US war plans for Iran may be irreversible
By Jalal Alavi,
After separate meetings with
President Bashar Assad of Syria, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and
Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei declared Muslim unity and resistance against
US-Israeli conspiracies in the Middle East
urgent matters for all Muslims in the region to rally around. The Islamic Republic’s years of
cooperation with the Untied States in Nicaragua (the Iran-Contra affair),
Afghanistan and Iraq notwithstanding, one cannot but wonder if such renewed
boldness by Iranian authorities is not actually a direct outcome of Russian
president Vladimir Putin’s recent remarks at the Munich conference of 10
February, in which Putin scorned the US policy of domination as a security
threat to Russia.
There is no doubt that the George W.
Bush administration’s so-called war on terror and belligerent attitude towards
the Middle East has, more than ever before, sensitized Russia to issues related
to its own security as well as the safety and security of its potential allies
and lucrative networks in the region.
US post-9/11 policy of regime change in the Middle East, which was
advanced by Bush as an attempt to address issues of democratic deficit and
extremist tendencies in the region, has not only amounted to the establishment
of a more extensive American military presence in Central and Southwest Asia,
but also has forced Russia to re-evaluate its overall geostrategic position
vis-à-vis the United States.
As a result of such strategic
re-evaluation on the part of the Putin administration, the Iranian regime is now
finding US threats and military build-up in the Persian
Gulf extremely advantageous.
This is because the Islamic Republic has undoubtedly arrived at the
subtle conclusion that a persistently belligerent US will sooner than later
waken the Russian bear next door from its long winter nap, and as a result
Russia, for reasons related to its own security and strategic interests, would
have no choice but to intervene on its behalf. 
This, of course, is a US-induced
dilemma the Bush administration could not have intended or foreseen at the time
it initiated its war on terror, but will sooner or later come to grasp. On the other hand, the Bush
administration might have already grasped, as a result of Putin’s latest remarks
in Munich, the depth of this self-inflicted
dilemma and its long term strategic ramifications for the US and the wider
international community. Should
this actually be the case, it is highly likely that all our efforts so far in
obstructing US plans for war with Iran will be ignored by administration
officials since – from a Bush administration point of view fixated on the use of
American military might – a pre-emptive strike by the US on Iran, on the basis of the above
discussion, would also mean a strategic blow to Russian attempts at domination
in the region. 
It may be said, therefore, that as a
result of Bush’s notorious war on terror and belligerent attitude toward
Iran, Russia will have no choice but to throw its
weight around in the international arena in the hope of preventing the further
expansion of US domination in its vicinity. Iran, on the other hand, is finding
it extremely difficult, if not outright infeasible, to resist Russian (but also
Chinese, for that matter) overtures of “cooperation,” be it in such realms as
security and military assistance, or in forms associated with finance and the
development of its energy sectors.
Of course, Iran will not be the only country in the region
engaging in such cold war-style cooperative arrangements with
Russia. Syria will soon find itself in the same situation
as Iran, preparing gradually to move
closer to the bear next door.
In much the same manner, countries
such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait  – and eventually perhaps Pakistan and
Afghanistan – will also have to seek ways of balancing their external relations
vis-à-vis internal pressures and US interventionist impulses (e.g. calls for
democratization or liberalization).
This, of course, is not without precedent when it comes to governments
(client regimes) friendly towards the US, as the former Shah of Iran used to do the
exact same thing when confronted with anti-US internal opposition or a
US administration critical of his
economic policies or poor human rights record.
To be sure, part of what used to go
on during the cold war in terms of security and major power rivalries has found
its way into the present era, mostly perhaps as a result of miscalculations or
raw opportunism by the Bush administration and its European allies. Whether the US and the wider democratic community can
compensate for their past mistakes by peacefully assisting the expansion of the
third wave of democracy to also include the Middle
East remains to be seen.
1. This would explain, for example, why the
Iranian regime and its proxies in the region such as Muqtada Sadr and Hassan
Nasrollah have opted for the escalation of hostilities with the US and
Israel. It is also worth noting
that the Islamic Republic is, for security and other purposes, very much
interested in becoming a member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, which
includes Russia and
China as members.
2. US contingency plans for war against
Iran have already been revealed by
the New Yorker, the BBC and others.
Thus it seems the US has grasped the depth of the
dilemma mentioned above. Let us
just hope the US will not decide to deal with the
situation through war.
3. Kuwaitis have not forgotten the fact
that the US was partially
responsible for Saddam Hussein’s invasion of their country; hence their partial
mistrust of the US. As for the Saudis, they have recently
started on the path of closer relations with Russia by engaging it in matters related to
peaceful nuclear technology – the kind of technology they could easily acquire
from the US.
About the author: Jalal Alavi is a
sociologist and political commentator residing in Britain. This article was first published online
by the Political Affairs Magazine on February 25.
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