Sunday, July 31, 2005

Iran: The Options

"With regard to Iran, the situation is bi-dimensional. US intervention has two parameters to consider. The most imminent issue is indeed monitoring the Iranian non-conventional build up. The question is when and at what stage do we act unilaterally? However, it is not that simple, for the US is not a single player here and I don't mean the Europeans, but the Iranians themselves. With Ahmadinijad in power, the Mullahs are moving to the counter offensive in the region. There is a regional context to any American confrontation with Tehran. I cannot imagine any sort of military move against the regime -if indeed the nuclear red lines are crossed- with Syria's regime in the back, and more importantly with Hizbollah's global reach. Our analysts, experts and planners must take Iranian-controlled Terrorism (Hizbollah) and to a certain extent the radical intelligence services in Damascus when they contemplate maps for strikes or other surgical operations on Iranian mainland.

"For if US airpower bombs any target inside Iran, Hizbollah will bomb US cities with all their hidden power. So, in short, the long arm of the Iranian regime -the terrorist networks- must be dealt with either before, or during a potential campaign. But, if one observes the state of affairs of Hizbollah today in Lebanon, you'd conclude that its policies are all guided towards aborting all US policies. They know the confrontation is coming, and are preparing for it, ahead of time.

"The other dimension of US intervention in Iran, is as it was discussed by our colleagues on the panel, on behalf of Iran's civil society. But it is only when the level of oppression is wide, bloody and visible worldwide, that Washington can mobilize worldwide efforts in that direction. Hence, the reasonable policy is to offer full fledged support to the democracy movement in Iran. Not a symbolic posture with symbolic logistics, but an all-out campaign to enable the opposition forces to face off with the regime. The President, the Europeans and other nations world-wide must act swiftly and dramatically in their support of the "struggle of the Iranian people." Short of strategic moves, they will be offering the Iranian masses to their bullies, and we will have to wait for another generation. As I wrote a couple weeks ago, Ahmadinijad's installation in power is the equivalent of "sealing off the fortress" before drama erupts. In conclusion, I believe historic opportunities are ripe for US revolutionary action in the region, but the window is not that wide, before it shuts down again."

Dr. Walid Phares, in a FrontPage symposium moderated by Jamie Glazov

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