Monday, December 03, 2007

Bush Signals Iran: US Military Option Off The Table

The big news today was a National Intelligence estimate on Iran that suddenly magically `discovered' that Iran stopped nuclear weapons work in 2003 , and says that even though the Iranians continue to enrich uranium, the earliest they could have enough material for a bomb is 2009, and the mullahs probably won't actually have one until between 2010 and 2015. ...well after President Bush is out of office. The report also comments that Iran seems to be less interested in developing nuclear weapons than previously believed and is more vulnerable to international sanctions.

I don't think the timing of this report is an accident. Translation? I see the Bush Administration signaling publicly that it is taking the military option against Iran off the table. There could be a number of reasons for this..a secret quid pro quo we don't know about, more appeasement of the Saudis and fallout from Annapolis, the State Department indulging in a new diplomatic gambit or simple fatigue on the part of the president and unwillingness to get involved in another firestorm so close to retirement. Or this could have something to do with it.

There will be considerable consternation in Israel over this, as their intel differs radically with this new estimate, and they will see themselves as left high and dry to deal with the Iranian threat on their own.

While the idea that the Bush Administration suddenly has no basis for a hard line with Iran and can postpone things will be pointed at with glee in certain quarters, it flies in the face of logic and all available evidence. For one thing, skeptics might ask themselves how they could acknowledge that Israel could take out a nuclear weapons facility that apparently existed for years in Syria that was unknown to both the US and the IAEA and still assume there was nothing like that in Iran. I would remind my readers that it wasn't the Bush Administration's intel or the IAEA who first busted Iran's illegal clandestine nukes was Iranian dissidents, and that was four and a half years ago. And it had been going on for over a decade.

If Iran really gave up its quest for nukes back in 2003, why the expensive and advanced air defenses around `harmless' facilities? Why the secrecy and lies? Why the failure to accept huge economic incentives from the west in exchange for transparency and abandoning the development for nuclear weapons? Why the threats?

Somehow, I weigh the answers to these questions and the evidence behind them a little more heavily than an intelligence summary leaked at a particularly interesting time. And one wonders about the rationale of making this information public now, given Iran's belligerence. And the idea espoused by the new report, that the Iranians suddenly stopped their nuclear weapons program in 2003 because of `international opinion', something the Iranians have never given a pistachio nut for in the past is an insult to my intelligence.

As for the Iranians themselves, they've drawn an increasingly hard line..another little fact that isn't being reported too much here in the west, but again indicates that Iran has something to hide and is much more interested in developing nukes than this report would have you believe. There simply is no other explanation for their behavior.

Iran's new chief negotiator, Saeed Jalili was harsh and explicit with EU appeaser -in-chief foreign policy chief and head negotiator Javier Solana.After monologuing for an hour an a half about Islam, the will of the Iranians to support nuclear enrichment and several other topics, he told Solana that any understandings he had with his predecessor, Ali Larijani were irrelevant.

"Everything in the past is past, and with me, you start over. None of your proposals has any standing."

Just in case anyone had problems understanding that, Jalili said that "There is no longer an Iranian nuclear problem. The matter is closed."

Solana described that failure of the talks by telling reporters that he was “disappointed.”

The French officials were a little more candid, and described the meeting as “a disaster,” adding “Jalili essentially said, ‘Everything that Larijani has proposed is a dead letter and we have to start from zero.’” The French official was quoted as ending, “We have in front of us the real Iran.”

The hard-line position from the Iran should be a clear confirmation, if nothing else, that they have no intention of any compromise and that there's something brewing with the nuclear program that they are developing that they'd rather the west didn't find out about until it's too late.It's also important to remember that the difference between a peaceful nuclear program and a nuclear weapons program is largely one of application. The technology needed is the same, and applying to weapons technology is a matter of a few months, if that.

The Bush Administration could be merely sowing disinformation to give Iran a false sense of security before the kill, but I doubt it. Given the political climate here in the US and how the dinosaur media has made this a top story, I don't see how they could risk the political fallout.

Iran has regarded itself at war with us since 1979, and they have conducted themselves accordingly. If the Bush Administration truly is involved in what it still refers to as `the war on terror', than confronting Iran, a major supporter, financier and enabler of Islamic terrorism has to be a major part of winning that war. One can only hope that the Bush Administration has some kind of plan to achieve this beyond mere `diplomacy', which the Mullahs continue to treat with contempt.

However, if President Bush really is throwing in the towel, relying on sanctions and simply waiting out the clock, it's something we will long remember and regret in the west.


Anonymous said...

Why should we believe that Iran EVER had a nuclear weapons program at all?


Iran NIE report: Are you lying now, or were you lying then?

If the 2005 NIE report was wrong when it claimed with "high confidence" that Iran had a active nuclear weapons program, why should the 2007 NIE be any more credible when it claims that Iran had a nuclear weapons program until 2003? If Iran really had a nuclear weapons program until 2003 as the new report claims, then why has the IAEA found no evidence of it?

Anonymous said...

Years ago I was told, "if somehting sounds to good to be true it probably isn't true." The news that Iran probably will not have a nuclear weapon until some time between 2010 and 2015 sounds to good to be true. Therefore it is probably false. In my personal experience, everything that sounded to good to be true turned out to not be true. As such, the notion that Iran will not have a nuclear weapon until sometime between 2010 and 2015 is patently ridiculous and intellegent people should dismiss this rubbish for what it is.

When the United States built its first nuclear weapon, it essentially started from scratch. It did not have previous research or scientists at its disposal who already had experience with nuclear weapons. Even with these limitations it took the US two years or so to build a working nuclear bomb. The Iranians have the benefit of techincal research that has already been done and there is a large supply of scientists who would be willing and able to help them in their quest. As such, they will unveil the bomb before Bush leaves office.

Given how grossly inaccurate US intellegence has been over the years, I don't think they can be trusted. We would get more benefit for our national security by scrapping the CIA and starting over. Until we can get a new intellegence agency up and running, the Israelis and Iranian dissidents can provide our intellegece. With regards to the Iranian bomb, Israeli intellegence does not possess the rosy outlook that the NIE seems to possess. I think it can be said with 99.999999% degree of probabilty that the Israelis are correct and the NIE is wrong.

In order to take the military option off of the table, it would have needed to be on the table. It never was. The rhetoric was simply a bluff.

While the US military option that never was on the table is now off the table, the Iranian military option against the US is still on the table. If they are not stopped, Iran will use their terrorist proxies to attack the US mainland. This will probably be done with "dirty bombs" and suitcase nuclear war heads. Iran figures to have Russia and China on their side from the beginning. If the Iranian attack is successufl, most of the world will likely side with Iran. iran's attack on the US will come regardless what the US does. They have built up such hatred for the "Great Satan," their economy seems to be a mess, and the Iranian leadership seem to be unpopular. The coming Iranian attack on the US will galvanize support fot the Iranian leadership in Iran and, if successful, around the world.

The numb skulls in the news media and the government bureacracy stand around fretting about an attack by the US against Iran. They need to be thinking about Iran's attack on the US and then they need to be trying to figure out how they are going to prevent it. In the event that prevention is unsuccessful, there needs to be a viable military option in plance. Russia and China will back Iran. Right now the US military is in no condition to fight Russia, China, or both of them.

The United States government and the citizens of the US have their work cut out for them. Of course the US could give up its position as a major power. Thsi may lessen some of the tension, however, anti-American propaganda has been years in the making. As such, someone will likely want to mete out revenge against the US for SOMETHING. In other words, we would likely get the screws put to us.

Of course, if a course correction is not made soon, the US will lose its positon as a major power any way. As it stands now, about the best we can hope for would be a world in which the US, Russia, China, and India make up a so called "big four." In this situation, Russia and China will likely be the dominant powers followed by India and the US. A partnership between the US and India that is led by India might be an option. India and the US seem to have many of the same enemies.

Freedom Fighter said...

Hello Anonymous,
First of all, you mischaracterize what the IAEA has said. El Baradi merely said that he could not certify that Iran's program was entirely for peaceful purposes. He never said that a nuclear weapons program didn't exist.

Second, be aware that the knowledge used in a civilian project is entirely compatible and usable in a weapons program. You have one, you have the other.

Third, if in fact Iran has no nuclear weapons program, I'd be interested in how you account for the discrepancies and questions I raise in the piece...which you have not addressed.

This is simply a way for th eBush Administration to punt, in my opinion.

Thanks for dropping by.


Anonymous said...

Assuming for the moment that Iran's nuclear weapons program was taken off line in 2003 it should be asked how the invasion of Iraq played a role in this. Did the invasion of Iraq frighten the Iranian leadership into abandoning the nuclear weapons program for now? Will the program be restarted when the Americans leave?

Again this assumes the program has been abandoned. As stated before this seems to good to be true. As such, it is probably false.

Soccer Dad said...

You sound a lot like Robert Baer.

IranAffairs is a CAIR-like organization that regularly understates the threats to the West by Iran.

Ivan The Yid From Bradford - West Yorks - UK said...

This is ridiculous. Because of the nuclear threat from Iran the Bush administration wanted to put anti-missile systems into Poland, Czech Republic, Georgia you name it they were going to put missiles into it. Various countries were going to be bases for new radar systems including the UK. Putin was furious about these new systems and has already cancelled one of the weapons limitation treaties. Now Bush says there isn't an imminent Iranian nuclear threat so what does he need his new anti missile systems for ?? Putin can claim that US own intelligence briefings support him over this - there is no reason for these new systems next to his borders.

Freedom Fighter said...

hello Ivan.
I believe I've been quite clear that I consider this new intelligence estimate horse manure. And I've cited various reasons for this.

BTW, does anyone actually doubt that Iran is seeking nuclear weapons? Do we really wish to wake up one morning, find out Iran has the bomb and hear `sorry' from some of these experts? Even the report, if one actually reads it, hedges its bets in a number of places.

As for Putin,the Soviets never really went away, they just assumed new disguises, as we see. If those missile sites were designed to make Putin think twice before behaving aggressively towards what he still considers Russia's lost `empire', do you have a problem with that? or would you rather see the US depart and trust to Russia's benevolence?

All Best,

Anonymous said...

I would not be opposed to a deal with the Russians where the US and NATO depart from former Soviet Bloc countries. In exchange for this, Russia withdraws its support for Venezuela and other South and Central American countries. The huge military buildup that these countries are under taking with a great deal of help from the Russians is a much greater threat to US national security than these missles sites are to Russian security.

As I see it the problems with this kind of agreement are at least two fold. 1.)As Freedom Fighter correctly points out, the Soviet Union never went away. It simply changed disguises. If NATO gives up valuable defensive positions, it is very likely that Putin will reestablish the Soviet Union and Western Europe and the US will lose a valuable buffer against Russia. Already a few EU leaders have begun to recognize the threat posed by Russia. They have pointed out how Russia is using its energy weapon against them.
2.) There is a problem with enforcemnt of the agreement. The US will abide by whatever agreements it makes. The media spotlight on the US is always intense. The US will have no choice but to abide by whatever agreements it makes. Also, it fits in with the media's agenda to weaken the US. Withdrawl from these positions fits in nicely with this agenda. For Russia to stop supporting Venezuela or other Central and South American countries against the US does not mesh well with the media's anti-American/pro-Putin agenda. As such, we will likely end with an agreemnt that is honored only by the American side. This would be a bad deal all the way around for the US and the free world. We would end up with an expanded Russia and a weakened US. In other words, the Soviet Union would be back with a vengence.

The proposed missle systems never were adequate to protect against Russia any way. Eastern European countries will probably not want the systems now, if they think their is no threat from Iran. So it is unlikely that they will built and those that have been built will likely be dismantled.

Quite a racket Mr. Putin has had going. Build up Iran and then when the US and others try to mount a defense against Iran accuse the US of aggression against Russia. This has worked so well because Putin toadys dominate the US and Western European news media.

Now Putin can have an even bigger racket going. Now that this false intellegence report has been leaked the US and the West will let down their guard further and Russia will be able to continue building up Iran and Western Europe will be Russia's for the taking. Defense systems against Russia are desparately needed. Vladimir Putin's Russia is right now the single greatest threat to Western Europe and the United States right now.