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December 31, 2005



> Bush Doctrine

Any sane country wants to have nuclear weapons. You would be irresponsible as a leader not to try to protect your country, irregardless of whatever rules countries that already have said weapons have placed on you.

Perhaps we should just learn to deal with it. We didn't attack Russia or China or N. Korea. Why would we attack Iran?

Why would we attack Iran when the only possible outcome is to solidify and inflame the opposition. We won't be any safer. But that doesn't seem to be the point.


"Destruction of Iranian infrastructure through an effects-based attack (EBO) would be made to force them to allow inspectors in to supervise the dismantling of their program."

But the inspectors ARE in Iran and are doing their job and have found no program.

And maybe there just is no program. How to prove that?


Firstly, any attack will lead to Iran's withdrawal from the NNPT and the expulsion of inspectors that are currently working there.

Secondly, these "leaks" of US/Israeli military plans/intentions have been going on for a long time now; they generally strike me as being part of an extended psyops campaign against the Iranians. It's possible that they're designed to provoke responses that would legitimise a muscular response, although that doesn't seem to be working too well. It also helps to locate this in the context of the tortuous IAEA diplomacy that has been ongoing - is it a coincidence that this appears when the Iranians are considering the Russian offer regarding enrichment, that would potentially defuse the "crisis"?

Thirdly, if there really is an attack in the works, there is likely to be a market signal - ie heavy buying of oil futures; or, if the Iranians have the level of intelligence penetration and "awareness" that I think they have, a moratorium on Iranian oil exports to key Japanese and European customers to drive a point across. Iran's 2.6mpbd of exports is larger than the global demand-supply gap that currently exists - there may be some temporary remediation in the spring of this year if the BTC can operate at full capacity, Iraq can get back to 2.5 MBPD production, and some 50% of the 400k bpd GoM capacity that is still offline is restored.

Fourthly, no one has the slightest idea of how Iran would respond to an attack. We do not understand their doctrine, we cannot accurately gauge their military capabilites, we have limited information on their inventory, and we are in the dark as regards their tactics. We all suspect that the response will be deeply unpleasant, and potentially catastrophic for US forces in Iraq. The Iranians are probably capable of mounting their own EBO's.

My understanding of the game being played is as follows: the US has decided that, irrespective of intentions, Iran must not be allowed to achieve mastery of the nuclear fuel cycle, and this is not about a weapons programme as such - largely because they cannot find one; it is about the denial of the strategic option that technical mastery gives to Iran, which, if achieved, would force the US to negotiate directly with Iran and resolve the various issues that exist. This is still anathema.

John Robb

b, I am confused as you are.

dan, thanks for the extensive analysis.

If I understand the treaty correctly, they are allowed to enrich uranium (mastery of the cycle). This current round of negotiations is to prevent that right from being exercised -- because the west/Israel is uncertain about the "intent" of the Iranian government.


John, though he comes from the other end of the political spectrum (as I perceive it), Ken Macleod had a post on the same topic yesterday that seems worth considering here:


(Yes, this is the Ken Macleod who does the brilliant hard SF novels.)

mark safranski

The Iranians have been seeking the bomb since the early 1970's.

John is correct that Iran may openly process uranium for peaceful purposes. Clandestine programs are another matter because their only purpose is for the development of nuclear weapons, something the NPT expressly forbids as part of the quid pro quo for access to nuclear technology.

The Iranians have repeatedly violated Article III. section 1 of the NPT which was why, when caught with a covert centrifuge facility, they agreed to additional inspection protocols requested by the IAEA. On the merits, if that actually mattered, Iran has lost the case. It is only the lack of will to support the NPT on the part of the great powers that prevents a UNSC referral and sanctions.

"1. Each non-nuclear-weapon State Party to the Treaty undertakes to accept safeguards, as set forth in an agreement to be negotiated and concluded with the International Atomic Energy Agency in accordance with the Statute of the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Agencys safeguards system, for the exclusive purpose of verification of the fulfillment of its obligations assumed under this Treaty with a view to preventing diversion of nuclear energy from peaceful uses to nuclear weapons or other nuclear explosive devices. Procedures for the safeguards required by this article shall be followed with respect to source or special fissionable material whether it is being produced, processed or used in any principal nuclear facility or is outside any such facility. The safeguards required by this article shall be applied to all source or special fissionable material in all peaceful nuclear activities within the territory of such State, under its jurisdiction, or carried out under its control anywhere."


In regards to a possible strike on Iranian facilities, we might have an easier time decapitating the lunatic leadership. Either way there will be costs resulting from such a strike.

Larry Y.

I'd like to hear from someone who has a handle on Saudi/Bush connections from 1992-2000. My question is ultimately this: What role did the Bush/Baker group play in influencing those factions of Saudis which supported Hamas and undermined the Israeli-PLO Camp David accords?

The backdrop to my query is this: In 1992, newly-elected Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin explained his peace offensive (actually at that point targeted toward Syria) as being designed to complete a ring of pro-American, non-belligerent Arab states (joining Egypt and Jordan) to counter what he described a dozen years ago as the real strategic threat: Iran and Iraq.

In hindsight, one clear mistake he made was the implicit assumption that Saudi Arabia could be counted on as part of the non-belligerent circle. However, Saudi money flowed to Hammas, even as King Fahd refused to back Clinton when it came to pressuring Arafat.

What game was Saudi Arabia (or, rather, component factions) really playing? And was the Bush/Baker team using their contacts to support American diplomacy in the region?

Ken Hagler

Kramer asks, "Perhaps we should just learn to deal with it. We didn't attack Russia or China or N. Korea. Why would we attack Iran?"

The Busheviks didn't attack them because they already _had_ nuclear weapons (or in the case of North Korea, created enough doubt on the subject). Of course you're right, the leadership of Iran would have to be absolutely insane not to develop nukes just as fast as the possibly can, simply to keep a horde of Imperial Stormtroopers from showing up and "liberating" a few hundred thousand of their citizens from their lives. The threat is particularly dire since they now share a border with the Evil Empire.

I certainly hope, for all our sakes, that the Iranians really do have a nuclear weapon program, and that it's very very close to completion.

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