Hersh et l'attaque contre l’Iran

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Hersh et l'attaque contre l’Iran

Le reporteur-vedette du New Yorker, Seymour Hersh, consacre un long article à l’activisme de l’administration GW Bush en Iran, dans le numéro du magazine daté du 7 juillet. Cet article doit naturellement être placé en corrélation avec les diverses rumeurs sur la possibilité d’une attaque contre l’Iran, qui ont trouvé une nouvelle jeunesse depuis quelques jours.

La situation que décrit Hersh est principalement une intensification des opérations de forces spéciales US en Iran, avec l’espoir que ces opérations déclencheraient éventuellement une riposte iranienne, laquelle donnerait à l’administration GW Bush un prétexte pour une attaque contre l’Iran. Israël serait fidèlement et héroïquement aux côtés de l’administration.

Nous nous intéressons surtout à un (des) passage(s) concernant l’attitude des militaires qu’on dit opposés à une attaque de l’Iran. Il y est notamment question de Gates, des amiraux Mullen et Fallon. On y apprend que l’attitude de Gates d’opposition à une attaque est très fortement marquée, et aussi que l’une des causes, sinon la cause essentielle du départ de Fallon de CENTCOM, en mars dernier, est l’impossibilité où il semblait être de contrôler l’activité des forces spéciales US en Iran. Ces forces spéciales semblent devoir dépendre directement, par le biais d’un commandement intégré spécial, de l’autorité civile à la Maison-Blanche.

«Military and civilian leaders in the Pentagon share the White House’s concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, but there is disagreement about whether a military strike is the right solution. Some Pentagon officials believe, as they have let Congress and the media know, that bombing Iran is not a viable response to the nuclear-proliferation issue, and that more diplomacy is necessary.

»A Democratic senator told me that, late last year, in an off-the-record lunch meeting, Secretary of Defense Gates met with the Democratic caucus in the Senate. (Such meetings are held regularly.) Gates warned of the consequences if the Bush Administration staged a preëmptive strike on Iran, saying, as the senator recalled, “We’ll create generations of jihadists, and our grandchildren will be battling our enemies here in America.” Gates’s comments stunned the Democrats at the lunch, and another senator asked whether Gates was speaking for Bush and Vice-President Dick Cheney. Gates’s answer, the senator told me, was “Let’s just say that I’m here speaking for myself.” (A spokesman for Gates confirmed that he discussed the consequences of a strike at the meeting, but would not address what he said, other than to dispute the senator’s characterization.)

»The Joint Chiefs of Staff, whose chairman is Admiral Mike Mullen, were “pushing back very hard” against White House pressure to undertake a military strike against Iran, the person familiar with the Finding told me. Similarly, a Pentagon consultant who is involved in the war on terror said that “at least ten senior flag and general officers, including combatant commanders”—the four-star officers who direct military operations around the world—“have weighed in on that issue.”

»The most outspoken of those officers is Admiral William Fallon, who until recently was the head of U.S. Central Command, and thus in charge of American forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In March, Fallon resigned under pressure, after giving a series of interviews stating his reservations about an armed attack on Iran. For example, late last year he told the Financial Times that the “real objective” of U.S. policy was to change the Iranians’ behavior, and that “attacking them as a means to get to that spot strikes me as being not the first choice.”

»Admiral Fallon acknowledged, when I spoke to him in June, that he had heard that there were people in the White House who were upset by his public statements. “Too many people believe you have to be either for or against the Iranians,” he told me. “Let’s get serious. Eighty million people live there, and everyone’s an individual. The idea that they’re only one way or another is nonsense.”

When it came to the Iraq war, Fallon said, “Did I bitch about some of the things that were being proposed? You bet. Some of them were very stupid.”

(…)

»Fallon’s early retirement, however, appears to have been provoked not only by his negative comments about bombing Iran but also by his strong belief in the chain of command and his insistence on being informed about Special Operations in his area of responsibility. One of Fallon’s defenders is retired Marine General John J. (Jack) Sheehan, whose last assignment was as commander-in-chief of the U.S. Atlantic Command, where Fallon was a deputy. Last year, Sheehan rejected a White House offer to become the President’s “czar” for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “One of the reasons the White House selected Fallon for CENTCOM was that he’s known to be a strategic thinker and had demonstrated those skills in the Pacific,” Sheehan told me. (Fallon served as commander-in-chief of U.S. forces in the Pacific from 2005 to 2007.) “He was charged with coming up with an over-all coherent strategy for Iran, Iraq, and Afghanistan, and, by law, the combatant commander is responsible for all military operations within his A.O.”—area of operations. “That was not happening,” Sheehan said. “When Fallon tried to make sense of all the overt and covert activity conducted by the military in his area of responsibility, a small group in the White House leadership shut him out.”»

L’article de Hersh est publié alors que les spéculations se poursuivent, on l’a dit. Elles se poursuivent mais elles sont toujours aussi incertaines et contradictoires, comme elles le sont depuis une dizaine de jours.

Pour entretenir cette chronique de l'incertitude de l'attaque par surprise annoncée, nous citons à nouveau la société d’analyse Stratfor.com, qui occupe par rapport à ses habitudes une position originale sur la question. D’habitude du côté des faucons et des durs, c'est-à-dire plutôt inclinée à des analyses bellicistes, cette fois Strafor.com maintient une analyse d’apaisement, estimant qu’aucune attaque n’est à envisager. Stratfor.com confirme cette analyse aujourd’hui, dans son “Geopolitical Diary”, en accès libre. Pour Stratfor.com, l’esquisse d’une manœuvre de rapprochement diplomatique est beaucoup plus importante et significative que les rumeurs d’attaque.

«The United States has raised the possibility of opening a diplomatic interests section in Iran. To avoid giving the impression that the idea was an unqualified U.S. position, State Department officials carefully leaked word of an ongoing debate about the plan to the press. But the news was not met with immediate denial by U.S. officials. In fact, U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice refused to rule the idea out — instead Rice said she preferred not to comment on internal U.S. deliberations.

»Hours after her statement, the official Iranian news agency said Iran was prepared, in principle, to consider the request if it is officially made by the United States. So, a week after word was leaked to The New York Times of Israeli maneuvers in preparation for a possible air strike on Iran, the Administration has opened a diplomatic door.

(…)

»So on Friday it appeared that the world was on the verge of war between Israel and Iran, with the United States supporting Israel. By late Monday, the United States was proposing raising the level of diplomatic relations and the Iranians were indicating that they were open to it. In our mind this reinforces the idea that the careful leaking of putative Israeli war games was part of a “bad cop, somewhat better cop” routine, designed to work the Iranians psychologically. They were offered the choice between Israeli air strikes or improving diplomatic relations. The second offer sounded much better than the first.

»Setting aside the purple rhetoric on all sides, we have long believed that the Americans and Iranians were talking and actually working together in Iraq. The massive decline in casualties in Iraq is not simply due to U.S. military operations. The decision by the Iranians to rein in Shiite Iraqi militias had a significant impact on it. Indeed, in our view, the Iraq issue has always been more important to both countries than the nuclear weapon issue, and in Iraq, there has been progress.

»Both governments are urgently concerned with face. Neither wants to appear to be conceding anything to the other. When the Great Satan meets the Axis of Evil, no public compromise is possible. So all compromising is done privately. And that’s what makes this important. The tentative offer is very public and comes from the highest levels of government. It has been acknowledged officially. Now, this is the United States and Iran so anything public can collapse quickly. But the offer itself, no matter how it was couched, is extremely significant as is the response. In many ways we regard this as more significant than the Israeli exercises.»

 

Mis en ligne le 30 juin 2008 à 14H51

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