Military Action against a Nuclear-Armed Iran
DEBKA-Net-Weekly’s exclusive sources reveal the US Democratic presidential candidate, Barack Obama’s hidden game plan for his first days in the White House should he win the November 4 election.
According to intelligence reports reaching the US and Israel, Iran will by February 2009 have accumulated enough weapons-grade enriched uranium to start building its first nuclear bomb.
This will happen one month after the next US president is sworn into office.
Our Washington sources disclose that, two weeks ago, Obama was certain enough of victory to order his transition team to prepare plans for his first three months in office.
His Middle East advisers were told to focus on Iran’s nuclear progress, Syria, the Palestinians and the Sudanese and Somali conflicts.
A four-stage approach to Iran was laid out for the putative incoming president:
One last deadline, no more than two months hence, would be set for Iran to negotiate suspension of its fuel-cycle-related activities.
If Tehran stalls, negotiations will be broken off to focus on developing an international consensus for sanctions. This will remain in force for as long as there is no solid intelligence input confirming that Iran is on the threshold of – or has crossed over to – building its first A-bomb.
An effort would be made to persuade Tehran to accept stringent safeguards and inspections effective enough to prevent weaponization.
The international community must clearly define its red line for weaponization and further violation of Iran’s Non-Proliferation Treaty obligations.
The United States and UN Security Council will make it clear that the use of military force would be authorized if evidence of ongoing weaponization is present.
Military force must be limited to enforcing nonproliferation obligations and not encompass a wider campaign targeting the Iranian government.
Transforming Damascus into a pro-US bastion
According to DEBKA-Net-Weekly‘s sources, Obama’s Iran strategy entails a change in policy on Syria based on the top priority set by his Middle East advisers of breaking up Damascus’ alliance with Tehran and Hizballah.
The live wire of this team is Rob Malley, President Bill Clinton’s former Middle East adviser, whom Obama announced at one point that he had dropped from his campaign.
According to a clear guideline from the candidate, the Palestinian issue will go down to second or third place behind the top priority of turning Syria into an American ally. He must be aware that the Palestinian issue has been the graveyard of more than one US president.
As president, Obama will not approach this task cold turkey. The next articles in this issue reveal the steps embarked on by outgoing President George W. Bush for a detente with Syrian president Bashar Assad and Damascus’ transformation into a pro-Western bastion.
Regarding Africa, the Democratic candidate aspires to a swift resolution of the Darfur conflict and retribution for Sudanese ruler Omar Bashir. He aims to put him before the international war crimes tribunal.
With regard to Somalia, he sees great danger in letting the Islamist militias linked to al Qaeda gain strength.
His transition team is holding final consultations on whether an Obama administration will recognize the South Sudanese ruler Salva Kiir and his claim of independence. Sudan would be carved up and the Bashir regime isolated and subjected to harsh sanctions until its collapse.
The discussions on Somalia policy center on the question of whether to continue to endorse the Ethiopian army’s role in Mogadishu or let the country break up into two entities, Somaliland to the north with Hargeisa its capital and the Somali Independent Region of Puntland to the northeast, under President “Adde” Muse.