First Iraq, now Iran?

The United States has announced its harshest action against Iran since 1979 by instituting a raft of unilateral sanctions designed to cut international financial support to Iran. Condoleezza Rice (US Secretary of State) said that the unprecedented steps, which include outlawing Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, were a response to “Teheran’s support of insurgents in Iraq and its refusal to abandon its uranium enrichment programme”. 

There are two alleged reasons for the sanctions:
1) Teheran’s support of terrorists.
2) Weapons of mass destruction.
 

Does this sound vaguely familiar? Saddam Husain was responsible for 9/11 and for having weapons of mass destruction – neither of which were proved. Follow this conversation with Brig. Gen. Kevin J. Bergner, who said that two important militants who were captured in Iraq, “have acknowledged during interrogations that senior leadership within the al-Quds* force knew of and supported planning attacks on US soldiers(The al-Quds unit, the foreign operations branch, within Iran’s elite revolutionary guards corps is accused of supporting fighters in Iraq that has led to the deaths of US soldiers.) 

First, Mr. Bergner’s assertion: “Our intelligence reveals that senior leadership in Iran is aware of this activity.”Now, the follow-ups:
Question: Can you define senior leadership?”
Mr. Bergner: I think I’ll leave it at that.”
Question: Would you exclude the supreme leader?”
Mr. Bergner: “I’ll leave it at senior leadership in Iran?”
Question: “Put it this way: Do you think it’s possible that he doesn’t know?”
Mr. Bergner: ‘’That would be hard to imagine.”

A tough question indeed: from intelligence to imagination in four steps.

The Iranian government has repeatedly denied supporting militants or stirring up trouble in Iraq, and has said that, ‘it only wants the country to be stable and peaceful.’ But Britain and France don’t think so, and have sided with the US, with Brown going as far as pledging to lead the campaign for new EU and UN sanctions. It seems Gordon Brown is to Rice as Blair was to Bush. Rice says Iran is pursuing nuclear technologies that can lead to a nuclear weapon, building dangerous ballistic missiles, supporting Shia militants in Iraq and terrorists in Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon and Palestine, and denying the existence of a fellow member of the United Nations, threatening to wipe Israeli off the map.”

It may not mean much but both China and Russia are not supporting the US. Rice has urged China, Russia and India to back the sanctions against Iran. President Putin of Russia warned strongly against sanctions on Iran, saying they would lead to a dead end. He said the standoff over Iran’s nuclear program should be resolved through talks, pointing at North Korea as an example. “Why worsen the situation and bring it to a dead end by threatening sanctions or military action. Running around like a madman with a razor blade, waving it around, is not the best way to resolve the situation.” the Russian leader said.

Predictably, the Prime Minister of Israel (a state that repeatedly defies international law, that has nuclear weapons, and still has full support of the US administration) Mr Olmert said: “Economic sanctions are effective. They have an important impact already, but they are not sufficient. So there should be more. Up to where? Up until Iran will stop its nuclear programme.”

This is insane. In no uncertain terms, he is calling for a war against Iran. Now if he made this statement in Hebrew, and the western media had to translate it, would it be translated as him calling for Iran to be wiped off the map?

So, what will the sanctions do? Remember Iraq? As John Pilger wrote a while back, before 1990 and the imposition of sanctions, Iraq had one of the highest standards of living in the Middle East.”

And now, after sanctions at least 200 children died every day from malnutrition, lack of clean water and lack of medical equipment and drugs to cure easily treatable diseases. Morphine, the most effective painkiller has been banned by the Security Council.
 In 1990 Iraq had one of the highest rates of literacy in the world. For all its evil, the government still built schools, trained teachers, and distributed free textbooks and other school supplies.

And after sanctions this system was gradually destroyed over a short period of 10 years. Iraqi teacher salaries fell from $400 to $3 per month. There were no school supplies: books, pencils and paper are all banned under ‘dual use’ considerations. We are told that pencils are forbidden because carbon could be extracted from them that might be used to coat aeroplanes and make them invisible to radar. I am not a military expert, but I find it very disturbing that because of this objection, we cannot give pencils to Iraqi school children.” (Farid Zarif, deputy director of the UN humanitarian program in Baghdad. New York Times, 3 January 1999)

But what is the real reason for the sanctions and threats against Iran? Surely no sane person will believe that these ridiculous claims are accurate – especially anyone who followed the ruckus that went on before Iraq was unjustifiably attacked. The question is – Is all this just about oil?

Alan Greenspan, former chairman of the private bank known as the Federal Reserve, discloses in his book the public secret that, the motive for the war against Iraq was rooted in oil: “I’m saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: The Iraq war was largely about oil. I thought the issue of weapons of mass destruction as the excuse was utterly beside the point”. To what extent history will repeat itself now that it’s not oil-rich Iraq (but its oil-rich neighbour Iran) is being accused of producing weapons of mass destruction by the same people that invaded Iraq on the basis of arguments and accusations which may quite possibly be false?

After ‘democracy’ was declared in Iraq. John Pilger wrote that “the main reason was oil. Under a law written by American and British officials, the Iraqi puppet regime is about to hand over the extraction of the largest concentration of oil on earth to Anglo-American companies. Nothing like this piracy has happened before. Across the Shatt al-Arab waterway the other prize: Iran’s vast oilfields. Just as non-existent weapons of mass destruction or facile concerns for democracy had nothing to do with the invasion of Iraq, so non-existent nuclear weapons have nothing to do with an American onslaught on Iran.” It appears evident that this war is not about terrorism, WMD, or any other ridiculous claim, but about money. This is an excerpt of his statement to US Senators who accused him of corruption in 2005:

“Now, Senator, I gave my heart and soul to oppose the policy that you promoted. I gave my political life’s blood to try to stop the mass killing of Iraqis by the sanctions on Iraq which killed one million Iraqis, most of them children, most of them died before they even knew that they were Iraqis, but they died for no other reason other than that they were Iraqis with the misfortune to born at that time. I gave my heart and soul to stop you committing the disaster that you did commit in invading Iraq. And I told the world that your case for the war was a pack of lies 

I told the world that Iraq, contrary to your claims did not have weapons of mass destruction. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to al-Qaeda. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that Iraq had no connection to the atrocity on 9/11 2001. I told the world, contrary to your claims, that the Iraqi people would resist a British and American invasion of their country and that the fall of Baghdad would not be the beginning of the end, but merely the end of the beginning.”

Will the same happen to Iran? Are the children of Iran going to suffer? And is the world going to sit by quietly while this happens? What will you do?

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4 Comments

  1. Having family in Iran, I pray every day that this will not happen. It seems like Iran and the U.S. have been in a sort of Mexican stand off for years, and enshallah it will not escalate into something worse than this.
    But, on a political note, sanctions haven’t ever hurt Iran in the past, and I doubt that they will hurt Iran now. Enshallah, this is just muckracking for the U.S. elections and will not worsen before or after the U.S. gets a new president.

  2. I wish I could be more optimistic Zeynab. So far all the facts are pointing towards an imminent attack – A few years back, actually 2002 I was doing some research on oil reserves in the gulf states, and somehow got on to looking at the next best thing: natural gas. You probably already know that central asia is the next big supplier of natural gases and it just seems that America is targetting certain countries which are en route… I could be wrong though, they could be completely right and will eventually (god forbid) find Ahmedinijad hiding in a little manhole on the silk route buffing up his WMD(!) :S

  3. A fascinating article. Such a shame you don’t mention the nuclear upgrade programs both the UK and US still want to undertake. The US (details of whihc i’m scant on) and their space defence system, and the UK wanting to upgrade our trident system of nukes. Add to this who actually supplies half the world with weaponry (read UK/France) and yes, it does seem hypocritical what we can get away with.

    I’m no fan of Iran, and don’t really doubt that Iran has done its part in Iraq. But then what was that? Supporting resistance movement who were resisting an occupying force? Well thats no bad thing to start with.

    I have to admit, in general im less pessimistic about Iran. I don’t think either the US or the UK has anywhere near enough credibility left in the international arena, nor political support at home, nor enough troops willing and able to serve, to do anything substantial in Iran. Given that, I’m grateful i dont see another war on the horizons, but then do feel sanctions are futile. Ahmedjinad won’t change policy if he, like I, cannot see the credible threat of real military action, so sanctions will only hurt the man on the ground. Thats what troubles me…

  4. I need to make sure, Zahir, that you’re aware that Ahmedinejad can’t actually make any policy changes. Yes, he is the president. But the President of Iran has as much legislative power as an imam in the U.S. The real policymaker is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamene’i–this is the man who has the final say on all things legislative (and religious, for that matter). Ahmedinejad can’t even change legislation to allow women into football stadiums, let alone control nuclear policy.


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