Friday, January 1, 2010


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International Analyst Network / Ted Belman

It was recently reported that Pres Obama warned the Chinese leader when he was there a month ago that the US can’t hold Israel back much longer from acting as it saw fit, vis a vis Iran. This has been the refrain ever since Netanyahu agreed to a two-state solution. I remain hopeful that the US sees it in their interest to not only “not hold Israel back” but to take an active role. I was encouraged with Obama’s remarks recently in Copenhagen when he said war is sometimes necessary. I hoped he had Iran in mind. But to simply bomb Iran to take out their nuclear facilities even with destroying Iran’s Air Force, is to miss a great opportunity. Why not takedown the regime much as they did in Iraq; In 1990 the US along with 33 nations invaded Iraq, with the UN blessing. Hussein had invaded Kuwait and it was feared he would invade Saudi Arabia if not stopped. Pres Bush ‘42 after defeating Hussein’s army refused to enter Bagdad. Instead, the US focused on a containment policy. It was a problematic policy entailing considerable cost but little profit. It was thought that Hussein had WMD’s and was continuing to develop them. The threat of WMD’s sufficed to get the approval of both US houses and the UN for Pres Bush ‘44 to invade Iraq a second time in ’03. Hussein was quickly vanquished and this time the US entered Bagdad. A violent insurgency developed which almost defeated the US. General Petraeus asked for a surge in troops levels. Bush complied and thus Bush snatched victory from the jaws of defeat. During this time, Iran and Syria supported the insurgency and violence against US troops. Bush did nothing in response. Taking down Hussein permitted Iran to become the prime trouble maker in the area. She threatens not only to destroy Israel but to take over the entire ME. Already, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza are controlled by her.

Iraq with its 60% Shiite population could easily be an ally and Turkey is warming relations with her, in part, because the EU gave Turkey the cold shoulder. Iran is backing rebels in Yemen in a hot war with Saudi Arabia. Internally Iran is forging ahead with her nuke program leaving the west only months to prevent it Although the west seems to be gearing up for sanctions, few believe they will be effective. From time to time, the US whispers that the military option remains on the table. Of course, if the Mullahs can be brought down with strong sanctions and moral and financial support for the protestors, that would be best. So far serious sanctions have yet to be applied and we know in advance that many countries will ignore them. At least the US could provide the support for the protesters but so far the administration has not even threatened to do so. A recent bi-partisan poll found that 51 percent favor military strikes by the U.S.and its allies (if all else fails) if Iran does not stop its nuclear program. The US should indeed use the military option and soon but not only to bomb Iran’s nuke facilities but to destroy the regime. The former is a stop gap measure that just buys time at considerable cost and blowback. Iran poses a much bigger threat to US interests than Iraq ever did. The Iranian Air Force and Revolutionary Guard should be destroyed sufficient to permit the destruction of the nuclear facilities and to bring down the regime. The US should transfer its forces in Iraq to Iran (rather than bring them home) to assist in stabilizing the country while a new constitution is written and a new government elected. It will also assist in changing the army’s leadership to make it loyal to the new Iran. The new Iran will be more than willing to create a truly democratic Iran having suffered under first the Shaw and now the Mullahs. If not, the US should be there to encourage them to do so. Thus, the war would be a war of liberation from tyranny. Under such a scenario, the US would not be considered an occupying power and an insurgency wouldn’t develop. Iran is different from Iraq.

Assuming an ideal constitution could be agreed up which respects human rights and minorities and separates religion from the government, it should become the model for Turkey and Syria to follow. Mistakes in the Iraqi constitution should be corrected. Syria would no longer have Iran as a rejectionist patron therefore she would have no choice but to give up radicalism. The US should force Syria to adopt a similar constitution. This would require Assad’s Alawites to give up their choke hold on the country. The US should also insist on the removal of all WMD’s. Turkey should also be encouraged to adopt a similar constitution which would end the Kurdish fight for such rights. In the end, the Kurds in Turkey should have the same rights as the Kurds in Iraq and Iran. To bind all this together, a Common Market consisting of Iran, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon should be formed. Israel should be invited to join. This should not be a problem considering how Turkey and Iran in the past had good relations with Israel. So should Iraq and Jordan be invited to join. During the later half of the last century the Baath parties in Egypt, Iraq and Syria have tried to keep their countries secular. Turkey did the same. Thus they oppressed their minorities. But sectarianism has returned with a vengeance in these countries. The suggested constitution takes this into account and relies on creating within each country ethnic provinces which would have considerable autonomy. A win-win for everybody. Israel, Saudi Arabia and Egypt would no doubt be pleased.