Friday, August 11, 2006

Is Lebanon the 'Trigger' for U.S. War With Iran?

* jeralyn:
"Newsweek reports the war between Israel and Lebanon could get much bigger in the next several months, paving the way for a military confrontation with Iran.

Over at Alternet, Larisa Alexandrovna, who has been writing about Iran for the past year, explains why Iran and Syria will be drawn into the conflict.
While I disagree with her conclusions that Israel has been acting "carelessly" and that Israel as a "client-state" of the U.S. will do what it is told, I don't doubt that a war with Iran has been on the Cheney-Bush-neocon agenda all along. I just think Israel will do what it thinks is best for Israel's self-preservation. That may or may not continue to mesh with the Cheney-Bush agenda.

As for negotiations, maybe if we had a more effective Secretary of State than Condoleeza Rice, progress could be made. Either she's being hamstrung by Bush-Cheney or just not up to the task. Regardless, she's not getting the job done."

* Hirsh in Newsweek:
"First, there’s a high probability that the war between Israel and Hizbullah will persist for weeks, even escalate. The United States and France, which had a moment of diplomatic unity over the weekend, are now squabbling over the language of a preliminary U.N. Security Council resolution. Among other things, France now wants to include Lebanese-requested language that will require faster Israeli withdrawal, and the Bush administration is resisting these changes. While negotiations flag, Israel’s cabinet has approved a wider, 30-day military campaign in Lebanon. “It’s going to be very bloody,” an Israeli official told me today. “The diplomacy is dead.”

And the confrontation to come could make this one look like a sideshow. As summer turns to autumn we are likely to see the Hizbullah proxy war morph into an even uglier fight between the United States and Israel, on one side, and Iran, on the other. Israeli officials are increasingly forthright in saying that their current effort to neutralize Hizbullah, and Washington’s eager endorsement of this effort, is part of a larger strategic campaign being waged against Iran, one of Hizbullah’s chief sponsors, at a time when Tehran is getting fearfully feisty.
Other officials familiar with Tehran’s thinking have said that an attack from the United States or Israel would have the opposite effect from what was intended: it would tilt the debate inside Tehran toward a certain conclusion that only a bomb could provide adequate deterrence. The only answer, other than military confrontation, may be a broad diplomatic effort led by the United States, one that would seek to forge a “grand bargain” with Iran covering everything from the nuclear issues, Iraq, and trade, as well as a regional security pact that would address Hizbullah and Israel.

But Bush has refused to consider this, and hardliners in both Jerusalem and Washington are increasingly skeptical that diplomacy can work. There is also an unnerving tendency in the Bush administration to identify Israel’s interests with America’s, which is endangering Washington’s position with whatever friends among Islamic moderates it once had. Despite leeriness about a military strike option, both the Israel and American militaries have been preparing for it."

* larisa:
"Is Lebanon the 'Trigger' for U.S. War With Iran?

Connect the dots, and it's clear that Cheney and the neocons are desperate to start a war with Iran.
It is during (late 2005) that discussion of a "needed trigger" -- an event that would force the United States into conflict with Iran, despite public objection -- would have to occur. Most experts I consulted with from late 2005 to early 2006 believed that the WMD argument would continue to be pressed and that, coupled with our own threats of a nuclear, chemical and biological preemption policy, would be enough to force Iran into having to beef up its security. In other words, many experts believed that by posing enough of a threat, the United States would force Iran to seek some form of WMD, and then the United States could justify a preemptive strike.
Whatever the trigger event would be, however, most experts believed that no military action would be undertaken by the United States until the spring of 2007.

Sometime around mid-spring of this year, that calculation changed. Experts I consulted at this time, still working in this administration and others already gone, began speaking of a summer or fall strike. And then, as though on cue, things began to move more quickly.

We find out, for example, that in March of this year, the Department of Defense replaced its already disbanded and notorious Office of Special Plans with what they call the Iranian Directorate. As with the OSP, the ID is run out of the policy side and contained largely the same cast of characters, minus Larry Franklin, who has already pleaded guilty to passing classified information to Israel and Iran, and Doug Feith, former undersecretary of defense policy. Feith's shoes were filled by another neoconservative hawk, Eric Edelman.

In describing OSP and by extension, ID, one expert I talked with did not hold back his feelings on what has come to be known as the "cabal":

"It was created to, as Dean Acheson urged Harry Truman, to scare the hell out of the American people by making things a little bit clearer than the truth," John Pike of Global Security told me. But OSP did more than scare people; it created a war that the vice president's office could sell. And if ID was created for the same reason, then there is no doubt a war is already being "cooked up," as some say
Yet there is a full war and full military action, and it is not by accident. It is also exactly on time to be the trigger. But this will not be the worst of it, because Syria will be drawn in; it has to be, and then Iran. This is the strategy that was feared and that is now being played out across the Middle East.

This is a strategy long wanted by the far right and people like Dick Cheney, and this is a strategy that was long in the planning. Even as we began military operations in Iraq, Iran was the subject of all major military discussions. And yet when Israel became engaged in military operations against Lebanon, the entire world failed to understand the true nature of this conflict and the real issues behind it. Israel is a client-state of the United States and, as such, it will do as it is told.

For Israel to act so harshly and so carelessly, putting its entire nation in jeopardy and with world support failing, one can only imagine the pressure that the Cheney "cabal" used to push for such an event.

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