Sunday, April 09, 2006

The Iran Calculus

Has Ahmadinejad miscalculated? Does Iran want war? Has Bush gone too far in reports claiming that the Administration is planning nuclear strikes against the Iranian nuclear facilities?

Or, are we so devoid of actual news that we're relying upon idle speculation as to what the next step in trying to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions? And why is anyone actually paying attention to what Sy Hersh is saying? Well, The Moderate Voice thinks Hersh has a pretty good record. Joe also has a huge roundup of opinion on the matter. Kevin Drum thinks Hersh is on to something, but finds fault with Hersh's use of anonymous sources and wild speculations. I agree.

We know that Iran believes that it has the right to develop a nuclear program, and that its leaders seek nuclear weapons to start a conflagration in the Middle East so that the mullahs can fulfill Islamic prophesy. The targets for those nuclear weapons can be anyone and everyone - from Israel to the Saudis, with everyone in between.

This past week, the Iranians touted a bunch of weapons tests that claimed incredible technologies were already in their possession and would be used should Iran be attacked. Some of those technologies were debunked pretty quickly, but others still pose serious risks. Iran is busy making plans of its own - or is at least putting on the appearances of making plans. Is it acting like a puffer fish? All bark, but no bite, or are we dealing with a real threat that demands real action? I'm with Jay Tea, who thinks that Iran isn't a rational negotiating partner.

So is the United States, and for that matter, the rest of the world. Doing nothing in light of information being developed and the consensus about Iran's nuclear intentions would be highly imprudent.

Relying on the UN to take action is futile. The most they've been able to come up with is a weak-worded statement that was laughed off by the Iranians. That's because the Russians and Chinese don't want to lose a cash cow. And a huge source of oil.

Atlas Shrugs who not only has no faith in the UN dealing with this crisis, but picks up a report that the US has already infiltrated Iran searching for weapons sites, The Officers Club believes Iran is already in a low-level conflict with the US via its proxies - Hizbullah and Shi'ite factions alligned to Iran, DefenseTech has the specs on what might be involved in such a strike, and Outside the Beltway considers that a conventional strike against Iranian targets might well be impossible.

I'm not so sure on the last point. If we know where these targets are, it is possible that we could sabotage them especially if claims that we've already infiltrated Iran in a search for these weapons sites are accurate. Another possibility is that the claims that the US has already infiltrated Iran is just a way to push Iran into giving away where its sites are located by taking additional security precautions around those sites that would provide US authorities with the ability to trace them - essentially flushing out the Iranian program. It could also be a combination of the two; actively trying to find the sites, bluffing the Iranians into divulging the site locations.

Dr. Sanity thinks Hersh is nuts. Michelle Malkin also notes the empty diplomacy that Hersh is pulling for. Small Town Veteran also notices.

Others blogging: Right Wing Nut House, Riehl World View, Flopping Aces, Protein Wisdom, Stop the ACLU, the Real Ugly American, and Ray Robison.

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