"Cold War Shivers": War Preparations in the Middle East and Central Asia

"Cold War Shivers": War Preparations in the Middle East and Central Asia

by Michel Chossudovsky

October 6, 2006

It is essential that people across America and around the World take cognizance of the dangers of a Middle East war directed at Iran and act decisively to challenge the US military agenda and reverse the tide of war.

The World is at the crossroads of the most serious crisis in modern history. The US has embarked on a military adventure, "a long war", which threatens the future of humanity.

This article documents recent developments, focusing on military deployment and preparations in the event of a US led war on Iran. This text follows a number of earlier reports published by Global Research pertaining to the War on Iran


The entire Middle East Central Asian region is on a war footing.

US-NATO naval deployment is taking place in two distinct theaters: the Persian Gulf and the Eastern Mediterranean.

The naval armada in the Persian Gulf is largely under US command, with the participation of Canada. Both the USS Enterprise and Eisenhower Strike groups have been dispatched to the Persian Gulf. in a a massive display of US military might.

The militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean (on land and sea) is under the control of several NATO member countries including France, Germany and Turkey. This military build-up is conducted under the façade of a UN peace-keeping mission (UNIFIL) pursuant to UN Security Council Resolution 1701. In this context, the war on Lebanon must be viewed as a stage of the broader US sponsored military road-map, which targets Syria.

In September, Germany dispatched a fleet of eight ships including 2 frigates, with up to 2,400 personnel aboard. The German navy will be in charge of the multinational naval force, which has an official UNIFIL mandate "to prevent arms shipments to Hezbollah". The German naval force will operate out of the Lebanese port of Limassol.

In early October, Turkey dispatched several warships, which will join the multinational naval force under German command. While Turkey is part of the UN international force (UNIFIL) is a close military ally of Israel. Greek, Bulgarian and Italian warships have also been dispatched to the Lebanese coast.

France has dispatched armored vehicle and infantry units.

The naval buildup has been coordinated with the planned air attacks on Iran. The latter were outlined in mid-2004, following the formulation of CONCEPT PLAN CONPLAN 8022 (early 2004). The air attacks on Iran would involve a "shock and awe" blitzkrieg on a scale similar to the 2003 air war on Iraq.

In November 2004, US Strategic Command conducted a major exercise of a "global strike plan" entitled "Global Lightening". The latter involved a simulated attack using both conventional and nuclear weapons against a "fictitious enemy" [Iran]. Following the "Global Lightening" exercise, US Strategic Command declared an advanced state of readiness.

CONPLAN is operational implementation of the Global Strike. It is described as "an actual plan that the Navy and the Air Force translate into strike package for their submarines and bombers,'

CONPLAN 8022 is 'the overall umbrella plan for sort of the pre-planned strategic scenarios involving nuclear weapons.'

'It's specifically focused on these new types of threats -- Iran, North Korea -- proliferators and potentially terrorists too,' he said. 'There's nothing that says that they can't use CONPLAN 8022 in limited scenarios against Russian and Chinese targets.' (According to Hans Kristensen, of the Nuclear Information Project, quoted in Japanese economic News Wire, op cit)

The use of tactical nuclear weapons is contemplated under CONPLAN 8022 alongside conventional weapons, as part of the Bush administration's preemptive war doctrine. In May 2004, National Security Presidential Directive NSPD 35 entitled Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorization was issued. While its contents remains classified, the presumption is that NSPD 35 pertains to the deployment of tactical nuclear weapons in the Middle East war theater in compliance with CONPLAN 8022.

War Preparations

Iran is in an advanced stage of readiness in the eventuality of a US attack.

In response to the US-NATO sponsored military build-up, Iran has conducted extensive war games throughout its territory.

Moreover, barely acknowledged by the Western media, both China and Russia have conducted war games in Central Asia, in collaboration with their coalition partners. In late September, Russia conducted air war exercises over a large part of its territory, extending from the Volga to the frontiers of Alaska and North America. These war games prompted the scrambling of NORAD fighter planes.

Military exercises involving the participation of Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan under the Collective Security Treaty Organization, (CSTO) were launched in August. These war games, officially described as part of a " counter terrorism program", were held barely a week before those conducted by the Iranian military. (See Michel Chossudovsky, 24 August 2006)

Broadly coinciding with both the Iranian and CSTO military exercises, China and Kazakhstan also conducted military exercises in August under the auspices of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). Iran is an observer member in the SCO.

In late September, China and Tajikistan held a joint military exercise, code-named "Cooperation-2006", according to a memorandum of understanding signed between the two governments. Tajikistan has a 500 km. border with Afghanistan. These war games directly address US-NATO military presence in neighboring Afghanistan.

In early October, in the latest round of Central Asian war games under CSTO auspices, joint Russian-Kyrgyz war exercises were held (starting on October 2nd) at Russia's Kant airbase located some 30 km. from the Kyrgyz capital. Officially described as an "anti-terror drill", these high profile exercises involved the deployment of Russian and Kyrgyz special forces units. Russia's top brass and defense minister Sergei Ivanov were in attendance for the launching of the event:

"About 350 servicemen from special forces units, combat vehicles, artillery, Su-25 Frogfoot ground support aircraft and Mi-8 Hip multipurpose helicopters are participating in the active phase of the maneuvers, which include the firing of live ammunition at the Osh practice range.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is currently on a visit to the Central Asian state, Kyrgyzstan Prime Minister Felix Kulov and Defense Minister Ismail Isakov are attending the exercises.

Russia and Kyrgyzstan are both members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a post-Soviet security grouping that also includes Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. They are also in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a regional security body in Central Asia that includes China, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan."

Meanwhile, in late September, Russia also conducted military exercises in Dagestan, involving the 136th Brigade. The exercise held at the Buynakskiy training ground involved an unnamed "foreign State" which was attacking Russia: According to one Russian press report: "Given the scale [of the simulated enemy attack], this can be compared with WWII. The [unnamed] enemy is artful, well armed and well trained."

Also in early October, Belarus and Russia announced that they will be hold training sessions for the two countries' command and control bodies, with a view to coordinating their military activities. (Belarus TV, October 1, 2006)...


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