Thursday, January 18, 2007

Oy Vey

Next Stop, Tehran?

People have been saying since shortly after the ill-fated invasion of Iraq that the US would next strike at Iran. I've always believed it plausible but not likely. However...I sense something is coming.

The Bush Administration is rachting up its naval presence in the Persian Gulf with not one but two aircraft carrier groups. Bush officials have recently gone on whirlwind tours of the Sunni Arab states who perceive Iran has an enemy both for its increasing power as well as its Persian-Shi'a heritage. In Bush's "speech" about escalating the war, he sent veiled warnings to Iran (and Syria) and rejected trying to solve things diplomatically. Iran claimed earlier this week it shot down an unmanned US spy plane, and I wouldnt doubt thats true.

But even more telling is the sudden talking point being propogated by the right wing in all appearances, which seeks to blame everything going wrong in Iraq squarely on Iran. Rumor has it that if the Bush Admin is to strike, it will want to do so before the end of April when stalwart ally Tony Blair steps down as leader of the Labour Party, and thus Prime Minister of Britain.

And of course it makes sense, from the crazed perspective of the Bush Administration. Not just because Iran is (probably) seeking nuclear weapons; although I should add Iran has yet to do anything illegal and has the support of most of the world as uranium enrichment is an "inalienable right" of all signatories of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, which most of the world (save Israel, India and Pakistan) has signed.

But also because of Iraq. The US doesnt want a strong Shi'a Iraq, nor do all the Sunni Arab neighbors, most especially Saudi Arabia which has its own Shi'a minority residing over the biggest oil fields. Yet what can the US do? If the US pulls out of Iraq, which domestic pressure will force it too, then Iraq may not be turned into an obedient client state. It may seek friendship with Iran and become opposed to US-Israeli regional policies, and still remain a democratic state. The only solution, it seems, is to attack Iran and cripple it as a power. I suspect immediately after that the United States military will take it upon itself to "disarm" the Shi'a militias of Iraq, including Muqtada al-Sadr's Mehdi Army; no longer fearing the militias will have an Iranian ally to their east to call upon for help.

Of course, attacking Iran is not only illegal, it would be an utmost disaster. It will be the worst thing in the world the Bush Administration could do, and yet I fear its a possibility. If it comes down to it, I would encourage everyone to take it to the streets.

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