Politics Iraq, Iran, Syria
posted by January 11 at 16:14 PMon
At the Washington Note, Steven C. Clemons writes:
Washington intelligence, military and foreign policy circles are abuzz today with speculation that the President, yesterday or in recent days, sent a secret Executive Order to the Secretary of Defense and to the Director of the CIA to launch military operations against Syria and Iran.
The President may have started a new secret, informal war against Syria and Iran without the consent of Congress or any broad discussion with the country.
From Bush’s speech last night:
”We will disrupt the attacks on our forces. We’ll interrupt the flow of support from Iran and Syria. And we will seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to our enemies in Iraq.”
Clemons also writes:
Adding fuel to the speculation is that U.S. forces today raided an Iranian Consulate in Arbil, Iraq and detained five Iranian staff members. Given that Iran showed little deference to the political sanctity of the US Embassy in Tehran 29 years ago, it would be ironic for Iran to hyperventilate much about the raid.
But what is disconcerting is that some are speculating that Bush has decided to heat up military engagement with Iran and Syria — taking possible action within their borders, not just within Iraq.
Some are suggesting that the Consulate raid may have been designed to try and prompt a military response from Iran — to generate a casus belli for further American action.
(Click here to read the whole thing, including Condoleezza Rice’s non-denial denials in front of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee today.)
Update: Here’s White House Press Secretary Tony Snow talking to Chris Matthews about Iran on MSNBC:
SNOW: Ok, but, let me just do a couple of things here. I think you understand and most Americans understand Iran is the foremost financier of global terror. It’s a problem. But you don’t deal with everything militarily, as you know. The United States exhausted all diplomatic options before going into Iraq, and I think what you’re doing if you’re trying to go down the road of speculation that is just way ahead of events. Right now, we’re working on making Iraq a success. One other thing about Iran, Chris. The Iranian public, most which of is young, is very pro-American.
Whew. Now I feel better.