Monday, 8 September 2008

Playing with matches 4

Azarmehr quotes last Friday’s sermon by Ayatollah Jannati, member of Iran’s Guardian Council:
“Soon the Islamic Republic will posess a power so great that no one will be tempted to attack it.”
David Kay in today’s Washington Post:
“Inflation runs rampant and domestic unrest is growing, but the leadership is banding together in support of the country’s nuclear program. Threat assessment and war planning are (or should be) about best-guessing capabilities and intentions. When it comes to Iran, these calculations are difficult, but there are things we can - and must - figure out. Given what we know and what we can best-guess, it looks as if Iran is 80 percent of the way to a functioning nuclear weapon.”
Later in the same article, he writes that Iran believes:
“it has gained a strategic advantage against the United States as a result of its being tied down in Iraq, and against Israel, because of the tactical blunting, if not defeat, of its military in Lebanon.”
Sietske in Beirut, August 27:
“People are telling me – quite convinced, but not convincingly (yet) – that the Israelis will bomb us in September. I haven’t heard yet when in September, but I am sure that I will be informed shortly on the exact date as well. I think it is rather nice, to know in advance when you will be bombed. Really takes a load of your shoulders, now doesn’t it?”
“By now it should be clear that we do not believe the US will attack Iran during the Bush administration. With that said, we will not be surprised at all if one day Israel attacks Iran. The question for forward deployed naval forces must always be, if Iran decides to violate just about every possible international law, not to mention piss off just about every major world power except Russia and shut down the Strait of Hormuz, what will be asked of the US Navy to open the strait back up?

“While amateurs, usually from a political perspective, tend to focus on carriers as a benchmark for Iran, professionals keep an eye on the number of ESGs forward deployed. For all the talk about small boats, mines, submarines, and ballistic missiles; from a tactical assessment perspective we see the three primary hurdles for military forces to reopen the Straits of Hormuz to be three islands, specifically Abu Musa, Greater Tunb, and Lesser Tunb. These islands sit very close to the deep water channel, but more importantly, they have a bunch of troops on them. Those islands will have to be taken in order to open up the Strait of Hormuz.” 
BBC News, 3rd September:
“The six Gulf Cooperation Council states have condemned Tehran for opening offices on disputed islands in the waters between Iran and the UAE.

“Abu Musa and the Greater and Lesser Tunb islands are controlled by Iran but claimed by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) with broad Arab support.”
Reuters, 7th September:
“Iran’s armed forces will begin three days of war games on Monday involving anti-aircraft defense systems, Iranian media said on Sunday.

“The exercises will be held amid persistent speculation about a possible U.S. or Israeli strike on Iran's nuclear facilities, which the West and Israel say are part of a clandestine bid to build atomic bombs, despite Tehran's denials.”
Fabius Maximus has been reading Stratfor, 5 September:
“We have heard nothing from the Bush administration on Iran since before the war in Georgia - although a State Department official told us on Thursday that the last official statement was issued by the U.S. Treasury on Aug. 12. Certainly, the constant barrage of comments by the Bush administration on the Iranian threat has decreased dramatically. Frankly, while there might have been passing mentions, the administration appears to have simply dropped the subject.

“The silence is, of course, enormously significant.”
It may be significant, but the comments that follow show a lack of consensus as to what it signifies.

Earlier: Playing with matches one, two, and three.
Follow up posts: five, six and seven.

Earlier post relating to David Kay: Ooops 2.

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