18
   

War! The fear mongering is here, again!

 
 
Ceili
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Jan, 2012 02:34 am
Threats may be all Iran has left
Three thousand years ago, the author of the Biblical Psalms delivered a useful warning to people considering employment in the Iranian nuclear-bomb program:

Whoever digs a hole and scoops it out,

falls into the pit they have made.

The trouble they cause recoils on them;

their violence comes down on their own heads.

Or, as Eli Lake reports in the Daily Beast on Friday:

“All told, five Iranian scientists or engineers affiliated with the nuclear program have been killed since 2007, the latest being Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, who Iran’s semi-official Fars news agency says was responsible for procurement at the Natanz enrichment facility. A sixth, Fereydoon Abbasi, survived an assassination attempt in 2010 and is now the head of Iran’s atomic energy agency. William Tobey, a former deputy administrator of the [U.S.] National Nuclear Security Administration and a National Security Council specialist on nuclear issues, said five of the six attacks on the scientists since 2007 used magnetic limpet bombs that would be attached to a vehicle carrying the target.”
The Iranian nuclear bomb program has faced other challenges, too.

Its computers have been sabotaged by viruses that have accelerated its centrifuges, spoiling the nuclear fuel and wrecking the machinery. Last year, three Iranian weapons facilities were hit by huge explosions. One explosion, on Nov. 12 at a missile-testing base west of Teheran, was felt 45 kilometres away, killing at least a dozen people including (by some reports) a visiting North Korean delegation. Another huge blast was reported at the end of the month in Isfahan, site of an important nuclear fuel production facility. On Dec. 11, an explosion ripped through a steel works that produces the special metals required to build nuclear centrifuges — of which Iran needs a great many to replace those ruined by computer viruses.
Reeling from these damaging and humiliating events, Iran has responded with louder and cruder threats, including a threat to close the Straits of Hormuz. But the threats only recoil upon Iran, by discouraging purchases of Iran’s only important product: oil.

Japan, Iran’s third-most important customer after China and India, has cut its purchases from Iran by 40% over the past five years. On Thursday, the Japanese government promised visiting U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner that it would cut purchases by 10% more. The Europeans — who buy 450,000 barrels a day from Iran, about 20% of Iranian production — also are redirecting their trade. South Korea likewise has promised to reduce its Iranian imports.

These promises gain credibility as Libyan oil returns to market and Iraqi oil production soars to 3-million barrels a day, the highest production rate since before the first Gulf War. Even without Iran’s oil, there will be enough to go around.

Even more threatening to Iran are the newest sanctions enacted by the U.S. Congress and signed into law by Barack Obama at the beginning of the year. Aimed at “collapsing the central bank of Iran,” these sanctions will effectively isolate Iran from the global payments system. Iran’s oil customers will have little choice except to pay by barter.

The Iranian currency is collapsing under these negative shocks, down another 20% since the beginning of the year. A huge gap has opened between the official exchange rate and the market rate, now about 17,000 rials to the dollar. Consumer prices are estimated to be rising at a rate of 40% per year. The regime has curtailed subsidies for food and fuel, pushing up the price of electricity, gasoline and rice.

The government has revealed its anxieties by tightening its repression. Reuters reported on Jan. 10 that Iranians, long accustomed to controls over electronic communications, have been unable to send text messages containing words such as “dollar” and “foreign currency.”

For years, people have wondered whether Israel or the United States would bomb Iran. That turns out to be the wrong question. Iran is being squeezed without war — and this fearful story of nuclear aggression and would-be genocide may yet have a happy ending.

©David Frum
http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/01/14/david-frum-threats-may-be-all-iran-has-left/
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Jan, 2012 04:39 am
@InfraBlue,
I am well aware of the take over in Iran so as to provide a conduit for western aid to the Soviet Union during the Second World War. It accounts for the hostility of the Persians toward the British. Even before the First World War, the British were in Persia to set up a petroleum company, the Anglo Persian Oil Company, which was the granddaddy of BP. In 1951, the Prime Minister was assassinated, seen to be a stooge of the British. Mohammed Mossedegh was elected, and on a unanimous vote of the Majlis, the Persian parliament, he nationalized the Persian petroleum industry. That sent MI6 begging, hat in hand, to the Americans, and Central Intelligence set Operation Ajax in train, which overthrew Mossedegh's government, and started the train of events which introduced Mossad into Iran, and began the deterioration of relationships which lead to the Persian hatred of Israel.

I find your assertions touchingly naïve. You believe, you take at face value the statements of government spokesmen? When Bush said the United States should invade Iraq because they had weapons of mass destruction development programs, did you believe that? When Cheney said that we knew "which palm trees" those weapons were parked under, did you believe that? When Cheney implied that Iraq was complicit in the September 11th attacks, did you believe that? When Powell went to the UN with the Nigerian yellow cake story, did you believe that? When Tony Blair told the House of Commons that Iraq could launch womd weapons on 40 minutes notice, did you believe that? When the investigations after the invasion did not turn up any evidence of a weapons of mass destruction development program, and no evidence of complicity in the September 11th attacks, and they changed their story to saving the Iraqi people from a brutal dictator, and bringing democracy to the middle east--did you believe that?

I am bemused that you would think that government spokesmen in Iran would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Is it a case of assuming that all western government spokesmen are liars and only the Persians tell the truth? Or do you take at face value and believe whatever western government spokesmen say, too?

Mossad didn't just collaborate with SAVAK, they created it. When, in the 1960s and -70s, American relations with the Shah cooled, Mossad went into Iran and conducted covert operation themselves in situations which were considered too sensitive for SAVAK to be associated. The point, which you seem fanatically unable to see, is that there is good reason for Iran to hate Israel which has nothing to do with the Palestinians, and that reason is the operations of Mossad in Iran. You're just obsessed with the Palestinians. I'm not saying you're wrong about Zionism and the Palestinians, i'm just saying that you're so obsessed with the issue, that you ascribe to Iran the same mania which grips you. I have seen you produce no evidence other than statements by officials of the government of Iran. Personally, i put little to no faith in the truth of the statements of government officials, from anybody's government.
0 Replies
 
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Jan, 2012 05:23 am
@Ceili,
Thank u for that post, Ceili.
It was optimistic n pleasing.





David
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Sun 15 Jan, 2012 06:11 am
@OmSigDAVID,
So David, if you think Ceili's post is 'optimistic and pleasing,' isn't it best to let things run their course? The Iranian regime is under severe pressure from within, the thing that frightens the hard liners most is the upcoming election. Any military strike on the part of the West will only strengthen the regime and weaken the opposition.
OmSigDAVID
 
  2  
Reply Sun 15 Jan, 2012 06:41 am
@izzythepush,
izzythepush wrote:
So David, if you think Ceili's post is 'optimistic and pleasing,' isn't it best to let things run their course? The Iranian regime is under severe pressure from within, the thing that frightens the hard liners most is the upcoming election. Any military strike on the part of the West will only strengthen the regime and weaken the opposition.
Your suggestion is more plausible to the extent that the thrust of the article is accurate.
Its optimistic, but I am not inclined to BET MY LIFE ON IT.

I am a skeptical person, by nature.

In any event, I deem it most unlikely indeed
that America or Israel will remove the hardliners by abrupt military force
before that election. Undoubtedly: that will play out
and its results will be taken into consideration qua our plans.





David
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  4  
Reply Tue 17 Jan, 2012 05:02 pm
@izzythepush,
Clearly Frum is crediting external pressure, including sabotage and assassination. Leaving things to run their course means a large measure of external pressure. Just waiting for a revolution would be ridiculous.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 02:25 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
The assassinations are not making a great deal of difference, there are a lot of scientists in Iran. They're increasing ther level of fear, and the likelihood of retaliatory strikes abroad.
OmSigDAVID
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 04:16 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Finn dAbuzz wrote:
Clearly Frum is crediting external pressure, including sabotage and assassination.
Leaving things to run their course means a large measure of external pressure.

Just waiting for a revolution would be ridiculous.
That 's the error that Bush made at the end of the First Gulf War;
blind faith in his perception of the human nature of the Iraqians.

W had to go back, and do it ALL over again to finish the job correctly.





David
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 04:54 am
@OmSigDAVID,
Quote:
W had to go back, and do it ALL over again to finish the job correctly.


You think so? A divided country with endemic corruption, run by a man who sees himself primarily as a Shia, not an Iraqi.

Quote:
Yassir's case is part of a growing body of evidence collected by the Guardian that shows Iraqi state security officers are systematically arresting people on trumped-up charges, torturing them and extorting bribes from their families for their release. Endemic corruption in Iraq has created a new industry in which senior security service officers buy their authority over particular neighbourhoods by bribing politicians, junior officers pay their seniors monthly stipends and everyone gets a return on their investment by extorting money from the families of detainees.


http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/jan/16/corruption-iraq-son-tortured-pay?intcmp=239
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 10:23 am
From the WSJ

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203518404577096851732704524.html?mod=djemEditorialPage_h

Excerpts:

Quote:
Without doubt, Iran has long wanted nuclear weapons—to deter American intervention in its and neighboring territories; to threaten Europe and thereby cleave it from American interests in the Middle East; to respond to the former Iraqi nuclear effort; to counter the contiguous nuclear presences in Pakistan, Russia and the U.S. in the Gulf; to neutralize Israel's nuclear deterrent so as to limit it to the attrition of conventional battle, or to destroy it with one lucky shot; to lead the Islamic world; to correct the security imbalance with Saudi Arabia, which aided by geography and American arms now outclasses it; and to threaten the U.S. directly.


Although this is an opinion piece, you'll note that this explanation for why Iran seeks nukes is comprehensive and quite objective. It doesn't shy away from Israeli nukes or US presence in the Gulf. You'll also note it does not include "to save the Palestinians from Israeli oppression," or even "to help the Palestinians secure their own state," or "to help the Palestinians to overrun Israel."

Iran's ambition to be a nuclear power in the Middle East has nothing to do with the plight (real or imagined) of Palestinians.

Quote:
Accommodationists argue that a rational Iran can be contained. Not the Iran with a revered tradition of deception; that during its war with Iraq pushed 100,000 young children to their deaths clearing minefields; that counts 15% of its population as "Volunteer Martyrs"; that chants "Death to America" at each session of parliament; and whose president states that no art "is more beautiful . . . than the art of the martyr's death." Not the Iran in thrall to medieval norms and suffering continual tension and crises.

Its conceptions of nuclear strategy are very likely to be looser, and its thresholds lower, than those of Russia and China, which are in turn famously looser and lower than our own. And yet Eisenhower and Churchill weighed a nuclear option in Korea, Kennedy a first strike upon the U.S.S.R., and Westmoreland upon North Vietnam. How then can we be certain that Iran is rational and containable?
0 Replies
 
Finn dAbuzz
 
  3  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 10:26 am
@izzythepush,
Not according to Frum, and you've urged David to just let things run their own course. Sabotage and assasination are among the things on the course. Perhaps you should take your own advice.
izzythepush
 
  1  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 12:14 pm
@Finn dAbuzz,
Sabotage and assassination can work both ways, but at least you seem to accept that any military confrontation can be disastrous.
Finn dAbuzz
 
  2  
Reply Wed 18 Jan, 2012 04:37 pm
@izzythepush,
Of course they can.

There are consequences to whatever course is followed and none of them are without their dangers. It is a question of risk vs. reward.

You seem to favor leaving Iran alone and allowing it to obtain nukes if the regime isn't overthrown by then. You dismiss the risk, as you either believe that revolution in Iran is imminent (and that the current regime will be replaced by one not interested in nukes) or that once Iran has nukes it won't employ them to try and establish Persian hegemony in the region and perhaps beyond.

I take it you are convinced they will never actually use one.

Any military confrontation can be disastrous, but, although I believe the current course (including sabotage and assassination) should be maintained, I don't concede that any and every military option will prove disastrous, in the sense that the outcome will be worse than what is trying to be prevented.

Once one reaches the conclusion that Iran cannot be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons, military strikes have to be an option. They may be the last resort, but one that will be ultimately deployed if all the other courses don't work.

Considering your sentiments about this issue, you should hope sanctions, sabotage and assassination will work because if they don't, military strikes will be employed by the US or Israel, or both...and with the tacit encouragement and approval of the majority of Arab states.

But then as CI so sagely noted, we Republicans like war better than humanity.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 02:27 am
@Finn dAbuzz,
Personally I don't think any state actually wants to use nuclear weapons, the consequences would be disastrous. They're far more use as a deterrent. Remember, despite all the rhetoric, Iran has not attacked anyone since the revolution.

As for Persian hegemony, Iraq was rather antagonistic towards Iran before the invasion. Now Iran is the most influential player. Whilst helping the rebels in Libya, the West turned a blind eye to the suppression of the Shia majority by the Sunni minority in Bahrain. All of this gives the impresssion, that the only country concerned about the aspirations and security of the Shia throughout the Middle East is Iran.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 04:02 am
When conservatives rattle their sabers about Iran, they are displaying a pathetic and naive ignorance of military realities. A good deal of Iran is desert--Alexander lost about half of that portion of his army that marched overland from India to what is today Iraq. It is also mountainous desert. Sending troops in on the ground would be a nightmare--costs would astronomical, casualties would be high and the prospects of success slim. The neighboring states of the former Soviet Union are unlikely to be willing to sponsor an invasion, nor is it likely that Turkey would want to do so. The invasion route through the Zagros Mountains from Iraq is not only ground fought over during the longest war of the 20th century, and therefore very well known to the Persian military, there is no reason to assume that Iraq is going to want western military forces to pour back into their country in order to invade their only Shi'ite neighbor.

An air campaign alone has little prospect of taking out their nuclear capacity, the more so given how long and how loudly sabers have been rattled. It's not as though the Persians are so stupid that they have needed to be told to disperse their facilities and to put them underground. I can think of few things so stupid as the thought that Iran can be subdued militarily, given the realities of fighting them and the realities of the military force and will required. I also agree with Izzy that there is no good reason to assume they've any intention of nuking anyone, and plenty of good reason to assume that they don't.
izzythepush
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 07:03 am
@Setanta,
Unfortunately 'Bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb, bomb Iran,' is a good election slogan, although it didn't do John McCain a lot of good.
DestinyzChild
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 07:12 am
@Setanta,
Its bullshit! Bullshit! Just Bullshit!!! lol

Obsessed by your Great Knowledge
0 Replies
 
Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 07:20 am
@izzythepush,
It's only effective with the lunatic fringe of the party. The Republican politicians have been pandering to them a lot lately, apparently on the principle that it won't be too offensive to the less extreme among their supporters. That's not a reason to assume, though, that, given the opportunity, they would actually go to war. I think it's largely grandstanding.
0 Replies
 
engineer
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 07:27 am
@Setanta,
Setanta wrote:

An air campaign alone has little prospect of taking out their nuclear capacity, the more so given how long and how loudly sabers have been rattled. It's not as though the Persians are so stupid that they have needed to be told to disperse their facilities and to put them underground. I can think of few things so stupid as the thought that Iran can be subdued militarily, given the realities of fighting them and the realities of the military force and will required.

I think the long held axiom that air power alone cannot win a war was shut down for good in Serbia. If the world was really up for lobbing in smart bombs for months, Iran absolutely could be subdued. It's kind of hard to pretend that you are still going strong when all your bridges are laying in the bottom of rivers, all your power plants are dark and your entire military is in hiding because whenever someone sticks his head out a cruise missile lands on it. Not that I think the world is up for such destruction - but I was surprised that the outcry over the flattening of Serbia was so minimal so maybe I'm wrong. I think you are right that we will never put boots on the ground in Iran but that doesn't mean that some armchair general out there isn't seeing visions of bombs and missiles.
Setanta
 
  2  
Reply Thu 19 Jan, 2012 07:37 am
@engineer,
Bridges end up at the bottoms of rivers precisely because they are (given the state of the art) relatively easy targets. Underground bunkers? Not so much. In the Second World War, the Japanese on New Guinea built defensive bunkers for infantry using only the logs of newly cut palm trees and dirt heaped on it. The USAAF and the RAAF pounded the bejeezus out of those bunkers for days one end. In the end, infantry had to go in there and dig them out, because tons and tons of HE hadn't done the job. Yeah, we've got smart bombs, and we've got cruise missiles. First, you have to know precisely where to put them, and then, you get the obvious entry points--with no guarantee that you've done any significant damage to the facilities below. They have television in Iran--they watched Gulf War I and Return of Gulf War: Shock and Awe on CNN, too. If you put your command and control center in a high rise in downtown Baghdad, you're just begging to get fucked in your next war. I wouldn't count on the Persians having missed the object lesson in that.

From a political point of view, you'd be playing into the propagandistic hands of the mullahs if you bombed the bejeezus out of Iran, because that would make the people, who are not responsible for the nuke programs, the targets.
 

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