State Department officials warned Monday that Israel is readying a unilateral military operation against Iran. Ostensibly, this has caused diplomats for the U.S. to apply more pressure on the UN Security Council for harsher sanctions on the Islamic Republic in an attempt to pacify the Israel.
On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Ehud Barak started a campaign to muster majority support within their cabinet for the initiation of military action against Iran. According to a senior Israeli official, Netanyahu and Barak have won over Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who until this week was not in favor of a preemptive strike. Senior ministers say that the November 8 results of an International Atomic Energy Agency's report will prove the deciding factor.
Some Israeli ministers and cabinet members agree in spirit with a “preemptive” war, but would rather try to convince the U.S. to be the first to strike Iran. Whatever the case, British officials announced on Wednesday that they are getting their ducks in a row by stepping up military planning in preparation for a support role in any invasion of Iran.
Ironically, the Israeli military test fired a new nuke-capable long-range ballistic missile on Wednesday. The weapon has the ability to strike at the heart of Iran. Defense Minister Ehud Barak hailed the launch as a “technological achievement” for Israel’s military and no doubt sent the proper message to the international community to read between the lines: 'Israel is ready and willing to help with the attack on Iran.' Meanwhile, the Israeli Air Force continues conducting long-range attack drills.
In other news, a recent announcement by administration officials seems to add credence to theories that the U.S. is currently mobilizing in an effort to expand its theater of operations in the Middle East. Senior White House officials told reporters on Wednesday that President Obama is exploring a quicker way to execute a transition of security duties away from U.S. forces in Afghanistan, ahead of the tentative 2014 deadline to end their combat duties. The new strategy would focus on targeted counterterrorism campaigns using Special Operations Forces (SOF), as well as training and advising the Afghan military.
On the subject of special forces, new statistics reveal that well over 1,500 Afghan civilians have been killed in less than 10 months as a result of night raids carried out by SOF soldiers. The data was compiled from 2010 to early 2011 from U.S. and NATO sources. This makes U.S. night raids the leading cause of civilian casualties in the Afghanistan war, well ahead of IEDs.
As a result of fighting in Afghanistan this past week, there were six more American soldier fatalities to report, with a total of 30 for last month. Among the fallen was the first California National Guard soldier killed in combat in Afghanistan, Sgt. Carlo F. Eugenio. The 29 year-old from Rancho Cucamonga is the 28th guardsman to die in the line of service since September 11, 2001, according to the state guard. Securing Iraq for the past week has cost taxpayers almost $900 million, while $2.31 billion has gone to conducting operations in Afghanistan.