Saturday, March 20, 2010
Scotland’s Sunday Herald /
A report by a UK newspaper has reignited speculation that the US is preparing for an imminent attack on Iran. Scotland’s Sunday Herald reported that “hundreds of powerful US ‘bunker-buster’ bombs are being shipped from California to the British island of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean in preparation for a possible attack on Iran”. Although Diego Garcia is part of the British Indian Ocean Territory, it is used by the US as a military base under an agreement made in 1971. The paper quoted a cargo manifest from the US navy and interviewed experts who said the bombs were being put in place for an assault on Iran’s controversial nuclear facilities. Speculation has been mounting in recent months that the US military is preparing for such an attack, should diplomacy or sanctions fail to persuade Iran against continuing with its reported nuclear weapons programme.But the US has experienced a number of setbacks in past weeks in its strategy to “isolate” Iran as China, Russia, Brazil and other powers rejected a call for tougher sanctions against Tehran.
Some military analysts dismiss the likelihood of a US military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities because of broader repercussions that such a strike might have, while others point out that the recent setbacks make “confrontation more likely”. “They are gearing up totally for the destruction of Iran,” Dan Plesch, director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy at the University of London, told the Sunday Herald. “US bombers are ready today to destroy 10,000 targets in Iran in a few hours,” said Plesch, co-author of a recent study on US preparations for an attack on Iran. The preparations were being made by the US military, but it would be up to President Barack Obama to make the final decision. He may decide that it would be better for the US to act instead of Israel, Plesch argued. “The US is not publicising the scale of these preparations to deter Iran, tending to make confrontation more likely,” he added. According to Ian Davis, director of the new independent thinktank, NATO Watch, the shipment to Diego Garcia is a major concern. “We would urge the US to clarify its intentions for these weapons, and the Foreign Office to clarify its attitude to the use of Diego Garcia for an attack on Iran,” he told the Scottish paper.