Thursday, August 30, 2007

Inching Towards War

While most of the media was focusing on covering the men's room this week, there were number of interesting developments on Iran...

First off, there was the unprecedented remarks of French President Nicholas Sarkozy, which came just after he spent some face time with President Bush at Kennebunkport.

Addressing 180 French diplomats Monday, Aug. 27, Sarko called Iran’s nuclear program the world’s most dangerous problem and said a nuclear-armed Iran would be unacceptable, and that the world must tighten sanctions while offering Iran incentives to halt their nukes program. "This initiative is the only one that can enable us to escape an alternative that I say is catastrophic: the Iranian bomb or the bombing of Iran," he said.

Sarkozy is the first important Western leader to actually openly mention the possibility that Iran had better come to terms with the West or risk an attack on its nuclear installations. Of course, Monsieur Le President didn't say whether France would actually take part in an attack on Iran, but he stressed French backing for Security Council sanctions over Iran’s refusal to back away from uranium enrichment.

This probably strikes certain countries in the Middle East as un petit encroyable in view of France's recent deals with Libya and approaches to other Arab countries on selling them nuclear reactors, but there's no doubt that it was a firm message to the mullahs...and probably based on his conversations with President Bush.

Iran's response has been to expand its nuclear program, despite Inspector Clouseau IAEA head Mohammed El Baradi's efforts to put a positive spin on things for his Iranian pals.

Iran's President Ahmadinejad, for his part, is making no bones about it. In a press conference given the day after Sarkozy's, he said plainly that the `nuclear case is closed', and the US is unable to attack Iran.

"I announce officially that from our point of view Iran's nuclear case has been closed....Those thinking that by diplomatic and discriminatory gestures and by abusing their power in the world decision making bodies, they could force the Iranian nation to withdraw from its position, have today come to the conclusion that their path has been wrong."

Ahmadinejad said bluntly that the US is unable to attack Iran, and that if it did so, any action against the Iranian nation will be given proper response. "I consider it unlikely if the US takes any such illogical and illegal action because the measure would turn into a joke worldwide. I have not heard any such claim raised officially by the US administration," said Ahmadinejad.

He also showed that he's a regular reader of the New York Times and watches CNN.

"We think there is a rift in the US: Some wish to solve problem logically and some others, whose arms manufacturing plants have gone bankrupt, want to escalate tension worldwide. The second group wants to foil efforts of the first one."

Ahmadinejad went on to say that Iran and neighboring countries like President Bush's `eternal friends' Saudi Arabia will fill any vacuum in Iraq left by a US withdrawal.

"The political power of the occupiers is collapsing rapidly," Ahmadinejad said "Soon, we will see a huge power vacuum in the region. Of course, we are prepared to fill the gap, with the help of neighbors and regional friends like Saudi Arabia, and with the help of the Iraqi nation.

...The government, parliament, president and prime minister of Iraq all love Iran. Today formation of government in Iraq is in favor of all and Iran.

..Charging Iran is not a solution to their problems. We do not insist on taking them out of the quagmire. We have already said we are ready to help them get out the swamp but now that they emphasize to remain in it, so let it be so."

Well, that's pretty clear, but then Ahamadinejad, to his credit has been clear from day one. I get the feeling the mullahs aren't feeling overly peaceful and conciliatory at the moment. Meanwhile, Iran is shelling Iraqi territory in Kurdistan and making Kurdish villages on the borders uninhabitable , and the Kurds just captured 10 Iranian agents in Kurdistan sent over by the Iranian intelligence agency(Itlaat). We're doing nothing to stop them...although we're now also arresting Iranians we catch in Iraq on a more consistent basis.

John Bolton, who knows about these things says that the diplomatic options on Iran are pretty much used up, and that he thinks the Bush administration will probably attack Iran in the next few months.

"Iran is interfering in Iraq and is posing a direct threat to our troops. I think if President Bush as commander in chief believes that information is accurate, he is fully entitled to take defensive measures, which could include going after the Revolutionary Guards inside Iran."

As I've often said, no matter how superbly our military performs in Iraq, without confronting Iran and changing the political situation on the ground, it's not going to ultimately help our war effort.

Your move, Mr. President:

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