“The US is updating contingency plans for a strike to cripple Iran’s
atomic weapon program if international diplomacy fails. . . . The plan calls
for a rolling, five-day bombing campaign against 400 key targets, including
24 nuclear-related sites, 14 military airfields and radar installations, and
Revolutionary Guard headquarters.” Ian Bruce, “US spells out plan
to bomb Iran,” The UK Herald
The Bush administration has no intention of peacefully resolving the
nuclear dispute with Iran. They have consistently blocked all attempts by Iran
to negotiate in good faith or to establish diplomatic channels for discussion.
The current offer by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice to talk directly with
Iran is less a departure from the normal US’ belligerence than it is a
means of enlisting support from Russia and China for future punitive action.
In one particularly ominous comment, Rice said that the negotiations would give
Iran “one last excuse” to resist American demands. This tells us
that US diplomacy is a just a smokescreen for the eventual hostilities.
It took the United States months of behind the scenes wrangling to persuade
the UN Security Council to even consider Iran’s “alleged”
nuclear weapons programs. Iran tried to prevent this by offering to allow surprise
inspections on any facility suspected of covert nuclear activity. Iran is not
required to do this under the terms of the NPT, but volunteered as a way of
building confidence among the member states. The Bush administration, which
made this a vital part of earlier demands, rejected the offer outright saying
that Iran’s concession would not be enough to end the standoff.
A similar incident took place just weeks earlier when Iran was finalizing the
details of an agreement with Russia to enrich uranium outside of the country.
Iran figured that this would allay US fears that it was secretively developing
Again, the Bush administration rejected this “good will” gesture
as insufficient, while Condi Rice scoffed at the idea as a trick. These are
just the latest examples of Iran’s efforts to find a peaceful way to placate
Washington. The administration is not interested in concessions or settlements.
It is simply building the case for punitive action or war.
Despite growing pressure from the administration, the Security Council has
not agreed on a resolution condemning Iran’s nuclear programs. So far,
Iran has cooperated fully with the IAEA and there’s simply no evidence
of noncompliance. It took an enormous effort by the Bush administration to push
a feeble “non-binding presidential statement” through the council.
The statement neither endorses economic sanctions nor military action. It is
a toothless declaration that is utterly meaningless except for its use in fueling
the propaganda campaign against the Islamic regime.
The administration has hit a roadblock at the Security Council. Their appeal
for decisive action is going nowhere.
Last week, Secretary of State Rice said, “Security guarantees for Iran
were off the table.” Her announcement reveals the true depth of America’s
inflexibility and the unlikelihood of a peaceful solution. If the United States
refuses to sign a “non-aggression pact,” then what incentive is
there for Iran to abandon its nuclear programs? After all, Iran has the “inalienable
right” to enrich uranium under the NPT. Shouldn’t that at least
be a bargaining chip for negotiations with the US?
The administration’s hardnosed approach precludes any future compromise.
Their stubbornness only makes sense if the ultimate objective is war, which
appears to be where Washington is headed.
If we compare the present situation to the lead up to the war in Iraq, we can
assume that the war plans are already underway. The maneuverings at the UN are
just a facade to conceal the movement of military hardware and troops. Once
the logistical work is done, the administration will create a pretext for attacking
Iran just as it did with Iraq. Rice's globe-trotting diplomacy means nothing;
it's Cheney and Rumsfeld who will decide when the time is right.
The administration sees non-aggression treaties as a sign of weakness unworthy
of a superpower. As stated in its National Security Strategy (NSS) the United
States reserves the right to attack any nation that may challenge its national
interests or its global supremacy. Iran is the next domino to establishing permanent
American hegemony. Controlling the oil resources of the Caspian Basin and removing
regional rivals to Israel remain the fundamental goals of Bush’s global
resource war. This makes a military confrontation with Iran inevitable. It is
absurd to expect the Bush administration will seriously negotiate when their
final purpose is regime change.
In a recent article in Counterpunch, “Embedded
Journalism and the Disinformation Campaign for War on Iran,” Gary
Leupp notes that the same cadres of neocons who misled the nation into war with
Iraq have been reassembled in the Pentagon to repeat their success against Iran.
Under the rubric of “The Office of Iranian Affairs,” Abram Shulsky,
Elizabeth Cheney and other far-right hawks fill out a roster of pro-war advocates.
Their task is to prepare the country for war by generating fear and suspicion
of Iran’s imaginary weapons programs. The group's influence is probably
similar to that of Judith Miller who was allowed to spout her bogus claims about
Iraqi WMD from headlines across the country. In this case, however, the intention
is to omit the critical facts about Iran’s activities rather than simply
inventing false allegations.
For example, the media invariably excludes the important details about Iran’s
programs that would allow American’s to form an educated opinion. These
1 The IAEA has consistently said that there is “no
evidence” that Iran has a nuclear weapons program or is diverting nuclear
material from its research.
2 Iran has been in full compliance with all its treaty obligations
for three years and has undergone the most intensive inspection regime in
the history of the IAEA.
3 The UN Security Council reaffirmed Iran’s “inalienable
right” to develop nuclear energy for peaceful purposes and did not order
Iran to suspend nuclear enrichment as was falsely reported in the news.
4 The United States has violated its obligations under the
NPT by developing a new regime of “bunker busting” low yield nuclear
5 That the United States is violating the UN Charter by
unilaterally threatening a sovereign nation that is not in breach of any UN
These are the fundamental facts that the American people need to know to make
an informed judgment about the present confrontation. Instead, the media simply
reiterates the specious claims of government officials without regard to either
international law (NPT) or the findings of the UN watchdog agency, the IAEA.
We must assume that the media is working with high-ranking officials in The
Office of Iranian Affairs to produce news that is so obviously skewed in favor
of the administration. After all, their entire raison d’etre is to create
the rationale for moving the country to war.
A growing number of American elites are uneasy with the precipitous decline
of American prestige as well as the reckless approach to foreign policy. Henry
Kissinger has joined Madeleine Albright, Zbigniew Brzezinski, Chuck Hagel and
other CFR (Council on Foreign Relations) luminaries to pressure the Bush administration
to open a direct dialogue with Iran. Until today, Bush showed no sign that he
would do so. Despite the many setbacks in Iraq, the “war president”
still appears to be entirely under the spell of VP Dick Cheney and Sec-Def Donald
Rumsfeld. Regrettably, there’s no indication that Rumsfeld or Cheney are
the least bit affected by the widening divisions in elite opinion. They are
in complete control of the policy making apparatus and should be expected to
execute their war plan regardless of its unpopularity or its long-term consequences.
In a recent article by Gareth Porter, “Iran
Proposal to US Offered Peace With Israel,” the author reports that
in 2003 Iran not only offered “to accept peace with Israel and cut off
material assistance to Palestinian armed groups” but made a “two-page
proposal for a broad US-Iran agreement covering all the issues facing the two
countries.” The secret document that was provided to IPS proves that Iran
is neither committed to the destruction of Israel nor to the continued sponsorship
of terrorist groups.
“What the Iranians wanted in return,” Porter says, “ was
an end to U.S. hostility and recognition of Iran as a legitimate power in the
region” They want to see a “halt in hostile US behavior and rectification
of status of Iran in the US” as well as "recognition of Iran's legitimate
security interests in the region with according defense capacity.” (ISP)
Respect and security; the same demands that one expects from any reasonable
“In 2003, Bush refused to allow any response to the Iranian offer to
negotiate an agreement that would have accepted the existence of Israel.”
This implies that the decision to attack Iran must have been made in the earliest
years of the Bush administration. (Perhaps, even before Bush took office as
indicated in the Project for the New American Century)
Will there be a war with Iran?
The UK Herald reported two weeks ago (“US spells out plan to bomb Iran,”
Ian Bruce) that “the US is updating contingency plans for a strike to
cripple Iran’s atomic weapon program if international diplomacy fails.
. . . The plan calls for a rolling, five-day bombing campaign against 400 key
targets, including 24 nuclear-related sites, 14 military airfields and radar
installations, and Revolutionary Guard headquarters.”
If there is an invasion it will probably be limited to securing the region
of Khuzestan, which is adjacent to Iraq’s southern flank and contains
90 percent of Iran’s oil wealth as well as much of its natural gas. This
could be achieved with as little as 15,000 to 20,000 combat troops, plus a backup
of Special Forces. The rest could be accomplished by aerial bombardments of
military installations, radar, artillery placements, missile silos, nuclear
sites and Republican Guard facilities. Needless to say, there are not “400
nuclear targets” in Iran. The Herald article implies that the Pentagon
is anticipating a “Serbia-type” attack which disrupts major industry,
oil production and civilian infrastructure. This strategy has been described
in great detail by author John Pilger in his article “Calling the Kosovo
Humanitarians to Account.”
Pilger states, “NATO's civilian targets included public transport, hospitals,
schools, museums, churches. ..bombing bridges on Sunday afternoons and market
Citing the goal of opening the region to a “free-market economy,”
Pilger notes how NATO intentionally targeted state-owned businesses to bring
Kosovo into the global economic paradigm and remove any stain of its socialist
Pilger says, “In the bombing campaign that followed, it was state-owned
companies, rather than military sites, that were targeted. NATO's destruction
of only 14 Yugoslav army tanks compares with its bombing of 372 centers of industry,
including the Zastava car factory, leaving hundreds of thousands jobless. Not
one foreign or privately owned factory was bombed.”
We expect that the same basic model will be applied to Iran, although the assault
will be papered-over by the “state-media franchise” (the “free
press”). Iran has no nuclear weapons programs and Washington knows it.
It is being prepared for “economic reform” and “structural
readjustment” so that it can be included in the prevailing system of predatory
capital and satisfy the West’s ravenous appetite for cheap oil and new
US carrier groups are already moving to the Gulf and the finishing touches
are being put on the battle plans. Lt General Sam Gardiner expects that an attack
will come as early as this month. That seems like a reasonable prediction.
Mike Whitney lives in Washington state. He can
be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.