Whitley's Journal

A Wider Mideast War

My last journal entry drew practically no comment. This was quite unusual. Generally, there's a load of mail, pro and con. I know why it received this silence: nobody wanted to think about what it meant, which is that if a wider mideast war is on the way, we are not going to see it coming because we have lost crucial intelligence resources in Iran.

Nobody wanted to consider that there might be a traitor in a high position in the White House. It's just too terrifying. Unfortunately, it's also likely to be true, or Valerie Plame would never had been 'outed.' What is even more disturbing, the Grand Jury investigation has now turned to Robert Novak and other members of the press.

This is not something the prosecutors would have chosen to do. They know as well as anybody the difficulty of getting information out of the press under these circumstances. It means that the investigation is stymied, and the crucial question of who did it cannot be answered unless people like Novak speak out.

This is unfortunate, because it means that whoever in the White House is acting against the interests of the United States, is going to be there during what could well be a frightful widening of the conflict in the mideast. In fact, whoever this was could be said to have had a hand, by outing Plame, in orchestrating this next, terribly dangerous, phase in the conflict.

Understand, please, this does not mean that I am for or against the present administration. I'm not a political partisan at all. The present administration has positives and negatives, as did the last one and the one before that. The next one will, too, no matter which candidate wins. What I am interested in are the larger issues that will affect us no matter who is in power, and the situation in the mideast is certainly one of these.

In my next journal entry, I will turn to the even larger question of the tremendous changes that are on the way both socially and environmentally in the next few years. These are all issues that are beyond partisan politics, and I trust that they will be taken in that way.

We live in an era of polarization and 'dumbing down,' and I certainly see it in some of the responses--or lack of response--to this journal. If I don't praise an individual's particular favorite, then I must be against this favorite, and therefore I get a nasty email. Or the opposite.

Please understand that this is not a political journal, in the sense of partisan politics. I do not think, because I believe that there is a traitor somewhere in the White House, that the present administration is necessarily at fault. Certainly, if the president knew who it was, this individual would be gone. Nor do I think, if the democrats were in control, that the problem wouldn't exist. It might or it might not.

The important thing is that a very dangerous situation is emerging in the mideast right now, and, because of the loss of Plame, we can only be uncertain of the validity of crucial sources of information at a time when good information is essential to the welfare of our nation and the world.

On August 20, Iran issued something close to a war warning. Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani said on al Jazeera that Iran might launch pre-emptive strikes to protect its nuclear facilities if they are threatened. Iran has further stated that they possess missiles capable of reaching Israel, and if the Israelis and/or the Americans attack, they will be put to use.

Unfortunately, they may be compelled to do so, due to a lack of information about how close Iran is to having a nuclear weapon.

"If Israel fires a missile into the Bushehr nuclear power plant, it has to say goodbye forever to its Dimona nuclear facility," was the comment made by the deputy chief of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Brig. Gen. Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr.

In 1981, Israel destroyed an Iraqi nuclear reactor in a pre-emptive strike, because this reactor was believed to be part of a nuclear weapons program and was due to be finished in about a year. The Iranian Bushehr reactor is due to come online in 2005, about a year from now. Whether or not it is being designed to be a source of nuclear weapons is not certain, but a report due from the UN on September 13 will perhaps shed some light on this subject.

That report may come too late. Israel already appears to be preparing for war. It has begun distributing iodine pills to civilians living close to its own Dimona facility, where it is believed to build nuclear weapons and to store them.

Unreported in the US press have been comments by the Iranian defense minister that Iran has the capacity right now to "wipe out" Israel. Whether this means that they already have a nuclear strike capability using their Shahab-3 missile is unknown.

Iran announced last week it had successfully test-fired a new version of the this missile, which can strike any point in Israel.

There is likely to be some sort of conflict between Israel and Iran soon. If so, what form will it take? Does Iran have a nuclear capability or not? Unfortunately, this remains an unknown, even at the highest levels in both Israel and the US, and this crucial uncertainty is exactly the sort of thing that causes countries living under extreme threat, like Israel, to act. They cannot risk sitting quietly by and waiting until a state sworn to destroy them gains the means to do so.

Unfortunately, Iran is in the same position. It cannot sit by and allow Israel to destroy what it regards as a nuclear capability essential to its welfare as a state. Revolutionary Iran is an unstable society and the government is weak. The country's population is vastly weighted toward youth, and the young in Iran do not support the revolutionary government.

It knows that its days are numbered. Iran's governing council knows that, no matter what happens, revolutionary Islam is unlikely to control the country in ten years, or even five. Simply because the people willing to impose that control are getting too old. Iran does not trust its young military officers and troops. It carefully isolates them in small, scattered units in order to forestall a coup or a revolution, which could happen at any time.

In view of this situation, the Iranian revolution, which is sworn to destroy Israel, knows that the time it has to accomplish this crucial objective is limited. It also knows that it is the last real opposition to Israel in the mideast. If Iran falls, Israel will no longer face any serious threat.

Will the Iranians act? Do they already have the bomb and a means of delivering it? Will Israel instigate a war with them by destroying the Bushehr plant? We are likely to find out the answers to these questions within months, even days.

And whoever attacked our intelligence infrastructure by destroying the Plame system that gathered information, among other places, in Iran, will have succeeded in what must have been their objective: to induce a wider war in the mideast.

NOTE: This Journal entry, previously published on our old site, will have any links removed.


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