Leading investigative journalist Seymour Hersh has made a career out of quoting unnamed sources, though he remains one of the great, living Western reporters. The editor-in-chief of the Arab Times has published a report that is hopefully woefully inaccurate:
Washington will launch a military strike on Iran before April 2007, say sources. The attack will be launched from the sea and Patriot missiles will guard all oil-producing countries in the region, they add. Recent statements emanating from the United States indicate the Bush administration’s new strategy for Iraq doesn’t include any proposal to make a compromise or negotiate with Syria or Iran. A reliable source said President Bush recently held a meeting with Vice President Dick Cheney, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice and other assistants in the White House where they discussed the plan to attack Iran in minute detail.
According to the source, Vice President Dick Cheney highlighted the threat posed by Iran to not only Saudi Arabia but the whole region. “Tehran is not playing politics. Iranian leaders are using their country’s religious influence to support the aggressive regime’s ambition to expand,” the source quoted Dick Cheney as saying. Indicating participants of the meeting agreed to impose restrictions on the ambitions of Iranian regime before April 2007 without exposing other countries in the region to any danger, the source said “they have chosen April as British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said it will be the last month in office for him. The United States has to take action against Iran and Syria before April 2007.”
Claiming the attack will be launched from the sea and not from any country in the region, he said “the US and its allies will target the oil installations and nuclear facilities of Iran ensuring there is no environmental catastrophe or after effects.” “Already the US has started sending its warships to the Gulf and the build-up will continue until Washington has the required number by the end of this month,” the source said. “US forces in Iraq and other countries in the region will be protected against any Iranian missile attack by an advanced Patriot missile system.”
He went on to say “although US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice suggested postponing the attack, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney insisted on attacking Tehran without any negotiations based on the lesson they learnt in Iraq recently.” The Bush administration believes attacking Iran will create a new power balance in the region, calm down the situation in Iraq and pave the way for their democratic project, which had to be suspended due to the interference of Tehran and Damascus in Iraq, he continued. The attack on Iran will weaken the Syrian regime, which will eventually fade away, the source said.
Australian journalists need to start asking Prime Minister John Howard if he knows about such plans and what our country would do in the event of such a mission.