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Is the Blair government creating another dodgy dossier?
October 9, 2005 6:18 PM   Subscribe

Is the Blair government creating another dodgy dossier? Following Tony Blair's recent outburst accusing the Iranian government of supporting attacks on British troops, a team are being dispatched to Iraq on a hunting expedition, in the hope of proving him right. Meanwhile, a prominent neo-con who served as the Iraq desk officer for the Office of Special Plans is telling the British that only the threat of force will tame Tehran. Sound familiar?!
posted by insomnia_lj (75 comments total)

 
the one thing that would help stop the development of nuclear weapons by iran - would be if the nutcases in israel would give up their suicidal stock of nukes.
posted by specialk420 at 6:23 PM on October 9, 2005


Well, if brittan wants to go it alone, they are welcome to try. Just don't expect shrubya to back you up, since he has no political capital left to spend.
posted by delmoi at 6:26 PM on October 9, 2005


I'm personally amazed at the sheer stupidity of Mr. Blair for blindly believing in intelligence from the Pentagon when he evidently hasn't been presented with proof to back up assertions which he has already decided were fact.

If you think history has been harsh to Maggie Thatcher's legacy, just wait and see what it'll do to Tony's. Not that you have to wait until he retires or anything.
posted by clevershark at 6:36 PM on October 9, 2005


Where should we invade next? (wmv)
posted by caddis at 6:43 PM on October 9, 2005


To say that Iranian elements are *not* involved in Iraq would be foolish. The question is, to what extent is the Iranian government directly involved in attacks? The problem is that Iran is meddling in politics, this 'investigation' is just subterfuge to drive the Iranians out of the Iraqi political process.
posted by kuatto at 6:45 PM on October 9, 2005


Many of the Iraqi politicians were born in, or have lived in Iran, especially among the Shia. It's ignorant to think that Iranian influence can be completely divorced from the Iraqi political equation. Iran is pretty much getting exactly what it wants--a Shia dominated Constitution and government. Why would they want to impede something that is going so well for them so far?

The US is desperate to hide the fact that the resitance to their occupation is primarily driven by homegrown Iraqis, mainly Sunni. Smokescreen indeed.
posted by bardic at 7:01 PM on October 9, 2005


Having one terror state in the middle east with nuclear weapons is bad enough, we don't need another. It's too bad we don't have the military capacity to deal with the aftereffects of bombing the hell out of all known Iranian nuclear facilities due to Iraq commitments. Bush is truly a military genius.
posted by MillMan at 7:18 PM on October 9, 2005


Actually, Iran would be the first terror state in the middle east with Nukes--WTF are you talking about?
posted by ParisParamus at 7:26 PM on October 9, 2005


Having one terror state in the middle east with nuclear weapons is bad enough, we don't need another. It's too bad we don't have the military capacity to deal with the aftereffects of bombing the hell out of all known Iranian nuclear facilities due to Iraq commitments. Bush is truly a military genius.

Why not just glass 'em?

Your a real genius yourself, kid.
posted by caddis at 7:28 PM on October 9, 2005


And you're a great speller!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:30 PM on October 9, 2005


kidding!
posted by blue_beetle at 7:31 PM on October 9, 2005


SpecialK420: in your anti-Israel dreams. Thank G-d they have them, and the ability to hit any of their enemies, including Iran.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:32 PM on October 9, 2005


Caddis, by that argument, it would be entirely proper for Russia or China to 'glass', say, Texas because we were stupid enough to elect our current administration. And they could continue with other states until we saw the error of our ways.

Blaming and punishing an entire people for the crimes of a few members doesn't work unless you're willing to be absolutely ruthless and wipe ALL of them out. Are you really willing to turn all of Iran into a wasteland? And what will you say if our enemies decide to be that ruthless with us?

We're far from the only players here, and the other side can call ... or even raise.
posted by Malor at 7:37 PM on October 9, 2005


Yes, why shouldn't the US and Britain just team up and take over the rest of the World? I mean we are so much smarter than they, have such a superior society and government. Why shouldn't we just cram "democracy" down the throats of the unwashed? Oh, yeah. Attack now baby.
posted by caddis at 7:48 PM on October 9, 2005


Having one terror state in the middle east with nuclear weapons is bad enough, we don't need another. It's too bad we don't have the military capacity to deal with the aftereffects of bombing the hell out of all known Iranian nuclear facilities due to Iraq commitments. Bush is truly a military genius.
Actually, Iran would be the first terror state in the middle east with Nukes--WTF are you talking about?


It seems somewhat resonable to call pakistan a terror state, and it is near the middle east...
posted by delmoi at 7:50 PM on October 9, 2005


Actually, if the first "terror state" being alluded to isn't Israel, I withdraw my comment.

It's hard to argue that Nukes in the hands of Israel or the US or France have a destabilizing geopolitical effect. All nations AREN'T EQUAL.
posted by ParisParamus at 7:53 PM on October 9, 2005


of course they've had a destabilizing geopolitical effect...why do you think other nations are trying so hard to get them? they're the only effective deterrent against us.
posted by amberglow at 7:55 PM on October 9, 2005


It's hard to argue that Nukes in the hands of Israel or the US or France have a destabilizing geopolitical effect.

Israel's superior military has left the rest of the middle east with a pretty good inferiority complex. I'd call it destabilizing.
posted by MillMan at 7:58 PM on October 9, 2005


All nations AREN'T EQUAL.

And you get to conveniently decide which ones are more equal than others, right? Sounds fair.
posted by Jimbob at 8:07 PM on October 9, 2005


That's sick logic. Its superior military partially compensates for the fact that it is hated, and always has been, by most of its neighbors.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:07 PM on October 9, 2005


Jimbob, yes I do. And ones with no, or complete sham systems of democracy lose. And always will.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:11 PM on October 9, 2005


That's sick logic.

Logic has values? Shit, my world has been turned upside down.
posted by MillMan at 8:11 PM on October 9, 2005


Its superior military is entirely due to our helping them--to the tune of billions per year--not because of their neighbors. Their neighbors haven't been a true threat since the 70s.
posted by amberglow at 8:11 PM on October 9, 2005


Always? Israel hasn't been around that long.
posted by bardic at 8:12 PM on October 9, 2005


MillMan: "Having one terror state in the middle east with nuclear weapons is badenough, we don't need another. It's too bad we don't have the militarycapacity to deal with the aftereffects of bombing the hell out of allknown Iranian nuclear facilities due to Iraq commitments. Bush istruly a military genius."

I hope that's a troll!
posted by zouhair at 8:13 PM on October 9, 2005


ParisParamus: "SpecialK420: in your anti-Israel dreams. Thank G-d they have them, andthe ability to hit any of their enemies, including Iran."


OH GOD HOW PEOPLE CAN BE SO STUPID!!! HAVE YOU EVER SEEN A LITTLE BOY LYING UPON HIS FATHER'S CORPSE YOU BUTTHEAD???

VIOLENCE IS NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER THE SOLUTION

but I don't expect half americans (Bush voters) to understand that, they live in a country where the violence is so common and in a country that NEVER knows peace!!
posted by zouhair at 8:17 PM on October 9, 2005


the one thing that would help stop the development of nuclear weapons by iran - would be if the nutcases in israel would give up their suicidal stock of nukes.

This is comedy gold.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:17 PM on October 9, 2005


Their neighbors haven't been a true threat since the 70s.

I do not believe that to be true.
posted by caddis at 8:22 PM on October 9, 2005


Oh, and it was a link to PRAVDA... oh, mercy.
posted by Krrrlson at 8:29 PM on October 9, 2005


It's hard to argue that Nukes in the hands of Israel or the US or France have a destabilizing geopolitical effect. All nations AREN'T EQUAL.

IMO, nukes in the hands of the United States and Russia had a stabilizing effect. however, I would rather live in an unstable world then worry about getting nuked.

Paris, if your only worry is the status of israel as a 'terror' state, perhaps you should say so. Personaly I'd be happy if that country went straight to hell.
posted by delmoi at 8:29 PM on October 9, 2005


The US needs to achieve energy independence so that we can stop worrying about this ridiculous bullshit. The whole middle east can nuke itself to a glass parking lot as far as I'm concerned. As long as nobody bombs Iowa I'll be happy.
posted by delmoi at 8:33 PM on October 9, 2005


"Just don't expect shrubya to back you up, since he has no political capital left to spend."

Don't believe that for a second. Do you think Blair would be making such comments if he didn't have the blessing of our current administration? And why would political capital matter to W now?

Look, it NEVER made sense to go into Iraq without answering the Iran question....NEVER. The administration has admitted that Iraq had NOTHING to do with 9/11 - so it begs the question, what was the leap of logic in going there? Dictatorships have never welcomed terrorists and thus was the case with Saddam. The best the administration could come up with was that there may have been terrorist training camps in the far northern regions of Iraq - regions that, frankly had an all but autonomous government at the time, so it would be hard to blame it exclusively on some relationship Saddam had with them.

The claims of invasion for human rights abuses came so far after the fact that to use them as a baseline is just ridiculous. And then, of course we had the complimentary, "bringing democracy to the region" and so forth.

Everyone in this administration knew that the Shia majority would most likely win the elections (the sheer numbers indicated such a result). Knowing that, they also had to know that they would opt for an Islamic form of Constitution/Government and that they would have fast friends in Iran.

Iran was the bigger threat from day one. Using all of the arguments the administration put forth, if you removed the name "Iraq" from them, any reasonable person would have said they were talking about Iran. Our State Department was still calling Iran the biggest threat even while our administration was crying 'Iraq' left and right.

Iraq has always been about Iran. Iraq was a litmus test - one that failed horribly. Iran is emboldened.
posted by j.p. Hung at 8:35 PM on October 9, 2005


Personaly I'd be happy if that country went straight to hell.

Another Anti-Semite. Sheesh.
posted by caddis at 8:35 PM on October 9, 2005


caddis, who was a real threat post-70s? I believe we could have stopped funding them after Camp David, and they still would beaten back anything coming from a neighbor.
posted by amberglow at 8:44 PM on October 9, 2005


"There is no justification for Iran or any other country interfering in Iraq," Blair said...

I wonder if he found any irony in that statement.
posted by mr.curmudgeon at 8:51 PM on October 9, 2005


I would love, love, love to see the United States or England try to make the case that we should invade another country right now.
posted by interrobang at 9:15 PM on October 9, 2005


I, of course, don't have any t0p s3cr3t information about Iran 'ínterfering' in Iraq, but I tell you, it would be brutally stupid for the Iranians to not play both sides of the fight. They essentially have the government in their pockets, why wouldn't they make it as difficult as possible for the Brits and Americans to achieve their military and political goals?

Iraq will be ungovernable until the security situation gets cleaned up -- which is exactly what's going on. Iran has a great ally in the current government, now all they need is either for the Americans to be unable to govern effectively or have them leave. Then the Iranians have a success even bigger than the US taking down one of their enemies.
posted by raaka at 9:36 PM on October 9, 2005


I don't think Blair has the political capital left to go to war against Iran. Certainly the Army would be extremely reluctant, to put it mildly. Check out this earlier story: UK accuses Iran over killings of soldiers, where at the end we read:
British military sources insisted last night there was no hard evidence that the explosives technology came from Iran. Defence sources suggested that blaming the IRGC for supplying the explosives technology was going too far. Other military officials said there was "so much expertise in Iraq" the bombs could have been made by former members of Saddam Hussein's security forces

The fact that the military is openly spinning against the UK government is very significant.

I have a friend who is very high up in the Ministry of Defence, indeed he attends COBRA meetings. He doesn't say anything about what goes on in there, but he hints that most of the Army see their role as moderating Blair's demands, which are often regarded as unfeasable and impractical.

The Army recruitment is holding up, but many experienced soldiers are leaving, something that is causing concern. If a war with Iran looks even vaguely possible, they predict that recruitment would slow to a trickle and there would be a massive amount of experienced soldiers, especially low to mid ranking officers leaving. This would be a disaster for UK military capability.

The Labour Party would call for Blair's immediate resignation and I just can't see the British public being anything but outraged, if there was another push for war.
posted by quarsan at 9:40 PM on October 9, 2005


And ones with no, or complete sham systems of democracy lose. And always will.

So you aren't a fan of the current Iraqi administration then, who gets to decide which citizens get to be considered "voters" depending on whether they're likely to vote for the constitution or not?

How do you feel about such staunch allies of the US as Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, then? They sure have wonderful democratic traditions.

Bu then, I seem to remember you having big objections towards Venezuela - and its democratically elected leader. The very fact that he was elected seemed to have deeply offended you - as if the fact that the country voted for him proved that their democracy had failed. How did you feel about the democratic decision of the spanish after the Madrid bombing, I wonder? It all makes me doubt how much faith you really have in democracy, Paris.

An Iranian friend of mine ran for president of Iran in the most recent elections. Along with thousands of others. Didn't get too many votes, but it was all in good fun. He never mentioned any clerics turning up and telling him to withdraw from the race...
posted by Jimbob at 10:05 PM on October 9, 2005


Personally I wish Iran would hurry up and join the "We Have Nukes" club. The sooner they do, the sooner they'll have parity with Israel et al, and the sooner we'll be dragged kicking and screaming toward peace. Frankly, I don't think there will be peace in the middle east until the Palestinians have second-strike capability to give them a level playing field. Still, Iran getting nukes is a big step in the right direction.

Think about it: the ones with the biggest body counts, the ones who have killed the most civilians, have been (who else?) the US and Israel. How long could this conceivably go on? Iran isn't stupid, and their goal in having nuclear weapons is to never need to use them.
posted by mullingitover at 10:17 PM on October 9, 2005


The precise complaints that Britain have are about two new developments in insurgent bomb making technology -- the use of laser-activated "switches" for detonating bombs, and the use of shaped explosive charges.

Except, of course, that none of these techniques are exactly secrets in the Middle East, where it is still possible to find old Hezbollah training pamphlets and videos that teach them.

Shaped charges are a World War One-era technology that you can find information on in any decent guide to the use of explosives. Their legitimate use is common in the region, infact, where they are used are used extensively in the oil and gas industry to open up the rock around drilled wells. They're no secrets on the internet, either.

As for laser-activated triggers, you can rig a basic one using a relatively inexpensive laser pointer and a child's toy, or using parts you can buy freely over the Internet in bulk from sites that sell electronics and/or home/business security equipment. Invisible laser tripwires, a simple variation of this technology, are beyond easy to afford, buy, and set up.

To suggest that the rapidly-growing use of these technologies by insurgents is somehow a technological leap that you can't explain without Iran helping bring it about is falacy. The driving force for using shaped charges and laser triggered explosives are the all-too-public news of U.S. and British countermeasures... specifically, the use of uparmored vehicles and jamming devices designed to block detonation signals from cellphones, car door openers, etc.

Is there anyone out there who *doesn't* know that these countermeasures are in place? Why do we deny the enemy the basic common sense to fight us with weapons that work?
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:33 PM on October 9, 2005


No one has explained to me what Iran has to gain by destabilising Iran except to say "You lost!" to the US.

It would seem better for them, surely to get the US and GB out of Iraq as soon as possible. Hell, they've just about got control of the government as it is. Therefore, Blair is talking about as much sense as he did over Iraq.

Also, since when has being anti-Israel automatically mean you're anti-semetic?
posted by lerrup at 10:35 PM on October 9, 2005


It is indeed possible to be pro-Judaism and anti-Zionist. There are quite a number of Jews who fit that description, in fact.

This Blair thing does sound like the same old thing over and over again. More maskirovka, oh boy. So transparent.

I don't think it's going to work this time.
posted by zoogleplex at 10:55 PM on October 9, 2005


> It is indeed possible to be pro-Judaism and anti-Zionist.

I'm not sure that it is. I think it's possible to be neutral, or non-antagonistic towards Judaism and anti-Zionist, but these days, Zionism is such a major part of Judaic culture that to take an anti-Zionist position by definition prevents you from being pro-Judaist.

> There are quite a number of Jews who fit that description,
> in fact.

There are quite a number of anti-Zionist jews. Whether the rest of the diaspora regards them as pro-Judaist though, is something else again.

However, I think it's quite possible to be extremely critical of Israel's leadership and policies and still be pro-Judaist.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:22 AM on October 10, 2005


If Iran starts up any nuclear programme Israel would destroy it. As an example see the nuclear power station that Iraq built in 1981 that Israel destroyed. You would certainly see a stand off and almost certainly non-nuclear warfare which would destabilise the Middle East.
posted by xpermanentx at 1:32 AM on October 10, 2005


I'm not sure that it is. I think it's possible to be neutral, or non-antagonistic towards Judaism and anti-Zionist, but these days, Zionism is such a major part of Judaic culture that to take an anti-Zionist position by definition prevents you from being pro-Judaist.

Apparently pro-judaism precludes being anti-tautology.
posted by srboisvert at 2:50 AM on October 10, 2005


I think you can.
posted by ciderwoman at 6:04 AM on October 10, 2005


The next target: Iran Syria.
posted by caddis at 6:45 AM on October 10, 2005


No one has explained to me what Iran has to gain by destabilising Iran except to say "You lost!" to the US.

What Iran has to gain is not getting the shit bombed out of them by the United States. (I'm assuming you meant "destabilizing Iraq.") President Bush put Iran on his Axis of Evil list, the US occupies the countries on Iran's western and eastern borders, and the US (and the UK more recently) has been making belligerent statements towards Iran. The more the US is tied up in Iraq, the less it has available for a strike against Iran. The longer and more chaotic American involvement in Iraq is, the less US domestic political support it available for more military action.

They might be supporting insurgents in Iraq to fight a proxy war against the US, similar to how the US supported insurgents in Afghanistan in the 1980s to fight a proxy war against the Soviet Union.

Finally, Iran has religious ties with the Shiite Arab population of Iraq, and may be supporting the Iraqi Shiites in what may already be a civil war in Iraq. There have been reports for months and months about people in Iraq being killed by people "dressed as Iraqi police" or "dressed as Iraqi soldiers." Since the Iraqi police and military are mostly Kurdish peshmerga or Shiite militia, it's increasingly obvious that the killings are being done by actual Iraqi military and police. Iran is probably supporting the Iraqi Shiites because of their religious ties, because many Iraqi Shiites took refuge in Iran during Saddam Hussein's reign, and because it's in Iran's interests for the Iraqi Shiites to eventually control Iran.
posted by kirkaracha at 6:46 AM on October 10, 2005


I believe we could have stopped funding them after Camp David, and they still would beaten back anything coming from a neighbor.

Perhaps they could have done it without our funding. However, the original assertion was that none of their neighbors were true threats. I think Iraq, Iran and Syria were true threats, mostly Iraq. Saddam was crazy enough to try to take on Israel just to get street cred in the Middle East. Israel's military strength would make such an attack foolhardy and that is why it is so important that they maintain their strength. Unfortunately, they bring a lot of negative feelings their way through their heavy handed use of this power, just like the US does. What ever happened to walk softly and carry a big stick?
posted by caddis at 6:55 AM on October 10, 2005


"Another dodgy dossier" :

That sounds like it could be the title of the next album by the recently politicized Brian Eno.
posted by troutfishing at 8:20 AM on October 10, 2005


non-Zionist != anti-semitic
posted by bshort at 8:34 AM on October 10, 2005


I love it when people use programming shorthands that perhaps wide swaths of the audience here on MeFi will misinterpret to mean that bshort thinks non-Zionist = anti-Semitic, with emphasis or with typo.

bshort, I agree with you in theory. In practice, however . . .?
posted by caddis at 9:08 AM on October 10, 2005


"Saddam was crazy enough to try to take on Israel just to get street cred in the Middle East"

And yet he never did. Nor did he have anything to do with 9/11. Nor did he have WMD.

He was a dictator with pyschopathic tendancies, but Dr Evil he was not.
posted by ciderwoman at 9:40 AM on October 10, 2005


I find it interesting how the over-use of the terms "anti-semite" and "terrorist" have started to rob them of the shock value they once had.

It used to be that they were the nuclear option in any argument, you could trump just about anything and shut down any line of questioning by aggressively stating that the questioner was an anti-semite.

Paris - I guess what I'm saying is that if you still want those terms to mean something in the future perhaps you should be more careful how you use them?

The best analogy is that you're at risk of devaluing the currency.
posted by fingerbang at 10:11 AM on October 10, 2005


There is no chance that Tony Blair could engineer a war with Iran. He may be intending to retire before the next general election, but the vast majority of his fellow ministers and Labour MPs aren't. They are well aware that the public aren't going to fall for the same crap twice. Any attempt by Blair to foment trouble with Iran will be followed swiftly by a successful vote of no-confidence and his removal from office.
posted by PurpleJack at 10:33 AM on October 10, 2005


The best analogy is that you're at risk of devaluing the currency.

Too late. The "Israel sux implies anti-semite" canard is already quite frequently used in an ironic joking sense. Only a matter of time before you see some similar gag on the Simpsons or Daily Show.

Peace to the people of Israel. As far as I'm concerned, all Jews can all move to my neighborhood and we'll have PTA bake sales, but it's pretty hard to see what the USA is getting out of this one-sided relationship with the fanatic Likudniks.

Zionism is such a major part of Judaic culture that to take an anti-Zionist position by definition prevents you from being pro-Judaist.

Well, that's pretty clearly what some Zionists would like everybody to think. It is often the same guys pushing the idea that Saddam and bin Laden were in cahoots.
posted by sonofsamiam at 10:46 AM on October 10, 2005


It will take an attack on British or American soil directly linked to Iran to get an invasion going.
posted by cell divide at 10:55 AM on October 10, 2005


JP Hung and kirkaracha are right. Excellent. Everybody re-read their posts.

Iran would be stupid NOT to intervene as much as they can short of sending in an Armored battalion. Having the US successfully install a "secular" central authority - friendly to US aims - in Iraq would be a disaster for them.

Do you guys realize how much economic growth Tehran has sustained since we started beating this hornets nest? Could somebody look that up - because I read not too long ago it was very impressive.

Iran is quickly approaching serious long-lasting regional power status: they have lot's of oil; they have a greedy and powerful market for it (China); they have a large fairly prosperous population; and they are well on their way to inevitably getting nukes.

If Iraq goes US friendly it is possible that oil exports from Iraq would increase dramatically making it an attractive supplier for Iran's markets. If Iraqi's suddenly looked fat and happy under a secular system the mullahs in Iran - with a MUCH better educated elite - would be in trouble. Expanding their sphere is not only strategically intelligent but a matter of self defense.

Plus you have the pay-back issue. Not only against the US, but against the Sunni's in Iraq who invaded freak'n Iran and cost 1.5 million casualties! How could they let that go?

So Iran is supplying southern Shia resistance. Just look at the militias. Basara is a mirror of 1982 extremist Iran.

But we are not invading Iran. Er. We SHOULDN'T invade Iran. That would be insane. We have nobody to invade WITH. If we do you will see a massive defection of Pentagon planners and officers. They won't want to be around for that loss. For we would lose.

Iran can actually fight, unlike the paper tiger that was Iraq. It is not degraded by ten years of sanctions. It's treasury has not been looted by a dictator. Iran has a much larger, better trained and better equipped military than Iraq. Remember: WE trained their officer corps. Sure it was over twenty five years ago but those guys were tough mother fuckers.

I say we better play nice with Iran. Isreal is in shambles - if we didn't prop up that sorry religious oligarchy in would collapse tomorrow. Once Iran gets nukes - and they will mark my words - they will be THE players in the ME.
posted by tkchrist at 10:59 AM on October 10, 2005


But we are not invading Iran. Er. We SHOULDN'T invade Iran. That would be insane.

The War Nerd agrees.
posted by homunculus at 11:13 AM on October 10, 2005


Blair is irrelevant. All the UK knows it. He knows it. Brown especially knows it. Why? Cause over the past year he's proven himself to be a liar of epic proportions.

I look forward to Blair's exit and dismissal, not on the same level as Thatcher, but much much more, cause he was someone we trusted. I, like many, got pissed in May 97, staying up late to the glories of Portillo getting dumped and a belief that we were flowing into a red rose-tinted world.

I hate Blair and hope he gets his due. When he dies I hope he's cycling through hell.
posted by movilla at 11:53 AM on October 10, 2005


the Deja Vu Department presents:

(http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2005/09/13/AR2005091301837.html)

U.S. Deploys Slide Show to Press Case Against Iran

By Dafna Linzer
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, September 14, 2005; Page A07

UNITED NATIONS, Sept. 13 -- With an hour-long slide show that blends satellite imagery with disquieting assumptions about Iran's nuclear energy program, Bush administration officials have been trying to convince allies that Tehran is on a fast track toward nuclear weapons.

The PowerPoint briefing, titled "A History of Concealment and Deception," has been presented to diplomats from more than a dozen countries. Several diplomats said the presentation, intended to win allies for increasing pressure on the Iranian government, dismisses ambiguities in the evidence about Iran's intentions and omits alternative explanations under debate among intelligence analysts.....
(article continues)
posted by neuron at 12:06 PM on October 10, 2005


This is comedy gold.

yeah, until your buddies blow up the entire region. then I'll ask you if you still find it funny.
posted by matteo at 12:26 PM on October 10, 2005


yeah, until your buddies blow up the entire region. then I'll ask you if you still find it funny.

Yes, because it's Israel that's known for suicidal attacks in the Middle East.
posted by Krrrlson at 12:50 PM on October 10, 2005


define:brinksmanship
posted by sonofsamiam at 1:11 PM on October 10, 2005


the Deja Vu Department presents:
This post on the anti-Iran PowerPoint presentation.
posted by kirkaracha at 2:05 PM on October 10, 2005



caddis [refering to me] writes Another Anti-Semite. Sheesh.

But, some of my best friends are jews!
posted by delmoi at 3:36 PM on October 10, 2005


Iran can actually fight, unlike the paper tiger that was Iraq. It is not degraded by ten years of sanctions. It's treasury has not been looted by a dictator. Iran has a much larger, better trained and better equipped military than Iraq. Remember: WE trained their officer corps. Sure it was over twenty five years ago but those guys were tough mother fuckers.

I say we better play nice with Iran. Isreal [sic] is in shambles - if we didn't prop up that sorry religious oligarchy in would collapse tomorrow. Once Iran gets nukes - and they will mark my words - they will be THE players in the ME.
Care to defend any of those statements? They strike me as almost laughably wrong.

If 'Iran has a much larger, better trained and better equipped military than Iraq', then how do you explain the Iran-Iraq war? And the stuff about Israel: huh?
posted by kickingtheground at 5:43 PM on October 10, 2005


"Care to defend any of those statements?"

Sure, I'll take a crack at it.

"Iran can actually fight, unlike the paper tiger that was Iraq."

The writer is correct in saying that Iraq, circa 2003, was, infact, a paper tiger. It's military was destroyed in the Gulf War and through treaties and sanctions. Their long-range missiles were destroyed. Their military command structure was decimated through internal purges and could not function in a coordinated manner.

In comparison, Iran is strong. Infact, it's in a considerably stronger military position today than it was during the Iran-Iraq war.

It's biggest strengths are:
1> A huge military specifically geared towards small-unit partisan fighting. This is especially important, considering that most of Iran's border territory is mountainous.

2> Knowledge of U.S. weaknesses in Iraq and Afghanistan, combined with an ability to exploit them. You can guarantee that Iran's huge civilian militia will be trained up on how to create IEDs and VBIEDs, and will have far greater access to techniques such as shaped charges and laser-detonated triggers which can take our our largest tanks and have no effective countermeasures.

3> The ability for Iran to infiltrate troops, terrorists, and agents into both Iraq, Afhganistan, and possibly other Gulf nations during any build-up towards such a conflict. Consider the fact that hundreds of thousands of Iranians flow freely into Iraq and Saudi Arabia every year for pilgrimages, and you can imagine how serious this could be.

4> The ability to damage or disrupt the production and distribution of oil in other neighboring states. For this reason alone, an attack on Iran is highly unlikely. No sane neighbor would want to play host to it, lest their tankers and their oil facilities be attacked with Iran's pretty sophisticated missile technology. I would be surprised if even the governments of Iraq and Afghanistan would allow the U.S. to launch attacks from their country, and doing so would almost certainly cause the UN and coalition partners to leave both regions, leaving the U.S. well over 10,000 troops in the lurch.

In short, attacking Iran makes no sense, even if Bush just might be stupid enough to do it. Sure the U.S. could get in, arguably. It would cost them several thousand lives, plus an extra $1.50 at the pumps and greatly increased unrest and terrorism... but could they ever get their forces out?
posted by insomnia_lj at 1:52 AM on October 11, 2005


Um, didn't Iran WIN against Americas proxy in the Iran-Iraq war?
posted by Artw at 2:02 AM on October 11, 2005


"If 'Iran has a much larger, better trained and better equipped military than Iraq', then how do you explain the Iran-Iraq war?"

Iran was so close to winning that war, it scared the U.S., who supplied Iraq with intelligence and chemical weapons precursors, allowing them to pinpoint Iranian force concentrations and hit them with chemical weapons. The U.S. knew its intelligence was being used for the purpose of slaughtering Iranian human waves by the thousands with such weapons, of course.

To quote U.S. defense intelligence agents who were involved in the conflict:

"If Iraq had gone down it would have had a catastrophic effect on Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, and the whole region might have gone down. That was the backdrop of the policy."

"(The Pentagon) wasn't so horrified by Iraq's use of gas . . . It was just another way of killing people — whether with a bullet or phosgene, it didn't make any difference."
posted by insomnia_lj at 2:32 AM on October 11, 2005


Thanks insomnia_lj. I thought it would be obvious. But I'm glad you took the time.

Care to defend any of those statements? They strike me as almost laughably wrong.

If 'Iran has a much larger, better trained and better equipped military than Iraq', then how do you explain the Iran-Iraq war? And the stuff about Israel: huh?


You better read more.
A. Iran WON the Iran-Iraq war. And at the time Iran was the target of some fairly hefty sanctions.

B. Israel: the only thing they have is us (our cash and arms) and nukes. What the hell do they export? Uzi's? Plus. They are being out bred by the people they oppress. So. Buddy. C'mon. Israel, unless it changes course radically, is doomed.

PS. Iran has a much larger population and geography than Iraq with out the same large obvious ethnic (though there are some) divisions that plague Iraq - THAT alone lends Iran some protection from invasion.
posted by tkchrist at 4:36 PM on October 11, 2005


Iran WON the Iran-Iraq war.
OK, they did successfully repel the Iraqi attack, but it took them eight years to do it, and they suffered around twice as many casualties as the Iraqis (which cannot be attributed merely to chemical weapons, although they certainly were a factor). This, despite the fact that Iran is, by far, the more populous country. Even though the Iranians did 'win' their war, I don't see any hints there that of an Iranian military could possibly stand up to the US military, or any other more capable and up-to-date force. I'm sure you remember, after all, the trouncing their Iraqi opponents received later in '91 and 2003. Iran's capabilities have, no doubt, grown since 1988, but they're still a full generation behind. For instance, Iran just recently began to produce a front-line fighter jet - unfortunately for them, it is apparently only an improved F-5, based on an aircraft that was second-rate even in the 1960s. Most of their other equipment is also out of repair,out of-date, or both. Simply put, today, against the US, they haven't a chance.

Note that I am in no way endorsing or suggesting an attack on Iran. I agree that, were that to happen, there could be many potentially very unpleasant consequences (oil supply, Iranian missile attacks, possibly including attacks on neutral shipping or Israeli population centres, etc.). I certainly agree that any attempt to occupy Iran for an extended period of time would likely prove very nasty indeed. I am specifically limiting my discussion to short-term conventional warfare, where, I'm arguing, Iran would be defeated, quickly and decisively.
What the hell do they export? Uzi's?
Iran's exports are actually approximately equal to those of Israel, in dollar terms. Israel, however, has roughly 1/10th the population of Iran. Its exports are primarily electronics/microchips, cut diamonds, medical equipment/pharmaceuticals, and military equipment. There are literally scores of Israeli companies listed on the NASDAQ. Iran's exports, on the other hand, are mostly oil, although they also do sell carpets and dates.
posted by kickingtheground at 6:34 PM on October 11, 2005


There are literally scores of Israeli companies listed on the NASDAQ

Maybe because these are companies that, by and large, have one market - the US. Maybe these companies are propped up buy US investors, owned and managed by people with dual us/israeli citizenship AND said companies receive substantial subsidies from the Israeli government who intern get's substantial subsidies from us.

Ergo, hence my statement: With out us - the US - Israel would blow away. Go ahead. Dispute that.

I am specifically limiting my discussion to short-term conventional warfare, where, I'm arguing, Iran would be defeated, quickly and decisively.

Cherry picking. You might as well limit the conversation to a winner based on height and single syllable christian names.

First. There is no conventional war anymore. Have you been watching the news the last five years or so?

Second. We have nothing with which to invade Iran and will not for a couple years. If that.

Third. Iran is acutely aware of our conventional superiority and have been planning for it.

Fourth. Iran can fight. They have a large population. They are motivated. Socially united. Sophisticated technologically and they have a good intellegence service. And they have the resource/wealth base to carry on an extended conflict.

Could we decimate the standing forces - armor, airforce etc? Probably. Not as easy as you seem to believe - but yeah. But. There is more at stake than planes and tanks.

Invasion would never be worth it. We stand little to gain and a great deal to lose. The Pentagon KNOWS this and Iran knows this. Why we never invaded in 1979. 1980. Or 1981. Despite all of Reagan's tough talk (there was a reason we backed the Shah for so long). And why we won't invade now.
posted by tkchrist at 5:26 PM on October 12, 2005


" OK, they did successfully repel the Iraqi attack, but it took them eight years to do it, and they suffered around twice as many casualties as the Iraqis..."

That's because after the first several months and the initial Iraqi advances, the war bogged down into years of trench warfare. Iraq thought they could invade Iran, seize key targets (such as Kandahar) on its southern border with Iraq, and negotiate a peace treaty, but the Iranians wouldn't surrender and wouldn't negotiate. They hoped that the mullahs would face internal dissent and rivalries, but instead, the exact opposite happened, and the country united in the face of a foriegn threat. Even the Shi'a and Kurds united with the mullahs and fought Iraq.

The next seven years or so were primarily about the Iranians charging the Iraqi trenches. The Iranians had little in the way of armor and mobile artillery power to fight these kinds of trench warfare offensives without taking disproportionately large casualties, and unlike the Iraqi government, they didn't go massively in to debt in order to buy more military equipment, nor did they initially have a particularly effective officer corps, having just purged most of their military commenders during the revolution.

They did, however, have *LOTS* of brave soldiers, and ambitious new military officers. They fought bravely, and those who survived got to be pretty damn good at fighting that kind of war. Those survivors are the same ones who are running Iran's military today.

The modern Iranian military don't rely on static artillery, or tanks, or airpower for its defense, probably because it knows that should there be another war, they will almost certainly lack the ability to dominate the field with any of the above. What it does focus on, however, are its soldiers and creating a society of total resistance in times of war. Military service and training is manditory, and there's a lot of emphasis on small attack groups with lots of initiative to take the fight to the enemy.

It should be noted that probably the deadliest battle for a city since the fall of Berlin occured during the Iraqi offensive on the city of Khorramshar, during the initial offensive. The city was surrounded by the Iraqi armored forces and then assaulted, but the cost of the assault was so high that it permanently put the Iraqi army on the defensive for the rest of the conflict. Iraqi losses in the city of Khorramshar were so great they renamed it "Khunishar, The City of Blood." It took months for the city to fall.

Modern Iranian military doctrine is geared towards winning a theoretical second battle of Khorramshar.
posted by insomnia_lj at 6:25 PM on October 12, 2005


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