9 years, 11 months ago
In an odd occurrence today, Defense Secretary Robert Gates argued that diplomatic efforts to resolve the nuclear standoff with Iran are working and should be given a chance to succeed. This pronouncement comes on the heels of an announcement by General Peter Pace that Iran is supplying weapons and other support to insurgents in both Iraq and Afghanistan.
Iran is shipping arms and explosives to Afghanistan, in addition to providing deadly armor-piercing bombs covertly to Iraqi insurgents, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said yesterday.
“It is not as clear in Afghanistan which Iranian entity is responsible, but we have intercepted weapons in Afghanistan headed for the Taliban that were made in Iran,” Marine Corps Gen. Peter Pace told reporters at a breakfast meeting …
A U.S. official with access to intelligence data confirmed that there are new signs of Iranian arms shipments to the Taliban in recent months. “We are concerned about Quds Force links to the Taliban, and there is reason to believe that shipments of rockets, mortars, small arms and other weapons are making their way from Iran to Afghanistan,” the official said …
“We know that there are munitions that were made in Iran that are in Iraq and in Afghanistan,” Gen. Pace said. He noted that members of the Quds Force are part of the IRGC, which is under the direction of Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei …
There are also reports Iran is stepping up support for Iraqi insurgents. Army Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno, commander of Multinational Corps-Iraq, told reporters Friday there are new signs that Iran is “not only providing support to Shia groups, but also Sunni insurgent groups.”
Just why Gates feels that whatever bargains are struck with Iran can be relied upon when Iran has denied a thousand times that they are involved in Iraq is not manifestly obvious. But a far better indicator of the danger that lies ahead may be found the in reaction of Iran’s neighbors. There appears to be a mad rush throughout the Middle East to go nuclear.
Two years ago, the leaders of Saudi Arabia told international atomic regulators that they could foresee no need for the kingdom to develop nuclear power. Today, they are scrambling to hire atomic contractors, buy nuclear hardware and build support for a regional system of reactors.
So, too, Turkey is preparing for its first atomic plant. And Egypt has announced plans to build one on its Mediterranean coast. In all, roughly a dozen states in the region have recently turned to the International Atomic Energy Agency in Vienna for help in starting their own nuclear programs. While interest in nuclear energy is rising globally, it is unusually strong in the Middle East.
“The rules have changed,