Six weeks ago, President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, "unprecedented in its scope."
Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area – from Lebanon to Afghanistan – but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines – up to and including the assassination of targeted officials. This widened scope clears the way, for example, for full support for the military arm of Mujahedin-e Khalq, the cultish Iranian opposition group, despite its enduring position on the State Department’s list of terrorist groups.
Similarly, covert funds can now flow without restriction to Jundullah, or "army of god," the militant Sunni group in Iranian Baluchistan – just across the Afghan border — whose leader was featured not long ago on Dan Rather Reports cutting his brother in law’s throat.
Other elements that will benefit from
All this costs money, which in turn must be authorized by Congress, or at least a by few witting members of the intelligence committees. That has not proved a problem. An initial outlay of $300 million to finance implementation of the finding has been swiftly approved with bipartisan support, apparently regardless of the unpopularity of the current war and the perilous condition of the
Until recently, the administration faced a serious obstacle to action against
Fallon has since departed. His abrupt resignation in early March followed the publication of his unvarnished views on our policy of confrontation with
Though Petraeus is not due to take formal command at Centcom until late summer, there are abundant signs that something may happen before then. A Marine amphibious force, originally due to leave San Diego for the Persian Gulf in mid June, has had its sailing date abruptly moved up to May 4. A scheduled meeting in Europe between French diplomats acting as intermediaries for the
Interestingly, despite the bellicose complaints, Petraeus has made little effort to seal the Iran-Iraq border, and in any case two thirds of
Even without the covert initiatives described above, the huge and growing armada currently on station in the Gulf is an impressive symbol of American power.
Armed Might of US Marred By Begging Bowl to Arabs
Sometime in the next two weeks, fleet radar operator may notice a blip on their screens that represents something rather more profound:
Even if those radar operators pay no attention to Mr. Rubin’s flight, and the ironic contrast it illustrates between American military power and financial weakness, others will, and not just in
Andrew Cockburn is a regular CounterPunch contributor. He lives in