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Re: DISCUSSION - Insight on Iranian intentions in negotiations

Released on 2012-08-05 16:00 GMT

Email-ID 1172894
Date 2010-08-02 17:08:31
Amendment to this:

. It could certainly go down further, but a South Korean-style presence,
especially with troops serving in the role of a conventional deterrent,
not carrying out internal security functions, is not something I'd
completely rule out -- IF it can be worked out with the government in
Baghdad. And for that, you need a government in Baghdad...

it's not about working that out with a government in Baghdad. Even if you
are talking to the govt in Baghdad, you are still dealing with Iran on
this issue. First, you have to talk the Iranians. Hence, the
On Aug 2, 2010, at 10:05 AM, Nate Hughes wrote:

The SOFA says all troops out by the end of 2011. This is the time at
which Iraqi security forces are expected to be capable of handling
internal security issues on their own.

Because this is the language of the SOFA, the U.S. military is making
preparations to do just that. The U.S. embassy is making preparations
for contractors to assist DSS with all manner of security required for
the U.S. diplomatic mission.

But I don't think this necessarily has to be the final settlement. The
Iraqi military is not expected to be capable of external/territorial
defense until 2018+. A lot of that can be covered by an implicit U.S.
security guarantee and a presence in Kuwait with a lot of pre-positioned

But the re-establishment of a strategic reserve (which is G's focus on
the drawdown as I understand it) will already begin to be possible with
the drawdown to 50K. It could certainly go down further, but a South
Korean-style presence, especially with troops serving in the role of a
conventional deterrent, not carrying out internal security functions, is
not something I'd completely rule out -- IF it can be worked out with
the government in Baghdad. And for that, you need a government in

Kamran Bokhari wrote:

From what I have heard from G, DC needs to pull em out. And the other
thing is that the Iraqis won't want them to stay. As for when they
would leave, some time late next year is what I am seeing from the
Obama administration. Of course that could change.
On 8/2/2010 10:40 AM, Bayless Parsley wrote:

Question: when we talk about our continued desire to get out of
Iraq, do we actually intend (at least publicly/legally) to fully
withdraw these final 50,000 troops, ever? Or if not "ever," in the
next five-10 years? Not familiar with what the SOFA mandates must be
done once our combat troops are all out. And obviously the answer
would have a huge effect on these negotiations.

Do we really "need" to pull them out, or would it not be that huge
of a strain on our military to maintain troops there, just like we
do in Europe, Korea, and tons of other places?

Kamran Bokhari wrote:

There isn't much time to do anything with the remaining troops.
They are leaving one way or another. Iran knows that. Also, the
only situation that I can see upsetting the drawdown schedule is
massive violence combined with the various factions rapidly
hurling into a direction opposite to that of a power-sharing
formula. The talks are not going anywhere but no sign that these
guys are about to say fuck it. Also, note that July was the
deadliest month in terms of attacks since 2008. But U.S. forces
continue to drawdown and ahead of schedule. Iran is also not
interested in creating problems right now because it doesn't have
the Shia house in order with al-Maliki feuding with

The key issue is therefore the 50k troops that will be left
behind. Even then the Iranians don't have to do anything
necessarily. Just play around with U.S. perceptions. They know
that DC needs to pull them out but can't. Not without creating a
vacuum that Tehran would exploit. So, they say we can let you go
with assurances if you give us what we want, which is regime
security, lifting of sanctions, and recognition of IRI's regional
role. Hence the bit about holding them hostage. That said, do note
that the al-Sadrites said recently that they will not tolerate any
long-term American bases in country even in Kurdistan. So Iran has
that option as well. but really their goal is to play with U.S.
perceptions to get what they want. They won't need to do much more
unless the U.S. says the 50K are digging in for the long haul.

On 8/2/2010 10:14 AM, Reva Bhalla wrote:

I think it's a bit of both. The demands outlined here make
sense. At the same time, iran will want to convey the message
that it has the upper hand and the US needs to be the one to
make the first move. This is why I'd like a better
understanding of what can Iran actually do to the remaining
troops in Iraq to upset the withdrawal or hold the leftover
forces hostage?
On Aug 2, 2010, at 8:44 AM, Rodger Baker wrote:

if these are part of backchannel messaging to DC, how do we
interpret these? as accurate assessments of iran's views, or
as the position Iran wants people in the US admin and policy
positions to think is the iranian position?
On Aug 2, 2010, at 8:20 AM, Reva Bhalla wrote:

Please read the two pieces of insight below. They both come
from the same source, who (I believe) has used this
communication link through S4 in attempt to send messages to
the US administration. I believe this message below is being
transmitted through a number of backchannels.
I think this is important for us to publish in an article so
we can better define the Iranian position in this stage of
the negotiations. It is clear that the Iranian priority is
Iraq in these nuclear negotiations, which should come as no
surprise to STRATFOR. My biggest question is, are the
Iranians overestimating their leverage over the remaining US
troops in Iraq? Perhaps there is an Iranian contingency
plan that we haven't fully considered? Overall, the
Iranians are not under any great pressure to concede
anything big right now. It's up to the US to answer to their
demands in Iraq, and it's unclear to me whether the US is
really that much of a blocker to what Iran wants to achieve
in Iraq right now. It's also unclear to what extent Iran
would cooperate in allowing in inspectors again and in
temproarily freezing enrichment.
PUBLICATION: for analysis
SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Iranian diplomat -- strongly suspected
of using S4 as backchannel to US admin
SOURCE Reliability : D
Iran has informed the USA through back channels about its
perspective on resolving the current standoff with regard to
the Iranian nuclear program. The Iranian package includes
the following:
1. Iran wants the US to cease its support to secessionist
ethnic groups in Iran, namely the Balochs in
Balochistan-Sistan and Arabs in Khuzistan (Ahwas), in
addition to Mujahidin e-Khalq.
2. Iran will suspend uranium enrichment for a year.
3. Iran will give international inspectors access to its
nuclear sites.
4. Iran will allow US troops to withdraw smoothly from Iraq.
5. The US gives Iran a free hand in Iraq and allows it to
form the cabinet of its choice.

The source believes Iran has the upper hand over the US,
because the Obama administration's main concern is to ensure
a peaceful and disruption free withdrawal from Iraq. Iran
can make this happen, otherwise it can easily transform US
troops there into hostages. The Iranians strongly feel that
the fate of US troops in Iraq lies within their hands. s
Iran has the capacity to make or unmake president Obama.

The Iranians have told the Americans that they will not go
for Allawi's prime ministership. They very much prefer the
weak character of Nuri al-Maliki, whom they can easily use
to achieve their goals in Iraq. Iran is quite hopeful that
al-Maliki will become next prime minister because Ayatollah
Ali Sistani has quietly endorsed his candidacy. He says the
reappointment of Maliki will neutralize the aspirations in
Iraq of Syria, Turkey and Saudi Arabia. Iran will not
compromise on Iraq. It will delay its nuclear program but it
will not abandon it and they have made this matter
absolutely clear to the Americans. He thinks Iran will

On 7/30/2010 9:59 AM, Antonia Colibasanu wrote:

SOURCE DESCRIPTION: Iranian diplomat
SOURCE Reliability : D
** This supports my earlier assumption that Iran still
feels like it has enough leverage in other places to
avoid making any real concessions in this next round of
There is nothing the Iranians like more than discussing
their nuclear program. Iran is keenly interested in
negotiating its nuclear options. He adds that "we are
only interested in the process of negotiation and do not
intend to make concessions that may harm our strategic
nuclear objectives." He says the Iranians feel quite
safe as long as the West engages them in talks. Talking
is one thing and reaching firm agreements that the
Iranians will respect is another thing.

The source says the Iranians can withstand as much
pressure as the West can apply. The Iranian
leadership's assessment is that neither the US nor
Israel will attack them, because the repercussions for
the US/Israel will be beyond their ability to withstand.
He says it would not make much sense for the US to
escalate militarily if they are so desperate to downsize
their miliarty presence in Iraq. He says Ahmadinejad
chose to sound concerned when he told Press TV last week
that the US will launch war against two countries in the
Middle East. Ahmadinejad wanted to give the impression
that he is concerned and that Iran may be willing to
make serious concessions. His real aim was to get the US
to engage Iran and give it more time until it achieves
its nuclear objectives. He says Ahmadinejad is basing
his assumptions on the seeming conviction that the West
will limit its response to diplomatic and economic
sanctions. He says the US may use Israel to send signals
to Iran by authorizing the Israelis to hit at Hizbullah
in Lebanon. The Iranians are serious about talks but
they are not serious about making concessions that can
undermine their nuclear abmitions. Iran's decision om
this matter is strategic and irreversible.