Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Former CIA director: We should opt for a non-violent regime change in Iran

Woolsey questions the efficacy of Radio Farda and VOA Persian

  • R. James Woolsey, Hearing, House Committee for Foreign Affairs: Given the nature of the Iranian regime, what should we do? I agree that this is a difficult matter and that there are no easy answers. But since I am convinced that the Iranian regime is fundamentally incorrigible, and since I am not yet ready to propose an all-out use of military force to change the regime and halt its nuclear program, in my judgment we should opt for trying to bring about, non-violently, a regime change. I admit that the hour is late since we have wasted much time trying to engage and negotiate with the regime, and I understand that in the context of an effort to change the regime without using force the effort could get out of hand. Yet I am convinced that the least bad option if for us to state clearly that we support a change of regime in Iran because of the irremediable theocratic totalitarian nature of the current regime as it has been demonstrated over nearly three decades, together with its interference with the peace and security of its neighbors – currently especially Iraq and Lebanon – and its nuclear weapons program.

In other news:

  • The Economist-Targeting Iran? (via irvaj): George Bush could hardly be clearer in his disagreement with those, such as the members of the Baker-Hamilton Commission, who have argued for an early exit from Iraq coupled with the wooing of its big neighbour, Iran. Last week he announced that another 21,500 American troops will be sent to Baghdad in an effort to impose a military solution there. Then came the sabre-rattling towards Iran. He confirmed the deployment of an extra carrier strike group and Patriot anti-missile batteries to the Middle East—a clear signal that he is giving himself the option of a military strike to halt Iran's suspected development of nuclear weapons.

  • Russia Confirms Sale of Tor-M1 Air Defense Missiles to Iran-Pravda: Russia's defense minister said Tuesday that Moscow has sent air defense missiles to Iran, the first high-level confirmation that their delivery took place despite U.S. complaints. Sergei Ivanov did not specify how many missile systems had been delivered, but a ministry official speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the subject said not all the systems contracted for had been delivered. "We have delivered short-range Tor-M1 missiles to Iran in accordance with the contract," Ivanov told reporters.

  • Allies 'Go After' Iran as Beefed-up Naval Force Sails for the Persian Gulf-The Times: Britain is joining an American military campaign to blunt Iranian influence in Iraq and the Gulf. In a move likely to heighten tension in an already volatile part of the world, US forces have been ordered to detain Iranian agents in Iraq and to strengthen substantially America’s military presence in the Gulf. Two Royal Navy minehunters have arrived in the Gulf to reinforce a naval frigate on patrol in the area. “We are going after their [Iran’s] networks in Iraq,” Zalmay Khalilzad, the outgoing US Ambassador to Baghdad, said. The aim was to change the behaviour of the Islamic regime in Tehran, he added. Robert Gates, the US Defence Secretary, accused Tehran of “very negative behaviour”. Twice in the past few weeks US forces have detained Iranian officials in Iraq, first in Baghdad and last week in the northern city of Arbil.