Intelligence on Iran: Not again!?

I read this at ADBOI and just rolled my eyes.

Here we go again….

A commission due to report to President Bush this month will describe American intelligence on Iran as inadequate to allow firm judgments about Iran’s weapons programs, according to people who have been briefed on the panel’s work.

The International Atomic Energy Agency, which has been conducting inspections in Iran for two years, has said it has not found evidence of any weapons program. But the agency has also expressed skepticism about Iran’s insistence that its nuclear activities are strictly civilian.

In its report, the panel is also expected to be sharply critical of American intelligence on North Korea. But in interviews, people who have been briefed on the commission’s deliberations and conclusions said they regarded the record on Iran as particularly worrisome.

Among the major setbacks, former intelligence officials have said, was the successful penetration in the late 1980’s by Iranian authorities of the principal American spy network inside the country, which was being run from a C.I.A. station in Frankfurt. The arrests of reported American spies was known at the time, but the impact on American intelligence reverberated as late as the mid-1990’s.

Now, I’m sure were we faced with another situation at the UNSC like before the Iraq war except with Iran in its’ place… the outcome could be different. This is not because Europe is any more willing to support military action, nor because Iran is being any more cooperative than Iraq.

The difference is that there are known Nuclear facilities on the ground in Iran. Many of them… and their designation as being required and used only for electricity generation is pretty suspect coming from one of the largest oil producers in the world.

I don’t think there is any doubt that Iran wants to have nuclear weapons. With Israel, Pakistan, India, and the US Army on its’ doorstep, why wouldn’t it?

The problem is always proving those accusations and providing concrete evidence to support serious action.

If the US wants to get UN or NATO support for military action against Iran, it is going to have to provide examples of both the Iranian governments plans for their military-grade Nuclear program as well as concrete targets that constitute the bulk of that nuclear capability.

It seems that, once again, the CIA is failing in providing that information.

And that’s only going to make it harder for the Bush Adminstration to make its’ case against Iran.

5 replies on “Intelligence on Iran: Not again!?”

  1. Chris

    Why does Iran hate Israel? What has Israel ever done to Iran? Since 1979 when the Islamic revolution occurred in Iran, the Iranian government has supported anti-Israel terrorism by funding and harboring such groups as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad.

    And by the way, neighboring Arab nations have attacked Israel 4 times since 1948. Israel has paid dearly in blood for it’s piece of land which by the way was mostly purchased from the Arabs at more than the going rate for arid, barren undeveloped land. Since Israel alledgedly obtained nukes, how many times have it’s Arab neighbors attacked it? Answer – Zero. Seems to be an effective deterrent.

    After fearing that Israel had acquired sufficient arms to decisively win another all out attempt at invasion, the dedicated anti-Israel forces turned to terrorism. Iran has been funding and supporting ME terrorists with gusto ever since. Iran is a rogue nation interfering at will in Israel’s attempts to come to peaceful terms with the PA. Your claim that Iran is understandably fearful of being attacked is all based on the premised that Iran has the right to preside over the destruction of Israel. If Iran would give up it’s institutionalized fanaticism and policy of destroying another nation, there would absolutely be no reason for anyone else to even contemplate war with Iran. Iran brings all it’s fears on itself.
    If she would adopt a reasonable and mature policy towards all sovereign nations in the region, she would have nothing to fear from anyone.

  2. Jane:

    Whether Irans’ “hatred” of Israel is justified or not, the fact remains that Israels possession of nuclear weapons is a driving force behind every other Arab countries’ desire to obtain the same capability.

    As it stands now, yes Israels’ possession of nuclear weapons has probably deterred any overt military action by Arab states toward Israel, but the longer Israel maintains that capability, the more likely it is that one of its’ Arab neighbours will develop its’ own program and throw the whole region into a new balance.

    I’ve never bought the whole “Israel has never attacked anyone” line. There have been so many reprehensible acts on both sides of the conflict since Israel was created that neither side has any claim to righteousness.

    The big question is this:

    If Israel had no nuclear capability, do you honestly believe that, today, it would be attacked by any of its’ neighbours, including Iran?

    Personally, I think the Arab states are no match for the conventional forces of the IDF, and what’s more, the current political climate does not indicate that any sort of aggressive action is imminent.

    If Israel was really concerned about a Nuclear Iran then maybe it should make the bold step of revealing and dismantling its’ program, as Libya did, in the name of goodwill and peace in the region.

    As long as Israel maintains its’ nuclear capacity, Iran, and every other Arab country, will continue to feel justified developing its’ own to counter it.


    “Is Bush Right?”

    President’s Critics Reconsider Democracy’s Prospects in the Middle East

    By Jefferson Morley Staff Writer

    Tuesday, March 8, 2005; 6:00 AM

    “In countries where President George Bush and his policies are deeply unpopular, online commentators are starting to think the unthinkable.

    “Could George W. Bush Be Right?” asked Claus Christian Malzahn in the German newsweekly Der Spiegel. Essayist Guy Sorman asked last month in the Paris daily Le Figaro (by subscription), “And If Bush Was Right?” In Canada, anti-war columnist Richard Gwyn of the Toronto Star answered: “It is time to set down in type the most difficult sentence in the English language. That sentence is short and simple. It is this: Bush was right.”

    The tipping point came last week when Lebanon’s pro-Syrian government fell. The international online media, much of which had been critical of Bush during his first term, had to acknowledge democratic developments on the American president’s watch. Many commentators also cited free elections in Afghanistan last fall, Palestinian elections in early January followed by the Jan. 30 Iraq elections. Then came local elections in Saudi Arabia and Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s announcement of constitutional changes allowing his opposition to challenge him electorally.

    Given Bush’s insistence that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq would lead to a democratic political order in the Middle East, many Europeans are “somewhat embarrassed” by these developments, Sorman wrote in Le Figaro.

    “Hadn’t they promised, governments and media alike, that the Arab street would rise up [against U.S. military forces], that Islam would burn, that the American army would get bogged down, that the terrorist attacks would multiply, and that democracy would not result nor be exported?”

    “These dramas did not occur,” Sorman says. “Either Bush is lucky, or it is too early to judge or [Bush’s] analysis was not false.”

    Rüdiger Lentz, Washington correspondent for the German broadcast network Deutsche Welle, wrote, “There have been many good reasons to criticize the messianic political style of Bush’s first term. But isn’t it time now to stop finger-pointing and bickering?”

    “After all, one has to acknowledge that Afghanistan and Iraq might have been catalysts for what we see now happening in Lebanon, in Egypt and even between the Palestinians and Israel.”

    In Germany, the economic daily Financial Times Deutschland accused Europeans of ignoring events in Lebanon. “It is bizarre that here in Germany, where the Berlin Wall once stood, this development (in Lebanon) is greeted with hardly a shrug,” according to a translation by Der Spiegel Web site. The paper borrowed a phrase from New Yorker columnist Kurt Andersen saying that Europe is engaging in political “short selling — hoping for bad news to back up the continent’s ‘ideological investment'” in opposing Bush.

    “Short selling,” the paper concluded, “is an honorable strategy on the stock exchange but in terms of democracy, it is looking more and more like a major mistake. Indeed, it isn’t honorable at all.”

    Robert Fisk, veteran Middle East correspondent for London’s Independent (by subscription) begged to differ on Monday. Writing from Beirut, Fisk predicted that Bush’s call for Syria to withdraw from Lebanon would only hurt the Lebanese.

    “Have we forgotten 150,000 dead?” he asked referring to the estimates of the number of people killed in the Lebanese civil war of 1975 to 1989. “Have we forgotten the Western hostages? Have we forgotten the 241 Americans who died in the suicide bombing of 23 October 1983? This democracy, if it comes, will be drenched with blood — but the blood will be that of the Lebanese who live here, not that of the foreigners who wish to bestow freedom upon them.”

    Palestinian journalist Daoud Kuttab is not so pessimistic.

    “The Lebanese intifada has provided a strong model for the Arab world,” Kuttab writes in the West Bank-based Arabic Media Internet Network.”It has sent shock waves throughout the Arab world,” he says, noting that many Arabs had given up on the possibility of peaceful and patriotic democratic movements.”

    Notice, Chris, that this is an article not me speaking but several well known experts who are starting to see the picture.

    I’m so irritated and offended by your petulant, chip on our shoulder, unbelievably rude and arrogant “letter to Condi” that I won’t be reading or posting here anymore. Waste of time. On the subject of the US/Canadian relations you and your ilk are too petty to be believed and eager to spread your imagined misconceptions of the US and the slights inflicted on your noble nation by the louts to the south. Canadians who think like this about the US need to grow up. Intelligent readers are far too savvy to buy this kind of crap from Canadians.

  4. Jane and Chris,

    Iran’s right to nuclear weapons is defended by democratic dissidents as well as by the mullahs, so changing the regime won’t necessarily bring a non-nuclear Iran or stop the proliferation of nukes to other Middle Eastern countries. Iran wants nuclear weapons to deter the United States, not Israel.

    Nuclear weapons won’t help Israel (or for that matter anybody) if nuclear adversaries are willing to commit suicide. If deterrence can no longer be trusted, the only way to prevent mutually assured destruction is to integrate the region with the West. See the article here:

    The article is mostly about Israel, but it recognizes the need for both Israel and its neighbors to join NATO and the EU. Once begun, the process of inclusion could spread east to Iraq, the Gulf states, and Iran.

  5. Jane:

    With all due respect, please try to keep the quoted text to a reasonable length… otherwise the thread gets really really long and it’s hard to follow where the quote ends and your comments begin.

    I’ve responded to your other comments in the Dear Condi thread.


    You bring up a good point. If the Democratic dissidents want nuclear weapons too then what do you do?

    I absolutely agree with the notion that in order to promote lasting peace and stability nations must share a common burden.

    That is why in my submissions to the Canadian International Foreign Policy review I stated that Canada should advocate that NATO effectively be disbanded and instead a standing force be created under a UN flag.

    By doing so we remove a major stumbling to involving more nations in the defense of their territories.

    Imagine Russian, Chinese, US, Iranian, Israeli, Pakistani and Indian forces, all on “the same side”.

    With a mutual pact to protect each other from attack it becomes far less likely that any member country feel the need to “catch up” to others and deter threats.

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