The Bush administration may be highlighting accusations that the Iranian government is behind attacks in Iraq in order to strengthen its hand in preparing for military strikes on Iran, according to a leading British think-tank.
In a report sifting the evidence produced by US authorities against Iran, the independent think-tank Basic cast doubt on the strength of the intelligence, saying that proved links between the Tehran regime and militia inside Iraq remained "sketchy".
The full paper’s here (pdf). Meanwhile, according to the Washington Note, hawks in the administration are ramping up the propaganda war against Iran in anticipation of taking military action. The site is floating the idea that the Israelis can be nudged into doing the necessary, but I’m not so sure about that. Neither the US nor the Israelis have the capacity to effect regime change, which would surely be the point of the exercise. It seems more likely to me that the aim is to create a settled definition of the Iranian regime as an implacable enemy to be removed by any combination of political, economic and military means that might suggest themselves over any convenient timescale. And of course it helps if you can induce the Iranians to do something extravagant by creating an atmosphere of imminent conflict. Oh, and here’s one I missed:
Iran could be able to build a nuclear bomb in less than a year and confronts the world with one of its most "urgent" threats, David Cameron said yesterday.
That was from May 22, shortly before the IAEA issued its latest report:
Iran is probably three to eight years away from producing a nuclear bomb if it so chooses, the head of the U.N.''s nuclear watchdog warned on Thursday, quoted by Reuters.
Underlining what he said was the growing risk of a major confrontation with the West and Iran, International Atomic Energy Agency head Mohamed ElBaradei appealed for the two sides to restart negotiations on a compromise as soon as possible.
"I tend, based on our analysis, to agree with people like John Negroponte and the new director of the CIA, who are saying that even if Iran wanted to go for a nuclear weapon, it would not be before the end of this decade or sometime in the middle of the next decade. In other words three to eight years from now," ElBaradei told a news conference in Luxembourg.
That ties back to the Washington Note report, which pits Negroponte and other “realists” against the Vice President and his allies in the administration and neoconservative think tanks.
It also seems to indicate that the Leader of Her Majesty’s Opposition is thought of as pretty far down the information food chain, if he’s being used as just another disinformation channel by one side of a faction fight in the US government. Dave, my friend, that’s where listening to Michael Gove gets you.