In Washington, Paris, London, Tel Aviv—and even in sleepy Ottawa—war talk tops the agenda.
As the Islamic Republic of Iran celebrates its 33rd anniversary, will the US, Israel, an ad-hoc “coalition of the able” or all of the above launch a military attack on the country that stubbornly dares to defy the will of the West?
Time is running out, say the saber-rattlers. For almost twenty years now, they have been warning that Iran’s nuclear energy electricity generating program conceals a project to build an atomic bomb.
That would be bad enough. But the Tehran regime, chant the neocon mouthpieces of the War Party in perfect unison, constitutes an existential threat to the Zionist state. The ruling Shiite clerical regime, motivated by visceral anti-Semitism is, they allege, intent on “wiping Israel off the map” – a paradoxical allegation from a state that is actively and actually wiping Palestine off the map.
Worse yet, the mad mullahs of Tehran are, it is claimed, hell bent on creating havoc in the Persian Gulf, threatening its innocent neighbors, fomenting popular upheavals, and provoking the mighty U.S. Navy, whose Fifth Fleet is headquartered in tiny Bahrain.
To believe these panic mongers, Iran is the major threat to world peace. In his recent State of the Union speech Nobel Peace Prize laureate Barack Obama summarized U.S. policy with the familiar refrain, “no options are off table,” sentiments echoed by Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird as he jetted off to Tel Aviv to affirm Canada’s newfound status as Israel’s closest friend.
If the standoff weren’t so threatening, it would be comical. In alarmist editorials and op-eds, Iran is presented as the prime menace to world peace. Yet repeated investigations by the International Atomic Energy Agency have revealed no evidence of a nuclear weapons program, a fact confirmed by the American intelligence community.
Meanwhile, a calculatedly blind eye is turned to Israel’s very substantial nuclear arsenal, more than enough to eradicate not only Iran, but all of Europe—a fact European leaders, quick to bend to the Zionist regime’s desiderata, must be very much aware of.
Iran, an ancient civilization with a distinguished cultural tradition, has in recent centuries attacked none of its neighbors. But it has repeatedly been attacked, threatened with dismemberment, its constitutional revolution subverted by foreign interference, the nationalist government of Mohammad Mossadegh overthrown by a CIA coup d’etat in 1953, and, in 1980, invaded by the West’s then-prized asset Saddam Hussein.
Contrarily, in the last thirty years, the United States has invaded or attacked several Muslim majority countries in the Middle East, sustained brutal dictatorships in others, and cultivated a particularly virulent form of religious obscurantism through the good offices of its chief regional client Saudi Arabia.
Israel has, over the same three decades, carried out wars of aggression in Lebanon, and continues to transfer conquered Palestinian land to the American-funded settlers’ movement.
Thus today’s would-be aggressors threaten a distinctly non-aggressive nation—Iran—for daring to resist their hegemonic will.
But Iran’s nuclear program is not the reason draconian sanctions have been leveled against the country’s banking system and now, its oil exports. No manner of threats and trash-talking by Hillary Clinton, no amount of full-throated promises to destroy the country’s nuclear facilities—one of which is managed by Russia, and all of which are under constant video-surveillance by the IAEA—by Israeli leaders can be expected to induce Tehran to dismantle its nuclear power generation program, a program protected under international law.
Why Demand Nuclear Transparency from Iran and Not Israel?
Yet the country’s nuclear ambitions have very little to do with the increasingly shrill campaign of warnings and threats leveled against it. Instead, what the former colonial powers of Europe, the U.S., and its Canadian junior partner most fear and loathe is the continued existence of an independent state actor in a region that remains crucial to international energy needs.
Nor is the informal international coalition unaware that Iran was able to turn George W. Bush’s wars to create a new, Greater Middle East, to its own advantage, expanding its political influence in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and occupied Palestine.
Washington and European unilateral sanctions are designed not to stop Iran’s nuclear program but to bring down the Tehran regime, replacing it with a compliant satrapy, something along the lines of that presided over by the late “King of kings”, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi.
This they hope to achieve not by force, but by the economic equivalent of warfare: sanctions, sabotage, cyber warfare, the assassination of scientists, oil embargos and, if all else fails, an attempted blockade. Striking out in fury and frustration, Iran would then be drawn into a confrontation not on its own terms, but on those of the aggressor.
One current variation features a “good cop-bad cop” routine in which U.S. officials pretend to hold back their Israeli counterparts, who threaten to do it alone on short notice.
But any attack on Iran, whether direct or indirect, would likely solidify internal support for the Islamic regime, whose legitimacy came under sharp attack following the violent crackdown on protestors in the wake of the 2009 presidential election. It would also likely involve Russia and China, both of which see Western designs on Iran as the leading edge of a longer-term strategy targeting their vital interests.
The current strategy of threat and provocation could well blow up in its authors’ faces. A sharp rise in oil prices, one of the likely outcomes of any hostilities, would cast a dark shadow over European and North American economic prospects, and perhaps plunge the West into full-fledged depression.
For these reasons, decision-makers in Washington are unlikely to yield to the hue and cry of the Zionist lobby and the Republican Party’s presidential candidates. They know that Iran—unlike Iraq and Afghanistan—would prove a redoubtable adversary in any overt conflict. Means just short of war would appear to be the preferred path to the ultimate goal of destroying what Imam Khomeini brought into being in February 1979.
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