Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Iraq: the run to Iran

Guardian Comment is Free

see below in the last post for the link
March 20, 2007 9:30 PM |

Four years after the start of the Iraq war, the White House has a twin strategy. Dig deeper in Iraq And dig another on in Iran - with bunker busters. As Yogi Berra said, "it's deja vu all over again". The same incremental process that led into the Iraqi quagmire is being rolled out for Iran.

Optimists think that because it makes no sense for the US to initiate or support an attack on Iran, it can't happen. The fourth anniversary of the invasion of Iraq is a good time to recall that no one has yet produced a convincing reason for that war, either. And the same people are still in charge - and up to their same tricks at the UN.

The WMDs, as we now know, were a chimera, and even at the time they were obviously just a diplomatic McGuffin - a way of getting UN authorization for Tony Blair and those faint-hearts in the State Department who wanted legal cover. One can't help thinking that the alleged Iranian nukes are equally draped in McGuffin tartan.

While the US leaves Darfur on the back burner in the Security Council, the Bush administration is pushing inexorably against Iran by trying to get the UN, an organization whose authority Washington constantly questions, to implement a Non-Proliferation Treaty that the US has selectively sabotaged, against Iran - a country that is not in breach of it.

The IAEA Council was bullied into referring Iran to the Security Council. Ironically one of the key swing votes was India, a non-signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty and an open nuclear power, which voted against Iran in return for Washington blessing New Delhi's nuclear efforts!

Having got it on the UN agenda - even more ironically, under the title "Non-Proliferation" - the US and the UK are now applying their well-honed skills to chivvying the others to the brink in easily digestible gobbets. (Indeed, many international lawyers think that the UK Trident replacement programme actually puts it into breach of the NPT - a point the Iranians have been quick to make.)

The west may not get a resolution authorizing actual war. But close is good enough. Before the Iraq war, heavy British and American diplomatic pressure ratcheted up the resolutions in a battle of diplomatic attrition, drawing in the Russians, the French and others in small steps. When the others members finally refused to vote for an actual attack, the British Attorney General and the US State Department invoked all the small print that their opponents on the council had conceded earlier to "prove" that the war was being fought to implement UN resolutions.

The same tightening of the screws is happening with Iran. The draft resolution they are pushing has the phrase, "recalling the requirement on States to join in affording mutual assistance in carrying out the measures decided upon by the Security Council", which one can, without too much paranoia, see retrospectively invoked for a coalition of the coerced.

Even though the IAEA has expressed some concern over Iran's ambitions, it has made clear that Tehran is a long way from nuclear capability - unlike India, Pakistan and Israel, about which Washington seems blithely unconcerned (and indeed, in the case of India and Israel, actually to condone).

The farce anticipates the tragedy. The White House took appropriations and troops voted for Afghanistan and diverted them to Iraq. It now seems to be assembling forces in the region, under the guise of an exit strategy for Iraq, and aiming them towards Iran. Two carrier groups off Iran are hardly appropriate for enhancing the safety of the ordinary Iraqis on the streets of Baghdad.

Other clauses in the draft impose a ban on conventional arms trade to and from Iran, "in order to prevent a destabilising accumulation of arms". You do not have to be an Ayatollah-lover to wonder about the destabilizing effect of the American arms build-up in the region, or the overt threats from Israel against Tehran, to suspect that this is more than a little provocative - and almost surely setting up the Iranians, this time with enthusiastic French support.

There is even the same pattern of turning on a former protégée. It really is time to get Ollie North back in harness. He had no problems negotiating with the Iranians and supplying them with arms before. Send him over to talk. He may even get a few contracts for Halliburton while he is there. And he could take Scooter Libby with him.

1 comment:

Daniel said...

US could have stopped Srebrenica Genocide. But they did nothing. Well, they stopped the war after the massacre when our advancing against Serb(ian) military. Now they hundreds of billions dollars on Iraq war... actually, US government is trillions of dollars in debt and 51% of Americans make incomes less than $18,000. Many people think Bush has destroyed America. I disagree. It's not Bush, it's conservatives who keep America backwards with their backward ideas and traditionalism. Canada is pretty much liberal country where religion and politics stay separated, but in the USA religion and politics play together. "God" is everywhere, even on US dollar. Deep stench of conservatism can be feld in America, and that's sad, because conservatism does not equal progresivism, and without progresivism (liberalism) there is no progress, no steps forward.

If you have time, please visit my blog, thanks: