AMERICA will have to learn to live with a nuclear Iran, top US intelligence analysts have concluded at a secret meeting. Senior operatives and analysts from the intelligence community were almost unanimous in their view that little could be done to stop Iran acquiring the components for a nuclear bomb. Bombing Iran's nuclear facilities was rejected on the grounds that the intelligence needed for successful air strikes was lacking. "We only have an imperfect understanding of the extent and location of the Iranian program," said one source with knowledge of last week's meeting near Washington. "Even if we got the order to blow it up, we wouldn't know how to."
The White House's earlier enthusiasm for military strikes if all else failed has cooled after warnings from the Pentagon and intelligence analysts that the risk-to-reward ratio of taking action is too high. At best, 80 per cent of the targets are mapped out and then only sketchily. The "collateral damage" to civilians could be considerable, sources say. "Unless you can be 100 percent effective and set the program back by two decades, you'll just get a short-term delay in the program and you may not produce a result that is better than the current one," an intelligence analyst said.
General John Abizaid, commander of US forces in the Middle East, has warned that striking Iran could cripple oil supplies, unleash a "surrogate" terrorist army and lead to missile attacks on America's regional allies. The army is particularly concerned about Iran's ability to destabilise an already chaotic Iraq. US director of national intelligence John Negroponte has told President George W. Bush that there is no rush to use force as Iran's nuclear program is beset with technical errors.
Despite reports that the Iranians were willing to suspend their program secretly, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has defiantly announced that Iran's "atomic work" would not stop for a single day. Intelligence analysts concluded at last week's meeting that there were no negotiating carrots or sticks, such as sanctions, capable of persuading Iran to halt its pursuit of nuclear know-how - which it maintains is for peaceful energy purposes.
"The conclusion is that America is going to have to live with the bomb unless there's some miracle, such as a major accident, a major defector or an orange revolution," the source added, referring to the people's protests that brought reformers to power in Ukraine. None of these scenarios is considered particularly likely. The nuclear program had broad popular support, the analysts agreed, and a military strike could bolster the clerical regime. Even if Iran was attacked, one analyst said, they would start their efforts again with even greater secrecy.
[Sarah Baxter, Washington
October 02, 2006]
Wenn die USA womöglich mit einer Atommacht Iran leben kann (oder muß) bleibt immer noch die Frage offen, wie es mit der Bereitschaft Israels aussieht, einen derartig ausgestatteten Iran zu akzeptieren?