A Covert Campaign Is the Only Way to Stop Iran's Nuclear Ambitions

(Guardian-UK) Andrew Cummings - What many people fail to recognize is that a covert campaign, while rife with physical, diplomatic and legal risks, is the lesser of many evils. Some commentators warn that covert action will ruin chances of dialogue with Tehran while encouraging Iran to use its own covert operations. What this fails to recognize is that Iran has long been the master of covert operations. Through the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), Iran has been responsible for increasing the efficacy of insurgent improvised bombs in both Iraq and Afghanistan. It has helped to prop up Bashar al-Assad's murderous regime in Syria and has a track record of attempting to assassinate or imprison its enemies - both at home and abroad. Instead of damaging the chances of dialogue, covert action might actually do the opposite. Covert action, increasingly robust sanctions, along with a credible threat of military action remain one half of the E3+3's dual-track strategy of pressure and engagement that was recently restated by the British foreign secretary. Ultimately, covert action should be aimed at bringing enough pressure to bear on Iran's leaders so that they understand they will never reach their goal of being a nuclear power. It is only at that point diplomacy can have any hope of success. The writer was formerly an adviser on the Middle East in the UK cabinet office national security staff.

2012-01-13 00:00:00

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