Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Dates for your diary

Bush’s strongest supporter in Europe continues to be...Tony Blair, but many in Blair’s own Foreign Office, as a former diplomat said, believe that he has “gone out on a particular limb on this”—especially by accepting Bush’s refusal to seek an immediate and total ceasefire between Israel and Hezbollah. Blair stands alone on this,” the former diplomat said. “He knows he’s a lame duck who’s on the way out, but he buys it”—the Bush policy. “He drinks the White House Kool-Aid as much as anybody in Washington.” The crisis will really start at the end of August, the diplomat added, “when the Iranians”—under a United Nations deadline to stop uranium enrichment—“will say no.”
-- from Watching Lebanon by Seymour Hersch, 14 August

Hersch reports that, following the Israeli experience in Lebanon, Donald Rumsfeld may be more cautious about an attack on Iran, but that policy is being led by Dick Cheney and Elliott Abrams. Paul Rogers thinks the pressure for an attack on Iran is likely to increase (see An Unfinished War, 14 August).

In an e mail I received back on 27 April one analyst said:
“I've pencilled in 26-28 October [for a US attack on Iran], just before the mid-sessionals [i.e. the US Congressional Elections], just after a new moon and with the mid-sessionals taking place after 'mission accomplished' but before the Iranians can respond fully”.
As a side note, a senior British diplomat working closely with the Prime Minister's office on a different issue says he thinks Blair has gone quite mad.

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