News+and+politics religion philosophy the cynic librarian: US War on Iran Drumbeat Grows Louder

Monday, February 13, 2006

US War on Iran Drumbeat Grows Louder

The past few days have seen a rise in war rhetoric in the US media over Iran's refusal to give in to pressures to curtail its nuclear energy program, also called its "nuclear ambitions" by some in the mass media.

Very few sides are represented in the American press except those bent on engaging Iran in a military showdown. While this position can be seen as a hard-line bargaining position, statements by Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice that Iran is pouring gas on the firestorm over the cartoons that lampoon Islam and Mohammad, seem to indicate that a position of no-return has been reached. ...

As expected, the neoconservatives are leading the charge in another blitz on the American conscience to rush to war with Iran. The statements, I have suggested in previous postings, are at best irresponsible and at worst simple hysteria. They do not reflect the current thinking of intelligence and military experts on either the nuclear capability of the Iranians nor the realities of the political and social context of Iran's internal and external position in the mideast.

There are moderates within the Iranian government. Although Iranian President Ahmedinajad appears to favor some form of apocalyptic stand-off with the west, these statements themselves must be seen as an attempt on his part to solidify his own tenuous hold on power inside Iran. He is something of a figure-head of the Iranian govt., and the real power resides in the ruling elite of mullahs. This group has opposed Ahmedinajad’s's political appointments and they appear to take a much more moderate position than does the fanatical Ahmedinajad.

The most responsible statements made by an American politician on Iran are those expressed Sen. Chuck Hagel, member of the Senate Intelligence committee. On CNN yesterday, Hagel noted that the case against Iran is not as airtight as many in the Bush admin let on. According to Hagel:

Well, military options are always options and possibilities and can never be discounted nor not planned for. But I think we are a long, long way -- I hope we are a long way from seriously considering a military option, not only because I don't think it would result in the objective here. What is the objective? The objective is to deal with the reality that Iran is moving closer to getting the capability to develop a nuclear weapon. And we don't want that. It's not only the United States but the states of the Middle East, the world.

But how we accomplish that is critically important here. And I think the direction that the administration has been taking, working with our allies, working within the framework of the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N., is an appropriate direction. But two other things I would say. It may well be that the United States is going to have to find some way to engage the Iranians off channel. That doesn't mean negotiate. That doesn't mean diplomatically recognize them.

But if we are to get to the core of the issue here, the Iranians are surrounded by, in their minds -- reverse the optics for a minute. When you're talking with people you always have to -- Israel with nuclear capacity, the Paks, the Indians. And sure, they're going to have some sense of their own national security interest. I'm not defending that. And I found it very interesting today, too, and we need to be careful with this and work with those inside Iran on this issue.

Former President Rafsanjani, the former speaker of the parliament, said some things today -- yesterday about everybody calm down here, let's talk this through. That's the more responsible way to do it. And I think some incentives within the framework of how we deal with Iran is the way we will get to the objective. [my emphases]
Hagel's position should be taken seriously. Recent reports in the UK show that a massive bombing campaign has been planned by the US military. Were these attacks to take place, Iran could be expected to respond with immense military might of its own. Unlike Iraq, the Iranian military is much more cohesive as a fighting entity and would, no doubt, pose a formidable opponent on the battlefield. It would not just lie down and roll over as did Saddam's troops and military leadership.

Were such a war to break out, you could expect Iran to invade Iraq and engage US troops there. One wonders whether this has not been part of the US mideast strategy all along. In other forums, I have noted how Iraq serves as a natural buffer to Israel should Israel decide to preemptively attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. With US troops in Iraq, Iran will find it extremely difficult to retaliate against Israel, should Israel carry out its recent threats to bomb Iranian facilities.

Yet, the scenarios for war are unnecessary. Iran is not immune to diplomatic pressure and persuasion, no matter what the prevailing propaganda of the Bush admin. gives out. Were the US to work out some form of assurances to Iran that it has nothing to fear from the US and Israel, much of the impetus to gain nuclear weapons by Iran would lose their allure. At the same time, the US could help Iran solve that country's energy present and future energy problems.

Given the simplicity of these recommendations, along with those provided in the US Army War College’s ISS report, you have to wonder what drives the growing build-up to war underway by this administration. In many ways, it appears that the US wants a war in Iran. Retired AF Colonel and former Pentagon planner Karen Kwiatkowski has suggested that the Pentagon strategy in the mideast is one of causing as much instability and chaos in the reason as possible. She does not speculate on the ultimate goals of this strategy. As I have remarked in other postings, given this admin's penchant for expanding US power and influence in the region, one can only see their goal as being a much wider version of regime change than has previously been voiced.

Certainly, those expecting to gain from instability in the region include US allies Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Saudis have a significant Shiite minority which might pose a danger to that regime should Iran gain in status and prestige in the region. Israel's own interests include gaining as many pro-Israel regimes as possible and protecting its own nuclear weapons program.

A further goal of destabilizing Iran is to ensure the flow of oil to the US from Iran’s sizeable reserves. With S. America apparently headed in a socialist direction under rule of anti-US governments, US energy and defense planners might see that ensuring a solidified position in the mideast will guarantee oil flowing into the US.

Finally, Iran’s close relationship with China must indeed worry many in the Pentagon and State Department. China is expected to vie with the US for economic supremacy in this century. Controlling the major source of energy and monopolizing the market in oil will no doubt ensure US economic hegemony around the world in its encounters with the Chinese behemoth.

Related Links

My Previous Iran-Related Posts

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