Sunday, February 5, 2012

Thomson Reuters flushes its Trust Principles down the loo (Part I)

In a desperately hysterical piece of agitprop and fear mongering engineered to stir up anti-Israel sentiment, Reuters correspondents William Maclean, Peter Apps, Andrew Quinn, Mark Hosenball, and Tabassum Zakaria don't even feign impartial reporting as they assemble every catastrophic scenario ever imagined, a host of inveterate Israel-haters, and a variety of cherry-picked quotes to warn that:
An Israeli raid on Iran's nuclear facilities would deliver a painful shock to the global economy, revive flagging Islamist militancy and possibly drag the United States into a regional war whether it backed its ally's attack or not.
Here's the list, not exhaustive, compiled by Reuters correspondents of those events prophesied to occur if Israel launches a military strike against Iran's nuclear weapons program:
- any doubts Tehran entertained about the wisdom of building a nuclear weapon would vanish the moment the strike occurred [we couldn't agree more, ed].
- Iran would expel International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors and quit the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, ending any possibility of a negotiated solution to the nuclear issue [and after all, negotiations have been so fruitful, ed].
- a raid would only delay, not destroy Iran's program. And once it had recovered, Iran would probably seek to develop nuclear weapons [as if they're not doing this now, ed].
- A strike on Iran and Iran's response, including attempts to close the Strait of Hormuz, which is vital for oil shipments, or an attack on Saudi oilfields, would lead to a sharp rise in oil prices that could seriously harm the U.S. economy, jeopardizing President Barack Obama's chances for re-election [yes, we're certain Reuters correspondents are very much concerned about that, ed].
- Saudi Arabia would be forced to use all its spare output capacity, a crucial safety cushion for oil markets.
- the possibility of Iran mining the straits, attacking ships as it did during the Iran-Iraq war, or challenging the legality of the passage of some vessels through its territorial waters.
- Tehran has warned several times it may seal off the Strait of Hormuz, choking the supply of Gulf crude and gas, if attacked or if sanctions mean it cannot export its oil.
- Possible Iranian actions could include harrying tanker traffic in the Gulf with fast attack boats, seizing uninhabited Gulf islands claimed by other states or grabbing hostages from passing civilian or military ships, stoking trouble in Sunni Muslim-ruled Arab states with restive Shi'ite Muslim communities and orchestrating attacks on U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere using militant "proxies" such as Hezbollah.
- If the Iranian government interprets the strike as a fully-fledged attempt at regime change, it might adopt a more muscular response could include ballistic-missile salvos on civilian and military targets in the Gulf.
- A study by former senior British intelligence official said the "The US would be assumed complicit, and would become embroiled in defending Israel against a counter-attack. This would stretch the U.S. military."
- In an indication of a divergence in Israeli and Western views, a senior former British intelligence official wrote in a private analysis in 2011 that the West had two objectives: prevent the Iranian bomb, and also "prevent Iran being bombed.  Both outcomes would be potentially disastrous for our national security," he wrote.  Referring to a strike, he went on, "the likely damage (to Iran's program) would outweigh the benefits" [now there's a cogent argument, ed.]
- Anti-U.S. sentiment would be inflamed in Muslim countries, especially Syria, Lebanon and the Palestinian Territories. Hamas and Hezbollah would be likely to intensify attacks making a Middle East settlement even more unlikely.
- "If the Israelis think they can attack Iran and remain immune they are living in a fools' paradise," said Farhang Jahanpour of the Oxford University Faculty of Oriental Studies.  He said a raid would create "huge anti-Israeli feeling" and an "Islamic backlash" in the region.
- Former U.S. National Security Adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski said in a January interview with The Real News website a strike would be a "disaster for us more than for Israel in the short run, and a fundamental disaster for Israel in the long run."  Neither the Russians or Europeans would side with America in any resulting conflict. He said that the United States could be "forced out of the region," a development he suggested would imperil Israel's existence.
My, we're breathless.  The only analysis provided by Maclean and Co. to ostensibly balance their frantic handwringing, is that of Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, a piece of journalistic legerdemain executed quite deliberately of course, to give readers the false impression that Israel stands alone against Iran.

We'll tackle that fabrication in Part II.

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