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They Wouldn't Really Attack Iran, Would They?

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    They Wouldn t Really Attack Iran, Would They? by Paul Street http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=67&ItemID=12610 Remember the old
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 3, 2007
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      They Wouldn't Really Attack Iran, Would They?
      by Paul Street
      http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?SectionID=67&ItemID=12610


      Remember the old neoconservative half-joke that "sacking Baghdad is
      fine but real men go to Teheran?" We are moving into the time when
      many Washington watchers have thought it possible and even likely that
      George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would order an attack on Iran (1).

      They wouldn't really do it, would they?

      God knows there are a large number of reasons for a rational White
      House NOT to attack. United States and global public opinion is
      opposed to a U.S. assault on Iran. So are European and other leading
      and allied governments, the U.S. intelligence community and much of
      the nation's military leadership. According to a February 25th London
      Times report, "most senior [United States] commanders are prepared to
      resign if the White House orders a strike against Iran" (1.5).

      Key sections of the U.S. foreign policy establishment oppose attacking
      Iran. The Baker-Hamilton Commission's Iraq Study Group advocated
      engaging Iran diplomatically to help de-escalate the mess in Iraq and
      the Middle East.

      Expressing concerns that the administration will manufacture false
      pretexts for attacking Iran, former National Security Advisor Zgbniew
      Bzrezinski recently told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that
      Bush's "imperial hubris" is "undermining America's global legitimacy,"
      "intensifying regional instability" and putting the U.S on track for
      a "quagmire lasting 20 years or more and eventually ranging across
      Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and Pakistan" (2).

      United States troops are overstretched and have been badly bloodied in
      Iraq. The American Empire's strung-out, battered and mostly
      working-class soldiers are increasingly skeptical about Bush's
      military adventurism (3).

      As Samar Sepehri notes in the latest International Socialist Review,
      "Iraq is a glaring example for the U.S. (as Hezbollah was for Israel)
      that superior firepower and the best laid [military] plans are no
      guarantee of imperial success" (4).

      While "Iran cannot [militarily] defend itself against U.S. attack,"
      Noam Chomsky recently noted, "it can respond in other ways, among them
      by inciting ever more havoc in Iraq. "Some issue warnings that are
      more grave," Chomsky adds, noting British military historian Corelli
      Barnett's judgment that "an attack on Iran would effectively launch
      world war three" (5).

      According to ZNet writer Stephen Lendman, citing a CIA assessment, "if
      the U.S. attacks Iran, South Shia Iraq will light up like a candle and
      explode uncontrollably throughout the country...expanding the Iraq
      conflict to a regional one with [unpredictable] consequences that
      would not be good for U.S. interests. It will inflame the region,"
      spark "a tsunami of Shia rage" and "unite the Muslim world in fierce
      opposition to America," Lendman says (6).

      Iran has signaled its readiness to strangle oil shipments through the
      Strait of Hormuz – the crucial and narrow passageway between the
      Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean – and thereby to damage the global
      economy if the U.S. and/or Israel attack its nuclear facilities.

      A military strike against Iran would be thoroughly illegal under
      international law and the U.S. Constitution. It would evoke horror
      and condemnation across the world, further tarnishing the United
      States' fading "moral credentials" (Bzrezinski), especially if it
      employs (as it likely would) "low yield" nuclear missiles that would
      (as a senior U.S. intelligence official told Seymour Hersh) produce
      "mushroom clouds, radiation, mass casualties and contamination over
      years"(7).

      The administration's key charges against Iran are without basis. There
      is little evidence to support U.S. claims that predominantly Shiite
      Iran has been sparking the Sunni-led Iraq "insurgency" and that Iran
      poses a reasonably imminent "nuclear danger."

      Also lacking credibility are U.S. claims that Iraq seeks to eliminate
      Israel – a charge that ignores Iran foreign policy chief Ayatollah Ali
      Khameni's repeated statements of support Israel's continued existence
      alongside a separate Palestinian state.

      As John Pilger notes, "the `threat' from Iran is entirely
      manufactured, aided and abetted by familiar, compliant media language
      that refers to Iran's `nuclear ambitions' just as the vocabulary of
      Saddam's non-existent WMD arsenal became common usage"(8).

      Another public relations fiasco looms, perhaps, for those who would
      launch yet another mass-murderous assault on a major Muslim state
      without credible basis for threat claims concocted to justify the
      brazen violation of international law and civilized norms.

      A U.S. attack would likely unite the factions contesting for power
      inside Iran, to the detriment of the Bush administration's declared
      mission of causing regime change there. That mission could be pursued
      without resort to massive air assault, through the intensified
      application of methods already being employed: economic and financial
      sanctions and the related promotion of ethnic, religious, factional
      and regional strife inside Iran.

      And yet, despite all this and more, we really can't rule out the
      possibility of the feared U.S. attack sometime this or next year. Bush
      has been preparing the ground for such an assault by making repeated,
      high-profile references to the alleged Iran threat. As presented in
      his January 23rd State of the Union Address (SOUA), the supposed
      menace of Iran goes beyond alleged nuclear ambitions and support for
      the Iraqi resistance. It includes the threat of a rising "Shia
      crescent" led by Iran in alliance with Hezbollah, Hamas and the Syrian
      state. Bush raised this specter "despite the fact," as Tom Englehardt
      notes, "that the Bush administration is officially at war with Sunni
      extremism in Iraq (and in the more general War on Terror)"(9).

      As Seymour Hersh shows in a recent New Yorker article titled "The
      Redirection," the Bush administration's Middle East policies has
      undergone a "sea change" as the U.S. seeks to enlist the region's Arab
      Sunni people and regimes against Persian Iran and the danger of Shia
      dominance (10).

      The administration's 2006 National Military Strategy claimed that "we
      may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran."
      (11). The U.S. may have supported Israel's invasion of Lebanon last
      July partly to destroy Iran-linked Hezbollah's capacity to deter a
      U.S.-Israel assault on Iran.

      The U.S. "Surge" in Iraq is specifically targeting forces allied with
      Iran, seeking to reduce Iran's ability to respond to a U.S. attack by
      sparking retaliation against the U.S in Iraq. As Sepehri notes,
      "although the surge in U.S. troops will do little to really secure
      Iraq (an idea which has been ridiculed even by the administration's
      supporters), it is designed to pressure, fragment and break away parts
      of the forces allied with Iran, pulling away forces which can be
      acquiesced through military pressure, while isolating and destroying
      those who will not submit. The aim of this is to remove many of
      Iran's options to respond to an attack including retaliation against
      the U.S. forces in Iraq" (12).

      U.S. Air Force Planning Groups have been "drawing up lists of targets"
      (Hersh) in Iran since at least early 2002. The Joint Chiefs of Staff
      have recently completed contingency plans that will permit Bush to
      bomb Iran on 24 hours notice.

      U.S. Special Ops and CIA teams have been placed in Iran, marking
      targets for future air assaults, studying the terrain, and fomenting
      rebellion among ethnic and religious minorities.

      The Pentagon has placed two full carrier groups in the Persian Gulf,
      giving the U.S. the capacity to sustain a month-long bombing and
      missile campaign against Iran. Even before the Stennis and Eisenhower
      groups arrived, the U.S. and the United Kingdom possessed a giant
      naval presence in the Gulf.

      Last December, the Pentagon replaced General John Abizaid with Admiral
      William Fallon as the head of Centcom, the command authority developed
      by Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan to "guard oil flows" from the
      Persian Gulf. Abizaid had supported the ISG's recommendation of
      diplomatic engagement with Syria and Iraq. The new Centcom chief is
      an expert coordinator of the sort of combined air and sea operations
      that would be involved in a confrontation with Iran.

      The U.S. has been illegally sending unmanned aerial surveillance
      drones into Iranian air space. It recently invaded the Iranian
      consulate in northern Iraq and seized six Iranian nationals.

      The U.S. has been stockpiling oil reserves and has pressured its
      arch-reactionary oil-rich client state Saudi Arabia to increase
      petroleum production levels.

      Thousands of U.S. troops have been moved to the Iraq-Iran border. In
      February, the Los Angeles Times reported that U.S. Air Force and Navy
      planes were going to be used more aggressively along that border – the
      point being to provoke an Iranian response that could be used (ala the
      Gulf of Tonkin) as a pretext for a U.S. assault.

      The U.S. has installed "defensive" Patriot Missiles in Israel, Saudi
      Arabia, Kuwait, and the Arab Emirates. This is meant to defend these
      states against intermediate range (Shihab-3) ballistic missiles that
      Washington suspects Iran would launch in response to a U.S and/or
      Israeli attack.

      On February 11, the Washington Post reported that Dick Cheney's new
      national security advisor John Hanna considers 2007 "the year of
      Iran." A central player in the making of the Bush administration's
      deceptive case for the invasion of Iraq, Hannah said that a U.S.
      assault on Iran was "a real possibility" this year (13).

      The Bush administration's recent willingness to accommodate China by
      cutting a bargain with North Korea may in part reflect a desire to
      stop China from opposing a U.S. assault on Iran. As David Whitehouse
      notes, "the North Korea deal raises the stakes for Iran. China has
      been a potential obstacle to U.S. action against Iran, but progress
      over North Korea may make the Chinese more willing to accept a
      military strike…the favor the U.S. is extending to China over North
      Korea could be returned with Chinese acquiescence to the U.S. police
      role in the Middle East."

      The Bush administration knows that neither of its two closest military
      rivals – Russia and China – will back Iran in an armed conflict with
      the superpower. While they will block a force resolution against Iran
      at the UN, they will stand clear once U.S. attack becomes imminent (14).

      Last December the Bush administration succeeded in persuading the
      United Nations Security Council to pass a resolution imposing economic
      sanctions on Iran for supposedly threatening international peace with
      nuclear activities. This has set the stage for Bush to demand that
      the Security Council sanction the use of force against Iran. When
      Security Council members Russia and China (inevitably) reject that
      demand, Bush may well (on the model of the 2002-2003 run to the
      invasion of Iraq) cite earlier resolutions to justify direct U.S.
      military action. "We've done all we can through the inadequate
      channels of international law and the UN," Bush will claim (in
      essence) "but now the time has come for us to act" against an Evil
      State that the UN itself has identified as `a danger to world peace'"
      (14.5)

      The assault envisioned, it should be noted, is a "Shock and Awe" air
      attack, not a ground invasion or prolonged occupation that will cause
      mass U.S. casualties. The problem of GI burnout and casualties will
      not deter Washington from undertaking a month-long high-tech air war
      launched mainly from sea-born vessels. The White House is
      contemplating the use of nuclear weaponry, something that would
      involve an especially high ratio of "enemy" devastation to U.S. troop
      loss. As Alenjandro Nadal notes in La Jornada:

      "Many people think that an offensive by Washington would be foolish
      because the Americans can hardly cope with Iraq. How are they going to
      attack a country that is twice as big and has double the number of
      inhabitants? But...Washington's objective is not to invade and occupy
      Iran. The central purpose is to eliminate it as an obstacle to
      controlling the resources of Central Asia and the Persian Gulf. And,
      to achieve that, it is not necessary to invade the country. It is
      enough to destroy its military capacity, aerial and naval, something
      that the armed forces of the United States and its few allies can
      achieve in some week of selective bombardment...In reply, Iran can
      unleash a nightmare for the Americans in Iraq. But the sacrifice of
      additional tens of soldiers in Baghdad is not something that is going
      to stop the...the Bush-Cheney duo...[and] the American people...will
      be faced with a fait accompli"(15).

      The fact that the world economy could be damaged by the disruption of
      oil flows from the Middle East is of little concern to Washington.
      U.S. policymakers are concerned first and foremost that the United
      States continues to bolster its world domination by controlling the
      strategically hyper-significant energy resources of the Middle East,
      not that not that they or the rest of the world enjoy unimpeded access
      to Middle Eastern oil. Iraq's oil production has fallen from nearly 3
      million barrels to about 1.5 billion barrels since the United States
      invaded – something that has led the major oil companies to jack up
      their prices (helping them garner record profits) even as increased
      Saudi production has helped make up the difference (16).

      The White House has made its contempt for the relevance of world and
      domestic opinion (and even much informed elite opinion) on numerous
      occasions, including the occupation of Iraq. Indifference to public
      opinion and law is hardly a "novel" stance on the part of U.S.
      policymakers, "but the statist reactionaries at the helm in
      Washington," Chomsky notes, "have set new records in flaunting their
      credentials as international outlaws" (17).

      Asked about the opposition of the Congress and the American people to
      the U.S. "Surge" (escalation) in (and beyond) Iraq, Darth Cheney was
      blunt in his response: "it won't stop us," he said, leading one
      concerned U.S. citizen to write the following to the Editors of the
      New York Times: "What I want to know is, Who is `us'? If it's not the
      American electorate or the United States Congress, which was elected
      to represent American citizens, who is it? Or maybe the question
      should be, Who is this administration and what has it done with my
      country?"(18).

      It doesn't help that the Democratic Party's leadership and leading
      presidential candidates are hawkish on Iran – reflecting deeply shared
      doctrinal assumptions on the United States' right and "responsibility"
      to exercise imperial "leadership" (global dominance) in and beyond
      Middle East (18.5) – even as they criticize the Bush administration's
      sorry performance in Iraq. Or that dominant U.S. war and
      entertainment media has been willing to play much the same role
      regarding Iran that it played vis-à-vis Iraq in 2002 and 2003. It is
      dutifully relaying administration propaganda about the mythical Iran
      threat.

      And then there's the vicious madness of boy-king George. Bush the
      Second combines profound mental mediocrity with sloppy, dry-drunk
      Protestant Fundamentalism, an advanced case of Narcissistic
      Personality Disorder and a sneering authoritarianism born of an
      especially vile and aristocratic upbringing. These toxic features and
      his life history blind him to his own mistakes and crimes and make him
      susceptible to the influence of powerful and deranged proto-fascists
      like Dick Cheney. They push him to respond to his Iraq fiasco by
      doubling down his bets on Iran - convinced that he can still "hit the
      jackpot" if he just keeps rambling and gambling in the oil-rich Middle
      East. They tell him he is endlessly free to transgress without
      consequence and insulate from the counsel of more rational elites
      within the imperial establishment. According to Bush's own brother
      Jeb, as recounted in Ron Suskind's book The One Percent Doctrine,
      "Dubya" appears to enjoy compelling other people to "knuckle under"
      and doesn't really care about whether he's right or wrong. He may
      actually find it more amusing to be wrong and still force everyone to
      follows his command.

      How much do rational warnings of possible or likely disaster matter to
      George "The Decider" Bush and his dark overlord Cheney? As their
      "untidy" (in the lovely description of Donald "Shit Happens" Rumsfeld)
      fiasco deepened in Iraq, it is worth remembering, the White House
      claimed that neither they nor anyone else had good reasons to
      anticipate the chaos that lay ahead when they invaded that shattered
      nation. This was completely false. Beyond technically irrelevant
      predictions of turmoil from within the Middle East and from the U.S.
      and global Left, numerous key establishment figures advanced serious
      "elite" warnings about possibly disastrous consequences after a quick
      military victory over a weak regime. The agents of advance warning (to
      name just some of the more prominent voices) included George Bush
      Senior's National Security Adviser Brent Scowcroft, retired Air Force
      Col. John Warden, Marine Corps consultant Frank Hoffman, National
      Defense University professor Daniel Kuehl, conservative Congressman
      Ike Skelton (the senior Democrat on the House Armed Services
      Committee), and the Committee on International Security Studies at the
      American Academy of Arts and Sciences (19).

      All of these and other voices within and beyond the foreign policy
      establishment issued relevant notes of caution and alarm regarding the
      difficulties inherent in illegally occupying Mesopotamia.

      None of if it was worth a pile of West Texas horseshit. The warnings
      went unheeded by an administration that clung to the notion of quick
      and easy "victory" (20).

      Four years later, to make things yet more dangerous, Bush, Cheney and
      others in the White House may be caught up in the "wounded predator"
      syndrome. Figuratively bloodied by an Iraqi quagmire so obvious and
      humiliating that even Bush can't completely miss it, the injured
      monsters in the White House may be driven to act recklessly out of
      terrible desperation. As Gilbert Achcar noted in early 2006:

      "They want to control the energy resources of the region. The problem
      is what means can they use to achieve that goal? And...they are in
      real disarray about what to do. When you follow closely what they do
      on the ground, you have a sense of shifting policies; they are
      pragmatically trying to react to adversity but the fact is they have
      no general long-term strategy. The problem is that all this is truly
      worrying. The Iraqi vox populi is certainly right to be worried about
      U.S. plans, because the wounded beast could be truly dangerous" (21).

      The Iranian "vox populi" also has reasons to worry. As Chomsky noted
      last July, "Bush planners have created remarkable catastrophes for
      themselves in the Middle East. And it is conceivable that they might
      strike out in desperation, hitting the system with a sledgehammer to
      see if somehow the results will come out in their favor" (22).

      The administration's desperation could be furthered by its awareness
      of the remarkable strategic stakes at play in the Middle East. Cheney
      and Bush have sparked events that could end up significantly damaging
      the United States' position in the world system. Their incompetent
      and delusional actions have enabled a potential decisive separation of
      largely Shiite-inhabited Middle East oil lands from U.S. control,
      something that would cost the United States critical leverage over
      world-capitalist rivals and significantly accelerate its demotion to
      the position of a "second-rate world power." Seen from the perspective
      of the American Empire Project, of course, there is nothing irrational
      about U.S. policymakers' longstanding obsession with the control of
      Middle Eastern oil (23).

      Other depressing facts are that Bush and Cheney see the historical
      window closing on their probably cherished desire to attack Iran and
      could be motivated by their party's deepening domestic political
      crisis to "Wag the Dog" (distract the enraged homeland populace with
      military actions overseas) on a large scale, looking for a domestic
      political twist on Chomsky's "sledgehammer."

      If Bush and Cheney can be convinced that bearing their nuclear tipped
      teeth is combining with other tactics – the fanning of Sunni-Shiite
      conflicts, external strangulation, and the cultivation of internal
      Iranian rebellion, etc. – to effectively show Iran and the Middle
      East who's boss, then perhaps Washington will stand down from a
      full-blown assault. The Godfather doesn't always have to actually
      kill; sometimes he can be convinced that the demonstration of his
      capacity for violence was sufficient to enforce proper obedience.

      Will they attack Iran sometime this or next year? If I were a betting
      man, I'd put my money on Washington standing down. It seems like too
      crazy a proposition even for Bush and Chenet at this point. But who
      knows? I didn't think they'd invade Iraq at first and I'm not into
      prognostication. It's not about the crystal ball.

      The facts that we have to work like Hell just to form educated guesses
      about what "our" "leaders" might do in our name – not to mention the
      name of "democracy" – and that the attack is a possibility are
      indications show the building of a serious anti-imperialist movement
      is long overdue inside the United States.

      It shouldn't be like this. U.S. citizens should begin building a
      serious Left and anti-imperial movement aiming to replace dominant
      domestic structures of Empire and Inequality with egalitarian
      institutions of justice, equality and peace. Such "radical
      reconstruction of society" – Martin Luther King Jr.'s declared
      objective by 1966 (24) – is required, among other reasons, to
      eliminate the chance for demented war criminals and authoritarian
      militarists like Bush and Cheney to become structurally
      super-empowered predators in the first place.

      Veteran radical historian, journalist, and speaker Paul Street
      (paulstreet99@ yahoo.com) is a Left political commentator in Iowa
      City, IA. Street is the author of Empire and Inequality: America and
      the World Since 9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2004), Segregated
      Schools: Educational Apartheid in the Post-Civil Rights Era (New York,
      NY: Routledge, 2005), and Still Separate, Unequal: Race, Place, and
      Policy in Chicago (Chicago, 2005) and The Empire and Inequality
      Report. Street's next book Racial Oppression in the Global
      Metropolis: A Living Black Chicago History (New York, 2007) will be
      released next June.

      NOTES

      1 John Pilger, "Iran: the War Begins," ZNet Sustainer Commentary,
      February 3, 2007, available online at
      www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2007-02/03pilger.cfm; Michael T.
      Klare, "Bush's Future Iran War Speech," Tomdispatch, reproduced on
      ZNet, February 26, 2007, available online at http://www. zmag.org/
      content/ showarticle.cfm?itemid=12218.

      1.5 Michael Smith and Sarah Baxter, "U.S. Generals `Will Quit' if
      Bush Orders Iran Attack," London Times, 25 February 2007, available
      online at http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/
      news/world/iraq/article1434540.ece).

      2. Bzrezinski is quoted in Stephen Lendman, "George Bush's Sampson
      Option," ZNet March 8, 2007, available online at
      http://www.zmag.org/content/ showarticle.cfm? SectionID=67&ItemID=12284).

      3. Paul Street, " ` Without Question?' On Growing Military Opposition
      to the Invasion of Iraq," ZNet, January 11, 2007, available online at
      http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=11825.

      4. Saman Sepehri, "The Pressure is On: The U.S. is Gearing Up for a
      Fight With Iran," International Socialist Review, (March-April 2007),
      p. 12.

      5. Noam Chomsky, "A Predator Becomes More Dangerous When Wounded," The
      Guardian, 9 March 2007, available online at
      www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/ story/0,,2030015,00.html.

      6. Lendman, "George Bush's Samson Option."

      7. Seymour Hersh, "Annals of National Security: The Iran Plans," The
      New Yorker, April 17, 2006, available online at
      http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2006/04/ 17/060417fa_fact

      8. John Pilger, "Iran: the War Begins," ZNet Sustainer Commentary,
      February 3, 2007, available online at
      www.zmag.org/sustainers/content/2007-02/03pilger.cfm.

      9. Tom Engelhardt, "The Seymour Hersh Mystery," TomDispatch, March 13,
      2006, available online at
      http://www.tomdispatch.com/index.mhtml?pid=174764

      10. Seymour Hersh, "The Redirection," New Yorker, March 3, 2007,
      available online at http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022507Z.shtml.

      11. Quotation in Lendman, "Bush's Samson Option."

      12. Sepehri, "The Pressure is On," p.12.

      13. Karen De Young, "U.S. Keeps Pressure on Iran," Washington Post, 11
      February 2007, p. A18.

      14. David Whitehouse, "Desperate for a Deal," International Socialist
      Review (March-April 2007), p.10; Sepehri, "The Pressure is On." "The
      Chinese know the U.S. is in a Middle East quagmire," Whitehouse adds,
      "and they might not mind handing Bush a shovel to dig even deeper."

      14.5 Klare, "Bush's Future Iran War Speech."

      15. Alenjandro Nadal, "Blitzkrieg Against Iran: Bush and Cheney's
      Twisted Logic," La Jornada, Mexico, April 4, 2007.

      16. Noam Chomsky and Gilbert Achcar, Perilous Power: The Middle East
      and U.S. Foreign Policy (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2006], p.58; Mathew
      Wald, "War and Cheap Oil: A Second Look," New York Times, 7 January
      2007, sec. 4, p. 2.

      17. Chomsky and Achcar, Perilous Power, p. 232.

      18. Stephanie Nicholas, Letter to the Editor of the New York Times,
      January 27, 2007.

      18.5 On shared doctrinal assumptions, see Tony Smith's candid
      commentary, "It's Uphill for the Democrats: They Need a Global
      Strategy, Not Just Tactics for Iraq," Washington Post Sunday, March
      11, 2007, p. B1, available online at www.washingtonpost.com/wp-
      dyn/content/article/2007/03/09/AR2007030901884_pf.html

      19. Paul Street, Empire and Inequality: America and the World Since
      9/11 (Boulder, CO: Paradigm, 2004), pp. 57-66.

      20. Thomas E. Ricks, Fiasco: The American Military Adventure in Iraq
      (New York, 2006), p. 59.

      21. Chomsky and Achcar, Perilous Power, p. 114.

      22. Chomsky and Achcar, Perilous Power, pp. 230-231. See also
      Chomsky, "A Predator Becomes More Dangerous When Wounded." The
      potential benefits of inflicting chaos through "sledgehammer" assault
      are suggested by the ironic fact that, as Sepehri notes, "the
      unfolding disaster in Iraq" has "provided the means for the U.S.,
      Israel and the Arab regimes to combat Iran's political influence
      through Sunni/Shiite divisions and sectarianism. While the sectarian
      violence in Iraq has undermined the U.S. ability to bring security or
      claim any control over the situation in Iraq," Sepehri observes, "it
      has also provided the tool to break apart any united political
      opposition to the U.S. (and Israel)." See Sepehri, "The Pressure is
      On," p. 12.

      23. Chomsky and Achcar, Perilous Power, pp. 25-26, 53-55, 57-58, 114, 231.

      24. Paul Street, " ` Until We Get a New Social Order:' Reflections on
      the Early Radicalism of Martin Luther King, Jr." ZNet (January 16,
      2007), available online at
      http://www.zmag.org/content/showarticle.cfm?ItemID=11871; Paul Street,
      "The Pale Reflection: Barack Obama, Martin Luther King Jr. and the
      Meaning of the Black Revolution," Black Agenda Report (March 21,
      2007), available online at
      http://www.blackagendareport.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=
      149&Itemid=34.

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