Saturday, September 15, 2007
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The Sunday Telegraph
"Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran's nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.
Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran.
Now it has emerged that Condoleezza Rice, the secretary of state, who has been pushing for a diplomatic solution, is prepared to settle her differences with Vice-President Dick Cheney and sanction military action.
In a chilling scenario of how war might come, a senior intelligence officer warned that public denunciation of Iranian meddling in Iraq - arming and training militants - would lead to cross border raids on Iranian training camps and bomb factories.......
Recent developments over Iraq appear to fit with the pattern of escalation predicted by Pentagon officials.
Gen David Petraeus, Mr Bush's senior Iraq commander, denounced the Iranian "proxy war" in Iraq last week as he built support in Washington for the US military surge in Baghdad.
The US also announced the creation of a new base near the Iraqi border town of Badra, the first of what could be several locations to tackle the smuggling of weapons from Iran.
A State Department source familiar with White House discussions said that Miss Rice, under pressure from senior counter-proliferation officials to acknowledge that military action may be necessary, is now working with Mr Cheney to find a way to reconcile their positions and present a united front to the President......"