Sunday, January 07, 2007

The Urusov Gambit: Attacking Iran

Yesterday I pointed out that the appointment of a navy admiral to head up US Central Command was providing a hint of things to come. There's more. In fact, there's a lot more happening.

Tossing a naval aviator into a command which is occupied by two ground campaigns, Afghanistan and Iraq, is out of symmetry with the command's focus -- right now. Central Command's area of responsibility includes Iran and, while Fallon would be somewhat removed from the tactical events, his background makes him well suited to provide the strategic construction of forces necessary to attack Iran.

Fallon, at least publicly, comes off as a Bushite. He has quite openly stated that Americans have missed the point. The "War On Terror" is bigger than Afghanistan and Iraq.

I get the feeling that the majority of American people don't quite get it. This is not a slam, it is not an indictment or accusation, it is just an observation. While there is a lot of talk about the war, I don't think most of us truly understand what it is that we are involved in.
Then there is the "Long War" of Donald Rumsfeld.

This confrontation in which we are engaged is not going to be over any time soon. No matter how fast the Iraqi and Afghan security forces can pick up the burden to defend themselves, these are only two battlefields in this war.
That was from June, 2006. Whether he was simply projecting the Rumsfeld doctrine of war without end or whether he truly believes that the United States can endure a hot conflict that extends into the next decade is impossible to say. He is promoting the Bushco idea of a continuous and undefined war.

Israel is getting antsy about Iran. Via Huffington Post an article by UPI Editor at Large Arnaud de Borchgrave lays out the level of rhetoric being spread by uber-hawks like Benjamin Netanyahu.

Israelis are now reminded daily that the Iranian president is a new Hitler who has to be terminated "with maximum prejudice" before a Persian nuclear weapon terminates Israel. The existential threat to Israel looms even larger, in Netanyahu's view, with the Baker-Hamilton Iraq Study Group (ISG) report. His critique's main points:
• The ISG report smacks of rank appeasement when it recommends talking to Syria and Iran at a time when Iran has been handed the whip hand in Iraq by the U.S. with a U.S.-facilitated, pro-Iranian Shiite-led government.
• ISG says a solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is a sine qua non to stabilizing the rest of the Middle East. The implied suggestion that it's now up to Israel to make further concessions to the Palestinians is yet another manifestation of appeasement. Israel must reject any perceived sign of weakness.
• In reality, if the problem of Iran, which Israel's enemies call "the strategic backbone of Hezbollah and Hamas," were solved by the forceful elimination of its nuclear facilities, or a highly unlikely voluntary return to nuclear power for peaceful purposes under U.N. inspection, the conflict with the Palestinians would become easier to tackle.
• Hezbollah and Hamas are rapidly arming themselves thanks to the Israeli government's decision to refrain from further action against them. Since the cease-fire was declared, dozens of Kassam rockets have been fired at targets in the western Negev.
• If Olmert's government reacts limply to Iran's statements about its intentions to destroy Israel, "why should we expect the world to act against them?"
• ISG says, "The majority of the political establishment in Israel has grown tired of a continuous state of a nation at war." When even Israel's leadership sends out a message of fatigue and weakness, "why should we be surprised that the world agrees?"
Netanyahu then said Israel "must immediately launch an intense, international, public relations front first and foremost on the U.S. The goal being to encourage President Bush to live up to specific pledges he would not allow Iran to arm itself with nuclear weapons. We must make clear to the government, the Congress and the American public that a nuclear Iran is a threat to the U.S. and the entire world, not only Israel."
That, as De Borchgrave points out, is already happening.

Anticipating the new line, Sen. Joe Lieberman (Independent-CT) referred to "Iran and al-Qaida" on Wolf Blitzer's Sunday program on CNN. That Iran is Shiite and al-Qaida Sunni becomes irrelevant in the new game plan that will most probably lead to U.S. air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities in 2007/08.
Would Bush do it?

Do we really need to ask that?

He would if he could get away with it. The truth is, he has the authority under two umbrellas: The Authorization for the Use Of Military Force which flowed from the September 2001 attacks and the War Powers Act of 1973, which gives him 60 days to do whatever he wants. The AUMF is weak in that it specifies the power is to be used to go after the perpetrators of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks.

That would be why Lieberman is suddenly making linkages between al Qaeda and Iran. It was the same lie that got Bush his war in Iraq.

This is looking more and more like Iran is in the gunsights of neo-cons, a country with which the Bush administration won't even hold a discussion.
"... we don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud." Condoleeza Rice. September 8th, 2002.
Indeed we don't.

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