Friday, February 23, 2007

Let's iron out these Iranian ironies

It's not every day that the media reports blatantly contradictory news. Well... maybe it is every day, but the dichotomy may not always be seen so clearly. Today, the media's inconsistent message and faulty logic is evident.

Before we start, let's ask a question: Should we be judged by what we say or what we do?

Let's take, for example, a headline from today's Guardian:

Much of the intelligence on Iran's nuclear facilities provided to UN inspectors by US spy agencies has turned out to be unfounded, diplomatic sources in Vienna said today.

The claims, reminiscent of the intelligence fiasco surrounding the Iraq war, coincided with a sharp increase in international tension as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that Iran was defying a UN security council ultimatum to freeze its nuclear programme.
Fine, there may be some cause for skepticism

However, most of the tip-offs about supposed secret weapons sites provided by the CIA and other US intelligence agencies have led to dead ends when investigated by IAEA inspectors, according to informed sources in Vienna.

"Most of it has turned out to be incorrect," a diplomat at the IAEA with detailed knowledge of the agency's investigations said.

"They gave us a paper with a list of sites. [The inspectors] did some follow-up, they went to some military sites, but there was no sign of [banned nuclear] activities.
In other words, because there is no smoking gun, such as a billowing mushroom cloud, or three-headed fish swimming around the Guld, Iran must be acquitted.

One particularly contentious issue was records of plans to build a nuclear warhead, which the CIA said it found on a stolen laptop computer supplied by an informant inside Iran. In July 2005, US intelligence officials showed printed versions of the material to IAEA officials, who judged it to be sufficiently specific to confront Iran.

Tehran rejected the material as forged, and there are still reservations within the IAEA about its authenticity, according to officials with knowledge of the internal debate in the agency.

"First of all, if you have a clandestine programme, you don't put it on laptops which can walk away," one official said. "The data is all in English which may be reasonable for some of the technical matters, but at some point you'd have thought there would be at least some notes in Farsi. So there is some doubt over the provenance of the computer."
Of course, just because there is evidence on a laptop doesn't mean it's real evidence. The Iranians wouldn't be that stupid, right?

Wait for it...

One of the "outstanding issues" listed in yesterday's report involves a 15-page document that appears to have been handed to IAEA inspectors by mistake with a batch of unrelated paperwork in October 2005.

That document roughly describes how to make hemispheres of enriched uranium, forwhich the only known use is in nuclear warheads. Iran has yet to present a satisfactory explanation of how and why it has the document.
They "mistakenly" gave us incrimating evidence! But you just said they wouldn't be that stupid?

"The issue here is the Iranians have not addressed outstanding issues, and we are still uncertain about the scope and intent of the programme," a senior UN official said last night.
No, the issue here is that the Iranians are harboring a clandestine nuclear weapons program, accidentally gave us evidence toward that assertion, also put it on a laptop, and are trying to wipe Israel off the map while consolidating regional hegemony.
But curiously, Iran's neighbors are much more skeptical:

ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Feb. 22 — As fears grow over the escalating confrontation between Iran and the West, Arab states across the Persian Gulf have begun a rare show of muscle flexing, publicly advertising a shopping spree for new weapons and openly discussing their security concerns.

Typically secretive, the gulf nations have long planned upgrades to their armed forces, but now are speaking openly about them. American military officials say the countries, normally prone to squabbling, have also increased their military cooperation and opened lines of communication to the American military here.
The threat of Iran is not news to Iran's neighbors:

“There has always been an acknowledgment of the threat in the region, but the volume of the debate has now risen,” said one United Arab Emirates official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak on the subject. “Now the message is there’s a dialogue going on with Iran, but that doesn’t mean I don’t intend to defend myself.”
They look to the U.S. for defense:

As tensions with Iran rise, many gulf countries have come to see themselves as the likely first targets of an Iranian attack. Some have grown more concerned that the United States may be overstretched militarily, many analysts say, while almost all the monarchies, flush with cash as a result of high oil prices, have sought to build a military deterrent of their own.

“The message is first, ‘U.S., stay involved here,’ and second, ‘Iran, we will maintain a technological edge no matter what,’ ” said Emile el-Hokayem, research fellow at the Henry L. Stimson Center, a research center based in Washington. “They are trying to reinforce the credibility of the threat of force.”

“It is a message to enemies that ‘We are taking defense seriously,’ ” Mr. Kenkel said, emphasizing that the new arms were for deterrence.

“If the U.S. ever does pull back, these countries in the gulf have realized, they may have to fend for themselves,” Mr. Kenkel said. “As the Boy Scouts say, always be prepared.”

Senior United States military officials say gulf countries have become more nervous as Iran has conducted naval maneuvers, especially near the Straits of Hormuz, the main artery through which two-fifths of the world’s oil reaches markets.

“A year ago you could have characterized the interaction with the Iranians as professional,” said Vice Adm. Patrick Walsh, departing commander of the Fifth Fleet. “What’s different today has been the number and amount of exercises and the proximity of those exercises to the Straits of Hormuz themselves.”
The media should get its story straight. More importantly, the American public, policy makers, and critics should not ask: What is Iran saying? What are they telling us? What are they promising?

Rather, they should carefully note what Iran does, what Iran has done, and, perhaps most tellingly - what Iran's neighbors (who are no doubt more tuned to its temperament) are doing to react.

If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, will you still believe it's not a duck if someone tells you it's a donkey?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

So that we don't forget...
Israel....non signer of NPT, has over 400 undeclared nuclear bombs, gets massive funding from the US, gets tons of the latest weapons and weapons systems from the US....
Pakistan...non signer of NPT, has nuclear weapons...the US is selling them our own military hardware.
India, non signer of the NPT, has nuclear weapons....the US is selling them our own military hardware, and wait for it...wait for also helping them build a number of Uranium as well as a PLUTONIUM reactor that they could siphon off material and now make a PLUTONIUM bomb.
Iran...signer of the NPT....does not even have a working nuclear site....has not be proven to enrich uranium to even 3% which is their right under the NPT....has let the IAEA inspect their sites....currently has no missiles that can deliver a nuclear weapon...yet these are the bad guys...UM, yeah!

ell me, how could Iran wipe Israel off the map? No really, how would this be possible. Also, even if Iran were to get a nuclear weapon, why would the leaders of Iran use it? You keep telling us they want more and more power...if they did get the bomb and set it off anywhere in the world, the US and Israel would wipe Iran off the map. Iran does not have the capacity to wipe Israel off the map.

Lastly do some research....Operation know, when the US and British overthrew the democratically elected leader of Iran (who was educated in the west and pro western) only to install the Shaw. A brutal dictator that repressed and tortured his people with the blessing of the US.

Tell me, when was the last time Iran overthrew our many times have we done it in the last 100 years?