March 10, 2006
This is the only thing that will change: that particular excuse will not be used:
But otherwise we are watching as the drums of war are beating with
increasing strength and we watch, with incredulity mixed wiht disgust
and fear, as the exact same steps that led to the Iraq War are now
being played out with Iran.
This diary is inspired, and draws content from various diaries with extensive discussions of Iran over at European Tribune:
Iraq could deploy WMD within 48 hours by Colman
Gnomemoot: should we get on the record? by wchurchill
Hear the drums beating... by Metatone
The Monolith Crumbles: Reality and Revisionism in Iran by ghandi
Gnomemoot 0: Iran - problem summary and more questions by Colman
Gnomemoot 0: Iran - what is the problem? by Colman
The disquieting news today come in various press reports:
Iran is only months from bomb technology, says Britain (Guardian)
The west's confrontation with Iran over its nuclear activities
intensified yesterday after Britain claimed that Tehran could acquire
the technological capability to build a bomb by the end of the year.
So now the concern that triggers action is not nuclear weapons but
nuclear technology. Obviously the previous talking points weren't
working for them. A five to ten-year window doesn't sound scary enough,
does it? (text in italics is commentary borrowed from Colman over at eurotrib)
A day after the International Atomic Energy Agency referred the dispute
to the United Nations security council, British officials also
indicated that London would back Washington's efforts to impose a UN deadline of about 30 days for Iran's compliance with international demands.
Until now, European diplomats have referred to a period of five to 10
years during which Iran might potentially build a bomb, while conceding
that hard evidence is lacking. By publicly focusing on the level of
Iran's technical capabilities, Britain may have shortened the timeframe for a peaceful resolution of the crisis.
"Roll over Tony. Now, sit and beg. Good boy."
The outcome of the extensive discussions on ET was a consensus of
sorts, from publicly available information (as analysed by a number of
pretty knowledgeable people) that 5-10 years was indeed the period that
would be required for Iran to get any meaningful nuclear capacity.
And now, suddenly, Britain (without apparent concertation with other
European countries) starts talking about "the end of the year" and
about the urgency to do something.
UN unlikely to make Iranian nuclear deal easier (Financial Times)
Condoleezza Rice, the US secretary of state, on Thursday said a
nuclear-armed Iran would be hundreds of times more threatening to US
interests, a day after Tehran's nuclear dispute was sent to the UN
As officials in the US and Europe considered action against Tehran, Ms
Rice indicated that Iran was already the US's biggest challenge because
of its alleged meddling in the Middle East.
Heh. Meddling is ok. Alleged meddling is bad, bad, bad.
"If you can take that and multiply it by several hundred, you can
imagine Iran with a nuclear weapon and the threat they would then pose
to that region," she told a congressional hearing.
US and European officials say that Tehran could, within one year,
master the uranium enrichment technology that could be used for an
atomic bomb. So, although diplomats in Europe speak of incremental
pressure at the UN, stopping Iran's quest for the technology will, in
practice, require an accelerated approach.
So this looks like a coordinated US-UK approach to accelerate things
and adapt the evidence to the policy, which seems to be summed up by
"Something needs to be done before November!"
The first action, expected next week, is the easiest part: a
presidential statement at the Security Council urging Iran to cease
enrichment activities, with a deadline of weeks rather than months,
according to diplomats. If Tehran failed to respond, the Council would
consider targeted sanctions.
But it is at this point that the international front against Iran is
likely to start unravelling, with Russia and China, two permanent
members of the Security Council with veto power, resisting sanctions.
Again, the same pretense to go the UN route as a figleaf, and to give
it up as soon as "obstructive" countries (which will be tainted by
their unseemly commercial interests in Iran - check: Russia is selling
nuclear technology and Chiina is buying oil) block the "diplomatic
route". We tried, they'll say, but these nasty Russians/Chinese chose
to oppose us (France is still on board so far, but how that goes
remains to be seen...)
Nicholas Burns, US undersecretary for state, outlined this week how the
US had few options at its disposal because of the lack of international
support for significant sanctions. The US had no illusions about being
able to resolve this crisis through the Security Council and was in the
process of seeking to put together an ad hoc coalition of "concerned
countries", he told a Washington think-tank.
"Coalition of the Concerned". Heh. They don't even need to be willing...
From Mr Burns' briefing, analysts said it was apparent that the Bush
administration's policy relied on making loud threats with little
substance, in the hope that Iran would capitulate. If the Islamic
regime did not retreat, then the US had not worked out how it would
proceed, analysts said.
Now THAT sounds all too familiar...
Loud threats? Check
No substance? Check
No back up plan? Check
And of course, no intelligence, as John Murtha reminds us (MSNBC):
In other words, when Cheney makes a threat like that, it falls on deaf
ears because they know darn well we couldn't accept it. But the big
thing is, as
much money as we spend on intelligence, we don't know where the targets
are, we don't know exactly what we need to do. So there's no use in
even talking about the military strikes.
And just for kicks, bring in Bolton:
US warns of challenge from Iran (BBC)
Washington has warned that Iran's nuclear programme is one of America's
biggest challenges, and refused to rule out any option including
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said earlier that Iran might present the US with its toughest challenge.
US Ambassador John Bolton told the BBC he could not predict whether
there would be any consensus at the Security Council which faced, he
said, a test as to its ability to deal with the threat of nuclear proliferation.
So the Bush administration has just basically signalled its intention
to kill the NPT treaty with its deal with India, but in this case, if
the treaties are not respected, it's proof of the UN's failure? Neat,
Mr Bolton said that while much of what Iran did was bluff, its level of
irresponsibility illustrated why Tehran should not be allowed to
develop nuclear weapons.
This last one is just so rich that it could be a fitting conclusion to this piece.
But all of this found be laughable if it sadly did not point towards a full-fledged PR campaign aimed at the US public:
And there you go, another unavoidable war of choice made for election purposes. Why doesn't it sound far-fetched? Why is it happening again?
- Iran is a longstanding enemy of the US (expect more shows about
the hostage crisis, Ayatollah Khomeini and crowds burning flags);
- It's threatening Israel (cue to President Ahmedjadid's
declarations denying the Holocaust and calling for the destruction of
- maybe insert a few words about how Iran is supporting the nasty terrorists that kill brave US soldiers in Iraq;
- and now it's about to get nuclear weapons, even
the French/Europeans agree with us on that (cue to French minister
making random worried/tough sounding statement about the current
negotiations, plus the same repeated in English by a British minister,
with the added urgency);
- a reminder that the UN route was tried, once again, and failed because of the "bought"weak
commercially compromised friends Iran has and its stranglehold on oil
(cue to random declarations about "contracts of the century"
between Iran and China or Japan).