By Marc Perelman
Thu. Jul 24, 2008
The Bush administration’s recent diplomatic overtures toward Iran have unleashed a torrent of criticism from neoconservatives and have fueled concerns in Israel that Washington is shelving the option of using military force against Tehran’s nuclear facilities.
('Concerns' amongst the Neo-Fascist War Criminals only. Relief for everyone else. And this is being done in order to further the illusion of a crisis which does not exist, in order to further the plan to start a war without appearing the Aggressor.)
After months of rejecting the possibility of negotiating with Iran until it suspends nuclear enrichment, the administration sent a high-level envoy July 20 to European-led talks with Iranian diplomats on the nuclear issue. Washington also has suggested a willingness to open a low-level diplomatic mission in Tehran for the first time since 1979. And Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, has signaled a preference for a diplomatic solution to the standoff.
(The "Standoff" is between those DC and Israeli Extremists who wish to start a war, and the Iranians, who haven't done anything wrong. The Extremists are being forced by more rational voices to abandon their plans, because Iran hasn't done anything wrong, and everyone can see all too clearly who the belligerent party is.)
Veteran Iran hands see the developments as evidence that President Bush has decided, at least for now, to give the State Department the lead on Iran policy. The White House’s shift has infuriated the advocates of regime change who held sway in Bush’s first term but have since been gradually sidelined.
(The disaster that has been their policy has forced them from power.)
“This is a major shift, but I see it in the context of any second term administration’s Hail Mary pass to secure a legacy,” said Michael Rubin, a former Iran analyst at the Pentagon who is now working at the American Enterprise Institute. “What we see now is the State Department running the show. [Secretary of State Condoleezza] Rice is a chameleon, and will always go with whatever side is up.”
(Rubin's just gnashing his teeth because his time is up.)
While rumors of impending military operations by Israel or the United States against Iran continue to surface, the latest developments mark the second time in the past year that an official American decision has drawn the ire of both defense hawks in the United States and Israel’s political and military establishment. This past December a report representing the consensus view of America’s 16 intelligence agencies asserted that Iran had likely stopped its nuclear weapons program in 2003.
(No, it said there was no such program. This singular claim, sensationalized by the media and War Criminals, came from a dubious source reminiscent of Ahmad Chalabi before the Iraq war.)
The intelligence estimate prompted furious reactions from Israeli officials. The most prominent critic of the assessment was Defense Minister Ehud Barak, who is scheduled to travel to Washington to try to prevent the Bush administration from shelving the military option.
(Proving without a doubt this time around that Israeli Extremists are behind this Madness, and thus, pose the real threat that must be confronted.)
The Israeli military’s chief of staff, Gabi Ashkenazi, was also in Washington last week to discuss Iran’s nuclear program. Ashkenazi, as well as other Israeli officials, stressed that Jerusalem has not seen a change in America’s basic policy toward Iran.
Speaking to reporters after a July 23 reception at the Israeli embassy, Ashkenazi said that the United States and Israel are “united in their approach” that Iran should not have nuclear weapons. “There is no doubt that the priority is to do it in a way of diplomatic actions and sanctions,” he said. “I think this is the preferred way.” But, the lieutenant general added, both Washington and Jerusalem understand the need “to prepare all other options.”
(But since Iran isn't pursuing weaponization, and any deviation from this would be immediately apparent, there is no crisis.)
On the diplomatic front, the Bush administration sent William Burns, the third-ranking official in the State Department, to a July 20 meeting in Geneva with European and Iranian diplomats. But Washington has since indicated that the diplomat’s involvement was a “one-off.” The administration has said that the discussions did not yield concrete results, and indicated that it would pursue further sanctions against Tehran if it refuses to suspend enrichment activities.
Such indications, however, have done little to placate those advocating a robust American policy on Iran.
(So what? They're an angry and marginalized, dangerous minority.)
“For a long time, the Bush administration maintained a studied ambiguity regarding Iran’s nuclear buildup,” said Laurent Murawiec, a senior fellow at the nonpartisan (sic) policy research organization Hudson Institute. “From the issuance of the NIE onward, it stopped doing so: In effect, it surrendered. Gone are considerations of the nature of the Iranian regime, its strategies, its intents. Everything is now vested in the ‘process,’ whereby diplomats exchange niceties, arrive nowhere and call it negotiations. Once dubbed part of the ‘Axis of Evil,’ Iran is now a legitimate partner, regardless of its hugely destabilizing action in Lebanon, Gaza, etc. The only birds left in the administration are poultry. Ms. Rice is the fowl in chief.”
(He's just angry because people haven't fallen for the LIES this time around, which were intended to start a war these criminals have been planning for years. The failure of their policies over the past eight years have forced the world to deal with the facts, in that Iran hasn't done anything wrong, and the "bad guys" are the Neo-Fascists in Israel and DC.)
Leading neoconservative John Bolton, who was undersecretary for arms control (sic) before he was appointed ambassador to the United Nations in 2005, has expressed a similar view. Recently, he has spoken out publicly against engagement with Iran several times, blasting the Bush administration for what he describes as a betrayal of its principles in order to save its legacy.
(More gnashing of the teeth by a marginalized, criminal Fascist.)
Gary Sick, who served as an Iran specialist at the National Security Council in the late 1970s, said that insofar as arguing that the Bush administration has fundamentally shifted away from its Iran policy earlier in the presidency, Bolton was “absolutely right.”
“While much of the world was hyperventilating over the possibility that the United States (and maybe Israel) were getting ready to launch a new war against Iran, Bolton was looking at the realities and concluding that far from bombing, the U.S. was preparing to do a deal with Iran,” Sick wrote in a recent posting. “He will have observed that the worst of the neocons (including himself) are now writing books and spending more time with families and friends, cheerleading for more war by writing Op-Eds from the outside rather than pursuing their strategies in policy meetings in the White House.”
(That's because nobody wants to be seen with them.)
Larry Wilkerson, who served as chief of staff to then-secretary of state Colin Powell during Bush’s first term and has since become one of the neoconservatives’ most prominent critics, cautioned that administration hawks might again return to favor in Washington.
(NOT BLOODY LIKELY, but again, beware of a rigged election or False Flag desperation ...)
The decision to send Burns to Geneva, Wilkerson said, was “a sign that the administration believes it has gained some strategic leverage vis-à-vis Iran and that it can now pursue what Bush has said he was pursuing all along — real diplomacy. This means that Rice is ascendant and [Deputy National Security Advisor] Elliott Abrams and Dick Cheney are in their boxes. How long this lasts, however, is a good question.”
With reporting by Nathan Guttman in Washington.
Iran is not the belligerent party
By Linda S. Heard, Special to Gulf News
Published: June 23, 2008, 23:33
In recent years Iran has become the target of a belligerent campaign against it, orchestrated by usual suspects the US, Israel and Britain.
(The REAL 'Axis of Evil"?)
This aggressive nuclear-armed trio has badgered other nations to back anti-Iranian sanctions without even the flimsiest evidence that Tehran is pursuing nuclear weapons.
Since 2006, Iran has been subjected to three rounds of ever-tightening UN sanctions while the European Union (EU) is preparing to freeze funds and assets of Bank Melli, Iran's largest bank. And what heinous crime has Tehran perpetrated to warrant this treatment?
In truth, Iran hasn't done anything wrong. Under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), to which it is a signatory, it has an "inalienable right" to develop, research, produce and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, which includes the right to enrich uranium.
But because Washington harbours old grievances against the Iranian government and Israel is determined to eliminate potential powerful rivals within the region Iran is being squeezed to relinquish its rights.
The stance of the US and its allies is not only based on an unfounded and unfair premise, it reeks of hypocrisy when nuclear-armed Israel has a green light to continue its ridiculous policy of nuclear ambiguity and is not being pressed to sign-up to the NPT.
On the rare occasions that Western leaders are asked about this inconsistency, they deftly change the subject, terminate the interview, or launch into a tirade, which usually includes Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's "wipe Israel off the map" statement, knowing full well that his words were mistranslated. They cannot debate the issue because it defies logic.
When it comes to demonising Iran, the US, Israel and Britain have a unified message and a compliant media, which has learned nothing from its mistakes during the run-up to the invasion of Iraq, and seems happy to continue to act as a government propaganda arm in some cases.
Thanks to the dutiful corporate mouthpieces, most Americans and Britons have no idea that Tehran is acting within its rights under the NPT.
They don't know that in December, a US intelligence estimate stated categorically that Iran is not currently developing nukes or that the nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which monitors Iranian facilities, has no proof it seeks to do so.
The West's propaganda campaign is so effective that the majority of Westerners believe that Iran is the belligerent even though the facts support the contrary argument.
For instance, the US President George W. Bush has rarely missed an opportunity to insult, condemn and threaten Iran throughout his two terms in office beginning with his puerile "Axis of Evil".
The Republican presidential candidate, Senator John McCain, made his feelings known in his "bomb, bomb Iran" ditty. And even his Democratic opponent, Barack Obama, has vowed to eliminate the threat posed by Iran whatever it takes.
Israeli leaders have gone a step further. Earlier this month, Israel's Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz said an attack on Iran appeared "unavoidable". Interestingly, every time the rhetoric is ratcheted up so is the price of oil, which is good news for Tehran's coffers.
Worse, Israel recently launched a military air exercise over the eastern Mediterranean involving over 100 fighter jets and helicopters, which, according to US officials was a prelude to a possible strike on Iran's enrichment plant at Natanz.
An Israeli spokesperson told the Times that Iran should "read the writing on the wall" as this was a "dress rehearsal" and Iranians should "read the script before they continue with their programme" else Israel "will take military steps to halt Tehran's production of bomb-grade uranium."
In this case, shouldn't this dry run constitute an act of war? It is certainly a provocative act and should be taken seriously in light of Israel's recent incursion into Syrian airspace to bomb a military facility and its 1981 attack on Iraq's Osirak reactor.
When Egypt amassed over 200,000 troops in the Sinai in early June 1967, Israel struck first, blamed Egypt for initiating hostilities and claiming it had acted out of self-defence. Surely, Israel's self-confessed rehearsal is similarly provocative and in the extremely unlikely event Iran struck first, it could also argue self-defence.
Whether Israel is merely sabre-rattling in an attempt to persuade Iran to agree to the latest EU package of inducements or whether it is deadly serious is the subject of debate.
IAEA Chief Mohammad Al Baradei seems to be taking it seriously and if Iran is attacked he says he will resign.
"I don't believe that what I see in Iran today is a current, grave and urgent danger. If a military strike is carried out against Iran at this time, it would make me unable to continue my work," he said, warning that such an attack would turn the region into "a fireball".
Iran is taking it seriously too. Last Sunday, its Defence Minister Mustafa Mohammad Najjar told the nation that if attacked Iran would use "all means available" to come up with a devastating response. Those of us who live in the neighbourhood can only pray that cooler heads put an end to this madness before it's too late.
Linda S. Heard is a specialist writer on Middle East affairs. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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