A million martyrs await the call
- A million martyrs await the call
The Times November 19, 2005
THEY WERE not hard to spot the dead tanks as they littered the
sides of the main Baghdad-Tehran highway deep inside Iran. Heavy
twisted monsters, blasted by artillery, mounted on stone plinths like
trophies as a warning to any other army that came to fight and die
here, as Saddam's divisions had done. After 40 I stopped counting.
On the Iranian border itself the little town of Mehran had become a
shrine to martyrdom and death. Like a mini-Stalingrad, it had been
razed three times during the Iran-Iraq war of 1980-88, its streets
filled with the corpses of Iranian child soldiers sacrificed in
human-wave assaults; but in the end the Iranians expelled the invader
at an awesome human cost.
Saddam has gone, but Mehran is once more in the front line of
potential war. The Iran-Iraq border is just a few miles to the west of
the town on a flat plain ideal tank country. The border itself is
marked by a meandering stream but on either side now are the opposing
armies of the United States and the Islamic Republic of Iran, all
waiting for orders from above. If the Americans do ever invade then it
will be here, as the shortest distance to Tehran from Baghdad; and
that little stream the Rubicon for a war of unimaginable consequences.
In No10 the tom-toms of war of war are drumming again as Tony Blair
warns that he will not tolerate the meddling hand of Iran in the
affairs of Iraq. In Washington the neoconservative tom-toms are even
louder, warning that the West must "surgically strike" at Iran's
hidden nuclear facilities and robustly challenge Iranian
state-sponsored terrorism. Nor it seems can the EU countenance Iran's
rise as a nuclear power either. A new nuclear crisis now looms later
this month with the threat of UN Security Council sanctions over
Iran's controversial nuclear programme.
In Tehran the hardline President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has done little
for foreign relations with his chilling call for Israel to be wiped
off the map. We are, it seems, close to the on-ramp for another
spectacular confrontation in the Middle East.
But before we succumb again to the hysterical warnings of our leaders
it is worth seeking a cold-eyed measure of this new enemy they would
have us fight. Iraq and Iran are very different. Iran is nearly four
times the size of its neighbour and six times the size of Britain. How
could an already undermanned American army expect to control such a
Nor will those already fabled "surgical strikes" by the US Air Force
deliver a decisive blow to Iran's growing nuclear capability. Iran's
nuclear plants are already well hidden across its huge land mass. And
all that a partial strike will do is unleash an unstoppable war
without significantly damaging the enemy's capability.
Iran's population at 70 million is three times that of Iraq's and it
has one of the youngest populations in the world. Iran's standing army
is estimated by the CIA to be 520,000-strong, but each year 817,000
17-year-old Iranian boys are potentially available for military
service. That is an awful lot of martyrs or suicide bombers.
The Iranians are Persians, not Arabs, a consideration entirely absent
from most neoconservative analyses of Iran's supposed weakness.
Persian imperial dynasties date back to Cyrus the Great, around 530BC,
and Xerxes, 486-465BC, who plagued the Greeks.Unlike the chaotic Arab
shambles of Saddam's Iraq, Iran remains a hierarchical society where
the vast majority live in rigid terror of the authorities above them,
religious or imperial, and will utterly obey their commands.
In many ways Ayatollah Khomeini, who came to power in 1979, was the
greatest Persian Emperor, fusing his own version of Shia Islam into a
state ideology. And during the Iran-Iraq war he revived the ancient
Shia tradition of martyrdom: hundreds of thousands of soldiers, many
of them children, died in futile suicidal assaults over minefields.
"The Tree of Islam has to be watered with the blood of martyrs," said
Khomeini without regret.
Martyrdom is still the state religion. Huge posters of the war dead
and Palestinian and Lebanese suicide bombers dominate every surface in
Tehran and every speech of the political leadership. Any attempt to
threaten or invade Iran will be a huge asset to a regime longing to
re-energise its faded legitimacy among its own downtrodden population.
Invasion by the Great Satan would be a godsend.
Nor should we underestimate Iran's capacity to punish its enemies at
long range. In 1982 Iran sent a thousand revolutionary guards to
Lebanon to spread the Islamic revolution. The plan failed but Iran was
behind three of the greatest acts of postwar terrorism: the American
Embassy bombing in Beirut and the blowing up of the US Marine and
French paratrooper barracks by suicide bombers in 1983. The French and
the Americans left Lebanon in defeat soon afterwards.
Iraq is a mess but widening the conflict by attacking Iran would be an
act of madness. That little stream on the western edge of Mehran is a
Rubicon we must never cross.
Kevin Toolis is a terrorism expert and a documentary film-maker
Defiant Iran plans second nuclear plant
By Simon Freeman and agencies
The Times, UK
Iran courted further condemnation over its nuclear ambitions today by
unveiling plans for a second power-generating plant.
The announcement of a planned new reactor in the south-west of the
country, bordering Iraq, is Tehran's latest push in an unpredictable
game of international brinkmanship.
Tehran says it intends to use the technology for solely peaceful
purposes. Almost everyone else suspects it of wanting to make bombs.
The announcement was greeted with condemnation in Israel, where party
leaders jockeying for position before elections in March spoke of
pre-emptive missile strikes against any nuclear installations.
In a broadcast on state-owned television, it was reported that Mahmoud
Ahmadinejad, the hardline Iranian President, and his Cabinet ministers
want to build the plant - the second in a planned fleet of 20 new
reactors - in oil-rich Khuzistan.
The first, Russian-built plant at Bushehr, is due to become
operational next year.
Negotiations between Iran and the EU broke down in August when Tehran
restarted uranium conversion - the first step in the fuel production
cycle - at a plant in Isfahan. As far as is known, it is not carrying
out uranium enrichment, the critical second stage which can also
produce weapons grade fuel.
The main hope of any resumption of dialogue lies in compromise
proposals from Russia, which is offering to enrich uranium for Iran.
Mohamed ElBaradei, the head of the Internaional Atomic Energy
Authority (IAEA), warned today that there would be no victors from any
escalation in the ill-feeling between the two sides.
"Everybody would hurt," he told The Independent. "You would then open
a Pandora's box. There would be efforts to isolate Iran; Iran would
retaliate; and at the end of the day you have to go back to the
negotiating table to find the solution."
Today, Benjamin Netanyahu, the former Israeli Prime Minister and
likely future Likud leader, hinted that he would consider a
pre-emptive air strike against Iran's nuclear installations if he were
to be re-elected.
Netanyahu said Israel should follow the example of the late Prime
Minister Menachem Begin, who ordered an airstrike on an unfinished
Iraqi nuclear reactor in 1981.
"I view the development of the Iranian nuclear programme as a
paramount threat and as a real danger to the future of the state of
Israel," he told the Yediot Aharonot newspaper.
"Israel needs to do everything to prevent Iran from developing a
nuclear threat against it."
Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, Netanyahu's rival and leader of the new
Kadima party, said last week that Israel would never allow Iran to
come into possession of nuclear weapons.
President Ahmadinejad prompted outrage in October when he called for
the Jewish state to be"wiped off the map", before recalling Iran's
ambassadors from more than a dozen capitals, including London.
Iran Attack: It's All Part of the New Zionist Century
By Kurt Nimmo
12/23/05 "ICH" -- -- If the Zionist state has its way, Iran will
remain in the technological dark ages, or possibly share the stone age
fateas in "bomb them back to the stone age"of Iraq in the wake of
the Straussian neocon invasion. It's not simply Iran's alleged and as
of yet unverified nukes, but also its incipient space program. "In
October, a Russian rocket carried Iran's first spy satellite, the
Sinah-1, into orbit," reports al-Jazeera. "While Iran's nuclear
program is Israel's main concern, its space capabilities are also
considered a `point of no return', which determined the actual timing
of the Israeli strike. `The Iranians' space program is a matter of
deep concern to us,' said an Israeli defense official. `If and when we
launch an attack on several Iranian targets, the last thing we need is
Iranian early warning received by satellite.'"
In other words, Israel demands the right to attack Iran and Syria and
the Zionists are outraged the Iranians or anybody else in the
neighborhood would think about protecting themselves. It should also
be noted that Iran's spy satelliteor rather early warning
satelliteis far less sophisticated than Israeli satellites. "Israel's
Ofek-5 spy satellite have been monitoring the activities in Arab
countries and Iran since 2002," explains al-Jazeera.
Naturally, only the Zionists will be allowed to have nukes and
advanced satellite technologyand if the Iranians or anybody else in
the neighborhood attempts to build nukes or satellites, the Israelis
will attack, as they did against Saddam's Osirak nuclear facility near
Baghdad in 1981. But then Saddam didn't have an early warning
satellite system, as the Iranians now do.
Of course, living so close to Iraq, the Iranians understand well what
an attack on their country will meana destroyed civilian
infrastructure and massive misery for the Iranian people because, as
the Zionists have said for decades (although it is relatively unknown
in America) the idea is to balkanize the region, break up Muslim
states into ineffectual and powerless statelets ruled along ethnic and
tribal lines, andas the Palestinian example demonstratesmake sure
pan-Arab nationalism is a dead letter, or rather that the nationalists
are dead, due mostly to targeted assassination and intelligence
penetration of popular organizations (it can be argued Hamas is at
least partially a Zionist contrivance).
Bombing Muslim countries and inflicting misery on their people is a
popular idea in Israel. "A strike against Iran would be popular in
Israel, where everyone agrees that Iran cannot be allowed to have the
kind of nuclear weapons that Israel itself possesses in such bristling
abundance," al-Jazeera continues. "By the late 1990s, the U.S.
intelligence community estimated that Israel possessed between 75-130
nuclear weapons, including missiles and bombs, according to the
Federation of American Scientists." In short, only Zionists possess
the sort of morality (or the Ashkenazi Zionists do) required to have
nuclear weapons and, as we know (thanks to a racist, xenophobic, and
Zionist biased corporate media), the Arabs and Iranians will launch a
nuclear attack against Israel the moment they have functioning nukes
and an able delivery system. Never mind that this would be certain
suicide for Iran or anybody else in lobbing distance of Israel's nukes.
At least al-Jazeera is partially correct in its estimation:
Only a fool would believe that the Bush administration gave up its
ambitions for "full-spectrum dominance" in the Middle East just
because Iraq turned into a disaster. To Washington, Iraq has always
been a step towards Iran; which was never punished for removing the
U.S.'s puppet, the shah, and seizing the American Embassy in Tehran.
In fact, Iran is the first step to Washington's ultimate goal;
planting U.S.-controlled hands on Middle Eastern and Central Asian
oil, thus halting the political rise of China and India, and ensuring
a "new American century" of unchallenged profit and privilege. For the
elite, of course; as always, those back home have to deal with the
bills and the body bags from these war games.
Or rather a "new Zionist century" supported by the usual
suspectsmultinational corporations (including but hardly limited to
Halliburton, Bechtel and the "defense" industry) and also the
scurrilous "free trade" neolibs lurking in the "financial community"
shadows, ready as always to "invest" in mass murder and unchecked
thievery and ferret out gain from misery.
As it now stands, the attack Iran plan is part and parcel of Israeli
politicsan increasingly dangerous game of threats and histrionic
siren calls between the inheritor of Jabotinsky Likudism, Bibi
Netanyahu, and the newly minted "centrist" Ariel Sharonand there is
no certainty Israel will attack Iran's illusory nuke program (code for
a larger and more comprehensive attack against Iranian society).
Syria is more "doable" (as the neocons and Likudite Zionists prefer to
attack weak adversaries, as they attacked Iran after more than a
decade of debilitating sanctions) and taking out the Ba'athists in
Syria may occur before the Straussian-Machiavellian neocons move
against Iran. However, as their own "white papers" and public
pronouncements indicate, attacking Iran is most certainly part of the
diabolical plan and a cornerstone of the New Zionist Century.
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