Monday, February 12, 2007
The escalation of war rhetoric against Iran from the Bush White House and the neocons is just the latest installment of a long-term plan for another preemptive war.
By Larisa Alexandrovna, Raw Story. Posted February 12, 2007
"The escalation of US military planning on Iran is only the latest chess move in a six-year push within the Bush Administration to attack that country. While Iran was named a part of President George W. Bush's "axis of evil" in 2002, efforts to ignite a confrontation with Iran date back long before the post-9/11 war on terror.
Presently, the Administration is trumpeting claims that Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon than the CIA's own analysis shows and positing Iranian influence in Iraq's insurgency, but efforts to destabilize Iran have been conducted covertly for years, often using members of Congress or non-government actors in a way reminiscent of the 1980s Iran-Contra scandal.
The motivations for an Iran strike were laid out as far back as 1992. In classified defense planning guidance -- written for then-Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney by then-Pentagon staffers I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, World Bank Chief Paul Wolfowitz, and ambassador-nominee to the United Nations Zalmay Khalilzad -- Cheney's aides called for the United States to assume the position of lone superpower and act preemptively to prevent the emergence of even regional competitors. The draft document was leaked to the New York Times and the Washington Post and caused an uproar among Democrats and many in George H. W. Bush's Administration.....
Almost immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, Iran became a focal point of discussion among senior Administration officials. As early as December 2001, then-Deputy National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley and the leadership of the Defense Department, including Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, and Undersecretary of Defense Douglas Feith, allegedly authorized a series of meetings between Defense Department officials and Iranian agents abroad.
The first of these meetings took place in Rome with Pentagon Iran analyst, Larry Franklin, Middle East expert Harold Rhode, and prominent neoconservative Michael Ledeen. Ledeen, who held no official government position, introduced the US officials to Iran-Contra arms dealer Manucher Ghorbanifar. According to both Ghorbanifar and Ledeen, the topic on the table was Iran. Ledeen said last year the discussion concerned allegations that Iranian forces were killing US soldiers in Afghanistan, but Ghorbanifar has claimed the conversation focused on regime change......
By setting up the Iranian Directorate within the Pentagon and running covert operations through the military rather than the CIA, the administration was able to avoid both Congressional oversight and interference from then-Director of National Intelligence John Negroponte, who has been vocally skeptical about using force against Iran. The White House also successfully stalled the release of a fresh National Intelligence Estimate on Iran, which could reflect the CIA's conclusion that there is no evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program......"