The British Daily Newspaper the Telegraph, reports that Petraeus will be hard on Iran this week in his and Ryan Crocker’s report to Congress, bringing the war drums against Iran to a crescendo.
“Petraeus is going to go very hard on Iran as the source of attacks on the American effort in Iraq,” a British official said. “Iran is waging a war in Iraq. The idea that America can’t fight a war on two fronts is wrong, there can be airstrikes and other moves,” he said.
“Petraeus has put emphasis on America having to fight the battle on behalf of Iraq. In his report he can frame it in terms of our soldiers killed and diplomats dead in attacks on the Green Zone.”
Tension between Washington and Tehran is already high over Iran’s covert nuclear programme. The Bush administration has not ruled out military strikes.
In remarks interpreted as signalling a change in his approach to Iran, Gen Petraeus last week hit out at the Iranian leadership. “The rockets that were launched at the Green Zone were Iranian-provided, Iranian-made rockets,” he said. “All of this in complete violation of promises made by President Ahmadinejad and the other most senior Iranian leaders to their Iraqi counterparts.”
At the same time, Scott Ritter is telling people in Vermont that there is an 80% chance of the US attacking Iran:
But there is an 80 percent chance of war with Iran, he told about 200 people Wednesday at Middlebury College as part of a series of talks facilitated by the Vermont Peace and Justice Center.
The pattern of preparations for such a conflict has been steadily developing and involves Congress as well as the Bush-Cheney administration, he said.
People ask him if he feels vindicated by the absence of WMDs in Iraq, he said, but “there isn’t any vindication in being right about this one.” A war with Iran would hasten the ongoing decline of American standing in the world, and afterward Russia and China would be ready to take advantage of the resulting power vacuum, he said.
Among the war clouds Ritter cited were:
Preemptive strikes against the two groups most likely to erupt if the United States invaded Iran, Hezbollah (unsuccessfully attacked by Israel) and Moqtada al-Sadr’s Mahdi Army (unsuccessfully attacked in Basra by Iraq’s central government).
Ritter predicted a similarly disappointing showing if the American forces attacked Iran, a country 2-1/2 times as large and populous as Iraq that is much more unified culturally and did not have its army destroyed in a previous war with the United States.
Recent visits to Middle Eastern allies by high officials, ostensibly for other purposes, but really to prepare them for the effects of such a war. The appearance of the “miracle laptop,” as Ritter called it, a thousand pages of technical documents supposedly from a stolen Iranian computer, which dubiously had just the sort of information the administration needed to support a hard-line stand on Iran. Congressional supplementary funding for more “bunker-busting” bombs, with a contract completion deadline of April. Congressional supplementary funding for the extra bombers to carry those bombs, with a contract completion date of April. Cheney’s order to send a third aircraft carrier battle group close to the Persian Gulf, a necessary bolstering of forces for a war with Iran.
Admiral William Fallon, the first admiral to be head of Central Command, said that level of naval forces was unnecessary and blocked the move. Ritter said that was “a heroic thing.”
Bush and Cheney have both recently been making the rounds, making noise about Iran and building Iran up as a threat to the rest of the world. Apparently these claims have little credibility among much of the intended audience:
Russian President Vladimir Putin challenged US policy toward Iran on Friday and said that the Islamic republic should be helped to emerge from isolation, instead of being threatened.
“No one can seriously think that Iran would dare attack the United States,” a source in the Russian delegation at the NATO-Russia summit in Bucharest quoted Putin as telling leaders.
“Instead of pushing Iran into a corner, it would be far more sensible to think together how to help Iran become more predictable and transparent.”
I think that war with Iran sooner or later will be unavoidable as long as our military is so concentrated over there and someone besides a Ron Paul or Ralph Nader is in office. Perhaps one way of avoiding a war would be if Iran gave up their uranium enrichment privileges allowed under the NPT and appeased the US before things boiled over. Iran is testy, but I think Iran is smart and will not want to get into a war with the US. I felt like we were close to bombing Iran last year with the capture of the British sailors, but that their sudden release took the wind out of the sails of the military attack effort by the Bush administration. Perhaps Iran will be wise enough to avoid war, but I think that the US does not possess that sort of wisdom in its government right now.