Friday, September 28, 2007

Anti-Iran hawks win partial victory

By Jim Lobe
Asia Times

"WASHINGTON - Amid growing speculation about prospects for US military action against Iran, neo-conservatives and other hawks won a significant - if somewhat incomplete - victory in rallying the Democratic-led Congress to its side.

In a 76-22 vote on Wednesday, senators approved a non-binding amendment to the 2008 defense authorization bill that called for the administration of President George W Bush to designate Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) "a foreign terrorist organization".......

That paralysis, however, appears to have favored the hawks, who have pressed their campaign for cross-border military action against Iran in the opinion pages of such neo-conservative publications as The Weekly Standard, The National Review, and the Wall Street Journal.

Their calls for action became so intense that the commander of the US Central Command and Petraeus's superior, Admiral William Fallon, who has been trying to get authorization to negotiate an "incidents at sea" agreement with Iran, complained publicly that "this constant drumbeat of conflict is ... not helpful and not useful. It is not a good idea to be in a state of war. We ought to try to do our utmost to create different conditions," he told Al-Jazeera.......

Indeed, it was Lieberman and Republican Senator John Kyl - an honorary co-chair of the pro-Likud Committee on the Present Danger - who co-sponsored the Senate amendment naming the IRGC as a terrorist group in an effort clearly designed to help tilt the internal balance within the administration.

As introduced, the amendment, which according to several Capitol Hill sources was drafted by AIPAC, actually went considerably further, deploying language that some senators argued could be interpreted as authorizing war against Iran.

Among other provisions, it called for the US to "combat, contain and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran ... and its indigenous Iraqi proxies" and "the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including ... military instruments, in support of [that] policy"......."

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