Using Cold War Tactics to Confront Iran

(Washington Times) Daniel Pipes - Abraham D. Sofaer, a former U.S. district judge and legal adviser to the State Department, now a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, argues in Taking On Iran: Strength, Diplomacy and the Iranian Threat that since the fall of the shah during the Carter administration, Washington "has responded to Iranian aggression with ineffective sanctions and empty warnings and condemnations." Roughly 125,000-strong, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (RGC) has played a lead role in attacking Americans, their allies and their interests. IRGC attacks have caused the deaths of more than 1,000 American soldiers, and many more members of other armed forces and noncombatants. The U.S. government has condemned the IRGC as a state sponsor of terrorism and designated it a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction. Sofaer advocates a two-pronged approach to Tehran: "Confront IRGC aggression directly and negotiate with Iran." Sofaer argues that U.S. forces have the right to and should target factories and storage facilities for arms, facilities associated with the IRGC (bases, ports, trucks, planes and ships), arms shipments about to be exported, and IRGC units. The goal is not just to curb IRGC violence, but also to "undermine IRGC credibility and influence, and help convince Iran to negotiate in earnest" over its nuclear weapons program. Confronting and negotiating in tandem, Sofaer expects, will put great pressure on Tehran to improve its behavior generally (e.g., regarding terrorism) and possibly lead it to shut down the nuclear program, while leaving a pre-emptive strike on the table "if all else fails." Former Secretary of State George P. Shultz, in his foreword to Taking on Iran, calls Sofaer's idea "an alternative that should have been implemented long ago." The writer is president of the Middle East Forum.

2013-01-10 00:00:00

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