Monday, February 19, 2007

Spoiling For A Fight?

Are you looking at me? Are you LOOKING at ME?!
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Iranian patrol boats have increased attempts in the last week to assess defenses near Iraqi offshore oil terminals, U.S. military officials said Monday.

The Iranian actions at the northern end of the Persian Gulf have been a subject of operational briefings for U.S. military personnel in recent days, the officials said.

The officials -- who said they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter -- said that the United States does not see the Iranian moves as aggressive or provocative. The assessment is that the probes are part of an Iranian effort to raise its military presence in the gulf.

Officials said that for several months they have seen Iranian flagged vessels attempt to approach oil terminals in the area, but activity rose last week.

On at least two days, Iranian patrol boats crossed into Iraqi waters at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, the officials said.

The boats stayed inside Iraqi waters for several minutes before Iraqi security forces told them to leave. The Iranian boats did not approach the oil terminals.
All of which begs the question - why make a big deal of it now? After all, the usual "anonymous officials" said its been going on for several months. It's all part of the usual tit-for-tat of wary nations. Or do those nameless officials think we've forgotten about the British navy folks caught on the wrong side of the waterway in 2004?

Yet at the same time the US Navy is keen to tell everyone that the two (and soon to be three) nuke-armed carrier task forces currently cruising of Iran's shores do not represent an offensive military buildup.

More and more it looks to me like Zbigniew Brzezinski, in his testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on February 1, has the truth of it.
Brzezinski damned the Bush Regime's war in Iraq as "a historic, strategic, and moral calamity." Brzezinski damned the war as "driven by Manichean impulses and imperial hubris." He damned the war for "intensifying regional instability" and for "undermining America's global legitimacy."

Finally, a voice with weight speaks. Brzezinski is a real intellect, a real expert, unlike the political hacks who have followed him in the office.

Brzezinski told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that "the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam." Brzezinski predicts "some provocation in Iraq or a terrorist act in the U.S. blamed on Iran; culminating in a 'defensive' U.S. military action against Iran that plunges a lonely America into a spreading and deepening quagmire eventually ranging across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan."
(By the way, catch the impeccably conservative bio on the columnist for that last link, at the bottom of the article. Paul Craig Roberts - Assistant Secretary of the Treasury in the Reagan administration, Associate Editor of the Wall Street Journal editorial page and Contributing Editor of National Review, Center for Strategic and International Studies, Georgetown University and Senior Research Fellow, Hoover Institution. And he's comparing the Bush administration to the Hitler regime prior to the invasion of Poland!)

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