Monday, December 10, 2007

Reflections on the NIE on Iran and its consequences

It has been over a week since the publications on the National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on Iran and a number of observations about ti can now be made with some confidence.

First and foremost, this NIE is clearly the product of long and protracted negotiations between the UN intelligence community and the Administration. It appears that the office of the VP finally agreed to release this NIE as a way, or so they thought, to preempt the upcoming El-Baradei report which will finally clear Iran from all the accusations of having concealed a nuclear weapons program.

By saying that Iran had a program until 2003 the Neocons can thereby 'prove' that such a program could, in fact, by run right under the noses of the IAEA inspectors. The US intelligence analysts probably figured that making such a concession (putting a totally fabricated 'fact' inside the NIE) was a price worth paying if it could at least undermine the Neocon propaganda about 'an Iranian existential threat to Israel'. So who won, the Neocons in the Administration or the intelligence analysts? Though only time will show, my guess is that the latter did.

Sure, the Neocons can claim that the Iranian nuclear weapons program can be restarted at any time and that therefore Iran is as much a threat as it was in the past. Still, this NIE report release still represented a huge loss of momentum for the Neocon's propaganda campaign. It is one thing to get a nation to war to 'save Israel' and quite another to do some because maybe, in the future, a threat for Israel might possibly materialize.

The trademark of this administration has always been a total incompetence of absolutely breathtaking magnitude and a systematic sacrifice of middle to long term strategic objective to short term tactical goals (and even those were usually screwed-up). The release of this NIE is, I believe, exactly such a miscalculation.

If I am correct, this might very well be the proof that the 'old Anglo guard' has made good use of the removal of Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Libby and others to weaken the Neocons for whom time is now running out and who need to re-create the momentum towards war with Iran.

To see why the Neocons need a war with Iran at all costs it is absolutely crucial to understand what the absence of such a war would mean to the Neocons. Should this war *not* happen this would mean that:

1) Iran succeeded in calling the Neocon's bluff and that the Neocons "blinked first". It would prove to the entire Middle-East that the USA is not the superpower it claims to be and that it can be openly challenged and deterred.

2) It would very much weaken the position of the "Reformists" in Iran who were harshly criticizing Ahmadinejad for acting in a provocative way towards the West and who now will be told by Ahmadinejad that his hard stance won Iran a victory which the Reformists would have never achieved with their appeasing policies.

3) It would prove to the Israeli Liukudniks that the USA cannot be counted on to obediently execute any policy decided upon by the Neocons and that Israel cannot use the threat to "unleash the USA" on Iran. Think about it: Israel's armed forces were defeated by less than 1000 Hezbollah combatants in 2006 and the USA was deterred by Iran in 2007. Such an outcome would leave Israel tremendously weakened.

4) Last, but not least, short of a war with Iran the Republicans will be booted out of the White House in 2008 and even though I have written many times that the difference between the Republicans and the Democrats is about as meaningful as the difference between (Kosher) Coca-Cola and (Kosher) Pepsi-Cola, the Democrats might well sacrifice some of the most hated Republican leaders to the anger of the US people. Keeping in mind that the Republicans are clearly guilty of a long list of criminal acts loosing the White House in 2008 might well land some of the Republicans behind bars.

For all these reasons I would argue that the absence of a war with Iran represents an existential threat to the Neocons and their interests. However, the Neocons and their policies represent an existential threat to the US Empire as envisioned and designed by the Old Anglo Guard. We are now entering into a dangerous period of time in which the struggle between these two groups is entering something of an end-game in which one of the two sides will be mated. Which side will win? My guess is that in the end the Neocon control over the US corporate media and Congress will prove crucial to the outcome.

There are, however, cracks appearing here and there in this control.

First, the kind of language and policies pushed forward by Ron Paul and his immense popularity in the only media which, at least for the time being, escapes Neocon control - the Internet - is a sign that an increasing number of Americans are really getting fed up with what is being done to their country.

Second, the kind of angry anti-Bush editorials which Keith Olbermann has recently aired on MSNBC shows that cracks are also appearing in the corporate media:

I have to add here that the very fact that such commentaries are aired and that no action has been taken, at least so far, against Olbermann or MSNBC is a powerful illustration that the USA has not become a true Fascist state yet.

In a truly Fascist state Olbermann would have been arrested for sedition or sabotage, and MSNBC would have been promptly taken off the air (I even doubt that there are many countries in Europe in which a mainstream journalist would be allowed to criticize the President with the kind of language Olbermann uses). I am not a fan of Olbermann, of the corporate media, and even less so of journalists making commentaries (I do not even own a TV) - but I have to say that the fact that this kind of dissent is allowed in the USA is hugely encouraging for democracy.

Coming back to the NIE and the situation in Iran, I would like to strongly recommend the very interesting interview Scott Horton made with Scott Ritter recently (click here to listen to it). Scott Ritter is one of the very best US analysts on Iran and in this interview he truly makes a very good job of saying the unvarnished truth about the US policies in Iraq and Iran. His take on the NIE and its real meaning is also very interesting.

THE main overwhelming danger now for the Middle-East and the rest of the world is a carefully engineered "Persian Gulf of Tonkin" kind of false flag operation by the Neocons in the White House. All we can hope for is that the Anglos in the Administration, the US armed forces and and intelligence community will succeed in preventing such an operation from being executed. Likewise, we can hope that the same Anglos will also succeed in preventing Israel from executing such an operation with its own assets. We can hope for this, but I should not expect it and my huntch is that such a false flag operating is being worked on as I write these words.