- Israel's Prime Minister "accidentally" ending decades of nuclear ambiguity by unambiguously acknowledging Israel's nuclear arsenal;
- New Defense Secretary Robert Gates's extraordinary departure -- the very same week -- from long-standing protocol by explicitly describing Israel as a nuclear power;
- The arrest by the U.S. military of senior Iranian military officials in Iraq;
- The announced build-up of forces in the Persian Gulf back in December, the purpose of which -- according to Bush officials -- "is to make clear that the focus on ground troops in Iraq has not made it impossible for the United States and its allies to maintain a military watch on Iran" (UPDATE: As well as this incident revealing the placement of a nuclear-powered submarine in the Straits of Hormuz);
- The leaking by the Israeli military that Israel was developing plans for an attack on Iran using small-grade, limited tactical nuclear weapons. Though the leak was done in such a way as to create plausible deniability as to its significance -- the leak was to a discredited newspaper and leaks that a country has "planned" for a certain type of attack are commonplace and do not mean they are actually going to attack -- the leak was nonetheless deliberate and caused the phrases "Israeli nuclear attack" and "Iran" to be placed into the public dialogue, at exactly the time that tensions have been deliberately heightened between the U.S./Israel and Iran -- the purpose of which is almost certainly not a planned nuclear attack by Israel on Iran, but a ratchering up of the war rhetoric;
- Increasingly explicit advocacy by neoconservatives in the U.S. for a war with Iran, as reflected by the recent Washington Post Op-Ed by Joe Lieberman in which he really did declare that the U.S. is already at war with Iran ("While we are naturally focused on Iraq, a larger war is emerging. On one side are extremists and terrorists led and sponsored by Iran");
- in the later stages of 2006, the President's most prominent neoconservative supporters becoming increasingly explicit about their advocacy of war with Iran;
- The transparent and deliberate use by the President throughout the last several months of 2006 of highly threatening and accusatory language towards Iran that is identical in content and tone to the language he used towards Iraq in the months immediately preceding the U.S. invasion -- often verbatim identical.
- I would also add that we have promoted a Navy officer to oversee CENTCOM. This promotion seems strange as our problems in Iraq do not require a naval solution, but in Iran, we would rely heavily on the Navy.
I am willing to wager that the neocons are going to manufacture a way into Iran as there is no way that we could invade Iran without provocation. Perhaps a Gulf of Tonkin type incident, which will propel us into war, is what the Bush administration is looking for. With the 'surge' of troops into Iraq, this offers the perfect cover. Iran will naturally respond to increased troops on their border and this might provide the ideal opportunity to strike (one only needs to look at our own country's response to the Cuban Missile Crisis for an example).
Here's to hoping I am way off of the mark.