Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
January 25, 2008

Still Worried About Iran

Some folks are still concerned about War on Iran.

Zbigniew Brzezinski interviewed by Laura Rosen in Mother Jones:

The president is determined to string [Iraq] out and hand this war over to his successor, but he is at the same time determined to try to resolve the Iranian nuclear problem before he leaves office, and I am afraid, very seriously afraid, that the conjunction of the two—continuous conflict in Iraq and impatience over Iran—may produce a situation whereby before he leaves office he plunges us into some sort of semi-accidental and semi-deliberate conflict with Iran.
I don't see the administration expanding the conflict the way it started the conflict with Iraq.  [..] I think far more likely is a series of incidents, aggravations, collisions, provocations which are mutual, a negotiating posture which doesn't give Iran any leeway, and then some explosion, some collision that creates a great deal of emotion in the country, conceivably even a terrorist act which is credibly blamed on the Iranians, and then there is a patriotic wave and a military action launched before the election, which actually inflames the country in a wave of kind of hysterical patriotism that benefits the Republicans.

Q: What about the potential for [an Al Qaida] surprise happening to the U.S.?

ZB: I wonder who knows that Al Qaeda in one of the strategic documents actually has said that an American-Iranian collision would be of great strategic benefit to Al Qaeda's cause. So here is a party that might even have an interest in provoking such a collision.

Leon Hadar, a research fellow with the Cato Institute, writes in Asia Times Online:

At the minimum, Bush wants to be recalled as someone who "kicked some ass" in the Persian Gulf before leaving office.

That doesn't mean an all-out war with Iran or even an attack on its suspected nuclear installations. If you followed the recent bizarre encounter between the US Navy and the Iranians in the straits of Hormuz, you get an idea of the opportunities that are opened to the Bushies if and when they decide to orchestrate or exploit a crisis in the Persian Gulf that could lead to an American retaliation against an Iranian "provocation".

Iran will hold parliamentary elections on March 14, 2008, and you don't have to be an expert in Iranian politics to figure out that the political parties associated with President Ahmadinejad who has been under attack at home for his mismanagement of the country's economy could benefit politically from rising tensions with between Tehran and Washington.

Interestingly enough, it's not inconceivable that by early March the Iranian political calendar will intersect with the American one, when we'll probably know by then who the Democrats and the Republicans have nominated as their presidential candidate. [..] Mix American nationalism aimed at long-time adversary, Revolutionary Iran, the threat of Islamo-Fascism and the support for Israel and the role of its American friends in US electoral politics, and you understand why Obama or Hillary won't allow themselves to sound less hawkish than John McCain or Mitt Romney.
[Israel is clearly] concerned that the Bush Administration and Congress may lack the will to confront Tehran over the nuclear military program which, they insist, is alive and well. So if you're in the shoes of the Israeli prime minister, you will probably conclude that Israel has a narrow window of opportunity extending until the end of 2008 - before Bushcheney, Likud's best friend in Washington, leaves office - to take military action against Iran.
If these scenarios sound improbable - like terrorist flying planes into the World Trade Center or the United States invading Iraq - it's probably a failure of imagination on your part.

A new crisis in the Gulf would be perfect to distract the voters from the economic mess.

One more year of Bushcheney - and it isn't over until it's over ...    

Posted by b on January 25, 2008 at 05:22 PM | Permalink


When will "bomb China" make the agenda? Or what is... Real men don't go to Tehran.

Posted by: gus | Jan 25, 2008 5:51:46 PM | 1

One more year of Bushcheney - and it isn't over until it's over ...

.. and it isn't over then. Does it matter who fronts for the Washington regime?

Posted by: DM | Jan 25, 2008 6:44:11 PM | 2

If this is true it is VERY dangerous.

Draft of New Iran Sanctions Restricts Cargo and Travel

A new Security Council resolution on Iran’s nuclear program will propose restrictions on cargo to and from Iran, travel bans and asset freezes for people involved in the program and monitoring of Iranian financial institutions, according to a draft text circulated Friday.

The proposals were agreed to in a meeting in Berlin on Tuesday of the foreign ministers of Germany and the five permanent members of the Council — Britain, France, China, Russia and the United States. They were distributed in text form Friday afternoon to the 10 nonpermanent members of the Council as elements of a resolution the panel hopes to adopt by mid-February.
The new sanctions resolution would, for the first time, authorize inspections of air and sea cargo going in and out of Iran.

Bush administration officials want to model the new air and sea measures after the Proliferation Security Initiative, a loose grouping of dozens of countries that have agreed to intercept illicit arms shipments moving through their waters or airspace. In this case, a senior Bush official said, a “coalition of the willing” would seek to intercept ships suspected of taking restricted material into Iran.

The new measure would also ban all trade and supply of so-called dual-use items, materials and technologies that can have both civilian and military uses.

This would be a repetition of the sanctions on Iraq and chocke off ALL goods to Iran.

It would also allow the US to interdict militarily.

Did the Chinese and Russians really agree to this?

Posted by: b | Jan 26, 2008 3:05:57 AM | 3

The new sanctions resolution would, for the first time, authorize inspections of air and sea cargo going in and out of Iran.

if true, the Iranians would interpret this as a blockade and hence a declaration of war. Its impossible that the Russians & China would agree to such by the Security Council as it would certainly trigger war as well as the end of the UN.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 26, 2008 3:46:01 AM | 4

If true, it is a declaration of war, and we can all stop worrying about under-performing SIV's.

Posted by: DM | Jan 26, 2008 3:58:47 AM | 5

Scott Ritter: The Sanctions Trap

Today, on the issue of Iran, the same "sanctions trap" has been set. By continuing to label Iran's nuclear program as representing a threat to international peace and security worthy of Chapter VII attention, the Security Council helps sustain the fiction being promoted by the Bush administration of a dangerous nation which needs to be confronted at all costs. The day will come, in the not so distant future, when the United States will seek to cash in on the string of Chapter VII resolutions against Iran, building its case on the inevitability of Iranian non-compliance; Iran has already rejected the new draft sanctions as illegal, and has stated quite clearly its intent to push forward with its nuclear program in spite of the new sanctions. The Bush administration will be in a position to level a charge of global impotence in the face of a clearly defined threat, and to note that if the international community is unable or unwilling to confront this threat, then United States will have no choice but to take on this task in a unilateral fashion.

Posted by: b | Jan 26, 2008 4:13:19 AM | 6

Thought about the NYT piece in 3

Looks like Helen Cooper, the writer, again was hoaxed by some hawks interpretation. While other reports also have cargo controls as part of a resolution, those are likely not intended to allow a blockade - an act of war. I seriously doubt that China and Russia would agree to such.

LATimes:U.N. considering Iran sanctions

The Security Council on Friday began to consider tougher sanctions on Iran that were agreed to by six major powers, including a travel ban on officials involved in the country's nuclear and missile programs, a halt to trade in sensitive nuclear technology and "vigilance" on transactions with two banks.

The new draft resolution lacked most of the harsh economic sanctions and the arms embargo that the United States wanted.
The draft resolution would ban travel for people involved in the nuclear program, a step up from the monitoring requested in the last resolution.

It would freeze the assets of more people and entities on a watch list, and request "vigilance" in trade with Iran and dealings with two Iran-based banks. The U.S. claims Bank Melli and Bank Saderat have funded procurement of sensitive nuclear technology. U.S. officials wanted to blacklist the banks, but fell short of the goal.

The resolution would ban trade in nuclear-related goods, and call upon countries to inspect suspicious cargo.

Still very dangerous as open to misinterpretations ...

Posted by: b | Jan 26, 2008 4:57:42 AM | 7

a few differences between the Iraq & Iran sanctions scenarios:

first Iraq had just lost a war initiated by its own aggression. Also, Iraqi essentially gave up huge parts of its sovereignty in the surrender terms. And also, Iraq lacked the military to resist an air/sea blockade. And Iraq was also completely isolated internationally.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 26, 2008 10:00:21 AM | 8

"American-Iranian collision would be of great strategic benefit to Al Qaeda's cause."

If course it would be! They hate the US and they hate Shi'ite heretics almost as much. What a win-win situation!Crush the great Satan, watch the heretics killed by an enemy's hand, and behold: the new Sunni Caliphate will arise from the ashes!

Will Neocons always be stuck on stupid?

Posted by: Diogenes | Jan 26, 2008 11:35:04 AM | 9

Novosti reported Chertoff as saying the US will not attack Iran (at Davos.)>link

Sanctions. I get the feeling that they are, like many things, pro forma - as ‘the economy’ just keeps on chugging. The battleground is the UN and in the press...for the rest, nobody pays much attention. Inspections of cargo take place today: what would change with the ‘new’ package? A travel ban on nuke industry types is of course disagreeable for them, but as a punitive measure it is purely symbolic. They can take, I imagine, vacations with an alternative passport, and for conferences, they send along a PDF which is read aloud by a colleague from Russia, that always looks good. Other language re. banking in the proposed sanctions throws the word ‘vigilance’ about - meaningless. At present (?I have read in local paper) there are 28 Iranian persons/entities (not biggies) under a banking ban!

All from 26 -28 jan 08:

IMF, “Sanctions not effective”>link

“Iran Reports 7th Shipment of Russian Nuclear Fuel” VOA News.>link

The Asia Times, by Kaveh Afrasiabi, is scathing about the whole affair:>link

I read that the decisions about these sanctions has been put off to Monday or Tuesday. The March 07 bans were ‘voluntary’, so ignored; this latest round is obviously an attempt to change that.

Of course, if a casus belli is sought it will be found.

Posted by: Tangerine | Jan 26, 2008 11:57:11 AM | 10


he gotta lotta cheek

he is chief amongst those who have made preemptive wars for profit possible

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 26, 2008 3:26:35 PM | 11

Zbig (1) suckered the Russkies into Afgh, was mighty proud of it too, and it certainly contributed to the fall of the wall. (Break up of USSR)

Little did he expect that the oil cos., the Bush Gov. and the neocons would want to show muscle and venture into Afgh. in their turn. For pipelines, for corporate profit, for control, hubris, military triumph, for easy money from the drugs, for, just like the Russians, strategic control of a key region.

ref. 1. Zbigniew Brzezinski : “According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahadeen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise. Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention.” ....>one link

Posted by: Tangerine | Jan 26, 2008 4:04:11 PM | 12

As a response to a blockade; The Iranians could certainly achieve a battlefield victory by specifically targeting the FOBs, GZ, and land-based supply routes with overwhelming force. But they won't do that. After WBush bombs Iran they will flail about wilding sending scuds ineffectively at any county they are angry at (UAE, Kuwait, Israel, etc.) like a child having a tantrum.

Posted by: Sgt.York | Jan 26, 2008 5:23:24 PM | 13

My view is that it is highly unlikely that Iran will respond militarily to any provocation, either military or Security Council sanctions. War is not an interest for them; there is no advantage to be gained. Iran is a big country, and though sanctions may be annoying, they will not bring the country to its knees.

However they will defend their territory, and fiercely. Look at the power of Iranian nationalism, and you understand why.

A choice of war would be entirely in the hands of the US, and as this thread shows, the desire is still strong. The desire seems to me weaker than it was before. Obviously the crazies are still in power in Washington, and are free to launch a war at any moment. The opportunity of public support, however, has been lost.

Sanctions though will continue. The US has a long tradition of sanctioning countries it doesn't agree with. The sanctions on Iraq were never repealed before the invasion. The sanctions will have little effect, as Iran has many internal resources. But they will never be repealed.

Posted by: Alex | Jan 26, 2008 7:14:58 PM | 14


After WBush bombs Iran they will flail about wilding sending scuds ineffectively at any county they are angry at (UAE, Kuwait, Israel, etc.) like a child having a tantrum.

Yah sure Sarge. The troops are still doing the cakewalk in Iraq, Hezballoh is still not disarmed, the new government in Somalia still needs Ethiopian troops, Hamas is anything but isolated, more troops have to go to Afghanistan 7 years later, Al Queda operates freely in Pakistan, and you want to bomb Iran? WTF, do you work for Al Queda or are you just stupid?

Posted by: Sam | Jan 27, 2008 2:26:24 AM | 15

"A series of incidents, aggravations, collisions, provocations...." US administrations have routinely blamed Iran for terrorist acts for decades - but have never "overtly" lifted a finger in retaliation.

This sounds remarkably similar to the history of US-Iran relations for the past 30 years - ie it's business as usual. As I've said before, if the argument for a US military attack on Iran ( of whatever scope/description ) is based on the fact that the Bush administration is running out of time, then the argument is fatally weak.

The Hadar article betrays the usual cluelessness - Ahmadinejad's supporters are going to do very badly in the upcoming parliamentary elections; and all the evidence that I have seen suggests that he derives no electoral benefits whatsoever from increasing tensions with the US - if anything, it's to his disadvantage.

And B, as you well know, any crisis in the Gulf is going to have a nasty, nasty effect on oil prices - quite how sending gasoline prices over $5 per gallon is going to distract US consumers/voters from their economic problems is a mystery to me. Perhaps you could polish the decoder ring and explain this one to me.

Posted by: dan | Jan 27, 2008 2:47:05 PM | 16

RE: "Yah sure Sarge."

My comment was offered an a standard war-gaming hypothesis (not an endorsement for war by either side). These hypotheticals are common on military-related sites. Since you appear to be unfamiliar with war-gaming hypotheticals I'll explain in more detail and with out calling you stupid. The question is - if WBush (or Hillary or McCain) enforces an illegal embargo on Iran or attacks Iran using air-power is Iran capable of a realistic military response? My conclusion is that Iran, by focussing on a limited number of US facilities inside Iraq, has the potential to overwhelm those forces and achieve a battlefield victory. However, rather than taking that action it's more likely that iran (as Iraq did in GW-1) will flail about wildly and be rather ineffective in any response.

Posted by: Sgt.York | Jan 27, 2008 7:20:24 PM | 17


These hypotheticals are common on military-related sites.

So I assume you are familiar with General Van Riper and the 2002 wargame. I used to be a regular poster at SFTT under the handle Samspade and my hypothetical postings over there are standing up pretty well concerning Iraq so please don't assume anything about me.

iran...will flail about wildly and be rather ineffective in any response.

That's what Dan Halutz thought about Hezballoh before at least 42 Merkavas and a state of the art Missile Ship were taken out. Hezballoh never had a hope in hell of defeating Israel but that's not the point. Israel couldn't stop the incoming rockets and judging by that little factoid, that does not bode well for keeping the Straits of Hormuz open should any confrontation break out.

More important, Russia and China have billions of investments tied up in Iran and many personnel working in the country. Now you have to ask yourself do they have any surprises in store?

And where are the troops going to come from for the ground forces that will most certainly be required?

Posted by: Sam | Jan 28, 2008 12:00:13 AM | 18

Ahh yes, General Van Riper...

Posted by: Ghost of Saddam Hussein | Jan 28, 2008 3:31:10 AM | 19

Fer fucks sake what's the matter with everyone? Do amerikans really want to be herded like sheep? How many times are they gonna fall for this Iran wind-up before they wake up and realise they are being played? Shrub can't even stop a piece of paper from getting out and yet he's gonna start a pre-emptive war on Iran? C'mon some one use their head and think.

Of course that murdering prick Zbig is gonna take the iran lie out for a spin, it means just about no one is embarrassing his party's candidates out there. They forget Iraq and talk Iran. make a point of difference tween the rethug murdering pricks and the dem murdering pricks without having to say they're stopping anything in Iraq. People should be screaming at the candidates at every public event saying a dem candidate who won't promise to pull out the troops will keep the voters at home in November, but I don't see that. You can wander all around the net and apart from a couple of places no one talks about Iraq any more.

They'd rather talk about pie in the sky universal medical care which will never happen unless the pols are properly confronted. No one successfully confronts them so that's not gonna happen either.
No one seems to be trying so they sit round and talk shit.

I reckon it must mean that secretly most amerikans want the empire and oil but they just don't want to be tied to the murdering and raping which is still occurring right now in Iraq.

Why else would they fall for this Iran furphy regular as clock-work?

Posted by: Debs is dead | Jan 28, 2008 4:20:57 AM | 20

I reckon it must mean that secretly most amerikans want the empire and oil but they just don't want to be tied to the murdering and raping which is still occurring right now in Iraq.

You are not the first to suggest so. Maybe theres some truth to it.

Posted by: jony_b_cool | Jan 28, 2008 8:25:33 AM | 21

Race for sanctions on Iran speeds up

In light of Iran's warning that it will respond negatively to any such resolution, and that the new one will likely call for a range of actions, including travel bans, asset freezes, monitoring of some of Iran's banks, and inspection of suspicious cargo, it is likely to probable that the IAEA's agreement with Iran, and with it the process of Iran's nuclear transparency, will be an immediate and direct casualty of the new UN sanctions.
It is noteworthy that the draft UN resolution for the first time imposes an export ban on all "dual-purpose" nuclear material or technology, the only exception being those under the supervision of the IAEA, for example, material for use in light water reactors, in which case the UN committee monitoring Iran sanctions must authorize its export to Iran.

Moreover, the proposed resolution calls for inspection of suspicious cargoes to and from Iran. Will this mean the US's warships patrolling the Persian Gulf or Indian Ocean will be next inspecting Iran's cargo ships looking for banned nuclear material? And what happens if the Iranians resist?

Posted by: b | Jan 30, 2008 10:28:00 AM | 22

these are murderous motherfuckers & that moron kouchner chief amongst them - makes me long for the day of more honest thugs like pasqua

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 30, 2008 10:39:34 AM | 23

the vulpine & vapid kouchner & blair really are the worst form of vermin - they wouldn't know the truth if it hit them with an exocet missile

Posted by: remembereringgiap | Jan 30, 2008 10:41:48 AM | 24

There is reason to suspect the Bush administration’s push to pass new Security Council sanctions against Iran is actually focused on a single provision: authorization for the inspection of sea cargo bound for Iran, which the United States would then use to create a casus belli.

Any council member wanting to prevent the outbreak of war between the United States and Iran should press for removal of this provision.

While the United States delegation has shown uncharacteristic flexibility regarding various provisions of the draft resolution, as Secretary of State Rice and other administration officials have repeatedly called for swift passage of the resolution, any suggestion to remove the inspection of sea cargo provision would meet with strong United States objections, if this assessment is correct.

By proposing removal of the inspection of sea cargo provision, Security Council members can better assess United States' intentions.

Posted by: William H. White | Feb 19, 2008 1:56:10 PM | 25

@William H.W. - @25 - you are 100% right with that assessment and I have remarked on that earlier here and expanded on it in Iran: Next Step - Sea Blockade

Posted by: b | Feb 19, 2008 2:49:23 PM | 26

Unfortunately, the commencement of hostilities with Iran may be only the first shoe. The second, arising from the global economic and political chaos caused by the attacks on Iran, could be a long planned declaration of national emergency in the US.

While this might seem a bit overwrought, remember the first rule for any serious analysis of potential near term events these days: never underestimate Bush's recklessness.

See: NSPD-51 and the Potential for a Coup d'Etat
by National Emergency

Posted by: William H. White | Feb 19, 2008 4:38:00 PM | 27

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