Thursday, March 09, 2006

IRAN: What can Congress do?

In the wake of Iran's continued defiance by pursuing nuclear weapons and supplying weapons and manpower to the insurgents in Iraq, the House International Relations Committee met yesterday to discuss potential courses of action. Michael Kraft, a former senior advisor in the U.S. Department of State Office of the Coordinator for Counterterrorism, has a post up at the Counterterrorism Blog that is essential reading. It's a long post, but it covers everything: sanctions (what to sanction and can they work), Iran specific legislation, can new legislation help, what diplomatic means are necessary to implement sanctions, what resources are needed, public diplomacy, and other steps that may be helpful. Here's one small snippet to whet your appetite.

In short, legislating new laws or resolutions against Iran may be fine, but tighter enforcement of existing laws and adequate funding for existing programs is more essential step. Congress has a legislative function but also an appropriations responsibility. The way to counter Iran is not just with speeches and resolutions but with serious steps to back up the rhetoric by providing the financial and personnel resources needed for the nuts and bolts work of countering terrorism and WMD.

Please go read the whole post. It's long, but well worth the time.