGC Qods Force advisors, training personnel, and other resources to reinforce Assad’s assault on anti-regime protesters.

After a June 2011 meeting between Qods Force Commander Qassem Suleimani and Syria’s Deputy Vice President for Security Affairs Muhammad Nasif Kheirbek, Iran agreed to provide $23 million to Syria for the construction of a military base in Latakia, in order to facilitate direct arms shipments from the Islamic Republic to Syria.

Syrian officials have consistently expressed their support for Iran’s right to a peaceful nuclear program and emphasized the need for a diplomatic solution to the dispute. Nuclear cooperation between the two allies, however, has extended beyond rhetoric.

In 2011, the UN Security Council Panel of Experts tasked with monitoring sanctions on Iran accused Syria of refusing to cooperate with its efforts. The two cooperated in 2008 in an unsuccessful effort to gain Syria a seat on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board of governors.

That same year, an Israeli official accused Iran of helping Syria build its own covert nuclear program. The IAEA in 2011 assessed that Syria’s al Kibar facility in Deir al Zour, destroyed by an Israel air strike in 2007, was very likely a covert nuclear reactor built with North Korean assistance.

Economic relations between Iran and Syria have remained strong, though neither state contributes significantly to the other’s economy. According to 2008 data, Iran is not among the top thirty recipients of Syrian goods nor is it among the top thirty importers of goods to Syria.

An increase in economic cooperation may occur, however, as Syria and Iran are increasingly isolated by the international community. In July 2011 Iran, Syria, and Iraq signed a $10 billion natural gas deal amidst growing unrest within Syria.

Nuclear:

June 23, 2011: The UN Security Council issued a report in which it accused Syria of refusing to cooperate with its Panel of Experts established in June 2011 to monitor sanctions on Iran. According to the report, Syria’s refusal to cooperate was in “serious violation of its obligations under relevant Council resolutions.”

February 20, 2010: According to Iran’s Press TV, Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem expressed support for a “constructive dialogue between the two parties [Iran and the West] in order to reach a peaceful solution” to the conflict over Iran’s nuclear program.

December 3, 2009: Syrian President Bashar al-Assad met with Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Damascus. Following the meeting, Assad affirmed “the right of Iran and other countries that are signatories to the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to enrich uranium for civilian purposes.” Jalili also held a joint press conference with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem, in which Muallem expressed Syria’s desire for a “political solution” to the conflict between the West and Iran over its nuclear program.

October 1, 2008: Iran abandoned attempts to gain a seat on the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) board in order to support Syria’s bid for a seat. Iranian envoy to the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltanieh made the announcement.

June 25, 2008: An adviser to Israel’s national security council accused Iran of helping Syria develop its covert nuclear program. According to the adviser, “The Iranians were involved in the Syrian program. The idea was that the Syrians produce plutonium and the Iranians get their share. Syria had no reprocessing facility for the spent fuel. It’s not deduction alone that brings almost everyone to think that the link exists.”

Economic:

July 25, 2011: Iran, Iraq and Syria signed a $10 billion natural gas agreement. According to the agreement, the three countries will construct a pipeline running from Iran’s natural gas fields to Syria, and eventually to the Mediterranean, via Lebanon. Iraq would initially receive 20 million cubic meters per day, and Syria 20 to 25 million cubic meters per day.

July 15, 2011: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei expressed support for a proposal by Iran’s Center for Strategic Research (CSR) to provide Syria with $5.8 billion in aid.

May 25, 2010: Iran and Syria agreed to set up a joint bank in Damascus. The initial capitalization of the bank was said to total $30 million, with Iran owning 60 percent of the bank.

April 30, 2010: Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi and Syrian President Bashar al Assad met in Damascus to discuss establishing a regional economic bloc. Rahimi was in Syria to attend the Iran-Syria 12th Joint High Commission meeting.

The meeting concluded with the signing of a 17-article agreement containing measures for furthering cooperation in “trade, investment, planning and statistics, industries, air, naval and rail transportation, communication and information technology, health, agriculture, [and] tourism.”

September 22, 2009: The joint Iran-Venezuela oil company VENIROGC announced plans to build an oil refinery in Syria capable of producing 140,000 barrels per day.

August 19, 2008: Iranian Minister of Industries and Mines Ali Akbar Mehrabian claimed that the Islamic Republic has “$1.3 billion worth of various projects” underway in Syria.

Diplomatic:

August 2, 2011: Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast warned Western countries to refrain from interfering in Syrian domestic affairs. Mehmanparast advised “the West to learn [its] lesson from its previous mistakes and interference in different countries and not to enter new issues to complicate the problems in the region.”

May 27, 2011: Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi held consecutive meetings with his Syrian and North Korean counterparts, Walid Muallem and Pak Ui-chun, in Bali. All parties refused to discuss the contents of the meetings with the press.

July 15, 2010: Former IRGC commander and current military advisor to Ali Khamenei, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, said “Iran has no strategic allies in the region save for Syria and Turkey which are to some extent close to us but they are not considered as Iran’s allies in real terms.”

July 2, 2010: Syrian Vice President Farouk al-Sharaa and Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani met in Damascus to discuss events in Iraq and the Gaza Strip.

June 23, 2010: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad met with Syrian First Vice President Farouq al Sharaa in Tehran. During the meeting Ahmadinejad stated, “Today the affinity, companionship and unity between Tehran and Damascus have deterred all the plots of the arrogant powers.”

Iranian First Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi also met with al-Sharaa and asserted, “Iran and Syria share common positions on the Palestinian issue and they should expand their relations and cooperation with other countries, like Turkey and Iraq to foil the ominous plots of the Zionists.”

April 18, 2010: Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem met with Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Saeed Jalili to discuss regional cooperation.

February 26, 2010: Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah met with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad in Damascus.

February 26, 2010: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al-Assad held a joint press conference in Damascus. During the conference Ahmadinejad asserted that the U.S. desires “to dominate the region, but they feel Iran and Syria are preventing that…. We tell them that instead of interfering in the region’s affairs, to pack their things and leave.” Assad similarly attacked what he termed as the “new situation of colonialism” in the Middle East.

February 25, 2010: Iranian President Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al Assad met in Damascus to discuss “international and regional issues.”

January 7, 2010: Syrian Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Abrash met with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei in Tehran to discuss relations between the two states.

May 5, 2009: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Syrian counterpart Bashar al Assad expressed their mutual support for “Palestinian resistance” during a meeting in Damascus. Ahmadinejad added that “Syria and Iran have been from the very beginning united and in agreement to stand on the side of the Palestinian resistance…. They will continue to do so. We see that the resistance will continue until all occupied territories are liberated.”

Military:

August 13, 2011: The Iranian regime agreed to provide $23 million to construct a military base in Latakia, Syria following a June 2011 meeting in Tehran between Syrian deputy vice president Muhammad Nasif Kheirbek and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force commander Qassem Suleimani.

The base, to be built by the end of 2012, will house IRGC officers who will coordinate weapons shipments from Iran to Syria. According to a Western security official, “The direct route is being set up to make it easier to pass advanced Iranian weapons and equipment to Syria.”

June 23, 2011: Martin Briens , the French representative from the UN Security Council’s Panel of Experts to monitor UN sanctions on Iran, expressed concern over the reported “violations of the arms embargo [on Iran], including three new examples of illegal arms transfers which, shockingly, revealed Syria’s participation.”

March 23, 2011: Turkey’s government seized Iranian cargo bound for Syria. The shipment, which included light weapons, including automatic rifles, rocket launchers and mortars, violated U.N. sanctions that ban the export of arms from Iran.

March 15, 2011: Israel’s navy seized a weapons shipment from Syria in the Mediterranean Sea. The contents of the shipment included strategic shore-to-sea Chinese-made C-704 missiles likely destined for Palestinians militants in the Gaza Strip.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu stated that the weapons came from Iran: “The only certain thing is the source of the weaponry was Iran, and there was a Syrian relay station as well.”

December 10, 2010: A UN Security Council sanctions committee report cited Iran for two separate violations of UNSCR 1747, including one that involved a container of T4 explosives originating from Iran and destined for Syria. Italian customs authorities seized the container.

June 30, 2010: Israeli and U.S. officials reported that Iran had provided Syria with a “sophisticated radar system” capable of detecting a preemptive strike launched from Israel against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

An Israeli military official elaborated, “Iran is engaged in developing Syrian intelligence and aerial detection capabilities, and Iranian representatives are present in Syria for that express purpose…. Radar assistance is only one expression of that cooperation.”

October 13, 2009: U.S. soldiers discovered containers of 7.62mm rounds aboard a German cargo ship traveling from Iran to Syria. The shipment was rerouted to Malta under U.S. direction.

January, 2008: Cypriot authorities intercepted an Iranian vessel carrying arms bound for Syria.[44] Monchegorsk, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL)-chartered vessel flying under a Cypriot flag, originated in Bandar Abbas and was reportedly transporting bullet shells, high-explosive gun charges, and other weapons supplies.

July 22, 2007: Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad offered to provide $1 billion in military aid to Syria.

June 16, 2006: Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar and his Syrian counterpart Hassan Turkamni signed a defense agreement designed to increase military cooperation. Without giving specifics on the agreement, Najjar stated that Iran “considers Syria’s security its own security, and we consider our defense capabilities to be those of Syria.”

http://www.irantracker.org/foreign-relations/syria-iran-foreign-relations

If you can’t bomb them from above, bomb them from within… their computer control systems, that is.

Deadly new Stuxnet, soldier in cyber war against Iranian nuclear facilities
DEBKAfile 23 Sept 2010

Debkafile’s military and intelligence sources note US press leaks appearing since Monday, Sept. 20, which maintain that the United States has embarked on a clandestine cyber war against Iran, and that Israel has established elite cyber war units for this purpose.

According to Washington sources, Obama has resolved to deal with the nuclear impasse with Iran by going after the Islamic republic on two tracks: UN and unilateral sanctions for biting deep into the financial resources Iran has earmarked for its nuclear program, and a secret cyber war which the US is conducting jointly with Israel for crippling its nuclear facilities.

Debkafile’s sources disclose that Israel has had special elite units carrying out such assignments for some time. Three years ago, for instance, cyber raiders played a role in the destruction of the plutonium reactor North Korea was building at A-Zur in northern Syria.

On Monday the Christian Science Monitor and several American technical journals carried revelations about a new virus called Stuxnet capable of attacking and severely damaging the servers of large projects, such as power stations and nuclear reactors. All the leaked reports agreed on three points:

1. Stuxnet is the most advanced and dangerous piece of Malware every devised.
2. The experts don’t believe any private or individual hackers are capable of producing this virus, only a high-tech state such as America or Israel.
3. Although Stuxnet was identified four months ago, the only servers known to have been affected and seriously damaged are located in Iran.

Some computer security specialists report lively speculation that the virus was invented specifically to target part of the Iranian nuclear infrastructure, either the Bushehr nuclear plant activated last month or the centrifuge facility in Natanz.

Debkafile’s sources add: Since August, American and UN nuclear watchdog sources have been reporting a slowdown in Iran’s enrichment processing due to technical problems which have knocked out a large number of centrifuges and which its nuclear technicians have been unable to repair. It is estimated that at Natanz alone, 3,000 centrifuges have been idled.

None of the reports indicate whether other parts of Iran’s nuclear program have been affected by Stuxnet or the scale of the damage it may have caused.

DEBKAfile Special Report August 14, 2010, 11:40 PM (GMT+02:00)
Photo caption: Iran’s first nuclear reactor at Bushehr

The sudden announcement in Moscow and Tehran on Aug. 11 that Russia is set to activate Iran’s first nuclear power reactor by loading the fuel on Aug. 21 has caused a major flap in Israel in view of the military aspects of the plant.

Debkafile’s military sources report that only last week, high Israeli officials asked Washington for clarifications on the latest intelligence information that Moscow had decided to finally activate the Bushehr reactor after innumerable delays.

The White House called the Kremlin and was assured that President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minster Vladimir Putin stood by their pledge to President Barack Obama that the Russian-built nuclear plant would not go on line this year. This pledge now proves worthless. Indeed, Rostratom director Sergei Kiryenko will attend the Bushehr launching ceremony.

Jerusalem is also worried by the news that Russia has stationed S-300 anti-missile batteries in Abkhazia on the Black Sea because it ties in with the imminent activation of the Bushehr reactor. It is taken as a signal that Israel’s air route to Iran is hereby closed and Moscow will do its utmost to thwart an Israeli strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

John Bolton, former US ambassador to the United Nations and adviser to the Bush administration, defined Moscow’s date for loading nuclear fuel rods into the Iranian reactor as touching off a point of no return. Talking to Fox News Friday, Aug. 11, he said Aug. 21 is a deadline “by which Israel would have to launch an attack on Iran’s Bushehr reactor before it becomes effectively ‘immune’ to assault.”

Once they are loaded, he warned, “an attack risks spreading radiation in the air and perhaps in the water of the Persian Gulf.”

Bolton gave Israel no more than a week to destroy Iran’s nuclear program. “If they’re going to do it, that’s all the window they have,” he said, noting that Israel attacked the Iraqi Osirak reactor in 1981 and the nuclear plant Syria was building in 2007, before the fuel rods were in place.

The head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi said Friday, Aug. 13, “The process of loading fresh fuel into the reactor building would begin on Aug. 21. Then the reactor will be officially classified as a nuclear energy installation. The testing phase will be complete and the physical launch begin.”

According to debkafile’s military sources, the Bushehr reactor billed as a peaceful project is in fact integral to Iran’s military program because the fuel rods powering it can also produce weapons-grade plutonium. Attached to the main plant too are a number of smaller facilities connected to the weapons program.

An earlier report in the Atlantic magazine estimated that the chances of a military strike against Iran in the next 12 months are “better than 50%.” It is the result of extensive research for the magazine by Middle East expert Jeffrey Goldberg. After interviewing some 40 current and past Israeli decision makers and as many American and Arab officials, Goldberg expects Israel to launch an attack with the next few months, possibly supported by the US and UK.

But that was before the rescheduled Bushehr launching. Bolton has since made a point of narrowing the window of months to days.

http://www.debka.com/article/8970/

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report June 28, 2010, 10:45 PM (GMT+02:00)

Image: USS Nassau: More US naval-air-marine muscle off Iran. (Wikipedia: The second USS Nassau (LHA-4) is a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship, capable of transporting over 3,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel.)

Debkafile’s military sources report that Washington has posted a third carrier opposite Iran’s shores.

It is supported by amphibious assault ships and up to 4,000 Navy and Marine Corps personnel, bringing the total US strength in these waters to three carriers and 10,000 combat personnel.

The USS Nassau (LHA-4) Amphibious Ready Group 24th Marine Expeditionary Unit, tasked with supporting the Bahrain-based 5th Fleet area of operations, is cruising around the Bab al-Mandeb Straits where the Gulf of Aden flows into the Red Sea.

Its presence there accounts for Tehran announcing Sunday, June 27 that its “aid ship for Gaza” had been called off, for fear an American military boarding party would intercept the vessel and search it. This would be permissible under the latest UN sanctions punishing the Islamic Republic for its nuclear program.

The third US carrier group to reach waters around Iran consists of three vessels:

1. The USS Nassau Amphibious Assault ship is not just an enormous landing craft for the 3,000 Marines aboard; its decks carry 6 vertical take-off AV-HB Harrier attack planes; four AH-1W Super Cobra, twelve CH-46 Sea Knight and CH-53 Sea Stallion helicopters, as well as choppers that are convertible to fast V-22 Osprey airplanes capable of landing in any conditions. This vast warship has 1,400 cabinets for sleeping the entire Marine-24th Marine Expeditionary Unit aboard.

2. The amphibious transport dock ship USS Mesa Verde which carries 800 Marines equipped for instantaneous landing.

3. The amphibious dock landing ship USS Ashland which carries 400 Marines and 102 commandos trained for special operations behind enemy lines.

Debkafile adds: The USS Ashland was the target of an al Qaeda Katyusha rocket attack in 2005 when it was docked in Jordan’s Aqaba port next door to the Israeli port of Eilat. One of the rockets exploded in Eilat airport. The ship exited harbor in time to escape harm.

These new arrivals are a massive injection of naval, air and marine muscle to the strength Washington has deployed in the Persian Gulf-Red Sea-Indian Ocean arena in recent months.

The USS Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group consisting of twelve warships is cruising in the Arabian Sea opposite Chah Bahar, the Iranian Revolutionary Guards biggest naval base not far from the Iranian-Pakistan border. It is there that most of Iran’s special commando units are housed.

Also posted in the Arabian Sea, further to the west, is the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower Strike Group.

http://www.debka.com/article/8879/

The Saudis have facilitated the construction of a secret IAF forward base, five miles outside the city of Tabuk, Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis and Israelis, as usual, pretend not to know each other. The Saudis have closed Tabuk airport for civilian flights for several days as the Israeli Air Force landed jet fighter aircraft and military supplies. Civilians were not told of the purpose of the closure, but were accommodated by the Saudi government elsewhere.

The base outside Tabuk, according to unconfirmed sources, is a ‘forward’ operating base for combat assault helicopters along the ‘corridor’ that has been created for the free passage of IAF combat assets on their way into Iran… greatly reducing the distance that Israeli aircraft would have to travel to reach their targets in Iran…

Israel’s recent additions to its defensive/offensive capability include a new secret combat satellite system launched into low earth orbit on June 24. The Israeli military would only say that the new satellite, Ofek 9, has unprecedented military capabilities. Ofek joins two other Israeli satellites presently in orbit and has Tehran in a quandary, as the resolution from the orbiting satellites is said to be less than a meter. You can run but you can’t hide, seems to be the message. Video about Israel’s new satellite system:

The United States has several naval carrier strike forces including an anti-submarine strike group and amphibious landing ‘Expeditionary Strike Group 5′, which includes elements of the United States Marine Corps 15th Expeditionary Brigade from Camp Pendleton, California, said to number some 6,000 Marines and sailors.

With American, German, Israeli and Canadian Naval assets now in position and Israeli land air and sea assets at the ready, it would seem that hostilities are imminent. Click the link for the complete story.

http://thenextright.com/skip-maclure/israel-on-the-brink-reported-secret-base-near-tabuk-saudi-arabia

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Related articles:

Reports: IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border
23 June 2010

http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/news.aspx/138231

IAF Landed at Saudi Base, US Troops near Iran Border
By: Various on: 23.06.2010 [15:29 ]

http://www.iraq-war.ru/article/227933

Israel Air Force Planes Land in Saudi Arabian Military Base, Unload Military Equipment
Posted by RafiF on Jun 23, 2010 |

http://www.worldofjudaica.com/jewish-news/israel/report-israel-air-force-planes-land-in-saudi-arabian-military-base-unload-military-equipment/246/45/

Reuters 11 May 2010

Photo: Israeli soldiers carry their comrade on a stretcher as they run during a training session at their base near the southern city of Ashdod, October 29, 2009. Credit: Reuters/Amir Cohen.

Israel is primed for a war on Iran, a deputy to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday, in a rare break with his government’s reticence as world powers try to talk Tehran into curbing its nuclear plans.

By spearheading assaults on guerrillas in neighboring Lebanon and Palestinian territories, the Israeli air force had gained the techniques necessary for any future strikes on Iranian sites, Deputy Prime Minister Moshe Yaalon said.

“There is no doubt that the technological capabilities, which improved in recent years, have improved range and aerial refueling capabilities, and have brought about a massive improvement in the accuracy of ordnance and intelligence,” he told a conference of military officers and experts.

“This capability can be used for a war on terror in Gaza, for a war in the face of rockets from Lebanon, for war on the conventional Syrian army, and also for war on a peripheral state like Iran,” said Yaalon, a former armed forces chief.

Israel, which is assumed to have the Middle East’s only atomic arsenal, bombed Iraq’s nuclear reactor in 1981 and launched a similar sortie in Syria in 2007.

But its veiled threats against foe Iran have been questioned by some independent analysts who see the potential targets as too distant, dispersed, numerous and well-defended for Israeli warplanes to take on alone.

Israel’s leaders rarely use the term “war” while publicly discussing how to deal with Iran, in whose often secretive uranium enrichment, long-range missile projects and hostile rhetoric the Jewish state sees a mortal threat.

Read the entire article: http://bit.ly/9EIRaq