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FIDEL CASTRO – “A bloody war would inevitably start. There should be no doubt about it.”

So yeah, I’m going to be providing two perspectives of sorts (courtesy competing medias) and let’s play a game – “Pin the Tail on the Tyrant.”

Voice #1 (Fidel Castro/Chinese Media) –

“Attack on Iran would unleash “bloody war”: Fidel Castro”

HAVANA, Nov.14 (Xinhua) — Former Cuban leader Fidel Castro warned Monday that “a U.S.-Israeli attack on Iran would inevitably unleash a bloody war.”

“Because of its ability to fight, the number of inhabitants and the size of the country, an attack on Iran is not like the previous Israeli military adventures in Iraq and Syria,” Castro wrote in an article.

“A bloody war would inevitably start. There should be no doubt about it,” the 85-year-old former leader added, speculating that Israel intends to attack Iran as it did when targeting the nuclear facilities in Syria in 2007 and in Iraq in 1981.

Castro also cited U.S. Ambassador to the UN Susan Rice as saying that an attack on Iran is a real growing option and that the U.S. government is considering putting an end to the current Iranian leadership to prevent it from creating a nuclear arsenal.

Western countries are ratcheting up pressure on Iran after a report by the international nuclear watchdog IAEA said the country’s nuclear program had an agenda to develop weapons.

Tehran has completely rejected the report, calling it “unbalanced, unprofessional and politically-motivated.”

Voice #2 (Ret. Army Ge. John Keane/U.S.A.) –

“Iran Terror Plot Prompts Calls For Tougher Actions”

WASHINGTON — House Republicans gave the stage Wednesday to hardliners who called for everything from cyber attacks to political assassinations in response to Iran’s alleged plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador on American soil, which was revealed earlier this month.

“We’ve got to put our hand around their throat now,” retired Army Gen. John Keane told a hearing of two key subcommittees of the House Committee on Homeland Security. Speaking of the Quds Force, which is accused of masterminding the foiled plot to use Mexican drug traffickers to carry out the hit in Washington, he implored the panel, “Why don’t we kill them? We kill other people who kill others.”

The bellicose testimony, which stopped short of calls for military action, was only the most colorful in a hearing in which lawmakers bandied about phrases such as “an act of war” and “red lines” that had been crossed. The joint hearing on “Iranian Terror Operations on American Soil” was called by the subcommittees on counterterrorism and intelligence and on oversight, investigations and management, and it featured a panel of neoconservatives who portrayed the plot as a last straw that demanded tougher actions against Iran.

The bungled plot was “a stunning rebuke to the Obama administration’s policy of negotiation and isolation with the Iranians,” Keane said, adding that neither Republican nor Democratic administrations since 1980 have dealt effectively with Iran.

“They have been systematically killing us for over 30 years,” he noted, recounting a series of Iranian-inspired attacks beginning with the 1983 bombing of the American Embassy in Lebanon and continuing to the arming of Shiia militia blamed for killing U.S. troops in Iraq to the latest alleged attack this month. He said the time for “half measures” was over and it was time to “begin to treat Iran as the strategic enemy they truly are.”

Reuel Marc Gerecht, a former CIA officer now at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a neoconservative think tank, agreed and urged an array of covert operations against Iran. “It’s crystal clear they have the conception that now today in Washington, D.C., they can have a terrorist operation,” he said, “and could get away with it.”

Another witness, Matt Levitt, a counterterrorism expert at the conservative Washington Institute for Near East Policy, called for stepped-up diplomatic and financial pressure on Iran but also said in a written statement that “U.S. unilateral raids or raids undertaken in collaboration with Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service should be accelerated.”

Several witnesses accused the media of downplaying the plot and suggesting it was too implausible to be real, comparing the reaction to the complacency in the period before the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

Only Lawrence Korb, a former Reagan administration Pentagon official now with the liberal Center for American Progress, testified against “overreaction” to what he called a “Keystone Kops” plot that he said was “an act of desperation” by a country reeling under international sanctions. While “it might be emotionally satisfying” to ratchet up pressure on Iran, he reminded lawmakers that “unthinking military action by the United States has strengthened Iran’s hand” through the invasion and occupation of neighboring Iraq.

That was a message welcomed by Democrats on the committee, who cautioned against overreaction.

Republican rhetoric “may be premature and could inflame an already fragile climate,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, the committee’s ranking Democrat. He warned against taking actions “that would lead us down the path to another war.”

Rep. Jackie Speier (D-Calif.) also called for “sober, reasoned discussion,” especially given recent reports showing that sanctions have set back Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

“Iran’s leaders must be held accountable for their action,” she said, “but we cannot take any reckless actions which may lead to opening another front in the ‘War on Terror,’ which the American people do not want and cannot afford.”

You decide…


IAEA on strings? WIKILEAKS strikes once more!

One must always be wary of what’s said and when it’s said. Take this latest IAEA indication of Iran re-engaging it’s nuclear weapons program. Sure, it’s an assertion worth paying attention to, but when we look at who’s heading the IAEA and stumble across a diplomatic cable or two (thank you Wikileaks), there’s suddenly the painting of a very new picture. As opposed to the Iranian aggression our government and mass media love to portray, the aggressor becomes much more obvious and a lot closer to home.

Nuclear Wikileaks: Cables show cosy US relationship with IAEA chief

When Yukiya Amano took over as the head of the UN nuclear watchdog last year, American diplomats described him as “director general of all states, but in agreement with us”

As Mohamed ElBaradei’s term as director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headed towards a close last year, Washington looked forward to the new era under Yukiya Amano with relish. In a cable in July, the American chargĂ©, Geoffrey Pyatt, wrote:

The IAEA transition that will come as DG [director general]
ElBaradei’s term ends November 30 provides a once-a-decade opportunity to overcome bureaucratic inertia, modernize Agency operations, and position the new director general for strong leadership from the DG’s office.

In a later cable in October, the US mission in Vienna goes as far as describing Amano as “DG of all states, but in agreement with us”.

Amano reminded [the] ambassador on several occasions that he would need to make concessions to the G-77 [the developing countries group], which correctly required him to be fair-minded and independent, but that he was solidly in the U.S. court on every key strategic decision, from high-level personnel appointments to the handling of Iran’s alleged nuclear weapons program.

More candidly, Amano noted the importance of maintaining a certain “constructive ambiguity” about his plans, at least until he took over for DG ElBaradei in December. With a bow to the G-77, Amano felt obliged to emphasize the importance of “balance” regarding the Agency’s work in peaceful uses of nuclear technology. For staff morale reasons, Amano planned to work on improving the quality of management while publicly praising the current standards and commending staff members for their dedication.

Most importantly, the US mission in Vienna believed that Amano would not see himself as a political player over Iran, a role the US and its allies frequently accused ElBaradei of coveting. In a July cable, Pyatt noted:

He distinguished his approach on Iran from that of
ElBaradei; Amano sees the DG/IAEA as a neutral and impartial party to Iran’s safeguards agreement rather than as “an intermediary” and saw his primary role as implementing safeguards and UNSC[United Nations Security Council]/Board resolutions. He stressed that the IAEA could not replace the P5 [+] 1 political framework for dialogue with Iran, nor vice versa.

There was satisfaction among the Americans then, after their initial post-election meeting with Amano, but no complacency in the view of an agency bureaucracy Washington viewed with some suspicion.

This meeting, Amano’s first bilateral review since his election, illustrates the very high degree of convergence between his priorities and our own agenda at the IAEA. The coming transition period provides a further window for us to shape Amano’s thinking before his agenda collides with the
IAEA Secretariat bureaucracy.

The main US concern as Amano prepared to take the helm, was that some of the agency officials that Washington found troublesome, particularly in the EXPO (external relations and policy) department, were renewing their contracts and might be hard to dislodge.

Despite whatever intentions Amano may harbor upon
taking office, a renewal in some key positions will take time, as several senior IAEA officials recently received promotions or extensions of their contracts, or both. This “burrowing in” will ensure continuity of some experienced leaders but may also confront the next DG with fixed networks of collaboration that resist supervision.

Head of the list of US worries was the Hungarian Vilmos Cserveny, the head of EXPO, who was promoted to the rank of assistant director general before the handover. But Pyatt was reassuring:

While Cserveny is viewed as a partisan of ElBaradei, we know him to be a consummate bureaucratic survivor who is likely to tack strongly towards Amano in the new structure.

There was some initial concern that Amano would bring in a complete Japanese team of assistants with him, but Amano assures the Americans that he is aware “that would send the wrong message.”

The other pressing question for the US mission during the transition was the fate of the deputy director generals, particularly Olli Heinonen, the head of the safeguards division – a widely-respected Finn who ran the inspections of Iran, Syria, North Korea and other nuclear rogue suspects, and who was consequently the second most (or perhaps the most) important person in the IAEA’s Vienna headquarters, from Washington’s point of view. He was due to retire in Summer 2010, causing some anxiety in the US delegation.

The DDG/Safeguards position will remain essential under Amano’s leadership, however, as we expect the new DG to apply less of a political filter to the conduct of safeguards investigations. Thus, the decisions of the DG/Safeguards on Iran, Syria, and other sensitive cases may be the de facto final word for the Agency’s safeguards approach in the states about which the US cares the most.

Heinonen told the American he might be persuaded to stay until 2012, depending on what other personnel changes were made. However, he ended up leaving this summer. His eventual successor, Herman Nackaerts, was clearly not a foregone conclusion, according to this cable recounting a July 2009 meeting with Amano.

While Operations C Director Nackaerts “was not bad,” Amano also had a couple of good outsiders in mind (he intimated they were Northern European or Nordic but did not name individuals.)

Article from the UK Guardian