Pilger on Iran: The War Begins


Richard Moore

Date: Thu, 01 Feb 2007 13:48:13 -0500
Subject: Iran: The War Begins
From: The Wisdom Fund <•••@••.•••>
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<http://www.twf.org>THE WISDOM FUND

February 5, 2007
New Statesman (UK)

Iran: The War Begins
John Pilger

[John Pilger is a renowned author, journalist and documentary film-maker. A war 
correspondent, his writings have appear in numerous magazines, and newspapers.]

As opposition grows in America to the failed Iraq adventure, the Bush 
administration is preparing public opinion for an attack on Iran, its latest 
target, by the spring.

The United States is planning what will be a catastrophic attack on Iran. For 
the Bush cabal, the attack will be a way of "buying time" for its dis aster in 
Iraq. In announcing what he called a "surge" of American troops in Iraq, George 
W Bush identified Iran as his real target. "We will interrupt the flow of 
support [to the insurgency in Iraq] from Iran and Syria," he said. "And we will 
seek out and destroy the networks providing advanced weaponry and training to 
our enemies in Iraq."

"Networks" means Iran. "There is solid evidence," said a State Department 
spokesman on 24 January, "that Iranian agents are involved in these networks and
that they are working with individuals and groups in Iraq and are being sent 
there by the Iranian government." Like Bush's and Tony Blair's claim that they 
had irrefutable evidence that Saddam Hussein was deploying weapons of mass 
destruction, the "evidence" lacks all credibility. Iran has a natural affinity 
with the Shia majority of Iraq, and has been implacably opposed to al-Qaeda, 
condemning the 9/11 attacks and supporting the United States in Afghanistan. 
Syria has done the same. Investigations by the New York Times, the Los Angeles 
Times and others, including British military officials, have concluded that Iran
is not engaged in the cross-border supply of weapons. General Peter Pace, 
chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, has said no such evidence exists.

As the American disaster in Iraq deepens and domestic and foreign opposition 
grows, "neo-con" fanatics such as Vice-President Dick Che- ney believe their 
opportunity to control Iran's oil will pass unless they act no later than the 
spring. For public consumption, there are potent myths. In concert with Israel 
and Washington's Zionist and fundamentalist Christian lobbies, the Bushites say 
their "strategy" is to end Iran's nuclear threat. In fact, Iran possesses not a 
single nuclear weapon, nor has it ever threatened to build one; the CIA 
estimates that, even given the political will, Iran is incapable of building a 
nuclear weapon before 2017, at the earliest. Unlike Israel and the United 
States, Iran has abided by the rules of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of
which it was an original signatory, and has allowed routine inspections under 
its legal obligations - until gratuitous, punitive measures were added in 2003, 
at the behest of Washington. No report by the International Atomic Energy Agency
has ever cited Iran for diverting its civilian nuclear programme to military 
use. The IAEA has said that for most of the past three years its inspectors have
been able to "go anywhere and see anything". They inspected the nuclear 
installations at Isfahan and Natanz on 10 and 12 January and will return on 2 to
6 February. The head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, says that an attack on Iran
will have "catastrophic consequences" and only encourage the regime to become a 
nuclear power.

Unlike its two nemeses, the US and Israel, Iran has attacked no other countries.
It last went to war in 1980 when invaded by Saddam Hussein, who was backed and 
equipped by the US, which supplied chemical and biological weapons produced at a
factory in Maryland. Unlike Israel, the world's fifth military power - with its 
thermo nuclear weapons aimed at Middle East targets and an unmatched record of 
defying UN resolutions, as the enforcer of the world's longest illegal 
occupation - Iran has a history of obeying international law and occupies no 
territory other than its own.

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. 
Accompanying this is a demonising that has become standard practice. As Edward 
Herman has pointed out, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad "has done yeoman service 
in facilitating [this]"; yet a close examination of his notorious remark about 
Israel in October 2005 reveals how it has been distorted. According to Juan 
Cole, American professor of modern Middle East and south Asian history at the 
University of Michigan, and other Farsi language analysts, Ahmadinejad did not 
call for Israel to be "wiped off the map". He said: "The regime occupying 
Jerusalem must vanish from the page of time." This, says Cole, "does not imply 
military action or killing anyone at all". Ahmadinejad compared the demise of 
the Israeli regime to the dissolution of the Soviet Union. The Iranian regime is
repressive, but its power is diffuse and exercised by the mullahs, with whom 
Ahmadinejad is often at odds. An attack would surely unite them.

Nuclear option

The one piece of "solid evidence" is the threat posed by the United States. An 
American naval build-up in the eastern Mediterranean has begun. This is almost 
certainly part of what the Pentagon calls CONPLAN 8022-02, which is the aerial 
bombing of Iran. In 2004, National Security Presidential Directive 35, entitled 
"Nuclear Weapons Deployment Authorisation", was issued. It is classified, of 
course, but the presumption has long been that NSPD 35 authorised the 
stockpiling and deployment of "tactical" nuclear weapons in the Middle East. 
This does not mean Bush will use them against Iran, but for the first time since
the most dangerous years of the cold war, the use of what were then called 
"limited" nuclear weapons is being discussed openly in Washington. What they are
debating is the prospect of other Hiroshimas and of radioactive fallout across 
the Middle East and central Asia. Seymour Hersh disclosed in the New Yorker last
year that American bombers "have been flying simulated nuclear weapons delivery 
missions . . . since last summer".

The well-informed Arab Times in Kuwait says that Bush will attack Iran before 
the end of April. One of Russia's most senior military strategists, General 
Leonid Ivashov, says the US will use nuclear munitions delivered by cruise 
missiles launched from the Mediterranean. "The war in Iraq," he wrote on 24 
January, "was just one element in a series of steps in the process of regional 
destabilisation. It was only a phase in getting closer to dealing with Iran and 
other countries. [When the attack on Iran begins] Israel is sure to come under 
Iranian missile strikes . . . Posing as victims, the Israelis . . . will suffer 
some tolerable damage and then the outraged US will destabilise Iran finally, 
making it look like a noble mission of retribution . . . Public opinion is 
already under pressure. There will be a growing anti-Iranian . . . hysteria, . .
. leaks, disinformation et cetera . . . It . . . remain[s] unclear . . . whether
the US Congress is going to authorise the war."

Asked about a US Senate resolution disapproving of the "surge" of US troops to 
Iraq, Vice-President Cheney said: "It won't stop us." Last November, a majority 
of the American electorate voted for the Democratic Party to control Congress 
and stop the war in Iraq. Apart from insipid speeches of "disapproval", this has
not happened and is unlikely to happen. Influential Democrats, such as the new 
leader of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, and the would-be 
presidential candidates Hillary Clinton and John Edwards, have disported 
themselves before the Israeli lobby. Edwards is regarded in his party as a 
"liberal". He was one of a high-level American contingent at a recent Israeli 
conference in Herzliya, where he spoke about "an unprecedented threat to the 
world and Israel [sic]. At the top of these threats is Iran . . . All options 
are on the table to ensure that Iran will never get a nuclear weapon." Hillary 
Clinton has said: "US policy must be unequivocal . . . We have to keep all 
options on the table." Pelosi and Howard Dean, another liberal, have 
distinguished themselves by attacking the former president Jimmy Carter, who 
oversaw the Camp David Agreement between Israel and Egypt and has had the gall 
to write a truthful book accusing Israel of becoming an "apartheid state". 
Pelosi said: "Carter does not speak for the Democratic Party." She is right, 

In Britain, Downing Street has been presented with a document entitled Answering
the Charges by Professor Abbas Edalat, of Imperial College London, on behalf of 
others seeking to expose the disinformation on Iran. Blair remains silent. Apart
from the usual honourable exceptions, parliament remains shamefully silent, too.

Can this really be happening again, less than four years after the invasion of 
Iraq, which has left some 650,000 people dead? I wrote virtually this same 
article early in 2003; for Iran now, read Iraq then. And is it not remarkable 
that North Korea has not been attacked? North Korea has nuclear weapons.

In numerous surveys, such as the one released on 23 January by the BBC World 
Service, "we", the majority of humanity, have made clear our revulsion for Bush 
and his vassals. As for Blair, the man is now politically and morally naked for 
all to see. So who speaks out, apart from Professor Edalat and his colleagues? 
Privileged journalists, scholars and artists, writers and thespians, who 
sometimes speak about "freedom of speech", are as silent as a dark West End 
theatre. What are they waiting for? The declaration of another thousand-year 
Reich, or a mushroom cloud in the Middle East, or both?

MORE at 

February 1, 2007
Inter Press Service

Official Lies Over Najaf Battle Exposed
Dahr Jamail
with Ali al-Fadhily

NAJAF, Iraq - Iraqi government lies over the killing of hundreds of Shi'ites in 
an attack on Sunday stand exposed by independent investigations carried out by 
IPS in Iraq. . . .

Tribal members from both believe the attack was launched by the central 
government of Baghdad to stifle growing Shia-Sunni unity in the area. . . .

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