When Dick Cheney visited Saudi Arabia to talk about oil and the Middle East in general with King Abdullah, the Doomsday Clock ticked one minute closer to midnight. 

Cheney and the neocon cadre have long set their sights on Iran and have worked every angle to reinforce their position.  In spite of IAEA data proving that Iran has enriched its uranium just 3.8% (versus the 80-90% needed for weapons), Cheney insists…

“Obviously, they’re also heavily involved in trying to develop nuclear
weapons enrichment, the enrichment of uranium to weapons grade levels.”

This is the 2008 version of dubious evidence of Nigerian yellowcake and phantom aluminum tubes for those keeping score at home. 

The Saudi King reportedly says…

“[T]he king confirmed his opposition to any US military strike, sources
said. Saudi Arabia, along with other Gulf Arab countries, sees
negotiations as the best way to ease tension between the US and Iran.
According to sources, the king also told Cheney that the Middle East
should be free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction.”

Both quotes from the LA Times.

But the day after Cheney’s visit, the Kingdom’s leading paper, Okaz, reports (by way of Chris Floyd’s blog)….

… that the Saudi Shura
Council — the elite group that implements the decisions of the
autocratic inner circle — is preparing “national plans to deal with
any sudden nuclear and radioactive hazards that may affect the kingdom
following experts’ warnings of possible attacks on Iran’s Bushehr
nuclear reactors.”

We don’t know what the Saudis told Cheney in private — or even more to the point, what he told them.
But the release of this story now, just after his departure, would seem
to be a clear indication that the Saudis have good reason to fear a
looming attack on Iran’s nuclear sites and are actively preparing for

The plan for this “global strike,” which includes a very viable
“nuclear option,” was approved months ago, and is now in operation. The
planes are already on continuous alert, making “nuclear delivery”
practice runs along the Iranian border, as Sy Hersh reports
in the New Yorker, and waiting only for the signal from President
George W. Bush to drop their payloads of conventional and nuclear
weapons on some 400 targets spread throughout the condemned land.”

when this attack comes – either as a stand-alone “knock-out blow” or
else as the precusor to a full-scale, regime-changing invasion, like
the earlier aggression in Iraq – there will be no warning, no
declaration of war, no hearings, no public debate. The already issued
orders governing the operation put the decision solely in the hands of
the president: he picks up the phone, he says, “Go” – and in twelve
hours’ time, up to a million Iranians could be dead.

For more on this story, check out Empire Burlesque. But be prepared for some scares.

If Iran is a target, there need to be congressional hearings and a full and open public debate. 

The October surprise should not be a surprise.  And unless there’s a Johnny Smith out there to thwart disaster, the Stillson hive mind will have its terrible moment.