Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Bush's War and Iran

Over time, there are ways that Democrats in Congress can start reining in Bush. But it's possible that time is growing short and significant numbers of Republicans will have to join Democrats to put a crimp in Bush's continuing gambles in foreign policy. As the blunders continue, things are getting complicated.

One complication is Israel which seemed to let it be known recently that it might take out Iran's nuclear program on its own. Another complication is Saudi Arabia which has been making noise in recent weeks (Cheney has had a role in this though I'm still not convinced one way or the other whether he is a listener or doing the talking). Raw Story has a post on the possibility that Saudi Arabia may raise its profile in Iraq:
NBC News' Andrea Mitchell reported on MSNBC that Saudi Arabia is mulling whether or not to send troops to Iraq, to "protect their interests" there.

According to Mitchell, Saudi Arabia is "deeply skeptical" that Iraq's government will be able to quell the unrest. Over a hundred Iraqi civilians died today, including at least 15 from a bombing at Baghdad University.

But a leading Saudi Arabia official warns that Saudi Arabia can not be expected to "solve Iraq's problems."

And then there's Iran and the possibililty that Bush will escalate the tensions, if not unilaterally attack Iran without Congressional approval. Steve Soto of The Left Coaster has an update on Iran:
The Arab Times in Kuwait says a source of theirs confirms that the White House will hit Iran between now and the end of April, confirming what Sam Gardiner told us over the weekend. Note that for some reason, the attack planning involved not only suspected nuclear targets, but also attacks against Iran’s oil industry, which would not only cripple the country’s economy but also send worldwide oil prices into the stratosphere and make it certain that Iran would retaliate in kind. (Hat tip to Michael Carmichael at PlanetaryMovement.org)

To this end, the Russians have sold and will sell more anti-aircraft missile systems to Iran in the coming months. Do not be surprised if our forces will be going up against Russian and Chinese equipment and advisors. A senior Russian naval official concludes that the Bush Administration is positioning submarines for an attack. (Hat tip to Raw Story)

The most disturbing new aspect about the story is the possibilitly of an attack against Iran's oil industry. If true (and that's a big if), perhaps Bush wants to cripple the world's oil industry and wants to force the United States turn to dirty sources of fuel like offshore drilling, coal and oil shale with a moratorium on environmental regulations while paying lip service to clean energy. I'm not sure how reliable the Arab Times are but stories about possible action are circulating elsewhere and something to consider is that it's possible that some members of the Bush Administration are circulating the stories in an effort to provoke Iran into a response (Cheney?). Something to keep in mind about Iran is that it is some years from developing a bomb and is not an imminent threat but it is possible that when it comes to Iran another mushroom cloud scam may be underway by the Bush Administration and its neocon allies in the media. Certainly the usual neocon suspects have been making noise about Iran over the last few months.

Laura Rozen has an article in American Prospect Online concerning Bush's possible intentions towards Iran:
President Bush's Wednesday address to the nation on his new Iraq strategy delved heavily into an alleged uptick in Iranian support for terrorism and attacks on coalition forces in Iraq, and his plans for confronting it. The speech was followed the next day by the dramatic U.S. raid on an Iranian office in the Iraqi city of Irbil. Speculation is now intensifying: Has Bush signed a finding authorizing covert action on Iran? If so, what specifically does it say? Alternatively, has he authorized a more aggressive Iran strategy through a presidential directive that doesn't explicitly require informing Congress -- or the public -- of action?


U.S. officials interviewed by the Prospect would not reveal whether they had been briefed on such a finding, or if one even exists. But there is evidence that, while Bush probably has not signed such a finding regarding Iran, he has recently done so regarding Iranian-supported Hezbollah in Lebanon; further, there is evidence that he may have signed an executive order or national security presidential directive regarding a new, more aggressive policy on Iran. Such directives are not required to be reported to Congress -- they are more in the realm of the president communicating to authorized people inside the administration his expectations for a policy.

Whatever Bush has put in writing or not about Iran, he is required to consult with Congress on such a important issue. I'm not sure what it takes these days to convince Americans that we have a constitutional crisis on our hands. I'm convinced we're already in one but I doubt a majority of Americans see it that way yet. But if Bush launches a war against Iran without Congressional approval, how will Americans react? And will it be too late? Now would be a good time to write your representatives in Washington.

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Blogger ken said...

Very informative posting. There was also a raid on the Erbil airport that was thwarted by Kurdish guards. Note too the there are US planes landing in Turkey for exercises. Also, a US raid on Hakim's ( a Shia politician) compound also nabbed several Iranians. This irks the Iraq govt. no end. Their lack of sovereignty in these raids is transparent

6:48 PM  
Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

A Saudi intervention would if nothing else be interesting. So far, the Saudi security forces' record dealing with terrorists leaves them looking like Keystone Kops. I don't remember the year, but there was a spring-summer interlude since '02 when, not once but twice, the Saudis had bad guys in their clutches, once had them surrounded, and miraculously the bad guys got away.

I wonder what the Arabic term for "Oh pshaw" is.

The circulating of stories to try and start something with Iran smacks of Cheney and Rove's approach to problem solving, all right.

Re: constitutional crisis, I sort of look on Bush and Cheney as having an ongoing constitutional crisis for an M.O.

11:37 PM  

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