MC sends along the following question:
I just saw this post and tried to go to Debka’s link but it is coming up “server not found” so thought I’d ask you if you’ve heard anything on this alleged deal between USA and Iran in military matters concerning Afghanistan. Is this for real????
Published: Jun 1, 2009
Obama awards Iran role as U.S. military partner
(in Afgan-Pakistan conflict)
The Obama administration wants Iran as its key military and intelligence partner for resolving America’s Afghanistan-Pakistan (known now as “Afpak”) predicament. The shape of this alliance lacks final form; backdoor US-Iranian meetings at various levels are in progress at different venues to determine how far Tehran is willing to go. But the US president has set his course.
Click for Full Text! (not available at this time)
Server seems to be up now.
Story missing, though.
As I’ve said about Debka before, their news contains a certain amount of conjecture because it’s not just news, but news and analysis. The accuracy of the analysis, and to a much smaller degree the news, will always vary. Nothing is written in stone — especially on the Internet. Use the Eighty-Twenty Rule: Just assume that 80% of what they publish is concrete and that the other 20% may be tainted by the preconceptions of the analyst; mistranslated from another language; or may include (accidentally or otherwise) false information. Your job (as a news reader) is to figure out what belongs in the eighty percentile, and what in the twenty.
The story is probably correct. The US has been looking at Iran as a necessary partner in resolving the situation in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Iran shares long borders with both countries, all of which meet just north of Zahedan, Iran. Towns like Zabol (Iran) and Zaranj (Afgh) are connected by road and there are also a number of off-road “caravan” routes used for rural trade and contraband smuggling. Sounds as if Mr. Obama is going to trade cooperation on this front for the expectation that Iran will be more forthcoming at future talks, especially the nuclear ones. However, I think it’s unlikely that Iran will prove to be of much real use in this capacity while they’re directly contributing to the on-going conflict in Afghanistan and have been no help (at best) on the Pakistan problem.
Also, please note that Israel is undergoing a major military manoeuvre (a nationwide civil defense drill) that will run all of this week. In such a context, this type of story can inflame public sentiment on related issues — especially since the drill is being held to train for attacks by Iranian proxies Hezbollah and Hamas, along with a possible military engagement of Iran itself.
Obama’s people and the Israelis have been very tight-lipped on certain aspects of their strategic foreign policy (though very loose on others) and either could conceivably have asked for the story not to be released… yet.
UPDATE: June 24, 2009 – Obama Sent Pre-Election Letter to Khamenei