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A Different Kind of Quagmire: Iran

Tired of the same old boring quagmire?  Looking for a new kind of quagmire to talk about with your friends?  Good news if you are, because Iraq is not the only quagmire around.  No need to look far—keep it in the “axis of evil.”  Iraq’s neighbor, Iran is also a quagmire of a sorts… a diplomatic quagmire for the transatlantic allies. 

I’ll corroborate: the United States and Europe have been trying to anneal sanctions against Iran through the United Nations Security Council for years, only to have their proposals consistently rebuffed and watered down by China and Russia.  The latest US National Intelligence Estimate (NIE), “Iran: Nuclear Intentions and Capabilities” (PDF version), is unlikely to make the pursuit of sanctions any easier:
We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program; we also assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons.
Good news, right?  Only kinda, according to Ralf Fuecks who points out at Atlantic Community that Iran remains a threat, regardless of the NIE:
It would… be a mistake to now sit back and relax. Becoming a nuclear power requires three elements: nuclear material, a carrier system with which to transport the deadly cargo, and the capability to build nuclear warheads. If the United States National Intelligence Council calculated correctly, Iran has only put the latter on ice - and namely in reaction to the triumphant advance of the American army in Iraq.
Iran is certainly pursuing nuclear material… hence the sanctions.  Regarding delivery systems, Jeffrey Lewis of the New America Foundation provides analysis of Iran’s progress in developing its Shahab-3 missile here and here, a program that appears to be rocketing. 

So, here is where we stand: Iran continues to pursue nuclear weapons (materials), the transatlantic allies want to deter this by strengthening existing sanctions, but China and Russia just won’t play along—and this has been going on for a few years now.  What to do?  Quagmire!

Silvan Shalom, a Likud (Israeli center-right political party) MK who has served as both foreign minister and finance minister, argues in Haaretz that Europe and America should not wait on China and Russia:
As in past years, the United States and the European Union do not see eye to eye with Russia and China, which are opposed to severe sanctions against Tehran. We must ask ourselves whether there is any point in waiting for Sino-Russian consent, or whether the two countries should simply be overlooked on this issue. There is no point in waiting. The U.S. and the EU can reach a clear, unequivocal and immediately implementable decision. Since most of Iran's international trade is with the U.S. and the EU, the decision to impose severe sanctions will have a strong, hard impact.
Perhaps.  Of course there is the possibility Iran will redirect its business toward non-EU/US countries, rather than submit to the sanctions.  I doubt Iran would be happy about this, but they certainly seem set for a fight.  Just this week Iran announced it is opening its first investment banks to resist US sanctions and promote industry privatization.  Kord Zangeneh, Iranian deputy finance minister, is quoted by Financial Times:
 We are going to activate our private sector and our private banks… in order to fight against these [US] sanctions. This is the first time we have had investment banks and they will do what other investment banks all over the world do. They will take share subscriptions and act as an intermediary between the privatisation organisation and the stock exchange, helping us divest our state-owned enterprises. I promise that if I am here for the next two years, between 80 and 90 per cent of the government will be sold.
And in a droll twist, the US government may be inadvertently subsidizing development of Iran’s Bushehr nuclear reactor. New York Times:
The Energy Department is subsidizing two Russian nuclear institutes that are building important parts of [the Bushehr] reactor in Iran whose construction the United States spent years trying to stop, according to a House committee.  Rep. John Dingell, chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce… said, “We’ve got U.S. money providing assistance to help develop a reactor that we’re busy denouncing.”
Now that is almost funny. 

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franchie on :

the hospital that makes looks the charity fool well, I can't wait for the next "oil for food" fatwa

joe on :

Kyle, Now being in the heart of the chocolate summit you don't keep up with the latest threat briefing to congress. Do some reading....

Kyle Atwell on :

News, what is that? I subscribe to Stephen Colbert’s concept of truthiness—news from the gut! But seriously Joe, I fear you have taken me for a liberal pacifist.

Kyle Atwell on :

Joe, I am aware of the threat briefing, and was before I wrote this article. The underlying thesis behind this post is that deterring Iran from attaining nuclear weapons is a serious problem, with no simple solution. We have been struggling to do it for several years, and we just can't seem to get out of the same pattern: US/EU proposes some sanctions, it gets watered down and delayed by Russia and China, Iran makes some specious promises to delay process more, weak sanctions pass, Iran doesn't change its policy -- and over again. I wrote this article hoping to hear other people's thoughts, from both sides of the Atlantic, on how Iran can be deterred from gaining nuclear weaponry. I find Mr. Shalom's suggestion interesting: an EU/US sanctions regime irregardless of what China and Russia do. I am curious if such a regime would really lead to policy change in Iran or not. It may even hurt the US and EU if Iran builds up its trade relations more strongly with China and Russia... decreasing western economic influence over Iran. I don't see a military strike against Iran as tenable either, if the aim of that strike is to destroy nuclear reactors. We could of course stike Iran in other sensitive areas, but that a) may not necessarily deter it from pursuing nukes, and b) may turn the population even more against the west. My feelings on the applicability of a military strike may change as Iran moves closer to attaining nuclear weapons. I also found it interesting that the new deputy finance minister is so focused on privatization... I wonder how this will affect Iranian-western business relations.

pen Name on :

A deal between US & EU on the one side and Iran, under the side are possible if US & EU give up on their desire for no enrichment on the Iranian soil - not to mention the heavy water reactor in Arak. With or without Mr. Ahmadinejad, with or without the Islamic Republic, Iran will have had the capacity to build a nuclear bomb. This is a non-negotiable position for any Iranian government. As for deterring Iran from building a nuclear weapon; I think that you are working under false assumptions. Iran has made too many promises to too many states (Russia, China, NAM, Arab States) to exit NPT and build a nuclear weapon. I think that your (EU) current policy will eventually get you to where US has been since 1995 - leveraged out of influence on Iran. And you will have no positive outcome to show for it; there will be enrichment and reprocessing in Iran as both Ayatollah Khamenei and Dr. Ahmadinejad have repeatedly emphasized. My recommendation to you is to keep quiet in order to reduce the verbal antagonisms. Journalistic threads of bombings in Iran, cavalierly discussed among US & EU citizens, only adds to the sense of anger and the siege mentality in Iran - not just among the Iranian leaders but among the Iranian people as well. You have massively miscalculated (just like the War in Lebanon, or in Kosovo) and it will be years before you can recover your position in Iran. Iranian leaders are always ready for a deal with either US or EU or both but they expect the benefit to be tangible and immediate. If you want & expect a deal like Libya you will not see it. -

joe on :

Kyle Actually I believe you to be a liberal. This does not mean you are a pacifist. Liberals have no problem in using US military force when it is not connected to the vital interests of the US. Liberals would much rather deploy 3200 Marines to Chad than to Afghanistan. Given your left coast upbringing, the organizations you have chosen to associate yourself with, and some of your comments and lack of comments in our last exchange about NATO you sound very liberal and should fit in well as an editor/moderator. You just need to be more critical of the US. The first link is the DNI report to Congress on 5 February 2008 http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2008_hr/index.html This link is the transcript of DNI testimony before the Senate. http://www.dni.gov/testimonies/20080205_transcript.pdf These links appeared in the WSJ reporting on the testimony. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120243182629452341.html http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120269602082157967.html The bottom-line was a walkback by DNI McConnell concerning the unclassified assessment you make reference to in your article. If you slog through the transcript you will clearly see this. Iran remains the threat it was before the euphoria of the December released assessment. Of course the damage has already been done by the left on no longer needing to pressure Iran with non-military means. As the Economist stated in a cover story Iran Won. That M$M has not widely reported this nor have democrats make an issue of this is because it does not fit the template they have about the threat Iran presents and more to the point about the actions of the current POTUS. M$M, the left, Europe, and democrats all jumped on the initial release painting POTUS as a warmonger and boxing in his efforts to pressure Iran. Europe breathed a collective sigh of relief. Remember the current POTUS is a greater threat to peace than Iran ever will be. Ask any german. What the DNI said is the wrong part of Iran’s Nuclear Program was highlighted. (I do not for one minute believe this was not done intentionally BTY.) That part being the suspension of weapons design, which is the easy part of developing a nuclear weapon. Even that part the DNI could not state with any confidence may have already been restarted. As you pointed out the real threats are the enrichment program and the delivery system. Both of those are on going by Iran. In fact, the DNI stated it is possible Iran will have a functional nuclear weapon by 2009. The more likely date is 2010 -12. So the new POTUS is going to be awaken one early morning to the news that Iran has denoted a nuclear weapon. It will be a little late at this point for the US and her so-called European allies to do much other than try to revise BMD program. I seriously doubt Europe will have more stomach then for military action. The risk will be too great to their little postmodern paradise. But then for the European Iran has never really been a threat. Just some more US scare tactics. Israel on the other hand might take action. If Iran gets away with this, which all indications they will, then in 10-12 years the ME will have lots of nuclear states. Of course there is hope that Obama and his direct dialogue with Iran will preclude all of this. I wish him greater success than what the POTUS has accomplished with PRNK. Then again it might be possible to attack Iran’s weakest link which is its economy causing a popular uprising. This probably come be done at a cost of between 500m to 1B dollars and less than 3500 lives. Would the US undertake such an effort, I seriously doubt it. We like Europe have become morally pure. One need look no farther than the accomplishment of your former organization who claims as a victory the stoppage of the development of nuclear bunker buster weapons.

pen Name on :

I point out the hubris of these postings and the fact that the writer does not seem to care about NPT at all. An attack by US, a signatory of NPT, on declared and safe-guarded nuclear installations of another NPT signatory is the death of NPT. Since you in EU live under the nuclear protection of US, you may not care about the security concerns of other states that do not enjoy that protection. But others do. The destruction of NPT will cause every state with the capacity to so to start building nuclear bombs. Fly to tehran with US Secretary of State and make an offer to the Iranians that they cannot refuse - bring your check-books.

Kyle Atwell on :

"Given your left coast upbringing, the organizations you have chosen to associate yourself with, and some of your comments and lack of comments in our last exchange about NATO you sound very liberal and should fit in well as an editor/moderator." I don't refute that I tend to be more liberal than conservative, although I think the most accurate classification of me, if there needs to be one, would be moderate/pragmatist. I certainly try to stay away from dogmatic. I have a question for you on the NATO topic: do you think that as only "liberal" Americans believe NATO continues to benefit the United States? Also, it may be important to note that I am very much not opposed to the war in Afghanistan, and separately I figure the EU can handle Chad just fine for now... I think it is good we are sending 3,200 more marines to Afghanistan, and also VERY good that France will be sending some too

joe on :

It very much seems NATO as an institution has become a vital US national interest. This without regard to the organization NATO has become or failed to become as a result of the end of the Soviet threat to Western Europe. Like all institutions, which reach this status it exists because it is there, and has always been there with little thought given to either its reality or validity.. For NATO to be relevant it is going to have to reinvent itself and meaningful new commitments be made by the member nations or be disbanded. The current concept that NATO exists solely for the land defense of Europe will not survive. I think attitudes toward NATO span the political spectrum much as anti-Americism spans the political spectrum in germany I do not think these attitudes are linear, meaning going from conservative to liberal there is support or non-support for NATO or vice versa. There are pockets across the spectrum, which question NATO’s beliefs to the US. Anti-war liberals view NATO as a vehicle and support of a set of US foreign policies, which they oppose. Many conservatives see NATO as threat to the US because it binds us to Europe militarily and there is not a positive cost benefit ratio. There is little support for NATO in these groups. Also do not forget that close to 40% of Americans of all political philosophies are isolationists so disbanding NATO would be supported by this group, both right and left. The vast majority of discussions about the future of NATO have taken place among conservatives, many of these including ESDP. I would say at this time no single consensus has formed among conservatives about NATO. This is almost a non-topic for liberals. For liberals they view NATO in theoretical terms and this is true for most so-called moderates. The results of the presidential election will determine a lot about attitudes toward NATO going forward. Should a republican win, then I see little change about burden sharing by the NATO member nations. Republicans more so than democrats have faced up to the realities of what the nations of Europe are prepared to contribute. Democrats still seem to display naivety to these nations. A clear example of that were Kerry’s comments during the last election cycle of gaining more support from our allies. The democrats actually believe or want us to believe that with one of their own as CIC as opposed to GWB Europe will deploy its legions. So the more the US deployments to Afghanistan and Iraq become a topic of the election cycle, the more NATO comes into play. The more the US asks of the NATO members to contribute to Afghanistan and the more replies given such as those by germany, the more NATO comes into play. The more NATO becomes a topic of discussion the quicker NATO will be unwound. A democrat POTUS will ask more from Europe. At the end of the day the new POTUS will end up having a reality check once he/she meets their counterparts from our so-called allies. Once more we will hear smoothing words and no meaningful action. NATO will then take some serious body slams. These slams will be more from the centrist of both political parties than there have been to date. Just as it took a democrat to revise the welfare program in the US and much as it took a SPD chancellor in germany to do the same, it will take a Republican POTUS to unwind NATO. So should a democrat become POTUS NATO will limp along but much discussed with the follow on republican taking the necessary steps to withdraw the US from NATO. A republican win would only delay this unwinding until another complete republican-democrat election cycle. Anecdotally I have friends who span the political spectrum, none of them thinks NATO should continue. My apolitical friends, consider these independents, for the most part take the position NATO having failed to help the US, after decades of the US supporting Europe, NATO is useless, and the US should no longer support it. In fact, this latter group is probably the most outspoken and more opinionated than either conservatives or liberals. Many of them also served in Europe in support of the US commitment to NATO.

joe on :

Kyle Chad – I too am watching this deployment with great interest. I consider EUFOR operating under the framework of the ESDP to accurately reflect post NATO Europe. (Of course, if your concept of the NATO opt out option was formalized into the existing treaty this could be a NATO mission with france having contributed the most troops having the greatest say in it conduct. actually that does seem to be what is happening. multi-polar EU?) EUFOR has undertaken a very ambitious and demanding mission given the terrain and complexity. It is to cover more than 200,000 SqKM or 77,000 Sq miles, about the size of the UK, and to provide for and protect 400,000 and growing refugees. With the European battle groups up and functioning, there are two now ready to be deployed; one wonders why it took from September 07 to now to start the deployment. The most recent delay seems to have been the results of a small group of freedom fighters armed with light machineguns in pick up trucks. I think we both can agree had the US assumed this mission and delayed deployment this long there would have been a firestorm of M$M and diplomatic condemnation. Jorg, NYT, CNN would have had a field day. If the POTUS tasked DOD with such a mission, I would anticipate as a minimum the 101st Airborne Division with its 18,000 personnel and over 400 helicopters would be deployed. I can assure you they would have arrived in less time. One can only assume the superior leadership of LTG Nash of the Irish Defense Forces will compensate for what at first brush would appear to be a shortfall in both personnel and lift given the scope of the mission statement from the UNSC. It surely would be interesting to read the OPLAN/OPORD for this operation. I dare say it is probably several feet thick. The portion dealing with rules of engagement and logistics would be fascinating. Just from a lift utilization-planning standpoint deploying 10 helicopters would break out something like: 1 C&C, 2 log, 1 down for maintenance at any time, 1 MEDEVAC. That means on any given day assuming there are no UN/EU VIP missions, the french ground commander will have 5 chopters to support the operation. Depending on the threat environment most of these would probably be on standby to airlift an immediate reaction/protection force. Then to support this mission given the size of the AOR, a lot of forward area refueling points would be required which might required some form of a security force. So boots on the ground to provide actually security grows ever smaller. I would also be particular interested in the rules of engagement. I wonder if the lessons learned from how the germans reacted to civilians being killed in the Balkans as they remained in their barracks or how the Dutch peacekeeping troops failed to stop the massacre of more than 8,000 men and boys at Srebrenica have been incorporated into the OPORD. Remember the stated reasons for no action to be prevent these deaths were the existing rules of engagement. Given the UN mission statement it would seem the rules of engagement could be very aggressive as it pertains to the protection of refuges. Armed intervention because of restrictive ROE’s should not be an issue. From my readings of this mission, EUFOR is not to take sides in the internal conflict between the freedom fighters and the existing government of Chad. It is only for protection of refugees, aid workers, UN personal, etc. I wonder then how france has been able to deliver ammunition to the current government of Chad. Does this mean there are two french forces in Chad? One as part of the EUFOR with a french overall operational ground commander of EUFOR and a second permeate french force which has 1,450 troops plus Mirage jet fighters in Chad and has provided Deby, the president of Chad with logistical and intelligence support under what one has to assume a different french commander. Or is it possible both forces are commanded by the same french general? If this is true about the french participation it would appear to be direct conflict with the UN mission. It would however answer the question as to why the freedom fighters consider EUFOR to be a hostile force given its overwhelming french makeup. I guess if the truth be known it does not matter if EUFOR accomplishes it mission or not. What is important is through strategic discussions among the EU members this force has deployed displaying not only the development but the progress the EU has made. It will be interesting to observe how well the EU handles this mission. BTW I made a comment to you concept of NATO incentives.

franchie on :

Selon les chiffres de l'Etat-major des armées, 3.630 hommes, de 14 nationalités différentes, devraient être déployés pour protéger les camps de réfugiés et apporter un soutien aux humanitaires. La région concernée s'étend sur près de 200.000 km2. L'Eufor sera commandé depuis la France (PC du Mont-Valérien) par le général irlandais Nash. Deux bases logistiques seront installées à N'Djaména et à Abéché. Au Tchad, la force sera organisée en trois bataillons : polonais au nord, français au centre, irlandais au sud. En Centrafrique, une compagnie française sera maintenue à Birao. La France fournira le principal contingent avec 2100 hommes (58%), qui proviendront pour l'essentiel des Troupes de marine (RICM, 2ème RIMa et 3ème RIMa). A noter que la France va déployer des drones CL 289. Par ordre d'importance, les autres contingents sont fournis par l'Irlande (430), la Pologne (350), la Suède (200, mais qui ne resteront que jusqu'au mois de juin), la Roumanie (120) et l'Italie. Huit autres pays ne dépêcheront au Tchad que quelques dizaines d'homems. Il s'agit de l'Autriche, la Belgique, la Finlande, la Grèce, les Pays Bas, la Portugal, la Slovénie et l'Espagne. hey, gros malin, traduis ! "If this is true about the french participation it would appear to be direct conflict with the UN mission. It would however answer the question as to why the freedom fighters consider EUFOR to be a hostile force given its overwhelming french makeup. yeah, if there is an EUFOR mission, it's thanks to Kouchner you look more than an A...cloon I guess if the truth be known it does not matter if EUFOR accomplishes it mission or not. What is important is through strategic discussions among the EU members this force has deployed displaying not only the development but the progress the EU has made. It will be interesting to observe how well the EU handles this mission. I am sure you would be delightful if it fails ;

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

I don't think is as easy as Silvan Shalom claims. China and Russia are not the only obstacles to more sanctions. Germany (and perhaps other European countries) are still against the wide ranging economic sanctions that the US want to see. Many in Berlin point out how futile sanctions against Iraq and Burma were or still are... Positive incentives are preferred... I think the transatlantic disagreements are a sort of quagmire. The US wants Europe to put big economic sanctions on Iran. The US thinking is: Without some economic pressure, Iran will not compromise and negotiations are pointless. Europe wants the US to negotiate directly with Iran so that they can resolve their bilateral problems based on an unfortunate history. That is the core of the problem according to the European thinking. Sanctions won't work, if the US and Iran don't negotiate. Yade, yade, yade. US sanctions against Iran have no effect on Iran, because the Europeans and the rest of the world trade with Iran. European negotiations with Iran have no effect, because Iran got an issue with the US and wants something from the US rather than from Europe. Yade, yade, yade. So, the way out of the quagmire is: Europe has to put up sanctions and the US has to negotiate. Re Silvan Shalom statement "Since most of Iran's international trade is with the U.S. and the EU, the decision to impose severe sanctions will have a strong, hard impact." I thought the US does not have trade with Iran...?

pen Name on :

EU sanctions against Iran will get you to precisely where US currently is - out of leverage with Iran. Why can't you guys understand a simple statement: "Enrichment in Iran in not negogiable." Why are you so obdurate?

Joerg - Atlantic Review on :

Because we do not want an increase in the arms race in the Middle East. There will be plenty of Arab states following Iran...

ROA on :

Joerg, What should we offer Iran?

pen Name on :

Joreg: The spectre of "plenty of Arab states..." is a red herring. To my knowledge, only Egypt and Algeria have a very very remote possibility of building an enrichment plant or develop a reprocessing capability. None of the other Arab states is capable of doing so. Turkey perhaps could but there are constraints on her from NATO.

joe on :

Surely if a backwater nation like Iran can develop a nuclear program, there is no reason to preclude any other nation in the ME from doing so. France has already signed nuclear cooperation agreements with Libya and the UAE. Russia has signed an agreement with Algeria. Jordan is in discussions with Canada about purchasing a heavy water reactor. Turkey and Egypt are probably farther along in this process than most nations. Of course just like Iran these programs are for “peaceful” purposes.

pen Name on :

These agreements will not advance enrichment capability in these countries. And the political reasons that I have alluded to still obtains.

Kyle Atwell on :

Pen Name: "EU sanctions against Iran will get you to precisely where US currently is - out of leverage with Iran." I think you have this backward. It is the US who has leverage with Iran--moreso than the EU. Why do you think everybody is pushing the US to conduct direct negotiations with Iran, where the EU-3 has failed? "Why can't you guys understand a simple statement: 'Enrichment in Iran in not negogiable.'" There is nothing simple about that statement. Here are a few reasons: 1) Iran lied in the past and has a history of undeclared nuclear programs 2) Iran has refused to obey UN mandates to cease uranium enrichment… it is not just the US pushing for this, but the United Nations; El Baradei has explicitly requested Iran follow the Security Council request by suspending its enrichment related activities and being more forward in verification efforts. Even now Iran will not facilitate verification processes without stalling 3) Several countries have masked nuclear weapons programs behind civilian uranium enrichment, such as India, Israel, and Pakistan. Iran’s existing 3,000 centrifuges could produce enough material for a weapon in 12-18 months under optimal operating conditions. 4) Iran is pursuing some ICBM’s that don’t have much other practical application than to carry nuclear warheads. In November, when Iran introduced a new missile with a supposed range of 1800 km, an Iranian official announced it to be, “sufficient to put US bases in the Middle East and Israel within reach.” 5) As Joerg says, Iran attaining a nuclear weapon will certainly lead to a nuclear arms race in the Middle East. There is already an arms race going on between the GCC and Iran, in conventional weapons. Iran has been importing more complex weapons from Russia, and the GCC states have significantly increased their recent arms orders, with support from the US, including the recent deal for over $20 billion. Very likely if Iran gets nukes, the GCC states will follow. 6) And oh yeah, Ahmadinejad has said Israel should be wiped off the map. So overall you have a government with bellicose rhetoric that is actively and openly pursuing two aspects of nuclear weapons production (missiles and enrichment), and may even have picked up development of the weapons systems (the NIE specifically said it did not have a high level of confidence on whether or not Iran has reinstated the program it halted in 2003). Why should the world trust Iran's word on this one?

pen Name on :

The President of the United States has stated: "We have sanctioned our selves out of leverage with Iran." I think he made that statement in 2005, but I do not recall the exact time frame. 1. Stating Iran "has lied" is truly a case of the pot calling the kettle black. EU lied about the so-called atrocities in Kosovo. US lied about nuclear weapons in Iraq. Please spare me your kindergarten morality. 2. Security Council cannot take away soverign rights from soverign states. Her demands of Iran are illegal. 3. Iran is a proud and resourceful country. If her leaders decide that building nuclear weapons serve her national interests, they would do so. They have not yet made that determination. There are 40 other countries that can build nuclear bombs [as far as I know]. 4. Iran is exercising her sovereign rights to puruse ballistic missile technologies. Whether they make sense to Western analysts is irrelevant. US & Israel are enemies of Iran and we will defend ourselves by any means necessary. 5. Iran is not in an arms race with GCC states. The GCC states are not a military threat to Iran. In fact, Iran has the lowest per captia expenditures on arms than any state in the Middle East. 6. Dr. Ahmadinejad is only stating what hundreds of millions of Muslims and 70% of Muslim government leaders [heads of government of heads of state] think. Jews have lost the World of Islam. At any rate, Israel is not your country, why do you care about her? There is no global coalition against Iran. By "the world" I imagine you mean US, EU, and perhaps Russia, China, and India. Well, I have news for you: NAM supports Iran. The only way that you can prevent Iran from exercising her sovereign rights - should she choose to do so - is to go to war with her, defeat her, and occupy her. If you do not think you can do that, then I suggest you get the Americans to go with you to Tehran and make a deal.

Kyle Atwell on :

"Iran is not in an arms race with GCC states. The GCC states are not a military threat to Iran. In fact, Iran has the lowest per captia expenditures on arms than any state in the Middle East." I assume you are basing this on the recent IISS report that said that Iran had the second lowest per capita spending in 2007, at 3.5%. This argument is rather specious, since it only captures one period in time when there are several variables that could influence the relative levels of spending between countries in a single year when measured on a per-capita basis. A more rigorous analysis to determine whether there is a possible arms race brewing in the Middle East is to figure out whether there have been increases in both the GCC and Iran in military spending over time, as measured in real dollar terms. I put together the following graph based on information from SIPRI that may help us better address this question: [URL]http://atlanticreview.org/uploads/MiddleEastSpending.pdf[/URL] A few notes on the graph: 1) There was no data available for 2006 spending by Yemen and UAE, and still the total GCC spending rose. 2) I would expect GCC to rise even more with the recent $20 billion US package to GCC countries 3) No military spending data available for Qatar 4) Data courtesy of SIPRI: http://first.sipri.org/non_first/milex.php

pen Name on :

More Data: New Arms Transfer Agreements to the Gulf States: 1999-2006 ($US Current Millions) Country US Russia China Major West All Other All Total European Europe Other Cordesman: Iran Nuclear Weapons NIE 1/14/08 Page 12 Bahrain 1999-2002 500 - - - - - 500 2003-2006 200 - - 100 - - 300 Iran 1999-2002 - 100 100 - - 600 800 2003-2006 - 1,500 400 0 100 200 2,200 Iraq 1999-2002 - 100 - - 300 - 400 2003-2006 1,000 0 0 300 500 300 2,100 Kuwait 1999-2002 1,600 100 200 - - 200 2,100 2003-2006 1,300 - - - - 100 1,400 Oman 1999-2002 800 - - 400 - 100 1,300 2003-2006 200 - - 1,000 - - 1,200 Qatar 1999-2002 - - - - - - - 2003-2006 - - - - - 100 100 Saudi Arabia 1999-2002 2,700 - - 500 800 - 4,000 2003-2006 4,500 - 200 7,600 - 100 12,400 UAE 1999-2002 7,100 800 - 400 400 100 8,800 2003-2006 1,200 - - 2,000 200 300 3,700 Note: If total sales are less than $50 million, no figure is reported. All data rounded to the nearest $100 million. Major East European includes Britain, France, Germany, and Italy as an aggregate figure. The total for US sales to the UAE for 1992-2002 includes $6.432 billion for 80 F-16s sold in 2000. Source: Richard F. Grimmett, Conventional Arms Transfers to Developing Nations, Congressional Research Service, RL-34187, September 26, 2007.

pen Name on :

And yet more data: http://www.csis.org/media/csis/pubs/070302_iranheg.pdf Noe the one to the last slide.

Kyle Atwell on :

Meant to say "long-range missiles", not ICBM's which are missiles with a range over 5,500 km.

franchie on :

"thought the US does not have trade with Iran...?" that's the problem :lol: officially, no ! in the back yards, yes, be letters boxes, be disguised Cies... they are first businessmen ; I got an example, when I was living in north of Paris surburb during the cold war, my man managed there an hotel business, our proxy customers were Americans, they had a society called Cryo ; their visitors and customers were the Russians that had a castel in the nearby for the cure of their tired Nomenklature, Cubans and Chineses were also of the casting ; and when they signed a contract that was of billions dollars,that they fested with Champagne ; I can't believe that they had to hide in an anonimous countryside, that their visitors were so discret for buying only a procedé that kept spermatozoïdes frozen :lol:

pen Name on :

All: Israel is a threat to you as well; read what a so-called moderate Israeli thinks below. If you care about your own security try to de-nuclearize Israel. Martin van Creveld interview in the Dutch magazine Elsevier in January 2003 (available at http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article1154.htm.) What van Creveld was arguing was that the attempt to maintain control of the territories conquered in 1967 was leading to the self-destruction of Israel -- because of the essentially futile and morally corrosive nature of the kind of war it had to fight as a result. He himself clearly thought that the least worst option was to abandon the territories and build a wall 'so high, that not even a bird can fly over it', essentially along the line of the old border. He went on to suggest that support for such a solution was crumbling among Israelis -- and that this meant that the strategic logic led naturally to the expulsion of the Palestinian population. The interviewer then asked whether the world would 'allow that kind of ethnic cleansing?' The exchange provoked by the interviewer's question went as follows: Creveld: That depends on who does it and how quickly it happens. We possess several hundred atomic warheads and rockets and can launch them at targets in all directions, perhaps even at Rome. Most European capitals are targets for our air force. Interviewer: Wouldn't Israel then become a rogue state? Creveld: Let me quote General Moshe Dayan: "Israel must be like a mad dog, too dangerous to bother." I consider it all hopeless at this point. We shall have to try to prevent things from coming to that, if at all possible. Our armed forces, however, are not the thirtieth strongest in the world, but rather the second or third. We have the capability to take the world down with us. And I can assure you that that will happen, before Israel goes under. Interviewer: This isn't your own position, is it? Creveld: Of course not. You asked me what might happen and I've laid it out. The only question is whether it is already too late for the other solution, which I support, and whether Israeli public opinion can still be convinced. I think it's too late. With each passing day the expulsion of the Palestinians grows more probable. The alternative would be the total annihilation and disintegration of Israel. What do you expect from us?

joe on :

pen, then might I suggest you not piss off the dog.

pen Name on :

The man explicitly suggests tareting Rome and not Tehran.

joe on :

pen, I understood that. But to my knowledge I do not believe Rome has made the threat to wipe Israel from the face of the earth.. OR did I miss that some where.

Pat Patterson on :

The Martin van Creveld interview is now over five years old and he was referring to the leadership of Ariel Sharon or at least what van Crevel though Sharon was doing. Van Creveld predicted the Intifada would lead to the collapse of Israel by 2005, that the new security walls would create more attacks, that Sharon was planning and with the full support of the Israels people to expel all Arabs from Israel and the West Bank and that the morale of the Israeli nation was such that he expected a violent overthrow of the government. I would assume that no one made any money betting on those outcomes. One other problem with the article is that the "quote" that Moshe Dayan gave doesn't really seem to exist until van Creveld used it in the interview. But turning to any pro-Palestinian or pro-Iranian site is the only place the quote lives on. Bette to use a real quote from Dayan who said, "If you want to make peace, you don't talk to your friend. You talk to your enemies." And the garbled quote from Pres. Bush was made in a press conference in 2004 and he was referring to the lack of leverage that the US had with Iran over the violence in Iraq. The US would not add the nuclear weapons to the talks and the Iranians refused to talk without those preconditions. Leverage concerning the Iranian state has actually been quite successful as the Iranian economy remains moribund even with the doubling of GDP due to its oil exports which are counterbalanced by the importation of refined oil products, finished goods and plain old corruption. Iran has lost almost 4 million people in the last four years so it seems either this leverage works and Iranians are voting with their feet or that the US and the EU are sneaking across the border and kidnapping Iranians against their wills and brought them West to open falafel shops in Germany or TV stations and real estate offices in California. Military expenditures are indeed less as a percentage of the economy but starting in 2004 GDP was $477.8 billion and its currently around $852 billion so spending 3.5% in 2004 vs. spending 2.7% today actually means an increase from $16 billion to $24 billion. Europe and the US seemingly operating from a weak hand have merely to wait until after 2009.

joe on :

Pat pen appears to be on drugs most of the time.

Pat Patterson on :

Possibly, but I would really like to learn what an educated Iranian in Iran thinks about the current situation without having to wade through some of these apologetics for murderers or plain anti-Semitic web sites to find out where some of these statements are coming from. I know plenty of Persians in Orange County California and as much as I like and trust them I do realize I'm getting only one side of the issue. Besides after reading Martin van Creveld's full interview and an article that appeared in the Jerusalem Post in defense of his positions makes it clear that someone else seemed to have a problem with self-medicating.

joe on :

Joerg, Does that mean references to David drinking moonbat kool aid should also be avoided?

franchie on :

it clear that someone else seemed to have a problem with self-medicating yeah, Mr know-it-all, you like to give lessons from a one-sided position Joerg :lol:

pen Name on :

All: Iranian have been free to leave Iran and live in another country - they did not have to sneak across the borders in general. Those who sneaked across the borders were mostly draft dodgers who shrieked their duty in the War of Sacred Defense or else just did not wish to do their military service. I am not a drug user - I do not buy into your ideology. That's all. I am satisfied with the current Iranian leadership's effort in safeguarding the political independence of Iran. We are not going to be a US client ever again. I urge you to please check the URL references that I have referenced and check the military expenditures of Iran. It also amuses me the extent to which some of you go to excuse Israel. She is not your country.

Merkel-2 on :

The "Boring quagmires" are all US-related. When US labeled north Korea, Iran as rogue state , and threating its preemptive attack against their rivals and latent rivals , It's very reasonable for them to find a way to protect themselves. US and its allies once carried campaigns against Muammar Quddafl,Saddam Housein. Now they cook new data to monsterize IRAN. In my opinion , US and its ass-suckeres are really rogue -like . If they do not tone down their hegemony propaganda, there will be no solution to Iran's solution. Iran's authority will never and ever convince its people by US and Western powers goodness.

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