Monday, 7 November 2011

The Threat of/to Iran.

Let's Play MAD!

The recent talk of bombing Iran may indicate just how paranoid and irrational policy-makers in Israel actually are. There seems to be a distinct inability to pursue self-interest at the most basic level, to limit the threat of terrorism, never mind an ability to recognise the moral degeneracy the Israeli government has readily indulged in for so long. The real question is whether or not the attack would be authorised in Washington. We known that the US and UK have contemplated backing such an attack on Iran. It is possible that the US and Israel will trap themselves into a situation in which they will have to bomb Iran. The Western paranoia around Iran is interesting in itself, it seems to have persisted in spite of the criminal invasion of Iraq and its devastating consequences: over 1 million dead, 5 million children made orphans and 4 million displaced. Many millions more have been dispossessed by the illegally imposed economic reforms, then there are the rates of cancer higher than Hiroshima in Fallujah.

Even though Iran has quite a low military expenditure, with no capacity to deploy force abroad and a defensive military doctrine. The only significant aggression that the country has been involved in centuries was when Iran seized control of a couple of Arab islands. Incidentally, that was in the 1970s under Pahlavi and the US supported the action. After Reza Pahlavi was dethroned, the US supported Iraq in a military strike against Iran in 1980 that turned into a war and raged for almost a decade. We should remember, as Iranians remember, that the Shah was installed in power after Mohammed Mossadegh was overthrown in a coup orchestrated by the CIA on the behalf of the British government. The democratically elected government of Iran was overthrown in 1953 to protect Western oil interests, Prime Minister Mossadegh had nationalised the oil fields which were owned by the Anglo-Persian Oil Company that has since been renamed British Petroleum. Pahlavi ruled with an iron fist for 26 years until the Revolution of 1979 and the monarchy was supplanted with an Islamist regime.

Don't forget Who Runs the World!
In the region Iran is a "threat" to order and stability because it is independent from US influence and does not take orders from Washington. This might make sense of the way Condie Rice questioned the legitimacy of the Iranian government. It is true that the elections of 2009 were rigged to secure an already safe victory for conservative Mahmoud Ahmadinejad over reformist Mir-Hossein Mousavi. It's quite rich for a Bushite to question the legitimacy of a government given the fact that the Bush administration was never actually elected. There is actually little difference between the US and Iran insofar as the scope for democracy is concerned, though the American system is certainly more sophisticated and a far more well oiled machine. Instead of a clerical apparatus choosing the candidates the Americans have found a way for money to limit the range of candidates and essentially elect the President. The condemned system of "guided democracy" in Iran has less crude and less brutish parallels throughout the West. Really, the issue here is that the Islamist regime in Tehran does not take any orders from Washington as the Saudi Royals do. If it was about legitimacy surely Rice would question the position of King Abdullah.

Ironically, the position of Iran has been strengthened considerably by the invasion of Iraq, which Mohammed Khatami wanted to support and even wanted to send Iranian troops into Iraq as part of the invasion. Of course, Khatami's reformist proposals for American-Iranian relations were shattered when Bush came out with the "Axis of Evil" which placed Iran as an enemy alongside Iraq and North Korea. At the same time, the American occupation of Afghanistan and Iraq has posed a threat to Iran as well as the hostility of the Gulf States to the Islamic Republic. The Americans have sought to nudge the Indians towards Turkmenistan rather than Iran, with occupied Afghanistan as the main root of any hypothetical pipeline. The Gulf States are out to undermine the potential of any future Shi'ite uprising in Northern Saudi Arabia and on Bahrain which might rip major oil fields from American control. So a nuclear capability would serve the regime as a deterrent to a hostile superpower, all the while Israel hoards hundreds of nuclear weapons.

The Axis of Feeble?
The attack could be launched from the US military base situated at Diego Garcia, which is an African island that was swept clean of inhabitants by the British in order for the Americans to build a military base. The island is a major outpost of American aggression in the region with the capability to launch attacks on major targets. The Obama administration has stationed hundreds of 'bunker busters' at Diego Garcia - each with the capacity to destroy thousands of tonnes of reinforced concrete - as well as submarines armed with tomahawk nuclear missiles. It was the exposure of a bizarre plot to assassinate Saudi ambassador Adel al-Jubeir which kick-started the spiral into a military conflict with Iran. There has been a great deal of scepticism around this plot. Even the RAND Corporation has found that it seems implausible the Iranians would carry out such a plot, as it would significantly harm their own national interests. It seems highly unlikely that the Islamist regime would reach out to Mexican drug gangs to blow up a Saudi ambassador in a New York restaurant. Nevertheless, the plot has prompted talk of whether or not it constituted an act of war by Iran on the US thereby providing a justification for an all-out war.

As Israel was established in 1948 Hannah Arendt predicted that the Jews of Palestine would become like the Greeks of Sparta, they would change character to such an extent that they would no longer be able to represent world Jewry as a whole. Consequently the state would no longer function as the Jewish homeland. We might look at the people who run the Israeli state to see if Israel can really claim to represent the Jews of the world, do we really think Netanyahu meets this standard? Does Avigdor Lieberman come any closer? Think of Netanyahu's words of the "beneficial" impact of 9/11 and the invasion of Iraq for the strategic betterment of Israel. Think of the racist Lieberman plan, which includes annexation of greater land and separation of Arabs from Jews. It would impose a loyalty oath for anyone looking to become an Israeli citizen. Let alone the reactionary drivel held as thought in the minds of thugs like Avigdor Lieberman. For Arendt this is the result of the state model Israel has taken, specifically the European form of the nation-state as defined in ethnic terms. As an alternative to the ethnic nation-state model - which would conceive of Israel on a racial notion of Jewishness - Arendt argued that an independent state for Jews and Palestinians could have been founded within the British Commonwealth of Nations wherein each group received equal rights.

Instability in Stability.
Today, the policies and actions of the Israeli government have long been incongruous to the liberal values of a vast number of Jews in the world. It is certainly impossible to find anyone who is content with the situation, putting aside serious human rights violations, the perpetual war-machine of Israel prevents the state from pursuing significant socio-economic development. Israel is now one of the most unequal countries in the world, it was once amongst the most equal and featured a socialistic economy. The Israeli economy has a strong financial sector, remains a major exporter of diamonds, chemical fertiliser and high-tech industry which is tied into a huge arms industry - which has done business with South Africa in the days of Apartheid. Israel does a great deal of business with developing countries when it comes to the arms trade, including Colombia and Honduras under right-wing dictatorships. At the same time, the ceaseless war-machine, that came out of the seemingly constant threat from Arab neighbours, has pushed aside all over concerns including socio-cultural development like the Kibbutzim.

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