OpEdNews Op Eds

The State Department Ushers in Dennis Ross in the Dark of the Night

By (about the author)     Permalink       (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; ; (more...) ; , Add Tags  (less...) Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 3   Valuable 3   Well Said 2  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H1 2/24/09

Become a Fan
  (8 fans)
- Advertisement -
Late last night, according to the Washington Post, the State Department announced that Dennis Ross will be the "special adviser to Secretary of State Clinton responsible for developing a strategy for engaging Iran."

The State Department, in fact, has yet to specifically cite Iran in Ross’s title. Dennis Ross will be "adviser to the secretary of state for the Gulf and Southwest Asia." State Department officials, the Washington Post reports, said the title is a euphemism for Iran.

For months many concerns have been raised over the prospect of a Ross appointment as a special envoy to or an adviser on Iran. To assign an advisery role to the former diplomat who actively supports not only coercive actions against Iran, but the policy option of a preventive military attack seems counterintuitive to the need for trust in this highly sensitive relationship.

In 2007 and 2008 Dennis Ross, working on the Presidential Task Force for the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), convened the report "How to Deepen the U.S.-Israel Cooperation on the Iranian Nuclear Challenge."

This task force met numerous times including a two-day retreat in Virginia with ten Israeli counterparts. In an effort to bring aboard those who had the ear of the major presidential candidates at the time, signatories included Richard Clarke, Anthony Lake, Susan Rice, Vin Weber and James Woolsey.

The report focused on halting Iran's nuclear program and indicated that it's not just a bomb they are worried about but also Iran having influence in the region. It criticized the November 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) that found that Iran had halted the weaponization component of its nuclear program in 2003 for "reducing the sense of urgency for additional pressure." It added that "Israeli intelligence analysts have doubts about both the facts and duration of Iran's suspension of weaponization efforts."

The first section of the report titled "The Importance of Prevention" raises concerns that the U.S. might favor deterrence over prevention. Prevention in this case would be the act of a preventive military strike against Iran. It points out that "Americans should recognize that deterrence is, in Israeli eyes, an unattractive alternative to prevention, because if deterrence fails, Israel would suffer terribly." The result of this, they explain, would be that Israel may decide to act independently against Iran.

While this may be a valid concern, it raises the question of whether the United States should support preventive military action simply because Israel might do it first. The report criticizes Iran for not abiding by UN Security Council resolutions calling on it to suspend its enrichment program, but Ross and his fellow signatories show little concern for the UN Charter that requires that member nations refrain from the threat or use of force and that if a dispute is not settled it shall be referred to the Security Council which will make recommendations. While the Charter allows for military action in self-defense, no strong case for even an imminent attack currently exists.

The United States has been down this preventive route before most recently in March 2003. That Dennis Ross and the folks on this task force don’t seem to take into account the disastrous effects of the preventive attack on Iraq and would consider this option with Iran is at the minimum an unsettling notion.

- Advertisement -

Interestingly, after recognizing the "abiding commitment" the United States has to Israel, they make a point of stating that "critics who argue that Israel has manipulated the U.S. government to act counter to the American national interest, which - if properly understood - would see Israel as a liability." "We reject that critique," reads the report.

The task force recommends four policy options when dealing with Iran. The first two involve diplomatic engagement and political and economic pressure. It advises that Israel be brought in "as a full partner in planning discussions regarding initiatives involving the UN Security Council; and U.S-EU, U.S.-Arab, and other relevant forums."

The other two policy options include "coercive options such as an embargo on Iran’s sale of oil or import of refined petroleum products, and preventive military action."

Before signing off, the report revisits the issue of the relationship with Israel and the United States. It calls for the president to use the "bully pulpit" to educate the American public that Iran poses a direct threat to the United States quickly adding, "The central argument is that preventing Iran’s acquisition of a nuclear weapons capability is not special pleading for America’s ally Israel - it is vital to America’s own security."

When considering that Dennis Ross will be "responsible for developing a strategy for engaging Iran," it is important to note that the blueprint for this strategy from Ross’s perspective is deeply rooted in WINEPs presidential task force that endorses the policy option of a preventive strike and included not just American statesmen, diplomats and scholars, but ten anonymous Israeli counterparts.

- Advertisement -

While the State Department continues to use vague language about the connection between Dennis Ross and Iran, WINEP's presidential task force makes clear that Ross will not be alone at the table.

 

http://bit.ly/birenpics

Cheryl Biren is a Philadelphia-based researcher, writer, editor and photographer with a focus on social justice. From 2007-2011, she served on the editorial board of Opednews.com.

Cheryl has also consulted for the Rob Kall Radio Show with (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Follow Me on Twitter

Contact Author Contact Editor View Authors' Articles
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

Breaking Camp: Veterans Occupy National Archives Building

Nancy Pelosi Book Signing: Know Your Power, Just Don't Speak Truth to It

Animal Rights Activists Confront Parents at Ringling Bros. Circus

Meet the Protester Who 'May Have Received a Minor Injury' at the Hofstra Debate

Veterans Want YOU for Civil Resistance!

NJ Congressman: Bush Admin. Will 'Gulf of Tonkinize' Iran

Comments

The time limit for entering new comments on this article has expired.

This limit can be removed. Our paid membership program is designed to give you many benefits, such as removing this time limit. To learn more, please click here.

Comments: Expand   Shrink   Hide  
12 people are discussing this page, with 28 comments
To view all comments:
Expand Comments
(Or you can set your preferences to show all comments, always)

Here's what Chris Hedges wrote about this yest... by Richard Mynick on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 10:02:54 AM
Clinton is one and Obama is none (ie, it will be h... by Brett Paatsch on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 12:42:06 PM
Principles). Principle XI (a) (i) defines as a cri... by Richard Mynick on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 1:03:24 PM
when he appoints Dennis Ross of the ME Institute (... by Elizabeth Molchany on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 1:17:22 PM
As usual right on target.  Chris Hedges as us... by jersey girl on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 7:24:18 PM
you that included quite a lot of legal references ... by Brett Paatsch on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 8:43:27 AM
Please see my email to you concerning this. J... by John R Moffett on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 9:07:31 AM
Thanks Richard and Brett for weighing in. Brett, I... by Cheryl Biren on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 1:12:22 PM
I agree with Cheryl Biren-Wright in her comments t... by Elizabeth Molchany on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 5:07:22 PM
regarding the "clenched fist." i had the... by Cheryl Biren on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 5:31:16 PM
and thanks for the excellent article.  We nee... by Elizabeth Molchany on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 6:20:50 PM
Brett, I simply have to disagree that having... by Brett Paatsch on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 1:52:14 AM
It is no surprise to me  that this man was ch... by jersey girl on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 7:20:41 PM
I believe that Obama has all the courage it would ... by Jim Pivonka on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 10:41:01 PM
"I hope that his superb speech this evening h... by jersey girl on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 3:09:56 AM
Is this another one of those "things" we... by Mr M on Tuesday, Feb 24, 2009 at 11:37:19 PM
tears of despair ...  at the naivete of some ... by richard on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 7:14:08 AM
This appointment is not the leat bit surprising wh... by Andrew Hughes on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 7:22:41 AM
I am shocked, simply shocked! Obama isn't real... by William Whitten on Wednesday, Feb 25, 2009 at 9:03:25 AM

 

Tell a Friend: Tell A Friend


Copyright © 2002-2015, OpEdNews

Powered by Populum