Dave Siavashi writes for EA:
According to The Wall Street Journal:
The Obama administration has quietly drawn up plans to provide a key Persian Gulf ally with thousands of advanced “bunker-buster” bombs and other munitions, part of a stepped-up U.S. effort to build a regional coalition to counter Iran.
An interesting announcement in itself, but if you want the real importance, weave it into a pattern….
In October, the US Justice Department proclaimed a foiled assassination plot, purportedly involving members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and Qods Force. An Iranian-American had supposedly contacted a Mexican drug cartel to arrange the killing of the Saudi Ambassador to the US, in a restaurant frequented by. politicians in Washington.
It doesn’t stretch the imagination much to question this allegation. It is not that the Iranian regime would be incapable of doing something this brazen; it is that in the 33 years of their existence, they have never done anything to indicate that they are that stupid. Many a respected analyst and Iran-watcher, have called these allegations into serious question. Robert Baer, a former CIA operative in Beirut at the time when Hezbullah was in the kidnapping business, said in The Guardian:
This stinks to holy hell. The Quds Force are very good. They don’t sit down with people they don’t know and make a plot. They use proxies and they are professional about it. If Kassim Suleimani was coming after you or me, we would be dead. This is totally uncharacteristic of them.
Now it is November, and the majority of the media have been focused on Tuesday’s IAEA report on the Iranian nuclear programme. Before the release of the document, there was the build-up: plenty of “Oh boy, this is going to be a dooser!” anticipation, with ratcheting up of the pressure and inflammatory rhetoric against Iran as well as the beating of war drums, primarily by the US, Israeli, and British Governments.
The report itself, dissected by EA in separate analyses, really isn’t very conclusive about anything at all. And the US is unlikely to win support from Russia or China in the Security Council for any substantive action.
The Iran challenge — Can’t go over it. Can’t go under it. Can’t go through it.
Gotta go around it: sell bombs to the UAE.
President Obama has proven that he is a pragmatist time and again. So what is pragmatic about this move?
As Obama’s 2012 campaign approaches, this move will appeal to the hawkish segment of the electorate. Instead of spending money and spilling blood in a war, the US makes some money, at a time when the economy could use a bit of stimulus. The Administration will argue that this deters aggressive Iranian moves in the region, while shoring up both the pocket, the military, and the ego of an ally.
Nice politics. Shame about the reality — beyond the immediate calculations, the US arms sales will only provoke Iran’s hardliners and give ammunition to those within the system who want confrontation and animosity with the West. The regime will play the national security trump card again: “Look what the Americans and the Israelis are doing against us!” This will translate nont into a confrontation with Washington and West Jerusalem. The blows will come instead through more human rights abuses within Iran.
So if Obama wins and Tehran’s regime wins, who loses in this pattern?
Easy call. As has been the case whenever Iran is treated with any kind of external threat, it’s the Iranian people.