The Bush administration is desperate to avoid an overwhelming backlash in American and world public opinion against their plans for war against Iran. In order to achieve this, the Bush administration has steered clear of making any overt threats of war and has instead pushed the notion that it is attempting all diplomatic avenues open to it in order to ‘get the Iranians to give up their plans for nuclear weapons’.
In the run up to the war against Iraq the Bush administration and their allies made it quite clear that an attack against Iraq was imminent. The result was that the peoples of America and the world took to the streets in their millions to demonstrate against war. Bush, especially in an election year, cannot afford to allow that to happen again. During the run up to the Iraq war Bush was happy to let American and world public opinion have its say but ignore it anyway because he knew that he had both the American congress and many of the western world’s governing politicians supporting him. He also knew that once the invasion was started there would be a sense of fait accompli settling in straight away and there would be no more demonstrations, at least not of the magnitude the world saw prior to the invasion.
The run up to the war against Iran has followed an almost identical rhetoric to that which preceded the run up to war against Iraq. Indeed, I would not be the first to suggest that the only difference has been the replacement of the letter ‘q’ in Iraq for the letter ‘n’ in Iran in terms of the script being used by the US administration and the Israeli government for its current propaganda onslaught against the Iranians.
In the run up to the war against Iraq the US and Israel accused Iraq of having WMDs, including a nuclear weapons program, that was an immediate threat to Israel, the US and the rest of the world. The US government and their allies insisted they had irrefutable evidence of such weapons. While some right-wing leaders of western nations like the UK and Australia went along with the US lies and became allies of the US when they did invade Iraq, they were unable to convince a sceptical United Nations General Assembly or Security Council that an invasion was absolutely necessary. It quickly became obvious after the invasion that there had been no WMDs and that the invasion and subsequent destruction of Iraq had been based entirely on lies.
This time, the US and Israel is taking a slightly different approach in their run up to their war against Iran. Firstly, no effort at all is being made to suggest that the UN should support an attack against Iran over its so-called nuclear weapons program – they know that the world isn’t going to be taken in by that ploy again. Indeed, the US, apart from saying that the ‘military card’ is still on the table, has avoided suggesting that military action will occur. In that respect the US and Israel have also adopted a kind of political version of the classic ‘good cop bad cop’ strategy against Iran. On the one hand we have Israel champing at the bit to attack Iran, and on the other we have their allies the US acting as though they are the good guys wanting to give Iran the chance to ‘come clean’ on their ‘nuclear weapons program’ and threatening only sanctions against Iran.
The problem with this is that both Israel and the US know – as does the IAEA, the UN and most of the rest of the world – that Iran has no ‘nuclear weapons program’ to actually ‘come clean’ about and that the ‘nuclear weapons program’ rhetoric is simply a façade to disguise their real objective of achieving regime change in Iran.
Given the overwhelming disgust that the people of the world demonstrated just prior to the obviously imminent invasion of Iraq and the subsequent revelation that it was entirely based on lies, and that these same lies are now being used against Iran for similar purposes, the Bush administration has become desperate to avoid overt talk of imminent war against Iran. This time around the President does not have the support of all of congress – especially in an election year when the support of the American people is also required in order to maintain what little support the President does have in congress. And nor does Bush have the support of any other nation, except Israel, for an attack against Iran. For these reasons Bush cannot overtly support an immediate attack against Iran. To do so would invite disaster for the administration, the Republican Party and what’s left of US standing in the rest of the world.
The only remaining scenario to avoid a world-wide pre-war public opinion backlash is for Israel to initially launch a seemingly unilateral surprise attack against Iran and its allies Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and possibly even Syria which the US will then feel obliged to support in order to prevent an Iranian retaliation.
I say ‘seemingly unilateral surprise attack’ because, regardless of what Israel does or how it does it, it will not be able to do it without US collusion and support during the planning of any such an attack.
US talk of sanctions through the UN is just that – talk. The US and Israel know that sanctions will not bring about regime change and they know that Iran has no nuclear weapons program. Talk of sanctions merely plays for time – time which is rapidly now running out.
The world should not be fooled again by US and Israeli lies. They will attack Iran just a surely as they did Iraq – only this time the consequences will be terrifying for the entire world and not just for Iran.