Saturday, January 27, 2007

The Coming Sunni, Israel, US Front Against Iran

"The US Is Going To Have To Shut Up About Democratization..."

Iran appears to be almost relentlessly prodding the United States and/or Israel to open up another new front in the Fourth World War, against themselves.

The United States and Israel continues to quietly poke and light fires amongst the opposition groups ranged against the Iranian president, within Iran and across the Middle East.

There are numerous stories in the Western media causing a swirl of confusion about whether or not Iran is in the early days of developing a nuclear bomb, or in the final stages, or even if they're building one at all.

The LA Times has run a credible investigative piece de-mything the BushCo tales that Iran is funnelling the most dangerous and deadly of the roadside bombs into Iraq. The story just won't stick yet in the world public opinion on what Iran is up to across the border.

But the bombs exploding out of corpses, sewers and the sides of houses into American armoured vehicles are clearly far more deadly, accurate and therefore professionally made.

No longer are just rigged-up butane bottles ripping the doors off Humvees. Bombs are taking out the entire vehicle and killing all the Americans inside.

Iran's president has claimed in the past that the Israel government will cease to exist. Now he is reported to be predicting the demise of both Israel and the United States.

But Iranians are not unanimously behind their president. The 'Holocaust Cartoon Competition' and the recent seminars questioning the validity of the Holocaust itself have angered millions of Iranians, who find the vehement anti-semitism somewhat embarrassing in their dealings with Western businesspeople, and in front of their new online friends from the US, UK, Israel, Australia and Europe.

Plus, the derided conference cost money that could have been spent on education reforms. That in particular has been a very strong and enthusiastic argument online.

The westernisation of Iran's culture and education is well underway, and tens of thousands of Iranian bloggers are in contact with people and culture from across the planet (MySpace is proving invaluable to this communication

Israel has been promoted as the 'lone gunman' who would attempt to strike Iran's nuclear reactors and research centres, leaving the US to stand back and stay out of the fight (at least as far as the Western media, US Congress and the American people was concerned).

But now a credible new alliance appears to be forming, piled up against the Iranians, and their Shiite allies in Lebanon and Iraq, in particular.

It is a barely previously discussed new alliance between Israel, the United States and Sunni Middle East nations, kingdoms and, more quietly, 'extremist' groups - until recently referred to by Bush as "terrorists".

Some suggest the United States is successfully seeking something of a 'free pass' for Sunni insurgents in Iraq, to wedge the Iranian backed Maliki government.

Maliki doesn't want an amnesty or reconciliation with insurgents who have attacked their own countrymen. But both Maliki and the United States appear to agree that they might give a quiet okay to the pressure being lifted off some Sunni insurgents, to keep the Saudis out of Iraq, and to win support from the Saudis, Jordan and Egypt to go after the Iranians.

At least, go after them until thy submit, and enter negotiations over their nuclear and military future goals.

Bush has used the words "sacrifice" and "sacrifices" and "more sacrifices" in the past two months, repeatedly, in almost speech and press conference and address, laying the ground for Americans to accept that while Sunni insurgents are killing Americans, they are only "sacrifices" and for the greater good of peace and stability in the Middle East, Sunni insurgents will become the glue helps to bind together a formidable new front against Iran.

This is also why Bush rarely refers to "terrorists" anymore when he discusses Iraq. And he particularly does no say "terrorist" when talking about Sunni insurgents.

They are now "extremists" and "insurgents", so he will not break his promise about never dealing with terrorists when it comes time to give the free pass to the Sunni insurgents that the Saudis, Egyptians and Jordanians are asking for.

Below are excerpts of a Q & A with Gary G. Sick, a former National Security Council advisor on Iraq, who backs the claim that there is an "emerging strategy" of co-operation between Israel, the United States and Sunni Arab states.

Sick disagrees with the heavy rumours that Iran will be hit by US air strikes soon, and argues against the possibility that the United States will put troops into Iran. He says the US simply doesn't have the military numbers to do so.

From the Council on Foreign Relations (excerpts) :

Sick : " is a strategy that is being adopted. It has several very real advantages. First, all three parties—the Sunni states in the Gulf, plus Jordan and Egypt—are very worried about Iranian expansion in the region and of Shiite expansion in the Middle East. And of course Israel is very worried about Iran and makes no bones about it quite openly.

For the United States, I think there’s a perception that by focusing on Iran, you can remove some of the emphasis on Iraq, which of course is a catastrophe. So there are some advantages to all sides and there also have been real contacts among all of the parties, which I think go beyond just casual talk.

Q: ..we’re seeing this problem in action right now in Lebanon, where there’s a major confrontation going on between the Shiite Hezbollah and the Sunni-led government.

Sick : I do believe the whole Lebanese situation was the galvanizing moment for this emerging strategy. The action by Hezbollah in attacking Israel [last summer] was seen as an extension of Iranian power and an extension of its influence in the region. And the outcome of this, which is taking the form of Hezbollah challenging the Christian/Sunni government of [Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad] Siniora, I think, is also perceived as an Iranian plot. I personally think that’s an exaggeration, at least in terms of Iranian direct control or involvement in this.

But if you look at Hezbollah as an Iranian creature—which I don’t, but many people do—you come to the conclusion this is a battle between Israel and Iran or even, by extension, the United States and Iran, and that Lebanon is the battlefield where this is being fought out.

Q: Of course when you look at this, when you talk about this kind of strategic alliance, or whatever you call it, then the Iraq invasion was a total mistake, right, because it empowered Shiites?

Sick : I think it was. And I think it was by almost any consideration that you want to take. Certainly the way it’s played out has been a complete disaster for, I think, just about everyone involved.

...if there is a new strategy emerging.......the United States is going to have to shut up about democratization—that this has put our authoritarian Sunni allies in the region on the defense and it complicated their lives. I think the days of pushing democratization in the Middle East are probably over, at least for the time being.

Q: The United States has also announced it’s increasing its naval strength in the Persian Gulf. Another aircraft carrier is going out there, making two aircraft carriers on station. What do you think the likelihood is of any military action against Iran?

Sick : In addition to sending the aircraft carrier, the United States is placing Patriot missiles in the Gulf. You’ve got to remember that in the event of a real or threatened military strike against Iran, the big concern is how Iran might retaliate. And one way they could is to use their existing, relatively short-range missiles to attack Europe by attacking, for instance, oil loading on the Gulf. So I think the Patriot missiles are there to demonstrate that the United States is prepared to defend those countries if it comes to that. It’s also clear the Iranians have been actively building an infrastructure that would give them the capability to retaliate against American forces in Iraq.

As to the likelihood of an actual military campaign against Iran, I continue to believe that’s not going to happen. And I think the logic of the thing is that if you think you can do it with a quick air strike, you’re kidding yourself.

....I personally think that the U.S. administration is going to talk about it as the Israelis are talking about it, very openly, but not in fact do it.

Q: You think there’s a possibility at that point that Iran might agree to a temporary suspension of its enrichment?

Sick : I think that is a very real possibility. And I’ve been hearing this from some Iranians who are quite well-plugged-in to their nation’s policies.

Q: That would open the door to U.S.-Iranian talks.

Sick : That’s right. And I think that after the celebration is going to be the moment when that idea can be tested. And my guess is that Iran will actually be willing to consider a suspension of testing at that point.

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LA Times : Scant Evidence Found Of Iran-Iraq Arms Link

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Israel Tries To Cut Iran Off From World Oil And Investment Markets - US Pension Funds Still Doing Business With Iran-Linked, Iran-Based Companies

Iranian President Claims United States See Iran As "An Obstacle In The Way Of Reaching Their Goals In The Region," Declares US And Israel Won't Damage Iran In Rumoured Air Strikes.

Israel Claims Iran Is An "Existential Threat", Ramps Up Near-War Rhetoric, Threats

US Claims 150 Iranian Intelligence Officers, Revolutionary Guard Active In Iraq At Any One Time