Saturday, May 23, 2009

New US attack preparations against Iran?

A story originally posted, then apparently removed from Ynet News.
Obama orders Gates to update plan for Iran strike

American defense secretary tells NBC television president has instructed him to refresh plans for military action against Tehran prepared during Bush era.

I'm fairly confident there will be no US or Israeli airstrike on Iran's nuclear facilities for the next two presidential terms. But this story represents an increase in belligerency that goes against the direction in which US/Iranian relations had seemed to be moving.

On the other hand, 1) it is an Israeli source and in line with the direction Israel would like to see US/Iranian relations move and 2) it may have been withdrawn, meaning it may have been placed accidentally.

Having plans is not a big deal. Announcing plans is a big deal, not necessarily an indication that plans will be carried out, but a statement in themselves. It is not clear to what degree this story represents a US announcement, but it would have been better if it had not happened.

The Obama administration is really hitting a lot of wrong notes in the run ups to the elections in Iran and Lebanon in June. One reason is that Obama is not an extraordinarily talented foreign policy president and does not seem to have a clear and specific vision of what he wants to see happen in the Middle East. Another reason is that the United States does not have an institutional apparatus capable of making the type of change in tone Obama says (probably sincerely) that he wants to make in the Middle East.

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