Jane VaynmanProbably Unreliable Iran Rumors

Russian press was abuzz today with rumors that the U.S. is planning to strike Iran on April 6. The military operation is supposedly called “Bite” and will take place at midnight or 4am, depending on what you read.

Reuters has a story in English here, and Jerusalem Post does too. Both quote Russian sources.

RIA Novosti, Russia’s state-run news service reported (Russian only) on US plans to strike Iran on March 30, citing intelligence sources and also quoting a March 21 interview with Gen. Ivashov, who is the former Chief of Staff of the Russian armed forces. Ivashov also gave a press conference on this issue on March 30 at RIA Novosti, so either the dates are mixed up or he talks a lot. (Same Ivashov who commented on China’s ASAT test in January.)

It all sounds very circular: RIA Novosti references Kommersant, Kommersant cites Debka.com, Debka.com cites “Russian intelligence circles” and so on.

The White House is categorically denying all of this. (The Prime-Tass story linked is about White House spokesman Tony Fratto’s press briefing, which will probably be up in English soon.)

But not to worry. The story already has a wikipedia page, so surely that will clarify facts and sources!


  1. Arthur Fitzgerald

    First of all, it is necessary to note that quoting general Ivashov, a disgusting racist, is completely inappropriate, regardless of the matter at hand.As regards the substance of your post, the origin of these rumours is a March 15 article by Andrey Ivanovich Uglanov in the “Argumenty Nedeli” newspaper. The Russian text is available here: http://www.argumenti.ru/publications/3084 .Ivashov’s original comments, with a clear antisemitic subtext, can be found on the RIAN website: http://www.rian.ru/defense_safety/20070321/62375252.html .

  2. Andy (History)

    I’ve been laughing at this for over a week now. It still amazes me that anyone bothers with Debka considering they predicted attacks on Iran at least three times in 2006.

    And assuming there was a plan to attack on that day and time, does anyone really believe the US would keep that timetable once it became public?

    There’s no “probably” about it, the rumors are completely unreliable. A clever person might do some research on moon phases in conjunction with the initiation of airstrikes by the US for another reason why this is a rumor.

    BTW, isn’t “unreliable” and “rumor” in the same sentence redundant?

  3. Binh (History)

    This Russian report is nonsense, unless we’re talking April in 2008. The Bush admin hasn’t done enough terror alerts and diplomatic groundwork to pull this off yet. Iran has less than 60 days to suspend enrichment under the latest U.N. Security Council resolution, and I think after this deadline passes and Iran doesn’t kow-tow to Bush (plus the UK prisoner scandal) then we can begin the countdown.

    Also, another carrier is heading to the Gulf which will arrive in mid-April. Supposedly, the Eisenhower will go home so there won’t be 3 aircraft carriers off Iran’s coast simultaneously but Bush could easily decide to postpone their return for a month.

    I for one do believe a war with Iran is inevitable (I’ve posted extensively about it in my blog.) But it’s very premature to set a date or predict with any accuracy when it will happen. My own personal take is that Bush will do it before he leaves office in Jan 2009 and that it will coincide with the “surge” in Iraq (to put the Shia militias on the defensive before bombing Iran is the smartest dumb move he could make).

  4. jane (History)

    To be clear, (and this should be apparent from the wiki reference) I am not taking this seriously. Just making fun of the Russian press, as well as those quoted in this story, and their approach to news.

  5. Gridlock (History)

    Wikinews, not Wikipedia. Very different beasts – and if you’re going to mock them you should at least understand the difference.

  6. Jane (History)

    To me it looks like wikipedia and wikinews are more or less the same concept of users contributing content, usually with source links, but I admit I wasn’t thinking that hard about it. Wiki is all great and very helpful; I am sure we all use it. Although it’s more like the “what is this all about” use it, rather than the “preparing report for publication” use it.

  7. Andy (History)

    Hmm, I woke up this morning, no attacks! Shocking!