Friday, January 13, 2012

Mossad Agents Posed As American Spies As Part Of Their Secret War On Iran

A series of CIA memos describes how Israeli Mossad agents posed as American spies to recruit members of the terrorist organization Jundallah to fight their covert war against Iran.
Buried deep in the archives of America's intelligence services are a series of memos, written during the last years of President George W. Bush's administration, that describe how Israeli Mossad officers recruited operatives belonging to the terrorist group Jundallah by passing themselves off as American agents. According to two U.S. intelligence officials, the Israelis, flush with American dollars and toting U.S. passports, posed as CIA officers in recruiting Jundallah operatives -- what is commonly referred to as a "false flag" operation.
The memos, as described by the sources, one of whom has read them and another who is intimately familiar with the case, investigated and debunked reports from 2007 and 2008 accusing the CIA, at the direction of the White House, of covertly supporting Jundallah -- a Pakistan-based Sunni extremist organization. Jundallah, according to the U.S. government and published reports, is responsible for assassinating Iranian government officials and killing Iranian women and children.
But while the memos show that the United States had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was not true for Israel's Mossad. The memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel's recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel's ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.
The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad's efforts.
"It's amazing what the Israelis thought they could get away with," the intelligence officer said. "Their recruitment activities were nearly in the open. They apparently didn't give a damn what we thought."
Interviews with six currently serving or recently retired intelligence officers over the last 18 months have helped to fill in the blanks of the Israeli false-flag operation. In addition to the two currently serving U.S. intelligence officers, the existence of the Israeli false-flag operation was confirmed to me by four retired intelligence officers who have served in the CIA or have monitored Israeli intelligence operations from senior positions inside the U.S. government.
The CIA and the White House were both asked for comment on this story. By the time this story went to press, they had not responded. The Israeli intelligence services -- the Mossad -- were also contacted, in writing and by telephone, but failed to respond. As a policy, Israel does not confirm or deny its involvement in intelligence operations.
There is no denying that there is a covert, bloody, and ongoing campaign aimed at stopping Iran's nuclear program, though no evidence has emerged connecting recent acts of sabotage and killings inside Iran to Jundallah. Many reports have cited Israel as the architect of this covert campaign, which claimed its latest victim on Jan. 11 when a motorcyclist in Tehran slipped a magnetic explosive device under the car of Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan, a young Iranian nuclear scientist. The explosion killed Roshan, making him the fourth scientist assassinated in the past two years. The United States adamantly denies it is behind these killings.
According to one retired CIA officer, information about the false-flag operation was reported up the U.S. intelligence chain of command. It reached CIA Director of Operations Stephen Kappes, his deputy Michael Sulick, and the head of the Counterintelligence Center. All three of these officials are now retired. The Counterintelligence Center, according to its website, is tasked with investigating "threats posed by foreign intelligence services."
The report then made its way to the White House, according to the currently serving U.S. intelligence officer. The officer said that Bush "went absolutely ballistic" when briefed on its contents.
"The report sparked White House concerns that Israel's program was putting Americans at risk," the intelligence officer told me. "There's no question that the U.S. has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we're not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians."
Israel's relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the day it left office, this same intelligence officer noted. Israel's activities jeopardized the administration's fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under intense pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S. claims that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks in kind on U.S. personnel.
"It's easy to understand why Bush was so angry," a former intelligence officer said. "After all, it's hard to engage with a foreign government if they're convinced you're killing their people. Once you start doing that, they feel they can do the same."
A senior administration official vowed to "take the gloves off" with Israel, according to a U.S. intelligence officer. But the United States did nothing -- a result that the officer attributed to "political and bureaucratic inertia."
"In the end," the officer noted, "it was just easier to do nothing than to, you know, rock the boat." Even so, at least for a short time, this same officer noted, the Mossad operation sparked a divisive debate among Bush's national security team, pitting those who wondered "just whose side these guys [in Israel] are on" against those who argued that "the enemy of my enemy is my friend."
The debate over Jundallah was resolved only after Bush left office when, within his first weeks as president, Barack Obama drastically scaled back joint U.S.-Israel intelligence programs targeting Iran, according to multiple serving and retired officers.
The decision was controversial inside the CIA, where officials were forced to shut down "some key intelligence-gathering operations," a recently retired CIA officer confirmed. This action was followed in November 2010 by the State Department's addition of Jundallah to its list of foreign terrorist organizations -- a decision that one former CIA officer called "an absolute no-brainer."
Since Obama's initial order, U.S. intelligence services have received clearance to cooperate with Israel on a number of classified intelligence-gathering operations focused on Iran's nuclear program, according to a currently serving officer. These operations are highly technical in nature and do not involve covert actions targeting Iran's infrastructure or political or military leadership.
"We don't do bang and boom," a recently retired intelligence officer said. "And we don't do political assassinations."
Israel regularly proposes conducting covert operations targeting Iranians, but is just as regularly shut down, according to retired and current intelligence officers. "They come into the room and spread out their plans, and we just shake our heads," one highly placed intelligence source said, "and we say to them -- 'Don't even go there. The answer is no.'"
Unlike the Mujahedin-e Khalq, the controversial exiled Iranian terrorist group that seeks the overthrow of the Tehran regime and is supported by former leading U.S. policymakers, Jundallah is relatively unknown -- but just as violent. In May 2009, a Jundallah suicide bomber blew himself up inside a mosque in Zahedan, the capital of Iran's southeastern Sistan-Baluchistan province bordering Pakistan, during a Shiite religious festival. The bombing killed 25 Iranians and wounded scores of others.
The attack enraged Tehran, which traced the perpetrators to a cell operating in Pakistan. The Iranian government notified the Pakistanis of the Jundallah threat and urged them to break up the movement's bases along the Iranian-Pakistani border. The Pakistanis reacted sluggishly in the border areas, feeding Tehran's suspicions that Jundallah was protected by Pakistan's intelligence services.
The 2009 attack was just one in a long line of terrorist attacks attributed to the organization. In August 2007, Jundallah kidnapped 21 Iranian truck drivers. In December 2008, it captured and executed 16 Iranian border guards -- the gruesome killings were filmed, in a stark echo of the decapitation of American businessman Nick Berg in Iraq at the hands of al Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. In July 2010, Jundallah conducted a twin suicide bombing in Zahedan outside a mosque, killing dozens of people, including members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
The State Department aggressively denies that the U.S. government had or has any ties to Jundallah. "We have repeatedly stated, and reiterate again that the United States has not provided support to Jundallah," a spokesman wrote in an email to the Wall Street Journal, following Jundallah's designation as a terrorist organization. "The United States does not sponsor any form of terrorism. We will continue to work with the international community to curtail support for terrorist organizations and prevent violence against innocent civilians. We have also encouraged other governments to take comparable actions against Jundallah."
A spate of stories in 2007 and 2008, including a report by ABC News and a New Yorker article, suggested that the United States was offering covert support to Jundallah. The issue has now returned to the spotlight with the string of assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists and has outraged serving and retired intelligence officers who fear that Israeli operations are endangering American lives.
"This certainly isn't the first time this has happened, though it's the worst case I've heard of," former Centcom chief and retired Gen. Joe Hoar said of the Israeli operation upon being informed of it. "But while false-flag operations are hardly new, they're extremely dangerous. You're basically using your friendship with an ally for your own purposes. Israel is playing with fire. It gets us involved in their covert war, whether we want to be involved or not."
The Israeli operation left a number of recently retired CIA officers sputtering in frustration. "It's going to be pretty hard for the U.S. to distance itself from an Israeli attack on Iran with this kind of thing going on," one of them told me.
Jundallah head Abdolmalek Rigi was captured by Iran in February 2010. Although initial reports claimed that he was captured by the Iranians after taking a flight from Dubai to Kyrgyzstan, a retired intelligence officer with knowledge of the incident told me that Rigi was detained by Pakistani intelligence officers in Pakistan. The officer said that Rigi was turned over to the Iranians after the Pakistani government informed the United States that it planned to do so. The United States, this officer said, did not raise objections to the Pakistani decision.
Iran, meanwhile, has consistently claimed that Rigi was snatched from under the eyes of the CIA, which it alleges supported him. "It doesn't matter," the former intelligence officer said of Iran's charges. "It doesn't matter what they say. They know the truth."
Rigi was interrogated, tried, and convicted by the Iranians and hanged on June 20, 2010. Prior to his execution, Rigi claimed in an interview with Iranian media -- which has to be assumed was under duress -- that he had doubts about U.S. sponsorship of Jundallah. He recounted an alleged meeting with "NATO officials" in Morocco in 2007 that raised his suspicions. "When we thought about it we came to the conclusion that they are either Americans acting under NATO cover or Israelis," he said.
While many of the details of Israel's involvement with Jundallah are now known, many others still remain a mystery -- and are likely to remain so. The CIA memos of the incident have been "blue bordered," meaning that they were circulated to senior levels of the broader U.S. intelligence community as well as senior State Department officials.
What has become crystal clear, however, is the level of anger among senior intelligence officials about Israel's actions. "This was stupid and dangerous," the intelligence official who first told me about the operation said. "Israel is supposed to be working with us, not against us. If they want to shed blood, it would help a lot if it was their blood and not ours. You know, they're supposed to be a strategic asset. Well, guess what? There are a lot of people now, important people, who just don't think that's true."
-This commentary was published in Foreign Policy on 13/01/2012
-Mark Perry is an author and historian. His latest book is Talking to Terrorists

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Iran: The 20 Percent Solution

Iran's provocative uranium-enrichment program is at the center of its confrontation with the West. It's also, potentially, the way out.
On Monday, Jan. 9, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that Iran had begun producing 20 percent enriched uranium at Fordow, a fuel enrichment plant buried deep underground near the holy city of Qom. On the surface, there is little new here: Since February 2010, Iran has been producing 20 percent enriched uranium at Natanz, another once-secret site located about 3 ½ hours from Tehran.
Iran disclosed neither the Natanz nor the Fordow site to the IAEA until forced to do so, in 2002 and 2009, respectively, when outside observers discovered and publicized them. Fordow is smaller than Natanz in scale, but better protected from prying satellites and, potentially, a bombing campaign. Worryingly, the plant appears designed to focus on producing higher enrichments.
What has raised the world's suspicions is that Iran continues to produce 20 percent enriched uranium despite the fact that this exceeds its civilian needs and, as President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad acknowledged in September, does not make economic sense.
There are serious concerns over the proliferation aspects of Iran's enrichment activities. Increasing stockpiles of enriched uranium, together with studies related to an advanced nuclear weapon design, are building blocks for attaining a virtual nuclear weapon capability. (A state has a virtual nuclear arsenal if it possesses weapons-usable nuclear material and the knowledge and experience needed to design, manufacture, assemble, and deploy nuclear weapons.) So Iran's recent announcement that it plans to increase production of 20 percent enriched uranium is alarming.
Over the last few days, Iran has begun operating two enrichment cascades at Fordow. Furthermore, Iran is completing installation of two additional cascades, with their planned operation already announced. Once the four cascades at Fordow, in addition to the two Natanz ones, are operating, Iran will be able to produce 15 kg of 20 percent enriched UF6 (uranium hexafluoride) per month. This process uses as feed 3.5 percent enriched uranium, which is produced currently at a rate of 140 to 150 kg UF6 per month at Natanz.
This means that Iran's entire uranium-enrichment program is now being devoted to producing 20 percent enriched uranium. At current production rates, Iran can expect to have a stock of 20 percent enriched uranium of around 250 kg UF6 by the end of 2012, as well as more than 4 tons of 3.5 percent enriched UF6. (These estimates are based on the use of IR-1 centrifuges, which are now also operating at Fordow.) Iran will not likely be able to commission a large number of more advanced and powerful centrifuges before 2013. But if that happens, it will be an altogether different scenario.
If Iran decides to produce weapons-grade uranium from 20 percent enriched uranium, it has already technically undertaken 90 percent of the enrichment effort required. What remains to be done is the feeding of 20 percent uranium through existing additional cascades to achieve weapons-grade enrichment (more than 90 percent uranium). This step is much faster than the earlier ones. Growing the stockpile of 3.5 percent and 20 percent enriched uranium, as Iran is now doing, provides the basic material needed to produce four to five nuclear weapons. With IR-1 centrifuges, it would take half a year to go from 3.5 percent enriched uranium to weapons-grade material for the first nuclear device. More advanced centrifuges would cut the time required in half. If, however, IR-1s are using 20 percent enriched uranium as a feed, 250 kg UF6 with that level of enrichment can be turned to weapons-grade material in a month's time. This does not automatically mean Iran will be able to build a nuclear weapon in one month -- building an atomic bomb is a complex endeavor that requires precision engineering capabilities that Iran may lack -- but it does mean that the country would be able to "break out" of its international obligations very quickly should it decide to do so.
How can Iran convince the international community that its nuclear program will follow a peaceful track?
There are a few ways to go about it. One way would be to suspend the production of enriched uranium and convert the existing 3.5 percent and 20 percent enriched uranium stocks, with the assistance of the international community, to fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, as well as for another modern research reactor that could be provided to Iran. This approach would be good for Iran, as it would give the country a sustainable production of radioisotopes for industrial and medical uses in the shortest time.
Iran would also have to address the world's concerns about the military dimensions of its nuclear program, concerns laid out in the IAEA's most recent monitoring report. So far, Iran's leaders have failed to do so, despite being signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. With sanctions beginning to bite, tensions growing in the Persian Gulf, and international patience running out, there's no time like the present.
-This commentary was published in Foreign Policy on 11/01/2012
-Olli Heinonen, a senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, is a former deputy director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, where he headed its Department of Safeguards.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Arab League's Indecision Is Fuelling Assad's Belligerence

By Michael Young

Arab League secretary general Nabil al-Arabi (R) meets with veteran Sudanese military intelligence officer General Mohammed Ahmed Mustafa al-Dabi, head of the Arab League observer mission in Syria, in Cairo on December 24, 2011. (AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED ABED)
When lost, continue walking around in circles. That is the motto of the Arab League in dealing with the crisis in Syria. And judging from the wavering in Arab capitals over what to do next with the regime of President Bashar Al Assad, little is likely to soon change.
Sensing the confusion among Arab governments over an Arab League plan to end the Syrian violence, Mr Al Assad counterattacked in a speech on Tuesday, rebuking them for not standing by his government. He hopes to profit from their mood to regain the initiative at home.
When Mr Al Assad accepted the Arab plan, he widened the cracks in Arab ranks over how to resolve his country's problems. The plan calls for a withdrawal of the army from Syrian cities, the release of prisoners, and a dialogue between the regime and opposition, as well as the deployment of Arab monitors to implement the scheme.
Each of these conditions is a minefield. The Syrian army has not withdrawn from cities, with some 400 people estimated to have been killed since the monitors arrived last month. Yet there are too few of them to verify compliance. Some prisoners have been released, but without accurate figures for how many have been detained, and without a mandate for monitors to freely enter detention facilities, it will be impossible to ascertain the actual number. And while the Assad regime says it welcomes dialogue, it wants to choose its interlocutor, and sees talks as a way of splitting the opposition further.
Last November, Arab states seemed more decisive. They suspended Syria's Arab League membership when it refused to sign the protocol formalising the Arab plan. They also imposed sanctions and a travel ban on Syrian officials. The impact was limited, in there being no mechanism compelling Arab League members to enforce sanctions. While they went further than expected, Arab officials said the decisions were necessary to avoid "internationalisation" of the crisis through the United Nations Security Council.
Mr Al Assad's foes now describe the execution of the Arab plan as a fiasco. In a report last Sunday, the monitors hardly dispelled the unease. Killings and arrests have continued, though Arab divisions meant the Arab League could agree only on pursuing the mission for now. The arrival of new monitors is being delayed by Syria, their movement is controlled by the security forces, and Mr Al Assad feels confident.
Arab dynamics are revealing in this regard. Other than Qatar, which has played a vanguard role in opposing the leadership in Damascus, there is a profound disconnect between the Arab regimes and the Syrian opposition, whose minimal demand is Mr Al Assad's removal. That explains the opposition's mistrust of the Arab League, itself a mirror of the Arab consensus - or rather the lack thereof.
The two traditional Arab powerhouses, Egypt and Saudi Arabia, remain deeply ambiguous on Syria. The Egyptian military council is focused on managing its domestic affairs and is avoiding taking risks abroad, despite the potential strategic advantage to Cairo of a breakdown in the Syrian-Iranian alliance. More cynically, the generals, keen to consolidate their authority at home, favour the status quo regionally. They fear that new convulsions, above all Mr Al Assad's fall, would further embolden their Egyptian detractors.
The disposition of the Egyptian military can be read in the actions of the Arab League secretary general, Nabil Al Arabi, an Egyptian who like most of his predecessors is close to the power centres in Cairo. Mr Al Arabi has been indecisive and behind the curve on Syria, and has not used his pulpit to advance his organisation's plan. Instead, he has obtained agreement over lowest common denominators among the Arab states, effectively neutralising the Arab mission.
Saudi Arabia has also been strikingly hazy on Mr Al Assad's repression. The kingdom has condemned the actions of the Syrian regime, but it has also shied away from shaping Arab agreement on events in Syria. Riyadh has played a largely passive role, in contrast to its interventions in Bahrain and Yemen. That could be because the Saudi plate is full and the royal family is going through a transition; perhaps, too, the Saudis prefer a slow corrosion of Syria's regime. That said, the prospect of ensuring that Iran loses a vital ally in the Levant has appeared not to galvanise Saudi decision-makers.
The Saudis' response on Monday to the Arab League monitor's report showed that they still prefer to have it both ways. The council of ministers issued a statement calling on the Syrian government to carry out the Arab plan and protect civilians. Yet it also implicitly supported pursuing the plan, affirming that it has been "partially" implemented - which the opposition rejects.
Other Arab states have also shown no enthusiasm for aggressively applying Arab decisions. Iraq, Algeria, Sudan, Morocco, Jordan and Lebanon have either been openly sympathetic to Mr Al Assad or have gone with the flow. Most of the Gulf states will follow the Saudi lead, which has been to step back. Qatar has stood out as the exception, but in March it relinquishes the rotating presidency of the Arab League to Iraq, which has defended Mr Al Assad.
There is no Arab momentum to side with the Syrian population against their leaders. This risks dangerously alienating the Syrian opposition, leading to radicalisation of the uprising. That may be precisely what Mr Al Assad wants, but it is also what the Arab states claim they want to avert. Syria is now an urgent matter for the UN Security Council, and has been for months. Arab indecision shows why.
-This commentary was published in The National on 12/01/2012
-Michael Young is opinion editor of the Daily Star newspaper in Beirut and author of The Ghosts of Martyrs Square: An Eyewitness Account of Lebanon's Life Struggle

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Bashar al-Assad has three options

Syria's leader does not seem happy in his work. As the crisis deepens, he could choose to run, to fight or to negotiate
By Simon Tisdall
Bashar al-Assad
Bashar al-Assad said in his Damascus speech that he still had the support of the Syrian people. Photograph: Ho/AP
Bashar al-Assad went into typical passive-aggressive mode in his Damascus speech, vowing to crush dissent while simultaneously promising vague reforms. Broadly defined, this sort of behaviour involves procrastination, stubbornness, resentment, sullenness, obstructionism, self-pity and a tendency to create chaotic situations. Since the Syrian uprising erupted around his ears last March, Assad, who never really wanted the presidency and has proved himself spectacularly ill-suited to it, has exhibited all of these character defects and more.
The Syrian leader's state of mind is increasingly relevant as the nine-month-old national crisis deepens, with no sign yet of how or when it may be resolved. Critics say the president is isolated and out of touch with reality; others that he is a pawn, or even a hostage, in the hands of more powerful relatives and military figures. He certainly does not give the impression of being happy in his work.
Whatever the truth, with the deaths of at least 5,000 people laid at his door, with Arab leaders joining the US and Europe in demanding his resignation, with the prospect of a UN crimes against humanity prosecution looming and with the regime's collapse and all-out civil war a distinct possibility, the pressure on Assad must be all but unbearable. Will he crack? And what are his options?
1. Flight
If the situation gets simply too hot to handle, Assad could try making a run for it, as did the Arab spring's first victim, Tunisia's former president, Zine el Abidine Ben Ali. He headed for Saudi Arabia, a favourite refuge for displaced dictators such as Uganda's Idi Amin and Yemen's Ali Abdullah Saleh. Assad turning up on their doorstep would be an embarrassment for Saudi leaders (who do not like him), but if it brought stability back to the region, it might be worth it.
Alternatively, Assad could make a dash for Iran, his long-time ally, or even Russia, which has consistently shielded his regime from international censure and has sent a naval taskforce to the Syrian port of Tartus in a show of solidarity. If he does decide to leg it, a key consideration will be what to do with his British-born wife, Asma, and their three children. Any request from her to return to her family home in Acton, west London, could present Britain with an interesting diplomatic and security headache.
Assad insisted in his speech that he was not going anywhere. But Gaddafi-style, he also sounded seriously deluded. "I am not someone who abandons responsibility. I am in this position because of support from the people and if I leave, it will be because of the desire of the people."
2. Fight
The current approach to the crisis comes straight from the play-book written by Assad's late father, Hafez. He notoriously put down an earlier uprising in Hama in 1982, when up to 10,000 people are said to have died. The difference this time is that, so far at least, bloody repression has not worked and the unrest in not confined to one city or region. Increasingly, regime opponents backed by defecting military personnel have resorted to armed resistance across the board. Assad also says they are getting assistance from abroad, a claim that is difficult to verify.
"The situation in Syria is heading towards a religious, sectarian, racial war, and this needs to be prevented," Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey's prime minister, warned this week, voicing a concern that is shared across the region and in the west. Assad's dilemma is that if the killing continues unchecked – in other words, if he cannot definitively reassert his control – the Arab League mission may be discredited and withdrawn, leading to direct UN security council action and possible Libyan-style intervention.
So far there is no sign the violent crackdown is working. But in his speech, Assad suggested he would not change tack – while again appearing to deny reality. "There is no cover for anyone. There are no orders for anyone to open fire on any citizen," he said. His main aim was to restore order and this could only be achieved by "hitting terrorists with an iron fist … there is no tolerance for terrorism or for those who use weapons to kill".
3. Negotiation
Assad again floated vague promises of reform, including a constitutional referendum on a proposed multi-party system in March. But his credibility is shot among many, if not most, Syrians after years of failing to carry through similar pledges. If Assad pushed for genuine change, he could risk being dumped by regime associates, notably by his tough-guy brother, Maher, the most powerful man in Syria's security apparatus who is blamed for much of the recent killing.
Assad has also burned his boats with leading Arab states and western countries, including the US and Britain, which initially entertained high hopes of his leadership when he took over in 2000. They and neighbours such as Turkey now see no alternative but for him to stand down. Ironically, Israel – Syria's old enemy – might prefer it if he survived, for the sake of a stable border. And if the alternative to Assad is an anti-western, Sunni Muslim-led regime, then the US and Iraq, for different reasons, might also secretly prefer him to stay.
Apparently heedless of such nuances and of his need for support if he is to negotiate his way out this mess, Assad poured contempt on fellow Arab leaders in his speech. "The Arab League has failed for six decades to take a position in the Arab interest … We should not be surprised," he said. Yet at the same time he said Syria would not "close the door" to any Arab proposal that respected its sovereignty and unity. This suggests he still hopes for some face-saving regional formula that would enable him to stay in power.
Egypt may yet serve as a model for what happens in Syria. In this scenario, the regime figurehead – Hosni Mubarak/Assad – is removed and put on symbolic trial but the regime itself, represented by the military and other powerful insider forces, having offered up this high-profile sacrifice, remains largely intact. The revolution appears to have succeeded, the violence mostly stops, and there is a big celebratory party. But the morning after, it slowly dawns that nothing much has really changed.
-This commentary was published in The Guardian on 10/01/2012
-Simon Tisdall is an assistant editor of the Guardian and a foreign affairs columnist. He was previously a foreign leader writer for the paper and has also served as its foreign editor and its US editor, based in Washington DC. He was the Observer's foreign editor from 1996-98