Thursday, November 10, 2011 10:45 PM
Once again, they are dusting off the hot seat for Iran. But I've said that before and the whole topic is frankly becoming tedious. The Washington assignment to find an excuse to wreck Iran has been underway longer than the project to destroy Iraq. There is a nexus between the two. The project to destroy Iraq as a viable nation-state, which has now been achieved, may be regarded as both the template and as the stepping stone for the current target of choice, Iran.
Step back and look at the big picture. The historical background is important.
After Saddam Hussein blew up Iraq's treasury by his ruinous war with Iran throughout the 1980s, he decided to refresh his bank accounts by annexing the oil-rich fake state of Kuwait in August 1990. From this moment, Saddam outlived his usefulness. Up until then, Saddam had been a de facto ally of Washington, presumably because Saddam's attention was directed toward Iran.
Don Rumsfeld, former Secretary of Defense for President Gerald Ford, travelled to Baghdad in December 1983 to talk things over with Saddam and confirm the unofficial alliance. In the meantime, Tel Aviv was surreptitiously supplying Tehran with American-supplied munitions and missiles to keep the war raging as long as possible in order to exhaust both sides. Remember "Iraqgate" and the Iran-Contra Affair? It certainly appears in retrospect that the Iran/Iraq war was an orchestrated war, designed to create the maximum damage for these two oil-exporting, Muslim antagonists. If so, it worked. Divide et Impera.
The subsequent Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990, coincidentally coinciding with the end of the Cold War, set off a disastrous chain reaction in the greater Middle East which reverberates to this day. While at first it seemed that President H.W. Bush might be willing to treat the matter as an annoyance by an errant ally, he soon decided to parachute into this intra-Arab affair. The queen of the busybodies, Margret Thatcher, evidently helped convinced Bush that the world would spin off it axis if the dethronement of the Amir of Kuwait were to go unchallenged. "Iron Maggie" advised George not to go wobbly.
British Prime Minister Thatcher's track record in this regard was impeccable. In 1982 she had ejected the Argentines when they bravely attempted to repatriate the Falkland Islands from the vise grip of the defunct British Empire. Der Spiegel accurately called London's last imperial misadventure "Der absurde Krieg".
President Bush gave President Hussein a non-negotiable ultimatum and prepared to kick the Iraqis out of the British-concocted enclave of Kuwait, which entity every government in Baghdad since Iraq gained independence from Whitehall in 1932 claimed as a province of Iraq . Kuwait had been an integral part of Iraq within the Ottoman Empire and throughout the nineteenth century and up until the end of World War I, when the Brits moved in.
H.W. Bush's confidant, factotum, and Secretary of State, James A. Baker III, justified the U.S. counter-action against Iraq in three simple words, "Jobs, jobs, jobs." Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney oversaw Operation Desert Shield, the deployment of U.S. troops inside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, a move theretofore deemed unimaginable, not to say ill-advised and foolhardy. It was followed by Operation Desert Storm, the shooting war to "liberate" the Emirate of Kuwait. Keeping oil cheap and defending freedom were the cover stories the White House used to justify this militarized response.
Grandstanding and grandiosity were the order of the day at the Bush White House. On January 12, 1991, the U.S. Senate by a narrow margin of 52 to 47 authorized the launching of Operation Desert Storm. AIPAC's lobbying efforts were decisive in providing Bush and James Baker with the votes needed to pass the resolution. In retrospect, one wonders if the U.S. went to war for Kuwait or for Israel. Bush promised a bright and shining New World Order in the aftermath.
I've always felt that Ronald Reagan's biggest mistake was his very first mistake: that of picking former Congressman and CIA Director George H.W. Bush as his VP running mate in 1980. Why? Because that decision made possible the elevation of Bush Sr. to the Oval Office in 1989, which in turn led to the accession of Bush Jr. to the imperial presidency at the dawn of the twenty-first century. We are living with the severe, adverse consequences of Reagan's innocent mistake today.
Bush II was something of an underachiever with a mean streak. He held the title and trappings of POTUS 43. But the grown-ups actually in charge were those arrogant know-it-alls, Dick Cheney and the aforementioned Don Rumsfeld. When it came to foreign policy, this dubious duo was directing the affairs of state, with the diligent help of those agents of influence, the so-called "neoconservatives" who were having a field day in Washington thanks to the rise of the multifaceted Israel Lobby. The Cheney/Rumsfeld Regency which came to power in January 2001 represented nothing less than a hijacking of the executive branch of the American government.
Meanwhile, Iraq remained under a devastating economic embargo which included food and medicine. The sanctions regime imposed upon the people of Iraq in 1990 by the UN Security Council has not been fully appreciated inside the borders of "the lone surviving superpower" which instigated and demanded it. The horrible effects were detailed in a startling 1996 book, The Scourging of Iraq by British author Geoff Simons. The final, complete lifting of the sanctions on Iraq did not happen until December 2010, some seven years after Operation Iraqi Freedom and twenty years from their inception. It is naive to think that Secretary of State Hillary "the obliterator" Clinton and President Peace Prize Obama will be dissuaded from giving Iranians the same treatment.
My view is as follows. The primary purpose of the sanctions on Iraq was regime change, not the elimination of WMD. The problem arose when the regime did not change but WMD were, in fact, eliminated in the 1990s. The publicly stated goal of the sanctions on Iraq had been achieved, but not the real, underlying purpose. This posed a problem for Washington and Tel Aviv. The Bill and Hillary Clinton Administration was aware of this problem and so, of course, was the Cheney/Rumsfeld Regency and its "neoconservative" clerks.
Naturally, Saddam had a reasonable expectation and hope that the UN Security Council sanctions would be eliminated once his government had complied with the U.S. Diktats which ended the war in 1991. The sanctions could not go on forever. Saddam was mistaken. Since the sanctions had not done the trick, the U.S. military would have to complete the job. That in a nutshell explains the mendacious and preposterous dog and pony show which preceded and followed the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq.
Iran is the next stop. It was always playing in the background, going back thirty years. This is all part of the same, not-so-hidden neocon agenda which has helped bankrupt Uncle Sam. The much heralded IAEA report issued this week confirms that agenda by demonstrating that the IAEA has now fallen under the sway of Washington's neocon-inspired foreign policy.
It is a policy and an agenda which Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, not to mention Joe "I am a Zionist" Biden, have wholeheartedly embrace out of political necessity or ignorance. We are in the midst of a 24/7 presidential election cycle. There is nothing new or definitive in the IAEA report. It is a rehash of innuendoes driven by politics. Shades of Niger yellow cake and aluminum tubes to enrich uranium.
Again, as was the case with Iraq, the paramount issue with Iran is the sanctions to be imposed, not WMD or a non-existent nuclear weapons program. As Seymour Hersh stated in a recent interview, "The people at the top of the American government know that there are no weapons there, and we've known that for years. Iran got no nukes and the U.S. knows that." The interview was given in the aftermath of Hersh's June 6th, 2011 article in the New Yorker entitled "Iran and the Bomb", where he examines the entire subject and concludes, "…the current sanctions regime is aimed at forcing Iran to stop a nuclear-weapons program that does not exist."
Do you recall the 2007 NIE, the National Intelligence Estimate, which caused an uproar? I wrote a longish article about it for Taki's Magazine. The 2011 NIE on Iran's nuclear program was issued last February. It essentially reaffirmed the 2007 findings of the sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies. You may not have heard much about it from the establishment media, because our Peace Prize President has kept the document under wraps, only sharing it with the Senate and House intelligence committees.
Veteran foreign policy observer, William Pfaff, wrote a column in January 2006 entitled "The Panic about Iran". Pfaff seemed mystified by the whole affair. "The contradictions in western official and unofficial discourse about Iran and its nuclear ambitions are so blatant that one might suspect disinformation, but it probably is simply the cacophony of single-minded bureaucracies working at cross purposes, an effect of the multiple lobbies involved and of U.S. domestic political exploitation, and the paradox of American policy itself, whose non-proliferation efforts actually provoke nuclear proliferation." It is an interesting column which holds up well. Pfaff concludes, "There are serious problems in international affairs and there are baroque ones; this one is baroque."
Rest assured that all outstanding issues between Iran and America could be resolved by a phone call from Washington to the Swiss ambassador in Tehran, Madame Livia Leu Agosti. The purpose of the call would be to arrange a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi in Geneva within a fortnight. Everything would be on the table with no preconditions. On the U.S. side I suggest sending Ambassador Chas Freeman assisted by Middle East experts Professor Flynt Leverett and his wife, Hillary Mann Leverett The goal would be dialogue, cooperation and rapprochement. With this in mind, Hillary Rodham Clinton and her minions should stay home in Washington, and attend to other matters. Mother of Mercy, let's give peace a chance.