> FM: John Whitbeck
Transmitted below is a significant new analysis by the always perceptive
and well-informed British commentator Patrick Seale.
It goes without saying that if Israel really wants the United States to
attack Iran (as it wanted it to attack Iraq), the United States will do
so. It is not as though the US Government (or even the American political
"opposition") has any independent thought processes where the country's
Middle East policies are concerned or the slightest respect for
international law or the opinions of the rest of mankind. The mystery for
me continues to be why France and Germany have done so much to facilitate
a further war of aggression and crime against peace which can be expected
to have even more catastrophic consequences than the war against Iraq.
Perhaps they feel a compelling need to attone, and make amends, to the
800-pound gorilla for the unforgiven sin of having been so clearly right
about Iraq. Perhaps threats have been made which remain unknown. In any
event, the collaborationist behavior of the major European states with
respect to Iran, as well as with respect to Palestine and Syria, has been
deeply disappointing to someone who used to expect better, and more
> principled, behavior from Europe.
> Millions around the world marched to protest the Iraq war before it
> happened. Did the failure of such a preemptive protest against
> pre-announced aggression mean that the world will sleepwalk, helplessly
> and hopelessly, as Israel/America counts down toward the new aggression
> against Iran? Indeed, realistically, is there anything anyone can do to
> stop an Israeli-American Empire determined to strike again?
>> 17 March 2006 article
>> Britain Breaks with the U.S. Over Iran
>> By Patrick Seale
>> Britain has told the United States that it will not take part in any
>> action against Iran's nuclear sites, according to diplomatic sources in
>> London. Alreading facing huge public criticism for his participation in
>> Iraq war, Prime Minister Tony Blair is seeking to distance himself from
>> America's belligerant rhetoric towards Iran.
>> Blair knows he would probably not survive the political storm if Britain
>> joined in an attack on Iran. The concern in Whitehall, however, is that
>> Bush administration, egged on by Israel and its powerful friends in the
>> United States, risks developing an unstoppable momentum towards war - a
>> in which Britain clearly wants no part.
>> There is a real fear that if Iran refuses to yield to pressure -- either
>> the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) or by the Security Council
>> which Iran was formally referred on March 8 -- then the U.S. would be
>> with no other option than to strike. The U.S. may indeed have boxed
>> into a corner by its threats, which Iran has scornfully rejected.
>> The view in Whitehall is that if America attacks Iran, it will have to do
>> alone - or with Israel. In private discussions, British officials have
>> clear that any sort of military campaign against Iran would be 'madness'.
>> In spite of its close alliance with the United States, British Foreign
>> Secretary Jack Straw has departed publicly from aggressive statements by
>> senior American officials. He has ruled out military action by Britain
>> against Iran as 'inconceivable'. Last week, Britain announced it was
>> 800 men out of Iraq -- one tenth of its force there. This is seen as a
>> signal that Britain is seeking to limit its involvement in America's
>> rather than take on additional commitments.
>> Carefully monitoring opinion in Washington, British officials have noted
>> with alarm that the advocates of confrontation with Iran, both inside and
>> outside the Administration, have triumphed over the few brave souls who
>> dared argue in favour of dialogue and engagement.
>> Analysts in London are now convinced that Washington's real aim is
>> change' in Tehran, an ambition which goes far beyond merely delaying or
>> halting Iran's nuclear programme.
>> The Washington Post reported this week that Iran had moved to the top of
>> America's national security agenda. Quite apart from the large teams
>> to the Iran problem in the Pentagon and the intelligence agencies, ten
>> people are now working full time on the Iran desk at the State
>> while an American outpost of Tehran-watchers has been established in
>> Earlier this month U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice declared: 'We
>> may face no greater challenge from a single country than from Iran whose
>> policies are directed at developing a Middle East that would be 180
>> different from the Middle East that we would like to see develop.' In a
>> to undermine the Mullahs, she is planning to spend $85m expanding
>> radio and TV broadcasts to Iran and promote internal opposition.
>> In a widely reported speech on March 7 to the American Israel Public
>> Committee, the main pro-Israeli lobby, Vice-President Dick Cheney
>> 'The United States is keeping all options on the table in addressing the
>> irresponsible conduct of the [Iranian] regime.We will not allow Iran to
>> a nuclear weapon.'
>> On the same day, General Moshe Ya'alon, a former Israeli chief of staff,
>> told a Washington audience that Israel could launch an attack on Iran in
>> several different ways, not just from the air. This was seen as a
>> to Israel's Dolphin class submarines, armed with American Harpoon nuclear
>> missiles, which are thought to be targeted on Iran.
>> As with the invasion of Iraq, the campaign against Iran seems to be
>> by neocons and other pro-Israeli activists. Richard Perle - one of the
>> eager advocates of the Iraq war - has been beating the drums of war
>> Iran, as has the pro-Israeli Washington Institute for Near East Policy.
>> Ze'ev Schiff, a usually sober Israeli defence analyst, wrote last week
>> Haaretz that intelligence services in the West were convinced that Iran
>> covertly developing nuclear weapons. 'There is a secondary, smaller
>> channel that is making steady progress towards creating a nuclear
>> he claimed.
>> The Israeli daily Haaretz reported on March 10 that 'in recent months,
>> officers have visited Washington to offer their support for a military
>> strike should the diplomatic channels fail to bring Iran to heel.'
>> American war fever against Iran seem largely to do with Israel. It
>> Iran's support for anti-Israeli militant groups such as Hizballah and
>> as well as President Ahmadinejad's remarks about 'wiping Israel off the
>> which most independent observers dismiss as an angry response to Israel's
>> brutal oppression of the Palestinians, and not in any sense a realistic
>> President George W Bush and his Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld have
>> accused Iran of smuggling sophisticated road-side bombs and military
>> personnel into Iraq, but General Peter Pace, chairman of the Joint Chiefs
>> Staff, admitted this week that the U.S. had no proof of such activity.
>> In claiming that Iran is developing nuclear weapons the U.S. seems in
>> of repeating the mistake it made in Iraq. The evidence against Iran is as
>> flimsy and as unproven as was the charge that Iraq's WMD posed an
>> threat' to America and the world.
>> There is no sign, however, that Washington is ready to heed the advice
>> IAEA chief Muhammad ElBaradei, who urged the U.S. to end the 'war of
>> with Tehran and 'engage in a dialogue'.
>> Russia, too, is anxious to avert the danger of war - not least to protect
>> its substantial interests in Iran. Russia is supplying Iran with an
>> air defence system and has almost finished building Iran's first nuclear
>> power station at Bushehr on the Persian Gulf at a reported cost of $800m.
>> Moscow is keen to win more nuclear power contracts in Iran where Energy
>> Minister Parviz Fattah this week announced plans to start building a
>> nuclear power station within six months.
>> Russia's foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, described Iran's referral to
>> Security Council as 'too hasty'. 'This move is detrimental,' he said on
>> Russian state TV. 'Not one real problem can be decided with such a
>> don't want to be the ones to remind [everyone] who was right and who was
>> in Iraq, although the answer is obvious.'
>> A Russian compromise proposal to produce nuclear fuel for Iranian power
>> stations in Russia, while allowing Iran to enrich a small amount of
>> on its own soil, was shot down by the US. 'Enrichment and reprocessing on
>> Iranian soil is not acceptable,' Condoleeza Rice said.
>> In confronting Iran, the U.S. may not have fully weighed the possible
>> consequences: the extreme danger to U.S. forces in Iraq; soaring oil
>> and encouragement for the world-wide jihadi movement which is bound to
>> result in terror attacks against US and Israeli interests.
>> It looks as if the U.S. has no coherent policy towards Iran - only
>> Iran has an 'inalienable right' under the Nuclear non-Proliferation
>> to acquire atomic knowledge for peaceful purposes. It has the ability to
>> back hard against any aggressor. And, even were it to acquire nuclear
>> weapons - a remote possibility several years in the future - it could
>> be contained and deterred by the immensely greater nuclear arsenals of
>> U.S. and Israel.
>> The inescapable conclusion would seem to be that the US should start
>> talks with Iran as soon as possible. It may be the only way to defuse the
>> threat of war, to provide the U.S. with an exit strategy from Iraq and to
>> build bridges to an inflamed Muslim public opinion.