Q: Is Iran a threat?
A: Oh yes. Even as we speak Iran is potentially starting the beginnings of a very possibly quite almost-real hypothetically nuclear weapons program!
Q: Oh no! How many nuclear weapons does Iran already have?
A: Counting warheads, ICBMs, mid- and long-range missiles, ABMs, tactical nukes, bunker-busters and submarine-based weaponry, the full nuclear arsenal of Iran at this moment is very rapidly just beginning to quite possibly approach a number just short of one!
Q: That makes them almost as deadly as the rogue nation of Whoville or the Islamic Republic of Candyland!
A: And they could be just months away from an actual bomb!
Q: But they’ve been just months away from a bomb for years now.
A: I know! Which means in terror years, Iran already has a bomb…
The trouble with policy wonks is that they think everybody is as knowledgeable and logical as they are despite all compelling evidence to the contrary. Eric Martin riffs on a Josh Landis piece about the “meeting” between the fabulous NeoCondi and Syrian foreign minister Walid Moualem in an attempt to analyze what might be going on.
The recent diplomatic thaw between the US and Syria may be a manifestation of a nascent strategy to de-link Syria from Iran (which would then, presumably, make it easier to isolate Hezbollah in Lebanon by eliminating Iran’s middleman). This reading is not made any less credible by the obvious empowerment of Iran in the region, and the perceived need to assemble and fortify an effective counterbalance. The question remains, however, what would the US offer Syria in return for its cooperation? The return of the Golan Heights, and the killing of the tribunal investigating Syria’s role in the Hariri assassination, are the two most obvious Syrian objectives.
This is all nonsense. There is no “thaw”, the US has no intention of offering Syria anything for their “co-operation” except calling off its potential invasion – maybe (there are three carrier groups off the Iranian coast, a stone’s throw from Syria) – and no one in the Bush Admin understands the concept of “counterbalance”, let alone is looking for a way to achieve it.
Landis isn’t much better, though he does at least hint that Condi offered, in fact, nothing, and quotes Iran’s foreign minister to that effect.
Mottaki was more honest. He explained that the US needs Iran more than Iran needs the US. The US had not prepared for the meeting properly and was not willing to discuss the an agenda important to Iran, comsequently Iran passed up the chance to talk to the Americans at the ministerial level.
Of course we hadn’t “prepared properly”. Since when has the fabulous NeoCondi prepared for anything properly?
Look, at some point it would be helpful if we stopped talking about these people as if they were sentient, rational human beings with knowledge, goals, and strategies for how to attain them. They are none of the three. They are not-very-bright ideologues who feature a deep-seated disdain for most foreigners and a heavy penchant for throwing their weight around. They know how to bully, they know how to threaten, and that pretty much exhausts a list of their negotiating tactics.
The BBC is reporting confirmation of what many of us suspected: even as Bush insists he has no plans to attack Iran, there are plans to attack Iran.
US contingency plans for air strikes on Iran extend beyond nuclear sites and include most of the country’s military infrastructure, the BBC has learned.
It is understood that any such attack – if ordered – would target Iranian air bases, naval bases, missile facilities and command-and-control centres.
[S]enior officials at Central Command in Florida have already selected their target sets inside Iran.
That list includes Iran’s uranium enrichment plant at Natanz. Facilities at Isfahan, Arak and Bushehr are also on the target list, the sources say.
In other words, the Bushies think they can knock out Iran’s military capability with air strikes and naval bombardments rather than needing troops on the ground, just as many analysts predicted based on the movement of two carrier groups into the Gulf. This also means that stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon is just an excuse to start another war. If all they wanted to do was eliminate Iran’s potential nuclear capacity, they’d do what Bill Clinton did in similar circumstances and limit the bombing to taking out those facilitites. But they aren’t.
We also seem to have confirmation of the charges that the Bush Administration is trying to whip up some hysteria to justify a war it has already decided to start. According to the report, the US has identified two
excuses “triggers” that would get the war ball rolling. (more…)
Tony “The Poodle” Blair is pulling British troops out of Iraq and Stephan Hadley is having the dickens of a time spinning it as “good news”.
President Bush’s top foreign policy aide proclaimed it “basically a good-news story.”
What national security adviser Stephen J. Hadley meant was that the British believe they have made enough progress in southern Iraq to turn over more of their sector to Iraqi forces.
Got that? It has NOTHING TO DO with the British Govt wanting to be long gone when Bush attacks Iran.
NOTHING AT ALL.
I hope we’re all clear about that now.
(Oh, yes – Denmark is leaving, too but THAT’S JUST A CO-INCIDENCE.)
The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran’s influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort. (more…)