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U.S. Intentions Unclear; Israel Lobby Presses for War

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U.S.-Iran War: U.S. Intentions Unclear; Israel & Israel Lobby Press for War

Mixed Signals

    After months of increasing expectations that the Bush administration was preparing to attack Iran, a series of events in the last few weeks indicated a possible shift in strategy. The central question about these events, listed below, is whether they represent a genuine shift away from intended war making, or are just repositioning designed to enhance conditions for the long-planned attack on Iran?

    Among those events in question:

  • Resolution of the Lebanon's latest internal conflict, initially trigged by a failed effort to seize Hezbollah's communications infrastructure, apparently inspired and backed by the Bush administration, after which Lebanon's government and Hezbollah reached an accommodation, leaving those facilities intact and strengthening Hezbollah's already dominant military and political position;

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  • Israel and Syria initiated and acknowledged ongoing negotiations, despite the objections by the Bush administration;

  • Iraqi factions agreed to halt the U.S.-back offensive against Sadr City in Baghdad, allowing Iraqi troops, but not U.S. troops, to patrol the district;

  • Israel and Hamas, using Egypt as a go-between, negotiated the extension of a developing de facto cease-fire in Gaza;

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  • Preparations by the Bush administration to give up power at the end of their legal term of office,  indicating an acceptance of such a termination;

  • Iraq's government indicating, in the face of White House pressure, that it wants a U.S. withdrawal time table;

  • U.S. participation in "direct talks" with Iran and possible establishment of a U.S. interest section in Tehran.

  • U.S. reportedly rejected Israeli weapons requests and warned Israel against attacking Iran.

Prediction Error

 

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    While it is clear that speculation about the future is particularly prone to error, we think it important to acknowledge such misjudgments, as we do now by noting our April 2008 conclusion about a likely US attack on Iran by the end of June:

    "Since we continue to believe the attack will likely come before the end of May, or, at the latest June,  we think it is likely the attack will come between May 11, 2008 and June 30, 2008. If not, then with near certainty before the US elections in November. Should the attack not come before Bush leaves office, the chances of a major attack on Iran would be greatly diminished, no matter which of the three remaining major candidates takes office in his place, even if potential war provoking incidents between the US and Iran were to occur. And this is why the Israel Lobby is pressing Bush to act before it is 'too late'." ~ April 30, 2008.

Covert Acts of War

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William H. White is Director of Voters for None of the Above

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