Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Another 'Attack Iran' Scare

While it may be hard to concentrate on anything other than Sarah Palin at the moment, a Dutch newspaper has released an interesting story on Iran:
The Dutch intelligence service, the AIVD, has called off an operation aimed at infiltrating and sabotaging Iran's weapons industry due to an assessment that a US attack on the Islamic Republic's nuclear program is imminent, according to a report in the country's De Telegraaf newspaper on Friday.

The report claimed that the Dutch operation had been "extremely successful," and had been stopped because the US military was planning to hit targets that were "connected with the Dutch espionage action."
On the surface this certainly sounds like typical Bush-bashing from a Euro country (ie, we were almost in position to do something clandestine but the warmongers in DC stopped us), or better yet, another hyperbolic claim akin to Scott Ritter's in 2005. But the difference here is what was admitted--that Dutch intelligence agents had visited hard targets. That little nuclear facility in Syria was also compromised by spies before it went away.

The obvious question is why then would the Dutch go public and tip off the Iranians? Speculating as usual, but perhaps it's a signal to Tehran that we won't be striking anytime soon...but if the need arises we've got some precise coordinates. The White House (and Tehran) certainly knows that anything remotely offensive towards Iran in the next few months will blowback hard on McCain, possibly scuttling his presidential bid, so it's hard to imagine Bush would do anything before November 4th anyway. In the meantime, it's hard for them to move nuke facilities.

BTW, last week the CIA released a trove of correspondences from former DCI Richard Helms, who was also Ambassador to Iran during the Shah's time (1973-1976). Stormwarning pulled the most radical excerpt, ie, that Yasser Arafat had our embassy employees in Khartoum Sudan killed and the CIA knew it, but kept dealing with his Fatah org via an intermediary anyway. Guess we negotiated with terrorists after all.

But the documents themselves are an interesting inside look at the affairs of government and certainly illustrate how complex the region was at the time, showing some of the same problems we face today. The infiltration of the USSR into Middle Eastern politics was obvious, along with the war materials they were selling. Those who constantly deride America for getting involved in foreign affairs never seem to see the other players or wonder what would happen if we weren't involved.

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