It seems they are everywhere, from the foothills of the Himalayas to the vast tracts of the Sahara, searching the terrain and seas below like glinting birds of prey. Drones have become the emblem of war and intelligence-gathering in the 21st century.
The United States says Iranian jets fired on an unarmed MQ-1 Predator on November 1 while it was on a routine surveillance mission above international waters. The Defense Department said the drone was 16 miles from the Iranian coast.
“The internationally recognized territorial limit is 12 nautical miles off the coast, and we never entered the 12 nautical-mile limit,” said George Little, Pentagon spokesman, on Thursday.
Given the tensions between the two governments, the Predator’s exact position will not have deterred the Iranians.Maj. Gen. Seyed Masoud Jazaeri told the semi-official Fars news agency Friday that “The Iranian armed forces will respond decisively to any act of transgression. … If any foreign planes try to enter our country’s [air]space, our armed forces will confront it.”
Despite two passes, the pair of Iranian Sukhoi-25 jets were unable to hit the Predator, which safely returned to base – possibly in Qatar or Kuwait (but U.S. officials remain tight-lipped about its home base). Freedom of navigation in the Gulf – through which one-fifth of the world’s crude output travels - is a vital interest to the U.S. and its regional allies.
So why did Iranian jets try to bring the drone down?
“First, and most probable, senior Iranian leadership intended to fire a shot across the bow of the next U.S. administration and gain political momentum in the run-up to talks” on Iran’s nuclear program, says Cliff Kupchan of the Eurasia Group.
(Ok, so let me get this straight…Mr. Kupchan of the Eurasia Group thinks that it’s a wise thing to do to “gain political momentum” on an important political/diplomatic meeting coming up by randomly shooting down aircraft from the country you’re about to have those political/diplomatic meetings with?…hmmm…sounds like someone’s been drinking the Zionist chickenhawk kool-aid again.)
Iranian President Says Governments That Stockpile Nuclear Weapons are “Mentally Retarded”
Looking around the world, it seems that every head of state is a total psychopath, including the one that I am about to talk discuss, but this week the president of Iran has made a surprisingly good point, governments that stockpile nuclear weapons are exceptionally insane.
Really, why would someone possibly want to have enough nuclear weapons to irradiate the earth hundreds of times over to the point of total extinction?
What purpose does that solve?
If the weapons are used there will be a massive loss of life and environmental destruction.
On the other hand if the weapons aren’t used they just sit there and account for a massive waste of taxpayer dollars. All around, nuclear weapons seem like a lose-lose ordeal.
According to Reuters Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad made the following statement at a conference on Thursday:
“The period and era of using nuclear weapons is over … Nuclear bombs are not anymore helpful and those who are stockpiling nuclear weapons, politically they are backward, and they are mentally retarded.
The Iranian nation is not seeking an atomic bomb, nor do they need to build an atomic bomb … For defending ourselves we do not need a nuclear weapon”
These comments were in reference to the growing hype surrounding Iran’s nuclear program. Most of this hype has been manufactured by western media, and there has still been no proof that this is a military program.
Although, as I explained in other articles , even if they were developing weapons with this technology, the US, UK or Israel certainly don’t have any room to talk.
With that being said, nuclear weapons are still a totally insane technology that the human species needs to be moving away from.
These comments from Ahmadinejad come just a week after a member of parliament in Iran suggested that they would suspend certain controversial aspects of their nuclear program if the US would lift the heavy sanctions that they imposed on the country.
Once again, just as they did in Iraq the US government is attempting to use illusive “weapons of mass destruction” as a pretext for war in Iran.
Bush didn’t care in the least, he was willing to do and say anything that would scare the American people into accepting a war, and Obama is no different.
At the press conference Ahmadinejad also commented that UN inspectors were welcome to inspect any of the countries nuclear sites at any time to prove that they were not developing weapons of mass destruction.
Bush-era political leaders used 9/11 attack as false justification for war with Iraq
An elaborate, well-sourced blog posting alleges that Bush-era officials, including Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld and Vice President Dick Cheney, may have used the 9/11 attacks as a false justification to strike the late Saddam Hussein’s Iraq.
The Washington’s Blog entry begins by quoting Rumsfeld, who claimed just hours after the attacks that left nearly 3,000 Americans dead, the World Trade Center in ruins and the Pentagon smoldering, that his “interest is to hit Saddam Hussein,” – a statement attributed to him by NBC‘s chief Pentagon correspondent, Jim Miklaszewski, who said he got it from a source inside the White House Situation Room.
‘Sweep it all up’
Next, the blog cites a CBS News story, which reported that notes taken by aides who were with Rumsfeld said he was already telling them to come up with a plan to strike Iraq though there was no evidence linking Iraq to 9/11:
With the intelligence all pointing toward bin Laden, Rumsfeld ordered the military to begin working on strike plans. And at 2:40 p.m., the notes quote Rumsfeld as saying he wanted “best info fast. Judge whether good enough hit S.H.” – meaning Saddam Hussein – “at same time. Not only UBL” – the initials used to identify Osama bin Laden. “Go massive,” the notes quote him as saying. “Sweep it all up. Things related and not.”
In the days following the attacks, the blog notes, President George W. Bush was told during a highly classified meeting that the U.S. intelligence community had no good intel linking the 9/11 attacks to Saddam or Iraq, and that there was scant, little evidence linking his regime to al Qaeda in general.
In fact, the Defense Department said Hussein’s government did not cooperate with al Qaeda prior to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, CBS News reported in 2009, a claim refuted by Cheney.
“However,” CBS said, “a declassified Pentagon report released Thursday said that interrogations of Saddam and two of his former aides as well as seized Iraqi documents confirmed that the terrorist organization and the Saddam government were not working together before the invasion.” In addition, the 9/11 Commission’s report, issued in 2004, said there was no evidence linking Saddam to al Qaeda, the network reported.
In 2005, The New York Times said the Bush administration pinned its Iraq-al Qaeda storyline on intelligence gleaned from an operative of the terrorist organization that intelligence officials later determined was providing false information:
A top member of Al Qaeda in American custody was identified as a likely fabricator months before the Bush administration began to use his statements as the foundation for its claims that Iraq trained Al Qaeda members to use biological and chemical weapons, according to newly declassified portions of a Defense Intelligence Agency document.
The intelligence document, dated February 2002, said the operative, Ibn al-Shaykh al-Libi, “was intentionally misleading debriefers” about claims that Iraq was assisting al Qaeda in the development of weapons of mass destruction.
Thousands of troops died in Iraq
Several Bush administration officials used the dubious connection as justification nonetheless, with Bush himself declaring during a speech in Cincinnati in October 2002 that “we’ve learned that Iraq has trained Al Qaeda members in bomb making and poisons and gases.”
Another operative, an Iraqi whose codename was Curveball, was also determined later to have provided false information about Iraq and mobile biological weapons labs.
Before Bush issued the order to the Pentagon in March 2003 to invade Iraq, he made official the al Qaeda narrative in his letter to Congress authorizing the use of force:
(2) acting pursuant to the Constitution and Public Law 107-243 is consistent with the United States and other countries continuing to take the necessary actions against international terrorists and terrorist organizations, including those nations, organizations, or persons who planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occurred on September 11, 2001.
It wasn’t until December 2005 that Bush finally admitted publicly that there had been no evidence directly linking Iraq to al Qaeda
As of this writing, 4,488 American troops have been killed in Iraq.
TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s defense minister said Friday that a U.S. drone violated Iranian airspace a week ago when Pentagon says the pilotless aircraft came under fire. The U.S. maintains the drone was over international waters.“Last week, an unknown aircraft entered Iran’s airspace in the Persian Gulf,” said Gen. Ahmad Vahidi. “It was forced to leave on time by a wise and strong reaction on the part of the Iranian armed forces.”
Vahidi’s remarks came a day after the Pentagon said an Iranian military plane fired on — at least twice — but did not hit, an unarmed U.S. drone a week ago. A Pentagon spokesman said the pilotless aircraft was in international airspace over the Persian Gulf and returned to base unharmed.
The shooting in the Gulf, which occurred just before 5 a.m. (0900 GMT) on Nov. 1, was unprecedented, though it marked the second incident involving a U.S. drone and Iran.
Last December, a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel drone equipped with stealth technology was captured in eastern Iran. Tehran claims it brought down the aircraft, but U.S. officials said the drone malfunctioned and had to land.
Vahidi, the Iranian defense minister, was quoted Friday by the country’s official IRNA news agency as saying last week’s incident “proves that Iran monitors all moves (in the Gulf) and will apply necessary and strong action when needed.”
His remarks followed those of Iranian lawmaker Mohammad Saleh Jokar who earlier Friday told state-owned yjc.ir news website that Iranian fighters shot at the U.S. drone because it had entered Iranian airspace.
“Violation of the airspace of Iran was the reason for shooting at the American drone,” Jokar said. “This showed Iran has the necessary readiness to defend against any invasion.”
Also, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Masoud Jazayeri, a senior general in the powerful Revolutionary Guard, as saying Iran would confront any “flying object” that entered its air space and would “strongly respond to any ground, sea or air invasion.”
Pentagon press secretary George Little said Thursday that the U.S. drone was performing “routine surveillance” and was about 26 kilometers (16 miles) off the Iranian coast when an Iranian SU-25 warplane intercepted it and opened fire. He said it was the first time an unmanned U.S. aircraft was shot at in international airspace over the Gulf.
“Our aircraft was never in Iranian air space. It was always flying in international air space,” Little told Pentagon reporters. He said the U.S. informed the Iranians that it would continue to conduct such surveillance flights in international airspace.
Washington was taken by surprise by the attack on an unarmed American MQ-Predator drone over the Persian Gulf by two Iranian SU-25 jet fighters, which only came to light Thursday, Nov. 8, after a week. The newly-reelected President Barack Obama and his advisers had assumed they were heading in a quite different direction, to very important direct talks with Tehran on its nuclear program and other Middle East affairs, including Syria.
But there was no mistake. Less than 24 hours after the event, Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi confirmed that two warplanes had indeed fired shots at an American drone on Nov. 1. He claimed the unmanned aircraft he entered Iranian airspace, challenging the Pentagon statement that the Predator based in Kuwait was on a routine surveillance mission in international air space. The drone was not hit.
This was the first Iranian attempt to shoot down an American aircraft over the Persian Gulf and also the first by a Revolutionary Guards Air Force fighter jet. Until it happened, Iranian fighter aircraft were not known to have the ability to down an American drone or that its pilots had been trained for this kind of mission. Had they succeeded, Tehran would have accounted for its second US drone in the space of a year, after downing and capturing intact an American Sentinel loaded with surveillance gear. Whereas the Obama administration has set its face toward diplomatic dialogue with Tehran and was therefore taken aback by this sudden act of aggression, the Iranians have a different take on the coming negotiations.
First of all, they have no interest in the short, fruitful process compressed into three months sought by Barack Obama (as debkafile’s exclusive sources disclosed Thursday, Nov. 8), but have every intention of dragging it out over many months.
Neither is Tehran amenable to what it suspects are Israeli covert operations against Iranian targets carrying on in the course of its talks with Washington. Iran and Sudan charged Israel with responsibility for the Oct. 24 bombing of the Yarmouk factory complex near Khartoum that manufactured Iranian missiles.It was implied that Iranian missile engineers lost their lives in the raid, which Israel has never acknowledged.
debkafile’s military sources note that if Israel did indeed attack the Khartoum factory on that date, it would have coincided with the large-scale Austere Challenge 2012 war game American and Israeli forces were conducting at the time. They were practicing defensive measures against a simulated Iranian ballistic missile attack, bringing into play the most advanced US radar facilities posted in the Middle East and Europe, including the US X-band radar stationed in the Israeli Negev. Iran took it for granted that if Israel was responsible for the Khartoum operation, it must have been with the knowledge of US Middle East commanders, the war game chiefs and Washington.
During September, ahead of the war game and the attack, Tehran twice warned that American targets would pay the price for an Israeli strike against an Iranian interest.
On Sept. 3, the warning came from Iran’s Lebanese proxy, Hizballah’s Hassan Nasrallah. He said: “The response will not be just inside the Israeli entity – American bases in the whole region could be Iranian targets.”
The same warning was repeated on Sept. 23, by the Revolutionary Guards Air Force commander Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh.
And on Nov. 1, Iranian fighters shot at – and missed – an unarmed American drone. This may be seen as payback for the Israeli assault on their missile plant in Sudan. It may also be Tehran’s warning to Washington to hold Israel back from any covert acts of sabotage if it desires negotiations with Iran..
Iran issues a warning for America after attacking spy drone
Following confirmation from both sides that an American surveillance drone was fired at by Iranian jets, top brass with Iran’s military say the country won’t hesitate to shoot again next time a US craft enters its airspace.
“The defenders of the Islamic Republic will respond decisively to any form of encroachment by air, sea or on the ground,” Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri, a senior armed forces commander, told the Fars news agency in a report published on Friday.
One day earlier, the Pentagon admitted that an unmanned aerial vehicle managed by the US Defense Department escaped unscathed from enemy fire during a routine surveillance mission 16 miles outside of Iran on November 1. Iranians do not contest that account entirely, but do dispute America’s claim in regards to where exactly the incident occurred. According to the Pentagon, the drone was targeted last week while flying far enough off of the Iranian coast that it was considered to be in international territory. While Iran has declined to offer an exact number to counter America’s claims of being 16 nautical miles off land, remarks from foreign defense officials suggest that the US could have been closer.
Comments from both Gen. Jazayeri and Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, Iran’s minister of defense, suggest that the US aircraft was within 12 miles from the Iranian coast, making it fair game for that country’s air force to open fire.
“If any foreign aircraft attempts to enter our airspace our armed forces will deal with them,” says Jazayeri, who also serves as the deputy chairman to the country’s chief of staff. Jazayeri failed to specifically imply he was discussing the drone, but made his comments hours after the Pentagon confirmed that their craft was fired at.
According to the New York Times, Iran also disputes where the shooting actually originated from. Initially, the US says two airplanes controlled by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps shot at the drone. As far as Gen. Vahidi, the defense minister, is concerned, that’s incorrect. The Times writes that Vahidi believes “the two Iranian planes, which the Pentagon had identified as Russian-made Su-25 jets known as Frogfoots, belonged to the Iranian Air Force.” The paper notes that America’s insistence that the attack came from the Guard Corps pins the blame on a group “whose activities are routinely more aggressive than the conventional Air Force.”
George Little, Pentagon press secretary, told reporters on Thursday that the United States has every intention of continuing its routine spy missions from international territory outside of Iran.
IAEA announces plans to hold nuke talks with Iran; diplomatic mission to be headed by Nackaerts, chief UN nuclear inspector.
Photo: Herwig Prammer / Reuters
Iran will return to talks with the International Atomic Energy Agency next month, the UN nuclear watchdog said on Friday, the latest push to seek a peaceful end to a dispute that has raised fears of a new Middle East war.
The IAEA announcement came days after US President Barack Obama’s re-election, which some analysts say may give fresh impetus to diplomatic efforts to end to a decade-old standoff with a country the West accuses of working towards nuclear weapons capability.
In a stark reminder of how tensions could escalate, the Pentagon said on Thursday that Iranian warplanes fired at an unarmed US drone in the Gulf last week.
The IAEA said it hoped the talks in Tehran on Dec. 13 would produce an agreement to allow it to resume a long-stalled investigation into possible military aspects of Iran’s nuclear program.
The Pentagon reported Thursday that an unarmed, unmanned MQ1 Predator drone was on routine surveillance over the Persian Gulf when it was “intercepted” by Iran last week. Iranian fighter jets fired shots twice and missed, then pursued the drone before it landed safely. The drone was not hit. It was flying 16 nautical miles off the Kuwaiti coast in international waters and never entered the 12-mile limit constituting air space over Iranian territory. Asked how the US could response, the spokesman said: “We have a wide range of options from diplomatic to military.”
The Nov. 1 incident was the first time Iran has fired on a US drone.
Obama aims to start nuclear talks with Iran next month
DEBKAfile Exclusive Report November 8, 2012, 11:10 AM (GMT+02:00)
They agree on direct talks – but not the date
After winning a second White House term, US President Barack Obama aims to start direct, fast-track nuclear talks with Tehran as soon as December, even before his January swearing-in, on the assumption that Iran’s window of opportunity is very narrow – just three months, debkafile’s Washington sources disclose. White House go-betweens with the office of Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warn that Iran’s campaign for the June 14 presidential election gets going in March. After than, it is estimated in Washington, that Khamenei, whose ill health keeps his working-day short, will be fully absorbed in a struggle to purge Iran’s political hierarchy of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his clique.
But Tehran would prefer nuclear diplomacy to be delayed for eight months until after that election. “We waited for the US election campaign to be over, so why shouldn’t the Americans wait for ours?” a senior Iranian official asked rhetorically.
For now, the supreme leader is looking for a suitable candidate for the presidency. This time, the supreme leader is not expected to make the mistake of choosing a charismatic, ambitious and competent figure like Ahmadinejad, but rather one who is satisfied with acting as a representative titular figure and play second fiddle to Khamenei whose bureau will administer the executive branch of government.
The supreme leader is believed in Washington to be weighing another alternative: having parliament abolish the post of president and transferring its powers to the new post of prime minister, who would be chosen from among the 290 Majlis lawmakers.
Speaker Ali Larijani and his brother, head of the judiciary Sadeq Larijani, have in the past year performed the spadework of sidelining Ahmadinejad’s parliamentary faction.
Ali Larijani himself is a front-runner for the job of Revolutionary Iran’s first prime minister.
The view in Washington today is that if nuclear talks do start in December and roll on into March, Khamenei will be compelled to cut the process short to escape potential accusations led by Ahmadinejad that he is handing to America concessions excessive enough to stall Iran’s nuclear aspirations.
The supreme leader can’t afford to have the Iran’s military establishment, the Revolutionary Guards and the street turn against him on this issue.
But in the last few days, Tehran appears to have taken a large step back from direct negotiations with Washington in principle. Just hours after Obama’s election victory was announced on Nov. 7, the official Iranian news agency quoted Sadeq Larijani as condemning US sanctions as “crimes against the Iranian people.” He said relations with America “cannot be possible overnight” and the US president should not expect rapid new negotiations with Tehran. “Americans should not think they can hold our nation to ransom by coming to the negotiating table,” was the Iranian judiciary head’s parting shot for Obama.
The gap between Washington and Tehran is as wide as ever: Obama wants the talks to last no more than three months and end in an agreed settlement of the nuclear dispute, whereas the ayatollah prefers a low-key process to be dragged out past the eight month-month period while also gaining more time for Iran’s nuclear program to race forward.
This tactic would additionally help Tehran erase yet another Israeli red line, the one set by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu in his UN September speech when he said that the spring or early summer of 2013 would be the critical date for Israel to act.
Iranian officials have long said there was little difference between the two candidates, but Obama’s victory has reinforced hopes for a diplomatic solution to the stalemate over Tehran’s nuclear programme.
Direct talks with the US have officially been beyond the pale for Iranian officials since the two countries broke off diplomatic relations in 1979. But as Obama takes the mandate for a second term, senior figures are signalling that such negotiations are possible.
“Talks with the US are not taboo, nor forbidden,” said Mohammd-Javad Larijani, the head of the human rights council in Iran‘s judiciary.”If it benefits us, we can hold talks with America even at the bottom of hell.”
But relations with the US would not be returning to normality overnight, warned Larijani’s brother, Sadeq, the head of the judiciary (a third brother, Ali, is speaker of the parliament).
“Americans should not think they can hold our nation to ransom by coming to the negotiating table,” Sadeq Larijani was quoted as saying by IRNA news agency.
“Four years ago, Obama … announced he would extend the hand of co-operation to Iran,” he said. “But he pursued a different path and imposed unprecedented sanctions and it is natural the Iranian people will never forget such crimes.”
As elections results came through, Iran’s Fars news agency, which is affiliated to the powerful revolutionary guards, was among very few Iran-based media to liveblog the election developments. It later ran the headline “Republican’s elephant crushed by Democrat’s donkey”.
Iran’s English-language state television channel, Press TV, led its coverage with a story headlined “election irregularities reported by US voters”.
Politicians who favour Obama avoided showing their support in public for fear of reprisals. However, many of them told the reformist Etemaad newspaper Obama would be a better choice for the future of Iran.
Netanyahu is ready for independent decision on Iran attack
Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said he is willing to attack the Iranian nuclear program without support from Washington: “If someone sits here as the prime minister of Israel and he can’t take action on matters that are cardinal to the existence of this country, its future and its security, and he is totally dependent on receiving approval from others, then he is not worthy of leading,” Mr. Netanyahu said, adding, “I can make these decisions.”