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Attack Iran For Whose Benefit, May We Dare Ask?

By Kam Zarrabi, Intellectual Discourse


As the crescendo of hostile anti-Iran rhetoric by the United States and Israel intensifies, astute observers and commentators are becoming more hysterically preoccupied with detailed analyses of the unfolding events from various angles, each offering their respective predictions of potential outcomes of the widening theater of war in the Middle East.


We also see massive anti-war demonstrations throughout the country these days, especially in the Capital, as well as articles and editorials even in some conservative media, including in Great Britain, warning against a military attack against Iran.


The House and Senate Democrats, as well as many Republican members of Congress, are also opposed to a preemptive strike against Iranian targets and suggest a more aggressive diplomatic approach in defusing the Iranian "problem".


In spite of all the voices of opposition to a new war, one thing remains quite significantly and, in my opinion, alarmingly unchanged, they all regard Iran as a "problem" deserving grave concern. Those who object to Washington and Israel's open threats of draconian measures, including the use of tactical nuclear arsenal, to solve the "problem", seem to be worried only about the potential undesirable consequences of such action, the cost to American lives and treasure and possible damage to American prestige and American interests worldwide. Otherwise, there is hardly a voice in the American media that would seriously question the very basic premise whether Iran is, in fact, a "problem" of such magnitude that deserves this level of concern.


Apparently, history hasn't taught us anything.


It was only after the invasion of Iraq that analysts and commentators began to seriously speculate about the possible underlying reasons for going to war, which had clearly nothing to do with the official rhetoric about the Iraqi regime's WMD programs and Al-Gha'eda connections. Similarly, before that invasion, few media pontiffs and even fewer politicians questioned the merits of the prevailing fears over the threat that the Iraqi regime supposedly posed to America's national and regional interests. Even then, the alternative approach to resolving the Iraqi dilemma as suggested by those opposed to an invasion was a more aggressive diplomatic approach, rather than questioning the fundamental presumption that Saddam's regime posed a real threat to America's safety and security or its interests in the Middle East.


Voices and pens that did address those fundamental questions then, and are doing the same this time around regarding the Iranian "problem", have remained a marginalized few who are not featured in our broadcast or print media and who, had it not been for the internet, would have remained silent cries in the dark. After all, what they said then, and what they are saying now, runs against the grain of the general public's perception of world affairs and, therefore, sounds counterintuitive or conspiratorial.


Even now, after nearly four years of struggling to find a graceful way out of the disaster we have created for ourselves and for the Iraqi nation, there are diehard ignoramuses who actually believe the argument that, with the information or intelligence at hand at the time, the invasion of Iraq was warranted. To this day, few Americans would accept that it was the heavily doctored-up intelligence or deliberate disinformation, not the faulty intelligence or misinformation, that was used as the pretext to attack Iraq.


So, how could we be sure that it is any different this time?


To begin, let us look at a list of accusation against the Iranian regime as reflected in practically every major media outlet in the United States and Israel:


1-Iran is attempting to acquire nuclear weapons for aggressive purposes.

2-If successful in acquiring the ultimate weapon, Iran will become an existential threat to the state of Israel, will attempt to dominate the entire oil-rich Middle East in order to blackmail the industrialized world, will destabilize the moderate Arab regimes, and will be in a position to threaten the security of Europe and the United States.

3-To protect themselves against a potential Iranian nuclear threat, other regional states will insist on exercising their own natural rights to acquire similar deterrent measures, resulting in a potentially catastrophic nuclear arms race.

4-Iran is actively engaged in supporting terrorist groups in the Palestinian territories, Lebanon, Iraq and Afghanistan, which are threatening the stability of the region.


There are misleading partial truths, distortions and outright lies in all the points listed above.


1-Is Iran, if fact, out to develop nuclear bombs instead of, or in addition to, its stated intentions of building nuclear power plants? This has been by far the most serious accusation against Iran and the primary pretext for the United States to employ its leverage in the United Nations for strict measures against Iran.


Regardless of claims and counterclaims, the fact is that the technology that makes the development of peaceful, legal under the NPT, and monitored by the IAEA, nuclear power generation possible, can, at least in theory, be clandestinely extended toward illegal nuclear weapons development. The signatories to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty are, therefore, allowed to proceed under the monitoring eyes of the IAEA so that no violations of the NPT agreement take place. To this time, no such violations have ever been detected or confirmed by the IAEA inspectors regarding the Iranian nuclear works, including its quite legal centrifuge cascades intended for the nuclear fuel cycle operations. So far the issue is a no-brainer.


It is important to mention that the Israeli propaganda line about its security concerns over an Iranian nuclear bomb project has been shrewdly revised to a concern over Iran's technical capability to make such a bomb in the future, reflecting the fact that the IAEA has not found any evidence of bomb making as yet.


Does Iran intend to enrich uranium to weapons grade levels intended for an explosive device? The answer to this question requires some deeper thinking. Let's disregard claims by the Iranian officials that Ayatollah Khameneh'i, Iran's Supreme Leader, considers the use of nuclear weapons as un-Islamic. Iran would most certainly want to develop the capability of acquiring nuclear weapons as the best possible deterrent against hostile intents by enemies who have actually threatened to attack its soil even by employing "tactical" nuclear bombs.


Based on all the available intelligence, American, Israeli and British, Iran is still years from generating that potential. Therefore, any attempt by the Iranian scientists and technicians to reach that potential would be to gain a retaliatory response capability at best, should Iran be attacked, albeit in a future date and at a more opportune time. That alone is thought to discourage adventuresome enemies, particularly Israel.


2-A nuclear Iran, something that may or may not ever materialize, has been called the greatest threat to the world peace and security by the likes of the Israeli thug, Netanyahu, and Israel worshipers here, from the sly fox himself, Senator Lieberman, to the less timid Zionist cabal in the U.S. Congress. Even Senator Hilary Clinton has called Iran the greatest threat that America is facing, clearly licking up to the most powerful lobby in Washington, the Israeli lobby, AIPAC, and expecting the financial and propaganda rewards she needs in her campaign for the presidency of the United States.


The idea is so ludicrous and the motives behind such claims so transparent that any response would elevate them from the propaganda garbage heaps to undeserving levels. Recent alarmist revelation in some Israeli press that Iran's communications satellite project is a step toward achieving Star Wars capabilities is another example of disinformation as fodder for a bovine public.


3-The fear that the regional Arab states might find it imperative to enter a nuclear arms race to neutralize an atomic-armed Iran is based on politically motivated and clearly flawed arguments. First, a nuclear Pakistan, the home of Al-Gha'eda and other terrorist groups that are the arch enemies of the oil-rich and corrupt Arab rulers did not invoke such fears. Second, neither has Israel's known nuclear arsenal that rivals that of France or Great Britain. Third, All these Arab states are signatories to the NPT agreement, as is Iran. With the IAEA supervision and monitoring, embarking on such an arms race would not be possible, especially for desert-dwelling lands with no hiding space to clandestinely pursue such projects.


It is interesting again to note that such arguments actually validate any potential Iranian ambition to access nuclear arms technology as a reaction to the Pakistani and Israeli nuclear weapons, not to mention the nuclear-armed American forces that surround and threaten Iran with increasingly hostile gestures!


4-It is no longer a secret that America's initial success in defeating the Taliban and Al-Gha'eda forces in Afghanistan, as well as the establishment of the Karzai regime and the pursuant relative stability, owes to Iran's military, tactical and economic cooperation. Clearly, a stable Afghanistan free of anti-Iranian Taliban and Al-Gha'eda threats, as well as a stable Shi'a dominated Iraq, an American gift to Iran's Shi'a regime, have been highly welcome developments for the Iranian regime.


The idea that Iran was behind, for example, the horrible attack on a holiest Shi'a shrine during the annual Ashura day of mourning, killing Iranian pilgrims and Iraqi worshipers just to destabilize the system and to kill some American troops is so outrageous that it defies sanity.


No doubt, Iran has been supportive of the Shi'a majority and the Maliki regime, and is sympathetic to the Grand Ayatollah Sistani and other Shi'a leaders. Let us not forget that the Shi'a majority government and the Shi'a Prime Minister Maliki are supported by the United States.


It shouldn't come as a shock to anyone if the evidence recently uncovered in Iraq supports the accusations that Iranian weapons have found their way into the hands of the insurgents. However, considering this as the proof of Iran's attempts to kill Americans would take the presumptuousness of such allegations to new heights. 


The great majority of insurgent attacks has been and continues to be instigated by the Sunni groups and their Al-Gha'eda supporters and former Saddamists, with the Shi'a militias responding in kind, albeit in muck less intensity, no doubt with material help from Iran.


Considering this kind of effort as an interference and support for terrorism is yet another meaningless accusation trumped up for political reasons.


In Lebanon, Iran supports the party that represents the majority of the Lebanese people and enjoys the support of even the most popular Christian leadership. Hezbollah is branded as a terrorist organization by Israel and, by extension, by the United States. However, this is not how Hezbollah is regarded in the region, particularly in Lebanon itself.


Iran's support for the Palestinian party Hamas is enigmatic only because Israel and, by extension, by the United States, classify it as a terrorist organization. Once again, the region and the world at large regard the Israeli atrocities and state terrorism against the Palestinian people degrees of magnitude greater than anything Hamas or other militant Palestinians have ever done in return.


It is time to cut through the proverbial crap.


Let's not kid ourselves. The movers and shakers in Washington were not misled by faulty intelligence to start the invasion of the Middle East, and are not pushing forward under some other mistaken guidelines. The Israeli Likud leadership is not driven by a genuine fear or paranoia that the Jewish nation is under an existential threat by Iran. And finally, the Iranian regime does not consist of a bunch of fanatic, suicidal maniacs who'd sacrifice their own lives and their country's very existence for some archaic ideological ambitions.


No, the intelligence was not faulty, it was deliberately distorted and doctored up in order to rationalize the course of actions for which the events of 9/11 had fortuitously paved the way.


Perhaps the best window to peer through to see the machinations behind this bold and ambitious military intrusion into the Middle East is the Washington think tank, Project for the New American Century, PANC, whose web site under that name covers its principle goals and objectives, as well as its roster of elite members. In a nutshell, these neoconservative strategists had already drawn up the blueprints for the establishment of a new American global empire, starting with the Middle East, long before the events that opened the door to the invasion of Iraq.


Quite fascinatingly, and not so surprisingly, a parallel set of blueprints were drawn up at almost the same time and by some of the same great minds for the Israeli government of Mr. Netanyahu for "Securing the Realm", with its web site under that name or under "Clean Break", revealing the Israeli regime's ambitions, which dovetail not so coincidentally with the objectives outlined by the PNAC cabal. One contributor whose name is now in the news for his direct involvement in fabricating distorted intelligence information regarding the Iraqi connections with Al-Gha'eda is Douglas Feith, the former Undersecretary for Policy under Mr. Rumsfeld at the Pentagon.


The PNAC strategists appear to be motivated, at least on the surface, by a special version of the neoconservative doctrine that promotes an aggressive drive to reshape the strategic parts of the globe in such a way that America's economic and military dominance and America's national interests would best be guaranteed. That, according to this doctrine, might also require the use of overwhelming military power, with or without the approval or cooperation of friends and allies.


While one cannot argue against promoting the nation's best interests around the globe, it is the very definition of those best interests that brings this philosophy into question. Yes, we might attribute the leftist liberal live-and-let-live attitude and the visions of a global utopian village to the philosophical naiveté of ideologues who pontificate from the comforts of their well padded armchairs provided for them by the very self-serving conservatives whom they criticize. However, their hypocritical emanations do not automatically vindicate or substantiate the position of their down to earth, "realist" counterparts. The main task is to determine objectively what exactly constitutes the nation's best interests, short-term as well as long.


The neoconservatives want to play into and take advantage of America's decades-long and thus far successful policies, where giant corporations and the military-industrial complex generate, accumulate and selectively distribute the wealth of the nation, in other words, America's success story.


Clearly, global developments that might potentially threaten America's national security and economic well being require the kind of attention or action that necessitates the maintenance of a powerful military. An effective and up-to-date military must be fed and sustained by a vast industrial network. Industries create employment and additional infrastructural developments, all contributing to a healthy economy and public contentment. International sale of arms, a major American export throughout the world, not only generates enormous profits for the manufacturers at home, it helps to get rid of out-dated and obsolete equipment while making room for additional industrial outputs and, at the same time, supplies others with the weaponry that might quite possibly, even predictably, threaten America's own interests. Military threats against America's interests, facilitated by American arms sales, then create ample rationale for increased military expenditures endorsed by an increasingly security conscious public. Meanwhile, threats created by massive arms sales to one state generate incentives among neighbors or antagonists to acquire defensive and offensive equipment, which America has always been happy to provide.


As diabolical as all this may sound, that is what has been going on for many decades, resulting in a self-amplifying continuous circle. I did not call it a vicious circle, as the results have been anything but detrimental to the American economic well being and global dominance, thus far, that is.


The same economic maneuverings have been at work in the global petroleum industry. The super giant oil corporations have generated astronomic revenues that fuel the economy of the nation, thanks to all their international manipulations, often with the Administration's open or covert support, as was the case in the military coup that toppled Iran's fledgling democratic nationalist regime of Prime Minister Mosaddegh and returned the compliant Shah to his throne.


Based on the foregoing argument, it would be difficult to conclude that even the CIA and the British MI6 instigated coup of 1953 in Iran has had negative blowbacks for America's pragmatic interests, as many observers suggest. Some believe that the anti American sentiments that surfaced after the Islamic revolution in Iran could, at least to a great extent, be blamed on America's interference in the Iranian affairs after the nationalization of Iran's hydrocarbon resources by Mosaddegh.


While it is true that Iranian nationalists, whose democratic and popular aspirations were interrupted by that coup, hold both the American and the British imperialistic designs responsible, there appears no real evidence that the West's economic or strategic objectives were jeopardized as the result.


Today, those who think that the loss of over three-thousand American lives, and nearly three-quarter-trillion dollar cost to the American taxpayers in the war in Iraq and Afghanistan, should discourage the Administration to stay the course or expand the war, might reconsider their position. The money spent in the so-called war on terror is not being dumped in the sea or given to charitable foundations in some other planet; it has gone from one pocket into another. A downed helicopter, a blown-up Hummer or a million rounds of ammunition will be replaced in the same factories and by the same people that had built them in the first place. After all, it is the American, not the Chinese or Korean manufacturers that will be paid American dollars to do that job.


The deaths of several thousand soldiers and injuries to tens of thousands more seem almost impossible to justify under any circumstances short of real and present danger to America's security. It should be understood, however, that for the neoconservative strategists who are plotting and promoting these international games the loss of a few thousand lives is well worth achieving their objectives, namely contributing to the capitalist enterprise and to the global domination to sustain that enterprise. 


Admittedly, there are those who honestly object to the very idea of an American Empire, divinely entitled to rule the planet and control its resources. They are perhaps even ready to accept a much lower standard of living and expectations rather than to support the kind of policies that being a global empire entails. For a great majority of citizens, however, eating the proverbial cake and having it too; in other words, not sacrificing the lifestyles they are accustomed to, while gloating in their delusional sense of self-righteousness and high moral values, has worked quite well up to this point in our modern history.


But, for the pragmatic no-nonsense realists, as well as for the self-deluding hypocritical altruists, it is high time to wake up: the bullet-train of the Empire might now be on the wrong tracks!


Let us not argue whether it is ok to pursue the nation's best pragmatic interests on the global stage at whatever cost to whomever, as long as the costs do not outpace the benefits, even in the long-term. This might entail going to war against real or fictitious adversaries, or against adversaries intentionally created to justify the war effort. Yes, even a morally and ethically well-endowed society is quite capable of accepting self-delusional explanations that rationalize exploitive and even barbaric behaviors in the pursuit of the nation's self interests. After all, ones best interests are always portrayed as noble and just, and those who dare to oppose those interests, as evil or misguided at best.


The only remaining point of argument or objection to the current trends in America's foreign policies, looking at the issues from a pragmatic perspective, revolves around whether staying the current course would deliver the desired objectives for America. If it does, the disaster and mayhem left behind in achieving the desired objectives can be whitewashed and rationalized. This, after all, is nothing new. Don't all wars, even those fought for just causes and noble intents, result in unavoidable collateral damage? Naturally, such wars better be fought over someone else's turf rather than in one's own backyard.


But what if it the carnage, devastation and bloodshed are not aimed at the right targets or for the sake of the genuine self interests of the nation?


Are the movers and shakers behind the Administration's policies since the tragedy of 9/11 genuinely motivated by this nation's best interests, or is there a subversive undercurrent beneath the veneer of pragmatic, zealous, neoconservative patriotism best personified by Vice President, Dick Cheney?


Was it a coincidence that the participants in drawing up "The New Strategy for Securing the Realm" for the Likud regime of Mr. Netanyahu were also involved in strategizing the "Project for the New American Century" in Washington at about the same time?


Another question: Why is it that the biggest pressure put on the American administration to go to war against Iran comes from the Israeli regime and its influential lobby, AIPAC? For whose benefit is the Israeli regime so anxious for the United States to attack Iran; is it to "secure the realm" for America, or is it to promote Israel's own agenda at the expense of the United States and of the region?


Are the same forces that were at play dragging the United States into the Iraqi quagmire still at work pushing America into an even bigger hell in Iran? Who are these people, the likes of Douglas Feith, Richard Perle, Paul Wolfowitz, Mr. and Mrs. Wurmser; what are their affiliations and wherein lie their loyalties?


Finally, could it be that America's best interests, moral and ethical, as well as pragmatic and self-serving, being hijacked by subversive forces whose own ulterior motives supersede those best interests?


In this free and open society we call the United States, do we have the right, do we dare, to ask these questions or to hold these movers and shakers responsible for selling out the interests of this nation for the sake of their tribal loyalties?



... Payvand News - 2/12/07 ... --

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