Defense Secretary Robert Gates, who only two years ago supported renewing diplomatic relations with Tehran, has taken the administration’s recent Iran bashing to heart, saying the U.S. will beef up its presence in the Persian Gulf to make sure Ahmadinejad & Co. don’t get any ideas: “The Iranians clearly believe that we are tied down in Iraq, that they have the initiative, that they’re in a position to press us in many ways…. We are simply trying to communicate to the region that we are going to be there for a long time.”
Is it just a coincidence that so many administration officials include references to Iran in their public remarks these days? One can only hope. Although we wouldn’t put it past this president to launch a catastrophic and irresponsible war on his way out of office.
New York Times:
KABUL, Jan 15—Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates said Monday that Iran was “acting in a very negative way” in the Middle East and that the United States was building up its forces to demonstrate its resolve to remain in the Persian Gulf.
“The Iranians clearly believe that we are tied down in Iraq, that they have the initiative, that they’re in a position to press us in many ways,” Mr. Gates said, speaking to reporters at NATO headquarters in Brussels before flying here. “We are simply trying to communicate to the region that we are going to be there for a long time.”
Delivering that message to Iran—and to allies in the region worried that Washington is consumed with stabilizing Iraq—is one of Mr. Gates’s priorities on a trip to the region this week that will take him later to the Persian Gulf.
Senior Pentagon officials said they also plan to stress to the largely-Sunni Arab governments worried about Iran that they must assist the United States in Iraq with reconstruction aid and with putting pressure on fellow Sunnis to reach political reconciliation.