Friday, September 23, 2005

The Inevitable War with Iran

If Washington wants a war with Iran, there'll be a war with Iran. That's the great lesson of the Iraq war; once the decision is made, there's no turning back.

So, why are the main-players; England, France and Germany stumbling over themselves trying to placate Bush as though the conflict can be avoided? Threatening to bring Iran before the Security Council won't alter the administrations plans one bit. Like the Downing Street memo stated, "The facts and intelligence were fit to meet the policy". It's the same here. No amount of groveling from the EU-3 will appease Washington once Tehran is in its crosshairs. The EU-3 would be better off sending arms and ammunition to Iran so the people can defend themselves once bombs start to fly.

We should consider the implications of preemptive war against Iran before the situation begins to escalate. The Islamic state has no nuclear weapons, no nuclear weapons-program, and no verifiable evidence that it will be building nuclear weapons in the future. In other words, the US is planning an attack against a nation that does not even meet its minimal requirements for aggression. There is no moral or legal justification for such a war, just as there was no moral or legal justification for the invasion of Iraq. Nevertheless, I believe that the decision to attack Iran was made long ago, perhaps even before the Iraq war; and that that will be carried out in the very near future. The last obstacle was the German election. The administration believed that Ms. Angela Merkel would win a hands-down victory; putting a fellow neocon in the drivers-seat of Europe's largest economy. It would be like having Maggie Thatcher in Bonn. Merkel could be counted on to support the expansion of NATO (which is, to say, the extension of American power), to dismantle the social-welfare system, energize the privatization processes, quash the movement for an independent EU military, strengthen ties with the US and Israel, and disrupt European solidarity. All this fits within the Washington neocon vision of a balkanized, free-market Europe operating as a subordinate to the US overlord.

If the US or Israel had attacked Iran before the German elections, Ms. Merkel, who has promised to rebuilt the trans-Atlantic relationship, would have taken a decisive nosedive in the polls. As it turns out, the election results were inconclusive and will probably not affect the storm clouds that are gathering over Tehran.

The die is cast. There will be a war.

The media has already begun the steady drum-beat of specious charges directed at the Islamic government. All of the major news-providers (New York Times, AP, Washington Post, Night Ridder etc) are now describing Iran as "defiant" or "thumbing their nose" at the world community, or, worse, "out of compliance" with prior agreements. Their new Iranian president is described as a "hardliner" who is "fiercely anti-American" These claims are normally accompanied by quotes from unidentified sources who refer to a fictional nuclear-weapons program that is just months away from developing the bomb.

It's all 100% bunkum. In fact, the world community is not troubled by Iran's nuclear program at all. It is only the US who would like to use the allegations that rattle-through the propaganda system to justify another preemptive war.

Unlike the US, Iran does not have a history of territorial aggression, is not involved in massively-destabilizing colonial wars, does not abduct civilians from other sovereign nations and torture them in foreign prisons, does not erect monuments to human cruelty (Guantanamo) and fill them with members of a target-religion.

Iran has no nuclear weapons program. That is not simply my contention, but the judgment of the foremost nuclear inspections team in the world; the IAEA. (International Atomic Energy Agency) It was the IAEA that consistently disputed the erroneous claims by the Bush administration that Saddam was developing a nuclear weapons capacity. No such program existed and there is considerable proof that the US knew the charges were false.

For the last two years, Iran has willingly undergone the strictest regime of "go-anywhere see anything" inspections of any nation in the history of the IAEA. Even now they are eager to admit the IAEA inspectors to all suspect locations and allow them to set up their permanent video-cameras, so they can assure the global community that they can be trusted to comply with the terms of the NPT (Non-Proliferation Treaty)

What Iran refuses to do, and what every sovereign nation should refuse to do, is accept rules mandated by the United States especially designed for Iran. That, of course, is precisely what is happening at present. Iran is IN COMPLETE COMPLIANCE WITH ITS OBLIGATIONS UNDER THE TERMS OF THE NPT. What the Bush team is demanding is that they forgo the conversion of nuclear fuel to be used for peaceful purposes in the production of nuclear energy for power plants. (This conversion process does not create Weapons-grade plutonium) This is their right under the terms of the treaty. For Iran to accept less than what they agreed upon destroys the meaning of the treaty, creates an apartheid-system of compliance, and is a national humiliation.
Why would Iran accept such an obvious double-standard while the US is busy building a new regime of bunker-busting nuclear weapons and threatening to use them preemptively on Washington's myriad enemies?

Mission Objectives

The administration's goals in attacking Iran are simple and straightforward. They hope to control Iran's vast petroleum and natural gas reserves, disarm a regional rival to Israel, prevent Iran from opening its own market for trading oil in petro-euros, and manage the global energy market to maintain US dominance over rising powers like India and China. This can be successfully achieved by putting the regions' resources under US control.

Whatever strategy the Pentagon has in mind, it certainly will not duplicate the disaster that persists in Iraq. Israel will probably lead the assault taking out the potential nuclear sites with the US in a mop-up role; bombing the 45 chemical, biological and conventional weapons facilities.

It won't be pretty and the margin for error is significant.

At the end of the day, the US will need to storm the oil-rich Ahwaz region (perhaps, 90% of Iran's oil) and create the rationale for a long-term occupation. There's no plan to subjugate the 70 million Iranians who live beyond that region, although the air-strikes will probably attempt to "decapitate" the regime, so they may need to find new leaders. Time is Running out

There are many signs that the US is drawing closer to a war with Iran. It's clear from numerous reports that the administration is conducting routine fly-overs of Iran, as well as providing support to the disparate terrorist organizations (MEK) that are fomenting rebellion on the ground.

Just this week, Secretary Rumsfeld suggested that Iran was behind the street violence that erupted in Basra when two undercover commandos were arrested by Iraqi police. Rumsfeld snappishly opined that Iran's involvement was "not helpful".

Is the Secretary really insinuating that the riot that broke out after 10 British tanks and armored vehicles crushed the walls surrounding the Basra jail, killing 7 Iraqis and releasing 150 prisoners; was Iran's doing? Weeks earlier, Rumsfeld made similarly feeble allegations about arms that had been captured in house-to-house searches. "It is true," he said, "that weapons clearly, unambiguously, from Iran have been found in Iraq."

Clear to whom?
We don't need to reiterate the litany of Rumsfeld's fabrications to acknowledge that his claims are suspect and probably designed to expand the regional war.

Why would Iran want to increase the ongoing chaos in Iraq? Does it help Iran to have an unstable neighbor where, at any moment, the war could spill over their borders?
Or do the Mullahs simply have a death-wish to be nuked by the United States?
Rumsfeld's claims are absurd. Iran does not want a war.

Cheney's Nuclear Review

A leaked document from the CIA attracted considerable attention two months ago. Under orders from Vice president Dick Cheney STRATCOM (Strategic Command) drew up contingency plans for a "large scale air assault on Iran employing both conventional an nuclear weapons." Understandably, the document caused quite a flap leaving many to conclude that the administration was considering a preemptive nuclear strike on Iran. Surprisingly, however, the "leak" never produced any reaction or recriminations from the White House, who simply ignored its appearance in public.

Was it a planned leak?

Similarly, just last week all the major news outlets ran stories about the Pentagon's draft of a US nuclear doctrine that spells out conditions under which US commanders might seek approval to "preemptively" use nuclear weapons. The document entitled Doctrine for Joint Nuclear Operations" was prepared for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and sent shock-waves through the country.

Would the Pentagon really execute a first-strike initiative against a non-nuclear country?
What country would be the likely target of such an attack?
The answer is almost too obvious to mention.
Iran. (The document by the way, has been mysteriously "disappeared" from the Pentagon site)

Both of these examples suggest that Washington is trying to send a strong message to Tehran that the US will respond with overwhelming (nuclear) force if Iran retaliates after the upcoming "surgical-strikes". It is a clever strategy that offers nearby Israel (who will presumably lead the attack) some insurance that Iran will not strike back.

But, Iran will strike back; that much is certain. And, of course, Iran has every right to retaliate if it is bombed in an unprovoked act of aggression.
The principles involved in an Iranian response are clear enough but they are worth reviewing none the less.

Whatever one may think of the repressive Islamic regime, its right to defend itself against unprovoked hostilities cannot be challenged. Thus, Iran will be defending the principles of sovereignty, self-determination, borders, and the right to live in peace with their neighbors without the threat of attack. These principles are the foundation-blocks upon which the current world order rests. They are worth fighting and dying for, as we shall soon discover.

I believe that the Mullahs will honor their obligation to defend their people if they are attacked and will act accordingly.

The history of warfare is a dismal chronicle of fatal blunders. The administration can avoid this catastrophe, but I don't think they will.

Courtesy & Copyright © Mike Whitney


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