WASHINGTON – First Iraq, now Iran. The United States has operated under a cloud of faulty intelligence in both countries.In a bombshell intelligence assessment, the United States has backed away from its once-ironclad assertion that Tehran is intent on building nuclear bombs.
Where there once was certainty, there now is doubt. “We do not know whether it currently intends to develop nuclear weapons,” the new estimate said Monday.
Compare that with what then-National Intelligence Director John Negroponte told Congress in January. “Our assessment is that Tehran is determined to develop nuclear weapons.”
Just last month, President Bush, at a news conference with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, said, “We talked about Iran and the desire to work jointly to convince the Iranian regime to give up their nuclear weapons ambitions, for the sake of peace.”
Israeli soldiers secure the gate at the Rosh Hanikra border crossing between Israel and Lebanon October 15, 2007.
Gil Cohen Magen / Reuters
Is Israel laying the ground for pre-emptive air strikes against targets belonging to the militant Shi’ite group Hizballah in Lebanon?
Tensions have been building along the Lebanon-Israel border in recent days. The Israeli army was engaged last week in large-scale military exercises in northern Israel, close to the border with Lebanon, putting into practice the lessons learned from last year’s 34-day war against Hizballah. The exercises took place at the same time as Israeli jets conducted a growing number of mock air raids and overflights in Lebanese airspace. Israeli aircraft fly in Lebanese airspace on a near daily basis, but last week Lebanese army anti-aircraft units fired at the jets for the first time since the end of the war.
ANKARA, Turkey – Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Friday that Turkey would not be deterred by the possible diplomatic consequences if it decides to stage a cross-border offensive into Iraq against Kurdish rebels.“If such an option is chosen, whatever its price, it will be paid,” Erdogan told reporters in response to a question about the international repercussions of such a decision, which would strain ties with the United States and Iraq. “There could be pros and cons of such a decision, but what is important is our country’s interests.”