This is the question CNN asked 5 experts on Iran and Middle Eastern politics. You should read their full responses, but I have highlighted some quotes that seem to capture the things they agree on. To answer the question, they all agree that war doesn’t have to happen but that the situation is volatile enough that it could happen quickly if any sort of escalation event set things in motion.
All of this talk of war based on supposed possession of weapons of mass destruction reminds me of our entry into war in Iraq. We’re being prepped for the next war.
"As long as (the Iranians) shirk their responsibilities, this pressure will not relent," U.S. President Barack Obama said Tuesday night in his State of the Union speech. "Let there be no doubt: America is determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and I will take no options off the table to achieve that goal. But a peaceful resolution of this issue is still possible, and far better."
Last week, Obama’s former national security adviser said he thought this could be the year that things finally come to a head.
"I think 2012 has seen itself as the year that Iran has got to be dealt with one way or the other," said James L. Jones, speaking at a panel discussion in Washington.
Shireen T. Hunter
"The two sides are moving perilously close to a situation where there seems to be only one option left: military confrontation. But war doesn’t have to be inevitable."
"This will be the year that Khamenei will have to make a decision about Iran’s nuclear program."
Jon B. Alterman
"While the possibility remains that one side will pursue a limited war, it is more likely that the sides will stumble into a war that no side is seeking. Given the high alert on all sides, a rogue action or even a mistaken one can quickly turn into a shooting war."
Kelly Golnoush Niknejad
“This heightened tension is very dangerous, especially given the lack of diplomatic relations between Iran and the United States. There is no hot line. There is no real channel of communication like there was with the Soviet Union during the height of the Cold War. A misunderstanding or miscalculation may lead to a war.”
“Both Iran and the United States have approached the nuclear issue as a marathon, not as a sprint. But the finish line is in sight.
After 20 years of dispute, 2012 may well show whether Washington’s or Tehran’s approach has been more successful.
Within a few years, Iran will be treated by the world as a country that, if it does not already have nuclear warheads atop its missiles, could quickly do so. As that point nears, Iran has less reason to negotiate over the nuclear issue.”
This is CNN telling us to prep for disasters….featured story on the front page right now. heh heh
Atlanta (CNN) — Ranee Roberts feels lucky to have survived the impact of a tornado that hit her Alabama convenience store in April. “Before the twister hit, I sent a last text to say ‘I love you’ to my best friend, and then the building began to come apart around me,” said the 34-year-old from Henagar.
Roberts said she knew only about two minutes before impact that the twister was heading toward her store. The tornado was rated an EF-4, with estimated winds peaking at 175 mph. “There was no time for preparations, only prayer,” she said. “I felt utterly hopeless thinking I might be spending my last moments on Earth curled up on the stockroom floor.”
Looking back, she was ill-prepared for the storm and its aftermath. She felt that she got off extremely lucky walking away with “just a few scratches” to her body.
She learned from her harrowing experience to keep a first-aid kit, flashlight, bicycle helmet, battery-powered radio, power generator and Meals Ready to Eat in her storm closet.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, a record 14 weather and climate disasters in 2011 caused $1 billion or more in damage, including the Alabama tornado that Roberts survived. At least 669 people died in these storms and thousands were injured.
"In my four decades of tracking weather, I have never seen extreme weather like we had in 2011," said Jack Hayes, NOAA’s assistant administrator for weather services and the National Weather Service director.
Although no two years are alike, Hayes said, it’s important for Americans to be prepared for the worst. “The U.S. population has almost doubled since 1954, and trends such as urban sprawl and conversion of rural land to suburban landscapes increase the likelihood a tornado will impact densely populated areas,” he said.
"We have also become more vulnerable to coastal storms and hurricanes as more people are living in coastal areas." Hayes said the 2011 Southern drought and floods across the northern U.S. represent the extreme temperature and precipitation swings that climate scientists project will become more common amid a warming climate.
"You’ve got to be proactive in preparing for extreme weather," she said. "An extreme weather condition, like the tornado I experienced, doesn’t care if you are rich, poor, young or old," said Roberts. "What does matter is how prepared you are and how quickly you react when time is of the essence."
When Patty Tegeler looks out the window of her home overlooking the Appalachian Mountains in southwestern Virginia, she sees trouble on the horizon.
"In an instant, anything can happen," she told Reuters. "And I firmly believe that you have to be prepared."
Tegeler is among a growing subculture of Americans who refer to themselves informally as “preppers.” Some are driven by a fear of imminent societal collapse, others are worried about terrorism, and many have a vague concern that an escalating series of natural disasters is leading to some type of environmental cataclysm.
They are following in the footsteps of hippies in the 1960s who set up communes to separate themselves from what they saw as a materialistic society, and the survivalists in the 1990s who were hoping to escape the dictates of what they perceived as an increasingly secular and oppressive government.
Preppers, though are, worried about no government.
Tegeler, 57, has turned her home in rural Virginia into a “survival center,” complete with a large generator, portable heaters, water tanks, and a two-year supply of freeze-dried food that her sister recently gave her as a birthday present. She says that in case of emergency, she could survive indefinitely in her home. And she thinks that emergency could come soon.
"I think this economy is about to fall apart," she said.
A wide range of vendors market products to preppers, mainly online. They sell everything from water tanks to guns to survival skills.
Conservative talk radio host Glenn Beck seems to preach preppers’ message when he tells listeners: “It’s never too late to prepare for the end of the world as we know it.”
"Unfortunately, given the increasing complexity and fragility of our modern technological society, the chances of a societal collapse are increasing year after year," said author James Wesley Rawles, whose Survival Blog is considered the guiding light of the prepper movement.
A former Army intelligence officer, Rawles has written fiction and non-fiction books on end-of-civilization topics, including “How to Survive the End of the World as We Know It,” which is also known as the preppers’ Bible.
"We could see a cascade of higher interest rates, margin calls, stock market collapses, bank runs, currency revaluations, mass street protests, and riots," he told Reuters. "The worst-case end result would be a Third World War, mass inflation, currency collapses, and long term power grid failures."
A sense of “suffering and being afraid” is usually at the root of this kind of thinking, according to Cathy Gutierrez, an expert on end-times beliefs at Sweet Briar College in Virginia. Such feelings are not unnatural in a time of economic recession and concerns about a growing national debt, she said.
"With our current dependence on things from the electric grid to the Internet, things that people have absolutely no control over, there is a feeling that a collapse scenario can easily emerge, with a belief that the end is coming, and it is all out of the individual’s control," she told Reuters.
She compared the major technological developments of the past decade to the Industrial Revolution of the 1830s and 1840s, which led to the growth of the Millerites, the 19th-Century equivalent of the preppers. Followers of charismatic preacher Joseph Miller, many sold everything and gathered in 1844 for what they believed would be the second coming of Jesus Christ.
Many of today’s preppers receive inspiration from the Internet, devouring information posted on websites like that run by attorney Michael T. Snider, who writes The Economic Collapse blog out of his home in northern Idaho.
"Modern preppers are much different from the survivalists of the old days," he said. "You could be living next door to a prepper and never even know it. Many suburbanites are turning spare rooms into food pantries and are going for survival training on the weekends."
Like other preppers, Snider is worried about the end of a functioning U.S. economy. He points out that tens of millions of Americans are on food stamps and that many U.S. children are living in poverty.
"Most people have a gut feeling that something has gone terribly wrong, but that doesn’t mean that they understand what is happening," he said. "A lot of Americans sense that a massive economic storm is coming and they want to be prepared for it."
So, assuming there is no collapse of society — which the preppers call “uncivilization” — what is the future of the preppers?
Gutierrez said that unlike the Millerites — or followers of radio preacher Harold Camping, who predicted the world would end last year — preppers are not setting a date for the coming destruction. The Mayan Calendar predicts doom this December.
"The minute you set a date, you are courting disconfirmation," she said.
Tegeler, who recalls being hit by tornadoes and floods in her southwestern Virginia home, said that none of her “survival center” products will go to waste.
"I think it’s silly not to be prepared," she said. "After all, anything can happen."
(Reporting by Jim Forsyth in San Antonio; Editing by Corrie MacLaggan and Greg McCune)
Sounds of the Apocalypse: Strange Noises all over the world in 2011 - 2012
I am always skeptical, but not so much as to immediately discredit things that I can’t explain just because I can’t explain it. The phenomena of reverberating sounds all over the world has been happening for several years, and has been increasing ever since summer of 2011.
The chance that it is a hoax is always a consideration, but the fact that entire towns are experiencing it and local news outlets cover it helps add to the potential validity as a legitimate phenomena. Any time something unexplained happens the trolls, copycats, and hoaxers jump on it and muddy the waters.
The best source for info on this is this blog - Strange Sounds in the Sky. The owner spends a huge amount of time analyzing the phenomena and debunks a ton of them. He’s also a believer that there is a valid unexplained phenomena happening in some cases.
Mass hysteria, Kthulu’s return, hoaxes, or dramatic environmental earth changes…whatever the cause it’s interesting to me and seems to be a trend to watch. Do you remember in the movie the Day After Tomorrow when the weather started going crazy all over the world? Well, I’m always watching for shit like that. :)
I’m not going to present a wide range. Others have done that well. I’ll try to show some of the ones that seem to be more legitimate. If you’re really interested in a skeptical, objective approach to learning about this, start with this post. For a consummate skeptics approach this article is really good.
Sabotage, bombings, sanctions: A growing web of pressure over Iran
I’ve been quiet for a while, but I’m still here. If you haven’t noticed Iran is in the crosshairs. The mainstream media reports on it daily with increasingly aggressive language regarding intervention and possible war. A war with Iran would involve Israel and Europe and would likely force Russia and China’s hand. North Korea, well, consider them the crazy cousin…who knows what they’ll do.
This blog is my environmental scan. I watch for signs, trends, things that appear and stay for while. Right now aggression toward Iran is trending. Iran is a wild-card, but I don’t buy the WMD bullshit easily after the line Bush fed us with regard to Iraq. Fear is a strong motivator.
That being said, we’re already in a Cold War with Iran.
Iran is facing an extensive and growing international campaign aimed at destabilizing its regime.
The web of pressure includes not only the openly acknowledged moves, such as sanctions, but also mysterious incidents that include assassinations, explosions, and computerized sabotage, according to analysts who follow the country closely.
While the overt actions are spearheaded largely by the United States and allies, and quickly encompass more and more countries across the globe, just who is behind the covert activities and why remains a mystery.
In some cases, Iran blames Israel. Israel generally does not comment on such speculation.