War on Iran has already begun. Act before it threatens all of us

Tony Gosling tony at cultureshop.org.uk
Thu Dec 15 22:13:07 GMT 2011

Please - on this one - write to your MP, 
attaching a copy of the son of the BBC DG who 
Victor Rothschild ousted (according to Marmaduke 
Hussey's autobiography) on Thursday 29th January 1987's latest article.

War on Iran has already begun. Act before it threatens all of us

Escalation of the covert US-Israeli campaign 
against Tehran risks a global storm. Opposition has to get more serious

Seumas Milne - guardian.co.uk, Wednesday 7 December 2011 20.59 GMT

They don't give up. After a decade of 
blood-drenched failure in Afghanistan and Iraq, 
violent destabilisation of Pakistan and Yemen, 
the devastation of Lebanon and slaughter in 
Libya, you might hope the US and its friends had 
had their fill of invasion and intervention in the Muslim world.

It seems not. For months the evidence has been 
growing that a US-Israeli stealth war against 
Iran has already begun, backed by Britain and 
France. Covert support for armed opposition 
groups has spread into a campaign of 
assassinations of Iranian scientists, cyber 
warfare, attacks on military and missile 
installations, and the killing of an Iranian general, among others.

The attacks are not directly acknowledged, but 
accompanied by intelligence-steered nods and 
winks as the media are fed a stream of hostile 
tales – the most outlandish so far being an 
alleged Iranian plot to kill the Saudi ambassador 
to the US – and the western powers ratchet up 
pressure for yet more sanctions over Iran's nuclear programme.

The British government's decision to take the 
lead in imposing sanctions on all Iranian banks 
and pressing for an EU boycott of Iranian oil 
triggered the trashing of its embassy in Tehran 
by demonstrators last week and subsequent 
expulsion of Iranian diplomats from London.

It's a taste of how the conflict can quickly 
escalate, as was the downing of a US spyplane 
over Iranian territory at the weekend. What one 
Israeli official has called a "new kind of war" 
has the potential to become a much more 
old-fashioned one that would threaten us all.

Last month the Guardian was told by British 
defence ministry officials that if the US brought 
forward plans to attack Iran (as they believed it 
might), it would "seek, and receive, UK military 
help", including sea and air support and 
permission to use the ethnically cleansed British 
island colony of Diego Garcia.

Whether the officials' motive was to soften up 
public opinion for war or warn against it, this 
was an extraordinary admission: the Britain 
military establishment fully expects to take part 
in an unprovoked US attack on Iran – just as it 
did against Iraq eight years ago.

What was dismissed by the former foreign 
secretary Jack Straw as "unthinkable", and for 
David Cameron became an option not to be taken 
"off the table", now turns out to be as good as a 
done deal if the US decides to launch a war that 
no one can seriously doubt would have disastrous 
consequences. But there has been no debate in 
parliament and no mainstream political challenge 
to what Straw's successor, David Miliband, this 
week called the danger of "sleepwalking into a 
war with Iran". That's all the more shocking 
because the case against Iran is so spectacularly flimsy.

There is in fact no reliable evidence that Iran 
is engaged in a nuclear weapons programme. The 
latest International Atomic Energy Agency report 
once again failed to produce a smoking gun, 
despite the best efforts of its new director 
general, Yukiya Amano – described in a WikiLeaks 
cable as "solidly in the US court on every strategic decision".

As in the runup to the invasion of Iraq, the 
strongest allegations are based on "secret 
intelligence" from western governments. But even 
the US national intelligence director, James 
Clapper, has accepted that the evidence suggests 
Iran suspended any weapons programme in 2003 and has not reactivated it.

The whole campaign has an Alice in Wonderland 
quality about it. Iran, which says it doesn't 
want nuclear weapons, is surrounded by 
nuclear-weapon states: the US – which also has 
forces in neighbouring Afghanistan and Iraq, as 
well as military bases across the region – Israel, Russia, Pakistan and India.

Iran is of course an authoritarian state, though 
not as repressive as western allies such as Saudi 
Arabia. But it has invaded no one in 200 years. 
It was itself invaded by Iraq with western 
support in the 1980s, while the US and Israel 
have attacked 10 countries or territories between 
them in the past decade. Britain exploited, 
occupied and overthrew governments in Iran for 
over a century. So who threatens who exactly?

As Israel's defence minister, Ehud Barak, said 
recently, if he were an Iranian leader he would 
"probably" want nuclear weapons. Claims that Iran 
poses an "existential threat" to Israel because 
President Ahmadinejad said the state "must vanish 
from the page of time" bear no relation to 
reality. Even if Iran were to achieve a nuclear 
threshold, as some suspect is its real ambition, 
it would be in no position to attack a state with 
upwards of 300 nuclear warheads, backed to the 
hilt by the world's most powerful military force.

The real challenge posed by Iran to the US and 
Israel has been as an independent regional power, 
allied to Syria and the Lebanese Hezbollah and 
Palestinian Hamas movements. As US troops 
withdraw from Iraq, Saudi Arabia fans 
sectarianism, and Syrian opposition leaders 
promise a break with Iran, Hezbollah and Hamas, 
the threat of proxy wars is growing across the region.

A US or Israeli attack on Iran would turn that 
regional maelstrom into a global firestorm. Iran 
would certainly retaliate directly and through 
allies against Israel, the US and US Gulf client 
states, and block the 20% of global oil supplies 
shipped through the Strait of Hormuz. Quite apart 
from death and destruction, the global economic impact would be incalculable.

All reason and common sense militate against such 
an act of aggression. Meir Dagan, the former head 
of Israel's Mossad, said last week it would be a 
"catastrophe". Leon Panetta, the US defence 
secretary, warned that it could "consume the 
Middle East in confrontation and conflict that we would regret".

There seems little doubt that the US 
administration is deeply wary of a direct attack 
on Iran. But in Israel, Barak has spoken of 
having less than a year to act; Binyamin 
Netanyahu, the prime minister, has talked about 
making the "right decision at the right moment"; 
and the prospects of drawing the US in behind an 
Israeli attack have been widely debated in the media.

Maybe it won't happen. Maybe the war talk is more 
about destabilisation than a full-scale attack. 
But there are undoubtedly those in the US, Israel 
and Britain who think otherwise. And the threat 
of miscalculation and the logic of escalation 
could tip the balance decisively. Unless 
opposition to an attack on Iran gets serious, 
this could become the most devastating Middle East war of all.
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Fear not therefore: for there is nothing covered 
that shall not be revealed; and nothing hid that 
shall not be made known. What I tell you in 
darkness, that speak ye in the light and what ye 
hear in the ear, that preach ye upon the housetops. Matthew 10:26-27

Die Pride and Envie; Flesh, take the poor's advice.
Covetousnesse be gon: Come, Truth and Love arise.
Patience take the Crown; throw Anger out of dores:
Cast out Hypocrisie and Lust, which follows whores:
Then England sit in rest; Thy sorrows will have end;
Thy Sons will live in peace, and each will be a friend.
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