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By Dave Gahary

If neo-conservative, Israel-first wonks in the Obama administration have their way, the U.S. will open a third front, against Iran, using  a successful strategy that has launched four previous wars.

Iran's ongoing refusal to fully cooperate with the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been well covered by mainstream media. Now, portions of an IAEA report made public recently claim Tehran is still in the market for nuclear missiles. Such a disclosure could increase the odds of a USS Liberty-style false-flag attack on elements of the American Navy's Fifth Fleet.

As most AFP readers are aware, Israel tried to sink the Liberty on June 8, 1967 while the vessel was in international waters electronically monitoring the 1967 Arab-Israeli War.


Naval false-flag attacks are quite common in U.S. history when American politicians itch for war. The USS Maine suffered a still-unsolved explosion in Havana Harbor in 1898. This event was used as a pretext for the Spanish-American War. The sinking of

the Lusitania in 1915-ostensibly by the Germans- was used in Allied propaganda to whet the public's appetite for hostilities, giving the U.S. a reason to enter the "Great War."

President Roosevelt and Winston Churchill were fully aware of Japan's intent to bomb Pearl Harbor, opening the door for our entrance into World War II.

Finally, the 1964 Gulf of Tonkin incident was used by Johnson administration hawks to open up America's disastrous involvement in the Vietnam War. The National Security Agency later admitted in a 2005 declassified study, "No attack happened that night."

The Fifth Fleet-consisting of a carrier strike group, amphibious ready group or expeditionary strike group, surface combatants, submarines, maritime patrol and reconnaissance aircraft, and logistics ships run by nearly 15,000 personnel - patrols the Persian Gulf, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and the East African coast near Kenya.

Although a formidable presence in that ever-unstable region, the Fifth Fleet is vulnerable to destruction by older, less sophisticated Iranian weaponry, as Millennium Challenge 2002, the largest war game exercise in history, revealed. A major participant resigned while the exercise was ongoing, citing the obsession by civilian bureaucrats "that the U.S. military could not and would not be defeated." In light of that war game's results, a more cynical observer could argue that the Fifth Fleet is purposely being put in harm's way.

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(Issue # 10 & 11, March 7 & 14, 2011)

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