Iran Approaching The Flashpoint
Kam Zarrabi, I
might my draft-age son be fighting? For whom will the bells toll this
Hersh's article, The Coming Wars, in the New Yorker magazine should not have
surprised anyone. Iran has been in the crosshairs, and
remains at the crossroads, ever since it was crowned as the biggest threat to
international peace and security by the Bush administration soon after
September, 11, 2001.
Bush, in his State of the Union address in January, 2002, lumped
Iran together with
Iraq and North Korea as members of an Axis of Evil, to be
confronted in America's war on international
enemy or the source of threat against the security of the United States was reconfirmed to be the
Al-Ghae'da camp, headed by Osama Bin-Laden, masterminding its operations from
Afghanistan's mountain strongholds.
However, the 9/11 attack provided an unexpected and highly welcomed opportunity
for dormant power centers to come together and join forces with a common agenda.
The target was broadened almost immediately to encompass the entire Middle East and later Islam as a whole, called the militant Islam, of course, for political
Organizations and think tanks such as the Project for the New American
Century (PNAC), American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Washington
Institute for Near East Policy, Middle East Forum, as well as many hard-core
evangelicals, found the national tragedy of 9/11 the catalyst that brought them
together in a crusade against a common enemy. A true national tragedy was thus
summarize, this grand unified powerhouse consisted of three major vectors of
influence, not all aligned in the same exact direction, but with enough in
common to resolve into a united front.
the global projection of America's military and economic
dominance, the stated agenda of the New American Century (read 'American
Empire'). The big fish floating in this think tank include the Vice President,
Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz, Elliot Abrams, and several other
high-profile people who bear heavily on our foreign policy decisions.
was the promotion and implementation of policies that, first and foremost,
served the interests of the Israeli government at whatever cost to whomever,
friend or foe. The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, AIPAC, the most
powerful lobbying organization in Washington,
after AARP, is the only foreign lobby to become a favorite platform for
America's top executives and opinion
molders, from the President on down to the influence-peddling journalists,
whenever matters of foreign policy are the issue.
hard-core Christian Right whose evangelical vision of global salvation would, to
follow Biblical tradition, begin in the Middle
East, was the largest horse in the troika, in numbers, as well as in
appeal to the office of the Commander in Chief.
unleashed forces found the American public, traditionally uninterested and
blissfully naive in international affairs, and now in shock after the 9/11
attack, ready and anxious to support a strong leader committed to bringing the
wrongdoers to justice and to eradicating the global evil. These promises were
given to the American people by the President, promptly and in no uncertain
terms. The next step was targeting the wrongdoers, their supporters, and the
sources or the breeding grounds of evil.
American people, indeed the whole world, expected immediate and massive
retaliatory action against those who had committed such blatant and bold
savagery against innocent civilians on America's own soil. The culprits were
the same folks who were responsible for other attacks on American targets in the
Middle East and East Africa - the Bin Laden's
was clearly not enough; terrorists had to have sanctuaries in areas where they
could be sheltered and protected or tolerated by tribes or regimes. Furthermore,
some governments in the region more than just sympathized with the terrorists'
goals and objectives; these regimes might even have provided material and
strategic support for such groups and facilitated their activities. It was,
therefore, a necessary part of the unfolding strategic planning to chart out the
states and regimes in the Middle East that
could be regarded as safe haven for terror groups or might be active supporters
of terrorists' agendas.
the three main vectors of influence enumerated above promptly jumped on the band
wagon and produced their respective target list. The so-called
neo-conservatives, variously known as neocons, and alternatively described as
neo-crazies or neo-goons, are best represented by the roster of the PNAC think
tank. The elite membership here includes some rather strange bedfellows, but all
sharing in one basic principle: the global expansion of American hegemony by any
means possible, including unilateralism, disregard for international law, and
second phalanx or the 'Israel firsters',
many of them neo-conservatives as well, wholeheartedly support the same
thesis, as long as any action taken serves the Israeli regime's regional
objectives, regardless of its costs to allies, including its benefactor, the
united States, or catastrophic regional side effects.
the religious Right, whose power and influence have been steadily on the rise,
provides the moral and ethical grounds in the public domain to portray the
crusade against evil as exactly that, a Crusade with a capital C. Strong religious underpinnings
characterized the inaugural ceremonies of January 20th. George W.
Bush was uncharacteristically eloquent as he waved his magic wand, promising
once again to promote freedom and democracy and to fight tyranny throughout the
world. His well-rehearsed speech was punctuated by references to god and divine
justice, befitting a true crusader on a Messianic mission. As he stood there accepting the
responsibility to lead the most powerful empire the world has ever seen, his
sincerity, commitment and resolve were never in doubt.
President's resolve and commitments were never in doubt the first time he took
the oath of office, either. Neither were the determination and resolve of the
power brokers behind the mask of power who could clearly see in the Chief
Executive the perfect vehicle for success in their respective
public response to the tragedy of 9/11 was understandably reactionary and
volcanic. If fifty-nine million voters indicated their preference for the
Republicans' management of the tasks at hand last November, the numbers were far
greater right after September 11, 2001, literally endorsing any measure the
Administration would choose to adopt against the perpetrators of that terrorist
neocons and Israel-firsters and their
cohorts and moles in the Departments of Defense and State and the National
Security Council, as well as among the personal advisors to the highest ranking
members of the Administration, began to quickly rise and shine in the new
atmosphere of fear and paranoia. It was time, they said, to seize the moment to
hit them, and to hit them hard! But, hit whom, where, with what, and in what
answer was provided without delay: the enemy was militant Islam in the
Middle East. And, of course,
America had a close
confidante and ally in that turbulent region that had always been portrayed and
sold to the American public as a reliable monitoring station safeguarding
America's strategic and
security interests there - Israel, of course. This 'trustworthy'
monitoring station didn't waste any time to point to the various terrorist
groups and regional states that sponsored terrorism. The Israeli lobby had
worked long and hard to infiltrate the American Congress and every other agency
or enterprise that had widespread influence over public opinion and public
policy. It had been quite successful in establishing in the public mindset a
sense of moral equivalency between America and Israel.
Both nations were, according to the propaganda line, sharing in basic values and
aspirations; two nations half a world apart, but with one soul!
selling the idea that those who opposed Israel's regional ambitions were at the same time
opposed to America's interests, was not a
difficult task at all. The State Department's list of terrorist organizations
includes Middle Eastern militant groups that have never initiated or posed a
threat to Americans or American interests. The regional states who oppose
Israel's policies and
sympathize with the Palestinian or Lebanese militants who have been thorns on
Israel's side have, by
extension, been classified as sponsors of terrorism by the United States.
conveniently excludes some governments that, although among the most blatant
examples of tyranny and violation of human rights, are considered friendly or
compliant for various strategic reasons. Saudi
Arabia and Kuwait are America's strategic allies in regulating the
price and the flow of oil out of the Persian
Gulf. Jordan has
always done as it's been told, and Egypt and Turkey have peace treaties with
Iran, Iraq and Syria for Israel to
contend with. Lebanon has
been a de facto Syrian enclave, sharing Syria's fate, whatever it might turn
out to be. Of these remaining Israel antagonists, Iraq was the most suitable target once the first
logical target, the Taliban controlled Afghanistan, was attacked and
occupied. While the assault on Afghanistan received a relatively wide
international support, albeit for the wrong reasons, the premise for extending
the war on terror into Iraq was quite shaky at the start.
invasion of Iraq was, however, pre-ordained as the first step in a series of
events that was to accomplish two major objectives: First and foremost was to
eliminate any and all resistance or opposition to America's extended control
over the region's vital resources; and second, to defuse any and all challenges,
existing or potential, to Israel's security and military supremacy. The
visionaries at the PNAC had, in fact, already produced the blueprint for the
transformation of the Middle East, beginning with the invasion of
Iraq, some years in advance of George
W. Bush's presidency.
American public ready and anxious for action, some justifiable pretext had to be
found to invade Iraq. However, the United Nations
team in search of Iraq's suspected weapons' programs
and stockpiles of WMDs came alarmingly close to refuting those allegations and
defusing the tension. This didn't sit well with the hawks in the Administration
who refused to be deterred from their long-awaited ambitious dreams.
be na´ve to believe that the American, British, and particularly the Israeli
intelligence services were actually mistaken in their findings regarding
Iraq's nuclear and other weapons
programs or stockpiles; there couldn't have been such a grand intelligence
failure. It would be much more reasonable to assume that the facts about the
non-existence of such WMDs were clearly established, just as the United Nations
team was about to report before their mission was suspiciously aborted. If there
were, in fact, any doubts about Saddam Hussein's DMDs, it would have been
militarily foolish to expose the American forces, or Israel's
population centers, to potential nuclear or chemical attacks. The very real
suspicions about the North Korean nuclear weapons capabilities have already
demonstrated why in that case caution and diplomacy became the strategy of
brings us to the current developments with regard to Iran and the
heightened state of alert that has been saturating the news media, especially
since the President's inaugural address last week.
Accusations against the Iranian regime parallel those brought against
Iraq shortly before the actual
invasion of that country by the American forces. These accusations can be split
into three main categories: First, is the threat that a nuclear armed enemy
state could potentially pose against America and America's
strategic interests elsewhere. Second is the issue of Iran's alleged support for terrorist groups in
the Middle East hotspots. Finally, it is the
humanitarian concern over Iran's treatment of its own citizens,
particularly women and minorities, and the general atmosphere of suppression of
allegations constitute ample pretext for the Administration hawks to put
Iran on notice, as verbalized by the
President and his newly appointed Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. She was
not short for words when questioned by the senators during her confirmation
hearings about her views regarding the issue of US/Iran relations. In response
to Senator Joe Biden, she resorted to her usual rhetorical style of stringing
along a profusion of academically erudite, yet contextually vague phrases,
simply echoing unsupported charges that have been mouthed by her superiors. In
her case, that is actually all that is expected of her, and that is exactly how
she acted in her capacity as the President's National Security Advisor.
is important to note that, just as was the case with Iraq,
suspicions, allegations and accusations do not require verification and proof to
justify action. When it comes to foreign policy, the philosophy of this
Administration has been quite simple: Do what you want to do; rationalize it
later. This has been a time-tested Israeli model, now openly and, unfortunately
proudly, adopted by the American administration.
mobilized anti war demonstrations, gave speeches, wrote books, and created
websites to reflect the perspectives of reason, sanity and experience in world
affairs did find a substantial nationwide audience. However, the voices of
reason, as welcome as they were, had the same effect as singing to a chorus. Now
it is Iran's turn to become the subject of
brilliant news analyses and debates between the pro war and anti war journalists
and opinion gurus.
intentioned scientist with vast experience in nuclear weapons technology and
proliferation issues has been writing articles for a prestigious anti war
website, pointing to the fact that Iran is far from being able to develop a
nuclear bomb. There is an international consensus, outside of the
United States and
Iran, far from causing
agitation in the neighboring Afghanistan and Iraq, has been quite helpful in supporting the
stability of those countries, even if for Iran's own sake.
Iran's alleged support for terror
organizations such as Hezbollah is yet another guise, both in terms of what
defines terrorism and what constitutes support, which seems to suit the agenda
at hand. And, when it comes to promoting democratic reforms and fighting
tyranny, injustice and violations of human rights, Saudi Arabia, Egypt and China
among many others are, as Senator Biden pointed out to Condoleezza Rice, far
more deplorable than what we are accusing the Iranian regime of.
forgetting that the invasion of Iraq was carried out with similar
pretexts or excuses? Iran is,
of course, a much larger country with three times the population of
Iraq and a terrain that is,
unlike Iraq, nearly as
difficult as Afghanistan. Short of an all out
military attack from several flanks, followed by a massive invasion, no military
action or insurgency can do to Iran what was done to Afghanistan or Iraq. Surgical
strikes at nuclear facilities by the Israelis, something that the Vice President
has already hinted at, will not even effectively slow down any effort the
Iranians might be making toward a nuclear weapons development. Any such attack
will result in three outcomes: First, it will generate an even greater animosity
toward the perpetrators and will strengthen the hardliners' grip on the nation,
thus creating added obstacles for the reformists and pro democracy movements to
achieve their goals. Second, efforts would then be initiated or accelerated to
acquire the ultimate weapon as a deterrent, if not to use in retaliation in an
opportune time. Third, with its vast resources and great influence, the Iranian
regime would do what it is already accused of doing; supporting insurgencies and
creating as much trouble in the region against Israel and the United
States as possible.
is the logic, if any, behind all the recently intensified saber rattling from
answer that, we can believe the official pronouncements that the Administration
is trying to sell to the public, or an alternative version that risks the chance
of being labeled as too conspiratorial; make your own choice!
world cannot tolerate a nuclear-armed Iran.
Iran harbors and supports
international terror organizations.
Iran intends to disrupt our efforts
to bring peace and democracy to the region.
is to destroy Israel.
Iran must go through a regime change,
by military intervention if need be.
some who might question the method of approach to defusing the Iranian threat,
but few in this country would doubt that the Iranian threat is real and that it
must be dealt with. This perception is not limited to the political
conservatives or Bush supporters; the Democrats share equally in this view, as
was clearly demonstrated by their candidates during their presidential campaigns
one half of the American public is now aware, and to a degree surprised, that
the invasion of Iraq was based on a less than honest appraisal of an Iraqi
threat to America's security, and that it did not unfold as promised by the
Administration. Having learned from those mistakes, they now believe, the
Iranian threat must surely have been much more clearly verified, and any
military action will certainly be much better planned.
news of the death of Johnny Carson occupies all headlines for days on end, and
the major debate in the public domain is over which weight-loss diet works
better, can we expect more?
course, if we accept certain conjectures as facts, the situation and the
strategies to deal with it cannot be challenged. These pretexts, in addition to
those enumerated above, include:
Iran is led by a group of
the chance, they would not hesitate to destroy Israel,
even if it meant an assured total devastation of their own country and
Iran is rapidly
developing its weapons of mass destruction, including atomic bombs and
long-range missiles, not for defensive purposes, but to attack
Israel and to threaten Europe
and North America.
they are lunatics, the Iranian Islamic leaders believe they shall ultimately
dominate the globe with their brand of fundamentalist Islam.
conjectures sound too stupid to be taken seriously, just listen to and read the
same statements by some very high-profile national figures, from journalists
like Charles Krauthammer to the likes of the House Majority Whip, Tom Delay, or
the influential evangelicals such as Jerry Falwell and Pat Robertson, to the
prolific conservative radio talk-show hosts who influence the minds of millions
on a daily basis.
might be an alternative view or interpretation of the current state of
heightened anxiety between the United
States and Iran? But first, a list of facts on
the ground that may illuminate some of Iran's concerns and
average Iranian, as any other human being anywhere else, would prefer to live in
a free and democratic society, in peace and with guaranteed security. However,
just as is the case right here in America, when a nations is threatened by
terrorism or military invasion, whether real or perceived, many social liberties
and democratic aspirations or expectations may be put on hold, and in Iran's
case, kept on hold indefinitely.
than social liberties and democratic reforms, the economic conditions play the
most vital role in a nation's destiny. Sanctions and economic pressures imposed
on Iran do no more than postpone the
natural transition from a de-facto theocracy to a more open civil society. The
perpetuation and intensification of animosities toward Iran have been, and continue to be, the perfect
recipe for further legitimizing the position of the hardliners in Iran's
Again, just as is the case right here in America,
ultraconservatives, even the radical religious fanatics, be it Tom Delay, Billy
Graham, or ayatollah X Y Z at any
given Friday sermon, do not hate their own country, but see the best course for
their respective nations, each in their own way, as misguided as they might
Iran stands to
gain nothing by posing a threat to Israel, unless, of course, in
self-defense. Any hostile act toward the West or the United States would mean a catastrophic end to
all of Iran's hopes and aspirations as a
viable nation. Aggression has never been an Iranian agenda, and would serve
absolutely no purpose now.
Iran is a large country with some of
the richest natural resources, including the region's biggest natural gas
reserves - the energy source of the future - rich oil fields, ore deposits and a
growing industrial infrastructure. The Iranians are a proud people, proud of
their national history and cultural heritage. They have shown resolve and
resiliency in the face of many historical upheavals, ancient and recent, both
foreign and domestic. Iran rightly expects to be
acknowledged as a consequential player in the affairs of the region. Attempts to
isolate and exclude Iran from
any future designs for the Middle East will
inevitably result in an unstable imbalance.
Diplomacy between two nations, no matter how large or small in
relative terms, must be based on mutual respect, not as a dialogue between a
master and a subordinate.
stands to gain by perpetuating and intensifying the tension between the
Unites States and Iran? It is certainly not
Iran; even the staunchest hardliner
or religious zealot would prefer to not rule over the dust of a devastated
nation. And, it is certainly not the United States
of America, whose interests can be much better assured
through a rapprochement with a strategically positioned and energy rich
Iran. A friendly Iran would more than help secure the stability of
the neighboring states and, with certain security guarantees, would cease to be
a concern as a military threat to Israel or anyone else.
it, then, that while Iran has
been trying so many times and in so many ways to demonstrate its openness toward
a rapprochement with the United States, the response has been
suspiciously cold and negative? Who benefits from this arrogant defiance of
common sense? It al started by the grand unified troika galloping ahead with the
mask of power.
But, this is not where the case ends: The neocon gang is quickly coming
to the realization that their ambitious designs for the creation of a new
American empire is neither good for America, nor tolerated by America's allies
in the West, or the rising rival powers in the East. Had the situation both in
Afghanistan and in
Iraq been resolved
expeditiously, the grand design for the conquest of the Middle East would have followed without delay. The
evangelical crusaders have already accomplished more than they could have
bargained for right here at home. Both these sources of influence are looking at
the next presidential term four years away that will, more than likely, put the
damper on their dreams. That leaves us with only one remaining culprit whose
mission is seemingly never ending, and who has historically had the support,
sometimes covert and sometimes explicit, of Washington, regardless of which political
party has come to power. Now, with
even the faintest prospects for a mediated agreement between Israel and the Palestinians, the border issues,
the settlements, and the Palestinian statehood, the Sharon government is
finding things not going its way. Nothing would serve the Likud regime's
ambitious agendas more than a continuation of strife and hostilities in the
Middle East. As long as America remains militarily engaged in the region,
Israel will enjoy an unquestioned
level of support in all fronts, financial, military, and diplomatic. This is
exactly why striking at Iran's nuclear facilities, although a militarily
fruitless act, will be intended to provide added fuel for the regional turmoil
to further involve Iran and
America in protracted antagonism and
assault on Iran or Iranian
targets would only benefit Israel. Can the United States
escape this folly that promises to be the biggest quagmire it has ever
encountered? Can the United
States curb the pit-bull and, instead, do for a change what
is best for America?
Threatening to preemptively attack a sovereign nation the size and
significance of Iran in violation of all
international norms should be taken a lot more seriously by the American media
than it seems to be. A nationwide pole taken by America On Line or CNN, where
the participants indicate their choice of whether or not to attack or invade
Iran, just as they choose which color car to buy next, brings the realities of
life and death to the level of virtual realities of computer games. Humans do
suffer and die by the tens of thousands, as well as those American men and women
sent to fight an enemy created in the domain of virtual reality by pundits with
their own ulterior motives, those whose own blood or that of their children is
never spilled in their pursuits of grandeur.
... Payvand News - 1/25/05 ... --