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#21 Guest_That One Guy_*

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Posted 10 July 2008 - 01:04 PM

I'm sure many of you have already seen this story in the news. For those who haven't, I wasn't sure whether to find it amusing or disturbing, but as one who commented on this story said, "I know that these missiles are part of a plan to wipe Israel off the map, but now they've proved that they have the photoshop capabilities to do it."


Don't be fooled by that photoshop... THIS is clearly the REAL one:

Posted Image

<_<

#22 ABlay

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Posted 11 July 2008 - 10:48 AM

Don't be fooled by that photoshop... THIS is clearly the REAL one:

Posted Image

:D



Yes, 35 successes and ONE failure. :)

#23 Guest_lancee_*

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Posted 23 July 2008 - 07:23 PM

Iran to get new Russian Air Defence

I am not sure if this has already been posted, I had a look in what I thought would be the appropriate threads but didn`t see it.Russia and Iran intend to make it as hard as possible for anyone thinking about taking any action against them, makes it real clear to the EU and NZs dimwit leaders Iran run by Mullahs has never been interested in Peace,maybe pre-revolution they were but not now.

#24 Guest_lancee_*

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Posted 24 July 2008 - 05:49 PM

If you use the same logic as the Russians do regarding US missile defense, then this constitutes an act of aggression by Iran.



Definitely.

#25 ABlay

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 12:05 AM

If you use the same logic as the Russians do regarding US missile defense, then this constitutes an act of aggression by Iran.


And by that same logic, we should at least strongly consider sending some stealth bombers to Kazakhstan. The double-standard is frustratingly disgusting.

#26 Guest_lancee_*

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Posted 25 July 2008 - 07:13 PM

Iranian convoy rocked by mystery explosion

Looks like the $400 million George Bush approved for covert action against the Iranians has been put to good use at last.Seems the Commanders of the Revolutionary Guard would dearly love to keep this very quiet.
Labanese Hizbullah won`t be too happy having a convoy of weaponry destined for them blowing up in the middle of Teheran.Go MEK.

#27 NBT Truth

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 09:56 AM

The is truly an apocalyptic scenario--one that the Iranian President would, no doubt, love to carry out. Perhaps it's only a matter of time....


U.S. Intel: Iran Plans Nuclear* Strike on U.S.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008 9:00 AM

*EMP

http://www.newsmax.c.../29/117217.html

#28 CAseal

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Posted 31 July 2008 - 10:45 PM

No doubt the enemy "knows how" to do this...but Chris Ruddy does not need to bring this (and other terrorist tactics) out into the open. Honestly.

#29 ABlay

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Posted 01 August 2008 - 03:21 PM

No doubt the enemy "knows how" to do this...but Chris Ruddy does not need to bring this (and other terrorist tactics) out into the open. Honestly.


I agree. There are obviously some things the intelligence community just doesn't need to share with the general public. If issues that revolve around vulnerabilities to national security and essential infrastructure are openly discussed, people may become needlessly worried and over-vigilant -- almost paranoid -- about an impending disaster which may or may not happen. Additionally, disclosing those sorts of things could very easily serve to mobilize the enemy to quickly carry out whatever plans it may have already had.

With that in mind, while it is encouraging that U.S. intelligence is aware of the threat posed by a nuclear-capable Iran, public discussion by intelligence officials of our vulnerability to a nuclear strike seems counter-productive. That sort of open discussion is probably best conducted by private institutions and think tanks like, say, the TFP Forum. :)

#30 CAseal

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Posted 02 August 2008 - 02:19 PM

Amen, AB, THX.

#31 SJL

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 09:55 AM

Ah. If only we understood Putin the way this guy understands Iran and the Mullahs... This is an SCO nation, by the way, so we really are inching toward Russian shenanigans and attack on the US. Russia is far more powerful and rich than Iran and far more suddle. This threat is act of aggression, pure and simple.

http://www.freerepub...s/2058496/posts


Former Iranian Officer Explains the Games Mullahs Play
Pajamas Media ^ | 8-8-08 | Reza Khalili (Pseudonym)

Posted on Friday, August 08, 2008 8:09:42 AM by Renfield

One must never forget that the Islamic government of Iran is being run by hard-line clerics. The games they play with new faces and voices, or good cop/bad cop, are an ongoing show designed to keep the West confused and falsely hopeful enough that one day there will be a diplomatic breakthrough.

It is with this mindset that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the Iranian president, continually works to create a wedge between the American people and their politicians by giving out mixed signals, creating a false hope for a negotiated settlement over the enrichment process and U.S.-Iranian relations.

I know. Using techniques taught to me by the CIA and with my code name Wally, from a front-row seat in the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, I compiled my reports on Iranian deception in the middle of the night, knowing that capture would bring torture and a horrible death for myself and my family, but my hope was that I could be of some help to free Iran from the mullahs and their network of terror.

The city of Qom, located southwest of Tehran, is one of the most important centers of theology to Shia Islam; it is from these theological seminaries that the country is run. Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, a member of the Assembly of Experts (the body that chooses the supreme leader) and the advisor to President Ahmadinejad, runs the Haghani School that teaches the most radical Shiite beliefs, including the belief in the imminent coming of the 12th Imam who is called “Mahdi.”

The teachers and students of this school run some of the most important political and security institutions in the Iranian government, including the Ministry of Intelligence. Every minister has been associated with the Haghani School and involved in organizing death squads to kill the opposition and coordinating terrorist activities against the West. Ayatollah Janati, the powerful chairman of the Guardian Council, is also associated with that school.

Their deceptions work in many ways. One example was in July 1987 when the annual pilgrimage to Mecca, the Hajj, was in progress. Khomeini sent a public message for the pilgrims to avoid any kind of clash and to keep the peace. But my source in the intelligence unit of the Guards informed me earlier that Imam Khomeini had actually ordered an armed uprising in Saudi Arabia during the Hajj.

Many members of the Guards, Basijis, and thugs with weapons such as knives and machetes were sent disguised as ordinary pilgrims by Iran Air. The plan was to start a demonstration using slogans against Israel and America, encourage other Muslims to join the demonstration, and then incite an uprising against the Saudi monarchy. I immediately reported the details to the CIA. Not long after that, the Saudis started checking the flights arriving in Saudi Arabia from Iran and many pilgrims were sent back after the discovery of weapons on board. The Iranian regime went ahead with its plan and started the demonstration during the pilgrimage. However, the Saudi police were ready for them and at the end of the day hundreds died and more were wounded. The mullahs, angry about the interference with their planned demonstration at the pilgrimage, ordered a number of bomb attacks on Saudi agencies in and out of the country, along with the assassinations of Saudi diplomats in retaliation for the pilgrims’ deaths.

I also informed the CIA of my findings that an Iranian consulate convoy transferred arms and explosives, via an Iran Air flight, to the Iranian consulate in Dubai. Because it was a diplomatic convoy, they were not searched. This took place while the Iranian envoy in Dubai was relaying messages of friendship and cooperation to the government of Dubai.

All the while the mullahs have been supported by the Russians and the Chinese. I reported to the CIA that the Russians were selling arms to the Guards and training the new intelligence apparatus in the Islamic Republic of Iran, while also reporting that the Chinese were selling Silkworm missiles and artillery, and training the Revolutionary Guards’ naval units in a base in China.

The mullahs have always maintained a dual-strategy policy; one is to be prepared for any confrontation, and the other is to drag out negotiations with the West over their development of nuclear capabilities. Their goal is to outlast the Bush administration while pursuing the expansion of their missile delivery system for ballistic missiles and the enrichment process for the ultimate goal of obtaining a nuclear bomb. And the intention behind going nuclear is no less than destroying America and Israel’s power in the region — and beyond — with the belief that Islam will eventually conquer and rule the world.

On the confrontation front: Recently, the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Jafari, who now also controls the Basiji forces, announced that the military will set up 31 command-and-control centers in provinces around Iran. They are appointing new commanders for each center, replacing the current commanders of the Guards in each province in coordination with Khamenei, the supreme leader. They are also appointing new representatives of the supreme leader within the Guards for each province.

This is designed to ensure loyalty, increased coordination, and less reliance on the central government. In case of a war and breakdown in communications between the central government and Revolutionary Guards around the country, the commanders at each center can make independent decisions to face off against any enemy or confront any public uprising. On the negotiation front: The Iranians have found a new approach to further drag out the negotiations on the 5+1 package. As reported, they met on July 19 with the European Union foreign policy chief, Javier Solana, and representatives of world powers, including the United States of America. The Iranians claim the discussions did not include any talk of suspending the enrichment program but rather a halt to expanding the project. The terms discussed (freeze-for-freeze) could provide additional time of another six weeks of negotiations while the Iranians could maintain the current centrifuges in place. President Ahmadinejad announced that Iran now has 6,000 centrifuges to enrich uranium for their nuclear program. Their main goal is to prolong the talks for as long as they can while maintaining their right to the enrichment process. Then they will have enough nuclear material for one nuclear bomb within six months.

Their goal of destroying America and Israel is also twofold: military and financial.

On the military front: Iran’s leaders know that they will never be able to match America’s military might. I reported to the CIA from my position in the Guards in the 1980s that Mohsen Rezaei, then the commander of the Revolutionary Guards, received authorization from Imam Khomeini to officially expand the martyrdom force in the air, ground, and sea. It was decided then — since they would never be able to match the power of America — that they would create thousands of smaller forces in order to tax the response of the Americans.

For example: If 1,000 high-speed boats equipped with small missile launchers and filled with dynamite attacked the American Navy ships, it would overwhelm their defense systems and the probability of afflicting damage would be very high. Iran began creating these smaller attack boat units in the 80s. Then they purchased small submarines and started producing missiles, of which they now claim to have thousands, capable of reaching not only their neighbors but also Israel. They are working on missiles that can reach Europe and ballistic missiles to reach America. North Koreans are in Iran helping with the development of their missile technology. North Korea itself cannot pursue ballistic missile delivery without some harsh objection from the Chinese and the West, so their involvement in Iran serves their interests as well. The intent of developing the thousands of missiles is in pursuit of the same goal: overwhelming any defense capability to inflict damage and create fear, the horror of which can be heightened with the chemical weapons they possess.

The Iranians are skilled in using proxies such as Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, Shiites in Iraq, Taliban in Afghanistan, and other terrorist organizations around the world, as they have demonstrated over and over again with bombings and hostage-taking in Lebanon and other countries. Many Americans, most notably CIA operative William Buckley and U.S. Marine Colonel William Higgins, were kidnapped and tortured to death. Many others of different nationalities were kidnapped and later on used as bargaining chips for exchange. The most blatant show of force by the mullahs was the 2006 Lebanon war through their proxy Hezbollah.

On the financial front: Iran pursues the same goals with the same philosophy as al-Qaeda in that any effort that puts a strain on the economy of the United States is a legitimate action. Al-Qaeda did that with their suicide attack of 9/11, and Iran is sowing havoc and chaos in Iraq and Afghanistan. The mullahs have calculated the cost of the Iraq invasion and the rising oil prices to the U.S. economy, and they also see that as a tool to weaken the superpower.

They intend to continue, for there will be only two ways out for America: one is an attack on Iran, which they see as unlikely with the current economic situation and oil prices; the other way out for the U.S., as they see it, is to leave Iraq and accept defeat. This would create an environment that the mullahs most desire, as it would allow them to expand their power by seating friendly politicians in Iraq, terrorizing their foes, creating an Islamic government cooperative with Iran, and all the while developing their nuclear bomb.

Knowing the mullahs’ intentions, I am truly puzzled by the confusion of the U.S. media and politicians over the true nature of the Iranian government and the people who run it.

This confusion has had the previous four U.S. presidents and their administrations making mistakes in judgment over Iran — leaving us where we are today. One clear example is when Khatami became the president of Iran: speaking with a voice of change and proffering many overtures to the West, the Europeans did a little rain dance around the fire, ecstatic over the prospect of more contracts and business for their governments. The media in the West jubilantly beat the drums and announced a change in Iran and how it should be supported by the West. The Clinton administration, like administrations before it, embraced the idea of appeasement, going so far as to have Madeleine Albright publicly apologize to Iran for America’s past behavior towards the country — a condition set by Iran to improve relations — and partially lifting sanctions on the import of Iranian goods.

Recently Abdollah Ramezanzadeh, the former speaker and the secretary of the Iranian government during President Khatami’s term, participated in a debate in Iran and attempted to criticize Ahmadinejad for his way of handling the nuclear issue. He stated that while Khatami was president, “we had an agreement for the suspension of enrichment, but we were importing all the necessary parts for our nuclear activity.” He continued saying that “we were conducting our policies on two fronts: one to continue negotiations openly and keep the Americans away from such negotiations; and the other to continue our nuclear activities in secret.” These negotiations, dragged out for years, have only seen the mullahs get stronger, more equipped, and more dangerous by the day. If they threaten to wipe Israel off the map and attack any neighboring country with missiles, who will assist the U.S. in a confrontation? Imagine what they would do once they have a nuclear bomb. Imagine Hezbollah, Islamic Jihad, Hamas, and many other terrorist groups around the world running around with dirty bombs under the control of the mullahs, who are indifferent even to the well-being of their citizens.

Hassan Abbasi, a former commander of the Guards and a current strategist close to Khamenei, the supreme leader, and Ahmadinejad, best describes the mullahs’ agenda: “Creating terror and fear in the land of infidels in any form — not only is it legitimate but it’s holy.”

Mohsen Rezaei, the former chief commander of the Revolutionary Guards and the current secretary of the Expediency Council, recently stated that both the Israeli government and the Israeli people are illegitimate, adding further that, based on Islamic belief, this is the official policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. (Mohsen Rezaei is currently on the most wanted list of Interpol for the bombing of the Jewish community center in Argentina.)

It is important to know that the current U.S. administration’s policy towards the mullahs will determine the environment we are going to be living with in the future and one needs to look back in order to understand the importance of such decisions.

Jimmy Carter’s presidency and his lack of understanding of the Middle East combined with an incompetent foreign policy were the key factors in the creation of the Islamic Republic of Iran: bringing the mullahs into power and giving the Russians what they could have only dreamed of — a proxy against the West, which resulted in a spread of radical Islam, the creation of Hezbollah, and the spread of suicide bombings. I could go on and on, but with 9/11 and the ensuing events, I am sure everybody is familiar by now with the horrors of radical Islam.

The United States needs to strongly warn the world against a nuclear-powered Iran, which would create a total imbalance in the world’s economy and security. An ultimatum needs to be given with a deadline: if the Iranians do not scrap their enrichment program by a certain date, it will be scrapped for them — and when it is done, there will be somebody else running the country.

The mullahs believe in one thing only: Islam conquering the world through the reappearance of the 12th Imam. They have chosen their path. The question is: have we? I believe — and hope — Americans can once again rise to the occasion and unite against these thugs who are determined to use any means necessary to endanger the world and cause an apocalypse

#32 goodcomdeadcom

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Posted 08 August 2008 - 06:24 PM

Greetings, and God bless.

Good find SJL, but Reza Khalili's report is probably too subtle for our current crop of Western national security wonks.
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#33 Hiltop

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Posted 10 August 2008 - 11:42 AM

http://therearenosun...heads-for-iran/

http://www.freedom4u.......12&Trace=on

http://crossingpoint...t.blogspot.com/

The gist of these conspiracy sites is that USA orchestrated the Georgia conflict as diversion for a move on Iran.

The chess board may be heating up ...

#34 Guest_That One Guy_*

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 03:11 PM

It seems as if Mr. Bush has thrown in the towel on diplomacy with Iran.

Now the question seems to be intent and strategy. This seems to have been in the planning books for quite some time as an event of this scale just isn't "tossed out" to sea.

The timing of this is also very significant. With the Olympics going on and a Russian-Georgian war, this could be the perfect window of opportunity for a war against Iran. The media attention could be minimal, thus making any world backlash against Israel or the U.S. just as minimal. But who knows for sure what's to be made of this until it serves its purpose.

If it's war, will it be Israel that casts the first stone or a combined effort? Or is it designed to keep the Straight of Hormuz open? I don't see how a "go it alone" Israel couldn't drag the U.S. into the war. Iran would retaliate against anyone and everyone. Don't forget to throw Syria, Lebanon, Hizbullah and Hamas into the picture. What a mess. :o

Three major US naval strike forces due this week in Persian Gulf

DEBKAfile’s military sources note that the arrival of the three new American flotillas will raise to five the number of US strike forces in Middle East waters – an unprecedented build-up since the crisis erupted over Iran’s nuclear program.

This vast naval and air strength consists of more than 40 carriers, warships and submarines, some of the last nuclear-armed, opposite the Islamic Republic, a concentration last seen just before the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Our military sources postulate five objects of this show of American muscle:

1. The US, aided also by France, Britain and Canada, is finalizing preparations for a partial naval blockade to deny Iran imports of benzene and other refined oil products. This action would indicate that the Bush administration had thrown in the towel on stiff United Nations sanctions and decided to take matters in its own hands.

2. Iran, which imports 40 percent of its refined fuel products from Gulf neighbors, will retaliate for the embargo by shutting the Strait of Hormuz oil route chokepoint, in which case the US naval and air force stand ready to reopen the Strait and fight back any Iranian attempt to break through the blockade.

3. Washington is deploying forces as back-up for a possible Israeli military attack on Iran’s nuclear installations.

4. A potential rush of events in which a US-led blockade, Israeli attack and Iranian reprisals pile up in a very short time and precipitate a major military crisis.

5. While a massive deployment of this nature calls for long planning, its occurrence at this time cannot be divorced from the flare-up of the Caucasian war between Russia and Georgia. While Russia has strengthened its stake in Caspian oil resources by its overwhelming military intervention against Georgia, the Americans are investing might in defending the primary Persian Gulf oil sources of the West and the Far East.

DEBKAfile’s military sources name the three US strike forces en route to the Gulf as the USS Theodore Roosevelt , the USS Ronald Reagan and the USS Iwo Jima . Already in place are the USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea opposite Iranian shores and the USS Peleliu which is cruising in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden.



#35 ABlay

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Posted 11 August 2008 - 04:10 PM

The timing of this is also very significant. With the Olympics going on and a Russian-Georgian war, this could be the perfect window of opportunity for a war against Iran. The media attention could be minimal, thus making any world backlash against Israel or the U.S. just as minimal. But who knows for sure what's to be made of this until it serves its purpose.


I'm not entirely sure about that. I think the amount of distraction the Olympics cause has been overblown. A quick perusal of the websites of Fox, CNN, and MSNBC demonstrates that the number one story of the day -- no matter what happens at the Olympics -- is the Russian invasion. I was watching Fox earlier and at least once every 10 minutes (often less) they provided updates and new developments about the situation. Clearly, this is today's #1 story. And well it should be. Russia's invasion of Georgia marks its largest military expedition in the post-Soviet Union era. Furthermore, this is probably the first time the casual American citizen is made aware of just how tense things have once again become between East and West.

Yes, the Russians obviously counted on the Olympics to distract from world attention on the matter, but while Beijing does seem to have provided some element of distraction, it is obviously not enough to deter Western media from reporting what may be the biggest story in politics since the fall of Saddam.

#36 Guest_lancee_*

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 05:37 AM

Hopefully this is the right thread for this.
Iranian President Ahmadinejad arrived in Turkey on 14 August, making this the latest in a series of high level contacts between the two countries.The US and Israel have rightly expressed their concern over the timing of this visit.Turkey seems to be vigorously trying to improve their relations with the muslim world,previous Turkish govts tended to ignore the muslim world in favour of better ties to the west.Also previous Turkish govts had no need of Arabic speakers in their ministries of govt ,well that has all changed and Prime Minister Erdogan has gone all out to embrace arab Islam.Turkey has even kowtowed to the Iranian madmans demand that he not have to visit the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk(1881-1938) the militant secularist who founded the modern Turkish Republic in 1923.Visiting the mausoleum is a essential part of any state visit to Turkey.Turkey has also recently played host to Sudans president as well as Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, providing these thugs with a platform of respectability by using Turkey as a podium for their tirades against US and Israel.
Turkey is clearly changing internally/externally rapidly I just hope that the right people are keeping a close eye on these developing events, yes that means you all here.Its normally a good bet that the company one keeps is a pretty good indicator of what is in the heart and mind.
Troubling times and deviousness all around it seems to me.

#37 Guest_lancee_*

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Posted 15 August 2008 - 11:09 PM

According to a Debkafile newsletter German Leader Merkel has given the green light for a $157 million gas deal with Iran effectively torpedoeing any international sanctions against Iran.Maybe these are the "carrots" we hear so much about,who has the stick.Obviously Merkels declarations made before the Knesset are without any meaning whatsoever.I always knew the EU was duplicitous but this has all gone too far for my liking.Have you heard about this at all?

#38 Guest_Eagle Strike_*

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 01:04 AM

Hopefully this is the right thread for this.
Iranian President Ahmadinejad arrived in Turkey on 14 August, making this the latest in a series of high level contacts between the two countries.The US and Israel have rightly expressed their concern over the timing of this visit.Turkey seems to be vigorously trying to improve their relations with the muslim world,previous Turkish govts tended to ignore the muslim world in favour of better ties to the west.Also previous Turkish govts had no need of Arabic speakers in their ministries of govt ,well that has all changed and Prime Minister Erdogan has gone all out to embrace arab Islam.Turkey has even kowtowed to the Iranian madmans demand that he not have to visit the Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Ataturk(1881-1938) the militant secularist who founded the modern Turkish Republic in 1923.Visiting the mausoleum is a essential part of any state visit to Turkey.Turkey has also recently played host to Sudans president as well as Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, providing these thugs with a platform of respectability by using Turkey as a podium for their tirades against US and Israel.
Turkey is clearly changing internally/externally rapidly I just hope that the right people are keeping a close eye on these developing events, yes that means you all here.Its normally a good bet that the company one keeps is a pretty good indicator of what is in the heart and mind.
Troubling times and deviousness all around it seems to me.


Good pickup. Turkey is now a country that clearly cannot be trusted.

#39 Guest_eskie_*

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Posted 16 August 2008 - 03:44 PM

...Turkey is clearly changing internally/externally rapidly I just hope that the right people are keeping a close eye on these developing events, yes that means you all here.Its normally a good bet that the company one keeps is a pretty good indicator of what is in the heart and mind.

In a recent column, the Jerusalem Post's Caroline Glick expresses the opinion that Turkey has abandoned the West, and is an untrustworthy ally.

Glick makes note of Iranian president Ahmadinejad's arrival in Turkey last Wednesday for a working visit. Publicly at least, Turkey expresses approval and support for Iran's nuclear program. Turkey is the first NATO member to welcome Ahmadinejad to its territory. Ahmadinejad was scheduled to meet with Turkey's president Abdullah Gul and with Prime Minister Recip Tayyip Erdogan. According to Glick, Turkey is working feverishly to expand its financial and commercial ties with Iran.

Among the catalog of Turkey's sins, Glick say that under Erdogan's leadership Turkey has payed lip service to the West "even as it has taken steps to purge its power structure of pro-Western voices… Erdogan's popularly elected Islamic fundamentalist regime has worked steadily to discredit, criminalize and intimidate its pro-Western rivals" and "…embraced terrorists and their state sponsors...".

The article gives pause and cause to think: (LINK).

I'll comment that the average Israeli doesn't perceive Turkey as an enemy at this point in time. It's a popular vacation destination and there's a good amount of trade between the two countries. This may all be running on prior momentum, of course. Even if Glick's analysis is accurate, and she has a good eye, things don't usually change overnight, eh? It takes a while for new realities to sink in.

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Posted 17 August 2008 - 03:05 PM

Well, Iran now has satellite launching ability... This one was supposedly a "dummy." With the U.S.S.R. threatening to plant nukes in the Middle East and now this, Israel surely isn't sitting comfortably. Iran already has EMP technology (as shown by their previous testing). Now all they need is plenty of "satellite" launches and the ability to make the sky fall on command. The way I see it, no later than January will you see an Israeli strike -- with or without the United States. ... and we all know the U.S. will be dragged into it if it's initially without as everything "infidel" is a target in Iran.

Yay good times! wheeeeee... :angry:

Iran now says “dummy satellite” into orbit. Israel concerned by missile capability

The head of Iran’s aerospace program qualified Tehran’s earlier announcement that its first home-made communications was launched Sunday, Aug. 17. Reza Taghizadeh said: “The Safir satellite carrier was launched today and for the first time we successfully launched a dummy satellite into orbit.”

Earlier, the Iranian news network IRNN showed footage of what it called a domestically-manufactured communications satellite named Safir-e Omid being launched in darkness, accompanied by patriotic hymns.

DEBKAfile reports form one Iranian source that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad personally recited the countdown.

Our military sources stress that confirmation of Iran’s successful launch would represent a strategic breakthrough, testifying to Tehran’s long-range missile delivery capability, possibly armed with nuclear warheads, to distances of thousands of kilometers, against Israel and beyond; Europe and parts of Asia would also be in range. The missile program has been advancing in parallel to Iran’s drive for a nuclear weapon.

Iran would also have paved the way for spy satellites. If verified, Iran’s space achievement would offset one of Israel’s prime military assets, its superiority in space technology.

According to our sources, Tehran caught Israel, the United States and both their undercover agencies by surprise. They knew Iran was working on a space program but not how close the Iranians were to placing a satellite in orbit.

Our sources believe that the capsule was boosted by the Shehab-5 missile, whose range the Iranians boast is up to 5,000 km and, according to some military experts, reaches 7,000 km.

The Islamic Republic’s reported feat comes at a bad time for Moscow internationally. The Russians emphatically dismiss America’s argument for installing missile interceptors in Poland as a shield against Iranian ballistic missile attack, claiming they were aimed at Russia. The Kremlin accuses the Bush administration using this false claim as a pretext, because Iran had not so far developed a ballistic threat. Now, that proof may have been provided Sunday, Moscow will have to reconsider its position.