Chances of bombing Iran= Zero!


by Kamangir

OK Now We're Not Going to Bomb Iran

December 04, 2007

Slate Fred Kaplan

If there was ever a possibility that President George W. Bush would drop bombs on Iran, the chances have now shrunk to nearly zero. In one of the most dramatic National Intelligence Estimates ever, the 16 agencies of the U.S. intelligence community concluded today "with high confidence" that Iran "halted its nuclear weapons" four years ago, in the fall of 2003. The NIE, which was released this afternoon, also judges "with moderate confidence" that Iran won't be "technically capable" of producing enough materials for an atom bomb—much less the bomb itself—until 2010-15 or possibly later. The report also concedes that Tehran's decision to halt its nuclear-weapons program "suggests it is less determined to develop nuclear weapons than we have been judging since 2005." It was in 2005 that the intelligence agencies released their first, more alarming NIE, which concluded that Iran was determined to develop nuclear weapons despite international pressure. The new report—which incorporates intelligence information as recent as Oct. 31, 2007—now finds evidence to the contrary. President Bush and the administration's hawkish faction, led by Vice President Dick Cheney, can take some solace from the new intelligence estimate. For instance, the NIE states, again "with high confidence," that until the fall of 2003, the Iranians were developing nuclear weapons. It also notes that they are continuing civilian work "related to uranium conversion and enrichment." Most significant, perhaps, it concludes that the Iranians halted their weapons program "primarily in response to increasing international scrutiny and pressure resulting from exposure of Iran's previously undeclared nuclear work." But one implication of this last assessment is that Iran's leaders are not so hermetic—that, as the NIE puts it, "Iran may be more vulnerable to influence on the issues than we judged previously." The Bush administration's campaign of pressure—the smart sanctions that it imposed and rallied other nations to join—appears to have had an effect. By the same token, inducements might spur further progress. The NIE is strikingly explicit on this point: Our assessment that Iran halted the program in 2003 primarily in response to international pressure indicates Tehran's decisions are guided by a cost-benefit approach rather than a rush to a weapon irrespective of the political, economic, and military costs. This, in turn, suggests that some combination of threats of intensified international scrutiny and pressure, along with opportunities for Iran to achieve its security, prestige, and goals for regional influence in other ways, might—if perceived by Iran's leaders as credible—prompt Tehran to extend the current halt to its nuclear weapons program. [Italics added.] The report grants, "It is difficult to specify what such a combination might be." But the point is this: The chiefs of the U.S. intelligence community are recommending a mix of pressure and diplomacy—sticks and carrots—as the best way to keep the A-bomb out of Iranian hands. A little context is necessary to understand this report's full significance. For the past two years, various factions in the Bush administration have engaged in internecine skirmishes over how to deal with the anticipation of an Iranian atom bomb. Cheney and his associates are the prominent hawks, in favor of stepping up the pressure and, if the time comes, attacking Iran's nuclear facilities, perhaps pre-emptively. President Bush has sometimes seemed to take this side, at least rhetorically, as when he said recently that failure to keep Iran from gaining the ability to build A-bombs could trigger "World War III." Opposing this faction is … well, nearly every other agency and high-ranking official that deals with national-security policy. And ever since Robert Gates replaced Donald Rumsfeld as secretary of defense one year ago, the pro-diplomacy wing has grown increasingly outspoken. In his confirmation hearings, Gates was asked by Sen. Robert Byrd, D-W.Va., whether he favored attacking Iran. Gates replied that he did not, adding, "We have seen in Iraq that when war is unleashed, it becomes unpredictable." Earlier this month, in an interview with the Financial Times, Adm. William Fallon, commander of U.S. Central Command, said, when asked about an attack on Iran, "Another war is just not where we want to go." A week later, Adm. Michael Mullen, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, when asked the same question, replied, "I would never take the military option off the table," but noted that this "doesn't mean it would be used," adding, "Diplomacy is very important." Finally, Maj. Gen. James Simmons, an Army deputy corps commander in Iraq, said, during a press briefing in Baghdad, that the Iranians seem to be keeping to their "initiatives and their commitments" to stop the flow of IEDs into Iraq. Meanwhile, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has pushed for diplomacy over confrontation, when it comes to Iran, ever since she took the job at the start of Bush's second term. And now, with today's NIE, we see the entire U.S. intelligence community not only, in effect, coming down on the side of the doves but concluding that the threat animating the hawks doesn't even exist. There is another caveat here. At his confirmation hearings last year, Gates pledged to be independent and to give the president his unvarnished advice. "But," he emphasized, "there is still only one president of the United States, and he will make the final decision." In other words (and many people make a mistake in neglecting this fact), Bush really is "the decider." Then again, in previous disputes within the administration, especially over decisions on Iraq, the dissenters have caved or been outmaneuvered. This time, on Iran, the leaders of the State Department, the Defense Department, the military command, and now the intelligence community are on public record as downplaying the wisdom of war—and, with today's NIE, disputing the rationale for even considering war. Skeptics of war have rarely been so legitimized. Vice President Cheney has never been so isolated. If Bush were to order an attack under these circumstances, he would risk a major eruption in the chain of command, even a constitutional crisis, among many other crises. It seems extremely unlikely that even he would do that.


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Questions Raised by the NIE

by Back door deals with the IRI (not verified) on

Questions Raised by the NIE

December 04, 2007
Stratfor Geopolitical Diary

The U.S. National Intelligence Estimate released on Monday -- the little bombshell that says Iran has had its nuclear weapons program on hold since 2003 -- raises two fundamental questions. First, if Iran really does not have a military weapons program, why has it resisted international inspections? Second, why is the United States allowing this news to break?

The Iranian motive for resisting inspections should first be considered.

For the past five years, Washington and Tehran have been engaged in on-again, off-again negotiations over Iraq's future. In these talks the Iranians have been at a sizable disadvantage. The United States has more than 100,000 troops in the country, while Iran's leverage is largely limited to its influence with many of the country's Shiite militias. This influence is a useful tool for denying the United States the ability to impose its desires, though it is not a powerful enough one to allow the Iranians to turn their own preferences into reality.

Moreover, given that the majority of Iran's population is either in or behind the Zagros Mountains, Iran might be difficult to invade, but it lacks military expeditionary capability. Its infantry-heavy army is designed for population control, not power projection. Therefore, for Iran to have a lever in manipulating events in its region, it must develop other playing cards.

Its nuclear program is one of those cards. Iran has had a vested interest in convincing the world -- unofficially, of course -- that it possesses a nuclear program. For Iran, the nuclear program is a trump card to be traded away, not a goal in and of itself.

As to the U.S. motive, it also wanted to play up the nuclear threat. Part of Washington's negotiation strategy has been to isolate Iran from the rest of the international community. Charges that Iran desired nukes were an excellent way to marshal international action. Both sides had a vested interest in making Iran look the part of the wolf.

That no longer is the case. There are only two reasons the U.S. government would choose to issue a report that publicly undermines the past four years of its foreign policy: a deal has been struck, or one is close enough that an international diplomatic coalition is no longer perceived as critical. This level of coordination across all branches of U.S. intelligence could not happen without the knowledge and approval of the CIA director, the secretaries of defense and state, the national security adviser and the president himself. This is not a power play; this is the real deal.

The full details of any deal are unlikely to be made public any time soon because the U.S. and Iranian publics probably are not yet ready to consider each other as anything short of foes. But the deal is by design integrated into both states' national security posture. It will allow for a permanent deployment of U.S. forces in Iraq to provide minimal national security for Iraq, but not in large enough numbers to be able to launch a sizable attack against Iran. It will allow for the training and equipping of the Iraqi military forces so that Iraq can defend itself, but not so much that it could boast a meaningful offensive force. It will integrate Iranian intelligence and military personnel into the U.S. effort so there are no surprises on either side.

But those are the details. Here is the main thrust: Ultimately, both sides have nursed deep-seated fears. The Iranians do not want the Americans to assist in the rise of another militaristic Sunni power in Baghdad -- the last one inflicted 1 million Iranian casualties during 1980-1988 war. The United States does not want to see Iran dominate Iraq and use it as a springboard to control Arabia; that would put some 20 million barrels per day of oil output under a single power. The real purpose of the deal is to install enough bilateral checks in Iraq to ensure that neither nightmare scenario happens.

Should such an arrangement stick, the two biggest winners obviously are the Americans and Iranians. That is not just because the two no longer would be in direct conflict, and not just because both would have freed up resources for other tasks.

U.S. geopolitical strategy is to prevent the rising of a power on a continental scale that has the potential to threaten North America. It does this by favoring isolated powers that are resisting larger forces. As powerful as Iran is, it is the runt of the neighborhood when one looks past the political lines on maps and takes a more holistic view. Sunnis outnumber Shia many times over, and Arabs outnumber Persians. Indeed, Persians make up only roughly half of Iran's population, making Tehran consistently vulnerable to outside influence. Simply put, the United States and Iran -- because of the former's strategy and the latter's circumstances -- are natural allies.

On the flip side, the biggest losers are those entities that worry about footloose and fancy-free Americans and Iranians. The three groups at the top of that list are the Iraqis, the Russians and the Arabs. Washington and Tehran will each sell out their proxies in Iraq in a heartbeat for the promise of an overarching deal. Now is the time for the Kurds, Sunni and Shia of Iraq to prove their worth to either side; those who resist will be smears on the inside of history's dustbin.

Separately, a core goal of U.S. foreign policy is to ensure that the Russians never again threaten North America, and to a lesser degree, Europe. A United States that is not obsessed with Tehran is one that has the freedom to be obsessed with Moscow. And do not forget that the last state to occupy portions of Iran was not the United States, but Russia. Persia has a long memory and there are scores to settle in the Caucasus.

Back in the Middle East, U.S. foreign policy has often supported the Arab states of the Persian Gulf, favoring the weak against the strong in line with the broad strategy discussed above. A United States that does not need to contain Iran is a United States that can leverage an Iran that very much wishes to be leveraged. That potentially puts the Arabs on the defensive on topics ranging from investment to defense. The Arabs tend to get worried whenever the Americans or the Iranians look directly at them; that is nothing compared to the emotions that will swirl the first time that Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and U.S. President George W. Bush shake hands.

We expect the days and weeks ahead to be marked by a blizzard of activity as various players in Washington and Tehran attempt both to engage directly and to prepare the ground (still) for a final deal. Much will be dramatic, much will be contradictory, much will make no sense whatsoever. This is, after all, still the Middle East. But keep this in mind: With the nuclear issue out of the way, the heavy lifting has already been done and some level of understanding on Iraq's future already is in place. All that remains is working out the "details."

Situation Reports

1246 GMT -- CHINA -- China is urging that negotiations take place to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue, and Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi has spoken by telephone with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana regarding the issue, Agence France-Presse reported Dec. 4, citing a Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman. The calls occurred following the release of a U.S. intelligence report that said Tehran's program has been halted since 2003. According to the spokesman, Yang hopes "the relevant parties continue to pursue a resolution by implementing negotiations and creating the conditions for a resumption of talks."

1240 GMT -- ISRAEL -- Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak said Dec. 4 that Iran likely restarted its nuclear weapons program, contradicting the U.S. National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that concluded the program has been frozen since 2003. "It seems Iran in 2003 halted for a certain period of time its military nuclear program, but as far as we know it has probably since revived it," Barak told Army Radio. During their recent visit to Washington, Barak, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni received an advance briefing on the NIE, Haaretz reported.



Bush Behind Declassifed NIE

by kabab on

There's an interesting analysis by Robert Baer about this apparent about-face. [blog entry]


BeKhoshkee Shaans!

by Khosro-Daad (not verified) on

There goes my chances of watching a few Akhoonds fry.


That's where you're wrong

by Cyrus III (not verified) on

You underestimate the neocons, Israel and the element of suprise.



by TRUE-IROONI (not verified) on

My dear hamvatans

It seems that there are three factions, who are delighted by the recent news. 1st group, pro-regime lackeys, who feel that their existence has just been prolonged. 2nd group, peace loving individuals, nothing wrong with who they are, but their beliefs are far from reality and practicality. 3rd group, anti-regime activists, who believe that the bombing would actually prolong the life of this regime and cause iran to be torn apart.
However, what all three groups fail to realize is that Bush (the US government) is behind the so called new findings. The article below which I cut and pasted for you is on I hate to disappoint the IRI LACKEYS....your days are numbered. The analysts of the NEW WORLD ORDER have their plans set in action, whether we like it or not. I believe that what they have realized is that the regime is in turmoils from within and that a military strike would not help matters. I promise you that Iran will be freed very soon, hopefully by iranians from within. US is just looking for stability for its own interests so it conjured up this new finding, just as it had made up the previous one, but in no way is this regime within the long term plans of the new world order that Bush sr. and others have envisioned.
I actually like to thank the current regime in inadvertently opened the iranian peoples eyes to islam and its flaws. Women are now a major force, and the youth have not bought into their philosophy. Dorood bar iran, Marg bar Khodforooshan regime.

Was Bush Behind the Iran Report?
Tuesday, Dec. 04, 2007 By ROBERT BAER

But there is also no doubt that the Bush White House was behind this NIE. While the 16 intelligence agencies that make up the "intelligence community" contribute to each National Intelligence Estimate, you can bet that an explosive, 180-degree turn on Iran like this one was greenlighted by the President.

And explode is what the hawks in and outside the Administration are about to do. They were counting on Bush being the one President prepared to take on Iran. As recently as last month, Bush warned of World War III if Iran so much as thought about building a bomb. Bush's betrayal is not going to go down well. The neocons, clinging to a sliver of hope, will accuse the intelligence community of incompetence, pointing out that as late as 2005 it estimated "with high confidence" that Iran was building a bomb.

Bush's National Security Adviser, Stephen Hadley, put the best face on the new report, claiming that it was our diplomacy and saber rattling that forced the Iranians to back down. As for the intelligence community, it explained its reversal by hinting that new intelligence had surfaced.

Neither explanation is entirely accurate. The real story behind this NIE is that the Bush Administration has finally concluded Iran is a bridge too far. With Iranian-backed Shi'a groups behaving themselves, things are looking up in Iraq. In Lebanon, the anti-Syrian coalition and pro-Syrian coalition, which includes Iran's surrogate Hizballah, reportedly have settled on a compromise candidate, the army commander General Michel Suleiman. Bombing Iran now would upset the fragile balance in these two countries. Not to mention that Hizballah has threatened to shell Israel if we as much as touch a hair on Iran's head.

Then there are the Gulf Arabs. For the last year and a half, ever since the Bush Administration started to hint that it might hit Iran, they have been sending emissaries to Tehran to assure the Iranians they're not going to help the United States. But in private, the Gulf Arabs have been reminding Washington that Iran is a rabid dog: Don't even think about kicking it, the Arabs tell us. If you have to do something, shoot it dead. Which is something the United States can't do.

So how far is Iran from a nuke? The new NIE says 10 to 15 years, maybe. But that's a wild guess. The truth is that Iran is a black hole, and it's entirely conceivable Iran could build a bomb and we wouldn't know until they tested it.

Yet for now we should at least be happy with the good news: Armageddon is postponed.

Robert Baer, a former CIA field officer assigned to the Middle East, is's intelligence columnist and the author of See No Evil and, most recently, the novel Blow the House Down


hey hey ho ho

by kiram behalghet (not verified) on

The west has given iran a reprieve for a few months. The bloody regime will resume and intensify its genocidal ambitions against the joooooooooooooos. And when the goh hits your disgusting aftabeh...and the Jews of Israel render eye-ran a glass parking lot, all you will have to blame for the end of persian civilization is yourself.

Javid Shah


Doshman e asli

by XerXes (not verified) on

Doshman e asliye maa Amrikaas Amrikaas
______ __ ______

taa Amrika nageh ghalat kardeh, doshman mimuneh va khaaresh gaayeedeh mishe. kuh beh kuh nemireseh vali amaliyaate amrikaa bekhodesh (zamaani) bar migardeh


Not quite...

by Anonymous8 (not verified) on

While I welcome this as good news, what has changed on the ground? Nothing yet.

Biggest US Armada, hundreds of planes, ships and carriers still in the Persian Gulf? Check.

Bush and Cheney completely ignored the 9-11 commission report to this day. They can ignore this too. I don't trust any of these assholes.


Peace, peace, peace! I love

by Koskhol-Shaer (not verified) on

Peace, peace, peace!
I love America, I love Iran, I love the whole humanity...
Let us talk about love not war!
Oh great America, may you live long and prosperous ...
Both IRan an Great America are our countries...
Love them both...


Re: War is out!

by jamshid on

The threat of war is diminished. This is bad news for the IRI. IRI strives for the "possibility" of war. It stives for "tashanoj".


It is good news for the opposition to the IRI. We won't hear the "you are against IRI so you must be for war" crap anymore.


However, expect the third round of sanctions against Iran to be on its way. Expect more financial "strangulation" imposed by the US against Iran's banks and finances.


The people of Iran are going to be hurt badly, by the IRI from the inside, and by the rest of the world from the outside.


I hold the IRI responsible for this since all this stems from its total incompentence and lack of regards towards its own citizens.



Hey Hey, Ho Ho

by mama (not verified) on

Israel has to go.

Also Iranians should change the mulla regime


No to war but Yes to regime change!

by Kamangir on

Once upon a time, I was a pro-military action against the IRI. My despise of that mafia hasn't but grown. Time ago I started realizing that a war would definitely be counterproductive and would halt any chances of regime change from within. the most hardliners of the harline bunch withing the IRI mafia, have been dreaming and wishing to be attacked, that would be their only chance of survival as a regime. The reports released yesterday or the day before are visibly a clear serious attempt by hidden forces within the US and international community to avoid a military conflict with Iran at all costs. The US Neo-Conservatives have another card to play (Iran meddleing and messing things up in Iraq) but that alone, is not enough to launch a military action. I think that behind the scenes, Iran is helping to restore some order in Iraq (hence they talks with the US in Iraq) and the lower rate of killings of Iraqis and US servicemen has to do with Iran's influence and not the 'surge'.

I am definitely against military action but all for pressure for regime change (from within)! Our people have had enough.


To Masoud

by Ali (not verified) on

Anyone who wishes war and sanctions on Iran is an enemy of the people and does not even have the right to express an opinion regarding the future of Iran. It is as simple as that.

Fortunately people who think like are not even a fraction of the Iranian population.


Bush and Chaney are stupid and scared

by XerXes (not verified) on

Amrika hich ghalati nemitavanad bekonad. Some Iranian losers thought that Bush is going to "Liberate" them just like Iraq!! mageh Shahr e hert e? hich gohi esrael va amrika nemitunan bekhoran. Iran abar-ghodrat e mantaghast dadash..daste kamesh begiri miyaad mikhoratet


It appears that some of you

by masoudA on

It appears that some of you are kind of relieved ??!!!  and not out of concern for the people of Iran !!

Let me assure you,

Just like the war on communism, the war on Terror will go on.  Watch out for serious Military actions in Pakistan and some hard sanctions in Iran.  

PS - it will be funny to see some of your anti santion protests - with your hearts bleeding for the poor souls in Iran whom are left with no food or medicine !!!   Well - you can start your crock tears now - because sanctions or no sanctions a great majority of the population is already short on food and medicine. 


They Blinked

by mama (not verified) on

I said that about a month ago that the Israeli led government of the US won’t attack Iran and some people laughed at me. Finally they blinked.