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The MAIN Iran Thread: Eventual Confrontation

Old 02-14-07, 11:16 AM
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My feelings on the subject summed up well by the Hon. Rep. Ron Paul, before congress:

HON. RON PAUL OF TEXAS
Before the U.S. House of Representatives

February 6, 2007


Don't Do It, Mr. President

Itís a bad idea.
Thereís no need for it.
Thereís great danger in doing it.
America is against it, and Congress should be.
The United Nations is against it.
The Russians, the Chinese, the Indians, and the Pakistanis are against it.
The whole world is against it.
Our allies are against it.
Our enemies are against it.
The Arabs are against it.
The Europeans are against it.
The Muslims are against it.
We donít need to do this.
The threat is overblown.
The plan is an hysterical reaction to a problem that does not yet exist.
Hysteria is never a good basis for foreign policy.
Donít we ever learn?
Have we already forgotten Iraq?
The plan defies common sense.
If itís carried out, the Middle East, and possibly the world, will explode.
Oil will soar to over $100 a barrel, and gasoline will be over $5 a gallon.
Despite what some think, it wonít serve the interests of Israel.
Besides-- itís illegal.
Itís unconstitutional.
And you have no moral authority to do it.
We donít need it.
We donít want it.
So, Mr. President, donít do it.
Donít bomb Iran!
The moral of the story, Mr. Speaker, is this: if you donít have a nuke, weíll threaten to attack you. If you do have a nuke, weíll leave you alone. In fact, weíll probably subsidize you. What makes us think Iran does not understand this?
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Old 02-15-07, 02:06 AM
  #27  
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Two steps forward.

One step back.

http://www.latimes.com/news/nationwo...=la-home-world
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Old 02-15-07, 09:53 PM
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'If you don't support the president's new plan for victory in Iraq, you won't be able to walk down the streets in America safely. Your children won't be able to play safely in the park.................'

That nonsense was actually uttered by a Republican congressman on the floor of the United States of Representatives during the debate on the Iraq Resolution.
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Old 02-15-07, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
I agree, it will take more terrorist attacks on US soil and many thousands more dead in order for our leaders to have no political boundaries to fight terrorism and possibly win the upper hand.
Because they'll be able to declare martial law?
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Old 02-15-07, 10:05 PM
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Question for our Republican friends and supporters of the war: Do you believe that congress has the right (indeed the constitutional obligation) to question the decisions of the CIC in wartime?

There are, apparently, a plethora of Republican house members who do not.
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Old 02-16-07, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by classicman2
'If you don't support the president's new plan for victory in Iraq, you won't be able to walk down the streets in America safely. Your children won't be able to play safely in the park.................'

That nonsense was actually uttered by a Republican congressman on the floor of the United States of Representatives during the debate on the Iraq Resolution.
I was listening to some of this nonsense on the radio last night. I'm lucky I survived my drive home, what with all the eye rolling taking my eyes off the road.

Last edited by Breakfast with Girls; 02-16-07 at 02:24 PM.
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Old 02-16-07, 08:10 PM
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How the hell does criticizing your country's leaders and policies:

1) Undermine your nation

2) Promote defeat

We have proof this is not the case because Bush has had over 3 years in Iraq, and it's still going strong. So, where is your undermining the country and promoting defeat proof? I'd like to see it.

I don't understand how you can foresee a victory in Iraq in the first place because with a war like this, there is no clear victory. There will always be violence in Iraq. Just how much and how many US troops are to be there 10 years from now, is the problem.
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Old 02-16-07, 08:12 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
How the hell does criticizing your country's leaders and policies:

1) Undermine your nation

2) Promote defeat

We have proof this is not the case because Bush has had over 3 years in Iraq, and it's still going strong. So, where is your undermining the country and promoting defeat proof? I'd like to see it.

I don't understand how you can foresee a victory in Iraq in the first place because with a war like this, there is no clear victory. There will always be violence in Iraq. Just how much and how many US troops are to be there 10 years from now, is the problem.


Don't know but I'm sure it won't apply the next time a Democrat is in the oval office.
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Old 02-16-07, 08:29 PM
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"Valerie Plame deserves justice!!!"
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Old 02-16-07, 08:55 PM
  #35  
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Originally Posted by classicman2
'If you don't support the president's new plan for victory in Iraq, you won't be able to walk down the streets in America safely. Your children won't be able to play safely in the park.................'

That nonsense was actually uttered by a Republican congressman on the floor of the United States of Representatives during the debate on the Iraq Resolution.
Almost as dumb as this comments:

"The passage of this legislation will signal a change in direction in Iraq that will end the fighting and bring our troops home" -- Nancy Pelosi

Both sides are spewing partisan garbage to set up for the 2008 election.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:48 PM
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Excepts from: Chomsky on Iran, Iraq, and the Rest of the World

There are several issues in the case of Iran. One is simply that it is independent and independence is not tolerated. Sometimes itís called successful defiance in the internal record. Take Cuba. A very large majority of the U.S. population is in favor of establishing diplomatic relations with Cuba and has been for a long time with some fluctuations. And even part of the business world is in favor of it too. But the government wonít allow it. Itís attributed to the Florida vote but I donít think thatís much of an explanation. I think it has to do with a feature of world affairs that is insufficiently appreciated. International affairs is very much run like the mafia. The godfather does not accept disobedience, even from a small storekeeper who doesnít pay his protection money. You have to have obedience otherwise the idea can spread that you donít have to listen to the orders and it can spread to important places.

...

Going back to Iran, itís not only that it has substantial resources and that itís part of the worldís major energy system but it also defied the United States. The United States, as we know, overthrew the parliamentary government, installed a brutal tyrant, was helping him develop nuclear power, in fact the very same programs that are now considered a threat were being sponsored by the U.S. government, by Cheney, Wolfowitz, Kissinger, and others, in the 1970s, as long as the Shah was in power. But then the Iranians overthrew him, and they kept U.S. hostages for several hundred days. And the United States immediately turned to supporting Saddam Hussein and his war against Iran as a way of punishing Iran. The United States is going to continue to punish Iran because of its defiance. So thatís a separate factor.

And again, the will of the U.S. population and even US business is considered mostly irrelevant. Seventy five percent of the population here favors improving relations with Iran, instead of threats. But this is disregarded. We donít have polls from the business world, but itís pretty clear that the energy corporations would be quite happy to be given authorization to go back into Iran instead of leaving all that to their rivals. But the state wonít allow it. And it is setting up confrontations right now, very explicitly. Part of the reason is strategic, geo-political, economic, but part of the reason is the mafia complex. They have to be punished for disobeying us.

...

Of course Israel doesnít want any competition in the region. But thereís no principled basis for the massive attack on Lebanon, which was horrendous. In fact, one of the last acts of the U.S.-Israeli invasion, right after the ceasefire was announced before it was implemented, was to saturate much of the south with cluster bombs. Thereís no military purpose for that, the war was over, the ceasefire was coming.

UN de-mining groups that are working there say that the scale is unprecedented. Itís much worse than any other place theyíve worked: Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq, anywhere. There are supposed to be about one million bomblets left there. A large percentage of them donít explode until you pick them up, a child picks them up, or a farmer hits it with a hoe or something.
So what it does basically is make the south uninhabitable until the mining teams, for which the United States and Israel donít contribute, clean it up. This is arable land. It means that farmers canít go back; it means that it may undermine a potential Hezbollah deterrent. They apparently have pretty much withdrawn from the south, according to the UN.

You canít mention Hezbollah in the U.S. media without putting in the context of ďIranian-supported Hezbollah.Ē Thatís its name. Its name is Iranian-supported Hezbollah. It gets Iranian support. But you can mention Israel without saying US-supported Israel. So this is more tacit propaganda. The idea that Hezbollah is acting as an agent of Iran is very dubious. Itís not accepted by specialists on Iran or specialists on Hezbollah. But itís the party line. Or sometimes you can put in Syria, i.e. ďSyrian-supported Hezbollah,Ē but since Syria is of less interest now you have to emphasize Iranian support.
...

I donít think any of the outside commentators at least as far as Iím aware have taken very seriously the idea of bombing nuclear facilities. They say if there will be bombing itíll be carpet bombing. So get the nuclear facilities but get the rest of the country too, with an exception. By accident of geography, the worldís major oil resources are in Shiíite-dominated areas. Iranís oil is concentrated right near the gulf, which happens to be an Arab area, not Persian. Khuzestan is Arab, has been loyal to Iran, fought with Iran not Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war. This is a potential source of dissension. I would be amazed if there isnít an attempt going on to stir up secessionist elements in Khuzestan. U.S. forces right across the border in Iraq, including the surge, are available potentially to ďdefendĒ an independent Khuzestan against Iran, which is the way it would be put, if they can carry it off.

...

The efforts to intensify the harshness of the regime show up in many ways. For example, the West absolutely adores Ahmadinejad. Any wild statement that he comes out with immediately gets circulated in headlines and mistranslated. They love him. But anybody who knows anything about Iran, presumably the editorial offices, knows that he doesnít have anything to do with foreign policy. Foreign policy is in the hands of his superior, the Supreme Leader Khamenei. But they donít report his statements, particularly when his statements are pretty conciliatory. For example, they love when Ahmadinejad says that Israel shouldnít exist, but they donít like it when Khamenei right afterwards says that Iran supports the Arab League position on Israel-Palestine. As far as Iím aware, it never got reported. Actually you could find Khameneiís more conciliatory positions in the Financial Times, but not here. And itís repeated by Iranian diplomats but thatís no good. The Arab League proposal calls for normalization of relations with Israel if it accepts the international consensus of the two-state settlement which has been blocked by the United States and Israel for thirty years. And thatís not a good story, so itís either not mentioned or itís hidden somewhere.
Noam Chomsky is definitely left-leaning. I'm sure the rightists here will have an apoplectic fit reading even just these excerpts. I'm not sure I agree with him on some points myself, such as his characterization of the Bush administration as intelligent but slightly crazy rather than just dumb. (Occam's razor points firmly at dumb, IMHO) However, he does raise some interesting points about Iran.

Namely, the idea that the U.S. is hoping for the oil-rich regions of Iran to magically secede so that the U.S. can move in to "defend" them from the rest of Iran via carpet bombing. This would explain both the rhetoric directed against Iran as well as the troop surge in Iraq, which might potentially allow the U.S. to establish a reserve force that would be able to move in and "defend" Khuzestan should it secede.

P.S. If an american who criticises the Bush administration is guilty of Treason, does that make me a foreign terrorist? Cool.

Last edited by Nutter; 02-23-07 at 04:54 PM.
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Old 02-23-07, 04:56 PM
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He makes a great point about Ahmadinejad and where the real power lies in Iran. Most people seem to forget this.
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Old 02-25-07, 05:56 AM
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My friend was saying that he read an article in, I believe, the Washington Post, that said that a staffer overheard Defense Sec Gates say that Bush will be impeached if he attacks Iran without authorization. Anybody else read this? If so, can you link the story?

-ringding-
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Old 02-25-07, 08:46 AM
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I love Noam Chomsky, you can always count on him to relate the US government's foreign policy to some sort of hyperbolic alarmist analogy.
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Old 02-25-07, 01:03 PM
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Chomsky makes a lot of good points.

Bush could get away with attacking Iran depending on the scale of the attack, but in a post I made at the beginning of this thread I believe, is that the op will be secret, and we won't know about it until Iran mentions something about it. Then Bush will deny it. Cheney will deny it. Condoleezza Rice will utter something retarded and stupid as usual. They will continue to deny it until more evidence is obtained which could go on until late 2008, where it won't make a difference at that point anyway.

If I was the US media, I'd be setting up shop all over Iran and would be talking to Iran for this very reason. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad might be a nutjob for a leader, but the US has one too. Bush and Cheney want a war with any nation who do not capitulate, and if that means going to war without the public's or the world's approval, well we already have one example where this happened, now don't we.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will stand his ground like Saddam. But unlike Saddam, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is a tough motherfucker, and he can reach out a lot farther than Saddam ever could. Bush wants a war, he'll get one even nastier than Iraq if he takes out Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. By this action we may also lose a lot of moderates in Iran who want change, who will then fight for Iran just because the US invaded innappropriately.

Another possibility, is the Bush Administration will have to create a scenario so they are justified in attacking Iran publicly. So, either way you look at it, the Bush Administration is going to more than likely commit to controversial behavior at the least.

The attack on Iran will happen this year. Before October of 2007. Whether or not it will publicly be known will rest on the factors I've mentioned.

Last edited by DVD Polizei; 02-25-07 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 02-25-07, 01:54 PM
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Originally Posted by Nutter
Noam Chomsky is definitely left-leaning.
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Old 02-25-07, 01:57 PM
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Originally Posted by DVD Polizei
The attack on Iran will happen this year. Before October of 2007. Whether or not it will publicly be known will rest on the factors I've mentioned.
At least all of us will know since you'll tell us.
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Old 02-25-07, 02:34 PM
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I figured somebody had to leak the information. Maybe it will help.
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Old 03-08-07, 10:53 PM
  #44  
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http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle1490124.ece
March 09, 2007

Elite Iranian general defects with Hezbollahís arms secretsRichard Beeston and Michael Theodoulou
An Iranian general who went missing on a visit to Turkey last month appears to have defected to America, taking with him a treasure trove of his countryís most closely guarded secrets.

Ali Resa Asgari, 63, a general in the elite Revolutionary Guards and former Deputy Defence Minister, vanished on February 7 after arriving in Istanbul on a flight from Syria. He had reservations at the Ceylan Intercontinental Hotel but never checked in.

Iran has notified Interpol and raised fears that General Asgari might have been kidnapped. Yesterday, however, several sources confirmed reports in America that General Asgari had fled to the West, becoming the first senior Iran official to defect since the revolution 27 years ago.

Danny Yatom, the former head of Mossad and a member of the Knesset, said that the general could provide Western intelligence with a unique insight into Iranís foreign operations in Lebanon and beyond.

ďFrom the very start I thought this was a defection,Ē Mr Yatom told The Times. ďAll the signals showed that it was well planned and executed. He left Iran with his family, so that no one would be able to put pressure on them. I assume the defection was to the US.Ē

Mr Yatom described the missing general as very important and said that he would be able to shed light on one of the murkiest chapters in recent Middle East history. From the early 1980s Iran funded, trained and armed members of the Hezbollah movement in Lebanon, which began as a small Shia Muslim militia but is today the most powerful paramilitary force in the Levant.

The Iranians are accused of using Hezbollah to launch suicide bomb attacks against American, French and Israeli targets, to kidnap Westerners and to build a state within a state in southern Lebanon. They are also suspected of carrying out operations in Europe and even Argentina.

ďHe is a significant figure,Ē said one Western source, who follows Iran closely. ďIt has so far been very difficult to get reliable information on how Iran ran its operations in Lebanon. This could be a big break.Ē

Last summer Israel fought a bloody, 33-day war with Hezbollah after the group seized two Israeli soldiers, whose fate is unknown. At the time, Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah, the Hezbollah leader, boasted: ďIsrael doesnít know our capabilities on every level. The Zionist enemy has not succeeded in infiltrating our group.Ē General Asgari could lift that veil of secrecy.

ďIt means for the first time, Hezbollahís adversaries may have accurate estimates of stockpiles, weapons types, even perhaps placement and tactics,Ē said Nicholas Noe, the author of a forthcoming book on Hezbollah. ďThis is crucial because the limits and placement of Hezbollahís weaponry has been a major problem.Ē

After Lebanon, General Asgari returned to Iran as a high-ranking official dealing with the arms trade and weapons industry, including the development of the Shaab-3 ballistic missile. He stepped down as Deputy Defence Minister in 2005. Iranian officials have played down General Asgariís importance, saying he has been ďout of the loop for four or five years. But his defectioncould cause a serious blow to Iran.
If I were Iamadamnutjob I'd be worried.
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Old 03-11-07, 12:02 AM
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It's a good possibility Iran (et al concerned parties) did this on purpose.
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Old 03-11-07, 12:00 PM
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http://www.playfuls.com/news_10_1843...ver-Talks.html

U.S. and Iranian delegates at a summit in Iraq disagree whether they had any direct talks while meeting in Baghdad.

U.S. Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad said he exchanged views with Iranian delegates "directly and in the presence of others" at the Baghdad gathering Saturday, Alalam News reported.

The ambassador described the U.S.-Iran conversations as "frank and sometimes jovial exchanges," saying "the overall mood was businesslike, constructive," and "nobody was pounding the table."

But the chief delegate to the conference from Iran, Abbas Araghchi, denied there was any such talking.

"There were no one-to-one meetings, everything was in the framework of the meeting," the Iranian the deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs said.

"There were no direct talks between us and the Americans." Araghchi said.

Alalam reported that Labid Abbawi, a senior Iraqi Foreign Ministry official, said an argument broke out between the Iranian and U.S. envoys after the United States accused Iran of arming militias in Iraq
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Old 03-11-07, 05:39 PM
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Originally Posted by bhk
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/new...cle1490124.ece


If I were Iamadamnutjob I'd be worried.
If I were General Asgari, I'd be worried. There's no place Iranian agents can't get to him. I also hope he doesn't turn out to be another "Curveball" WRT Iran's intentions.
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Old 03-13-07, 09:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Stratfor Intelligence Email
Two Busted Flushes: The U.S. and Iranian Negotiations

By George Friedman

U.S., Iranian and Syrian diplomats met in Baghdad on March 10 to discuss the future of Iraq. Shortly afterward, everyone went out of their way to emphasize that the meetings either did not mean anything or that they were not formally one-on-one, which meant that other parties were present. Such protestations are inevitable: All of the governments involved have substantial domestic constituencies that do not want to see these talks take place, and they must be placated by emphasizing the triviality. Plus, all bargainers want to make it appear that such talks mean little to them. No one buys a used car by emphasizing how important the purchase is. He who needs it least wins.

These protestations are, however, total nonsense. That U.S., Iranian and Syrian diplomats would meet at this time and in that place is of enormous importance. It is certainly not routine: It means the shadowy conversations that have been going on between the United States and Iran in particular are now moving into the public sphere. It means not only that negotiations concerning Iraq are under way, but also that all parties find it important to make these negotiations official. That means progress is being made. The question now goes not to whether negotiations are happening, but to what is being discussed, what an agreement might look like and how likely it is to occur.

Let's begin by considering the framework in which each side is operating.

The United States: Geopolitical Compulsion

Washington needs a settlement in Iraq. Geopolitically, Iraq has soaked up a huge proportion of U.S. fighting power. Though casualties remain low (when compared to those in the Vietnam War), the war-fighting bandwidth committed to Iraq is enormous relative to forces. Should another crisis occur in the world, the U.S. Army would not be in a position to respond. As a result, events elsewhere could suddenly spin out of control.

For example, we have seen substantial changes in Russian behavior of late. Actions that would have been deemed too risky for the Russians two years ago appear to be risk-free now. Moscow is pressuring Europe, using energy supplies for leverage and issuing threatening statements concerning U.S. ballistic missile defense plans in Central Europe -- in apparent hopes that the governments in this region and the former Soviet Union, where governments have been inclined to be friendly to the United States, will reappraise their positions.

But the greatest challenge from the Russians comes in the Middle East. The traditional role of Russia (in its Soviet guise) was to create alliances in the region -- using arms transfers as a mechanism for securing the power of Arab regimes internally and for resisting U.S. power in the region. The Soviets armed Iraq, Syria, Egypt, Libya and so on, creating powerful networks of client states during much of the Cold War.

The Russians are doing this again. There is a clear pattern of intensifying arms sales to Syria and Iran -- a pattern designed to increase the difficulty of U.S. and Israeli airstrikes against either state and to increase the internal security of both regimes. The United States has few levers with which to deter Russian behavior, and Washington's ongoing threats against Iran and Syria increase the desire of these states to have Russian supplies and patronage.

The fact is that the United States has few viable military options here. Except for the use of airstrikes -- which, when applied without other military measures, historically have failed either to bring about regime change or to deter powers from pursuing their national interests -- the United States has few military options in the region. Air power might work when an army is standing by to take advantage of the weaknesses created by those strikes, but absent a credible ground threat, airstrikes are merely painful, not decisive.

And, to be frank, the United States simply lacks capability in the Army. In many ways, the U.S. Army is in revolt against the Bush administration. Army officers at all levels (less so the Marines) are using the term "broken" to refer to the condition of the force and are in revolt against the administration -- not because of its goals, but because of its failure to provide needed resources nearly six years after 9/11. This revolt is breaking very much into the public domain, and that will further cripple the credibility of the Bush administration.

The "surge" strategy announced late last year was Bush's last gamble. It demonstrated that the administration has the power and will to defy public opinion -- or international perceptions of it -- and increase, rather than decrease, forces in Iraq. The Democrats have also provided Bush with a window of opportunity: Their inability to formulate a coherent policy on Iraq has dissipated the sense that they will force imminent changes in U.S. strategy. Bush's gamble has created a psychological window of opportunity, but if this window is not used, it will close -- and, as administration officials have publicly conceded, there is no Plan B. The situation on the ground is as good as it is going to get.

Leaving the question of his own legacy completely aside, Bush knows three things. First, he is not going to impose a military solution on Iraq that suppresses both the Sunni insurgents and the Shiite militias. Second, he has successfully created a fleeting sense of unpredictability, as far as U.S. behavior is concerned. And third, if he does not use this psychological window of opportunity to achieve a political settlement within the context of limited military progress, the moment not only will be lost, but Russia might also emerge as a major factor in the Middle East -- eroding a generation of progress toward making the United States the sole major power in that region. Thus, the United States is under geopolitical compulsion to reach a settlement.

Iran: Psychological and Regional Compulsions

The Iranians are also under pressure. They have miscalculated on what Bush would do: They expected military drawdown, and instead they got the surge. This has conjured up memories of the miscalculation on what the 1979 hostage crisis would bring: The revolutionaries had bet on a U.S. capitulation, but in the long run they got an Iraqi invasion and Ronald Reagan.

Expediency Council Chairman Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani already has warned the Iranians not to underestimate the United States, saying it is a "wounded tiger" and therefore much more dangerous than otherwise. In addition, the Iranians know some important things.

The first is that, while the Americans conceivably might forget about Iraq, Iran never can. Uncontrolled chaos next door could spill over into Iran in numerous ways -- separatist sentiments among the Kurds, the potential return of a Sunni government if the Shia are too fractured to govern, and so forth. A certain level of security in Iraq is fundamental to Iran's national interests.

Related to this, there are concerns that Iraq's Shia are so fractious that they might not be serviceable as a coherent vehicle for Iranian power. A civil war among the Shia of Iraq is not inconceivable, and if that were to happen, Iran's ability to project power in Iraq would crumble.

Finally, Iran's ability to threaten terror strikes against U.S. interests depends to a great extent on Hezbollah in Lebanon. And it knows that Hezbollah is far more interested in the power and wealth to be found in Lebanon than in some global -- and potentially catastrophic -- war against the United States. The Iranian leadership has seen al Qaeda's leaders being hunted and hiding in Pakistan, and they have little stomach for that. In short, Iranian leaders might not have all the options they would like to pretend they have, and their own weakness could become quite public very quickly.

Still, like the Americans, the Iranians have done well in generating perceptions of their own resolute strength. First, they have used their influence in Iraq to block U.S. ambitions there. Second, they have supported Hezbollah in its war against Israel, creating the impression that Hezbollah is both powerful and pliant to Tehran. In other words, they have signaled a powerful covert capability. Third, they have used their nuclear program to imply capabilities substantially beyond what has actually been achieved, which gives them a powerful bargaining chip. Finally, they have entered into relations with the Russians -- implying a strategic evolution that would be disastrous for the United States.

The truth, however, is somewhat different. Iran has sufficient power to block a settlement on Iraq, but it lacks the ability to impose one of its own making. Second, Hezbollah is far from willing to play the role of global suicide bomber to support Iranian ambitions. Third, an Iranian nuclear bomb is far from being a reality. Finally, Iran has, in the long run, much to fear from the Russians: Moscow is far more likely than Washington to reduce Iran to a vassal state, should Tehran grow too incautious in the flirtation. Iran is holding a very good hand. But in the end, its flush is as busted as the Americans'.

Moreover, the Iranians still remember the mistake of 1979. Rather than negotiating a settlement to the hostage crisis with a weak and indecisive President Jimmy Carter, who had been backed into a corner, they opted to sink his chances for re-election and release the hostages after the next president, Reagan, took office. They expected gratitude. But in a breathtaking display of ingratitude, Reagan followed a policy designed to devastate Iran in its war with Iraq. In retrospect, the Iranians should have negotiated with the weak president rather than destroy him and wait for the strong one.

Rafsanjani essentially has reminded the Iranian leadership of this painful fact. Based on that, it is clear that he wants negotiations with Bush, whose strength is crippled, rather than with his successor. Not only has Bush already signaled a willingness to talk, but U.S. intelligence also has publicly downgraded the threat of Iranian nuclear weapons -- saying that, in fact, Iran's program has not progressed as far as it might have. The Iranians have demanded a timetable for withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq, but they have been careful not to specify what that timetable should look like. Each side is signaling a re-evaluation of the other and a degree of flexibility in outcomes.

As for Syria, which also shares a border with Iraq and was represented at Saturday's meetings in Baghdad, it is important but not decisive. The Syrians have little interest in Iraq but great interest in Lebanon. The regime in Damascus wants to be freed from the threat of investigation in the murder of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik al-Hariri, and it wants to have its interests in Lebanon guaranteed. The Israelis, for their part, have no interest in bringing down the al Assad regime: They are far more fearful of what the follow-on Sunni regime might bring than they are of a minority Alawite regime that is more interested in money than in Allah. The latter they can deal with; the former is the threat.

In other words, Syria does not affect fundamental U.S. interests, and the Israelis do not want to see the current regime replaced. The Syrians, therefore, are not the decisive factor when it comes to Iraq. This is about the United States and Iran.

Essential Points

If the current crisis continues, each side might show itself much weaker than it wants to appear. The United States could find itself in a geopolitical spasm, coupled with a domestic political crisis. Iran could find itself something of a toothless tiger -- making threats that are known to have little substance behind them. The issue is what sort of settlement there could be.

We see the following points as essential to the two main players:

1. The creation of an Iraqi government that is dominated by Shia, neutral to Iran, hostile to jihadists but accommodating to some Sunni groups.
2. Guarantees for Iran's commercial interests in southern Iraqi oil fields, with some transfers to the Sunnis (who have no oil in their own territory) from fields in both the northern (Kurdish) and southern (Shiite) regions.
3. Guarantees for U.S. commercial interests in the Kurdish regions.
4. An Iraqi military without offensive capabilities, but substantial domestic power. This means limited armor and air power, but substantial light infantry.
5. An Iraqi army operated on a "confessional" basis -- each militia and insurgent group retained as units and controlling its own regions.
6. Guarantee of a multiyear U.S. presence, without security responsibility for Iraq, at about 40,000 troops.
7. A U.S.-Iranian "commission" to manage political conflict in Iraq.
8. U.S. commercial relations with Iran.
9. The definition of the Russian role, without its exclusion.
10. A meaningless but symbolic commitment to a new Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

Such an agreement would not be expected to last very long. It might last, but the primary purpose would be to allow each side to quietly fold its busted flushes in the game for Iraq.
Yeah I probably bolded too much, so just read the whole article, will ya?

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Old 03-13-07, 09:37 PM
  #49  
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Originally Posted by VinVega
If I were General Asgari, I'd be worried. There's no place Iranian agents can't get to him. I also hope he doesn't turn out to be another "Curveball" WRT Iran's intentions.


Curious if you are joking or not? Iranian 'agents' can't 'get' anybody.
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Old 03-13-07, 10:07 PM
  #50  
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Originally Posted by Pharoh
Curious if you are joking or not? Iranian 'agents' can't 'get' anybody.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kazem_Rajavi
Pr. Kazem Rajavi (Persian: کاظم رجوي‎ ) (February 8, 1934; April 24, 1990) was a renowned human rights advocate and elder brother of Iranian opposition leader Massoud Rajavi.

Kazem Rajavi, then the representative of the opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) in Switzerland, was gunned down in broad daylight by several MOIS agents on April 24, 1990 as he was driving to his home in Coppet, a village near Geneva.
http://www.iranterror.com/content/view/18/37/
Bombings in public places. In September 1986 a wave of bombings shook Paris. Fuad Ali Saleh, accused of killing twelve people and injuring hundreds in these incidents, was arrested while carrying explosives into a car in Paris in March 1987. A student of theology in Qom, Saleh confessed that he had been commissioned by Tehran. Bomb blasts in two beach-side restaurants in Kuwait City in 1985 left ten people dead and eighty wounded. During the 1989 hajj in Mecca, three bombs went off around the Grand Mosque, injuring scores of pilgrims. Terrorist agents who claimed responsibility for the explosions were captured and stated in their confessions several months later that they had been trained by the Iranian regime. In August 1986, a number of Iranian diplomat' terrorists were arrested in Jiddah Airport carrying large quantities of explosives.

Suicide missions, car and truck bombs. In April 1983, a bomb, laden truck exploded in front of the American Embassy in Beirut, killing 61 and wounding 120 persons. The Emir of Kuwait was wounded in a suicide attack on his motorcade in May 1985 that was linked to Iran. Car bombs were used to assassinate Saudi diplomats in Turkey and Thailand. In March 1992, a powerful bomb exploded in the Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, destroying the Israeli Embassy. Two months later, a senior official at the U.S. State Department said, "The United States has uncovered strong indications that Iranian diplomats helped plan the March 17 bombing." According to these reports, several other foreign embassies in Latin American countries had been identified for similar terrorist attacks.

Rafsanjani and other senior Iranian officials have repeatedly and officially accepted the responsibility for terrorist actions by their operatives in Lebanon and elsewhere. Three years after the explosion of the U.S. Marine barracks near Beirut, Rafsanjani said, "They hold us accountable for the blow the Americans received and the humiliation they suffered in Lebanon. We are indeed responsible [for it.]" Brigadier General Mohsen Rafiqdoust, the former Guards Corps minister and Rafsanjani's brother-in-law, stated, "Both the TNT and the ideology which in one blast sent to hell 400 officers, NCOs, and soldiers at the Marine Headquarters had been provided by Iran."

In March 1990, a famous Turkish journalist working for the daily Hurriyet and his driver were shot and killed in Istanbul. According to Hurriyet, the police concluded that the murderers had received their orders from Iran. An Iranian diplomat named Aqiqi, who is also a member of the Intelligence Ministry, was involved in the murder. He is now working at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna. On January 15, 1992, Mustapha Geha, a Shi'ite Lebanese author who had written anti-Khomeini commentaries in Beirut's newspapers, was murdered in the Sabtiyeh district of Beirut.

On January 24,1993, Ugur Mumcu, a renowned Turkish journalist, was killed as a powerful bomb exploded in the car he was driving in Istanbul. He was a staunch critic of the mullahs' fundamentalism. In a related development, a prominent Turkish industrialist escaped assassination on January 27, when his bodyguards exchanged gunfire with four armed men who stopped his car as he was driving to work
Obviously they can get "somebody."
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