Friday, May 23, 2008
"23/05/2008 Will there be a US strike against Iran? Is the recent US-Israeli rhetoric and General Petraeus' new mandate a sign to such move? In George W. Bush's last visit to the Middle East, he stressed his support to the Zionist entity against the Iranian threat. In Tel Aviv, they grasped the notion as a countdown to striking Iran, perhaps before Bush leaves his office in September.
On Thursday, top U.S. military officer, Gen. David Petraeus, said that the United States should increase diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran to counter its rising influence. He did not rule out the possibility of military action "as a last resort."
Petraeus, the nominee to the post that would put him in charge of U.S. military operations from the Horn of Africa to Central Asia, told the Senate Armed Services Committee hearing that current international pressure on Iran already appears to be "affecting the Iranian energy market and may convince Tehran to focus on longer-term, less malign interests."
"At the same time, we should retain, as a last resort, the possibility of a range of military actions to counter Iran's activities," he said.
Central Command, known as Centcom, is responsible for U.S. military interests involving 27 countries including Iran, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Lebanon.
Petraeus succeeded Gen. George W. Casey, Jr. Casey did not quite agree with Bush's policy in Iraq. After him, Adm. William Fallon, the top U.S. military commander for the Middle East, resigned over difference with Bush's policy toward Iran; he was against using force against the Islamic Republic. Petraeus succeeded Casey and was Fallon’s subordinate.
The Bush administration has long said it retains a military option on the table as it presses Iran on its nuclear program.
Iran has been subjected to three rounds of U.N. Security Council sanctions over its nuclear program and last October, the United States designated the elite Qods military force of Iran's Revolutionary Guard a supporter of terrorism, giving itself the right to attack this force in the framework of the so called "war on terror."
Despite the sanctions, Iran grew stronger and offered to assist Arab states in developing nuclear technology. If sanctions did not do the job, Bush could go for the "last resort," but will it backlash?
ANALYSTS: BUSH BID TO ISOLATE IRAN, SYRIA BACKFIRES
The Bush administration campaign to isolate Iran and Syria has backfired as the two Middle East countries ended up this week sidelining the United States, analysts said.
Supported by Iran and Syria, Hezbollah bolstered recent military gains in a deal with US-backed unconstitutional government of Fouad Saniora while Syria emerged from the shadows with the announcement of indirect talks with Israel, they contend.
Moreover, despite Rice's contention that Hezbollah was dealt a "setback" in Lebanon, the analysts insist it is the other way around: Saniora’s government suffered the reversal.
On the Syria-Israel front, an analyst argued that Syria has put its own interests ahead of its alliance with Iran in a bid to recover the Golan Heights. However, another contends the Syrians will try to preserve the alliance with Iran, saying Israel is deluding itself if it thinks Damascus would cut ties not only with Tehran, but also Hezbollah and Hamas.
The analyst added that the best that the Bush administration can do is to admit its losses, stabilize the situation and avoid doing "something crazy to balance things out" like launching a military strike against Iran. It should be up to the next administration to devise a more realistic and effective policy, he said. "