We are hearing the familiar drumbeat of war–the vilification of Iran and the demonizing of its leaders—couched in the rhetoric of immanent threat to the US. Those who sold the Iraq War to the American population are at it again.
And people throughout the world—in particular, the Muslim world—are searching for the reasons behind the US invasion of Iraq and the possible invasion of Iran. They wonder why—when Iraq, Iran or any other country in the Middle East has never posed a direct threat to the US mainland—would Americans be willing to expend so many human lives and so much money on changing the regimes of these countries?To answer the question posed above, let us review some data.
1- Iran does not possess any Nuclear Weapons, while the U.S has over 10,000 nuclear warheads, enough to destroy the entire world many times over. The most pessimistic prediction by U.S. sources asserts that it will be 5-10 years before Iran gets nuclear capability.
2- Iran has never invaded or threatened any of its neighbors while it was invaded many times by its neighbors; the latest was Iraq’s invasion of Iran in September of 1980 with full support of the U.S.
3- While Iran is a signatory to all the IAEA protocols and has all of its nuclear facilities inspected regularly, there are a number of countries that have not signed any NPT protocols and the U.S. actually helped develop their nuclear facilities, such as India and Israel.
4- No nation would contemplate attacking the U.S. and risk total pulverization of their country.
So really why does the U.S intend to attack Iran, especially in the light of the quagmire that it has created in Iraq?
There are a number of theories abound. These include quest for oil, petrodollar monopoly, to “export democracy”, etc. One premise that is hardly touched in the current discourse is the U.S.’s attempt to remold and micro-manage the area so that Israel can remain the only regional superpower in perpetuity. This premise now has gained currency not only in the Muslim world but the world over.
This is not as fanciful as one might imagine on first glance. Read the following strangely prophetic segment from an article published in 1982 by the World Zionist Organization’s publication Kivunim and penned by Oded Yinon, an Israeli journalist with links to the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Yinon’s strategy was based on this premise: in order to survive, Israel must become an imperial regional power, thus it must insure the break-up of all Arab countries so that the region may be carved into small ineffectual states unequipped to stand up to Israeli military might. Here’s what Yinon had to say on Iraq:
“The dissolution of Syria and Iraq into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front. Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run, it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel.
“An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and Lebanon.
“In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul and Shiite areas in the South will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.”
Sound familiar? Now let’s focus on the present reality, 24 years on.
The eight-year long Iran-Iraq War that ended in 1988 was responsible for over a million casualties but did not result in Yinon’s desired break-up. Iraq still stood as a strong homogenous entity. Iraq was, however, severely weakened in 1991 as a result of the Gulf War brought about by Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Kuwait. Still, the country remained unified even if by force from its leadership.
It took the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq and the subsequent occupation to destabilize Iraq and split the country along sectarian lines. Indeed, its new constitution is drawn around a loose federation with partial autonomy for the northern Kurds and the southern Shiites, with the country now rife with sectarian, religious, and ethnic strife. Some say “civil war”.
Yinon’s solution to the ongoing Israel-Palestine problem was to herd the Palestinians across the Jordan River and label Jordan a Palestinian state.
The idea of packing 4.5 million Palestinians across the Jordan is no longer being openly touted, although this option was on the table in 2002 according to an article by Professor van Creveld in Britain’s Daily Telegraph. A then Gallup poll showed that 44 per cent of Jewish Israelis favored the expulsion of Palestinians across the River Jordan. The recent talk about herding Palestinians from the occupied territories and sending them to settle in the central region of Iraq is part of that grand strategy.
Yinon’s essay does not focus on Iran, but let’s look at comparatively recent statements coming out of Israel on this subject.
During a visit to Washington in November 2003—two years before the US government turned its fire on Iran—the Israeli Minister of Defense Shaul Mofaz told US officials that “under no circumstances would Israel be able to abide by nuclear weapons in Iranian possession.”
During the same month, Meir Dagan, Director of the Mossad, told a parliamentary committee that Iran posed an “existential threat” to Israel, assuring members that Israel could deal with this threat. A few years ago, the rhetoric out of Israel was ratcheted up with the Israeli Foreign Minister Silvan Shalom telling the press that “the idea that this tyranny of Iran will hold a nuclear bomb is a nightmare, not only for us but also for the whole world.”
Israel’s Prime Minister Ehud Olmert is continuing the tradition of hyping the Iran threat, assisted, it must be said, by fiery rhetoric coming out of Tehran’s reckless leader Mahmoud Ahmedinejad.
An article in the Daily Telegraph dated February 18 2006 headed “America would back Israel attack on Iran” clearly indicates that it is Israel leading the charge against Iran.
The article quotes George W. Bush as saying,
“Clearly, if I was the leader of Israel and I’d listened to some of the statements by the Iranian ayatollahs that regarded the security of my country, I’d be concerned about Iran having a nuclear weapon as well. And in that Israel is our ally, and in that we’ve made a very strong commitment to support Israel, we will support Israel if her security is threatened.”
A year later and the US government is no longer portraying Iran’s purported nuclear ambitions as a threat to Israel, but a threat to the United States. In this way the case against Iran and the possible repercussions emanating from that, can be sold to the American people. Suddenly Israel’s concerns have become the concerns of the American people. Interestingly, more than 55 per cent of the US public say they would back strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to a recent poll.
Back to the question of whether the US is, indeed, waging wars on behalf of Israel. In short, we can’t be certain and we may never know since the Bush White House has sealed its private tapes and papers for 100 years.
But as Linda Heard and a number of other Middle East experts have asserted “There is one thing that we do know. Oded Yinon’s 1982 “Zionist Plan for the Middle East” is in large part taking shape. Is this pure coincidence? Was Yinon a gifted psychic? Perhaps! Alternatively, people in the West are victims of a long-held agenda not of their making and without doubt not in their interests.”
To be continued in later blogs….