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Friday, February 24, 2012

Fwd: The Total Collapse

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From: The Total Collapse <no-reply@thetotalcollapse.com>
Date: Thu, Feb 23, 2012 at 2:20 PM
Subject: The Total Collapse
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The Total Collapse

US, France, UK, Turkey, Italy prepare for military intervention in Syria

Posted: 23 Feb 2012 06:12 AM PST

Despite public denials, military preparations for intervention in the horrendous Syrian crisis are quietly afoot in Washington, Paris, Rome, London and Ankara. President Barack Obama is poised for a final decision after the Pentagon submits operational plans for protecting Syrian rebels and beleaguered populations from the brutal assaults of Bashar Assad's army, DEBKAfile's Washington sources disclose.

This process is also underway in allied capitals which joined the US in the Libyan operation that ended Muammar Qaddafi's rule in August, 2011. They are waiting for a White House decision before going forward.

In Libya, foreign intervention began as an operation to protect the Libyan population against its ruler's outrageous crackdown on dissent. It was mandated by UN Security Council. There is no chance of this in the Syrian case because it will be blocked by a Russian veto. Therefore, Western countries are planning military action of limited scope outside the purview of the world body, possibly on behalf of "Friends of Syria," a group of 80 world nations which meets for the first time in Tunis Friday, Feb. 24, to hammer out practical steps for terminating the bloodbath pursued by the Assad regime.

The foreign ministers and senior officials – Russia has excluded itself – will certainly be further galvanized into action by the tragic deaths of two notable journalists Wednesday, Feb. 22, on the 19th day of the shelling of Homs.

Preparations for the event are taking place at the Foreign Office in London. Wednesday, Foreign Secretary William Hague said: Governments around the world have the responsibility to act…and to redouble our efforts to stop the Assad regime's despicable campaign of terror."

Hague pointedly said nothing about removing the Syrian ruler. Nor did he spell out the efforts need to stop the campaign of terror. DEBKAfile's military sources note that he left these issues open because a decision by President Obama about if and how the US will act is pending until the Pentagon submits operational plans to Commander-in-Chief Obama.

The US president is also waiting for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's report on the mood at the Tunis conference. He wants to know in particular if Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar and the UAR will support US-led Western intervention in Syria, both politically and financially.

The Sunday Times correspondent Marie Colvin and the French Figaro video-photographer Remi Ochik died Wednesday in the heavy shelling of a fortified building which housed Western journalists making their way into Homs under the protection of Syrian rebels. Three other Western journalists were injured. Western military sources reported Thursday that this undercover Western press center was maintained by the rebels in tight secrecy. The building was practically gutted by a direct hit, suggesting that Syrian forces located it with the help of advanced electronic measures.

Another Western source noted that the journalists covering the atrocities in Homs from this hideout used coded channels of communications protected by anti-jamming and anti-tracking devices. The Syrians must therefore have called on Russian satellites or advanced Iranian electronic systems to locate it.

The authorities in Damascus decided to treat the press hideout as the first step in overt Western intervention in the Syrian conflict. It was accordingly razed totally with its occupants.


Iran cuts down to six weeks timeline for weapons-grade uranium

Posted: 22 Feb 2012 12:25 PM PST

Tehran this week hardened its nuclear and military policies in defiance of tougher sanctions and ahead of international nuclear talks. The threat by Iran's armed forces deputy chief Gen. Mohammad Hejazi of a preemptive strike against its "enemies," was accompanied by its refusal to allow UN nuclear watchdog inspectors to visit the Parchin facility, following which the IAEA chief cut their mission short.

Western and Israeli intelligence experts have concluded that the transfer of 20 percent uranium enrichment to the underground Fordo site near Qom has shortened Iran's race for the 90 percent (weapons) grade product to six weeks.

The International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano said Tuesday night, Feb. 21: "It is disappointing that Iran did not accept our request to visit Parchin." This is the site were Iran conducts experiments in nuclear explosives and triggers.

This diplomatic understatement came amid three major reverses in the quest for a non-military solution to halt Iran's drive for a nuclear weapon:

1. Iran placed a large obstacle in the path of resumed negotiations with six world powers on which US President Barack Obama had pinned his strategy for averting a war to arrest its nuclear weapon program. This strategy depended heavily on Iran eventually consenting to making its nuclear projects fully transparent, as his National Security Adviser Tom Donilon assured Israeli leaders earlier this week.

The day after Donilon wound up his talks in Israel, the UN inspectors were sent packing empty-handed from Tehran, putting paid to any hope of transparency.

They were also denied an interview with Mohsen Fakrrizadeh, director of the Parchin project and also believed in the West to be the paramount head of Iran's military nuclear program.

2. The transfer of 20 percent uranium enrichment to Fordo is taken by Western and Israel intelligence experts to have accelerated the pace of enriching large quantities of 20 percent enriched uranium to weapons grade and shortened to an estimated six weeks the time needed for arming a nuclear bomb after a decision in Tehran.

Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Benny Gantz explained to the US official that Israel cannot afford to live with an Iran capable of build a nuclear bomb in the space of few weeks.

3. The threat that Iran will not wait for "its enemies" – Israel and/or the US – to strike and will act first.

White House spokesman Jay Carney responded to these reverses by saying Tuesday night: "Israel and the United States share the same objective, which is to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon," adding, however, "There is time and space for diplomacy to work, for the effect of sanctions to result in a change of Iranian behavior."

Seen from Israel, Iranian behavior has already changed – and for the worse. Its tactics in recent days have exacerbated the threat hanging over its head from Iran and brought it that much closer.

Senior Israeli military and intelligence sources said Wednesday, Feb. 22, that Israel's strategic and military position in the Middle East has taken a sharp downturn. The failure of the IAEA mission and the threat of preemptive action from Tehran present the double threat of Iran's earlier nuclear armament coupled with military action to sabotage Israel's preparations for a strike on its nuclear facilities.

As one Israeli source put it: "Since Wednesday the rules of the game have changed."


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