At the early stages of Bush’s second term, Vice President DICK CHENEY dropped a bombshell, hinting that Iran was “right at the top of the list” of the rogue enemies of the United States, and that Israel would, so to speak, “be doing the bombing for us”, without U.S. military having to ask them “to do it”.
“One of the concerns people have is that Israel might do it without being asked… Given the fact that Iran has a stated policy that their objective is the destruction of Israel, the Israelis might well decide to act first, and let the rest of the world worry about cleaning up the diplomatic mess afterwards,” (quoted from an MSNBC Interview Jan 2005)
Amid numerous media reports’ predictions that the United States, backed by Israel, will launch a military strike, targeting Iran’s nuclear sites in 2006, Germany’s Der Spiegel suggests that speculation about a U.S. attack against the Islamic republic is particularly rife in NATO-member Turkey.
Der Spiegel stated that Washington has been holding talks with allies in preparation of an air assault on Iran, the Deutsche Depeschendienst, Germany’s second leading news agency, reported after DPA put out an article by Udo Ulfkotte, a former editor for one of Germany’s main dailies Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ) and an intelligence service, warning of such attack.
Ulfkotte, who named his sources as “Western security circles,” without elaborating, says that during a visit to Istanbul, U.S.’s Central Intelligence Agency Director Porter Goss asked Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan to support the air strikes against Iranian nuclear facilities in 2006 and that by stepping up the exchange of intelligence.
Over the past few weeks, DDP says, Washington contacted the governments of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Pakistan seeking the same kind of cooperation.
During his Istanbul visit, Goss gave Turkish security services three dossiers alleging a link between Iran and Al Qaeda network. A fourth dossier focuses on the Iran’s nuclear program, which Washington and Israel claim is being used as a guise to hide Iran’s attempts and efforts to develop nuclear bomb.
German intelligence sources revealed that the CIA director affirmed that he would inform the Turkish government several hours ahead of any attack. He also, according to the sources, sort of green-lighted almost simultaneous Turkish attacks on camps in Iran run by the PKK, the Kurdish separatist organization, which is weird because the PKK runs its camps out of northern Iraq and has no such installations in Iran.
On the other hand, a German military officer who demanded anonymity stated that “It would surprise me enormously if the Americans did not use this pretext supplied by Teheran. The Americans must attack Iran before it develops nuclear weapons. Afterwards, it would be too late.”
Earlier this year, Seymour Hersh of the New Yorker wrote that American commandos were on reconnaissance missions inside Iran, selecting military targets.
At the time, specifically in January 2005, the U.S. Department of Defense downplayed Hersh’s story, claiming that the article was riddled with “errors of fundamental fact,” although the U.S. President Bush himself refused to rule out the use of force against Iran to prevent it from carrying on with its NUCLEAR plans.
But predictions of an imminent military strike by the U.S. against Iran centers more on developments in Turkey, the article says- and that due to the repetitive visits of high Bush’s administration’s officials and NATO officials to the Turkish capital.
Just few days ago, the FBI Director Robert Mueller, Director Goss and then NATO Secretary General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer visited Turkey. Also the Secretary of State CONDOLEEZZA RICE dropped in on Turkey after her visit to Berlin.
Moreover, numerous reports on Turkish newspapers have been speculating about preparations for an attack on Iran, however all of them aren’t based on any hard facts.
Recently, Cumhuriyet, a leftist nationalist paper ran a front page story with this headline: “Now it’s Iran’s Turn,” commenting on a meeting between Prime Minister Erdogan and Director Goss, who also met with Turkish Intelligence Services (MIT).
Also earlier this month, Yasar Buyukanit, the head of the Turkish Army and likely future military Chief of Staff, paid a visit to Washington, after which he declared that relations between the Turkish and U.S. Armies are once again excellent, after being in deep freeze for some time.
But many diplomats suggest that Erdogan and the Turkish military are worried about the situation in the entire region should the U.S. or Israel strike Iran.
And some experts have warned that any strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities would be very unsuccessful.
Adding a new twist to the international tension over Iran’s nuclear programme, BUSH made it clear few days ago that in case Israel decides to attack Iran, it will have the U.S. full support to destroy the Islamic regime’s “capacity to make an atomic bomb”.
Asked whether he would back Israel if it attacked Iran’s nuclear facilities, PRESIDENT BUSH first expressed cautious solidarity with European efforts, led by the EU big states; Britain, France and Germany, to negotiate with Iran.
But later, he said that all nations should be concerned about whether Iran could produce nuclear arms.
“Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I’d listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I’d be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we’ve made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened.”