It’s going to happen – and sooner than you think. We’ll be watching the news headlines, or maybe there’ll be a news flash, and we’ll be informed that the RAF, along with the USAF’s long-range B2 bombers, and the Israeli Air Force have carried out overnight bombing raids across Iran, targeting nuclear facilities, radar stations, airfields and anti-aircraft bases.
I can’t see a land invasion – at least not for a long time – for the simple reason that Iranian civilians are more patriotic than their Iraqi counterparts, that Iran has a much bigger and better equipped army than Iraq had and a lot more fundamentalists, the type that strap bombs to themselves and run towards you. Moreover, the country is much bigger than Iraq, with a lot of mountainous terrain and with a much larger population, which makes it far more difficult for the largely un-resisted kind of invasion the US enjoyed in Iraq.
As in the case of Iraq, there will be the prior attempt at the mass manufacture of consent. Blair and Bush and indeed other European leaders, who think they will have something to gain, pedalling the line that newly elected Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is another Saddam Hussein who, if Iran’s nuclear programme is not halted, will be able to lob a nuclear missile at the west in a few minutes and how Iran is supporting international terrorism, financing terrorist cells all over the world, including Al Qaeda. The case will be made that Iran is still very much a part of the axis of evil, first referred to in George W Bush’s State of the Union Address in 2002, and its people, secretly harbouring thoughts of Western style democracy, the country crying out for regime change. In his January, 2005, State of the Union Address George W said; "Iran remains the world's primary state sponsor of terror, pursuing nuclear weapons while depriving its people of the freedom they seek and deserve.”
The White House has in fact been steadily creating an anti-Iran climate in the US for some time. The Wall Street Journal reported on Feb. 3, “in recent polls a surprisingly large number of Americans say they would support U.S. military strikes to stop Tehran from getting the bomb.”
All of this, of course, is part of the desensitisation process, aimed at calming world public opinion in advance. And if Congress and Parliament and the people on the streets won’t buy the cant, then expect the false flags to go up - the state-sanctioned attacks on Western cities, purportedly carried out by Islamic terrorists acting on the instructions of Tehran or on behalf of Al Qaeda, the names by now interchangeable. That’ll win over the damned doubters and ditherers. There will be the mandate for another round of butchery!
And you know how it will all start. Indeed, it has already started. The high profile diplomatic efforts to refer Iran to the UN Security Council will be followed by UN Security Council Resolutions condemning Iran’s uranium enrichment programme and an insistence on an additional protocol for inspections of its nuclear facilities, and in the knowledge that Iran’s Parliament has already moved to reject any further inspections if such a scenario arises.
Sanctions could be imposed aimed at isolating Iran and turning it into a pariah state. Iran, feeling it is doing nothing wrong - it has in fact an “inalienable right” as a signatory of the Non Proliferation Treaty to develop a civilian nuclear technology for generating electricity for its population of 70 million - will, in so many words, tell the UN to fuck off, and this will be the pretext for war, with the US, the UK and Israel, like comic book super-heroes coming to the defence of peace-loving, god-fearing people everywhere. There will be warnings about the consequences from all manner of experts and demonstrations will take place right across the world – as in the case of Iraq – and reference will be made to double standards, to the fact that Israel and India and Pakistan all have nuclear weapons and are yet to sign the NPT, but to no avail. The masters of war will have their day.
It’s improbable that Russia and China will ever agree on a UN Security Council Resolution against Iran which could justify military action if it is thought to have been breached; for they have strong vested interests in Iran which they are desperate not to jeopardise. Not that this will bother the US in the least, as both Russia and especially China are economic powers that threaten US global ambitions, so any attack on Iran, that consequently leads to the overthrow of the present regime in Tehran, upsets the long term ambitions of China and Russia.
An Iranian response
But, make no mistake; Iran will be no push over. The US will not enjoy a hasty capitulation of the Tehran regime, as was the case with Baghdad, exhausted by over a decade of perpetual bombardment and sanctions. The Iranian army comprises about 350,000 active-duty soldiers and 220,000 conscripts and you can add to this 120,000 of the elite Revolutionary Guard. The country’s navy and air force total 70,000 men. Between them, the armed forces have about 2,000 tanks, 300 combat aircraft, and three submarines, hundreds of helicopters and at least a dozen Russian-made Scud missile launchers, the kind Saddam fired at Israel during the first Gulf War of 1991. Iran also has an unknown number of Shahab missiles with a range of more than 1,500 miles. With this in mind you can begin to appreciate the remarks of Under Secretary of State, John Bolton, in the build up to the invasion of Iraq: “Real men want to go to Iran”.
True, a lot of Iran’s military hardware is old, thirty years old in some cases, and no match for the state-of-the-art weaponry the US is wont to use. Nevertheless, it is still weaponry and more than capable of delivering untold damage to US forces or any other country within striking distance of its missiles and who are perceived as being pro-US.
With Iran controlling the Strait of Hormutz, oil tankers could easily be bombed as well tankers and platforms elsewhere in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. And Tehran could easily escalate any conflict, giving the nod for Lebanese Hezbollah militant attacks on Israel, sanctioning also assaults on U.S. interests throughout Central Asia.
Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi and Muhammad Sahimi a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Southern California, co-authored a piece for the Los Angeles Times on January 19th. They said:
“A military attack would only inflame nationalist sentiments. Iran is not Iraq. Given Iranians’ fierce nationalism and the Shiites’ tradition of martyrdom, any military move would provoke a response that would engulf the entire region, resulting in countless deaths and a ruined economy not only for the region but for the world. “Imposing U.N. sanctions on Iran would also be counterproductive, prompting Tehran to leave the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its ‘additional protocol.’ ’ Is the world ready to live with such prospects?”
Both Bush and Blair have already hinted at military intervention and Israel has previously threatened Iran. The New York Times of 13th January 13 reported Meir Dagan, the chief of the Israeli Mossad declaring that “Israeli policy makers all agree that a military option against Iran’s nuclear facilities cannot be ruled out.”
More importantly, The Sunday Times on December 11th last year reported that Ariel Sharon has instructed Israel air force to get ready for a military attack against Iran by the end of March 2006, when Israeli elections are scheduled. Benjamin Netanyahu, leader of Israel’s Likud Party, gave notice last year that if Prime Minister Sharon did not wipe out Iran’s nuclear installations, he would see the job was done if he became prime minister in March.
Consider also the statement by ex-CIA officer Philip Giraldi, in the August 2005 issue of the American Conservative. According to Giralidi, Vice president Dick Cheney has told the Pentagon to plan for an all-out air attack on 450 sites in Iran if another terrorist incident occurs in the US. Giraldi reports that such a plan would include the use of tactical nuclear weapons against Iran’s fortified nuclear installations. Likewise, France’s President Chirac caused a furore when he announced France would respond with nuclear strikes against any state believed to be behind terrorist attacks on French soil. With Statements like this and knowing the long-term prize at stake, you just can’t help wondering if one of those false flags is being unfurled right now.
A year ago it was reported that Iran was anticipating an attack by the US and that it was ready for an impressionable response within 15 minutes. For over a year, anticipating a US attack, Iran has been mobilising recruits into citizens' militia and has made plans to engage in the kind of "asymmetrical" warfare that has mired U.S. troops in neighbouring Iraq.
Oil BoarseAnd the real reason for the coming war with Iran? Forget the nuclear threat. Forget the support for terrorist cells and the other hackneyed charges against this “rogue state”. The very simple fact is that next month, in March, Iran intends to launch its Oil Boarse which will facilitate the future trade of oil in the Euro instead of the US petro dollar – the international currency that props up the US economy. (For further info see this blog’s entry for circa May 15th of last year)
John Pilger writes in the latest issue of New Statesman (13th February):
“The effect on the value of the dollar will be significant, if not, in the long term, disastrous. At present the dollar is, on paper, a worthless currency bearing the burden of a national debt exceeding $8trn and a trade deficit of more than $600bn. The cost of the Iraq adventure alone, according to the Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz, could be $2trn. America's military empire, with its wars and 700-plus bases and limitless intrigues, is funded by creditors in Asia, principally China.
”That oil is traded in dollars is critical in maintaining the dollar as the world's reserve currency. What the Bush regime fears is not Iran's nuclear ambitions but the effect of the world's fourth-biggest oil producer and trader breaking the dollar monopoly. Will the world's central banks then begin to shift their reserve holdings and, in effect, dump the dollar? Saddam Hussein was threatening to do the same when he was attacked.”
Likewise, Krassimir Petrov, Professor of Economics at the American University of Bulgaria, writing of the establishment of an Oil Bourse in the January edition of Energy Bulletin, said:
"In economic terms, this represents [a great threat] because it will allow anyone willing either to buy or to sell oil for Euros to transact on the exchange, thus circumventing the U.S. dollar altogether.
"Europeans will not have to buy and hold dollars in order to secure their payment for oil, but would instead pay with their own currencies. The adoption of the euro for oil transactions will provide the European currency with a reserve status that will benefit the European at the expense of the Americans ....The Chinese and the Japanese will be especially eager to adopt the new exchange, because it will allow them to drastically lower their enormous dollar reserves and diversify with Euros, thus protecting themselves against the depreciation of the dollar."
The Oil Bourse aside. Iran has also sizeable oil reserves that look quite enticing and which other countries have been eyeing up for some time. The highly regarded Oil and Gas Journal reported last year that 125.8 billion barrels of oil were in Iran just waiting to be pumped out. Iran is also the number 2 producer in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Most of Iran's crude oil is to be found in an area known as Khuzestan, bordering Iraq and the Persian Gulf and the location of Iran's largest untapped oil fields - Yadavaran and Azadegan. There are serious profits to be had here but, tellingly, the Chinese state oil company China Petroleum & Chemical Corporation has a 50 percent stake in the vast Yadavaran oil field.
So to has Russia a claim in Iranian oil. Three years ago In 2003 Russia decided to expand its oil procure and distribution methods by shipping Russian crude to Iran, to be refined for domestic consumption, with Iran delivering a corresponding amount of oil to Russia, thus decreasing the cost of exports via tankers loaded at Black Sea ports and making Russian oil accessible to buyers at competitive prices.
Addicted to oil?
George Bush, in his January 2006 State of the Union Address made an interesting statement: “The US is addicted to oil”. That’s perhaps the truest statement Bush has ever said, but he’s mistaken if this is meant to signify that the US is going into detox and will be weaning itself of oil. At the moment there is just too much US corporate interest in the Middle East and Central Asia for the US to even think of cutting back on one barrel of oil.
Furthermore, there are dangerous competitors out there, who have an insatiable thirst for oil, so its important that the US has a say in who has access to the world’s oil resources. The U.S. is not that dependent upon Middle East oil for its own domestic consumption, but is aware that one way to control its foremost economic rivals is to control just how much oil they can have and at what price. The project for the New American Century is well under way, with the war-mongering neo-cons ready to use any excuse to justify the use of US military power to eradicate any regime deemed an obstacle to its global ambitions. With China a fastly growing economic, political and military power, naked aggression is a strategy they will pursue throughout the oil rich regions of the Middle East and central Asia, regardless of the cost of life and the dent to the US’ global image. The petro-dollar needs defending, world’s oil resources need to be controlled and military bases built. Iran is just one step towards total global control – the real enemy is yet to be confronted.
But for now, with International Atomic Energy Agency complaining that Iran isn’t cooperating fully with IAEA inspectors, Washington will use its man at the UN, Ambassador John “Real Man” Bolton, to help hype a global crisis which will consequently be used to justify attacks on Iran, with or without the blessing of the UNSC. No evidence exists as to Iranian desires to create an atomic bomb, but the fact that the country is enriching uranium - quite legally so, and as a signatory to the NPT, unlike pro-US nuclear states - is all the confirmation the neo-cons need for another war for oil.