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By Mike Blair

The Bush administration and the British government are under increasing pressure from the Israelis to conduct an illegal air strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to a number of reports in Europe’s largest newspapers.

In London, The Sunday Telegraph and the daily Telegraph have reported that war clouds are spreading as Iran continues its nuclear development and Israel reacts to it.

According to The Sunday Telegraph Israel has appointed Maj. Gen. Elyezer Shkedy, commander of the Israeli air force, to direct military action against Tehran. Meanwhile, the Telegraph reports that Britain is holding secret talks “at which senior defense chiefs and government officials will consider the consequences of an attack on Iran.”

The Pentagon is also drawing up plans for an attack. U.S. military ground forces are already bogged down in Afghanistan and Iraq, and in dozens of other deployments abroad.

Still, irresponsible air strikes against Iran’s nuclear sites, which would inevitably result in massive, insoluble geopolitical, military, energy and economic problems, are planned by Bush administration numbskulls.

Israel, as usual, is counting on U.S. backing—and it is making it obvious that if there is no strike on Iran it will act on its own.

In a recent visit to the United States, former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned “friend and foe alike” that Israel is prepared to “take on any country or combination of countries” to protect itself.

The Israelis refer to the

“Iran Front,” The Sunday Telegraph reports. “Israel is becoming extremely concerned now with what they see as Iran’s delaying tactics,” an Israeli-Iran analyst told the newspaper. “The [Israeli] planners think negotiations are going nowhere, and Iran is becoming a major danger for Israel. Now they are getting ready for living with a nuclear Iran or letting the military take care of it.”

According to the British publication “Gen. Shkedy will coordinate the intelligence gathered by Israel’s foreign spy agency Mossad and military sources, in order to draw up battle plans. . . . He will command the campaign from a ‘hot seat’ in the Israeli army’s headquarters in Tel Aviv.”

Uri Dromi, a former air force colonel and analyst, told The Sunday Telegraph: “It’s natural that Shkedy is nominated in this role, because the air force is Israel’s only force that can reach and sustain a military operation against Iran. . . .Everyone is playing with dates and time frames . . . but the list of options is becoming shorter. I think we have one year open [to launch military action].”

Israel reportedly has an arsenal of at least 200 nuclear warheads and as many as 400.

The Telegraph reported wishfully:

[It is] believed that an American-led attack, designed to destroy Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear bomb, is ‘inevitable’ if Tehran’s leaders fail to comply with United Nations’ demands to freeze their uranium enrichment program..

Tactical Tomahawk cruise missiles fired from U.S. Navy ships and submarines in the gulf would, it is believed, target Iran’s air defense systems at the nuclear installations.

That would enable attacks by B2 Stealth bombers equipped with eight 4,500-pound enhanced BLU-28 satellite-guided bunker busting bombs, flying from Diego Garcia, the isolated U.S. Navy base in the Indian Ocean, RAF [Royal Air Force] base Fairford in Gloucestershire and Whiteman USAF base in Missouri.

It is understood that any direct British involvement in an attack would be limited but may extend to the use of the RAF’s highly secret airborne warning aircraft. The belief in some areas of Whitehall is that an attack is now all but inevitable.

(Issue #38 & 39, September 18 & 25, 2006)

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Updated September 16, 2006