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The Phony War

By Dr. Bahram Bahrami, UK


After years of threatening Iran with imminent military attack, some are of the opinion that Iraqi disaster have brought new sober analysis to the corridors of power in Washington and cooled the ardor of the American public for the policy of pre-emption. However, Iraqi lesson is not the main reason that US regime has second thoughts. In fact during the Clinton administration, United States Central Commands had prepared 'In War Theater Plans' to contain both Iraq and Iran for the purpose of 'protecting the United States' vital interest in the region - uninterrupted, secure U.S./Allied access to Persian Gulf oil'. Although when the neocon took over the reigns of power they dropped the pretention and adopted an ambitious plan for world domination, 'The Project for a New American Century'. The main tenets of this security doctrine which was continuation of Clinton’s era 'strategy of containment of rogue states' were:

  • Defend the American homeland.
  • Fight and decisively win multiple, simultaneous major theaters of war.
  • Perform the "constabulary" duties associated with shaping the security environment in critical regions.
  • Transform U.S. forces to exploit the revolution in military affairs.


However, nearly a decade in their power trip they have failed in their attempt of global domination, primarily due to their doctrine of 'constabulary functions' and the fact that the world has come a long way from the time of 'Age of Imperialism' of late eighteenth century. Regrettably the US administration whole-heartedly and overtly has legitimized war as an instrument of foreign policy and Iran as the only obstacle that resisted this hegemonic plan is in firing line. The question is; is the clash between US and Iran inevitable? An attempt to identify the main reasons and motives which might prevent or postpone the war of aggression against Iran is described below.


"It’s the economy, stupid"


One of the main reasons that Bush administration sycophants gave for vacillation on attacking Iran is their great concern for the welfare and well being of US forces stationed in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the veneer of necons concern is very thin and much evident in the shabby treatment of wounded soldiers, from their arrival to the U.S. soil in the dead of night to squalled and substandard condition that they are being treated. Nor it is due to the growing tide of anti-Americanism in the Middle East and continuing deterioration of Washington's image across the globe. The real reason lies within the financial cost of the war, incurred by the US government. Empires and early empire builders finance their adventurism by rape and pillage of occupied/defeated territories, for example Alexander’s army required over 3,000 camels and donkeys to carry away the looted Persian gold, silver and Lapiz Lazuli. Although there has been lots of physical and cultural rape in Iraq, the pillaging has been short on the ground and what has been plundered have been transferred to coffers of multinationals and they don’t share their profit with other looters except their shareholders and their patrons. No wonder Halliburton company has already taken more than $13 billion from no-bid/no-audit government contracts for their 'superb work' in Iraq and Vice-President Dick Cheney’s, formerly CEO of Halliburton, stock options has rose from $241,498 in 2004 to over $8 million in 2005. To add insult to injury, the US Army found out that, as early as December 2003, Halliburton was overcharging the government to a tune of $61 million for fuel transportation and $67 million for food services in Iraq.


On January 2007, President Bush in his speech titled "State of the Economy" cited strong economic growth, record Dow Jones performance and low unemployment rate. But these assertions are not realistic, the report by Med Yones on March 2007, for International Institute of Management state that the "rosy picture is based on selective facts instead of a neutral assessment of all the relevant numbers and economic trends". According to Yones, the US economic growth since 2001, for the most part has been due to the rapid increases in the mortgage and housing markets and expanding consumer debt, rather than development projects. This results in non-sustainable debt-driven growth. This sober assessment of US economy appear to be supported by the comments of former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, which viewed that the U.S. economy could still slip into recession sometime this year. Furthermore, the head of U.S. Government Accountability Office, David M. Walker, told an audience in Columbus, OH that "Closing the current long-term fiscal gap based on reasonable assumptions would require real average annual economic growth in the double digit range every year for the next 75 years". Already by 2005 America's profligacy resulted in current-account deficit of 6% of GDP, which is its highest on record; and US net foreign liabilities stood at 22% of GDP, are also close to an all-time high. Now try to factor in the war against Iran in any forms that have potential to envelop not only all Persian Gulf littoral state but also whole region and its effect on oil prices and subsequent meltdown of the global stock markets.



"If you fail try, try and try again"


Some advocators of war against Iran claim that total US and member states of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) crude oil stocks and refined products amount to over 4 billion barrels and up-and-coming nations like China are developing their own oil storage strategy. Additionally, they argue industrial countries such as Japan and South Korea have already reduced their dependency on Iranian oil thus in case of war, strategically available oil reserves would cover the Iranian shortfall for several years. Incidentally, these are the same genius war planner that in their pre-war assessment, estimated the Iraq war will cost $50 billion.  


Furthermore, they argue for total blocked of Iranian ports and oil export, on premises that by cutting the source of revenue from Iranian government it will hasten the collapse of Iran’s economy and increase the source of internal strife and eventually bring down the Iranian government. To that point US Navy in Persian Gulf have dusted off their "long-standing plans to blockade two Iranian oil ports". However, less than a year ago world market got the glimpse of the oil prices in the event of a conflict in the Middle East. On July 2006 Israeli war planner put into motion the preplanned massive ground, aerial and naval bombardment of Hezbollah militia and Lebanon civil infrastructure with the specific aim of “turning Lebanon's clock back 20 years" in addition to destroying Hezbollah as a military and political force. On the news of invasion of Lebanon by Israeli army the price of barrel of oil was skyrocketed to above $78.


Ironically, Israeli shock and awe of Lebanon, was supposed to be the miniature action plan against Iran and what US and its junior have in store for the people of Iran. The aim of Israeli government was to put enough political and physical pressure on the country with different ethnic and religious society to produce required environment and condition to push the state into self destruction and ethnic conflict, unfortunately for them the Lebanese society barely coming out of a decade of civil war did not fell for Israeli plan. Hezbollah fought the Israeli army to a virtual standstill and Israeli perceived defeat in Lebanon foreclosed on realistic military option against Iran.


Israeli and their neocons friends having failed in all level of planning to execution of their sickening plan, they opted for new tact, ‘direct conflict between Iran and U.S.’. Comments by Israeli Defense Forces chief artillery officer Brigadier General Oded Tira clearly explained this mindset "As an American strike in Iran is essential for our existence, we must help him [Bush] pave the way by lobbying the Democratic Party (which is conducting itself foolishly) and US newspaper editors," "We need to do this in order to turn the Iranian issue to a bipartisan one and unrelated to the Iraq failure". It would be self deluding that assume this people are not aware of or miss this all important point that; conflict between Israeli army and Hezbollah militia would be pale in comparison with the war between US and Iran which would definitely involves whole Middle East and beyond as far as Far East.



"Size matters"


Another problem that prevents US administration to attack Iran is US Army’s shortage of man power. Although President Bush as always been in a complacent triumphalism mode, in his speech at Fort Bragg, declared, "There is no higher calling than service in our armed forces". However, American public being evermore distrustful of Bush administration claims, it seems fewer and fewer young Americans would like to die for Halliburton to increase its profit margin and neocon cabal to reach their world domination and more importantly their parents agreeing with them. After all the lure of free breast augmentation, liposuction and nose job can take you so far even if these benefits include your family. As far as 2004, sign of the strain which Iraq war and occupation had put on the U.S. military was evident by ’involuntarily recalled’ of 7,500 to active duty of retired and discharged soldiers who are not members of the National Guard or Reserve for possible service in Iraq or Afghanistan. According to the study by the Institute for Policy Studies in 2005, the US military has been 11 percent behind in its recruitment targets overall, with the Army Reserves and the National Guard are being behind their goals by massive 20 and 23 percent respectively.

Man power shortage was quite evident to every one in US even those that were supporting the Iraq invasion. In 2005, General Barry R. McCaffrey, a professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point, wrote in the Wall Street Journal that the US is in a "race against time" in Iraq because of the strains on the military; the military is "starting to unravel". He further stated that "The U.S. Army and the Marines are too undermanned and under resourced to sustain this security policy beyond next fall". He further acknowledged that "the American people are losing faith in the statements of our Defense Department leadership and that support for the war is plummeting along with active-duty and National Guard recruiting". It is interesting that he finishes his comment by this observation "Failure would be a disaster for U.S. foreign policy and economic interests for the next 20 years". No mention of lofty words such human right, democracy and Iraqi civilian etc.


It is important to consider that presently, an estimated 100,000 mercenary soldiers or as the Pentagon euphemistically call 'private contractors' are working in Iraq (which are interestingly protected from prosecution under 'Order' 17 of the Coalition Provisional Authority, issued shortly before it handed ‘sovereignty’ to Iraqis in 2004). These numbers of mercenaries are almost the same number as active-duty American soldiers. In spite of this, US and the 'coalition of willing' are still unable to control Iraq insurgency. Now they are pushing for a possible limited invasion of oil rich region of Iran in tandem with blockade of Iranian sea and airports.


However, all these scenarios are more based on optimism rather than hard facts on the ground, as Richard Russell, a Middle East specialist at the National Defense University in Washington stated “Because of the Iran's size, a ground invasion may require twice as many troops as in Iraq". Former Commander in Chief of U.S. Central Command General Anthony C. Zinni, acknowledged that an attack on Iran could eventually lead to U.S. troops on the ground. "You've got to be careful with your assumptions," he says. "In Iraq, the assumption was that it would be a liberation, not an occupation. You've got to be prepared for the worst case, and the worst case involving Iran takes you down to boots on the ground". I think his final comment sums up perfectly the view of US military and him, not being restricted by Pentagon straitjacket, that attack on Iran is a 'dumb idea'.



"Any old tricks"


However, true to their nature, the neocons are not for changing, they have postponed the outright invasion of Iran or bombing it to submission and opted for less costly scenario of advocating the secessionist megalomaniacs and rent the terrorist. Up to now much of anti-Iranian works by US administration has been entirely financed and managed covertly, using non-government assets and foreign instruments of influence to conduct disinformation campaigns, plant intelligence and commit acts of violence via proxy groups.

This in line with the US policy, since the collapse of communism, has been using subversive projects under the guise of  "democracy assistance", undertaken by organizations such as the National Endowment for Democracy (NED), and the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). With regards to Iran, these soft power options have been useless and have been used as auxiliary force in preparation of western public opinion and maintaining respectability cover for U.S. foreign policies. Furthermore, in the past four years U.S. has heighten the policy of coercion and political blackmail cumulating in UN Security Council resolution censuring Iran for its nuclear infractions and the dispatching of evermore American military hardware to the Persian Gulf as well as extending its unilateral and extraterritorial application of sanction against Iranian economic and scientific institutes which have failed to subdue Iranian.


Terrorist and collaborator organizations have become sine qua non part of US policy of Iranian rollback policy. Cult group Mujahedin-e Khalgh (MEK), once the Saddam Hussein Quisling army, are joined by imported terrorist group such as Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PEJVAK) and God’s Brigade (Jundullah). These ragtag armies of collaborators and mercenaries are supplemented with arrays of virtual ethnic separatist groups based on world wide web such as Alahvazi and army of spurious radios and satellite channels. Bush administration on 2006, asked Congress for $75m to promote democratic change within Iran, having already gifted the democracy and freedom to people of Iraq. It is noteworthy that these subversive radios did not mushroom out just recently; some like "Radio FARDA" are metamorphed from "Radio Free Iran" surrogate radio service by U.S. Congress in 1998 which then developed into Radio Azadi, that began broadcasting in October of the same year. It then came under the administration of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and rebranding to target younger listeners. The others like Voice of Southern Azerbaijan (VOSA) which is operated by the Front for the National Independence of Southern Azerbaijan (FNISA) against Iran  is actually a front for Israeli intelligence. There is a very interesting article by Nick Grace C. stating that "VOSA is clearly supervised and arranged by Israel's intelligence agency: the Mossad".

The primary aim of this Israeli-Washington nexus is to provoke ethnic and religious violence in Iran. This is rather a carefully orchestrated escalation of psychological pressure and bluff to force Iran to back down or better yet weaken or break-up Iran into patch work of competing city state based on race or religion. This idea of balkanization of Iran is consistent with the "Yinon Plan" for the Greater Middle East and "Bernard Lewis Project" which formally proposed the fragmentation and balkanization of Iran along regional, ethnic and linguistic lines especially among the Arabs of Khuzestan (the Al-Ahwaz project), the Baluchis (the Pakhtunistan project), the Kurds (the Greater Kurdistan project) and the Azerbaijanis (the Greater Azerbaijan project).

These reprehensible plans can only be contracted by uniting in defense of our country's dignity and sovereignty.


"Bleeding heart"


The irony should not be missed by any Iranian, that Voice of America (VOA) on its program lament Iranian government of lack of nationalist credential, especially use of nationalistic language in their confrontation with US over their nuclear aspiration. Even the neocon and Iran Contra figure Michael Ledeen and his acolytes were jumping on the band wagon and in early 2002, he and Morris Amitay, the former executive director of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), formed the Coalition for 'Democracy in Iran'.

This is not the first time that this Freedom Scholar and an avid student of “Machiavelli” undertook benevolent and selfless act on our behalf. In 2006, this Aspiring Iran viceroy introduced five collaborator under the guise of opposition to Iranian regime for the future job of Reichsprotektor to discuss "Another case for Federalism", even ever helpful American Enterprise Institute (AEI) have given their take on what a Yugoslavia-like federated Iran would look like. It doesn’t take a genius to see what it would look like - just a mix of mass graves and concentration camps of Bosnia and Croatia with added benefit of Abu Ghraib prison, and El Salvador-style death squads and destruction of Iraq.

VOA, Mr. Leeden and the rest of secret cabal of AEI’s concern for our national interest is heart warming to the point of bringing tears to ones eyes, but unlike the Americans, we haven’t forgotten 1953, Iraq’s invasion of Iran and Iran Air Flight 655, the last time that US was concerned about our welfare.


Although they might be forgiven to think of Iranian as fungi because the only Iranian they meet are those that claim the Peacock Throne and declare that Bush is someone who cares for Iranians and point out that "Iranians were heartened by the Axis of Evil comment". As if not been insulted by a half wit moron lately, we were feeling kind of neglected. The others are MEK-cult that are standing in corner of constitution avenue begging for shelter and employment, and the rest are bunch of self-loathing rent a pen and quasi expert on Iran that sell their granny for a buck!


It should be said that Iranian government is not without sin either, their inability to effectively root out economical corruption, nepotism and their failure to distinguish between legitimate exercise of dissent from foreign based agitation have been Iranian government Achilles which US administration have exploited repeatedly to justify their racist and anti-Iranian actions. The other is misplaced priorities for Iranian political elites; the glaring example is their preoccupation to the point of obsession with women obligatory head cover which incidentally is as much as western media, rather than concentrating their effort on eradicating cheap and freely available narcotics, armies of professional panhandler, and low level criminality that befall all our cities. Glimpse of woman hair is neither the sign of failure of religious values nor the revolution. Rather, millions of people struggling to make the ends meet, army of woman being exploited by new breed of nuvo reich, hoards of addicts and cult of personalities, are! The value of Islamic dress can only be understood by education and if it had not been appreciated by any Iranian woman it is not a security concern, it is a sign of Islamic government educational system over-reliance on indoctrination rather than education.



End Game


It is surprising that unlike many other ancient and modern civilizations and empires which identify themselves by their scientific or military achievements, this infantile empire [USA] can only identify itself by existence of some form of enemy or enemies, whether it is native Americans, British, Mexican, Russian, Korean, Chinese or presently Iran. They cannot project any cohesive national identity unless there is bunker mentality.

The US administration claims that present conflict with Iran is solely based on Iranian nuclear ambition and her refusal to obey by diktat from Security Council; nothing is much further than truth. Recent ballyhoo can take any form or cover from Ahmadinejad’s choice of words to green house gases. In short we Iranian are in collision course with US for a long time. I used the words 'we Iranian' intentionally rather than Iranian government, system, mullahs or regime because this is a fight over our existence as unified country, our independent, our heritage, our right to our own resources, our right to Persian Gulf and our interest in the region. The foundation of present US policy towards Iran and the rest of the world are clearly stated in strategy report by The Project for the New American Century (PNAC) titled "Rebuilding America's Defenses" which was then adopted by current regime in US as official US military policy. It states "The United States has for decades sought to play a more permanent role in Gulf regional security". "While the unresolved conflict with Iraq provides the 'immediate justification', the need for a substantial American force presence in the Gulf transcends the issue of the regime of Saddam Hussein". "We cannot allow North Korea, Iran, Iraq or similar states to undermine American leadership, intimidate American allies or threaten the American homeland itself". In fairness Bush administration do not conceal their motives, for example after dispatching the second aircraft carrier strike force to the Persian Gulf, Nicholas Burns, Undersecretary of State for Political Affairs noted "The Middle East isn't a region to be dominated by Iran. The Gulf isn't a body of water to be controlled by Iran. That's why we've seen the United States stationed two carrier battle groups in the region".

However, it would be a mistake to underestimate this 1000 pounds 'armed gorilla' particularly because from a military stand point aggression against Iran's nuclear facilities, militaries and economical infrastructure would have a fairly good chance of succeeding. But does staggering cost to the US would be sufficient to prevent this? and not forgetting "the law of unexpected consequences". Alas, the sole superpower still can’t come to term with its unexpected fortune and maintain its foreign policy in Middle East based on Caligula mentality; oderint dum metuant, but, fear has its limit. In the past twenty eight years the successive US administration have been trying to get rid of the Iranian system/leadership, and the fact that they have as much to lose as we do, is not a guarantee that we do not sleep walk into armed conflict with US, especially because of vested interest that transcend the US public and financial interest as mentioned above.


American should not put their hopes on flawed assumptions that Iranian can be subjugated by thuggery, political and economical coercion and fear, not this time anyway, as we have lived and survived in that corner of Asia for millennia and they will pass as wind, as did Alexander, Genghis Khan and many more. Finally for us Iranian, "Qui desiderat pacem,bellum praeparat; nemo provocare ne offendere audet quem intelliget superiorem esse pugnaturem" (Flavius Vegetius Renatus, 390 BCE).



oderint dum metuant: Let them hate so long as they fear.

Qui desiderat pacem,bellum praeparat; nemo provocare ne offendere audet quem intelliget superiorem esse pugnaturem:  Whosoever desires peace prepares for war; no one provokes, nor dares to offend, those who they know to be superior in battle.

... Payvand News - 5/1/07 ...

... Payvand News - 5/1/07 ... --

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