Wednesday, May 28, 2008

One More Roll of the Dice - Iran

Asia Times Online reports that Bush will launch a bombing campaign against Iran before the end of August.

"Two key US senators briefed on the attack planned to go public with their opposition to the move, according to the source, but their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.

The source, a retired US career diplomat and former assistant secretary of state still active in the foreign affairs community, speaking anonymously, said last week that the US plans an air strike against the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). The air strike would target the headquarters of the IRGC's elite Quds force. With an estimated strength of up to 90,000 fighters, the Quds' stated mission is to spread Iran's revolution of 1979 throughout the region. "

Asia Times has identified the senators who've threatened to go public as Senator Diane Feinstein, Democrat of California, and Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana.

The idea of American air strikes on Iran gives everyone cause for concern. Air raids are unlikely to have much effect and could even backfire. Many experts believe bombing could cause the Iraqi people, including dissenters, to rally behind Tehran's hard-liners. It's also widely thought that an American attack on yet another Muslim country, the third, could strengthen the hand of Islamist radicals throughout the Muslim world. Then there's the issue of the West's dependence on Persian Gulf oil routes. Iran is well stocked with modern, anti-ship missiles which could easily shut down Persian Gulf tanker routes. With the American and world economies already reeling from the subprime mortgage meltdown, a closure of the Persian Gulf oil routes could have a massive effect on world markets and global oil prices.

Day by day the prospect of military confrontation grows stronger. ABC News reports that Pakistan may now be aiding Iran by agreeing to hand over members of the tribal militant group Jundullah who Iran claims are working as spies for the CIA.

Jundullah, a Baloch insurgent movement, is known to have been carrying out attacks on Iranian army facilities and officers. According to ABC, US intelligence officers frequently meet with and advise Jundullah leaders. It also claims that the United States is using Iranian exiles to funnel money to Jundullah without requiring White House acknowledgement and Congressional oversight.

"Pakistani government sources say the secret campaign against Iran by Jundullah was on the agenda when Vice President Dick Cheney met with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf in February.

Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s."

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