The Iran Offensive Builds

Former New York Times journalist (they only became readable once they part with the paper) and author of the best book on CIA’s overthrow of Mossadegh, All the Shah’s Men, offers sober warnings of imminent war.

When President Bush took his place in front of television cameras last Thursday to deliver his latest assessment of conditions in Iraq, one thing was certain. He would utter the word “Iran” more than once.

Sure enough, Bush blamed “Iranian-backed militants” for much of the violence in Iraq. He said the United States had to keep fighting in Iraq in order to “counter the destructive ambitions of Iran.” Then he warned that Iran’s efforts to influence events in Iraq “must stop.”

This came just two weeks after Bush asserted that Iran is placing the Middle East “under the shadow of a nuclear holocaust” and announced: “I have authorized our military commanders in Iraq to confront Tehran’s murderous activities.”

We have now entered a season in which every speech by an official of the Bush administration that has anything to do with Iraq or the Middle East includes threats against Iran. This intensifying drumbeat suggests that, incredible as it may seem, the United States is seriously considering launching a military attack on Iran.

The day before President Bush’s recent speech, the US commander in Iraq, General David Petraeus, told Congress that his forces were already fighting a “proxy war” against Iran. He told reporters at the National Press Club that the power of the anti-American insurgency in Iraq “would by no means be possible without Iranian support.”

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice described Iran as Iraq’s “very troublesome neighbor”. Ryan Crocker, the American ambassador in Baghdad, said Iran was pursuing a “fairly aggressive strategy” in Iraq, and added, “It needs to stop”.

This latest round of saber-rattling comes in the wake of more concrete evidence that the US is marshaling its forces for an attack on Iran.

Two prominent British specialists recently issued a report asserting that US military planners have identified an astonishing 10,000 bombing targets in Iran. Private contractors report that the Pentagon has asked them to prepare cost estimates for ground support and reconstruction in an unnamed West Asian country.

A former CIA analyst, Bob Baer, published an article predicting that the US will use Iran’s activities in Iraq to justify a massive bombing campaign, and concluded: “There will be an attack on Iran.”

Most Americans, like most people around the world, still doubt the US will launch such an attack. The reason is obvious. It seems too unbelievable. Logic leads us to wonder: Why would the United States, bogged down in a disastrous quagmire in Iraq, want to widen the scope of the disaster rather than try to reduce it?

The prospect of attacking Iran seems even more far-fetched when one considers its likely effects.

Iran would probably respond to an attack by launching missiles at Israel, Saudi Arabia, US positions in Iraq and American vessels in the Persian Gulf. That might well lead Israel to retaliate against both Iran and pro-Iranian groups in Lebanon. These conflicts could set off a series of explosions around the world, ranging from an uprising against President Pervez Musharraf’s pro-American government in Pakistan to a decision by Venezuela to cut its vital oil supplies to the United States. Iran could also close of the Strait of Hormuz, through which much of the world’s oil passes, and thereby force a sharp increase in oil prices around the world.

Worst of all, an attack on Iran would turn an entire new generation of Muslims into bitter enemies of the United States, sworn to revenge at any cost. This will have unimaginable consequences for decades to come.

President Bush and his allies have used one justification after another to explain their decision to invade and occupy Iraq. They now seem to have settled on the one they will use to justify attacking Iran. They will say that Iran brought devastation on itself by meddling in Iraq and refusing to curb its nuclear ambitions.

The Iranian regime is, as the Bush Administration asserts, both brutally oppressive and highly destabilizing. There may come a time when outside powers will need to use military force against it. That could only be justified under two conditions: first, that all diplomatic means be exhausted, and second, that a decision to attack be made by a broad coalition of nations, not the United States alone.

The Bush administration has repeatedly ruled out the option of opening direct, unconditional talks with Iran. As long as it refuses to test the diplomatic option, it has no moral basis for launching a new war. That, however, means little or nothing to President Bush and his comrades.

The message of this past week is chilling. A massive US attack on Iran has become a very real possibility.

When General Petraeus was asked on Wednesday whether his charges against Iran were meant as a prelude to an attack, he replied, “Absolutely not.”

Don’t believe him.

Source: Fanonite


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