Thursday, February 14, 2008

Did the NIE signal a secret deal with Iran?

Was the National Intelligence Estimate of November 2007, which declared that Iran had “halted its nuclear weapons program” in 2003, a signal of a secret deal between Iran and the Bush administration? Yossef Bodansky argues in Defense & Foreign Affairs’ Strategic Policy (January 2008) that it was and that the Bush White House thereby sealed a “Faustian deal” with the Mahdist regime of Iran led by Ayatollah Ali Hoseini-Khamene’i and President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. According to Bodansky, the Iranians agreed to help the U.S. achieve a face-saving and safe withdrawal of combat troops from Iraq by 2009 in exchange for the U.S. permitting the ascent of Iran as the region’s hegemonic power. [The Bodansky thesis is echoed by a report – based on anonymous sources – that appeared in Insight Report, Top Officials fear administration reached secret deal with Iran.]

Here is a timeline, drawn primarily from the Bodansky report:

Bodansky concludes with a depressing set of prophecies, no less apocalyptic than that of the Mahdists in Iran:

For the elites of the Greater Middle East, left to be determined are only the modalities for the US withdrawal.

Irrespective of the outcome of the 2008 elections in the United States, the US has committed to withdrawing from Iraq, and, as far as the Greater Middle East is concerned, from the entire region as well….

However, withdrawal from Iraq will entail a great strategic price for the United States, its friends and allies.

The post-US Greater Middle East will – in the view of this analyst – be characterized by the profound and at this stage largely irreversible weakening of the centralized states and their ruling elites. In their stead, the region will see the empowerment of religious-clannish elites, all beholden to Mahdist Tehran and dependent on the mullahs for their survival. The ascent of militant Shi'ism will affect the entire Greater Middle East, as well, for it will empower the Islamist-jihadist trend and elites also in the Sunni heartlands.

A major war for the "liberation" of Jerusalem and the ensuing destruction of Israel would consolidate the Islamist-jihadist hold over the Greater Middle East for centuries. Tehran is eager to escalate any grassroots reaction to the enduring US presence in Iraq into such an anti-Israel war. Even if such a war was to be averted by a speedy and smooth US withdrawal, this would only be postponement of the inevitable….

Adamant on saving his own political legacy, Pres. Bush made his Faustian deal with Mahdist Tehran. Thus, the Bush White House will be able to tout success; the US will be able to declare victory and withdraw safely. Left behind will be a tormented region now having to face on its own both the wake of the US adventure and the vacuum created by its withdrawal. Cognizant, all aspirant regional powers arre already posturing and surging in order to seize the historical opportunities virtually at all cost.

This cataclysmic struggle, which I believe will dwarf all regional wars to date, has barely begun.


There is no denying that the release of the NIE report last December was puzzling. David Kay, the veteran arms inspector who in 2003 could not find weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, comments on the NIE in an interview for the Council on Foreign Relations:
“I cannot believe that anyone who worked on nuclear proliferation for any period of time would make a statement like that.
(Kay: Recent Iran NIE Recalls Erroneous 2003 Iraq Estimate)

It is dismaying to believe that the bureaucrats in the intelligence services were able to produce a flawed NIE report in order to preempt the administration from any possible military move against Iran in the remaining months of the Bush term. It is far more disheartening to think that the report signaled a secret deal with Iran that gives that fanatical regime hegemony over a large swath of the Middle East in exchange for a face-saving withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq. Yet, whether or not the Bush administration has entered into such a "Faustian" arrangement, the dire, even apocalyptic outcome Bodansky envisions may ensue anyway should Mr. Obama or Mrs. Clinton be in a position to carry out their promised hasty Iraqi retreat.

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|| headland, 2:06 PM

3 Comments:

Bodansky is the same nut who claimed that Iran had already bought nuclear bombs. Do try to get better sources -- like the actual IAEA inspectors who were proven right in the case of Iraq's non-existent WMDs.

"If the facts are at odds with the policy objectives of some people who are keen to impose further sanctions on Iran, that's too bad," the [International Atomic Energy Agency] official added.
- Pressure on IAEA grows over Iran report
Anonymous Anonymous, at February 14, 2008 at 5:49 PM  
I looked at your link. Now look at mine: Iran testing advanced uranium centrifuges: diplomat (AFP)
Blogger headland, at February 14, 2008 at 6:37 PM  
Here are some links to indicate why and to what extent the Saudis are spooked by Iran right now:

Saudi newspaper: Chinese-made missiles smuggled into kingdom

Saudi king invites Iranian President Ahmadinejad to Mecca for hajj
Blogger headland, at February 14, 2008 at 7:03 PM  

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