10 Reasons: why we should say no to an attack on Iran
1 NO THREAT
Iran has not attacked any country in more than 200 years. Its military
spending per capita is among the lowest in the region. The regime
has allowed inspections and agreed to negotiate with the West on
all issues. Current Western rhetoric recalls the Iraq war, when a
threat was fabricated to justify an attack.
2 DOUBLE STANDARDS
Many of the West’s allies, including Israel, have nuclear weapons.
There is no evidence that Iran is developing them, as last year’s
IAEA report made clear. Iran, unlike Israel and Pakistan, is a
signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, under which
it has the right to develop civilian nuclear power.
3 SANCTIONS LEAD TO WAR
As the recent military standoff has shown, sanctions are increasing
tension and distrust. They will strengthen the hawks in Iran. In Iraq,
sanctions resulted in a genocidal level of civilian casualties and
brought nothing but death and suffering to the Iraqi people.
Sanctions were not a stepping stone to peace, but to war.
4 CATASTROPHIC CONSEQUENCES
Any attack on Iran will lead to thousands of casualties and provoke
retaliation with devastating effects across the region. Sanctions
and war will drive up the cost of oil, creating further havoc to a
world economy already in crisis.
5 LESSONS FROM THE PAST
If the attacks on Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya teach anything, it is that
military intervention brings death, division and misery. 30,000 died in
Libya, tens of thousands in Afghanistan, and a million in Iraq.
Violence continues in all three countries.
6 WAR = CUTS IN WELFARE
Barack Obama recently committed to military expenditure above the
levels of George W. Bush’s administration. Britain spent hundreds of
millions bombing Libya and is spending £6 billion a year on the war
in Afghanistan. An attack on Iran could have far greater financial
implications, leading the government to threaten yet more cuts in
welfare and public services.
Recent wars have been deeply unpopular at home and have
created a democratic deficit. Plans have been laid in Washington
and Whitehall for an attack on Iran, with neither elected politicians
in parliament nor the electorate, being consulted.
The War on Terror has made the world a more volatile and
dangerous place. An attack on Iran can only increase bitterness
against the Western powers.
9 CIVIL LIBERTIES
The campaign against Iran will lead to further demonisation of
Britain’s Muslim community and more curbs on our freedom,
dressed up as ‘anti terror measures’.
10 WE CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
The main restraining factor on the war makers is mobilised public
opinion. Even George W. Bush opposed Israel attacking Iran while
in office, because he felt Americans were against it. The voice of the
anti-war majority in Britain must be turned into a mass movement
that forces our political leaders to end their policy of endless war.
IRAN (.3.) Notes from the recent Talk given by Joe Clark
The media are in propaganda mode ; nothing good is reported – of a country with a 4,000 year history. Anything bad which can be reported or invented is given top billing.
There is no balance : Fatwa by Muslims is news, murders of family planning workers by US Christian fundamentalists is scarcely reported. Burqas are news, attacks by Orthodox Jewish settlers in Israel on young Jewish girls who wear modern dress, is not.
Iran’s alleged violation of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which it is a signatory, is news. Israel’s refusal to sign it is rarely referred to, and never in BBC news coverage. The possibility that Iran may get the bomb is a threat to world peace. The Israeli stockpile of nuclear bombs is acceptable.
Israel quotes Armadin ejad as saying “Israel must be wiped off the map” – and this is repeated ad nauseum. The truth, that this is a deliberate mis-translation, – the original being “(Israel is)….an illegal political entity that is bound to vanish from the page of time” is never given. Incidentally Liberal Peer Baroness Tonge was sacked from the front bench for saying “Beware Israel. Israel is not going to be there forever in its present form.
Israel says that the Arab States and Iran want to destroy Israel. Yet Israel’s neighbours accept Israel as a sovereign state. Contrarywise, Israel most definitely is wiping Palestine off the map – by its expulsions, its blockades, it’s ever encroaching settlements in the West Bank.
Iran has attacked no-one. Israel has murdered numerous Iranian nuclear scientists. There is no outrage in our media.
Iran sponsors terrorism, says Obama, Netenyahu, Cameron – through support for Hezbollah in Lebanon, Hamas in Gaza, and Assad in Syria. – Lebanon suffered eighteen years of Israeli occupation. – Gaza is repeatedly attacked by Israel. – The Syrian Golan Heights, are occupied by Israel.
Describing victims of military attack and foreign occupation as “terrorists” justifies Western atrocities, and denies the victims legitimacy. This media selectivity is an adjunct to the war crime.
I don’t home in on these contrasts to justify Iran’s policies. But to expose the skewed nature of the news reportage which our democracy is fed. A news reportage, which as we showed in our last meeting, the showing of John Pilger’s “The War You Don’t See” is itself, part of the war drive – a partisan conditioning of the public to condone or support the war.
Above all, Oil, is a taboo subject – god forbid that our much publicised concern for world peace, human rights, security for Iran’s neighbours – should boil down to our intention to capture their oil.
Iran is portrayed as a medieval autocracy whose Muslim faith renders them indifferent to the sanctity of human life. This from Britain and the USA – who caused 500 thousand infant deaths in Iraq from sanctions, – 600 thousand, mainly civilian deaths during the latest invasion.
Iran is despotic and does use theocracy to subdue its population, and to justify its policies abroad. So is Saudi Arabia, but the Saudis are in strategic alliance with US capital, whereas Iran overthrew its colonial status in 1979.
Democracy is not foreign to the Middle East, but it is to Britain and the USA, where oil interests are threatened.
The first attempt to establish democracy in the Middle East was Iran in 1953 when they elected a reformist Premier, Dr Mossadeq. He wished to have more control over Iranian resources – and to use the wealth to modernise. That was a step too far. The CIA and MI6 conspired with elements in the military to depose him, and to impose the Shah. This isn’t propaganda – fifty years down the line, it is commonly acknowledged, and never denied. The Shah maintained his thirty year rule by a savage repression, courtesy US and British weaponry and training, which destroyed the student movement, trade unionism, democratic parties, protest of any kind – and which forced all dissent into the mosques.
In 1979 the Iranian revolution swept the Shah and his US backers out of the country – and hence provoked the hatred of the West. Within a year, the West supported Saddaam Hussain’s war against Iran, which cost millions of lives. Our enemy’s enemy, is our friend apparently.
Perhaps we should recall that BP, formerly British Petroleum, was originally called the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, in 1908, and British foreign policy demonstrates that its loss still rankles.
The 1979 revolution was not a theocratic reaction. It had the potential to be, and it became so. But it also briefly, threw off the lid of repression and led to a flowering of all kinds of progressive forces, whose heroism in battling the Shah’s Savok secret police and the military, held a promise of a progressive future.
The Iran-Iraq war, a terrible, 10 year, conflict with appalling atrocities, – not least the deployment of Western supplied chemical weapons by Saddaam against Iran, – like many wars, served as a cover for dissent to be crushed, – in the interests of a supposed greater national interest. The youth were dragged into the army, the theocrats assumed total control, and consolidated it by mass executions and repression.
Encirclement by hostile powers, can constrain or distort internal developments. Aggression against the tyranny they are claimed to be, (in reality anti-US populism), can provoke the tyranny the US doesn’t mind, anti-democratic repression. The question is, which tyranny controls the oil.
What is Iranian society made up of? Are all Iranians the same? – – to be demonised as was the Hun in WW1, as were the Russians throughout the Cold War, as are Muslim youth today. A demonisation which of course legitimises any atrocity against “our” enemies.
Iran is not a modern society, though a hundred years of oil exploration, well sinking, pipeline operation, and sea freight have given a substantial working class and secular scientific and professional intelligentsia. It also has significant big business manufacturing, import/export traders and land holding class. Yet the forces predominant in the political/theocratic sphere are the small traders and farmers, which constitute a majority of the population. Having said that, numbers don’t dictate everything, – clout does. The petty trading element which controls Iran, has therefore, an uneasy subservience to the wealthy elites.
Where are we now?
There have been farcical claims that inflatable Iranian speed boats have buzzed US warships. Ludicrously the BBC reported this deadpan, – unbelievable!
US warships patrol the Straits of Hormuz,- through which a huge amount of gulf oil flows. US think tanks proclaim the likelihood of a US attack, – or demand one. Israel threatens attacks repeatedly. Cameron backs Obama. Obama speaks of marching in “lockstep” with Netanyahu.
Perhaps we need to remind ourselves that whilst there are strategic objectives, there are also dirty political manoeuvrings, murky waters – especially in US election year.. US hawks seek either to provoke Obama into doing their bidding, or to down him.
Strategic questions :
Militarily, the world is unipolar. There is no countervailing force capable of standing up to the US. The US can be worn down as in VietNam, Iraq, Afghanistan – but that can take decades. There is no military force which can stop the US.
Economic dominance of the US, ensures that the UN does US bidding. If not, the US ignores it anyway as on : – the US blockade/embargo of Cuba,
– US veto of any criticism of Israel,
-US support for French and British violations of the Libyan no-fly zone resolution, grossly extending it to hundreds of bombing missions, and in the case of the French taking strategic control of the military campaign on the ground inside Libya.
How does the US intend to use that dominance? And where does Britain intend to tie its coat-tails?
Recent history may provide pointers.
Immediately before the invasion of Iraq, there were intimations that because of sanctions, Iraq might sell such oil as it was permitted, in Euros, instead of in Dollars. A democratic right of a sovereign state, – but deemed by the US, as a direct threat to its hegemony in the world economy. Iraq also used its sovereign status to sign contracts with China.
Post invasion – Iraq still trades in Dollars and the Chinese contracts were aborted.
Libya also had contracts with China, and as an African country, the only one not tied into the French military concordat of Mediterranean States, it had relations with African countries.
Post invasion – the China link is broken, trade is re-aligned to the West.
– Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq were a fiction
– Concern for civilians in Libya was a fiction
– nuclear proliferation by Iran, is no more than a flea-bite to the USA or to Britain. It may be to Israel, – but only because Israel’s use of its nuclear monopoly enables it to continue with it’s illegal colonialist and Apartheid policies.
So we come to the allegation, supposedly coming from the International Atomic Energy Inspectorate. Iran is developing nuclear weapons. Iran says that their nuclear plans are for civil power purposes, which were inaugurated by the USA through the Shah back in the 70’s.
Interestingly, in Friday’s Guardian newspaper, a report states that “The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the nuclear watchdog at the heart of the growing Iranian crisis, has been accused by several former senior officials of pro-Western bias, over-reliance on unverified intelligence and of sidelining sceptics” and “Robert Kelley, a former US weapons scientist who ran the IAEA action team on Iraq at the time of the US-led invasion, said there were worrying parallels between the West’s mistakes over Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction then and the IAEA’s assessment now. Amano is falling into the Cheney trap”, he said. He demands proper peer review of the evidence, and that analysis in the agency must not be left to a small group of people.
So much for the Wests’s trumpeting of alleged IAEA conclusions.
Again, a parallel – in 1981, Israel bombed Iraqi nuclear facilities – with no notice, no declaration of war, but under the protection of Uncle Sam. Inspection of the wreckage showed that there had been no weapons programme. It did expose Iraqi vulnerability which led it to accelerate its weapons programme.
The lesson is that if there is no bomb– an attack on Iran will guarantee they’ll get them.
Nevertheless, there will be calls for us to observe the “precautionary principle” if there is a danger of further nuclear proliferation – bomb the installations to prevent a catastrophe. Hold hard a minute – isn’t there a catastrophe looming in Pakistan, a dysfunctional nuclear nation at war on two flanks? Isn’t there a catastrophe looming in Palestine? Wouldn’t bombing nuclear installations, in itself, provoke a catastrophe?
The real precautionary principle that where our leaders have a probity deficit from previous wars, and a motive in lying for a new one, we don’t fall for it again.
The precautionary principle is – follow the money
-oil, and its control, is the key.
So where, in a uni-polar world does that leave us? The US intends to exploit the window of opportunity, before China, India, Brazil flex their muscles, and before US military power adjusts to the decline of its economy. It will use that window of opportunity – not only to make monopoly profits from its control of oil, but to use that monopoly to force world consumers to obtain their supplies through the filter US of dominance – to be sold to, or to be denied, according to US interests.
Incidentally, another truth from the past. America entered WW2 after the treacherous Japanese assault on Pearl Harbour? True or False? According to Gore Vidal, a writer born of the highest ranks of US society, related to Al Gore, not a single serious US historian believes this – but the US media hide it. The cause of the attack? The US embargo on Japanese oil imports!
Our responsibility :
It could be that with the Arab Spring, – Israel and the US will hold back, for fear of exacerbating their isolation. Or maybe they will conclude that it is now or never. We don’t know.
Our job is to expose all the lies which are preparing us for an attack. To alert the world that the problems of the Middle East cannot be solved by war. To prepare for a massive mobilisation if an attack is made.
It means facing some unpalatable choices. We, who have been at the forefront of peace campaigns, of demands for democracy, for justice, can be swept along when our governments use these honest feelings for their hidden agendas.
The war against Libya could not be opposed because so many in our camp were swayed by concerns for civilians. Not so the French and British bombers. Not so the new regime of racist, tribalist, satraps for the West who we placed in power.
Protest at Western intervention in Syria is hamstrung on concern for civilians. There is said to be no middle way between acceding to Assad’s cruelties, and Western re-colonialism – which is what intervention would be in all but name.
But there is : There must be.
There isn’t a democracy in the Middle East.
Israel is a racist state with an oppressed Palestinian population denied rights. It operates a colonial regime in the West Bank and military blockade of Gaza. Despots like Sadaam Hussein and the Shah were supported for decades while ever they murdered their domestic opponents in favour of “our” oil.
The despotic Saudi regime is using its massive military might to impose its rule in Bahrein and the Yemen. It is using its immense financial resources to impose its version of Islam on Afghanistan and elsewhere.
Western policy is to absorb, and to neutralise, the “Arab Spring”.
– In Egypt, it is to let Mubarak go, but keep Mubarak’s military in control.
– In Syria it is to promote it in ways that will provide a Libyan outcome – a foreign funded, foreign armed, top down, oil-based transfer of power, where concern for civilians, once the objective is won, can drop off the agenda.
And it aims for a military defeat of Iran – by Israel if possible, or by the USA and Britain as would seem unavoidable in such a strategy.
The solutions to the problems of the Middle East must come from internal struggles for democracy. Internal changes can only come about when external constraints are lifted. There lies our responsibility.
How can we help? Our job is to oppose all Western interventions and manipulation, not only military – starting with the huge “subsidies” the US gives to the Egyptian and Israeli military – which gives the US control of those country’s foreign and domestic policies alike.
We must expose and challenge Saudi military and police involvement in holding back the Arab spring in Yemen and in Bahrein – and their use of British weaponry to do so.
We must support calls for Non-Intervention to constrain the West’s military. This does not mean backing Ghaddafi or Assad. It means opposing the obscene levels of military equipment sales to the Arab States. It means stopping British and US involvement in “training” police and commandos – which morfs into a penetration by our secret services into their military. It means Britain and the US ceasing to use their allies in the Middle East for “extraordinary rendition” and torture.
These are difficult concepts to campaign for, contrasted with the simplistic slogans of William Hague. But they are the only way to a lasting peace and to democratic developments within sovereign states.
And yet a terrible premonition : Radio-active rubble, dust and gas deliberately spread. Workers in power stations bombed. A frightening escalation – Israel bombs Iran; Iran bombs ships to close the Straits of Hormuz; the US bombs all ports, airports and all military installations to keep it open; an oil crisis ensues.
Iran has 3 x the area and 3 x the population of Iraq. Iraq still has sporadic electricity, water supplies and sewage. Its civil society is in ruin. Health and education without resources, its workers frequently not paid.
Is that what we are prepared to let our government do to Iran?