Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Covert Action in Iran

I find CIA covert action intriguing so this Reuters article caught my atttention.
Iran has arrested four Iranians accused of involvement in a U.S.-financed plot aimed at toppling its Islamic system of government, the judiciary said on Tuesday.

The New York Times on Saturday said Bush had deflected an Israeli request last year for bunker-busting bombs it wanted for an attack on Iran's nuclear complex, saying he had authorized covert action to sabotage its suspected atomic arms development.

Normally you'd ignore this sort of bluster from Iran, a country that wouldn't hesitate to trump up charges on dissidents. However, the US has admitted to initiating covert action. (Though not this particular one, obviously.)

The New York Times article mentioned goes into detail:

Early in his presidency, Mr. Obama must decide whether the covert actions begun by Mr. Bush are worth the risks of disrupting what he has pledged will be a more active diplomatic effort to engage with Iran.

Either course could carry risks for Mr. Obama. An inherited intelligence or military mission that went wrong could backfire, as happened to President Kennedy with the Bay of Pigs operation in Cuba. But a decision to pull back on operations aimed at Iran could leave Mr. Obama vulnerable to charges that he is allowing Iran to speed ahead toward a nuclear capacity, one that could change the contours of power in the Middle East.

One can't help but think of the possibilities here. However, considering the history of the CIA, nothing will happen but devastation for the people involved on the ground.

It's a delicate situation. The US, already bogged down in two wars can't afford to be in another one with Iran. Hopefully it can work from within and free the people from the mullahs. We could use some good news.

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