Fuel for Doubt on Attack on Iran

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(Crossposted at DKOS)

In today’s WaPo David Ignatius wrote an important column. Ignatius is probably the best-connected commentator on the subject of the Middle East and reflects official thinking in Washington. When the Neocons were in their glory he wrote admiringly of them; recently he has distanced himself considerably.

First he indicates that the intelligence operations are not run well.

But according to knowledgeable sources, this effort shares the defect of broader U.S. policy toward Iran — it is tentative and ill-coordinated, and it undermines diplomacy without bringing serious pressure on the regime.


Argues a former intelligence official, “It’s a PowerPoint covert-action program. It looks aggressive, but it’s not a tied-together, long-term strategy that would make Iran change its policy.”

The money quote comes at the end of the column:

But so far, that argument for a rollback of Iranian power hasn’t prevailed inside a divided administration.

Finally, he indicates that any change in U.S. policy will wait the next administration:

The Iran question will confront the next administration from Day One, and the basic options probably won’t look very different from the current set: Talk or fight, or do something in between?

This column may be a slender thread but it is realistic to assume, having followed and corresponded (when he wasn’t getting so many Emails) with Ignatius for many years, that he reflects more or less where the dominant forces in the power-elite are. Furthermore, there has been almost no call for attack (outside of the radical right) for an attack on Iran in the MSM. The idea has gotten no traction and is ulikely to because, frankly, there’s too much money to be lost by the power-elite particularly the Financial/Banking community who still rule the roost, they trump AIPAC and the Likud/Neocon alliance.

It is possible that this column is just a ploy to downplay speculation but Ignatius isn’t like that–in the den of thieves that is official Washington he is honest in my view.


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  1. it seems that interest in destabilizing the region will be enduring and bipartisan:

    Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, “unprecedented in its scope.”

    Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area – from Lebanon to Afghanistan – but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines – up to and including the assassination of targeted officials.  This widened scope clears the way, for example, for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, the cultish Iranian opposition group, despite its enduring position on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups.

    Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction to Jundullah, or “army of god,” the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan – just across the Afghan border — whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather Reports cutting his brother in law’s throat.

    Other elements that will benefit from U.S. largesse and advice include Iranian Kurdish nationalists, as well the Ahwazi arabs of south west Iran.  Further afield, operations against Iran’s Hezbollah allies in Lebanon will be stepped up, along with efforts to destabilize the Syrian regime.

    All this costs money, which in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees.  That has not proved a problem.  An initial outlay of $300 million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current war and the perilous condition of the U.S. economy.

  2. You idea doesn’t work.

    This Iran bombing isn’t based on Logic or Profit. It’s based on Madness.

    The fact that that covert operations are a mess is expected. ALL CIA COVERT OPERATIONS ARE A MESS AND ALWAYS HAVE BEEN. That’s not pointing in the direction of no bombing.  The CIA is made up of ignorant incompetent people who science has provided much gadgetry which gives the CIA “credibility” in the eyes of the hopelessely stupid and now bankrupted American public who are letting their life savings go down the drain with these wars and not even able to connect the dots….Wars in Mideast=Bankruptcy at Home.

    Doesn’t it occurr to any of you that Bush is clearly a very disturbed person as is Cheney.

    If Bush says tommorrow…Bomb Iran….it will be bombed. He’s the “commander and Chief” and his is the DECIDER GUY.

    I believe he wants to bomb them as does Cheney. If they want to do it. They can do it and they will do it. Or Israel will do it with them or some such scenario.

    Iran is going to be bombed. Israel wants it done. And when Israel wants it done. It gets done. Bush/Cheney wants it done. Those are pretty formidable players who want it done.

    The American public doesn’t have a clue, isn’t involved.

    Just imagine the people the CIA are assassinating in Iran…Bakers, Accountants, TV repairmen…..and the occassional head of state…that too by accident….

  3. Unfortunately, there is probably no way to know the truth of whether the latest flurry of reports about attacking Iran are predictions of events to come, or if they’re deliberate disinformation.  

    Another interesting article about this muddle:   Iran: Existantial Threat or Cakewalk?

    “…Various neo-whatevers pushing for brinkmanship with Iran have described that nation as an existential or imminent threat to American, Israeli and just in general Western national security…they’ve been so successful in trumping up how dangerous Iran…(is) that they’re in danger of convincing everyone that attacking Iran…is too high a risk to be contemplated without far more evidence and provocation than they can show…”

    “…Therefore, the neo-whatevers have embarked on a program to describe Iran as a pushover target, a cakewalk and they are hoping no one notices the legerdemain…”

    “…As we evaluate…let us try to remember that those pushing for an attack…will happily promulgate barefaced lies…Yet very serious people…still keep to the spurious narrative of Iran as an existential threat and the dangerous notion that the U.S. government can be trusted to wield the big stick…”

    Then there are several reports that many of the the latest series of reports about a possible attack on Iran are are deliberate leaks by Washington

    “Israel carried out a major military exercise earlier this month that American officials say appeared to be a rehearsal for a potential bombing attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities,” the Times reported….The report was widely seen as a deliberate leak by Washington and Israel aimed at ratcheting up pressure on Teheran to abandon its uranium enrichment program…”

    But then, while the above article states that “the report was widely seen as a deliberate leak aimed at ratcheting up pressure on Teheran…”,  The Nation’s take on the same NYT report is:  

    “…Some viewed the manoeuvre as an actual practice run for a future strike on Iran, while others see it mainly as a show of force designed to remind both Tehran and Washington of Tel Aviv’s concern. Such an exercise and the publicity about it in the US media have another crucial objective. It is aimed at preparing the American citizenry for being dragged into another war of aggression…”

    There is also this article about Sy Hersch’s article re: US covert operations in Iran.  Cernig believes Hersch may be “crying wolf” but in an update to the article, Larissa says:

    “…Hersh is not crying wolf…”

    And she lists several links about previous articles re: CIA/ Iran.  So, here are two writers for the same blog who aren’t in agreement about what exactly is going on.  

    I’m (sadly) old enough to have lived through much of the “Cold War” and one thing that anyone who really paid attention to the decades long psychological and military chess game between the US and the USSR is this:  There is always more to the story than what we see in the newspapers, and that much of what we see in the newspapers is what the government wants us to see.

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