The Covert War and The Uneasy Triangle
by Joe Duarte, MD
Joe-Duarte.com & IntelligentForecasts.com
March 11, 2006
Editor�s note: One of the premises cited by Jim Puplava and Dr. Duarte in their weekly conversations about peak oil is the emergence of crises along the way to the day in which the mainstream media finally acknowledges that there is a major problem with the U.S. energy supply.
In this installment of the Peak Oil Series, Dr. Duarte explores the increasingly complex situation between the three dominant players in a dangerous tug of war in the Middle East; the U.S., Iran, and Russia. The analyses below appeared on March 8 and March 9, 2006 at www.joe-duarte.com. For other installments in the Peak Oil series, visit:
Covert War: Dead
Iran's Dangerous Nuclear Game
The U.S. and Iran seem to be entering a new covert war, where death of key players and the influencing of public opinion are parallel and highly sought out goals.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld recently stated that Iran has deployed key special forces units in Iraq, and there are some that suspect that these special troops may have been involved in the recent mosque bombing and sectarian violence.
Stratfor.com, in a recent and lengthy analysis by Fred Burton, suggested that "The public rhetoric (between Iran and the U.S.) is only one part of a much larger game that is always being played, and in which much of the action occurs in the shadows."
More specifically, Stratfor cites several examples of the post Iranian revolution period, where enemies of the Ayatollah Khomeini, who were in exile were assassinated.
Stratfor describes one particular example of how Iranian special force assassins operated during that period, in an attack against employees of the U.S. Consulate in Karachi, Pakistan.
Burton noted that this particular attack "never publicly linked to the Iranians, but that it was a "well-planned strike" which took place "in 1995 against U.S. consulate employees in Karachi, Pakistan."
According to Burton: "A van shuttling the employees to the consulate was ambushed and blockaded by three vehicles: a "blocking car" that cut the van off in traffic, another that boxed it in from behind, and a command-and-control vehicle from which observers never emerged. Gunmen from the first two cars slowly and methodically paced the sides of the consulate van, taking careful aim at the passengers before opening fire with their assault rifles. Two consulate employees were killed, and a third was wounded. It is believed that the MOIS staged the Karachi attack in response to the killing of an Iranian agent, for which the United States was blamed."
Stealth And Cunning
Burton notes other examples and describes the basics of some of the tactics employed in the past by Iran, "frequently employed stealth and deception to get the assassins within close range of their targets -- close enough to kill them with pistols or knives, often in the target's home. Though many Iranian agents were caught in time, most escaped serious consequences. Meanwhile, dozens of the ayatollahs' political opponents were killed or injured in France, Italy, Germany, Turkey, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates and other places."
The analysis added the following: "Iranian agents also engaged in more overt attacks, including kidnappings, highly public shootings and grenade attacks in public places, and bombings. Hezbollah was quite active on this front; notable actions included the abductions of CIA station chief William F. Buckley in 1984 and U.S. Marine Lt. Col. William R. Higgins in 1988 (both men died in captivity) and the 1992 bombing of the Israeli embassy in Buenos Aires, Argentina. "
The Name Of The Game
The bottom line is that when a country like Iran, who cannot fight a larger and more well prepared rival such as the U.S., toe to toe, they will resort to covert campaigns.
As Stratfor puts it, due to current circumstances, "it appears the stage is being set on the tactical side for a covert intelligence war. If history serves as any guide, the implications of such a shift could be far-reaching."
In other words: "Covert campaigns of this sort are an important tool for a country like Iran, which has a sophisticated and highly disciplined intelligence service but which could not afford to risk an overwhelming military strike by the United States. Kidnappings and assassinations, carried out with sufficient deniability, have proved an effective way of eliminating enemies and leveraging the country's geopolitical position without incurring unacceptable risk."
If Stratfor is correct, we are witnessing a very dangerous game being deployed onto the world stage, as two very sophisticated, and motivated intelligence services, Iran's and the U.S.'s, are steadily being deployed, and conducting aggressive intelligence gathering, in preparation for an escalation of activity.
So, as the diplomats yell at each other, the cloak and dagger crowd is conducting major spook jobs aimed at each other.
Getting caught in the middle could be anyone who happens to be at the wrong place, at the wrong time.
Life could be getting very ready to become very interesting.
Helter Skelter: Russian Style (3-8-06)
Iran's Dangerous Nuclear Game
Russia's helter skelter relationship with Iran and the U.S. makes for an uneasy and dangerous triangle.
For the past several days, Russia has hinted at the prospect of having made progress with Iran over the nuclear development issue.
But, in a joint Washington news conference with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov denied that any agreement has bee reached, again leading to what has been a predictable stalemate with Iran.
Iran, for its own part, has reportedly been using the negotiations as a stalling ploy to continue its nuclear development strategy.
According to the Washington Post, Hassan Rouhani, the former nuclear negotiator for Iran, in an October speech to Iranian officials "boasted that Iran had quietly completed a uranium conversion plant at Isfahan while negotiations dragged on. He also said the government gained time to prepare for a Security Council referral, which Rouhani suggested Tehran came to regard as inevitable once the country's nuclear ambitions were exposed in late 2002."
Iran Troops In Iraq
Meanwhile, the rhetoric out of Washington is eerily similar to that which preceded the invasion of Iraq, as Vice President Cheney, in a speech before an Israeli group warned Iran of "meaningful consequences" if they did not desist in their goal for nuclear development.
U.S. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, in a Pentagon press conference accused Iran of sending elite troops into Iraq.
According to the Seattle Times News Service, Rumsfeld told reporters that "They are currently putting people into Iraq to do things that are harmful to the future of Iraq."
This is as difficult an issue as the U.S. has faced in the Middle East, and the stakes are higher in many ways than they were with Iraq.
Iran does not want the U.S. to play a significant control role in Iraq.T he U.S., and Europe, fear a nuclear Iran.
Russia and China fear a "unilateral" world with the U.S. as the only super power.
Al-Qaeda is intent on creating a global caliphate, but Iran wants no part of Al-Qaeda at the top of that heap, and seems to be focusing on becoming the standard bearer for Islam, although its strategy beyond controlling Iraq is murky.
Somewhere in the midst of all this is the global oil supply, with Iran waxing and waning, depending on the hour of day or the audience, on whether it would hold up oil shipments in retaliation for its nuclear program being curtailed.
Somewhere in all this talk and posturing, there is a story, which should concern investors, and anyone else who wants a peaceful enough daily life.
At some point, the talking will end, and governments around the globe will make decisions with lasting consequences.
It looks to us, as if Wall Street is increasingly concerned about the potential for a significant number of bad decisions on all sides, that may be on the verge of being made, and unfortunately, unleashed.
© 2006 Joe Duarte, M.D.
Dr. Duarte's Bio and Archive
Joe Duarte, M.D.
Joe Duarte M.D. is founder and Editor in Chief of Joe-Duarte.com. Dr. Joe Duarte's Daily Market I.Q. is a premium service that provides daily intelligence, trading strategies, and technical analysis at www.joe-duarte.com. Duarte offers free analysis and news coverage at www.intelligentforecasts.com . Dr. Duarte is a board certified anesthesiologist, a registered investment advisor, and President of River Willow Capital Management. He is author of "Successful Energy Sector Investing" and "Successful Biotech Investing" (Prima/Random House). Duarte's analysis appears regularly in major outlets including CBS MarketWatch and Investor's Business Daily.