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[Time Saver] The Complete Iran Confrontation Background Primer Thread!


TRIBE Member
The Complete Iran Confrontation Background Primer Thread!

These are abstracts of, and links to, the most important and salient stories/analyses about the nuclear confrontation with Iran.

"In all of their conversations with Iran," writes the L.A. Times, "the president should feel free to talk tough about the consequences Tehran would invite by pursuing its nuclear program. But he also should make clear that, if Iran is willing to yield on this issue, he has no other agenda, messianic or otherwise."
Read it here.

A suggestion to readers to offer their opinion on the issue of Iran can be found on the "Let's Talk" section of Aljazeera dot com. Read it here. And also on The Telegraph's "Your view." Read it here.

You can read the New Yorker piece by Seymour Hersh, "The Iran Plans."
There is a growing conviction among members of the United States military, and in the international community, that President Bush's ultimate goal in the nuclear confrontation with Iran is regime change. Iran's President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has challenged the reality of the Holocaust and said that Israel must be "wiped off the map." Bush and others in the White House view him as a potential Adolf Hitler, a former senior intelligence official said. That's the name they're using. They say, "Will Iran get a strategic weapon and threaten another world war?" A government consultant with close ties to the civilian leadership in the Pentagon said that Bush was "absolutely convinced that Iran is going to get the bomb" if it is not stopped. He said that the President believes that he must do "what no Democrat or Republican, if elected in the future, would have the courage to do," and "that saving Iran is going to be his legacy."
Read it here.

The New Yorker was first with this story line, but today, the Washington Post has a similar story: "According to current and former officials, Pentagon and CIA planners have been exploring possible targets, such as the uranium enrichment plant at Natanz and the uranium conversion facility at Isfahan. Although a land invasion is not contemplated, military officers are weighing alternatives ranging from a limited air strike aimed at key nuclear sites, to a more extensive bombing campaign designed to destroy an array of military and political targets."
Read it here.

The Atlantic has excerpts from the new Mark Bowden book on the failed trial to free the American hostages from Tehran: "The mission that had originally seemed so preposterous had gradually come to seem feasible. It was a two-day affair with a great many moving parts and very little room for error - one of the most daring thrusts in U.S. military history."
Read it here.

Ibrahim Nawar, chairman of the Arab Organisation for Freedom of the Press, wrote for the Egyptian Al-Ahram that "Iran's strategy to establish itself as the region's uncontested leader is based on three elements that mirror the Persian trap. The first is the attempt to promote Arab Shias as the revolutionaries of the Arab and Muslim world, thus eliminating the problems that ensue from Iran being a Muslim Shia country. The second is to champion the pre-eminent Arab and Muslim cause, the Palestinian question, in order to gain the sympathy of Arabs, and in particular nationalists who might exert pressure on their governments. The third is to acquire a nuclear capability, thus joining the Western club."
Read it here.

In the Washington Post, Carne Ross, former WMD inspector, wrote that, "Even if China and Russia do not block any sanctions resolution on Iran, no resolution will be effective unless they and other states choose to enforce the sanctions."
Read it here.

Mark Silva writes in the Chicago Tribune: "A senior administration official, while reiterating that military force must be an option, said in an interview last week, 'The president has made it clear that we want to solve this diplomatically.' That official also expressed optimism that 'we'll work it out.' For anyone concerned about the potential for more military confrontation in a region already roiling with violence, that is a welcome prediction."
Read it here.

Josef Cirincione writes in Foreign Policy that, "If diplomacy fails, the administration might be able to convince leading Democrats to back a resolution for the use of force against Iran. Many Democrats have been trying to burnish a hawkish image and place themselves to the right of the president on this issue. They may find themselves trapped by their own rhetoric, particularly those with presidential ambitions."
Read it here.

"If Israel had never appeared on the map," wrote Amir Taheri for the N.Y Post, "the energy of pan-Arab nationalism movement, which dominated Arab politics in the post-war era, would have been directed against two other neighbors: Turkey and Iran. To a certain extent, it was anyway. Even today, the Arab League claims that the Turkish province of Iskanderun is 'usurped Arab territory' and regards the Iranian province of Khuzestan as 'occupied Arab land'."
Read it here.

A lot of publicity to this L.A. Times piece: "New information about Iran's program came from diplomats representing countries on the United Nations Security Council. They were briefed by senior staff of the International Atomic Energy Agency, which maintains monitors in Iran. The diplomats spoke on condition of anonymity because the briefing was private."
Read it here.

Mohammed Abdel Qader al-Jasem wrote for the Daily Star of Lebanon that the "Gulf has little to fear from Shiite-led sectarianism... Iran, one of the main regional players in Iraq, may seek to revive its dormant cells in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain and feed sectarian strife in these countries. However, the security-oriented nature of the Saudi authorities' response to any Shiite mutiny in the Eastern Province, Shiite-Shiite disputes in Bahrain and the close connection between Kuwaiti Shiites and their political system should minimize any effect of Iranian incitement."
Read it here.

Jim Hoagland also deals with the potential U.S.-Iran talks on the future of Iraq: "The White House rightly insists that the Baghdad talks be limited to practical steps for defusing the crisis in Iraq. Discussion in Baghdad of Iran's nuclear ambitions, now under scrutiny in the U.N. Security Council, or other broad topics would undermine the allied unity that has brought the complaint against Iran this far."
Read it here.

Fred Kaplan wrote on the difference between the National Security Strategy and the real world: "In the White House national-security document, Iran's government is denounced (correctly) as tyrannical, deceptive, dangerous, and (in a bit of hype) the state from which "[w]e may face no greater challenge." However, in the real world, the same White House recognizes that we share interests - and could even explore opportunities for mutual advantage with even the most distasteful of regimes. (Bush also opened talks with Iran, quietly and on a low level, shortly after 9/11, as both countries had an interest in ousting the Taliban from Afghanistan. Iran cut off the talks after Bush tagged it part of the "axis of evil" in his 2002 State of the Union address.)
Read it here.

David Ignatius wrote for the WPost on potential U.S.-Iran talks over Iraq's future: "If these U.S.-Iranian talks on Iraq make progress, the right next step is to engage other issues affecting the two countries' security. Inevitably, that means direct talks about the Iranian nuclear program. That dialogue is overdue. As Stanford University scholars Abbas Milani, Michael McFaul and Larry Diamond argue in an influential new paper making the rounds in the Bush administration, 'The only viable strategy . . . is a new U.S. policy on Iran that combines negotiations in the short run with a principled long-term quest for peaceful regime change.'"
Read it here.

"It's important to understand the difference between a preventive attack and a pre-emptive attack - although the Bush administration seems to want to confuse the two," writes James Klurfeld for Newsday. "A pre-emptive attack, recognized in international law, is when someone has his hand on a gun and is about to fire at you, and you beat him to the draw, firing first. That's understandable and justifiable. A preventive attack is when there's no imminent danger, but you want to keep the threat from even developing. That's what the Bush administration did in Iraq. That's what it is threatening to do with Iran now."
Read it here.

"Suppose We Just Let Iran Have the Bomb" writes the NY Times' David Sanger. "The Iranians also know that history suggests they have a good chance of reaching their goal. This is not the first time the Americans have declared that another nation cannot be allowed to unlock the secrets of the atom and then learned to live with the risk when it did."
Read it here.

The Daily Times of Pakistan writes, "The Bush administration is bent on ensuring that no other country develops a weapons capability - most definitely not Iran. This approach is likely to fail, not least because it is predicated on precipitating the existing imbalance of power. While the NPT was a discriminatory treaty it included Article VI which the legitimate nuclear weapon states accepted and which stipulated that they would negotiate their way towards disarmament. That article is now dead for all practical purposes. And its demise does not bode well for the world."
Read it here.

Salama Salama writes for the Egyptian Al-Ahram, "As for the Arab world, no one is worried about Iran. No one is afraid of Iran's current or future nuclear capabilities. The opposite is true in fact. The US has turned a blind eye to Israel's nuclear weapons. The US has stifled any hope for credible international monitoring in the region. The US doesn't want to hear of a nuclear-free zone established in the region. These are the facts of which the Arabs are fully aware."
Read it here.

Graham Allison writes for the Boston Globe, "In 1962, bilateral competition between the US and the Soviet Union led to the Cuban missile crisis, which historians now call 'the most dangerous moment in human history.' After the crisis, President Kennedy estimated the likelihood of nuclear war as 'between 1 in 3 and even.' A multiparty nuclear arms race in the Middle East would be like playing Russian roulette with five bullets in a six-chamber revolver - dramatically increasing the likelihood of a regional nuclear war."
Read it here.