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War against Iran looms

AN ISRAELI military strike against Iran in 2012 are now considered more and more certain by international commentators. Israel war drums beat louder by the day. And in an election year neither US party is likely to exert any restraint against their closest ally.

Iran is now at the centre of a complex international web of economic sanctions and power games, officially targeting Iran’s nuclear power programme which the US and Israel claim is a nuclear arms programme.

But this issue is only a part of the picture, as the US and Israel struggle to maintain hegemony in the region in the face of, the enforced retreats from Iraq and Afghanistan, an increasingly assertive Russia and China and the incalculable consequences of the Arab revolutions. Ironically, there are strong parallels with the build-up to the Iraq invasion, with western politicians making the case that Iran is a rogue state and must be dealt with ‘by any means necessary’.

Israel straining at the leash
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu described Iran’s nuclear programme as “the greatest threat to Israel, the (Middle East) region and the world.” Other Western politicians have repeated verbatim the kind of pro war stance that Bush and Blair adopted against Iraq in 2002. Although Israel has been threatening a strike against Iran since before 2008, many analysts now believe that 2012 will be the year. They believe they have the assurance that a US president, Democrat or Republicans will at least block any attempt by the UN to criticise – let alone sanction – Israel will dare to criticise an Israeli and might even back up any military strike with US forces.

A US build up in the region is continuing. The USS Carl Vinson aircraft carrier, the very ship from which US servicemen threw Osama Bin Laden’s body into the Indian Ocean, has been dispatched to patrol the Gulf waters. The US is adamant that the Straits of Hormuz must be kept open as it is a key part in the global transport links for oil and gas, with one third of the worlds crude oil passing through the sea lane every year.
An Iranian MP said that the closure of the straits was an option as a retaliation against the UN sanctions that have been imposed on the country “The Islamic republic has never been the initiator of sanctions or threats but Europe and the West have been endangering our country through sanctions, propaganda and even military threats… Now that the threats have escalated, Iran has all options on the table including stopping oil exports to Europe and even closing the Strait of Hormuz”, said Ali Aghazadeh. Despite the repeated claims that Iran is the ‘threat’ it is in fact surrounded by US military bases on the Arab peninsular, in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Dirty Tricks
Before the open war, the covert war continues apace. US and Israeli special forces operations in Iran have stepped up since 2010, four lead scientists on the nuclear enrichment programme have been killed either by bombs or snipers. Rick Santorum from the US Republicans bragged “on occasion, scientists working on the nuclear programme in Iran turn up dead… I think that’s a wonderful thing.”

Comparing the treatment of Israel, which reportedly has 200 nuclear weapons and has never once been subjected to an International Atomic Energy Agency inspection and refused to sign the Nuclear Non–Proliferation treaty.

Pressure needs to be brought to bear against the western powers that are involved in the build–up to war. An attack on Iran would have the most serious international consequences, resulting in many deaths. It could even trigger a regional war. The worldwide antiwar movement needs to rally its forces in preparation.

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