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Politics And Military

* Resurfacing Shock and Awe, why is this different?  Ali Behrooz

* Mr President, Barack Obama,  Ali Behrooz

* Iran’s Conservatives Are Deceiving Themselves  Tariq Alhomayed

* Just When it Ends in Basra, it Begins in Mosul!  Huda al Husseini

* Putin promises Iran continuity in relations: RIA  News Report

* New U.S. carrier in Gulf a 'reminder' to Iran: Gates  News Report

* Iran displays 1800 km-range missile  News Report

* U.S., Iraqi Forces Continue to Battle in Sadr City  News Report

* Iran Top Threat To Iraq, U.S. Says  News Report

* Sadr not U.S. enemy if he sticks to politics: Gates  News Report

* British fear US commander is beating the drum for Iran strikes  News Report

* Pakistan Mulls Talking with Terrorists  News Report

* Shia leader tries to contain militia  News Report

* Bush to maintain Iraq troop numbers  News Report

* McCain doesn't rule out preemptive war  News Report

* Winds of Change  Pablo Ouziel

* Obama Adviser Calls for Troops To Stay in Iraq Through 2010  News Report

* Iran helped end Iraq fighting: Iraq party adviser  News Report

* McCain's "war on terror" remix  News Report

* Saudi Arabia's justice minister departs for Tehran  News Report

* Deployment of Foreign Troops an Insult to Regional States  News Report

* Gun-shy America is losing the best chance to stop Iran  News Report

* Khatami rallies Iran reformists  News Report

* Iran says will soon hold talks with U.S. on Iraq  News Report

* Iran says has built new long-range missile  News Report

* U.S. military in Iraq says to release 9 Iranians  News Report

* U.S. sees decline in Iran-linked bombs found in Iraq  News Report

* Russia and China fall in line on Iran  News Report

* Iran letter sparks new fight between Clinton, Obama  News Report

* Bombing Iran will ensure world peace  News Report

* King Abdullah flies in to lecture us on terrorism  Robert Fisk

* Ahmadinejad to Visit S. Arabia mid Nov.  News Report

* Iranian Guard 'ready to defend revolution'  News Report

* Iran to give crushing response to possible attacks: minister  News Report

* Bush: Missile shield is meant to deter Iran  News Report

* Iran Accuses US of Manufacturing Genetic Weapons  News Report

* Blair: Terror threat like fascism  Tony Blair

* US arrogant attitudes pave way for 'World War III': Cleric  News Report

* Russia’s Putin hunts diplomatic solution in Iran  News Report

* Clinton says she would negotiate with Iran if elected president  News Report

* Britain 'on board' for US strikes on Iran  News Report

* Iran, sanctions and the rumours of war  News Report

* No Iran strike plans, says Blair  Tony Blair

* Gates: Diplomatic efforts to counter Iranian nuclear program are working  News Report

* McCain Jokes About Bombing Iran  Liz Sidoti

* Tehran expects update on cases of two Iranians murdered in France: MP  News Report

* Iran is not a safe haven for terrorists  News Report

* Iran at threat?  News Report

* Iran trying to recruit Israeli spies  News Report

* Iran: Signals on 5 Diplomats  News Report


Britain 'on board' for US strikes on Iran
[ News Report]  [2007-10-13 16:13:49]
[Source: telegraph - 09/10/07]


By Tim Shipman in Washington
Last Updated: 2:31am BST 09/10/2007

British defence officials have held talks with their Pentagon counterparts about how they could help out if America chose to bomb Iran.

Gordon Brown 'will back air strikes on Iran'
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Washington sources say that America has shelved plans for an all-out assault, drawn up to destroy the Iranian nuclear facilities and take out the Islamist regime.


The US is planning a strike on Iran's Revolutionary Guards

The Sunday Telegraph has learned that President Bush's White House national security council is discussing instead a plan to launch pinpoint attacks on bases operated by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds force, blamed for training Iraqi militants.

Pentagon officials have revealed that President Bush won an understanding with Gordon Brown in July that Britain would support air strikes if they could be justified as a counter-terrorist operation.

Since then discussions about what Britain might contribute militarily, to combat Iranian retaliation that would follow US air strikes, have been held between ministers and officials in the Pentagon and the Ministry of Defence.

Vincent Cannistraro — who served as intelligence chief on Ronald Reagan's National Security Council and then as head of operations for the CIA's counter-terrorist centre — said: "What's on the table right now is tactical strikes."

Last night, Downing Street declined to comment on the suggestion. But Mr Cannistraro has talked about the preparations to senior Pentagon officials and with military and intelligence contacts in the UK.

He said: "The British Government is in accord with plans to launch limited strikes on facilities inside Iran, on the basis of counter-terrorism." While the US Air Force and naval jets could carry out raids without help from the RAF, the Pentagon is keen to have the Royal Navy's cooperation in the event of an attack, to prevent Iran from sowing mines in the Gulf to block oil exports in retaliation.

Mr Cannistraro said: "The British have to be a major auxiliary to this plan. It's not just for political reasons: the US doesn't have a lot of mine clearing capability in the Gulf. The Dutch and the British do.

"There will be renewed discussions with British defence officials about what role Britain would perform in the naval sphere. If there was a retaliatory response by the Iranians, they might close the Straits of Hormuz and that would affect the entire West."

The White House and Downing Street would justify such an attack as a defensive move to protect allied troops in Iraq. But moderates in the US government are concerned that the counter-terrorist argument may be used by hawks as a figleaf for military action that could escalate into all out war with Iran.

A US intelligence source said that Revolutionary Guard bases, supply depots and command and control facilities "have been programmed" into military computers but stressed that President Bush has not given any "execute order" for military action.

Further details of the US plans for Iran were divulged to Seymour Hersh, the investigative reporter with the New Yorker magazine who has unveiled Pentagon secrets for more than three decades.

American officials told the New Yorker: "During a secure video conference earlier this summer, the President told Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador to Iraq, that he was thinking of hitting Iranian targets across the border and that the British 'were on board'."

The magazine added: "The bombing plan has had its most positive reception from the new government of Britain's Prime Minister Gordon Brown."

A recently retired American four-star general, told the magazine last week that the bombing campaign would only attract support from the Prime Minister "if it's in response to an Iranian attack" like the kidnapping of British sailors in March.

The general said the US officials want to strike "if the Iranians stage a cross-border attack inside Iraq" of a significant kind, for example the one that produced "10 dead American soldiers and four burned trucks".

Britain and America have complained for months about Iranian support for Iraqi militants but Pentagon officials claim that Iran has been told that a line has now been drawn in the sand — a move that has actually helped to stabilise the situation. Details of the US plans were passed to Iranian leader Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iranian diplomats by Mr Crocker and Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi prime minister, during bilateral talks this summer.

Since then, US officials say there appears to have been a reduction in some of the arms shipments and support to militia elements in Iraq.

Some British military and intelligence figures fear that any endorsement of US plans, however hypothetical, will only embolden the White House faction, led by Vice-President Dick Cheney, which wants major bombing of Iran's nuclear facilities.

Zbigniew Brzezinski, the national security adviser to former President Carter, said last week the Bush plan was to depict any air strike on Iran as "responding to what is an intolerable situation. This time, unlike the attack in Iraq, we're going to play the victim."
 Information appearing on telegraph.co.uk is the copyright of Telegraph Media Group Limited and must not be reproduced in any medium without licence. For the full copyright statement see Copyright





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