View Poll Results: Who Will Win? That is, in possession of the land?

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  • Israel

    3 30.00%
  • The Palestinians

    1 10.00%
  • Two States

    4 40.00%
  • Neither, some other State or people rule.

    0 0%
  • Neither, mutual destruction.

    1 10.00%
  • One State, two peoples

    1 10.00%
  • One State, one people (intermarriage)

    0 0%
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Thread: War between Israel -v- Iran & Co (merged threads)

  1. #201
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default True, they do not and did not.

    Iran doesn't need a nuclear arsenal today. It has China and Russia for that...
    Though I'm not at all sure that the last sentence is true or realistic.
    ...And frankly,with the release of the NIE, neither China nor Russia will support an increase in economic sanctions against Iran, and they clearly don't care what Washington thinks...
    In this case I agree with the last sentence but am not all sure you're correct on the first one. Time will tell.
    From Tehran's perspective, Iran has come out ahead in all of this.
    Nor do I see any basis for that statement; they will certainly shout that they are ahead, as you said above, they've been playing the bluff and fall back game like North Korea (though not quite as well) since '79. So they'll make hooray! noises -- whether they really think that or wonder what in the world we're up to now is a totally different thing.

    The turn around from the 2005 NIE is bound to give them pause. They've miscalculated on us before and are rather cautious in fear of doing it again. They want respect for the Persian Empire and foreign investment but they are too proud to say that, they have to demand it indirectly, even while really understanding that is not a good approach. Complex folks.

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    Originally posted by Ken White:
    whether they really think that or wonder what in the world we're up to now is a totally different thing.
    That's probably true, only because right now we're probably not sure what we're up to now. Got to be tough being an analyst for the folks on the other side - your bosses call you and ask what the Americans are up to now, and I doubt one wants to respond with "We don't think they know what they are doing" (might have a negative effect on one's job standing).

    Actually, looks like two things are happening. First, as the 2007 NIE hit right at the entryway of the primary election cycle, there's being an abundance of caution by all the candidates. They are looking at this as (a) What's this to do for/to me as a player, and (b) What's this do for/to "them other folks" as a player.

    Right now, nobody's really in a hurry to bring it up, because they know that if they do, they'll get asked the same type of question(s).

    The second thing that's happening is a far more subtle, but is really interesting. Old rule is "Never try and con a Con (Artist)". If you are a pol and are a player, you're going to have some of those Con Artist aspects to you - it's required, part of the job. Can't do it - don't run for office.

    Iran was trying to pull a "Con of a Con", only it was on all of these political players. The 2007 NIE just blew that up. But the point is, it's now out there for everybody to see, and truth is, when pols feel like they are being played as "easy marks", they tend to get blood in their eyes, and they don't forget anytime soon.

    I can see this effect causing a whole lot of problems in normalizing relations with Iran, because it's always going to be "Don't you remember what happened last time we went down this road" thrown up in people's faces.

    The turn around from the 2005 NIE is bound to give them pause.
    This is interesting to me. Seeing Ahmadinejad's response (best categorized as the "We Done Been Wronged" speech), it almost looks like he's trying to make the best out of a less than favorable outcome. It's like Ahmadinejad and his team never fully expected the 2007 NIE output to be so radically different, and now they are scrambling. It's almost like they figured that the GWB administration had so much invested in the 2005 NIE outlook that the 2007 NIE had to follow the same path, no matter what the information. Thoughts?

  3. #203
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default All true and good points. That NIE is truly

    a political document -- and by that I mean Intel community internal politics and leanings more so than the national or international variety...

    Lot of chatter, most ill informed and off the mark -- in the Op-Ed pages this morning. I got the impression that most of the punditocracy were relying on what others had said as opposed to actually reading the Estimate. I Read a bunch of articles; this LINK was probably the most accurate...

    Poor old Ahmadinejad is indeed scrambling, I'm sure and Khameini is lambasting his spooks for allowing them to be surprised. I suspect W was told some time ago what the Estimate was going to say and played along to heighten the surprise.

    We aren't nearly as dumb as we sometimes appear...

  4. #204
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Though I'm not at all sure that the last sentence is true or realistic.
    What I mean't by that is that Iran is patient. While their ambition is to acquire nuclear weapons, they've been trying to do it for 50 years. They don't need to draw a line in the sand or instigate a war over it today! If they walk away from this with economic incentives to give up their measely 3000 centrifuges that probably don't work properly, then what have they lost? Nothing. And they gain whatever incentives and aid that's been offered.

    Regarding China and Russia not supporting further resolutions against China, both countries have already announced their intention to not support further sanctions since the release of the NIE.

  5. #205
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    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    What I mean't by that is that Iran is patient. While their ambition is to acquire nuclear weapons, they've been trying to do it for 50 years. They don't need to draw a line in the sand or instigate a war over it today! If they walk away from this with economic incentives to give up their measely 3000 centrifuges that probably don't work properly, then what have they lost? Nothing. And they gain whatever incentives and aid that's been offered.

    Regarding China and Russia not supporting further resolutions against China, both countries have already announced their intention to not support further sanctions since the release of the NIE.
    I'm no ME expert here, but I do not associate ME cultures or politics in general or Iranian culture or politics specifically as being particularly patient. Prone to fatalism perhaps, but patience is not one of their stronger suits, and certainly not when compared to a culture like that of say, China. And Iran is sitting on top of a demographic time-bomb of sorts along with an economy that is not expanding to support its young and expanding population.

    I suspect that Iran's options are narrowing and they are running out of time in which to make some important decisions. They may find themselves having to search for a way in which to pull a Libya without it looking like an outright capitulation. They know that someone's gunning for them, and that if the trigger is pulled, it will most certainly be sooner rather than later. This issue will almost certainly be decided one way or the other within a year, and probably much less than that. This is not a good situation, and especially not for Iran.

  6. #206
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    Default Might agree with the end conclusion, but...

    Originally posted by Norfolk:
    I suspect that Iran's options are narrowing and they are running out of time in which to make some important decisions. They may find themselves having to search for a way in which to pull a Libya without it looking like an outright capitulation. They know that someone's gunning for them, and that if the trigger is pulled, it will most certainly be sooner rather than later. This issue will almost certainly be decided one way or the other within a year, and probably much less than that. This is not a good situation, and especially not for Iran.
    ...can't buy into your logic in getting there. Here's why (realize, this is coming from a pol perspective):

    01 The 2007 NIE really seriously damaged any efforts at building a coalition supporting military action again Iran. As long as Iran doesn't get stupid from where we are today, they've got a odds-on pass through November, 2008.

    02 The problem Iran has vrs. relations with the US is that things are unlikely to change from now, regardless of political Administration, from now probably through the first term of the next POTUS. I mean, think about it - Iran basically has 3 doors to choose from (or no change):

    Door 1: Current Administration. Door is good through 11.2008, expired after that.
    Door 2: New Administration (Democratic): Assume most likely candidate for position is H. Clinton. How is Ahmadinejad going to make those negotiations work? (You've got elements of a religious repressive society, a host of women's issues, wants to eliminate Israel, homosexual oppression, and a whole host of other issues). There's going to be all sorts of SIG's (Special Interest Groups) all over this one, and they'll win.
    Door 3: New Administration (Republican): Assume most likely candidate for position is R. Giuliani. How is Ahmadinejad going to make those negotiations work? (You've got elements of a religious repressive society, wants to eliminate Israel, a host of women's issues, homosexual oppression, and a whole host of other issues). Again, there's going to be all sorts of SIG's all over this one.

    Honestly, looking at the above, we might as well put the US-Iran relations into the freezer and come back and re-visit them sometime in 2013.

    As crazy as it sounds, the best US-Iran dealmaking climate looks to be right now (because a lame duck POTUS can tell all the SIG's to go sit on it & spin until it feels good). And more importantly, everybody else wanting the job will want this one off the table before their watch kicks in.

    My question would be how Ahmadinejad, and more importantly, Khameini view dealing with the US? They might just be fine with putting any national relationship change with the US on hold all the way into 2013. Because once there's a new POTUS, nothing is likely to happen first term re: Iran (unless both/either party gets stupid). Thoughts?

  7. #207
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default If you qualify that by saying

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    What I mean't by that is that Iran is patient. While their ambition is to acquire nuclear weapons, they've been trying to do it for 50 years...
    some, I could agree. Iran is not monolithic. Even among the Ayatollahs, there's disagreement on that score. What's the basis for your 50 year claim?

    ...They don't need to draw a line in the sand or instigate a war over it today! If they walk away from this with economic incentives to give up their measely 3000 centrifuges that probably don't work properly, then what have they lost? Nothing. And they gain whatever incentives and aid that's been offered.
    Haven't seen anyone offering any aid thus far; may happen, may not. Why would anyone give them any incentives? Incentives for what? They've already agreed to better cooperate with the IAEA. We just said we didn't think they were trying to build nukes and they agreed they weren't, loudly and predictably claiming yet another victory over the Great Satan -- so incentives to do what?

    Regarding China and Russia not supporting further resolutions against China, both countries have already announced their intention to not support further sanctions since the release of the NIE.
    I've read articles today that said that and others that say China is still supportive of some efforts and Russia is not, other articles that say the reverse; Russia supports but China does not plus still others that say both are still leaning toward sanctions. All speculation by a clueless media and I doubt either nation has decided what they will do yet -- they know that NIE is virtually meaningless as a reality check; it's a relatively pointless political document pure and simple.

    In any case, what China and Russia will do or not do is not material to the fact that Iran achieves no real benefit from the NIE other than a possible lessening of tension and rhetoric -- and they still don't know what we're up to...

  8. #208
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Good post, Watcher

    I think W just punted and the broadcast crew missed it.

    Though the Bear and the Dragon probably didn't. The Mullah's OTOH get to ponder. Deeply...

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    Quote Originally Posted by Watcher In The Middle View Post
    01 The 2007 NIE really seriously damaged any efforts at building a coalition supporting military action again Iran. As long as Iran doesn't get stupid from where we are today, they've got a odds-on pass through November, 2008.

    02 The problem Iran has vrs. relations with the US is that things are unlikely to change from now, regardless of political Administration, from now probably through the first term of the next POTUS. I mean, think about it - Iran basically has 3 doors to choose from (or no change):

    Door 1: Current Administration. Door is good through 11.2008, expired after that.
    Door 2: New Administration (Democratic): Assume most likely candidate for position is H. Clinton. How is Ahmadinejad going to make those negotiations work? (You've got elements of a religious repressive society, a host of women's issues, wants to eliminate Israel, homosexual oppression, and a whole host of other issues). There's going to be all sorts of SIG's (Special Interest Groups) all over this one, and they'll win.
    Door 3: New Administration (Republican): Assume most likely candidate for position is R. Giuliani. How is Ahmadinejad going to make those negotiations work? (You've got elements of a religious repressive society, wants to eliminate Israel, a host of women's issues, homosexual oppression, and a whole host of other issues). Again, there's going to be all sorts of SIG's all over this one.

    Honestly, looking at the above, we might as well put the US-Iran relations into the freezer and come back and re-visit them sometime in 2013.

    As crazy as it sounds, the best US-Iran dealmaking climate looks to be right now []. And more importantly, everybody else wanting the job will want this one off the table before their watch kicks in.

    My question would be how Ahmadinejad, and more importantly, Khameini view dealing with the US? They might just be fine with putting any national relationship change with the US on hold all the way into 2013. Because once there's a new POTUS, nothing is likely to happen first term re: Iran (unless both/either party gets stupid). Thoughts?
    I think the way that I'm looking at it is that the current Administration is more or less determined to bring the Iranians to heel, definitively, before it's out of office. That means either the Iranians do what Libya did, or the US will work them over real good. The Administration would prefer a diplomatic coalition, but I don't think that it believes that it is absolutely necessary. Politically, they have less to lose now and over the next several months by striking Iran, than they did if have had done so even as recently as six months ago.

    I suspect that one of the strongest constraints upon an Administration decision, right now and perhaps for the time being, to strike Iran is not in the political realm, either diplomatically or with regards either to Congress or even public opinion, but from the military and from the intelligence services. There has been some very heavy opposition to Administration military plans, such as notions of putting up to 4 carriers in the Gulf (the 3-Star Admiral in the area put it almost bluntly to the Prez that there was no way more than 1 or 2 carriers were going to be in the Gulf and environs), and of course the intelligence services have been working hard to parry the Administration's thrusts for action against Iran for the past year or two (at least).

    With the release of the 2007 NIE and the Administration's unequivocal response to it, it really does seem that there is, or will soon be, the political will and the decision made, to deal with Iran in a manner that is intended to be decisive in its results - one way or the other. I think that other political factors have actually lost some of their potency, as it seems increasingly clear that the Adminstration, having had the Intelligence Services strip away an imminent justification for immediate action, nevertheless came right out anyway and all but say that Iran will be dealt with. The clock may already be set and time's running out. It may take a lot to stop this.
    Last edited by Norfolk; 12-06-2007 at 05:24 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    some, I could agree. Iran is not monolithic. Even among the Ayatollahs, there's disagreement on that score. What's the basis for your 50 year claim?
    I wrote a paper on it: "China, Iran, and the Nuclear Imperative". You can read the chronology there. Ironically, the U.S. gave Iran it's first piece of nuclear hardware in the 1950's.


    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    Haven't seen anyone offering any aid thus far; may happen, may not. Why would anyone give them any incentives? Incentives for what? They've already agreed to better cooperate with the IAEA. We just said we didn't think they were trying to build nukes and they agreed they weren't, loudly and predictably claiming yet another victory over the Great Satan -- so incentives to do what?
    Incentives were offered last year by Germany and other UNSC member nations. Russia has agreed to help them finish the Bushehr reactor. Switzerland has offered to provide them and other ME countries with enriched uranium solely for nuclear energy use. But you've got to do some digging to find out about that. All of these incentives are for Iran to agree to not create a complete nuclear fuel cycle.

  11. #211
    Council Member Ken White's Avatar
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    Default Thanks for the link

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffC View Post
    I wrote a paper on it: "China, Iran, and the Nuclear Imperative". You can read the chronology there. Ironically, the U.S. gave Iran it's first piece of nuclear hardware in the 1950's.
    Used to live and work there and still communicate with friends and acquaintances from there (both here and there), so I was aware of all that. Fairly good summation though. Your earlier comment to which I responded I took to mean nuclear weapons had been sought for 50 years, I believe that 17 or 18 would be more nearly correct on that score.
    Incentives were offered last year by Germany and other UNSC member nations. Russia has agreed to help them finish the Bushehr reactor. Switzerland has offered to provide them and other ME countries with enriched uranium solely for nuclear energy use. But you've got to do some digging to find out about that. All of these incentives are for Iran to agree to not create a complete nuclear fuel cycle.
    Also more than aware of all that -- my point was and is, the NIE effectively changes almost nothing (all of those incentives pre-date and none are, thus far, impacted by the NIE). It certainly gives Iran no advantage, probably makes them wonder as stated and shows our Intel community isn't too bright (IMO).

    The only minor advantage is that it takes Iran as a US domestic political pressure point away if its handled right -- and continues that dummy Bush's rather neat and successful plan to rope the next few Presidents into his plan for the ME et. al. -- and give he or she who is next a minor break (unless that person gets a second term... )

    I note that, like me, the IAEA is inclined to skepticism LINK. That may have a larger impact on the future actions China and Russia than anything the US Intel community says...

  12. #212
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    Default Don't you just love it...

    ..when politicians and officials discuss sensitive methods and sources with and in the press? Sheeesh.

    Details in Military Notes Led to Shift on Iran, U.S. Says
    NYT, 6 December 2007

    WASHINGTON, Dec. 5 ó American intelligence agencies reversed their view about the status of Iranís nuclear weapons program after they obtained notes last summer from the deliberations of Iranian military officials involved in the weapons development program, senior intelligence and government officials said on Wednesday.

  13. #213
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    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    I think the way that I'm looking at it is that the current Administration is more or less determined to bring the Iranians to heel, definitively, before it's out of office. That means either the Iranians do what Libya did, or the US will work them over real good. The Administration would prefer a diplomatic coalition, but I don't think that it believes that it is absolutely necessary. Politically, they have less to lose now and over the next several months by striking Iran, than they did if have had done so even as recently as six months ago.

    I suspect that one of the strongest constraints upon an Administration decision, right now and perhaps for the time being, to strike Iran is not in the political realm, either diplomatically or with regards either to Congress or even public opinion, but from the military and from the intelligence services. There has been some very heavy opposition to Administration military plans, such as notions of putting up to 4 carriers in the Gulf (the 3-Star Admiral in the area put it almost bluntly to the Prez that there was no way more than 1 or 2 carriers were going to be in the Gulf and environs), and of course the intelligence services have been working hard to parry the Administration's thrusts for action against Iran for the past year or two (at least).

    With the release of the 2007 NIE and the Administration's unequivocal response to it, it really does seem that there is, or will soon be, the political will and the decision made, to deal with Iran in a manner that is intended to be decisive in its results - one way or the other. I think that other political factors have actually lost some of their potency, as it seems increasingly clear that the Adminstration, having had the Intelligence Services strip away an imminent justification for immediate action, nevertheless came right out anyway and all but say that Iran will be dealt with. The clock may already be set and time's running out. It may take a lot to stop this.
    I see the NIE as taking a US military option off the table--we no longer have the WMD card to play as we did to justify operations in Iraq. I further see the NIE as a way to "solve" the Iran problem that has been around ever since the Embassy takeover. The takeover and subsequent inability to rescue the hostages is a case of having been a "loss of manhood" issue for the conservative Republican power brokers ever since it happened. Dubya now has a chance to close the book on it and do the "one up on Dad and his cronies" thing that may also be part of the reason for OIF.

    I'd watch for more making nice gestures between the two countries. Here's a possible playbook:
    US apologizes for demonizing Iran as a budding nuclear power if Iran apologizes for violating American soveriegnty in the Embassy takeover. Iran calling the new NIE a victory is the first step in this process.
    --Iran says:"See, we really aren't such bad guys, we 've been telling you all along that we weren't going to build nukes."
    --US replies, "How about proving how nice you are by apologizing for that embassy thing back in 1978? We'll apologize for the nuke story if you apologize for holding Americans for so long. Okay?"
    Every one then kisses and makes up.
    The countries become best buds like back in the days of the Shah. (But, I think the likelihood of that actually happening is about the same as my hitting a Powerball lottery win.)

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    I very much do hope you're right wm. The 2007 NIE certainly took the wind out of the sails of the WMD in the immediate future, but it also seems to me to provide a basis for the Administration to claim that action of one sort or another would be justified by the potential for Iran's intentions to change; it has the basis to develop an atomic-weapons capability.

    I hope that more is forthcoming to bury any hopes of a strike on Iran, but given the Administration's defiant and strident response to the NIE, a lot more may be necessary to stop the adventurist urges here.

    I do hope that your playbook, or something like it wm, is what in fact transpires. Until I see a follow-up by the Administration in that general direction, I still fear that another direction is intended.

    It is interesting that Iran is relatively restrained in its responses, at the moment anyway. Let's see if the Administration is willing to entertain any would-be Iranian feelers.

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    There are too many factions within the Administration and the Party base dedicated to eternal hostility to the Iranian theocracy for such warming measures to extend beyond the cosmetic.

    Nonetheless, I agree that the release of the NIE has pretty much kneecapped this Administration's argument for military action against Iran. I mean, if even Bob Kagan is now arguing that we need to talk first before the inevitable bombing campaign, that's a significant shift.

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    Quote Originally Posted by tequila View Post
    There are too many factions within the Administration and the Party base dedicated to eternal hostility to the Iranian theocracy for such warming measures to extend beyond the cosmetic.

    Nonetheless, I agree that the release of the NIE has pretty much kneecapped this Administration's argument for military action against Iran. I mean, if even Bob Kagan is now arguing that we need to talk first before the inevitable bombing campaign, that's a significant shift.
    And that's a good sign.

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    I suspect that one of the strongest constraints upon an Administration decision, right now and perhaps for the time being, to strike Iran is not in the political realm, either diplomatically or with regards either to Congress or even public opinion, but from the military and from the intelligence services. There has been some very heavy opposition to Administration military plans, such as notions of putting up to 4 carriers in the Gulf (the 3-Star Admiral in the area put it almost bluntly to the Prez that there was no way more than 1 or 2 carriers were going to be in the Gulf and environs), and of course the intelligence services have been working hard to parry the Administration's thrusts for action against Iran for the past year or two (at least).
    Um...isn't this more about the navy not wanting to commit too many resources in a restricted and restrictive battle space. Like putting them all in a bathtub. You could knock them out with a pea shooter. That's about strategic reserves, not about political policy.
    With the release of the 2007 NIE and the Administration's unequivocal response to it, it really does seem that there is, or will soon be, the political will and the decision made, to deal with Iran in a manner that is intended to be decisive in its results - one way or the other. I think that other political factors have actually lost some of their potency, as it seems increasingly clear that the Adminstration, having had the Intelligence Services strip away an imminent justification for immediate action, nevertheless came right out anyway and all but say that Iran will be dealt with. The clock may already be set and time's running out. It may take a lot to stop this.
    I've been thinking that all things are related and it is unlikely that we would have made these assumptions without other political and actual acts. NK pledges to shut down their uranium enrichment at Pyongyang and give US access to verify and dismantle. A nuclear site, either a reactor or weapons or materials, was bombed in Syria after Israeli fighters, probably with US assistance, negotiated the Russian made air defense system without one loss.

    It is my position that our knowledge of this site and NKs involvement with the subsequent destruction, convinced NK to come to the table. Or, NK was in such bad economic and physical condition that they had to play ball and gave us the information and pledge for that assistance. Either way, it is likely that we gathered a lot more information on the nuclear situation in Iran and Syria and NKs involvement.
    Kat-Missouri

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    Quote Originally Posted by kehenry1 View Post
    Um...isn't this more about the navy not wanting to commit too many resources in a restricted and restrictive battle space. Like putting them all in a bathtub. You could knock them out with a pea shooter. That's about strategic reserves, not about political policy.
    It was certainly about policy in so far as that the Administration (Cheney's speech in May to representatives of the Gulf States) had promised a deployment of 4 carrier groups in and around the Persian Gulf region in order to pressure Iran, and the local Navy commander basically said "no". This effectively prevented the required build-up of naval air power in the region necessary (4 carrier air groups, one of which was to be in the Red Sea) for anything other than rather minor operations, and effectively removed any military strike options that may have been afforded by carrier air power. One carrier air group doesn't cut it. Three or four can.

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    Default Do you know this or are you assuming

    Quote Originally Posted by Norfolk View Post
    It was certainly about policy in so far as that the Administration (Cheney's speech in May to representatives of the Gulf States) had promised a deployment of 4 carrier groups in and around the Persian Gulf region in order to pressure Iran, and the local Navy commander basically said "no". This effectively prevented the required build-up of naval air power in the region necessary (4 carrier air groups, one of which was to be in the Red Sea) for anything other than rather minor operations, and effectively removed any military strike options that may have been afforded by carrier air power. One carrier air group doesn't cut it. Three or four can.
    that's what occurred?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ken White View Post
    that's what occurred?
    I read about this during the late summer or early fall. I'll see if I can dig up the articles. Anyway, when the Admiral in the Gulf was told about this, he in turn told them that "there was no military need for more than 1-2 carriers" in the ME and environs; he repeated this to a journalist who interviewed him. I don't rmember his name, but the Admiral in question was the 3-Star in charge in the Gulf (in Bahrain I believe). Give me I bit and I'll see what I can dig back up.

    Edit:

    The name of the Admiral is Kevin J. Cosgriff...still searching...
    Last edited by Norfolk; 12-07-2007 at 02:22 AM.

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