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More war?

I wrote before (here and here) about the American government beating the war drum

The Economist. 27 Oct-2 Nov.


An article by Seymour Hersh gives a detailed outline of American activities in relation to Iran, and apparent preparations for an attack there. Read it: as usual he is lucid and believable.

The article suggests that the Americans know that they cannot sell a ‘WMD’ argument to Americans, so they need some excuse – to be able to attack in defence. Such an excuse could come from events in Iraq or Afghanistan, or even in Lebanon/Palestine/Israel, though that would be pushing it.

Amongst other things, a “European official” is quoted as saying: “once the Iranians get a bloody nose they rethink things.”
This strikes me as being the way in which “short, sharp incursions” are being rationalised. The thinking would go: OK we found out in Iraq that it’s no good trying to go in and occupy, and that definitely wouldn’t work in Iran; if we overdo it all Iranians will rally around the flag; so let’s try and target the hardliners (i.e. the Revolutionary Guard), whom many Iranians don’t like – and hope that the moderates will be able to move in and take over.

Problems with this?
• “short, sharp incursions” typically miss at least 10% of the time, which usually means civilians being killed.
• Taking out “command and control facilities” has usually translated into including power stations, television stations, communication networks, etc. Meaning that the average person is also affected.
• There is no evidence of any significant support for American armed intervention. Many Iranians (but not most, as it is a young population) remember the last result of American and British intervention – the toppling of Mossadeq in 1953 and the subsequent dictatorial rule of the Shah. There is a particular dislike of the British there who, as in many former colonies, are remembered for their hypocrisy and double-standards.
• Iranians, who are Persians and not Arabs, are very proud of their 5,000 year old culture, and any attack by the Americans and/or British will be fiercely resented by the overwhelming majority of Iranians.
• The Revolutionary Guards and hardliners – who are ready for an attack – would probably be strengthened by any attack.

In any case, I’m beginning to believe that Cheney and his side-kick are stupid enough to attack Iran. Be prepared for more arrests of Iranians in Iraq, stories linking problems in Lebanon to Iran, and ‘border incidents’ between Iraq and Iran – maybe in the Kurdish areas, though the PKK and Turkey are probably muddying things there. Also, there needs to be some pliable Iranian exiles to parade before the press.

Regarding Iranian exiles, reading about the People's Mujahedin of Iran , an officially designated terrorist group (aka MKO, MEK) who are protected by American/coalition forces illuminates the thought processes of the American government. See this report by Human Rights Watch also.

Given the elections due in November 2008, there’s a timeline here. If it’s going to happen they’re either going to be calculating that they can pull it off and ride a long patriotic wave to the elections, or do it close to the elections so everybody is still excited come election time. My guess would be the latter, but then again, neither Bush nor Cheney care about being re-elected.

Hopefully, nothing will happen…

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RK Boo on :

I couldn't post this comment in your other post. :S Your blog hates me...this is the message it keeps yelling at me:

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julian on :

Thanks, I emailed you about that.

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