Un articolo di David Sanger sulle motivazioni alla base dell'intervento americano in Libia.
"“It shouldn’t be overstated that this was the deciding factor, or even a principal factor” in the decision to intervene in Libya, Benjamin J. Rhodes, a senior aide who joined in the meeting, said last week. But, he added, the effect on Iran was always included in the discussion. In this case, he said, “the ability to apply this kind of force in the region this quickly — even as we deal with other military deployments in Iraq and Afghanistan — combined with the nature of this broad coalition sends a very strong message to Iran about our capabilities, militarily and diplomatically.”
That afternoon in the Situation Room vividly demonstrates a rarely stated fact about the administration’s responses to the uprisings sweeping the region: The Obama team holds no illusions about Colonel Qaddafi’s long-term importance. Libya is a sideshow. Containing Iran’s power remains their central goal in the Middle East. Every decision — from Libya to Yemen to Bahrain to Syria — is being examined under the prism of how it will affect what was, until mid-January, the dominating calculus in the Obama administration’s regional strategy: how to slow Iran’s nuclear progress, and speed the arrival of opportunities for a successful uprising there.
(…) At the end of this era of upheaval, which the White House considers as sweeping as the changes that transformed Europe after the Berlin Wall fell, success or failure may well be judged by the question of whether Iran realizes its ambitions to become the region’s most powerful force.
Last week, the decisions being made at the White House were about how firmly to back the protesters being shot in the streets in Syria and Yemen, or being beaten in Bahrain. For each of those, White House aides were performing a mostly silent calculation about whether the Iranians would benefit, or at least feel more breathing room.
(…) Mr. Obama argued, in his speech on Monday night, that Libya presented a special case — an urgent moral responsibility to protect Libyans being hunted down by the Qaddafi forces and a moment of opportunity to make a difference with what the president called “unique” American capabilities. (Translation: a multitude of technologies, like Tomahawk missiles, reconnaissance and electronic jamming.) Those are the same capabilities that would be critical in any attack on Iranian nuclear sites. The administration’s top officials knew that a demonstration of that ability would not be lost on Iran. But it is anyone’s guess how Iran would react.
(…)The problem gets more complex when dealing with Arab allies who have little compunction about shooting protesters in the streets, even as they seek to undermine Iran. Saudi Arabia and Bahrain are the prime examples. The Saudis see Iran as the biggest threat to their own regional ambitions, and have cooperated in many American-led efforts to hem in Tehran. Yet relations between Washington and Riyadh have rarely been as strained: To King Abdullah, President Obama’s decision to abandon President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt was a sign of weakness, and a warning that he might throw the Saudi leadership under the bus if democracy demonstrations took root there.
Perhaps that explains why there was barely a peep from the White House when the Saudis rolled troops into neighboring Bahrain to help put down the Shiite-majority protests there. Much as Mr. Obama wants to see the aspirations of democracy protesters fulfilled, and urged steps toward reform in Bahrain, he has no desire to see the toppling of the government that hosts the Fifth Fleet, right across the Persian Gulf from Iran.
For years the United States has tried in vain to peel Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad, away from Iran and to reconcile with Israel. It fears that if his government collapses, chaos will reign, making Syria unpredictable as well as dangerous. It’s a reasonable fear. But in recent weeks the White House has concluded that it has much less to lose than the Iranians do if Mr. Assad is swept away. And, as some in Mr. Obama’s war council have noted, if protesters succeed in Syria, Iran could be next."