Dennis Ross acts as Democratic candidate Barack Obama's Middle East advisor. In addition, he is a leading contender - among some 300 candidates - for the post of secretary of state in an Obama government.
October 24, 2008
Moon of Alabama
Yesterday two former 'bipartisan' senators had an op-ed in the Washington Post calling on the new U.S. president to launch an outright attack on Iran after some sham negotiations:
[W]hile a diplomatic resolution is still possible, it can succeed only if we negotiate from a position of strength. This will require better coordination with our international partners and much stricter sanctions.
Both to increase our leverage over Iran and to prepare for a military strike, if one were required, the next president will need to begin building up military assets in the region from day one.
Jonathan Schwarz summarizes the logic of the op-ed:
Now that would be correct if Iran would really try to get the power to stop the U.S. from attacking, i.e. to acquire nuclear bombs. But the IAEA and the U.S. intelligence community say Iran is not even trying. The correct summery of the op-ed's logic is thereby:
We're Going To Attack You If We Assume You Try To Get The Power To Stop Us From Attacking You
Glenn Greenwald shows how little real 'bipartisanship' the Bipartisan Policy Center really includes. Its report (pdf) is essentially an AIPAC product written by the American Enterprise Institute neocon Michael Rubin.
Helena Cobban points to the role of Dennis Ross, the zionist-neocon ex-Reagan, ex-Bush I, ex-Clinton hand. Ross is now Obama's middle east adviser and a member of the 'bipartisan' group.
Jim Lobe suspects Dennis Ross is trying to maneuver Obama into attacking Iran:
According to a variety of sources, Ross was the main drafter of Obama’s pander (except on the settlers) to AIPAC’s annual convention here in May and has since raised his hopes for a top post in an Obama administration, possibly even secretary of state. Frankly, I doubt that the latter prospect is realistic, but — and here’s the main point — I have it from several sources close to the campaign that he is more eager to gain control over the Iran portfolio (possibly special envoy) than to work on the problem that he knows best from his long experience, the Israel-Palestinian conflict. If he succeeds in his quest and if this report is any reflection of his views, then the U.S. could very well find itself at war with Iran within a remarkably short period of time.
He later updates:
Make sure you also read in this connection today’s New York Times article by David Sanger, particularly the part about the purported e-mail from Obama that was routed through an unidentified “aide,” who I presume to be Ross. The coincidence of the appearance of this article with the Coats-Robb op-ed suggests an effort to box Obama into a pre-election position. The Iran part of the story by Sanger, who considers himself a foreign-policy player, as well as a reporter, tracks the report’s narrative quite nicely.
The Sanger piece Jim points to includes this:
Mr. Obama, the candidate who has expressed far more willingness to sit down and negotiate with the Iranians, said in an e-mail message passed on by an aide that in any final deal he would not allow Iran to produce uranium on Iranian soil, the same hard-line view enunciated by the Bush administration.
Mr. Obama’s position is closer to the zero-tolerance approach adopted by the Bush administration. “I do not believe Iran should be enriching uranium or keeping centrifuges,” he said in an e-mail message passed on by aides.
Jim is right to suspect some concerted action by Ross and his 'bipartisan' group. Today said Dennis Ross is interviewed by the Israeli newspaper Haaretz (which introduces him as possible Sec State). First the usual lies:
Preventing Iran from going nuclear is a very high priority for [Obama], not only because it's such a threat to Israel, but because it's such a threat to the United States.
Today Iran is a nuclear power - it doesn't have nuclear weapons yet, but in 2001 it was not yet able to convert uranium or uranium gas, it didn't have a single centrifuge. Now it's stockpiling highly enriched uranium.
"Stockpiling highly enriched uranium" - 4-5% enriched is all Iran does says the IAEA.
Then Ross pushes the point of the 'bipartisan' bomb-Iran report. Negotiate to gain leverage with allies, but expect the negotiations to fail, which would then lead to and 'justify' an attack:
When Senator Obama suggests that he would be prepared to meet with [Ahmadinejad], he says such a meeting first has to be prepared. What he means is that you have to coordinate with your allies - all your allies. Secondly, it means you have to check whether you can put together an agenda for a lower-level meeting. If it becomes clear that you can't put together such an agenda, then you don't hold a meeting at a high level - the presidential level - because it's not going to lead anywhere.
Imagine Dennis Ross as special Iran envoy in an Obama administration trying very hard to "put together an agenda for a lower-level meeting" only to fail to get such an agenda. Because that would be exactly the logic of the report, fake negotiations with Iran to get allies with the next step being bombs dropping on Iran.
Dennis Ross is maneuvering to get to that point.
Additionally the danger of a conflict with Iran increased today because the attempts of the Israeli prime minister-designate Tzipi Livni to form a coalition with Labor and the ultra-religious Shas failed. This will likely lead to snap-elections and a future Israeli government with the leader of the far-right Likud party, Netanjahu, as prime minister.
Netanjahu as prime minister and Dennis Ross as Obama's Iran envoy would be a very deadly combination.