Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman says the U.S. should consider bombing Iran if it meddles in Iraq, a statement that’s bound to create some controversy.
But is it merely a statement or is it reflecting a likelihood being talked about in administration circles?
Here’s what Lieberman said:
The United States should launch military strikes against Iran if the government in Tehran does not stop supplying anti-American forces in Iraq, Sen. Joe Lieberman said Sunday on Face The Nation.
“I think we’ve got to be prepared to take aggressive military action against the Iranians to stop them from killing Americans in Iraq,” Lieberman told Bob Schieffer. “And to me, that would include a strike into… over the border into Iran, where we have good evidence that they have a base at which they are training these people coming back into Iraq to kill our soldiers.”
The Independent former Democrat from Connecticut said that he was not calling for an invasion of Iran, but he did say the U.S. should target specific training camps.
“I think you could probably do a lot of it from the air, but they can’t believe that they have immunity for training and equipping people to come in and kill Americans,” Lieberman said.
But the question becomes: is this just Lieberman (who is already being lambasted by many on the left for his pro-war and on foreign issues pro-Bush administration stances) giving an opinion off the top of his head? Or is he echoing a viable foreign policy option being discussed in the administration?
There are two reasons to wonder:
(1) Lieberman has strong ties to the administration, particularly to its foreign policy formulators.
(2) The Israel-based website Debka recently reported that Syrian and Iranian generals were talking to each other in preparation for what they believe will be a U.S. attack. Here are parts of the report:
The regime heads in Tehran are basing their common front with Damascus on intelligence reports whereby the US and Israel have drawn up plans for coordinated military action against Iran, Syria and Hizballah in the summer.
According to this hypothesis, Iranian leaders foresee the next UN Security Council in New York at the end of June or early July ending with an American announcement that the sanctions against Tehran are inadequate because Russia and China has toned them down. Therefore, the military option is the only one left on the table. The ayatollahs have concluded that US president George W. Bush is determined to bow out of office on the high note of a glittering military success against Iran to eclipse his failures in Iraq.
They believe he will not risk the lives of more Americans by mounting a ground operation, but rather unleash a broad missile assault that will wipe out Iranâ€™s nuclear facilities and seriously cripple its economic infrastructure.
According to the Iranian scenario, the timeline for hostilities has already been fixed between Washington and Jerusalem – and so has the plan of action. The US will strike Iran first, after which Israel will use the opportunity to go for Syria, targeting its air force, missile bases and deployments, as well as Hizballahâ€™s missile and weapons stocks which Iran replenished this year.
Viewed within this context, Lieberman’s comment may reflect a feeling that some kind of military strike is likely before Bush leaves office.