Friday, February 02, 2007
Paul Rogers on the threat to Iran posted by bat020The latest Open Democracy column by Paul Rogers, professor of peace studies at Bradford University, is a must read. He documents how the Bush administration's threats to Iran have ratcheted up as the US occupation of Iraq has spiralled into chaos:
In one sense, Iran was always the main issue for neo-conservatives: "the road to Tehran runs through Baghdad" was their mantra. Indeed there was a strong view in 2003 that the best way to deal with Iran was by installing a client administration in Iraq, secured by a substantial permanent American military presence at four large bases. Iraq would become a western bastion, with the added double benefit of reducing the significance of a somewhat unpredictable House of Saud while ensuring the Iran would know its place. In essence, regime termination to Iran's east (Afghanistan) and west (Iraq) within two years would achieve a precious strategic success: a pliant Tehran.
It has not exactly worked out like that. Instead, a Taliban revival is underway to the east and a terrible descent into violence to the west, with US forces steadily losing control. US neocons cannot in any sense consider this to be a failure of US policy; someone else must therefore be to blame, and Iran is the obvious candidate. Its culpability is both in its underpinning the evolving role of Shi'a militias in Iraq, and in its working full-tilt to develop nuclear weapons which threaten the United States's closest ally, Israel.
His intial conclusion from this makes grim reading:
In these circumstances, the conclusion must be that a direct military confrontation with Iran is now seriously likely in the next six months, no matter how dangerous that might prove.
But all is not lost:
Against the trend to escalation, there are fortunately many indications of serious unease by European governments at the prospect of a war with Iran. Moreover, the public mood in countries such as Britain may simply not tolerate another war. There is also a much higher level of knowledge about the risks...
The neocon tide may still be flowing in Washington, but US military action against Iran is certainly not inevitable. A pivotal influence in shaping the key decision could well be the position of the Tony Blair government in London. If one of his last actions in office is to back a US confrontation with Iran, it would be an even more grievous mistake than Britain's Iraq policy - a grim end to his decade in office, and a devastating farewell to people in the middle east whom war will affect most harshly.
Read the whole thing here
Protest at the Stop the War demo on 24 February