Outside Analysis

“Regime Change” Ambitions in Iran

I’m again inclined to waive our policy of not posting particularly opinionated, biased, or mean-spirited material, due to the excellent content in the rest of the following article. The only real “offense” is that the author begins by saying President Bush is acting with “commendable stupidty”, which I think is an appraisal that goes beyond the author’s field of expertise. The rest of the article is much more suited to the purpose of foreign policy analysis, and provides some essential context to the simmering situation developing in Iran, albeit from a definitely judgmental viewpoint. Two more-journalistic appraisals follow it.

US wages war from within Iran
By Richard M Bennett
Jun 20, 2003

With commendable stupidity usually only reserved for the most powerful and isolated from reality, President George W Bush has managed to go some way towards repeating the catastrophic mistakes of Lyndon Johnson and ensnare the United States in an increasingly unpopular and probably unwinnable foreign military involvement. Just two months after the sudden collapse of organized Iraqi resistance to the US-led invasion, US troops are back in a Vietnam-scenario with the ambushing of military convoys, the regular use of grenades and rocket launchers against isolated American targets and indeed suicide bombers.

It has always been a truism that if you cannot avoid wars, then at least learn the lessons of previous conflicts. This, however, the US has signally failed to do. Not content with the ultimate failures of the campaigns in Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, of Somalia, and indeed even Afghanistan, to achieve the stated aims and the supposed improvement in the state of the inhabitants of those nations, the US has blindly embarked on a dangerous and unsound course of action. US forces are already launching operations suspiciously similar to the “search-and-destroy” tactics of 40 years ago and with a similar response from an increasingly hostile civilian population.

Using a marked degree of devious propaganda about the imminent threat of weapons of mass destruction and largely in the dark about the true allegiance and likely response of the majority of Iraqis, the US has now succeeded in alienating much of both the developed and Third World, and indeed signaled to both Russia and China that Washington’s new-found military belligerence and diplomatic toughness are a profound threat to their influence and future powerbase. Not content with expending much of America’s wealth and the lives of its young service personnel in largely fruitless campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, Washington is now clearly preparing the ground for an attack on Iran.

Full Article…

And here is a more surface-level look at the situation in Iran:

Bush warns Iran on nuclear weapons, urges Tehran to treat pro-reform protesters with ‘respect’

June 18th - 9:19 pm ET
Associated Press Writer

President Bush said Wednesday that he and other world leaders would not tolerate nuclear weapons in Iran, and administration officials expressed concern to the U.N. nuclear agency about the country’s atomic program.

Bush also urged Iranian leaders to treat protesters with “the utmost of respect” as they seek the ouster of the Islamic government.

Though Bush’s words of warning were strong, he gave no indication that Iran, which he has characterized as part of an “axis of evil” along with Iraq and North Korea, might face military action under his policy allowing pre-emptive attacks where he sees threats.

Iran is thought by U.S. officials to be developing nuclear weapons, though the Iranian government denies it. Iran’s chief representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency, Ali Akbar Salehi, rejected allegations that his government failed to honor promises made under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which aims to stop the spread of nuclear weapons.

“Iran considers the acquiring, development and use of nuclear weapons inhuman, immoral, illegal and against its very principles,” he said. “They have no place in Iran’s defensive doctrine.”

Bush suggested he did not believe such denials.

Full Article…

And here’s another:

Setbacks Dog U.S. Iran Policy
By Michael Moran
Friday 20 June 2003

The United States began to show its teeth to Iran this week after a series of diplomatic setbacks dashed optimistic predictions of administration officials that an international consensus had formed about taking concrete steps to curb Iran’s nuclear program. The souring of the administration’s outlook was on display Friday as John Bolton, the hawkish undersecretary of state for arms control issues, said that military action against Iran is an option the U.S. is studying should diplomatic efforts to prevent Iran from building a nuclear arsenal fail.

“The President has repeatedly said that all options are on the table, but that is not only not our preference, it is far, far from our minds,” Bolton told the British Broadcasting Corp. On Thursday, President Bush also toughened his public stance, saying that the U.S. would “not tolerate” a nuclear weapons program in Iran.

The speedy decline of the U.S. effort to win broader support illustrates an important fact: Iran is viewed quite differently from Iraq or even North Korea by most of the world’s nations. In spite of its record as a supporter of terrorist groups and its repressive Islamic leadership, it is more democratic than many states that the United States regards as allies, and its strong oil and energy industries make it an attractive investment opportunity.

Downhill Fast

As recently as a week ago, administration officials were citing support from Russia, the Group of Eight industrialized nations and the United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) as proof of the progress being made by the U.S.-led effort to curb nuclear proliferation, which Bush has described as “topping the agenda” now that Saddam Hussein has been toppled.

But since then, across the board, actions the U.S. had hoped would lead to a strong condemnation of Iran for refusing to allow open inspections of all suspect nuclear facilities have fallen short.

Full Article…


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