IF YOU had asked me just a week ago whether the US was going to attack Iran, supposedly because of its intention to produce nuclear weapons, I would have said yes. Fueled by the ever growing cry from the Bush adminsitration in Washington that those foxy Persians were really trying hard to make nuclear weapons, under the guise of running a civilian nuclear power program, I too was beginning to repeat the mantra.
But wait a minute! Where is the hard evidence to prove all of this? It was mostly based on Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s hard-edged rhetoric of wiping Israel off of the map and standing up to American imperialism. The truth of the matter is, as explained by veteran journalist Amir Taheri here, Iran is facing serious economic problems of 17% unemployment, flight capital and soaring inflation. Add to that the recent UN economic sanctions that are aimed at that country's nuclear program, but which are having a wider effect, and you have a Goliath that is in fact a David.
Already the “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenehi has indicated his displeasure over Ahmadinejad's determination to pursue his nuclear ambitions, and the recent losses suffered by the president's allies in local elections do not bode well for him.
But if you had read Ahmed Al-Jarralah's piece in the Kuwaiti Arab Times newspaper last week, you would think the US is actively planning an attack on Iran. According to him the US will launch a wholescale bombing campign from American warships in the Gulf and Arabia Sea before this April, the last month that close-Bush ally British Prime Minister Tony Blair will be in office.
According to Jarallah:
Claiming the attack will be launched from the sea and not from any country in the region, he said “the US and its allies will target the oil installations and nuclear facilities of Iran ensuring there is no environmental catastrophe or after effects.” “Already the US has started sending its warships to the Gulf and the build-up will continue until Washington has the required number by the end of this month,” the source said. “US forces in Iraq and other countries in the region will be protected against any Iranian missile attack by an advanced Patriot missile system.”
He went on to say “although US Defense Secretary Robert Gates and Secretary of State Dr Condoleezza Rice suggested postponing the attack, President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney insisted on attacking Tehran without any negotiations based on the lesson they learnt in Iraq recently.”
Of course, the demonization of Iran by the Bush administration has been going on for a long time. Along with that, as part of the neocons agenda to give the president almost unlimited powers, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice has refused to say anything that might be used later to try to limit Bush's executive powers. The idea has been to allow President Bush as much flexibility in flexing his powers as possible. That was possible when the Congress was Republican-controlled, but after their stunning defeat in last November's elections, the Democrat-controlled Congress is finally exercising the legislative oversight it should have been doing all along, and consequently is severely limiting Bush's powers and options to act on.
This can only be a good thing. A US attack on Iran would be disastrous for everyone involved, especially for Iran's neighbors. The Bush administartion must resist Israeli pressure to attack Iran and exhaust all diplomatic options before launching an attack. Not only that, the mistakes committed in Iraq, where fake evidence of WMDs supposedly stockpiled were so readily pedaled to the American public by people like Judith Miller, should not be repeated in Iraq. If I were Bush, I wouldn't believe the hype coming from people bent on seeing Iran smacked sown to size, or even to the International Atomic Energy Agency, which to my mind is supiciously providing Washington with the rhetoric it needs to attack Iran, without backing it up with any hard evidence as far as I know even though it maintains on its website that the IAEA believes in solving the nuclear problem with Iran "through negotiation and mutual accomodation."****Speaking of journalists that pushed for the invasion of Iraq and who were later proven wrong on Saddam having WMDs, the New York-based magazine Radar has a hilarious article detailing how many journalists who were wrong have cashed-in on their fame, while those journalists who said all-along that Saddam had no WMDs, are finding it hard to make a living from reporting and writing.
One of those pro-war hawks is the New Yorker's Jeffrey Goldberg, whom Radar accuses of being a scare-monger for claiming that Islamic terrorists were using border of Paraguay with Brazil as a base. He is also blamed for writing a 16,000 word article in the New Yorker in which he justified the invasion of Iraq by portraying Saddam as a "genocidal lunatic with WMDs on hair trigger ready."
Other pro-war hawks that have cashed in on the war in Iraq according to Radar are: Fareed Zakaria, the editor of Newsweek International, and who regularly appears on ABC's This Week always speaking in the royal "we" ("we Americans should send in more troops to Iraq!") even though he was born and grew up in India; the NYT's Thomas Friedman, who has made millions off of his inane books and allegedly has a massive mansion in Boulder, Colorado, and Peter Beinhert, the former editor in chief of The New Republic.
The Radar piece also features those who were right about Saddam not having WMDs, such as: Former UN weapons insepector Scott Ritter; Robert Scheer, a Bush critic who was fired from his job as an opinion columnist at the Los Angeles Times, and the venerable writer Jonathan Schell.