DR. RACHEL EHRENFELD AND K.D.M. JENSEN: US RESPONSE TO IRAN FUMBLING, TEPID
Failing to Deal, Dealing to FailUS Response to Iran Aggression Fumbling, Tepid
Co-authored by K.D.M. Jensen
The past few days have seen yet another round in the “last straw” dithering about Iran. This time the huffing seems heavier. The IAEA has suddenly woken up and finds that Stuxnet wasn’t much of a setback to the Iranian nuclear program, and it is finally prepared to recognize Ahmadinejad’s weaponization effort.
This IAEA report followed on the heels of a highly detailed U.S. account of a Quds Force plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S. Lo and behold, has Obama found the last bit of his inner Bush, denouncing Iran and putting the military option back on the table. Hillary Clinton’s turned neocon and called for regime change (not exactly right away, but the next time the Iranian people give us a chance).
What do we have here? All wind and no rain. This Administration seems content to do nothing but threaten–no action, despite the inability to deny Iranian nuclear intentions any longer and the enormity of the assassination provocation. A recent pledge of a coming and forceful U.S.-led effort to take sanctions against the Iranian Central bank, the principal conduit for Iranian oil sales, was soon withdrawn for the flimsy excuse that “oil prices will go up if we do that.” Duh. So, why threaten it in the first place?
Meanwhile, the pundits do what they usually do on the Iran issue: “bomb,” “bomb a little now to avoid a lot later,” “too late to bomb,” “too early to bomb,” “too dangerous, too costly, too much uncertainty to bomb,” “let Israel do it, “don’t let Israel do it.” Also, there’s “maybe we can finally get the Russians and Chinese to stop supporting the Iranian regime” (this despite the fact that the Russians said right away that they doubt the accuracy of the IAEA report, plus the implausibility of China giving up Iranian oil). Most scandalously, there’s “the assassination plot means nothing: it was amateurish and isn’t how the Iranians would do things like that.”
The inflation of the Administration’s rhetoric at the expense of action has not deterred Iran in the slightest in the past. The U.S. lack of leadership seems to have been welcomed by our ostensible allies, who appear quite happy to be only secondary targets of the Islamic Republic. The failure to respond appropriately to the Quds Force assassination plot bears serious consequences. When a DEA agent foils a plot on American soil and the link to the Quds Force is clear, policymakers can no longer backtrack and wax dubious about the extent of Iranian terrorism on at least three continents. They can no longer ignore it.
Iran’s Venezuela connections were startlingly revealed in Washington more than two years ago by Manhattan’s legendary District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau. In addition to serving as a conduit for military equipment from Belarus, Syria, and other countries to Iran, Venezuela seems to have built missile emplacements at its main air force base on Margarita Island. Eyewitness accounts and Google Earth images have confirmed the presence of ballistic installations there. If true, the Venezuelan-Iranian friendship missiles could easily threaten the Panama Canal, the Gulf of Mexico and–with a Shahab-3 missile–Miami!
Recent events confirm that we have allowed the Iranian regime to move beyond brazen. If Ahmadinejad, the mullahs, and the Revolutionary Guards feel free to do as they wish anywhere, anytime, it’s not because they’re mad or under the spell of the Twelfth Imam. It’s because we allow them.
And, by the way, providing the small United Arab Emirates Air Force (UAEAF) with 4,900 bunker-buster bombs will not contribute to the stability of the region. The UAE has a long history as the gateway to Iran.
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