Page 1 of 1

Advice from a guy who couldn't find WMD when they were there

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 9:29 pm
by Corlyss_D
Will the United States attack Iran?
Hans Blix
Tribune Media Services
Monday, February 19, 2007

STOCKHOLM: Will the United States use armed force against Iran? Hardly any foreign policy issue is hotter right now. American planes are reported to be patrolling along the border between Iraq and Iran, and U.S. forces have been authorized to kill Iranian agents in Iraq. Two U.S. aircraft carriers are in the Gulf and missile defenses have been installed in Gulf states. The military buildup is either to scare Tehran or to prepare for American attacks on Iran.

Many remember that there was a U.S. military buildup in the Gulf during the autumn of 2002 and the first months of 2003 and that the U.S. attack on Iraq followed in March. Is something similar underway now?

Most commentators note that a large part of the American people would disapprove of more military adventures. Yet many worry that the Bush administration might be tempted to play up Iran's activities as an important reason for the anarchy in Iraq and to reduce the attention to the debacle in Iraq by opening a new front through bombings in Iran.

Many governments share the conviction of the Bush administration that the aim of Iran's program for the enrichment of uranium is to give Tehran at least the ability to make a nuclear weapon in a few years. They support the demand of the UN Security Council that Iran stop the program and believe that economic sanctions that prohibit the delivery of material and equipment for the program may influence Iran. However, practically all are of the view that a military attack would be disastrous. Although it might delay the program of enrichment a few years, it would, at the same time, probably lead to full national acceptance of the program, increased Iranian support for terrorism and perhaps a crisis in the supply and delivery of oil.

Iran's response to the action of the Security Council has so far been to reduce UN inspectors' access to Iranian nuclear installations and at the same time declare a readiness for talks — provided that the council drop the demand that the program for enrichment must be suspended before talks are opened. Iran is thus on collision course with the resolution adopted by the council. While Washington declares that diplomacy rather than military action is on the agenda, the administration evidently believes that naval demonstrations may have an impact. A recent column in the Washington Times suggested an even more explicit demonstration: the launching of a missile on the former U.S. Embassy in Tehran — now used by the Iranian revolutionary guards.

In Europe and elsewhere, people are worried that mistakes might lead to an armed conflict or to an Iranian withdrawal from the Nonproliferation Treaty or refusal of inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency.* So, what can be done?

In the case of North Korea, the United States seems able to sit down for talks without demanding that the production of plutonium be stopped prior to the talks and even to indicate that an agreement could constitute the opening of diplomatic relations and guarantees against attacks in return for denuclearization.

It is difficult to understand why, in the case of Iran, the suspension of the program for enrichment of uranium has been made a precondition for any talks in which such suspension is the main subject. It is not long ago that an American commission led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Representative Lee Hamilton declared that the United States ought to engage in talks with Iran and Syria. Yet, despite the dire situation in Iraq, the Bush administration prefers to talk to Iran and Syria through public statements and military threats. It is a little like the boss who said that he liked to have exchanges of views with his subordinates: They should come in to present their views and walk out with his views.

A less humiliating approach might give better results. Such an approach is now being tested in the case of North Korea. Why not in Iran, too? ... edblix.php

* This is so much of a joke Blix can only be relying on complete ignorance to raise it. The Iranians were violating the NPT for decades. At least the North Koreans simply refused to sign it so there was no breach. In fact, the NPT has been a complete and abject failure for at least 10 years now. People who pretend it is either effective or salvagable probably believe that Humpty Dumpty can be put back together if only they believe it strongly enough.

Posted: Mon Feb 19, 2007 10:37 pm
by burnitdown
Where did the WMD go?