Monday, May 22, 2006

U.S. Military Exercise Planned With Turkey

The U.S. will be using the time-tested tactic of holding a military exercise in the immediate region of an adversary to ratchet up the pressure on Iran.

The United States will hold a joint military exercise using naval, army and air forces with Turkey next week aimed at demonstrating a determination to stop missile and nuclear technology from reaching Iran and other countries, Bush administration officials said Sunday...

The officials said the exercise was part of a three-year effort known as the Proliferation Security Initiative, under which the United States and cooperating countries carry out military and naval exercises to interdict nuclear materials and contraband...

About 20 such exercises have taken place in the last three years, beginning with naval exercises off Japan that have angered the government of North Korea, which has accused the United States of using intimidation tactics. The United States is trying to persuade friendly countries near the Persian Gulf, Arabian Sea and Indian Ocean to join in the exercises, but has met with limited success, administration officials say.

Also, the U.S. is using pressure against large European banking interests in order to get them on board with the anti-Iran program.

Prodded by the United States with threats of fines and lost business, four of the biggest European banks have started curbing their activities in Iran, even in the absence of a Security Council resolution imposing economic sanctions on Iran for its suspected nuclear weapons program.

Top Treasury and State Department officials have intensified their efforts to limit Iran-related activities of major banks in Europe, the United States and the Middle East in the past six months, invoking antiterrorism and banking laws. They have also traveled to Europe and the Middle East to drive home the risky nature of dealing with a country that has repeatedly rebuffed Western demands over suspending uranium enrichment, and to urge European countries to take similar steps.


Stuart A. Levey, the under secretary of the Treasury for terrorism and financial intelligence, said: "We are seeing banks and other institutions reassessing their ties to Iran. They are asking themselves if they really want to be handling business for entities owned by a government engaged in the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and support for terrorism."


The four European banks--the UBS and Credit Suisse banks of Switzerland, ABN Amro of the Netherlands, and HSBC, based in London--have made varying levels of disclosure about the limits on their activities in Iran in the past six months. Almost all large European banks have branches or bureaus in the United States, units that are subject to American laws.


American officials said the United States had informed its European allies about the new pressure exerted on the banks, and indeed had asked these countries to join the effort. At the same time, the Americans have not publicized the new pressure, partly out of concern it could complicate efforts by European negotiators, who were still talking with Iran about a package of incentives to suspend uranium enrichment.

If the U.S. had a legitimate case against Iran, they could wait until a U.N. vote to approve sanctions to start the economic warfare against the Islamic Republic.

The unilateral action is de facto proof that Washington knows that the anti-Iran program wont fly with the other members of the international community.

4 Comments:

Blogger Meatball One said...

Ive hear from 2 reliable sources, though not first hand, that the Israelis are already in Turkey with special forces unit. What to make of that, who knows.

5/22/2006 9:06 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

M1:

The Israelis (at least the spooks) have been close to the Turks for at least 30 years.

So the story doesn't surprise me.

5/22/2006 9:18 PM  
Blogger JB said...

The Israelis and Turks are military allies who share spare parts depots since they both have U.S. based systems.

As a result it is hardly a surprise that an Israeli Special Forces unit is in Turkey, and they probably didn't even have to ask for any special permission

5/22/2006 11:35 PM  
Blogger Effwit said...

JB:

Agreed.

5/23/2006 7:35 AM  

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