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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Inevitable War Between the US and Iran

Tensions between the US and Iran continue to mount. After threatening to close the Strait of Hormuz, thereby choking off oil to the West, Iran has begun a 10-day naval exercise, during which various long-range and short-range missiles will be fired. Explaining the rationale for the exercise, Iran is saying that the "drills are defensive in nature and intended to convey a message of peace and friendship to the countries in the region" (http://www.presstv.ir/detail/218615.html). A "message of peace of friendship"? This display of fire power in the Persian Gulf, oozing harmony and amity, is not likely to act as a salve for Saudi concerns involving Iran's irenic intentions.

For its part, the US has announced a $30 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, including 84 new F-15 fighters (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2011/12/iran-and-obama-administration.html), which according to Andrew Shapiro, US assistant secretary of state for political-military affairs, is intended to "send a strong message to countries in the region that the United States is committed to stability in the Gulf and broader Middle East," but "not solely directed toward Iran" (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/checkpoint-washington/post/us-saudi-arabia-strike-30-billion-arms-deal/2011/12/29/gIQAjZmhOP_blog.html?hpid=z4). "Not solely directed toward Iran"? Yeah, right.

The US arms deal with the Saudis has now been supplemented by the announcement of a $3.48 billion deal with the United Arab Emirates, also concerned by Iranian nuclear ambitions, and will include a Lockheed Martin Terminal High Altitude Area Defense ("THAAD") weapon system (see: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/us-seals-deal-on-348-billion-sale-of-missiles-technology-to-uae-a-close-ally-in-mideast/2011/12/30/gIQAukcYRP_story.html).

Meanwhile, in yet another bid to buy time for the game-changing development of its nuclear arsenal, Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun in Tehran on Thursday that Iran is ready to resume negotiations concerning its nuclear program with the 5+1 group (the US, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany) (see: http://www.tehrantimes.com/politics/94057-iran-ready-to-resume-g51-talks-salehi-).

In addition, Iran's semi-official Mehr news agency reported on Saturday that Jalili will soon write to the EU's neophyte foreign affairs chief, Catherine Ashton, "to express Tehran's readiness for fresh nuclear talks with major powers" (see: http://ph.news.yahoo.com/iran-send-letter-eus-ashton-over-resumption-nuclear-064018416.html). Let's see if the the Hideous Baroness of Upholland (see: http://jgcaesarea.blogspot.com/2009/12/catherine-ashton-hideous-baroness-of.html) is once more willing to bite at the bait.

Indeed, Iran is very close to assembling its first atomic weapon, which is the reason for its desire to engage in maundering negotiations predestined to fail. As observed by Yossi Melman, the intelligence and military affairs correspondent for Haaretz, in a blog entry entitled "2012: The year that could bring a U.S. strike of Iran" (http://www.haaretz.com/blogs/the-arms-race/2012-the-year-that-could-bring-a-u-s-strike-of-iran-1.404390):

"Iran is, in all honesty, fairly close to its own 'year of reckoning.' It has already passed the 'technological threshold.' It knows how to enrich uranium, and has carried out experiments where uranium was enriched to 90%, as well as experiments with explosives to generate chain explosions. It carried out computer simulations of nuclear explosions. There is a general consensus that by the year 2012, and 2013 at the latest, Iran will be able to put together a nuclear weapon."

Bottom line: Notwithstanding short-term satisfaction over their purchase of top-of-the-line F-15 fighters, the Saudis will ultimately again insist that the US destroy Iran's nuclear development facilities. My understanding, however, is that President Obama, America's Procrastinator-in-Chief, is weighing whether such a strike undertaken prior to November 2012 best serves his chances of re-election.

Yes, 2012 stands to be interesting.

2 comments:

  1. Well... I think we know what Barak Chaimberlain is going to do.

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  2. Jeff, while I agree with some of your criticism of the president, I think you are being a little hard on Obama here. If, as you suggest, the decision to take out Iran's nuclear facillities comes down to Obama's assesment of his re-election prospects, then air strikes are a done deal. Think about it, Obama could get credit for surgically taking out Bin-Laden and squelching Iran's nuclear threat. That's a spine for a president who desparately needs one, and four more years. In an imperfect world, I will settle for doing the right thing for the wrong reason.

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