U.S. Steps Up Contingency Plans In Case Israel Strikes Iran

Reuters16.01.2012 North America
U.S. Steps Up Contingency Plans In Case Israel Strikes Iran

U.S. Steps Up Contingency Plans In Case Israel Strikes Iran

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The U.S government is concerned that Israel is preparing to take military action against Iran over U.S. objections, and has stepped up contingency planning to safeguard U.S. facilities in the region, The Wall Street Journal reported late Friday.

The newspaper said President Barack Obama, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta and other top officials have delivered a series of private messages to Israeli leaders, warning about the dire consequences of a strike.

Obama spoke by telephone on Thursday with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. General Martin Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff, will meet with Israeli military officials in Tel Aviv this week, the report said.

The Journal noted that the U.S. military was preparing for a number of possible responses to an Israeli strike, including assaults by pro-Iranian Shiite militias in Iraq against the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

Up to 15,000 U.S. Diplomats, federal employees and contractors still remain in Iraq.

To deter Iran, the United States is maintaining 15,000 troops in Kuwait, and has moved a second aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf area, the paper said.

On the other hand, the Obama administration is relying on a secret channel of communication to warn Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, that closing the Strait of Hormuz is a “red line” that would provoke an American response, the New York Times reported on Friday citing United States government officials who declined to describe the unusual contact between the 2 governments, and whether there had been an Iranian reply.

The New York Times report said that the secret communications channel was chosen to underscore privately to Iran the depth of American concern about rising tensions over the strait, where American naval officials say their biggest fear is that an overzealous Revolutionary Guards Naval Captain could do something provocative on his own, setting off a larger crisis.

Meanwhile, Russia would regard any military intervention linked to Iran’s nuclear program as a threat to its own security, Moscow’s departing Ambassador to NATO warned on Friday.

“Iran is our neighbor,” Dmitry Rogozin told reporters in Brussels, according to Reuters. “And if Iran is involved in any military action, it’s a direct threat to our security.”

Rogozin was speaking two days after the killing of a nuclear scientist in Tehran by a hitman on a motorcycle.

Kremlin Security Council head Nikolai Patrushev, who is close to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, said Israel was pushing the United States towards war with Iran, according to the Interfax news agency.


Source: Al Arabiya; The Wall Street Journal; The New York Times; Reuters

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