January 10, 2005

Good News At Last

After the infamous "axis of evil" remark, the loony rumblings of Bush's pet neocons, and four years of needlessly belligerent foreign policy, I'm at last fairly optimistic that this administration won't pick a fight with Iran. So I'll share my reasons for newfound hope... right before I begin wondering if they aren't saving it up for a sneak attack on Syria.

First, America has repatriated to Iran several members of the Mujaheddin-e Khalq. Therefore, as it was explained to me, the US has probably cut a deal with Iran. The MEK (or MKO as it's also referred to) was the US' most likely preferred vehicle for a coup attempt, though the group is widely reviled by the Iranian public for terrorism against Iranian civilians.

The US State Department on Monday confirmed "voluntary" repatriation to Iran of some members of an Iranian opposition group that used to be based in Iraq and said the possibility of sending them to third countries was also being studied.

"Some of them that have been found not to have engaged in terrorist activity have been voluntarily repatriated to Iran," US State Department spokesman Adam Ereli told reporters. ...

To seal the deal, perhaps, we get news of the inevitable payola. [Emphasis mine]:

A US company has been awarded development rights to Phases 9 and 10 of a giant project to develop the world's largest gas field -- South Pars -- in southern Iran, the managing director of Pars Oil and Gas Company said in Tehran on Sunday.

The English-language 'Iran Daily' quoted Akbar Torkan as saying Halliburton won the bid together with another foreign company which has been identified as Oriental. ...

Not that I won't still curse them for being greedy bastards, but if they can make money off of peace instead of war for a while, better than nothing.

If there's anything that can restart our sputtering economy, it would be greater access to contracts in a resource-rich country like Iran. If the Bushies want to go whole hog and start allowing them to buy commercial airliners again (which they haven't been able to do since the revolution), it could easily bring Boeing back from the brink for a solid couple decades and put them on better footing against Airbus. And that's only the possible benefit to a local Northwest firm, but there's money to be made across the board from selling to Iran, money that European firms have had all to themselves for around 25 years now. It might even be enough to mask some of the havoc being wreaked by the administration's fiscal incontinence.

Finally Israel, in spite of sharply escalating rhetoric and plenty of not-so-latent hostility between the two countries, as the rather biting article Arutz Sheva says, [Israeli] Defense Minister Sha'ul Mofaz has recently suggested a lowering of the tone against Iran." Which is to perhaps say that, saber-rattling aside, they don't really want to fight. Complaining about Iran is a good way to get the Americans to sell them lots of weapons, but maybe they aren't particularly keen to use them at the moment.

Peace in our time? Not unless only the cockroaches are left, most likely. But a temporary cessation of hostilities here and there is most welcome. Particularly since, as the Arutz Sheva article sees it, we very well may be saving it up for Syria. [Emphasis mine]:

..But the United States now seems overburdened in Iraq and Afghanistan, and has indicated that if it has a next target, it will be the far weaker Syria. ...

What can I say. I hadn't yet found that particular article when I started writing this post and made the crack about Syria. Which goes to show that the Bush administration will ever reward pessimism with justification.

Posted by natasha at January 10, 2005 11:37 PM | International | Technorati links |

As long as the Bushies can make money on Iran, combined with the fact that they know they do not have the personnel levels to start trouble with that country, they will deal instead of fight. Syria would require smaller levels of resources and seems like the more likely next target for the White House nutcases. Still, I think magpie's deathsquad post shows how the U.S. will go at Syria as opposed to full scale. Not enough troops for that even in Syria.

Posted by: Scott at January 11, 2005 03:55 AM

Stratfor says that in order to get back on track with the WOT, it will be necessary to get out of Iraq and head to the next campaign in the WOT: Pakistan.

Posted by: Mary at January 11, 2005 07:37 AM