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Opinion

Opinion

Status quo is not an option on Iran

August 25, 2012

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— Either Israel is engaged in the most elaborate ruse since the Trojan Horse or it is on the cusp of a pre-emptive strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

What’s alarming is not just Iran’s increasing store of uranium or the growing sophistication of its rocketry. It’s also the increasingly menacing annihilationist threats emanating from Iran’s leaders. Israel’s existence is “an insult to all humanity,” says President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. “Anyone who loves freedom and justice must strive for the annihilation of the Zionist regime.” Explains the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Israel is “a true cancer tumor on this region that should be cut off.”

Everyone wants to avoid military action, surely the Israelis above all. They can expect a massive counterattack from Iran, 50,000 rockets launched from Lebanon, Islamic Jihad firing from Gaza and worldwide terror against Jewish and Israeli targets, as happened last month in Bulgaria.

Yet Israel will not sit idly by in the face of the most virulent genocidal threats since Nazi Germany. The result then was 6 million murdered Jews. There are 6 million living in Israel today.

Time is short. Last-ditch negotiations in Istanbul, Baghdad and Moscow have failed abjectly. The Iranians are contemptuously playing with the process. The strategy is delay until they get the bomb.

What to do? The sagest advice comes from Anthony Cordesman, military analyst at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, hardheaded realist and a believer that “multilateralism and soft power must still be the rule and not the exception.”

He may have found his exception. “There are times when the best way to prevent war is to clearly communicate that it is possible,” he argues. Today, the threat of a U.S. attack is not taken seriously. Not by the region. Not by Iran. Not by the Israelis, who therefore increasingly feel forced to act before Israel’s more limited munitions — far less powerful and effective than those in the U.S. arsenal — can no longer penetrate Iran’s ever-hardening facilities.

Cordesman therefore proposes threefold action.

  1. “Clear U.S. redlines.”  

It’s time to end the ambiguity about American intentions. Establish real limits on negotiations — to convince Iran that the only alternative to a deal is pre-emptive strikes, and to convince Israel to stay its hand.

  1. “Make it clear to Iran that it has no successful options.”

Either their program must be abandoned in a negotiated deal (see No. 1 above) on generous terms from the West (see No. 3 below) or their facilities will be physically destroyed. Ostentatiously let Iran know about the range and power of our capacities — how deep and extensive a campaign we could conduct, extending beyond just nuclear facilities to military-industrial targets, refineries, power grids and other concentrations of regime power.

  1. Give Iran a face-saving way out.

Offer Iran the most generous possible terms — economic, diplomatic and political. End of sanctions, assistance in economic and energy development, trade incentives and a regional security architecture. Even Russian nuclear fuel.

Tellingly, however, Cordesman does not join those who suggest yielding on nuclear enrichment. That’s important because a prominently leaked proposed “compromise” would guarantee Iran’s right to enrich, though not to high levels.

In my view, this would be disastrous. Iran would retain the means to potentially produce fissile material, either clandestinely or in a defiant breakout at a time of its choosing.

Would Iran believe a Cordesman-like ultimatum? Given the record of the Obama administration, maybe not. Some (though not Cordesman) have therefore suggested the further step of requesting congressional authorization for the use of force if Iran does not negotiate denuclearization.

First, that’s the right way to do it. No serious military action should be taken without congressional approval (contra Libya). Second, Iran might actually respond to a threat backed by a strong bipartisan majority of the American people — thus avoiding both war and the other nightmare scenario, a nuclear Iran.

If we simply continue to drift through kabuki negotiations, however, one thing is certain. Either America, Europe, the Gulf Arabs and the Israelis will forever be condemned to live under the threat of nuclear blackmail (even nuclear war) from a regime the State Department identifies as the world’s greatest exporter of terror. Or an imperiled Israel, with its more limited capabilities, will strike Iran — with correspondingly greater probability of failure and of triggering a regional war.

All options are bad. Doing nothing is worse. “The status quo may not prevent some form of war,” concludes Cordesman, “and may even be making it more likely.”

— Charles Krauthammer is a columnist for Washington Post Writers Group.

Comments

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 1 year, 7 months ago

http://www.commondreams.org/headline/2012/08/27-2

Iran Opens Nonaligned Summit with Call for Nuclear Arms Ban

Iranian diplomatic leaders called for an international ban on nuclear arms by the year 2025 on Sunday, as the nation kicked off this year's Non-Aligned Nations Movement (NAM) Summit. Over 120 nations met in Tehran this weekend beginning a week-long gathering aimed at tackling global issues ranging from the conflict in Syria to nuclear proliferation.


Will the US, Israel, and other nuclear powers join in this call?

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

I suppose there is a certain amount of hypocrisy involved. Or we may call it common sense. Not every country can be nor should be judged equally. You're always saying you want the same standards, and am critical of me when I profess a multitude of standards. But sometimes, that's exactly what is needed. You can't judge a country of 6 million equally when they are facing a multitude of countries with forces of hundreds of millions.

Your definition of hypocrisy changes at will. Each Koch Brother has one vote, the exact same as you. But you say it's different, because they have so many more resources to bear. So their behavior becomes wrong, your behavior correct, though you each have but one vote. the same is true in the middle east. Do you know the reason Israel won such a smashing victory in 1967? It wasn't because they had superior forces or because they had better anything. The reason is because Jordan delayed entry into the war until Egypt's forces were completely destroyed. And then Syria delayed entry until Jordan's forces were destroyed. The bottom line is this, had the Arab armies been more united, more coordinated, the result might have been very different. Israel's military superiority is largely myth. Arab lack of coordination is the truth. But should they ever become united, Israel will face a far greater adversary. And that could happen tomorrow. Or never. Who knows. But that's the justification for them having more oranges that the other side, because they will never have the same number of apples.

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tbaker 1 year, 7 months ago

The anti-Israeli rhetoric coming from Iran’s leaders is designed to bolster support for their many proxies (Hezbollah, etc) Without them, Iran’s ability to influence the region is greatly diminished. They need this ability because the (Sunni) Arab world despises Shi’a Iran. Israel is just a prop on the stage in the grand scheme of Iranian geo-political interests. The nukes they are building are show pieces in an attempt to back-up the rhetoric and reinforce the loyalty of their many proxies. This is necessary now more than ever because their proxies haven’t been seeing as much money coming out of the severely sanctioned regime. This is also greatly compounded by the looming collapse of their long-time ally Syria. Syria is predominantly Sunni Muslim, but the ruling family is Alawite, a Shiite sect. The last thing Iran wants to see is another Sunni Muslim-lead country on their border. The anti-Israeli rhetoric and the nuclear program are also designed to intimidate the single biggest threat to the government of Iran: it’s domestic population.

Since the reform movement could use a successful attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities as a spring board for a second revolution to overthrow the religious dictators and the Revolutionary Guard, it would be in the regime’s interest to back down and agree to real reforms / inspections, etc. It will only do this if it is convinced the West will come together and attack the nuclear facilities. US foreign policy has so far failed to do this. We are seen as weak and vacillating. We have put forth no “red lines” because the war-weary US electorate would not respond favorably to a presidential candidate who would put us in yet another one.

So, Israel will attack Iran alone, right after the US election.

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Ron Holzwarth 1 year, 7 months ago

I am absolutely stunned at how some posters on this forum that have virtually no knowledge of history, geography, international politics, studies of different religions, and sociology present themselves as experts on matters that they have obviously not ever bothered to read anything about.

But, I suppose it makes sense to not read anything if you already know everything.

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Armstrong 1 year, 7 months ago

Just curious. How many of the "enlightened" out there think it's a good idea for a terrorist country to have nuclear weapon capabilities ?

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

We don't buy oil from Iran unless it goes by way of Russia or Saudi Arabia...... then it is okay.

Iran was å darling during the Reagan/Bush years for their participation in a Reagan/Bush weapons smuggling operation known as Iran-Contra.

The Reagan administration had been negotiating with terrorists (despite Reagan’s repeated public position that he would “never” do so).

There were illegal arms transfers to Iran, flagrant lying to Congress, soliciting third country funding to circumvent the Congressional ban on financing the contra war in Nicaragua, White House bribes to various generals in Honduras, illegal propaganda and psychological operations directed by the CIA against the U.S. press and public, collaboration with drug kingpins such as Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega, and violating the checks and balances of the constitution.

“If ever the constitutional democracy of the United States is overthrow,” the leading political analyst of the scandal, Theodore Draper wrote at the time, “we now have a better idea of how this is likely to be done.”

http://www.salon.com/2011/11/25/the_iran_contra_scandal_25_years_later/

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jhawkinsf 1 year, 7 months ago

Several comments have suggested "we" just stay out of it and let them fight it out. I might agree if I thought the implications of their fight stayed with them. But if nuclear weapons start exploding over there, radioactive materials will find it's way into the milk we feed our children. If oil stops flowing over there, farmers' tractors will stop producing food over here. While that would cause inconvenience over here, third world countries will see their people starve. If you think $4/gal gas is bad now, what happens when it's $20/gal. within weeks. The recession we're in now will look like a little dip in the economy compared to what would happen. The bottom line is this, whether we're talking the middle east, Mexico, Canada, or our upper atmosphere, a policy of isolation will cause greater harm than good. It will make us feel good in the short term, but do little to protect us in the long term.

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cowboy 1 year, 7 months ago

Let all these 15th century countries duke it out if they feel the need. They have had the world in turmoil for decades and all are completely unwilling to compromise on anything.

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woodscolt 1 year, 7 months ago

The war Hawks will always be harping for war. The Bush regime had plans to attack Iran as well as other countries in the area after they quickly disposed of Iraq. Their goal was to be able to fight several wars at one time. Their comrades made their money on the Iraq war and now they need another war to keep burying themselves in their profits.

Let Israel fight their wars and stay the hell out of it.

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Katara 1 year, 7 months ago

I think Iran will be too busy with their own internal problems.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/iran/9487761/Anger-as-Iran-bans-women-from-universities.html

Take a look at the fields that women are no longer allowed to study in. It will undermine their ability to maintain a nuclear program.

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Gotland 1 year, 7 months ago

Every politician that votes to go to war with Iran for Israel should be shipped over there with a gun, their sons too. I'll be here minding my own business.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Plans to build a pipeline to siphon oil from newly conquered Iraq to Israel are being discussed between Washington, Tel Aviv and potential future government figures in Baghdad.

The plan envisages the reconstruction of an old pipeline, inactive since the end of the British mandate in Palestine in 1948, when the flow from Iraq's northern oilfields to Palestine was re-directed to Syria.

Now, its resurrection would transform economic power in the region, bringing revenue to the new US-dominated Iraq, cutting out Syria and solving Israel's energy crisis at a stroke.

It would also create an end less and easily accessible source of cheap Iraqi oil for the US guaranteed by reliable allies other than Saudi Arabia - a keystone of US foreign policy for decades and especially since 11 September 2001.

Until 1948, the pipeline ran from the Kurdish-controlled city of Mosul to the Israeli port of Haifa, on its northern Mediterranean coast.

The revival of the pipeline was first discussed openly by the Israeli Minister for National Infrastructures, Joseph Paritzky, according to the Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz .

The paper quotes Paritzky as saying that the pipeline would cut Israel's energy bill drastically - probably by more than 25 per cent - since the country is currently largely dependent on expensive imports from Russia.

US intelligence sources confirmed to The Observer that the project has been discussed. One former senior CIA official said: 'It has long been a dream of a powerful section of the people now driving this administration [of President George W. Bush] and the war in Iraq to safeguard Israel's energy supply as well as that of the United States.

'The Haifa pipeline was something that existed, was resurrected as a dream and is now a viable project - albeit with a lot of building to do.'

To resurrect the pipeline would need the backing of whatever government the US is to put in place in Iraq, and has been discussed - according to Western diplomatic sources - con't

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2003/apr/20/israelandthepalestinians.oil

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Yes The Middle Eastern Wars are All About OIl http://www.washingtonsblog.com/2011/10/yes-the-middle-eastern-wars-really-are-all-about-oil.html

Iran is kinda special. They also have tons of natural gas.

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Abdu Omar 1 year, 7 months ago

All I can say is that if Israel feels threatened, let Israel remove the threat without the cowtow Americans sniffing behind them. We do not need a war in Iran, nor does Israel, but we are going to get one if people like Charles K keep pushing it.

Can't we Americans remember when we went to war in Iraq for the protection of Israel? How many Americans died in that foolish war? 5,000 or more? How many lives were lost in Israel? None!! That war was for them, Iraq could never hit the USA. Why must my fellow soldiers, Marines and Sailors die in a war for someone else. Israel is not America nor are we Israel. Let them fight whomever they want, but we need not join them. No American should die for another's country.

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Israel = 5th largest nuke power in the world

Pakistan and India have nuke power

Why not Iran? They are being threatened by the USA and Israel. China and Russia have stated they will back Iran.

The USA is invading several countries in that oil rich area. None of which ever attacked the USA and could not attack the USA.

Who are we to decide?

Despite six years of promises, U.S. officials say Saudi Arabia continues to look the other way at wealthy individuals identified as sending millions of dollars to al Qaeda.

"If I could somehow snap my fingers and cut off the funding from one country, it would be Saudi Arabia," Stuart Levey, the under secretary of the Treasury in charge of tracking terror financing, told ABC News.

Despite some efforts as a U.S. ally in the war on terror, Levey says Saudi Arabia has dropped the ball. Not one person identified by the United States and the United Nations as a terror financier has been prosecuted by the Saudis, Levey says.

ABC News

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 7 months ago

Charles K is pushing his favorite foreign policy: "Second, Iran might actually respond to a threat backed by a strong bipartisan majority of the American people "

The current never ending war never had nor does it have the support of a majority of the American people. Congress is not representative of a majority of Americans when it declares war for no reason.

Charles K is pushing his favorite foreign policy which he endorsed:

"Rebuilding America's Defences," openly advocates for total global military domination” . A Very dangerous position which threatens OUR freedoms and the nations security. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century

Our aim is to remind Americans of these lessons and to draw their consequences for today.

Here are four consequences.

We need to increase defense spending significantly if we are to carry out our global protection for Wal-Mart,Oil,Coca Cola,Pepsico,diamonds,gold etc etc etc.

We need to strengthen our ties to dictator regimes friendly to American interests and Bogus values.

We need to promote the cause of the political right wing and economic rape for corp USA abroad.

We need to accept responsibility for America's unique role in forcing others to accept our corrupt principles.

Such a Reaganite policy of military strength and immoral clarity may not be fashionable today. But it is necessary if the United States is to build on the extortions of this past century and to ensure our security and our greatness no matter how many innocent USA soldiers die.

The Plan /

  1. http://www.antiwar.com/orig/stockbauer1.html /

  2. http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Project_for_the_New_American_Century /

  3. http://www.guardian.co.uk/usa/story/0,12271,1312540,00.html /

  4. http://www.commondreams.org/views04/0208-05.htm /

Followed by taking down our nations financial institutions !

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Armstrong 1 year, 7 months ago

This is comical. How long has the free world been trying to reason with the chuckle heads in Iran ? The result of all that reasoning, Iran is still full steam ahead with their nuclear program. Hmmm, Barry your sit down and discuss plan does not seem to be working. Shocking I know.

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WristTwister 1 year, 7 months ago

A pre-emptive strike on nuclear facilities by Israel is a certainty. It's going to happen. It's only a matter of when. Obama has done much to weaken US influence in the world and this is very apparent in the fruitless efforts of this administration to handle this volatile situation. A world war is the very likely outcome of a pre-emptive strike. Get ready.

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Paul R Getto 1 year, 7 months ago

"Give Iran a face-saving way out." ==

An excellent point hère. We won't win this long term with force only.

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FalseHopeNoChange 1 year, 7 months ago

Two 'pillars' of profound evolutionary discretion going at 'it.' Toe to toe.

These two 'cultures' should be in a monitored cage fight. Harmless to observers, yet maybe eliminating each other while scrapping.

Outstanding 'visuals' on the Telly.

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