Monday, July 28, 2008

Collision Course With The Mad Mullahs

The Iranian theocracy's dash towards a nuclear arsenal as picked up speed as they make no attempt now to engage in even the motions of cooperation on the nuclear issue. The U.S. changed its policy and met as part of unilateral negotiations with Iran to no avail. Ahmedinejad has announced a near doubling in centrifuge capacity at Natanz, turning out enriched uranium on an industrial scale. There are many meetings going on between U.S. and the Israeli government. The immediate question is whether President Bush will deal with this problem while he is still in office or whether he will kick it down the road. The former is seeming more likely.

The mad mullahs race towards a nuclear weapon grows ever apace. On Saturday, Ahmedinejad announced that Iran had doubled the enrichment capacity of its Natanz plant to 6,000 centrifuges. Iran has no use for this nuclear fuel in any sort of civilian energy program. Nonetheless, as Fox reported:

A total of 3,000 centrifuges is the commonly accepted figure for a nuclear enrichment program that surpasses the experimental stage and can be used as a platform for a full industrial-scale program that could churn out enough material for dozens of nuclear weapons.

Iran says it plans to move toward large-scale uranium enrichment that ultimately will involve 54,000 centrifuges.

Moreover, Iran has announced a complete halt to cooperation with the IAEA and their probe of the nature of Iran's nuclear program. This also from Fox News:

Iran on Thursday signaled it will no longer cooperate with International Atomic Energy Agency experts investigating for signs of nuclear weapons programs, confirming that the probe — launched a year ago with great expectations — was at a dead end.

Coming from Iranian Vice President Gholam Reza Aghazadeh, the announcement compounded international skepticism about denting Tehran's nuclear defiance just five days after Tehran stonewalled demands from six world powers to suspend activities that can produce the fissile core of warheads.

Besides demanding a stop to uranium enrichment — which can create both fuel and the nuclear missile payloads — the international community also has been pressuring Tehran to cooperate with the IAEA in its probe of allegations that Tehran hid attempts to make nuclear arms.

That investigation was launched a year ago under a so-called "work plan" between the Vienna-based agency and Tehran.

Back then, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei hailed it as "a significant step forward" that — if honored by Iran — would fill in the missing pieces of Iran's nuclear jigsaw puzzle; nearly two decades of atomic work, all of it clandestine until revealed by dissidents nearly six years ago. And he brushed aside suggestions that Iran was using the work plan as a smoke screen to deflect attention away from its continued defiance of a U.N. Security Council ban on enrichment.

But the plan ran into trouble just months after it was put into operation. Deadline after deadline was extended because of Iranian foot-dragging. The probe, originally to have been completed late last year, spilled into the first months of 2008, and then beyond.

Iran remains defiant, saying evidence from the U.S. and other board members purportedly backing the allegations was fabricated, and on Thursday Aghazadeh appeared to signal that his country was no longer prepared even to discuss the issue with the Vienna-based IAEA. . . .

Read the entire article.

And a month ago, Bush radically reversed U.S. policy and took part directly in a meeting with Iran on its nuclear issue. The meeting, which also involved the EU-3, China and Russia was a joke, with Iran refusing to discuss nuclear enrichment then or in the future. Was that meeting designed to justify a U.S. attack on Iran? That is certainly looking more plausible as time goes on. This from the Jerusalem Post:

Recent talks the United States held with Iran are aimed at creating legitimacy for a potential attack against Iranian nuclear facilities, defense officials speculated on Sunday as Defense Minister Ehud Barak headed to Washington for talks with senior administration officials.

Barak will travel to Washington and New York and will hold talks with his counterpart Robert Gates, Vice President Dick Cheney, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Michael Mullen, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and National Security Adviser Stephen Hadley.

. . . IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi returned to Israel on Sunday from a week-long visit to the US as Mullen's guest. Ashkenazi held talks with Cheney, Hadley and other senior officials with a focus on the Iranian nuclear program.

"There is a lot of strategic thinking concerning Iran going on right now but no one has yet to make a decision what to do," said a top IDF officer, involved in the dialogue between Israel and the US. "We are still far away from the point where military officers are poring over maps together planning an operation."

In recent weeks, Mullen has said publicly that he is opposed to military action against Iran which would open a "third front" for the US military which is currently fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. . . .

Barak's talks in the US come a little over a week after the Bush administration sent its number three diplomat to Geneva to participate in European Union talks with Iran over its nuclear program.

The move led to reports that the US was changing its isolation tactic vis-à-vis Iran but Israeli defense officials speculated Sunday that the move was really a ploy to buy international support in the event that Bush decides to attack Iran in his last months in office.

"This way they will be able to say they tried everything," one official speculated. "This increases America's chances of gaining more public support domestically as well as the support of European nations which are today opposed to military action." . . .

Diplomatic officials have speculated that the Iran-US talks were also connected to the presidential elections.

Read the entire article. If we are going to go to war with Iran over the nuclear issue - and I think it is inevitable - the sooner the better. Waiting will only benefit Iran, much like waiting through the mid-30's allowed the Nazi's to go from extreme weakness to a war machine of sufficient size that it cost tens of millions of lives to defeat. The problem is exponentially more dangerous when the topic under discussion is a nuclear arsenal. We forget the lesson of Nazi Germany at our peril.

1 comment:

Scott said...

American participation as a non-participant in the discussion with Iraq was a smart move for America, and a really smart move for Republicans. It's going to be really difficult to defend unilateral discussion with Ahmedinejad. America came to the table, made no irrational demands, and supported our allies in Europe. It's going to be hard for Obama to make much hay out of that one.