Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Maybe we should just attack Natanz With Snow

The nation's capital has been brought to its knees. Not by terrorism nor WMD nor invasion. By solid water crystals. Forget the bomb, let's just hope al-Qaeda doesn't get the cloud.

Despite the snow, the Treasury imposed sanctions on one individual and four companies in Iran today, all of whom relate to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. It's smart that the sanctions are targeting the enemy group itself rather than the Iranian population as a whole. That being said, it's difficult to see sanctions pushing Iran towards negotiation. Iran has continually backed itself into a corner, meaning that it's hard for the U.S. to give the government a way to capitulate without losing face. The regime is also likely to be finicky in the wake of a failed attempt to ban major Sunni candidates from running in Iraqi elections, as well as the elections themselves. Free, fair, and largely sovereign elections on the Iranian border are not likely to play well among the population.

The decision makers in Iran are Ahmedinejad and the Ayatollah, so offensive actions should be aimed at cleaving between the two. A strategy to stir disagreement and cut a deal (i.e. repeal sanctions) with whomever blinks first might be the only effective way to stop a military strike on the country. However, even this strategy is not guarranteed to be effective, meaning that the chances of a non-military solution to the issue are quickly dwindling.

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