Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Stratfor Thinks a Deal Has Been Reached Between US and Iran

Interesting theory: (Free link through Google News)

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 US government, the executive branch of the government, did choose to release this report. Kevin Drum's theory that congress forced it seems a lot less likely.

All I've got is speculation on the second question, but here it is: it was congressional pressure. Democratic members of the various intelligence committees saw the NIE (or a summary or a verbal report or something) and went ballistic. Footnotes and dissents are one thing, but withholding a report whose primary conclusion is 180 degrees contrary to years of administration innuendo produced a rebellion. Somebody who got briefed must have threatened something pretty serious if the NIE didn't see the light of day.

I am of the opinion that the report marks a change in policy. It is very difficult to see what the outlines of a deal could be. The United States can't end the unilateral sanctions because of domestic pressures. A stable US base in Iraq is worse for Iran than what is there now. The US can slow its efforts to deny the international banking system. I don't know that Iran would trade that for a US presence in Iraq.

1 comment:

Ziad said...

I'm of the opinion that the Bush administration would trade national interest (in the imperial sense) for there own political gain. So they would offer Iran what is essentially a halt to international sanctions, though publicly they will still call for tougher UNSC action, in exchange for even a temporary respite from the Iraqi insurgency, just enough for a better showing in November of '08 or to be able to crow that "we've won" in Iraq.

This, of course, assumes that Iran was behind the summer spike in violence as well as the recent reduction.