© DALATI NOHRA HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX/Shutterstock French President Emmanuel Macron visiting a devastated street of BeirutProtesters stormed the streets of Beirut and begged Emmanuel Macron to help them topple the “regime” they blame for Tuesday’s devastating blast.The visiting French President on Thursday promised aid to Lebanon as he toured the ruined streets.But he reassured angry citizens reeling from a blast that killed 145 people that no blank cheques will be given to its leaders unless they enact reforms and end rife corruption.
Speaking at a news conference Macron called for an international inquiry into the devastating explosion that generated a seismic shock felt across the region.
He said it was an urgent signal to carry out anti-corruption reforms demanded by a furious population.
© POOL/AFP via Getty Images Macron hugs a resident in the shell-shocked cityDozens are still missing after Tuesday’s explosion at the port that injured 5,000…
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A DOG WITH A MALLET IN ITS EAR COULD TELL YOU THIS WAS A BOMB
“The Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) Slated to be Used against Iran
Of military significance within the U.S. conventional weapons arsenal is the 21,500-pound “monster weapon” nicknamed the “mother of all bombs” The GBU-43/B or Massive Ordnance Air Blast bomb (MOAB) was categorized “as the most powerful non-nuclear weapon ever designed” with the the largest yield in the U.S. conventional arsenal. The MOAB was tested in early March 2003 before being deployed to the Iraq war theater. According to U.S. military sources, The Joint Chiefs of Staff had advised the government of Saddam Hussein prior to launching the 2003 that the “mother of all bombs” was to be used against Iraq. (There were unconfirmed reports that it had been used in Iraq).
The U.S. Department of Defense already confirmed in 2009 that it intends to use the “Mother of All Bombs” (MOAB) against Iran. The MOAB is said to be ”ideally suited to hit deeply buried nuclear facilities such as Natanz or Qom in Iran”21. The truth of the matter is that the MOAB, given its explosive capacity, would result in significant civilian casualties. It is a conventional “killing machine” with a nuclear type mushroom cloud.
The procurement of four MOABs was commissioned in October 2009 at the hefty cost of $58.4 million, ($14.6 million for each bomb). This amount includes the costs of development and testing as well as integration of the MOAB bombs onto B-2 stealth bombers. This procurement is directly linked to war preparations in relation to Iran. The notification was contained in a ninety-three-page “reprograming memo” which included the following instructions:
“The Department has an Urgent Operational Need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high threat environments. The MOP [Mother of All Bombs] is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON [Urgent Operational Need].” It further states that the request is endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran).23
The Pentagon is planning on a process of extensive destruction of Iran’s infrastructure and mass civilian casualties through the combined use of tactical nukes and monster conventional mushroom cloud bombs, including the MOAB and the larger GBU-57A/B or Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP), which surpasses the MOAB in terms of explosive capacity.
The MOP is described as “a powerful new bomb aimed squarely at the underground nuclear facilities of Iran and North Korea. The gargantuan bomb–longer than eleven persons standing shoulder-to-shoulder or more than twenty feet base to nose”.24
These are WMDs in the true sense of the word. The not so hidden objective of the MOAB and MOP, including the American nickname used to casually describe the MOAB (“Mother of all Bombs”), is “mass destruction” and mass civilian casualties with a view to instilling fear and despair.
State of the Art Weaponry: “War Made Possible Through New Technologies”
The process of U.S. military decision making in relation to Iran is supported by Star Wars, the militarization of outer space and the revolution in communications and information systems. Given the advances in military technology and the development of new weapons systems, an attack on Iran could be significantly different in terms of the mix of weapons systems, when compared to the March 2003 Blitzkrieg launched against Iraq. The Iran operation is slated to use the most advanced weapons systems in support of its aerial attacks. In all likelihood, new weapons systems will be tested.
The 2000 Project for the New American Century (PNAC) document entitled Rebuilding American Defenses, outlined the mandate of the U.S. military in terms of large scale theater wars, to be waged simultaneously in different regions of the World: “Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theater wars”. (See Chapter I)
This formulation is tantamount to a global war of conquest by a single imperial superpower. The PNAC document also called for the transformation of U.S. forces to exploit the “revolution in military affairs”, namely the implementation of “war made possible through new technologies”. 25 The latter consists in developing and perfecting a state of the art global killing machine based on an arsenal of sophisticated new weaponry, which would eventually replace the existing paradigms.
Thus, it can be foreseen that the process of transformation will in fact be a two-stage process: first of transition, then of more thoroughgoing transformation. The breakpoint will come when a preponderance of new weapons systems begins to enter service, perhaps when, for example, unmanned aerial vehicles begin to be as numerous as manned aircraft. In this regard, the Pentagon should be very wary of making large investments in new programs –tanks, planes, aircraft carriers, for example– that would commit U.S. forces to current paradigms of warfare for many decades to come.26
The war on Iran could indeed mark this crucial break-point, with new space-based weapons systems being applied with a view to disabling an enemy which has significant conventional military capabilities including more than half a million ground forces.
Electromagnetic weapons could be used to destabilize Iran’s communications systems, disable electric power generation, undermine and destabilize command and control, government infrastructure, transportation, energy, etc. Within the same family of weapons, environmental modifications techniques (ENMOD) (weather warfare) developed under the HAARP program could also be applied.27 These weapons systems are fully operational. In this context, the U.S. Air Force document AF 2025 explicitly acknowledged the military applications of weather modification technologies:
Weather modification will become a part of domestic and international security and could be done unilaterally. … It could have offensive and defensive applications and even be used for deterrence purposes. The ability to generate precipitation, fog, and storms on earth or to modify space weather, improve communications through ionospheric modification (the use of ionospheric mirrors), and the production of artificial weather all are a part of an integrated set of technologies which can provide substantial increase in U.S., or degraded capability in an adversary, to achieve global awareness, reach, and power.28
Electromagnetic radiation enabling “remote health impairment” might also be envisaged in the war theater.29 In turn, new uses of biological weapons by the U.S. military might also be envisaged as suggested by the PNAC: “[A]dvanced forms of biological warfare that can ‘target’ specific genotypes may transform biological warfare from the realm of terror to a politically useful tool.”30
Iran’s Military Capabilities: Medium and Long-range Missiles
Iran has advanced military capabilities, including medium and long-range missiles capable of reaching targets in Israel and the Gulf States. Hence the emphasis by the U.S.-NATO Israel alliance on the use of nuclear weapons, which are slated to be used either pre-emptively or in response to an Iranian retaliatory missile attack.
In November 2006, Iran tests of surface missiles two were marked by precise planning in a carefully staged operation. According to a senior American missile expert, “the Iranians demonstrated up-to-date missile-launching technology which the West had not known them to possess.”31 Israel acknowledged that “the Shehab-3, whose 2,000-km range brings Israel, the Middle East and Europe within reach”.32
According to Uzi Rubin, former head of Israel’s anti-ballistic missile program, “the intensity of the military exercise was unprecedented… It was meant to make an impression – and it made an impression.”33
The 2006 exercises, while creating a political stir in the U.S. and Israel, did not in any way modify U.S.-NATO-Israeli resolve to wage war on Iran.
Tehran has confirmed in several statements that it will respond if it is attacked. Israel would be the immediate object of Iranian missile attacks as confirmed by the Iranian government. The issue of Israel’s air defense system is therefore crucial. U.S. and allied military facilities in the Gulf states, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan and Iraq could also be targeted by Iran.
Iran’s Ground Forces
While Iran is encircled by U.S. and allied military bases, the Islamic Republic has significant military capabilities. What is important to acknowledge is the sheer size of Iranian forces in terms of personnel (army, navy, air force) when compared to U.S. and NATO forces serving in Afghanistan and Iraq.
Confronted with a well-organized insurgency, coalition forces are already overstretched in both Afghanistan and Iraq. Would these forces be able to cope if Iranian ground forces were to enter the existing battlefield in Iraq and Afghanistan? The potential of the Resistance movement to U.S. and allied occupation would inevitably be affected.
Iranian ground forces are of the order of 700,000 of which 130,000 are professional soldiers, 220,000 are conscripts and 350,000 are reservists.34 There are 18,000 personnel in Iran’s Navy and 52,000 in the Air Force. According to the International Institute for Strategic Studies, “the Revolutionary Guards has an estimated 125,000 personnel in five branches: Its own Navy, Air Force, and Ground Forces; and the Quds Force (Special Forces).”
According to the CISS, Iran’s Basij paramilitary volunteer force controlled by the Revolutionary Guards “has an estimated 90,000 active-duty full-time uniformed members, 300,000 reservists, and a total of 11 million men that can be mobilized if need be”35, In other words, Iran can mobilize up to half a million regular troops and several million militia. Its Quds special forces are already operating inside Iraq.
U.S. Military and Allied Facilities Surrounding Iran
For several years now, Iran has been conducting its own war drills and exercises. While its Air Force has weaknesses, its intermediate and long-range missiles are fully operational. Iran’s military is in a state of readiness. Iranian troop concentrations are currently within a few kilometers of the Iraqi and Afghan borders, and within proximity of Kuwait. The Iranian Navy is deployed in the Persian Gulf within proximity of U.S. and allied military facilities in the United Arab Emirates.
It is worth noting that in response to Iran’s military build-up, the U.S. has been transferring large amounts of weapons to its non-NATO allies in the Persian Gulf including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia.
While Iran’s advanced weapons do not measure up to those of the U.S. and NATO, Iranian forces would be in a position to inflict substantial losses to coalition forces in a conventional war theater, on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan. Iranian ground troops and tanks in December 2009 crossed the border into Iraq without being confronted or challenged by allied forces and occupied a disputed territory in the East Maysan oil field.
Even in the event of an effective Blitzkrieg, which targets Iran’s military facilities, its communications systems etc., through massive aerial bombing, using cruise missiles, conventional bunker buster bombs and tactical nuclear weapons, a war with Iran, once initiated, could eventually lead into a ground war. This is something which U.S. military planners have no doubt contemplated in their simulated war scenarios.
An operation of this nature would result in significant military and civilian casualties, particularly if nuclear weapons are used.
Within a scenario of escalation, Iranian troops could cross the border into Iraq and Afghanistan.
In turn, military escalation using nuclear weapons could lead us into a World War III scenario, extending beyond the Middle-East – Central Asian region.
In a very real sense, this military project, which has been on the Pentagon’s drawing board for more than ten years, threatens the future of humanity.
Our focus in this chapter has been on war preparations. The fact that war preparations are in an advanced state of readiness does not imply that these war plans will be carried out.
The U.S.-NATO-Israel alliance realizes that the enemy has significant capabilities to respond and retaliate. This factor in itself has been crucial in the decision by the U.S. and its allies to postpone an attack on Iran.
Another crucial factor is the structure of military alliances. Whereas NATO has become a formidable force, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), which constitutes an alliance between Russia and China and a number of former Soviet Republics has been significantly weakened.
The ongoing U.S. military threats directed against China and Russia are intended to weaken the SCO and discourage any form of military action on the part of Iran’s allies in the case of a U.S. NATO Israeli attack.
21. Jonathan Karl, Is the U.S. Preparing to Bomb Iran? ABC News, October 9, 2009.
23. ABC News, op cit, emphasis added. To consult the reprogramming request (pdf) click here.
24. See Edwin Black, “Super Bunker-Buster Bombs Fast-Tracked for Possible Use Against Iran and North Korea Nuclear Programs”, Cutting Edge, September 21, 2009.
25. See Project for a New American Century, Rebuilding America’s Defenses Washington DC, September 2000, pdf.
26. Ibid, emphasis added.
27. See Michel Chossudovsky, “Owning the Weather” for Military Use, Global Research, September 27, 2004.
28. Air Force 2025 Final Report, See also U.S. Air Force: Weather as a Force Multiplier: Owning the Weather in 2025, AF2025 v3c15-1.
29. See Mojmir Babacek, Electromagnetic and Informational Weapons:, Global Research, August 6, 2004.
30. Project for a New American Century, op cit., p. 60.
31. See Michel Chossudovsky, Iran’s “Power of Deterrence” Global Research, November 5, 2006.
32. Debka, November 5, 2006.
33. http://www.cnsnews.com November 3, 2006.
34. See Islamic Republic of Iran Army – Wikipedia.