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by Stephen Lendman
Sunday, Mar. 18, 2012 at 5:05 AM
Heading for War with Iran
by Stephen Lendman
Israel wants it. So does Obama, but not until after November elections. Policy now focuses on winning. Waging more wars can wait, except for Syria, despite strong public support for Assad's reform agenda promising real change.
On March 15, marking one year since Western-generated violence erupted, millions of Syrians in Damascus, Aleppo, and other cities nationwide publicly expressed regime support and anger at outside interference stoking months of violence. Political analyst Afif Dalleh called the day "a declaration of victory by all accounts."
Impressive national unity was displayed. It's a bulwark against Western-generated aggression. One theme above others expressed Syria for Syrians, free from outside interference. People everywhere feel the same, including Iranians united against potential Israeli and Washington aggression.
Despite supporting pro-Western Afghanistan, Libya, and Syria regime change initiatives, NATO member Turkey backs Iran if attacked. Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu said:
"In our area, we do not accept such an operation. We will also react negatively to such operation."
He added that attacking Iran's nuclear facilities would "wreak disaster in our region. Before all this happens, there should be serious negotiations."
Left unsaid was that months of Turkish supported anti-Assad violence also "wreak(s) disaster in our region." Attacking one or both countries may destroy it and perhaps Turkey with it.
Yet signs suggest it’s coming. On March 15, Haaretz editor-in-chief Aluf Benn headlined, "Netanyahu is preparing Israeli public opinion for a war on Iran," saying:
He's stoking fear of an existential threat comparable to Hitler's holocaust. Claiming it, of course, desecrates and cheapens its significance and meaning. Nonetheless, he claims Israel's only option is "attack(ing) Iran's nuclear infrastructure, which is buried deep underground."
Addressing Israel's Knesset, he "urged his colleagues to reject claims that Israel is too weak to go it alone in a war against a regional power such as Iran and therefore needs to rely on the United States, which has much greater military capabilities, to do the job and remove the threat."
Though US support is important, Netanyahu mentioned other times when Israel acted contrary to Washington's wishes and got away with it. None equal the potential consequences of attacking Iran, let alone illegally for fraudulent reasons.
Iran threatens no one. Its nuclear program is peaceful. Israeli and Washington leaders know it. Attacking a nonbelligerent country is lawless aggression. The same holds for Syria.
Moreover, Israel had Washington's support for earlier aggressions Netanyahu mentioned, whatever position US administrations stated publicly. Earlier prime ministers made sure they got it quietly if no other way to avoid challenging a vital ally.
"That being the case," said Benn, Netanyahu hinted "he received Obama's tacit approval for an Israeli attack against Iran – under the guise of opposition. Obama will speak out against it but act for it, just as past U.S. administrations speak against the settlements in the territories but allow their expansion."
Amos Regev, editor of the Hebrew-language Israel Hayom daily newspaper published a rare front page editorial. It advocated war on Iran titled, "Don't be cocky and don't be afraid."
Regev's a close Netanyahu associate. Earlier, he served with other inner circle members between his two prime ministerial terms. His senior political analyst currently advises Netanyahu and writes speeches for him. Both men have agendas. Israel Hayom's used to advance them. They reflect lawless policies Netanyahu and extremists around him promote.
Like Netanyahu, he claimed Iran poses an existential threat. Comparing it to Germany's holocaust is reprehensible and duplicitous. Regev concluded saying, "Yes, it's possible to attack - and to succeed." He also urged doing it with or without America.
Distributed free, Israel Hayom's widely read. In 2010, it surpassed Yedioth Ahronoth as Israel's largest circulation broadsheet. It first published on July 30, 2007. Whether endorsing war will enlist more popular support remains to be seen. Many Israelis oppose it, including current and former government officials.
Benn suggests it's coming, saying:
"(W)hat looks like a preparation for war, acts like a preparation for war, and quacks like a preparation for war, is a preparation for war, and not just a 'bluff' or a diversion tactic."
"Until his trip to Washington, Netanyahu and his supporters in the media refrained from such explicit wording and made do with hints. But since he's been back, Netanyahu has issued an emergency call-up for himself and the Israeli public."
Benn and others think it's coming but don’t know when. AIPAC's long been out in front urging it. Among other ways, in late February, Ilan Berman, vice president of the right-wing American Foreign Policy Council (AFPC), hosted an American Israel Education Foundation (AIEF) briefing session.
Forty congressional staffers attended. At issue was promoting Iran's alleged existential nuclear threat and support for global terrorism. AIEF's an AIPAC affiliate. AFPC's board includes Newt Gingrich, James Woolsey, Robert "Bud" McFarlane, Thomas J. Ridge, and other hardliners like them.
Berman lied claiming Iran's nuclear program and terrorism promote launching attacks against Israeli and US interests globally. He also authored the book titled, "Tehran's Rising Challenge to the United States."
His latest 2009 work is called "Winning the Long War: Retaking the Offensive Against Radical Islam." His comments and writing leave no doubt where he stands. They also reveal his immorality and support for lawless aggression.
Published in The Hindu on March 14, Writer Vladimir Radyuhin headlined, "Iran strike imminent: Russian diplomat," saying:
Russia's Kommersant daily said Moscow UN diplomats believe war on Iran is "a matter of when, not if. The attack will be mounted before the end of this year. Israel is blackmailing Obama by confronting him with a dilemma: either he supports the war option or will lose the support" of American Jews.
Turkey will host so-called April scheduled Tehran 5 + 1 talks in Istanbul. Attending with be America, Britain, France, Russia, China and Germany. Hillary Clinton told Russian Foreign Secretary Sergei Lavrov to warn Iran about a "last chance" to avoid attack.
Russian diplomats expect it after talks designed to fail. They also think launching it will stop military invention against Syria, at least for now. Pursuing two major regional wars simultaneously is more than even America can bare with others in Afghanistan and Iraq ongoing, as well as out-of-control violence raging in Libya.
Interviewed on CNN, top advisor to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei Mohammad Javad Larijani suggested Iran's response to an Israeli or US attack, saying:
"Every possibility is on the table," including blocking the Strait of Hormuz and counterattacking. He also called sanctions unfair, stressed Tehran's peaceful nuclear program, and said if Western nations want "more transparency, then we should expect more cooperation."
The "equation is simple." Both sides must deal fairly with the other to resolve disputes equitably. Iran offers "full transparency (with) permanent human monitoring" in return for Western nations affording it all rights under Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty provisions.
Scurrilous Israeli Claim about Alleged Iranian Military Site Developing Nuclear Weapons
On March 13, Haaretz published an AP report it should have denounced. Headlined, "Israeli official: Satellite images back our claims Iran is developing nuclear weapons," it said:
An unnamed official claims pictures "reinforce what Israel has been saying all along....the Iranian nuclear program is not benign."
"He spoke on condition of anonymity pending a formal government response." His anonymity exposes his duplicity to hype fear spuriously.
Iran's perhaps the world's most closely monitored and surveilled country. For years, Washington's done it from space and covertly on the ground. Yet the latest March 2011 annual US intelligence assessment said no evidence suggests an Iranian nuclear weapons development program.
IAEA inspectors say the same thing. They monitor Iran's nuclear facilities closely and operate cameras in them 24 hours a day. If weapons development were ongoing, they'd have said so long ago.They haven't because no program exists, nor is one likely planned.
Nonetheless, AP said satellite images showed "trucks and earth-moving vehicles at Iran's Parchin military site. Diplomats said the images suggested the trucks could be carting away radioactive material created in nuclear testing."
They could have been removing garbage, doing routine maintenance work, or numerous other operations all commercial and government facilities perform. AP failed to say so.
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast dismissed Parchin allegations as scurrilous propaganda, saying:
“Those who have technical knowledge on nuclear issues would know that such propaganda is unjustifiable as evidences are irremovable from an area with nuclear activity.”
He's right. Earlier US nuclear facility remediation efforts fell way short of planned objectives. Removing all hazardous material isn't possible. Enough remains to be easily detectable.
Mehmanparast added that Iran's agreeable to IAEA Parchin inspection. However, doing so should conform to agreed procedures. No country would accept less. Nor should broadsheets like Haaretz publish fraudulent allegations used to justify waging war.
Anti-Iranian Scoundrel Journalism
Fareed Zakaria's a pro-Western commentator, Time and Newsweek contributor, and host of CNN's Fareed Zakaria GPS. On March 14, his Washington Post op-ed headlined, "Deterring Iran is the best option," saying:
Deterrence works. MAD avoided possible Cold War nuclear confrontations. "Anguish over the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon is understandable. It would be better for Israel, the Middle East and the world if Tehran does not acquire such weapons."
Zakaria knows, or should, that Iran threatens no one, and it's nuclear program is peaceful. Suggesting otherwise is confrontational and hostile.
So is saying America's effort "in collaboration with almost the entire international community, to prevent this from happening and to put tremendous pressure on Tehran, is the right policy."
"But were Tehran to persist, were its regime to accept the global isolation and crippling costs that would come from its decision, a robust policy of containment and deterrence would work," no matter how lawless, wrongheaded, and futile.
Scoundrel media feature views like Zakaria's and worse ones. Levelheaded sounder ones are suppressed. No wonder polls show most Americans favor confrontation with Iran belligerently. An ignorant public's easily swayed to accept policies harming their own interests. Ignorance isn't bliss. It's dangerous on issues mattering most.
Scoundrel Media Suppressed Views
Distinguished figures like James Petras and Immanuel Wallerstein aren't welcomed by scoundrel media bosses. On March 15, Petras and Robin Eastman Abaya headlined, "Israel's Willing Executioners: AIPAC Invades Washington," saying:
Internal rot reflects "a country, like the United States....in decline. (It) results when a nation is betrayed by craven leaders, who crawl and humiliate themselves before a minority of thuggish mediocrities pledged to a foreign state without scruples or moral integrity."
Days earlier, former British MP George Galloway explained "The annual, ritual humiliation of US presidents" and other top officials. They grovel obsequiously in tribute to what they should condemn.
AIPAC, said Petras and Abaya, supports Israel's agenda "to pursue an unprovoked war, either initiated by the US or as part of a US-backed Israeli sneak attack, against the sovereign Islamic Republic of Iran."
It's targeted for maintaining sovereign independence in a region America and Israel want to dominate. Claiming a nuclear threat is a red herring, but scoundrel journalists claim it fraudulently and repeatedly to enlist public support for what no one should accept.
Attacking Iran poses enormous risks warmongers ignore. Overall, imperial lawlessness endangers world peace and security more gravely than since WW II.
In February, Wallerstein's article headlined "Israel: Its Fantasies and Its Realities," asking:
Why would Iran, with or without nuclear weapons, threaten Israel? "(N)o one in any position of responsibility, in Israel, in the United States, or elsewhere....believes this. They only say they do" disingenuously to hype fear and condition public sentiment for war.
"Why on earth would Iran bomb Israel? They would kill at least as many Arabs as Israelis, if they did. They would be subject to immediate retaliation by Israel, which is well-armed (with) nuclear weapons. Iran bombing Israel is a fantasy that no responsible leader believes."
A Final Comment
Fear's hyped because Iran's regional influence is growing. Moreover, if Tehran had nuclear weapons, the region's geopolitical balance would shift dramatically in its favor even with no intention to use them. In contrast, Israel and Washington would lose out.
At the same time, attacking Iran is not only unconscionable and counterproductive, it threatens potential global war. Leaders willing to risk it deserve impeachment and removal. War with Iran is all lose, no gain, and potential annihilation if things spin out of control.
Yet warmongering leaders and scoundrel journalists promote it for regional dominance, not national security existential threats.
If observers like Russian diplomats are right, public sentiment must stop what no one should tolerate, and do it before it's too late. The time's short and running out.
Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at email@example.com.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com and listen to cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests on the Progressive Radio News Hour on the Progressive Radio Network Thursdays at 10AM US Central time and Saturdays and Sundays at noon. All programs are archived for easy listening.
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