The Iran Brouhaha

Tuesday, June 24, 2008 7:52 AM

As some suggest, G.W. Bush could be the worst President in U.S. history. He may be just a goofball, an aberration, a fool. Whatever, he gets what he wants from Europe when it comes to U.S. policy in Middle East. Give him credit for that. (Or give the credit to Tel Aviv.) The proactive foreign policies of the Bush/Cheney Presidency have been insane, or at best creatively counter-productive. Still, these policies garner solid support on Capitol Hill and in the halls of power in Europe. 

The mystery remains, how and why? Especially at this stage. Bush was handed a free ticket by Congress to invade Iraq. Bush invaded, and Congress continues to fund the war, long after it became clear that America was deliberately lied into an unnecessary war, which has turned into a very expensive strategic disaster and a colossal human tragedy. And for what? Congress continues to evade its responsibility to remove Bush and Cheney from office for gross malfeasance and duplicity.

Now Bush and Cheney want to smack Iran. Why do they want to do that? For the same bogus reasons they attacked Iraq. I'm looking at the front page of the International Herald Tribune of January 14th, 2008. Bush was in Abu Dhabi, urging his Arab associates to confront the Iranian threat "before it's too late." The headline reads: Iran a Risk to World's Security.  I am wondering what exactly does that mean? The security of the world? What an empty, nebulous, catch-all phrase. What is all this fuss over Iran?

To quote the IHT article: "Bush asserted that Iran finances terrorist extremists, undermines stability in Lebanon, sends weapons to the Taliban in Afghanistan, intimidates its neighbors with alarming rhetoric and defies the United Nations by refusing to be open about its nuclear program." The fact that none of this is true is beside the point. The Gulf Arabs had to listen to this nonsense and pretend that it might be true, because it was coming from a strange character who had somehow been elected President of the United States.

As with the "neocon"-directed Enterprise of Iraq, Bush and Cheney have gone over the top with Iran, and played the nuclear weapons card. It was false when applied to Iraq. It is disinformation now, to wit, more lies when applied to Iran. Even the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded that Iran is not working on a nuclear weapons program. Their December 2007 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) about Iran's nuclear program was delivered to the White House. Bush and Cheney promptly threw it into the trash can.

Who cares about reality--or has time for it? Bush/Cheney and the U.S. Israel Lobby have their obsessions, timetable and their own private reality. That is what counts and what drives this fake crisis. The U.S. Congress, the UN Security Council, and the EU have fallen in line with this parallel unreality. The rest of us are along for the ride.

The EU is now freezing Iranian bank assets in Europe. (See below.) This is an act of war. Again, reminiscent of the Iraq project. In the final analysis, Iraq was invaded because the powers-that-be in America thought they could get away with it. That was the bottom line. The same predatory thinking is evident with respect to Iran. Washington and the EU think they can do as they please, acting the part of a bully. Whatever it takes to keep Tel Aviv happy.

Washington and the EU have concluded that Iran is defenseless against a "shock and awe" air campaign launched from the U.S. armada in the Persian Gulf and from the British military base at Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean. They are right. Iran's air force and its civilian aircraft have been without spare parts for years, thanks to Washington. Certainly, Tehran can launch some Chinese cruise missiles at the U.S. fleet and lob some rockets in the direction of Tel Aviv, in response to an attack, but what would that accomplish? A second wave of "shock and awe". 

In any event, even assuming no attack ever takes place, shame on the EU, with special opprobrium assigned to Chancellor Merkel, President Sarkozy and Prime Minister Gordon Brown for acting like idiots. One should not blame Bush for being a cowboy and an ignoramus. That's just the way he is. By the same token, it would be pointless to blame Cheney for being a madman. One cannot blame the gentlemen in Tel Aviv for continuing to get away with whatever they think they can get away with, which has been plenty.

But the leaders of the EU? Are they not presumed to be somehow more honest, more responsible and more wise than Bush and Cheney? Alas, it turns out that European leaders are just about as worthless and cowardly as the Republican and Democratic leaders in the U.S. Senate and Congress, when it comes to dealing with the Israel Lobby. The charade continues. After all, the security of the world is at stake. 


STEPPING UP SANCTIONS [Der Spiegel, June 23rd, 2008]

EU Freezes Assets of Iran's Biggest Bank

The European Union has imposed new sanctions on Iran in an effort to halt the country's nuclear program. The European assets of a major Iranian bank are to be frozen and more restrictions may be on their way.

Erik Seemann //Der Spiegel

The EU froze the assets of Iran's biggest bank on Monday.

The European Union stepped up its campaign against Iran's nuclear program on Monday, freezing the European assets of a major Iranian bank.

At a meeting of European foreign ministers in Luxembourg, a new sanctions package was announced that included measures against Iran's biggest financial institution, Bank Melli.

Bank Melli has been under close financial monitoring since March as part of a United Nations sanctions program. The EU has accused the bank of helping to finance Iran's efforts to produce enriched uranium, a first step towards building a nuclear weapon. The bank was placed on a US blacklist last year.

International authorities say Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons technology under cover of a civilian nuclear power program. Iran insists it only wants nuclear power for electricity generation.

Pressure on Iran has been building steadily for weeks. On June 10, at an international summit in Slovenia that included US President George W. Bush, EU leaders promised "additional measures" on top of sanctions imposed by the United Nations.

Freezing the assets of Iranian banks is intended to prevent them from supporting terrorism or nuclear proliferation. The next step would be European sanctions on Iranian natural gas and oil, a move that would put serious pressure on the country, which is a major oil and gas producer. However, such a move would also drive the world's already high oil prices (more...) even higher.