Saturday, April 26, 2008

All Roads Lead to Teheran

All Roads Lead to Teheran

Preparations for war with Syria are proceeding at a reasonable pace. Given the unchallenged military superiority of the US, the logistic-technical aspect of an attack is no big problem. However, since the obstacles are political, Bush and his faithful assistants need to build up a case for an attack. Following the headlines of your local newspaper is the best way to observe how this is done.

Reactor Reaction – Bombs Away

It is always helpful to prepare people for your probable response to any real or imaginary provocation. If you see something you or your ally do not like, bomb it first and offer explanations afterwards. The gravity of the threat, or even its very existence, may be in doubt. But it is helpful to get people used to the precedent on your part of violation of every principle of international law and the execution of unchallenged aggression, against a sovereign government. In fact, there was no international outrage in the media or in the streets over the revelations that Israel had bombed what may or may not have been a North Korean reactor. This lack of response suggests that bombing Iran will be only a somewhat more delicate operation.

Why We Are Having Troubles in Iraq

The White House and the Pentagon are pushing revelations about Iranian ‘on the ground’ intervention in Iraq. But this is an old story. Given the deep connections between various Shiite groups and Iran, the big surprise is how little Iran is involved in the military scene in Iraq. Iran has tremendous influence on political groups in the establishment and in the Shi’ite opposition. It extends considerable economic aid to Iraq, especially in the Basra region. And even according to the most alarming US reports, its military involvement is still a marginal affair, and most important there is, even according to the US officials, no verifiable increase in the level of intervention.

But Bush and his apparatus have issued stern warnings to the Iranians, explaining that it is because of the Iranian military intervention that the United States will not be able to proceed with troop level deductions in Iraq.

Smoke and Mirrors

Pseudo-negotiations between traditional enemies do not in any way impinge on preparations for war. They tend to portray Israel and the US in a positive peace seeker role. But it is advisable not to look too closely into the real function of these negotiations.
Israel is talking with the tragic figure of Abu Mazen, who is completely alone in ascribing any importance to the talks. Israel uses the cover of talks with Abu Mazen to wage relentless war against Hamas and a million and half Palestinians in Gaza. The Egyptians are supposedly mediating between Israel and Hamas, but Israel has not even authorized the Egyptians to work on a cease-fire.

Meanwhile, Israel has indeed authorized the Turkish leadership to proposition Assad. The Golan Heights are the bait.
Olmert is helping the United States by using the Golan Heights as bait to get Assad to jump out of the Iranian pond. Israel tells Assad, that if he is smart like Sadaat (who ditched the Soviets for the Sinai), he will ditch Iran for the Golan and join the US camp.
Syria will then be removed from the US terrorist lists, becoming
like Jordan and Egypt, a respectable member of the moderate’s
club. Once again, we see how even “peaceful” negotiations with
Syria serve as preparations for war with Iran.

And if you think that encouraging anti-Iranian hysteria is a thankless job, listen to Hillary Clinton. When asked what she would do at 3A.M. in the morning if informed of a Iranian nuclear attack on Israel: “We would be able to totally obliterate them.”
Phillip Stevens in the Financial Times (24/4/08) describes this as an attempt by Clinton to reinvent herself as the mad general in Dr. Strangelove. It may be to the point that even at 3 A.M. she might check her information before ordering the death of 70 million Iranians. After all, so far, it is Israel that has nuclear capacity and Iran, despite all the WMD noise, does not.

If One Had to Choose

There must be an important lesson in this week’s news. The illustrious Communist Party in Italy lost its parliamentary representation for the first time in more than a half of a century. The Rainbow coalition which it led saw its vote drop from about 10% to only 3% - one per cent less than the minimum required. The party is in a tremendous identity crisis.

In Nepal, the Maoist Communist Party scored a tremendous electoral victory after having come out of the underground armed struggle a year or so ago. The Nepal Maoists are in line to form a new government coalition.

I guess that there might be a lesson here. All other things being equal, if you have the choice of backing a weak centrist government, which is a mere appendage of the sinking status quo (as the Communists did in Italy for the last two years) or going underground to pursue policies that will represent a real alternative for the masses – it is better to go underground.