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28 September 2009

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Desaix

"Such weapons are inherently inaccurate to within a few hundred yards at range. Because of this, they are of no real military value with other than nuclear warheads."

Over how wide an area is the Saudi oil infrastructure spread? Wouldn't lobbing them at Gawar, even if a miss cause a spike in prices? How long would the spike last?

"The US has experienced six recessions since 1972. At least five of these were associated with oil prices. In every case, when oil consumption in the US reached 4% percent of GDP, the U.S. went into recession. Right now, 4% of GDP is US$80 a barrel oil. So my current view is that if the oil price exceeds US$80, then expect the U.S. to fall back into recession,” wrote Steven Kopits, managing director for U.K.-based energy-consulting and -research firm Douglas-Westwood LLC in New York.
http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/francis/archive/2009/09/16/oil-prices-mean-perpetual-recession.aspx

optimax

Lysander, rjj,

A google search of John L. Perry brings up his archived columns here:

http://archive.newsmax.com/pundits/archives/John_L._Perry-archive.shtml

I should have been clearer that the quote I posted before is from a column entitled "History Not Polls to Judge Bush" July 5, 2007. His piece on a military coup may be trog-bait, but he has been publishing his propaganda for at least a couple of years and either has a loyal following or a wealthy patron or a nom de plume of Dick Cheney.

turcopolier

Optimax

I have heard his rationalizations in every country I ever served in that had experienced a military coup. Pl
Sent wirelessly via BlackBerry from T-Mobile.

optimax

Sorry, the John L. Perry quote is from his Sept 4, 2006 column "Truth out of Tehran." I need to clear my head after reading a few of his columns.

Andy

Col. Lang,

My comment on "throw weight" was a response to another commenter - I agree with you completely that ballistic missiles without nuclear warheads are primarily psychological weapons of limited military utility.

The issue is whether or not the US will tolerate the possession of such a power balance altering weapon in the hands of a government that behaves the way the Iranian government does.

That is certainly the question and one that I certainly can't answer definitively. I think unless some kind of "smoking gun" is found soon (ie. definitive and incontrovertable evidence of an active weapons program) my sense is that the US will most likely adopt a policy of containment and limited engagement and not a military option. Some factors I think are relevant, at least for the near-term:

1. I believe, for a number of reasons, the tolerance of the American people for another war is very low. The economy, war fatigue and the legacy of the Iraqi WMD debacle all conspire to greatly increase public skepticism of another military confrontation.

2. A regime-change ground invasion of Iran is not possible, so military action would be either a short series of air raids or possibly a longer air campaign. The risk-reward for either option is relatively low and it would be difficult to mitigate the full range of probable Iranian responses. It seems that President Bush listened to such counsel over the objections of the VP and I think President Obama is even less inclined than Bush to pursue a military option.

3. An effective air campaign would be very difficult without regional allies providing approval to use our airbases on their territory, particularly those in Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the UAE and possibly Iraq. I think it's unlikely these countries would grant approval without incontrovertable evidence of an active Iranian weapons program. Loss of those bases limits any strike to naval air and bombers based at Diego Garcia which would limit both the scope, duration and effectiveness of any air campaign, pushing the risk/reward calculus lower.

rjj
but he has been publishing his propaganda for at least a couple of years and either has a loyal following or a wealthy patron or a nom de plume of Dick Cheney. (optimax @ 6:36 PM 9-30)

I think you are getting warm with the last mentioned. Dick Cheney drag is the hot new fashion statement with certain geriatrics. It is easy to see how and to whom it might appeal.

J

Some see it as -- Sanctions or Bust --. "If Obama must castigate Iran for "breaking rules that all nations must follow ... and threatening the stability and security of the region and the world", why does he protect Israel from sanctions and subsidize its military machine?"

see:
http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Middle_East/KJ01Ak03.html

Clifford Kiracofe

From Ha'aretz reporting a poll by the hardline Zionist organization "American Jewish Committee":

"Poll: 56% of American Jews think U.S. should strike Iran
By Natasha Mozgovaya, Haaretz Correspondent

"One day ahead of talks in Geneva between Iran and six major powers - the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany - on Tehran's controversial nuclear program, a national poll finds that 56 percent of American Jews support a U.S. military strike against Iran.

"The annual Survey of American Jewish Opinion, commissioned by the American Jewish Committee, revealed a 14 percent rise in the number of U.S. Jews in support of such a military strike, whose aim would be to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. 36 percent of those polled - self-described adult Jews ? were against such an attack.

"Asked whether Israel should attack Iran, 66 percent of those polled said they would support such a move.

"At this time, 49 percent of those polled said that they support the policy of U.S. President Barack Obama toward Iran. Obama has expressed desire to resolve the standoff with Iran with diplomatic measures, recently adding that should the diplomacy fail, steps would have to be taken. 35% of those polled said they oppose Obama's policy. ...

http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1117995.html

Cieran

Zanzibar:

You ask a very good question:

The question is how can Iran precipitate such an explicit admission when those that have been instrumental in enabling the Israeli nuclear program are the key western powers that today control public perceptions and international institutions?

I find myself wondering about the term "public perceptions" here. In particular, what public do we mean? In the U.S., public perceptions are indeed being managed, but the U.S. is a very small portion of the world's population. And the "key western powers" you mention are exactly those countries that have the most to lose if current non-proliferation arrangements break down.

This current arrangement is based on the general notion that the nuclear have-not nations will forgo development of WMD while those nations that possess such weapons will behave themselves. But these nations are increasingly not behaving themselves, e.g., threatening sanctions against an NPT signatory at the behest of a nation with a rogue WMD program.

So why would the vast majority of the world's citizens continue to buy into such an apparently lopsided compromise?

My guess is that the Iranians are trying to position themselves for a leadership role in the emerging multipolar world by repeatedly pointing out the hypocrisy in the current non-proliferation environment. If this is the case, then time is on their side, and the public they are playing to is not merely the citizens of the west: it's the citizens of the world.

As far as the possibility of Israel attacking Iranian facilities in the near term, the elephant in the room that few yet notice is that if that event occurs, then Iran could immediately become the leader of the nuclear have-not nations, including many such nations in the west.

In other words, if Israel attacks Iran with nuclear weapons, then it could become quite apparent that the real problem was not that Iran provided an existential threat to Israel: the problem would suddenly become that Israel had demonstrated that it can act as an existential threat to much of the world, including those "key western powers" you mention.

That's the real "game-changer" here.

If this is indeed the strategy of the Iranian leadership, then the silver lining is that they are putting the topic of nuclear non-proliferation back on the world stage, where it belongs... because it's arguably the most important problem of our time.

And it clearly needs a lot of work.

optimax

Col.,

I suppose there's always some talk from small groups on the right about a military coup, just as the the extreme left is always dreaming of revolution. As JLP's memes work their way down into the sewers, I'm afraid it may excite some rat down there to do something extreme to "save this country from a socialist takeover." Then both extremes could get what they want.

It reminds me of the Kennedy "Wanted: Dead or Alive" posters in Texas, though I don't think an amateur has much of a chance these days.

rjj, That guy could win a Dick Cheney look-a-like contest, like the Hemingway ones in Key West.

YT

J.,

Re:"The Arabs and those who are adherents of Islam, I have found to be very warm, excellent hosts, and very sensitive to the plight of others around them."

LOL! You MUST be jokin'. I dunno 'bout the former but I sure am skeptical 'bout ALL the adherents of that faith to be warm or sensitive to the plight of others...'Specially those muthaf****s in the region I'm stayin'.

Babak Makkinejad

J:

I am not aware of any condemnation of the gassing of the Kurds by the Ba'athist government of Iraq from any Arab public intellectual.

Likewise for the use of gas against Iranian troops.

Is anyone aware of any public condemnations emanating from the Arabs intellectuals? Religious leaders?

I would like to know.

Ali

@YT
i can say the same about many other nationalities/faiths.
You seem to be judging the faith on the basis of the ppl. Specious at best.
Where r u posted?

YT

Ali,

My apologies if I've hurt your feelings. True, the same can be said for those pricks of my ethnicity. Perhaps I've had many foul encounters with peoples of your faith. I'm currently based in a south-east asian state whose name starts with the initial 'm'.

J

YT,

Guess you have never had the opportunity to don a Thobe and a Gutra and mix with the locals, which I had the pleasure and opportunity to do. By not doing so, IMO one misses out on golden opportunities for interaction and insights that cannot be gained any other way. A lot can be learned over a glass of hot tea, some roasted goat, and a Shisha. But, that's just my experience and personal opinion.

And I stand by what I previously said -- "The Arabs and those who are adherents of Islam, I have found to be very warm, excellent hosts, and very sensitive to the plight of others around them." --!

J

Babak,

There were some condemnations that were confined to local areas, but I don't recall any that reached the international plateau.

zanzibar

Cieran

I meant western public perceptions since they have to be bamboozled to create the environment for an attack on Iran ostensibly to prevent nuclear weapons proliferation. My question really was a bit tongue in cheek since its going to be really difficult for the Iranians to get any kind of admission regarding Israel's nuclear weapons program despite the near universal belief in such a program. It also seems that the Iranians may garner increasing sympathies from the people in the Middle East but they also scare many of the Arab ruling dynasties. Consequently, do you think Iran can get out of the current tightening vise or will they capitulate?

You are correct that the western powers have a lot to lose with nuclear proliferation but it seems that they remain confident in their ability to get away with their own "proliferation" - which of course would never be labeled as such.

I have read that AQ Khan and the Pakistani program were aided substantially by access to Dutch nuclear related technology and access to Chinese designs. My worry is that the big nuclear powers aid further nuclear proliferation as part of their own strategy to gain short term geopolitical advantage but many times regret such moves later. In that context I wonder how nuclear cooperation with India will work out in the future?

I concur with your assessment that if anyone uses nuclear weapons in a pre-emptive strike in todays climate they will not be forgiven easily. I don't think the Israeli's are that crazy. But, they surely are using their incredible influence in the west and the fear of the Arab ruling dynasties to put the squeeze on Iran. I am sure they are trying to build their version of the "coalition of the willing". I have read that India's foremost weapons supplier is Israel. Russia I believe for the right inducements could be made to acquiesce. And probably the Chinese too? Realistically what can the Iranians do when they seem so much more isolated? And how can a more robust non-proliferation regime be established until the hypocrisy of the current system is removed?

J

Well it appears that the Obama administration has a severe lacking in the backbone department, as it is afraid to enforce our own laws, in particular the Symington Amendment.

So in reality it is Tel Aviv, not Obama who is really calling the shots in D.C.. Not a good picture for Americans, when a foreign government has taken its nation 'hostage'.

http://www.jpost.com/servlet/Satellite?cid=1254393086509&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

'Washington Times': 'US won't make Israel disclose nukes' | International | Jerusalem Post

------------------------------
Addendum: Symington Amendment
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Symington_Amendment

Mark Stuart

Colonel Sir, Clifford Kiracofe:
Sir John Scarlett has been told that Saudi Arabia is ready to allow Israel to bomb Iran’s new nuclear site.

How much weight do you both attribute to this piece of news?

When talking about our Iranian options, I hardly ever see anything in the news regarding Saudis but also, Bahrainis, Emiratis nor Omanis. It is my understanding that the Royal Family in Saudi would suffer tremendous pressures within its own family for action to further distance itself from us. Not to mention the pressures of its own Shi'ite sensible minorities in its oil rich western region and at its southern border with Yemen. And this at a time when its economy is overall fairing very well after their admission to the WTO. Would it really be in the interest of the Kingdom, in the interest of the Saudi Family, to venture, directly or indirectly in such a hazardous gambit?

As you said it Colonel Sir: Only perceived interests and brute strength, whether economic or military matter in the end... Isn't Saudi Arabia's perceived and real strength today its economy?

Would it also be in the interest of other regional powers to be seen by the regular "Abdu" in the street of Algiers, Riyadh or Cairo so blatantly aligned behind America but also.....behind Israel too? The sheer perception of some Arab and Muslim leaders working hand in hand and sharing the same goal with Tel Aviv, would definitely not be productive in attaining our own security goals.

The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict: The Graveyard Of American Presidents?, Michael Brenner
Micheal Brenner highlights the importnat fact that The Palestinian issue cuts much deeper there [North Africa] than do any of the other American actions in the Middle East. This is not negligible an effect, nor affect to consider while planning any anti-Terror global war.

The effect of the Iranian Islamic Revolution of 1979 in Algiers or Cairo were limited only by the fact that it eventually led to a war between Sunnis and Shi'ites. I'm not sure the reaction in the Muslim world would be as tamed in the case of a direct engagement with Israelis or Americans. The increasing following that Hezbollah was able to garner in the Sunni world after the 2006 Lebanon War is prove that Sunnis and Shi'ites are able to find common grounds and at times set aside their religious differences. No matter how many Shi'ite mosques or shrines are bombed in Baghdad or Pakistan.

Again Colonel Sir, what is your take on this perspective? is it sheer conjecture or real potential troubles looming in case of a strike against Iran?

Colonel Sir:
What's your preferred course of action? serve it up and we will discuss it.
Is the state of our intelligence combined with that of the Israelis, Saudis, Emiratis, Bahrainis or Omanis that debased that we cannot exploit the many sunnis and other minorities (and could we agree here to forget about the pro-democracy movements?) within Iran to further our goal against a nuclear armed Iran or at least a regime change?

perhaps literally the end for someone. my guess Sir is that i see Israel disappearing from the map before Iran. If the history of those two peoples is any indication.

Arun:
Why does that fatwa play so little into deducing Iran's intentions?
I think it was taken into consideration. But do you really believe that any foreign power, be it the Americans or the Saudis or the Israelis, would want to rely on Iranians being "good Muslims"? In matter of religion, there are always the rule, agreed upon by most, and what some humans decide to do with them.
Cieran:
"I have a sneaking suspicion that one of the goals of current Iranian strategies is to force the explicit admission that Israel has nuclear weapons."
Would a pubic admission by Israel make really any substantial difference in the big picture? International inspectors on the ground would though.
YT:
I know! you're in ... MYANMAR! What the hell did you do to those poor Muslims over there so they would be so bad to you? They are pretty tame and harmless considering their plight and their treatment by the Burmese government! You must have really ticked them off!...lol

Mark Stuart

Sir:
I have done penance all that time for my last erring, but not seeing my last comment on this post makes me wonder if i might not have unwillingly faulted once more? Rest assured Sir that in this case it would be unwillingly on the part of someone always eager to submit to authority and wisdom derived from knowledge and experience.

Either my comments were totally off and unworthy of your attention. Or the phrasing was at fault when i referred to "the state of our intelligence combined with that..."? Which you might have construed as indirectly insulting.
I realize that i've been in France too long and the very Proustian way of thinking and writing might have rubbed off on me way more than i had suspected. But what i merely suggested is that maybe some covert operations with the help of other regional intelligence communities might be successful at bringing at least regime change in Tehran, if not completely halting their nuclear program. But again, there might be many other reasons.

Which one is it Sir? Knowing i could have been disrespectful to you is mortifying and would be unbecoming of someone always yearning to please and show respect and deference to people of authority. But also, because my only purpose reading you Sir is to learn from you. To learn from your responses to others but also your responses to me. Be it a simple "funny" comment, or "bs" or "totally stupid". I still learn.

Respectfully,
ms.

PS: Please feel free to edit any or the entirety of my comments as you see fit. I will learn too. I want to be your friend again.

cartouche imprimante

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Ewiak Ryszard

Iran should not arouse concern. Georgia is the most dangerous flashpoint in Russia's tense relations with the West. The Bible says: "At the appointed time [the king of the north = Russia] will return back [will regain the influence, which it lost after the break-up of the Soviet Union] and come into the south [many indicate that this might be Georgia], but it will not be as the former [1921] or as the latter [2008]. For the dwellers of coastlands of Kittim [the West] will come against him, and he will be humbled, and will return." (Daniel 11:29,30a) Then Iran will be humbled also. "But ships will come from the direction of Kittim, troubling Asshur [Russia] and troubling Eber [inhabiting on the other side the Euphrates]." (Numbers 24:24a, BBE)

At that time, peace will be taken from the earth and the "great sword" - nuclear sword - will be used. (Revelation 6:4) However, it will be neither the great tribulation nor "the end of the world" (Armageddon). As Jesus foretold, that will be "the beginning of birth pains". (Mathew 24:7,8)

If the Heavens planned a full return of Russia (and much suggests this) the present economic crisis will deepen. Then also the European Union and NATO will not stands.

In the same way the earlier prophecy had fulfilled: "And (he) [the king of the north = Russia] will go back (to) his land with great wealth [1945]; and his heart (will be) against the holy covenant [state atheism]; and will act effectively; and turned back to his own land [the break-up of the Soviet Union and Warsaw Pact, the return of Russian troops to country]." (Daniel 11:28)

YT

Mark Stuart: "Re:I know! you're in ... MYANMAR!"

LOL!

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