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Likely Scenario That Will Be Pretense For War With Iran February 10, 2007

Posted by notapundit in Commentary, Congress, Main, Military News, Politics, US News, White House, World News.
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This will be my last post on Not A Pundit. With the birth of my second “baby pundit” I find that I am having to squeeze my news posts at odd hours of the day. I leave you all with this final post on what I hope will not come to be true, but I think that Zbigniew Brzezinski has laid out a likely scenario that will be pretense for war with Iran.

Unless you live like a hermit or live in a cave, you must be aware of the Bush saber rattling towards Iran. The nuclear weapons issue is important but some analyst agree Iran is years away from being able to build a weapon. I’m not an intelligence official so it may be true or it may not be true, but one thing that is true is the capture of five Iranians in Iraq that has increased tensions between both the US and Iran. Iraq has become a military quagmire at a time when North Korea, Venezuela and Iran are testing our world hegemony. That is not a good thing to show the world. So what to do?

Iraq has become a proxy battleground between Washington and Tehran, which is challenging – at least rhetorically – the U.S.’s dominance of the Gulf. That has worried even Iraq’s U.S.-backed Shiite prime minister, who – in a reflection of Iraq’s complexity – also has close ties to Iran.

Prof. Gary Sick, a leading authority on Iran, believes the U.S. is seeking to divert world attention from the crisis in Iraq and organize a coalition of Israel and conservative Sunni Arab states to confront Iran.

“The truth is that Iraq is a mess. It is in a state of low-level civil war. And all of these groups are largely self-motivated,” he said on the Council on Foreign Relations Web site. “But it’s much easier to blame it on the Iranians.”

Would the US go to war with Iran alone? Yes and no. At this point I don’t see the US confronting Iran militarily without some Sunni Arab support. Not necessarily military but tacit approval from those nations. Israel and NATO frankly are the better military allies.

The truth is that Iraq is a powder keg ready to explode. In more ways than just a proxy war between the US and Iran. But a powder keg indeed:

In Tehran, political analyst Hermidas Bavand said U.S. force increases were leading many Iranians to believe Washington is looking to pick a fight.

“It’s an extremely dangerous situation,” Bavand said. “I don’t think Tehran wants war under any circumstances. But there might be an accidental event that could escalate into a large confrontation.”

The US has increased its military presence in the Persian Gulf with additional battle carriers. The troop surge supposedly to go to Iraq is forming in Kuwait awaiting their orders. Hhmm…I wonder when they’ll reach Iraq?

Let there be no doubt of possible war with Iran, because our President has made it clear:

Bush said Monday the U.S. “will respond firmly” if Iran escalates military action in Iraq and endangers U.S. forces. The U.S. accuses Iran of arming and training Shiite Muslim extremists in Iraq. U.S. troops have responded by arresting Iranian diplomats in Iraq, and the White House has said Bush signed an order allowing U.S. troops to kill or capture Iranians inside Iraq.

This leads me to my final point that reminds me of an article that went over the newswires that grabbed little attention. Basically Zbigniew Brzezinski laid out to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee what he thought would be the likely outcome of a continued military quagmire in Iraq and the likely scenario leading to a confrontation with Iran.

Zbigniew Brzezinski also told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that Bush administration policy was driven by “imperial hubris” and has proved to be a disaster on historic, strategic and moral grounds.

“If the United States continues to be bogged down in a protracted bloody involvement in Iraq, and I emphasize what I am about to say, the final destination on this downhill track is likely to be a head-on conflict with Iran and with much of the world of Islam at large,” Brzezinski said.

Brzezinski set out as a plausible scenario for military collision: Iraq fails to meet benchmarks set by the U.S., followed by accusations that Iran is responsible for the failure and then a terrorist act or some provocation blamed on Iran. This scenario, he said, would play out with a defensive U.S. military action against Iran.

That, Brzezinski said, would plunge the U.S. into a quagmire that eventually would range across Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Brzezinski’s Solution:

Proposing a massive shift in policy, Brzezinski said the U.S. should announce with no ambiguity its determination to leave Iraq “in a reasonably short period of time.”

Can this be something that our President will do? I’m not holding my breath. Can Congress use its legislative power to push for such a massive policy shift? Lets all hope they can. They can recall the National Guard back to the states. They can place a cap on troops in Iraq. They can refure to provide funding for additional troops. They simply can refuse to authorize the President to go to war with Iran. Plain and simple. Our congressional leaders just need to actually debate the issue this time in the full light of day, instead of the weak abdication of power they showed when authorizing the war in Iraq.

US Defends Policies In Face Of Russian Minister’s Criticism February 5, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News, World News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–The U.S. State Department defended the Bush administration’s foreign policy on Monday in the face of assertions by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov that Washington is Moscow’s “most difficult partner” in diplomatic dealings.

“We stand up for what we think is right,” spokesman Sean McCormack said. “We stand up on principle. We stand up for our national interest. We stand up for freedom and democracy. And if that makes us a difficult negotiating partner, I guess I will take that as a badge of honor.”

He described Lavrov as a tough advocate for his country’s interests, as is Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on behalf of U.S. interests. The two diplomats had meetings here Thursday and Friday and, during a news conference, they clashed over the wisdom of engaging countries or groups hostile to the U.S. in the Middle East.

Rice opposes such overtures while Lavrov takes a different view.

In comments reported by the Interfax news agency on Sunday, Lavrov urged the U.S. to learn from its mistakes on the world stage.

He blamed Washington for impasses in the Middle East, suggesting the U.S. approach there was too confrontational, Interfax news agency reported.

“Like any other country, we are interested in having good, smooth, clear relations with the United States” but it is “not easy,” Lavrov was quoted as saying in an interview.

US Threatens Series Of UN Sanctions Against Iran On Nuclear Program February 5, 2007

Posted by notapundit in US News, World News.
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WASHINGTON (AP)–The State Department said Monday it will push for “incremental” U.N. Security Council sanctions against Iran if Tehran authorities continue to ignore council demands for suspension of the country’s uranium enrichment program.

Spokesman Sean McCormack said that Iran appears to be continuing “down the path of isolation” by its recent announcement on stepped up installation of cascades.

Tehran already has cascades of 164 centrifuges installed above ground at Natanz and has announced plans to operate 3,000 centrifuges below ground there, enabling it to speed up production of nuclear fuel.

Also on Iran, McCormack suggested that the country has been exaggerating the significance of an investment agreement signed recently by Royal Dutch Shell PLC (RDSB.LN) and Repsol YPF (REP) with Iran.

He noted that Shell has issued a statement indicating that the agreement is “exploratory” in nature.

He said the companies could be subject to U.S. sanctions if they violate a law designed to discourage energy-related investments in Iran.

Ukraine Minister Criticizes US Missile Defense System Plans February 5, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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KIEV (AP)–A senior Ukrainian official criticized U.S. plans to deploy its missile defense system in Poland and the Czech Republic in comments released Monday.

“First of all missiles deployed near our territory are objects for attack by any sides. So it is a threat to involve Ukraine in a direct conflict,” First Deputy Prime Minister Mykola Azarov said according to his office.

Washington announced last month that it wants to put a radar system in the Czech Republic and a missile interceptor site in Poland.

Last week, a top U.S. general in charge of developing U.S. missile defenses said Washington was looking for ways to involve Ukraine in its plans to develop such a system in Europe. But the Ukrainian government said that it had no plans to deploy the U.S. missile defense system in its country.

Russia, meanwhile, has harshly criticized the U.S. plans to build missile defense sites in Central Europe, shrugging off U.S. assurances that the installations would be meant to deal with a potential threat from Iran and calling them an effort to strengthen U.S. military might in the region.

Azarov said that the issue won’t help supporters of North Atlantic Treaty Organization membership for Ukraine to achieve their aim.

Former Soviet Ukraine has been divided over the issue of possible NATO membership, with Western-leaning President Viktor Yushchenko backing the move and pro-Russian Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych opposing it.

China: North Korea Talks May Be Prolonged Over Energy Aid February 5, 2007

Posted by notapundit in World News.
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BEIJING (Dow Jones)–China’s chief delegate to the six-party talks on North Korea’s nuclear programs said Monday that while he expects the negotiations to wrap up in three days, they could be extended, depending on discussions over energy aid to Pyongyang, according to a Japanese lawmaker who met him, the Kyodo news service reported.

Takeshi Noda, a lawmaker from the ruling Liberal Democratic Party, also quoted Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wu Dawei as saying that the six-party participants must make concrete progress in the talks that are to begin later this week in Beijing, Kyodo reported.

Wu said that “three days would be enough” for the upcoming six-way nuclear negotiations, Noda told reporters.

“If the meeting is extended, it will be because of” energy aid to North Korea, Noda quoted Wu as saying, referring to assistance that will be provided to Pyongyang in exchange for initial denuclearization steps to be taken by the country, Kyodo reported.

According to U.S. experts who visited Pyongyang last week, senior North Korean officials told them that Pyongyang wants more than 500,000 tons of fuel oil and other benefits in exchange for the initial steps for denuclearization.

While the initial steps have never been made public, diplomats say they involve the halting of a reactor at the Yongbyon nuclear complex and the acceptance of safeguard inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, Kyodo reported.

Noda said that while Wu did not elaborate, the impression he got was that the talks would be extended beyond the three-day time frame if the negotiators were able to go into the details of the plan and perhaps discuss the next steps, rather than because they would not be able to agree on anything, Kyodo reported.

Noda also said that the delegates to the six-party talks will start arriving in Beijing on Wednesday for the talks that the Chinese government has said will resume Thursday.

Wu, however, said that full-fledged discussions will only begin Friday, according to Noda.

The multilateral nuclear talks were last held in Beijing in December after a 13-month hiatus, but they ended without tangible progress toward the goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

The six countries involved in the talks are North and South Korea, the U.S., China, Japan and Russia.