Wednesday, August 3

Bolton's Next Target : Iran

Less than a day after the recess appointment of John Bolton as Ambassador to the UN -- I find myself far less than surprised by the sudden release of a new national intelligence estimate that claims that Iran may be only 3 years from having their own Nuclear Weapon. Reported of course by Fox News:

Iran may be much closer to producing nuclear weapons than the National Intelligence Estimate indicates. Sources with knowledge of Iran's nuclear program say that Iran continues to pursue a military track for their nuclear energy, and their patterns of acquisition and research and development suggest Tehran's movement toward the buildup of a nuclear arsenal.

On the surface there may seem no obvious connection, and that the sudden drum-beat of increased danger from Iran may be of little consequence -- but we've all heard this song before, played expertly by Judith Miller as conducted by Ahmed Chalabi and Curveball.

Also I have to credit former UN Weapons inspector Scott Ritter with this particular insight:

Bush may say that he has no plans on attacking Iran, but after June 2005, he's made damn sure the Pentagon is prepared if he gives the order. Late last year, in the aftermath of the 2004 Presidential election, I was contacted by someone close to the Bush administration about the situation in Iraq. There was a growing concern inside the Bush administration, this source said, about the direction the occupation was going. The Bush administration was keen on achieving some semblance of stability in Iraq before June 2005, I was told. When I asked why that date, the source dropped the bombshell: because that was when the Pentagon was told to be prepared to launch a massive aerial attack against Iran, Iraq’s neighbour to the east, in order to destroy the Iranian nuclear programme.

The American media today is sleepwalking towards an American war with Iran Economic sanctions and military attacks are not one and the same. Unless, of course, the architect of America’s Iran policy never intends to give sanctions a chance.

nter John Bolton, who, as the former US undersecretary of state for arms control and international security for the Bush administration, is responsible for drafting the current US policy towards Iran.

In February 2004, Bolton threw down the gauntlet by stating that Iran had a “secret nuclear weapons programme” that was unknown to the IAEA. “There is no doubt that Iran has a secret nuclear weapons production programme,” Bolton said, without providing any source to back up his assertions.

This is the same John Bolton who had in the past accused Cuba of having an offensive biological weapons programme, a claim even Bush administration hardliners had to distance themselves from.

John Bolton is the Bush official who declared the European Union’s engagement with Iran “doomed to fail”. He is the Bush administration official who led the charge to remove al-Baradai from the IAEA.

And he is the one who, in drafting the US strategy to get the UN Security Council to impose economic sanctions against Iran, asked the Pentagon to be prepared to launch “robust” military attacks against Iran should the UN fail to agree on sanctions.

Bolton understands better than most the slim chances any US-brokered sanctions regime against Iran has in getting through the Security Council. The main obstacle is Russia, a permanent member of the Security Council who not only possesses a veto, but also is Iran’s main supporter (and supplier) when it comes to its nuclear power programme. Bolton has made a career out of alienating the Russians. He was one of the key figures who helped negotiate a May 2002 arms reduction treaty signed by Presidents George Bush and Vladimir Putin in Moscow. This treaty was designed to reduce the nuclear arsenals of both America and Russia by two-thirds over a 10 year period. But that treaty – to Russia’s immense displeasure – now appears to have been made mute thanks to a Bolton-inspired legal loophole that the Bush administration had built into the treaty language. Bolton knows Russia will not go along with UN sanctions against Iran, which makes the military planning being conducted by the Pentagon all the more relevant. Bolton’s nomination as the next US Ambassador to the United Nations is as curious as it is worrying.
Yes, it is worrying - but it is right according to plan, even if it is running a few months late. Bolton is at the UN to keep the international community in check -- not to reform the organization. Remember, the primary argument for reform happens to be the problems discovered during the Oil For Food Scandal. Each and every member of the UN Security council's "661 Committee" had the ability to veto all sales of Iraqi oil -- including the U.S. -- but failed to do so, and this is somehow the UN's fault? Also how badly does the U.S. itself need reform after it managed to "misplace" nearly 8.8 Billion in Iraq since the "End of Major Combat Operations"?

Reforming the UN is clearly a smoke-screen. The real goal is international espionage, keeping an eye on both our enemies and our friends -- and forcing them, using questionable and bogus intelligence -- to get being a major offensive against Iran in the next year.

Bolton's temporary appointment as UN Ambassador is only scheduled to last until the end of this Congressional session -- but that just might be long enough to get the job done.

Time will tell.


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