Published on Sunday, February 4, 2007 by the Toronto Sun / Canada

Fight Against Iran Too Familiar

by Eric Margolis
  http://www.commondreams.org/views07/0204-23.htm

While the Bush/Cheney administration seems hell-bent on provoking war with
Iran, Americans appear far more alarmed by the dangers of global warming.
Many of them must regret not voting for "Ecological Al" Gore in 2000.

While icebergs melt, the U.S.-Iran confrontation is getting very dangerous.
The heaviest concentration of U.S. naval strike forces since the 2003 war
against Iraq is concentrating off Iran.

In a disturbing replay of that conflict, CIA drones and U.S. Air Force recon
aircraft -- along with U.S. and British Special Forces -- are overflying
Iran and probing its nuclear and military installations. CIA and Britain's
MI6 are stirring unrest among Iran's Kurds and Azerbaijanis, and arming
Iranian Marxist and royalist exiles.

A belligerent President George Bush ordered U.S. forces in Iraq to "kill"
Iranian agents or diplomats who appear threatening.

U.S. troops in northern Iraq broke into an Iranian liaison office and
arrested its military staff. Bush unblushingly warns Iran, not to "meddle"
in neighbouring Iraq.

Pentagon sources accused Iran of smuggling weapons and explosives to "Iraqi
insurgents;" though the "insurgents" are in fact Shia militiamen allied to
the U.S.-installed Baghdad regime. Half of the 21,000 additional U.S. troops
headed to Iraq are being positioned to cover the Iranian border and block an
Iranian threat to the main U.S. -Kuwait-Baghdad supply line.

New contingents of U.S. Air Force personnel and warplanes are arriving at
key forward air bases in Bulgaria and Romania that link the U.S. to the
Mideast and Central Asia. U.S. bases in Britain, Germany, Diego Garcia, the
Persian Gulf, Central Asia, and Pakistan are reported on heightened alert.
Turkey is being pressed to allow U.S. and Israeli strike aircraft to use its
air space to attack northern Iran.

The Pentagon's latest strike plan against Iran includes more than 2,300
"high value" targets such as its dispersed nuclear infrastructure and,
worryingly, operating reactors, air and naval bases, ports,
telecommunications, air defences, military factories, energy networks and
government buildings.

Iran's water and sewage systems, bridges, food storage, and bomb shelters
could also be targeted, as were Iraq's in 2001.

The U.S. Treasury has mounted a highly effective campaign to strangle Iran
financially, seriously hurting its foreign banking connections, retarding
industrial growth and energy production, and impeding foreign investment.

The Bush administration and close ally Israel have sharply intensified their
war of words against Iran, claiming, implausibly, it poses a nuclear threat
to the entire world.

Israeli threats

Politicians in Israel are in dangerous emotional overdrive and making open
threats to attack Iran. They claim Iran is a new Nazi Germany and Israel
faces a second Holocaust -- in spite of its powerful triad of nuclear forces
that can survive any surprise attack.

Though UN inspectors find no evidence Iran is producing nuclear weapons,
Tehran, like Saddam's Iraq, is being told to prove an impossible negative --
that it has no nuclear weapons.

With disturbing deja vu, the U.S. Congress and media are swallowing the
administration's torrent of unproven allegations against Iran precisely the
way they lapped up its grotesque lies about Iraq.

Intelligence analysts would conclude either: Washington is trying to bluff
Tehran to abandon its entirely legal but worrisome civilian nuclear power
program and thus claim a major victory after so many defeats. Or, the
cornered Bush/Cheney administration is trying to provoke an air and naval
war against Iran as a last desperate, ideologically driven assault against
the Muslim world, and divert attention from its Iraq debacle.

'Not very dangerous'

Amid growing war fever, this week France's President Jacques Chirac sensibly
observed, off the record, that even if Iran had a few nuclear weapons for
self-defence, "it is not very dangerous."

Iran would be obliterated by U.S. and Israeli nuclear counterstrikes if it
ever used its nukes against Israel, noted Chirac, and is unlikely to commit
national suicide.

After his comments became public, Chirac retracted them when Washington's
French-haters went apoplectic. But, as he did before Bush's 2003 war against
Iraq, Chirac spoke with logic and good sense.

margolis@foreigncorrespondent.com

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