Senior American intelligence and defence officials believe that President George W Bush and his inner circle are taking steps to place America on the path to war with Iran, The Sunday Telegraph has learnt.
Pentagon planners have developed a list of up to 2,000 bombing targets in Iran, amid growing fears among serving officers that diplomatic efforts to slow Iran’s nuclear weapons programme are doomed to fail.
Pentagon and CIA officers say they believe that the White House has begun a carefully calibrated programme of escalation that could lead to a military showdown with Iran. [complete article]
Editor’s Comment — Back on July 13, the New York Sun reported:
President Bush is set to instruct the Treasury Department to block assets associated with Iran’s revolutionary guard corps in a new executive order declaring financial war on foreign saboteurs of the Iraqi government.
The paperwork to designate Iran’s revolutionary guard corps, or IRGC, and Quds Force is now on the president’s desk awaiting his signature, according to three administration officials who requested anonymity. The designation of the IRGC and Quds Force would mark the first time the finance related executive order process, reserved usually for foreign terrorist organizations, would be used against a branch of a foreign military.
On August 15, a month later, the Washington Post reported:
The United States has decided to designate Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, the country’s 125,000-strong elite military branch, as a “specially designated global terrorist,” according to U.S. officials, a move that allows Washington to target the group’s business operations and finances.
Today, in an article that refers to the “intensifying the debate over the Revolutionary Guard Corps,” the New York Times reports:
While some White House officials and some members of the vice president’s staff have been pushing to blacklist the entire Revolutionary Guard, administration officials said, officials at the State and Treasury Departments have been pushing a narrower approach that would list only the Revolutionary Guard’s elite Quds Force, or perhaps, only companies and organizations with financial ties to that group.
If either the Quds Force or the entire Revolutionary Guard fits the legal criteria for a “specially designated global terrorist,” why would President Bush have waited two months to sign the order? What the debate and the delay makes clear is that if and when this designation is made it will be done so for purely political reasons. Indeed, if the Iranians were guilty of everything about which they are being accused, the question would not be about when it becomes expedient to apply the force of the US Treasury Department; it would be how the United States is going to respond to acts of war.
We’ve been here before. Whenever this administration is bobbing and diving in the process of shaping its legal arguments, the political thrust is already evident. George Bush’s gut is telling him, it’s time to hit Iran. The legal, strategic, political, and purely rational arguments are being constructed after the fact.
And where in this is it possible to imagine that lessons learned from Iraq are being applied?
Inside Cheney’s brain, I imagine it runs something like this: Shock-and-awe works — it brought down Saddam; reconstruction doesn’t. So long as we don’t send in the army, the air force and the navy can take care of Iran.
And now that the British poodle is no longer available to provide Bush with some sycophantic “international support,” a French poodle has happily taken his place. The French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner today said, “We have to prepare for the worst, and the worst is war.”