Monday, March 31, 2008

'Planning for Iran Attack?'

By Charles Featherstone ∙ LRC Blog ∙ March 30, 2008

A couple of news sites I have never heard of are quoting the Jeddah-based Saudi newspaper Okaz (owner of the Saudi Gazette, a former employer) that Saudi Arabia's governing Shura Council has approved plans to deal with fallout from a U.S. nuclear attack on Iran.

The first piece appears at something called shortnews.com:

Saudi newspaper Okaz claims that the government of Saudi Arabia is preparing the kingdom for the nuclear fallout which could reach the area if the US attacks nuclear installations in Iran.

The news comes days after US Vice President, Dick Cheney’s visit to the country. Some experts claim the Bush Administration is on the brink of launching an attack against Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactors' and is warning neighboring allies.

Admiral William Fallon who was in staunch opposition to the White House rhetoric against Iran, was replaced recently fueling speculation the Administration was preparing for an attack.

The second story, citing the same source, appears at a web site called News Blaze:

Night Watch: RIYADH - It seems Washington used the recent visit to West Asia (Middle East) by Vice-President Dick Cheney to alert the House of Saud the U. S. has completed preparations for a missile-air attack on Iran's nuclear facilities in April. PressTV reports the Saudi paper Okaz mentioned a meeting of the Saudi Shura Council after the Vice-President's visit in which the council approved preparations to counter "radioactive fallout" due to a U. S. attack on Iran. There has also been a recent deployment of a U. S. nuclear submarine in the Persian Gulf. That is why I suspect the real reason for the current three day visit by U. S. Secretary of State Dr. Condoleezza Rice to Israel is not to discuss the removal of road blocks in the West Bank but to alert Jerusalem.

This is the PressTV report cited above. I have never heard of this website either, but noticed it looks a lot like a former iteration of the the BBC World Service's web site. PressTV appears to be Iranian owned, and has its headquarters in Tehran.

I looked over the Okaz website, but have not found any references to this in today's newspaper. My Arabic, however, is not what it used to be (contrary to popular opinion, the words "nuclear" and "explosion" do not appear in the Qur'an), so I probably missed the Okaz story. According to the state-owned Saudi Press Agency (another former employer), the Saudi Shura Council met on 29 March to discuss various and sundry matters. The SPA report, of course, mentions nothing of plans to deal with radioactive fallout.

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