Saturday, December 29, 2007

DebkaFile Thinks US/Iran Deal is Being Reached

I come from a different ideological angle than either Debka or Stratfor, but there really is just not another coherent way to explain the December 2007 NIE. The difference is only in what various explainers think Iran got in exchange for working to calm down Iraq.

The Bush administration appears to be in the midst of developing a new foreign strategy based on five key elements:

  1. The halt of Iranian weapons and road bomb shipments into Iraq for use against US forces;
  2. An Iranian instruction to Hizballah to open the way for the election of a Lebanese president, in return for which Washington will not interfere with the formation of a new government with a place of honor for the Iranian surrogate militia.
    In other words, the Bush administration is not only engaged in a sellout of the Israeli government but also of the pro-Western Lebanese prime minister Fouad Siniora.
  3. The cessation of Iranian arms and roadside bombs to Afghanistan.
  4. The naming of Saudi Arabia as a channel for arbitrating American and Iranian differences.
  5. A US pledge to backtrack on its charges that the Iran is engaged in developing nuclear weapons. This pledge was embodied in the dramatically revised US National Intelligence Estimate compared with its estimate of 2005, and effectively lifted not only the American military axe from over Iran’s strategic and economic infrastructure – and possibly regime - but also tied Israel’s hands.

That sounds about right. Iran did not and could not promise a long-term US presence in Iraq and in fact Bush can't guarantee that his successor will want a long term presence. The NIE bought a quieter Iraq until the next inauguration, or until the US pulls out which it will.

One quibble is that outside of Israel, the US does not really care about Siniora. Selling out Siniora is not separate from selling out Israel, which really seems to be what Iran demanded and got. Another quibble is that Israel's hands were already tied. And really the US' hands were tied as well, which is why the US has capitulated.

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