Friday, November 7, 2008


World Socialist On the eve of the US elections, the New York Times cautiously pointed to the emergence of a bipartisan consensus in Washington for an aggressive new strategy towards Iran. While virtually nothing was said in the course of the election campaign, behind-the-scenes top advisers from the Obama and McCain camps have been discussing the rapid escalation of diplomatic pressure and punitive sanctions against Iran, backed by preparations for military strikes. The article entitled "New Beltway Debate: What to do about Iran" noted with a degree of alarm: "It is a frightening notion, but it not just the trigger-happy Bush administration discussing-if only theoretically-the possibility of military action to stop Iran's nuclear weapons program. . . Reasonable people from both parties are examining the so-called military option, along with new diplomatic initiatives."

Behind the backs of American voters, top advisers for President-elect Barack Obama have been setting the stage for a dramatic escalation of confrontation with Iran as soon as the new administration takes office. A report released in September from the Bipartisan Policy Center, a Washington-based think tank, argued that a nuclear weapons capable Iran was "strategically untenable" and detailed a robust approach, "incorporating new diplomatic, economic and military tools in an integrated fashion".

A key member of the Center's task force was Obama's top Middle East adviser, Dennis Ross, who is well known for his hawkish views. He backed the US invasion of Iraq and is closely associated with neo-cons such as Paul Wolfowitz. Ross worked under Wolfowitz in the Carter and Reagan administrations before becoming the chief Middle East envoy under presidents Bush senior and Clinton. After leaving the State Department in 2000, he joined the right-wing, pro-Israel think tank-the Washington Institute for Near East Policy-and signed up as a foreign policy analyst for Fox News. The Bipartisan Policy Center report insisted that time was short, declaring: "Tehran's progress means that the next administration might have little time and fewer options to deal with this threat."

Ottawa Citizen - Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni attacked U.S. president-elect Barack Obama on Thursday for declaring a willingness to talk with Iran about its nuclear program. "We live in a neighborhood in which sometimes dialogue . . . is liable to be interpreted as weakness," Livni told Israeli Radio, expressing a view held by many of her countrymen. Asked if she supported discussions between the U.S. and Iran, Livni said: "No." Livini is in a close fight with Likud's hawkish leader Benjamin Netanyahu to become the next prime minister. Livini is in a close fight with Likud's hawkish leader Benjamin Netanyahu to become the next prime minister. . . The comments from the new leader of the governing Kadima party came just before Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad used the official Iranian wire service, IRNA to send an unexpected note of congratulations to Obama on his victory. But Ahmadinejad, who has threatened to use nuclear weapons against Israel, included a warning to Obama that because "the opportunities bestowed upon people by God are short-lived," the next U.S. president should "make the most of the chance of service and leave a good name by preferring people's real interests and justice to the insatiable demands of a selfish and indecent minority."

Irish Times - Israel said US president-elect Barack Obama's stated readiness to talk to Iran could be seen in the Middle East as a sign of weakness in efforts to persuade Tehran to curb its nuclear program


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