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Lets's talk about democracy
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Saturday, 3 June 2006
Talk is cheap:
Topic: Bush Administraiton

Will wonders never cease? The US is now offering to talk to Iran about its nuclear program, and even more shocking than that, Condi Rice told NPR yesterday that she could even envision sitting down with Iran's foreign minister at some point in the future. This is pretty monumental shift in US policy considering that just a few weeks ago the administration was still hinting at military options being on the table and adamantly insisting that direct talks were "impossible," and that "bad behavior" wouldn't be rewarded. That sort of unequivocal, obstinate rhetoric ---mainly the expression of the Cheney/Rumsfled cabal's influence on the policy debate within the administration --- has given way to the more pragmatic State Department position of engagement, or so it appears.

This battle between the hawks and the pragmatists inside the administration has been going on since the W. took office, but it looks like now that the pendulum has swung in favor of reason. And not a moment too soon, it would seem. For the first five years of this administration Iran policy consisted of doing nothing, leaving the diplomacy to the EU3: France, Germany and Britain, while the neocons worked on their pet project of overthrowing Saddam and making the world safe for democracy. The result of this amateurish foreign policy has been to leave us severely weakened and bleeding in Iraq while Iran is now capable of calling the shots in a number of countries in the region; to our serious detriment if it so chooses.

To me, this issue of Iran's rise as a major powerbroker in the region is much more important to us than whether the Iranians get the bomb some time down the road in five or ten years. Whether this realization has finally gotten through to the brains trust in the White House is still in question. But as Trudy Rubin, the Inquirer's foreign policy expert pointed out in a column recently that this issue of Iran's role in the region is the "main issue," for the Iranians. Iran wants the US to recognize Iran's role as a regional leader, and drop the talk about "regime change." In fact, in return for our recognition they're interested in offering us security guarantees in the region! Javad Vaedi, a deputy to Ali Larijani, noted in an interview with Rubin that "the United States has many problems in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Syria," which the Iranians could help resolve for us. It would seem they have more to offer us than we have to offer them.

Of course, this messy situation could have been could possibly avoided if we had taken up former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami's offer to do a deal with them back in 2003. They wanted to resolve the issues of their nukes, terrorism, Iraq and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but instead, W. decided to give them the finger as did his victory landing on the USS Abraham Lincoln. As former Bush administration official Flynt Leverett pointed out in a recent Newsweek article, "If we had pursued this three years ago and been able to work out a deal, the Iranians wouldn't have 164 centrifuges today."

But we didn't, they do, and they're not at all interested in giving up what they have. The Iranians have created their own facts on the ground that we're going to have to work around them. The first little spot of bother is Condi's preconditions for talks with Iran. Before we even get to sitting down to chat, the Iranians are going to have to suspend their enrichment program, which Hans Blix tells the Inquirer he finds "a little puzzling." He says, "so they're really demanding from the beginning, before they start talks, that they want the discussion to end...I doubt very much that this is useful."

You know, he might have a point. If the goal is to get Iran to stop enrichment with the offer of talks and other incentives; demanding that they stop enrichment before hand is kind of counterintuitive, isn't it? Michael Ledeen, the former Iran/contra figure, also sees a contradiction here: "She says we'll only talk to if the Iranians give up first." [Inquirer] And that's pretty much it in a nut shell. Why would the Iranians agree to all of sudden do what they've been insisting from the beginning they wouldn't do? They've stated again and again that they have the right to enrich uranium just like any other country that has signed the NPT. And it's not only a legal issue but a matter of national pride. David Gardner in the FT writes that the "US's attempted diplomatic siege has united the nation around the nuclear issue, making the right to technology and deterrence a totem like the nationalization of oil a half century ago." To put a finer point on this, Javad Vaedi says that suspension of Iran's program would mean "humiliation."

So as far as I can see, despite Condi's contention to the contrary, the ball is still in our court, we haven't really offered them anything. If this is some sort of ploy intended to show the world that Iran is spurning our "robust diplomacy," in order to get a UN resolution to impose sanctions or military action, that will fail too: Russia and China just aren't going to go along with it.

I understand that Condi has done what Colin Powell could have never done, get W. to overrule Cheney, and she's clearly working her fingers to the bone trying to get a peaceful resolution to this "crisis," but I just don't see anything coming of this. As long as the folks that brought us Iraq and Katrina have the final say in any of this, the whole project is doomed to failure. Ultimately, Condi will wind up in the same trash heap that all W.'s other cabinet members have ended up on with her reputation in tatters.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:50 PM EDT
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Friday, 26 May 2006
Bush said to "expose the pretensions of tyrants." (Maybe next year)
Topic: Bush Administraiton

Kyrgyzstan is threatening to evict the US from its last airbase in Central Asia if it doesn't pony up a lot more money for rent. President Kurmanbek Bakiyev told the US it must pay $200 million, up from 2.7 million, for the use of the Manas base. He said there would be "no room for haggling" when the pentagon opens up talks in Bishkek with the Kyrgyz next week.

The FT reports:

"Manas has become a source of tension between Kyrgyzstan and the US since the revolution. Revelations that Mr. Akayev's [the former dictator] family siphoned off part of the US jet fuel payments at the base were an embarrassment to Washington. Accusations that warplanes dumped fuel over Kyrgyzstan were denied at the base." Pretty ugly, we either cough up the cash or they'll just toss us out and get cozier with their former Russian masters.

Our bastard in Tashkent is back in our good graces:

But, not to worry: the FT also reports that Rummy and Cheney "are said by officials and analysts to favor an attempt to reach out to President Islam Karimov of Uzbekistan for purely strategic reasons. [Well, we're in bed with Moammar Kadafi, so why not?] You remember him; he's the one that sent his forces in to break up a rebellion in Andijan last year and wound up killing hundreds of men, women and children.

Back then even W. couldn't ignore the slaughter going on and put pressure on Karimov to come clean on what really happened, at which point we were tossed out of the country. The FT reports, though:

"The sense that Russia and China have been quick to capitalize on the US departure, and what Mr. Rumsfeld described in frequent visits as Uzbekistan's excellent cooperation in the 'war on terror,' make it too important to ignore."

Fidel could be our next big buddy:

Unfortunately for Fidel Castro, China hasn't found any natural resources it needs in Cuba yet or we'd be calling him a statesman too: Although, if there's enough oil of the Cuban coast to make it worth their while, that might change.

His buddy Hugo Chavez is in the news again, though. On the same day that we renewed diplomatic relations with killer Kadafi and took his regime off the list of terrorist states, the State Department announced the US was cutting off arms sales to Venezuela because they aren't being cooperative enough in the war on terror.

Am I the only one who sees the absurdity of this? While we're giving the man who killed 189 Americans a ringing endorsement for giving up his insignificant arsenal of WMD, we're implying that Venezuela is some sort of serious terrorist threat to the US. What's even more ridiculous is that we're holding on to a guy, Luis Posada Carriles, who is a terrorist, that Venezuela wants extradited for blowing up a Venezuelan passenger jet that killed 70 innocent civilians. Apparently, as long as you have oil and gas or have worked for the CIA you can get away with murder.

What kind of message is this sending to the world about our commitment to freedom and human rights? Husni Mubarak can jail his political opposition; Islam Karimov can slaughter his civilians; Mommar Kadafi can keep repressing his citizens; Pervez Musharraf can get away scott-free with a military coup; Somali warlords that killed our troops can now get a US taxpayer check for fighting Islamic warlords: the Sudanese government can conduct genocide and get away with it; the Chinese can keep locking up journalists, killing political opponents and generally repressing their civilians and we'll look the other way as long as they keep letting us barrow money: the Saudis can keep repressing Christians and women and teaching their kids to hate Christians and Jews, they get to keep beheading adulterous women in the public square every after Friday prayers:

But Fidel and Hugo are just beyond the pale!!!!!

No wonder no one listens to us anymore.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:02 PM EDT
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Saturday, 6 May 2006
Cheney: looking for oil in all the wrong places.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

Dick Cheney is stirring up a whole bunch of dust during his present "oil tour '06." On Thursday, he accused the Russians of using their energy resources to blackmail other countries and re-impose authoritarian rule at home. Just to make sure the Russians got the message, Cheney chose to tell the Russians to 'go fuck themselves' at a conference of pro-Western former Soviet republics in Lithuania.

Nice work Trigger Finger! The reaction from the government of Russia has been muted so far, but there are rumblings of the Kremlin not being very happy about the speech, to put it mildly. Vladimir Isachenkov of the AP reports that some in Russia are likening the speech to Winston Churchill's "Iron Curtain” speech. Isachenkov writes that, "the prominent business daily Komersant said Cheney's comments marked 'the beginning of a second Cold War.'"

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, the guy that we're counting on to convince the Iranians to play ball with us, explained the Russian mood like this:

"Over the past years, many forums have been created that reflect the desire of the respective states...to pool their efforts to achieve common benefits. But there are forums that create an impression...that they are convened...for the sake of uniting against someone." Where would he ever get an idea like that? Gosh, the Russians are so paranoid.

Just because Cheney then moved on to Kazakhstan to convince Nursultan Nazarbayev to build pipelines that bypass Russia and go directly to the West shouldn't give the Russians the idea that we're up to no good. So we have a few military bases in Central Asia and we're parked on their southern border with 130,000 troops and we're training troops in Georgia...what's the big deal? Surely they're not feeling slightly hemmed in by us, are they?

While Cheney had some tough words for the authoritarian tendencies of Vlad "the Impaler" Putin, it was all puppies and kittens for Nazarbayev. Before he even met with a delegation of opposition leaders ---some of whom weren't able to make it because the government wouldn't let them travel --- Cheney was saying of Nazarbayev's dictatorial rule:

"I have previously expressed my admiration for what has transpired here in Kazakhstan over the past fifteen years, both in terms of economic development as well as political development."

Indeed, Nazarbayev just got voted back into office for the third time for other six-years with 91% of the vote. (Those are Ilham Aliyev numbers.) That's quite a bit of political development...for him. But we're not really too concerned about Nazarbayev being a serial election fixer, Kazakhstan is right in between Russian and China and they're slated to be pumping 3m barrels of oil a day by 2015. We're going to just quietly urge him to give up power eventually or just turn the reins of power over to his son at some point down the road.

One of Kazakhstan's opposition leaders, Oraz Jandosov, of the Democratic Party of Kazakhstan, who was to meet with Cheney for an hour said, "We're going to try to explain deplorable situation in this country. After Cheney's speech yesterday (in Lithuania), it will be difficult for him to be unsympathetic to us." [NYT]

How sad...if this poor sucker only knew!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:15 PM EDT
Updated: Monday, 8 May 2006 6:10 PM EDT
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Friday, 5 May 2006
W. down on the Kowtow ranch:
Topic: Bush Administraiton

Not so with China, though. After the fiasco that was Hu Jintao's visit to Washington DC, the U.S. is once again saying 'we're very sorry.' Taiwan's president Chen Shui-bian had thought that he could stop over in the U.S. for a little schmoozing with his neocon buddies on his way to South America for an official visit, but the U.S. denied his request. Instead, he was given the option of either stopping in Alaska or Hawaii for a quick refueling stop. The NYT reports that the U.S. is "eager to avoid antagonizing China," especially after the whole yelling-Falun-Gong-lady incident.

The official reason we're treating Chen this way is because the administration is mad at him for "abolishing" the National Reunification Council, which apparently, was long moribund: but the move was nevertheless one that greatly torked off the Chinese. At the time the U.S. State Dept. issued a rebuke to Chen to show they were onboard with their Chinese masters.

Plus, we need them in the Security Council to help us out with Iran....oh yeah, and North Korea and Sudan.

Besides all the money we owe them, it seems like every week there's another thing we need them to do for us. Another year of this sort of thing and they can just march right into Taipei and we won't lift a finger. Hell, we might even let them use some of our planes to land their troops; they basically paid for them anyway!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:55 PM EDT
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Cheney goes ballistic on Russia:
Topic: Bush Administraiton
This administration has a funny way of running its diplomacy. While the president and secretary of state are trying to get the U.N. Security Council to go along with issuing a Chapter IV resolution that would call for Iran to immediately cease its uranium enrichment program --- under pain of sanctions or worse --- Dick Cheney is in Lithuania firing broadsides at Vladimir Putin. I thought we sort of needed the Russians to go along with our plans for Iran (call me crazy!). Telling them that they're using their energy resources as "tools of intimidation or blackmail" against their neighbors isn't the way I would have gone about wooing them on to our side. [AP]

Of course, they are using their oil and gas for blackmail and Vladimir Putin does fancy himself a modern day Czar, but going into his backyard and telling him that isn't going to exactly get him to change his behavior. Once again we have this weird situation where the president is doing one thing and the other president is doing another thing. After all, it's W. that has to go to Petersburg in two months for the G-8 summit, not Cheney. And the Russians were already saying 'nix' to the sanctions plan, to even discussing Iran in the Security Council, so what do you think they're going to do now?

If the initial reaction by Mikhail Gorbachev, not a Putin guy, is any indication things are about to get more chilly between us. Gorby said, "Cheney's speech looks like a provocation and interference in Russia's internal affairs in terms of its content, form and place." Hmmm...does he really think so?

What I always wonder about is: does Cheney ever run any of this stuff by anyone in the president's office before he goes out and blurts it out? I'm not surprised that the administration's tone is getting more negative when it comes to Russia; I've been writing for months that W. & CO. appear to have gotten over the idea of the Russians being of any use in the Iran standoff, but actually coming out and lecturing Vlad in front of a bunch of leaders of Russia's former satellites really going that extra mile to be offensive.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 1:53 PM EDT
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Saturday, 22 April 2006
Iran: all options are radioactive
Topic: Bush Administraiton

On the diplomatic track, we're getting nowhere fast. After another fruitless get-together on Iran in Moscow, the under-secretary of state, Nicholas Burns, said yesterday that all sides agreed that Iran should stop its enrichment program...and that's about it. Burns offered that if the UN wouldn't do anything maybe individual countries could. Russia should stop selling missiles to Iran, for a start, and he said: "Its time for countries to start using their influence." Burns prefers to go through the UN Security Council, but "it's not beyond the realm of the possible that at some point in the future" other countries might, "take collective economic action or collective action on sanctions." (Or not.)

The NYT reports that the European chief negotiator, Javier Solana, has advocated penalties on Iran that would include, "stricter export controls on high technology shipments to Iran and revocation of visas for Iranian officials linked to the nuclear program." The Times noted, though, that another official pointed out that Solana had said these proposals were "options for reflection" not "options for action." For the Russian's part, Foreign Minister Sergie Lavrov said he would need proof that Iran is actually building a bomb before he would support sanctions.

While Burns is getting nowhere on convincing the rest of the world to do anything about Iran, the State Department's top arms-control official, Robert Joseph, is pushing the panic button. He says, "In terms of activities on the ground in Iran, it's fair to say, I believe, that the Iranians have put both feet on the accelerator." He also went on to say that, "We are very close to that point of no return." (Isn't that what the Israelis have been saying for the past year?)

Rummy backed up this assertion, in the friendly confines of the Laura Ingrahm show, by saying he has no confidence in the CIA's estimate that Iran is five to ten years away from having a bomb. "I think it's very difficult target for our intelligence community. They work hard at it, and they're fine people, but it's a difficult thing to do. Our visibility into their circumstance is imperfect." In other words, "the absence of evidence isn't evidence of absence."

Regime change, again:

And even if the CIA's intelligence is correct, that doesn't mean we're not going to go in with guns blazing anyway. Today the NYT reports that yet another former CIA official has come out to say that Rummy & Co. ignored evidence that Iraq didn't have WMD. Tyler Drumheller, the CIA's former head of the European operation, is going to say on 60 Minutes this Sunday that a paid informant in Saddam's inner circle, Foreign Minister Naji Sabri, told the CIA in September of 2002 that Iraq had no WMD. [Reuters]

CIA chief George Tenet, Bush and Cheney all knew this, so Drumheller thought the war must be off. He was surprised to find out shortly afterwards that it wasn't. Drumheller recalled, "And we said, 'Well, what about the intel?' And they said, 'Well, this isn't about intel anymore. This is about regime change."

That's the plan in Iran, too: Regime change. The U.S. going to spend $80 million to broadcast anti-regime propaganda into Iran and support organizations that want democracy in Iran. Of course, this type of thing could backfire. Michael Hirsh in an article in Newsweek points out that, "outside interference tends to enrage Iranians, who have never forgiven Washington for the CIA-assisted coup that toppled elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953."

Iran's ambassador to the UN, Javad Zarif, says, "It’s not new. They increased their activities in Iran two or three years ago and now instead of a reformist president we have a conservative president. That tells you how successful they were." Remember, Bush came out before the Iranian elections and questioned their legitimacy, which just pissed Iranians off even more. Hirsh writes that, "Even affluent voters who said they hated the Shiite mullahs told a Newsweek reporter in Iran at the time that American arrogance so angered them that they decided to vote for Ahmandinjad, the radical candidate."

So, what are the options here? Trying to force democracy down the Iranian's throats doesn’t seem to be going too well and the rest of the world doesn't appear to be buying the line that Iran is the biggest threat to world peace since Hitler, either. The military option is "on the table," but that would be a catastrophe of biblical proportions if we used it, so the only other option is talking to the Iranians one-on-one. If W. & CO. were really as interested in a peaceful solution as they profess to be, they would do everything possible, including talking to the Iranians.

But U.N. ambassador John Bolton told the Inquirer yesterday that "we have nothing to say to them." Bolton complains that, "One of the ironies here is that the Bush administration so often is criticized for being unilateralist cowboys, but we've been trying for 3 1/2 years to work our way through the board of governors of the International Atomic Energy Agency and [are] now trying to work our way through the U.N Security Council. But the purpose of these efforts is not just to chitchat about the Iranian nuclear-weapons efforts, but to bring them to a halt."

Of course, the truth is that for the past five years, beyond calling Iran part of the "axis of evil," the Bush administration has done zilch on Iran. They haven't been "trying for 3 1/2 years" to do anything, they've outsourced the diplomacy to the Europeans. W. & Co. have been dithering on Iran the entire time they've been in office and it's just now that they've gotten around to developing a policy of their own and, typically, it's all big sticks and no carrots.

I'm with Tom Friedman on this, if there's a "choice between another Rumsfeld-led confrontation and just letting Iran get nukes and living with it, we should opt for the latter."

Posted by bushmeister0 at 2:44 PM EDT
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Monday, 17 April 2006
War with Iran is inevitable, according to the Inquirer.
Topic: Bush Administraiton

I found this article in the Inquirer interesting. According to Warren P. Strobel, John Walcott and Jonathan S. Landay of the Inquirer Washington Bureau:

"The evidence that Iran is trying to develop nuclear weapons is stronger and more widely accepted --- internationally and within the U.S. government --- than the Bush administrations' flawed case about Iraq's alleged weapons of mass destruction four years ago."

Is it? Maybe, in some circles inside the White House and pentagon but internationally? Just last week, even after Iran claimed to have enriched uranium, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said he wasn't convinced. Iran "never stated that it is striving to possess nuclear weapons," he said. The jury is still out also on what India, Turkey, China and whole bunch of other countries think about Iran's intentions.

Even if the Iranians do want nukes, though, they won't have the capability to make them for years. U.S. intelligence estimates still say Iran is 5 to 10 years away, but, the Inquirer says, "Some independent experts put it at as little as three years." Of course, they don't say who these "independent" experts are. Could it be one of those former Israeli intelligence officers making the rounds in the U.S. saying Iran is not far from the "point of no return?"

And the article says, "There's good reason to question" the CIA's estimates: "The CIA was surprised, for example, when India conducted underground nuclear tests in May 1998." Yes, but the Indians lied to us about what they were doing and they didn't sign the NPT. Iran has and does get inspected. And a lot of what the CIA said about Iraq was actually right, but W. & CO. were manufacturing their own intelligence in the bowels of the pentagon to make sure all caveats were dismissed.

Maybe if we had access to A.Q Khan, we could figure out what exactly he gave the Iranians, but until recently our good friend Pervez Musharraf hasn't be too helpful. I read recently that the CIA was being giving limited access to Khan but that he might be just telling them what they want to hear in order to get better treatment. Where have we heard that before?

Couldn't we just talk to the Iranians?

"The administration has rejected the only other diplomatic course: direct talks with Iran about it nuclear program. A growing number of analysts and former top U.S. officials argue that the White House should reconsider."

Sounds reasonable, but the Inquirer goes on to say, "There's no guarantee that diplomacy, either through the U.N., or one-one, can succeed, and President Bush is adamant that Iran can't be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. That stance, and Iran's pledge that it will proceed with more centrifuges, means that U.S. air strikes, among then the large enrichment facility at Nantaz, might be the only option."

Well, that's that. One-on-one negotiation with Iran might fail, so we're not even going to try. Praise the Lord and pass the ammunition! This is the best the Inquirer's senior Washington staff can come up with? Making Bush's case for another war? Nice going Fourth Estate!

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:54 PM EDT
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Wednesday, 12 April 2006
Weeks rather than months?
Topic: Bush Administraiton
What was I just writing about us being rational about the whole Iran nuke thing?

The ever vigilent readers at democratic underground found this story on the Blomberg News web site:

"Iran, which is defying United Nations Security Council demands to cease its nuclear program, may be capable of making a nuclear bomb within 16 days if it goes ahead with plans to install thousands of centrifuges at its Natanz plant, a U.S. State Department official said.

'Natanz was constructed to house 50,000 centrifuges,' Stephen Rademaker, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Nonproliferation, told reporters today in Moscow. 'Using those 50,000 centrifuges they could produce enough highly enriched uranium for a nuclear weapon in 16 days.'"

Now, all they have to do is build 49,000 more cetrifuges and they're all set.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:06 PM EDT
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World's craziest country award goes to...
Topic: Bush Administraiton

In the ongoing challenge to find the craziest country on Earth, Iran has jumped ahead of us again. We just get done digesting the news that W. & Co. are thinking about using nukes on Iran, and now here comes religious fanatic # 2, Mamoud Amandinejad, to announce that Iran has "joined the club of nuclear nations." Iran has supposedly managed to enrich a small amount of low grade uranium. Better get the B-2 bombers gases up! Or not; it doesn't appear that Iran is on the verge of making nukes quite yet.

Despite the panicked warnings of Israel and the administration, no one really thinks Iran is anywhere near getting a bomb. Joseph Cirincione of the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, says, "They've shown that they can run a small number of centrifuges for a few days. What they need to do is run thousands for months. This is a significant engineering challenge. Very small mistakes can lead to catastrophe." The WaPo qotes a Western official closely involved in monitoring Iran's progress saying, "This means they can operate a larger cascade, but can they do it for a long time? We don't know."

The CIA thinks they're 5 to 10 years away, so there's no need to overreact. Not that we won't overreact, knowing that our "war president" is rumored to be bent on taking care of the Iranian problem before another less resolute president takes office. There's always the chance the next president might not talk to God on a regular basis, after all.

This news comes as the IAEA's Mohamed ElBaradei is scheduled to arrive in Iran. He'll be visiting the nuclear facility at Nanatz and then he'll be reporting back to the U.N. Security Council later this month on Iran's compliance with the UN's ultimatum to stop all enrichment activity issued last month. It doesn’t look like the Iranians are in any mood to cooperate with e international community on what it sees as its right to produce uranium for its "civilian" energy program.

Things look pretty bleak, but there might be a Iranian pull back coming. Hannah Allam and Jonathan S. Landay in the Inquirer today report that Saeed Laylaz, a political analyst in Tehran, is expecting Iran to make another announcement soon that they're suspending all enrichment activities. "They wanted this big ceremony to show that nuclear technology is not a goal --- it's an achievement. That is enough, and now we can go back to negotiations."

In other words, this was all about showing the world that they actually have the capability of enriching uranium if they want to. Some experts on this issue even think the inevitability of an Iranian nuke isn't set in stone. This is all about nationalism and Iran flexing its muscles in the region. Making bombs is really, really, expensive and average Iranians aren't exactly rolling in cash. Jobs are scarce and 70% of the population is under the age of 25, so Iran has a long way to go to becoming the regional powerhouse it wants to be.

Ultimately, the only solution to this "crisis" is to talk to the Iranians. The natural inclination of this administration is to throw bombs at every problem, but that option might not be available in this situation. Sure we have the capability of inflicting "shock and awe" on the Iranians, but the chaos that would create in the region and the economic blowback is too prohibitive to even imagine. If we're really the most powerful nation on the Earth, we ought to be able to talk to the Iranians without any loss of face. We hold most of the cards and a less bellicose approach might bring the Chinese and the Russians around to seeing things our way.

Of course, all of this is based on an expectation both us and the Iranians being rational, there's no guarantee either side will be. The onus is on us, though, to do something positive. We're the ones with the money, the political clout and the military strength to make the difference here. Whether W. and his "war cabinet" have the imagination and the will to do anything other than keep repeating the same mistakes over and over again is the ultimate question that will determine if we avoid Armageddon or not.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 12:44 PM EDT
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Saturday, 8 April 2006
Operation Armageddon: War with Iran is on!
Topic: Bush Administraiton

SEYMOUR M. HERSH writes in the April 17th New Yorker that the Bush administration is planning for war with Iran.

He writes: "Current and former American military and intelligence officials said that Air Force planning groups are drawing up lists of targets, and teams of American combat troops have been ordered into Iran, under cover, to collect targeting data and to establish contact with anti-government ethnic-minority groups.

There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush’s ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change.

A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was 'absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb' if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do 'what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do,' and 'that saving Iran is going to be his legacy.'

One of the military’s initial option plans, as presented to the White House by the Pentagon this winter, calls for the use of a bunker-buster tactical nuclear weapon, such as the B61-11, against underground nuclear sites."

So, not only are we going to bomb Iran into the stone age, we're going to do it with tactical nuclear weapons. John McCain was right, it will be Armageddon.

Posted by bushmeister0 at 3:35 PM EDT
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