Friday, June 30, 2006
Iran and 'regime change' posted by Richard SeymourA couple of excellent articles by Yoshie Furuhashi and Justin Raimondo detailing the preparations being made for 'regime change' in Iran. The warnings signs are all there:
1) A strong bipartisan vote in favour of sanctions on Iran unless there is a change in government, with only fourteen dissenters. It took five years for a congressional vote in favour of 'regime change' in Iraq to become a military invasion.
2) A White House propaganda blitz, manufactured crises, press hysteria.
3) Dodgy exile groups disseminating false information, lobbyists (often pro-Israeli) ferociously dissembling and campaigning.
4) Clandestine activities inside Iran, including large sums of US cash supplied to various schisms and groups in the hope of destabilising the government.
5) The US government's sudden preference for the New Hitler sobriquet.
6) The manipulation of intelligence.
It has been said in several articles that Bush's focus was always more on Iran than Iraq, and Yoshie points out that in straightforward economic terms the former was always more important to the US. Of course in the short term, sanctions on Iran will actually drive up oil prices considerably, thus enriching that sector of capital closest to Bush, while driving up costs for everyone else. But this also provides some temporary benefits for Iran. One area where Iran is weak is in its dependence on gasoline imports, and the government is obliged by the WTO to cut subsidies for gasoline consumers. If they are obliged to do this, then they are in for some shocking inflation, since the price would rise from 9c a litre to 55c a litre. Higher prices on oil exports, however, would enable the government to avoid this, increasing the pot for subsidies and the Keynesian social spending programmes of the incumbent. Iran also presents a serious geopolitical problem for the administration - whether they intended it or not, their invasion of Iraq considerably increased the power of Iran in the region much to the dismay of Washington's local attack dog, Israel. The standing of the government in the Arab world is also growing. Iran's pursuit of nuclear power would also make them more energy independent. Their present capabilities are far from sufficient to build nuclear weapons, and they'd have to proceed at breakneck pace to get a weapon within the decade.
The Bush administration, should it decide to attack, will cover itself on all flanks: on the right, it will cite traditional 'national security' concerns, the alleged threat posed by Iran, its supposed nefarious activities, its belligerence toward Israel; on the left, it will cite humanitarian concerns, using women and gays as it made use of Dr Sima Samar in Afghanistan before ditching her. Pro-war exile groups like the MEK, a one-time marxist revolutionary group, have been drip-feeding propaganda on both counts - alleged sattelite imagery of nukes on the one hand, and stories of barbaric repression on the other.
Of course, I'm supposed to add that of course I'm against nuclear power and support the struggle of women and gays in Iran, but I see no reason to waste time on the obvious. It's a bit difficult to support women and gays in Iran, however, and rather hypocritical to bleat about nuclear power, if you're assisting or cheering on a nuclear power as it threatens to launch an attack on another country that will tear men, women, children - both gay and straight - to shreds, and reduce the country from being a modern state with an infrastructure to a ravaged war zone.