IRGC Preparing for Large Scale Drill Amid Speculations of War

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) will hold a major military exercise at the end of this month. The drill will take place near the Strait of Hormuz and is expected to last for several days.

The planned drill was announced yesterday by the IRGC’s Navy commander Rear Admiral Morteza Saffari. “The sensitive conditions of the Middle East region have multiplied the need for us to be ready to defend the country,” Saffari said.

RAdm Saffari added that different units of the IRGC’s navy would participate in the exercise to test new tactics and weapons in real life scenarios.

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Putin: We must end monopoly in world finance

The Russian Prime Minister, Vladimir Putin, has called for a complete overhaul of the world’s financial system in order to guarantee stability and ensure progress. He was speaking in Astana in Kazakhstan, where the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation is meeting to in discuss the global financial crisis.

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Regions back Medvedev over Caucasus

President Medvedev says the country had no option but to intervene militarily after Georgian forces killed hundreds of civilians and some Russian peacekeepers in South Ossetia. He made the statement at a meeting of the heads of Russia’s regions in the Kremlin.

Medvedev told the State Council meeting that his government had acted responsibly.

“There isn’t a single country in the world that would tolerate its citizens and peacekeepers being killed. Russia was obliged to save these people”.

At the Moscow meeting, the government’s position was backed by regional leaders.

The Republic of Tatarstan’s President, Mentimir Shaimiyev, said recent events showed that ethnic conflicts cannot be solved by force.

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Russia threatens to supply Iran with top new missile system as ‘cold war’ escalates

US intelligence fears the Kremlin will supply the sophisticated S-300 system to Tehran if Washington pushes through Nato membership for its pro-Western neighbours Georgia and Ukraine.

The proposed deal is causing huge alarm in the US and Israel as the S-300 can track 100 targets at once and fire on planes up to 75 miles away.

That would make it a “game-changer”, greatly improving Iranian defences against any air strike on its nuclear sites, according to Pentagon adviser Dan Goure. “This is a system that scares every Western air force,” he said.

Senior US intelligence operatives believe that Russia is planning to use a stand-off over the S-300 to create a foreign policy showdown that would test the mettle of a new US president.

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WAR ALERT!!!

This is going to be quick and dirty today. No cute cartoons. No philosophizing. We haven’t time for any of that today.

I believe we are on the verge of the outbreak of World War III. Right now.

If I’m wrong, then so be it. I’ll apologize for being overreactive later. Too much hangs in the balance if I am right. Treat it as an exercise if you like. A practice for when the real thing happens, because you can be sure the real thing will happen … and soon.

For those who follow my writings and know just how right I usually am, be advised that I consider this to be very likely in the very near term (within the next week or two), highly likely within the next month or two and dead certain within the next year or two. I am uncertain only about the timing, not the outcome. The outcome is worldwide war, of course, and the likely defeat of America.

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Russian troops in South Ossetian capitol to help stop violence

Ron Paul Fears Staged Iran Pretext Could Bring National Draft

Congressman Ron Paul fears that a staged incident exploited as a pretext to attack Iran may be the precursor to a national draft, as he responded to Sy Hersh’s astounding report that Dick Cheney proposed faking a Gulf of Tonkin style incident by killing Americans in the Straits of Hormuz and blaming it on Iran.

“The influence is still there that they want it to happen, they probably themselves don’t have a day set to do it but they’re waiting for an opportunity and something will come along,” Paul told the Alex Jones Show.

“They’re capable of doing anything,” said Paul, refering to the consideration unveiled in the Downing Street Memo, where Bush and Blair discussed painting a U2 spy plane in UN colors and goading Saddam to have it shot down as a pretext to invade Iraq.

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The Geopolitics of Iran: Holding the Center of a Mountain Fortress

To understand Iran, you must begin by understanding how large it is. Iran is the 17th largest country in world. It measures 1,684,000 square kilometers. That means that its territory is larger than the combined territories of France, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal – Western Europe. Iran is the 16th most populous country in the world, with about 70 million people. Its population is larger than the populations of either France or the United Kingdom.

Under the current circumstances, it might be useful to benchmark Iran against Iraq or Afghanistan. Iraq is 433,000 square kilometers, with about 25 million people, so Iran is roughly four times as large and three times as populous. Afghanistan is about 652,000 square kilometers, with a population of about 30 million. One way to look at it is that Iran is 68 percent larger than Iraq and Afghanistan combined, with 40 percent more population.

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The Listening Post – Iran’s Media

Part 1

Part 2

Americans Say No to War with Iran

Despite what you may have read, this issue is not about nuclear proliferation—in fact an attack would increase the likelihood that Iran would acquire a nuclear weapon, says Sarah van Gelder.

Will Washington Listen?

Two weeks ago, I was alarmed to learn that congressional Democrats were sponsoring Resolution 362, which encourages what amounts to an act of war against Iran.

Today, there are more than 230 co-sponsors of the House resolution, but there is also growing mobilization to stop passage of Res. 362. What is especially stirring opposition is the provision that calls for:

“Prohibiting the export to Iran of all refined petroleum products; imposing stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran; and prohibiting the international movement of all Iranian officials not involved in negotiating the suspension of Iran’s nuclear program.”

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Iran warns it would destroy Israel, 32 U.S. bases if attacked

Iran’s armed forces would launch devastating strikes against Israel and 32 American bases in the Mideast if these countries were to attack, a senior military official said on Saturday.

Iran carried out a series of missile tests this week in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, prompting the United States to issue a warning that it would defend Israel in the event of an Iranian attack. Israel’s Air Force last month conducted drills seen as a rehearsal for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

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Iran tests missiles, vows to hit back if attacked

Iran test-fired nine missiles on Wednesday and warned the United States and Israel it was ready to retaliate if they attacked the Islamic Republic over its disputed nuclear projects.

Washington, which says Iran seeks atomic bombs, told Tehran to halt further tests if it wanted the world to trust it. Iran, the world’s fourth largest oil producer, insists its nuclear program aims only at generating electricity.

Rising tensions have rattled financial markets. Oil prices, which had slipped from record highs, rebounded about $2 a barrel after Wednesday’s tests.

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Iran stages war games, rejects nuclear demand

Iran started war games on Monday and its president rejected a demand by major powers that it stop enriching uranium as “illegitimate,” showing no sign of backing down in a stand-off over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Missile units of the elite Revolutionary Guards’ naval and air forces began war games, Iranian news agencies said, hours after the U.S. Navy said it had begun exercises in the Gulf.

Speculation about an attack on the world’s fourth biggest oil exporter over its nuclear program rose after a report last month said Israel had practiced such a strike. Fears of military confrontation helped send world oil prices to record highs.

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Venezuelan fights US asset freeze

One of two Venezuelans accused by the US of backing Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shia movement, has told Al Jazeera he is appealing against a US treasury department decision to freeze all his US-based assets.

His comments on Saturday come after the US once again accused Venezuela of harbouring individuals who Washington considers “dangerous terrorists”.

Fawzi Kanaan, who runs a small, unnamed travel agency in Caracas, arrived in Venezuela in 1986, fleeing the civil war in Lebanon.

“I have nothing to do with Iran or Hezbollah. I don’t deal with politics at all,” he said.

“I have been to Iran only once in 1976, just for one night. That was more than 42 years ago.”

But the US describes Kanaan as a “Hezbollah supporter” and “significant provider of financial support to Hezbollah”.

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Israel Prodding U.S. To Attack Iran

Joint Chiefs Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen leaves Tuesday night on an overseas trip that will take him to Israel, reports CBS News national security correspondent David Martin. The trip has been scheduled for some time but U.S. officials say it comes just as the Israelis are mounting a full court press to get the Bush administration to strike Iran’s nuclear complex.

CBS consultant Michael Oren says Israel doesn’t want to wait for a new administration.

“The Israelis have been assured by the Bush administration that the Bush administration will not allow Iran to nuclearize,” Oren said. “Israelis are uncertain about what would be the policies of the next administration vis-à-vis Iran.”

Israel’s message is simple: If you don’t, we will. Israel held a dress rehearsal for a strike earlier this month, but military analysts say Israel can not do it alone.

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Iran says any attack would provoke fierce reaction

An attack on Iran would provoke a fierce response, the country’s oil minister warned Wednesday at the World Petroleum Congress in Madrid.

Minister Gholam Hossein Nozari, however, said Tehran would not cut oil deliveries and would continue supplying the market even if struck by Israel or the United States.

Tehran “is not going to be quiet,” if attacked, Nozari told reporters. It’s “going to react fiercely, and nobody can imagine what would be the reaction of Iran,” he added.

Nozari spoke outside the 19th World Petroleum Congress after a presentation on Iran’s oil and gas industry to a packed audience, including representatives of European and U.S. energy companies.

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Report: U.S. ‘preparing the battlefield’ in Iran

The Bush administration has launched a “significant escalation” of covert operations in Iran, sending U.S. commandos to spy on the country’s nuclear facilities and undermine the Islamic republic’s government, journalist Seymour Hersh said Sunday.

White House, CIA and State Department officials declined comment on Hersh’s report, which appears in this week’s issue of The New Yorker.

Hersh told CNN’s “Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer” that Congress has authorized up to $400 million to fund the secret campaign, which involves U.S. special operations troops and Iranian dissidents.

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Ron Paul Discusses Iran, & the Rising Energy Costs

‘Israel to strike Iran after elections’

Israel is likely to attack Iran in the time between the November presidential election in the US and the inauguration of the new president, former US ambassador to the UN John Bolton told the Daily Telegraph in an interview published Tuesday.

But he said he did not believe the US would take part in such a strike. “It’s clear that the administration has essentially given up that possibility,” he said. “I don’t think it’s serious any more. If you had asked me a year ago I would have said I thought it was a real possibility. I just don’t think it’s in the cards.”

“The Israelis have one eye on the calendar because of the pace at which the Iranians are proceeding both to develop their nuclear weapons capability and to do things like increase their defenses,” Bolton said.

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Sarkozy to the Knesset: Nuclear Iran is ‘totally unacceptable’

French President Nicolas Sarkozy and his wife, Carla, were greeted Monday at the Knesset. The French leader addressed the plenum and stressed that his country would not allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons. He also spoke of the importance of the Jewish homeland to the Jewish people.

“I reiterate here in the clearest manner: As far as France is concerned, a nuclear Iran is totally unacceptable,” Sarkozy declared. “France is determined to continue to lead, along with its partners, a policy that integrates gradually intensifying sanctions with openness, in case Iran chooses to honor its international obligatons.”

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