Negotiating For War
Vol: 73 Issue: 27 Saturday, October 27, 2007
There is more and more war-talk against Iran emanating from the White House and Pentagon, but instead of bringing Ahmadinejad to his senses, it is just making him more belligerent.
The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Michael Mullin, held a press conference on Iran at the Pentagon. In order to ensure Tehran got the message, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates joined him at the podium.
Asked if the US military was prepared to take on Iran while simultaneously conducting operations in Iraq and Afghanistan, Mullin told reporters:
“From a military standpoint, there is more than enough reserve to respond if that, in fact, is what the national leadership wanted to do. . .And so I don’t think we’re too stretched in that regard.”
Mullen’s press conference is one of a series of top-level warnings of an impending war with Iran in the past week.
On October 21st, Vice President Cheney said in an address to the Washington Institute that the US is not only capable, but ‘prepared’ to confront Iran militarily if necessary.
“The regime continues to practice delay and deceit in an obvious effort to buy time,” Cheney said. “We WILL not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon.”
Defense Secretary Gates also went on the record, explaining why the administration believes the war is both unavoidable and necessary:
“If Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it seems very probable that there will be other states in the region that decide for their own protection they will have to obtain nuclear weapons as well,” Gates said.
“This is not to mention the fact that you’ve got a leader in Iran who has already publicly said that Israel ought to be destroyed. So let’s just say that the leadership in Iran doesn’t give us confidence, even by their public statements, that they would handle this kind of a capability with any kind of responsibility.”
Umm, ya think?
TIME Magazine opened it’s report headlined, “Iran War Drumbeat Grows Louder” with this ominous sentence: “The prospect of war with Iran is beginning to look real.” I call it ‘ominous’ because the TIME story doesn’t attempt to blame George Bush, Dick Cheney or the US administration for the crisis.
Instead, TIME says, “the showdown has elements of a perfect storm. The decline of U.S. fortunes in Iraq has been accompanied by a rise in Iranian assertiveness, which has intensified with Ahmadinejad’s recent tough talk.
Trumpeting Iran’s nuclear ambitions as a nationalist cause, Ahmadinejad rejected the agreement by his moderate predecessor, Mohammed Khatami, to voluntarily suspend uranium-enrichment during three years of negotiations with European powers.
Ahmadinejad abandoned Khatami’s “dialogue of civilizations” for more confrontational rhetoric, calling for Israel to be “wiped off the map” and goading the West by denying the Holocaust.
Iran enthusiastically backed Hizballah and Hamas in their confrontations with Israel, and denounced the U.S. occupation of Iraq.”
Last week, the United States imposed sanctions against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, declaring them a terrorist organization, seizing assets and blacklisting Iran’s three largest banks.
This week, Iran’s senior nuclear negotiator, Ari Larijani resigned abruptly in protest of his own government’s increasingly hardline position.
This afforded Ahmadinejad to replace the relatively-moderate Larijani with Saeed Jalili, a lifelong friend, but a relatively minor official in Ahmadinejad’s government.
Jalili and Ahmadinejad go back to their student days when Ahmadinejad and Jalili were among the student leaders behind the 1979 Iranian Hostage Crisis.
Moreover, Jalili, like Ahmadinejad is a hard-line member of the ‘Twelvers’ sect who believe the 12th Imam will soon assume leadership of a vast Islamic army that will defeat the West and usher in a period of Islamic peace and prosperity.
We’ve discussed this before: Ahmadinejad believes he has been called by Allah to begin the global war that will force the Mahdi to return and take his place at the head of the Islamic hordes. He therefore believes it is his religious duty to start that war.
And, most importantly, he believes it just as intently as you or I believe it is our religious duty to carry the Gospel to the lost.
Larijani is not a devout Twelver, and that, in part, explains the reason for his resignation. How does one negotiate peace on behalf of a leader already determined to start a war?
Iran’s position is not historically unique. In the last century, both Hitler and Hirohito were making war plans while simultaneously conducting phony peace talks.
(The Japanese were still in negotiations with Washington when the bombs began raining down on Pearl Harbor, for example.)
Larijani may have just discovered he was negotiating with nothing to negotiate and resigned, but Jalili knows it going in. Jalili shares Ahmadinejad’s messianic convictions; he has since they were both boys.
Twelvers now control the Presidency, Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence, which is now headed by Twelver Gholam Hossein Ejehi, and the Interior Ministry (secret police), headed by Twelver Mostafa Pour Mohammadi.
And, with Saeed Jalili in charge of both Iran’s Supreme National Security Council AND Iran’s relationship with the West, there isn’t much stopping the Twelvers from proceeding with their religious objective of bringing about their messiah’s return.