WARS AND RUMORS OF WARS
DEBKAfile.com, 6/29/2011: Iran Unveils Underground Missle Silo, U.S. Sends Carriers, Attack Subs to Gulf [excerpts]--Iran's big Great Prophet Mohammad War Games 6 was launched Monday, June 27, ahead of a Turkish operation against Syria's Assad regime.
On Day One of the exercise, Iran unveiled its first underground missile silo immune to air strikes. It held what looked like a Shahab-3 ballistic missile. Israel has responded to Iran's military exercise and the spiraling regional tension by positioning one of its new Iron Dome rocket interceptor batteries in the northern city of Haifa. Iranian warships and submarines deployed in the Red Sea tracked the movements of two big U.S. aircraft carriers...which crossed each other in the Babel-MandebStrait on June 21 heading in opposite directions through this strategic chokepoint between the Mediterranean Sea and Indian Ocean.
The USS Enterprise, the world's largest aircraft carrier, was on its way from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean via the Red Sea and Suez Canal, while the USS George H.W. Bush, the U.S. Navy's newest carrier with the greatest fire power of any of its warships, left the Mediterranean and headed in the opposite direction for the Persian Gulf with a crew of 9,000 and 70 fighter bombers.
On the same day, Iranian naval surveillance picked up the arrival of the Los Angeles-class USS Bremerton nuclear-powered attack submarine off Bahrain opposite Iran.
[In a related story] debkafile reports an American naval and ship-borne missile interceptor build-up in the Mediterranean along with U.S. fleet movements in the Aegean, Adriatic and BlackSeas. The USS Bataan with 2,000 marines, 6 fighter-bombers and 27 helicopters aboard is deployed opposite Syrian shores. Warned of a possible U.S. operation against Syria, Hizballah is moving its ground-to-ground rocket arsenal from northern Lebanon to the center.
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Guardian.co.uk., 7/19/2011: Tehran claims that tripling its uranium enrichment speed will help develop cancer treatments--[An] Iranian foreign ministry spokesman told reporters, "[The International Atomic Energy Agency] has full supervision [and] are fully aware that Iran's peaceful nuclear activity continues to progress. This is another confirmation of the Islamic republic's successful strides in its nuclear activities."
However, France said Iran's move...confirmed suspicions that the Iranian nuclear programme had "no credible civilian application." The French foreign ministry said: "This is a new violation of six security council resolutions and 10 resolutions by the council of governors of the [IAEA]."
The British Foreign Office said the announcement "further undermines Iran's claim that its nuclear programme is designed for purely peaceful purposes, and demonstrates the urgency of increasing pressure on Iran...Iran must understand that we will not be distracted by events in the region and it should not doubt our resolve".
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THEATLANTICWIRE.com, 6/28/2011: What we're learning from Iran's war games--During its face-off against Israel and the U.S. about its uranium enrichment program, Iran has often talked tough. But now it's backing up that talk with missile drills. On its second day of the country's ten-day "Great Prophet 6" war games on Tuesday, Iran's Revolutionary Guards fired 14 Iranian-made surface-to-surface missiles simultaneously at a single target, according to the country's official IRNA news agency....Reuters calls the military exercises a "show of strength" aimed at Israel and the U.S. The Iranians, according to Al Arabiya, claim the drills represent a "message of peace and friendship to countries of the region" and are defensive in nature, enabling Iran to retaliate in the event of airstrikes, which the U.S. and Israel haven't ruled out as a way to keep Iran from developing nuclear weapons.
"The range of our missiles has been designed based on American bases in the region as well as the Zionist regime," Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Guards' aerospace division told the semi-official Fars news agency.... Hossein Salami, deputy commander of the Guards, sounded even more threatening: "We still have our fingers on the trigger, but the number of the triggers have increased."
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REUTERS.com, 8/27/2009: U.S. eyes 12 giant "bunker buster" bombs--The U.S. military wants to speed production of 10 to 12 huge "bunker buster" bombs, the Air Force said...amid concerns over suspected underground nuclear sites in Iran and North Korea.... The 20-foot-long (6-metre) MOP [Massive Ordnance Penetrator] is built to be dropped from either the B-52 or the B-2 "stealth" bomber. It is designed to penetrate up to 200 feet (61 metres) underground before exploding.... [After years of program delays, an 8/4/2011 article by Defense Industry Daily reveals that Boeing recently took delivery of 8 operational MOPs, along with a contract to modify aircraft bomb bay doors and loading adapters.]
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DEBKAfile.com., 7/15/2011: 15,000 U.S. Troops to Stay in Iraq--New U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki quietly agree to at least 15,000 U.S. troops remaining in Iraq after 2011in the guise of diplomats and other civilian personnel with America keeping control of four big air bases--two of them facing Iran. The Iraqi prime minister is dragging his feet before making this understanding public.
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DEBKAfile.com., 8/8/2011: Assad toughs it out against U.S.-Turkish ultimatum to halt military crackdown--As his tanks and artillery stormed the eastern Syrian town of Deir al-Zour, killing 100 civilians in one day, the U.S. and Turkey Sunday night, Aug. 7, began to turn the screw on President Bashar Assad: U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton asked Turkey's foreign minister AhmetDavutoglu to press Syria to "return its military to the barracks," during his visit to Syria Tuesday. The Syrian ruler with Iranian backing spurned the ultimatum even before the minister reached Damascus.
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DEBKAfile.com, 8/10/2011: Syria goads Turkey by attacking towns along their border--Less than 24 hours after Turkish Foreign Minister AhmetDavutoglu handed Bashar Assad in Damascus "a final warning," to stop the bloodshed or else, Assad demonstrated coolly that he is not scared by the prospect of Turkish or NATO military intervention or deterred by new U.S. sanctions against Syria's biggest bank and mobile phone company. The day after his Turkish guest departed, Wednesday, Aug. 10, Assad launched provocative military assaults on three towns in the Turkish border region--following receipt of a missile shield guarantee from Iran.
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aP, 8/10/2011: Obama marks Ramadan with
Iftar dinner--President Barack Obama is hosting an Iftar dinner Wednesday evening to celebrate the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.
The Iftar is the dinner that breaks the holiday's daily fast. The dinner became an annual White House tradition under President Bill Clinton and was continued by President George W. Bush. The White House says invited guests include religious and grass-roots leaders in the Muslim-American community as well as leaders of other faiths and elected officials.
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thedailybeast, 4/24/2011: The Israel-Palestine Vote Igniting the Mideast--An explosive U.N. vote on Palestinian statehood looms in September.... Almost certainly, the United Nations General Assembly will vote...to grant statehood to Palestine, thus legally removing it from Israeli authority. Almost every U.N. member will vote "aye." Israel will reject the vote because such a Palestinian state would include half a million Israeli settlers living there unprotected. The United States cannot void the statehood resolution because its veto applies only to U.N. Security Council decisions. This story of a vote foretold should not be dismissed as the usual diplomatic gamesmanship with little or no consequences. The stage is being set for calamity....
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[TBC: "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem: they shall prosper that love thee." -Psalm:122:6]