Fight Against Iran Too Familiar
by Eric Margolis
While the Bush/Cheney administration seems hell-bent on provoking war
with Iran, Americans appear far more alarmed by the dangers of global
warming. Many of them must regret not voting for "Ecological Al" Gore
While icebergs melt, the U.S.-Iran confrontation is getting very
dangerous. The heaviest concentration of U.S. naval strike forces
since the 2003 war against Iraq is concentrating off Iran.
In a disturbing replay of that conflict, CIA drones and U.S. Air Force
recon aircraft -- along with U.S. and British Special Forces -- are
overflying Iran and probing its nuclear and military installations.
CIA and Britain's MI6 are stirring unrest among Iran's Kurds and
Azerbaijanis, and arming Iranian Marxist and royalist exiles.
A belligerent President George Bush ordered U.S. forces in Iraq to
"kill" Iranian agents or diplomats who appear threatening.
U.S. troops in northern Iraq broke into an Iranian liaison office and
arrested its military staff. Bush unblushingly warns Iran, not to
"meddle" in neighbouring Iraq.
Pentagon sources accused Iran of smuggling weapons and explosives to
"Iraqi insurgents;" though the "insurgents" are in fact Shia
militiamen allied to the U.S.-installed Baghdad regime. Half of the
21,000 additional U.S. troops headed to Iraq are being positioned to
cover the Iranian border and block an Iranian threat to the main U.S.
-Kuwait-Baghdad supply line.
New contingents of U.S. Air Force personnel and warplanes are arriving
at key forward air bases in Bulgaria and Romania that link the U.S. to
the Mideast and Central Asia. U.S. bases in Britain, Germany, Diego
Garcia, the Persian Gulf, Central Asia, and Pakistan are reported on
heightened alert. Turkey is being pressed to allow U.S. and Israeli
strike aircraft to use its air space to attack northern Iran.
The Pentagon's latest strike plan against Iran includes more than
2,300 "high value" targets such as its dispersed nuclear
infrastructure and, worryingly, operating reactors, air and naval
bases, ports, telecommunications, air defences, military factories,
energy networks and government buildings.
Iran's water and sewage systems, bridges, food storage, and bomb
shelters could also be targeted, as were Iraq's in 2001.
The U.S. Treasury has mounted a highly effective campaign to strangle
Iran financially, seriously hurting its foreign banking connections,
retarding industrial growth and energy production, and impeding
The Bush administration and close ally Israel have sharply intensified
their war of words against Iran, claiming, implausibly, it poses a
nuclear threat to the entire world.
Politicians in Israel are in dangerous emotional overdrive and making
open threats to attack Iran. They claim Iran is a new Nazi Germany and
Israel faces a second Holocaust -- in spite of its powerful triad of
nuclear forces that can survive any surprise attack.
Though UN inspectors find no evidence Iran is producing nuclear
weapons, Tehran, like Saddam's Iraq, is being told to prove an
impossible negative -- that it has no nuclear weapons.
With disturbing deja vu, the U.S. Congress and media are swallowing
the administration's torrent of unproven allegations against Iran
precisely the way they lapped up its grotesque lies about Iraq.
Intelligence analysts would conclude either: Washington is trying to
bluff Tehran to abandon its entirely legal but worrisome civilian
nuclear power program and thus claim a major victory after so many
defeats. Or, the cornered Bush/Cheney administration is trying to
provoke an air and naval war against Iran as a last desperate,
ideologically driven assault against the Muslim world, and divert
attention from its Iraq debacle.
'Not very dangerous'
Amid growing war fever, this week France's President Jacques Chirac
sensibly observed, off the record, that even if Iran had a few nuclear
weapons for self-defence, "it is not very dangerous."
Iran would be obliterated by U.S. and Israeli nuclear counterstrikes
if it ever used its nukes against Israel, noted Chirac, and is
unlikely to commit national suicide.
After his comments became public, Chirac retracted them when
Washington's French-haters went apoplectic. But, as he did before
Bush's 2003 war against Iraq, Chirac spoke with logic and good sense.
margolis @ foreigncorrespondent.com
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