'Combat Outpost Shocker:' The base that could spark Iran conflict
The US military is building a base in Iraq just five miles from the border with Iran to prevent cross-border arms smuggling. The base, called "Combat Outpost Shocker," will be manned by 200 soldiers, along with agents from the US Border Patrol, and will monitor truck traffic and cellphone conversations among Shi'ite pilgrims.
"Obviously, [the Iranians] probably won't be very happy about it," Col. Mark Mueller, the commander of the border transition team, told ABC News.
Border security has been essentially ignored since the US invasion of Iraq, but the establishment of the base at this time is also seen as targeting what the US claims are Iranian attempts to smuggle advanced arms to Iraqi insurgents. The Associated Press, however, concludes that it is likely to be a drop in the bucket when dealing with a 900-mile long border where smuggling is a centuries-old way of life.
In a telephone conversation with RAW STORY earlier this month, Steve Clemons, director of the American Strategy Program at New America Foundation and publisher of The Washington Note said his gravest concern surrounding Iran was that the US might seize on an accidental incident -- such as a collision between a US and Iranian ship or a border skirmish between Iraq and Iran -- as a casus belli.
"A mistake in the Gulf where ships collide or US soldiers are attacked or Israel fires a low-level cruise missile attack against Natanz or there's a border skirmish between Iraq and Iran that results in the death of a high-ranking military or diplomatic official – any of these could spark a conflict," he said.
He also says Bush has deviated from a Cheney-laid track to launch a first-strike on Iran, citing, as examples, frustrations that the vice president's aides are airing, a conversation with a journalist who sat in on a December 2006 strategy meeting, and private conversations with high-level foreign policy players.
The following video is from ABC's World News, broadcast on September 25.