Saturday, June 03, 2006

bombing iran

Garther Porter in Prospect:
Iran’s “mad mullahs” want nuclear weapons to destroy Israel and can only be stopped by the threat or use of military force. That’s what the Bush administration would have the public believe, as it pushes toward a confrontation with Iran over that country’s nuclear program. A key link in the argument is that Tehran has shown no interest in negotiating over the nuclear issue. As State Department spokesman Sean McCormack told reporters last January, the administration didn’t then see “anything that indicates the Iranians are willing to engage in a serious diplomatic process” on the nuclear issue.

In the woeful history of falsehoods about the targets of potential U.S. force, however, this one is particularly egregious. In the spring of 2003, the Islamic Republic of Iran not only proposed to negotiate with the Bush administration on its nuclear program and its support for terrorists but also offered concrete concessions that went very far toward meeting U.S. concerns.

The story of that Iranian negotiating proposal and the U.S. failure to respond, which has never been covered by major U.S. media, reveals the underlying pragmatism driving Iranian policy toward an agreement with the United States. It also reveals a fierce struggle between realists who wanted to engage Iran diplomatically and the inner circle of advisers who were determined to avoid it. The stubborn rejection by President Bush and his neoconservative advisers of normal diplomatic practice in their dealings with Iran, detailed for the first time here, raises grave questions about the Bush administration’s real motives as it maneuvers through the present crisis over Iran’s nuclear program.
read the whole thing - but a couple of snippets:

This describing late 2001:
"Vice President Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld led the neoconservative push for regime change. But it was Douglas Feith, the abrasive and aggressively pro-Israel undersecretary of defense for policy, who was responsible for developing the details of the policy. Feith had two staff members, Larry Franklin and Harold Rhode, who spoke Farsi, and a third, William Luti, whom one former U.S. official recalls being “downright irrational” on anything having to do with Iran. A former intelligence official who worked on the Middle East said, “I’ve had a couple of Israeli generals tell me off the record that they think Luti is insane.”

In December 2001, Feith secretly dispatched Franklin and Rhode to Rome to meet with Manucher Ghorbanifar, the shady Iranian arms dealer in the Iran-Contra affair, and other Iranians. Administration officials later told Warren P. Strobel of the Knight Ridder media chain that they had learned that among those Iranians were representatives of the Mujahadeen e Khalq (MEK), a paramilitary organization Saddam had used for acts of terror against non-Sunni Iraqis and Iran."
this from spring 2003 re the Iranian offer via switzerland:
"The proposal offered “decisive action against any terrorists (above all, al-Qaeda) in Iranian territory” and “full cooperation and exchange of all relevant information.” It also indicated, however, that Iran wanted from the United States the “pursuit of anti-Iranian terrorists, above all MKO” -- the Iranian acronym for the Mujihedeen e Khalq (MEK), which had fought alongside Iraqi troops in the war against Iran and was on the U.S. list of terrorist organizations -- “and support for repatriation of their members in Iraq” as well as actions against the organization in the United States.
The offer of a narrower deal over al-Qaeda and the anti-Iranian terrorist group touched off a brief period of intensive maneuvering by both sides in the administration over U.S. policy toward the MEK. When the proposed al-Qaeda–MEK exchange of information was discussed at a White House meeting, proponents of regime change sought to differentiate MEK from al-Qaeda. Bush is said to have responded, “But we say there is no such thing as a good terrorist,” according to Leverett.

Although Bush did not approve an al-Qaeda–MEK deal, he did approve the disarming of the MEK who had surrendered to U.S. troops in Iraq, as the State Department requested, and allowed State to continue the talks in Geneva.
In a masterstroke, Rumsfeld and Cheney had shut down the only diplomatic avenue available for communicating with Iran and convinced Bush that Iran was on the same side as al-Qaeda.

The neoconservatives had hopes of taking advantage of this break to advance the plan developed by Feith and his staff for regime change in Iran. It called for a covert operation in Iran using the MEK (reconstituted under a new name) for armed forays into Iran. But Bush seems to have balked at getting in bed with the MEK. Seeing an opening, Powell became personally involved in heading off the use of the MEK against Iran. Powell pursued the MEK issue with both Rice and Rumsfeld “on a number of occasions,” according to Wilkerson. When he learned that Rumsfeld had prevailed on the military in May to leave the MEK with most of its arms and to allow it to move freely in and out of its camp north of Baghdad, Powell wrote a stiff letter to Rumsfeld reminding him that the MEK were U.S. “captives, not allies.”"
Of course, that proposal from Iran also offered the rejection of it's nuke technolgy, acknowledgement of Israel, assistance with al qaeda and renunication of hamas and hizbollah etc.

And now 'we' are going to bomb their people.


Don said...

I remembered reading about reports that among others, Iran came out behind the US post-9/11. However while digging, I noted this Time article from July '04 on the 9/11 Commission. Two items of note from it: the noting several times that evidence linking Iran to Al-Qaeda was newly discovered (through 'interrogation' of Gitmo detainees), and the last paragraph:

Since 9/11 the U.S. has held direct talks with Iran—and through intermediaries including Britain, Switzerland and Saudi Arabia—concerning the fate of scores of al-Qaeda that Iran has acknowleded are in the country, including an unspecified number of senior leaders, whom one senior U.S. official called al-Qaeda's "management council". The U.S. as well as the Saudis have unsuccessfully sought the repatriation of this group, which is widely thought to include Saad bin Laden, the son of Osama bin Laden, as well of other key al-Qaeda figures.

(emphasis mine)

The whole paragraph is damning of the administration's 'resolve' to get Al-Qaeda, but that first sentence is interesting because for the last couple of days we've been hearing about the 'unprecedented' nature of opening talks with Iran, period, let alone direct talks.

Ahmedinajad said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lukery said...

don - fascinating. thnx.

i didnt know that about direct talks.

i dont think you have been around long enough to know - but i basically dont think that alqaeda even exists. it may have at one point - but not any more - ergo the 'resolve' is just more bogeyman hunting

damien said...

Gareth Porter covered this well 1 2 3

lukery said...

ah yes - in fact it was gareth that i was quoting!

damien said...

I saw that Lukery. I just noted that he had been saying that message for a while. But his latest essay spells it out the clearest. People keep telling me that Bush won't hit Iran because Congress, the GOP, (you name it) are all against him. But that's never stopped him before. Everyone will fall in line if we have a 'terrorist' attack. This guy is going to go for it, for sure. Total fucking asshole and full on Hitler clone. This is not going to end well with this idiot. Everything, and I mean everything, is being geared towards a totalitarian state dressed up in the guise of fighting terrorism. Bad news.

The cultural schizophrenia about all of this is even more pronounced these days. (They've had a lot of discussion at 911 blogger about 9/11 issues and persons being banned from DailyKos.) And the Dems in Congress are still in dreamland. They just don't get it. Too many people are in denial. Counterpunch keeps calling it correctly, along with the mighty Buzzflash.

Keep swinging, Luke.