THE Pope has used his inaugural new year message to launch a veiled attack on Iranâ€™s hardline leadership.
Pope Benedictâ€™s comments follow calls by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for Israel to be â€œwiped offâ€ the global map and his recent dismissal of the Holocaust.
The Pope said: â€œAuthorities who incite their citizens to hostility to other countries bear a heavy responsibility and make the future of humanity more uncertain and anonymous.â€
The message, issued by the Vatican yesterday, pointed to â€œsigns of hopeâ€ and highlighted â€œa decrease in the number of armed conflictsâ€ around the world.
However, the Pope condemned the growth in arms expenditure and, in another apparent swipe at Iran, mocked governments who relied on, or aspired to obtaining, a nuclear arsenal.
â€œIn nuclear war there will be no victors, only victims,â€ he said.
Iran’s President-elect Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves to journalists at a news conference in Tehran June 26, 2005. Ahmadinejad said his government would be one of “peace and moderation” but insisted Iran would continue to develop nuclear technology, which the United States says is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons.
The Drudge Report is now linking to a piece in the Jerusalem Post, ‘United States planning a military strike against Iran’
The United States government reportedly began coordinating with NATO its plans for a possible military attack against Iran.
The German newspaper Der Tagesspiegel collected various reports from the German media indicating that the North Atlantic Treaty Organization are examining the prospects of such a strike.
According to the report, CIA chief Porter Gus, in his last visit to Turkey on December 12, requested Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide military bases to the United States in 2006 from where they would be able to launch an assault.
The German news agency DDP also noted that countries neighboring Iran, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman, and Pakistan were also updated regarding the supposed plan. American sources sent to those countries apparently mentioned an aerial attack as a possibility, but did not provide a time frame for the operation.
Although Der Spiegel could not say that these plans were concrete, they did note that according to a January 2005 New Yorker report American forces had entered Iran in 2005 in order to mark possible targets for an aerial assault.
Previously from Flap, Iran Nuclear Watch: Is Washington Planning a Military Strike?
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad waves to lawmakers as he arrives at parliament to attend an open session to debate his Oil Minister nominee, in Tehran, Iran, in this file photo from Dec. 11, 2005. Ahmadinejad said Wednesday, Dec. 14, 2005, the Holocaust is a â€˜mythâ€™ that Europeans have used to create a Jewish state in the heart of the Islamic world.
Speigel Online has Is Washington Planning a Military Strike?
It’s hardly news that US President George Bush refuses to rule out possible military action against Iran if Tehran continues to pursue its controversial nuclear ambitions. But in Germany, speculation is mounting that Washington is preparing to carry out air strikes against suspected Iranian nuclear sites perhaps even as soon as early 2006
This is NOT bluster to scare the Iranians. The United States in concert with Israel will prevent the Iranians from achieving nuclear capability.
German diplomats began speaking of the prospect two years ago — long before the Bush administration decided to give the European Union more time to convince Iran to abandon its ambitions, or at the very least put its civilian nuclear program under international controls. But the growing likelihood of the military option is back in the headlines in Germany thanks to a slew of stories that have run in the national media here over the holidays.
The most talked about story is a Dec. 23 piece by the German news agency DDP from journalist and intelligence expert Udo Ulfkotte. The story has generated controversy not only because of its material, but also because of the reporter’s past. Critics allege that Ulfkotte in his previous reporting got too close to sources at Germany’s foreign intelligence agency, the BND. But Ulfkotte has himself noted that he has been under investigation by the government in the past (indeed, his home and offices have been searched multiple times) for allegations that he published state secrets — a charge that he claims would underscore rather than undermine the veracity of his work.
According to Ulfkotte’s report, “western security sources” claim that during CIA Director Porter Goss’ Dec. 12 visit to Ankara, he asked Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to provide support for a possibile 2006 air strike against Iranian nuclear and military facilities. More specifically, Goss is said to have asked Turkey to provide unfettered exchange of intelligence that could help with a mission.
DDP also reported that the governments of Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Oman and Pakistan have been informed in recent weeks of Washington’s military plans. The countries, apparently, were told that air strikes were a “possible option,” but they were given no specific timeframe for the operations.
If the Russians and Iranians miscalculate Washington’s resolve they will be sadly mistaken. The United States will NOT allow Iran to proceed any further in their nuclear program.
According to DDP, during his trip to Turkey, CIA chief Goss reportedly handed over three dossiers to Turkish security officials that purportedly contained evidence that Tehran is cooperating with Islamic terror network . A further dossier is said to contain information about the current status of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program. Sources in German security circles told the DDP reporter that Goss had ensured Ankara that the Turkish government would be informed of any possible air strikes against Iran a few hours before they happened. The Turkish government has also been given the “green light” to strike camps of the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) in Iran on the day in question.
And Iran is stalling so that they can install better anti-missle defenses of their nuclear facilitites.
The DDP report attributes the possible escalation to the recent anti-Semitic rants by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, whose belligerent verbal attacks on Israel (he described the Holocaust as a “myth” and called for Israel to be “wiped off the map”) have strengthened the view of the American government that, in the case of the nuclear dispute, there’s little likelihood Tehran will back down and that the mullahs are just attempting to buy time by continuing talks with the Europeans.
The German wire service also quotes a high-ranking German military official saying: “I would be very surprised if the Americans, in the mid-term, didn’t take advantage of the opportunity delivered by Tehran. The Americans have to attack Iran before the country can develop nuclear weapons. After that would be too late.”
Indeed, it would be too late and in concert with their allies in North Korea could blackmail the United States and Israel into a corner.