by Larry Everest
Since September 11, 2001, the U.S. has been on a reactionary, imperialist crusade to crush Islamic Fundamentalism, overthrow governments not under its thumb, and forcibly restructure the entire Middle East-Central Asian regions. Today the U.S. is targeting Iran, saying it is one of the biggest problems it faces globally. And in recent weeks U.S. threats against Iran have sharply escalated on many fronts. This points, at the very least, to an intensification of U.S. efforts to bully and isolate Iran—but may also portend preparations for an attack on Iran, perhaps coupled with possible Israeli attacks against Hamas in Gaza, Hezbollah in Lebanon, even Syria.
Top Bush administration officials have ratcheted up the breadth, vehemence, and strategic character of their charges and threats against Iran.
Defense Secretary Gates claims Iran is “hell bent” on getting nuclear weapons, adding to Israeli claims that Iran is actively pursuing nuclear weapons and could use them in a preemptive attack. General Petreaus charges that Iran is the main source of instability in Iraq, and on April 30, CIA Director Michael Hayden declared that Iranian policy, at the highest government level, is to help kill Americans in Iraq. A few days later, the New York Times (May 5) added another dimension to these charges by reporting that U.S. interrogators had elicited testimony from captured Shi’a fighters that “Militants from the Lebanese group Hezbollah have been training Iraqi militia fighters at a camp near Tehran.” The State Department recently labeled Iran the world’s leading sponsor of “terrorism.” Secretary of State Rice says Iran is waging a “proxy war” with Israel via Hamas in Gaza, Pentagon officials recently claimed Iran is arming Taliban fighters in Afghanistan, and on May 9, the Bush administration blamed Iran and Syria for the outbreak of street fighting in Lebanon between pro-U.S. government forces and Hezbollah, which is supported by Iran.
The Bush regime is trying to build a case for possible war on Iran—like what they did with the claims that Saddam Hussein’s regime supported “terrorism” and had WMDs leading up to the invasion of Iraq.
U.S. charges against the Islamic Republic are a mixture of lies, distortions, and exaggerations, along with reflections of the real necessity U.S. imperialism faces. The Iranian government is acting to counter U.S. moves and further its own reactionary interests and ambitions on many fronts. Iran’s influence has grown in the region, and this is intolerable to the U.S. rulers who are bent on unchallenged hegemony. This move-countermove dynamic is intensifying with many potentially explosive “trigger points.”
On April 25, for the first time, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Admiral Mullen stated that the Pentagon was actively considering military options against Iran and warned “it would be a mistake to think we’re out of combat capacity.”
On April 29, CBS news reported, “A second American aircraft carrier steamed into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday as the Pentagon ordered military commanders to develop new options for attacking Iran.” (In March the U.S. had dispatched a nuclear submarine.) According to CBS, “Targets would include everything from the plants where weapons are made to the headquarters of the organization known as the Quds Force which directs operations in Iraq.” As the U.S. demands Iran halt its alleged interference in Iraq (this from the country that invaded Iraq in the first place!), the State Department has also, according to CBS, “begun drafting an ultimatum that would tell the Iranians to knock it off—or else.”
On May 2, Andrew Cockburn reported, “Six weeks ago President Bush signed a secret finding authorizing a covert offensive against the Iranian regime that, according to those familiar with its contents, [is] ‘unprecedented in its scope.’ Bush’s secret directive covers actions across a huge geographic area—from Lebanon to Afghanistan—but is also far more sweeping in the type of actions permitted under its guidelines—up to and including the assassination of targeted officials.” Cockburn also reported, “A Marine amphibious force, originally due to leave San Diego for the Persian Gulf in mid June, has had its sailing date abruptly moved up to May 4.”
The Sunday Times of London (May 4) reports, “The U.S. military is drawing up plans for a ‘surgical strike’ against an insurgent training camp inside Iran if Republican Guards continue with attempts to destabilize Iraq.”
The recent U.S.-Iraqi assault on Basra, its current campaign against Shi’ite forces in Sadr City, the renewed fighting in Lebanon (reportedly provoked by the U.S.-backed government’s attempt to remove Hezbollah personnel from their airport positions and close down a Hezbollah-run phone system), as well as the September Israeli strike against a site in Syria may also be linked to military preparations for war on Iran.These U.S. moves to confront Iran and position itself for possible war are themselves acts of imperialist bullying and aggression. Any U.S. attack on Iran—no matter the scale and scope, no matter the pretext or justification—would constitute criminal aggression and a war crime. The potential consequences for the people of Iran and the region are horrific. It’s urgent that people condemn and protest these U.S. threats and war preparations, and sound the alarm—now!