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U.S. behind Israel’s war threats on Iran

Published Jun 11, 2008 9:09 PM

The danger of a U.S. attack on Iran, either directly by the Pentagon or through Israel, was made more explicit in the first week of June.

Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert was in Washington to say that Iran’s nuclear program must be stopped by “all possible means.” He and a host of U.S. politicians addressed a convention of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). The presidential contenders from both imperialist parties as well as senators on top congressional committees all repeated the same theme. Democrats and Republicans seemed united as they lined up to express unequivocal support for Israel and to threaten Iran, presenting its totally legal development of nuclear energy as a dire threat to “world peace.”

This well-coordinated threat escalated after Olmert returned to Israel from the convention. Within hours of his return, Deputy Prime Minister Shaul Mofaz called war against Iran “unavoidable.” Mofaz, a former military chief and defense minister, has been Israel’s representative in a strategic dialogue on Iran with U.S. officials. He said that if Iran continues its nuclear program, Israel will attack because it has no choice as “options are disappearing and sanctions have proven to be ineffective.”

An international media uproar began over the provocative and threatening statement. The price of oil shot up to an unprecedented $138 a barrel. Prime Minister Olmert then fanned the flames and refused to discount the possibility of a military strike against Iran. “All options, including the military option, must remain on the table,” he said, echoing Bush.

This only confirmed that Israel is a tool of U.S. policy, especially when U.S. administrations are not in a position to take action directly.

Many times Washington has given its full military, political, economic and military support for Israel’s crimes: during Israel’s repeated wars to push back the rising tide of Arab nationalism in the 1960s and 1970s; its 1981 bombing of an Iraqi nuclear reactor; its training of death squads in Central America during the 1980s; its support for South African apartheid; its 2006 bombing of Lebanon, and its recent strike on Syria.

AIPAC serves U.S. corporate power

AIPAC has grown into a powerful lobby because it has always promoted policies that benefit the profit interests of the most powerful section of U.S. corporate power—the military and oil industries. It works in tandem with them. Time and again giant U.S. military industries have used AIPAC to influence policy inside the U.S. The Zionist group was one of a whole constellation of forces that pushed for the U.S. invasions of Iraq and Afghanistan.

Israel is totally tied to and dependent on the Pentagon. During 60 years, billions of dollars have gone in U.S. aid to Israel—mostly to buy U.S. weapons systems, jet aircraft, tanks, etc. This in turn fuels and justifies a new round of weapons purchases by U.S.-dependent Arab regimes.

Corporations like Lockheed Martin, General Electric Co., Northrop Grumman and Boeing are more than willing to give millions of dollars to military lobbyists and to AIPAC. They in turn give generous donations to politicians, Republican and Democrat alike, to secure multi-billion dollar weapons contracts and agitate for military strikes, expanding bases and endless wars.

Division in U.S. ruling class

Faced with the debacle of the U.S. occupations in both Iraq and Afghanistan, there is deep division within U.S. ruling circles and even within the top Pentagon brass on how and whether to proceed with an attack on Iran. This opposition is not based on any humanitarian concerns for the Iranian people, their own troops or working people in the U.S. It is based on the fear of a political explosion in the region.

Indecision and growing contention are the order of the day. The past two years have been full of leaks, in-depth exposés by Seymour Hersh in the New Yorker magazine and resignations of both civilian and military officials. Admiral William J. Fallon, head of the U.S. Central Command for the Middle East and South and Central Asia, was forced to resign after Esquire magazine wrote about his deep reservations regarding an attack on Iran.

A London paper reported over a year ago that some of the Pentagon’s most senior military commanders were prepared to resign if the White House ordered a military strike on Iran. (Sunday Times, Feb. 25, 2007)

The steamroller against Iran was set back by the release of a U.S. National Intelligence Estimate last December saying Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program and had not had one in more than five years.

The most recent top-level shakeup involved the forced resignations of Air Force Secretary Michael Wayne and Chief of Staff Gen. Michael Mosley, purportedly over a “chain of failure” in the Air Force’s handling of U.S. nuclear weapons. Four crucial components of nuclear weapons were reportedly shipped by “mistake” to Taiwan. A B-52 bomber “mistakenly” armed with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles flew across the U.S. Both “mistakes” had been known for over a year. Does the shakeup have any connection to the rift over Iran?

Reports that the Bush administration plans to launch an air strike against Iran within the next two months continued in the May 28 Asia Times On-Line.

According to the article, two key U.S. senators briefed on the attack, Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California and Senator Richard Lugar, Republican of Indiana, plan to go public with their opposition to the move. But their projected New York Times op-ed piece has yet to appear.

Meanwhile former German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer wrote in the Israeli daily Haaretz of June 1 that Bush and Olmert seem to be planning to end Iran’s nuclear program “by military, rather than by diplomatic means.” Fischer fears the Middle East is drifting towards a new, dangerous military conflict.

Iran’s right to nuclear energy

Iran’s envoy to the U.N., Mohammad Khazaee, lodged a protest with Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and the Security Council over Israel’s threats. Khazaee made the point that such a dangerous threat against a sovereign state and a member of the United Nations constitutes a violation of international law, contravenes the most fundamental principles of the U.N. Charter, and requires a resolute and clear response, particularly from the Security Council.

Iran has the right under international law to develop nuclear energy. It is a signer of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. The International Atomic Energy Agency has made numerous inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities.

Israel, however, has never signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. It has refused any inspections of its widely known nuclear weapons program with more than 200 nuclear warheads.

The U.S. government has developed a whole new generation of tactical nuclear weapons, which also violates the agreements and treaties attempting to limit and restrict nuclear weapons.

Today the U.S. ruling class is realizing with rising panic that it is not in control of events. Events are controlling them—from the deepening and unsolvable economic crisis to an unwinnable war. This tends to make these global predators increasingly desperate, riddled with divisions, and prone to ever more desperate military adventures.

The only real opposition to the growing danger of a new war will come from the grassroots, not from the politicians. Such forces on a global basis must take seriously the increasing push for war and begin to mobilize.