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Iranian Defense Minister Ali Shamkhani warned that Iran might launch a preemptive strike against US forces in the region to prevent an attack on its nuclear facilities.

I’m sure we could all see this coming. Do we pose a threat to Iran’s national security? Of course we do. Do they have a right to preemptively strike at us because of this threat? According to our administration’s practices, yes.

This is a fundamental flaw of the preemptive war doctrine. It's bad enough that invading Iraq under questionable justifications has undermined all future attempts to invoke preemptive self-defense (or even humanitarian action, e.g. Sudan) but it also opens the floodgates to any sovereign nation claiming the same right to preemptive attack. We have, after all, proclaimed Iran as being apart of the Axis of Evil™ and we do have over 100,000 troops stationed right next door.

"America is not the only one present in the region. We are also present, from Khost to Kandahar in Afghanistan; we are present in the Gulf and we can be present in Iraq," said Shamkhani.

I'm sure Ali meant to say "...and we are already in Iraq."

"If Israel fires one missile at Bushehr atomic power plant, it should permanently forget about Dimona nuclear center, where it produces and keeps its nuclear weapons, and Israel would be responsible for the terrifying consequence of this move," General Mohammad Baqer Zolqadr warned.

This is effective rhetorical bluster. It reintroduces the problem of pressuring Iran to admit to and dismantle their nuclear weapons programs while ignoring Israel's, as well as threatening Israeli/American tactics against a specifically named target. The entire situation plays more into Iranian hands than ours. With the recent premature announcement of massive troop realignment and our obvious trouble with managing our occupation of Iraq even with over 100,000 troops, support for military action against Iran would be a hard pill to swallow. And there isn't any reason to believe such a conflict would be the kind we faced in Afghanistan and Iraq. Iran might feel the odds are good for them to advance their nuclear weapons program through appeasement. The other fundamental flaw in our Iraq invasion: We committed to a dubious military engagement in Iraq only then to be faced with two real and apparent threats, Iran and North Korea. We have a greatly reduced position of force with which to negotiate and they both know it.

I'm still wondering how much Iran has been manipulating us through counterintelligence over recent years (e.g. Chalabi). Iraq could likely have been the poison pawn that played into Iran's strategy, and given the current position of pieces in the center of the board, an exchange would appear imminent. The situation in Iran demands more attention, appeasement should be out of the question but how can we get to a peaceful resolution when we have driven Iran to such a belligerent posture? Can Bush and his intellectually/logistically challenged and overworked crew handle this kind of diplomacy without exacerbating the situation? Were they hoping for this all along? Would conflict with Iran guarantee reinstating the draft? Will Kerry change his position on troop withdraw from Iraq? Is this just pure bluster from Iran?

Insha Allah, this will all go no further than harsh language.

CIA World Factbook Entry on Iran

Posted by Joseph Briggs at August 20, 2004 11:30 AM