Blair Tells Bush He's Flying Solo On Iran
When the neo-cons decide to formally attack Iran later this year as another base-pleasing diversion from their impending losses in the 2006 elections, the Bush Administration and Israel will be going it alone. The Poodle has decided that enough is enough.
Tony Blair has told George Bush that Britain cannot offer military support to any strike on Iran, regardless of whether the move wins the backing of the international community, government sources claimed yesterday.
Amid increasing tension over Tehran's attempts to develop a military nuclear capacity, the Prime Minister has laid bare the limits of his support for President Bush, who is believed to be considering an assault on Iran, Foreign Office sources revealed.
So much for that rhetoric from the Mighty Wurlitzer about the "weak" French, Germans, Russians, and Chinese. Without the Brits aboard for another trip down Suicide Lane, the Bush Administration is now totally isolated, and in light of the Hersh article, looking like a collection of crazy loons. Worse yet, an influential think tank in Britain, one that has Blair’s ear, advises that Iran should be treated like Libya, and not Iraq, through a carefully crafted carrots-and-sticks approach.
(I)n the midst of international opposition to a pre-emptive strike on Tehran, and Britain's military commitments around the world, the government maintains it cannot contribute to a military assault. "We will support the diplomatic moves, at best," a Foreign Office source told Scotland on Sunday. "But we cannot commit our own resources to a military strike."
At best? That sounds to me like the Brits may not even support Security Council sanctions against Iran.
Meanwhile, a new report on the Iran crisis has warned that neo-conservatives in the Bush administration are on "collision course" with Tehran.
The Foreign Policy Centre (FPC), often referred to as Blair's "favourite think-tank", will appeal for a greater effort to find a diplomatic solution in a report to be published later this week. FPC director Stephen Twigg, formerly a Labour minister, explained: "It is essential UK policy on Iran is well informed... We want to engage with the various reformist elements in Iran, both inside and outside the structures of power.
"There is potential for political dialogue, economic ties and cultural contacts to act as catalysts for the strengthening of civil society in Iran."
Exactly. Opportunities that would be squandered if PNAC was allowed to dynamite another part of the Middle East.
While the sense of crisis over Iran has been escalated by the fiery rhetoric between Tehran and the West - particularly Washington - many within the British government are now convinced that the impasse can be resolved by repeating the same sort of painstaking diplomatic activity that returned Libya to the international fold.
The approach contrasts sharply with the strategy employed during the run-up to the war in Iraq, when ministers repeatedly issued grim warnings to Saddam Hussein over the consequences of not falling in line with their demands.
"The only long-term solution to Iran's problems is democracy," said Alex Bigham, co-author of the FPC report. "But it cannot be dictated, Iraq-style, or it will backfire. Iran may seem superficially like Iraq but we need to treat Iran more like Libya. Diplomatic engagement must be allowed to run its course. There need to be bigger carrots as well as bigger sticks."
Note that the Blair Administration is seemingly ignoring the rhetoric from Condi Rice, and this speaks volumes about how we are viewed across the pond. There is no joined-at-the-hip symmetry between Bush and the Poodle this time, and if Blair isn’t with him, then the remaining European players and the Chinese will at best give lip service publicly to Bush on Iran, if that.
This isn’t to say that Iran is not actively ramping up a nuclear energy program, as the photo evidence from the Institute for Science and International Security noted late this week. But contrary to the useless blather from the usual suspects inside the Bush Administration and now the MEK about any imminent threat posed by the Iranians, the truth is that they are years away from having enough centrifuges to enrich and process uranium to the degree necessary for a bomb. What is necessary is to get international inspectors into the country to test the assurances from the Iranian leadership that they only want a peaceful nuclear energy program. And if that means tolerating the stupid, juvenile, and embarrassing rhetoric from the Bush Administration while the rest of the world acts as adults and gets a deal done, then so be it. What’s another three years of being the laughingstock of the world?
We’re used to it by now, right?