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by CTuttle

Israel or Iran, Cui Bono…?

6:00 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Let me start off the discussion with something Trita Parsi had mentioned to Laura Rozen recently…

…The United States wants Iran to stop enrichment to 20 percent, to turn over its stockpile of low enriched uranium, and to halt plans to make Fordo operational. “But what can they and the Europeans” offer in return? asked Parsi, who is the author of a new book on U.S. diplomacy with Iran. A “mutual freeze on any mutual escalation” is one possible formulation, he said. But western powers are “asking Iran to give up things they already have.” It’s hard to imagine, he added, that the United States would be prepared to offer Iran a corresponding suspension of sanctions already in place–particularly while a presidential election is under way in the United States…

Iran Affair’s Cyrus Safdari expands on the fallacy…

…And it occurred to me that in reality no one in the US can offer anything that Iran would logically and presumably ask for. For example, on the question of removal of sanctions: Can Obama actually remove the sanctions? He has the legal authority to rescind some Executive Orders, of course, but that is only a small part of the web of sanctions imposed around Iran. He would have to go up against the US Congress, which as that Tom Friedman character recently said, is “bought and paid for” by Israel. So how would these sanctions be removed, exactly? How could the State Department actually get Adelson to stop funding think tanks that hire PhDs as advocates acting under a guise of scholarly objectivity to promote the idea that giving up on sanctions amounts to Chamberlain bowing to Hitler? How could Obama get editors to stop or start using keywords and phrases over and over again in their publications, “Nuclear Weapons Program”, “Terrorism”, etc.? How could he do any of this, even if he didn’t have to worry about getting re-elected, because after all he can’t do anything unless he’s re-elected… {snip}

…So, am I right? Assuming that Washington wants to resolve things with Iran peacefully and is willing to make the necessary compromises to do so, IS anyone in Washington really in a position to deliver on such promises and to implement such policies in the face of domestic opposition, where being ‘weak on Iran’ is blood in the water for the opposing campaign? To sell any sort of real change in Iran policy to the public, or at least those who pay for his election campaigning, the President would have to be willing to consume a great deal of political capital. Can he get the necessary laws passed, and other laws rescinding? How many votes in Congress would that require? How much fighting will be required for each vote? Its just not possible. No politician in the US can do this. Even assuming he could win some of the fights, it would consume far more resources than any politician can be willing to dedicate to a single cause…

MJ Rosenberg, in Al Jazeera, cited Jeffrey Goldberg a few times…

Assassination in Tehran: An act of war?

The murder of an Iranian nuclear scientist in Tehran suggests that Israel and neoconservatives are pushing for war.

…Writing about a piece in the current edition of Foreign Affairs that endorses bombing Iran as a neat and cost-free way to address its nuclear programme, Goldberg explains why he thinks the author, Council on Foreign Relations fellow Matthew Kroenig, is wrong. Goldberg says he now believes:

…that advocates of an attack on Iran today would be exchanging a theoretical nightmare – an Iran with nukes – for an actual nightmare: A potentially out-of-control conventional war raging across the Middle East that could cost the lives of thousands Iranians, Israelis, Gulf Arabs and even American servicemen.

Think about that for a minute. Uber-hawk Jeffrey Goldberg is saying that the threat posed by Iran is a “theoretical nightmare” while a war ostensibly to neutralise that threat would present an “actual nightmare”.

{snip}

…Here is Jeff Goldberg again in a column subsequent to the one I already cited:

If I were a member of the Iranian regime (and I’m not), I would take this assassination program to mean that the West is entirely uninterested in any form of negotiation (not that I, the regime official, has ever been much interested in dialogue with the West) and that I should double-down and cross the nuclear threshold as fast as humanly possible. Once I do that, I’m North Korea, or Pakistan: An untouchable country.

In short, for those hell-bent on getting the US engaged in a war that even Jeff Goldberg views as a “nightmare” for both the US and Israel, this is a very good day indeed.

Congratulations. Or something like that.

Jim Lobe really hammers home the point…

Whoever Killed the Scientist Was Aiming at Much More

…My sense of the last week or so was that the mostly verbal confrontation between Iran and the U.S., particularly regarding the Strait of Hormuz, was spinning out of control much more rapidly than anyone had expected and that the possibility of a conflict had suddenly become very real in ways the Obama administration certainly never intended. (See Anne-Marie Slaughter’s CNN column, “Saving Face and Peace in the Gulf,” as an example of “this is getting really dangerous all of a sudden”. Until last fall, of course, she was Clinton’s director of policy planning and a very influential figure in the administration.) So there seemed to be a real effort to dial things back, expressed not only in repeated statements by senior administration officials, including Clinton, emphasizing Washington’s readiness to negotiate, but also, if the always well-informed Laura Rozen is to be believed, a lot of diplomatic — some of it, I’m sure, behind the scenes — manoeuvring to get the P5+1 process back into gear, with Turkey serving as the convenor/mediator.

Under these circumstances, the timing of today’s assassination was particularly remarkable. Among other things, it makes me believe that the U.S., which condemned the attack and categorically denied any role in it (See Clinton’s statement in her press conference with the Qatari Prime Minister here), was not in fact involved.* That leaves two obvious suspects: 1) Israel and 2) a faction within the Iranian regime. If there was indeed an Israeli hand behind it, the assassination was not just an effort to set back the Iran’s nuclear program and induce fear among other scientists working on it. I think it was also a provocation designed to 1) blow up prospects for progress in any p5+1 negotiations that might convene over the next month or so; 2) strengthen hard-line factions in Tehran that oppose negotiations; and 3) possibly provoke retaliation that will further escalate tensions, if not armed conflict. Of course, all three of these overlap and reinforce each other. If it was an internal Iranian faction, which, frankly, I find more difficult to believe, both 1) and 2) above also apply…

About the possible internal Iranian faction within the Iranian Regime, both Emptywheel and Jim White are pointing to JSOC ops, as opposed to CIA ops, and, even the possibility of Mossad posing as CIA agents…!

Alex Kane at Mondoweiss had this to add…The headline you aren’t seeing: Iran wants talks, Israel pushing for war…

Foreign Policy has been abuzz with numerous posts…

Iran agreed to nuclear talks and an IAEA mission… And… Do Israelis really want to bomb Iran?

Now, as ex-CIA Middle East desk Chief, Philip Giraldi, updates his 2007 prognostication of What World War III May Look Like… He then paints a mighty bleak picture of What War With Iran Might Look Like…

God help us all…!

by CTuttle

Goldberg Redux

7:11 pm in Uncategorized by CTuttle

Tick, tick, tick… That clock’s a’tocking away…!

In March of ’02, Israeli Chamber of Commerce spokesmodel Jeffrey Goldberg, in the New Yorker, screamed at the top of his lungs…

The Great Terror
In northern Iraq, there is new evidence of Saddam Hussein’s genocidal war on the Kurds—and of his possible ties to Al Qaeda.

…Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction clearly are not meant solely for domestic use. Several years ago in Baghdad, Richard Butler, who was then the chairman of UNSCOM, fell into conversation with Tariq Aziz, Saddam’s confidant and Iraq’s deputy Prime Minister. Butler asked Aziz to explain the rationale for Iraq’s biological-weapons project, and he recalled Aziz’s answer: “He said, ‘We made bioweapons in order to deal with the Persians and the Jews.’ “

Iraqi dissidents agree that Iraq’s programs to build weapons of mass destruction are focussed on Israel. “Israel is the whole game,” Ahmad Chalabi, the leader of the Iraqi National Congress, told me. “Saddam is always saying publicly, ‘Who is going to fire the fortieth missile?’ “—a reference to the thirty-nine Scud missiles he fired at Israel during the Gulf War. “He thinks he can kill one hundred thousand Israelis in a day with biological weapons.” Chalabi added, “This is the only way he can be Saladin”—the Muslim hero who defeated the Crusaders. Students of Iraq and its government generally agree that Saddam would like to project himself as a leader of all the Arabs, and that the one sure way to do that is by confronting Israel…

And, later on in October of ’02, in Slate, Goldberg famously answered the question…

Should the U.S. Invade Iraq?

…So: Saddam Hussein is uniquely evil, the only ruler in power today—and the first one since Hitler—to commit chemical genocide. Is that enough of a reason to remove him from power? I would say yes, if "never again" is in fact actually to mean "never again."

‘Never Again’, indeed… According to him, today, we’ve already reached…

The Point of No Return

…For the Obama administration, the prospect of a nuclearized Iran is dismal to contemplate— it would create major new national-security challenges and crush the president’s dream of ending nuclear proliferation. But the view from Jerusalem is still more dire: a nuclearized Iran represents, among other things, a threat to Israel’s very existence. In the gap between Washington’s and Jerusalem’s views of Iran lies the question: who, if anyone, will stop Iran before it goes nuclear, and how? As Washington and Jerusalem study each other intensely, here’s an inside look at the strategic calculations on both sides—and at how, if things remain on the current course, an Israeli air strike will unfold.

Wtf…? Cue up the Beach Boys, in 3… 2… 1…!

Jeffrey Goldberg Probes Israel’s Iran Strike Option: Is Netanyahu a "Bomber Boy"?

…Today, there is a new US President, more Iranian centrifuges, and a different Israeli Prime Minister – and Bibi Netanyahu seems closer to a Curtis LeMay, John Bolton or Frank Gaffney than he does to the more containment-oriented Eisenhowers and George Kennans who in their day forged a global equilibrium out of superpower rivalry and hatred.

Goldberg, after conducting dozens of interviews with senior members of Israel’s national security establishment as well as many top personalities in the Obama White House, concludes in his must-read piece that the likelihood of Israel unilaterally bombing Iran to curtail a potential nuclear weapon breakout capacity is north of 50-50.

In short, Goldberg paints a picture that despite the likelihood of very high cost blowback from Iran in the wake of a unilateral strike by Israel, or a coordinated attack with the US, there are numerous tilts toward bombing embedded in the current political orders in both Jerusalem and Washington.

Ironically, one of Goldberg’s central tenets… The notion that most of the Arab League members support an airstrike on Iran to disable their Nuke programme, was recently obliterated by a Brookings Institution report…

…This year’s poll surveyed 3,976 people in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates, during the period of June 29–July 20, 2010.

Among the key poll findings are:

* A substantial change in the assessment of President Obama, both as president of the United States and of Obama personally.
* Remarkably stable views on the Arab-Israeli conflict and the prospects of its resolution.
* A majority of the Arab public now see a nuclear-armed Iran as being better for the Middle East.

*heh* Even the unwashed masses of Arabs realize that ObamaRahma ain’t producing…! Fancy that…!

But nobody seems to be cluing in here in the West, as Steve Hynd noted recently…

…I think the international community are making a mistake if they believe Hillary Clinton is trying to solve the Iran nuclear problem. She has been consistently hawkish, truculent and obstructive to diplomacy with Tehran. "Madame AIPAC" has been an all-round disaster as a SecState so far, with gaffes and diplomatic suicide bombs from Russia to the Falkland Islands…

It is rather sad when the last two mainstream candidates for the Dem ticket are both AIPAC tools…

As Hillary stated shortly after she was installed at the helm of the Ship of State…

…Iran’s pursuit of the nuclear weapon is deeply troubling to not only the U.S. but many people throughout the world," Clinton said.

"We’re at the beginning of this process of putting enormous pressure on Iran from all kinds of different angles in order to persuade them or prevent them from acquiring nuclear weapons," Clinton added later.

The ‘sanctions’ are creating the very conditions they were designed specifically to stop…

Iran sanctions strengthen Ahmadinejad regime – Karroubi

…Punitive international sanctions imposed on Iran have strengthened Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s government and assisted its post-election crackdown on the opposition Green movement, the leading reformist politician and former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi has told the Guardian.

In his first interview with a British newspaper since widespread unrest erupted after Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election as president last June, Karroubi blamed the US and Britain for adopting counterproductive policies to combat Iran’s suspect nuclear programme, describing sanctions as a gift to the Iranian regime.

"These sanctions have given an excuse to the Iranian government to suppress the opposition by blaming them for the unstable situation of the country," Karroubi said in email responses to the Guardian.

So let’s bomb them and have them really rally around the Regime, and, even force them to accelerate their Nuke program, with no IAEA inspectors around, whatsoever…!

The Stupid…! It Burns…! 8-(