Powered by WebAds

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Iran is laughing all the way to the bank?

Writing in Sunday's Washington Post, lefty writer David Ignatius claims that the United States will not attack Iran before the end of the Bush administration and it will not allow Israel to overfly Iraq to do so (Hat Tip: Pastorius).
Though the administration has often been portrayed as divided over military options against Iran, an official denied there are now any sharp rifts. "There is uniformity across the U.S. government about the way to proceed with Iran," the official said. "Everyone from this White House, including the vice president's office, is in agreement that the military option is not the best option at this point, and we should pursue diplomatic and economic pressures."

U.S. opposition to an Israeli military strike now is based on four factors, the official said. First, a strike would retard the Iranian nuclear program without destroying it. (One intelligence estimate is that an attack would delay the Iranians by just two months to two years.) [A US strike would destroy it. We all know that. CiJ] Second, a strike would rally support for the unpopular government of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad when he faces growing economic difficulty [So would attaining nuclear weapons. CiJ]. Third, an attack would undermine U.S. policy in Iraq, when the United States appears to be making some progress, and in Afghanistan [How so? CiJ]. And, finally, a strike against Iran, as with any military action, would have unpredictable consequences.

In evaluating the Iranian nuclear threat, the United States and Israel are using different intelligence. U.S. analysts believe Iran can't produce a bomb before the end of 2009 and probably not until the 2010--2015 time frame, according to a senior U.S. intelligence official. The Israelis, however, fear that Iran could enrich enough uranium for a weapon sometime next year. By late 2009, the Israelis warn, the Iranians could produce the 1,000 kilograms of low-enriched uranium that could quickly be converted to the 25 kilos of highly enriched fuel needed for a bomb.

Reassuring the Israelis of U.S. resolve toward Iran will be a tricky challenge for the next administration. A pro-Israel think tank, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, has already tried to lock in a consensus policy through a high-level task force that included advisers to both presidential campaigns.

The June 2008 report of the institute advocated "preventive military action" against Iran and warned: "An American commitment to deterrence, especially if seen by Israelis as a substitute for prevention, is itself likely to spur Israel to consider independent action." Among the signatories were Anthony Lake and Susan Rice, senior advisers in the Obama campaign, even though Obama is nominally committed to seeking diplomatic talks with Iran.
Ignatius acknowledges that "all options are on the table" for 2009 and beyond.

If the US is really as docile about this as Ignatius claims, Iran is likely laughing all the way to the bank. Recall that on Friday I reported that the eventually resigning Olmert 'government' believes that it is close to a deal with Syria, and that it must be wrong because Bashar Al-Assad was due to travel to Tehran next Saturday (August 9). When I heard on Saturday night (August 2) that Assad was already in Tehran, I thought that either I heard Israel Radio wrong, or Israel Radio got it wrong. But I heard it right and Israel Radio got it right. Assad and Ahmadinejad moved the trip up to 'celebrate' their victory over the West and to coincide with the 'deadline' that the West had half-heartedly attempted to impose on Iran.
DEBKAfile’s Middle East sources report: Iranian and Syrian rulers are so pleased with their unforeseen success in outmaneuvering the West that they called an urgent summit for follow-up planning.

When a line of Iranian leaders rejected the ultimatum on their “right” to develop a nuclear program, Washington responded mildly “we are not counting the days”, while the European Union said there was no hurry. In any case, as DEBKAfile reports in a separate article on this page, a huge German energy deal with Iran has drawn the sting of any prospective penalties.

The Syrian-Iranian get-together also follows the failure of top Israeli leaders traveling to Washington in the past three weeks to persuade the Bush administration of the urgency of considering military action against Iran’s nuclear installations – or at least backing an Israeli operation.

Transport minister Shaul Mofaz was the last arrival after chief of staff Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, foreign minister Tzipi Livni and defense minister Ehud Barak.

Iran’s supreme ruler Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, president Mahmoud Ahminejad and Assad can therefore pat each others backs over the cooling of US-Israeli strategic relations in on top of their other successes.
There's much more to that report, so make sure to read the whole thing. DEBKA sounds completely credible on this one.

I wonder if Ignatius will be so smug and self-righteous when Washington is targeted.

In any event, to date Israeli intelligence has been far more accurate than American intelligence on what's going on in Iran and Syria. I would look for a re-assessment by the Bush administration come November 5 or thereabouts depending in part on who wins on November 4.


Post a Comment

<< Home