14 October 2012

It's not your father's war

28 Tishrei 5773

Report: Iran mulls plans for deliberate Gulf oil spill
Der Spiegel says Tehran is harboring secret plan, codename 'Dirty Water,' to cause massive environmental disaster in Persian Gulf in order to force West to sponsor cleanup, suspend sanctions

Iran's Revolutionary Guards have developed plans to damage an oil tanker in the Gulf to create an environmental disaster, German magazine Spiegel reported on Sunday.

Citing Western intelligence sources, the weekly said the top-secret plan, codenamed "Dirty Water", is aimed at blocking the oil-rich Gulf to shipping and forcing Western countries to become involved in a huge clean-up operation.

Der Spiegel said the Revolutionary Guards believe this in turn would prompt Western nations to suspend sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear program which have started to hit the economy hard this year.

The plan, developed by the head of the Guards, General Mohammad Ali Jafari, and Admiral Ali Fadavi, head of the force's navy division, would also "punish" Arab states around the Gulf for their support of the West and Israel, the report said.

A clean-up operation could only take place with Iranian technical help, requiring a temporary lifting of sanctions, the plan says, according to Spiegel.

Jafari and Fadavi have passed the plan to Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who would have the final say on whether to implement it, Spiegel said.

US warning reflects fears of Iranian cyberattack

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta's pointed warning that the U.S. will strike back against a cyberattack underscores the Obama administration's growing concern that Iran could be the first country to unleash cyberterrorism on America.

Panetta's unusually strong comments Thursday came as former U.S. government officials and cybersecurity experts said the U.S. believes Iranian-based hackers were responsible for cyberattacks that devastated computer systems of Persian Gulf oil and gas companies.

Unencumbered by diplomatic or economic ties that restrain other nations from direct conflict with the U.S., Iran is an unpredictable foe that national security experts contend is not only capable but willing to use a sophisticated computer-based attack.

Panetta made it clear that the military is ready to retaliate — though he didn't say how — if it believes the nation is threatened by a cyberattack, and he made it evident that the U.S. would consider a preemptive strike.

Iran scoffs at Israel air defenses after drone flight

IRAN has scoffed at Israel's air defences as it confirmed Tehran had provided Lebanon's militant group Hezbollah with the sophisticated drone which overflew the Jewish state earlier this month.

Iran's "capabilities are very high and are at the disposal and service of Islamic nations," Defence Minister General Ahmad Vahidi said, quoted by state television when questioned on the origins of the unmanned aerial vehicle.

"It is natural to use whatever we have at our disposal at the necessary time to defend the lands of the Islamic world," the general said. "This move shows that Hezbollah is fully prepared ... and will respond to the Zionist regime."

He said the drone which overflew Israel "shattered everything that was said about the Iron Dome system (Israel's air defence shield) and it became clear that the Zionist regime can not escape Muslim anger".

Iran has developed a program of manufacturing drones to be used for surveillance and attacks.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah boasted last week that his group sent a sophisticated unmanned drone over Israel, saying the device was built by the Jewish state's archfoe Iran.

His acknowledgement of the drone which Israel shot down on October 6 came shortly after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pointed at Hezbollah and vowed to defend his country against further "threats".

Nasrallah said the latest drone was "Iranian built and assembled in Lebanon".

Israeli Air force jets shot down the unarmed drone over southern Israel's Negev desert after it entered the country's airspace from the Mediterranean Sea.

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