The Obama Administration’s new plan to scrap the Bush Administration’s missile shield plan to be installed in the Czech Republic and Poland is not the demilitarization effort that mainstream so-called ‘liberals’ are applauding, but one to setup orders to install “the development of a reconfigured system designed to shoot down short- and medium-range Iranian missiles”, reports Peter Baker at The New York Times (NYT) “Analysts say one country which clearly stands to benefit from Washington’s decision to alter its missile shield plan in Europe is Israel,” Patty Culhane reports at al Jazeera, adding: “The new proposed Aegis system is designed to work together with Israel’s own missile shield system called Arrow and having Aegis equipped ships in the Mediterranean can only be good for Israel.” (2:10):
Bush-Obama Defense Secretary Robert Gates said, “Those who say we are scrapping missile defense in Europe are either misinformed or misrepresenting the reality of what we are doing,” as President Obama added that the “clear and consistent focus” has been the factless, constantly asserted “threat posed by” Iran and it “continues to be our focus and basis of the programme” announced yesterday. Jason Ditz writes at AntiWar.com: “The new plan will be to deploy smaller missile defense batteries off-shore in the Mediterranean Sea. Eventually it is expected that those missiles will be moved to some location in the Balkans or Turkey.”
Julian Barnes and Greg Miller at the Los Angeles Times report:
Theodore Postol, a professor of science and national security at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Iran was developing its short- and medium-range missiles to intimidate Israel, Saudi Arabia or Egypt.
“The greatest utility of these kinds of missiles is to increase Iran’s leverage as a Middle East power,” Postol said.
He said he doubted that Iran wanted to take steps to threaten and provoke countries in Europe.
“Why would you attack Europeans? You want to get yourself incinerated?” he said.
This defense of the argument that Israel, Saudi Arabia or Egypt are at risk—as opposed to Europe—is intellectually bankrupt. It is valid—only—based on the fallacious categorical imperative (of sorts) that attacking one of these three countries is not tantamount to attacking the U.S., directly—Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt being the closest allies to the U.S. in the region, and arguably the most significant to the Corporate War Party’s hegemony. Attacking Europeans is less of a threat to Imperial America than attacking Israel, Saudi Arabia or Egypt. Prof. Pistol’s implication that Iranian officials don’t have a death wish is valid—therefore, aggressive (non-defensive) measures by the Iranian State toward such significant client-states of the U.S. would be the greatest threat to ‘increasing’ “Iran’s leverage as a Middle East power”.
The new mission indicated by this “new plan” that “turns Ronald Reagan’s vision of a Star Wars system on its head”—according to the analysis of David Sanger and William Broad at the NYT—is: “Convincing Israel and the Arab world that Washington is moving quickly to counter Iran’s influence, even as it opens direct negotiations with Tehran for the first time in 30 years.” The NYT analysts add that: “The urgency, they”—Administration aides, including Mr. Gates and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Admiral Mike Mullen—“argued, lies in addressing a more imminent threat: Iran’s short- and medium-range missiles”, most notably the Shahab III—“the missile that American, Israeli and European intelligence services have charged that Iran hopes to fit with a nuclear warhead.”
The United Nations nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (I.A.E.A.)—the organization accepted by these same “American, Israeli and European intelligence services” to provide data on Iran’s legal, peaceful civilian nuclear program, in accordance with the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (N.P.T.)—made it crystal clear this week that it had “no concrete proof that there is or has been a nuclear weapon programme in Iran” after multiple snap inspections since 2003 of Iran’s facilities. Mr. Ditz adds:
And while the United States has repeatedly accused Iran of seeking such a weapon publicly, privately its intelligence community still stands behind its 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) which expresses confidence that Iran is not actually working on weapons.
I.A.E.A. Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei said, last week, to the agency’s 35-nation governing board that “continuing allegations that the I.A.E.A. was withholding information on Iran are politically motivated and totally baseless”, adding: “We have not seen diversion of nuclear material (from declared civilian uses), we have not seen components of nuclear weapons. We do not have any information to that effect.”
There is only one country in the Middle East with a nuclear arsenal; one country with a nuclear weapon of any sort: Israel, and this is uncontroversial. Today, the U.N. Security Council narrowly passed a non-binding resolution 49-45, backed by Russia and China, “urging Israel to put all its atomic sites under the world body’s inspection and join the Non-Proliferation Treaty”, reports Reuters (via Ha’aretz), adding:
Israel deplored the measure for singling it out while many of its neighbors remained hostile to its existence, and said it would not cooperate with it….
Israel is one of only three countries worldwide along with India and Pakistan outside the nuclear NPT and is widely assumed to have the Middle East’s only nuclear arsenal, though it has never confirmed or denied this….
“Israel will not cooperate in any matter with this resolution which is only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities and lines of division in the Middle East region,” chief Israeli delegate David Danieli told the chamber.
Western states said it was unfair and counterproductive to isolate one member state. They said an IAEA resolution passed on Thursday, urging all Middle East nations to foreswear atomic bombs, included Israel and made Friday’s proposal unnecessary.
Arab nations said Israel had brought the resolution on itself by having never signed the 40-year-old NPT.
When the President of the United States installs active missile systems for Israel on the other side of the Earth to ‘isolate one member state’, Iran, it’s purpose is a “clear and consistent focus” on a “threat [sic] posed by Iran’s ballistic missile programme”. That’s ‘urgency’.
When so-called ‘Arab states’—within direct strike of Israel’s nuclear arsenal—call for the same accountability and transparency for Israel’s aggressive nuclear program (by defnition of being a military nuclear weapons program), the same accountability and transparency agreement (the N.P.T.) to which Iran has been voluntary participants since 2003, though its nuclear program is non-aggressive, nor defensive (by not being a military nuclear weapons program), but a civilian energy program, it’s purpose is “only aiming at reinforcing political hostilities”. That’s ‘counterproductive’.
Paging Mr. Orwell!
Of course, there is Truth to the concerns [sic] of Western States that holding Israel accountable for its nuclear arsenal by calling for transparency is ‘counterproductive’, for anyone who opens their eyes or ears to the minimal extent of consciousness; counterproductive toward reducing the threat posed by Israel to the Middle East. Opposing such transparency are productive means toward increasing the threat of Israel to so-called ‘Arab States’ without nuclear weapons (all of them), if you take the Western States’ word as a true categorical imperative. Nation-states don’t attack nation-states with nuclear weapons; this is uncontroversial. Therefore, Iran—not being a nuclear nation-state—does not ‘pose a threat’ to Israel, but Israel poses the existential threat to all nation-states without nuclear weapons within the range of its missiles.
The Corporate War Party’s boy in the White House scores another for the team.
The Pentagon will not risk an “over-reliance” on empirical evidence and will continue to seek “opportunities” to trickle fruits of working-class labor to the military industrial complex and indebt future generations to Wall Street with presences to continue intimidating Russia, Iran and potential trade partners of both. As Thomas Knapp writes at the Center for a Stateless Society: “‘Missile defense’ isn’t about defending Poland, the Czech Republic, or even the United States. It’s about empowering politicians by moving money from your pockets to the pockets of Boeing, Lockheed, Orbital Systems, Raytheon, etc. And that’s all it’s ever been about.”
After a meeting with Czech Defence Minister Martin Bartak, Mr. Gates told reporters in front of the Pentagon, “I probably am more familiar with the risks of over-reliance on intelligence than anybody because I’ve seen how often it’s been wrong.” The quote follows Press TV’s report that the “May 2009 National Intelligence Estimate predicted that Tehran was unlikely to have a long-range missile until between 2015 and 2020″ and—in another report—that “the pair agreed there would soon be a ‘high level’ meeting of defense officials that would focus on ‘opportunities for enhancing the security relationship between the Czech Republic and the United States,’ said Gates.”
Richard Beeston at the Times of London reported that “President Medvedev gave the first hint yesterday that Russia was prepared to perform a significant policy U-turn and support U.S. moves for sanctions against Iran.” Mr. Beeston set the tone for what would seem to paint the U.S. policy to further intimidate Iran as a policy to—not only—improve U.S.-Russian relations and receive Russian support for terrorism against Iran. In fact, this was not the case, as one continues to read the article where Pres. Medvedev says, “Sanctions are not very effective on the whole, but sometimes you have to embark on sanctions and they can be right.” A slight shift by Mr. Medvedev from the economic relationship between Russia and Iran, the opposition from the Russian Foreign Ministry against sanctions and a committment to veto political measures against Iran—Russia, being permanent members of the U.N. Security Council—and maybe a “first hint”, in the vaguest of senses; but, hardly a reason to believe that Russia is anywhere near a track to being “prepared to perform a significant policy U-turn” on Iran.
On the non-binding U.N. resolution against Israel passed Friday, Iran’s U.N. ambassador, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, told al Jazeera: “All like-minded, peace-loving countries have always called for a resolution to take measures to push Israel to stop their nuclear weapon programme and adhere to the NPT and put every nuclear installation under the IAEA.
“All countries in the Middle East are party to the NPT—the only non-party is Israel…the resolution was addressed to the only non-participatory [state] in the Middle East.”