-Submitted by David Drumm (Nal), Guest Blogger
Possible nuclear weapons capability, International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspections, a threat to Israel, economic sanctions, fears of links to al Qaeda, and a compliant news media. Sounds like the hype leading up to war with Iraq, but this time it’s Iran.
Israel has been threatening to strike Iran’s nuclear enrichment plants unilaterally. Obama dispatched General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, to tell the Israelis that the US wouldn’t participate in a war against Iran begun by Israel unless Washington had given its prior agreement.
On the map on the left, each star indicates the location of a US airbase.
The fear mongering about Iran building nuclear weapons may not work this time. From McClatchy, “The 16 U.S. intelligence agencies believe that Iran’s covert nuclear weapons work remains suspended for now, but could be restarted if the Iranian regime decides to do so.” Bloomberg is reporting that Gill Tudor, spokesman for the IAEA, said “All nuclear material in the [Fordo Fuel Enrichment Plant] remains under the agency’s containment and surveillance.” According to the AP, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says Iran “is not yet building a bomb.”
The Wall Street Journal is playing up some new freedoms given to five “top” al Qaeda operative who have been under house arrest in Iran. The trouble is that al Qaeda just doesn’t generate the same fear it once did. The Washington Post is pushing the plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador by a used-car salesman with a conviction of passing bad checks as an indication that Iranian terrorists are operating inside the US. Of course the Washington Post would not consider the assassination of Iranian scientists, by either Israeli or US operatives, as an act of terrorism.
It also appears that intelligence analysts are not going to be pushed around this time. A retired senior intelligence officer said “the guys working on this are good analysts, and their bosses are backing them up.” A Defense Intelligence Agency analyst summed it up by saying “if Iran is not a nuclear threat, then the Israelis have no reason to threaten imminent military action.”
The logic of using economic sanctions to force Iran to stop a nuclear-weapons program that does not exist eludes me. The real reason for sanctions appears to cause, illegally, the collapse of the current Iranian regime. Such was the initial report from the Washington Post before a sharp sequence of phone calls compelled a “revision” to the article.
I’m the last person who wants to see anyone live under religious tyrants, but these wars seldom help those who need it the most.