Saturday, March 03, 2007

Are we heading towards another Gulf of Tonkin incident with Iran

The saber rattling around Iran is getting downright scary. Is this another WMD canard or is it the real thing? The Bush policy in the ME so far has been a boon to the mullahs in Tehran. The US policy has clearly made Iran the most dominant Islamic nation in the area and a true challenger to Israel. This was an unintended consequence but it will be felt for years to come as it has comprehensively altered the balance of power in the ME.

We now have the exact opposite of what Bush wanted. He wanted a strong and free Iraq as a buffer between Iran and Saudi Arabia and land bases to support Israel if needed. He has instead got a very strong Iran with a weak and inept Iranian client state (Iraq) and an increasingly jittery Saudi state that may find itself getting drawn into a vicious sectarian conflict. Additionally since our close association with Saudi was one of the key reasons that Osama gave for 9/11 it is also pardoxical that Bush's policy has caused the US to rely more heavily on Saudi Arabia to help it out of the mess it is currently in. Israel our other ally (client state) of course was defeated by the Iranian proxy Hizbollah last fall during its misadventure in Lebanon and is much chagrined.

Suddenly if we are to believe the US intelligence reports the Iranians are everywhere in Iraq. They have supposedly furnished armor piercing rounds, trained the Shia to shoot US choppers out of the sky and the al-Quds Brigade (the cream of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard) are supposedly actively aiding and training the Shiite militias in insurgency techniques.

Congress wants to pass a resolution to prevent Bush from declaring war against Iran. This would be unprecedented if it does so (I don't think such a law could pass the Senate anyway). One can only hope that the Administration does not read the intelligence the way they read it on WMD. I don't think they will try anything in the next few months since it is summer in the area. However I would not be surprised if they plan something for the fall. A surgical strike against Natanz perhaps. It will never work but if they do attack Iran the US will continue to strengthen the mullahs and crush any hope for reform.


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