Monday, February 06, 2012

Nuclear Threat or Propaganda War?

Nuclear threat or propaganda war?

Wednesday, 01 February 2012 21:07
Zimbabwe Herald

President Obama has frequently threatened Iran with "consequences" for its alleged nuclear ambitions. In his first ever State of the Union address, Obama said, "As Iran's leaders continue to ignore their obligations, there should be no doubt: they, too, will face growing consequences."

The fall of the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq could have been a pre-occupation for the George W Bush administration, but for Israel the fall of Iraq coming without a complimentary demise of Iran was a worthless venture that failed to remove what Israel views as a "pressing danger." As Iraq continually got weakened by the disastrous effects of the 1991 Gulf War and the murderous economic sanctions regime that was coupled with the imposition of no-fly zones, Iran was growing stronger militarily and economically, recovering remarkably from the ruinous effects of the eight year war against the US-backed Saddam Hussein.

A confident Iran was seen by Israel and the US as behind the nurturing of Hezbollah in Lebanon, and Teheran's growing alliance with Syria was seen as a security threat in Israel, just like the suspected links between Iran and Hamas in the occupied Palestinian territories is viewed as a major threat "to the world order" by both the Israeli administration and Washington.

The US propaganda war against Iran that started from about 2003 has been nothing but a noticeable continuation of a similar but stronger propaganda blitz started by Israel during the 1991 Gulf crisis. Then Israel riotously rang alarm bells threatening the whole world saying Iran was only months away from developing a nuclear bomb, specifically for the purpose of not only destroying the "God-chosen nation," but indeed the whole world.

It must be noted that the genesis of Iran's nuclear program dates back to the time of the Gulf War, when Teheran openly solicited for a European partner to develop a civilian nuclear energy program, and this was a natural entitlement under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, one would think. The United States vehemently opposed this move, threatening all European countries with all forms of punitive measures, if any one of them dared to partner Iran.

There has never been any trust between Teheran and Washington since the fall of the US-pliant Shah in 1979. From the time of Ronald Reagan it has always been politically expedient for aspiring US politicians to advocate war against Iran, and Obama's non-committal rhetorical threats are no different.

The US concerns over a nuclear Iran are nothing more than an extension of the Israeli sentiment. An Israeli political correspondent of the newspaper al-Hamishmar celebrated the murderous sanctions imposed by the West on Iraq, and he expressed his wish that "Iran needs to be treated just as Iraq (has) been."

In an interview with Daniel Leshem, a retired officer in military intelligence, Yo'av Kaspi asked how Israel and the US could launch an attack on Iran. In response, Leshem suggested that Iran was to be lured into some form of a trap - further hinting that

Mossad and the CIA could encourage Iran to do something as erroneous and disastrous as Saddam's ill-fated invasion of Kuwait - something that could justify high scale intervention from the Western coalition.

Should Iran "refrain from starting a war," Leshem suggested that there are always other options. "We should take advantage of their involvement in Islamic terrorism which already hurts the entire world," he opined. Of course there is no evidence whatsoever that Iran hasany links with terrorist groups, except when one adopts the Western line of labelling any known Iran ally "a terrorist group," the way Hamas was treated immediately after winning the 2006 Palestinian elections.

As pointed out by Aluf Benn of the Israeli publication Ha'aretz, dealing with Iran is supposed to be "the top priority" for the Israeli military. He explained: "Iran could aspire to regional hegemony and ruin the peace process by virtue of having nuclear weapons and long-range missiles, of building a modern air force and navy, of exporting terrorism and revolution and of subverting Arab secular regimes."

Stripped of the prism of Israeli security obsessions, what Benn was suggesting was a plain message that Iran could easily become a genuine military rival that could scuttle Israel's diktats and bullying tactics in the Middle East. So big was the threat of

Teheran, that Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, his deputy, began organising a well-orchestrated campaign against Iran through a newly formed government department named "Peace in the Middle East Department."

The department was instructed to make an official suggestion that Iran had become "a major threat to stability in the Middle East," through "its support for terror and sabotage and its attempts to become nuclearised."

Among Iran's alleged crimes was the unfounded charge of "being an exemplar not only for Islamic fundamentalists but for other resistance movements in Arab countries."

Fundamentalism is the most used word in the Israeli-US propaganda lexicon.

In true propagandistic attack, Ha'aretz dutifully once described Iran as "a danger to peace in the entire world and a threat to equilibrium between Western civilisation and Islam."

Ehud Barak concurred, adding that Iran "posed a danger to the very foundations of world order," because it "opposes the flow of oil to the developed world and because it wants to upset the cultural equilibrium between the West and Islam."

It is poignant to note that right now it is the EU that stands opposed to the flow of oil from Iran to Europe through unilateral illegal sanctions; particularly the flow to Spain and Greece, the major consumers of Iranian oil.

Iran has threatened to pre-empt the move by stopping the supplies before the six-month moratorium suggested to allow Spain and Greece time to find alternative suppliers.

Israel is paranoid about Iran getting a nuclear weapon and passing on the knowledge to Syria. It is this speculation that Israel fightsbehind the mantra of stopping Iran from "destroying the whole world."

It was a golden opportunity for Israel when the US experienced the sad but highly sensationalised 9/11 attack. Afghanistan could now easily provide a platform for a model attack to be adopted for the removal of Saddam Hussein - himself a remarkable US puppet who had apparently grown to mistake the strength of his master for his own, offering rhetorical support to Palestinians, and constantly criticising the brutalities of Israel in the region.

But Saddam Hussein was a nuisance Israel could put up with. The real threat to Israel's regional dominance has always been Iran, less for its alleged advancing nuclear technology and more for its links with the Shia Hezbollah, the Lebanese freedom fighters that triumphantly evicted the occupying Israeli army from South Lebanon in 2000, becoming an inspiring icon for Arab resistance in the region.

The 2003 invasion of Iraq was a half-backed approach to the Iran/Iraq "twin problem," as perceived by the military-minded Israel.

Weakening Iraq without doing the same to Iran is seen by Israel as an act of strengthening the hand of Teheran. Israel is still hoping that after Iraq the US and its Western allies can move in to launch an attack on Iran.

But Iraq has not been an impressive model to build another war upon. It was an embarrassing misadventure that was defined by the humiliating withdrawal of US troops who streamed out of Baghdad with crowds of Iraqis jeering in jubilation, well after nine years of unsuccessful efforts to install an effective puppet government.

Iran, Syria and Libya were mentioned as "irresponsible states" by Sharon in 2003.

He said they needed to "be disarmed of weapons of mass destruction," adding that "a successful American move in Iraq as a model will make that easier to achieve." Of course the Iraq model was nothing but a huge blatant lie that made the majority of the world hate the United States with the worst of scornful emotion humanity can ever muster. There simply was not even any sign of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, and surely there was never any in Iran, Syria and the now destroyed Libya - just none.

Within months of Sharon's speculative suggestion, Muammar Gaddafi signed up on the side of the United States in what he and the West called "the war on terror," ditching his anti-imperialist allies like Venezuela's Chavez and Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe. He conveniently announced that he was "not pursuing" unproven attempts at developing weapons of mass destruction. Washington promptly tasked Gaddafi with the primitive role of torturing scores of people largely kidnapped by the US on trumped up terror charges, or simply suspected of having contemplated carrying out "acts of terror."

The Al-Qaeda affiliated Libyan "terrorists" that fought to evict US-troops from Afghanistan were to become trusted allies of Washington, Paris and London in a ruthless 2011 raid on Gaddafi's Libya, with the triumvirate aggressors bombing every Libyan city to smithereens as they provided aerial cover for the advancing Al-Qaeda rebels.

This is the price that Gaddafi paid for signing up to Western allegiance, a price that culminated in his callous murder so infamously celebrated by Hillary Clinton, the US Secretary of State. She appeared on television laughing her lungs out, the way devils do in horror movies. Gaddafi became a signature addition to 50 000 Libyans bombed to abrupt death by NATO.

Israel tried in vain to torch the fires against Iran as the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Iran was portrayed as the epicentre of terrorism, as a twin problem to Iraq, the hand behind its co-religionists Hezbollah; and that is when the mantra claiming Ahmadinejad had called for Israel to "be wiped off the map" was popularised.

Syria's crimes include baseless allegations of stoking Sunni insurgency in post-invasion Iraq, assisting Iran in supplying Hezbollah with weapons, and also supporting the Palestinian cause. Israeli media repeatedly quoted Sharon suggesting to the US that Iran was "the real strategic threat," and that the US needed to deal with it "diplomatically or militarily, or both."

Columnist Nahum Barnea suggested that in the event the United States failed to deal with Iran, "Israel will have to do it alone." The point was reiterated by Uzi Benziman, a prominent Israeli media commentator. He suggested, "After the war in Iraq,

Israel will try to convince the US to direct its war on terror at Iran, Damascus and Beirut." He even hinted that there was "a good chance that America will be swayed by the Israeli argument."

It is important to note that the shift from the pretext of "war on terror" and that of "developing weapons of mass destruction" to the one of "stopping Iran from developing a nuclear weapon" is nothing based on any merit, but a blatant propaganda stint meant to evade the demerits now synonymous with the Bush lies on Iraq, as well as the hypocrisy of the latest alliance between the West and Libya's Al-Qaeda affiliates, apart from the irrelevance of the terror card after the demise of Osama bin Laden.

Israel and Washington hope that the "nuclear threat" mantra might appeal more in their scare campaign to hoodwink the world into ganging up against Iran. But it is Iran that stands untainted in this hopeless diplomatic war where it is pitted against an enemy it can convincingly label the "Great Satan."

When a pathological liar makes an accusation against a person of no known blame it is natural that listeners will burst into raucous laughter, if they do not want to take the vainglorious efforts seriously, or will be terribly disgusted if they take the appalling gesture for the tragedy it is. Africa must not be fooled into taking the Western side against other civilisations like China and Iran. We must not be dragged to stand on the side of imperialism simply because the nuclearised West claims to see nuclear weapons where nobody else does.

Africa we are one and together we will overcome. It is homeland or death!

Reason Wafawarova is a political writer based in SYDNEY, Australia

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