Senate Iran-- now discussing a lessening of sanctions and continued negotiation

Discussion in 'Community' started by KnightWriter, Jun 14, 2009.

  1. Vader_vs_Maul Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Dec 4, 2003
    star 3
    I think you're overestimating the Shia/Sunni rift as a factor on the one hand, and underestimating shared cultural ties on the other. Also, there are no Punjabis in Afghanistan. The animosity between Shia and Sunni is not as great as you might think. If anything, it's the Iranian government itself that fuels Sunni resentment by discriminating against Sunnis, barring Iranian Sunnis from building a mosque for their own in Tehran, for example. If Iran wants ties with Pakistan and Afghanistan, it will get it. Iran's Arab neighbours across the Persian Gulf are a different story, but the primary concern there is with Iran's regional ambitions, or Iran's perceived ambitions I should say, rather than that they are Shias. I'm exempting Saudi Arabia from that, however. It should also be noted that pan-Arabist sentiment is still very much alive.

    Pakistanis view themselves as culturally close to Iranians, and needless to say much more so than to Arabs. The only thing that separates the Urdu language (official language of Pakistan) from its Hindi counterpart, is the amount of Persian loanwords, which have only increased after the separation from India, as the Pakistani governments have used the increasing inclusion of Persian loanwords as a political statement to differentiate it further from India. They also use the stylized Persian rendering of the Arabic script as their official alphabet. As for Afghanistan, half of their population ARE Persians or Persianized Turkic ethnic groups, so right away there's a cultural, not to mention lingual connection. Iran has had a large presence in Afghanistan after the 2001 invasion, where they have funded reconstruction projects, primarily in the majority Persian northern part of the country. Out of the three, Iran's government is the one with the most ideological worldview. If there are any ideological brakes that halt co-operation, rest assured it's the Iranian government that is putting them there, not the others, and if it so wishes it will put away those brakes when convenient. Case in point; after the slight souring of Iran-Turkey-relations last month, Iran made a symbolic political statement of all of a sudden expanding ties with Armenia just to spite Turkey.

    As for the other "-stans", all except Tajikistan are made up of various Turk/Mongol ethnic compositions so they are not necessarily natural matches with Afghanistan and Pakistan culturally. There's also the issue of Uzbekistan, where the Tajik minority feels suppress
  2. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    YouTube link.

    Hmmm... I'm not sure whether he's making a good point or whether he's full of ****. I want to know your opinions.
  3. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Meh. His supposed "point" about the USN rendering assistance to Iranians is pretty moot. Outright, at-war enemies like Britain & Germany in WW2 at the height of the Battle Of The North Atlantic rendered assistance routinely to their opponents whilst engaging in a campaign to either burn the enemy's cities to the ground (Britain) or starve their enemy's civilian population into surrender (Germany). That the USN is doing so isn't exactly unusual.
  4. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
    Boba, that was not a "point" in the video. In fact, all he did was praise our actions.
  5. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    I know, but the gist of it was that this was somehow exceptional. It's not.
  6. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    The New York Times did a piece yesterday arguing that Israel may in fact really mean it about attacking Iran.


    When Talk of War Transcends Idle Chatter


    Again, if the assessment is good and the risk real, I'd say that makes Israel right now, today, the biggest and most immediate threat to world peace. In addition to winding down the war in Afghanistan, Obama's biggest foreign policy job right now is to try to keep Israel in check, if such a thing can be done.

    I'm sure from the Iranian perspective this all looks like a carefully orchestrated and jointly coordinated U.S.-Israeli plot to ratchet up the sanction pressure under some sort of good cop/bad cop ritual. And maybe the Iranians are right. Or maybe Leon Penetta has been instructed to try to defuse the situation a bit by outing Israeli intentions.

    We cannot stop Iran from acquiring nukes without a war. It simply cannot be done. I am convinced that sanctions will not work. As oil prices trend up this spring the advantage will inevitably swing toward Iran. Every month without a war brings Iran closer to having nukes and threatens to undermine commitment to continuing sanctions.

    The other question is, for those who believe that Israel is interested in military action, what kind of effort will it take to destroy their nuclear weapons capability? What facilities can we reach that can't be quickly rebuilt. Are conventionally armed bunker busters going to do the trick?

    I don't see how Iranian nukes fundamentally change anything for the U.S. The Carter Doctrine, and the Reagan corallary to the Carter doctrine, remain as enforceable as they always were with or without Iranian nukes. Why do we have to care about this?

  7. shanerjedi Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Mar 17, 2010
    star 4
    Israel has every right to defend itself and attack Iran.

    And we should have every bit of sense to stay out of it.

    But we wont.
  8. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    The other question is, for those who believe that Israel is interested in military action, what kind of effort will it take to destroy their nuclear weapons capability? What facilities can we reach that can't be quickly rebuilt. Are conventionally armed bunker busters going to do the trick?

    Destroy it's uranium enrichment facility and Iran's nuclear program becomes an interesting theoretical exercise. FWIW, the assassination campaign against Iranian physicists is probably the most effective means of ending Iran's nuclear program. Nuclear weapons physicists are not a dime a dozen and if you kill enough they'll go work for a country where dying isn't part of the job description.

    As for your second question-absolutely, if this was the USAF we were talking about. We recently developed a new type of "super bunker buster", the Massive Ordnance Penetrator; link is here. However, this is designed to go in the B-52/B-1/B-2, none of which Israel currently owns; the largest penetrator the Israelis have is the GBU-28. This is probably enough bomb to do the job; however, the major issue is the geography between Israel and Iran. While the Israeli Air Force does have the capability for such an extended-range strike, flying aerial tankers over Iraq or Saudi Arabia is not the smartest idea for the Israelis for obvious reasons.

    I personally don't think it'll be Israel that performs a strike, if one happens; Saudi Arabia seems much more likely to me. They have historic enmity towards Iran and both jockey for regional-superpower status; the Saudis have a lot more reason to be concerned about Iranian nuclear capacity than Israel does, they also have most of the same aerial-warfare capabilities and an airstrike would be much easier for the Saudis.

    As for why the United States has to push...seriously? The NPT was our idea and we've long been the driving force behind it. A nuclear arms race in the ME is in no one's interest. Isolationism is no longer a practical position, mostly due to our own making, and it's far too late to go back to ignoring the rest of the world.
  9. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Do you truly believe the U.S. should go to war unilaterally *again*, or in a coalition of the willing comprising us and Israel, only this time to enforce the NPT if the UN Security Council were to reject any authorization of military force? Nearly a quarter of Iran's oil exports go to China. It's difficult to imagine any scenario under which China doesn't block any initiative to enforce the NPT against Iran from going through the UN Security Council.

    It's safe to say Obama would never risk an oil price superspike in an election year. He'll do anything possible to prevent action against Iran in this calendar year.

    It's also safe to say that China will take some serious economic and political risks to prevent any direct military action against Iran. I'm not suggesting that making war on Iran is the same thing as making war on China, but the kind of non military squeeze the Chinese could put on us if we directly threaten one of their primary energy suppliers would I think blow our socks off.
  10. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Do you truly believe the U.S. should go to war unilaterally *again*, or in a coalition of the willing comprising us and Israel, only this time to enforce the NPT if the UN Security Council were to reject any authorization of military force? Nearly a quarter of Iran's oil exports go to China. It's difficult to imagine any scenario under which China doesn't block any initiative to enforce the NPT against Iran from going through the UN Security Council.

    You're assuming such a war would be us and Israel, which probably would not be the case. The GCC has no reason to want Iran to have the bomb and have been engaged in an arms race with Iran since the late 1970s. And no, I don't think we should; if you'd actually read my post instead of leaping to conclusions, I expressed doubt that Israel could off such a mission and said that only the USAF has the technical ability to do so without risk. That's not stating the US should or will.

    It's safe to say Obama would never risk an oil price superspike in an election year. He'll do anything possible to prevent action against Iran in this calendar year.

    True. Again, never said that the US would be going to war. ;)

    It's also safe to say that China will take some serious economic and political risks to prevent any direct military action against Iran. I'm not suggesting that making war on Iran is the same thing as making war on China, but the kind of non military squeeze the Chinese could put on us if we directly threaten one of their primary energy suppliers would I think blow our socks off.

    The dysfunctional antics of the UNSC are for another thread, and, again, you're assuming I'm advocating for a US strike. I'm not.
  11. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    Do you really think Saudi Arabia is willing to undertake offensive strikes against Iran? They've always been more than happy enough to let us us do all the heavy lifting while they sit back and keep out of the spotlight, probably to avoid any kind of domestic political backlash. As for Israel's harebrained schemes....what makes them think they can halt Iran's nuclear program when the best we can do with our B-2's, MOP's, and carrier strike groups is set them back by a few years?
  12. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    It wouldn't surprise me. Sure, they've been content to play silent partner (a big part of the first Gulf War was Iraqi debt to Saudi Arabia and Kuwait; literally tens of billions of dollars from those countries went into Iraq's war chest) for years, but the geopolitical climate has dramatically changed in the last ten years, as have the potential stakes. Iraq under Saddam was the buffer state between Iran and the Gulf states; that is no longer the case. Additionally, Iran has never been on the cusp of acquiring nuclear weapons before. As for bombing Iran=domestic internal issues, um, no. Saudi Arabia is 85-90% Sunni and weathered the Arab revolutions of last year quite easily; bombing a nation that most Saudis more than likely view as their biggest regional competitor and enemy would not result in domestic unrest of a significant nature.

  13. Ghost Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 13, 2003
    star 6
    I don't think the United States wants Saudi Arabia to get involved, to prevent the price of oil from skyrocketing.
  14. Lowbacca_1977 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jun 28, 2006
    star 6
    Defending itself and attacking Iran are not the same thing, however.
  15. Darth_Vaders_Sock Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    May 10, 2009
    star 2
    It would certainly be interesting if that did happen. Just to see how much of the rest of the world would grind to a halt from not being able to afford oil.
    No doubt the US government would try and subsidise oil prices or something. But running a basic model to determine approximatly how many people in the world would no longer be able to afford to run their car would be facinating.
  16. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    How I love this article:

    The neocons? big Iran lie
    Asked by Sen. Jack Reed whether the only way to prevent Iran from achieving a nuclear capability was ?to physically occupy their country and disestablish their nuclear facilities,? Cartwright answered: ?Absent some other unknown calculus that would go on, that?s a fair conclusion.?

    Cartwright?s comments echoed those of retired Gen. Anthony Zinni from a speech at the New America Foundation in September 2009. Zinni said that he liked to respond to advocates of strikes on Iran with ?And then what??
    After you?ve dropped those bombs on those hardened facilities, what happens next? What happens if they decide, in their hardened shelters with their mobile missiles, to start launching those? What happens if they launch them into U.S. bases on the other side of the Gulf? What happens if they launch into Israel, or somewhere else? Into a Saudi oil field? Into Ras Laffan, with all the natural gas? What happens if they now flush their fast patrol boats, their cruise missiles, the strait full of mines, and they sink a tanker, an oil tanker? And of course the economy of the world goes absolutely nuts. What happens if they activate sleeper cells? The MOIS, the intelligence service; what happens if there?s another preemptive attack by the West, the U.S. and Israel, they fire up the streets, and now we?ve got problems. Just tell me how to deal with all that, OK?

    ?Because, eventually, if you follow this all the way down, eventually I?m putting boots on the ground somewhere,? Zinni concluded. ?And as I tell my friends, if you liked Iraq and Afghanistan, you?ll love Iran.?

    Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen also made a point of highlighting the costs of military action, telling a forum at Columbia University in 2010, ?Iran getting a nuclear weapon would be incredibly destabilizing. Attacking them would also create the same kind of outcome ? In an area that?s so unstable right now, we just don?t need more of that.? Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol dismissed this as ?silly.?


    The perfect distillation of the military problem: Attack Iran. And then what? If you liked Iraq and Afghanistan, you'll love Iran. Iran getting nukes would be incredibly destabilizing to the region, as would be another ground war in the region spearheaded by the U.S.

    The takeaway is that if we want to wage war with Iran it will be another go-it-alone effort against the strenuous objections of China, and by strenuous I mean unlike anything we have seen from them before in recent times.
  17. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Tis article below takes Iran in a wider historical perspective:

    The "experts" can't really predict what is going to happen, either.

    The article is four pages long, so I won't quote it all here, but basically it compared the situation with us, Iran and China today with ourselves, Vietnam, and China today. It points out quite succintly that nobody could have predicted China was going to wind up being a de facto ally against the Soviet Union just seven years later. Not saying that Iran and ourselves are going to be BFF in a decade, but the historical model is that we are all wrong most of the time.
  18. Jabbadabbado Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Mar 19, 1999
    star 7
    Great article.

    Iran is like a spreading stain across the front page of the news. Today it's Iran loading domestically produced fuel rods into its test reactor and Iran preemptively ending oil exports to six European countries. It keeps ratcheting up, as if the whole thing were carefully orchestrated.

    Another point is that Iran feels immensely threatened by what's happening in Syria.

    Last year, I was in the solid "no one is going to war over Iran" camp.
    Then I became a convert to "no one but Israel is going to war over Iran."
    Now I'm leaning toward, the "events are spiraling up to some sort of inevitable conclusion" which could include Iran backing down and giving up its nuclear ambitions, but I doubt it.

    As DB's article points out, the uncertainty of outcomes means that reasonable, intelligent and well-informed foreign policy experts are relatively likely to make terrible mistakes with devastating consequences.

    But what's becoming increasingly clear to me is that this is not a time for regime change in the White House. We cannot afford to put our foreign policy into the hands of a novice or, worse, a neo-neoconservative novice, even if the experts are also prone to getting it wrong.

    I've written in the past of geopolitical situations where there are no happy outcomes, no pathways to success and peace. In scenario one, Iran is grudgingly, with heavy sanctions, allowed to complete its nuclear weapons program. Saudi Arabia rushes to get the bomb and triangulates an Israeli-Iranian-Saudi balance of regional nukes, diminishing U.S. influence in the region. In scenario two Israel/KSA/US or some combination thereof launch a targeted strike of Iran's nuclear facilities. It escalates into a war over the Persian Gulf with China and Russia itching to get involved.

    Iran's regime survival might depend on a military response to an attack on its nuke development. It could be limited. It could sink an oil tanker in the Gulf. It could bomb Iraq's Al Basrah oil terminal. It would not take more than a few such successful attacks to drive the price of oil to $200-$300/barrel.

    Maybe scenario one devolves into chaos, maybe it doesn't, but in an environment of huge uncertainty, I think we go with scenario one.

    Also, as an aside:
    is I believe a full and complete explanation of what's going on between the EU and Greece. A huge effort to buy time and try to manage downside risk ahead of an inevitable Greek default.
  19. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    I have to say I'm not buying the Middle Eastern nuclear arms race fear hype. Even if there is an arms race, I predict a 0,1% chance of any side actually doing anything with those arms. It's not often I agree with anything Ahmadinejad says, but IMO he's right that in today's world, nuclear weapons are practically pretty much useless. They are a nice theoretical deterrent, but if put to practice, you've pretty much assured your own destruction, and probably universal condemnation and isolation, if you're still alive that long. He might be lying when he says that's his opinion on the matter, but I think he's right in what he says, regardless of whether he actually believes it himself or not.
  20. Alpha-Red Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 25, 2004
    star 5
    I'm starting to wonder if Iran actually wants a war. It seems to be doing everything it can to rile up the U.S. public....not with anything too overt but with little escalating tit-for-tat moves, enough to make themselves look like aggressors to the American public while not appearing suicidally reckless to their own domestic public. Then if it actually comes to a military confrontation, the regime can play the nationalism card and buy itself another 2-3 decades in power.
  21. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    I've been thinking this for a long time, which makes it very sad to see how easily Israel and the US seem to be falling for it, and letting themselves be dragged in to a war by Iran's shenanigans. That is, unless the US and Israeli administrations actually do want a war as well, and are just conveniently playing along with Iran's game, in which case it's no longer sad - it's utterly tragic.
  22. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
  23. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    Already agreed with the technical difficulty aspect.
  24. Violent Violet Menace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 11, 2004
    star 4
    Some follow-up articles. The last one is only about the financial cost of the current wars, but if you can't reach someone's good sense or conscience, you can still always appeal to their wallets. ;)
  25. DarthBoba Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Jun 29, 2000
    star 9
    World Politics Review has posted an article pointing out how everyone is making something out of nothing: