2010-04-21

Morning Report: 2010-04-21

Six years on, DiL continues its mission of reporting events in the Middle East and around the world.

US rules out military strike on Iran. Debka: 'US deputy defense secretary Michele Flournoy said Wednesday, April 21: "The US has ruled out a military strike against Iran's nuclear program any time soon." This is the first time a senior administration official has publicly admitted that America has dropped its military option against Iran. Instead, said Flournoy, the US is hoping that "negotiations and United Nations sanctions will prevent the Middle East nation from developing nuclear weapons." ...' The Debka article concludes that Israel's leaders are "divided" over whether to attack Iran over US objections.

“Would an airmen like me ever be ordered to fire on an Israeli – aircraft or personnel?” Jennifer Rubin at Commentary, citing Wired, reports that Admiral Mike Mullen couldn't give a straight answer to an airman's question about a possible US/Israeli conflict. The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff sidestepped a question of what would happen if Israel sought to fly over Iraqi airspace to attack Iran.
If Israel decided to attack Iran, the speculation went, those jet would need to fly through Iraqi airspace to reach their targets. That airspace is considered a “no-fly” zone by the American military. So might U.S. troops shoot down the Israeli jets, the airmen asked the chairman, if they breached that airspace?

Mullen tried to sidestep the question. “We have an exceptionally strong relationship with Israel. I’ve spent a lot of time with my counterpart in Israel. So we also have a very clear understanding of where we are. And beyond that, I just wouldn’t get into the speculation of what might happen and who might do what. I don’t think it serves a purpose, frankly,” he said. “I am hopeful that this will be resolved in a way where we never have to answer a question like that.” ...


The case for regime change in Iran. The Spirit of Man says that President Obama should not just read, but write and memorize, this article by Michael Rubin at Commentary:
The U.S. intelligence community has advised Obama that regime change in Iran is risky, and it is. It is not certain that a democratic or even constitutional order would emerge. Three decades of Islamist governance have shaped Iranian political culture, and the all-persuasive influence of the Revolutionary Guards will be hard to shake. Still, the CIA’s preference—which is to do nothing and let the chips fall where they may—is poor advice and poorer policy. The Obama administration instead should gear its interventions to maximize the probability of a democratic, constitutional, and nonthreatening Iran. This requires concentrating on measures that would strengthen so-called civil-society efforts and cripple the Revolutionary Guards.

A multifaceted approach can work. First, Obama should impose broad sanctions ...

Read the rest at the link. Rubin specifically advocates banning business with the Iranian Central Bank, strengthening support for pro-democracy groups, weakening the Revolutionary Guards, and a strong Persian-language media campaign.

Commentary. A belated happy Independence Day (Yom ha'Atzma'ut) to Israel. And good luck - you'll need it.

Wish I could say something more positive than that.