Jan 9, 2008

The Stench of Betrayal

By Hal Lindsey

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column for WorldNetDaily questioning both the content and the timing of the National Intelligence Estimate that concluded "with high confidence" that Iran suspended its nuclear program in 2003.

But there is something about the NIE report that doesn't add up. It all but destroyed four years of foreign policy effort and handed Tehran what amounted to a blank check for its nuclear program.

As I wrote then: "There is but one alternative explanation. Either some kind of a U.S. deal with Iran has already been struck, or one is so close that maintaining the coalition is no longer deemed necessary."

The column also pointed out, "Virtually any kind of deal with Iran seems to be in Washington's interests."

New evidence continues to support that conclusion. Whatever back-room deal may have been struck, it appears that it has begun to pay dividends already.

The latest U.S. casualty figures for Iraq last month are at a four-year low. The drop in U.S. deaths is partially attributed to the troop surge and partly to Iraqi disgust at Muslim-on-Muslim violence by al-Qaida.

But a spokesman for Gen. Petraeus said in a statement that Iran is making good on its promise to stop training al-Qaida fighters and sending them back into Iraq with sophisticated, high explosive devices.

Col. Steven Boylan told a press conference: "We are ready to confirm the excellence of the senior Iranian leadership in their pledge to stop the funding, training, equipment and resourcing of the militia special groups. ... We have seen a downward trend in the signature-type attacks using weapons provided by Iran."

Is it possible Col. Boylan's assessment is a bit premature? U.S. forces recently captured fighters who had been trained in Iran within the past two months. So there doesn't seem to be enough history on which to base this report. U.S. officials have confirmed a 60 percent decrease in violence, IED attacks and civilian Iraqi deaths.

But only a month ago, the Pentagon delivered a report to the Congress entitled "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq." At that time, the Pentagon denied that the decline in violence had anything to do with Tehran. The report stated, "There has been no identified decrease in Iranian training and funding of illegal Shi'a militias in Iraq. … Tehran's support for Shi'a militant groups who attack Coalition and Iraq forces remains a significant impediment to progress toward stabilization."

So, why the sudden change in our assessment of Iran's Iraqi involvement? How could we reliably verify such changes in only 30 days? It appears to me that this new "rosy" assessment is based on "faith in what a backroom deal will produce in the future."

First, we get wind of a flurry of diplomatic activity behind the scenes. This is followed by a release of the NIE that, for all intents and purposes, ends the threat of a U.S. attack against any Iranian targets.

Two weeks after the NIE report, Petraeus' official spokesman was using words like "excellence" to describe Tehran's cooperation with the United States war effort.

However, this leaves one big problem. This new NIE report virtually betrays our only reliable ally in the war on terror in the Middle East – Israel. And it does so on the basis of a report that contradicts the past four years of our accepted intelligence reports.

Israeli intelligence is completely at odds with the NIE's conclusions, saying it not only believes that Iran has not abandoned it's quest for nuclear weapons, but that it believes Iran will "cross the nuclear threshold" within six months and will have a nuclear weapon by the end of 2009. And Israel has the only reliable on-the-ground intelligence network in Iran of the Western world.

It is worth remembering that Washington had no inkling that Syria was seeking nuclear weapons – until the Israeli Air Force hit a Syrian nuclear bomb assembly plant last September. Washington was also totally surprised by Pakistan's entrance into the World Nuclear Club when they exploded several nuclear bombs as a coming-out party.

If we made a deal with Tehran that temporarily protects our forces in Iraq by giving them a free hand with developing nuclear weapons, have we really gained anything in the long run?

Does anyone remember the price of appeasing a power bent upon conquest, especially a Muslim one?

But for Israel, Iran remains a sworn enemy that has vowed to obliterate it. The Israelis do not have the luxury of being "a little bit wrong" in their intelligence assessment. This is a threat Jerusalem now realizes it will have to face all alone.

What's that stench I smell?