published by Campaign Against Sanctions and
Military Intervention in Iran
the common people don't want war ... but after all it is the leaders of a
country who determine the policy, and it is always a simple matter to drag the
people along, whether it is a democracy, or a fascist dictatorship, or a
parliament, or a communist dictatorship. Voice or no voice, the people can
always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to
do is to tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack
of patriotism and exposing the country to danger. It works the same in every
again we are being prepared for another devastating war in the Middle East. A terrorist group is "allegedly" discovered
planning to blow-up 6 aircraft in UK [].
Another group is "discovered" in Germany planning to blow-up a train
Then UK warns whole
Europe about the threat of terrorism
Then there are "loud" accusations that Iran has been trying to buy Uranium from
followed by a small retraction []
Then there is the release of the 9/11 sound tapes of the fire-fighters along
with the release of the emotional movie "9/11". And finally we have the
President of the United
States warning us about the threat of
are constantly reminded that our very lives are in danger. If it is not the
threat of poison gas, anthrax, conventional explosives, dirty radiation bombs
then it is some unexplained clear liquid. The favourite target is of course
aircrafts, or was it trains, or may be it was ships, or was it tunnels? There is
no end to the methods that the terrorists use and places that they could kill us
in (read "The Great Deception"). And despite all the wars and billions and
billions of dollars that governments are pouring into this war on terror, it
seems that we are no safer now than we were in 2001. And every so often Mr. Bin
Laden or his lieutenants come on TV to tell us that they are still in
Afghanistan. How on earth Mr. Bin
Laden, that needs dialysis machine to stay alive, has managed to hide for three
years in Afghanistan is beyond me. He must be
a very clever man indeed.
like the hated "Goldstein" of George Orwell's "1984" [],
Mr. Bin Laden is alive and well and his organisation can still scare us witless.
Now people are so scared that if you look Middle Eastern or Asian, you are
automatically assumed to be a terrorist. And as though we did not have enough
threats hanging over us, we are introduced to a new one: "being Middle
Eastern/Asian while travelling". This was recently demonstrated in Malaga, Spain
when two young men were removed from the plane because other "passengers" were
worried that they were acting suspiciously (i.e., looking foreign and talking in
a language that others didn't understand).
removal of two men from a holiday flight on the grounds that fellow passengers
feared they were terrorists was condemned yesterday. The pair, thought to be in
their 20s and of Middle Eastern or Asian appearance, were removed from a flight
to Manchester from Malaga, Spain, after passengers became
suspicious of their behaviour.
the early hours of Wednesday a number of passengers on Monarch Airlines flight
ZB613 left the plane, refusing to fly unless the two men were removed, causing a
are reported to have become suspicious after the men were overheard apparently
speaking Arabic and seen repeatedly checking their watches, although this has
not been confirmed by the airline." []
suppose if we do not urge our leaders to invade Iran soon, we
will have to go through a strip search before boarding planes, trains or buses.
are being mentally prepared for what is about to come: a devastating war with
Iran. This war has been planned a
long time ago and has been delayed by the unexpected insurgency in
Iraq (for full details read "Why Iraq
and Now Iran"). This war, in one form or other, is "almost" inevitable. The
current US administration has climbed on a
tiger, and in fear of being eaten, doesn't know how to get-off.
In 1997 another set of Neo-Conservatives that included
personalities such as Dick Cheney, Jeb Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, Paul Wolfowitz
Elliott Abrams, Lewis Libby, Eliot A. Cohen and others, created a think-tank organisation by the
name of "The Project for the New American Century". They stated their vision of
the new world in their "statement of Principles". To their credit, they were
very honest about their goals. They said:
aim to make the case and rally support for American global leadership. As the
20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's
pre-eminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War,
America faces an opportunity
and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to
build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States
have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and
fact is that these people saw what was evident to many other national leaders,
the declining power of the United States, and they wanted to
arrest that decline. After years of super-spending in WWII, and later an
arms-race with Soviet Union, the shape and character of the US economy had
changed. By year 2000, it was clear that US could no longer compete with such
emerging giants as China and
India. China, unlike Soviet
Union, is not hampered by the inherent economic flaws of the
communist system. Chinese have shown us how over one billion people working hard
under a centralised control can achieve tremendous economic growth. And as
always it is the economy of a country that underpins its military power.
China is growing exponentially and
with it its prestige and military might. China is followed closely by India and a host of other smaller nations, not to
mention Russia. As these countries grow they
try to find their own place under the sun. They no longer appreciate being under
the shadows of a giant (read "Cold War II"). They do not bend so easily to the
wishes of the US and demand reciprocality in their
trade; and at times they may even demand deals more skewed in their
US is a declining empire (read "The
Coming Financial Crisis") and can no longer afford to play by the rules; not
that it ever was inclined to do so. The talk of pre-emption was a clear sign of
the fear that soon US would not be able to control the situation. It was decided
to try to arrest the growth and ambition of all those countries that were going
to challenge the US hegemony in the international
system. But pre-emption is a last desperate attempt to stop the inevitable. The
folly of believing that by pre-emption a great power can hold its place in the
international system is clearly stated by the historian Paul
far as international system is concerned, wealth and power, or economic strength
and military strength, are always relative and should be seen as such. Since
they are relative, and since all societies are subject to the inexorable
tendency to change, then international balances can never be still, and it is a
folly of statesmanship to assume that they ever would be".[]
Stupid or not, this is exactly what the current US
administration is trying to do. After examining all the possible scenarios of
how to forestall the US' decline, it came up with one
solution: control of oil fields. If the US could physically control the
sources of world energy, it could practically determine the growth of the world
economies and by extension their military powers that were to challenge it in
the future. Of course, the US
government could achieve a similar outcome by entering into an alliance with two
major Middle Eastern countries Iran and Iraq, but this would require a rethink of its
Israel strategy; something
that a US president is not even allowed to
So they tried to implement this grand strategy. The current
US administration under the
pretext of "war on terror" invaded Iraq and occupied it. Now we have to
note that Iraq was chosen first because it was
extremely weak. After 8 years of war with Iran, a devastating war with the
US and its coalition in
Kuwait and nearly 10 years of
sanctions, Iraq was in no position to put-up any
kind of resistance. On top of all these, the US government through its agents in UN team in
Iraq had obtained blueprints
of all military installations, and had even bought the general responsible for
the defence of Baghdad.
was envisaged that once Iraq
was occupied and the population pacified, the US and UK forces would turn around and
occupy the Iranian Southern oil region of Khuzestan. The area is relatively flat
and is ideal for armour assault. Once the oil fields are occupied, it was
thought, it would be only a matter of time for the regime in Tehran to collapse; paving the way for a puppet regime to
be installed in Tehran.
World's Natural Gas Reserves/Production. Source
bases in Iraq,
Iran, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain, the US would control
over 30% of the world's natural gas and over 61% of the world proven oil
India, EU and others had to
then pay tribute to the US to ensure their economic survival.
If that was not enough, the US would create a sphere of influence in
Iraq and Iran analogous
to the old colonial system of economic exploitation. I know that you may find
this difficult to accept; after all we can not believe that these sorts of
things can happen today. But it does happen and what is more, people love to
make it happen. To make my point clear, consider what this US administration had planned for
Provisional Authority (CPA)
Soon after the occupation of Iraq, United State created the Coalition Provisional
Authority (CPA). CPA was to act as a provisional government until such a time as
Iraqis could hold an election and create a government. Mr. Paul Bremer was given
the full power to do as he liked.
"The CPA is vested with all executive,
legislative and judicial authority necessary to achieve its objectives, to
be exercised under relevant U.N. Security Council resolutions, including
Resolution 1483 (2003), and the laws and usages of war. This authority shall be
exercised by the CPA Administrator."[]
Bremer was appointed the President, the parliament and the Supreme Court. He
immediately started issuing orders that in effect were laws. There are a total
of 100 orders. I can only list a few here to make my point; but if you are
interested you can read all the orders by clicking
Some of his interesting orders are as follows:
for: (1) privatization of Iraq's 200 state-owned enterprises;
(2) up to100% foreign
ownership of Iraqi businesses; (3) "national treatment" - which
means no preferences for local over foreign businesses; (4) unrestricted,
tax-free remittance of all profits and other funds; and (5)
40-year ownership licenses.
it forbids Iraqis from receiving preference in the reconstruction while allowing
foreign corporations - Halliburton and Bechtel, for example - to buy up Iraqi
businesses, do all of the work and send all of their money home. They cannot be
required to hire Iraqis or to reinvest their money in the Iraqi economy. They
can take out their investments at any time and in any amount.
ensure the implementation of the orders by placing U.S.-appointed auditors and
inspector generals in every government ministry, with five-year
terms and with sweeping authority over contracts, programs,
employees and regulations.
No. 17 grants
foreign contractors, including private security firms, full immunity from
Iraq's laws. Even if they, say, kill
someone or cause an environmental disaster, the injured party cannot turn to the
Iraqi legal system. Rather, the charges must be brought to U.S.
allows foreign banks to purchase up to 50% of Iraqi banks.
drops the tax rate on corporations from a high of 40% to a flat
15%. The income tax rate is also capped at 15%.
(renewed on Feb. 24) suspends "all tariffs, customs duties, import taxes,
licensing fees and similar surcharges for goods entering or leaving
Iraq." This led to an
immediate and dramatic inflow of cheap foreign consumer products - devastating
local producers and sellers who were thoroughly unprepared to meet the challenge
of their mammoth global competitors."[]
I talk about neo-colonisation of the Middle
East I am speaking of the above laws and regulations.
States, citing national security, has
consistently refused to allow foreign companies or individuals to control major
American companies. The US
congress refused to approve the sale of some US ports to a
UAE company because of "national security" reasons []
If a foreigner wants to own more than a certain percentage of a
US company (e.g., TVs,
Newspapers etc) he/she has to become a US citizen. Yet when it comes to
Iraq, it is an open country for
western corporations to do as they wish.
But as Murphy's Law dictates, everything that can go wrong
will go wrong; and in the case of Iraq it did go wrong. First it took
over 4 months to capture Saddam Hussein. The number of troops employed was not
sufficient for the job. The people not only did not welcome the occupation
troops with flowers but also started a full-blown guerrilla war as well. Now the
troops that were supposed to turn around and go into Iran had to stay
to fight the insurgents. The UN and others that were against the invasion were
not going to help either. They had tried their best to stop the invasion without
has left the US and
UK governments in a quagmire. They
had calculated that the invasion of Iraq was going to cost around $100
billion. "When Lawrence Lindsey, then President Bush's top economic adviser,
said in September 2002 that war in Iraq might cost the United States as much as
$200 billion, other top aides rebuked him and Bush fired him three months later"
Now the total Iraq war cost is estimated to reach
as much as 2 trillion dollars [].
US had calculated that with a swift occupation of Iraq, the oil
fields could be brought online, reducing the price of oil; this has also
back-fired. The oil fields, pipelines and installations have been under heavy
insurgent fire [].
It is three years since Iraq was occupied and its oil fields
still can not produce anything close to half of the 5 to 6 million barrel/day
that the US/UK had envisaged. The oil prices have stayed at 60 to 78 dollar
range, with no sign of weakening. This simply can not continue.
States can not endure this for many more years.
Its economy simply can not cope with these kinds of oil prices and the cost of
military operations abroad.
all know that the higher oil prices affect GDPs negatively. The only question is
to what extend. Colin Campbell and Jean Laherrere have studied this problem and
published their result in the Journal of Applied Economics.
find that in the US the output loss resulting from a
100% oil price hike increases from around 3.5% in the linear approach to 5% in
the scaled case. Among the other oil importing countries, the respective
increase in the output loss arising from the same shock is from around 2% to a
range of 3 to 5% in the case of individual euro area countries, from less than
1% to 2% in the case of the euro area as a whole, and from very small values to
around 1% in Canada."[]
and a half percent or five percent may sound marginal, but it is only when one
looks at the dollar amount that one begins to see the significant of this
States GDP 2005) 12.47 trillion dollars X 3.5% = 436.45 billion dollars.
States GDP 2005) 12.47 trillion dollars X 5% = 623.5 billion dollars.
negative affect of higher oil prices on GDP has not been ignored by the
States. The Energy Information Administration
(EIA) estimates that the negative effect of high oil prices on U.S. GDP will be
felt for years to come.
US administration has ever
States' interests so heavily and in such a
short time as Bush's administration. This administration has managed to alienate
over 1 billion Muslims around the world. It has alienated Europeans, Africans,
and Asians. It has used threat of force to force nations into submission, and
instead of wining friends has created enemies across the globe. Russia, China,
Iran and Venezuela are just to mention a few countries, out of fear (for details
read "Cold War II") are trying their utmost to make sure that US doesn't get any
has left US with few options. Having destroyed the balance of power in the
Middle East, it is left with either accepting
the new arrangement, or throw the whole world into an unimaginable economic
has three options: (1) Withdraw from Iraq, (2) make a grand bargain with
Iran, or (3) attack
first option is a huge strategic defeat for the US; something that will affect all the
countries in the Middle East. A
US withdrawal is tantamount to a
defeat. The US clients
having backed the US
against the will of their populations will have to make a U-turn making
similar security deals with Iran, ensuring an even greater
strategic rise in the Iranian power.
can not/will not come to terms with Iran. United States,
after spending billions of dollars, not to mention the thousands of American
dead and wounded wants to have economic and strategic compensation.
Iran does not accept
US hegemony and demands
security guarantees from US that it will not in the future invade
Iran; something that US doesn't
want to give. There is also the matter of Israel.
Iran has become the centre of the
Islamic and Arab world. Muslims now look to Iran to
protect the interest of the Palestinians. A grand bargain would also mean that
Israel has to vacate the
occupied lands and return to its 1967 borders, something that the
US Jewish lobby does not accept.
leaves US with only one choice: weaken/isolate Iran first (if
possible) and then attack it. All the talk about NPT and uranium enrichment
etc is geared towards this end.
administration has painted itself into a corner. It is in a lose-lose situation.
The only difference is that if it attacks Iran, US ensures
that at least lots of other countries will suffer as well. The attack, tactics,
strategies and consequences take too much space to mention here. So I leave that
part for the next article; for now, let it suffice to say that if US attacks
Iran, we all have to get used to riding bicycles. The future doesn't look bright
at all. It seems that this administration is bent on destroying anything that it
can not control; and by doing this, it is losing all controls.
fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
anarchy is loosed upon the world,
blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
ceremony of innocence is drowned;
best lack all conviction, while the worst
full of passionate intensity.
"The Second Coming".
Abbas Bakhtiar lives in Norway.
He is a consultant and a contributing writer for many online journals. He is
also on the editorial board of CASMII. He's a former associate professor of
Abbas Bakhtiar, all rights
Orwell, '1984', Plume (Centennial Edition), UK 1949
ISBN 0452284236 (Paperback edition)
Kennedy, "The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers", Fontana Press, 77-85 Fulham Palace
Road. Hammersmith, London W6 8JB,
693. ISBN 0 00 686052
Strategic Forecasting, Inc, "
Effects of the Port Deal Reversal in the Middle East", 10
Jimenez-Rodriguez and M. Sanchez. "Oil Price Shocks and Real GDP Growth:
Empirical Evidence for Some OECD Countries," Applied Economics, Vol. 37, No. 2
(February 2005), pp. 201-228.