Who will stop the US from
By Salim Lone
Media" -- -- HARD AS IT IS TO
IMAGINE, it is likely that another major war is being
planned by the US, this time against Iran. And the
arguments being marshalled by the Bush administration
are exactly identical to what was being said against
Iraq in the build-up to that war in 2003.
The President and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
are accusing Iran of developing weapons of mass
destruction and of exporting terrorism, just as Saddam
Hussein was allegedly doing.
Iran is also being accused of refusing to abide by
United Nations resolutions on its nuclear weapons
programme, which, like Iraq then, it denies it has.
Word of American preparations for war against Iran has
been rife for months, with renowned US journalist
Seymour Hersh revealing covert activities which include
the presence within Iran’s borders of US special forces
fomenting rebellion against the regime.
But for the first time, President Bush’s war-like words
against Iran have now been backed up by overt actions.
An Iranian consulate was raided in Iraq’s Kurdistan and
five diplomats arrested, in violation of international
diplomatic protocols. A new aircraft carrier left the US
on Wednesday for Iranian waters.
At the same time, a specialist team is headed for
US-allied countries in the region to help install
Patriot batteries which would protect against the
inevitable Iranian missile strikes in case war broke
There is worry also that the increase of US troop levels
in Iraq, and the proposal unveiled this week by Defence
Secretary Robert Gates to do the same for Afghanistan,
might also be part of the planning for an Iran war.
Some also view recent US actions in toppling Somalia’s
Islamic Courts Union and installing a pro-American
government there as part of the encirclement of Iran by
regimes which could provide logistical and territorial
support for launching attacks.
The US has denied it has any plans for bases in Somalia,
and also assures that any potential strike on Iran would
be conducted from international waters. But clearly, a
war against Iran would require the implicit support of
many neighbouring countries, and therefore expose them
to serious risk.
More important, however, than the weak regional regimes
which stay in power primarily through US support are the
major powers of the European Union, and Russia and
China, who are all part of the UN Security Council
mandated with the solemn responsibility of maintaining
international peace and security.
Will they stand by and allow the US to undertake yet
another ruinous war which will plunge the world into
even greater instability?
They clearly cannot physically stop the US, but they
must begin to raise their voices publicly against US
plans now rather than when war is imminent, and
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon must also play a role,
albeit necessarily a much more nuanced one, since even
the threat of the use of force is a violation of the
United Nations Charter.
Indeed, the United Nations was the centre-piece of the
architecture for preserving international peace and
security devised primarily by US President Roosevelt
when he led the campaign for the world body’s creation.
That architecture now lies in absolute tatters over the
graves of hundreds of thousands Iraqis and the global
insecurity we have been subjected to by President Bush’s
But the powerful neo-colonial community, most of whose
members are also avid supporters of Israel, has been
advocating war against Iran for some time now.
I was in a fascinating high-level forum last September
in New York in which members of this group vociferously
denied that they had pushed for the war against Iraq; it
was Iran they had been really after, they insisted!
Ultimately, only the American people themselves can stop
such madness, by getting their elected representatives
to pass a binding resolution against an attack on Iran.
The November elections and current moves in Congress
show that there is no appetite for even an escalation in
Iraq. But will there be the stomach to take on a rampant
commander-in-chief who seems convinced that a successful
strike on Iran will restore at least some of the lost
glory (and ratings) he enjoyed in the post 9/11 period?
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