Wednesday, December 05, 2007

What to Do About Iran 

What to do about Iran? Given the NIE report released yesterday and these comments by Middle East expert Michael Ledeen, one answer could be, "Who knows?"

There is someone in the Cities who does have first hand knowledge and experience: A. John Radsan, the Founder and Director of the National Security Forum. He also is a former assistant general counsel at the CIA, a practicing attorney, and a law professor at William Mitchell Law School.

Dr. Radsan understands the culture, religion and politics of Iran. His main points at a luncheon at the Center of the American Experiment can be summarized as follows:
1 - Talk without action is useless - our enemy assumes we are weak.
2 - Perception is Al Qaeda (AQ) is the #1 problem - no, it's Iran's Islamic Republic. AQ has been damaged significantly but Iran actually is stronger than it was 9/11.
3 - Iran cannot be allowed to get nuclear weapons. Problem with destroying them is that they are located in multiple sites and thus, Dr. Radsan does not believe a military strike will work.

What will work?
1 - Dr. Radsan is a proponent of covert action, undermine Iran in a number of ways.
2 - Use media propaganda and blogs. Iranians read a lot of blogs, therefore, the US should use the blogs to discuss Iranian issues.
3 - Go after the Iranian financial assets, neutralize intelligence officers, remove diplomats. In other words, create hassles for their government.
4 - Iran, for all its oil, cannot refine it. Therefore, we should keep pressure on them to prevent refining it.

Why does he believe his suggestions can work?
Iranians blame their government for their problems, not the USA. If we attack overtly, it will cause major problems for their dissidents and they may turn against us. Iranians, 50% of whom are Persian, the others are Arabs, Kurds and other groups, have a very proud history. They understand the long-term and have long-term memories. We do not want to do something that will be to our detriment nor do we want to just sit on the sidelines and assume (ostrich position) that being nice will work. The political bosses of Iran want us gone.