Politics Mondays: U.S. War Plans Against Iran Challenged by Presidential Candidate by Brooks for President 2008
Hartford, Connecticut --Independent Presidential candidate Webster Brooks said "The Bush Administration's attempt to halt Iran's drive for nuclear power development, is maturing into a crisis that will re-shape the future of the Middle East and alter the global geo-political balance of power for the next quarter century."
President Bush is committed to a policy that the U.S will not allow Iran to develop nuclear w eapons. Iran is determined to complete its uranium enrichment cycle, thereby giving it the capacity to produce nuclear weapons. Brooks stated that "Short of direct negotiations between the two countries to avert a crisis, the U.S. and Iran are on a collision course ." Brooks released a 14 point analysis of the current situation that is taking the U.S. and Iran down a perilous path. (See 14 Points below).
Brooks has long held the opinion that Iran is the most formidable political and military power in the Middle East today, and the pivotal nation whose actions will inform the global flow of energy resources, and fundamental issues of war and peace in the region.
Brooks, called the disclosure of the Bush Administration's military attack plans against Iran to halt its nuclear weapons development capability, "a reckless and ill-conceived provocation of war." The disclosure that appeared in the Sunday edition of the London Telegraph reported that military planners under Defense Department Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, were developing contingencies with a greater sense of urgency.
Brooks stated that "Iran has yet to successfully complete the process of uranium enrichment and conversion needed to develop nuclear weapons. The National Intelligence Estimate reported that Iran is five to ten years away from producing a nuclear weapon. Why is this administration gathering international suppo rt to take Iran before the United Nations claiming it violated the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, while it prepares military options for an unprovoked attack. What is the threat to America's national security interests? Like Iraq, has the Bush administration already made a decision to attack Iran while using the United Nations as a subterfuge? The American people must question what is transpiring here."
The U.S and Iran Heading for Nuclear Power Showdown -A 14 Point Analysis by Webster Brooks
In formulating its strategy to stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons capability, the Bush Administration has reached consensus that the level of political dissatisfaction among the Iranian people with the current rulers is insufficient to give rise to a popular revolt or a rebellion led by exiled opposition forces to topple the regime, and install a government friendly to U. S. interests. Thus, thwarting the Iranian nuclear threat through regime change is a remote possibility. Even if an authentic populist reform movement forced the ruling clerics out of power, moderate Iranian leaders would not likely drop the option of having a nuclear deterrent. While liberalized domestic policies and the creation of a more secular state might resonate with broad sections of Iranians, their foreign policy imperatives would probably mirror the current position of the clerics.
Given the exhausted state of the U.S. military, which is stretched to its limits, globally and at home, a conventional ground invasion of Iran is all but impossible. The difficulties of negotiating Iran's challenging terrain, and prevailing in a long and bloody guerrilla war to subdue the country would be far more daunting than the current situation in Post-Saddam Iraq. Increasingly, the Bush administration is leaning toward launching surgical air strikes to bomb as many nuclear energy sites as possible to cripple and delay Iran's nuclear program.
Despite the fact that U.S. intelligence is not sure how many nuclear sites exist in Iran, and military analysts admit it might not be possible to destroy all the fortified underground facilities, the U.S. has few other options. At best, U.S. military planners hope air strikes could significantly degrade Iran's nuclear facilities and delay their nuclear program from coming on line by a decade. But even this contingency could not stop the Iranians from producing a nuclear weapon. In the absence of an Iranian military provocation, U.S. air strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities will come with a heavy political price tag, especially in the Middle East, but also around the world. Should U.S. nuclear site targeting go amiss and kill scores of innocent civilians, the air strikes could be a disaster that induces international condemnation.
Iran's complex and diffuse centers of power anchored by the Supreme Mullah Ayatollah Khamene'i, believes it can survive tougher sanctions imposed by the United Nations, the United States and the European Union, if the U.N. Security Council imposes them. Whether China, India and Russia support sanctions against Iran will be the critical factor. All three nations have substantial long-term energy agreements pending with Iran, that they can ill afford to scuttle.
Iran has made no threats against the United States, nor engaged in attacks on U.S. military personnel in Afghanistan or Iraq. Quite the opposite, Iran assisted the United States in toppling the Taliban regime in Afghanistan, provided valuable intelligence t o the U.S., facilitated meetings between the U.S. and the Northern Alliance, and played a critical role in the Bonn, Germany conferences that helped form the interim coalition government in Afghanistan.
Iran has not interfered in the elections in Iraq, nor sought to undermine the creation of a viable coalition government in Iraq. Iran has not encouraged attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq. Further, it was Iran that was critical to forging initial talks between the Shiite majority leaders and the Kurds whose partnership has prevented the situation in Iraq from degenerating into total chaos and civil war.
Unlike Saddam Hussein who was a serial aggressor, Iran has not contemplated, nor taken any aggressive military actions against its neighbors. There is no evidence that Iran is actively engaging in the overthrow of any countries in the Middle East or otherwise.
As non-Arab Persians and Shiite Muslims, Iran does not share the world view, goals and aims of Al Queda and other Sunni Muslim salafists groups that want to create a greater Muslim caliphate in the Middle East. Iranians have not participated in suicide bombings and other senseless terrorists attacks against innocent civilians.
Notwithstanding Iran's new President Ahmadinejad's rhetoric that "Israel should be wiped off the face of the map" Iran has not engaged in any military actions against Israel. Iran has supported the Party of God (Hezbollah) in Lebanon. However, Hezbollah has not engaged in military operations or attacks against Israel in years. Hezbollah has joined the new Lebanese Parliament, sponsors several economic development projects for poor Shiite Muslims in Lebanon and runs a radio station. If Iran withdrew all support for Hezbollah in Lebanon it would not impact the peace process between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. The victory of Hamas in the January elections has killed the "Roadmap" which was already doomed to fail because Israel and the Palestinian Authority could not agree on a lasting peace plan.
Iran's internal politics remains fluid, both regarding its future development, and the debate concerning its relations with the United States. The threats and heated rhetoric of the Bush administration will only strengthen the hard line forces within Iran. There must be some consideration and accommodation of Iran's legitimate security interests that are complicated by U.S. forces positioned on Iran's borders in Afghanistan and Iraq. Moreover, Iran is surrounded by a host of nuclear armed nations that are on friendly terms with the U.S. (Israel, Pakistan, India and the Soviet Union) .
Far from being a rogue state, Iran is a politically and culturally sophisticated nation of 80 million people. As the worlds fourth largest oil producer and possessing the world's second largest supply of natural gas reserves (surpassed only by Russia) Iran is a regional superstate. Its strategic location on the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea between the Arab Middle East and the emerging economic giants in India and China which have signed long-term energy agreements with Iran, makes it a global player. American foreign policy towards Iran needs to be far more nuanced and calculated to bring long-term benefits to the Middle East.
Because Iran is indispensable to any long-term framework for progress toward a relatively peaceful Middle East, the United States should either pursue direct negotiations with Iran or work through back-channels, similar to the Ge neva Contact Group meetings that allowed the U.S. and Iran to collaborate during the Afghanistan invasion and afterwards. For forty years the Soviet Union was America's principal nuclear and political adversary, and according to Ronald Reagan; the "Evil Empire." However, the U.S. consistently engaged in direct talks and negotiations with the USSR. With everything that is at stake in the Middle East, there is no good reason that the United States and Iran cannot engage in a dialogue.
While there are charges that Iran has violated the Nuclear Proliferation Treaty, as a signatory Iran has the right under the treaty to complete the ururaniumnrichment process for the peaceful purposes of developing its nuclear energy needs.
In the aftermath of President Bush's 2005 European charm offensive, he stated that the U.S. had no intentions of attacking Iran, and this statement was repeated by Secretary of State Rice on numerous occasions. Recently, the Bush administration has been quite bellicose in its rhetoric about "military options remaining on the table," if diplomatic efforts to halt Iran's uranium enrichment cycle are not suspended. The disclosure in the London Telegraph that active military planning to strike Iran is being accelerated was no accidental leak. It is not only a tactic to push Iran to shut down its nuclear program, but constitutes aggressive gunboat diplomacy calculated to stir opposition within Iran and among its exile communities against the current regime. It is a unwise provocation toward war.
Webster Brooks lives in West Hartford, Connecticut and is running as an Independent Centrist candidate for President in 2008. All comments may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org. For further information, visit www.brooksforpresident2008.com/. As of this time, Black Electorate.com has not endorsed any candidate for the 2008 elections.
Brooks for President 2008
Monday, February 20, 2006