Archives for the month of: August, 2010

Mark Lynch, the Atlantic

Jeffrey Goldberg has come away from his research convinced that the Obama administration is serious about Iran. But if the administration’s strategy fails to stall Tehran’s alleged drive for a nuclear weapon, then the president may face a terrible choice. Would Obama be willing to move to military action? If not, Goldberg suggests, it is increasingly likely that Israel will take matters into its own hands. I strongly doubt that Obama would choose to launch a pre-emptive war against another Muslim country in the Middle East. Neither do I believe that Israel really intends to do so. Instead, I see an attempt on the part of Goldberg’s Israeli sources to prepare a policy climate in which such an attack seems increasingly plausible and other options are foreclosed — either to force Obama’s hand down the road or to pave the way for an attack by a future administration.

I doubt that an attack is forthcoming, because both Americans and Israelis recognize that such a military option would be potentially disastrous and counter-productive, while many other diplomatic options remain viable. As Gary Milhollin points out, a military strike is not likely to put an end to Iran’s nuclear potential, or to provide any significant sense of certainty (I do not find Goldberg’s notion of Israeli commandos quickly darting in from Iraqi Kurdistan to check things out especially reassuring). Neither is the idea credible that Israel has a fixed deadline. Israeli officials and American Iran hawks have paraded a never-ending series of such immutable deadlines over the last decade — of 2006, of 2007, of 2008, and now of December 2010. None proved quite so immutable.

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by Paul Rogers, Oxford Research Group, July 2010

Israeli Military Strike on Iran Will Lead to a Protracted War and Will Not Solve Nuclear Crisis

The potential for an Israeli military strike on Iran over its nuclear programme has grown sharply, but its consequences would be devastating and would lead to a long war, warns a Paul Rogers in his report “Military Action Against Iran: Impact and Effects”.* The study follows Israeli reports that Syria is manufacturing Iranian M-600 missiles for Hezbollah, the Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu calling Iran “the ultimate terrorist threat” and saying it was a mistake to think Iran’s nuclear ambitions could be contained, and a call from the United Arab Emirates Ambassador in Washington for a military strike on Iran.

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Shawn Amoei, Huffington Post, Aug 12

The “Bomb Iran” crowd, fresh off their historic blunder in Iraq, is now at it again with Iran. As if the daily drumbeat of articles and op-eds advocating war with Iran was not enough, Republicans in the House of Representatives have introduced a truly dangerous resolution — explicitly green-lighting the use of force by Israel against Iran.

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Saeed Kamali Dehghan

Sanctions against Iran are having an effect. They are crippling Iran’s economy, but instead of this being felt at the level of Iran’s illegitimate government, the people of Iran are taking the strain.

Mehdi Karroubi, the most outspoken and visible figure among the leaders of the opposition in Iran, is right to blame the US and Britain for their leading role in campaigning for toughened sanctions against Iran, which he described as “a gift to the Iranian regime”.

In June, when UN security council approved a fourth round of trade restrictions, those who assented promised to impose focused sanctions this time: targeting Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guard and avoiding restrictions that are harmful to ordinary people. Two months later, the opposition is arguing that the effect has been precisely the opposite.

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Barack Obama’s main military adviser said today the US does have a plan to attack Iran should it become needed as a means of stopping the Tehran regime from acquiring nuclear weapons.

Admiral Mike Mullen, chairman of the joint chiefs of staff and the country’s highest ranking officer, was asked by Meet the Press on NBC whether the military had a plan to attack Iran. “We do,” he replied.

Mullen’s comment was a rare admission on the part of any senior figure in the US government that plans have been drawn up for possible military action against Iran. The normal wording of disclaimers from those within and around the Obama administration is that “all options remain on the table”.

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