2006/02/12

War with Iran? Prediction is set for March 28th

[Originally written 2/12, revised 2/17]

Is the Bush Administration trying to launch a war on Iran? With the tight secrecy and known dishonesty that the Administration has demonstrated in the past, any conclusions are necessarily tentative. There are many reasons to believe an attack is on the agenda, but strong reasons to think that an attack will never take place.

News from the AP on US posture towards Iran:

“WASHINGTON (AP) -- Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is asking Congress for $75 million in an emergency spending bill to support democracy in Iran, Bush administration officials said Wednesday.”

“The money, to be included in a supplemental 2006 budget request the White House is expected to soon send Congress, will be used for radio and satellite television broadcasting and for programs to help Iranians study abroad...”

If the situation were reversed and Iran was requesting money to “support democracy” in the US and in that spirit, to fund “radio and satellite television broadcasting” from satellites and transmitters in Mexico and Canada, the likelihood is about 100% that Americans would see that as an attack on America's political institutions. The fact that the requested $75 million is termed as an “emergency” measure also suggests that the Bush Administration is in a hurry to establish a presence in Iran, whether it's to set up scouting locations to prepare for an offensive later on or to get a fifth column started up so as to weaken Iran from within.

This request continues a very disquieting trend dating from the “Axis of Evil” State of the Union speech in 2002 where Iraq, North Korea and Iran were described as partners threatening the world with Weapons of Mass Destruction (A phrase dating back to 1937, but that did not enter popular usage until the invasion of Iraq in 2003.) and which all required an aggressive response. The trend was continued in (selected passages from) the latest State of the Union speech:

“At the start of 2006, more than half the people of our world live in democratic nations. And we do not forget the other half -- in places like Syria and Burma, Zimbabwe, North Korea, and Iran...”

“Once again, we accept the call of history to deliver the oppressed and move this world toward peace.“

“Yet liberty is the future of every nation in the Middle East, because liberty is the right and hope of all humanity. (Applause.)”

“The same is true of Iran, a nation now held hostage by a small clerical elite that is isolating and repressing its people. The regime in that country sponsors terrorists in the Palestinian territories and in Lebanon -- and that must come to an end. (Applause.) The Iranian government is defying the world with its nuclear ambitions, and the nations of the world must not permit the Iranian regime to gain nuclear weapons. (Applause.) America will continue to rally the world to confront these threats.”

“Tonight, let me speak directly to the citizens of Iran: America respects you, and we respect your country. We respect your right to choose your own future and win your own freedom. And our nation hopes one day to be the closest of friends with a free and democratic Iran. (Applause.)”

So what is the likelihood that the US will invade Iran? According to William Engdahl, the US faces very formidable obstacles in doing so:

“Iran a vast, strategically central expanse of land, more than double the land area of France and Germany combined, with well over 70 million people, and one of the fastest population growth rates in the world, is well prepared for a new Holy War. Its mountainous terrain makes any thought of a US ground occupation inconceivable at a time the Pentagon is having problems retaining its present force to maintain the Iraq and Afghanistan occupations.”

Engdahl also documents a very close and increasingly closer trade relationship between Iran and Russia, suggesting that Russia desire to be a “global player”. Others suggest that Iran is "playing" Russia and is pursuing a hostile and contradictory course. Engdahl points out that China is also heavily involved and has sold Iran “...thousands of tanks, armored personnel vehicles, and artillery pieces, several hundred surface-to-air, air-to-air, cruise, and ballistic missiles as well as thousands of antitank missiles, more than a hundred fighter aircraft, and dozens of small warships. “

It appears then, that a US invasion of Iran would involve the US in a global conflict with the US and possibly Europe facing off against their old Cold War nemeses Russia and China. It's also noteworthy that the US appears to be fighting to maintain the hegemony of the Dollar versus the Euro. So is such a scenario likely to occur? Unfortunately, the US has not been acting like a responsible power for the last several years.

Pillar describes for the first time that the intelligence community did assessments before the invasion [of Iraq] that, he wrote, indicated a postwar Iraq 'would not provide fertile ground for democracy' and would need 'a Marshall Plan-type effort' to restore its economy despite its oil revenue. It also foresaw Sunnis and Shiites fighting for power.”

“Pillar wrote that the intelligence community 'anticipated that a foreign occupying force would itself be the target of resentment and attacks -- including guerrilla warfare -- unless it established security and put Iraq on the road to prosperity in the first few weeks or months after the fall of Saddam.' "

Yet, we see that the Bush Administration invaded Iraq anyway and appears to have relied upon a “faith-based” strategy, founded mostly upon wishful thinking.

Let's also remember the comment by an anonymous Bush aide (Who many people believe was Vice-President Cheney):

"The aide said that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' I nodded and murmured something about enlightenment principles and empiricism. He cut me off. 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors . . . and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.' ''

It would be very, very nice to believe that the Bush people have developed a sober, sensible plan based upon reality and not upon wishful thinking, but that appears to be a pretty long shot.

1 comment:

Craig said...

Given the situation in Iraq, Bush will have a hard time finding the troops to invade Iran. If anything happens, it'll probably be a heavy bombing campaign. I have no idea whether Bush will go through with it or not. Israel threw in its two cents worth a few weeks ago and seemed to imply it might do something on its own but that might have been a little cooperative campaigning for Bush's position.

As Bush's political fortunes fall, he may be tempted to act on his famous gut feeling which has failed the United States repeatedly since he took office.

If we attack Iran, the odds are high that we will be in for a hard time. Iran is not Iraq. And this time other countries in the region may not sit on the fence, or rather their populations will not sit on the fence.

The real key will be whether Americans rally behind the president if he engages in this nonsense.

If cooler heads prevail, there will be no war with Iran but there will probably be more heavey-handed posturing in an attempt to deal with Iran's nuclear program.