Friday, February 16, 2007
By Jim Lobe
"WASHINGTON - For several weeks now, Washington has been abuzz with rumors that US President George W Bush is preparing to attack nuclear and other sites in Iran this spring - rumors deemed sufficiently credible that lawmakers from both parties are hastily preparing legislation precisely to prevent such an eventuality.
The evidence cannot be ignored.....
Nonetheless, to the extent that neo-cons - and their allies in the right-wing "Israel Lobby" - are addressing themselves to Iran policy at the moment, expanding and enforcing sanctions, rather than imminent war, appears to be the main message.....
Similarly, television ads by the neo-conservative American Foreign Policy Council running on the major cable television networks in the Washington area warn about Iran's nuclear program, its status as "the world's largest state sponsor of terrorism", its president's alleged Holocaust denial and threats to "wipe Israel off the map", but conclude with the relatively anodyne exhortation: "Call the White House and tell them to enforce sanctions against Iran today." Not exactly what one would expect on the eve of a military attack.
This tack may simply be a ruse to lull anti-war forces into complacency. Or it may reflect a fear that, given their record on Iraq, beating the drums for war with Iran may prove counter-productive (although the AEI has not hesitated to take credit for the "surge" option). Or it may indicate that prominent neo-cons have somehow lost touch with the hawks in the White House and Vice President Dick Cheney's office who are now determined to attack Iran this spring.
But it may also reflect the neo-cons' assessment, based no doubt on inside information, that Bush - who spoke about US policy on Afghanistan at the AEI on Thursday - intends to let the diplomatic game play out a little longer - perhaps as long as another year - before deciding to attack. "