[Marxism] Fissures in ruling circles over Iran

Walter Lippmann walterlx at earthlink.net
Thu Jul 3 10:19:20 MDT 2008

That L.A. Times article presented intelligent intelligence from
the US military which have their own rather good reasons to sweat
over the possible military-political consequences of a war against
Iran. Some of the additional reasons which could restrain the U.S.
and which could encourage the U.S. to even tug the leash a little
bit around Israel's neck would be the even sharper rise in the 
price of oil. Yesterday, here in Seattle, I saw gasoline going 
for $4.50 per gallon. It's just about $144.00 per barrel today 
and someone may wonder if an even deeper depression than the one
currently in progress is what Washington really needs right now.

The Iranians, who are invariably derided in the U.S. media as a
bunch of ignoramuses who, as Bush would say, "hate is because 
we're free", have shown a sophisticated grasp of the political
game. When Washington began to float the notion of establish an
interests section in Tehran, they motivated it as a way to better
contact the Iranian opposition. Well, the Iranians did not simply
reject the U.S. proposal out of hand, but said that it would be
taken up normally if submitted through regular diplomatic channels.

Iran's stability, and the inability of the international community
to unite against Iran (China and Russia lead the foot-draggers) are
making it difficult for Washington to pull together a united front
against the Islamic Republic at this conjuncture.

No wonder there are some people in Washington who are looking in
the mirror and asking themselves if this gamble would be worth the
possible cost. 

Walter Lippmann
Seattle, Washington

LOS ANGELES TIMES: Risk to U.S. troops seen if Israel strikes Iran

July 1, 2008, 3:32 pm

Could Iran Be the Dominant Economic Story This Fall?

Tensions over Iran are escalating and at least one economist expects
the situation in the Mideast to become the dominant story of the
second half of the year.

Israeli soldiers participate in a combat exercise in a mock Arab
village at a training center at the Tze’elim base in southern Israel.

“Overshadowing all the economic data is growing speculation that
Israel is gearing up to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment plants,”
said Bernard Baumohl of the Economic Outlook Group. “We assess the
probability of such a military strike to be 85%, and that it will
likely occur between September and November.”

Earlier this month, a flurry of Israeli military maneuvers ignited
speculation about a possible strike. Meanwhile, the U.S. has
continued to voice concerns about Iranian nuclear capabilities, while
making clear that it prefers diplomatic solutions. But reports have
surfaced that American covert operations against Iran have been
stepped up.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson today said everyone is concerned
about the prospect of Iran developing nuclear weapons, and that
Iran’s behavior is isolating the country from the financial system.
“And I believe that over time it makes a real difference and sends a
clear signal if you have concerted and multilateral action that is
conduct-based and which isolates them from much of the outside world,
the respectable outside world,” he said.

However, it’s not Iran’s financial system that worries economists,
but the impact any military action there could have on oil prices.
“The price of crude could spike close to $250 a barrel once the
assault commences,” Baumohl said. “How oil prices will behave
afterward will depend on the speed and effectiveness of the Israeli
strike and whether the U.S. manages to keep the Strait of Hormuz

Baumohl compares the tensions to the Cuban missile crisis, suggesting
any assault could also lead to general instability and terrorism. It
“will consume people for the fall of 2008,” he said. –Phil Izzo and
Kelly Evans Permalink | Trackback URL:

Iran Diplomat Sees Potential for New Nuclear Talks
Minister Declines
To Rule Out a Halt
In Uranium Work
July 2, 2008; Page A6

NEW YORK -- Iran's foreign minister expressed optimism that
negotiations could begin with the international community over
Tehran's nuclear program, saying that his government is "carefully
examining" a package of economic incentives offered last month by the
U.S. and its negotiating partners and that Iran would respond "within

Iran's top diplomat, Manouchehr Mottaki, steered away from Tehran's
long-held negotiating position on its nuclear program by refusing to
rule out the possibility that Iran might freeze its
uranium-enrichment work while negotiations took place.

Iran's Manouchehr Mottaki, at left, with President Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, said Tehran is weighing economic incentives.

"We see the potential for a new round of talks," Mr. Mottaki told a
group of U.S. journalists gathered at Iran's United Nations mission
Tuesday. "The two sides are trying to see if they can arrive at a new

U.S. officials reacted cautiously to Mr. Mottaki's comments,
stressing that Tehran has offered no sign it is prepared to suspend
uranium-enrichment activities, the principal precondition to talks
held by the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council --
the U.S., France, Russia, the U.K. and China -- plus Germany. U.S.
diplomats also noted that Tehran has competing political camps that
often don't speak with a unified voice on key policy issues.

"No one is placing any bets" on the talks going forward, the State
Department's spokesman, Tom Casey, said Tuesday.

Nonetheless, Mr. Mottaki's conciliatory words represent a break from
growing expectations of a widening conflict between Iran and the West
over the nuclear issue. Fears of a conflict with Iran have
contributed to a sharp rise in oil prices in recent weeks. Crude for
August delivery settled up 97 cents, or 0.7%, at $140.97 a barrel

U.S. military officials have reported that Israel conducted military
exercises in early June that appeared to be a trial run for an attack
on Iran's nuclear facilities in the city of Natanz. Senior Iranian
officials have said in recent days that they would respond to any
strike by imposing controls on shipping in the Persian Gulf and
possibly launching reprisals against neighbors that participated in
the attack.

Mr. Mottaki played down in his briefing the possibility of an Israeli
or U.S. strike on Iran, arguing that Jerusalem's military exercises
were a form of "psychological warfare." He argued that Jerusalem
didn't have the military capability to execute such a strike. In
addition, he said, "it doesn't seem like American public opinion
would be able to accept another attack."

The incentive package that the U.S. and its partners offered Iran
last month included help in developing Tehran's civilian nuclear
program and economic assistance. Tehran, in turn, has presented its
own negotiating package to the U.N., which focuses largely on
developing international consortiums, including Tehran, to tackle
issues ranging from the storing of nuclear fuel to efforts to
stabilize the Middle East.

Mr. Mottaki said a mixing of "the two packages can put together a
good agenda."

He was critical of the U.S.'s military campaigns in Iraq and
Afghanistan and said stability in those countries couldn't be
achieved without Tehran's active involvement.

Mr. Mottaki also said his government was against the U.S.
establishing a long-term military presence through a Status of Forces
Agreement being negotiated between Washington and Baghdad. He said
Tehran believed such an agreement was against the will of the Iraqi
people and the other governments in the region.

"It's our understanding that they won't sign it," Mr. Mottaki said,
referring to Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Mr. Mottaki also challenged Pentagon claims that Iran is playing an
active role in arming and training Shiite militias inside Iraq. The
Iranian minister said Tehran has played a direct role in seeking to
broker truces between Mr. Maliki's government and various insurgent

Mr. Mottaki held open the possibility of increased interaction
between the Iranian and U.S. public. He said that Tehran is actively
supporting cultural and educational exchanges and that the Iranian
government hopes to set up direct flights between Tehran and
Washington. He also said Tehran might be receptive to the U.S.
opening up a diplomatic interest section, or diplomatic office, in

     Los Angeles, California
     Editor-in-Chief, CubaNews
     "Cuba - Un Paraíso bajo el bloqueo"

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