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Sending Messages to Tehran

September 9th, 2013 - 6:48 pm

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough knows a lot about the president’s thinking and feeling about the world.  Remember that the about-face on Syria followed a long walk-and-chat involving the two of them.  So we should pay attention to what he says:

White House Chief of Staff Denis McDonough said Sunday that an impending U.S. attack on Syria would send a message to Iranian leaders that they should not feel free to develop nuclear weapons.

I think we should take that as a direct text message from the president.  What does it mean, exactly?   For starters, it surely means that American calculations are not limited to Syria alone.  We’re also thinking about Iran, which is entirely proper.  As I’ve said, Syria isn’t an independent actor.  Assad’s survival depends on Iran and Russia, therefore Khamenei and Putin are bigtime players.  On the ground, Khamenei matters more than Putin, because so much of the fighting is actually conducted by Iranian forces.  But in the “international arena” Putin is a major player, as we see from the global sigh of expectant relief at the news of his proposal to put Syria’s chemical weapons under “international control.”  As if that worked in Iraq…

So it’s altogether understandable that Obama would be thinking about Iran at the same time he thinks about Syria.  They are part of the same big problem, along with Russia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and Kurdistan.  If the Iranians get their nukes, it will be bad for Obama (never mind the consequences in the real world; politicians’ first concern is for that handsome devil in the mirror), and so his decisions, such as they are, elsewhere in the world are pushed through the Iranian filter.  How will this play in Tehran?

That’s the meaning of McDonough’s statement about “sending a message.”  If Obama wimps out on Syria the Iranians will figure that he’ll wimp out on them, too.  If you had any doubts, here’s Susan Rice, the national security advisor:

“We will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon,” Rice declared. “As the president has said, all options remain on the table. For our efforts to succeed, however, the leaders in Tehran must know that the United States means what we say.”

“If we do not respond when Iran’s close ally uses weapons of mass destruction, what message does that send to Iran? It risks suggesting that the international community cannot muster the will to act when necessary,” Rice said.

And here’s Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel:

“A refusal to act would undermine the credibility of America’s other security commitments — including the president’s commitment to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon,” he said, adding, “The word of the United States must mean something.”

Which is fair enough, so far as it goes, which isn’t really far enough.  Because the Iranians have already reached that conclusion.  They’re not sitting around wondering what we are going to do; they are pushing their advantage on all fronts, in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan…and Nigeria, for that matter.  They think they’ve got us on the run, and the Putin scheme reflects that.  He’s pulling the global plug on the president, at once underlining Obama’s indecisiveness, his weakness at home, and his impotence.

It’s too late to send indirect messages to Khamenei.  A very small military raid won’t do it.  They would have to see that the threat of regime change is suddenly real — in Tehran or Damascus, it all comes to the same thing in their reckoning — to start taking Obama seriously.

So if he really wants to send a message to Tehran, he’s got to do it directly, and it has to take the form of a real threat to the regime.

It’s doable, although probably not by this president.  It requires the United States to support the Iranian opposition, which is the greatest threat to Khamenei et. al.  Indeed, it’s the only threat they take seriously.  They know their people hate them (you don’t have three thousand prisoners on death row unless you’re worried).

We must hope that this constant refrain about “sending a message to Tehran” will finally prompt some American leaders to say, “Yeah, let’s send them a message: we are going to support your mortal enemies, we want a free Iran.”

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Top Rated Comments   
A real President would not put himself in a position that would explode on him and disgrace the country, only an amateur politician would pull a stunt like this. Doesn't anybody in his administration know what's going on, and can advise this fool on what he is suppose to do. You do not make threats unless you have your ducks in a row and can back them up. Besides, taking sides between warring terrorist fractions is just plain stupid, and stupidity seems to be the byword of this administration.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bill O'Reilly gave the most naive statement of the year during his talking points last night. "If everyone united against Assad, he would be gone and so would Al Qaeda and most terrorism."

It is impossible to fix stupid, opinionated, bloviators. O'Reilly was aghast last year when a guest informed him that Obama's maternal grandparents were communists. Way to do research Bill.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (77)
All Comments   (77)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Obama: Tiger at home, wimp abroad.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Let's say Obama doesn't "wimp out" in Syria. Let's say he orders an extremely limited pinprick of a strike. I assume Ledeen understands Obama doesn't have it in him to go beyond a symbolic strike. That would only CONFIRM Iran's correct assessment that he is a non-factor as regards Iran's nuclear arms acquisition program.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Don't be stupid, Tehran has received the message loud and clear, nukes are the only WMD that can save them and has tripled their efforts to proliferate their nukes.

Another message: the Great Satan is puny and impotent.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
'Bombs away' Ledeen at it again. It doesn't matter to him that the US backed jihadi liver eaters are raping and killing Christians, and Muslims that say NO to the 7th century. The US and EU support those that are killing us. Russia, Iran, and China do not. What choice do we have?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
A real President would not put himself in a position that would explode on him and disgrace the country, only an amateur politician would pull a stunt like this. Doesn't anybody in his administration know what's going on, and can advise this fool on what he is suppose to do. You do not make threats unless you have your ducks in a row and can back them up. Besides, taking sides between warring terrorist fractions is just plain stupid, and stupidity seems to be the byword of this administration.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This regime has to support its 'own' so obama's actions are expected. As to stopping Iran, give me a break. They are so far into the nuclear weapons project that they would never stop now. They hate the Jews and all they can think of is their destruction. They sound stupid and look stupid, etc, but I think this regime knows exactly what it is doing and why. Besides, the industrial/military complex needs more money in their coffers.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Knowing what we know about the Islamist mentality and agenda. McCain et al's weasel words about a free Syrian army and moderate sin Syria have struck me as not accurate from the getgo. (at least Assad in his one hour sit down with Charlie Rose was credible)

Daniel Greenfield lays it all out in a way that matches everything I've learned since 911.

"The vast majority of fighters, whatever associations they may have, are fighting to impose a Sunni Islamist system on Syria...In reality, the various brigades that are compatible will go on working together regardless of what D.C. does. And none of them are our friends."

http://frontpagemag.com/2013/dgreenfield/there-are-no-moderate-syrian-rebels/
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Ledeen if you believe in this there is nothing stopping you from going there.


Leaked Documents – U S Framed Syria in Chemical Weapons Attack

August 26th, 2013


http://investmentwatchblog.com/leaked-documents-u-s-framed-syria-in-chemical-weapons-attack/



JANUARY 15, 1998 Zbigniew Brzezinski: How Jimmy Carter and I Started the Mujahideen by Alexander Cockburn And Jeffrey St. Clair

http://www.counterpunch.org/1998/01/15/how-jimmy-carter-and-i-started-the-mujahideen/



General Wesley Clark: Wars Were Planned - Seven Countries In Five Years

"This is a memo that describes how we're going to take out seven countries in five years, starting with Iraq, and then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and, finishing off, Iran." I said, "Is it classified?" He said, "Yes, sir." I said, "Well, don't show it to me." And I saw him a year or so ago, and I said, "You remember that?" He said, "Sir, I didn't show you that memo! I didn't show it to you!"


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9RC1Mepk_Sw&feature=player_embedded
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Ledeen if you believe in this there is nothing stopping you from going there".

Dr. Ledeen advocates political support for Iranian dissidents, not military action, to counter the mullahs . A 5th grader could get that from his post. On that note, he is one of the foremost promoters of the heroic Iranian dissident movement.

Regarding military service, he has two sons who served as USMC officers in Iraq and 'stan, as well as a daughter who served in Iraq as a USG civilian. Does that give him the moral standing (in your mind) to write on these matters?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The video you linked to is based on reports from the Russian media source, RT and the Iranian news agency, PressTV. Given that Russia & Iran are Bashir el-Assad's biggest backers, their propaganda is hardly convincing.

Furthermore, it has been reported this morning that Syria has agreed to the Russian plan to surrender their chemical weapons to an international organization. Why would Assad agree to that if he honestly believed the rebels were using chemical weapons against him? He would not.

Finally, Brzezinski did not say that he & Carter "started the Mujahideen". He admitted to funding the Afghan Mujahideen which already existed and was actively resisting the pro-Russian regime.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Assad agreed at the demand of Russia. Without Russia it would not be possible for Assad to defeat the US backed jihadis.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I am sorry to bother you all, but what is happening is exactly what this administration always planned: weaken America's power.
Putin comes out as the man of peace (!!!!!), America looks ridiculous, the mad mullahs laugh and work harder and faster at their enrichment programs.

Israel must move, or the iranian nukes will be a fact.
Of course that now means that Israel has to temporarily blind the satellites that could reveal their move...A nice 24 hrs hack...



1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes, weaken US power. Why should we want the US to be powerful if it supports jihadis that are raping and killing Christians in the region? Is that your idea of America? It's not mine, and it wasn't why my father loved America after he survived the Armenian Genocide march into the Syrian desert. He would be horrified to see the US supporting the type that murdered most of his family in 1915. The US is now the Axis Power of our time. Until you realize what you are you will go from one pretext to another, causing immense suffering, leaving a path behind you of death and destruction.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Those satellites are American satellites.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yes they are.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
You're a bit late. We've already "wimped out" on Iran.
Stop making excuses for Obama and his pro-Al Qaeda and pro- Moslem Brotherhood policies.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
America has been signaling to Iran for a long time that we wouldn't do anything to them. Before Obama actually. For a while, I had hope. We had large forces in Afghanistan and Iraq bracketing Iran, and that might have been threatening. However, while we did manage to mostly subdue Iraq, we lacked the will to really do to town in Afghanistan and put it into submission enough to serve. So the brackets were imperfect. And when Iran was caught sending men and material into Iraq, we never called them on it.

And, of course, there was the astoundingly shortsighted policy of allowing our European allies to engage Iran in endless rounds of diplomacy that led to nothing when our own diplomacy got results out of Libya.

And finally, we failed to support the uprisings in Iran that might have led to a regime change or at least fueled a messy civil war where we could at least back on side from the beginning that might have ended up being somewhat sympathetic to us in the end.

Whether or not we strike Syria now is sort of like closing the barn door after the horse bolts.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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