War with Iran:Posted January 31, 2007. Updated February 5, 2007:
I think that we are now 3 to 6 months away from war with Iran.
The President's rhetoric is becoming more bellicose; evidence of Iranian involvement in Iraq is being presented to select Congressional committees; stateside, troops and equipment are being mobilized; overseas, carrier groups are moving towards the Gulf.
Or so I have been told. It is possible that a feint is being made for the purpose of deceiving someone - at home or abroad.
But I don't think that I am witnessing a feint. Nothing about the American policy in Iraq makes sense - unless that policy is viewed as a first step in preparation for a larger war with Iran.
It had to be the case that American policymakers understood that the immediate beneficiaries of American military involvement in Iraq would be the Shiite Muslims; and that while the Kurds withdrew to the north, a civil war would erupt between the disenfranchised Sunnis and the newly empowered Shiites. Such is the status quo. If it was not known before, it cannot be denied now.
It is interesting, too, that while (1) the Saudis continue to provide money, arms and soldiery for the purpose of advancing the - enemy - Wahhabi/Sunni positions in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iraq, and that while (2) the pilots involved in the 9/11 incident were said to be Saudis, and that while (3) the Saudis fund the promulgation of anti-Jewish literature/speech in the United States itself, the Executive continues to characterize Saudi Arabia as a "strong moderate ally." But for the need to prevent a second front from opening while undertaking a campaign against Iran and the Shiites, how would one make sense of such a situation?
Maybe, Osama Bin Laden wasn't a Saudi; maybe, the copies of the Koran that I've read were faked; and maybe everything in the paragraph above is false - including the story about Saudi hijackers involved in the WTC attack. But whether it's deception, or incompetence, or incompetent deception, it isn't right.
There is a question of timing, too: Why has this military intervention dragged on for 4 years? Aside from the billions of dollars spent in a questionable manner, there is the issue of the upcoming election. While Clinton and Obama seem like strong candidates now, wouldn't John McCain be more appealing to the American people - if America was "under attack" again? Strong. Strong on defense. Security. Protecting the Nation.
Aren't they catchy words and phrases? Cynical?
I am cynical...because...too few people are being asked to give too much. While the number "3000" is floated around the media as "the cost," i.e. number of American lives lost, scant attention is paid to the casualties - numbering over 50,000 now. Think: 1/3 of all American troops deployed have received a physical/mental injury severe enough to cause them to be removed from the battlefield.
How long will the war continue? How big will it get? In 1964 something was said to have struck an American vessel. And we went to war in Vietnam. We did not leave until 1973/75.
Whether something happens here, in the USA, again (Pearl Harbor or 9/11) or something happens to one of our vessels in the Persian/Arabian waters (Gulf of Tonkin) something will happen.
(Recent) Historical Background:Updated February 5, 2007; February 14, 2007; February 17, 2007:
1979 [Iranian Revolution] A revolution occurred within Iran: The American-backed Shah and his SAVAK were overthrown by the Iranian people. Resistance to the Shah's rule found had found sanctuary within mosques. In those same mosques, the revolutionaries found an ideology (Islam) around which they could rally their countrymen. Ironically, from the contemporary perspective, one of the revolution's leaders, the Ayatollah Khomeini spent a period of exile in Iraq, prior to the revolution.
It might be possible to trace the roots of the current conflict, and evidence of the long-standing connection between the Shia Muslims of Iran and Iraq, to this event.
1980-1988 [Iran-Iraq War] It appeared to more than one observer that the USA supported Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq War of 1980-1988 chiefly for the purpose of containing the spread of Muslim fundamentalism in the form of Iranian Shia Islam.
Ironically, Saddam Hussein also received substantial support from Arabs of the Gulf States - including Saudi Arabia. And the Saudis promoted (promote) their own form of Muslim fundamentalism in the form of Sunni Wahaabism.
1990-1991 [Gulf War I, George Bush I] The USA rallied the world, in the first Gulf War to defend the monarchy of Kuwait from invasion. Iraq's conventional forces were smashed - while Saddam Hussein and his loyalist Republican Guard were left in place.
It seemed that Saddam was acceptable as a foil to the revolutionary forces in Iran - till he moved towards the wealth of the Gulf. The relationship between Saddam and the Guard was not unlike the relationship between the Shah and SAVAK. So that, we, the USA, made the decision to tolerate the oppression of the many by the few for some 'greater' geopolitical goal.
1992-2000 [Sanctions, air strikes, Bill Clinton]
1993 [Attack on WTC I] First World Trade Center Attack
2001 [Attack on WTC II] Second World Trade Center Attack
2003-2007 [Gulf War II, George Bush II] Democracy is a game of numbers; there are more Shia than Sunni in Iraq; creating a democracy in Iraq, the Shia gained power; the Sunni minority struck back - with Saudi Wahaabi aid; most 'terrorism' in Iraq, now, is said to be caused by the Sunni population - with Saudi support; Iran desires a stable border with its neighbor - and 'wins' if democratic reforms effect a 'peaceful' transition of power to the Shia population of Iraq.
Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United States, refuse to tolerate a 'nuclear Iran.'
The war with Iran has already begun in the form of conflicts between Fatah v. Hamas in the Palestinian Territories, in addition to Hezbollah v. Israel in Lebanon. The USA supports Fatah and Israel; Iran supports Hamas and Hezbollah.
As an American, I find it difficult to reconcile our willingness to support regional monarchies - Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan - with our unwillingness to accept the democratic outcomes of 'people's movements' or even the elections that we worked for in Iraq.
(Recent) Articles Focusing Attention on Iran:Updated February 14, 2007:
(The new acronym is EFP.)
(1) U.S. Says Arms Link Iranians to Iraqi Shiites
(2) Three Iranian factories 'mass-produce bombs to kill British in Iraq'
(3) The U.S. military finally held its much-anticipated briefing on Iran’s alleged involvement in Iraq’s violence. Just how strong is Washington’s case?
Updated February 26, 2007:
Iran Ignores UN Deadline The nuclear program - unacceptable to the USA, Israel and Saudi Arabia, continues.
British Remove Troops From Southern (Shia) Iraq In preparation for an aerial assault, or to avoid being targeted after said assault?
Updated March 3, 2007:
(1) Seymour Hersh April 8, 2006, The New Yorker.
(2) Seymour Hersh February 25, 2007, The New Yorker issue of March 3, 2007.
"The U.S. military also has arrested and interrogated hundreds of Iranians in Iraq. 'The word went out last August for the military to snatch as many Iranians in Iraq as they can,' a former senior intelligence official said. 'They had five hundred locked up at one time. We’re working these guys and getting information from them. The White House goal is to build a case that the Iranians have been fomenting the insurgency and they’ve been doing it all along—that Iran is, in fact, supporting the killing of Americans.' The Pentagon consultant confirmed that hundreds of Iranians have been captured by American forces in recent months. But he told me that that total includes many Iranian humanitarian and aid workers who 'get scooped up and released in a short time,' after they have been interrogated."
Updated March 25, 2007:
(1) 15 British naval personnel captured by Iran.
(2) Iran continues nuclear program; USA seeks additional sanctions at UN.
(3) Saturday March 18, John McLaughlin reports the total number of American casualties in Iraq to be 72,800 - citing a John's Hopkins report.
Updated April 2, 2007:
In the history of this conflict, this is the most difficult image that I have seen: http://dirckhalstead.org/issue0703/a-tho
Questions About the State of Democracy in America:Updated February 17, 2007:
(1) If the threat to America is so great that it is necessary to engage in the practice of 'extraordinary rendition,' i.e., kidnapping of 'terror' suspects overseas, why has the southern border of the United States been left virtually unguarded? Is it to be believed that tens of thousands of desperate and poor Mexican migrants are able to cross the southern border of the United States undetected - but that such an act is beyond the capabilities of the highly trained agents of the 'rogue' states that sponsor terrorism? Too, what sense does one make of airport security - given the state of the southern border?
(2) That political power should pass back-and-forth between two parties is dangerous enough. But what does one make of the fact that it has begun to pass back-and-forth between two families?