In a meeting with U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Ehud Olmert proposed that the U.S. blockade Iranian ports as a means of shutting down its uranium enrichment program:
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert has proposed in discussions with the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, that a naval blockade be imposed on Iran as one of several ways to pressure Iran into stopping its uranium enrichment program…
“The present economic sanctions on Iran have exhausted themselves,” Olmert told Pelosi, adding that the international community needed to take much more drastic steps to stop Iran’s efforts to obtain nuclear weapons. Olmert also said there was a great deal of space between the present sanctions and military action. Aggressive action could be taken that was not violent, Olmert told Pelosi.
Olmert’s suggestions mainly involved continued efforts to isolate the Iranian regime. Olmert proposed two possible courses of action: first, a naval blockade of Iran using the U.S. fleet to limit the movement in and out of Iran of its merchant ships.
The second option Olmert proposed was to place limitations on Iranian aircraft, business people and senior members of the regime at airports throughout the world. “Iranian businesspeople who would not be able to land anywhere in the world would pressure the regime,” Olmert said.
There’s just a wee problem with his suggestion: does anyone recall Egypt shutting down the Straits of Tiran and blockading the shipping of a certain country in 1967? Remember what happened next? Yes, a full-scale war. A naval blockade is an act of war and Iran would take it as such. The idea that such a blockade would somehow be short of “violent” is foolhardy in the extreme.
I like the fact that Ehud Olmert is holding on by the skin of his teeth to his political office and career, and still manages to suggest policies that could get Israel, the U.S. and the entire Middle East into a full-scale regional war. I like politicians who think big like that. Reminds me of the wonderful Slim Pickens hanging on for dear life to that thermonuclear device dropped from the bomb-bay doors of the B-52 in the closing scene from Dr. Strangelove. Olmert figures, like Pickens, he might as well go out in a blaze of glory.
The Jerusalem Post covers an Israeli Army Radio report claiming that a senior Bush official told the Israelis that Bush is prepared for military action against Iran:
…An Army Radio report that claimed US President George W. Bush intends to attack Iran before the end of his term.
…Army Radio had quoted a top official in Jerusalem claiming that a senior member in the entourage of President Bush, who visited Israel last week, had said in a closed meeting here that Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney were of the opinion that military action against Iran was called for.
The official reportedly went on to say that, for the time being, “the hesitancy of Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice” was preventing the administration from deciding to launch such an attack on the Islamic Republic.
The Army Radio report, which was quoted by The Jerusalem Post and resonated widely, stated that according to assessments in Israel, the recent turmoil in Lebanon, where Hizbullah has established de facto control of the country, was advancing an American attack.
Bush, the official reportedly said, considered Hizbullah’s show of strength evidence of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s growing influence. In Bush’s view, the official said, “the disease must be treated – not its symptoms.”
Bushites have flatly denied the report. But given the history of this Administration it is entirely credible that Stephen Hadley could’ve said something as hare-brained as this. It’s even possible that something like this will end up happening. That’s how flat out crazy these people can be. That being said, the Jerusalem Post isn’t exactly the most credible journalistic source and Israeli newspapers in general have a very low threshold of reliability when reporting unsourced stories. I’d say any newspaper that creates a special news category called “Iranian Threat” has a vested interest in ginning up a little anti-Iranian hysteria now and again. Laura Rozen is also skeptical.