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Prelude to a War With Iran

September 25, 2007 - by Donny Shaw

UPDATE (Wed. 2PM): The Kyl-Lieberman amendment, discussed below, passed the Senate this afternoon, but with paragraphs 3 and 4 omitted. Also, the following paragraphs were added to the amendment:

>"Ambassador Crocker further testified before Congress on September 11, 2007, with respect to talks with Iran, that, “I think that it’s an option we want to preserve. Our first couple rounds did not produce anything. I don’t think that we should either, therefore, be in a big hurry to have another round, nor do I think we should say we’re not going to talk anymore…I do believe it’s important to keep the option for future discussions on the table.”

>“Secretary of Defense Robert Gates stated on September 16, 2007 that “I think that the administration believes at this point that continuing to try and deal with the Iranian threat, the Iranian challenge, through diplomatic and economic means is by the preferable approach. That the one we are using. We always say all options are on the table, but clearly, the diplomatic and economic approach is the one that we are pursuing.”

To see how senators voted, click here.


In a matter of hours, the Senate is expected to vote on an amendment co-auhored by Jon Kyl (R-AZ) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT) that, if passed, would be Congress’ first significant act towards authorizing the use of military force against Iran. It is a non-binding “sense of the Senate” amendment, but it would officially put the Senate on record in support of using military force in order to curb Iran’s destabilizing influence in Iraq.

Here is what the amendment proposes. Subsection (4) contains the most controversial language supporting the use of military force against Iran.

>1) that the manner in which the United States transitions and structures its military presence in Iraq will have critical long-term consequences for the future of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East, in particular with regard to the capability of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to pose a threat to the security of the region, the prospects for democracy for the people of the region, and the health of the global economy;
>(2) that it is a vital national interest of the United States to prevent the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran from turning Shi’a militia extremists in Iraq into a Hezbollah-like force that could serve its interests inside Iraq, including by overwhelming, subverting, or co-opting institutions of the legitimate Government of Iraq;
>(3) that it should be the policy of the United States to combat, contain, and roll back the violent activities and destabilizing influence inside Iraq of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran, its foreign facilitators such as Lebanese Hezbollah, and its indigenous Iraqi proxies;
>(4) to support the prudent and calibrated use of all instruments of United States national power in Iraq, including diplomatic, economic, intelligence, and military instruments, in support of the policy described in paragraph (3) with respect to the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies;
>(5) that the United States should designate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as a foreign terrorist organization under section 219 of the Immigration and Nationality Act and place the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists, as established under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act and initiated under Executive Order 13224; and
>(6) that the Department of the Treasury should act with all possible expediency to complete the listing of those entities targeted under United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1737 and 1747 adopted unanimously on December 23, 2006 and March 24, 2007, respectively.

For the full text of the amendment including the list of finding that Lieberman and Kyl use to make their case, click here. Here’s Lieberman upon offering the amendment. And here’s what Jim Webb (D-VA) had to say about it on the Senate floor this morning.

UPDATE: Senate Majority Leader announced that the vote on this amendment will be delayed until some revisions are made.

>REID: There are efforts being made before we vote on them to modify those two amendments, because people have issues with both of those amendments. So, until we finalize what they really want to do, I think it would be unwise for me to say that I support Kyl-Lieberman, or don’t support it. I think I have to wait until I see what they are finally going to come up with, because some people have some real substantive problems with what’s in that Kyl-Lieberman amendment.

We’ll keep you posted as soon as we know what revisions were made and when the vote will take place.

Pictured above is Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at Columbia University on Monday

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