Guardian is reporting today that the internal White House debate over Iran has shifted back in favor of military action before President Bush leaves office in January 2009.
Guardian has learned that Bush sided with Vice President Cheney for the military option against Iran during a meeting last month at the White House. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Defense Secretary Robert Gates are understood to favor the diplomatic option, including tough economic sanctions, as opposed to military attack on Iran.
The report reveals that Nick Burns, the undersecretary of state responsible for Iran, had argued in the meeting that negotiations and diplomatic maneuvering could go on after January 2009. Bush and Cheney reportedly did not like his assessment. “The balance has tilted,” Guardian source is quoted as saying.
The US has stationed almost half of its fleet of 277 warships close to Iran, including two aircraft carrier groups. A third carrier, USS Enterprise, left Norfolk, Virginia, for the Persian Gulf last week. Enterprise is to replace USS Nimitz already stationed in the Gulf. It could also be used as a third carrier in the area if needed.
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