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Sunday, July 04, 2004

The news that confirms that the kidnapping of eight of our servicemen by Iran was in fact the act of piracy and effectively an act of aggressive war that some had suspected it to be, only draws more attention to the fact that a confrontation with the regime there is probably unavoidable. The debate about this centres on Iraq of course. Michael Ledeen returns to this, arguably his favourite theme, in this NRO posting:

As you see, the Iranians are frantically increasing their efforts to drive Coalition forces out of Iraq, to wreck the Iraqi economy - and especially to inflate oil prices, which the mullahs hope will bring down the Bush presidency - and to destabilize the fragile Karzai government in Afghanistan.
. . .
And, of course, there is the question of the Iranians' crash program to produce atomic bombs. It seems that no quantity of evidence, and no number of lies from Tehran, will convince France, Germany, and Great Britain to take any serious steps toward preventing this great catastrophe. Even our own leaders - by far the most aggressive in the so-called Western world - are only calling for stricter inspections and possibly a few additional sanctions, measures that would not seriously cripple the Iranian atomic project. But such proposals are indigestible to the feckless Europeans.
. . .
Western intelligence agencies are playing along. Just a year ago, our own experts along with those in Europe and Israel, were warning that Iran might conceivably produce an atomic bomb in three to four years, and possibly even less. I was warned by Iranians I respected that the ayatollahs had demanded a bomb by the end of last year, but that was clearly wrong. Now I am being told that the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been promised success within a few months. Meanwhile, Western agencies have become more optimistic. They are now saying that Iran can't produce nuclear weapons until - at the worst - the end of the decade.
Well, I'm not some sort of blood-thirsty, jingoistic warmonger, but I think that the courtesy Britain has been given Iran of late is going a bit far. That they actually had the nerve to kidnap eight of our servicemen when tensions are already so high is close to unbelievable. Actually unbelievable is the lame reaction from Blair so far. Unfortunately this confirms what many a cynic has said about the PM, that he is bold and courageous and all that when he is cruisin' with the Bush, but when he's on his own he jsut a Eurowheenie like the rest of 'em. Perhaps an unfair way of portaying him, but he is providing undue amounts of ammunition.
Anyways, what Ledeen' anylsis reminds us of, is the ultimate futility of trying to stabilise Afghanistan while the mullahs do their work from Iran. As long as the external reasons for the instable situation in Afghanistan remain, there is little point in sendig more NATO-troops there. In any case, we don't have the number of forces needed for the job anyway. Just like Iraq, the necessary troop levels would be somewhere between three hundred thousand and a half million. We can't even muster enough forces for Iraq.


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