Dessous de l’opposition de la Navy à l’attaque contre l’Iran

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Dessous de l’opposition de la Navy à l’attaque contre l’Iran

Des précisions très intéressantes sont apportées au comportement de l’U.S. Navy, et spécifiquement de l’amiral Fallon qui a pris son poste de commandant de Central Command à cette époque, durant les mois de février-mars, lorsqu’il était fortement question d’une attaque US contre l’Iran. Un lecteur (voir le Forum du 16 mai) nous signale cet article de Gareth Porter, qu’on trouve également sur Antiwar.com ce même 16 mai.

L’article de Porter est très détaillé et montre comment Fallon, évidemment soutenu par sa hiérarchie de l’U.S. Navy, s’est opposé à toute possibilité d’attaque en refusant le déploiement d’un troisième porte-avions (avec menace de démission à la clef). On retrouve effectivement plusieurs de nos analyses sur cette question très spécifique de la position de l’U.S. Navy. Les détails donnés par Porter doivent être lus avec attention et médités.

«Adm. William Fallon, then President George W. Bush's nominee to head the Central Command (CENTCOM), expressed strong opposition in February to an administration plan to increase the number of carrier strike groups in the Persian Gulf from two to three and vowed privately there would be no war against Iran as long as he was chief of CENTCOM, according to sources with access to his thinking.

»Fallon's resistance to the proposed deployment of a third aircraft carrier was followed by a shift in the Bush administration's Iran policy in February and March away from increased military threats and toward diplomatic engagement with Iran. That shift, for which no credible explanation has been offered by administration officials, suggests that Fallon's resistance to a crucial deployment was a major factor in the intra-administration struggle over policy toward Iran.

»The plan to add a third carrier strike group in the Gulf had been a key element in a broader strategy discussed at high levels to intimidate Iran by a series of military moves suggesting preparations for a military strike.

»Fallon's resistance to a further buildup of naval striking power in the Gulf apparently took the Bush administration by surprise. Fallon, then commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, had been associated with naval aviation throughout his career, and last January, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates publicly encouraged the idea that the appointment presaged greater emphasis on the military option in regard to the U.S. conflict with Iran.

»Explaining why he recommended Fallon, Gates said, “As you look at the range of options available to the United States, the use of naval and air power, potentially, it made sense to me for all those reasons for Fallon to have the job.”

»Bush administration officials had just leaked to CBS News and the New York Times in December that the USS John C. Stennis and its associated warships would be sent to the Gulf in January six weeks earlier than originally planned in order to overlap with the USS Eisenhower and to “send a message to Tehran.”

»But that was not the end of the signaling to Iran by naval deployment planned by administration officials. The plan was for the USS Nimitz and its associated vessels, scheduled to sail into the Gulf in early April, to overlap with the other two carrier strike groups for a period of months, so that all three would be in the Gulf simultaneously.»

(…)

»At a mid-February meeting of top civilian officials over which Secretary of Defense Gates presided, there was an extensive discussion of a strategy of intimidating Tehran's leaders, according to an account by a Pentagon official who attended the meeting given to a source outside the Pentagon. The plan involved a series of steps that would appear to Tehran to be preparations for war, in a manner similar to the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

»But Fallon, who was scheduled to become the CENTCOM chief March 16, responded to the proposed plan by sending a strongly-worded message to the Defense Department in mid-February opposing any further U.S. naval buildup in the Persian Gulf as unwarranted.

»“He asked why another aircraft carrier was needed in the Gulf and insisted there was no military requirement for it,” says the source, who obtained the gist of Fallon's message from a Pentagon official who had read it.

»Fallon's refusal to support a further naval buildup in the Gulf reflected his firm opposition to an attack on Iran and an apparent readiness to put his career on the line to prevent it. A source who met privately with Fallon around the time of his confirmation hearing and who insists on anonymity quoted Fallon as saying that an attack on Iran “will not happen on my watch.”

»Asked how he could be sure, the source says, Fallon replied, “You know what choices I have. I'm a professional.” Fallon said that he was not alone, according to the source, adding, “There are several of us trying to put the crazies back in the box.”»

Si nous citons longuement cet article, c’est qu’il présente la description d’une situation vraiment extraordinaire durant cette période cruciale. Il met en évidence l’extrême faiblesse de la direction du Pentagone (et de l'administration en général), qui recule devant la détermination d’un service, exprimée par celle d’un amiral. Fallon et l’U.S. Navy ont réellement dicté sa politique à l’administration, durant cette période, sur un sujet fondamental. L’administration s’est montrée aveugle et mal avisée (en nommant Fallon et en croyant qu’il suivrait sa politique) et d’une faiblesse extraordinaire en cédant (la menace implicite de démission de Fallon a fait reculer Bush : cette démission aurait provoqué une tempête politique, à Washington, et diplomatique, dans le monde, tant elle aurait mis en évidence l’intention d’attaquer l’Iran de l’administration, — peut-être encore plus fortement que n’était la réalité de cette intention). In illo tempore, un tel conflit se résolvait par le retrait de l’officier de son commandement (MacArthur et Truman en 1952, lors de la guerre de Corée).

Ces révélations vont évidemment contribuer à rendre encore plus improbable une attaque contre l’Iran. Désormais, tout se passe comme si une telle attaque dépendait du choix de Fallon et de la Navy!

 

Mis en ligne le 17 mai 2007 à 05H38

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