Rupert Murdoch's Jerusalem Post has to keep finding its daily quota of Iranian fearmongering and war hype. No other Israeli newspaper keeps, as a permanent and prominent section right after Headlines and before those for other Missle East or international news, one entitled "The Threat From Iran". Today, it reported anonymously sourced claims that Israel is ready to go it alone in attacking Iran, after the US has repeatedly refused to co-operate in airstrikes.
It is, of course, an insane notion -- one designed to keep up the pressure of bellicose rhetoric aimed at Iran in the mistaken idea that the Iranian regime will thus become less entrenched and enjoy less domestic support. Even some conservative commentators know this (Ed Morrissey for one):
Israel would have a difficult but not impossible task in hitting enough sites in Iran to make a difference. The most direct route would take then through Iraqi air space, which would also require the IFF codes to avoid getting attacked by US forces. Otherwise, they’d probably have to fly around the Arabian Peninsula, refueling along the way and making their presence known well ahead of the attack. They’d have to hope that they got the actual nuclear sites, as the Iranians decentralized the program as a result of Israel’s attack on Osirak.
What effect would an attack have on the region? If they violate Iraqi air space to do it, we can kiss our position [is that what neocons are calling troop's lives nowadays? - C] in Iraq goodbye. The Iranian regime would be immeasurably strengthened in the short run; it’s hard to imagine a more unifying event than an attack from Israel on the Iranian populace. Iran would almost immediately order its proxy armies of Hezbollah and Hamas into action against Israel, touching off a war on the Lebanon border and in Gaza.
Would all of that be worth ridding the world of Iranian nukes? You bet it would — but only if it could completely destroy the Iranian nuclear program. That’s a long shot on the order of hitting the lottery, even with US cooperation.
Ed was doing so well up until that last paragraph, where he manages to deny the last NIE on Iran and all of the IAEA's findings to date so glibly and without showing his workings, but at least he realizes that even a US-led attack would be unlikely to accomplish any mission.
That's not true for all the neocon rump, however, and they have allies in some of the Obama administration's officials, who have signed off on a hardline neocon think tank's policy prescriptions for Iran.
Several top advisers to Obama - including Tony Lake, United Nations ambassador-designate Susan Rice, Tom Daschle and Dennis Ross, along with leading Democratic hawks like Richard Holbrooke, close to vice president-elect Joe Biden or secretary of state-designate Hillary Clinton - have made common cause with war-minded think-tank hawks at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), and other hardline institutes.
Last spring, Tony Lake and Susan Rice, for example, took part in a WINEP "2008 Presidential Task Force" study which resulted in a report entitled, "Strengthening the Partnership: How to Deepen US-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge". The Institute, part of the Washington-based Israel lobby, was founded in coordination with the American-Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), and has been vigorously supporting a confrontation with Iran.
Maybe we could be generous and assume that Susan Rice and others weren't aware that the neocons they agree with are determined that Obama's diplomacy fail, and fail fast, when it comes to Iran. Then the bombs would fall.
The report of the Coats-Robb task force - "Meeting the Challenge: US Policy Toward Iranian Nuclear Development" - went far beyond the WINEP task force report that Lake and Rice signed off on. It concluded that any negotiations with Iran were unlikely to succeed and should, in any case, be short-lived. As the report put the matter, "It must be clear that any US-Iranian talks will not be open-ended, but will be limited to a pre-determined time period so that Tehran
does not try to 'run out the clock'."
Anticipating the failure of the talks, the task force (including Ross) urged "prepositioning military assets" coupled with a "show of force" in the region. This would be followed almost immediately by a blockade of Iranian gasoline imports and oil exports, meant to paralyze Iran's economy, followed by what they call, vaguely, "kinetic action".
That "kinetic action" - a US assault on Iran - should, in fact, be massive, suggested the Coats-Robb report. Besides hitting dozens of sites alleged to be part of Iran's nuclear research program, the attacks would target Iranian air defense and missile sites, communications systems, Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps facilities, key parts of Iran's military-industrial complex, munitions storage facilities, airfields, aircraft facilities, and all of Iran's naval facilities. Eventually, they say, the US would also have to attack Iran's ground forces, electric power plants and electrical grids, bridges, and "manufacturing plants, including steel, autos, buses, etc".
The D.C. establishment is preparing the ground for diplomacy's failure when it comes to Iran and some indiscreet neocons are openly telling listeners at think-tank discussions that they're happy to pretend that plans for attacking Iran have been shelved for now -- until the supposedly inevitable collapse of negotiations enables the US to claim that everything else was tried before military action. The big question, I suppose, is - is all this intended to undermine Obama's policy or is it telling the truth about what that policy truly is?
Crossposted from Newshoggers