August 27, 2008


Poll shows voters support military action in Iran (Bruce Finley, 8/27/08, The Denver Post)

A poll released Wednesday found 63 percent of voters support U.S. or Israeli military action against Iran if diplomacy fails.

Joseph Biden has shown a softness toward Iran (Yossi Melman, 8/28/08, Ha'aretz)
[F]or more than a decade now Biden's attitude toward the Islamic Republic has been soft and conciliatory. It is no wonder that the senator and soon to be Democratic candidate for the vice presidency is the favorite senior American politician of the regime in Tehran. This was manifested in the praise that was heaped on him by one of the most important clerics on an official television channel. This happened in the context of Biden's opposition to President Bush's policy in Iraq, the criticism he expressed of Israel's moves in Lebanon in the last war and most particularly his statements against any American or Israeli attempt to attack Iran to halt its nuclear program and prevent it from achieving nuclear weapons.

Ayatollah Mohammed Kashani, who is close to the spiritual leader Ali Khamenei, praised Biden for his opposition to the military option and said, in a sermon in Tehran in December 2007, "The senator said rightly that Israel was not able to suppress Hezbollah in Lebanon, so how can the United States deal face to face with a nation of 70 million?" As is the custom, the cleric's words were greeted by his audience with cries of "Death to America."

Three months earlier Biden had been one of the few senators who opposed the declaring of the Revolutionary Guard, the military arm, by means of which the ayatollahs have succeed in holding the reins of government for 30 years, a terror organization. The proposal to designate the Revolutionary Guard a terror organization was the climax of a process that had coalesced gradually in the administration. At the start of 2007, the various intelligence branches in the United States assessed that the Revolutionary Guard is behind the wave of terror attacks on American soldiers in Iraq that exacted huge price in terms of hundreds of casualties. The National Intelligence Estimate of August, 2007 states explicitly that "Iran has been intensifying aspects of its lethal support for select groups of Iraqi Shia militants" and notes the number of attacks carried out by means of laying explosive charges (similar to those Hezbollah used against Israel Defense Forces soldiers in southern Lebanon) "has risen dramatically."

Despite their clear opposition to Bush's policy, most of the senators from the Democratic Party realized that the intelligence estimate is so assertive and the data so well-founded and reliable that they could not ignore it and could not allow their loathing for the administration and the president to bias their judgment. Therefore, they joined their Republican colleagues and supported the proposal to declare the Revolutionary Guard a terror organization and thus try to harm its financial capability. This must be made clear: The Revolutionary Guard is not just a military force but, just as importantly, also an economic empire that makes it the largest and wealthiest concern in the country.

Posted by Orrin Judd at August 27, 2008 7:35 PM
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